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tv   Rosa Parks Civil Rights Activism  CSPAN  January 4, 2020 10:50pm-12:01am EST

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cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. ♪ rights pioneers and congressmen john lewis talk about rosa parks and her history of activism. they later held nonviolent protests against segregation and discrimination. this event was held to open an exhibit, rosa parks in her own words, at the library of congress. please welcome the librarian of congress, dr. cara hayden. dr. hayden: good evening. good evening. [applause] welcome to the library of congress. to haver pleasure everyone here for a very special open the library's
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newest exhibition, rosa parks in her own words. it is my honor to welcome members of congress, including members of the congressional black caucus, members of the rosa parks family, who have come to washington for this special celebration. can we give them a hand? [applause] we would also like to welcome the rosa and raymond parks institute for self development. that is another round of applause. [applause] and photographer donna, whose photo of ms. parks is displayed in a vital part of the exhibition. and all the leaders and staff of different cultural at institutions across washington, including secretary of the smithsonian lonnie bunch.
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[applause] the -- and the archivist of the united states, david. [applause] ourour library staff and live.s on this is being livestreamed right now. i have to tell you we are radiating with joy and pride because it is our pleasure to open this beautiful land compelling exhibition about one of our country's most beloved civil rights icons, rosa parks. the collection resonates strongly with me. after i was sworn in as 14th librarian of congress in 2016, the first collection i was able to see was the rosa parks papers. manuscript specialist, who was
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carter g didn't of woodson, the father of black history, showed me the collection and she carefully presented to me the different photographs and letters on private notes handwritten by rosa parks. adrian is here tonight and is proud curator of the exhibition. [no audio] [applause] -- [applause] from the first moment i saw her family bible, letters and writings, i felt the overwhelming power of the collection. wrote afterr she the arrest, i have been pushed around all my life and felt at this moment that i couldn't take it anymore. and you then when i read those words that i had to share these
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papers with the public, for a much broader view. and in this wonderful exhibit, through her own words, the rosa parks you will discover was not posterity, sher was writing in the moment for herself. this is not the rosa parks we met in textbooks or public service announcements, but it is the very complex, very human and the very real rosa parks. her powerful story and long fight for justice have always thenated with me, and is first woman and first african-american to serve as librarian of congress, i take special pleasure in having the rosa parks collection housed here. [applause] here in the world's largest
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library, side-by-side with the papers of frederick douglass, abraham lincoln, mary church terrel and thurgood marshall. rosa parks lived a life dedicated to equal rights and social justice and help change the country with the examples she set. standse of rosa parks with pride in the capital of rotunda, and in this exhibition you will see her standing tall quite literally, as her photos, papers and videos tower more than 12 feet above you. none of this would have been possible without the generosity of the howard g buford the rosan, who made parks collection a gift to the nation and the library. it all started when jensen collins, journalist, learned the collection was stored away in boxes in a warehouse. about and itory
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was read by mr. howard buffett, who bought the papers and gave them to the library so that they could be preserved and seen by everyone. jensen is now a scholar at the library of congress. [applause] the collection comprises 10,000 both missn from parks' private life entered decades of work for civil rights. it is photos and correspondence, handwritten reflections, private notes during the montgomery bus boycott in the struggle she endured after. director, our exhibit david mandel and his team, have curated a beautiful gallery that will tell ms. parks' story in her own words and photographs. it is an honor to open the exhibition to the general public
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on december 5, the 64th anniversary of the montgomery bus boycott. , weas part of the opening are releasing, i am a librarian, this companion book, rosa parks in her own words, written by susan raburn. it includes many photographs and documents you will see in the exhibition, and we are delighted to be joined by people from the university of georgia press who worked with the library's publishing office to create this elegant companion piece. we also started something new with this exhibition at the library of congress. the first time we are launching and ask-the-librarian mobile research station within the exhibition. have thet time wevisitors will opportunity to delve more deeply into subjects, themes and online resources related to misses parks' life through direct
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interaction with librarians. generous acknowledge donors who made this exhibition possible, the ford foundation, the catherine b reynolds foundation, and the reynolds are [applause] joy sentort from aarp, thomas moorehead, who are also here -- joyce and thomas moorehead, who are also here. [applause] and the capital group. we can't thank you enough for your generosity and support. [applause] the curator, adrian, explained to me the storyteller of this exhibition is rosa parks. it is her words and her voice that will be echoing through the
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gallery as you walk around the displays. it is the full story of rosa lifelonge seasoned, activist and the woman behind the civil rights icon. [applause] ♪ >> now we are going to find out which of these ladies really is the incredible rosa parks? will the real rosa parks please stand up? [applause] >> rosa parks was often taught as a meek seamstress who one day accidentally stumbles into
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history and refuses to give up her seat on the bus, launching the civil rights movement. her activism starts two decades before in 1955 and will continue for four decades after. rosa: as far as i can remember, during my lifetime, i resisted the idea of being mistreated and pushed because of my race and i felt that all people should be free regardless of their color. >> one day, when i was about 10, i met a little white way named franklin on the road. he was about my size, maybe larger. he said something to me and he threatened to hit me. he rolled up his fists as if to give me a sock.
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i picked up a brick and dared him to hit me. he thought better of the idea and went away. i loved that, at 10, she knew the deep injustice of things. perhaps the case that got through the most is the case about a 16-year-old by the name of jeremiah reese. reeves was a high school student, jazz drummer, and delivered groceries, and its actually started having a relationship with a young white woman that got found out. she cried rape. >> they actually put him in the electric chair and told him if he did not confess, he would be electrocuted on the spot so he gave his confession. she began writing letters and trying to organize around blocking that execution, got dr. king involved, and it did not succeed, and he was executed, and she would tell me how devastating that was and how it broke her heart. this is a rosa parks letter from
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1956. "i cried bitterly that i would be lynched rather than run over by them. they could get the rope ready for me at anytime they wanted to do their lynching. while my neck was spared bthe lynch rope and my body was never riddled by bullets or derived by -- an auto, i felt that i was lynched many times in mind and spirit. >> she was a believer that you had to dissent, that you had to voice your objections, even if you could not see that that would do any good. >> rosa parks, like my mom, has her own definition of who she is, and she does not let anybody change that definition. help plan for a better world of tomorrow by giving all the love, care, and guidance to our children of today. >> as a child, when you read
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about important people, i thought that these were physical giants, people who spoke a language that was different from the language that i spoke, and i found that those were regular people, and so, i have always felt that, you know, a person does not have to be out of this world to accomplish something as extraordinary as that. >> we must have courage, determination, to go on with the task of becoming free, not only for ourselves, but for the nation and the world, cooperate with each other, have faith in god, and in ourselves. and i just think we underestimate the kind of courage it took to stand up to these forces that had silenced and marginalized black people from the very day we came to this continent, and yet she was taking them on.
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i think it was really an amazing part of her legacy was the courage, the strength, the bravery that defined her as a human being. >> i think when we are involved in excavating american history in coming to terms with our real history, i think too often, we find that most history is a sanitized madison avenue version of it, but she is a lifelong activist and she represents the variety of strategies to combat the persistent racism in the united states. i think it is important that we liberate rosa parks and ourselves from the tyranny of the superficial history. >> harm and danger, the dark closet of my mind, so much to remember. and yes, it is somewhere in the dark closet of my mind, too. it cannot help it be in the dark closet of your mind. you should never forget. there is so much to remember.
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but i also know that this exhibit will show that rosa parks made a difference in moving us forward. and move forward we must, even as we remember the past. we have to look to a brighter future. [applause] >> please welcome the honorable john lewis, representative from georgia. [applause]
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rep. lewis: good evening. >> good evening. rep. lewis: you are a beautiful group. you look good. [laughter] let me say to the librarian of congress, thank you. i don't want to cry tonight, but i may shed some tears. thank you for opening this place to have this exhibit in honor of a savior of our country. of our democracy. andt weren't for rosa parks
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the rest, i don't know where i would be. i don't know where our nation would be. i don't know where we would be as a people. this woman, by sitting down, she encouraged so many others to stand up. and since then, many of us have never looked back, and we will continue to look forward. freddie gray would tell you, my friend, my attorney, you were attorney for many of us. an unbelievable number of clients. people just came. said we need your help. i grew up in rural alabama about 50 miles from montgomery.
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48 to 50 miles from montgomery. my father had been a sharecropper, a tenant farmer, but in 1944, when i was four years old, and i remember when i was four, my father had saved $300, and a man sold him 110 acres of land. we still own that land today. [applause] peoplewis: growing up, lived in fear. "whitew the signs saying only," "colored only," "white boys," "colored boys," "white girls," "colored girls." growing up, i was told by my mother, my father, my grandparents, and my great
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grandparents, don't get in trouble. but rosa parks inspired us to get in trouble. and i have been getting in trouble ever since. [applause] if you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have an obligation to say something, to do something. i met rosa parks. staff repaired a statement, prepared a statement, but i cannot stay with it. i have been moved by the spirit. if it hadn't been for rosa parks, growing up there, i don't know what would have happened to so many people.
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she inspired us to get into good trouble, necessary trouble. i followed your leadership. i followed the words of martin luther king jr., the action of rosa parks. have a too poor to subscription to the local newspaper, but my grandfather had one. when he was finished reading his newspaper, he would pass it on to us to read, so i read about you. reverend abernathy, and rosa parks. i kept saying to myself, if the people in montgomery can organize and stand up, we can stand up and organize. there was a little college eight or 10 miles from our home called troy state.
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so i got a chance to get an application and apply to go to the school. i never heard a word from the school so i wrote a letter to martin luther king jr. and told him i needed his help. because i have been inspired by rosa parks. dr. king wrote me back and sent me a round-trip greyhound bus ticket and invited me to come to montgomery to meet with him. i cannot forget it. freddie gray, you still look the same way, so young. [laughter] rep. lewis: met me at the greyhound bus station and drove me to the first baptist church pastored by reverend abernathy,
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and ushered me in to the church. i saw martin luther king jr. and reverend abernathy standing behind the desk, and dr. king said are you the boy from troy? are you john lewis? and i said, dr. king, i am john robert lewis. i gave him my whole name. he still called me the boy from troy. and over the years, i had an opportunity to meet rosa parks and to talk with her. she was so wonderful, so kind, and she kept saying to each one of us, you too can do something. she inspired us to participate in the sit-ins, to study the way of peace, the way of love, to study the philosophy and
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discipline of nonviolence. again, i want to thank you. madame librarian. i want to thank you for what you are doing to help educate and sensitize another generation to stand up, to be brave, to be bold, to be seeageous and when people something that is not right, not fair, not just, do something. we cannot afford to be quiet. we live at a time where we must save our democracy. save our planet. we must do what rosa parks did. when there comes a time to sit in, sit down, do it. a time to stand up, stand up. there comes a time to speak up. speak up and speak out.
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come a time to get in the way or to get in good trouble, necessary trouble, do it. be brave. be bold. be courageous. rosa parks believed as i believe. we have a right to know what is in the food we eat. we have a right to know what is in the water we drink, what is in the air we breathe. and each one of us today must find ways to tell the story of rosa parks. one brave woman. with the help of hundreds and thousands, have changed america forever. to use the way of peace, the way of love. to follow the teachings of
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gandhi and martin luther king, jr. to make our country better, and to help save our little planet. so thank you very much for being here tonight. and again, let me thank the library of congress. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, congressman lewis. you are a living icon, and we owe so much to you. thank you for being here and thank you, thank you, thank you. [applause]
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and now, we have more special guests joining us for an extraordinary discussion on the life and legacy of rosa parks. we are joined by attorney fred gray, who made history by representing miss parks after her arrest in montgomery. and jane gunter, who offered her seat to miss parks on the day of the bus on december 1, 1955, and they will be joined by cbs news correspondent and the anchor of the saturday edition of "cbs this morning," miss michelle miller, who will be moderating a discussion. please welcome attorney fred -- fred gray, jane dunker, and michelle miller. [applause]
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>> i feel honored and privileged to be here. madam librarian, thank you. thank you all for being here. thank you. miss gunter, mr. gray, when you see this exhibit, when you see this exhibit, it shatters the notion of rosa parks as an accidental activist.
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finally, that myth of an accidental activist will go by the way. the history, in her own words, will be spoken. the woman the two of you knew will be known, and part of the and reckoning, i find, with what we see upstairs is this funny, feisty, incredibly savvy american. you knew her long before 1954. i want you to describe the first moment you met her. >> yes, ma'am. michelle: thank you, sir.
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fred: before i answer that question, thank you to the library and for inviting me to share this occasion here. i got my wife, carol, here. some other relatives. if you just raise your hand. those who are here. and also the president of the national bar association. i just want to thank those persons who have come. i want to thank congressman lewis. he wanted me to end up filing a lawsuit so he could go to troy state, but his parents were afraid. he was a minor. we introduced him to dr. king and it introduced him to the movement and the rest of this history. now, what was your question?
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michelle: back to rosa parks. back to that day that you met her, how would you describe her? fred: i had met rosa parks not just december 1, 1955, but i really at first met her when i was a student at what was then alabama state college for negros. alabama state university. i lived on the west side of town. alabama state was on the east side of town. i was a student trying to learn how to be a teacher. i had already learned a little something about her to be a preacher, and that was the biggest thing that black boys in montgomery, alabama, in the 1930's, 1940's, and 1950's could be. i found out that ms. parks worked with the naacp. she also worked with edie nixon, who was a family friend of ours,
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who was mr. civil rights. so they were very much interested in doing whatever it took so that african-americans would be able to enjoy the same rights and privileges of others. it was because of problems we had over buses, including a man who was killed as a result of an altercation on the bus, that i decided that in addition to being a preacher and being a teacher, i was going to be a lawyer. they tell me that lawyers help people. and i thought that the black people in montgomery had a real problem with buses.
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so i made a personal commitment when i was a teenager. i was going to finish college, go to somebody's law school, become a lawyer, but in order to do that at the university of alabama, go someplace else, come back, take the bar exam, and destroy everything segregated i could find. while i was thinking about doing parks working,ss doing what i wanted to do, and that was my first beginning. move forward to three or four years later. i enrolled in the law school in cleveland. i finished in three years, took the ohio bar exam just in case. a month later, i took the alabama bar exam. on september 7, 1954, i became licensed to practice. now, i am ready to destroy everything segregated i could find. [applause]
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fred: one of the things that miss parks was doing, she was youth director, and one of the young ladies who was in her youth director course at the naacp was claudette. she was a 15-year-old girl who did what rosa parks did, but did it nine months before without the instructions and without all him of the experience you learned about that miss parks had already gone through. but miss parks, she came in and helped me get my law office open. she worked at a department store a block and a half from our office and we talked about these matters. so when claudette was arrested, that was my first civil rights case. miss parks was interested, edie
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nixon was interested and fred gray was interested. however, the black community was not quite ready for the lawsuit i wanted to file. people decided, including rosa parks, that we were going to get ready, and whenever the next opportunity presented itself, we would be ready to end up ending the problems on the buses. that opportunity came on december 1, 1955, after miss parks and i had had conferences almost daily for five days a week, telling people, if you decide not to give up your seat on the bus, how could you conduct yourself? we talked about that. we even talked about it on december 1, 1955. and she knew i was going out of
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town. when i got back, i found she had been arrested. michelle: hold that thought. hold that thought just for a second. i want to stop right there. so you set the stage. here she was. for a year, you said, she had been instructed by you on how to act if she had been arrested. if she decided if she was going to take a stand. misses gunther, you are 18 years old. you did not even live in montgomery, alabama. you lived outside of montgomery. >> my husband was stationed at maxwell air force base. michelle: so you did not live on the base? we lived on the base. how did you come to be on that bus? >> well, after we moved to montgomery, i went to the doctor
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at the base and i found out i was going to have a baby, and the doctor required that i do a lot of walking. every day, i would walk to the city and walk back. i had a coin with me in case i needed to ride the bus, but i actually did a lot of walking. that day, i guess i was tired. i have no idea. maybe i was ready to go home. but i got on the bus and i sat on a long seat behind the driver, and all of a sudden, the driver stood up, turned around, and just bellowed something out to somebody down the aisle. i realized it was an older woman. she was in her 40's so that was older. so when he let me have that seat, i stood up and said she can have my seat.
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when i did that, fair skinned, tall man pushed his knees into mine and said "don't you dare move." dare.le: don't you >> don't you dare. and mr. gray knows that in the 1950's, women did as men said. totally different from today. [laughter] men were in charge of the world. anyway, that is what happened. and all of a sudden, i sat back down, and i got off the bus. michelle: did you see her arrest? jane: no, i did not. michelle: so here you are. jane: yes.
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great with child. she is right here. she is in the audience. michelle: exactly 64 years. i am sorry. but i think back because no one came forward to tell the story until you. no other person has admitted being there. why did it take so long for your story to come out? jane: because when i got back to the base, i never went back to the city, and i did not even know anything that was going on in the city. i had no idea there was a bus boycott or this man called martin luther king. i had never heard his name, so we came home to atlanta and 35 or more years went by of my life. growing a family, and then all of a sudden, one sunday afternoon after church, one of my sons was reading on the floor
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a life magazine, and saw a bus and he said, mom, this is the funniest looking bus, and i said oh dear. i was on that bus. so immediately, one of us started calling to meet mrs. parks, and after the third call, elaine steele called back, the cofounder of the rosa and raymond parks institute and mrs. parks will be in atlanta at this vivian event, and she would invite you to her hotel. so we went over. in fact, they asked me to give my recollection of that day. michelle: and you gave it. she did not remember you. but she remembered what happened on the bus. jane: and she remembered a tall
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man. when brenda davenport -- was one of the interviewers, she said i am here to protect miss parks. i have to make sure you are not -- so in a little while, mrs. parks says you were there. michelle: she said you were there. jane: right. for those millennials out there who have a hard time speaking about a world where a tweet and a social media blast and news 24 hours, seven days a week, it was a different time in terms of news coverage. i just want you to describe it. rosa parks and what she did on december 1, no one outside of montgomery really knew about it. did they?
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fred: knew about rosa parks or knew about montgomery? michelle: they did not know about rosa parks on december 1, because the news did not penetrate, was not put out there in the same manner. fred: with respect to mrs. parks and the rest? michelle: yes. yes. it was not national news? fred: it was national news, the montgomery bus boycott. it made the news. our arrests did not make the news until mr. nixon leaked the story to the press that we were going to start a boycott on monday. and the reporter for "the montgomery advertiser" ended up
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running a story and really, mr. nixon did not tell us he was going to tell it because we were trying to keep the white people from knowing it but let the black people know it, but it developed that the best thing that happened was for mr. nixon to do what he did. as a result, it made the front page on sunday and monday that negros were going to boycott the buses. it helped us to get a good start. in montgomery, alabama. when i talked to mrs. parks, after i got back in town on december 1, and she retained me to represent her, i asked her to tell me about anybody who did anything on that bus that would help her in her case. she did not tell me, any person, white nor black, had offered to help her to do anything. they were there, the officer who
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had police power asked her to get up. she politely told him she was not going to get up. she was not disorderly. and they would have helped her if we had had some witness on the bus, black or white, to come to mrs. parks' rescue. she never told me and i never subpoenaed anyone to testify on her behalf because we did not know at the time. we knew white people were on the buses. i am not saying she was not there at all. i am sure there were at least more than 10 white people because they had all the seats taken. there were black people on the bus, but nobody thought enough of miss parks to come to misses parks rescue, so she was arrested, and the rest is history. tell us, what was definitively the signature of
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what made mrs. parks -- not just her arrest, but her trial resonate. it was a tandem act. was it not? fred: no, no. mrs. parks had been working on civil rights for years before december 1. michelle: i understand that -- what i'm trying to point out is you've made very clear to me working on have been the idea of a boycott for some time. the decision to boycott the night of her trial on december 5, that was the impetus, that was the explosion, was it not? fred: the matter of staying off of the buses as a result of mrs.
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parks' arrest did not originate with misses rosa parks. she was not the person who was really moving forward with it. as a matter of fact, when i met with her in her living room and talked with her, what we were concerned about then was preparing -- there were two things in my mind that i told her that we would be thinking about. the first thing, we have got to get ready for her trial on december 5, so don't worry about it. i am going to get that ready. i said, ultimately, we are going to have to file a lawsuit. i also told her, i said the reporter has been talking about asking people to stay off of the buses because we have been having this problem for a long time. i said don't you worry about that, mrs. parks. you have done your part. i'm going to talk to joe and robinson, i'm going to talk to see if inrdson, and
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addition to your trial taking place, we will have a protest and people will stay off of the buses. i left her house and went to e's house and talked with him. he was willing to participate. i told him i was going to the house and talked with her. we talked in her living room from the evening of december 1 to the morning of december 2 and we sat and planned the various things that had to take place if we were going to get the people to stay off the bus. one, we got to get the ministers because they had more people on sunday morning than anyone else and we had to get the message out. we were asking them to stay off of the bus for only one day. but we wanted them to stay off of the bus until they could come back on a nonsegregated basis
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but we could not tell them that so we talked about the one day, but we had to be prepared that if we were successful, what are we going to do next? then we said we need somebody to serve as a spokesman. it was joanne robinson who suggested my pastor should serve as spokesman. michelle: and who was that pastor? fred: that was reverend martin luther king jr., who had just gotten to town about one year before. normally, nixon, mr. civil rights, and another political and business man in the senate, -- city, would have been the person to serve in that capacity, but what we were afraid of, joanne and i, if we used either nixon or louis, we -- nixon or lewis, we may lose some of the other ones, so let's get somebody else, she said. i will tell you who. i said who? she said my pastor, martin luther king jr.
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i said i met dr. king. i don't know him like you do. but that's fine. i said let me give you two good positions for these other two men. e.d. nixon, the treasurer, because he knows a philip randolph, who is the founder of a porter car porter's union, and the other man was rufus lewis, who was a former coach at alabama state. he was in the political aspect. he wanted to get people registered to vote. he had the citizens club and in order to get to the club, you had to be a registered voter. i said let's make nixon the treasurer, make rufus lewis the chairman of the transportation committee, because if it lasts beyond monday, we will need somebody.
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lewis' wife rufus jewel is co-owner of the largest funeral home in town. guess what. they have automobiles. we need automobiles. work.e people to and from make him the chair of the transformation committee and we will have transportation solved. she said what i am going to do when we get through here, fred, i am going to go to alabama state and get some students. i am going to draw up a leaflet. in this leaflet, i will say another black woman has been arrested. her trial is going to be on monday. let's stay off of the buses as a protest. that is what happened and the rest is history. those things that we planned -- neither one of us -- i could not afford -- it could not be afforded that fred was out here doing all of that. i would have gotten disbarred before i got barred. [laughter]
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fred: she couldn't do it because she taught at alabama state. the plan, there were a lot of plans that went into the makings of the the bus boycott, what it was, but what inspired them was a 15-year-old girl, claudette carbon, who did what mrs. parks did nine months before, and we all said, if claudette could do that, then all of us can do whatever it takes, and we stayed off of the buses for 282 days. [applause] fred: now you know the rest of the story. michelle: in fact, rosa parks was convicted. rosa parks was convicted and
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claudette's case was the case that won against segregation. fred: claudette colvin's -- let me take them in chronological order. we will take rosa parks case. she was the one arrested on december 1. my first responsibility was to see that she was adequately represented on december 5. i knew they were going to convict her. ofre was no way in the world her being found not guilty. i knew that. cross-examine and witness, raise my constitutional questions, because none of them could say she had acted disorderly and they convicted her. case, it was appealed
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to the circuit court and had to go up through the alabama courts and ultimately to the u.s. supreme court. that was one case, but if we had gotten her found not guilty, all that would have happened is she would have been not guilty and the city ordinance and state statutes requiring segregation would have still been on the books, so we had to have another lawsuit and that suit was the of browder versus gail. we needed to file this case and the question was, i knew in my own mind i was not going to use as the plaintiff in that case and i wasn't going to do it because if i would have done that, her case was up for appeal and what the city would
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have said is that this is a collateral attack on her appeal case, so let's let her case go through the state system, but skipped some other good plaintiffs, and i can think of no better plaintiff then claudette colvin. she was a minor, so her parents had to be involved and the , and that we ended up was the case of broader versus gail that ultimately desegregated the buses. but if claudette hadn't done what she had done in 1955, it is quite possible mrs. parks may not have done what she did on december 1. if she had not been arrested, -- there would have been no trial, there would have been no meeting at the baptist church,
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martin luther king jr. would not have been introduced to the nation at that time, and the whole history of the civil rights movement would have been different, but for the 15-year-old girl claudette colvin. here we honor mrs. parks tonight, and if mrs. parks was here, i'm sure she would be glad to say that part of her inspiration along with what she had been doing for years before was to be able to inspire young girls like claudette to do what she did, so we also honor product called in and the plaintiffs in their case as they did in montgomery on this past sunday, where they also unveiled a statue of rosa parks and they honored the persons in browder vs. gail. it almost sounds as if, because this young woman was in rosa parks' youth ministry,
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that she inspired a young woman who then inspired her, and to pay it forward moment over and over and over again. fred: yes. michelle: and here you are, 64 years later, a practicing attorney. congratulations. fred: thank you. [applause] michelle: i just want to know how your legacy, rosa parks' legacy, impacts what is happening in today's struggle, as rosa parks has always said, the struggle continues. and so, i wonder how this continuum of your legacy informs that.
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fred: well, i don't know about my legacy. these historians will have to decide that. but i know this. i know that at least two generations of people have been born who know nothing at all about hard-core segregation. they don't know about the problems that we had, and i think, if i will have a legacy, and i think if mrs. parks was here tonight, she would be happy for all of this that we are doing. but i think she would also want us to say thank you and all of that, but to look at where we are now and see the progress we have made, but even more importantly, is to see what needs to be done to solve the problem so that all of the
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people in this country will enjoy all of the rights and privileges that the majority enjoys, and that has not ended yet. so the struggle continues. i believe she would think, and i believe that there are two major problems still facing us that we need to be serious about. one, this country still has some serious racial problems. racism has not been eliminated in this country. this country has never really faced up to taking affirmative actions towards destroying racism. we have chipped at it a little bit, but we have never really worked on it, so that is one problem that needs to be, and if i have a legacy or if mrs. parks has a legacy, i think she would
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want us to complete the task of doing away with racism so that everybody, regardless of their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, will be able to enjoy the same rights and privileges. [applause] fred: i think there is a second point, and that is, in this country, there is too much inequality between the majority -- when i think about majority, i think about white people -- and the minority. and i think about african-americans and others. the disparity between those two are so great, and if you just -- if you will -- and this is nothing new.
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it is not that -- the national urban league has a report they make every year to the president, and what i am telling you about this part of it, you can find it in the annual report. michelle: the state of black america. fred: yeah, the five areas that you measure economics by, african-americans are at the bottom, the lower part, and whites are at the top. if you take, for example, in unemployment, we are less than -- twice less than where white people are. if you take poverty, we are three times in worse shape than whites are. and if you take incarceration, we are incarcerated 16 times as whites, so what i am saying to you is that inequality needs to end. those two things, inequality and racism, nothing new. they have been here since slavery time. but they are not going to go away unless somebody do something. if we had done nothing, if mrs.
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parks had done nothing, if claudette had done nothing, it would not have happened. so then what we need to do, if you can take what we did in the civil rights movement, the bus boycott and everything else, number one, you have to recognize that we still have a problem. because if you don't think we have a problem, then we are not going to solve it. [applause] fred: secondly, you have to come up and prepare and make plans. joann and i made the plans and passed it on to somebody else. you do not try to execute at -- it all, pass it on to someone else. and then when you do that, you have to execute these plans. these two things need to be done and it needs to start at the top. it should start at the white house, it should go to the congress, it should go to the supreme court, it should go to our ceos and educational institutions to do away with racism and do away with inequality.
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[applause] fred: that, i think is the legacy. michelle: and in fact, chris rock, a comedian of our time, said racism is not a black person problem. racism is a white person's problem. mrs. gunter, i look at you, this beautiful white woman who says she was so inspired by rosa parks. you met with her. you say she changed your life. how did she? mrs. gunter: i didn't think about that in the beginning, i was busy growing a family and living life, until the magazine incident. and then we met with mrs. parks and before the meeting was over, mrs. parks said that i was
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there. and that interview was done by brenda davenport of selc in atlanta, and elaine seale. so we -- they asked me if i would tell my recollection of the day and when i told the recollection of what happened that day, and brenda tried to and parks parks said no, she was there. michelle: you were a missionary and a pastor and you work in the movement until this day. mrs. gunter: to this day. i go to schools to talk to children about mrs. parks, and the bus boycott and every february, all of my days are filled and i love it. i enjoy it.
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especially seeing children learn what really happened from my eyes. from my eyes. michelle: do you see the struggle through the eyes of mrs. parks? do you see it as your struggle now? mrs. gunter: i do not see it as a struggle for me at all. i have absolutely no conflict with red, yellow, black, white. i work with all kinds of people. we are just people. and any choice sermon would be about peace, love, kindness, and forgiveness. michelle: forgiveness. thank you both. [applause] jane gunter, thank you, fred gray. fred: may i say two things, and
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i will make it short. i referred to this earlier. again, i want to commend this library for having this exhibit for rosa parks here. people can come from all over the country and see what is here. you have museums all over the country who need our support, and they are deserving of that support. so that the story can be told and they will be educated on it. one of those organizations is located in tuskegee, alabama, the tuskegee human rights and civil cultural center, it also known as the tuskegee history center. it gives the history and the people,all native americans, european americans, and african-americans under one roof. it also serves as a prominent memorial for the men in the tuskeegee syphilis study, and
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i represented those men soto, and it gives a brief history of the civil rights movement from slavery times until the present, showing about five cases of alabamarom tuskegee, filed that are national in scope. we ask for your support. and if you want to learn some more about it, just let me know. that is the first thing. [applause] fred: the next thing, all of what i have told you tonight about the movement and more is found in my autobiography. "bus ride to justice." there is a copy over there. but what i am saying is, our problem is that our young people do not know what has happened. if we do not educate them on it, it will never get done. thank you very much. [applause] michelle: thank you. [applause]
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michelle: well, you have seen history in the making, haven't you, and that is what we had hoped you would see. hear from people who have lived history, people who appreciate history, and we will have some of those brochures for everybody too. thank you so much. we have been joined by mr. mark l'oreal, the head of the national urban league, so that report is also available as well. [applause] carla: and you should know that this exhibit is going to be online so people everywhere can see everything. we thank all of you for being here and being part of this discussion. and now we invite you to go upstairs and see the exhibit. [applause]
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[captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> this is american history tv on c-span3, where each weekend, we feature 48 hours of programs exploring our nation's past. >> in this three-part program, we look back to the 1998 impeachment of president bill clinton with alexis amending or.
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she covered the impeachment for national genera and is now a national political correspondent for the hell newspaper. segments include the december 19 house floor debate and the 1999 senate impeachment trial. here's a preview. >> i think the gentleman. the second on while i certainly believe that even assuming the facts that mr. starr presented riseeiterated, it doesn't to the level of impeachment. i can see the argument among my colleagues that, in a basic criminal context or a civil context, there is a strong argument on the other side. in article one, to a lesser
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extent, the gentleman from massachusetts some that up as well. it is trivial. you might be able to make a very legalistic argument, one that would not close -- come close to the level of impeachment. when we get to articles three and four, we really begin to reach. article three reaches. article four reaches and almost gets into the theater of the absurd. today, we are here to address article three. i would submit that, based on a standard of clear and convincing evidence, which the majority professes to use, we are not even close. yes, you can string together fax. i surmise, this is the renovation. there is an equally plausible explanation that there was a different motivation and there is not one direct fact that motivationthe
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attributed by the gentleman from arkansas to the president is the motivation. we submit articles of impeachment based on surmise? >> learn more about the impeachment of president bill clinton this sunday here on american history tv. next on lectures in history, boston college professor this -- seth jacobs discusses the factors that escalated the war in vietnam following the assassination of john f. kennedy. argues that the 1964 presidential campaign against the hawkish barry goldwater influenced johnson's desire to be seen as a strong foreign-policy president. welcome. today's subject is lyndon johnson. he is best remembered by


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