tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg August 23, 2016 7:00pm-8:01pm EDT
the new organization plans to open the largest memorial honoring the thousands of victims of lynching in the united states. .he project includes a museum both will be located in montgomery, alabama. i am pleased to have him back at the stable welcome. aen he went to montgomery as , did you see this career happening? i didn't see everything that would come. in a poor community where i saw the anguish and suffering. i knew the way people internalized that hurt. i saw people humiliated and so when i got to montgomery, the
desire to see things change was very real. realize thinks would develop as they did. i went as time when you could still have a conversation with rosa parks. hope all that we can get to the point where we can talk about these issues in a broader context. do and a lot of work to we have had some setbacks that i now realize that we have to talk about these issues more broadly. charlie: did you want to have a big life? brian: no, i just wanted to make a difference. well it is. i've been happiest when i can go to the prisons and spend time with clients. to stand up and make the kind of arguments that need to be made .n point to the humanity
expectt just -- did not to be here. are we developing a consensus on criminal justice? brian: there is a consensus that we have too many people in jails and prisons. charlie: coming from both sides. brian: that is exactly right. putting people in prison for life for simple possession of marijuana or running a bad check is inefficient use of government resources. it is excessive and unnecessary. we are not abandoning public safety. we have hundreds of thousands of people who are not a threat to public safety. from $6 billion in 1982 $80 billion last year. helping in the public safety space, we are undermining funding for education.
in so many areas of lightor we are a shining but not in criminal justice. not in: not --brian: criminal justice. distracted by the politics of fear and anger. we have allowed ourselves to buy into narratives of fear and anger. you will tolerate abuse and unfairness and inequality. in the 1970's, political candidates started saying let's be tough on crime. no one said we shouldn't be tough on crime. political culture where both democrats and republicans were trying to show their toughness. it was law and order and tough on crime. ability.ted our
we did not do that for out the loathsome. -- alcoholism. in the drug contents he said those people are criminals. we have sent hundreds of thousands of people to present. that phenomenon is related to the history of racial inequality. if we had done better in recognizing the problems of the genocide when native people were slaughtered. if we had developed a consciousness of if we had made with this horrific people,nce for native
we would have thought differently. we didn't. we inflate people for centuries and while we ultimately recognized that slavery was people, we would have thought differently. wrong, we do not account for all the damage we have done. we did not try to repair all the damage that was done by enslaving human beings. we made them property and not human. brian: then we abandoned any recovery. that has led to this era of terrorism and lynching and trauma. we have not been very good. he keeps manifesting. charlie: priests adjusting what happened in south africa -- are you suggesting what happened in south africa? one can argue that we committed ourselves to treat
telling. we did the opposite. we do not hold the people accountable for slavery responsible. we do not insist on recovery and repair for emancipated people. we abandoned those who were enslaved. let me ask, what about thomas jefferson? should he be taken out of american history because he owned slaves? there are obviously weres that people did that respected and honored. thate should also say there is a cloud over the founding of this country that we could not see the inhumanity.
that does not mean we are. it does mean that we have to own up to that. we have to say slavery was horrific. how do we free ourselves? is ignore it and pretend it wasn't that bad. what is the definition of pretending it doesn't exist? brian: it is evident when michelle obama talks about slaves building the white house and everyone says that is outrageous and crazy. saying slaves had a good, they were well fed. pretending it doesn't exist is what you see when you come to the american south. think many people appreciate the hardships of slavery as they should be. we have not detail the hardships and the struggles.
we have to begin telling the story. that was the first time in the movie 12 years of slave on honest accounting of slavery. fact that the the south is littered with the iconography of the confederacy. we have romanticized this. period that suggests that we don't really appreciate it. it would be unconscionable for someone to say let's make osama bin laden's birthday slavery. we are suggests -- celebrating its architects of slavery. charlie: tell me about the museum and what it can begin to do. an 11,000will be
square foot area. -- situatedion under hundred meters from the alabama river. it will introduce people to the hardships. there will be slave warehouses and you will see the voices of inflate people. we are going to get slave narratives. you going to talk about african people being kidnapped. we will have virtual reality films that will put you right there on the train where enslaved people were being forced to the lower south without anxiety. we will move from that slavery experience to the era of terrorism. we will try to get people to understand.
not mob justice. .hey took place for were not lynched crimes. because she chided those children, they came to her home and lynched her. the pastor said the lynching back to place was wrong. people in mississippi were lynched because they bumped into white people at the trains station. that meant for black families when your son came home and said i might have will -- laughed inappropriately. you had to have a conflict whether or not to send your child to the north.
we send people out of the american south with this fear and trauma. now they sit in urban communities. for me, you have to understand this consul that has the most comprehensive data on lynching. we're going to talk about the arrow of segregation in an entirely different way. we are as interested in the celebrity stories of what people of color did. signst people to see the that were put throughout the south that restricted work black people can go. they statues.w it would be convenient if that is where they all lived. we had members of the
legislature creating these documents and these doctrines to burden people of color. until you understand the intensity of resistance to immigration, you cannot understand why we're dealing with racial bias in this country. you would be foolish to think that the civil rights act or voting rights act was efficient at ending this history of inequality. charlie: you said i'm persuaded that we will eliminate the problems of injustice in the system until we change the narrative of racial difference that we of all accepted. bryan: i think that is right. we are all affected by this narrative. charlie: what is the most important thing we have done in a positive way to change the narrative? that we can look at that as a start. made progress on
issues like domestic violence. 50 years ago, it domestic violence was seen as a joke. men would joke about hitting their wives on the show called the honeymooners. and then that narrative begin to shift and we still have a long way to go. now you see sports leagues are taking action because it is becoming un-accessible -- unacceptable. that is a shift in the narrative. thoughts a time when we consuming fossil fuels is the only way to use energy. now we talk about green energy and doing things that are going to protect us.
we have not done that in the racial justice . if jackie robinson plays baseball, that will be ok. those shortcuts don't work. charlie: has this president that everything that he can? bryan: i don't think he started his term trying to be a black president. he wanted to be the opposite. as he has persisted, he has recognized that he is being perceived as a black president. that arene some things really positive. presidentsthink all should be doing more. our governorse being active on
this. this is not something one person caps off. we are starting with the museum and memorial that in the hopes of what people can do together. that is the memorial. charlie: why montgomery, alabama? bryan: it was the cradle of the confederacy. it was a place where terror was widespread. i think montgomery is a perfect place for this. if anything, you got to tell these spaces. we got to do it in places where there is going to be some assistance. charlie: was there any resistance in montgomery? bryan: we are the early days of this. i'm sure there will be. those columns are all representative of thousands of people who were lynched.
the names of lynching victims will be in grade on each column. the collins will rise. jars of soil collected from lynching sites. we have invited people to go to lynching sites where they collect soil and put it in a jar. it has the name of the victim and the date of the lynching and they reflect on that. it has been really empowering to see community members responding. they get closer to this legacy. we're going to duplicate each of the columns inside the memorial. outside ofing to be the memorial. tore going to ask people
come and claim their memorial. we think that while this national memorial will fit it exists all over the country and i think it will be important for people to own up to this history and i hope that teachers and leaders will go claim the monument for the victims in our county. givesind of activism everyone an opportunity to participate in this. one of the things i am hoping that will happen is we put up these markers. i want those sheriffs and police chiefs to say i'm sorry. i'm sorry they did not do that.
have a real conversation about slavery and where we are? bryan: i do yes. i think it needs to happen. two years ago when i was in montgomery, we had 59 markers in downtown montgomery. we put up these markers on the slave trade. there was tremendous resistance to that. it was by the alabama star commission. i see white families coming into and young kids stop at that sign. tryingl see the parents to move them along. it is probably the first time the family has talked about family ever -- slavery every. check this resistance
and denial culture, then we can gain knowledge. it is about liberation and getting to the point that we are not so compromised and restraint. we bump into each other a lot in this country. that is going to continue until to do.the things we need it is not touchy-feely, it is just honest recovery. it is how you heal. you see it and rwanda. that society is recovering. you see it there. i'm asking this question because they want to know the answer. bryan: we said we're not going to talk about it. we're going to really be in
trouble if we let these people show us. constructed an illegal world that enforced the narrative of white supremacy. people in the north tolerated that. decisions a conscious to not talk about these things. president woodrow wilson heralded it. period congress that they were not going to talk about it. people said we're not going to deal with that and that has been our history. that is part of the story. we have not asked questions about the culpability. charlie: incarceration. joe sullivan said you were like a father to him.
i feel that i represent a lot of people who have made some terrible mistakes that they are incredible human beings. they have so much to give yet that we have condemned them. especially young kids. he was 13 when he was wrongfully convicted and given a life without parole sentence. a lot of those young people are desperate for something human to hang onto. to know thatents they have value and their lives in something. just because you have lied, you
are not only a liar. just because you have killed, you are not only a killer. charlie: did you have any sense of how your life with full employee might be doing question --? because i have no choice, i do what i do because i am broken too. when you get close to suffering and you spend a lot of near abuse and incarceration, it will break you. charlie: has a broken you? bryan: yes, it has. my grandmother was the daughter of people who were enslaved.
think why are we talking about slavery. i started my education at a colored school. i went to high school, i went to college. when i went to harvard law school, i do not want people to know that i started in a colored school. it's not that i was ashamed, i thought it would diminish me. work and doing this saw the constraints and resistance and then i realized part of the solution is to own up to that history and i want everyone to know. started to know that i by education there. when you hear something of value and no it is rooted in it that do something. the broken in our society have a lot to teach us on the waiting and how justice
works. acknowledging that in myself is honoring that struggle. legacys power in this that has nurtured me despite lynching and segregation. can overcome mass incarceration. we will know it when we don't think that there is a presumption of danger and guilt that applies to black and brown people. when we are not as preoccupied with the race of offenders. changedknow it when we the landscape and what makes it etc. -- acceptable to talk about these histories. when we talk forthrightly about rings that are difficult.
charlie: for all that you have done for so many people, i have this feeling that they have done an equal amount for you. bryan: rings that are difficult. charlie: absolutely. andel very privileged deeply moved getting to stand up for people and speak to people. i was told one day that sometimes you have to stand when other people faced in down. -- say sit down. when you know who you are standing for, it does not feel like a burden. i feel very honored to represent people whose humanity i think has denied. charlie: thank you for coming. stevenson, i did a piece for 60 minutes with him and he
will see part of that. great given one of the hasconference talks which been seen by millions and millions of people. his book is called just mercy. of ryan andprofile he raises important questions for all of us that need to be beed on and need to addressed and heard loud and clear. him aonored to call friend. back in a moment. stay with us. ♪
charlie: michael kenneth williams is here. he is best known for his portrayal in the wire. him behindrole finds bars as friday. he has taken a turn as an investigative journalist and vice's new documentary series. here is a look at black market. >> for me to be alive is a blessing. world a is to show the
window to understanding why people do the things they do and where that desperation comes from. charlie: i am pleased to have michael williams. michael: thank you. charlie: how did you get started? as a dancer? a backupyes, i was dancer in new york city. there comes a day in the early 90's when the right music video and the right artist can make you a star. what did tupac have to do with your success? of mel: he saw a picture thate production office was being used to house his new and he randomly saw a
polaroid of me and said, who is this guy? brother,play my little go find him. they found me and i got the part. that was my introduction to the world of acting. charlie: did you take to it immediately? michael: absolutely. i took to the arts immediately. i was not a gangster. stuff and i stupid just wanted to be accepted. troublee into a lot of wanting to fit in. i did a lot of things that i wasn't proud of so when that
lightbulb went off in my head and that i could do something artistic and get paid on it. i gravitated to that. it wasn't about the money at i knew that it held my attention. and i in joy of the process. it got me to the point where that is what fueled everything in my success. charlie: can we use your example to influence other kids? to get them connected to the arts. for me, that is my ultimate goal which is the main reason why i started my getuction company once i
more leverage to give me more power to create opportunities for people that wouldn't necessarily get that. so i like being able to find talent where you normally wouldn't find it and this is primarily in the head. charlie: someone cut you and left a scar? someone else offered to kill the person? you said no. why? i said no because that is not how i was raised. prepared to live with the decision of having someone's blood on my hands.
it felt easier to me. dealing with this all my own. that and thatt was not me. it was for the wrong reasons at first. wasn't andhing i that was how i got this scar on my face. i got drunk and was pretending to be something i wasn't and got my but kicked. that was a turning point in my life. charlie: how did you make up a turning point? by staying true to myself and not retaliating or wanting to have someone dealt
with like that. me knows that.s you already know it to my life to a whole another level. charlie: how important was playing omar in the wire? michael: it is a much beloved television series. i needed that character. i used to the addition as my last shot. i was prepared to walk away from the business and i was in a transition. i had completely left the dance world.
the phone went quiet for about a year. i was posed to work for my mother in the daycare that she had told in the projects which we still lived in. i was grateful to have that. by march of 2002, i was on the wire. charlie: and it changed your life? michael: yeah. charlie: there's a bit of the characters you play? michael: yes i think so.
i've been blessed with the opportunity to find healing points in myself. characters that i get the chance to play our how to take a looks at. things that are to come. and it has gotten stronger as these characters have gone down. touching parts of my personal life that i cannot do anymore. i'm listening to someone who views themselves as
unfinished that is constantly growing and listening. what it's all about and what is next and how do i learn from every experience. in your case, every character. for a grown man to be just figuring this out. charlie: you are in a better place than most people. michael: better late than never. [laughter] soon as you stop figuring it out, it seems to me you are missing out. i might as well die. [laughter] michael: i'm not ready to die. charlie: me either. tell me about boardwalk empire. michael: i call it about -- the dream job.
was it real? that was a fantasy, man. everything about that was a dream come true. for variousriving auditions and i was hearing and turn it into a studio. if i met de niro, i would call it holley said. ollyhood. you can stay right here living in the projects. incident going down flappers avenue, i would go over to washington and cut around to
brooklyn bridge from the back. i saw myself working as an actor on a television show at the brooklyn navy yard. see, iy thing i couldn't was still living in the projects and i had my route. there and i get to play him. this is something different. this is something other. you don't know what it's like to live in 1920. where did you get this from?
i took various pieces there. all of these men lived in the 1920's and he gave me this allrtunity to hang out with of my dead uncles and my dad. it was every scenario. ande were five faces of him that is how he was born. i got around them. i call that a boys club. charlie: that has been your acting club working with people like that. crew of people a getting together and hashing it
out and doing some good work. i love ensembles and boardwalk was bad. we shot that on 35mm. it is all on videotape now. charlie: what about black market? the black market was a step into kind of what i was alluding to. these jobs are starting to parallel my life. it is all coming to a head now. i'm here to tell someone's story. arts or giving someone a platform. i feel that position to tell someone's story.
i just want to be in place. this directionn and there are so many people living below the poverty line in this country around the world. it is not a white or black thing. it is not a drug thing, it is not a mental illness thing. you have so many people not surviving and trying to do whatever they can to get by. no one issurviving saying i'm go rob people and break the law. everyone is hurting. i came off -- the role of black market and had seen so much pain.
people are like how you get these people to talk and for a number of reasons. doing quality.or and peopleber one see me and they feel me. i try not to have any pretensions of my reason for being there. thirdly, i think these people are looking for a lifeline and hope. why else would you stop your drug habit to come on television and talk about your daily events? you want help. you are looking at this. that is a lot.
how about friday? michael: freddie is a charismatic dude. when i got that role i could not wait to play him. ist in the audition piece said help me with this piece. i said this to a friend of mine -- losay and i said angeles and i said. he said this is perfect. that is exactly what it is. the writing the first thing that was that they are beasts.
sure everything was seamless. you say wow. charlie: someone said about this that it has more to do with class than it does with race. take credit for what we said. i'm not saying thating racism does not exist but what i am saying is that growing up in brooklyn there were a lot of .thnicities and there were communities. and my makeup growing had a lot
of energies. one of the main things i saw was respect for one's coulter. even in my community, that was what most of them became. it was ignorant but it was cultural pride. i look at the situation with what is happening right now and what it is dealing with. the reason why i say it is a , i am notg is comparing anything. all i am saying is i see this community sticking together and the way they make sure the culture is how it happened.
fight and pull their money together. culturest in different and that culture was stripped out of my community so i say listen. if my community was going to pool together and get moreour money and polished tailfins -- politicians included we might get a response there is no reason why we have to leave our communities. someone put it on my twitter. maybe these people should go and get a job. ability toe has the
go up and find jobs. not everyone is built like that. why does everyone have to leave the community to go and get a good living. if you want to live in your live in your community that should be your right. let us put it back in our community. where we direct our dollars and making them responsible. the class thing is real. says. brother he told me something that made me stop and think. fighting first stuff you already have. stop asking for rights you already have. redirect the power.
you are not going to change people. what you can change is how it is is to restructure the power over here. pulling out and crying and saying we already have it. peopleted in a way that respond. redirecting our energy in a different direction. trying something new. localg to know though politicians and making the moral responsible. i know i'm going on a tangent rate -- race yes played a part in what is going that helso the fact doesn't know his rights. he doesn't know what canon
cannot be done to him. he had no one to call. we have to get more involved on what is going on our community. there has to be someone out there. charlie: what is going to happen is that you have to run for something and be a politician. not me. i just want to turn the cameras on. market myself in black and in the night of. these stories affect me personally. i've been blessed. dead so manybeen different times. spiritually or mentally or physically. but while i knows am here i might as well do the