tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 6, 2013 1:00am-2:01am PST
it had your fingerprints on it and your photo. and who you worked for and where you lived. and where you were allowed to go and when you were allowed to go there and for how long and for what purpose. and for how long what purpose. starting in 1950 with 2 p population reng strags act, everyone had to register with the government by race. a racial review board, essentially, would give you a look, decide what race they would say that you were and they would give you a racial id card so you would know which laws applied to you and what you were allowed to do. but as of 1952, every black personal in the country over the age of 16 had to have not just a rashlg id card like everyone else, but also this passbook which any white person could demand to see at any time. and if you were found to be in a place that was not just reserved for black people, if your passbook did not explain that you had explicit permission to
be there as a non-white person, then it was illegal for you to be there. and you could be arrested just for existing. just not having your passbook on your at all times was also grounds to be arrested and flown in jail. by virtue of being black in south africa, you were presumed to be a criminal unless proven otherwise with the proper paperwork. if you did not have the passbook, if you did not have the right written permission to be where you were when you were there, then you could be puts in jail. passbook laws have been around on and off in south africa since the 18th century. the structure was always the same. white people never needed them. non-white people needed, essentially, a permission slip. an internal passport. papers, please. passbook laws were not new.
but at the end of world war two, the election brought to power that had run on a platform that they kaule apartness. the word apartness was pronounced apartheid. so when the so-called national party came to power, they started codifying all the various ways that they could separate the population by race. in 1949, the prohibition of mixed marriages act which banned people of different races from getting married to each other. whether or not you got married, the immorality act made sexual relations between different races a criminal act. the population registration act received an official classification.
black, white, indian or colored. and then there were a million sub categories beneath those. white was just white, but, for everybody else, it could be a little complicated. in 1950, the group areas act which geographically partitioned with the country arong racial lines. that one formed the basis for the state relocating people. in 1953, the jeer before the u.s. supreme court declared that separate educational facilities are unequal, south africa codified it expris sit ri for their nation. separate everything. everything assigned to different
races. and the best of everything reserved for the white minority. people classified as colored. for a while, they had a right to vote specifically for white people to represent them. only the white minority had the vote in the ends. and only the white minority had any say. 80% of the country lived entirely segregated and without representation under white rule. 80% of the country. by 1960, the demonstrations had started to zero in on those pass books, the laws that made your mere existence criminal if you were challenged by a white person as to what you were doing there.
the best way to overthrow apartheid, just outside johannesburg somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people turned up and said they wanted to turn themselves in. thousands of people. they turned up and said that they all felt that they needed to be arrested, all 5,000 of them because they said they tid not have their passbooks. so they were turning themselves in for arrest. that act of protest was greeted belocal police with live ammunition. they shot into the crowd. in the end, the police massacre killed 69 people. at the time, nelson mandella was in his early 40s. the anc and the other major organizations opposing apartheid
has been nonviolent organizing. they decided maybe that wasn't enough and nelson mandella was one of the leaders who went underground to help start it. they would try to sabotage the state. they banned the amc. they made it illegal to be a member of that group. nelson mandella was arrested for treason in 1961. in 1962, he was convicted of traveling illegally. while he was already serving that sentence, while he was already in prison, they put him
on trial again, this time for sabotage. they convicted him and sentenced him to life on robin island. he began a new sentence that was a life sentence. and for the first 18 years of it, his cell had no bed, no plumbing of ne kind. he was permitted one visitor per year for 30 minutes. he became a symbol, worldwide, of the fight to stop apartheid. the south african government would not allow a picture of him to be taken in prison for decades. so the image was always him when he had been locked away. he served 27 years in prison.
when nelson mandella was released, he led the negotiations for the naacp and apartheid was dismantled. in the first-election ever held in that country where all adult citizens were welcomed to vote. millions of people were waiting in line to vote. president nelson mandella went to sharkville to sign the constitution. today, at the age of 95, nelson mandella died at home. he says it was his wish to be buried in the town where he was born. john lewis, democrat of georgia,
thank you for being with us here tonight on this historic day. >> thank you very much for having me. and thank you for that rich history. >> i have to ask, for your long career, especially as a young man in if south and the american civil rights movement, how did nelson mandella's work inform you? what's been the interplay between our civil rights movemented and his struggle? >> well, the leadership, the commitment, the dedication, the ings prags of this one man meant everything to the american civil rights movement. i remember as a young student in 1962, '63 and '64, we said if nelson mandella can do it, we can do it. we identify with the struggle.
when i met him for the first time, he said to me john lewis, i know all about you. i followed you. >> it was this unbelievable relationship between what was happening in america and what would happen in south africa. the struggle in birmingham is inseparable. trying to understand the importance of those decisions after sharkville, when they decided that nonviolence wasn't enough, they had committed to nonviolence in a way that you had been so committed tlot your life and they decided that they
needed that response, as well. how international were those discussions? >> here in america and around the world, there was on going discussion about the way of peace, the way of love. the way of nonviolence. mr. mandella and the people of south africa learned. he came out committed to the way of peace, to the way of love, to the way of nonviolence. to the way of reconciliation. in south africa, through his leadership, he liberated the spirit of the oppressed and the spirit of the oppressor. >> when you met him, when he was
released from prison, you described a little bit about what that was like. what did it feel like for you to meet him? was that an intimidating prospe prospect? it was both inspiring and intimidating. he gave me this unbelievable hug. i hugged him. i said thank you, mr. mandella. thank you. thank you for speaking up. thank you for being such a leader. i knew i was standing in the midst of greatness. so i was a little nervous about meeting him. and i had an opportunity to see him on several other occasions. and he just made me feel more human. >> congressman john lewis, you were the person i wanted to talk
to more than anybody else tonight. thank you so much for being here. i really appreciate you being here. >> thank you. we've got so much more ahead. please stay with us. lots to come. >> the police were hunting for him at the time, but african nationalists had arranged nor me to meet him. he's still under ground. this is mandella's first television interview. i asked him what it was that the african really wanted. >> do you see africans blg able to develop in this country?
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. you stee, i wasn't born into a political family. but when efs in college, there was one issue that moved me for the very first time in my life to become politically active. the herb shoe was apartheid. and, as a young college student, i became involved in if divested movement of the united states. i remember meeting with a group of anc leaders and hearing stories of their struggles and all of their leader, nelson mandella. >> that was a video birthday message. we've got much more ahead. please stay with us.
he's now at peace. our nation has lost its greater son. our people have lost a father. although we knew that this day would come, nothing can diminish our sense of a profound and enduring loss. >> african president announcing the death of nelson mandella in south africa. in late join, his condition went from serious to critical. his family gatt othered for several days to say good-bye.
home right now. what can you tell us just about the scene where you are and the reaction tonight? >> well, rachel, an extraordinary picture behind us. we have a crowd of hundreds of people. we haven't gone to sleep. on the whole rngs fairly young. these are people with those who have no memory of apartheid who were born after the birth of south africa. singing the national anthem which includes all 12 languages rngs the sort of celebration of the rain bow nation.
and they're going to keep going. it's not only the life of nelson mandella, but what he gave to all south africans. even the youngest ones are well aware of the life that they might have lived. had et not been for the sacrifice of nelson mandella. i suspect that's a great deal of what's being celebrated here. >> i wonder if it was when everybody was so worried that he was going to pass. if that sort of grieving
happened then, the recognition that he was going to pass and people have started to move onto his legacy rather than just his loss since then? >> i think that's a fair statement, rachel. it's been around four monthings. first seriously hill, then critically ill. then he was returned home from the hospital in september. but his family made it clear that we won't get too excited because his home here had been essentially kited out as an intensive care unit. so there's been a great deal of grieving in one sense already. he's been incredibly sick for
when president obama visited south africa, he brought his family to see the cell where nelson mandella had been imprisoned. because he had been so ill this year, president obama did not personally visit with him. in fact, this is interesting. the only time the two men apparently ever met in person was in 2005 in washington when mr. obama was just starting his career in the united states senate. the one visit started when mr. mandella's advisors told him while he was on a trip to washington. they too old him to take a time. and so senator obama got the
it is beyond any doubt that the organization came as a result of the pressures with the apartheid regime by yourselves. i want to tell you that this is the last city i am visiting in the course of my tour. let me a sure you that despite my 71 years, at the end of this visit, i feel like a young man.
thank you. >> i was there that day. in person. ifrs 17. in the oakland coliseum. it was nelson mandella's final stop in a tour of the united states that he took after being released from prison. he's in his 70s. he's not been free in decades. nelson mandella made a specific point of traveling to oakland, california. that he all had passed policies from divesting stock that did business in south africa.
they had refused to unload south african goods. all to try to pressure the apartheid government. so nelson mandella came all the way from oakland. and that decision about divestment was not an uncontroversial one. he and british prime minister margaret thatcher. the yiet and the united king dome both voted to stop.
there was enough public favor to pass the apartheid act. it banned all new investment, it blocked importing of most south african goods. the bill limits u.s. investment in south africa and bans u.s. import in south africa coal, steel and uranium products. both sides say that is unlikely. >> it was not sustained. it was overridden in the house and the senate.
it was the first override in a sentry. they credit those sanctions and the divestment movement around the world with bringing about the pressure and the isolation that was necessary to eventually humble the apartheid regime that eventually freed nelson mandella. the fight here, to do that, was nothing compared to the fight in south africa. joining us now, california former congressman and oakland mayor, congressman, nice to see you. thank you very much for being here. >> it is my honor to be here. >> a little known fact in history is that a group of
african american employ owes of the polaroid company that took pictures of black south africans were inspired by the organization of the congressional black caucus because they were concerned about trying to make a statement of divestment, and its cooperation from the apartheid effort. i met with them and i kept reswro deucing it for 15 yaers and fought every day for 15 year years until we finally got it passed by the house of representatives.
it was a small group to help begin that process. >> when the american side argued against you, when ronald reagan's side argued that they wanted engagement, that divestment would hurt the very people who you are trying to help, how did you rebut those arguments? >> people understood if the folks who were feeling the oppression were the ones arguing for disinvestment, and they were. activists were arguing.
so we said how can you, from the outside, make such a tragic argument? it was the moral imperative that eventually overcame these folks. how important did it wind upping with around world? >> a german journalist came several years later and said he had done a great deal of research. his research ind kated they had a conversation. what do you think i should do? her response passed on a voice vote two years ago. now the democratings joined d senate.
disinvestment will become the law of the land. his response was well, what should i do? her response was to free south africa. if this investment becomes the law of the united states with cooperation around the world, you will have no leverage. while his bill never became law, it hung over south africa. thank you very much for helping us understand this higs ri. thank you so much. >> dan rather is going to join us next. we have eel be right back. stay with us. i'm only in my 60's.
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>> this is nbc nightly news with tom brokaw rorting tonight in new york. >> good evening. nelson mandella was honored in a way usually reserved for presidentings, astronauts and hometown world series chavrps. president bush said he would stay on until certain additional steps were taken. but, for the most part, this was a way to celebrate nelson mandella. >> governor mario quomo calling him a spert of it all. mandella urged the yiegts to maintain its tough policy against south africa as blacks there struggle for equality.
>> the only way in which we can work together is for you to ensure extensions are applied. mandella and his wife stopped by a brooklyn high school. then, as no other city can, a ticker tape sprad up broadway. the key to the city from mayor david denkins. mandella then talked upon locking the shackles of apartheid. it braces if all of its forms. south africa shall be free.
this struggle continues. thank you. >> i'm one of the countless inspirations who drove from nelson mandella's life. the first thing i ever did was a proo test against apartheid. i would study his works and his writings. the day he was released from prison, gaifd me a sense of what human beings would do when they're guided by their hopes, and not their fears. like so many around the globe, i will learn what i can from him.
>> dan is now the anchor of the special series, the big interview on axs tv. >> great to be back with you rachel. >> i wanted to play that contemporary yous footage of him arriving in the united states. >> i apreernuate that. >> i feel like i'm setting you back up. >> i have to ask you, your overall reaction to his passing, to his having lived to 95 and what he came to mean to the world before he died. nelson mandella was historical
to the first decade because of his character and determination to change the balance of power, if you will, in terms of racial jugs tis. >> when you interviewed him after his release from prison in 1990, what do you remember about that personal encounter with him. he was not a world famous man when he went to prison. never broken. always expected to be able to take up the leadership mandle after all of that time. resilience is a word that will
always be associated with nelson mandella. i was struck by how calm his demeanor was. how often he spoke of forgiveness. if there was any sense of revenge or payback, it was not apparent. he was always first to say he was the absolute determination for reconciliation in his country and the sense of forgiveness. now, a few days later, i had a one-on-one on-camera television interview with him.
and he expanded it was going to take a lot to reconcile the country. >> you covered the election from his presidency after he was running against the man who released him from jail. was it obvious to you back then that nelson mandella was going to win that election? was the future of south africa clearly written? first of all the, it was not assured. i want to say the remarkable thing, what made him the larger-than-life hero was his vulnerableties, the fact that he had done things he wished he had not done.
the death of nelson mandella today. what we can best understand is probably this. the government's going to issue a formal note about the plans for his memorial service over the next 48 hours. then, it will be three days after that announcement when the me mor yal service is actually held. it's going to be held at the fmb soccer stadium. it's huge. it seats more than 90,000 people. it was the site of nelson
mandela's first speech after his release from prison. mr. mandela's body will lie in state. his body will lie there in state for three days of public viewing. and then his body will travel home. it is expected that jimmy carter, bush the elder, bush the younger will all travel to south africa to pay their respects, to the extent that their health allows it. the scale and burial is expected to match those of pope john paul and winston churchill and people of that magnitude. when dan rather said he should be considered the greatest leader of the second half of the 20th semplg century, that's how
viewed. as the details of the arrangements for the next few days emerge, we will bring them to you right here. that does it for us. thank you for being with us. . the world reacts to the loss of a global icon as news spreads of nelson mandela's death. >> we've lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with on this earth. he no longer belongs to us. he belongs to the ages. >> this morning we'll take you to south africa and look at the man who spent so much of his life behind bars, yet his words and actions continue to have a profound impact around the world. and in other news, much of