tv Last Speeches of Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. CSPAN April 1, 2015 3:31am-4:55am EDT
where we have people who are willing to cross the aisle, who are willing to make these decisions with people who they may not often agree with,that's essential to maintain the security the integrity of our nation as we go on. >> high school students who generally rank academically in the top 1% of the united states were in washington, d.c. as part of the united states senate youth program sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on cpn's q&a. >> 150 years ago this month, president lincoln gave his second inaugural address on the east front of the u.s. capital. the country was still in the midst of theive war, but thousands gathered to hear the 349 peek. the library of congress is displaying the president's man ewe self-incriminate and reading copy for a limited time due to their delicate condition. up next a visit to the lie braer's conservation lab to view the documents and learn about their importance.
this is about 15 minutes. >> the ole case of this address was march 4, 1865 for lincoln's second inaugural. people were expecting, i imagine, a much more sell bratorial kind of a speech. the war hasn't been -- it wasn't over. it would still continue for a little more than a month. you would expect someone to have more of a triumphant address. but, actually, what you see in lincoln's first inaugural is just over 700 words. and, instead, he says essentially, the war was caused by slavery, but it was a national sin.
so god is the one who is determining how much longer this war is going to continue. and, when ever lash taken -- every drop of blood from the lash is congressmen tated, then he'll say alass, the war is over. then it's up into god's hands and he ends with that famous line with malice toward none and charity from all. with firmness from the right as god gives us to see the right and then to bind out the nation's womb, to care for his orphan and widow. essentially, it starts with what was the past? what caused the war? where are we currently in the present, which is this will continue until god determines otherwise. and then it works in the future
what lincoln would often do is try them out in letters and speeches and then they would get woven out. this is abraham lincoln's handwriting. flynn would have been the typesetter who actually put this in to type. lincoln got back in uncorrected proof, which he then decided to cut and paste to show how he wanted to read the address. so you see that in four paragraphs, in the manuscript draft, he's cut it up in little sections so he could know how he
wanted to read the address, what the pacing was and what i always think is the most interesting of how he wanted to read it. if you see any of the other copies and the word cane is just at the oend of this paragraph. he's describing four years ago on my first inaugural, we had many more reasons to have a longer address. he accounts for the reasons why the war had started. one thing you can always learn about lincoln it's more of a light hearted way. lincoln wrote for how people
were going to hear his speech not necessarily sitting by with a book of grammar. so he would write how he wanted his audience to hear something. so if he wantd them to take a pause, he'll add a comma. the printer is looking from more of a grammatical point of view. so when you get to the reading parts, he's adding commas again. you also see he's attempting to write in a poetic or lyrical way. all nations sounds much better than with the world.
so, again for a very small address, there's -- he said the southern half, in regards to slavery. there was slavery in this southern half. well half of the nation wasn't the confederacy. there's a dpramatic difference in terms of who he's talking about. >> people have asked well are there other copies in the second innaug ral. i'm only aware of him writing out one paragraph, but again, people didn't know how short of a time he had left. >> and how did the library of congress come to own these two
copies? >> well, we know exactly how the manuscript draft came to us. that on the reverse of the fourth page, it's actually inscribed by lincoln in april, 1865 to his secretary, john haye. it was through the haye family that the man ewe self-incriminate came into contact. with the reading copy, i'm still looking for the exact confirmation as to how it got here. >> what does the library of congress do to preserve this document? >> we keep it with a specifically-designed vault with the optimum control security measures are always in place, obviously. we try the really manage the
amount of display time. as you can imagine, it's popular, it's always very exciting to see it. but we do pay the price for displaying these items. because of the key phrases on the address, the fourth pages have been on display multiple amount of times, for years, 5:00 which youly, at a time. sometimes ten years. that has really made an impact on the document. all of those things combined
causes discolor ration to take place. the other thing we keep a really close eye on is the ink. the ink is brown. that is not the original color of the ink. the original color was actually black. it was made of goals. it's corrected by insects who would put eggs in trees. over time and under the wrong circumstances, it turns brown. because of the highly acidic nature of this ink and the excess of iron in it, it can eat its way to the back. so what can we do about that? we can keep it under cool and dry symptoms.
what we don't want to do is introduce anymore water, as we did with this document and others, as well. it's unclear when it was treated and when it was lined, but the lining was removed. but that's good. it sometimes creates a little bit of a halo effect around the ink. i do want to point out one more thing that is necessary. the reading is done with animal glue that's made of cattle hide and bones. that's -- that sort of looks like this. you would actually use it in a warm manner. if it's cool or dry, it's very, very hard to handle.
the good news is that there isn't an awful loft of treatment. but the bad news is some severe damage has already occurred. >> our records i believe show that it was 1959 when all four of the man ewe skript documents as well as the reading copy is on display. this is an opportunity to see these, once again for a very brief period of time. march 4 was the ses kwee centennial reading day.
just theic to make sure i get the quoting quite right he said a little over a month later, i expect the ladder, meaning his inaugural address to wear as well perhaps better than anything i've produced. but i believe it's not immediately popular. the reason why is men are not flattered by being shown that there has been a difference of purpose between the all mighty and them. so when you're looking at this address, lincoln is basically saying everyone is responsible. so if that's not what you're expecting to hear for a nation that's on the brink of winning a
civil war, you could understand why it may not be popular. but lincoln is correct. the second inaugural address tend to be the two documents that people mean the most of lincolns and they are the two that are inscribed at the lincoln memorial. it's pret 2i extraordinary after four years of civil war after hundreds of thousands of deaths the treasure involved in prosecuting the war, that lincoln goes into the future with malice toward none and charity toward all.
he called the speech's sacred effort. that he concentrated more on the passages of slavery. that this war was about that while abraham lincoln was giving this speech the 13th amendment had been put out to the states. and the 13th amendment was when it abolished slavery. the 13th amendment that had been proposed back in 1861 was to leave slavery alone. four years later, now, the 13th amendment is going through. so i think there's a lot that people can look at in this speech in terms of what lincoln thought was the cause of war.
who were disenfranchised, for those people who were migrant workers from oklahoma kansas and texas during the decibel era who had found themselves in california, literally, starving. and he saw this vast difference between those who were the haves and the have notes and wam their spokesman through his music. >> woodie recorded a very few of his own songs. that's what makes the recordings that he did so significant to us. >> this land is your land, this land is my land. >> watch saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's book tv.
in is a distinctly american cathedral that tells our nation's story in its stained glass and its statuary. if you look around, you see symbols and signs of the history of our nation beautifully represented in this place. of particular interest for tonight tonight, our two beautiful statues of president lincoln, a statue in the back on the right and one of lincoln -- one of lincoln at prayer in the stairwell here just down this
side of the cathedral. there's a carving that graces the side aisle. and it was, of course, as you know, from this pulpit that he gave his last sunday sermon in march of 1968 just days before he was taken from us. tonight, on the 150 thd anniversary, we will talk about how these two men shaped our nation and how these two issues they addressed in their last great speeches are still with us today. the cathedral is delighted to be sponsoring this program with ford's theater. and i, personally, am delighted to welcome paul tatro, director of ford's theater.
>> thank you, bishop buddy and thank you to washington cathedral for hosting it in this beautiful and iconic space. thank you all for joining us this evening. today marks the 150th anniversary of president lincoln's second inaugural address. in a few weeks we will also mark the anniversary of lincoln's 150th year after his death. a gruesome civil war ended, a nation began to reunify. and we lost one of our greatest leaders this country would ever know. we will never know what might have happened if lincoln had lived. but we can't help but wonder would reconstruction have
proceeded differently? would jim crow laws have still come to the south? would it have taken another hundred years for civil rights act to be passed? tonight, we have the opportunity to explore two great leaders separated by 100 years but united by history. abraham lincoln and martin luther king jr., done with polarized visionsened a unified america. i want to thank you, again, for joining us tonight. force's theater has a number of events planned between now and may marking 2 anniversary of lincoln's death and the end of the civil war. in grour program, you will find details, i hope you will be able to join us for some or all of those events.
i'd like to introduce you to the moderator of this evening. he's had an incredibly successful successful career. chris is also the author of seven best-selling books and policies that have shaped our country and what america means today. ladies and gentlemen please welcome, my friend and moderator for this evening, chris matthews. >> thank you. [ applause ] welcome thewet ere tonight,
i checked, was a little different on march 4 of 1865. it was wet. it had been wet for weeks. that sounds familiar. but it wasn't as cold. there's no reference to snow in what i've been able to dig up. it was just wet. and on the east front of the u.s. capital it was thick in mud, deep mud. everyone had to go out there and stand in it to watch what i any most of us believe is the greatest speech in american history. how does a man stand before his people and say 600,000 people are dead because i was president. and the horror of that war and what it meant to a country which was a small country of only 30 million people.
imagine 6 million people dead today. we've never gone through anything like that. pretty frightening stuff. a powerful speech. joining us tonight for our panel, the reverend gary hall, dean hall. drchlt clayborn carson, the director of the martin luther king, jr., research at stanford. and douglas wilson is currently george a lawrence, distinguished service professor amer tus where he's co-director of the lincoln studies center. and, now the specialty of the night and the young ladies are waiting, i'd like to welcome our orators for the evening. they will read excerpts from speeches given 1 e 103 years apart. both speeches call people together and ask them to take responsibility for their fellow citizens.
both look back on what was and make the case that the situation was untenable. nadia duncan x, loves singing and acting and writing. she plans to study musical theater in college. nadia will read an excerpt from president lincoln's second inaugural address given on the east portico of the capital. the north stood, at that moment on the brink of victory. >> nadia duncan. >> on the occasion corresponding to this, four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. all dreaded it. all sought to o vert it. while the inaugural address was
being delivered from this place, devoted all together to saving the union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war. seeking to dissolve the union and divide effects by negotiation. both parties dep ri kated war, but one of them would make war and the other would accept war rather than to let it perish. and the war came. one eighth of the whole population were colored slaves. not distributed generally over the union, but localized in the southern part of it. these slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. all knew that this interest was constituted a peculiar powerful interest and all knew the cause of the war to perpetuate and extent this interest was the object for which the negligents would rend the union even by war.
neither party expected for the war the magnitude or duration which it has already attained. both read the same bible and pray to the same god and each invokes his aid against the other. it may seem strange that any man should dear ask adare ask a just god's assistance in wringing their sweat from another man's faces ss but let us not judge that we judge not. the prayer of either was answered fully. the almighty has his own purposes. woe unto the world because of offenses for it must needs be offenses come but woe to that man whom the offense cometh. if we shall suppose that american slavery is one of those offenses which in the providence of god, must needs come but which having continued
through his appointed time, he now wills to remove, and that he gives to both north and south this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense come, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living god always ascribe to him? fond fondly, do we hope, fervently do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away yet if god wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's 250 years of unrequited toil shall be sunk and until every drop of blood drawn with the last shall be paid with another drawn by the sword. as was said 3,000 years ago so still it must be said the judgments of the lord are righteous and true altogether.
with malice towards none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as god gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting piece. among ourselves and with all nations. thank you. [ applause ] >> paige telesford was introduce introduced in a pilot program from central hool through ford's theater and became an auditory leader and will read and excerpt of martin luther king's i have been to the mountaintop speech
in memphis before a sanitation strike and big protest strike. memphis had asked a federal judge to issue an injunction blocking the march. >> another reason that i'm happy to live in this period is that we have been forced to appoint where we are going to have to grapple with the problems that men have been trying to grapple with through history but the demands ins for them to do it. survival demands that we grapple with them. men for years now have been talking about war and peace. but now no longer can they just talk about it, it is no long ear choice between violence and non-violence in this world, it's non-violence or non-existence. that is where we are today.
i can remember i can remember when negroes were just going around, scratching where they didn't itch, laughing when they were not tickled, but that day is over. we mean business now. we are determined to gain our rightful place in god's world. that's all this whole thing is about. we aren't engaged in any negative protests or arguments with anybody. we are saying we are determined to be men, we are determined to be people. we are saying that we are god's children. and that we are god's children we don't have to live like we're forced to live. all we say to america is be true to what you said on paper.
somewhere, i read of the freedom of assembly. somewhere i read of the freedom of speech. somewhere, i read of the freedom of press. somewhere, i read that the great greatness of america is the right to protest for right. and so just as i say, we aren't going to let any dogs or water hoses turn us around we aren't going to let any injunction turn us around. we are going on. we need all of you. let us rise up tonight with the greater readyiness. let us stand with the greater determination and move on in these powerful days these days of challenge to make america what it ought to be. we have the opportunity to make america a better nation.
i want to thank god once more for allowing me to be here with you. we've got some difficult days a ahead, but it really doesn't matter with me now, because i've been to the mountaintop and i don't mind. like anybody i would like to live a long life. longevity has its place. but i'm not concerned about that now. i just want to do god's will. and he's allowed me to go up to the mountain, and i've looked over and i've seen the promise land. i may not get there with you but i want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will see the promise land, and i'm so happy tonight, i'm not worried about anything. i'm not fearing any man, mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the lord. thank you. [ applause ]
>> those were more than recitation recitations, those were drama dramatization dramatizations. they were great. thank you, paige telesford and nadia duncan. now for the older guys dr. wilson, your work at knox college has been producing the ano anotated pages. tell us about the context of that night or afternoon 150 years ago. >> i tried to write a very brief compact statement about the context and i found that i couldn't do it. it was inadequate. i thought i would just admit up front that my context is in
inadequate. i'll try to give you a few things to think about. actually, i want to talk about two contexts since this is a speech, there's the context in the external world, the battlefield, the situation of the country at large and also what's going on in the mind of the writer. this terrible war, as lincoln called it picking up his own phrase from a letter they had written had been going on for four years and only in the past few months had the tide been running very favorably as late as the previous august lincoln himself was convinced he probably would not be elected. but some decisive military victoryies come been inned with badly misjudged peace platform by the opposeing party and a
strong endorsement from the soldier's vote brought the president a solid victory in november. only days before he delivered his second inaugural, to the dismay of even his closest associates, he engineered the passing of the 13th amendment to the constitution, banning slavery. by the context of any great national occasion is the public's expectation. in 1865, the country expected the re-elected president to talk at least about at least two important subjects the war and even more importantly reconstruction. what would happen after the war? imagine the public's astonish astonishment when he said virtually nothing about the war and nothing at all specifically
about reconstruction, and yet he said a great deal. what the address was mostly about was the product of something which the public knew very little if anything namely the president's protracted meditation and the meaning of the war, specifically, why had it come and why was it lasting so long? this last part, there's evidence he really studyied that hard. for at least a year prior to the inaugural address we can identify in lincoln's writings and conversations tracing the ideas essential to the second inaugural. some of his writings contain similar phrases and proposition propositions, such as the hodges letter and letter to garny i referred to and his speech at
baltimore, all had a different kind of statement but a recognizable statement of the same themes. coming about a year before. perhaps the most revealing of these is the private memorandum aimed at understanding what could be deduced about the war from his major premise, which was the will of god prevails. what can be deduced from that is the subject of his meditation. lincoln was a life-long fatal fatalist, who believed in the words of alexander pope that whatever is is right. even though he was for most of his life, a religious skeptic, he nonetheless accepted the idea of an overruling providence, and at least by this time in a moral universe.
the conclusion he came to and he expressed in the speech, he realized at first not be popular, but he called it a truth that needed to be told. this is the private context of which i spoke earlier and which i hope will occupy a good share of our attention this evening. >> how did the speech get received? it was tough on us. >> it was a doer occasion, except for the sunlight that burst on him, as he started to speak. everybody was wet and muddy and there was not a very strong reaction, which is what he was expecting. there wasn't much to cheer about in what he said. i think you have to put it in the context also of 1920th century political oratory. people came to these things to be cheered up. give them something to yell about. most politicians would have thrown them red meat victory
and blood and so forth. he gave them a the logical interpretation. >> what about the bloody shirt crowd? were they offended by the malice towards none reference? >> yes. the people who wanted a strong reconstruction, the hard hand of war going down south, hanging people trying people, putting a lot of people in prison, which he was totally against, he didn't say it in so many words, but they knew what malice towards men meant. the senator said this speech augers trouble. >> you see how it pre-staged the deal at the courthouse i presume operateing under somebody's instructions. grant said you go home with your horse, you can keep your sidearm sidearms. it's over, you're free. >> he got those instructions from lincoln.
let them up easy. >> let them up easy wow. well let's move on to dr. carson, the late coretta scott king selected you sir, to edit and polish the papers of-- and polish the pape polish -- publish the papers of dr. martin king. >> in a sense it's a parallel in that lincoln believed the second inaugural was the better speech than the gettysburg address. the world has told king the better speech was the "i have a dream" speech. arguably the speech he gave in memphis was a better speech a fuller speech. it was a more coherent speech. i think what he was trying to do was sum up the meaning of his life. he had reached the point where he was ready for death but he had always been ready for that.
i think what he was coming to decide was that he was not going to accomplish his great goals in life. some people, most of you perhaps think of him as a civil rights leader. he did not think of himself that way. he was a social gospel minister who got recruited into the civil rights movement by rosa parks. she's the one who made him into a civil rights leader and he did that fairly well, all of us would agree for about 10 years. the civil rights agenda was pretty well completed by 1965. but if you look at his papers as i've done for the last 30 years, you find that his agenda went much beyond civil rights reform. he makes that clear in many of his early paper certainly makes that clear after he gets the nobel peace prize his agenda is partly racial justice but also
ending poverty throughout the world, not just in the united states. ending war throughout the world. that's pretty ambitious agenda. what happens during the next few years is that all the popularity that he gains from the "i have a dream" speech, from getting the nobel prize from the success of that civil rights agenda he is enormously popular and he spends that popularity quite rapidly, as he moves to these other issues, as he moves to chicago he moves and takes on the war in vietnam, launches the poor people's campaign as he goes to memphis, which is opposed by even members of his staff who think, why are you going to memphis? we've got a poor people's campaign and you're getting distract bide this sanitation workers' strike no one has even
heard of. so that's the context in which he gives that speech. he wants to explain, in some way ways, i think, similar to lincoln. he wants to explain why we're here. what's the significance of that. maybe that's one of the great things about a great speech, is that it provides meaning that goes beyond what most people think should be the meaning of the event. when you were mentioning about the second inaugural, he doesn't say what people want him to say expect him to a, i was at the march on washington here, and most people expected him to say something about
memphis? >> very little. one thing, he realized when you go back and look at that how little security compared to practically any person now. there's probably more security within 100 yards of here than there was at that crucial time. >> when you go through his paper papers, was there evidence of threats? >> yeah. now, we know a lot more about the threats that were there at that time. for example one of the things we know is military fantasyintelligence was watching him. but they weren't there to guard him, they were there to monitor his activities. they were in the fire station right across the street from where the lorraine hotel was. he had a lot of threats we're still finding out about. i think the important thing for him was that that he understood
that from his days in montgomery, he goes through what some call the kitchen experience, where he gets these calls threatening his life, threatening his family, repeated calls. at one point, he just breaks down, i can't take this, i didn't ask for this. he's ready to give up. he has a religious experience. he feels a presence of god telling him to, to continue on. i think from that point on, he understands that, yes, this might lead to my death but this is the course i've taken and there's a fatalistic part of it. some of you have probably seen the movie "selma." there's a scene where he's attacked in a hotel and another similar thing that happens at birmingham where someone comes
up and clobbers him, a guy who is a nazi. everyone around described his reaction to it, of not even surprise of just, you know, he -- in fact in the birmingham incident, he immediately is more concerned about his attacker than about himself. everyone else is concerned about him. he goes into a room and actually has a conversation with the guy who attacked him. it's something that was deeply felt by him, that his life might end at any point, and particular particularly when you get to '68, after the level of violence that was in the country at that time, this is after major urban rebellions in detroit and newark.
>> there's a real parallel benefit lincoln. he didn't like protection. he fought against it evaded it all the time. he never are really had very much protection. police assigned a guy to come and hang out around the white house. he was the kind of fatalist started talking before he became president about the fact he had an intuition he was going to meet some kind of terrible end. he told lots of people that. when he got to be president he told more than one person he didn't think he was going to finish -- he was going to outlive the war. i think you can see that. of course, it's easier to see things in retrospect. you can see that. in the second inaugural, he doesn't have a program and doesn't tell you how you're going to do it but describes why it's happened.
he puts in there strong language so people tempted to say, well maybe the war really wasn't about slavery, maybe about regional differences and economic economics, you know backward economy or something. he makes it so clear and he says it in such a careful way, but he had the sense, i believe, and i think you can see the strengths of it that he probably wasn't going to make it and certainly that's what dr. king was saying the night before his assassination. >> isn't there an irony that lincoln and king were actually the best hope of the other side? they were the ones who were ready to reach out. >> and king in this wonderful collection of king's speeches you have there's a great sermon in there about non-violence. it's really about ghana. but he says the genius of the
northern non-violent revolution is you don't make bitter enemies of the people that lose, and they can help you rebuild. this is lincoln's part. he doesn't say he learned it from lincoln. it's exactly the way he talked. he didn't like to talk about as the heavyies, didn't like to use the word "treason, would occasional occasionally. he was always saying all we are asking is that you come back into the union and take up your place as citizens of the union. that's all we want. that wasn't enough for most people. i think that's what he wanted. it's the same idea. that's so we can minimize the hatred and bitterness afterwards. >> great. i love this. deena, you've been charged with -- we're going through the history and emotions of this. you've been charged with the
somewhat dry challenge, speaking about the religious and intellectual references made these young ladies just gave us portions of. >> i always love the exciteing opportunity to be the guy that closes the evening down. i've killed more partyies than i can even think of. a couple of thoughts about these two addresses. first of all, we live in a time of a great -- even in my own lifetime our own lifetime decline of political oratory. what we have here are two wonderful examples of very different kinds of oratory. king is a great high style speaker. in many ways a lot of common with speakers like churchill and kennedy and a lot of high style rhetoric. lincoln is in many ways a plain
style speaker. king is expansive and tells stories. lincoln really -- it's almost like reading an emily dickinson poem, very compressed. the thing about lincoln's speech i just love so much, it starts out almost like a shareholder's report. it's extremely dull at the beginning. he tells you why he's not going to give a big speech. and then by the end he's given the most profound the logical ex exposition of what's happened in the course of the war. king, on the other hand, is obviously a master orator of a very different kind and king uses a kind of the expansive storytelling mode as a way to really engage the audience. i would say, for me what's really interesting theologically about these two speeches is how different they are. if we have -- if we're in a moment of decline of oratory
we're also in a moment of just the worst kind of public theology that you can imagine. politicians all speak about god in very kind of form you layic pro forma ways in the 21st century. these two people are actually the logical thinkers. lincoln is looking at the war and trying to understand god's agency in that war. he comes up with this idea essential essentially, that america is a kind of christ figure. that america is suffering because of the sins of slavery. king, very interestingly, goes the other direction. we didn't hear red tonight but the speech begins with him imaginening god eninging god taking him on a flight through human history. he starts seeing the exodus and flies from the exodus to part
then non and martin luther to the founding fathers to abraham lincoln trying to decide the emancipation proclamation to them. franklin roosevelt writing his first inaugural. he says of all the times in human history i want to be a alive, a few years in the middle of the 20th century. >> what king sees is actually this expansive story of liberation. lincoln, in a way even though he's on the verge of winning a bar, is giving a pen tensional speech and king, at the lowest moment of his life, you might say, is giving a really wonderful resurrected speech about the advancement of human freedom. they're both trying to read history and see what god is doing in history.
they do it in very different way ways but enormous pro-fundyity and not only rhetoric but the logical reading of history we don't do a lot anymore. >> i found myself amazed going back lincoln gives two of the greatest speeches in les than 1,000 words total. king would take that long to go from i'm coming to the conclusion to the conclusion. king was a baptist minister. that's part of the deal you get. but i think you're right king is telling a parable. the exodus parable, which has been one of the most powerful liberation stories certainly the most powerful liberation story in african-american history but i think in western
history. a story we just keep coming back to in different forms. i think what he's doing is he's taking what many people involved in the sanitation workers strike, they're looking at themselves and saying we've been out on strike we're trying to get a 10 cent an hour raise and they don't even recognize our union and no one really care cares. he's coming to tell them that they are the exodus story. >> right. >> that they are escapeing from pharaoh, that this is something that in the history of the world, they are part of this story. it seems to me that's one of the things that made king such a powerful figure, for many of us involved in the struggle we thought it was getting a seat at lunch counter-or getting a
better seat aton a bus or getting a civil rights legislation passed. and telling someone even if you don't believe it you were part of one of the greatest -- what i consider the greatest freedom struggle in the world ever seen. king saw it in global terms. what we don't often recognize, as americans were focused on civil rights struggles, around the world, there were anti-cologne yam struggles going on. so while african-americans were getting full civil rights here the majority of humanity were for the first time becomeing citizens. >> he mentions those 1960, all of the kind of changes in africa. >> he goes in the speech in africa and different places an puts it in that context of --
that you are part of the greatest freedom struggle the world has ever seen and, of course, i would want to be here even though he says even though the world is all messed up. i'd rather be here than the renaissance and reformation all of that. >> you will be hearing memphis tonight on the eve of the sanitation worker's strike rather than watching martin luther pound his 95 the cease to theto -- 95 thesis to the door. and i'm it's not a king or lincoln scholar but studyied a lot of both of them. >> the way in which the "i have a dream" speech has become the standards people think about king people forget about the depth of his intellectual
psychological sophistication. when released from the birmingham jail and you see the depth of his learningness and sharpness of his the logical in insight and lincoln as you said was really a life-long skeptic and not someone who would have maybe defined himself as a christian in many ways, yet he has this deep self-taught understanding of theology. they both use the text different differently. lincoln quotes ss passages. lincoln uses the bible as cultural glue these are phrases you recognize and help me with my audience the same as shakespeare used in the 19th century. >> king reads the good samaritan, brings the people into that story and say we have to find a way to identify with
the other, not to think about ourselves but think about the guy lie ing the street. very different strategies but both very effective in their own way. >> i was thinking chris you mentioned the horrendous butcher bill of the war and how that was a huge part of the context. i think that was one of the things weighing inging on lincoln's mind. even in this meditation that he write writes, you can see it is the why so long getting to it. he says gov ss if god wanted it that way it could end tomorrow. it doesn't end. so that means -- he just lets the logic work. somehow there's a reason the war has to go on this long, that the mortality bill has to get so
long. has the that's the understanding he comes to but with the ends in sight. i think he disspared before but with the ends in sight he found this is the reason he had to go on so long, the north is complicit in slavery as much as the south. >> how so? >> the whole experiment in american democracy j which is the thing he thinks this is most precious thing is contaminated with slavery. they didn't deal with it in the constitution. >> let me ask you all and ask you to submit your questions on those cards. the min con memorial staggers me. i know this is the national cathedral but the second is
lincoln memorial. mary ann der son went there-anderson bentz therebentz -- went there when they wouldn't let her sing at constitutional hall. it's interesting how that temple- -- >> richard nixon went there. >> to meet and talk sports with demonstrator demonstrators. let's be serious. sure i think this city is not about a penny or five dollar bill, it's where king went. it's almost primordial, isn't it, to go there and give the speech that matters. >> one is it's kind of an accident the speech was delivered at the lincoln
memorial. most people who supported the idea of the march was the march was aimed at congress. they wanted to ed toed to come to the steps of the capitol and have the protests there. john f. kennedy didn't want the protests there and no one favoring krifrts wantcivil rights wanted it there. you look at the mall, what is the farthest estest place away from the capitol? of course we're sending them down there. it turned out to be this wonderful decision base everyone then had that simymbolic importance and king had lincoln on his minds in his remarks and mentioned five score years ago lincoln delivered his great
speech. he mentions the emancipation proclamation 100 years before the watch -- walk on washington. >> he was given 5-7 minutes to give a speech. asking a baptist minister to give a speech in 5 to 7, you're asking for trouble. he did prepare this wonderfully crafted speech, probably the most wonderfully lyly crafted speech he over wrote because most of the time he never sat down and wrote out a speech. at the end of seven minutes, he decided to tell them about his dream. the irony is the most famous speech he ever gives -- gave, would not have happened if he had stuck to the rules. that was all extemporaneous
about the dream. >> like lincoln, he had tried out some of these ideas earlier. >> yes. very much so. yeah. >> the interesting genesis of all this goes back to our declaration of the founding document, not the institution. >> the interesting thing about the "i have a dream speech" -- i love the declaration the constitution we can talk about. something about the deck clarlaration has risen up. and all these references we make to thelife liberty and pursuit of happiness. we don't quote the constitution. that is a straight line pro-jec trry from 1776 to where we are right now. the unpaid check or the bad check that dr. king talked about, a great metaphor, we're coming here, we want payment on
that check. you said we would life, love pursuit of happiness. okay. give me. >> gary wills does make that point that the gettysburg address is lincoln reframeing the whole story of america from the constitution to the declaration. when you're in the lincoln memorial i visit as often as i can, the carveing on the sides and one of the most memorable things about that building is the seals of the stakes is near the roof line, like building in some sense, incorporates the building of the union. >> now we will get the questions, and being brought forward like the aiacademy award
somebody's coming forward. i'm making a run. i think these are going to be great. >> they're coming. >> what is the best way we can remember lyndon and dr. king in the 21st century and keep their memories alive? dean hall. >> i think two really quick thoughts. one of them is thinking about king and thinking about the current state of race relations in america and thinking about lincoln and about the legacy of slavery. it does seem to me that -- the
president has called for a national conversation on race. we're clear i in a moment america's history on race is coming back again to reassert itself and we need to engage it. i think the best way to keep them alive is seriously as a national community, to have that conversation about race and to go to lincoln and to king for guidance about that. i've taught in schools and i've seen the way we turn both lincoln and king into old dead guy guys. i do think this current moment of real anger and tension and fear and anxiety about race relations is a moment to go back and bring them into the living present. [ applause ] >> i'll pass on that. >> i think one of the things
that draws king and lincoln together is that they both thought of american democracy as an experiment whose outcome we still don't know. i think many americans become complacent about, yes of course, we're going to succeed as a nation. we've been here over 200 years. 200 years in the history of the world is a very short time. i would argue that only during the last 50 years have we really been a democracy. so we really have only about 50 years of opening up the notion of democracy to include everyone. that experiment is what king and lincoln were both speaking about, they make it explicit, that this might not work.
lincoln, at the end of the war, he's saying, you might survive and the gettysburg address is around that theme we might survive as a nation and we might not. i think the general feeling of americans when they celebrate king or martin luther king is that it symbolizes patting ourselves on the back for the accomplishments we've had. that if not for king we wouldn't have a civil rights bill, if not for king we would still be-had jim crow. but king was not overly concerned about whether we got a civil rights bill. when you think about it that's not very much of an accomplishment. what i mean by that is that the 14th and 15th amendment stated much more clearly than the civil rights act of '64 and voteing
rights act of 1965. if we wanted a clear statement of the fright vote, we had it. it was passed 150 years ago. why did we need a voteing rights act? because we didn't obey the clear language of the constitution. so i think that when we look at ourselves honestly i think the one quality americans have more than anything else is self-confidence. it's misplaced. we think of ourselves, we're the richest nation, the freest nation and never put those statements to a test. so we have a very inflated notion of our capabilities as a democratic society. i think if king or lincoln were around today, lincoln for a
different reason, i think he was a skeptic about -- it was all in god's hands anyway. >> you can hope, he's big on hope. >> i was going to say the questioner wanted a practical suggestion. i'll just say this. take advantage of the fact that certainly for the generations that are here now, the lincoln memorial is not just about lin lincoln but also martin luther king. we should encourage that and the whole idea of monuments is to cherish and keep alive and promote what they represent because it's human nature to become complacent. >> maybe i'm more optimistic than you. i admit to that. you sound a little dismal here
about where we're going. >> to think of it as an experiment. >> i can tell you that the general rule of us all is that we are more liberal and better on race than every one of our parents and our kids are better than us. it's just a fact. my kids -- kids don't come home and say i have a black teacher at school. you don't know the guy is black until you go to the pta meeting until they bring it up. my kids don't think it's true. i insist on ethnicity because race is a stupid word we're all in the same race. i think it's gotten much different. we will have more intermarriage. i don't know if the walls of geographic segregation are going to drop. they haven't dropped yet. there's a lot that hasn't
changed. >> chris, i would agree with everything you're saying except that one thing that is true is that johnson and you're a political expert johnson in 1964, won by a landslide. that is the last election in which the majority of white americans and the majority of black americans have voted for the same candidate. it hasn't happened since. it's not likely to happen in the lifetime of any of us up here. >> i guess i'd say i'm hopeful and where i agree with lincoln is i think slavery is still deeply embedded -- the legacy of slavery is still deeply part of our national problem. we keep on telling ourselves -- we keep on these moments we say, like when you go through therapy and think you're well and you discover 10 years later you have to go back into therapy. slavery feels like that to me in america, it's an other
problem -- at best we'll be in recovery from slavery, i don't think we'll ever be held as a nation from slavery. >> let me go to another question. this is just looking for trouble here. who made a larger impact on modern society? lincoln or king. i don't know what the purpose of this is. somebody wants a little fight here. what do you think? who wants to pick up this calibration? >> i look upon jefferson lincoln and king in this perpetual dialogue about democracy. one without the other doesn't really make a lot of sense to me. if you look at lincoln's draft you know the declaration of independence in the way in which later on, rincon has his commentary on that king has his commentary on lincoln having a
commentary on that that's the american dialogue. you can't take one of them out of it. king's speeches don't make any sense without lincoln or jefferson. >> it might be the bad american habit of always having to know who is the biggest or what is the longest. >> have a contest. >> yeah. >> let me ask you about what seems to be behind this being experts about these two gentlemen, what was it that they didn't say? let's start with the more recent dr. king. no start with lincoln. he said, all we wanted to do was prevent the expansion off slavery. that's all he politically knew he could do because they went get to the point -- they would get to the point about slavery, used the constitution. >> what was lindon's goal?
inequal inequality? social integration? did he ever intimate what his dream was or for a good country? >> i think he was most of the time, mat he once described as behaveing like a river pilot in the mississippi river, it's such a treacherous river, but the pilot can only steer from point to point because the river will have changed since the last time he was there. lincoln said i take my cue from them. in other words i take one step at a time. when i get to that point i'll see what it looks like down the river. i'm thinking so much that way, it's hard to say. one of the things, there's a pint gare point gary makes or hints at he doesn't describe, doesn't say anything about reconstruction because he hasn't gotten any
farther with charity for all and mallace towards mallace. that's how we're going into it. he doesn't have a program and getting a lot of flak from his first feelers, the soldiers who fought, we have to let them vote and ones educated now reason to not have them vote. why can't we start there? >> he's put out something in the way of race relations and improvement. he doesn't have a program. hasn't drawn ufp a bureaucratic arrangement how it will work. he steers from point to point. he is a big vision man if malice toward men and charity at all is a big vision which i think it is especially if you can s
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