tv Author Discussion on the Civil Rights Movement CSPAN October 12, 2022 2:46am-3:47am EDT
problems in the nation, but we still have not answered the. question well, what are we going to do about it? so that wanted the book to end the challenge. and i think that and that sort of, you know, having a a be in one's bonnet, a part of sort of living what, what we going to do about it should not just be an abstract question but it's a question that we have to pose to ourselves and the people around us. i think literally day every day just a quick aside, if you read the very of of south america, you see where she begins periods and periods as ends with the american jeremiah with the jeremiah wright form. so the beginning actually foreshadows the form of the end of the end of the book. i just had say that just in less than i had our panelists.
this is going to be fine. this is a really going to be fun. i have some powerhouses that do macklemore said that had one general but i think we have generals that have on the platform today. david j. dennis junior is a senior writer at an escape known as the undefeated. his work has been featured in atlanta magazine the atlantic, washington post and the huffington post, among other publications. dennis is a recipient of the 2021 american mosaic journalism prize, is a national association of black journalists salute to excellence award, and was named one of the routes 100 most influential african-americans of 2020. he lives in georgia with his wife and two children and is a graduate of davidson college. his dad, david.
dennis senior, is a civil veteran. he attended dillard university and earned his law degree, the university of michigan in 72. he co-directed the challenge at the louisiana democrat structure that resulted in an african-american chairman and majority african american delegation being sent to the national convention. the time since reconstruction. he is executive director of the southern algebra project in cooperative and nonprofit organized that works to ensure quality for all children, especially children of color and the chronically underserved. this book, the movement, made us to give them a hand please. dr. leslie birrell, mack macklemore, a native of wallace, mississippi, is currently vice and a member of the board of aldermen in walsh's hometown.
dr. macklemore is a veteran of the mississippi civil rights movement from leading a boycott of classes in high school to leading the initial chapter of the naacp on of russell college. macklemore has devoted his life to social justice issues. he was vice chair in the founding member of the mississippi freedom party. macklemore was, the second youngest member of the fdp delegation. in 1964 at the democratic national. dr. macklemore has followed a dual track and professional to see this be a degree from risk and master's in political science atlanta university and his doctorate in government from the university of massachusetts amherst. mr. macklemore served more than dr. macklemore served more than a ten years on the jackson city and the council president of those years. he also served as interim mayor of the city of, jackson, and he wrote the foreword in the name of emmett till how, the children of the mississippi freedom struggle showed us to morrow.
give him a hand, please. you know one thing that when when reading these books and really delving them what i what i saw was that both men dr. macklemore and dave j. dennis senior, had this endearing respect for medgar evers. they talk about them in the book that. you say in the foreword that he had a reputation, willingness to work with anyone who was dedicated to bringing justice and progress for our state. and david singer, you say in his unofficial meetings, he talked about myrlie and his daughter and two sons. every time you saw him, how he paid him to be away from them for a couple of hours. you say that medgar showed you the possibilities of let a father's love could look like and talk more about. so so for me talk a little bit more about this man and the movement. if you would.
yeah. hello, everybody. so good to be here and to see your faces. yeah. meghan was one of the first people, the person. that i met when i came to mississippi, which was in april of 1962. so immediately tyler took me in and malcolm was older than us. and what that really demonstrated is what david does. so well in the book talks about what the movement's all about and that had a lot to do about family at that particular time. we as a people operated as a family. what made a strong in our communities was this whole idea of extended. so the people of civil rights movement we got here we all know be free right in association with the movement. so what they could date with me. what do you do with other people? young people, as you saw, accepted as is like family. so he welcomed me into as part
of the mississippi family. and so that love and understanding he took around, introduced me to people and made me feel comfortable and on top of that, he also made me feel safe because it was like having a father at that time. so we spent a lot of time together and he so what he demonstrated is what we the movement was really built on that they and that was family. thank you. i met medgar evers also in 1962 as a student, ross college in 62. he inaugurated or installed the offices of the ross college chapter of the naacp. and i was the first president of the college addressed in february of 1962 and from 62 through the passing of medgar evers. i very much involved in the and
actually met maker through aaron henry aaron henry was state president of the naacp. aaron henry's brother in law was the faculty at ross college. winston reverend merrill winston. lindsay and medgar evers. and aaron henry would come to the campus. and this was before we formed the chapter of the naacp. but from 62 onward we pointed out earlier prior to entering the stage here is that medgar evers was appointed the permanent field secretary w.a.s.p. in 1954 and before and before snake came to town. medgar evers was organizing. so the very platform, the foundation of the movement was
really by medgar evers and aaron henry and all of those folks who were associated with the w.a.s.p.. and a very rich history. and at the center of that history, starting in 1954 and the former way was myrlie and medgar evers. so we made substantial progress. mississippi, between 1964 and me between 1954 and 1965. and we stopped in 65. so we have to pick it up again at some point. thank you. thank. you know, this book movement, mavis, is amazing. make sure you read it. but if you could talk a little bit about why you wrote it and little bit about the book. yeah. so the movement us is essentially there's stories. from 61 to 64 really. these are the stories i grew
with. these are the, you know sitting around there would have when we moved to jackson in 1992, which, by the way, i'd have to add some to my bio. i am a product of jackson public. and graduated 19 oh. so we moved jackson and in 92, you know dad sort of you know, rekindle these relationships so these people would come to the house, tell their stories. and, you know, bob moses would come to town and hollis watkins would come down and mr. invest is here, will come and hang out. and i would hear these. and i wanted to always knew i wanted to write these stories in same oral tradition in the way that they were told to me, which people sitting around the table are telling these riveting, you know, incredible stories about how saved themselves and saved this country. and it was always vast and important to me, but it became more important and more as we,
the state of the world didn't mean a lot. this book came together and to 2016 in the air and the trump you know air and trump election things like that. and so it became important to provide a lighthouse for people trying to understand what to do right where where do we go? everything seems bigger than in like overwhelmingly too much to do. so i wanted to show what a group of folks in the south black folks the south in their early twenties did to change this country. you know, in the face of and, you know, the largest, most powerful country's military to try to stop them from doing that. and the hope is that if we see what they did, then can get some sort of glimmer of hope to do something and follow in those footsteps footsteps. that's wonderful. i and i have another question for you later. but as i told you, in the back ten days and you sitting there, the middle of the movement just
by listening what your dad talked about, and we'll talk about that that the macklemore this forward is powerful. and i found so much strength in it. i, i read it about ten times. thank you. to talk a little bit about the ancestors, these were the names you mentioned in the foreword. well, i think it is important for all of us really. and as i repeat myself, really important for all of us. understand the contribution of medgar evers. we cannot thank him enough for being as brave and as systems as he was. not only was he a brave man, he was a smart man, and he had a nough sense to marry a smart
woman. so medgar evers ends, the more e.w. is t nero, henry reeves, the go on there all. and then the young people in the movement the tougaloo dropouts hollis watkins my got to cut and you vester simpson all these people and unknown young people at ross college william scott johnny harris raymond davis lee ferris delores all these people have to lay the very foundation. but i think it is important as we look at mississippi history and american history framework
that was able to provide along with the steptoe and and dams and more and aaron henry and merrill winston lindsey and reverend r.l. smith of these people. but the beauty understanding the mississippi story is that medgar evers developed the network medgar evers developed the network that chapters in these various counties, fauquier of the naacp and marshall county, a guy by the name of steve nero. i mean, not very many people knew that mr. nero was president of the acp because it was dangerous to be out. but in 1953, they formed chapter in monterey county in that network, the marshall counties the midcounties, the la four
counties of the world that medgar evers worked with these people. so when snake and came to town along with seals and anybody else they worked with the e.w. stepped those were the dunbar hudsons of the world they worked with those people. but medgar evers had identified those folks. he had worked with them. so one, one, you know. well snake went to mccomb in 1961 after some got out of jail. the freedom riders. but then they had a foundation. they were working local leaders in mccomb. it was not as if cord snake up and said, okay, we're doing this. but medgar and his cohort had provided that foundation. so it is in part as we look at this history, this mississippi history, this american history
is to give recognition to these individuals that have laid the foundation they've been is often talks about, you know, the people that the volunteers stayed with the families, how courageous they were. and they pointed out so often is that we really haven't given recognition to those families the sacrifices they made the children of those families. how do we honor and them? that is the foundation. and clearly, as we work and have our being in 2022. it is important for us to remember that history because that foundation was really important and it provides the springboard for things that we can do as we forward in the future. you know, dave, june, david, junior, i when i was reading
that page 68 and it talks about and i was telling you that i to that if you could just envision everybody could envision you watching and listening to your dad. but seeing it and visualizing what was happening. but there was a power that if you allow me to read it, say that's how justice drive faded. blood on the pavement right at the edge of my feet and is still rorschach. i america below me was all that was left to someone whose key of protest sitting in front of me was a group of marchers, forcing back the agony of the verdict. they witness steel. i stood at the fulcrum of our fight the blood of our yesterday, the persistence of now, and the fight for tomorrow. take us there with you, seeing america and all this wildness and how it gave you a better understand of what your daddy went through. yeah. so that is about a time i went to charlotte and there was a young black man had been killed
by. police. this is, i think 2015. i think. and you know during the protests the another young black man had been murdered in the street and all of the witnesses that the police fired a a canister point blank range and killed and they. however, the police arrested else another black man who they say sort of snuck into the crowd and shot him at point blank range and snuck out and, you know, it was the protest not to especially after 14 after ferguson it was really difficult me to understand how to insert myself into this. and first of all, it's hard for to think about the idea of talking to my father, who had
been, you know, delivered the eulogy for james chaney in 1964 and talk to him about more dead folks in the 21st century and the fact that he is talking to me on my way to a protest where the possibility of things happening to me are the same that could have happen to him 60 years ago. you know, and then it's an indictment of this country, you know, and the fact that i could write a book in my dad's voice and people can say, i don't know who who is saying what. and you know, he's 45, 46 years older than me. and it's about things happened in the sixties and too, in 2020. it's not about necessarily, you know, it's about what has not happened in this country. you know, and so. there was a moment in this where i have chosen to allow these things, force me into despair, to think about how what has not happened in this country, but instead, what i've chosen do and
i've chosen to use this book to do with my chosen to do with my my dad's stories is to understand that are here because of what they have done, like when i think about mississippi there is a vision of mississippi that tate reeves has in his head that is much than than the mississippi that we're living in now. and the reason that we are not living in the mississippi that tate want is because black folks in mississippi have been fighting for all this time. my dad and people who are here have been part of that. so i am choosing to think about part of their movement and what that means and how far you know, how far things could be and where we are. and that's sort of what that that moment was. wow. that's. that's. that first, what was the hardest about remembering and and writing and being a part of
this? well, first of all. he was the one could have written this book. to tell story. i had to trust that person not to trust. so the a lot people tried to get me to tell the story and of the things that happened here is through our relationship and doing this having this experience of doing this book brought us much closer together because it gave him an opportunity to have a better of me, but more important. and then i guess i gave him the opportunity to have better understanding of me because i had shut off a whole part of our life and then it gets into an area of movement.
and the people who worked the movement, i mean, when i say working, i mean it's stuck in there for a long time. so we don't talk about what impact effect it had on us then. i got involved in the civil rights movement. i was 20 years old. 21 when i came to mississippi and i stayed here until 1965, you know, and as less than one of the people here and, others tell you it was nonstop, there was stuff just happened all over the place. so one of the things i had done was lot of things had happened. i had just very i mean, didn't think about anything. so in going through this a lot of that stuff was brought up, you know? i mean, my conversations with people like my others, i mean, then all of a sudden, as i was
having visions of people that i had just trusted, right? i mean, when we talk with as to talk about the hundreds and hundreds of people who housed civil rights workers, because at that time in the revolution era, for a person just to have an absolutely is revolutionary for a person to say going to go down and try to register to vote today. you know so what we did was was that when people did that and they worked and came out, they had to go back into those backwoods. so i began to see people that, you know, and i never didn't know still, i don't know what happened to them. people die, beaten, losing their homes. we don't know what happened to all of these people who helped to build the movement. what the movement really all about. so a few of us like myself and some of the others, we get along accolades, you know, that all you get is this is you know, but
we didn't do anything couldn't have done it and that's i said is but to help people like malcolm but all the all the people that worked and made this possible so writing this book did this experience of being able to come out and daily doing this research will come to me and say dad about this you know, i'm like, so when you talk about why you crazy, i never did anything you say. but you wrote you look, this is a report this, this, this stuff like so i have to sit down all of a sudden, it and give you an of how that happened. this is that for years and years until story about people would say what were you thinking changes james chaney's memorials to his funeral and always talk about well not they're not his brother you know out there it just looks way what i had there
it was misstep by some accident because i think my whole involvement movement about fate it was really god's will you know. and without i to get out of it with god just slap me out with it get back in it. so that's another story. but any rate is, what i had buried was was that a few weeks before they found the bodies and stuff is was in new jersey city looking for housing and there was a freedom democratic party. all right. and so there there's a good friend of mine in new york was david ball, a baseball brother. and i called i talk to him. he said, why don't you come over here for couple of days when you go back to mississippi, blah, blah. i said, okay, make a long short. i go to visit him. we go, great to go get some chicken and waffles and wells in harlem. and we get caught in the middle
of the harlem. but two whole days i'm there and what i'm there is i'm going through two things. this has happened new york, because to me in new york is like know paradise a place would be an but then on top of that is as kid who runs across the street and a kid is shot, a police officer and david ball goes up grab holds the kid gives me cop comes up we're going to play ball his head and blow your brains out. you don't get up from that. david ball so you just did all of that. i had buried. so the next day i leave new york to the plane. i come back to mississippi and this thing flags with that james chaney and chaney goodman that and the funeral so where they what happened that day. oh i just saw ben chaney i saw that kid so all of this explosion stuff that i had just during the writing of this book that and that's just a few of
the things i mean i feel so much stuff is i mean people love and experiences and that and so it talking to other people in the movement you know about this even before that is that we all would gone through some crazy stuff that nobody talks you know but in this book we got this part of how help to bring about pieces. so now i think about those things but i also the question i had is what happened to me between 1965 and 1990 233 and to me is that was a lost two years of my life believe it or not is you know and i think that, you know my second wife accountable that she probably took she lived through part of it you know that darkness pieces of me and how many people that might have hurt you in that period of time has come so the movement is
something that's not just about beatings and people going to jail you know and so if that was happening to i wonder about how this happened to a whole lot of other people who had to go back in those dark woods at night is and stuff like this is klansman up and down it isn't live your life they put their necks out we take the days to being very simple things that but these are acts of bravery you know that can't imagine. and. envision. 00a question again. oh he just took it yeah yeah yeah. i don't know what to i mean i think the hardest part part was trying to put myself there. you know, i think one of the things that is i you don't
realize when you hear a parent, you hear stories about your parents like no matter how young they are in the story, you still think about your parents, right? if you hear your mother and they say was, you know, in the playground as a kid, you still think of like your mother, right. and so it didn't dawn on me until we were you know, i was in the process. young dad was mean. he was 21 when i was teaching at morehouse at the time. and i was looking at these kids. i was like, jesus, like these kids were, you know, people this age was doing in the country. so it was very difficult for me to of imagine that. right. and then, you know, in terms of just the actual difficult what's most difficult to put on the page is talking about what they did and mrs. hammer and why. no, you know. oh, they taught her. they taught. you know, it was pure torture. it was it was terrifying. and you know i am forever indebted to ms. investor who talked me on the phone about that night and sang the song that. ms.
you know that mrs. hammer, you know, saying that they sang together and you know that like to think about the depravity that it takes for that to happen and just to have to put that on the page. but just to think about the care that these people put to tell us, these stories to open themselves, these doors. this book is something that, like you cannot overstate how important it is. it was for me to just do them, do you know, do their give them justice and give them what they need to do and and honor them and their stories. but yeah. in terms of the most difficult thing to put on a page is thinking about what this country did to that kids and. mrs. hammer, just because they were trying to get free in mississippi. speaking of mrs. famous, if i could have both of you talk a little bit about what she meant to the mississippi movement and to you. well also. yes. and i'm going to get to that.
but i was thinking as i read as i read their book is the patience that each one of them had in terms of the conversation, i they junior pulling out of they seen your things you didn't want to talk about and and got him to talk about it and then you got him to remember things that he didn't remember. and then, you know, do recall that. but the just that dynamic, i mean, just talking to your father, getting him to come clean and and giving them great. right. right. and just the just, you know, was at any point, any breakdown between the two of you and these six guys, you and sarah? i know there was a little bit of i think and we write about this in the book. it was there was a little bit of a pause around when george floyd when the george floyd video came out and and next week there's a little bit too of that.
you know, there it video and all the subsequent videos, the videos of watching black folks get killed. police gave color to things that we had not understood before. right. we knew that james chaney had been killed. you know, in the show, the county, we did not see those last of his life. and i think for dad as i was writing about that, as an questions about this to watch a black man get killed by police and the of the same type torturous ways i was was difficult and so we had to take a little a little break for that. and but i think you know, there are also letters in the book because i write letters to dad about our relationship and you know, dad, now we're in a good place, great place in our relationship for to have written this book didn't start this book and you know, we were at place that a lot of fathers and sons, a lot of black men, a lot of black folks to where it's like, you know, you did what you did. i do what i did. we're going to just love each
other until and, you know, until one of us isn't here and then we'll move on. but then we wrote these letters. we took a week went to myrtle beach and handed all the letters at the same time. and it was probably most terrifying thing i ever had to do you know, these are honest things. and writing. he had to sit there and watch him react it. and we had the that a lot of us just not have and it put us to a place where you know it was a level of our relationship that i did not know existed. i didn't think that it possible for these things to exist and. it took us to a really just beautiful place in our relationship. and and i'm grateful, this book, because i don't think we would have had those conversations if not for us doing the the process. this book. okay, now let let me just respond to the hammer question please. how i love document that's not acknowledging some of you were
taking notes which is very good. in 1962 was an important in the history of mississippi james meredith went to ole miss in. 1962. mrs. hamer was evicted from the wd plantation. in 1962. river now wrote smith and reverend. lindsay ran for the us congress in 1962. so any of you are still teaching or if you're a retired teacher, share this year of 62 with them because it's an important milestone in the history of the mississippi movement in mississippi history. the year of 1962. i'm mrs. hamer less than a year after she had been evicted from the wd malo plantation in
sunflower county, i met her at the home of. angie moore in cleveland, mississippi. we were about to take a bus from cleveland to dorchester county, georgia, to attend a voter education registration citizenship education workshop that was organized by james bevel and diane nash, wife and. so i rode the bus with. mrs. hamer in the winter of 1963 to georgia. we got to the workshop, the workshop director was andrew young and his late wife, jean young and dorothy cotton and during that week, mrs. hamer described us the eviction from the mallow plantation and she she preached, she discussed and
i was simply overwhelmed by fannie lou hamer. mrs. hamer just absolutely changed life to just change way of thinking. i that week with mrs. hamer a week that i can remember almost in vivid terms and and at my age now if i go from the bedroom to the kitchen i can't quite remember when i was in the kitchen kitchen, but i can go back to 1963 and recall all events, the songs that andrew young taught us, the drinking gourd. the first time i heard. but so mrs. hamer changed my life until when i back to the campus. at rest, i called mother and told my mother i had met remarkable woman. this this, this. a fourth grade, sixth grade
scholar who was above head and above shoulders of a whole lot of us had all kind of degrees. but one of the things that i want all of us to to do to to remember that hamer was a spiritual person, but she was also blessed with a great analytical. mrs. hamer was a smart woman. she was a very, very bright person. in another time and another day, she really would been a u.s. senator from mississippi. she really would have been governor of mississippi. and just state in this state where we have deprived african-americans. and women, too, of so many opportunities we have been on the bottom. still on the bottom, because we have not taken of the brain
power that have in this state that we in this state, in speaks. and it speaks the need for for teachers and mentors to share this history with our young people, to let them know that if they desire and they wish to be in the senate or they wish to be great writer like de jure, that they can do that. but we have deprived this country so much. many intelligent people in fannie lou hamer was just one example. i mean can think of your grandmother your grandfather, your mother your father who were deprived of in this state and
and of course, some of us. can't quite remember where we are still here. but there's a certain law anti i guess there's a certain to to remain in mississippi. but people are here because love the state they want to see change. come in mrs. hamer and so many others helped provide that plantation and so the legacy of fannie hamer is absolutely amazing. and finally just think that the you know, that dave and bob moses, these were some of the chief architects of the mississippi movement. but now just think about the the luster, the legacy of fannie lou hamer, more young people know fannie lou hamer than, bob
moses, because fannie lou hamer emerged from the people she was a part of the people she was a part of the community. she was the. in that that leadership that kind of leadership helped to bring about the changes that we're witnesses. if you think things are bad now if you think trump was bad just think if then lou hamer hadn't come along trump would have been even worse and it's hard to imagine that. but he would have been so just think about the foundation we have because of work of people like mr. saint.
programs tab and go to the heart of the strength of the black community. and that's the family structure. first came the moynihan report and the it blamed black people for the problems it uses, whereas the black males, in terms of not being at home, first thing people did when they enslave black people, problem to this country was a separate to fathers for that first thing they did. and that kept on is with all the jim crow laws and jails filled with black males. the second thing they did was was the poverty program, the drain of the leadership from the black community, from across track right. that was intentional. and then to make the whole goes a lot of other pieces that you look at, but i won't try to go to level one. the hitches did was called urban renewal, but it built expressway
ways right through the black community in the strength of it and economic development. the purpose to divide and conquer. all right. the purpose of it was to go out and give it structure the to strengthen the community. it was aimed at the target was the family structure of this of of our communities was extended family. that's the kind of family where the young people stay don't have so where we grew up when i grew up, i came from a single parent home, but i had a lot of parents because the fact is i grew up if i did something wrong down the street, mr. jackson. jackie right. miss mamie could get me. all right. and my momma name gave her permission to measure, to chastise me because i was a child of the community that we don't have in the morning and report attack that okay that was all attention. so what we have to do is talk about how do we bring it back family, how do we let's talk about whatever message we had.
all should stop. we ultimately, right here in jackson, mississippi, we have economic base. all right. but we couldn't beat you know, what's the name that they put? david. he's a little kid. he says to me what they said that we were living in jackson. say, why is it when you go in the white community, they got this talk of getting a premier in the black, it is called getting in jail that way. no kids. but that's just part of the whole peace around the economic bill, because they ran to those stores, out corner stores, right. okay. so they went out, make it on me. so anyway, i just want to say that. so mrs. hammer, what she did was, was to bring about what she was part of that piece and demonstrate what the family is all about. the other piece i just want to say very quickly, is they also connected. there were two other wingmen you might call women that work with her. would dynamic women in this
community we don't hear much about one was out i can't mississippi was an idea behind all right and the other person was out down in hattiesburg area you know this victorian race you never show you how this code what the civil rights bill was all about what it represented instead of having was a check up. right. and it was a business woman. right. okay. and is victoria gray was a teacher. they all work together. you weren't just just about just about sharecroppers. harriet smith was a business man. anderson moore was it was was work for the federal with the post office he on of service station and it was all awful so he was just a poor man so chin and then all over 200 some acres of land. okay. and that's a step too. and others down in the calm area they were property, land. okay, so what i'm trying to say is the movement at that day was
a mixture of people, cross-section of the black community, the black family, black. so how do we bring that back? it's a young people, older people, elders, business people, poor people work together cause one common cold. that's where we need to be. you know, i was sitting here and thinking about everything that you both said and. and i thought about the audience that we have as a diverse audience of people. and before we start asking the audience if they have any questions, just give us a little bit of what you feel we should be doing. what about what our our our marching orders for the 21st century and and that that macklemore wanted me to to make sure that i asked that question so just just give us the marching orders for for today and the youth that are out there working, trying to make a difference.
well, you know, i've really said it earlier. i think it's important that we work with our young people. i think it's important that we mentor our young people. i think it's important that we develop a cadre of leaders. you know, if i had if i hit the lottery tomorrow or maybe later this evening, i would i would i would have false or a series of leadership development programs. i mean, i think we've the powerful and articulate young people speaking up and emerging from these communities across this country, strong leadership. leadership development is just so important. i mean, issue oriented leadership development, young people that understand the issues, young people who have had analyzed and have given the tools to be able to analyze the
issues and people who have the the long term commitment they've. dennis and you've to. simpson and all of these people and dori land that were embedded in these communities you know general dave dennis first was always on the move i remember because i, i never dropped out of college. i stayed in school. i didn't drop out. dave, dave left elected, came to mississippi and let me tell you, dave was always moved and he was always moving. dave probably had the fastest car in mississippi. i mean, he was always on the move in. but but then as he pointed out, he was only 20 years old. i am a few much older than dave when we were in those meetings after dave was much older because he he was mature, he, i mean, he was on the move. he spoke in, he was in charge.
and we need more. dave dennis's of the world because and this is leadership i mean the community that he described, a lot of us and dave these can describe how we were taught by our parents and the community. but we really i just think leadership development is important. so mentoring and teaching. so if they're young people in the audience who haven't decided upon a career, there's nothing in the world than being just a great teacher because we need great teachers and mentors. but but we need people who are willing to make the long term commitment. so as we move forward, let us think about mentoring and working with our young people, because i think that's really important. thank you. that, um, but one of the things
about this whole piece of our leadership is that you really don't know who has until you get out there. so when i first met you best to just she was a good teenager you know up there and you know, as you could just be another student or whatever. but she was a leader that just emerged based on her involvement and work. so all of us has a potential. you belong to some organization. you belong to some church. you're in some some group. you have neighbors talk about it. you can make changes with your own community. what's coming out of yourself is who is it? that woman and who can you talk to? don't be afraid to talk to them. you know, so you can spread the word. i mean, that's part of the the
work. how do you do it? someone always tell me, how do i get involved in the movement, how to do this stuff? but bob had a of he would talk about this is his metaphor was you know when you were growing up uh you know, you would go out to go out on the playgrounds. nobody's there. so you pick up a ball or whatever it is, and you bounce and you start playing. the guys know about this, you start bouncing the ball, somebody's coming, hey, bro, want to play a game one on one? you see, is and you saw a play one on one and somebody else come up and say, hey brother, can i have a ups. yeah, it's about as i say, i believe ups can make a team to to, to against, to a and it grows and it grows. so you bounce in the ball.
the is talking about the issues to your neighbors, to your church groups, clubs. that's leadership to building it. so how do we do that? the other thing has to do with this whole thing about think about it. what is a family? it's not about just being biological parents. we always tell our christians love god, we all god's children, whatever. that's true, that that we all god's children, that means we all in the family together don't care what color you are. thank you. where you came from. so something's going on it. you know is wrong, is not there? do no political party because number one is you human. we all are human beings. and this question happens to be in america. what type of america do we want to live in and what type of america do we want to have our children, our grandchildren live in? that's the question. so you want to be with my people
getting shot every day, right? getting beat up every day, you know, breaking the laws every day is because we don't want to stand out because we might be ostracized by some party and we are all god's children. so let's try some love. you know, figure out how we can work together and be a family. before we go to questions that any veterans of the movement that i know. audience please stand. mississippi movement, please stand. the instructions are if you have any questions, think the podium is just for that. you're not being asked.
jerry mentioned you are not in this. you didn't start. all right. and the rest of you out there is you've done something. so what is a veteran? yeah. tell me you stand up, too. yeah. jerry mitchell. and you want to stand up. by any questions. anybody have any questions that they'd like? that's okay. just come up to the podium, please. i'm right here. is with the servants. so fresh on the bounce that ball and that. yes, i have mr. robert meyer, the author of the emmett till in the name of emmett till coming to natchez. so this is how i see it working. we're having i'm a history instructor at kapaa lincoln community college and i recognize my students don't know
this movement. they don't understand it, and many of them don't care. so we have to start with the educators. so we're having a teacher workshop where we are giving away copies of this book. their leaving with the lesson plan about fannie lou hamer and they're coming to natchez september 22nd. so if anyone in the audience here is a teacher and you want to earn rcu to come down to lovely natchez where we're going to arm teachers to get into the communities with their students who all have cell phones now and they're going to start recording stories, stories that haven't been told. but we got to start in the schools. so thank you for what you're doing. nge us all to get these stories in our communities. thank you. thank you. good morning, everyone. yes, ma'am. i am a product of jackson public school as well. dave, dennis, joe.
and i'm also staff member at jackson state university, dr. macklemore. but i wanted to say this. first of all, my family is connected to everyone on this panel. dr. macklemore taught my oldest daughter political science, and my children went to school with davis, dennis junior. and i just know the wonderful dave davies, junior senior. so there is a question i want to ask. um, people say this often. it didn't happen. i wasn't the one that did this. when you start talking about issues relative to the discussion today, my family didn't do it. i didn't do it. how do you answer that? how do you respond to that? when people say that they know the words they don't want to take responsibility for what they great, great, great grandfather did. so are you talking about dumb white folks that don't think i'm talking about. okay. well, i mean, i think i think i mean, every ev brings up an interesting thing that, you
know, it's been on my mind that this is last time i was here was there was a young lady here who black a black woman. she was a journalist. and she was talking about how does she get over, get past the shame that she has of being from mississippi. right. and then that stuck with me because when i leave and black folks in the room, y'all can tell me this. have you all to do. people say, how could y'all live in mississippi? yeah, right. white folks do. people ask all that when you leave? how could you all live and live in mississippi? it's so racist. right. and the question is like, why are folks asking black folks about being shameful about what we have fought against? right. like the white supremacy of the of this country and specific in mississippi is not some for black folks to hold. right. so the first thing we need to do is free ourselves from that need
to feel responsibility for something that we were not responsible for. and the other thing i think is like i don't necessarily care how white folks react to that, right? what i care about is how what would we how we feel about it. right. and what i would love to impart on all of the young folks and people my age and everybody in black folks mississippi, is that we come from the tree district. the tradition of resistance movement that has shaped this country right. like white folks are extremely proud of the white supremacy that is in mississippi. right. but black folks need to be just as proud of the resistance that we come from. we come from medgar evers and mrs. hammer and amazon more. and, of course, nick, to be the people who have shaped and saved the lives of they saved the world. right. by creating democracy in a country that did not want it right. and that starts in mississippi. and so what i'm i love this
idea. i love that folks that people are asking their parents and all that stuff because every black person in mississippi comes from that tradition. your parents and your grandparents did something regardless, like they may not be in the history books. they may have been the first black person, their union that had been the first black person to do something. they did something to keep this thing going. right. and so what i would love for all of the black folks in mississippi, especially young folks, is to understand that and embrace that and internalize that in the way that they ask us to internalize the whites of ferguson, to ask this to be shameful of that we should release ourselves from that and embrace the power that comes from being black in mississippi. land. just one more. this is it. i am an architect and i'm interested in the stories that places tell and freedom houses and other places where many of
these movements took place are important and there's at least one organization that mississippi. mississippi heritage trust, which is seeking to recognize and preserve these places so that the stories can be told through the places, so people can go and experience what some of these leaders experienced in the early and later moments of the the movement. i would further add that the places that tell the story, the modern day freedom houses are the places where we come together and the places that empower us. and i would suggest that what empowers us is financial agency. see the ability to have power through having economic presence and power. and to that end, i wonder if the new freedom house might be the small business where we support one another in the community, where your dollar that is spent is spent six more times, versus the dollar that's spent at the
big box store that you never see again. so i'd be interested in your thoughts about how a place relates to the movement and how moving forward, what some of the new places might be. we have just about one or 2 minutes, and let me just take it. take a quick shot. we need to stop tearing down all black communities, need to rebuild them, renovate because there's so much history of us that exist in those old places. but what we're doing is we call them slums. we're going down to be torn down and renovated and replaced by modern places of buildings and stuff without the history being. so those place you write, but we destroy them, you know, urban renewal. history and mississippi is very complicated, very diverse land.