tv Lectures in History Ronald Walters Civil Rights Career CSPAN July 13, 2019 8:00pm-9:16pm EDT
man,s one small step for one giant leap for mankind. >> you can watch the entire interview with the three apollo 11 astronauts on reel america, sunday at 4:00 in eastern on american history tv. history,"ectures in university of texas at austin professor peniel joseph teaches a class on the life and career of civil rights pioneer ronald walters. in 1958, walters organized a desegregation sit in, and was influential in the spread of african-americans that is as a scholarly field. he also served as advisor to the founding members of the congressional black caucus, and was campaign manager and consultant for jesse jackson in his 1984 and 1988 presidential
campaigns. >> today, we will be talking about the life of ronald w. walters and the search for black power 1969 through 2010. dr. walters was an imminent political scientist who talked about and wrote about black leadership, reparations. he anticipates the rise of donald trump in the 2016 election with the book on white nationalism. he was one of the leading figures in african american intellectual circles, talking institutional racism thected black lives through 1970's, 1980's, 1990's, and into the 21st century. when you think about ronald walters , it is important to remember that he was one of the leading, if not, the leading black public intellectual in the
1980's. right now, we may think of public intellectualism as something else, with the proliferation of social media, but ron walters was a scholar and activist who impacted policy debate and shaped the way black policy matters were presented at the local, regional, and national and international level. when we think about ron walters how gives us a window ino we think about black politics as evolution in the postwar period. in 1938 in was born wichita, kansas. he was born to an african-american family who aren't quite professionals, but are notable black families in wichita, kansas. ron grows up and becomes a race man. he attends a segregated elementary school, but a
predominantly white high school. he becomes someone who is interested in civic activism. a lifelong interest in democracy and political affairs. he graduates from east high school and attends wichita state for a short time before transferring to fisk because of racism he encounters when he tells professors he wants to study africa. for a time, he wanted to work for the state department and investigate african-american affairs. in all eventually enroll phd program in political science at american university in washington, d.c. africa converge with the abiding interest of african-american politics during the civil rights movement and the black power period. when you think about the civil rights movement we are thinking 1965, between the
,rown desegregation decision all the way to the passage of the voting rights act, august 6, 1965. what's interesting is this period unfolds as a cinematic intensity. when we think about 1954, the brown decision did not sparkle within the african-american community that full and equal citizenship is on the horizon. it also sparks what scholars call massive white resistance. a massive resistance movement that is contoured by white nationalism. when we think about white nationalism, in this sense, we are thinking about it as a political philosophy and ideology of white group interests. the idea of protecting your own sedition right -- citizenship own privilege,r
vis-a-vis racial privilege and inequality. black presence in white schools was pushed back by white citizens of all economic grounds, religious backgrounds. when we think about massive resistance, it is not the klan, s who areoed thug beating on black children trying to get into school. it is people who are part of the clergy, people who attend church, women who are part of the pta. a massive resistance is organized by both men and white women. it is protecting white interests and white citizenship away from black encroachment. when we think about massive resistance massive is white nationalism and white supremacy, but by another name. that name is very genteel. massive resistance is why we get
the confederate flag and the rebirth inside south carolina, mississippi, georgia. whitebecome symbols of racial intransigence, but also white racial pride. ron walter grows up amidst all of this. we think about 1955, massive resistance. that's also the year emmett till is assassinated. he's a 14-year-old black boy from chicago who is assassinated by whites and lynched in mississippi on august 28. we now know he did not whistle or say anything to this woman. he was killed just for being black at 14 and going into a store. for us,ry important because his body is recovered from the tallahatchie river. there is a 125 pound cotton gin
fan belt around his neck. he is mutilated, disfigured, whiterotesque symbol of supremacy and the fact that black life does not matter in the u.s., 1955. jet magazine from chicago, they published his mutilated face, his open casket, and his mother allows his body to be seen in open casket, because she wants the world to see what they have done to her son. this is important. he becomes an icon before trayvon martin, before black lives matter, we have emmett till. the little rock central high school crisis, where president eisenhower has to send to protect black schoolchildren who are attending the all white -- who are integrating all white
central high school. 1960 is the start of the sit in movement. one of the things we have to know is ron walters is part of the sit in movement in wichita, kansas. 1, 1960tes the february sit in movement in leesburg, north carolina. that lunch counter is now civil rights museum in greensboro, north carolina. 4 black students at north start a sit in that will evolve into more than 50,000 students across the u.s. sitting in to try and desegregat e lunch counters in the south, also the north, the west coast, and the midwest. 1961 will be the freedom ride. the freedom rides are groups of interracial activist from the
congress of racially quarterly, racially quality, including sophie carmichael, there really has deep segregat ion to be met with massive violence, in places like alabama. that will force the kennedy administration to send federal marshals into the south. really, trying to take a stand, in terms of civil rights. the, james meredith becomes first black student to enroll at the university of mississippi. there will be three days of rioting in oxford, mississippi. federal marshals will be deployed. by 1962, the civil rights movement is really cresting. in 1963 will be the pivotal peak year of civil rights demonstrations.
the year of birmingham, alabama. martin luther king, junior, who really has come into the national spotlight alongside rosa parks, during the montgomery alabama bus demonstrations. that is a 182 day boycott that ends on the 182nd day to desegregate buses in alabama. that turns king into a national figure covered by times magazine, the new york times. is a leading political mobilizer, but it is really the struggle to end a racial segregation in alabama that will transform him. he writes the famous letter from birmingham jail. in that letter, like we will see with ron walters, king is a big believer in democracy. the letter from birmingham jail
while king is in prison, he writes young people who are being arrested in birmingham, alabama, in an effort to desegregate birmingham alabama are in the future going to be remembered as heroes of the u.s. for what king characterizes as bringing us all back to those great wells of democracy that were dug deep by the founding waters. 1963 is what is going to push john f. kennedy to really have his finest moment, as far as i'm concerned, as president of the u.s., june 11, 1963. he does a 20 minute live address to the u.s. about the crisis in america. it is about racial justice, racially quality. that morning, governor george wallace, segregationist who will run for president, did his infamous stand at the
schoolhouse door outside the university of alabama, where he folks step aside so that can go in and desegregate the university of alabama. kennedy talks about that. also in the speech, he talks about black babies dying compared to white babies. he talked about racial justice and the civil rights movement being a moral issue. he's using the language of martin luther king, junior, and civil rights activist. 1963, doesjune 11, the most potent presidential speech since lincoln's's second inaugural address in 1865. the morning after kennedy's speech, around 1:00 a.m., the civil rights activists and an wpc -- naacp is shot through the heart with a high-powered rifle by a white supremacist.
he will not be in prisons until the 90's an federal charges. that june of about 1963, over 15,000 people arrested in the u.s. vis-a-vis civil rights demonstrations in 1963. it is a crisis point. an inflection point. birmingham is a global humiliation for the u.s., because everyone from the soviet union, to china, africa, other parts of europe, start calling americans savages and say that white supremacy is a global shame, and there is no genuine democracy in the u.s. this is a critical crisis of american democracy. america is standing in the global world.
1964, when we think about 1963, march on washington, august 28 19 e3. that will be the first time john f. kennedy here's martin luther king, junior say his speech. king talks about reparations in that speech. ron walters will be a huge reparations advocate. september 15, 1963, 4 black girls will be killed after white supremacist plant a bomb at the 16th street baptist church in birmingham, alabama. on november 22, 1963, john f. kennedy is assassinated in dallas, texas. these pivotal, iconic moments. three civil rights workers are murdered in mississippi in june 21, 1964. they go missing.
the nonviolent coordinating committee, an interracial group of civil rights activists that came out of the citizens, are organizing a mississippi freedom summer to bring democracy to the state of mississippi. they will organize and bring over 1000 volunteers, many of whom are white, who go in and everything from register people to vote, to the creation of over schools.m the free southern theater is doing performances in the south. mississippi freedom summer is huge, in the sense of highlighting the depth of racial poverty and white supremacy. one of the things we see when last final -- in his posthumously published book, he makes an argument that there was
slavery into the 20th century, into the 1960's, with black people who are sharecropping in mississippi and alabama in the wedp south who were disallo to leave the plantations, who were victims of modern day slavery that go way past what the time. talks about in slavery by another name and there's a documentary about it. 1964 is also the passage of the vote of the civil rights act july 2, 19 64. the civil rights act is important. it is really set up both race and gender as a protected class by the federal government. es all public accommodations. when we think about 1964, the civil rights act will be the
major legislative victory of 1964. time,ms of this heroic 1965, selma to montgomery demonstrations. 5,n we think about the march 1965 bloody sunday. there will be turnaround tuesday. 1965, lyndon johnson is going to make his speech to the joint address of congress, where he says civil rights is a national issue. he joins that struggle. he says the demonstrators were bloodyon the bridge on sunday by alabama state troopers, lyndon johnson is going to say they are patriots and part of this long tradition of american freedom. that is really extraordinary. the president on march 15 says he will push for voting rights,
onact that will be passed august 6, 1965. an act that we should say was basically revoked by the supreme court by 2013 in the shelby versus holder decision. the voting rights act will be huge. what it does is provide a concept for millions of african americans who have been disallowed from voting in the deep south to have access to the franchise over a period of time. that voting rights act and consequences of it will be something that ron walters devotes his life to. when we think about ron walters and black power, the black power ferment is what is going to excite ronald walters and mark the shift in his own scholarship. the movement for black studies is really going to be a movement that argues that black evil are
being this service by eurocentric white supremacist educational institutional's in the u.s.. from kindergarten all the way to hire education. when we think about black studies, what is it? a disciplinary perspective on all of the fields, methodologically, in terms of black studies. history, political science, anthropology, ethnic studies, women's studies, all of these different disciplines. it does it from a black perspective. it is a perspective that critiques western civilization, white supremacy, racial slavery, and makes an argument that enslaved africans had intellectual abilities, real perspectives that should be shaping how we think about the history and contemporary
democracy. we think about this move for black studies and black student unions, this was a move to try and disrupt these institutions of white supremacy. one thing i would push back against, the author does a great job with this book. he makes an argument that black studies is not quite impactful as i think it is. when we think about black studies, black studies is a game changer, because this happened at both predominately white , ronald walters becomes the chair from 1969 to 1971, but also howard university. ronald walters spends the bulk of his career in the political science department and also running different centers and institutes in leadership and urban politics. black studies transforms howard.
even historically black colleges and universities are going to be transformed. when we think about black power and black studies, the movement for black studies is a counter hegemonic movement. it is a movement that is up this thewestern mileage he. when we think about epistemology as the physical foundation of knowledge, what black studies says i we do not just want to replace white with black, it is saying western civilization is ignoring histories of colonialism, racial slavery, imperialism, and by talking reconstruction, the black experience in the
west, we reformulate, re-think, and reimagined paradigms and frameworks of not just intellectual history, but frameworks of culture, politics, gender, leadership, sexual orientation, war, violence, civil society, politics. black studies is a huge intervention which this book underestimates. when we think about ronald walters, he did not underestimate it. he understood it and pushed back against -- even by the 1960's and 1970's, when we saw a proliferation of white interests in black studies in subjects. ronald walters pushes back against the idea of white control over black intellectual independence. , differenthe nrc foundations that are trying to shape the different white
liberal, tenor of the black studies, by giving money to yale, different departments as long as those departments are not militant and are not radical. this is a good time to talk about ronald walters, black power, and black nationalism. when we think about this idea of on 3 nationalism, it rests pillars. we can talk about how those pillars can grow and evolve. we are thinking about this idea of racial unity. this idea of the cultural politics of race and self-determination. ronald walters really tried to craft all of those into a paradigm for african-american leadership, but also african-american leadership that was accountable to day today ordinary black people.
he goes from being an outsider, a black intellectual who is connected to the 1972 gary convention, the black political convention, connected to these tourgent outside movements try and reimagined black politics and becoming an inside, somebody advising jesse jackson, part of the national black leadership roundtable, who is ensconced in a kind of privilege, but never really white privilege, sort of like el toblack elite trying convince them to be more accountable to ordinary people. and often failing to convince them to be more accountable to ordinary people. when we think about ronald walters and black nationalism, ronald walters was a black lash analyst and pen africa's. he was not an imperialist nationalist. as who thought they should not have a coalition. he felt black interests were not
being served within the context of american policy. even during the civil rights movement, and the great society, black power, there's always this pushback. what ronald walters is always pushing is the idea of a black agenda. when you think about the black agenda, the high point is the 1972 darius convention. you think about the black power movement. one decade of black power is a call for a radical, social, political, coach role, economic self-determination at the local, regional, national, and global level. i disagree with the author whose as black power was fundamentally reformant. there were reform elements in black power, and the nixon administration and subsequent administrations tried to take the movement hostage and really point the movement and absorb it
in very specific direction. when we think about black power as reform, it is richard nixon advocating black power is black capitalism. even though nixon advocates it, refuses to provide even black entrepreneurs the full and unfettered access and backing of the federal government to become these proto-capitalists. power, think about black the radicalism of black power is in trying to fundamentally alter the way in which democratic institutions in the u.s. work. sometimes, people who are even militant and black radicals don't realize the radicalism of that. someone like martin luther king, jr. micromax, by the end of his life does. for a long time, he's pushing back against king and voting. the only way you will transform
this democracy is to utterly transform the institutions in the democracy. if these institutions are producing unequal outcomes, if you radically transform those institutions, you can gain not just access, but reimagine the way in which power relations between blacks, whites, and other groups play out. that's what ronald walters tried to do. when we think about black power, even a movement for black studies, black studies radically alters institutions of higher education. i'm not saying it is a revolution, but the place where we are, the very presence of black studies has changed and transformed this place. not just academically, but it connected to sport, culture, art, public policy. we cannot underestimate that, even as black studies didn't
fulfill the mission necessary of some of its most revolutionary architects, in terms of being something institutionalized and connected to communities. in some cases, that happens. in other cases, it did not. in other cases, we have a parallel to the ivory tower. in this case, an ebony tower. when we think about ronald walters and this idea of a black perspective, in 1972, the national black political convention meets in gary, indiana. walters is one of the key behind-the-scenes figures who is helping write the national black political agenda. what was the agenda? it was the agenda for urban, rural, local, regional, national, and international public policy transformations. this idea of ending black poverty. the idea of ending the achievement gap. the idea of ending racial
segregation both in living accommodations and reticence is, but public schools. the idea of ending wage gaps. one thing ronald walters always talked about was the wealth gap. he spent his life talking about the wealth gap. he connects it to racial slavery and its aftermath, that one of the reasons why the black public fear has a hard time not just organizing itself, but wielding actual economic and political power, is because of a wealth gap, where racial slavery does, and walters is one of the key figures, and we have seen tolliant books by everybody ,raig wilder, and baptist becker,ohnson, spend
city apartment. so many different others who were giving these fine studies of racial slavery. ronald walters is a trailblazer in arguing that what racial slavery in state that in the united transfer oft is a that wealth from black labor into white hands. that is his argument. he is absolutely correct. so ron walters, even though he is pushing for black leadership in black political power, he claims black people will never have the political power without closing the wealth gap. when he thinks about wealth gap, he is not talking about wages, not talking about a good job at a great salary. he is talking about wealth, that can beth
legacy, that can help generations of african-americans. and that is why ron walters, for the contemporary reparations conversation we are handing -- ,e are having, ron walters along with people like randall robinson, were talking about reparations. there is a long history of this. queen mother moore, it goes back to the 19th century, bishop the national coalition of blacks for reparation in america, and cobra and others. james foreman is part of this as well, when he went up to united churches and demanded half a billion dollars in 1969. so this idea of reparations and shooting for the moon, reparations, walters looked at it as a comprehensive policy solution that would think about wealth, that with think about income, segregation, inequality,
and think about why there are continuing, disparate racial outcomes. so in the late 20th century and the 21st century, the way we can identify racism is by looking at outcomes. we think about reparations, this is an -- this is connected to mass incarcerations as well. the 1970's, one thing walters becomes interested in his presidential politics. i want to talk about presidential politics and black power. is ats leads studies and democratic980, 1984 political conventions. he is very much interested in the way in which presidents, and the rhetoric of the presidency, is impacting civil rights, impacting a movement for black political power, and racial justice and equality. one of the things walters is
usually interested in is the convergence between race, democracy and citizenship, and the way in which rhetoric post-1960's starts to attack the moral basis of black claims of citizenship, and black claims of repaired citizenship. when you think about martin luther king jr. and the 1963 march on washington, one of the main things king says is that, we come here today, this is nothing -- this is washington dc on the national mall, to cash a check, a check that was stamped insufficient funds, but we refused to believe that american democracy is bankrupt. that is what he says. and in the 1960's there is a point where even the president of the united states, two johnson,s, kennedy and really justify that moral claim, they say, there is a moral claim.
kennedy says it on national television, june 11, 1963. president lyndon johnson says it at howard university on june 4, 1965, in a very famous howard university commencement speech, where he says that you can't and one hasners, been shackled, and you expect them to run the race equally. and in that speech, president johnson talks about outcomes, not just equality of opportunity, but equality of outcomes. that is what he said. so for a time, the moral claim of lack citizenship, not just equal citizenship, but reparative citizenship, and we are repairing the crime of racial slavery and another century of jim crow racial segregation and anti-black violence. that is the crime that continues, even post-1965. and 1980's, one thing ron walters really
challenges, and he pushes the black community on this, is to recognize that the rhetoric coming from the united states, from both republicans and democrats, is rhetoric that is abandoning this idea of black citizenship. so way before bill clinton, robert smith talked about the convergence of clinton, jimmy carter abandoned the black community. the nobeler, despite prize, did not love black folks while he was president. so the convergence between republican racism and democratic party racism started in the 1960's and 1970's. we only have this idea of a moral, reparative black citizenship that there was a consensus around for several years, because of the crises occurring in the 1960's. 1963 toargue maybe 1968. ofone of the great tragedies that time is the assassination of martin luther king jr.,
because as long as martin luther king jr. was alive, you had a who waslobally recognized as a symbol of that claim of moral, reparative black citizenship. so what is interesting when we think about black power at black history, is that walters recognizes the 1970's that american politics has shifted .oward neoliberalism the rhetoric of jimmy carter is the rhetoric of bill clinton, and ron walters argues there is a strain of that rhetoric that continues in barack obama, and he pushes back against that even as the black leadership unapologetically embraces the obama administration. about waltersnk in the 1970's and 1980's, even before talking about walters and ronald reagan, walters is pushing back against the democratic party at the fact
that the democratic party by the 1970's at the presidential level and the national level, is abandoning black folks. part of this pushback is trying to organize wealth, folks who are part of the lack congressional caucus and black elected leaders, he is trying to push them not just further left politically, but he wants them to adopt a black agenda. he is pushing back against this idea that black folks are the literal bete noire of the democratic party. showedthat bill clinton that by presiding over the death of ricky ray rector, the mentally ill black man in arkansas, showing white folks that he is willing to kill people of black -- willing to kill black people in order to become president in 1992, when you throw lack people under the bus and still only get 43% of
the black vote. the fact that the white electorate refuses to vote for the democratic party is a moral sin on that electorate, not the party. but the party interpreted it that way. the party said, we have to do everything in our power to distance ourselves black people, citizenship, from racial justice. and ron walters is an eloquent voice trying to push the cbc and black leadership to say, this will not stand. and we think about the reagan ron it's important because walters looks upon reagan's ascendancy as the rise of white nationalism. he looks up white nationalism as something that can be racist and white supremacist and also something that can be just about white people trying to protect their group interests. he sees it as a combination of those things.
he makes an argument that what political scientists and scholars never do, they look at black public opinion and latino public opinion and other group public opinion, but they don't look at white public opinion and think of that as an interest group, as a black group in this society, of white people trying to protect white interests. and in this case it is not just irish or italian interests, it is an amalgamation of white interests instructed throughout the 19th and 20th century. and when we think of white nationalism, by the 1980's what does is push back against reparative claims, moral claims of black citizenship. they say affirmative-action is affirmative -- affirmative-action is reverse racism, they say black poverty is not a result of public policy and white supremacy and institutional racism, and racial
violence against lack women and children, they say it is about lack people's behavior and the great society and liberal programs have actually distorted the african-american work ethic. and that is the irony, because the african-american work ethic is what built up the united states of america. to build up the united states of america. but the argument is that black people are somehow morally and genetic -- morally and genetically effective. and we continue to see scientific racism from conservative scholars, we have authors looking at test scores, bell curve, all these things into the 1990's and into the president -- and into the present. ron walters is pushing back against that. so when we think about what walters tries to do, he starts talking about presidential leadership in the 1970's and 80's and he says that black
people as an electorate can do a few things. they can decide to stay home and thevote, they can vote for democratic party as the lesser of two evils. or they can withhold their vote, vote strategically, allow democrats to lose and be in a better bargaining position next i. and he says black people can create an independent black blackcal party, give votes to that independent party and then the party apparatus would negotiate with the democratic party or the republican party for policy .emands in the next cycle and that black political party never materializes, he is part of many movements including the national independent black political party in 1980 and others, but jesse jackson's political run -- presidential
1984, is anlly example of what walters wanted, to have a black person run for president and utilize the they wouldnd power get from the presidential run to have leverage. talks about independent leverage versus dependent leverage. independent leverage would mean you can negotiate with white powerbrokers independently. what het leverage is says jesse jackson achieved, and he says jesse jackson was too wedded to the democratic party, so he could ask for concessions, but only within the framework of the democratic party. 1984en we think about the presidential run of jesse jackson, this is hugely important because what jesse jackson does, even as he tries to run as a universal candidate, he is going to be interpreted as
a black candidate. he tries to run universal everything, health-care, income , a more generous foreign-policy to the third world, all these different things. and 1988 are great examples of how ron walters is transitioning to a political concernedo is still about black power and its impact on the grassroots. he becomes deputy campaign inager for domestic issues the jackson campaign in 1984, he is writing memos, handling the press. he becomes a leading figure in black80's in terms of a intellectual, but also as a policy advocate. and before bill clinton's election in 1992, he anticipates
the rise of neoliberal politicians who are scapegoating black communities, but these black communities are held hostage because the republican party under reagan and subsequently continues to be vociferously anti-black in terms s. its policy position sometimes people say, is this party racist? and the answer is, all the racists think so, and they love the party. that is your answer. so with all the policy positions are anti-black, then that is your answer. but the democratic party has its own racial problems, because the democratic party starts to fear is connection black votes making it less hospitable to white votes. the democratic party under carter and clinton tries to triangulate, tries to do things
ite affirmative-action, mend don't end it. welfare reform is aimed at a policy that is criminalizing the democratic party's most loyal consistent -- most loyal constituency. these are things ron walters pushes back against. he says, how can you have allegiance to this party who is criminalizing black mothers who are single, criminalizing teenagers, throwing all these people in jail? and that is where walters' notion of lack power as an independent political party that could potentially be the balance of power comes into play. that has a hard time coming into existence. why? electoratemany black -- so many black elected leaders depend on the democratic party's patronage.
our two-party system precludes walters' strategy of creating an independent black party, even though historically black people have tried to do this, the freedom now party in 1963, the mississippi freedom party in a 1964, and the lowndes county black panther party that inspires the black panthers we think about in the contemporary context. so walters was all for that, but that does not happen in a way he anticipated i will take questions -- in a way he anticipated. i will take questions. think black power was a logical extension to the integration of the civil rights movement? it is both.seph: it is separate and distinct. when you think about civil rights and black power, you
think about the black freedom struggle as a huge redwood in california, a redwood tree. there are many, many branches, and at times those branches intertwined, and at times those branches are separate. black power is rooted in the same tree, but is definitely a different ranch. one thing we have to remember, the way politics works, people are very complex, so there are people who are part of both movements. activists whop admire parts of black power. i'm not talking about roy wilkins or thurgood marshall, but black power and civil rights at times can converge. but one thing about black power that was different from civil rights, and this impacts dr. king's rhetoric, is black power has a structural critique of what is going on in the united states. it has a structural critique of
what is going on domestically and globally. it wants to understand convergence, what king talked racism, ittarism, wants to understand how it is connected at the local level, in the north, in the urban south, on the west coast, but also nationally and also in vietnam, africa, latin america. it wants to understand these things. one of the big differences, and sometimes people conflate this, they say black power activists, because of their critique of american democracy, didn't leave an american democracy. walters does. life, the end of his some say he is just talking about moral assuagian. there are block power activists -- are marxists,
socialists, want to different system, but what ronald walters was talking about is how we leverage black power to transform democratic institutions. policy,s interested in ny white politics is just intent on white public policy, and he is interested in illustrating that. one thing walters does in his 2003 book on white nationalism is cast they light on something ,e saw nationally and globally to people's surprise, in 2016 this idea avoid nationalism, this idea of white group interests converging around a just anti-black and anti-latino racism, but converging around preserving
white privilege economically, preserving white privilege and this is white privilege from racial slavery. the privilege is jim crow. walters sees that at times, black elites at least were not ready to robustly criticize and mobilize against that privilege. once they became ensconced in the democratic party and in leadership and economic privilege themselves, they were milquetoast at times in trying to push back against the levels of privilege and the levels of policyanimus that marked in the 1980's and 1990's. in this context i'm talking about black elected officials
who voted for reagan drug laws and crime reform, black elected officials, anybody who voted for the clinton crime bill are welfare reform. these are things that will negatively impact, but at this point these folks are no longer accountable to the black electorate. so walters is a trailblazer. he doesn't have a prescription on how to win, but he is saying, here are the problems. sometimes really illustrating what the problems are becomes a huge intervention. it becomes up to another generation to try to answer those questions, but that is what walters did. with walters and presidential leadership and walters and white nationalism, what walters sees is the fact that black politics and the way in which it moves
from protests to politics, we have to remember, there is all kinds of grassroots insurgency happening in the 1980's and 1990's, and walters is connected but this is absolutely happening. but we are thinking about black politics as it is organized at an elite level, it goes from protests to policy. they are not organized. a congressman from michigan align himself. and this was not happening by the 1980's. walters says black politicians have to reach out to the grassroots. tries to connect this at a national black leadership
roundtable, a national black faculty congress, all these things that are never well resourced enough to become institutionalized. comes to white nationalism, walters sees what butre experiencing today, when you think about whiteness as a socially-constructed postwar whiteness includes all sorts of previously marginalized white ethnics, people who could not be part of a white anglo-saxon protestant nation. walters anticipated that. when you think about whiteness by reagan, it was x, gentiles, jews, irish, portuguese, greek, it was this white identity that was trying to protect its interests, and these were interests that were
fundamentally constructed on the backs of black and brown people. auntie calls that out and says, black people have to understand that and organize within the context of this. walters really understood and tried to push back against this loss of moral authority, and it is not just king who had it, it is ella baker, fannie lou -- malcolmcolm a x. at a point int the 1950's and 1960's, for black power nationally, and people say, how dare you? unspeakableit
speech to truth. ron walters tries to call this out and say, here is what is happening in here is why we have to organize. a lot of the electoral strategy walters talks about seems like it would be easier to execute on a state and local seems like a much easier task to hold leaders accountable on those levels. i think about jesse jackson winning five primaries in 1984 and thinking, if you were working on those state levels, you might able to achieve policy goals more easily in states like louisiana. is there a disconnect there, or is he deferring to other people with that level of action? one reason whyh:
jesse ran was because harold washington of chicago became mayor after the 1983 election, and that was a big inspiration for jesse to take his southern tour in 1983. one thing you saw with jesse jackson's run, he mobilizes one million black voters who had not previously voted. and harold washington did the same thing in chicago, and harold washington inspired barack obama. by the time barack obama moves to chicago during his first couple of years, harold washington is mayor of chicago. so when we think about that, state and local parties, the thinking was that, if you have somebody who runs for president at the national level, and remember by 19 84 jesse receives
-- by 1984 votes, jesse jackson receives three point 5 million votes. he mobilizes a constituency that is easier to mobilize if people are running for president. if shirley chisholm had run in --2 -- shirley tells him shirley chisholm had run in 1972, but it was sort of a coalition of white and black sent different progressives, where jesse, even though he gets 10% and 15% of the white vote, it is a third-world coalition behind jesse and there is really a lot of lack voters behind jesse in the primaries. when we think about the electoral strategy, it was national, but it was national to get regional and local and even municipal buy-ins.
obama a lot of ways, the run into thousand eight helped -- obama run in 2008 helped people at the local level . but the organized pushback against him is so hard and disappointment by people who supported him is so apparent, that early 2010 you are saying a so in the eight years we saw the democratic party lose the most officially than it had ever lost, not just congress but state-by-state, because organized opposition runs so deep. ru -- i want to talk about ron walters as a pan-african.
see this in his support for reparations and the movement to end apartheid in south africa. ron walters worked with people like randall robinson of south -- of trans africa, and he is a huge advocate of african independent, making sure africa is not the victim of structural adjustment policies, because imf policies restricted the way africa might grow into a superpower globally. walters travels to south africa, sees truth and reconciliation and pushes back against truth and reconciliation in south africa, as reconciliation on the cheap, just like he pushes back on conversations on race in the u.s. as reconciliation on the cheap. he does not want a wealth transfer in south africa from white hands and white power to black cans -- two black hands,
not just a political elite led by nelson mandela. walters addresses colonialism that is flourishing in south africa, with everything from political corruption to endemic to aids and hiv ofrocketing, high rates black unemployment in south africa postapartheid. huge as a pragmaticg, radically pan-african who is interested in having heartates sanctions against south africa, which is eventually successful despite the reagan administration and others not wanting to sanction south africa. he is interested in real dialogue, learning from africans
and not trying to do this whole idea of, black people are the leaders that will teach africans about their own independence. when we think about walters and the idea of reparations, he connects it both domestically and globally. his idea of reparations is both a wealth transfer that is not just income, because martin luther king jr. wanted a guaranteed income, but a guaranteed income would not be enough because general would not be -- enough because generationally, these wealth transfers from white to black have been going on since slavery and aided and abetted by the white government. when we think about the new deal and the way whites were able to buy homes that were subsidized, and even black gis were not able to do this. so homeownership value has become the biggest source of intergenerational wealth among
whites, and black people never had a chance, even in the 1940's, 19 50's, and in 1960 to do this. and you compound that with black people being shut out for the most part of industrial labor, even though we are reminded that black folks were workers on arrival, they have not been able to be part of unions in a big that lack is part of of access to both income and wealth. because unions allowed the white working class to get access to single driver the of intergenerational wealth among ordinary whites. we are not talking about the white elite, we are talking about ordinary whites. sir ronald walters, when we think about reparations and ron walters'pan-africanism and anti-apartheid, his notion of black power is global and
cosmopolitan. he is usually interested in black people setting the agenda for themselves. it is important to remember that a blackand this idea of perspective, it's not just intellectual, he wants a practical application that black people can identify the problems andcting their communities, that they can also organize around those problems. so this issue of pan-africanism for ron walters is not just pan-africanism as this imaginary is tangible and constructive and institutional. walters leaves howard university in the 1990's, goes to the university of maryland. he didn't feel really appreciated by howard university and the upper administration. shortly before his death, he was planning to return to howard
university, but this idea of ronald walters being ensconced in black politics and institutions for the most part is very important. even though he was a black public intellectual, eight he appeared on c-span almost 100 times, his biographer says that as a record. he was really connected to black institutions. so his idea of black power was black led. necessarily't define himself as a marxist or liberal or integrationist, but andas a strong race man, this idea goes back to ida b wells, harriet tubman, sojourner x,th, w.e.b. dubois, malcolm mngela davis, these race e womense race men and race
wanted racial justice and didn't just have one, set way to do it. so walters is willing to talk with people with whom he disagrees, but is also willing to adopt multiple, overlapping strategies. he wants a big tent. he is reminiscent of aspects of talked about who wanted a big tent, a black united front to organize for black issues. briefly, and then i will open this up, ron walters and barack obama. walters writes about obama. ron walters passed away of cancer in 2010. he is around for the 2008 election and he writes his weekly column on black politics. he is both impressed by barack obama, but also disappointed listen andrefuses to
understand that his job as president is to be open to a black agenda along with white agendas and other agendas. that is what he is disappointed by. he realizes barack obama is president of the united states, but in his criticism of obama and also black leadership is that, as president of the united states you have to listen to multiple agendas and decide the importance of those agendas, what order you are going to tackle the agendas. of the united states listen to our meeting americans, turkish americans, multiple constituencies. obama was being disingenuous when he argues that he couldn't advocate for a black agenda. he could only follow the law.
walters said, in a pluralistic society, the president is listening to multiple agendas. so how come the first black president is saying, he is not even going to listen to a black agenda? that's a fair question. president, and the booby prize is that your agenda is out for the next eight years. is a moral and psychological prize. about baracked obama, and michelle obama is beautiful, and those children are great. that is the prize. people can'tblack just say that, because you elected the first black president, there is no black agenda, and walters says they are so enthralled, they are going to give this brother a pass. that is what he said.
speaking just black vernacular, and giving your brother a pass, just because you it isack, this is fine, an in-house deal. andhen we think about obama black politics, walters pushed back, not because obama was trying to run as a black power president. he realized obama couldn't have one if obama raised the black power sign at the democratic national convention, if he came out on the white lawn with a that these-shirt, things would be politically disastrous. but it didn't mean that obama, because he was a black president, had to ignore a black agenda. that is fair criticism, and much different from some criticism that is trying to attack obama
for not just solely advocating a black agenda, which no president can do. one thing walters reminds us is was he felt ronald reagan adopting, throughout eight years, a white agenda. ronald reagan, by crippling the , the economic, the great society programs that help so many people, by trying to cripple affirmative-action, civil rights and civil rights litigation to the justice department, that through the two terms of reagan and subsequently other presidents, they were following a white agenda and an anti-black agenda. they did both things. they morally a few d8 the idea that black people have reparative, equal citizenship claims and they criminalized blackness during the 1980's and 1990's i connecting black bodies to what they called the culture of poverty, crime, and the cycle
of shame. walters pushes back against obama for preaching about morality to black people, because he says he was elected president, but the idea that obama is telling black people ss, or talkingssne about myths of black kids fearing that if they are smart, they are acting white, they are all anecdotal, this is not real, but these myths persist. and the bottom line of all these myths, including cnn anchors telling black kids to pull up their pants, is that it is our fault. the bottom line is always that massl slavery, jim crow, incarceration, anti-black violence, lynching, black women dying at higher rates who are pregnant, no matter what their theomic situation is,
bottom line always is, it is our fault. ronald walters pushed back to against this. he is pushing back against the idea that it is black people's fault. narrative is so thick and so deeply rooted in the american conscience that there is aspects of black politics that reflect that narrative, aspects of the black church, black elected leaders, black intellectuals who say, it is your fault. walters pushing back against that is enormously important, especially before the age of black lives matter. black lives matter and blm and those movements push back against this idea that there is something inherently wrong in black bodies, inherently inferior and degenerative
morally, intellectually, politically, culturally, in thek bodies, even as culture celebrates aspects of black genius, as long it is is -- as long as it is sports, as music, as long as it is food, in a way we can set aside blackness and not talk about what the responsibilities are. burden, but the lure is a billion-dollar cultural industry that is global. walters pushed back against that. that is going to be his legacy. importantof the most black political figures of the as anr period, intellectual and policy advocate but also somebody willing to speak truth to power, and not just to white people, but to black leadership.
that is it. thank you. it for this week. we will meet again next week. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] lectures inatch history every weekend on american history tv. we take you inside college classrooms to learn about topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. that is saturday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on c-span3. . >> this weekend on american history tv, leading up to the 50th anniversary of the apollo moon landing, watch nasa's apollo 11 prelaunch interviews tonight at 10:00 on reel america, featuring astronauts buzz aldrin, neil armstrong and michael collins. >> the operation of the lunar
module systems on the control vehicle during descent and ascent. >> we will go through the -man excursion on the surface, deal exiting the spacecraft first. as he goes down the ladder i will be taking pictures of him with a 16mm camera through the window. a television camera will also be recording his activities. dad should difficulties arise within the lem, my job is to rescue the lem, and then i find myself becoming the active partner in charge of a very complex vehicle with a very complex job. >> watched tonight on american history tv on c-span3. next weekend we mark the 50th anniversary of the apollo 11 moon landing with live coverage from the smithsonian national air and space museum.
and takeost interviews your calls on saturday, july 20, beginning at 7:00 a.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span3, and simulcast on c-span's "washington journal." next, we talk with daina ramey berry about the economics of slavery. she is the author of "the price for their pound of flesh: the value of the enslaved, from womb to grave, in the building of a nation." we recorded the interview at the organization of american historians' annual meeting in philadelphia. host: 2019 marks the anniversary of the first african-american slave brought to america. where were they
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