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tv   Washington Journal Kathleen Cleaver Peniel Joseph  CSPAN  April 6, 2018 8:02pm-9:34pm EDT

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waste -- race relations that year. the 2012 farewell address by whoii senator daniel akaka died earlier today at the age of 93. after that democratic congressman ted deutch holding a town hall on gun violence. but first, we take you back to april 4, 1968 when walter natione informed the that martin luther king, junior had been shot and killed in memphis, tennessee. >> good evening. dr. martin luther king, the apostle of civil rights in the civil rights movement, has been
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shot to death in memphis, tennessee. young white man seen running from the scene and officers chased and fired on a radio card containing two white men. dr. king was stock -- standing on the balcony of his hotel room when, according to a companion, a shot was fired across the street. the bullet exploded in his face. been keeping watch over him because of the turbulent situation. they were on the scene. they rushed the leader to the hospital. police found a high-powered hunting rifle. it was not immediately identified as the murder weapon. the mayor has we impose the desk to don curfew. dawn
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police report the murder has touched off the sporadic acts of negro area of the city. >> the nation is shocked and saddened by the death of martin luther king. i ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck dr. king. who lived by nonviolence. can findat his family comfort in the memory of all he tried to do for the land he loved so well. i have just conveyed the sympathy of mrs. johnson and myself to his widow, mrs. king. i know that every american of goodwill joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding for peace in praying
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and understanding throughout this land. we can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness. among the american people. togethery by joining and only by working together can we continue to move toward and fulfillment for all of our people. i hope that all americans tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident. atlantawas born in january 15, 19 29. he was the son and grandson of prominent nigro ministers in egro ministers in
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atlanta. he graduated with a doctorate in 1954 and got his first pastorate in birmingham, alabama. it was -- montgomery alabama. in december 1955 he took andership of a bus boycott with his policy of nonviolence, he won the strike with a desegregation order. his nonviolent campaign spread through the south and he became the leader of the southern christian leadership conference, roconference primarily of neg ministers. since the rise of [indiscernible] nonviolent.sidered looking back to 1968, america and turmoil on c-span
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and c-span3, american history tv, that report from walter cronkite on the death of martin luther king, junior occurring 50 years ago this week. we will be talking about it this morning. that topic and others as we cover civil rights and race relations from 1968. we are joined for that discussion this morning by kathleen cleaver. senior lecturer and former communications secretary for the black panther party and we welcome back the director for -- ofnter of study and race and diversity. 1967us back to the end of and where the civil rights movement in 1968. this was 13 years since the brown feed or to the education decision had been handed down. what was the state of the movement? >> the state of the movement was --y strong but it was also
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there was a lot of debate and a lot of controversy. in a way when you think about the civil rights movement and dr. martin luther king, junior a this iconic figure, king is political mobilizer and there are a number of different movements so there are movements within the movement. seeing blackre power activists who are talking about comanche control all across the u.s., they are talking about radical, social, cultural self-determination, we have groups like the student nonviolent coordinating committee which professor cleaver was part of who are antiwar activism and anti-imperialism. we have the national welfare rights organization that is talking about poverty. in that way, i 1968, king is talking about a poor people's campaign and an antipoverty campaign.
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at the same time that you've got young black logical radicals, who are talking about everything and educational activism the creation of black student unions to anti-imperialist anti-capitalist critiques. the black panthers and the black panther party for self-defense understands what is happening at the local level in a place like oakland, california and in an era before like lives matter of are talking about everything from community control and free breakfast programs but also their questioning the legitimacy of stateitimacy violence, questioning incarceration of black men. black men and women. they are questioning police brutality at local levels and looking at poverty. one of the first things the
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panthers do in oakland, california is try to get a street light set up in a corner where african-americans have in the movement is a movement of movements, it is a panoramic movement. some people said dr. king goes north but there was always a movement happening in chicago and new york and outside of the south. at times the media focused on the old confederacy because we had the police dogs in birmingham, alabama and civil rights activists murdered in mississippi in 1964. we had protesters beaten on the saint augustine, florida in the summer of 1964. political activism during the civil rights movement, a heroic time from 1954 to roughly 1968 was happening in virtually every urbancity but also rural,
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hamlets across the nice -- united states. by 1967 the movement had lost in the minds of the american public the cohesiveness we had seen during the civil rights act in the after my -- aftermath of brown and emmett till. the movement is going for more than just civil rights and voting rights, it is trying to transform american democracy and reimagined black citizenship like calling for an end to not just racial and economic oppression but it is calling for things like a living wage. the right for black women and men to have good jobs, decent homes, and schools that educate young people. host: kathleen cleaver, you are ofyour early 20's at the end
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1967. you are involved in the civil rights movement. what did you see as the biggest as 1968to be overcome dawned? >> we were in the movement, i was in the student nonviolent coordinating committee and that is where the call for black power came. the biggest challenge was political empowerment of people who are being subjected to racism and poverty. particularly police violence. self-defense, community control of police, social justice, there was a range of issues. the key focus of the movement i was and was against police brutality and against violence erected toward black people. some key dates and issues in 1968 and we discuss race relations and talk about the vietnam war and its impact on civil rights in this
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country. the tet offensive begins january 30, 1968. sanitationhe memphis strike begins, for very 29, the kerner commission releases its report on race relations. april 4, martin luther king, junior was assassinated. to the days after martin luther king, junior's assassination, writing in chicago, baltimore, washington, d.c. and other cities. april 11, president johnson signs the fair housing act. thatne four through six, is robert candy wins the california primary and he is shot after his victory rally. he died on the sixth. october 16, that image of tommy carlos protesting at the olympic games, november 5, richard nixon elected president. we will talk about the impact his presidency had on the movement. we will talk about all of that this morning on our 1968 america in turmoil series.
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special phone lines if you want to join the conversation. are 29 years old and if want to61 and older, we hear your memories of that year. we produced you as well as your position as -- introduced you. how did you get involved in the black panther party? guest: i was in an organization. we had a conference, invited quite a few civil rights leaders but the only one who managed to get there was elled ridge cleaver, to make a long story short, he fell madly in love and persuaded me that i should come out to california, which i did. and got engaged, married and i got involved in the organization he was involved
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with called the black panther party which was very much in line with the thinking and planning but we were an organization that had started many years ago and was in sort of chaos and the black panther party was brand new. and it was very exciting and engaging and filled with very positive energized young men and women. so it was great. host: you talked about the organization of the civil rights movement at the time, the different organizations that were out there. how did white america view these different organizations that we've already talked about as well as dr. king's movement? >> well, by 196 there's going to be what some people call a white backlash against the movement. this is this the idea that there was that one time real broad based support for civil rights struggles and racial equality. so generally white people when we look at everything from
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polling data and the state of the nation at the time were increasingly at unease with this idea of civil rights. by the time we see urban rebelions what critics call race riots and what the president -- the kerner commission calls civil disorders, that start in 1963 in birmingham, alabama, by 1964 harlem explodes. in 65 the watt neighborhood in los angeles explodes. and we see massive urban rebelions in newark and detroit in 1967. so between 63 and 6 we're going to have hundreds of civil disturbances in hundreds of american cities. and what the kerner commission argued -- and that's the president's own commission -- is that the root of the violence and the rioting is
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going to be poverty and institutional racism. it says that white racism has created and maintained urban ghettos and it's only white society that can get rid of these ghettoings in that sense. so there's going to be increasing unease and there's increasing unease about the level of radical rhetoric that black power activists are engaged in. because what black power activists do in contrast to civil rights activists, they really talk about structural oppression. they link the war in vietnam with the ineffectiveness of the war on poverty in great society programs. they link police brutality with the mizz ration and imporishment of african americans in rural and urban areas. so they're talking about race class and really by 1968 gender as well when we think about radical black feminists
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including feminist whose are connected through snik who become part of the black women's alliance and then the one. when we think about how the perceiving is civil rights it's going to be for the most part negative and it's interesting to remember that martin luther king, jr., by 1968, is not the same mainstream hero he is by the end of 1964 when he accepts the noble peace perceiving civil rights it's going to be for the most part negative and it's prize. by 1968, king is touring the country like a man on fire, critiquing the johnson administration about the vietnam war, trying to galvanize broad-based support for multiracial poor people's campaign, planning to go to washington and stay in washington until congress passes meaningful poverty legislation, antport legislation that dr. king defines as a guaranteed income for all americans.
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we've got congress -- congress person whose had praised king who are saying that he is an anarkist, saying he is a socialist and un-american. so when we think about 1968 there's a feeling of doom as if taken ersives have over. what's taken over. what's interesting, one of the things that dr. king says, he arts to feel that even white liberals are abandoning the movement because so many white americans are embracing this notion of peace and law and order with no justice. so when we think about 196 it's going to be an incredibly tense year but it's also a hopeful year and an optimistic year because so many not only civil rights activists but black power activists are trying to talk about the politics of transformation at the grassroots level.
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when you think about those talking about everything from community control of urban schools to talking about building farm cooperatives in the rural south. they're definitely talking about black elected officials but they're also talking about welfare rights talking about activism. talking about the relationship between african americans and africa and u.s. foreign policy. they're critiquing capitalism and saying it's just the right economic system for poor black people. and they're really trying to reimagine what citizenship will look like in the future. so it's an incredibly hopeful time as well. host: we mentioned one of those activists already elled ridge cleaver. who is hughie activism. >> a law student in newton? oak california, who started an organization along with his friend bobby seal. he and bobby had met at college and they created an org is, they outlined the platform, they gave it a name, and they were just two men. but they had a vision of what change should be like and once
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they stafert they started it in oakland. people flocked in and it got a lot of attention very, very quickly. host: what was that organization? guest: black panther party for self-defense. host: here they are speaking about the black panther party in 196. are america, black people treated very much as the vietnamese people or any other colonized people. used brutalized the police in our community are occupy our ar and our community as a foreign troops occupies territory. the police are in our community not to promote our welfare or or security and our safety, but they're there to contain us, to brutalize and murder us because they have their orders to do so. just as the soldiers in vietnam have their orders to destroy the vietnamese people, the police in our community
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couldn't possibly be there to protect our property because we own no property. they couldn't possibly be there to see that we receive the due process of law for the simple reason that the police themselves deny us the due process of law. so it's very apparent that the police are only in our mmunity not for our security but for the security of the business owners and the community and also to see that the but for the status quo is kept . >> people aren't hip to the idea. they know some submit is going on but a lot of people out there don't no where it's at. they think it's the black people doing it. all those riots are caused by in all be miserable areas you know but they haven't focused in on the fact that it's the pigs and their mentors, the people who control the pigs, the power structure. those bald-headed businessmen at in all
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areas they're not turned on to that power tructtur. the chamber of they just -- they just know that life is becoming increasingly miserable for everybody. host: tell us about the early days of being involved in the black panther party. guest: it was very exciting because it was a new organization, in the middle of the vietnam war, young people locked into the black panther party a large number of college students from san francisco state and it was so positive, full of stic, so energy, the organization which was at the point of breakdown and burnout after eight years of confronting racism and demonstrations and they were losing money, and the black made but by the time they that articulation the organization was pretty much gone. the black panther party took that and ran with it and spread all across the country the concept of black power. host: did the black power party
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endorse violence? guest: was initially called for self-defense. the violence was all around us. black people were being shot in the streets. poverty was rampant. the violence against us. we were not a violent organization we were trying to challenge and defend our communities against the existing violence. host: can you talk a bit about the tactics of the black panther party? guest: i would say that the to be are going multiple, there are going to be multiple strategies. the initial name is black panther party for self-defense. when we think about the ten-point program or really a 20-point program that they outlined in 66 and update by to ltiple, there are going to be 68, what we want and what we need, they talk about everything from ending police brutality to freing black women and men who are in state and local and federal prisons. to having employment, good
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jobs, good schools, education, point ten talked about land, peace, bread and justice. so on one level the tactic was elf-defense and legally arming themselves at least by the fall of themselves at least by the fall of 1966, before the state of california passes anti--- or passes gun control themselves at least by the fall of 1966, before the state of california passes anti--- or passes gun control legislation that is really anti panther legislation by the spring of 1967 which is one of the reasons why on may 2, 1967, go to sacramento protest this gun control bill which was to prevent panthers from patrolling the police armed, which was legal in the state of california at the time. so on one level we've got this martial military image of the panthers with berets and leather jackets and rifles. there's an iconic picture of
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professor cleaver in that mode. another strategy was really this strategy of community empowerment and the strategy of anti-poverty and survival programs, what they later called survival programs. this was this idea of survival pending revolution. so wheng we think about the panthers we think of not just free breakfast programs and free lunch programs but food give aways, legal aid. there's a great book looking at the black panthers and the medical clinics that they did. when we think about the panthers they also anticipated the rise of mass incarceration so they had free busing to prison programs. you know, they had an ambulance service. they had tennis rights organizations, legal aids. they were also interested in drug rehabilitation. they were interested in food justice. when we think about the environment the panthers talk
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about capitalism plus dope genocide one of the iconic pamphlets of the party. so in a way there's a dual strategy. the group as a base one level they're talking about defending the black community. there's going to be strains of the group that talk about proactive revolutionary activities. but then there's another aspect of the group that really at mes attracts much less attention but that attention but that has been very, very substantive and that's the strategy of empowering impoverished people mentally physically spiritually and also providing them critical thinking skills to understand what's going on. because that clip you played of hughie newton and elled ridge is really profound and powerful because you're watching two different political activist whose are also intellectuals and theorists. and what they're doing is
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theorizing about the structure and the nature of political and racial and economic oppression in the united states. and 50 years later when we think about the movement for black lives matters, that's completely connected in trying panthers n what the realized when we think about panthers which realized when we think about the way in which the state was institutionalizing the refregs of african americans. 2.3 million people in prison ight but like professor said they were also talking about economic violence. the reason why they start the free breakfast program is
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because so many black people and black children were impoverished and those free breakfast programs become something that are widespread and that gets institutionalized in cityings like milwaukee, and states like wisconsin and at the federal level as well. host: we're looking back 50 years to 68, what we want and 1968. the civil rights and race relations in this country. .oining us on the phone james caller: good morning to everybody. i just wanted to hope everybody has a happy passover and whatever else they have to celebrate the death and birth of jesus christ. i was 14 years old back in 68. and i lived both sides of the
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streets. i lived in mississippi and chicago, and i could tell the difference between night and day in some places. in some ways. but my main point was in 1968 when dr. martin luther king was assassinated i was in chicago and i was -- i saw the riots, i saw the burning of buildings, i saw things going on. one thing about it my mother would not allow me to bring in anything our apartment that was stolen. she refused to let us do that. but my main point is this. that , and going back far, a lot has changed but there's a lot that has not changed in the sense of when you say in 2018 you're going to make this country great again, and you're going to -- what do you have to lose? lack folks, african americans,
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well, i don't think that great has always been and would always be great no matter what. but the thing is you've got to make america right again. because the civil rights marches and white, blacks, and everybody back doing that time, it was not the government that and would always be great no matter what. but the thing is you've got to make exposed the wrong in this country. it was people getting out and marching. host: thanks for the call from mississippi. i'll let you take up some of the issues he brings up there. guest: he's talking about how people felt about what was happening and i think the context -- we're not talking about the war in vietnam. but everything that was happening in particularly in the civil rights and the black power movement was generated and amplified and in some sense kicked off by the impact of the vietnam war. the impact of the draft and the sense of young men that they were going to get killed or die
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some attitude was well why ould i go to vietnam and die in the rice patty why don't i stay home and fight for black freedom. so the intensity of the black power and the civil rights energy in america was amplified over and over again by the activities of the vietnam war and by the young high school men being taken out of school and being shipped to vietnam or deciding they will not go or whatever, so there was a lot of turmoil involving war, racism, and the future of what the country would eat. this is when our leaders like bobby kennedy got murdered soon as they got elected, it was a traumatizing time. host: professor joseph, i will let you take angela in ohio on the line between 30 years old and 60 years old. caller: good morning.
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happy easter to everybody in whatever way you celebrate today. when they decided to kill off all the civil rights leaders, with the kennedys, martin luther this underhey slept the rug and said, [indiscernible] and then they started locking us up in droves. it did not matter -- if you were black, you would get locked up. street, youed the would get locked up. you were the enemy against them. are shootingce people. they don't care. i never thought i would live to see anything like this in my lifetime. when my grandmother told me she never thought she would live to see a black man in the white house, she did not live to see it, so i live my grandmother's dream.
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and then look at the shambles our nation is in. nobody could have ever predicted this. host: angela this morning. professor joseph, what do you want to pick up on from that? guest: i think when you talk occurring,he death despite the assassinations, and we can go as far back as 53 with the kennedy -- 1953 with the and thosesassination, assassinations certainly had a important, but it is to remember that the protests and demonstrations continue to proliferate in spite of those assassinations. in a way, what we important to remember that see is political assassinations rob social movements of narratives
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that are formed around, especially in the 1960's predominantly male figures, but it doesn't mean the movement goes away. after 1968, you will see more protests against the vietnam war them before it. after 1968, we see protests for community control, women's rights, chicano activism, antiwar activism, black power activism, all the way into the mid-1970's when we think of those assassinations, we remember them as important pivot points but it is important to recall social movements do not and because we had this big political mobilizer or icons who are assassinated. whether a leader or representative is a spokes person that is, woman or man, they are representing political
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at the localzing level, so there is no dr. martin luther king jr. about joanne robinson, the woman's political counsel, or rosa parks, people who are day-to-day organizers. what he is doing as an articulated is galvanize attention for what people are doing at the local level. even though but movement moves when people are assassinated, there is not necessarily that figure point that can bring media attention, but movements continue. host: kathleen cleaver, the kennedy in 1968 when he entered the race. what did he mean to the civil rights movement in 1968? guest: i am not so certain the civil rights movement in 1968, at least the wing i am in, which
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is the black power movement, which is a different energy than civil rights, where we were committed to radical social justice and economic change. bobby kennedy articulated as a mainstream politician. some of the interest that the social justice movement had, which is more than likely he did not even get a chance to get out the gate. he was murdered as soon as he was making his speech. so the right-wing repression that was coming, they made it clear the politics of robert kennedy, social justice, antiwar, were being repudiated. and that kind of set the tone for a very radical uprising across the country. host: we set the tone for this discussion with that news report of the death of martin luther king jr. 50 years ago this week. describe your memory of learning
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about the death of martin luther king jr.. remember, i was in oakland at the time. i was living in california. the black panther party headquarters was in oakland. i remember how stunned and angry black people around the country were. washington, d.c. was set on fire. there were tons of uprisings, riots, protests, the country seemed to be in a state of chaos. what was intriguing is that clearly there was an instruction to the police and cities to stand down because police were not confronting these uprisings. you saw a huge explosion of anger, frustration, and violence in the wake of the assassination of martin luther king. host: professor joseph, why was martin luther king jr. in memphis on that day in 1968?
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guest: he was in memphis because he had been called by one of his good jim lawson, reverend jim lawson, who was helping to organize sanitation workers in memphis, tennessee, on strike for a living wage. so king starts going there in march and giving speeches. one time during a visit, one of the demonstrations turned violent. not because of demonstrators who were part of the organized civil rights activism, but because of outliers, young people in the city who were frustrated. a smashed windows, and king returned to memphis to have a rally that is peaceful because people are very critical, saying that if you cannot lead a peaceful rally in memphis, how can he come to washington, d.c., and do this camp in intensity?
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-- in tent city? king get is convinced that one, the vietnam war is an immoral and illegal war that robbed resources from poor people and attention from the plight of the poor, so he goes to places like andissippi, the southwest meets up with mexican american activists, farmworkers, poor whites, as well, and he is going to have a whole caravan of a multiracial caravan that will come to d.c. in the summer for this poor people's campaign. i 1968, he is talking about guaranteed income. there were many americans across political lines talking about a guaranteed income on the way to fight and end poverty and joblessness once and for all.
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some people talked about employment and the works progress administration that went beyond the new deal, but when king goes to memphis, he uses it as the first beachhead in this larger battle for social justice. and by 1968, he is going to be vilified for talking about poor people, a guaranteed income, and for saying that he is going to bring this nonviolent army to washington, d.c., even though king is always, always articulating a philosophy of nonviolence, journalists and politicians are going to criticize him and say he is trying to bring violence to washington, d.c., went obvious trying to do is force the united states into a reckoning with the
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gap between democratic rhetoric and reality, especially for poor people. but for people of all colors. he is interested in racial justice and economic justice but he sees the connection between race and class. host: nearly halfway through our discussion on this week's installment of america in turmoil, about the civil rights movement and race relations. we split our phone line up differently this morning. if you are 29 and under, it is (202)-748-8000. years old to 60 years old, (202)-748-8001. if you are 61 years and older, (202)-748-8002. nicholas has been waiting in nashville, tennessee, on the line or 29 and under. caller: good morning. i am glad to come across this conversation today. i want to ask about the speakers thoughts on the leadership
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organization and structure of today in the black revolution because often times, they talk about the focal points that it was the heart and soul of those movements, and every action, but the reality is they were not. i am curious on what you think about how the revolution looks today and the organized structure and is there anything you want to highlight from your experiences from your life for people who are under 29 and for that next generation, what would you like us to learn or pay more attention to? host: kathleen cleaver, i will let you start. guest: what is important to understand is they were mass organizations of people in the united states triggered in large part by the dislocations of the war in vietnam but the sense of
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hope, also, that it would change and that king and people like him or articulating a different vision for america and they were masses and masses of people who believed america could change. i remember being with radical revolutionary activist, who were mostly 25 or younger, down to teenagers, who really consent this is a moment where we could change the country. we talked about changing the world, so there was optimism, america was a wealthy place with resources, and the vietnam war dislocated the whole country and challenged and made it possible for people to think of revolutionary transformation, whether peaceful or violence, and the country. host: dr. joseph? guest: certainly. of8 really is a global year political revolution. when we think of domestically in
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1968, 1 of the slogans is going to be a hold world is watching when young activist are being brutalized at the democratic national convention in chicago. what they mean by the whole world is watching, they mean the whole world was watching what american democracy meant for people protesting for social cavern and the huge between democratic rhetoric and reality when it came to reimagining american sedition ship. globally, -- american citizenship. globally, we are thinking about czech slovakia, made a demonstrations across europe -- may day demonstrations across europe, latin america, south america, africa, anti-colonial struggles, students who are striking throughout the world, so 1968 is this feeling of political revolution and
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optimism, and also cultural revolution. the question was about leadership today. i think leadership today in terms of contemporary movements, and we see this with black lives matter and the me too movement, the recent youth march, and also with the dreamers and immigration and daca movements. leadership is structured in a much more cohesive and democratic way. founder famously says strong people do not need strong leaders, and what she means by this, and she was a radical feminist, trade unionists, worked with dr. king, men toward stokely carmichael, the young activist of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, and she met people themselves were going to have to organize for their own justice and rights. when we think about now with the social movements that are
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happening in the contemporary context, the huge positive is, one, many are female lead, and they we think of the 1960's, women were leaders but a lot of times, marginalized when we think of public transcript of the 1960's. now we see women, such as the cofounders of black lives matter , who are out there in a public in brilliance way, and these movements are not relying on one figurehead or iconic leader, and that makes them much more powerful and more effective and long-lasting. host: let me let kathleen cleaver jump in. do you agree with his assessment on how women leaders of the black power movement were remembered and part of the story? guest: at that era, the concept of women leadership was somewhat
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subdued. there was no question the civil rights movement was woman led and woman directed -- i am thinking gloria richardson, ella baker, but the willingness of the media and black community to enhance the role of man, so women were not seeking recognition as much as participation, and it was fundamental and essential. host: what was the role of the communication secretary? how did you get that job? guest: i came to the black panther party from the organization called snicc, and we were planning a demonstration at the alameda county courthouse, went she removed was arrested and shot and charged with attempted murder and murder and he was coming to court and we were going to have a demonstration. my first thing to do was write a press release announcing the demonstration. i had just come into the black
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panther party recently, so the press release had to go out and i had to identify who said it. secretarymmunications of the black panther party, kathleen cleaver. host: you gave yourself the title? guest: yes. julian vaughn was the communication director of snicc, and i modeled myself on julian i called myself secretary because there was also a minister of information, a chairman, so that was my title and i took it myself. host: dallas, texas, charles between 30 and 60. good morning. caller: good morning. thank you. it is an honor to speak with one of the mothers of the movements, as well as the distinguished professor of texas. street fromp the you in dallas but i grew up in sacramento, california, where the latest example of heart break and police violence has happened. i want to say how amazing the
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panthers in dr. king were able to describe america as this immaculate rolls-royce with a knocked off engine. it looked good but socially, there was a limit. guest: i think it is brilliant. i have never heard that before. there is a huge difference in between what people experience and desire and what is actually happening in this country. i believe in the 1960's, what we saw was a waking up among black people, latino people, exploited people of what was being done to them, and looking at how we can take this on and because of vietnam. it was something said malcolm x said that resonated, little yellow men in black jobless are taking down uncle sam. it was like small people, poor people can make a difference in the world, and that was radicalizing across the country.
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bringprofessor joseph, this back to 50 years ago this weekend and the death of martin luther king jr., who was james arnold ray and what was his -- james earl rate and what was his motive in the assassination? guest: he is the assassin of martin luther king jr. and his juste by all reports was racial hatred and unease with what king represented in the world, in the sense of the social land political change and transformation that dr. king was trying to achieve. guest: i would like to say something. i don't think the king family accepted and the king's british attorney accepted that he was the shooter. holding aim as position to cover up who actually killed king. host: covering up for who? guest: the people who organized
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the assassination. that he was a front but not the killer. host: what do you believe? guest: i believe that. i don't think one man will take down martin luther king. it had to the a form of conspiracy and probably one more than one shooter. host: what do you think, dr. joseph? guest: as the historian, i go historical record, but i acknowledge that there have been doubts. they are raised by different orders, including the king family posthumously, questioning the way in which evidence was gathered, questioning whether james earl rate in fact murder -- ray in fact murdered their father. when we think of historical records, i go with historical record that james earl ray is the shooter until and unless we are presented with rocksolid evidence that shows something different. guest: i guess you understand that the rocksolid evidence is
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seriously being covered up. guest: you know, i understand that people are saying that and i would love to see and hear more. i have read those perspectives, definitely. host: i want to go back to that night 50 years ago on april 4. this is the ideal of robert kennedy announcing the death of martin luther king jr. at an impromptu speech in indianapolis. here is what he had to say. [video clip] ay,in this difficult d and this difficult time for the united states, people ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in? for those of you who are black, considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people responsible, you can be filled with bitterness
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and with hatred, and a desire for revenge. we can move in that direction as a country and greater polarization, black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another. or we can make an effort, as martin luther king did, to understand and to comprehend and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an compassionnderstand and love. for those of you who are black, and are tempted to be filled of thetred and mistrust
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injustice of such an act, against all white people, i would only say that i can also feel in my own heart this and .ind of feeling i had a member of my family killed and he was killed by a white man. we have to make an effort in the united states. we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond her go beyond these difficult times. host: professor joseph, take us back to the hours and days after the death of martin luther king jr. from that speech, the writing and the burning of cities we saw around the country. and burning of cities we saw around the country. guest: bobby kennedy's words ironic because his brother had approved the wiretaps that hoover put on dr. king, and that
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againstd the fbi's war dr. king, and in a lot of ways, it led to that and taking that in part led to his death and it was really interesting bobby kennedy's evolution. these days are tumultuous days. and kennedy says these difficult times, and king on april 3 of the night before he is assassinated had said that we have some difficult days ahead of us. what he was talking about was the way in which there was a lf in which activists and leaders felt they needed to do, and what the country was willing to do. the country responds, the state responds with more political and 1968,ic oppression and in we have to remember that the omnibus crime bill is passed a
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couple months after king died, and that crime bill really expands wiretapping and eavesdropping that the federal government is allowed to do but also provides the state with billions of dollars in money for law enforcement that forced mass incarceration and now provides many given to states through the byrne grant and all the states and local municipalities that huge incentives to incarcerate african-americans and latinos and poor whites. host: kathleen cleaver, take us back to where you were that night in the days after and your actions. guest: i was in california during eldridge and i lived in san francisco and once king was killed, whence his death became public knowledge, it was an explosion across the country with riots, rebellions,
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washington, d.c., and the police were standing down. and so the black panther party wanted to respond, but they did not believe people should go out and ride it in the streets --riot in the streets, so a group of panthers engaged in actions in response to king's assassination. is group i am talking about the group that was essentially going to attack police in response but what ended up happening was the group got scattered and a small contingent ended up in a house in oakland and were shooting back and forth with the oakland police, and bobby hutton and eldridge were in the same house, and that house began to catch on fire. they said, well, we don't want to burn to death, so bobby
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attempted tout and surrender and was shot. no one other than bobby hutton was killed that night. about eight other panthers were arrested and it became a huge case. the whole country was at war. host: what happened to eldridge cleaver? guest: he was arrested, sent back to prison. he was an ex-convict and able to get out on bail through unusual decisions by a judge because when he went to court, no one from the state appeared. it was only a bridge and the judge. and he said, based on the evidence i heard, i have to take his story, which was not heard shootera black panther engaged with police was out on bail and the candidate for president under a protest party, so what he did was run his presidential campaign across the country until it was time for
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him to return to police and prison, at which point he disappeared. he showed up a few months later in havana. host: were you with them? guest: oh, no. i did not know where he was. he was off to montreal, but i did not know. host: when did you read correct -- when did you reconnect question mark guest: in algeria --? guest: in on syria in 1969. i was on my way to figure out to have to get to cuba and i had to go in a roundabout way. the way to get there was to take a flight in algeria to cuba. i actually got there and then i got a message, do not leave your retweets, aldrich -- eldridge is coming. host: did you want to add something? guest: yes, when we think about the immediate aftermath of dr. king's assassination, his funeral in atlanta is going to
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be seen by over 100 million americans. muleoffin is carried by a train in atlanta. every major residential candidate attends king's funeral, so eugene mccarthy, bobby kennedy, hubert humphrey, richard nixon, president lyndon johnson because of security concerns is not attend, but king accorded the equivalent of a state funeral, and when we think about what is going on on college campuses, black communities, there is a huge sense of mourning. at times, a sense of rage and over 25 cities bereft in violence, but there is also a sense of organizing that takes place. when we think of the king assassination, and becomes a global event and there will be sympathy demonstrations around the world, europe, africa, latin
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america, sending telegrams to the king family and united states in solidarity with king's --ory, so he is really going the country is going to be reeling in the aftermath of his death. for a time, bobby kennedy, who anthe start of what becomes 82 day campaign for president, until he is assassinated on june 5, like andy young, one of king's lieutenants, mayonnaise and has said, many people start to transfer some of the feeling they had -- not necessarily the black power activist, but mainstream african-american, some of the feeling and loyalty they have towards king and robert f kennedy, as he can bindow find the wounds -- the wounds that are gripping the nation.
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we think about bobby kennedy and the final thought is kennedy in 1968 tried to do it barack obama doesn't two thousand eight, which is create a multiracial and multi-class coalition to win the presidency of the united states. host: about 30 minutes left in our discussion, taking your calls on phone lines split up by age. 29 inventor, (202)-748-8000 -- 29 and under (202)-748-8000. 30 to 60 years old, (202)-748-8001. 60 and older (202)-748-8002. nicolas calling from scotland on the line for those 61 and older. caller: good morning. , of course, at my age, and having been raised in detroit, i was 15 at the time of the detroit riots and i was 16 when dr. king was assassinated. what i wanted to say, it struck me while i was watching your
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program this morning that mr. academic for the center of the study of race and democracy, and after 50 years of all that has gone on, it is ironic that they had the time to set up a center for the study of race and democracy. i think it is time to come off the ivory tower, dr. joseph. host: nicholas in scotland, professor joseph? guest: sure. nicholas, i would say that we do more than just study. we do public research and history and policy programming that connects to race and democracy, civil rights inequality, voting rights, mass incarceration. to tackle these issues, we have to do both, right? so when you think about -- i
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would not say it is just an ivory tower, when you think of how do we leverage resources of these wonderful universities that we have in the united states to try and transform not just critical consciousness, but public policies and leverage those resources on behalf of communities that would not have access to the kind of brainpower and resources that we have met universities, and universities have been when thinking of issues of social justice, important in terms of legal transformations, in terms of public policy transformations, providing nonprofits and other grassroots organizations, the information and the research and the agency that they made on social and political justice. it is not just the center at ut, but the idea of black studies
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coming out of the black power era and coming out in the theory we talk about this morning is how do we leverage the intelligence he and and the resources, not just humanity and social sciences but hard science, medicine, stanfield rate how do we leverage that on behalf of people marginalized? universities play a role. like professor cleaver was saying, many people were attracted to groups like like panthers, and including herself, some were university students. some of the biggest activist to college classes, where graduates, or high school graduates, who shut cities down. when we think of parkland, young people in parkland are connected to the movements we are talking about because high school students in the south, north and west coast waged all kinds of
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struggles, including latino high school students, not just to get educational equality but equal opportunity and equality outcomes where they are surrounded in their communities. host: a lot of calls waiting. kathleen cleaver, michael in florida on the line for those between 30 years old and 60 years old. caller: good morning. repressive cleaver, it is an honor to see you. i saw a special on black women involved in the movement and i know you are part of that back then. they pointed out that the women who involved took great care in making sure that the men were out front. the women knew they were a part of it, but they knew the important thing about the black man being out front. professor joseph, i will say to -- what youwant have mentioned several times this morning about the importance of black women
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participating in the new movement -- black women have always been in the movement. be very careful about this new emphasis on women being involved in the new movement because it is a wedge issue designed to pick black men against black women. i am 58 years old. 58 years old.d -- my mother was based on black women and raise children and went to high school. host: kathleen cleaver? guest: a response? host: go for it. guest: i'm happy to hear you acknowledge that and to see the backbone of the movements for black justice, black freedom, and antislavery have been women for several reasons, one of which is that the attention on oppressing men was so vicious that it was almost necessary for women. the other is that women took on this responsibility and women leadership has been a feature of the struggle against slavery,
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segregation, racism, and part of that i think is because of the role of churches in the past. not so much now. churches are gathering place for women who are activists, who are supporting leadership and essentially running the churches. the base of political activism and black communities frequently is women organizations and leaders. host: from virginia, max on the line for those 29 inventor. go ahead. caller: thank you. i wanted to say this is a great conversation and i wanted to thank you for hosting it. when the professor mentioned dr. words onter antipoverty and antiwar, it seems dr. king's legacy has been manipulated in the time since 1968 and the later aspects of the program have been deemphasized.
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i was wondering if you might speak to dr. king's legacy and the panthers' and the way the message has been manipulated historically. guest: it is difficult for them to manipulate the message of the black panther given the youth, platform, and in the case of dr. king, we saw and could tell that dr. king was a genuinely revolutionary leader but presented it in a christian context, which makes it more threatening, and king was very aware that his life was going to be shortened by the things he did. the black panthers were mostly teenagers, a youth movement with a handful of leaders over 21. the energy of the black panther party was a very, very different in the sense that we had chapters over the country, different programs, and we also stand on social and political
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issues that directly affected and the people of that generation. host: you have elizabeth and fort lauderdale, florida, on the lauderdale, -- for 60 and older. -- my pointve just is what gets me on a regular women come ony programs with these very serious subjects, and the smile, grin, and laugh. they get introduced, and they [indiscernible] in their mouth. whatever, and i understand, but
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i have never seen so much women coming on with the smiles. i don't see anything funny. host: professor joseph? guest: thinking about the king holiday and the caller's message, it has been a great example of racial symbolism. and immemorial ensure dr. king would not be forgotten and he was recognized as one of america's founding thinkers in a post-world war ii sense. witho embrace dr. king what the nation has done in terms of mainstream is the radical eyes king --
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de-radicalized king's message, his anti-capitalism, his courageous ability to speak to power and to talk about white racism, and privilege, and it turned him into this soft and fuzzy teddy bear, a figure everyone could love, even though the last three years of his life, when he is in chicago battling mayor daley, when he is no longer political friends with lyndon johnson, people are castigating king and saying that -- there is one newspaper report in 1967 that says king and stokely carmichael are the batman and robin of the movements, and saying there are two sides of the same coin. so we choose to remember only the king who ends with the i have a dream speech at the march on washington, and we don't even interrogate that speech because it is about reparation. that is the speech where he says, we are coming to cash a
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check that has been stamped insufficient funds, but we refuse to believe that the bank of american justice is bankrupt. that is what he says in 1963. when we think about his legacy, part of the irony of his legacy is the fact that he becomes the most visible symbol of the 1960's and even bigger than the black panthers, but we robbed him of his own political agency and the way in which he tries to move it. king loves america and that criticize america. host: you mentioned stokely carmichael a couple of times. you are the author of the book stokely life, explain or he fits into this story we have been talking about in the last hour. ist: stokely carmichael born in trinidad in spain and
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comes to the united states in 1952, 1 of the few african-american students who is at a competitive school you have to test into. he joins the nonviolent action nicc affiliate at howard university in the 1960's, and becomes one of the most courageous civil rights activists. he is a freedom rider, gets arrested in jackson, mississippi, and spends 49 days and the penitentiary. secondmes the congressional district leader of the mississippi freedom democratic party. he is good friends with martin luther king jr. he knows malcolm x and is by him. i 1965, stokely is one of the -- by 1965, stokely is one of the leading graduates, he helps organize sharecroppers in
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alabama who become a freedom organization, who are nicknamed the black panther party, and when we think about the black panther party for self-defense, the county becomes -- provides the first sign of the symbol of what becomes the black panther party in 1966. it is stokely carmichael who calls the black power in 1966 during the meredith march in greenwood, mississippi, and becomes this huge icon post assassination of malcolm x. carmichael is named honorary prime minister of the black panther party, initially field marshal and by executive order from hearing the and really two large rallies and
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oakland and los angeles and becomes one of the key pivotal and to produce a paid it in both of those movements. he moves to west africa in 1969 and dies of prostate cancer in november of 1998. really one of the iconic figures who becomes an unreconstructed revolutionary and he changes his name to honor the pan african ghana but really one of the key revolutionary figures of the 1960's, even in the 1970's and to 1990's, continues to articulate those revolutionary ideas. host: kathleen cleaver? guest: i wanted to make a clarification that the name the black panther party came from an
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organization that stokely and other people in the counting alabama were collaborating with the local community, who wanted to, for the first time, run candidates for office, so they had a political party, lowndes county freedom organization, and they had a symbol to vote for them and it was a symbol of the panther. so people began calling it the black panther party but they used that for certain reasons, saying it is an animal who will never -- you mind its own business, but if you reach out to attack them, he will wipe you out, but this symbol and the notion and the black panther as connecting with radical black politics was very popular. another group in california took the name and said, black panther party perceptive that's. host: anthony has been waiting in texas, line for those between 30 and 60. caller: good morning and thank
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you for taking my call. i wanted to highlight something i have seen over the weekend, several articles in the new york times regarding the census bureau, and a study that they had been working on since 2004, which concluded with them deciding that they would create a designation for hispanics and arab-americans, so they would not talk to define themselves as white. however, the trump administration, with jeff sessions, came up with another question, which i'm sure you know, they rejected the designation for hispanic and arab-americans, and opted for united states citizen, a question on if you are a united states citizen because they fear a true depiction of the democratic in the cut -- of the
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demographic in the country and what they really are. just as they keep the packaging the same practices and bringing them to us in different ways, basically it could have an impact, according to the articles i read on voting rights, housing, and many other important resources, and it is just these types of practices have not made this greater but weaker. host: we will come back to your question after we hear from ed in north carolina on the line for those 29 and under. caller: good morning and thank you, c-span, and the guests for having this conversation. i appreciate it. if i could ask for the comments on a couple of topics. one, do they know anything or their opinion on critical legal series, something i heard up recently, and it might be related to civil rights, and the
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other thing, i do not know if it is to an appropriate to ask, but if dr. king were still with us today, to the guests think that the landscape of politics in the country would be different than it is? host: thanks. a couple of different issues. kathleen cleaver? guest: how dr. king remained -- had dr. king remained alive, had his movement been able to implement the project see initiated, it is not so much if he was alive but if those structures for political change were still dynamic and being funded, and people could participate, then some of the goals could have conceivably been implemented, but he was assassinated and for very clear reasons, and that is exactly what the power structure did. we were left to her own devices again.
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host: dr. joseph? do you do what if history questions? guest: [laughter] not really, but what i will say is this, when we think of dr. king, if he was still alive, we have seen this transformed political landscape, including someone recently elected president, who never held office, so i think it would have been tremendous pressure on him and we would have seen how he would have responded. he responded by saying no when people wanted him to run and we would have seen it symbolically on protest tickets. i think now the idea of having some massive social movement leader actually running for political office would not be far-fetched. it is just that we don't necessarily have the same kind of iconic leaders now that we did then. but i do agree with professor movement thathe he helped mobilize, if it
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continued to evolve and develop well he was alive, maybe things would be somewhat different. that movement continues to evolve and develop that he has not been alive to be one of the primary articulators of that movement, which had its own benefits and drawbacks. host: about 10 minutes left this morning on 1968, america in turmoil. we are on c-span and c-span3 as we covered the civil rights movement and race relations in 1968. james in greensboro, north carolina, on the line for those 61 and older. caller: good morning, c-span. i like everyone came on to talk about this situation. then,s going on back eldridge cleaver was a type of the hero to me. i remember one of my friends gave me his album back then instead of cds, that i listened
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to his speech, and it all made sense. what we need to do, we need to organize even better than the 1960's because it was a spiritual movements to advance the program of this country does it was such a dominated country against us because of the color of our skin. and then he gave us so many names, but back then, we were called negroes, and colored, and then it became black. if you look under the dictionary under black, it is all negative. that is why we get shot in the streets because of patriot. hatred -- because of patriot. -- because of hatred. itself inces different faces and colors and stuff, so we need to do something to change things, and everybody is waiting for us. host: kathleen cleaver? guest: i think what you are
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complaining about his something i would refer to as white supremacy. it has been a key component of america from its beginning. however, at this point, white supremacy is in trouble because the majority of the american population within the next 25 years, will not be white. it is increasingly latino, african-american, asian, and the population growth that is protected, they have cities called majority minorities, meaning minority populations are in the majority. that will continue so i have the feeling over the next 40 years or so, we are going to see toitical changes in response the composition of the american population and therefore, the political class. host: the caller brings up eldridge cleaver. when did you get married to him?
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guest: at the end of the 1967. we kept arguing, december 30 or december 31? [laughter] host: when did he die? 1 -- i amdied may trying to think of the year. i cannot remember right this minute. host: and some of those people who joined u.s. the beginning of the black panther party, where they there? guest: not at all. he had left the black panther party, he had become a republican and his fatal was actually in los angeles, where he was living at the time, and if you people did come. one of our panda leaders, his name was geronimo pratt, and he was arraigned on a murder case, and finally after the this kb's petition, and by the time this 1 -- kbs petition, and by the time this one came along, that when they decided to let him out.
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he had been a major leader in the black panther party. and he came to eldridge's funeral. the black panther party was an extraordinary organization and its a an the enormous amount of violence, and people who were still in it are still in prison, or people who were in the movement still supported. a large number of community people still admire the efforts of the black panther party. host: about five minutes left. i wanted you to talk about that iconic moments from 1968 at the olympic games, the two american olympic athletes and the symbol, the salud they gave our viewers on the screen.explained that moment for those unfamiliar. guest: yes, that is the 400 meter relay race in the mexico
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city olympics, october 16, 1968 that is. tommie smith and john carlos who won the gold and bronze medals, respectfully, and they were part of a larger movement that has been inspired by dr. harry 1960's, tothe late try and have a boycott of the olympics of black athletes, boycotting the olympics, because of the human rights violations happening in the united states against african-americans. everything from police brutality to racial segregation, to violence against blacks. when we think about what eventually happens, some athletes at the olympics decided that if they did win, they were going to stage these protests, is what smith and carlos do they go to the podium without any shoes on, just black socks,
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they each have a black glove, and they raise the black power symbol. it is interesting because that was a powerful, iconic moment, but they were kicked out at the olympic village, stripped of their medals, vilified in the mainstream by the 1990's, san jose state, where they were athletes, had erected statues in their honor. really, over a quarter of the century, they were denied employment, the access and opportunities that they should have been afforded because they made this human rights protest. for them, what they were in solidarity with was indigenous people all over the world who were being oppressed, including african americans in the united states, but all people all over the world, the third world, people of color, and others of press. in a way, when we think of smith and carlos, they anticipated
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what happened to colin kaepernick and where his protest against police brutality and against racial injustice became reinterpreted as an indictment in this anti-american act, when what he was trying to do was really unveil and sheds light on contemporary racism, and that is what smith and carlos were trying to do. one last thing, a were embraced by black power, so after they come back from the olympics, they tour howard university, historical black colleges, stokely carmichael is there, and others. they really become supported. people like kareem abdul-jabbar, jim brown, like athletes who were very racially conscious at the time, support them, as well. host: kathleen cleaver, less than a minute left, we started by asking dr. joseph where the civil rights movement was at the
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end of 1967 and beginning of 1968. where you think it was at the end of 1968 as 1969 dawned? guest: at a crossroads with many possible options. there were those who wanted to go back to africa, into community service, those who wanted to work in the community and said we should not be out here, we should be organizing strugglesng community , solving community issues, and i would say it was a panorama of possibilities at the end of the 1960's. all of which are still, in a way, some levels being part of our culture. host: kathleen cleaver is at emory university, school of law, senior lecturer and research fellow. dr. joseph's director for the study of race and democracy at the university of texas at austin. thank you, both, for your
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roletivists redefining the of the federal government and challenging traditional values. our guests are kathleen townsend. .nd michael cohen watch 1968 america in turmoil live sunday at 8:30 a.m. eastern on c-span's washington journal and on american history tv on c-span3. ceo arcweek, facebook secretary will testify before senate and house committees on facebook's handling of user information and data privacy. in a joint hearing before the
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senate judiciary and commerce committee's. and on wednesday before the house energy and commerce committee. watch live coverage on c-span3 and and listen live with the c-span radio cap. akakamer senator daniel of hawaii has died at the age of 93. he was the first native hawaiian to serve in the senate. his political career started in the house in 1976. he became a senator in 1990. at one time he chaired the senate affairs committee. this is about 15 minutes. mr. akaka: madam president? the presiding officer: the the senator from hawaii. mr. akaka: madam president, i rise to give me remarks and my aloha to the united


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