tv U.S. Congress Ceremony CSPAN June 22, 2013 11:00pm-12:11am EDT
he is depicted here today standing by a podium giving an address. we lean forward and listen carefully as captivated audiences once did. his name is frederick douglass. he said he was born into slavery sometime in february and eight to 18. he was never ever able to determine the day. -- in 1818. he had to tussle with his master's dog for food. he learned to read. he started with a bible. this lit a fire in him. a passion for liberty and you can still see in his eyes. indeed, once you learn how to read, he says, you will forever be free. he resolved to escape. after a try or two, he succeeded. a remarkable story.
yet, we are just getting darted. -- started. he does not join the anti-slave movement, he becomes the voice. he writes books. he started a weekly newspaper. he is meeting with president lincoln about a better treatment for african-americans and the union army. still as he says, our work is not done. our speaker will go on to help the women's rights movement come into its own. he will be named the u.s. marshall, an ambassador. at the republican national convention, he became the first african-american to have the same taste in nomination -- his name placed in nomination for president. he will endure integrity. frederick douglass set an
example for unity that is unmatched. he is a man for all generations. today, we place him here with kinks -- kings and foreign leaders to seek inspiration. we do this not only to honor a giant but to remind one another of how richly blessed we are that such a man lived to prove that ambition is not a gift of status but a gift from god. anything is achievable through struggle and hard work. he would often say what is possible for me is also possible for you. that capitol has many statues and this one of frederick douglass will hold a special place in our hearts and in our capitol city. thank you all for being here today. [applause]
the united states capitol as a fitting tribute to frederick douglass who worked to ensure that our nation honors its promise of liberty and opportunity for all. lord, we are grateful for his commitment to freedom which inspires us to rededicate ourselves to the timeless principles he struggled to uphold. we praise you for his rejection of violence. his refusal to retreat on important issues. and his ability to persuade allies in order to achieve his
objectives. inspired by his great life, empower us to serve your purposes for our lives and our generation by bringing deliverance to cap this in the recovery of sight to the morally and spiritually blind. we pray in your merciful name, amen. >> lisa be seated. -- please be seated. >> the honorable eleanor holmes norton. [applause]
>> thank you. mr. vice president, speaker boehner, harry reid, nancy pelosi, howard professor dr. edna g. medford and the douglass family led by its matriarch, ms. nettie washington douglass. the great, great granddaughter of frederick douglass who we all are pleased to welcome to the capitol today. [applause] it took a community to choose frederick douglass to represent the capitol joining statues from the 50 states. and the entire congress to bring the statue to the capitol today. i especially find that it was d. c. residents who selected
frederick douglass to represent the district and the capitol. our residents are accustomed to hosting national and international visitors who make the district their home. none before or since douglass however have so joined his national prominence and philosophy with the aspirations of the people of the district of columbia. douglass lived here for 23 of his 57 years as a free man. he knew and felt deeply about where he lived. he refused to separate his life in the district from the quality of his courageous life. rising from bondage to become the most prominent abolitionist and a leader of the women's suffrage movement acknowledged even in his lifetime as one of the greatest americans. the district shares douglass
with maryland and new york. but few new -- but few had him for his active life. as a resident of the distant columbia, building his home, cedar hill, here. a national historic site in southeast washington. too few know how douglass embedded himself in the life of the district of columbia serving most of his years here as a howard university trustee. even as he traveled the country and the world, there has been too little recognition that as a resident of d.c., he was nominated to three local posts which were the upper chamber of the d.c. council, part of the home rule government during
reconstruction and as a u.s. marshall for the federal courts here. who knew frederick douglass lost the republican nomination? his insistence on congressional voting rights and independent self-government. the struggle the residents of the district columbia continue today. for douglass, the district was no mere address. he lived what he stood for were ever he lived. some may know of my views that residents must enjoy self- government rights with other americans. i must confer to mr. douglass' view is unmatched -- whose view
is unmatched. in 1895, douglass spoke to -- spoke defiantly "to take sides." notwithstanding, he said, "the frowns or the smiles of the present government." he called the residents of the district "aliens, not citizens but subjects." and what he called "plenty taxation but not representation in the great politics of the country." mr. douglass did not submit his words but spoke with militancy and the voice of a local citizen at the height of his international celebrity. today, we have his most famous words, agitate, agitate inspired
the district's determination to become the 51st state. douglass' life and his deep commitment to our equal rights are the reasons that his statue is here to be unveiled today as a gift from the almost 650,000 american citizens of the district of columbia. these are the reasons that the d.c. council authorized the statue of frederick douglass. the statue stands seven feet tall. frederick douglass stood even taller. as a world leader to his hometown and refused to temper his demands for congressional voting rights at the local self- government for the residents of the district of columbia. this was the great douglass.
this was frederick douglass of the district of columbia. thank you very much. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the senator from new york, charles schumer. [applause] >> thank you. i am honored to speak at this location. first, i want to warmly welcome everybody for coming to join us today. this important and he start defense. especially all of the new yorkers. -- this is an important and historic event. i want to recognize an eighth0grader who is a two-time winner of the frederick douglass oratorical contest. [applause]
we gather here today at emancipation hall to celebrate the remarkable legacy of a great, great man -- frederick douglass. for 25 years, he made his home in rochester, new york. he was a statesman, and abolitionist, a self-taught writer and an advocate for justice and freedom. it was in rochester where he published the influential anti- slavery newspaper "the northstar," was also largest african-american paper in the country. he fought for emancipation and equality and dignity for every american at a time when our democracy was far from perfect. he was the only african-american to attend the first women's rights convention in 1848 in seneca falls, new york. rochester incidentally was the center of the fight for freedom
throughout the 19th century. cynical false a short distance from rochester. -- seneca falls is a short distance from rochester. frederick douglass lived in washington, d. c. where he served in many positions including federal marshal and president of the freedman's savings and trust company while he carried on as a national leader for syllable rights. -- civil rights. after his body was laid to rest in 1895, the people of rochester erected the first monument honoring him in 1899. the people of washington, d. c. have also undertook this great man who called their city home at the latter years of his life. i want to thank the people of washington for generously
donating this sculpture which will be seen by millions of visitors every year. it is not an accident that his statue stands here next to the marker dedicated to the enslaved laborers who built the capitol that completed the capitol dome during the civil war. these workers were among the millions of slaves who frederick douglass, a former slave himself, dedicated his life to free. the statue of frederick douglass joins three elite other sculptures of african-americans in the u.s. capitol. martin luther king jr., rosa parks, sojourner truth. for too long, the capitol collection of statues failed to include courageous african- americans who led some the most important movements in the nation's and world's history. the installation of this statue in a place named emancipation hall is just one step toward
correcting that glaring omission. the base of the statue bears an inscription with the words frederick douglass and was said famously said 155 years ago. he said, "if there is no struggle, there is no progress." after a long struggle, millions of tourists who come across a country no longer have to wait to see this statue and the place where it belongs. now this generation and future generations can honor the legacy of furtive douglass at the center of democracy -- frederick douglass at the center of democracy he fought for. there is no more fitting way of
honoring him than with this statue. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, dr. edna g. medford of howard university. [applause] >> thank you and good morning. thank you so much all of you for being here on this important occasion. today, we honor a man whose life taxable fights a deep commitment to human and civil rights both at home and abroad. that he lived at a time when many americans accepted without hesitation one person's ownership of another. when inequality was for white men only makes his legacy all the more extraordinary.
despite having been born into slavery, he spent most of his 77 years rejecting any limitations on his own ambitions. as system that all people enjoy dignity and fair treatment. his motto, "where there is no struggle, there is no progress," signaled his commitment to fight for fellow african-americans and slavery and freedom. women who have been done my -- who have been denied equal standing in society. and the many others who faced oppression. douglass began his own personal struggle on maryland's eastern shore and continued in baltimore where he was able to expand his narrowly defined world through literacy. a privilege denied to most enslaved people. it encouraged him at 20 to still away to the north.
along with his freeborn wife, anna, he later writes -- laid claim to the rights of other free men. to exercise a political voice, equal to all other citizens. within a few years, he joined the ranks of abolitionists and his oratorical skills landed him to providing an eloquent and fearless voice that articulated and needs and desires at the african-american community. the challenged the nation to live up to its creed of the quality of all. before he reached 30, he had written the first of three autobiographies and had made his first trip to the british isles where he found support for his effort to eradicate slavery in america.
a decade later, civil war pitted one section of the country against the other. his condemnation urged a review a reluctant union and the president to embrace the goal of freedom for nearly 4 million enslaved people. he encouraged the union to open its ranks to black men. when it did, he used his name and his persuasive abilities to convince them that taking up the union cause helped to destroy slavery and secure their right to be treated as citizens. during the war, he advised president lincoln on matters involving the welfare of these men walk continuing to press for equality for african-americans throughout the country. when his home in new york burned under mysterious circumstances in 1872, he moved to washington where for nearly two decades he championed the causes affecting
residents including full political participation. he continued to work for the nationwide advancement of african-americans. he provided over the freedmen's bank every -- bank. during the years he was a resident here that he lent his support as a trustee to the recent established howard university where african- americans could pursue a formal education that he had been denied. he served the institution for 25 years. he was never elected to public office. his demonstrated skill led to several appointments including 2 local positions. they have been mentioned. united states marshal and
recorder of deeds. in the international arena, he served as a minister to haiti and the dominican republic. he viewed these opportunities not as personal successes, but indicators of the progress of the race. abolitionist, orator, author, statesman, defender of women's rights, champion of civil rights for all. he believed as the pretzels espoused in the documents -- in the principles espoused in the nation's documents. in his words, "a nation as ours, there should be no bridge among no port -- there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low,
no black, no white." this statue is representative of the people of the district, a fitting tribute of a man who never faltered to secure the rights of all people to control their own destiny. he would be proud to be represented here and proud that his spirit of perseverance and determination remain with the people of the district of columbia. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, mrs. laurie williams. ♪
>> ladies and gentlemen, the democratic leader of the house of representatives, the honorable nancy pelosi. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. mr. vice president, mr. speaker, leader reid and mcconnell. senator schumer, the sponsor of the bill brings us here today. and of course our colleague and called -- and congresswoman, eleanor holmes norton. congratulations, this is your day. [applause] dr. edna g. medford and nettie, congratulations to you and your
family. 150 years ago, as midnight approached in 1863, frederick douglass gathered with fellow abolitionists in tremont temple in boston with great anticipation as they waited the official news of emancipation. knowing that freedom of people and the character of a nation hung in the balance. describing the spirit in that room, frederick douglass would later write, "we were awaiting for a bolt from the sky. watching by the light of the stars for the dawn of the new day. we will long for the answer to the prayers or centuries." since escaping slavery, he had agitated to usher the dawn of a
new day. as the clock struck midnight, an agonizing prayer was answered. resident lincoln -- president lincoln signed the emancipation proclamation. it would take until june 19 to reach texas. this year on new year's eve, a group of members went to the national archives to reach and that 150th anniversary of the emancipation proclamation and to recognize all who helped make it a reality. certainly, more than central to that cause was frederick douglass. in that time, he stood tall at the center of the battle for abolition and civil rights.
for an american that lived up to the creed of the quality. starting today, frederick douglass will stand tall at the u.s. capitol, a tribute to his leadership, his permanent place, and a pantheon of history. frederick douglass earned fame and recognition as an abolitionist and a leader. but is also a leader in the fight for women's suffrage. many of us celebrated frederick douglass another time by visiting pinnacle falls on the wonder 50th anniversary of the speech -- seneca falls on the 150th anniversary. we celebrate him when we visit the national historic site right here in washington, d. c. as a person born in baltimore, i
know elijah and donna and other colleagues take pride in his maryland association as well. when it comes to equality in our country, richard douglass -- frederick douglass' voice is still being heard. it at the center of d.c. voting rights and his decision to spend the last years of his life at cedar hill in washington. today, the more the 600,000 citizens of washington bluefly a statue finally rubbers -- will finally see a statue representing them in the relentless efforts of congresswoman eleanor holmes norton. we know a single statue is not enough. frederick douglass and so many of us want full representation
in the halls of congress and as he wrote of the people of d.c. "they have made their voice --" we must wrong this right in history and give d.c. the voice it deserves. [applause] 50 years ago tom a president kennedy spoke -- 50 years ago, president kennedy spoke about civil rights. he spoke for the first time of it as a moral issue. he reminded us that our nation will not be totally free until all of our citizens are free. today, with a statue of frederick douglass, we honor a man of moral vision known by many as the father of the civil rights movement.
a leader who worked to make our nation fully free. he joins fellow heroes on that journey who have been acknowledged who are present in the capitol. martin luther king jr., sojourner truth, rosa parks to his rightful place in the capitol. we want more. he understood the truth of douglass' statement. it never did and it never will. frederick douglass demanded freedom. he demanded a nation that stayed true to its ideals. he demanded and helped achieve a more perfect union. we still have work to do. there are many causes -- things on this beautiful statue. is it a beautiful?
"the soul that is in me, no man can degrade." how perfect. how beautiful. may it long stand as a testament to the inspirational life and timeless message and extraordinary leadership of frederick douglass. thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, throughout the leader of the senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. -- the republican leader of the senate, the honorable mitch mcconnell. [applause] >> mr. vice president, thank you for being with us and my colleagues on the stage. 13 years ago, we broke ground on
the visitor's center that surrounds us. the idea was that the american people when they came to visit their representatives in washington deserved a place that would help them appreciate the history of this great country. and in pursuit of that goal, congress specifically authorized the creation of emancipation hall. the idea, the arena where we are now gathered together, to bring attention to the contributions of the enslaved laborers who helped to build the capitol. it is fitting that the original is located here. the statue is self located on the roof of the capitol. it was done by a slave.
he's a free man by the time he finished. it is fitting that we dedicate the statue today. like the parade, frederick douglass -- phillip reed, frederick douglass entered this world in shackles. and he left free. it was illegal in some jurisdictions to even teach a slave to read. he found a way to not only become literate but to expect slavery and achieve -- escape slavery and achieve great things. as a free man, he became a leader in the abolitionist movement. an orator,a teacher, a gifted writer, a presidential advisor, and a leader of the republican party.
which he described as the party of freedom and progress. in short, he became a powerful voice for the betterment of all nations and its citizens. as has been said previously, at the 1888 republican convention, he became the first african- american to get a roll call vote for president. another party nominated him as vice president. why? he was recognized as a leader area a man who gave his all for his country and dedicated his liberty to the freedom of others. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the honorable harry reid. [applause]
>> a decade after president abraham lincoln's death, frederick douglass spoke in praise to the great and mr. pater. -- emancipator. it only gave greater life to the he works spirit of abraham lincoln. it is no wonder that lincoln and douglass felt such an affinity for one another. present lincoln rose from poverty to preserve the union. douglass escaped slavery to inspire a movement. it is fitting that frederick douglass and his voice of freedom and unyielding advocate should be honored with an enduring monument. it is just and proper that 600 thousand american citizens who reside in the district of
columbia should have a statue representing them here. washington, d.c. residents pay taxes just like those from nevada and california and any other state. they have fought and died in every war. washington, d.c. residents deserve the same right to self- government in congressional representation like any other state. [applause] the district of columbia deserves statehood. [applause] it is to show how serious i am this, i signed my name as a sponsor. [applause] sponsoring legislation is one
thing, but congress should act to grant the statehood to a gift of 600,000 people, the same privilege that every other citizen has. [applause] this is not some unique idea i came up with. this is close to frederick douglass' heart. he championed many causes, he was also an a wavering advocate for equal rights for district of columbia residents. days before the end of the civil war, he spoke of the right of every american with regards to race and gender to vote at the ballot box and represent congress. this is what he said. "if he knows enough to pay taxes
that support the government money, he knows enough to vote. taxation and representation should go together. if he knows enough to shoulder a musket and fight for the flag, he knows enough to vote. this applies to women also." district still lack a data district breath -- district residents still lack a vote. it citizens submit to rules. there is no better historical figure to represent the district and frederick douglass. lawmakers should not only honor his legacy but also an act of congress. [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, the speaker of the house, john boehner. >> let me thank my colleagues for their testimonials. we are fortunate to have many honored guests. you are about to hear from 2 of them. let me express how grateful i am to senator schumer and congresswoman norton for helping us fill this hole with more than 600 guests to represent a cross- section of frederick douglass life and his legacy. that includes mayor great and easy counsel -- gray and the d.c. council. and his longtime home in
rochester. we are joined by guests representing his travels throughout europe as well as museum directors from across the country and members of boards and associations dedicated to arts and education and our national parks. these are the men and women who long before and long after give their time and energy to preserving frederick douglass is life and work. our most special guest today and you would agree are the students and educators here in the d. c. area including frederick douglass high school in maryland. welcome to all of you. [applause] of course, we are grateful to the white house and the obama administration for recognizing the importance of this day. it is my honor and privilege to introduce to you the vice
president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. thank you all very much. mr. speaker, leader pelosi, leader mcconnell and reid and ms. nettie washington douglass, what a proud day for your family. dr. edna g. medford, great to see you here. dr. black and reverend. most of all, laurie williams. you have the voice of an angel. you are amazing. [applause] thank you for having me here. i am honored to be here.
thank you for fighting so hard for this day. mitch, i agree with you. frederick douglass was -- frederick douglass was a great republican, one of my favorites. [laughter] as are you mitch, as are you. he was born in a horrific circumstance sanctioned by the laws passed in this very building. he embraced the stated principles and used them as a sort to try and free others. he fought to make it live up to this capitol and those enabling words -- ennobling words in the constitution. the victory over slavery is june 1 three. -- 13.
the message finally got to texas. i did not mean it the way it sounded. [laughter] it just took time. it took a long time to get to delaware. the passage of the 13th and 14th amendments. he lived as has been pointed out to serve this government as a statesman and in other capacities. there's largely no one who fought harder for citizenship and full quality than frederick douglass. over a century ago, douglass asked a good question. he asks, what the people -- what have the people of the district and done that and they should be excluded from the privileges of the ballot box? many representatives and residents like representative
norton can trace their families back to former slaves. seeking freedom and helped to build the city. we agreed with you, the president and i, and frederick douglass and support home rule, budget autonomy, and the vote for the people of the district of columbia. the people of the district made the right choice in selecting frederick douglass as a representative. they put eleanor holmes norton and douglass in this capitol. i do not see either of them leaving until all of the district residents get their voice. [applause] >> our last speaker has the distinction of being an heir to
two great americans. the great-granddaughter of booker t. washington and the great, great-granddaughter of frederick douglass. she is also the founder and chairwoman of the frederick douglass family initiatives. ladies and gentlemen, join me in welcoming ms. nettie washington douglass. [applause] >> thank you very much. i want to thank you so much for sharing your love and respect for frederick douglass and give me that warm greeting. i appreciate it.
i would like to first start by thanking vice president joe biden, house speaker joe byner, john boehner, nancy pelosi, senator schumer, congresswoman norton, a special thank you. on this day, all of the classic written work, the famous quotes, the powerful speeches, and remarkable a collusion of a frederick douglass will be -- and remarkable collections of frederick douglass will be enshrined in emancipation hall. those treasures belong to history. the belief and spirit still belong to me.
frederick douglass believed as a human being that all of us regardless of our race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation were born to live free and equal. how easy it would have been up for a man born into chains to have the opposite view. frederick douglass believed as an american that the u.s. constitution and the declaration of independence were conceived to elevate every citizen of this great country. how easy it would have been for a man born without a country to reject its most sacred texts. he believed as an individual that reconciliation and forgiveness made us better as he wrote to his former owner saying
"i love you, but hate slavery." how easy it would have been up for a man that had so much misplaced loathing to carry the burden of hatred to his grave, but he did not. frederick douglass believes -- douglass' belief was also beyond understanding. i hold so closely to my heart the spirit of the man i am lucky enough to call my great, great- grandfather. and though i cling tightly, he is not mine alone. frederick douglass date in spirit as a birthright to all of us. on behalf of his family, i would like to say we are humbled by the honor of this handsome
remain standing as a chaplain of the united states house of representatives gives the benediction. >> let us pray. we give you thanks, almighty god, or the appearance among us thereat profits and for freedom and humility we exercise this day in honoring frederick douglass. the abolition of slavery universal and equal education for all, the desegregation of american schools, the right to vote not only for black males in his own time, but for women as well, and the rights of immigrants -- all of these championed by an ex-slaves who lived in the middle of the 19th century.
as we leave this place, we remain challenged by the echoes propheticck douglass' voice, on issues that persist to our own time. may we never forget the incredible bravery and sacrifices of those like frederick douglass who called us to greatness as american citizens. give us the grace, oh god, to remain vigilant in guaranteeing that no person and our great land should ever suffer injustice like so many of our national heroes and heroines once did. , dear god,s us all bless america. amen. , pleases and gentlemen
after that a discussion on the resurgence of prayer in public schools. then the weekly addresses with president obama and minnesota congressman john kline, chairman of the education and workforce committee. tomorrow on "washington journal," robert rector and alex nowretah debate immigration policy. bought you sack will set the congressional agenda before the july 4 recess. then a discussion on the recent iranian presidential election. "washington journal" live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> in a lot of ways, this is a challenging time for conservatives. we've got not only a democratic president but quite a liberal democratic resident who is not -- who has not only been elected but relented after putting into play some ideas and programs and projects that i
think are very wrongheaded. the public had a chance to think about that, and they did reelect him. it is a challenging time. it is also an exciting time if what you are trying to do -- many others are trying to do it, modernize conservatism, bring it into line with the challenges the country faces now. to help conservatives and the country think about how to confront the challenges of the 21st century. neither side in our politics is doing a very good job of that. there is a lot of opportunity for thinking about what america in the 21st century needs to change about the way it governs itself. to get back to economic growth, prosperity, to get back to a kind of cultural revival that we need. it is challenging, but it is exciting. >> more with national affairs editor yuval levin sunday night at 8:00. >> let us not be blind to our differences emma but let us also
direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. >> all free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of berlin. , i takee, as a free man pride in the words ich ben ein berliner. >> you see a much different president kennedy then in the first year. in 1963, you see a different one again who at the same time is preparing the ground for a real shot at the top, and his nuclear test ban treaty, which was agreed to in the fall of 1963, while at the same time also building up defenses and seeking away towards peace with
this american university speech good >> looking back on the 50th anniversary of jfk's key speech and it then i'm berliner speech. of american history tv every weekend on c-span 3. >> in a recent national cap ring, associated press president and ceo gary pruitt discussed the justice department's seizure of the news agencies phone records and outlines ways to protect against government interference. this is an hour. >> good afternoon, and welcome to the national press club. my name is angela, and im a reporter for bloomberg news and a president of the national press club. we are the world's leading professional organization for journalists committed to our profession's future while fostering a free press worldwide and at home. for more information about the national press club please visit our website at www dot
www.press.org. on behalf of our members worldwide welcome our speaker today. our head table includes guest speaker and working journalists who are club members. you hear applause in audience i note that members of the general public are also attending so it is not lack of journalist objectivity. i'd like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. after our guest speech concludes we'll have a question and answer period. i'll ask as many questions as time permits. now it's time to introduce our head table guests. i'd ask to you stand briefly. from your right, reporters without borders and vice
chairwoman of the freedom of the press committee. breaking news reporter for u.s.a. today. senior producer for al jazz -- al jazeera english. chairman of the press club's freedom of the press committee. [video clip] bureau chief for routers washington bureau. -- maryland chief for reuters washington bureau. vice president and bureau chief for cbs news. a reporter with u.s.a. today, vice chairwoman of the freedom of the press club here. executive vice president for haguer sharp and the speakers committee member who organized today's event. thank you. founding director of the shine