Skip to main content

tv   U.S. House of Representatives Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.  CSPAN  January 15, 2018 10:05am-11:14am EST

10:05 am
approved pfizer reauthorization. later, the senate will have to govern a -- the senate live on our companion network c-span2. coming up tuesday, kiersten nilsson will be testifying at a senate judiciary committee hearing on oversight of the department of homeland security. live coverage of that starts at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span. congress --ver the members of the congress and cbc had a session on martin luther king, junior. it included remarks from college and john lewis of georgia, a friend and civil rights supporter of mlk. i would like to thank my colleagues as i said earlier for this opportunity. this is truly an opportunity for a young man who comes from the city of philadelphia who grew up in the streets of philadelphia
10:06 am
who had the opportunity through system, publicol community college, and la salle university. standing today in a seat with many of my predecessors, five african-americans from the commonwealth of west virginia. our theme tonight is the history of the cbc and the legacy of martin luther king. next week, we begin the television of the birthday of dr. martin luther king. king was not only a great man, but a great patriot who loved america and the ideas of the underpinning of our democracy. to kick off our discussion, i want to open up with two dr. king comments, really capture our political climate and what is at stake. "we may havete, come over here on different ships, but we are in the same boat now." quote is "all forms
10:07 am
of inequality and justice and health care in the most shocking and inhumane." dr. martin luther king. when we think about this great nation and the leaders before us like dr. king who came together to lay a framework for equal pay, fair wages, health care, , and housing, so much more, we are reminded of what is at stake and how much we have to lose in this current political climate. we have a lot to lose under the current administration's destructive policies. dr. king would be greatly disappointed at many things going on in this country right now that affect all of our communities. we had in the business of doing no harm, but we must continue to fight to show results and solutions that help move our neighborhoods forward. to move ourght neighborhoods forward when the odds were stacked against him. there are many examples in his life, legacy, and lasting impact
10:08 am
in the city of philadelphia. take for example, which is in the second congressional district, dr. king memorial mural at 40th and lancaster avenue. he had a rally of 10,000 people when dr. king was there. luncheonw yearly that laura starker sponsored in the honor of dr. martin luther king. it is important to recognize that his connection to pennsylvania in the divinity school in chester in delaware county. to theg came many times city of philadelphia and the commonwealth of pennsylvania. he had huge influence on a lot of us. 50 years later, when i was in junior high school entering high school in 1968, he had a huge effect on me. he was someone who walked with
10:09 am
kings and queens. he demonstrated to all of us with that message of peace. he was relentless in terms of standing up for freedom and justice. he showed all of us what it is to be a leader. you will hear over the next 60 minutes a number of my colleagues who have all either directly or indirectly been connected with dr. martin luther king and what he has meant. we need to conduct this as a large teaching. that is what this should be. a teaching so we can share to everybody in this country what dr. king was about. ,hat i like to do this point mr. speaker, is yield to the chairman of the congressional black caucus, chairman richmond. i want to thank my colleague
10:10 am
pennsylvania, congressman evans, and for allowing me this time to speak. i heard him talking about dr. king's roots and influence in pennsylvania. i just want to know and this will be the only small moment of my remarks that we remark reminded everyone that dr. king started at the age of 16. spentuse college, which i a few years at a graduated from myself. let me say, and i hope that there are a number of young people watching today as well as those seniors whose backs i stand on, because a lot of people talk about dr. king's dream. and i just want to say here publicly, and i said it privately so many times, we do not honor the dream. everybody has a dream.
10:11 am
the question becomes whether you have the courage, the fortitude, and a willingness to sacrifice your future to make that dream come true. in this body and as chair of the congressional black caucus, which now represents almost 78 million americans and serving with real icons who paved the way to make this a more perfect union, i appreciate now more than ever the sacrifice that went into making this country what it is. and because of that and because of this time, let me give 30 seconds of my history. my mother is from the poorest place in the united states. she had 15 brothers and sisters, and all she had was a mother. a very dedicated mother who was a housekeeper. we call her domestic or some other fancy term now, but she was a woman that will cover every day that would clean other people's houses to make sure her 15 kids had an opportunity at a
10:12 am
better future. and you know what created that better future? historically black colleges and universities. my mother went to southern university. she shared a jacket with her sister, who was still in lake providence, which is about 200 miles away. i do know how you do it, but they did it. u, mother and that hbc because of the work of many people, was able to achieve an education, which is the best way to lift yourself out of poverty. she instilled in me two things. one, cedric, you have to work hard. you have to do everything twice as good as everyone else you can make it. two, once you make it, you have an obligation to give back. that is what is so special about dr. martin luther king and the dream and the day that we celebrate. a lot of young people said around and say, oh, what i make it, i will get back.
10:13 am
oh, when i grow up, i will do something. dr. king did everything he did at a young age. you talk about the montgomery bus boycott, our leaders in the civil rights movement, they did not wait to grow into leadership. they created their own path. and the remarkable thing is many of them sacrificed not only their future, but their life. when you talk about dr. king, to a lot of my middle-class african-americans, let me say this. dr. king could have sat back and said i ha got mine, you get yours. my family is comfortable, so i will take the easy path. remember, there are a whole bunch of people who are not. we have this ice storm all across the country right now while we are hunkering down in our homes with heat. we have to rubber that there are people hunkering down on the streets sleeping outside under a blanket because that is all they have. we have to, in the spirit of dr. king, remember that we are the
10:14 am
greatest country on earth, and if we don't think it is a perfect union, we have to make it a more perfect union. and even if it costs us our life like it did dr. king, and it cost him his life in memphis, fighting for sanitation work. we have to fight for the least among us because this country is only as great as the least among us. as long as there are people sleeping on the streets during this blizzard, that means this country is failing. when there are kids in public school that are destined for failure because we have not found in our public schools, this country is failing. so i would just say that all of the great things about dr. king, the one thing that we should remember, his sacrifice, the courage, and the fact that he gave his life to make our lives a better life. and with that, leverages say that as i grew up going to some of the best schools in the
10:15 am
country, integrated schools because of dr. king and because of the person that i am going to introduce, i know that i stand on their backs, and i know that i have a lot of work to do to make sure the generation behind me has that ability. sacrifice is not easy. when i think of it, i think of people that i read about in my textbooks, people i studied, people i admire, people whose autograph i sought. now i get to call this gentleman, this distinguished gentleman from georgia, a friend. but he is more than a friend. a is an icon, a trailblazer, person who saved this country, and he as a teenager started his civil rights fight. they marched across the bridge. knowing that there was hatred on the other side. and he met hatred with love. and he was beaten because he loved and they hated. but you know what he did? he marched again. you know what he did? he ran for congress. you know what he did?
10:16 am
he welcomed me into this congress, and he paid a better way for generations so we can go to some of the best schools in the country. and toat, mr. speaker, the general from pennsylvania who yielded, i have an opportunity to present him introduced on yield time to one of the greatest americans to ever walk on the face of this earth, one who has sacrificed blood, sweat, tears, and who has stayed on his knees constantly praying for a better country, but he reminds us all that the lord will order your steps, but you have to move your feet, and he moved his feet across that edmund pettus bridge, and he was beaten so i could vote without counting how many bubbles in a bar of soap or how many jellybeans in a big tub. with that, i will yield back my time to the distinguished gentleman from pennsylvania, congressman evans, so that he
10:17 am
can recognize one of the greatest americans and the greatest members serving in this house of representatives, the honorable john lewis from georgia. thank you, and i heal back. >> i want to thank our chairman. that is why he is our chairman of the congressional black caucus because you just heard him so eloquently express his thoughts and feelings, and he has done a fantastic job as the chairman of the congressional black caucus, and i think him -- him.k always recognize the importance of what he brings to all of us. the general is correct. the next person i want to add my voice to come i was 11 years old years old when he went across the ever and brightes evan pettus bridge. i did not understand it, but now like the chairman i serve in this body with him,. i am a part of this body.
10:18 am
and as i watched him and as i listened to him, all of the drive and energy has, and he is always it's truly positive. -- always extremely positive. i have not massively more optimistic and positive of the future of this country. as he says and talks about walking in his shoes, i remember that he said that. i remember that opportunity when i was down in alabama and on that bridge along with him and a good friend, a colleague from alabama, that i thought of to myself, here i am with congressman lewis. he is someone who is renowned in this body and in this country around the world. so i would like to yield to my good colleague, the honorable john lewis. >> mr. speaker, i want to thank
10:19 am
my friends for yielding. thank you, mr. evans. thank you, the chairman of the cbc, cedric richmond. it is true that i grew up in rural alabama, 50 miles from montgomery. i started in a little place called troy. iit is to my father is a sharecropper, a tenant farmer. when i was four years old, and i remember when i was 4, my father had saved $300, and a man sold him 110 acres of land. we picked cotton. we gathered peanuts. we pulled coin. sometimes i would be out there working in the field and i went all behind and my mother would say "boy, you need to catch up." i would say this is hard work,
10:20 am
and she would say hard work never killed anybody. i said, will it is about to kill me. one day, 15 years old in the 10th grade, i heard of martin luther king, junior. i heard of rosa parks in 1955. the action of rosa parks, the words of leadership of dr. martin luther king, junior, inspired me to find a way to get into it. later, i wrote a letter to dr. martin luther king, junior, in 1957. i told him in this little letter and that i wanted to attend a state-supported college called troy college. and sentwrote me back me a round-trip greyhound bus ticket and wanted me to meet with him.
10:21 am
i had been accepted at a little college in nashville, tennessee, american baptist college. dr. king got back in touch with me and said, when your home for spring break, come and see me. 1 in 1958, i ordered the greyhound bus and traveled to montgomery. a young lawyer by the name of frank gray who had been a lawyer for rosa parks and dr. king met me at the first baptist church king.ok me in to see dr. martin luther king, junior, said, we use a boy from troy -- were you the boy from troy? were you john lewis? i said, dr. king, i am john robert lewis, but he still call me the boy from troy. this man is tire inspired me tod
10:22 am
in theind a way to get way or find a way to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble. to set if you want to go to troy state, we will help you, but we may need to file suit against the state of alabama, against troy state. go back and have a discussion with the mother and father. tell them the home may be bombed or burned. they could lose their land. i went back. my mother was so afraid. my father was afraid. so i continued to study in nashville. from time to time, dr. king would come and visit and speak at rallies. but he inspired me along with rosa parks and others to get involved. he led the montgomery bus boycott. more than 381 days. people walked the streets. rides.hared cars and
10:23 am
they stood in unmovable lines. but they never gave up. dr. king inspired us to stand up. he inspired us to believe in the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. so we will be sitting in at a lunch counter waiting to be served, at someone would come up and spit on us, put a lit cigarettes on our backs and in our here, pour hot water and hot coffee on us, but we obeyed. i got arrested a few times. 45 times. but i never gave up. 1961, the same year that president barack obama was born, my people and white people could not leave the city sitting together for traveling on a greyhound bus or traveling on a bus in the south. people are arrested, jailed, beaten.
10:24 am
by dr. king met us in montgomery -- but dr. king met as in montgomery, sheltered us in a church. one night when we were there in that church and people were threatening to bomb the church or burning down, he made a call to robert kennedy and told him about what was happening. robert kennedy communicated to his brother, president kennedy. the president put the city of montgomery under martial law. if it had not been for martin luther king jr., robert kennedy, and president kennedy, some of us would have died in that church. but it led to the desegregation of public transportation all across the american south. more than 400 people, for hundred of us -- 400 of us were arrested in jackson, mississippi. we filled the city jail, kelly jail, and later, the penitentiary -- county jail, and later, the penitentiary.
10:25 am
martin luther king changed the country forever. he taught us how to live, and he taught us how to dry. because to be brave, to be courageous, and bold. if it had not been for martin luther king, junior, i do not know what would have happened to many of us, happened to america. many of us are colored whether we are black, latino, asian american, or native american. you open up to political process. there was a man who believed in a way of peace, the way of love, believed in the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence. weeks, weays, a few will commemorate his passing. 4,was assassinated on april 1968.
10:26 am
i was in santa ana with robert kennedy. had you heard dr. king been assassinated? we heard he had been shot. robert kennedy announced he had died. i think when dr. king died, something died in all of us. something died in america. way of peace, love, hope. i hope all young people and people not so young will commemorate and learn something about the teachings of dr. king. and i want to thank the chair of our caucus, corpsman congressman richmond, and you mr. evans to friend, my brother, for having the vision for
10:27 am
holding this tonight, and i hope we do more to explain to the american people and people around the world what dr. king meant not just to america, but to the world community. with that, i yield back, and thank you again. >> mr. speaker, i hope that what , and to ourd chairman of the congressional black caucus, that we can either through social media or whatever way, that was a learning experience that just took place. and to have congressman lewis, who was there, who was on the front lines, who is not talking about something he read, but something he has demonstrated through his own experience, that all of us, not just the congressional black caucus, but this entire house should thank
10:28 am
him for the service and for being a patriot and for what he has expressed. so i personally want to thank honorable john lewis for taking that opportunity just to educate us because we all need education, and we are never too wise to think we do not need someone to talk to us.speaking of education , another good colleague from the great state of texas, i know a little bit about that state. everything is big in that state, they tell me. he is in a seat that congresswoman jordan used to hold and mickey lynn. she and her own right is doing a lot. i have watched her in the period of time she has been here, a year. she is a fantastic person, this congresswoman, sheila jackson lee. i yield to her.
10:29 am
>> congressman evans, i want to thank you for your mighty leadership. >> i just want to ask the speaker how much time do we have? the gentleman has 36 minutes. >> thank you. hefor the mighty leadership has given and for the service he gives to his constituents in philadelphia, and i accept this challenge and the challenge of my chairman, cedric richmond, who told a story that hopefully will be an inspiration and a guide for all of those who believe that they are not yet mature enough to serve, to give, to offer to the beloved community that dr. king so aptly speaks of. what can i say about john lewis, whose moral guidance, whose
10:30 am
bloody brow was never bowed? i thank you, congressman lewis, for the straight talk, but a loving talk. to my colleagues that are here, i know that each will have a moment to allow me to take just to offer mybe able tribute in commemoration of dr. king's life. what a powerful year we face in 2018. and i am so grateful to have left 2017. and i believe that this gives a fresh look to america. i looked at the movie "titans," and maybe you saw that with denzel washington. and reflected a racial conflict with football players just outside of washington in virginia. a moving story of how you get young people together, we can break the chains of racism and
10:31 am
differences. becausetears to my eyes 2017, we went that journey again, and i was hoping that we would come in this year, the commemoration year, to accept dr. king's challenge of a beloved community. i so that my community of houston. some say there was no civil rights movement, and i beg to differ with them. dr. king came one the clergy gathered from a most of them gathered . those who were afraid, we know that most were not. they were ready to have a big rally. wouldn't you know it? a bomb threat. houstonians were ready in spite of the fear of a bomb. i bet every committee that dr. king was invited to or they went to, there were people of courage willing to stand up and embrace freedom in the face of
10:32 am
devastating potential disaster. mylet me just say that greatest claim for this legacy is my fight as a younger person to be part of the southern christian leadership conference. it will be my greatest honor to have been able to work for the southern christian leadership conference, to walk in that office on auburn that i believe may not be able to meet robert abernathy because it was after the death of dr. king to know james orange and the brother that walked with a wooden leg and to know andy in a way that they were still engaged in dr. king's work. i reminded of the message he has given to us. as chairman richman said, he was young. and he asked a question, life's most persistent and nagging
10:33 am
question, what are you doing for others? think we as members of the congressional black caucus an adjective the foundation works for young people, we have no doubt in the work we do for others. i would like to many to mention as he talked about his death on february 4, 1968, this is what we should be doing in 2018. we should be talking about what we are doing in commemoration. of a like somebody to mention on that day that -- i would like somebody to mention on that day that dr. martin luther king, junior, gave his life serving others. he said i would like you to say on that day the that i may have lost my life, i tried in my life to serve and love humanity. remindose, i want to those of us that have not yet made our journey to something that brought us closer to dr. king that this body, this group of republicans and democrats, this administration, we need to
10:34 am
unshackle ourselves. this question of race needs to be thrown under the bus of the beloved community, and we need to be able to dream by dr. king that he learned to use his imagination when he saw the separation and his dreams to see right through the white only signs to see the reality that all men and women, regardless of their place of origin, gender, or their creed are created equal. what a visionary. so i close with his braveness in two points. one, his answer to a question about who are we as a nation and what this citizenship should mean. he simply turned us back to the declaration of independence and said that we should simply have citizens that can live out the words written in the decoration f independence and in the bill of
10:35 am
rights. recently want to be like others. he took this to his death. at the end of his death when he was not ashamed to go to riverside church and stand against the vietnam war while others looked aghast, afraid.why are you stepping out of your box ? dr. king said that i believe in the beloved community, a dreamer with words and action. so i close that we will be commemorating all converging on memphis, tennessee. the workers who will forge and bond in the shadows of two sanitation workers killed in their line of duty.dr. king felt compelled to be there. when do we feel compelled? on the tax bill, on the chips, on the fairly qualified health care, on affirmative action. when are we taking this in essence to the mass?because that
10:36 am
is what dr. king did . he took it to the mass. he went to the mass in the face of violence, and he told us in his last words that he had been to the mountaintop. he had seen the promised land. he did not know if he would get there someday, but he knew that we as a people would find a way to that pathway. i thank the gentleman for yielding to me, and i yield back. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, and the next person i would like to yield to, my colleague from texas sort of gave a great lead-in for her, from the great state of california as dr. king stood up against the vietnam war. she does a little bit about standing up. if you know anything about the honorable barbara lee from the 13th congressional district, you know she will not mind being by herself, so i would
10:37 am
like to yield to my colleague from the great state of california, congress really. >> thank you for yielding a for the gracious introduction, but more importantly, for your magnificent leadership. you have come to congress hitting the ground running. it has been and is in the spirit of dr. king. i our chair, cedric richmond, want to thank you for your steady leadership, it is steady, of our caucus in helping us they focus on the special order in the evenings in which we do these to honor the life of dr. martin luther king, junior, who was and is our drum major for justice. id to congressman john lewis, just have to say i owe you a debt of gratitude.i would not be here if it were not for you . i want to say on behalf of my young people at the martin luther king freedom center who have a case to be with you every year, now it has been about 17 years, and how much you have
10:38 am
touched their lives and turned their lives around and how they understand now what fighting for justice and peace really means by being part o your efforts and you mentoring them and teaching them that the beloved community is not only a dream but can be real. thank you congressman lewis so much. it is an honor bil to know you and serve with you. this year transformed the soul of america. it is important that we honor the fullness of dr. king's dream. while we remember dr. king's birthday this month, we also are reminded that it was 50 years ago on april 4 that he lost his life to an assassin's bullet. dr. king was a crusader for civil rights, voting rights, and peace, that he was also a warrior for economic justice and ending poverty. in fact, one of dr. king's most
10:39 am
memorable speeches, of course i have been to the mountaintop, it was given in memphis, tennessee, at a time when dr. king was determined to transform the civil rights movement into an intersectional justice revolution. a few months before his death, two young african-american workers were crushed to death by a faulty truck in memphis. the american federation of state county and municipal employees asked me. union members were on strike, and dr. king was with them lending his support. in his speech to the sanitation workers on strike, dr. king explained why he was there. he said "our struggle is for , which equalitym, whic means economic equality." he said that to thousands gathered at mason temple. he said we know it is not enough to integrate lunch counters.
10:40 am
what does it profit a man to be able to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he does not have enough money to buy a hamburger? dr. king had come to signal the dawn of a new era in the struggle. he was there to stand with workers who are sick and tired of low wages, unsafe working conditions, and the city's refusal to recognize their union. p was there because he believed the labor rights, civil rights, and human rights are one in the same. he was there because he understood the simple truth, that there can be no racial justice without economic justice. tragically, while fighting to secure the american dream for all americans, dr. king was assassinated on april 4, 1968. now that was a day that changed my life. congresswoman jackson lee mentioned where she was. we all remember that moment. i was living in san jose, california, and was commuting to san francisco about one hour away by train.
10:41 am
i returned that evening. my car was parked in the train's parking lot. i got in the car, turn on the radio, and the news came through that dr. king had been killed. well, i sat in my car for i don't know how long and i cried,. i was shocked like everyone. saddened and angry. but i was also motivated to fight for the dream that dr. king envisioned. job.t my at that moment, i knew that i had to do something. i became involved as a community worker with the black panther party. but it was dr. king's thatination catapulted me into the movemen. i was determined to know that even though the assassin killed the dreamer, he could not kill the dream. right now in this country, the
10:42 am
work of dr. king went to memphis to achieve, that work remains unfinished, which is what we intend to complete. 47 a million americans remain locked in poverty. discrimination and institutional racism continue to hold livable wages hostage. the economic wealt divide, it grows deeper everyday in urban and rural communities. i represent the 13th congressional district of california, a great district where there is an explosion of wealth in the bay area, which also explained the household medium income. is a tale of two cities. black households in my district have been locked out of this explosion of wealth. the median income in the bay area jumped by 9% while the median income for black households inched up just 2%. it is not just wealth
10:43 am
inequality. 20% of black households are poor and 46% of black children in my district are considered poor in oakland. these numbers have remained stagnant in year after year after year. this is an acceptable. it is no-- this is undetectable. it is not just my district. wealthblack household could hit zero by 2053. this alarming possibility makes one thing clear. the work to achieve dr. king's dream was continue, and members of the congressional black workus tirelessly but inside the congress and in our communities because there is still much that we must overcome. as the conscience of the congress, the congressional black caucus fight every day to dismantle barriers that prevent low income people, poor people, and people of color from having a fair shot at the american dream. can be foundgacy
10:44 am
in our efforts to get committees of color, struggling families, women a fair shot at improving a basic living standards. their many bills to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. there are many bills that many members of the congressional black office champion everything will day to ensure that dr. king's life and death will be remembered and that his death will not be over overshadow his life and that his legacy fighting to make the promises of democracy real will live on for generations to come. thank you. and i yield the balance of my time. personspeaker, the next , and i just had the pleasure of really meeting her this year, she has a lot of energy and a lot of drive.
10:45 am
she got me to go to alabama, and i had never been to alabama before, but after her personality and her drive and her intellectual curiosity and between she and john lewis, what could i say? i would like to yield to the great number of the state of alabama from the seventh district. >> thank you so much, congressman evans. you have so ably represented and lead the second district of pennsylvania. it has been an honor to call you colleague. i want to say, mr. speaker, that today i join with my cbc colleagues in honor of the legacy of dr. martin luther king, junior, 50 years after his tragic death. today, we honor and celebrate the man who led our country in the fight against racism and injustice, a man who forged tools of nonviolence and so that our nation can break the chains of
10:46 am
segregation and jim crow. today, we honor a man who refused to believe racism and war would define our future and who fought to ensure that truth and love would be the final word. as the united states representative of alabama's historic civil rights district, i know that dr. king's selfless sacrifices changed the trajectory of our nation's history and changed the lives of so many in my district and around the world. when birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in america, it was dr. king who brought the civil rights movement home to alabama during the birmingham campaign. when 4 little black girls were killed in a bombing of the baptist church in birmingham, it was dr. king who delivered the eulogy and who refused to let their deaths go unnoticed. mr. speaker, when the police marchers on a bridge in my hometown in alabama who were simply marching for the e
10:47 am
equal right to vote, it was dr. king who helped with dr. reese and so many others to organize that march from selma to montgomery. it was put soldiers like the honorable john lewis, who i am honored every day to be able to call colleague, who sacrificed their lives for the opportunity for the next generation to have a dream that so many wanted and fought for. there are constituents in my district, civil rights and voting rights foot soldiers who marched with dr. king who enter the called to fight for justice. they face police dogs and nightsticks that future generations of americans can now have equal right to vote. canknow, mr. speaker, i cross the bridge just to go home to see my folks, to visit my family in selma, alabama, to go
10:48 am
to my hometown to visit my thatds, to live in a place still needs help. there is still some unfinished business of civil rights and voting rights. ,t is my honor, my great honor to invite your figure so many to come -- year after year, so many to come, thousands to come to be with john lewis. does not get better than that. i know i stand on the shoulders of john lewis and so many others, but i also know that i must get off your shoulders, that i must do the hard work, the unfinished business that is civil rights and voting rights in america. as long as there is water suppression and people are not allowed to vote in this country, we have work to do. we have lots of work to do, and we must do our own work.and is not enough to say thank you . it is not enough that we come
10:49 am
every year to reenact the march from selma to my family. it is not just about reenactment -- so much of montgomery. it is not just about reenactment. it is about furthering the dream to the beloved community we talk about. i get to see up close john lewis and know that he is not just talking the talk. he walks the walk every day. there are times when i am frustrated in this house. frustrated because there is so much work we need to do and so much work that we do not do because of our dysfunction. and when i get tired, i just look over at john lewis and i think myself, this man was never tired. the hard work was done by so usy before us, and those of who get to walk the halls of congress have to decide we are going to do to help further that .ream dr. king's life was not in vain.
10:50 am
john, your work is not in vain to there are so many of us that know we stand on your shoulders and that in order for this country to live up to its ideals allustice and democracy for that we must come every generation, must continue to fight. dr. king wrote a letter from a birmingham jail talking about injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. and there are injustices everywhere, so we have work to do. takee members of the cbc us was very seriously, but we members of this house was take that work very seriously, too. a network is not work that is republican work versus democratic work. it is america's work, the work of our democracy. it is the work we was due that our constituents sent us here to do that so often is stifled.
10:51 am
rhetoric, by our inability to see beyond our party, by so many things. but i know for a fact that when we work hand-in-hand together, republicans and democrats, blacks and whites, those from different religions, that we can do amazing things. we know that because of the life and legacy of dr. king. so on this 50th anniversary of let us not that is no mourn. less recommit ourselves to that what he stood for, which on the list is for, and that is justice for all, irrespective of what country they come from. we are trying and tested every day. it is important that we remember that we can all walk across that edmund pettus bridg, and
10:52 am
by doing the hard work of seeking justice and equality for all people just because they are people. i yield back the balance of my time, and i honor again the great work of dr. martin luther king. >> thank you. how much time do we have, mr. speaker? >> the general and has approximately 13 minutes. >> mr. speaker, a gentleman i want to introduce is a neighbor. i have known him. he is doing a great job in the garden state. cumbersome and donald payn congressman donald payne. >> mr. speaker, let me think mr. evans for hosting this hour on dr. king's life and legacy. german from philadelphia has come to this body and has made
10:53 am
onimpact in his first year the floor of congress, and we are delighted to have had him join the cbc. mr. speaker, as i sat here and listened to my colleagues, the chairman of the congressional black caucus, cedric richmond, and a young man, not the eldest of the caucus, but a young man that has illustrated the leadership to be the head of hear myy, and to , and i use the term in reverence, john lewis. , to fortunate, mr. speaker be able to serve the 10th congressional district of the state of new jersey at this
10:54 am
time. see, i was sitting here as i listened to barbara lee at sheila jackson lee, and evans,wis, terry, mr. that too much is given, much is expected. theso i hear the story of boy from troy. i hear the story of my chairman, cedric richmond. lifee been fortunate in my because, you see, i had a father that felt that the most important thing to do was to in world, country and and he instilled that in me. come fromis teachings
10:55 am
martin luther king. years after his death, dr. king's legacy has been shrouded in myth by people who prefer being comfortable to being real. mr. speaker, at this time, as the young people back in my district say, i am going to keep it real. have beenal truths twisted into life by people who want to appear woke, but whose eyes are blind to the harsh reality of injustice. 2018, wesley claimed dr. king's legacy for those who -- we must reclaim dr. king's legacy for those who are asked to claim i have a dream for people fighting to preserve that dream. mr. speaker, dr. king understood that nonviolence does not mean
10:56 am
nonconfrontational. he knew that social change required sacrifice. he knew that doing what is right does not mean what is always easy. when black lives matter protesters peacefully rally in the streets to protest police brutality against young men of color, conservatives and white black livesout that matter insight violence and should bps like dr. king. what they are really saying is "sit down, boy, and know your place." that is the same thing they said 55 years ago when dr. king le peaceful protestsd against racial injustice in birmingham, alabama. conservatives shouted that dr. king was causing hatred and violence. and they told him to sit down and know his place, but he persisted. dr. king was not in birmingham to make everyone comfortable.
10:57 am
he was there to upset the status quo and change our democracy. dr. king years laterr, proclaimed the vietnam war was unjust. he pointed out that prophet has become more important to the government than people who are sacrificing the lives overseas. conservatives once again attacked dr. king. they said he was being slanderous and that he was tragically misleading people. now, mr. speaker, you see the great outcry and support that we have for our soldiers and our military people now in this country. we honor and revere them now. that came out of the struggle of the vietnam war, where they were spat on and told they were not worth anything. that is where it came from, dr. king bringing up the unjust war that this was.
10:58 am
so out of dr. king protests against the vietnam war, we began a great reverence for our soldiers once again. that is what we see now in the streets when we see a vietnam vet and we tell them, thank you for your service, or whether they were in afghanistan, thank you for your service. it was dr. king who first raised that issue. they told him to be quiet and to know his place. like dr. king told one of his friends at the time, he may have been politically unwise, but he was being morally wise, and that is what mattered. 2018, we must be morally wise. dr. king's life and legacy shows us that doing right is really the same thing as doing what is easy. we too must persist.
10:59 am
as we head into a consequential year when americans will go to the polls, let us not lose sight of the fact to protect and preserve dr. king's legacy, demands that we protect and preserve our democracy from voter suppression, cyber security weakness, and foreign meddling. we must expand voting rights for all americans. we must modernize our voting system. we must appoint an independent commission to investigate foreign meddling into the electoral system before the 2018 federal election. we must break down barriers to voting, not build them. we must make registering to vote easier, not harder. we must ensure elections are competitive and not guaranteed. we must restore the right to vote for felons who served their
11:00 am
prison sentences. we must and gerrymandering. we must protect the's entity of our elections and restore the body rights act. dr. kingdr. king knew that it ws important. as i go to my seat, i want to thank my fellow -- colleagues. "i onceng grace says ."s lost, but now i am found how serving with those in the united states congress has saved a wretch like me. >> she is an educator and is always teaching.
11:01 am
with this teaching we are conducting i would like to yield to my colleague, the honorable choice -- from the third district. >> thank you to my colleague who hails from the second district of pennsylvania. thank you for leading us tonight and thank you to our congressional black caucus chairman cedric richmond for allowing us to come tonight. mr. speaker, i join my colleagues in coming to the floor tonight to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of reverend dr. martin luther king. we have made progress in these past 50 years, but the legacy shows usle of dr. king that much remains to be done. although many marches and protests were met with violence,
11:02 am
dr. king and the women and men who stood with him, like our very own colleague and congressional black caucus member, congressman john lewis. as i listen to congressman lewis tonight, as i sat on this house floor and had the privilege and honor to call him a colleague and friend, it reminded us of his courage and how much more work we had to do. it was through these peaceful protests, it was through their courage, through the power of the messages they sent that they stood up against the establishment. dr. king was able to bring the injustices felt by african-americans nationwide to the forefront of american
11:03 am
politics. his work culminated in the march on washington for jobs and freedom. where hundreds of thousands of individuals came from all communities and they came for a cause -- call to justice and equality for all. on august 28, day 1963, when dr. king gave one of his most powerful and famous speeches. i have a dream. of racismr the end and the expansion of civil rights and economic rights. that my husband's grandmother was an invited platform guest witnessing that speech. we have that picture in our office to remind us and remind
11:04 am
our children and grandchildren the power of dr. martin luther king and congressman john lewis. with the emotions and will of the march, it encapsulated civil rights rose to the top of the agenda of reformers and facilitated the passage of the civil rights act of 1964. and still, dr. king's work was not done. year, dr. king helped to lead the selma and montgomery march -- selma to montgomery march. how proud i emi was able to participate in the reenactment of that on its 50th anniversary. 54 miles route spanned from selma, alabama to the state capital of montgomery. the marchers were in response to the southern states legislatures
11:05 am
passing and maintaining discriminatory laws and practices over decades. where it meant to deny african-americans across the state, across the south, the right to vote. what is our message? we are stillecause walking in it. we are still fighting for civil rights and voting rights and economic rights. we are still fighting for equal pay and -- for equal work. us on this house floor -- lead us on this house floor fighting for gun safety. because we areid continuing the legacy of martin luther king. , we mustet me just say break this cycle of economic inequality. racism and poverty. we must stand up to the gop and president trump because when we
11:06 am
, it at this tax reform bill brings those injustices to economics inequality. we are here tonight to say there is still a dream. there is still a stone of hope and i yield back and i again thank my colleague for leading us in this celebration and tribute to martin luther king. my colleague for those elegant words and comments , which were very sustained and provided a lot. we have about how much time? >> the gentleman's time has expired. wanted to say mr. speaker, i move the house adjourned and thank my chairman from the congressional black caucus for allowing me to have this opportunity. thank you. is back tomorrow
11:07 am
facing a government shutdown deadline at midnight on friday. the house is back at 2:00 p.m. eastern for expend -- expanding government funding and they will also consider an abortion bill. the senate is back at 4:30 p.m. eastern. later they will work on a government funding bill extension. the senate on our companion network, c-span2. tuesday, homeland security secretary testifies at a senate judiciary committee hearing on oversight of the homeland security department. live coverage starts at 10:00 eastern tomorrow. we are alive from the site of the mlk memorial in west potomac park in washington, d.c. mlk day being celebrated across the country. visitors coming to washington this morning and throughout the day to commemorate the life of dr. martin luther king jr.
11:08 am
the memorial itself was opened about seven years ago on august 27 in 2011. president obama officially dedicated the memorial after it was postponed from the original august 28 date because of the hurricane in and around washington at the time. it is estimated that 1.5 million people visit annually. in honor of dr. king's day, the national park service announced that sites across the country will not -- will have free admission.
11:09 am
11:10 am
11:11 am
11:12 am
11:13 am
>> in honor of dr. king, the national park service announcing that parks across the country are offering free admission. the mlk memorial is free and open to the public every day. we are going to come back to this as visitors come to pay tribute. onto a forum on the criminal justice system focusing on mass incarceration, rehabilitation and recommendations for change. a former convict who is now an attorney and poet shares his experiences and a georgetown about his book detailing the differences between the american criminal justice and criminal systems of those from other countries.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on