tv Rep. John Lewis D- Georgia Speaks With High School Students CSPAN July 19, 2020 12:15am-1:20am EDT
next, the late congressman john lewis speaks with students at washington, d.c.'s, eastern senior high school, as part of the c-span program, students and leaders. he talked about his childhood, work in the civil rights movement, and his congressional career, as well as taking questions from the students. work, as well as taking questions. >> good morning. my name is jim. i am with the comcast corporation.
we are pleased to be with you here today at eastern high school. we have a wonderful guest speaker. many times, leaders have a very uncommon vision and uncommon commitment to excellence, convictions. i think we will hear all of that this morning. we are in for a very special treat. this program, the students and leaders program, is a wonderful opportunity to bring leaders back to the classroom to show young people the values of public service, the importance of leadership, and to give people an opportunity to become more involved in government and more aware of the issues that face our society. comcast,ur partner at
it is one of the very special ways we are able to do that every day. cablees our audiences on a chance to see their government firsthand, whether it is from the floor of the house of representatives, the senate, or special debates about public policy. it is a wonderful way, and a gift to the cable industry, to see how our government works and how we can all be better citizens. without any further ado, i would ,ike to introduce steve scully who will introduce our student leader and our speaker. steve: good morning. my name is steve scully and i would like to thank eastern high school for allowing us to do this in conjunction with comcast. you are in for a unique opportunity to hear the story of
a fascinating nearly two decades, grew up in alabama, and wrote a best-selling b in alabad wrote a best-selling book. i am pleased to introduce some going -- somebody who we may cover on c-span sometime down the road, timothy wilson, student leader. his ambition is to someday follow john lewis in the house of representatives. we will save this tape. if he is ever elected, we will show it when he comes back and take some calls on our program. you will hear a compelling story and learn a lot. experience youn will forever remember. timothy wilson, we are glad to have you. timothy: thank you for that warm
introduction. i am timothy wilson. easta senior here at ern. congressmanelcoming lewis this morning. >> thank you for those kind words of introduction. let me say i am delighted, very happy, and very pleased to be here this morning. let me say good morning. >> good morning. >> i too want to thank c-span and it comcast for making this possible to be here at eastern high school with each of you and your principal mr. shepherd. notme start by saying i did grow up in a big city like washington, new york or atlanta.
or los angeles or chicago. i grew up on a farm 50 miles from montgomery, near a little place called troy in southeast alabama. my father was a sharecropper, attentive farmer. -- a tenant farmer. father savedur, my $300 and bought 110 acres of land. my 88-year-old mother is still living on this land. ofthis farm, there is a lot corn, peanuts, cows, and chickens. mya young kid, it was responsibility to care for the chickens. i fell in love with raising chickens like no one else. do you know anything about raising chickens? let me tell you what i had to do as a young boy growing up in alabama in the 40's. taking fresh eggs, mark them
with a pencil, place them under the setting hen, and wait for them to hatch. i know some of you students are going to say, why did you mark those eggs with a pencil? from time to time, another hen could get on the same nest, and there would be more eggs. it would be to tell fresh eggs from eggs already under the setting hen. and giveake the chicks them to another hen, or put them in a box with a lantern to raise them on their own. fooling and cheating on these setting hints. it was not the right thing to do. it was not the moral thing to do. it was not the most loving thing to do. it was not the most nonviolent thing to do. save never quite able to
to buy from this year and roebuck store -- the sears and roebuck store. catalog, some people call it the ordering book, but i just kept cheating on these setting pins -- hens. i wanted to be a minister. from time to time, we would get all of the chickens together in the chicken house, the chicken yard, like you are gathered here, and the chickens, my brothers and sisters and cousins would make up the congregation. some of these chickens would bow their heads, some would shake their heads. they would never quite say amen. but i am convinced some of these chickens i preached to tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the congress.
some of these chickens were a little more productive. at least they produce eggs. when i was visiting the little town of troy, 10 miles from home, visiting montgomery, about teske --away, visiting tuskegee, i saw signs that said "colored men," womte women," "colored en." bitterild, i tasted the fruits of segregation and i did not like it. when i was seven years old, i heard martin luther king junior on the radio. i listen to the words of martin luther king and the words inspire me. i followed the drama of the montgomery bus boycott.
i wanted to find a way to get involved in the civil rights movement. 1956, at the age of 16, with some of my brothers and sisters and first cousin, we went to the library in troy, trying to get library cards, trying to check books out. and we were told by the library and that the library was for whites only and not for coloreds. the958, i went back to library in troy for a book signing. hundreds of white and black citizens showed up and they gave me a library card. it says something about the progress we have made in america . two of martin luther king -- to
what martin luther king called an interracial society. how do you get involved, you may ask? when i finished high school in 1957 at the age of 17, i wanted to attend school. it is now known as troy state university. application, had my transcript sent to the school. i never heard a word. i wrote a letter to martin luther king, junior and told him i needed his help. i did not tell my mother, my father, any of my sisters or brothers. dr. king wrote me back and sent me a greyhound bus ticket, invited me to come to montgomery to meet with him. i will never forget it. on a saturday morning, september, 1957, my father drove me to the greyhound bus station.
they gave me a $100 bill. they gave me a footlocker. i put everything i owned except those chickens in my footlocker. dr. king heard from one of his friends, who was a of 1958 i am 18 years old. i father drove me to the greyhound bus nation on a saturday morning. i boarded the bus and drove to montgomery. -- takento montgomery to the first baptist church, pastored by pastor abernathy. i walked through the door and saw martin luther king junior and dr. king said, "are you the boy from troy? are you john lewis?"
i spoke up and said again quote i am john robert lewis -- "i am john robert lewis." i continued to study in nashville and it was in the city of nashville as a student that many of us started attending nonviolence workshops, studying the role of civil disobedience, studying the great religions of the world. a group of black and white college students started sitting in at segregated lunch counters. we would sit there in an orderly, nonviolent fashion waiting to be served, doing our homework and someone would come up and put a lighted cigarette out in our hair or down our backs, spit on us, pull us off the lunch counter stools, beat us. we did not strike back because we accepted nonviolence as a
astic -- not as a tactic but a way of life. my grandparents and my great grandparents said to us over and over as children "do not get in trouble," but in nashville i got in trouble. it was good trouble. it was necessarily -- necessary trouble to make our country a better place. we believe in the constitution, the bill of rights, america, so ,e wanted to change america bring down those signs -- "colored men, white men, colored women, white women." i first came to washington in 1961, 20 years old. i had all of my hair and i was a few pounds lighter. seven whites and six blocks to
the unitedsion of states supreme court prohibiting discrimination in places of public transportation. if you left washington dc and it traveled in virginia through north carolina, south carolina, mississippi, whites had to sit middle and front of the bus, blocks at the back of the bus. white waiting, colored wedding, waiting,en -- colored white women, black -- colored women." an angry mob attacked us. unconscious at a greyhound bus station in montgomery, alabama, but we did not give up. we did not give out. in 1960 threeter
i became the head of the student nonviolence committee, the national chair and moved to atlanta. as theee years i served chair of that organization coordinating sit ins and freedom rides and efforts for voter registration all across the american south. 40 years ago,3, at the age of 23 i was invited to come to washington again along with martin luther king jr. and others to meet president kennedy in the oval office of the white house. during that meeting someone spoke up and is said to president kennedy, "mr. president, we want to have a march on washington." we went out and mobilized to the nation and organized people from all over to come to washington 1963, thousands of
americans came to washington to hear martin luther king jr. essay again quote i have a dream -- say "i have a dream." . was asked to speak also i saw a sea of humanity. we came back to the american georgia,ck to alabama, mississippi. there was so much optimism. 18 days after the march on 15,ington on september 1963, there was a terrible bombing of a church in birmingham, alabama, the 16th church.aptist it was a very sad time and a dark hour for the civil rights movement. we went all across the south to try and register people to vote. in the state of mississippi,
they had a black voting age 16,000ion where only blacks were registered to vote. one county between selma and montgomery was more than 80% african-american but there was not a single registered african-american voter in the county. in selma, you had to pay a poll tax. alabama,nstitution of lawyers and doctors were told that they could not read well enough. a black man with a phd degree flung to one of their tests. on another occasion, and man was asked to give a bar of soap. the student nonviolence committee organized is mississippi summer project where more than 1000 students, lawyers, doctors came to work in
the freedom school. 21, 1964 three young men , two whites and one black went out to investigate the burning of a black church. these three young men were arrested, taken to jail, and later that you -- same sunday night were taken out, beaten, shot, and killed. we did not give up. we marched from selma to montgomery, something called bloody sunday where we were beaten. because of what happened in there was a sense of righteous indignation. president johnson spoke to a joint session of congress and introduced the voting rights act. congress responded, "past that act."
millions of people of color are registered and voting and we have many black elected officials. i want to close by telling one last story. when i was growing up outside of -- 50 miles from monk armory, i had an aunt -- montgomery. i had an aunt. she lived in a shotgun house. do know what a shotgun house is? you'd -- you don't know because you grew up in urban washington. my aunt lived in a shotgun house. i was born in a shotgun house. it did not have a green, manicured lawn. it had a dirt yard. , we could count the stars. when it rained, she would get a pail or bucket and catch the
rainwater. from time to time she would walk out into the woods and take branches from a tree and make a broom and she would sweep her dirt yard very clean, sometimes two and three times a week, but especially on friday and saturday because she wanted her dirt yard to look good during the weekend. dish a shotgun house is an old house with a 10 -- a shotgun house is in old house with it 10 roof where you could oz a rooftball -- with a tin where you could bounce a basketball at the front door and it would bounce at the back door -- out the back door. the rain started beating on the 10 roof of this little -- tin roof of this little shotgun
house. she got all us children together and told us to hold hands. the wind continued to blow, the lightning continued to flash. house,corner of this defend -- the corner appeared to be lifted from the foundation. she had us run to that corner to hold down the house with our little bodies. we never left the house. as students, as leaders of the 21st century, you must never give out. you must never lose faith. you must stay with the house. we all live in the same house, the one house, one people, one family. it does not matter whether we are white, black, native, hispanic, we all live in the
same house. our forefathers and foremothers country andthe different ships but we are all in the same boat now. hang in there. you will lead the world to help make america better, help make our world better and create a more peaceful world. it is better to love than to hate. leaders of can as the future to help make our world, our society a little better. way, walk with the wind and to let the spirit of eastern high school into the spirit of history the your guide. they could very much. -- thank you very much. [applause]
we have time for some questions. >> good morning. i am a senior. is what arefor you some of the most important factors do you think that helped you to prepare for the early stages of your political career? rep. lewis: when i was growing up and when i was in school, i was very, very poor in rural alabama. we could not afford a subscription to the newspaper, but my father -- rent father had a subscription and when he was finished reading his newspaper, we would read his newspaper -- but my grandfather had a subscription and when he was finished reading the paper he would -- we would read the
paper. and part ofrd, red my responsibility was to care and part of -- read my responsibility was to care for chickens. i was deeply inspired by martin luther king jr.. he taught me how to stand up, how to act, and how to speak out. speak up and speak out. >> good morning. actionthe affirmative that took place here in washington dc, what is congress doing to change that around the u.s.? rep. lewis: many members of congress participated in that effort. it was a case in the supreme court coming from the university of michigan. many of us in the congress on both sides of the aisle leaved believe thative --
affirmative action is still necessary, the participation and inclusion of people who have been left out because of race or gender. we are waiting on the decision of the united states supreme court and we are hopeful that we will have a decision by the end of next month. based on the decision of the united states supreme court will tell or imply what the congress may or may not do. >> good morning. i am a junior here at eastern high school. you areion is -- i know very big on civil rights so how do feel about that segregation scandal in your own state? rep. lewis: it made me very sad. in 2003, in the state of georgia or in any place in america, but in my home state of georgia that we have segregated prom. you have a one integrated prom
and then come back and have a segregated one. it doesn't make sense. we have to learn to live together as dr. luther king brothers and sisters. we have to learn to live here in america before we tell the world we have to learn to live together. we are one people, one family. >> good morning. my name is kevin and i am a senior here. fungus men, i understand you have known -- congressman, i understand you have known dr. martin luther king. how has he inspired you to be the man you are today? rep. lewis: i did know dr. king. i got to know him very well. he was a wonderful human being. just to speak with him, to talk with him.
he inspired me. he became my hero. friend, likeerful a big brother. later we became colleagues in the struggle for civil rights. i don't know where i would be today if it weren't for martin luther king jr.. he had the capacity to inspire people, to tell people to have raw courage but not to be afraid. if it had not been for martin luther king jr. i would not be in congress, i would not be where i am today. morning. i am a senior here. my question is as the son of a sharecropper, how did you feel awarded the re
medal? rep. lewis: when i was awarded naacp, i felt the good but i did not accept the award for myself but for the countless individuals who participated in the sit ins, who went on the freedom ride, for the americans who did not move the line in selma, in places in mississippi day in and day out trying to get the right to vote. deceiving moved by that wonderful honor from the naacp. morning, congressman. my name is maurice brown. i am a junior. do you feel that affirmative action is the most effective way to promote multiculturalism in
post secondary schools and do you believe such a system should be used in our world? rep. lewis: i believe it is a necessary tool, a necessary instrument. it is part of a process to bring about this greater sense of community, to bring about what dr. king called and what i continued to call again quote a beloved -- "a beloved community," to end a gap. we can have diversity, but at the same time we need to move closer to a truly integrated society. here at home in america and around the world. we should not put people down because they come from different backgrounds or different of ares or because different racial or religious group. we are all in the same family, the family of humankind.
i think affirmative action -- we can make it work in america and if america can be used as a model for the rest of the world, then we should do it. >> good morning, congressman lewis. i am a senior here at eastern. i went to get your thoughts on being at retirement age. rep. lewis: i am moving up myself. i am not so sure the age it 75 -- themoved to retirement age should be moved to 75. it may be for selfish regions -- on the other- hand, if people are able or 66,ared to work past 65, past 70, they should be free to do that.
we should not discriminate against people because of their necessarilym not for moving the retirement age and having the "you must wait until you are 75," although some of us may want to retire much earlier if we can afford it. >> good morning. i am a senior at eastern. congressman lewis, i have read about your work in the in-house budget committee. what are your plans to create better and stronger neighborhoods daca -- neighborhoods? rep. lewis: there is a program we have today that has been ofcessful across whole sects the housing program to rebuild. we have to make our community a little more lovable. we have got to have our parks, more open space.
we have to find a way to clean up the old neighborhoods and people can move back into the heart of our cities. city life is important. here in washington i live on capitol hill. i have been here 17 years. i don't even have a car you're in washington. i walk or i get ride with one of my staff people or i take the train. >> good morning, congressman. i am a junior here at eastern senior high school. my question is can you give us a general idea of what the republican tax bill was and why you rejected it? during a time of crisis and when you are involved in military action and a war, it is not a time in my estimation to cut taxes.
we need those resources to see that all of our people get the best possible education. we need those resources to take care of a -- the health condition of our seniors and children, our babies. we need those resources to clean up the environment, protect the environment. we have a right to know what is in the food we eat, what is in the water we drink, what is in the air we breathe. the majority of americans are not saying again quote give me a touch -- "give me a tax cut." housing,hat to improve build roads. the proposed tax cut as it went through the house and is now making its way through the senate will help the people at the very, very top and most of
the people at the top don't need it. they don't want it. it is not going to create jobs and economic growth. >> good morning, congressman lewis. i am a senior here at eastern. my question is a what is your personal opinion on the war with iraq? who lewis: as a person believes in the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence, i happen to believe that war is obsolete. it is my feeling that humankind, not just in america all around this world, all around this little planet, this little real estate we call earth must come to the point where we lay down the tools and instruments of violence and war and a steady war nomore -- and study more.
it is my hope you help people around the world where we evolve to the point where we won't even think about going to war. war creates more problems than it solves. only for the effort in iraq, but we will spend millions and billions of dollars to rebuild iraq. we will rebuild the schools, provide health care for everybody, rebuild the towns and cities. many of those dollars in resources can be used right here help rebuild america. i supported the troops after the war started but i was not a supporter of the war. >> good morning. my name is chanelle and i am a senior here. congressman lewis, i am sure
throughout your life you have many goals planned for yourself. are there any that you have yet to accomplish and if so how do you plan to a compass them daca -- how do you plan to accomplish them? had a goal to do what i could to help end segregation and racial discrimination, especially in the american south and we have made tremendous progress. i know sometimes young people say "nothing has changed," and i feel like saying "come and walk in my shoes." i did not get into tri-state. i continued to study in nashville but then i got elected -- but when i got elected to
universityri-state state university -- last graduation and they gave me an honorary doctorate. the dutch i got it the easy way. my goal -- i got it the easy way. i goal is to do what i can to make our world a world of peace. to do what i can to help build the beloved community here and around the world, a community at peace with itself. spent a lot of time traveling around the world speaking about love, nonviolence. i am aame is rhonda and junior at eastern senior high school. i know you say that you are
supposed to keep going with what you're doing but was there any time when you are a civil rights later that your fear made you stop or hesitate -- were a civil rights leader that your fear made you stop or hesitate? rep. lewis: never ever did i consider throwing in the towel or saying again quote maybe this is too dangerous. -- "maybe this is too dangerous." when we marched from selma to montgomery and we were facing the soldiers, when we were told that we had three minutes to dispersed -- disperse and go back to our church, in less than saidute and a half, he "troopers, advance." they trembled us with horses and released tear gas. i had a concussion at the
bridge, but i did not give up. i was hospitalized for three days. two weeks later, we started the march all over again. i got up and i walked all the way. i remember on that march someplace between selma and montgomery, it rained. the heavens just opened up. on luther king junior was walking bus -- martin luther king jr. was walking beside me. he was wearing a cap. he took it off his head and put it on mine and said "john, you have been hurt, you need to protect your head." it was a sense of family. it was old and young, black and white, protestant and catholic jewish all their together. you could not give up, you could all-- catholic, jewish,
there together. you could not give up. a i just want to know as congressman with such a busy schedule, you have taken the time out to talk to young students like ourselves about spreading the message of love and nonviolence. what has been some of the comments or what do your colleagues think about you taking the time? rep. lewis: i think the great majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, they appreciate it. they encourage me to continue and they ask me time to time "why aren't you better? why aren't you -- why aren't you better -- why aren't you you had a concussion at the bridge in selma. and i said to them, i don't have any time to become bitter or
hostile. we've been trying to keep our eyes on the prize. and many of my colleagues invite me to come to their own districts and speak to students and young people and also to people not so young. i think it's part of my mission, part of my obligation and responsibility is to tell the story and let people know that another generation of young people stood up and try to make our country a better place. >> good morning again. my name is danielle crete, and i'm a senior. and i want to know, what are some of your responsibilities serving as the deputy minority whip and also being a senior minority member of the house of representatives? >> thank you very much for the question. as a member of congress, i sit on the ways and means committee in the house and on the budget
committee and on the weigh ways and means committee i sit on the committee of health so i want people to get the best possible healthcare. that's one of my interests. and i tie environment to justice as a health issue. as a whip and part of the whip organization, we try to be aware and be in front of what is coming to the floor of the house and try to get our colleagues to vote the right way. and sometimes it's just what it implies, you have to whip them into line. we don't use the whip, but sometimes you go and have what i call an executive session with them, or you have to just say, now, listen, we need you to vote this way. we need to stick together. and we need to -- this is a good deal. we need your help. we need your support. and you just stay with them.
you try to help educate and sensitize your colleagues and fellow members to vote a particular way. >> good morning, congressman lewis. my name is tiffany shaw. i'm a junior here at eastern senior high school. i believe that education is the key to success for an individual. what has the democratic party done as a whole to ensure that inner city youth receives a brighter education and a safe and proper environment? >> that's a very good question. the democratic party as a party and the leaders of our party are committed to seeing that that all of our children, all of our young people get the best possible education. that's why i've taken a position, and some of my colleagues have taken a position, that we don't need to spend more money on bombs and missiles and guns. we have enough bombs, enough missiles, and guns. let's spend the money on helping our children.
all of our young people, not just to compete with other young people in washington or detroit or new york or atlanta but to compete with other young people around the world. that's what we must do. and that's why many of us are arguing that we got to spend more money, more resources to make real this idea of the president dealing with education, no child left behind. it's one thing to have words, but we got to -- you got to spend some money. resources. and not only on just getting material, but we got to pay our teachers. i said in the past, and i said again today that the two most underpaid people, group of people in our society, i think, i said in back home in my
district and i said around the country and i said on the house floor, schoolteachers and law enforcement people. i had had a son who went through the public schools. i don't know how the teachers do it. day in and day out. i would visit the public school. i would visit a lot of schools. and sometimes i said every teacher should be nominated for the nobel peace prize just for maintaining order. now, you're a very orderly group here. so i know you don't have problems at eastern high school. but in some of our schools, there are problems. >> good morning again, congressman. i'm a junior here at eastern. my question for you this morning is education is very important. due to the economic failures of the states in the united states, how is congress preparing to raise money for teachers and to better education? >> well, you're making a good point. that's one of the reasons many of us are opposed to a tax cut. you're right. you're well informed.
the states are suffering. in many states, they're ending the school session earlier. they're doing away with art and p.e. because they cannot afford the pay. they don't have the resources. they're laying off teachers. that's not right. that's not fair. so the money that we're using for a tax cut should be used to give it to the states, make it possible for the teachers and young people to get the necessary resources to get an adequate education. that's what some of us have been standing up, but we're in the minority, so we have to continue to fight to change things. >> good morning.
my name is deron willis. i'm a senior at eastern senior high school. my question to you, what do you think of the future of the house of representatives since the last election since the power shifted in favor of the grand old party? >> we have our work cut out, and we have to continue to make a case to the american people that we should change. and we're going to do what we can. we're going to work hard. we're going to encourage everybody to get registered and go out and participate in the electoral process. have to say to young people, when you become 18, you should register. when there is an election, you should go out an vote. people died for the right to vote. too many of us, too many americans, especially young people, still stay at home and fail to get involved in the political process.
>> i'm a senior in the law and legal services academy. since i know you are a congressman of georgia, i plan to attend atlanta university in the fall. what advice could you give me about your home state? >> my home state -- i have been living in atlanta in georgia -- earlier i told you i grew up in alabama. but i have been living in atlanta for 40 years this june, next month will be 40 years. and the city has changed. the city is still growing. there's hundreds of thousands of people moving to georgia. it's a wonderful city. the state is a wonderful state. we made a lot of progress. when i first moved there, there
was still a sign that said white and colord, but those signs are gone. we have in the city of atlanta a wonderful young mayor, a young woman, who is a graduate of harvard university. there's a sense of -- that this is a good city and we're going to make it. the university you are going to go to is a great school. as a matter of fact, my wife work there had for several years. i have an honorary degree y from clark also. if i can be of any help, you let me know. there's a lot of history there about the old south and the new south, so it would be a great place to study. several other school there is. in the clark atlanta university center, there are several schools like spelman and morehouse and nearby is georgia tech and emery and georgia state. and there's several other colleges and universities.
those are great places to study. >> good morning, congressman. i name is themthy wilson. -- my name is timothy wilson. i'm a senior at eastern. recently some of the city leaders have come out in support of vouchers. what are your views on that? >> well, i was very disappointed to see some of the city leaders in washington, council members and others -- i don't want to get involved in local politics. but i'm not a supporter of vouchers. i happen to believe in public education. there are not enough private schools to accept all of the public school students. the great majority, more than 90% of all students in america, attend public schools. i don't want to see the resource. i don't want to see the money drained from public education and shifted to private schools.
i think public education has been good for america. and been good for hundreds and thousands and millions of young people. and i think there should be stronger support for public education. i'm not a supporter of vouchers. but not all of the elected officials in the district are supporting the vouchers. i know there's some that are standing up and standing out. but i don't want to get involved in district politics. >> good morning, congressman. i'm a senior here at eastern. i don't have a question. i have more of a comment. being a senior in high school, we go through a lot of trials and tribulations. there's been some time during the school year i feel like giving up and not continuing, but after hearing you this morning, you have inspired me to continue and keep going. and i also have an invitation. when we graduate june 10, 2003, at 10:00 at constitutional hall,
and we're looking for a speaker. i would like to know if at all possible, would you like to speak at our graduation? if not so, would you like to come and watch us graduate. >> i would love to come. it's june 10? [applause] i would love to come. i would love to come. i appreciate your comments. we must never give up. and i know times come and it's hard and it's difficult. i used to ask my mother and my father, why? why segregation? why racial discrimination? why do we have to work so hard in the field and all of that? and my mother would say from time to time "that's the way it is, but don't give up. don't give up." and i had teachers that said
"don't give up." so don't give up. you must never, ever give up. you have to hang in there. you have to push and pull sometimes. another generation of young people. i was staying to some of my colleagues yesterday talking about birmingham and selma and what happened 40 years ago when hundreds of thousands of students were caught up in the civil rights movement in the city of birmingham and two years later in selma. it was almost like a children crusade. they sort of got in the way. sometimes you have to sort of get in the way. and when you get in the way, you stay focused, but don't give up. i said to you as young people and as students, hang in there. you can be what you want to be. if you want to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, scientist, a politician, a reporter, a journalist, hang in there. keep the faith. keep your eyes on the prize.
and hold onto your dreams. and just think, when i was involved in the civil rights movement, we didn't have a website. we never heard of the internet. we didn't have a fax machine. we didn't have a cellular telephone. but we had were ideas. we had faith in god. we believed in the constitution, the bill of rights, and we did what we could to make our country a better place, and our country is a better place today. and you will help make it much better as leaders of the 21st century. thank you very much. [applause] >> good morning, congressman lewis. i will be the last speaker today.
my question for you today is, as a student who wants to become a law enforcement official, do you have any plans to encourage the government to raise the salaries of our law enforcement officials? >> well, that's a very good question. when i served on the city council in atlanta from 1981 to 1986, before i ran for congress, i served on the public safety so i got to know all of the local police officials. got to know so many of the police officers by name, first name, and since i have been here in washington on capitol hill for almost 17 years, i know most of the police officers on capitol hill. most of the people, the young men and young women that were in law enforcement work very, very
hard. they put their lives on the line every single day. if i can have anything to do with it, i want to do what i can to increase the compensation, the salary of law enforcement people. not just federal, but also on the local level. we must do it. i think we have an obligation to do it really. so maybe i'll be around to help when you become a law enforcement person. [applause] >> congressman lewis, since you are a man of all seasons, we first would like to present to you this t-shirt, this sweatshirt, of the eastern senior high school sweatshirt, so we would like to give this to you.
>> thank you. >> and i would also like to present to you this t-shirt from the distinguished class of 2003. you are the first -- >> thank you. wonderful thank you. >> you are the first to receive this t-shirt. now you're part of us, the class of 2003. >> thank you very much. since i'm the first, i should see if it fit. put it on. it matches. >> congressman, on behalf of the superintendent of schools, miss vera white, associate superintendent of high schools and transformation who is
present, dr. will hoyte, assistant superintendent of high schools who is also present, miss fay dickson, the coordinator of the law and legal academy, and also mr. smith is also present, student, faculty, administration, and friend, thank you for a warm and powerful presentation. your experiences and importance of never giving up will never be forgotten. thank you very much. >> thank you. [applause] [indistinct conversations]
>> today, the president ordered flags to be lowered to half staff at the white house, all public buildings and grounds and on military bases across the country and around the world in honor of congressman john lewis. here is reaction from former u.s. presidents from barack obama -- i first met john when i was in law school and i told him then that he was one of my heroes. years later when i was elected a u.s. senator i told him that i stood on his shoulders. , in i was elected president hugged him on the inauguration stand before i was sworn in and told him that i was only there because of the sacrifices he made. and through all of those years, he never stop providing wisdom and encouragement to me and michelle and our family. we will miss him dearly.
george w. bush released a statement saying -- laura and i join our fellow americans in mourning the loss of john lewis. as a young man marching for inequality, john answered brutal violence with courageous oh and throughout his career as a civil rights leader and public servant come he worked to make our country a more perfect union. america can best honor john's memory i continuing his journey towards liberty and justice for all. this from bill clinton -- he was always walking with the wind spirit by a moral compass that told him when do make good trouble and went to deal troubled waters. always true to his word, his faith and his principal, john lewis became the conscience of the nation. hillary and i loved john and we were blessed by his friendship, support, and wise counsel. much.l miss him so
and from the carter center in georgia, former president jimmy carter released this statement -- rosslyn and i are saddened by the death of congressman john lewis. onmade an indelible mark history. he never shied away from what he called good trouble to lead our nation on the path towards human and civil rights. watch our live daily unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house -- >> our countries are linked to by trade and travel. >> on issues that are important to you. lives mission is to save and meet the needs of our states. >> along with briefings on the coronavirus pandemic. and supreme court decisions and the latest from campaign 2020. be a part of the conversation every day with our live call-in
program washington journal. and if you missed any of our live coverage, watch anytime on-demand at c-span.org or listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. >> next, florida governor ron desantis gives a briefing from flagler hospital in st. augustine on the state's coronavirus pandemic. he is joined by representatives from the hospital. they discussed the importance of seeking medical treatment for non- covid related issues. difficulties, a portion of this briefing was not able to be shown. >> we continue to see approximately 30 patients daily requiring hospitalizations. this means we have adequate resources to serve our community effectively at this time. we are experiencing a