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tv   Race Class Politics in Modern Atlanta  CSPAN  March 11, 2018 10:35pm-12:01am EDT

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the alterrist that we've collected. >> next georgia state university professor maurice hobson talks about his book "the legends of the black mecca." he looks at the history atlanta atlanta's black community. the atlanta history center hosted this 90 minute event. >> it's a pleasant to be here tonight. i want to thank the staff of the atlanta history center for this
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opportunity. i'm in high cotton. being here at the atlanta history center. it's a good place to be. i will be presenting just some words from my book. i want to share something with you about the title of the book. initially when the book was in press at the university of north carolina, there were conversations around changing the title of the book to the myth of the black mecca. one of the things i told the editors, i said, i don't think that's fair. atlanta is a unique place. i say if you say misses black mecca that would make it impossible to for me to stay in the city. there are good people in this city. as a result i named it legend of the black mecca because i'm former black athlete.
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one of the things we will discuss tonight is that there's some truth to this.
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if shift ignored forgotten or misconstrued, it can in part be of a miseducation of a people that would have them going to the backdoor when they are permitted to go to the front history is so very important. not only because it is a vital means to the cognition of and solution to many of the problems that upset us. it is at its heart and soul of aspect of liberation. major aspect in my development as a scholar activist in history is steeped in public history.
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challenges these communities to broaden own sense of boundary. public history and service is more of spirit that sees historical scholarship as a part of the largest scope that includes academic and nonacademic entities as well as various components of the public at large. my interest as a scholar activist is guided by commitment to the preservation and dissemination of black heritage. i strive for content where the public has opportunity to produce krill critical knowledge. i organize my service so that it can provides the public with the opportunity to challenge, explore and construct relationships between personal experiences, community
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experiences and public policy. in this, the world is our classroom. our classroom is the world. this is a 17-year-old maurice hobson. this is my best friend's 1977 cutlass supreme. i grew up in selma, alabama. home of the voting right acts. in 1994 a group from atlanta outcast dropped first album. i would ride through the city of southern alabama blasting outcast from the back people boom box. because my friend rod's car had an eight track player and nobody made eight tracks. to me this was rebel music. it spoke to some serious things. i thought the music of exceptional. we'll talk about that little bit later.
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on march 5, 1995 was the first time i was able to meet outcast. it marks 30th celebration of bloody sunday. outcast did a concert in selma. what pivot. i want you to look at this gentleman here. this is w.e.b. dubois.
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on september 18, 1990. the international olympic committee selected atlanta georgia as host city for the centennial olympian. nearly two decades passed to the mayor's office thanks to unprecedented coalition and city's white progressive voters and went into host the olympics. atlanta scored a victory.
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fruiteds of of this success were not have never been shared equal. as black city governments pursued policies that benefited the black and white elites to
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the exclusion of vast majority of black citizens that brought them to power. this multimedia presentation examines these contradictions. they emerged and deep over the course of atlanta's 20th century history in this period. through archiveal research. it will demonstrate how appointed black king makers capitalize on the broader black electorate to rise to power. if you pay attention to social
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media, i'm sure you seen onslaught of hashtags such as #wakanda forever, recent days i'm sure you will see lot more in the future, the overwhelming white and conservative critics have attempted to dis credit this film "the black panther" cannot understand why black people are so moved what white perceive a nation. a nation so powerful that it thrives. isolationist policy to protect from antiblack racism.
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just as the film "black panther" force black world to have conversations about ourselves. the legend of the black mecca does so as well. i acknowledge in this that atlanta represents the highest achievements for black folk in this country for more than a century. yet complicate the plaque by cultivating narratives, black histories from atlanta's underbelly as city rose to world class.
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to run a center that studies black life.
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an opportunity mr. black folk can be in charge. he begins to look closely. he compares the city of atlanta to atlanta. a greek goddess. men would come from country side to win her hand at marriage. she would defeat them and they would be put to death. what happens is this one -- they want to marry her. he goes in old stride. he says what can i do to disdistract her so i can win her hand in marriage. he says why don't you lay golden apples along the course of the race.
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then slipping from the high grass through over the river veil and hill. as he leaned over the third, his armed fell around her. looking on each other, the blaze passion of that love profaned sanctuary of love. they were cursed. dubois quites something that's incriminating.
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this particular book speaks to historic themes it of history of black education, civil rights movement, new african-american urban history. and african-american class formation and stratification. it embodies frameworks. one of the i feel is necessary to discuss the biggest conversation around atlanta peeks to a conversation that i have coin coin the black in the south. often times we hear stories where atlanta is positioned a as civil rights battleground city. dr. king knew this wasn't the case. this was part of how he understood the american south. but the truth of the matter, the conversation around the black in
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the south, there are lot of debates in the field of history are based on two things. the first is the civil rights act of 1964 which busts the 14th amendment and grants equal protection coming out of birmingham which grants citizenship. the second is the voting rights act out of 1965 coming out of selma grants universal suffrage. what particularly interesting about this is those two pieces of legislation create a new movement called black in the south. it's that kind of movement that produces an atlanta as a black mecca. i want to fast forward little bit. this is a picture of king of the south. this is actually something that i pulled from the archive.
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i'm grateful to her family that are here today for giving me pictures for this manuscript. this is a picture of mana jackson on the day he becomes first black mayor of the city. his father was andrew jackson. maynard's mother received ph.d. in french from the university university. they came from influential family. but they were not rich.
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maynard jackson graduates from high school and enters morehouse college. he went to north carolina central college which is now north carolina central university. it is there that he meets bunny who becomes bunny jackson. you see here is the day he's elected. in 1968, maynard and bunny had a daughter by the name of brook. show off the baby to her mother in lewisburg. robert f. kennedy is assassinated at the time.
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maynard decided to do so without seeking the endorsement black king makers in the atlanta voters league. which was founded in 1946 by his grandfather john wesley dobbs. in do so, he really -- he crossed the plaque political king makers in a particular kind of way. in his senatorial race, he wins the city of atlanta. he carries atlanta but he loses greatly within the state. it becomes clear he can carry votes. in 1969, he decides he's going to run for vice mayor. he's able to win. what this does it sets the course that in 1973 he runs against the first jewish mayor in the city and he wins and he becomes the city's first black mayor. he does all of this without ever
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asking his wife bunny. it dissolved their marriage. one of the things that bunny jackson was say about maynard jackson his ministry was politics. she recognized there was something unique about him in this particular way. he worked against crime. ehe brought crime levels down.
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these crimes known as the atlanta child murders. it's so visceral. children were being murdered. some of the horrific crimes committed in american history. surrounding the missing of murdered children where many questions that rim unanswered and that challenge parameters of how this episode was presented and played out in the public. this would prove to be a case where interracial class tensions boiled over within atlanta black communities. it demonstrates now black sentimentses towards jackson shifted from championing the cause of the working and poor to protecting atlanta's national and international commercial branding. when you go into the atlanta
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papers, one the things you noticed during this period of time every tuesday jackson would be out of the city. if you look at president jimmy carter's papers his name would show up in washington d.c. he would go up and argue with president carter to loose federal funding to solve the murders. as city's chief officer, he had to be careful about how he moved. muhamad ali found this to be despicable. he felt something needed to be done. publicly, we know that the atlanta child murders supposedly
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took place between 1979 and 1979 and 1981. evidence suggest it takes place between 1975 and 1985 and there are more than 200 victims. by in large, the conversation around the murders was something that particularly unique because atlanta city hall deemed lot of these children as hustlers and run away. when this was done, black atlanta bristles on what happened to the victims of the atlanta child murders, all the known facts would gleaned from fbi documents interviews with the mothers and other community members about the victims. this piece compiled just
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accurate data to demonstrate these victim were harmless children or running errands. i want to give you examples of this. youssef bell at the age of his death he was 9 years old. he was last seen october 21, 1979. bodies found november 8, 1979. he died asphyxiation. he earned spending money by running errands for elderly tenant and balancing checkbook. at the time of his abduction he was last seen on to back coe run for the elderly neighbors. that was one of the things to where if the convenience store knew next door neighbor liked cigarettes they would send you to get to the cigarettes. the conditions upon his death he lived with his brother mother, sister in apartment and known to
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be math and science wiz. doesn't seem like he was a hustler?
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no. there's an element of hustle here. clifford jones. at the time of his death he was 13. he was last seen august 20 1980. his death was by asphyxiation.
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secured 1998 democratic national convention. he had no plan for atlanta's working class, working poor and many felt he had no respect for the cultural preservation of atlanta's black history. what's particularly interesting in this though, is that mayor young moved into his mayorship ronald reagan taken about 80% all the federal dollars out of the city. it forced mayor young to use his u.n. contacts to get the caribbean, africa and rest of the world to invest in the city. we begin to see her is liberal politics that begin to play out. i want to play something for you
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guys. pay attention to what you see. >> the international olympic committee is awarded the 1996
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olympic games to the city of atlanta. >> there you can see maynard jackson former mayor andrew young billy payne has been to in there. >> it was 95 years from the day booker t. washington gave the speech deemed atlanta compromise. it was 84 years short of the atlanta race riot. there's a lot going on at this particular time. atlanta olympic dream was spawned in 1975. i believe atlanta can host the olympics. what happens is, jackson is interested in this. he called on his good friend and they bring together 16 of the most prominent businessmen
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atlanta. they vote a no. we don't want the olympics. what they actually saw was that the 1972 summer games in munich were marred by 11 israeli athlete and coaches that were matched about the terrorist organization. the imspending summer 1996 games was with debt.
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billy payne approaches mayor andy young. said i think atlanta can host the olympics. the lord told me this is god's work. weapon want to do this. initially he thought he was talking over young's head but what he didn't know is that andrew long had an infinity for the olympics. young''s father had taken him to the deleter to see jesse owens beat nazi in the race. young grown up understanding the olympics and understood what was going on. what happens in this is young then makes a statement. he says i believe we can help atlanta's children if we do so. his wife served a as chairwoman
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for international of the year. what happens with this, when this becomes part of the olympic movement we see the democratic national convention in 1988 city of atlanta creates the athletic foundation. where atlanta plays host to 40 amateur athletic competition. once this happens, maynard
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jackson is forced to become mayor again. i'm not clear on this. i don't have documentation to prove this. i'm not sure if he was pushed to be mayor again because he knew politics or if he really wanted to be mayor again. there was conversation around michael lomax jumps out there. he pulls out at last minute. maynard jackson runs for the third term. he runs basically unoppose. democracy is useless win there's only one candidate. when jackson gets back in office, he pushes affirmative action plan. he uses eeoc policy to make sure that black contractors received some the olympic money. what is also happening, you have the erection of the atlantic center and the olympic ring
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where the business leaders in the city, drew an invisible line around the city. talk about that in a minute. we see visitors bureau and the university of system of georgia that give about $160 million to olympic housing. they did so under the they may give it to the poor and homeless. what becomes particular in this, much the black community saw the olympics as being ally to to take that downtown atlantic for development.
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what i'm saying, we are 30 years into a four year gentrification period. we're talking about the belt line. what you're about to see is going to -- i will let these words speak for themselves.
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she really championed the people. she will be asked question about a bond referendum. i will let her talk. >> some of the issues that you were fighting against. i'm fighting issues like imposing on people referendum. i knew it wasn't going anywhere. i told them it up with going anywhere. >> what do you think is bad about the bond referendum? >> they knew that was there before they thought about it. this is part of the olympics.
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you know that. all that big maynard jackson said he better go back and search again and wonder did they thank the devil. trouble has been if this thing ever since it's been coming this way. you haven't seen the trouble yet. god will rain down on it. they always plotting how they can get money. it's now i going to take this much money to fix those bridges but a week to do it. that's stupid. shouldn't take that much money. you had money before the fixes. you knew it was there. everybody come through this city not pay attacks tax on anything.
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working here, bring the buses if here and they don't pay nothing. you will ride the poor man to death to pay this. are you kidding me? you got to be sick. you got more poor folks here. who in the hell you think will take that in there? somebody will take that stuff laying down. i should have gotten one. i was praying for god to make me better. i'm much better. i are roll up my sleeve. i 1 nowhere in the world -- tearing up all the community make them what you want them to be. we're not having input. man gone.
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>> you heard her message. i want you to think about that analysis there. i'm going to move in a different direction. i want to bring a point. in 1990 atlanta was campaigned top city for crime in the united states. it had a total of 16,097 violent crimes with 231 murders, 695 rapes, 6109 robbery, 9062 aggravated assaults. over 25 year period from 1980 to 2005, 1990 was marked highest level of crime. this is the same year atlanta wins bid for the olympics. stick a pen in this analysis and move around. insert again bunny jackson. in 1976, bunny jackson found
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first class inc. which was a p.r. firm. first black woman operated p.r. firm in atlanta. she gets caw from donald bird. group of musicians down in atlanta. they're really good. i want you to give them a record contract. what happens is, bunny said i don't know how to get a record contract but she knew who to call. what happens in this, why would you put them in a studio. clarence wires her $200. they're in the studio, he signs him. what happens here is bunny used a political relationship that may yard had and made a professional relationship. in doing so, this is the creation of the s.o.s. band.
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soul and funk group that comes out of atlanta. all kind of hits that come out of this. as a result of this, larry blackmon from new york cities butny said and if you can do that if those country boys, i'm sure you can do something special for me. this creates atlanta this funk and soul sound. maynard jackson establishes bureau of culture affairs that support art. what this does is this provides
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a particular kind of mechanism in atlanta that produces, organize noise. now we're back to where we started. organized noise is a production group that is based here in atlanta. together they produced several multiple grammy art it's, tlc outcast, goody mob. been on the music scene. i'm going to let them talk to you all for a second. this is a interview i conducted with them on october 21, 2015. >> it was a blessing for one. sleepy brown's father was jimmy
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brown. that's 1970's funk band. he saw music perform, it was through live music. s.o.s. band, cameo. dimp shows he would be in. he thought of music was making it live.
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>> we're going to do some things here. i want to break down who some of the artist are. outcast were the first southern group to make it to national and international acclaim as hip hop artist from the american south based on southern esthetic. i'm not saying they're the first southern group. comprised andre benjamin, outcast is a rap duo that hailed in atlanta and met in east point georgia. known to locals as the heart of
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the swats. goody mob also help from southwest atlanta. through it, started a group of artist who worked well with willie knight jr., cameron gibb and thomas gallaway. the development of the dirty south rap music who worked opened black atlanta to a social commentary from a generation of rap artist who lived in under belly of a global commercial center. this goes band to dubois and other wings.
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there are some words in this but it's not extra. you will see the lyrics on the screen and hopefully you can follow.
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it presents very different kind of understanding of the city. ♪
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in this verse the sweets that get refers to is the first project completed on time and under budget as a result of atlanta winning the olympic bid. this $56 million located at 254 peach street, was build to house a homeless and poor during the games. it hinteds at the the corruption of bribery that occurred in secure's atlanta's centennial olympic bid. a scandal during the mayoral runoff election called for federal investigation of services that was suspected of giving millions of bribes and shares to city officials in return for favorable legislation. investigation led to the
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indictment of seven people including airport businessman harold. the investigation tarnished reputation of atlanta's affirmative action program. the lyrics focused more on policing and prison on the corruption. however, in a state of the union address in 1994 president bill clinton proposed a bipartisan backed bill which he subsequently signed mandating life without parole. on similar state or federal charges. governor of georgia through the olympic process garnet national prominence for the first two
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strikes and you're out legislation in regards to violent felons. this law included provisions of lie without parole for felons.
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what we're talking about here is the prison industrial complex. so that atlanta franchise consumption it democrat demonized the black indigenous. let's do one more. ♪ direct conversation around the atlanta child murders. negative outburst from member of the atlanta's black community who contested the verdict.
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blame convinced that the murders had not been solved. camille bell explained, judge cooper was part of the prosecution. that was a conflict of interest that was widely believe. i don't think you'll find anyone in atlanta's black communities who believe wayne williams committed all those murders alone. we feel there should be some cooperative effort with the federal agencies. reverend joseph boone openly attacked closing of the backs on the two murder. many mothers were still afraid that a killer was on the loose. there was a growing suspicion among these preyed upon by the cereal killer that the jury found the wrong man guilty. better yet, there was not enough
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evidence to convict wayne williams. evidence of this we're seeing because that atlanta lacked faith. they need to find answers in the open conspiracy theory discussion. in particular, the mothers of the missing and murder children langished in desperation. interview conducted resulted in an outburst. starting that they knew that wayne williams not the killer. the mother referred to murdered victim mother number one, say that she had been informed that the murderer was from a prominent family in georgia if not the richest one or one of the richest families in georgia they were not white people. there was an idea that the clan was killing these children. what she states is wayne williams didn't kill those children. the klan didn't kill those children, this has to do with
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interferon. he was used to kill cancer. it cured more cancer for so called caucasians. 30 years ago, black males were not dying every five minutes of cancer. most potent form is found in a black male that never had full ejaculation. murdered victim mother number one, she had seen marks on the bodies six of the children that indicated a medical procedure. nation of islamen america had to
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kill blacks. murdered victim number one made trip to chicago and met with farrakhan. he hired healthcare health professional. according to the murdered victim mother number one, both her and goingry were -- gregory were given this information. widespread relief made the atlanta child murder susceptible to all forms of conspiracy. at the beginning of of this presentation, i stated to you all that history is based on facts. what people think about those facts. in conclusion history is a weapon. black history focus on major issues involved in the study of the worldwide black experience. both objective issues being
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analyzed in the research and literature and issues of how black people think about their experience. studied interpreted wisely, it can help defend and inspire protect and unify. if history is ignored or misconstrued it can be pat of miseducation of a peep. history is so very important. not only because it is a vital means to the cognition of and solution to many of the problems that beset us. but because it is the heart and soul of liberation itself. what i'm saying to you all, i started this presentation by showing a 17-year-old music that i thought was unique. what i did not understand is that the universe allows med me to understand how i would make a contribution to for my life's
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work as a history professor. i hope this presentation has been enlightening. it hope that it has been useful. i thank you for your time. [applause] >> is this on? thank you dr. hobson. we can take about five questions. you guys want to line up. please make sure they are questions and not stories so that we have time. afterwards i know it's really found try to catch him before he gets to the signing table, he's going to be at the signing table to sign some books. if anyone wants to come line up for a question, he'll take about five.
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>> i'm interested to see what will happen will that. i have talked to politicians on all levels about this.
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technically, the debate in the felled of history that states that history either repeats itself or people repeat history. we haven't figured out what that is. if you want to chart the future, must figure out the past. i hope i answered that. >> when is the new book coming out? >> this is sal here. he has been a good friend. >> i'm so glad it is out. answer to the last question kind of sets a stage what i want to ask you about. that is conflict between ad hoc policy and strategic planning. my criticism is we've had political leaders who have sought to do good through ad hoc
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programs without strategic plan behind it. >> this is something unique. sit here and i'm critical of politics and politicians and those i've had turn to talk to i have to be critical of you. i admire this about ambassador young. he said i did what i did. you got to write what you write. he laugh about it. i don't envy politicians. that's a reason i'm a professor. i say that because you take someone like maynard jackson. i admired maynard jackson. he saw beyond the curve. there's real adher ration there -- admiration there. there's a difference between
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activism and governing. there are lot of things that take place within this. i recently spoke with ambassador young. he thanked me more this book he says, folk just thought history out here making decisions. he said you complicate this narrative how show how difficult it was to do some things. with this, with the conversation around what is going to take place, we really do have to think about how we're going to raise a new group of politicians that can embrace a new world, a new technology world that can come up with solution. as historian we see the problems. issues of water, issues of public housing issues of poverty, which needs it take place. but in the process of that, you have to kind of keep in mind that these cities are supposed
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to keep up with the times. i hope i answered that question. >> atlanta public schools desegregate august none 1951. difference being now, here's my question, when i was growing opposers part of program called the empty program where i was bussed and i attended warren t. jackson. when the empty m. program dissolved which is atlanta public schools fit kids were forced
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to go back to their community school. what do you think can be done to improve the relationship between children? they don't have interactions regularly with people that don't look like them. >> this is a really big question. i want to share something with you briefly. i didn't go to school with white children from 7th to 12th grade. one of the things that came from that all of the friends that i had up to the 7th grade, i not seen them since 1990. it really presented some things where it showed -- it took away my childhood. with you asking that question, i think about alonzo crim i think
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the creation maze high school. how maze opened up to providing the kind of programs for black students to go and ivy programs and different things. the georgia state university has alonzo crim center for urban education. we allowed for the school systems. we've allowed for charter schools and privatization of education. we allowed this for to take place. we put the onerous what is going to develop our children to private congresseses -- corporations when we should be responsible. if we want better public schools we misdemand for public schools. now that i think about this,
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atlanta still very segregated city. we have to do better job in terms of bringing together prime minstersprimeprograms that allow for diverse students. maynard jackson high school is taking a real stab at it. they strive to do things. i do lot of work with the fulton county mark. clayton, dekalb, atlanta pull schools in terms of social studies and curriculum. what we misdo is going to take our public universities and our scholars to really go in and create new curriculums to engage our youth to -- i'm in the going
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to deracialize their mind but to open their minds. i hope i answered that question. [applause] >> thank you so much. >> i rather be a producer than a politician especially after seeing the stress the and the things that a politician has to balance. it's kind of a set up for my question. being that as you touched on, atlanta being a liberal city and conservative state it's like, -- the cross on my dad's chest he entered into his first
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mayorship. being expected to walk on water right out the gate. it's almost like, okay, put you on the bottom of the ocean and swim up. we have to deal with these construction and that the fabric of the legislation in georgia. if we want to really deal with some things in the city. it's like a bubble within a bubble. you see where i'm going. even with the workers
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sanitation workers. the missing and murdered children. my dad with sanitation workers he was trying to find funds so that they wanted a raise. we're going to quit. it was like a back and forth thing. they eventually came back to work. that's just a great example of how kind of had to walk on the fence. he was always trying to get funds for the missing murders. get to my question, what do you think can be done to break the chains of the georgia legislation to start
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implementing things that the city is striving for? >> one things i learned when i moved to georgia second time the rest the state doesn't like atlanta. they feel like atlanta is a city state. in 2012 there was a referendum on the books to be voted on about transportation and the state voted it out. city of atlanta like we're all for it. the state voted it down. we don't want resources going to laptop. this is the thing about where we are. i'm a realist. there will always be suffering in the world. one of the things i can say about the state of georgia that is very different tan my home
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state of alabama, is that georgia has been through economic pressure to try to do the best thing. several if the 1990's with the confederate flag that flew top of the city, maynard jackson takes the flag down in the city because he understood that progressive olympian around the world and black athletes will not come to a city that play in a stadiums that had a flag that was a flag of white supremacy. he understood that. there's like you can can a hater. there's also governor nathan, who really done some good work to try to bring convicted felon back into society. but that the strike down the
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georgia religious freedom which targeted the lgbtq community. what he understood if we this this is going to cost us. with this being said, the issue a mr. jackson laying out, he must understand what politicians are elected to do. they are elected to represent the entities in which they embody. the president of the united states is supposed to support the constitution of the united states on one level or american empire on another. same thing with the state of georgia, same thing with city of atlanta. what we must do we must force -- we misgalvanize people and force politicians to work at the behest of the people. most recently, president carter made a statement about politics now moving to being a set of oligarchs that run things. we have it take this back.
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there's power in people. i hope i answered your question. [applause] >> okay, tonight we're going to drop the golden apple. the books are 25% off. head out and buy the book and get it signed. thank you so much for coming tonight. >> 1968 america in turmoil. starting next weekend, american history tv will air nine week series looking back 50 years. vietnam war, race relations women's rights, presidential
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election. sunday 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. eastern. we'll take your calls on c-span's "washington journal" and here on american history tv on c-span 3. >> next on american history tv, charles calhoun reevaluates the 18th president. hesshe explains why grant was considered an unsuccessful chief executive by mid-20th century historian. despite his domestic and foreign policy achievements. grant was actually an influential president. dogged by political enemies and scandal. smithsonian hosted this event.


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