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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 28, 2013 12:00pm-2:01pm EST

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14. >> host14. .. on our way to buffalo. it was my first time out of the south, and i remember
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even-years-old being in buffalo new york. it was my first time in that elevator, my first time seeing an escalator and it was so different and it had an impact on me because some people working together, living together. >> host: why did you make that trip? >> guest: i went there to spend part of the summer with another brother of my mother and some of my first cousins. >> host: and other date in your history, september 2, 1986 democratic primary. >> guest: that was the reduction day in atlanta in the fifth congressional district of georgia. it was a very difficult race
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with a closed and the differing mind by the name of julian bond who we had worked together in the student nonviolent coordinating committee with a wonderful, wonderful friend. he served in the state house, the state senate, to come to congress and i wanted to come to congress, and it was a race that i never wanted to repeat like that. >> host: and you won? >> guest: i did prevail. and some people thought they didn't have a chance and didn't have a prayer not just in atlanta but around the venetian. outside of georgia and alabama and mississippi and other parts of the deep south.
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>> guest: . >> host: when did you move to atlanta? >> guest: the summer of 1963. i was 23-years-old and i became the chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee better known as sncc. one of the major civil rights organizations. it was based in atlanta, just finished school at the university and i spent four years at the american baptist college called the american baptist seminary and later became an american baptist college and spent two years studying. when i became the chair i had to move to atlanta i loved nashville. i fell in love with the city. it was the first city i lived in, but i went to atlanta, spent a lot of time traveling all across the south, going to arkansas in the southwestern georgia, the delta mississippi, louisiana, north carolina, south
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carolina. but atlanta presented me with an opportunity to be the place, not just to be there, but to come to washington to meet with members of congress, to come and meet with president kennedy, with martin luther king jr. and others. a few weeks after i had been elected chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee i was in washington in the white house with president kennedy and i will never forget that first meeting with the president getting on a flight fly in from washington back to atlanta and preparing for the march on washington. that was 50 years ago. >> host: who are the biggest hit's? >> guest: the head of the major civil rights organization. you have a ma had a man by the a philip randolph. he was considered to be the dean of black leadership.
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he was born in jacksonville florida, just a wonderful, wonderful man. and some of those meetings he would say things like brother and, let's stay together. we have come this far together but stay this together. in a baritone voice he would say if you can't say something good about someone, don't say anything. there was so much respect for this man but along with a philip randolph, who organized the brotherhood of sleeping car porters, represented the men working on the railroad. and when you come to washington and walked through the union station there is a bus. you have martin luther king jr. who was the president of the southern christian leadership conference born in atlanta georgia and then there was roy wilkins, the head of the naacp
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for the advancement of colored people that were born in minnesota, a wonderful man comed then there was whitney young who was born in kentucky, the dean of social work at atlanta university and later became the head of the national urban league. there was another man by the name of james farmer. farmer had attended the little wiley college in texas, why we texas. and he was part of the dating team -- debate team. they deviated harvard and they won. the graduate study at harvard university became very involved with the naacp and was later one of the finalists of the racial a quality. and i guess it was the six of us
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that met with president kennedy in late june of 1963. >> host: in july of 63 you were planning the march on washington, and you write and walking with the wind i saw for the first time during the july 1963 trip to new york city hour meeting took place at the roosevelt hotel and provided my first real look at the personality of roy wilkins. i can't say that i like what he saw. now here among just us, he was really asserting himself. we met in one of the hotel's private dining rooms and from the moment that he entered the room, he came across to me as some sort of new yorker who thought he was smarter than the rest of the group. what was memorable about the meeting that day much more than the details of planning the upcoming march was watching the dynamics among the participants. it was an exercise in power and
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positioning in the political rivalry. when he entered the room about a dozen or so people were there waiting to take their seats around the dining table. wilkens immediately shook his head and began walking through the room tapping people on the shoulder saying who would stay in who had to leave. these once powerful people he was organizing around and he wasn't very polite about it. he was particularly nasty to rustin and hardly more cordial to the others. he didn't suggest that anyone leave the room, he demanded it. you write it was amazing to me that he would do that. even more amazing is the fact that the others obeyed. >> guest: most of the members had representatives and he asked that each one leave and only the principal, onlprinciple, only te organization would remain and
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that is what happened. there was a long drawn out discussion about who should head of the march on washington, who should be the character and many of us felt that bayard rustin was this finger, this brilliant man, this planner, this organizer, that he should be the head, and there was this discussion because of the involvement and he was and that people like strom thurmond may be georgia or east mississippi would use that against the march on washington. so we had a caucus. doctor king, james farmer and myself and we said that we would
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select a philip randolph as the chair of the march on washington and let mr. randolph select his deputy and that is exactly what he did because we knew he was so close that mr. randolph would turn to him and that is exactly what he did. no one but no one was going to question a philip randolph. >> host: good afternoon and welcome to book tv in depth for october 2013. this month we are talking with congressman john lewis, democrat of georgia and the author of three books. what can with the wind a memoir of the movement was his first. the second came out in 2012, across the bridge, and finally this past year march book one was released as the first in a series of if you would like to participate in the conversation we will show you how.
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(202)585-3880 if you live at central time zone, 585-3881 for those in the mountain and pacific. you can also send in a tweet and e-mail or post a comment on our facebook page. if you want to send a tweet @booktv is our twitter handle and finally is our e-mail address. mr. lewis will be with us for the next two and a half hours. we will begin taking those calls in just a minute. august 28, 1963, what was that day like for you? >> guest: the day of the march on washington for jobs and freedom. ira member that morning very well. i got up and got dressed and i left the hilton hotel at 16th in
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downtown washington dc. ideally that was called the capital hilton hotel. most of us stayed there except for doctor king who stayed at the willard hotel. we woke up or someone drove us up to capitol hill and we met with the democratic leadership on the house side and the senate side. we met with both democrat and republican leadership and it was a wonderful meeting. i remember meeting everett who was the republican leader from the state of illinois, wonderful man. i have a photograph with him, meeting with him. we met with annual fellows who is the chair of the judiciary committee from new york city i believe he is from brooklyn.
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we left the meeting with house leaders, senate leaders, and we were coming down constitution avenue and we looked towards union station. we were all walking together and we would see just hundreds of thousands of people pouring out of the streets coming from union station and we knew then it was good to be more than 50 or 60. the people were already marching and i know all of us felt like saying there are my people let me catch up with them. the sea of humanity just pushed us towards the washington monument towards the lincoln memorial and we just went up those steps and took our seats and started preparing for the program. >> host: you are the only
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surviving speaker. >> guest: out of the speakers i'm the only one still around. i feel more than lucky. i feel very blessed. >> host: in walking with the wind you write a leader doesn't see himself as standing out in front of the people to be a she sees himself as standing beside them among them. he gets down in the ditch with them and he helps dig himself. >> guest: the other leaders must be there. you don't tell people to go someplace that you are not prepared to go. you go to get her. you pull and push together. a real leaders must be servant leaders. you must be one of the people. during my chairmanship of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, a participant was from the media would come up and say are you one of the leaders
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of this group and i would say i'm just a participant. i still believe that today. i'm just one of the participants. i just tried to help. >> host: john lewis, who succeeded you as the chairman of sncc? >> stokely carmichael succeeded me as the chair of the student nonviolent coordinating committee in may of 1966. >> host: why? >> guest: during those days i wasn't militant enough. i got the advantage during the march on washington, but i have always been these in the way of peace and love and nonviolence and that we must come together and not to be divided about we must not care down, we must -- i don't feel even a lot of rhetoric. ideally the end of one to three and abc of producing and doing
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something and that was the way of the student nonviolent coordinating committee. >> host: at the same time you talk about the generational differences between the traditional black leadership and you as a young leader of sncc. >> guest: during that period, many of us felt that some of the traditional leaders were moving too slow even at the march on washington i said you tell us to wait and be patient. we cannot wait, we cannot be patient. we don't want our freedom gradually, we want it here and we want it now. so the set ends and the freedom ride wasn't just a vote against segregation and racial discrimination, but it was also a vote against part of a leadership. >> host: march 7, 1965. >> guest: march 7, 1965 on that day on that sunday, a small
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group of us, 600 people attempted to march from selma to montgomery, to dramatize to the state of alabama to the nation and the world that people wanted to register to vote. in the state of alabama, like so many other southern states it was almost impossible for people of color to register to vote. there was one county in alabama in march of 1965 where the african-american population was more than 80% but there wasn't a single registered african-american voter in the economy. in the little town of selma in dallas county, selma is a kind of seat this was in the heart of the black belt. only 2.1% were registered to vote. the only time that you could even attempt to register to vote was on the first and third monday of each month.
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you have to pass a so-called test. on one occasion they were asked to count the number of jelly beans in the jar. people had been arrested and jailed in the eaton and what provoked the attempted march in a little town called marion alabama this is in. county, this is in the black belt, this is the whole town of martin luther king, junior and the town of mrs. abernathy march 1 evening in february and the confrontation occurred. a young man by the name of jimmy lee jackson was a veteran that attempted to protect his mother and was shot in his stomach and
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a few days later he died of a local hospital and selma. and because of what happened to him, we decided to march from selma to montgomery to do so next afternoon, 600 of us we had a prayer, we started walking in to his and i will never forget that day. i was wearing a backpack before it became fashionable to wear a backpack, and in a backpack i had two books, an an apple, an orange, i wanted to have something to read and something to need and i also had a toothpaste and toothbrush. so if i thought i was good to be arrested or go to jail and wanted to be able to brush my teeth. we get to the highest point on the bridge crossing the alabama river and down below we saw the sea of blue alabama state troopers. behind the state troopers there
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were sheriff clott who is a very big man, he tried to dress like him and he wore a gun on one side and a nightstick on the other independent has left lapel said never. we kept walking towards this line of state troopers and the sheriff posse and a man spoke up and said fine major john clott of the alabama state troopers. this is unlawful march and it will not be allowed to continue. i give you three minutes to disperse and return to your homes or to your church. this march will not be allowed to continue. the young man from doctor king's organization leading the march
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with me was walking on my right side and said major give us a moment to kneel and pray and then started putting on their gas masks and they came towards us beating us with night sticks, trampling us with forces and releasing the tear gas. i was hit in the head with a nightstick and i had a concussion at the bridge. and i are member my legs going out from under me and falling to the ground. i thought it was the last protest, i thought i was going to die and i kept thinking about what was going to happen to the other people. i don't recall 48 years later how i made it across the bridge back to the streets of selma back to that little church that we left from, but i do recall being in the church was full to capacity more than 42,000 people on the outside trying to get into protest but someone said to
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say something, speak to the people and i stood up and i said i don't understand it a president johnson can send troops to vietnam and cannot send troops to selma to protect people's desires to register. the next thing i realized is i was at the hospital with 17 other people. early the next morning doctor martin luther king jr. and the reverend and his colleague came to selma and to the hospital to visit us and he told me that he had made an appeal for religious leaders and rabbis to come to selma and they did. and a few months later to be exact, president lyndon johnson spoke to the nation on march 15, 1965 and made one of the most meaningful speeches that any american president had made the
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whole question of civil rights and voting rights. near the end of that speech, president johnson said and we shall overcome. that is the first time that they use the civil rights movement is. they passed i and was signed ino law august 6, 1965. >> host: wager we will show you more of that speech. final date was asked about right now, april 4, 1968. >> guest: there is no way that i can forget that date. i was in indianapolis, indiana campaigning with robert kennedy. i had heard senator robert kennedy seeking the democratic nomination and told him i wanted to help and invite me with some
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of his staffers to go and work in indiana, indianapolis to get people registered to help organize the rally of meetings to be heard that doctor king had been shot and robert kennedy came in and made the announcement that doctor king had been assassinated and we all just cry and it was very sad. i don't know what would have happened to america that this man emerged as the leader of the nation. he was my friend, he was my inspiration.
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>> guest: robert kennedy did make a speech. he stood up in the back of the car and he spoke out of his. because of what he had to say that evening, there wasn't any violence, any disorder in the city of indianapolis. people have been trying to get me to go back and go to that spot but they are just very difficult and when they are hoped to have an opportunity to go back to indianapolis and go back to that very spot that i was that night where doctor king had been assassinated. >> host: you've traced to that of your history and have gone back to geographical places. why not go back to that spot? >> guest: it's just so painful. when i heard that doctor king had been assassinated, i think
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when you remember places where you were combined as in nashville when i heard president kennedy had been assassinated. as i said, when i heard about doctor king, robert kennedy and the ambassador hotel and i saw on television that he was shot and it was just very painful. it took me years to go back to mississippi not to the state, but to the site where these three young men came up missing in 1964. >> host: you write something in the civil rights movement died for good in 1966, but something died in all of america in 1968. the sense of hope and optimism and possibility was replaced by
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a quarter, the worst of times, the feeling of maybe, just maybe we would not overcome. it was a dark time. >> i do think something died in america. and i think something died in all of us. that's why it's so important to find a way to build a sense of hope and togetherness as the brotherhood and sisterhood of the simple one family and one people, one house because we all live in the same house, the american house. >> host: john lewis is our guest on in depth on the tv. david and hope south florida. >> caller: how are you doing, peter? always good to speak to you and always good to say thank god for c-span. congressman, we have skirted together in a lot of ways. i went to pace college at 41
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park road in manhattan and the next-door was the headquarters and i used to eat breakfast then he mornings at a lunch counter in that building with james farmer and as it happens i went to high school with two of stokely carmichael's sisters in the bronx. so you know, we have skirted -- we've never met, but we've skirted. i want to take you back to a speech he made on the floor of the house in 1995, which i frankly find offensive in which you said that coming for our children, invoking past on hitler, that was a terrible thing to say and i think that you deserve -- america deserves an apology from you -- >> host: do you know what he's referring to?
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>> guest: i remember the speech it was dealing with some of the things that the republicans and the speaker had been proposing. and if you feel offended and if others feel offended i don't mind saying i'm sorry and i apologize for that. >> host: congressman lewis, newt gingrich represented the district next to yours are several years. what was your relationship? >> we respected each other. i would always say hello i friend, my brother. i always called him mr. speaker, and we never disrespected each other. we got along. it was part of the georgia congressional delegation. maybe some of my brothers and sisters that i disagreed with,
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but i respect them. they are my colleagues and my friends. we are brothers and sisters and we all served in the house. for many times i'd seen them and patted him on the back and said hello my friend hello my brother. how are you doing today? >> host: in your memoir walking with the wind of there are several instances where you make reference to what i'm about to read here and i want to get your reaction to it via im and have always been focused on and dedicated to doing the right thing which does not always mean doing the black thing. this kind of attitude -- i always do what i feel is right. i believe in the depth of my heart and my soul that we must pull together to create a
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society peaceful, not a black society or white society, not hispanic or asian american. we are one people, one family, one house. in my book walking with the wind, i told a story about growing up in rural alabama when i was only for hi four and a har 5-years-old and we were visiting and aunt and a storm came up. she got us all inside of the house and the wind started blowing into the thunder started rolling and the lightning started flashing and the rain started beating on the tin roof of this little shotgun house. she just started crying. she was terrified that the house was going to blow away with all of her job and i inside of the house. that is where i got the name of the book from. as the wind continued to blow into the lightning was flashing,
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from one corner of the house appeared to be lifted she had us walked to the corner to try to hold the house up. so we were little children walking with the wind but we never left the house. so it doesn't matter whether we are black or white or latino or asian american or native american, we are one people, one family, one house but we are also part of the world house and we must do what we can to save this little piece of real esta estate. call it america or some other, college this little planet or this little spaceship but we must try to save it and live here together in peace. >> host: john is in virginia beach. hello, john.
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>> caller: hello congressman lewis it is an honor to speak to you. just a couple of questions and i will try to be brief. first of all, i would like to share more about the women involved in the civil rights movement. some people think they don't get enough credit for what they did and in particular seeing her asking direct questions of the mayor of nashville, another question is i don't know if you've ever met lyndon johnson but if you did what you have thought of him as a man and irrespective of whether you have met him would you believe his legacy and what it would be in the future and finally i render seeing you in chicago on the night that barack obama was elected, crying in tears. i just want to cheer you describe the wave of emotion that you felt in 2008 and i will take my answer off the air.
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>> guest: thank you very much for your question. i have always felt and more and more feel it more so today than it when men never got their due. women played a major role in the civil rights movement. i work with diane nash. she was our leader in the student rights movement and she became a leader nationally. she was the chair of the movement. we had the central committee of the student movement in nashville and diane was a student from chicago and she would haul us together and organized a sit in and she coordinated our efforts on the freedom ride but it was diane nash and ella baker were considered the mothers of the student nonviolent coordinating
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committee and she would work with doctor martin luther king jr. and planned the meeting for the student nonviolent coordinating committee was founded. she went back to north carolina and went to the school but she graduated from that you had on the eastern shore of maryland in cambridge a young lady by the name of richardson and in little rock go back to rosa parks and it wasn't doctor king's idea in montgomery, it was a college professor at alabama state a young lady by the name of joanne robertson that used the old hand member of graft machine. but all across the south and all across america there were women standing up organizing. so women should be highlighted
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and women lawyers like the naacp legal defense fund so brave and courageous that would come to defend people. >> host: women, lbj and barack obama. >> guest: i met president kennedy, yes but at that meeting where i met president kennedy i also met lyndon johnson. the speech that lyndon johnson gave, and i wish every student of american politics, every high school student to know anything about the civil rights movement and voting rights should read that speech of president johnson. he started off by saying i speak tonight for the dignity of man and the destiny of democracy times history and faith.
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he went on to say more than a century ago at lexington and concord for this last week in selma alabama. he conned them into the violence and introduced the voting rights act, and as i said before, he was the first one to use the song of the civil rights movement in a statement he said and we shall overcome. the morning of august 6, 1965, he called james farmer and myself, the only two of the so-called to meet with him that morning we signe and we signed g rights act of 1965. lyndon johnson was very colorful and he used some choice words that i cannot repeat, but he told us that we have to go back to the south and really get people to register.
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he was committed and he later spoke at harvard university and other places. he was committed to the civil rights. he has never received a credit that he shouldn't receive. he ushered in the grateful side not only of the civil rights bills, the voting rights bill, medicare and medicaid, we got the fair housing act during his administration. as high regard and that's about respect of what he did. of the day that president o bark about was elected i was at doctor king's church on the old church that the new church speaking when i saw the estate of pennsylvania go for him i knew then that he was on his way to getting elected president. i jumped so high i didn't think that my feet were going to touch the floor. and i started crying and a
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reporter asked me that evening we noticed you were crying so much. were they tears of happiness, tears of joy. what are you going to do your crying so much tonight what are you going to do when he is inaugurated and you come to washington? i said well if i have tears left i will cry some more. when i was sitting there as he was inaugurated a kept thinking about president kennedy, robert kennedy, president johnson, doctor king, the civil rights workers in mississippi and countless people that never lived long enough to cast a vote or to get registered and live long enough to see a man of color elected president. >> host: john lewis, is diane nash still living? >> guest: she is very much still alive in chicago. i see her from time to time.
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she is a wonderful, gifted organizer. >> host: if you can't get through on the phone lines you can send a tweet and @booktv and make a facebook comment or e-mail you are on with congressman john lewis. lewis.coco is a third which to speak to you representative louis. i was part of the occupied wall street movement in that early ty month and i felt that at the moment i knew personally that the occupied movement would fail was when you were denied a chance to speak at one of the rallies. i don't remember where it was taking place but i felt like occupied at the time they thought they were being clever in rejecting a lot of the basic strategy that you and the other
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members of sncc had laid out, the basic bylaws of the civil disobedience back in the 60s. they felt they were being clever and that if you didn't have a mission you couldn't be contradicted if you didn't have leaders they could be jailed or assassinated and if you don't proclaim your goals, you can never be told that you failed or that you are off message. i would love to hear anything that you have to say about the organizing strategies of modern organizations and how they have learned or failed to learn what you and other great men and women did back then. thank you. >> guest: the only thing i try to do that particular day in atlanta i left my office which was only half a block from where they were occupying just to walk out and wish them well and some of the people wanted me to speak
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that i didn't feel offended or anything. i understood very well. but i tell you read the literature, study the movement, watch the video. before we went in on the sudan n and the freedom ride, before we marched, we started the way of peace and love and nonviolence. we studied it a great religion of the world, we studied the civil does obedience and to rosa parks and a lot of that in montgomery and we were ready. it's very important. you have to be prepared, and you have to have the addition and get other people to share in that vision. we save to people nonviolence is a way of life and a way of living not simply as a technique that as a tactic. >> host: you write about the
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occupied movement as well as the issues in egypt that egypt faced over the last couple of years. steve is in harrisburg oregon. go ahead with your question or comment. >> hello, great honor to talk to you. i was interested in your take on the legacy of the civil rights movement and how other moments throughout the world have used it to meditate thereon and contrarily, i was wondering what is the greatest example of misuse of the civil rights legacy to try to motivate people is to encourage freedom and i will take my answer off-line.
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>> guest: the book i completed with one of my colleagues, march but one is a graphic novel that it was really to help inspire another generation. earlier i spoke of doctor kin king's''s book martin luther king story of montgomery, but people in egypt and other parts of the world in south africa and others used this book as a tool and a technique to get the message of the way of peace, the way of love, the way of nonviolence. you create a mass movement, and i appreciate the fact that when you travel almost any part of the world today people know something about the american civil rights movement. they know the words we shall overcome.
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and it's my hope that people would not just say the words were speak the words but they would try to live the way of peace and live the way of love, lived the way of king and the way of others that find a way to get in the way. people have to find a way to make some noise to push and pull and to disturb the order of things. >> host: john lewis after your victory over julian bond in 1986, what happened to your friend should? >> guest: for a few months, maybe even almost a year we didn't have much to say to each other that we were as close as ever today. >> host: you also write about andrew young that there is some tension in your relationship. >> guest: some of us felt that
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he wasn't neutral, but today we are the best of friends. >> host: one other politician from georgia, former president carter. >> guest: i see president carter from time to time and i ran into president carter. i worked for him for three years and during the anniversary celebration on the march on washington, i spoke before he did and we spent some time together talking and reminiscing. he's a wonderful man and a wonderful friend. >> host: you worked for him for a while. >> guest: i worked for him for almost three years to be. >> host: john lewis has referenced president johnson's speech on voting rights a couple of times. we want to show you just a little bit about that. >> we cannot, we must not refuse to protect the rights of every
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american to vote in every election that he may desire to participate in. "and we ought not and we cannot and we must not wait another eight months before we get a bill. [applause] we have already wasted 100 years and more and the time for waiting is gone. [applause] so i ask you to join me in working long hours, nights, and weekends if necessary to pass this bill.
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and i don't make that request likely. far from the wonder where i sit with the problems of our country i recognize that from outside this chamber is the outrage conscience of a nation, the grave concern of many nations and the harsh judgment of history on our acts. but even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. what happened in selma is part of a far larger movement that reaches into every section and state of america. it is the effort of american negroes to secure for themselves the thorough blessings of
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american life. their cause must be ours to. because it isn't just negroes, but really it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice, and we shall overcome. [applause] >> host: congressman lewis almost 50 years ago that speech was made in the house of representatives.
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when you look back, what has changed? >> guest: because of the words of individuals in the congress and president like lyndon johnson, john f. kennedy kean made a speech in may of 1963 were june rather of 1963 and involvement of hundreds of thousands of our citizens. i think they are witnessing what i like to call a nonviolent revolution. the revolution of values and ideas and our country is a better country and we are better people. i know some people say nothing has changed. some people say john lewis is too hopeful and optimistic. but you have to be hopeful, you have to be optimistic. those signs are gone and they will not return.
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our children and our children would only see those signs in a book, museum or video. the region that i grew up in is a better region. the people are better people. we are on our way towards the creation of a truly multiracial democratic society. when i go back to troy alabama and montgomery and birmingham and places in mississippi and north carolina, the people want to see us take a great leap forward. i think that people are far ahead of the leaders. we need leadership in many parts of our country come at the local level, the state level. >> host: back to walk in with the wind. something was born in selma
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during the course of that year, 1965, something died there, too. the road of nonviolence had a centrally run out. selma was the last act. >> guest: dot selma movement was so peaceful, so orderly, people were so committed command we didn't follow through. there is a need to pick up where we left off. we made it from selma to montgomery on to washington with the passage of the voting rights act. people got elected but we can learn from selma. we can learn from the mistakes and the blunders. that's why during the past 18 years with a group called faith and politics -- taking members of congress back to birmingham and montgomery to selma on our
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last trip we went to tuscaloosa and i can put you a wish the whole of americans could have been witness to see what happened. to have governor george wallace and the sister of one of the young people that governor wallace stood in the door and try to block was the attorney ay general of the united states. they had these two young women engage in a dialogue on the campus of the university of alabama and the president of the university of iowa democrat and a woman, i believe the only woman president as the moderator, it was amazing. and when they were finished there probably wasn't a dry eye in the building. to go back to a place like
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montgomery where i was speaking and the almost died on the day of the freedom ride when they arrived on may 20, 1961, and the local police chief methodist delegation, several members of congress and the kennedy family and the johnson family and the reverend ralph abernathy and the chief came in to speak to us he wasn't even born during the days of the freedom ride. he maybe 40 or 45-years-old maybe, but he came in and he spoke and he said mr. lewis caught you were here during the freedom ride, they allowed a mob to beat you and leave you. i want to apologize for that. i want to show you that our
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police department today is different. we teach people about the civil rights movement, about montgomery, selma, birmingham, about nonviolence. but he said i want to do something else. i want to take off my badge and present it to you. i said chief, you can't do that. i said don't you need your badge? he said i can get another one. she took his badge off and he gave it to me. the members of congress, other police officers there and people from all over america, four or 500 people just were all moved by this. the south was changing and it's my belief that the american
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south when they would lead the way, make america a better america, a good america. >> host: terri e-mails and congressman, are you hopeful -- pardon me -- about the future in light of recent developments like the supreme court decision on voting rights and the trayvon martin case? >> guest: despite of this supreme court decision on the voting rights act which i consider a step back, because i believe the decision but a dagger into the heart of the voting rights act of 1965 even with the decision of the trayvon martin case, i am still hopeful, still optimistic. i say to people all the time and i will say it again today that you must ever get lost in a sea of despair. you must be hopeful and
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optimistic, you must continue to fight and stand up and do what you can to create a better society. we cannot just go to sleep. we have to be in there reading and writing for what is fair and for what is just. >> host: paul e-mails with the increase of the gerrymandering districts what are your thoughts regarding the future of american politics and the two-party system? >> guest: it is my belief that in spite of these congressional districts around the country, and i think that is why we have such today in american politics, the american people are smart. they get it. and one day we are going to see a transformation in american politics. people are going to vote for
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individuals and not simply because one happens to be a member of a particular political party. >> congressman lewis, what are your objections to a picture id requirement for voting? it is amazing, he writes, that voting is a staunch rest. >> voting should be based on trust. we should open up the political process and let people come in. we shouldn't be afraid. i said at the march on washington in 19631 person, one vote. one man and one vote but to them ithen inthe march on washingtonh one man one vote. it is ours. it doesn't make sense from a country such as ours to set to some man or to someone in 95,
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93-years-old who never had a driving license, someplace in pennsylvania but you must have an id to be able to vote. some people said we are afraid of fraud but people in alabama and georgia and mississippi and other parts of the south women for many years couldn't register and vote in america and to just open up the process and let everybody participate. >> host: december 21, 1968. >> guest: december 1968 as the day that i got married to a beautiful young woman who was born in los angeles, attended los angeles times school, i
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guess it was called hollywood high and went to ucla and later to the peace corps. she became a librarian, she loved books, and she loved to read and she came south and followed the civil rights movement and kept up with the movement. we met in 67 and we were married on february 21, 1968. ..
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everybody in the audience just broke up laughing. will you obey? >> host: why did they laugh? >> guest: because they thought he would instruct lillian to listen, because she was a little feisty, and because she needed some encouragement to go by her husband. >> host: what's the last year of your life been without her? >> guest: i think about her all the time. i still wear my wedding band. it's just hard to take it off. i miss her. i wish she could be here and witnessed the changes that have occurred with our son and my own life, and be able to -- she was my closest and dearest friend. she was a wonderful companion. she gave me great advice, and
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she worked so hard in campaigns. she kept everything. she read everything, the newspapers, the books, everything. when someone told me that you should read this, young lady, you travel all the time, you love to go to the airport. she would pick you up and she would take care of you, and so you need to wonder, keeper with your papers, your writings and that type of thing. i'm sure she's looking down from heaven, ma and her spirit is still with me. >> host: and where is your son today? >> guest: our son is at home in atlanta. these indie music and technology -- he is into music, technology. he loves sports that he really loves music more than anything. >> host: norman in haslett, michigan. please go ahead with your question or comment for offer
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and congressman john lewis. >> caller: i, peter. congressman lewis, first of all my condolences on your loss. >> guest: thank you. >> caller: second, you have been one of my heroes, and as a disabled man for the last 25 years, i have some idea of what it is to be discriminated against. but i wanted to ask you if, do you think that part of the right wing conservatives, the tea party folks, do you see like an inherent racism and what their agenda is against social services, against the president?
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i think it's very disturbing some of the things that they propose, and i was wondering what you think about that. >> guest: well, i don't like labeling people. i don't like -- i believe we all have a capability to change. that's what i take members of congress and try to get them to walk in other people's shoes. on one occasion a few years ago, a senator from one of the southern states went with us to birmingham, montgomery and selma. and he came back and he said to me, he said, john, if i'd been on this trip earlier, my voting record would be different. i think sometimes you have to get people to walk in other people's shoes. people have to see and feel and sort of taste something for themselves. i'm not one of these that are
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quick to label someone. you know, i don't think any of us are born -- we don't come into this world putting people down because of whether they are able or disabled or whether they are a certain race. i think we are taught to dislike. we are taught to hate. because we come in here so innocent, and i've tried to lok up and see every person. sometime along the way the innocent little children, just little babies, something happened to them along the way. on the other hand, i think in our society today i think that individuals may be in american politics feel that in order to get ahead or stay elected, they must be seen as crusading against something rather than for something. >> host: in "across that bridge" in the reconciliation chapter, congressman, you write
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at the root that is why we are engaged in a struggle now in congress led by one group of people who truly believes their role is to defend the privileges of the elite. >> guest: well, you know, i think it's this feeling that somehow and someway that they'd been elected, i think individuals that this is my role, this is the role i must play, i've been chosen to play this role and i must play it well. rather than looking out for everybody. it would be important for people to walk in the shoes of others. i don't understand how people make it in our society. poor people, and they're black, they're white, they're looking at, asian american, native american. they need help. and the government, our government, this powerful
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government should be there to assist and help people to help their children, to help women and the disabled, and feed the people, close the people, provide housing. that is a role. stop spending so much of our limited resources on bombs and missiles and guns. we should be a little more humane. i think there should be some way that we can humanize america, humanize our institutions. our educational institution, our financial institution, and humanize our politics. >> host: in the faith chapter in "across that bridge" you right --
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>> guest: i believe that. i believe that there's a son that's already dying. you have this idea, you have this goal, and you have to actualize it. you have to make it real because it's already done. when we start talking about the sit-ins or the freedom ride or marching from selma to my family, you know in your gut, you know the victory is already one. there can be no turning back. >> host: when you said when you first got arrested in nashville in february 1960, you said you felt set free. >> guest: oh, yeah. i felt free. liberated. if individuals become liberated, then the greater society, the country will be liberated. you have to believe it. >> host: gerdine in -- what's
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the name of your town? you were on with congressman lewis. >> caller: can't hear you. >> host: please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: hello. i wanted to speak to representative lewis to tell him how happy i am today that happened to be flipping through the tv, and there you were. i have admired you for many, many years. your spirit is love and empathy and hope, and it's that spirit that i have. but i do want to read the books that i see you come up with. i have two grandsons that i certainly want to read that cartoon book to. and also, a hardcover book.
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i just want to check and see if i got the right title. is it called "walking with the wind"? >> guest: one book is "walking with the wind," yes. >> caller: and the other the is the cartoon book. and is that also called -- i couldn't get it as they were saying, as he was saying with the title was when i first turn to it. >> guest: it is called "march: book 1". >> caller: "march: book 1". >> host: there is always -- there it is on the screen. >> caller: id hope my family would be able to come to washington, d.c. and visit the capital and love to meet you in person. i think you're a wonderful, courageous man, and the man that is full of love. and as martin luther king said in one of his letters from prison, love will always be stronger than hate. i believe that. and i know you believe it, too.
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>> guest: well, thank you. when you come to washington, come to my office, and in my office we have a gallery of historic photographs from the 60s with dr. martin luther king, jr., and with others. >> host: congressman lewis, in "walking with the wind" to write about after your election, september 2, 1986, 52-40 you beat julian bond in an upset. 18 staff positions, 15,000 applicants for those positions. do you still a track that national audience of people who want to work for you? >> guest: well, that was a lot of applications been. even today we get hundreds and thousands of letters, e-mails, from people from all around the country, and from people around the world. there's not any way that we can hire or see everybody, but we
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get -- around dr. king's birthday celebration, major cities and towns, state governments, places abroad want me to come and speak about dr. king. it's impossible. i have a day job, a full-time job as a member of congress representing the people in georgia. but everybody would like for me to calm to address a group or college or university. and we get requests from hundreds of thousands of student groups to meet them on the capitol steps. we see a lot of young people from around the world, and i enjoyed talking with students and changing and telling them about the movement and shrunken photographs and videos. one thing, it keeps you young to engage with the students. and a lot of these young people, they don't believe it. they do not believe that i got
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arrested 40 times during the '60s. so how do you do it? did you think about giving up? i never thought about giving up. i couldn't give up. i couldn't get in. >> host: doug brinkley writes in forward to "across that bridge" about you. he forges onward, that rarest of politicians who draws the respect of every colleague on both sides of the portion file. -- partisan. when he steps to the podium -- do you ever get tired of reading things like that about yourself? >> guest: i try not to beat it. because you start reading and keeping it, you start believing it and i don't want to believe it. as i -- i just tried to make a little contribution. i didn't like what i saw growing up.
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i knew there was a better way and people like gandhi and martin luther king, jr. and rosa parks provided a way out, maybe a way in. >> host: in "march: book 1", the most recent, one of the early stories in here you kind of flip back from current day to your past life. and one of the stories here is a woman bringing her two sons to your office, and you were there. is this allegorical or a real story? how often does this happen? >> guest: this is the real story. people come all the time. i believe on that occasion it was the day of the inauguration that the woman came in. but i get letters and telephone calls, i want my children to meet you. i just want to come by for five minutes. we try to accommodate people. and sometimes people will wait and they come from a distance. some will write a letter, make a telephone call themcome all the
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way from california to washington, d.c., or from some other part, if i make it to washington i want to come by and see you. i have people come up sometimes, and they said i just want to feel you, our human? i say, yeah. another problem we have, and i get so embarrassed, my staff people will tell you that people walk in and they start crying. and peoples am going to cry, i'm going to pass out. i say, please don't pass out. i'm not a doctor. please, don't do that. and we have that problem sometimes. if i'm someplace doing a book signing, it's -- i think people, the american people are good people. as human beings we are good. and people want to share that feeling, their emotion. and i understand that. and people say, i want to hug
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you, and i will say things like, it's it okay to give a hug? and i will say it's okay, i need a hug. >> host: charmaine is calling from anchorage, alaska. >> caller: hello. how are you today? >> host: please go ahead. >> caller: hi. i'm a native of alabama. i attended alabama a indian university. one year with dr. ronald slaughter from the political science department we attended some of for bloody sunday. and i had the excellent opportunity of meeting you alongside with rosa parks and a lot of outstanding people that i've always studied about. and i've been living here in anchorage, alaska, for 10 years. i'm an employee for the bureau of land management, and i was able to receive my masters degree in urban and regional planning. and i was so gung ho about
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coming here and working and everything, but i'm working here in anchorage, alaska, in corporate america. i find it very hard to advance as a black female. and i was just wanting your intake and your words of encouragement for helping me to keep hope alive and just being accepted more as an individual. not just because i'm black, but because i'm an individual and i'm a human being, and i have nothing but love and harmony and peace that runs through me. and every day i try to instill -- my grandmother tells me, she tells me to do everything to do with love. and i've been applying for advancement because i look at myself as a leader, and the
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workers that i work with tell me all the time on a daily basis that i should be a supervisor, i need to be in d.c. to make changes in things. so i would just like to hear some of your thoughts to guided help me keep that fire alive. >> host: thank you for calling. >> guest: thank you very much for calling. i've been to your university, and then the huntsville, and i get back from time to time. and thank you for your service and your work in the government. i would say don't become bitter or hostile. keep the faith. and never give up. i would say faith and hope and love, and continue to work, and hang in there and pursue your dreams, and your dreams will come true. >> host: jason post on her
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facebook page, congressman, thank you for helping design and effective youth movement. i'm a student at the university of pennsylvania who has helped form a youth led statewide social justice organization directly based on sncc. often young advocates are marginalized in community work. could you please talk about you and others can get another were able to negotiate the sncc voice to the front of the civil rights movement? what lessons can people learn today from someone? >> guest: jason, you're doing the right thing by studying what we attempted to do in the student non-violent coordinating committee. as you well know, before we went on any protests, like a sit in, the freedom ride, every study, we studied and we -- with the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. we never ever tried to put someone down.
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we were always trying to respect our opponent and our fellow human beings. be organized, and be honest and truthful, and have goals and following your sense of what is right, your sense of what is fair and just. not only be persistent, but also be insistent, and operate on great principles. hang in there. >> host: gale is calling from montana. you are watching tv and c-span2 and our guest is author and congressman john lewis. >> caller: thank you for all your hard work over the years. my question deals with the indian tribes of the united states. legally we are still wars of the federal government, and we utilize every civil rights to a we can, some voting rights act
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to sovereign poverty initiatives. but i just find perplexing that the bureaucracies that the federal government creates, like the bureau of indian affairs and now a new one called the office of special trustees, they take 85-90 cents of every dollar that congress appropriate to indian tribes. and we lose some of our most varieties and brilliant talent to these federal bureaucracies. they're not coming back to the reservations because of the jobs that are in the federal bureaucracies. and i just want to ask you, how can we switch that around, indian people? >> guest: i have a great deal of concern about what is happening to the indian people, to the indian nation. during the carter administration, i had an opportunity to get out and visit a few years ago to be exact,
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about three years ago, i had an opportunity to travel to oklahoma and visit the cherokee nation. and on one occasion i went to arizona and visit the navajo nation. organized and continue to bring people together, and get people to never forget the land they come from. and get politicians, elected officials, members of congress, people in the obama administration to come out and visit and to see what is happening to indian people. >> host: in "march: book 1", you talked about how you planned and studied and got ready for civil rights activities.
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you also planned and studied and tested each other on how to prepare to get arrested or harassed. you go through it and there is a visualization in this book about how you would torment each other essentially fire to going to a sit in -- prior to going to sit in. we each tried to do everything we could to test ourselves to break each other's spirit and tried to dehumanize each other. you can see some of the drawings and captions here on this page. you literally stood on each other, blue smoke in each other's face, called each other's and -- called each other names? >> guest: we really did. we called it role-playing. we called it social drama. one worries that we shouldn't use -- no one should ever use it, but -- >> host: you write the n-word in their. >> guest: our member on one
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occasion a waiter, waitress set to one of the participants, she said we don't serve n here. we don't serve n you. this young man is so quick and he said, we don't eat them. and people thought this was really, really funny. and i guess it was funny to her, and funny to all of the participants. but it was an attempt to prepare people for what could happen and to be ready. and people were ready. we had a young man by the name of jim lawson. wonderful teacher, really young methodist minister, attended vanderbilt university in nashville. he worked for the fellowship of reconciliation. he had traveled to india and
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studied the way of gandhi. and dr. martin luther king, jr. would come to national during the spring of 1960, and he said the movie was the most disciplined. it was well organized, and the people there were accepting the way of nonviolence as a way of life, as a way of living. and it was there that many of the and people like diane nash, bernard lafayette, ct vivian, who is going to be on honored by the president in a few weeks with the medal of freedom. these young people, they not only went to jail and got arrested in nashville, but they went on the freedom ride and they became organizers all across the south. and today, many of these young people are still working for social change, for social justice. >> host: december 1, 1955,
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50 miles from your house near troy, alabama. what happened in montgomery, alabama? what do you remember? >> guest: december 1, 1955, a young woman, rosa parks, was arrested for refusing to get up and give up her seat. to a white gentlemen. because of the action of rosa parks, there was a mass meeting a few days later. it was in that meeting for martin luther king, jr. and others spoke, a decision was made to have the bus boycott. i remember, i was 15 years old come into 10th grade, but i remember it like it was yesterday. we -- i followed, as a young person growing up there, i followed the drama from montgomery.
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it inspired me. at that time, we didn't have a subscription to a newspaper, but my grandfather had one, and each day when he would finish reading his newspaper, we would get a newspaper and read it. we would listen to the old radio about what was happening in montgomery. many of my teachers that i had in school, they would come during the week to teach, and over the weekend they would go back home to montgomery. they would tell us about the montgomery bus boycott. and when i had an opportunity to meet rosa parks two years later in 1957, and to meet dr. king three years later, it changed my life. i was so inspired by dr. king and rosa parks during the montgomery bus boycotts that in 1956 with some of my brothers and sisters and cousins, we went down to the public library in the little town of troy, alabama. i was only 16, to try to get
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library cards, to try to check out some books. we were told by the library in the library was for whites only and not for colors. i never went back to the county library in alabama into july 5, 1998, by this time as a member of congress for a book signing of my book, "walking with the wind." we had a wonderful program. many whites and african-americans showed up. we had food. we have something to drink. at the end of the program, the end of the book signing, they gave me a library card. >> host: leslie in new york. >> caller: thank you so much. it's a little touching and hard to speak after what you just
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shared, and how poignant that you married a librarian, too, and how wonderful that they knew the story and could give you a library card. that's beautiful. so, i've built my whole week around watching you live because you have been a hero for me for so long. and i just had a question, congressman. as you shared, you know, in 1968 something died in the american consciousness, and for me it did. i was only 10, but watching dr. king and bobby kennedy being assassinated changed something for me in fifth grade. and i've devoted my life to that. and now as an adult, i'm wanting to create a curriculum for young people that will help to inspire that same kind of fire in the belly that we are talking about today, and be inspired by the vision of a beloved community and civic engagement and character building. ..
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i'm going to be speaking at a convention of social studies teachers in st. louis before the end of the year. but with "march book one," you
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can contact the publisher and book. but i would recommend, it is for young people to learn about the movement, but to learn about the way of love, nonviolence. >> host: scott rainey e-mail thank you, congress. as a non-liberal, 60 something like that from northwest, i am enormously proud to claim you as a federal citizen of these united dates, and i are differences of opinion on many, many topics. thank you for all you've accomplished for our country. affirmative action has succeeded in many ways. however, like all good ideas, it also has unintended side effects. we all know that it must end sunday, but it seems nobody wants to talk about that. when can we begin to talk about declaring affirmative action a success to my build monuments to it not big cities and subset it?
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>> well, we are not there yet. we have not created the public community. we have not yet created one america, one house, one family. there's still a need to affirm the participation of all of our citizens and the american way. it does not matter whether they are black or white or latino, asian-american, native american. doesn't matter whether they are gay, straight, protestant, cat, jewish, buddhist, religious or nonreligious. all of us must be included. so there's still a need to affirm the involvement, the equation of participation. >> another e-mail from
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mrs. rainy as a lover of statistics and the pursuit of truth. i feel that civil rights activists, julius hobbs and could be a colorful and serious role model for young people imaginations. many parents might object to is dodge atheism? does you no julius hobbs and ended you think a picture book might be acceptable? >> he was a wonderful, wonderful man with a vision, with great ideas, a track of it. i think it will be fitted inappropriate for them to be a picture book on hand. there's great stories that need to be told and shared, not with just the washington community, that the american community. >> host: did you see the the assembled in that? >> guest: i don't get it because i don't think many
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people knew his views when it came to the faith community. >> host: in "march, book 1" come the road the first time you ever saw your name in print with the montgomery advertiser news paper, front page and the headline boy preacher. >> guest: i do remember that. i remember that very well. this picture of me holding the bible in the montgomery advertising. the paperback had what we call the colored section. they had a white person as the editor of the colors section of the paper. >> host: and why were you in that? >> guest: i was a local committee there, young people, the boy people from troy,
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alabama received his license as a bat this minister. >> host: are still baptist minister? >> guest: i consider myself that a spirit from time to time called upon to deliver the sermon. i just recently spoke at the shallow baptist church in washington. they were celebrating their 150th anniversary. so i tied it all together in a sermon. 150 anniversary of the emancipation proclamation. this trick was started in virginia. and later the church was bombed or burned rather. many members of the congregation must virginia and moved to washington and hear the church grew and grew and grew and today this church is one of the strongest churches, please have
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faith in washington d.c. i remember coming with dr. king and others holding meetings that this church back in 1963 and 64 and 65. it's a wonderful place. but i also tied into the 50th anniversary of the march on washington. the distance would come in the 150 and later to ears. >> host: next call from john lewis concert nancy and lagrange, georgia. hi, nancy. >> caller: hi, i consider this a great honor and i really appreciate it. i think congressman lewis is a perfect role of the words the greatest among you shall be a servant. i recently moved to georgia and i've been learning about employment here who is a friend daughter of slaves, but she was a prince devoe desegregated school and then her name was
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added in a saudi. she lived in endowment to lagrange college. now lagrange college has a center for a servant scholarship. i wondered if congressman lewis is familiar with the cons that the servant leadership and knows robert greenleaf are the efforts at the university of virginia for servant leadership. >> guest: thank you very much. i've been to the green college a few short years ago and delivered the commencement address there. i have an honorary degree from the green college. on my way from atlanta to alabama sometime to visit my younger brothers and sisters before my mother and father passed. we would come right through the heart of downtown la grange. the whole idea is servant leaders and leadership.
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that's what i believe in and that's why i encourage young readers to try to be servant leaders. and leaders must lead. they might show the way. not just get out from each time, but be prepared to do the nitty-gritty hard work. >> host: free debt, fresno, california. please go ahead with your comment. >> guest: hello, thank you. sir, it's an honor to speak with you. at the time of his death, dr. king was fighting for economic justice. sir, i'd like to ask about reparations for blacks. what has happened to the 40 acres and a meal, skype black men overpopulate the present. senior, facilitate young man
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like trayvon martin. why aren't black politicians mobilizing blacks to fight for economic justice in the form of reparations? something like the marshall plan to go into urban cities that they sustained effort to erase the poverty, which is the root of the problems of all the blacks. >> host: thank you, freda. >> guest: when african-american officials another standout, speak up, organize and we talk about economic justice. we try to give more resources. it's been this ongoing fight to get resources for black farmers that were discriminated against. women farmers that were discriminated against. native american farmers and
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others. we don't think in this climate, in this environment that we will see outright payment is sent and called reparation. efforts of legislation has been introduced. but our efforts must be to do what we can to see that all young people, doesn't whether they're black, latino, asian-american, latino american get the best education, jobs and make contribution to the larger society and stop wire housing people in our two shins. >> host: firm "walking with wind," congressman, it was at this time i began believing in the history. other cause fate or destiny or guiding hand. whatever does call it, i to believe it is often the site of what is good, what is right and
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just. it is the essence of the moral force of the universe. what is the spirit of history? >> guest: i had a teacher. i don't know how this came within my being, but i had a teacher in this teacher was named john lewis powell, a philosophy teacher at american college. he would run around the black word with the same ideas. he would just run with a lot of energy. he was not a very young man, that he could move in some invested in him. i just have this belief that whether you want to go someplace or another direction, and maybe you just want to stand still. but their sound for us, i caught the spirit of history, that tracks the down and says this is the way you must go. this is what you must say.
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this is what you must do. i feel today, i felt back during the 40s benefit these when i was growing up very, very poor on the farm in rural alabama the something was pushing me, that i had to answer the call. when i heard the words of martin luther king jr., when i read about was the pirates, i knew then. i did not collect, but it later started calling it the spirit of history. this is your calling. this is what you must do. dedicate yourself to the cause of justice, the call of what is right and what is fair for all humankind. >> host: john, one of the others that she can escape you've got to stop preaching the
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gospel according to martin luther king and start preaching the gospel of jesus christ. >> guest: that was was a young man by the name of james palko. a young man i loved it and tired. he was the buyer. he was smart at the same time. he could be very loud. he was my roommate for a semester. he would just walk down the hall preaching and he would go to the shower, preaching, everything was just preaching. i'll be talking about dr. king and i was saying, preaching martin luther king jr. mr. preaching jesus. it's the gospel. he's making it real. he's not talking about over yonder, but he's talking about the here and now.
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i tried to convince him to attend a nonviolent workshop. not until he heard that we had been beaten unrest in county jail, he became convinced. he became the great prophet in a sense. he became the group organizer. he was the one that helped create the movement during the birmingham movement. he came up with the i.d. of the martin luther king jr. social gospel. >> host: congressman, what did your parents, older generation, landowners, what did they think of your activities in college? >> guest: when i first got involved in the movement and my mother heard about it, she thought i was crazy. she thought i had lost my mind. i remembered her writing me a letter, saying get an education. you're going to get her.
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i wrote her a letter back and i was trying to paraphrase the words of martin luther. at that according to the tape dates of our country. i don't think she understood what i was saying or what i was trying to say to her. she was a afraid, but i would be beaten, that i would be killed. she feared for me. many years later, one of my younger brothers told me that when they were growing up, they would get telephone calls. my mother would tell them, don't say anything to anybody. tony, don't tell me. she didn't want me to be afraid. she didn't want me to worry. he lived in constant fear. i thought the house would be burned. they thought they would lose the
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land. but after the voting rights act was passed, she was able to register to vote. my grandfather was able to register. she became a crusader that everybody should become registered to vote. she was so proud that i was elected to the atlanta city, that is in the congress. her regret so much that she didn't like to see president barack obama selection. but she didn't live to come to washington. but she lived to meet president clinton in atlanta and calm manner and see local people elected and troy, alabama. >> host: were they threatened in the 60s? >> guest: there is telephone calls, but no one ever burned
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across. it got telephone calls. but my father became so proud. he was afraid, but he became so proud that i was involved patent people ask him is that your boy? he was very proud. postcode tonya davis, the producer of this program ask our guests what they're reading, what their influences are, their favorite books. here's a look at john lewis' favorite answers. ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ >> book tvs online collection for october's representative john lewis is, "walking>> book n for october's representative john lewis is, "walking with wind." >> as a young child, i tasted aggregation of racial discrimination and i didn't like it. as my mother and my father, grandparents, great grand parents, why segregation? by racial discrimination? they would say that is the way it is. don't get in trouble.
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don't get in the way. but in 1955 when i was in 10th grade, 15 years old, i heard rosa parks. i heard the voice of martin luther king jr. on the radio in the words of dr. king hired me to find a way to get in the way. in 1956, my brothers and sis are sent some of my first cousins went down to the public library and a little town of troy, alabama, trying to get library cards, trying to checkbooks out. we were told by the librarian that the libraries were for whites only and not for colors. on july 51998, i went back to the pike county public library and troy, alabama for a book signing of my book, trance and. hundreds of citizens showed up and make it a library card. [applause]
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"walking with wind" is a book of faith, hope and courage. it not just my story. it is this route hundreds and thousands and countless men and women, blacks and whites, who put their body on the line during a very difficult. in the history of our country to end segregation and to end racial discrimination. >> host: congressman lewis, one of the people you listed is your greatest influences the reverend kelley miller's knife. who is that? >> guest: kelley miller smith. this man, one-of-a-kind.
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he was born in wi-fi and, mississippi, in the heart of the delta. he attended morehouse college in atlanta, underground. and his divinity from howard university in nec. i met him when i attended college in nashville. he was a great orator, he was the first baptist church in downtown mastro. this church was an old, brett brick building, old collapsed roof and the membership came out of the balcony of the white church. the church has existed since the days of slavery. in tennessee.
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it is located less than a block from the state capital. it was one of the meeting places during the height of the move. you go they are, talk about someone preaching the social gospel. this meant it. his servants for sure. only 10 to 12 minutes. but when you heard his sermons, heard him speak, you were ready to cannot and move your feet. he became different than martin luther king junior. he was tall, handsome. he spoke with authority. he believed what he was saying and he lifted. he was concerned about all of
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nashville. like nashville, wealthy nashville, low income. he wanted to bring it together. i admire him. i love to. he inspired me. he lifted me. >> host: we have a little less than an hour with eric "in depth" test, congressman john lewis, author of civil rights leader. ambrose in rochester, new york. please go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: [inaudible] -- 1964 convention in atlantic city. postcode ambrose, i apologize. it's a little difficult. there's a breakup in the phone. >> caller: okay, let me get
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you on speaker phone. >> host: thank you. post a ambrose, we are going to put you on hold. we will come back and chat with you for a minute in the control room and get you back. speakerphones don't work with all the technology. it makes it a lot clearer for everybody to hear if you use the handset. melissa in tucson, arizona. hi, melissa. >> host: yes, hi. i'm a civil rights act in this and i spent my life studying these things from northern ireland. desmond tutu, wonderfully human beings. i live in tucson, arizona, however. but if my great disappointments over the last couple of years was the ground zero civil rights
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movement. the mexican american studies and our main school district a couple years ago. and for me, getting of aleutians in the schools and desegregating schools. post a melissa, are you saying they don't teach civil rights in tucson schools? >> caller: at tucson unified school district in tucson. canceled the mexican american studies program a couple years ago. i'm sure the congressman is fully aware of this. aclu be a big deal out of it. but the people at this time, are you never dc-based, largest civil rights to come. i feel like people like john lewis, if they had been here, it
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would have been a point where we are one people anchored. >> guest: maybe one day in the not-too-distant future i will have an opportunity to come and visit, come and speak. several of my colleagues in the congress have urged me to come to tucson and see another part of arizona. but look forward to today when i will have an opportunity to come and visit some of the schools and some of the organizations. >> host: congressman, when you see or hear how civil rights is taught in schools today, are we learning enough? are we teaching a next-generation enough in in your view? >> guest: we need to do more. we need to do much more. in some places, places like california, individual organizations and groups they are, student groups, study
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groups. there's one high school teacher based in northern california organize something called soldier into the past. during the past three years he wrote more than 5000 high school students to the south for 10 days. i spoke with every single group. i spoke to every single group except one. they come to atlanta. they visit tuskegee. they go to montgomery. they go to selma, birmingham, jackson, mississippi. little rock, memphis. and they recruit students from other parts of the country, from cleveland, new york city, new orleans to travel. it's a way of learning. it's nice to wear. they have to do papers, write papers, read books, watch videos. i guess students in my own city of atlanta. rather than going on vacation
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someplace, going someplace and having fun, maybe you should do a field trip. just a day trip to birmingham, to on right, to learn, to walk in other people's shoes. >> host: september 15, 1963. >> guest: it is impossible to forget september 15, 1963. on that sunday morning, i was home in alabama, visiting my mother and father. my younger sisters and brothers. when we heard that a bomb had gone off in the 16th street baptist church in birmingham. i received a telephone call from the office in atlanta accommodate you must make it to birmingham. my mother and my father did not want me to go, did not want me to board a bus, so my uncle, the
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uncle i traveled with two buffalo was there visiting. he lived about 60 miles south of troy. so he took me to a little town south troy so people wouldn't see me get in on the bus in troy. i was traveled to make it to birmingham. and so, i made it to birmingham and met my friend, julian bond dared. a great photograph standing across the street from the church. that was a sad and dark time, to see what happened when these four little girls were killed on a sunday morning. i cannot forget that. i stayed there for the funerals.
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dr. king delivered the eulogy for the little girls. and it was there because of what it had to in birmingham sunday. we intensified to get the right to vote in mississippi and alabama and especially the south. >> host: what is the longest and she did in jail and prison? >> guest: the longest time i spent in jail was in mississippi during the freedom ride. it was about 44 days. jail is not a pleasant place. to be in jail and alabama, mississippi, but to be in jail, you lose your freedom to go and just be in a crowded sow or


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