tv Lectures in History Conversation with Rep. James Clyburn D-SC CSPAN October 19, 2022 8:00am-8:40am EDT
to cuba not far from charleston where they lived and what i did, i said now here is what is happening. let's go over chapter 22, the chapter on cuba and let's talk about the background and for that and that's the way that i talk. it was a pretty big success and as you know i still hold onto this and many of the students until this day. that is the kind of thing that i didn't get. when i was a student, history teacher would tell us for a test, will we have a ten question test here and what is the date that this happened and was the moment when they discovered america in this that and the other night hated that and so when i started to teach, one of my first days in the
classroom, would tell my students to for the papers right down two things, number one, adn number two, 1066, a.d., those are the only two years that i want you to remember. the roman empire failure and the conqueror crossing opening up the new world in 1066. so those of the two big days to remember and other and the other that we talk about issues and how those issues related to them in their everyday lives. >> and congressman, you provided leadership to those young people and i remember ambassador for the united states for my students in a couple of others, real distinguished leaders and
they all would point back to being in your class and the impact that you have those kids were just remarkable and rep. james clyburn 's class. >> they were raised by the grandparents he was in my classroom. in the ambassador. he said i need you to be there and i was the assistant at the time and when i came back to washington through - i will never forget that we need you to step to the podium after being sworn in and he pointed over to me and i noticed when i got there, there was a little mark on the floor and it intent they took me to their that's where i stood and he pointed to me and he said no crowd, that i wish you could be in one of his
classes because he opened up the world to me, and america and that did everything for me. and i was walking down from the church in his ongoing service, looked over to my right and standing there was james and i knew that he was there during the service. he told me later that he would have never missed that because he was in a little group. he lived in apartment there just a few blocks away and he and dawson, they would all come to our house and we would do the sessions and i would just talk to them about the world at large so they would know.
there could be much more to their lives than what existed on the site of charleston. so that to me was the backdrop to this great vision that you have any still hold onto with the international african american museum, not the charleston african-american museum or an african american museum but international african-american museum because it talks about how charleston fits into the international scope of things in the kinds of things that i was trying to teach. and by the way, they were never tied from the big-time attorney on wall street, he used to be the general counsel for the american express. that's what but that's not what
we are here to talk about today. >> one thing and we will get to the museum quickly but when the congressman, when you lost the election in 1970, newly elected if governor john west to was a fellow student. saw james clyburn's character in the way that he would be appointed to be the first director of the south carolina human affairs commission. and then the congressman went around the state and making ties and connecting businesses and interested in other interests together and enable south carolina to move forward into more racially together community.
>> absolutely, and reflected on my statement, as i said earlier, of what happened in that election. the senator said it looks like that i didn't get enough votes. and i held that, it looks like a didn't in enough votes. and on that thursday morning, i talked to the reporter and on that thursday morning, john had been just elected governor of south carolina, growing up which was nothing but a putting ground at that time, he would pick up newspapers. and immediately called and spoke with emily and he told her that we called him.
and he asked me to meet him on monday and i did. he offered me a position on his staff and he said to be at the time, and of course i turned him down. i said no i'm a little bit too caustic and he said to me, that if i had your talent, i would be a little more caustic than you are. that started the relationship. in either desk that he had had as governor. and, she called me and she said that john if he is south of itself out of this i want you to have his desk. he gave me the desk he had as governor nice to behind that desk right now every time ago to
my office. and i would hope that i would be somewhat of a lesson it to some of your students. my dad used to tell me all the time, you never say everything that's on your mind. so not going to say what was on my mind on that morning after that 1970, election, but it certainly i kept it there and talk about the results and it made all the difference. in different headline, i don't think i would've gotten that call from john west and i certainly would not be sitting here now. >> i agree with that congressman congressman. it's such an important life lessons and that. you accept disappointments with grace and you build for the future and that's one of the
many great lessons that you've given us not only as legislative leaders leadership but as a human being and someone you can trust and inspired those kids. and he inspires members of congress right now on both sides of the aisle and they look up to jim because of his character and his intellect and his determination and it's really amazing. and congressman, changing the subject a little bit, it seems to me that the recent unfortunate efforts to make it less easy for people to vote is more cumbersome than it needs to be. that is a bit reminiscence of what happened after reconstruction in a different
form in the way but it seems to me that is very unfortunate that in our country that there are any efforts that we effectively believe that we should make it easier and less cumbersome for american citizens to vote rather than these obstacles in the way. >> you are so right about that and i really believe that in this great country and i have said over and over again, this is a great country. he does not have to be great again, it is a great country and our talents is making this country's greatness accessible and affordable for all of its citizens pretty in the foundation upon that greatness is made, is the unfettered
balance and we have wronged in e perfect union by opening up. that's what the 1964, civil rights act was about 1955 act was all about and in pursuit of perfection by making the franchise more accessible to all of its citizens. and for us to get to a point of backtracking that most important thing about our democracy would be to destroy or take us off that pursuit and i think this fragile democracy that we have,
we have managed as ronald reagan would say, on the hills for a very long time. people to look to this country, for example, for a long time. i don't know that anybody would look at this country that would turn the clock back. or take away the right to vote in some jurisdictions seem to be pursuant and i would hope this will be an anomaly on a couple of states. and let's get back to the pursuit of perfection. >> thank you congressman and i know we probably have some questions. let's open it up for questions.
>> as a reminder for any of the students, really any of our guests if you want to put questions into the chat, i will do my best to relay this to the congressman and i wanted to maybe to take us back just for a minute, congressman, to the 1960s and i think about the work that you did around the mascara and especially run the charleston hospital strike and think about that time of such great upheaval. the assassination of doctor king and bobby kennedy and i am wondering if you might draw some parallels or make comparisons to our contemporary politics. and, what are the comparisons between today and 1968, if those
are appropriate. >> in 1968, i started teaching at charleston in 1962 with john west in 1971 and in 1968, i was in charleston, at the time where i was running - and i became director of the south carolina commission in the farmworkers. that is where i really was at the time during that massacre and i knew and many of the students, and one of the students leaving that. and so what was going on then, i was very much involved with.
and so he and i stayed in touch. then it became well at the time of the hospital strike in 1969, we also had another strike. a few people remember that. and leaving the hospital strike, and for some strange reason, they asked me to get involved with the workers and it negotiate as we had two things going on simultaneously. so that is why i'm a little bit concerned today and i'm cutting out the discussions because you have to find ways to keep the
communication going. and he stopped talking, you're never going to get to the best part of the issue so what was going on back and was a lot of what you see today. and i thank you so very reminiscent of that and i do believe that we overcame back then because people with open-mindedness, some people with broad shoulders, they stepped up to get us back on track when we needed to go. then the 1970 election came right after that hospital strike. so giving that joseph riley running for reelection, it was more important with these two people filing the legislature to be integrated.
and i lost that election. and i became the first african-american serving on the government staff and so we both came out winners. this experiences that you have, it may look like that obstacle is blocked but if very well could be a steppingstone if you respond appropriately. >> one of our wonderful librarians has a question for you. ruby murray asks, if you might say a little bit about the political damage that the slogan it, defunded the police did to
canada in the recent elections and you have any suggestions for a better framework for the urgent need for police reform moving forward. >> yes, i do and i've been writing about it and i have been talking about it and i think that we all have to reimagine policing. i think that if you are a lawyer and you are policed, i just saw this a couple of weeks ago, two lawyers in south carolina. i saw the headlines about the two who were disbarred. they did something wrong. so the same thing has to take place in policing, it is an honorable profession. my cousin it was almost 40 years
a police officer and i spoke at his service and i thought that he was an honorable person in an honorable profession. so we cannot allow one bad apple to ruin it the entire battle. and that's what will happen if you don't get that bad apple out and that is what we have to do. this notion that we seem to have that once you get bad come all of a sudden you're a saint and you cannot be held accountable and that is in policing. we have to have police. it is an honorable profession to begin and i support that. but we should not go so for as to do in the current state of affairs with the black lives
matter what happened to us in the 1960s and john lewis and i were demonstrating, and student non- violence. we were - came by with people with a new slogan, burn baby burn. that undercut and undermine the efforts what we were doing and i saw that predict in just a few months before he passed away the two of us sat in the back of the house chamber and he said that we needed to speak out. we just did not stand by and allow a slogan to kill the black lives matter movement the way that it did in the movement that we were part of back in the 60s and i'm a lawyer and i
keep talking about the student movement. you never hear me call it the civil rights movement and is always been a civil rights movement. what was wrong back in the 60s, they were the students of the nonviolence predict the end aa cp, so there's always been it would be the insurrection of 1822 of these things always took place braden i try to put things in the proper perspective so i say to the students keep things in the proper perspective and one of them is he listening. and let's remember that throwing out a bad policeman is not to destroy the profession.
>> president of the campus chapter of the young democrats and active in the young democrat statewide, tyler mitchell would like to ask you given all of the events of the previous year, what are the prospects that america can build a stronger foundation in the area of social equality. >> i think the prospects are great, they could be better. my dad used to say to me a lot, where there is a will, there is a winner. but we have to do is develop a will and i don't think enough people have developed the will to do what is best and it is so easy. and it's easy to pretend it is
not going on and you walk away from it and hard part is working together. putting aside individual differences. we been talking about, my late wife and i say to people, a lot, i was born and raised in a time of something. and it she was born on a 22-acre farm and we found out very early in our marriage their backgrounds were so different. we had to make significant adjustments in order to have a successful marriage. i think the same thing applies to almost everything that we do, we given we learn and we have different backgrounds and different experiences we have to learn from each other. you don't necessarily learn from people by shutting them up, you learn from them by listening to them and you get for some
problems by coming together. i would say that the prospects are great that we can keep the people engaged on a very personal level. and that is the channels, for me to be able to set aside whatever my inclinations might be long enough to listen to the other guy to see if he is a better idea. in the same thing applies to women as well. i am to be the father of three daughters. i listen to them, i talked to them and i ask for their advice. >> as i have been standing here, i literally keep getting goosebumps and, i mean, it
it is just so thrilling to see this fine wise american. representing our country in the congress and representing us in south carolina, but the truth in the justice and the knowledge, experience. we often read about things in the political life and it is so important that we rejoice when we see someone like him who is essentially devoted his life to this cause and it's about honesty and justice and honesty and injustice, and integrity and concerns printed so for everyone who tuned in today and certainly for the students of the class, i wanted to teach here, congressmr
being with us and you are a marvelous example that you give all of us the public service, the decency and what it means to be a citizen of our country and thank you. >> thank you and if you haven't already, please do me a big favor. read martin luther king jr.'s speech and that to me is next to the bible is one of the most timely asked documents that i have ever read and want to call your attention to part, king wrote in the book, that we are going to be made to repent in this generation, not just for the bad people. but for the silent and so the good people when we see