tv CNN Newsroom With Fredricka Whitfield CNN March 7, 2015 8:00am-12:01pm PST
excited. she gave us books for free. it was amazing. >> literacy is so important in education. i want kids to have a better life. i know reading can do that. >> awesome. if you know someone making a difference in your community we would love to know about them. nominations are open right now as cnnheros.com. >> 14 years old. don't let age stop you, whatever you want to do. hey we have to toss it over to fred who is in selma. hope you make great memories today. you will give us a lot to think about and good stuff. >> oh, christi and joe, it is going to be an xwroerds day here in selma. i am at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge and thousands have turned out and it's unclear how many people will come to commemorate 50 years since bloody sunday. on the minds of many people here of course reflection at the same time moving forward, and even trying to make sure
that there are protections in place to make sure all the hard work done by the so many lives sacrificed are also preserved. you're also going to hear from the president of the united states, who will be here in selma, 2:30 roughly, eastern time here from selma, right here at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. he will be bringing with him the first lady michele obama and the president is bringing his daughters, sasha and malia. and we expect that one of his messages will be to really challenge the generations of his daughters and other generations, that they will have their own marches and their own fights to fight and his message will be that the struggle the fight continues. also during our programming today, you're, of course, going to hear from the man who was just 25 years old who is the most recognizable image of bloody sunday john lewis, congressman john lewis, is here. my conversations with another civil rights foot soldier,
reverend andrew young. you're going to hear the extraordinary sentiment from the daughter of the man who was mayor at the time of bloody sunday the mayor joe smitherman. i had a sit down conversation with his daughter diane, mayor smitherman held office here for 36 years and is -- and she will defend his history so they're at an extraordinary emotional journey you will hear from so many throughout the afternoon. a lot of breaking news. my colleague suzanne malveaux in washington. take it from here. >> all right. great to see you. going to be an incredible afternoon. we also have other news here the daughter of slands russian opposition boris nemtsov says officials haven't shared any details about the arrests in his death. we're talking about ana nemtsov. everything about the two men taken into custody today comes from media reports, more than a week after attackers gunned nemtsov down just yards from the kremlin. cnn's matthew chance is live in
moscow and can you tell us more about the arrests? what do we know this morning? >> not great deal except that these arrests have been made. the head of the fsb, the main security service in russia appearing on state television all over the country to make the announcement. it gives an indication of how seriously the kremlin wants to be taken when it comes to getting to the bottom of this investigation. wants to be shown to be very serious indeed. the two men have been named. they're said to be from the north caucasus region of southern russia a long way from moscow and it's a restive area volatile. it doesn't necessarily mean that the killing of boris nemtsov, who was a prominent opposition politician in this country, is linkd directly with chechnya. it's a pretty lawless part of the country, higher guns that can be bought and paid for from chechnya and the north caucasuss in general. we're no closer yet to finding out who may have ordered the killing and what the motive may have been for the killing of one
of the most prominent, you know, one of the most prominent people who criticized the kremlin, who's in russia right now. this is a big question mark hanging over that. >> thank you. appreciate that report. officials are appealing for calm in madison, wisconsin, after protests erupted overnight following a deadly police shooting of an african-american teenager. now police say the teenager attacked an officer. reporter kristen with our affiliate wkow was on the scene after the shooting and spoke earlier to cnn's "new day." >> well immediately when we got down to the scene, there were upwards of 20 police cars on scene. we quickly started to hear that it was officer involved actually one of our state representatives, representative chris taylor was across the street at a gas station. she heard the shots fired. she was told to get down. she came over to me and told me that this was an officer-involved shooting.
we then began to see protesters gathering as word spread that this was a black 19-year-old that had been shot and killed by an officer. the police chief has told us that originally they got calls there was a person causing a disturbance in the street running in and out of traffic, acting unsafe. as officers were responding to the call the police chief tells us that the call was upgraded to a disturbance inside this apartment. when the officer arrived on scene, he says he heard a disturbance in the apartment, forced entry into the apartment. the police chief says that officer was knocked down sustained a blow to the head and that's when he pulled his weapon and did shoot the teenager. >> madison's mayor calls the shooting an enormous tragedy. under wisconsin law, officer involved shootings are investigated by the state, not local officials. senator robert menendez top democrat on the foreign relations committee is responding to revelations he is facing criminal corruption charges. the state department is alleging
menendez used his office to push for the business interest of a democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. overnight the new jersey senator denied any wrongdoing. >> let me be very clear. very clear. i have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. every action that i and my office have taken, for the last 23 years that i have been privileged to be in the united states congres, has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of new jersey and of this entire country. >> investigators are focusing on plane trips menendez took in 2010 as a guest of a donor in florida. and hillary clinton expected to speak in just a few hours at the clinton global initiative university conference in miami, what a lot of folks want to know if she's going to talk about the growing controversy
over a private e-mail account she used as secretary of state. the white house and state department there are getting hammered with questions about why clinton used that private account for government business instead of an official state department account. and potential 2016 republican presidential candidates are in iowa today for the agricultural summit. among them former florida governor jeb bush who spoke friday and while he focused on national security he also criticized president obama and potential 2016 democratic contender hillary clinton. >> we have new threats that didn't exist just a decade ago. cyber security the threats of terror defending the homeland and protecting while we protect civil liberties we need to continue to be engaged to make sure that no attack takes place in our own country. there's a lot of things that we need to restore. this president and, by the way, his former secretary of state, have let us down in this regard. >> the key caucus state of iowa
familiar ground, of course, for the bush family jeb's father george h.w. bush lost the iowa caucuses in 1988 but went on to win the general election. and still ahead, we're going to be talking about some live pictures historic day in the town of selma, alabama. thousands of people are gathering for the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. our own fredricka whitfield is live in selma, with complete coverage of president obama's remarks later today and she will join us right after this quick break. are you ready to feel the difference of truly hydrated skin? new neutrogena hydro boost water gel. discover our newest breakthrough and bask in the glow healthy skin hydration. see what everyone is raving about at neutrogena.com
♪ welcome back to historic downtown selma, where the crowds are swelling. the anticipation is very great today because later in the afternoon to help commemorate 50 years since bloody sunday the 44th and 43rd united states presidents president barack obama will be joined by ex-president former president george w. bush here at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge and, of course, everyone remembers these -- the very disturbing images that came from 1965 when 300 marchers crossed that bridge peaceful marchers crossed that bridge and were met by billy clubs and state troopers and police from selma, and, of course everyone remembers the, perhaps, the face of bloody sunday u.s. congressman john lewis. he will be part of the
ceremonies as well today. but this really is a day of reflection. at the same time it is a day of looking forward. there are people here great anticipation for the message from the president of the united states especially at a time when so many seem to believe and are convinced that racial tensions are just as high today as they may have been during the height of the civil rights movement. this year is also a year in which to commemorate the voting rights act which came just a matter of five or six months after bloody sunday. of course the march that took place from selma to montgomery the oscar-nominated movie "selma" despite being criticized for some factual inconsistencies, has helped renew interest perhaps raise awareness, about this page of american history, and this edmund pettus bridge frankly, when people see it they do think about those black and white images. but people come by the bus loads
here. it has also become a tourist attraction. people come here to see if they can feel anything of what the marchers may have felt in 1965. they walk across the bridge they drive across the bridge. and right now, we understand congressman john lewis is actuallies just a few blocks away from here at brown ame chapel where civil rights foot soldiers would meet before they would carry out the march that took place on edmund pettus bridge and we are looking forward to hearing from him later on today. brown is where lewis and other civil right foot soldiers would get together and talk about their plan what would happen if they would confront violence. here's a reflection of 1965. >> standing up there and the people started running.
♪ >> when the president of the united states, barack obama, along with the first lady michele and his daughters, sasha and malia, arrive here they will see a sea at the foot of his podium at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge here. what is his message going to be? i'm joined now by cnn political commentator van jones with me now. a lot of thought had to go into his speech. we understand that the president may speak as long as 40 minutes and it is a message that, of course with a team of speech writers he in large part is writing himself. >> he does that. >> what do you suppose he is most conscientious of at this very somber at the same time a reflective place. >> first of all, i mean if you don't get goose bumps here there's something wrong. if you can get through the day without going through a box of
tissues there's going wrong. the president knows this. he is speaking to the ages 50 years ago, one of the youngest guys john lewis, almost beaten to death, now one of the older guys here. you have a president of the united states who arguably would never have been elected except for what happened on the bridge behind him. things is his big case big opportunity to speak to voting rights. voting rights are under attack still. that bill that they got beaten up for has been gutted by the supreme court. there is a chance under his administration to fix the voting rights bill. he has to make that case and bring americans back to that moment when people were pushed off the bridge but americans were pushed off the fence and stood up for voting rights. got to do it again. he has to make that case. >> the president was here as a senator. >> yes. >> in 2007 i think many people remember that. he said at that time because they marched, i got the kind of education i got. that i got a law degree and a seat in the illinois senate and ultimately in the united states senate is because they marched, i stand before you here today.
that was 2007 as a senator. and now he returns to this place as the president of the united states i mean only in america. if you don't get goose bumps, i remember that speech and i remember the way people felt about him just as the senator. black people and white people in this country -- >> they were divided. many black people were divided. >> at that moment. but that was one of the speeches that brought the black community around to him. they had never heard him speak that way about civil rights speak from his heart in that way. that was a moment that brought the black community to him. he's got to bring the country to him on the question of voting rights. i was talking to william barber from the naacp. he sasds there are bills moving moving through that could be improved if the public knew how badly the voting rights bill has been damaged. everybody in america loves the fact that voting rights bill passed. they don't know the damage that the supreme court has done. he should use this not just to talk about history but the present need to protect the rights of all voters. >> one of the concerns we're hearing from people here in alabama and many southern
states many of the nine southern states that had that protection under that voting rights act, the concern has been expressed that there they're worried local governments have the discretion to change voting rules. >> that's very dangerous. >> whether it be the i.d. you have redistricting, and that's what people are talking about when they worry about the disintegration of the voting rights act. >> and some of the bills that are moving forward right now, would leave even alabama uncovered. some of the bills going through right now, just don't have the teeth, they just don't have the punch that the original voting rights bill did. we still have some people who would like to limit who votes. so this president, i think, he's here can you imagine his daughters, having read the history books, having seen that bridge in the history books, to be standing there with their father now the president of the united states. >> this is intentional for the president to bring his daughters for that reason. he will be we understand delivering a message about the next generation. >> so important.
>> they are the benefactors of what these civil rights soldiers have done. >> let me say something about the process as well. listen every politician has a speechwriter but when -- it's a big moment like this, he closes the door. it's him by himself. and he is going to be speaking from his heart. this is not going to be something scripted based on polls. this is coming from the soul of the president today. >> you will be with me throughout the day. >> yes. >> this is going to be a riveting day, just beginning to unfold. hundreds of people turning out. we know thousands. >> yeah. >> all right. also you mentioned that 25 yard line man now -- 25-year-old man, now congressman john lewis, what is he thinking about now? >> can you imagine to have been -- when you're on the ground being beaten you're not thinking about history or 50 years or a black president, you're thinking am i going to see my mother again. to come back 50 years later a global icon eyes of the world upon him and the president of the united states pointing to
you and saying but for you i wouldn't be here i cannot imagine what it would be like. what a country. what a story. >> really? >> you don't -- if you can't get through the day without the tissue boxes. >> it is an amazing story. we are going to hear directly from john lewis about that story, about that feeling, and the meaning of all this when we come right back. atheen ya jones had a lovely conversation with the congressman right after this. i bring the gift of the name your price tool to help you find a price that fits your budget. uh-oh. the name your price tool. she's not to be trusted. kill her. flo: it will save you money! the name your price tool isn't witchcraft! and i didn't turn your daughter into a rooster. she just looks like that. burn the witch! the name your price tool a dangerously progressive idea. the real question that needs to be asked is "what is it that we can do that is impactful?"
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president obama has been delayed in leaving for selma, alabama, for the 50th anniversary of the selma marches. our own erin mcpike has the latest. what do we know about this? >> >> there was a security concern about a vehicle on the 1600 block of constitution avenue. that is about four or five blocks south of the white house. because of that the white house wasn't on lockdown but did have security concerns. they kept the press inside the briefing room so they couldn't go out on to the south lawn for the departure of marine one and the first family could then not take marine one, instead motorcading in order to fly to selma. basically this is going to delay the first family by about a half hour so whether or not president obama can speak at 2:30, that remains to be seen. it could be he speaks a little bit later. these things happen with some frequency. they just have to change plans a little bit when they happen suzanne. >> all right. so no major concerns erin?
>> not really. again a secret service dog picked up a hit on this suspicious vehicle. it was four or five blocks away from the white house, but, you know there wasn't a concern directly at the white house and so the first family is now, again, on the way to selma. >> erin mcpike, good to hear everything is going well. appreciate that. we want to take it back to our own fredricka whitfield, the coverage of the 50th anniversary of the selma march. fred extraordinary group of people who gathered there today and really just an incredible occasion very emotional. >> it is. it's emotional. i've talked to so many people who also say, it is like a renewal for them. they come here every year but this year will be different. and they don't mind. they won't mind that president is going to be late. as long as he's here. they certainly feel they're a special meaning to his presence in downtown selma. so one of the most courageous
men in the civil rights movement that is what so many have recognized him as u.s. congressman john lewis, and' athena jones had the privilege of sitting down and reflecting to find out what is he thinking on a day like this 50 years after being so badly beaten on this bridge behind us. >> that's right. i had a chance to sit down with him, had a chance to walk over this bridge the edmund pettus bridge with congressman john lewis. he talked about the violence and brutality he not only witnessed but that he himself suffered on that day 50 years ago today. and he also talked to me about the legacy of that historic march. >> the bridge of selma is almost a holy place. it is a place where people gave a little blood. to redeem the soul of america. in this city people couldn't register to vote simply because of the color of their skin, so we had to change that.
>> reporter: john lewis was just 25 years old. >> i can never forget what it felt like to be on this bridge on bloody sunday. we came to the highest point down below. we saw a sea of blue. alabama state troopers. and behind the state troopers we saw men on horseback. we got within hearing distance of the state troopers. >> you're ordered to disperse go home or go to your church. >> the major said troopers advance. i thought over and over again, they're going to arrest us. they came towards us. beating us with night sticks. trampelling us with horses. i went down on my knees, my legs went out from under me. i thought i was going to die. >> reporter: he was carried back to the clutch where the march had begun and there he issued a challenge to president lyndon johnson. >> i stood up and said i don't
understand it how president johnson can send troops to vietnam, but cannot send troops to selma, alabama, to protect people who only desire to register to vote. >> reporter: after bloody sunday president johnson spoke before congress. >> it is wrong, deadly wrong, to deny any of your fellow americans the right to vote in this country. it's not just negros but really it's all of us. who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice, and we shall overcome. >> he was the first american presidents to use the theme song of the civil rights movement. i looked at dr. king tears came down his face. i started crying a little. i didn't like for anybody to see
me cry, but i cried. president johnson sent out the national guard, part of the united states military to protect us all the way from selma to montgomery. >> reporter: on august 6th president johnson signed the land mark voting rights act ensure all citizens could vote regardless of their color. the supreme court struck down a key provision of that law in 2013. efforts to fix it have stalled in congress. >> if we fail to fix it many of our fellow citizens will not be able to become participants in the democratic process. >> reporter: it's also why he returns to this bridge every year. >> the vote is as powerful it is the most powerful nonviolent tool we have in the democratic society. i don't want people to forget that people paid a price.
>> so it really was a moving conversation i was able to have with the congressman and moving retelling of the story and we'll hear from him again later today when he introduces the president. >> we look forward to that. then you asked him what i think everybody wants to know were you ever angry and what did he say? >> that's right. you look at this video and think i would be angry, weren't you angry? he said i wasn't angry. i had a sense of righteous indignation. that's what he said. >> wow. all right. thank you so much for bringing that sit down conversation with john lewis. >> thanks fred. >> of course there were lesser known civil rights activists who also were a part of history. coming up i'm going to introduce you to them including the smallest freedom fighter. >> now what do you little girls want and we said freedom in our own little childish voices. >> did you know what that meant? >> not at the time but it didn't take long. >> just because you're a young
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ask your doctor about invokana®. welcome back to our special live coverage from selma. this historic city has been transformed too a sea of people. there are so many folks who are turning out and the numbers continue to grow. we've already seen martin luther king, jr. arrive the reverend jesse jackson, we had the honor of talking with in a matter of moments and c.t. vivienne received the presidential medal of freedom last year. so here we are at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge and 1965 300 marchers crossed that bridge. among the most recognizable faces you know u.s. congressman john lewis who will be taking to the stage later on today with the president of the united
states as well as the former president george w. bush. but also on that bridge on bloody sunday was an 8-year-old who has come to be known as the smallest freedom fighter. she, along with others sat down with me and shared their memories. >> three witnesses to one powerful cataclysmic moment in american civil rights history. >> what happens when you walk into this church? >> reporter: cheyenne webb. >> this is where it all began with me as that little girl. >> reporter: who at age 8. >> we sat in the front row. always sat on the front row. >> reporter: dr. martin luther king, jr. himself named the smallest freedom fighter invited to attend voting rights march planning meetings at brown chapel. >> and he said now what do you little girls want? we said freedom, in our own little childish voices. >> did you know what that meant? >> not at the time but it didn't take long for me to know what that meant. >> back at that time you had the
water fountains. >> reporter: sam was living in a segregated selma. >> i don't have a reason to be depressed or dejected. i look at one of these walls. these walls represent a victory, you know. they represent a victory for the people. >> reporter: today, he nearly single handily protects both troubling and inspirational mementos that provide viv veds detail about bloody sunday like the sheriff's night stick, worn shoes from marchers and photographs. all at the selma voting rights museum. walker. >> just because you're a young person don't think you can't make a difference, okay. >> reporter: teaching the next generation how good they have it. >> one of the things they used to do to the people make you take a test before you could register called a literacy test. they had trick questions that no one could get the right answer to. guess how many jelly beans in the jar. >> for health reasons and a little parkinson's you weren't sure if you were going to make the trip but now that you're
here. >> i'm very glad i came. >> reporter: reverend miller who will never forget this street corner and witnessing the savagery of hate leading a mob of white segregationists to beat and kill his colleague reverend jim reid for what they said was his betrayal of the white race. >> you are standing about where the attack took place. they came from behind us. and we heard them coming because they said hey, you [ bleep ]. and we agreed just keep walking. one of them had a club. slammed it against james reid's head here. i dropped to the ground because we had been trained to do that went into a fetal position to protect myself. i got kicked in the head. clark had his glasses broken and pummeled a bit. neither of us were seriously hurt. it was jim who got the whole bit.
and all was over in about 30 seconds. >> reporter: each of them recalling march 7, 1965 their experiences independently unique yet the anguish similarly felt. >> the song, the melodyies of hope those spiritual songs, and then the freedom songs, that were being sung "ain't going to let nobody turn me around," "this little light of mine i'm going to let it shine," "we shall not be moved" that was clear. that will strike a cord with any child and being just in the midst of listening to dr. king's speeches, the words in which he uttered to the courageous people that were here to join in that struggle. >> this was 50 years ago. you're 58 now. you remember this like it was
yesterday. >> well this was not a movie,. what i witnessed and experienced every day during that time as that disobedient 8-year-old it was live and in living color. people were challenged with all types of hatred and racism inequality injustices violence tears, and even death of people, that i had the opportunity to witness as that child and then to see them die, for something that they really believed in it was devastating. >> and how did you keep going? how did you maintain that hope and that faith that this was
worth it? that you were going to get there with this group of people you just met. >> you couldn't be a part of such a movement at such a time and not have that fight in you. >> never give up never think it's hopeless because there can be victory at the end if you keep fighting. >> where do we go from here? >> on this 50th anniversary of bloody sunday at the edmund pettus bridge many of the hundreds who lived through this journey of securing voting rights for everyone willing to look back retrace footsteps to help better secure this never happens again. >> and protecting voter rights continues to be a great concern, especially after the 2013 u.s. supreme court decision allowing states a certain discretion before changing any voting rules. among those very concerned about that the reverend andrew young, who i'll be talking to the next hour.
you'll hear from him. and also very concerned about that very issue, the reverend jesse jackson, with me now. you arrived moments ago and you see the crowd swelling here and refindminds me letting people know this is not really a celebration, this great music going on but there is a lot of work to be done. >> call for protest. what was significant about the voting rights act was the protection against schemes and voter i.d. schemes in districts. when the supreme court removed section four they removed the protection like removing the troops in the last century. the result is now you have more votes and less power because of marginalization. second the issue of poverty. invited dr. king houses without running water and outdoor toilets, living in trailers and the like this must have been
lbj moment. legislation as well as the issue on poverty. >> what is the cause for selma, people come here as tourists they want to know more about the history of 1965 around it and beyond but then they come here and they will see that after they crossed the bridge there's a lot of blythe and delapedation unemployment is very low -- >> very high. >> exactly. very high. employment is very low. and you've got one in five children living in poverty here? >> million people in alabama in poverty, yet the governor rejects 8 to $10 billion in medicaid money, $100 million sent here for education, spent on prison development. misappropriation of funds. the voting act rights of '65 was different, because it had the protection from the federal government. the supreme court removed section 4 which left us with the car without the key.
you see state legislatures moving toward the ideology. there's a need to restore section for those politicians that come here must fight to restore section four. some who are coming here will not fight to restore section four. if you're for shelby march in shelby do not be here protesting for the version and, in fact, supporting the shelby version. poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. too many people in too much pain. >> that is the parallel for the civil rights movement. >> dr. king said have the right to vote and only recycling poverty and pain is a vote without substance. >> reverend jackson, thank you so much. appreciate it. >> thank you. >> all right. and we'll have much more from selma right after this.
murder. and tonight, hillary clinton speaking in coral gables florida, at a clinton global initiative conference. and it is possible she could address the growing controversy over a private e-mail account that she kept as secretary of state. clinton will take part in a pam panel mad moderated by larry willmore coast of "the nightly show." and nine potential candidates are in iowa today. it is jeb bush's first iowa appearance. he'll be joined by governor scott walker rick perry and chris christie as well as senators ted cruz and lindsey graham. and right after this we're going to go back to fredricka whitfield for more special coverage the selma marches, 50 years later.
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edmund petis bridge. the president of the united states taking the podium later this afternoon, air force one now in the air, along with the first family making their way here. the schedule has slipped because of the delay at the white house. but so far, everything is still on schedule. meantime still on schedule for so many people who have turned out here. i've talked to people who are on buses, from minnesota. i talked to folks who got on planes from arizona. and our ryan young is in the thick of it right now, and he is talking to a number of people who have come from all over the country representing all walks of life. ryan what are you finding? >> reporter: well we've been working our way through the crowd. i can tell you, we have talked to people as far away as cal who decided to drive this direction. if you look at the swell of people working their way around the security gates, they wanted to be here to have a part of history. in fact we met a family from florida who said they traveled all the way up here to make sure they were a part of history. and we were talking about this just the idea that you really
wanted to be here for your family because of what today meant. >> absolutely. you know when we look at history and see all the things that were done for our rights to be able to have opportunities in life we have and then the right to vote it was definitely significant for us to be here and not just for us but that we have our grandchild with us as well as our daughters. unfortunately, our sons couldn't be here with us. but, you know it's really about bringing family into the fold of understanding the importance of standing up for rights. >> perfect. and that's what everybody has been talking about, standing up for their rights. in fact she is a teacher and wanted to be sure she was here so she could tell her students about the experience. when you look around this crowd and see so many people talking together they're really talking about the shared experience of being here for this very important day. >> all right, ryan. in large part a lot of people are talking about reunions here too. some people making the pilgrimage every year but this is different with the 50th anniversary. thank you so much. we'll check back with you. meantime we'll have much more
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♪ >> i was standing up there, and the people started running. >> and aufts, racism unleashed its brutality upon us. >> 50 years ago today, a moment in the civil rights movement changed america. >> i'll never forget seeing hundreds of policemen with tear gas masks, and state troopers on horses and you could see dogs and policemen with billy clubs. >> we were really doing
something so that our children would have a better life. >> today, we celebrate those who sacrificed so much in selma. welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield in downtown historic selma, alabama. and this anniversary weekend really is about remembrance and renewal. i'm hearing it from so many people here who have traveled from so many different corners of the nation to be here. the president of the united states he will be here as well. although he ran a little late leaving the white house, he and the first family. we understand they have gotten on air force one out of washington out of andrews. they are in the air, and they are on their way to this region. this is what the presidents' day will look like. and this is what people are really looking forward to here as they descend on selma by the thousands. later on this afternoon, 2:30 eastern time and we're still not sure whether they're going to be able to stick to that schedule given that the
president was about an hour late leaving the white house. but the white house can make things happen whenever they want to. but so far, the schedule is the president of the united states will be speaking right here behind me at the foot of the edmund petis bridge at roughly 2:30 eastern time. and an hour after that we understand his speech will be 40 minutes long. an hour after that the family will walk across this bridge. and everyone feels a certain something when they go across that bridge whether they drive it or whether they walk it. the first family will be walking it. and then about 30 minutes after they get to the other side of the bridge they will be going to the first building they come to on the right. and that is the national voting rights museum. and we had the privilege of going through that museum last weekend, and talking with the historian there. and this is what the president and the first family are going to see. they're going to see photographs perhaps they have never seen before that were taken for the purpose of surveillance back in
1965 by the alabama department of public safety. now those images are on full display. they will also see a -- an en casement from the sheriff, jim clark, there. and the remarkable story about what is in that case it is a night stick, a photograph of jim clark on bloody sunday. you see him holding the night stick, and a cattle prod used on bloody sunday. but guess what? the historian there tells me that that cache of goods was not donated to the museum. they actually found it at an auction and paid only $150 for those items that are on centerpiece display there at the voting rights museum. it has been an emotional journey for the people who have come here, and it has been an emotional journey for all of the freedom fighters, including that of reverend andrew young. >> in selma, the edmund petis
bridge represents both a painful beginning and hopeful continueum continuum. andrew young wasn't among those who walked across this bridge and was beaten that sunday march 7th 1965 but he was on the other side helping to coordinate the hundreds of people who it turned out. today reverend andrew young is 82. and he says pushing for voting rights with this small alabama city as a backdrop helped move a nation both spiritually and politically after the 1964 civil rights act. >> even though lyndon johnson had been the master of the senate and the majority leader and had more ious than almost anybody in the history of the congress it was hard for him to go right back five months later, for another civil rights bill. but when we left the white house, and i asked dr. king well what do you think, i thought he was being flippant.
and he said i think we've got to figure out a way to get this president some power. and i laughed. and he said no. he said, we really have to -- we can't wait. for him, it was not a political problem. for him, it was a spiritual problem. he had gone through the valley of the shadow of death, and he felt it was inevitable that his days were numbered. and so he didn't have any time to waste. and so when we got back from that meeting, it wasn't a day or so before mrs. boynton came over and said that you've got to come and help us in selma. >> that lady was amelia boynton. now 103, living in tuskegee alabama, in a rare conversation with cnn.com, she remembers too. >> i got to the foot of the bridge. there were men on horses.
there were police. i was standing up there, and the people started running. he hit me across the -- across my head. and when he did, i fell to the ground. >> witnesses claim the sheriff said "leave her, quote, for the buzzards to eat." >> who were you in 1965? describe that young man that we see in these pictures and what was it that you envisioned for the future? how did you know that your efforts would promote change? >> i think we didn't know. and i often said if i had sat on the road to dr. king you know martin i'm going to be the mayor of atlanta or
ambassador of the united nations. i want to go to congress. he would have said "boy, you're sick." you know. sit down have a cool drink of water. we were really doing something so that our children would have a better life. and we never thought -- i'm sure john lewis never thought he would be in congress. in fact we all probably thought, we would not live. in fact the general consensus was, we were all in our early 30s. and most of us didn't think we could make it to 40. martin did not make it to 40. >> because -- >> we thought we would be killed along the way. because we had no intention of stopping. and we knew what we had to do. and he would say, "if you haven't found something that's worthy of giving your life, you're not fit to live anyway." >> so what is the voting rights fight of today? >> helping people to see that
one, it's important. but i think it comes down to fighting against those efforts that people are use to go make it difficult for us to vote. we're now seeing people drop from the voting rolls. the different is that we voted and we had an impact. >> and as it pertains to voting today, is the biggest problem apathy? >> the biggest problem is obstructionism. it's not easy in most places. and especially in those tight precincts where the shift of a few hundred votes can mean the difference between how a state goes. >> and the reverend young is talking in part about that 2013 u.s. supreme court decision that allowed states to make changes
of some of those voting rights at their discretion. let's talk more about the reflection and the work still ahead as you're hearing from a number of civil rights activists. with me right now is political commentator for cnn, van jones, back with me. so we have heard over and over again, you have heard in many discussions you have had with civil rights leaders throughout the state and really throughout the south, that there is a lot of work to be done. but it's not a monolithic task. there are many areas that need work. >> you know one thing that's so interesting is that you look at the state now, here in alabama, things the people are working on. you have a united coalition around immigrant rights because alabama has more and more latino immigrants. and so you have people who marched on this bridge now marching with latinos to make them feel more welcome. you have big environmental issues. you have poverty issues of reverend jackson was talking about how sewage is backing up in the homes of so many people. why is that? there's no sewer system in some of these counties.
so you have septic tanks that back up. so you have all of these issues for people to work on. but today people are celebrating. i saw ct vivian. >> yes. >> my god. i mean now he's one of the great unsung heroes. he's a famous man who said when they were beating him, he said "you don't have to beat us. arrest us if we're wrong." nobody got arrested. they all got beaten. so ct vivian is here. it's an emotional day for people to see some of these heroes. sometimes he's going to be maybe the last big celebration with some of these people still alive and to see them walking through the crowd. to see the crowd embracing them. to see people crying to hug these people touch them. to hold their children up. it's amazing. >> yeah it's a beautiful contrast because there are smiles and tears here. >> smiles and tears. and old people and little babies. and you see that the generation -- my god. i wish that the people at home could be here to see this. >> oh and you're tearing up too. >> i'm sorry. >> i know. it really is an emotional experience. it's been a journey for everyone who has come here. and that journey begins as soon as you cross the bridge. >> yeah. >> and when the president does
arrive here and it will be a remarkable picture when the president obama, alongside former president george w. bush on this stage. and then the first family will be walking across. >> and it is a bipartisan moment. and people forget the voting rights act was a bipartisan bill not just when it was first passed. but every single time that it was brought up both parties voted for it. the supreme court took it away. i hope that this president, the new congress brings it back. voting rights act. >> one thing we're going talk about, which talks about, race relations, we understand this president is going to make some very profound statements about his observations his personal experience and much of that might underscore the polling that we have that we want to share with our viewers. van jones thank you so much. >> thank you. very good. >> we're going to have much more from selma. meantime we do have other news to cover, as well here in the news room. and for that i go to my colleague, suzanne malveaux. >> thanks fred. more from selma in just a moment. but also ahead, russian state
media now reporting two arrests in the murder of opposition leader and putin critic boris nemtsov. we're going to tell what russian authorities are saying about those suspects. plus we're going to have the latest from wisconsin where officials are calling for calm now following the officer-involved fatal shooting of a black teenager in madison. and hillary clinton set to speak tonight in miami. but will she address the growing controversy over the private e-mail account she had while serving as secretary of state. [rob] so we've had a tempur-pedic for awhile, but now that we have the adjustable base, it's even better. [evie] i go up...heeeeyyy... [alex] when i put my feet up on this bed my stress just goes away. [announcer] visit your local retailer and discover how tempur-pedic can move you.
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very latest from moscow. >> at the head of the fsb, main security service in russian, appearing on state television all over the country to make the announcement. so gives an indication of just how seriously the kremlin wants to be taken when it comes to getting to the bottom of this investigation. wants to be shown to be very serious, indeed. the two men have been named. they're said to be from the north region a long way from moscow very volatile. it doesn't necessarily mean the killing of boris nemtsov, who was a prominent opposition politician in this country, is linked directly with chechnya a pretty lawless part of the country. there are hired guns that can be bought and paid for from chechnya and the north caucuses in general. one of the most prominent people who criticized the kremlin who is in russian right now.
and so this was a big question mark hanging over that. >> all right. thank you, matthew. officials are appealing for calm. this is in madison, wisconsin, after protests erupted overnight following the deadly police shooting of an african-american teenager. police say the teenager attacked an officer. reporter kristen bubbareesa with wkow was on the scene and spoke earlier on cnn's "new day." >> reporter: immediately when we got to the scene, there were upwards of 20 police cars on-scene. we quickly started to hear it was officer-involved. actually one of our state representatives, representative chris taylor across the street at a gas station. she heard the shots fired. she was told to get down. she then came over to me and told me that this was an officer-involved shooting. we then began to see protesters gathering as word spread this was a black 19-year-old that had been shot and killed by an officer.
the police chief has told us that originally they got calls there was a person causing a disturbance in the street running in and out of traffic, acting unsafe. as officers were responding to the call the police chief tells us the call was upgraded to a disturbance inside this apartment. when the officer arrived on minnesota scene, he said he heard a disturbance in the apartment and forced entry into the apartment. the police chief says the officer was knocked down, sustained a blow to the head and that's when he pulled his weapon and did shoot the teenager. >> madison's mayor calls the shooting an enormous tragedy. under wisconsin law, officer-involved shootings are investigated by the state, not local officials. and senator robert mendez top democrat on the foreign relations committee is responding to revelations he is facing criminal corruption charges. the justice department is alleging menendez used his office to push for the business interests of a democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. overnight, the new jersey
senator denied any wrongdoing. >> let me be very clear. very clear. i have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. every action that i and my office have taken for the last 23 years that i have been privileged to be in the united states congress has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of new jersey and of this entire country. >> investigators are focusing on plane trips menendez took in 2010 as a guest of a donor in florida. and hillary clinton expected to speak in just a few hours at the clinton global initiative university conference in miami. what a lot of folks want to know is if she's going to talk about the growing controversy over a private e-mail account she used as secretary of state. the white house and state department are getting hammered now with questions about why clinton used the private account
for government business instead of an official state department account. and potential 2016 republican presidential candidates they're in iowa today for the agricultural summit. among them florida governor jeb bush the former governor who spoke friday and while he focused on national security he also criticized president obama and potential 2016 democratic contender, hillary clinton. >> we have new threats that didn't exist just a decade ago. cyber security these threats of terror defending the homeland and protecting -- while we protect civil liberties, need to continue to be engaged to make sure no attack takes place in our own country. is there a lot of things we need to restore. this president and, by the way, his former secretary of state have let us down in this regard. >> key caucus state of iowa of course familiar ground for the bush family. general's family george h.w. bush lost the iowa caucuses in
1988 but went on to win the general election. and after the break, we're going to go back to my friend and colleague, fredricka whitfield for more special coverage of the selma marches 50 years later. ameriprise asked people a simple question: can you keep your lifestyle in retirement? i don't want to think about the alternative. i don't even know how to answer that. i mean, no one knows how long their money is going to last. i try not to worry but you worry. what happens when your paychecks stop? because everyone has retirement questions. ameriprise created the exclusive confident retirement approach. to get the real answers you need. start building your confident retirement today. ♪ nineteen years ago, we thought "wow, how is there no way to tell the good from the bad?" so we gave people the power of the review. and now angie's list is revolutionizing local service again.
welcome back. historic downtown selma, alabama. i'm fredricka whitfield. this 50th anniversary of bloody sunday is really about remembrance and renewal. the president of the united states and first family are already now in the sky on their way to this region. and when they get here they will be taken to the stage set up right behind me and then later on in the afternoon, the first family will actually walk across the edmund pettus bridge. so many people have turned out here. by the thousands. and it's unclear exactly how many more people will show up. but when the president and first family gets here they will indeed get a warm welcome, both literally and figuratively. the sun is shining, and, of course, people are very excited about this event. some are calling it a celebration. and some are saying this really is a continuance of so much work yet to be done. the alabama governor robert bentley, is with me now. there have been a number of people as we have been standing
up here governor who have arrived. we saw amelia boynton, 103 years old, really the reason why dr. king and his civil rights foot soldiers came to selma. it was amelia boynton who said "is there a problem in selma. people are not having the right to vote. they can't even register." we have seen jesse jackson here ct vivian bernice king martin luther king iii is also here. what does this mean for you that it is taking place in your state here, and at the historic site? >> well i think those of us who are of my age, of course remember all of the things that took place over the last 50 years. and this was a significant day. you know, when men and women of this state did not have the right to vote they were brave and they were bold and they took the chance. they tried to walk across this bridge. they were turned back.
but eventually they succeeded. and over the years, we have seen progress and i'm very proud of our state. i'm very proud of the people of our state. and what i want to do is for us to always remember that selma changed america, and it also changed the world. and we need to remember that. it's -- it is so significant to look 50 years back and see what happened at that time. but we can't live in the past. we've got to look at selma today. and i want to represent our great state and what we have available in this state for the people. >> while there is progress and many are celebrating that we're has hearing there are setbacks and great concern particularly in the state of alabama, when certain voting districts have taken advantage of this supreme court decision that came in 2013. and they have recrafted some districts, which means it has changed the cosmetic makeup the racial makeup of jurisdictions,
and it has changed the vote. there are many people who complain they no longer feel empowered with their vote but instead feel threatened. >> well let me say this. if you look at the legislature, we have the exact percentage of representation in the legislature as the representation of african-americans in the state of alabama. we probably are the only state that has that. and so i think that's something we can be proud. >> when you come across this bridge whether you drive it or whether you are in a car, something happens. it is a remarkable experience. i think everyone tries to put themselves in the place of those marchers in 1965. but then you get across the bridge you get on to water avenue here you go just beyond this entrance of selma, and there is blight everywhere you turn. i've talked to so many people here who say they don't have jobs here. there is no industry. the paper mill has downsized. and they really feel like it is a forgotten city.
so whose responsibility is that? does that fall in your lap to make sure a historic city like this is not forgotten, that there are opportunities that people can feel good about this place and that it really has progressed since 1965? >> it does fall in my lap. you know i'm the governor of the state, and my primary emphasis since i've been governor is to educate children of this state, to educate our people to create skilled work force training in alabama and to bring jobs into alabama. in fact there's a county next to this that's probably the poorest county in alabama. we were able to recruit a company to come in that has 300 new future jobs. actually they've already started. and this is the poorest county in the state. not this county but that county. >> nearby wilcox county. >> yeah. >> and in this county particularly in this city one in five children living in poverty. how much of a concern is that and what can be done? >> it is a concern. and we are working on that as we
speak. we are trying to recruit industry into this area and i actually have some. i just cannot announce who they are that we're working on that will be coming into this area. >> all right. thank you so much governor robert bentley. appreciate your time. and, of course enjoy the day. of course this is a day of reflection and remembrance. i appreciate it. thank you so much. it is one thing to walk across this edmund pettus bridge or perhaps even drive across it. but we are about to show you a perspective not seen anywhere else. this because of the collaboration of cnn and a drone and a camera and our correspondent, ryan young. that view coming up, after this. there's a gap out there. that's keeping
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welcome back to our special live coverage. i'm fredricka whitfield. it is one thing to walk or even drive across the edmund pettus bridge behind me here. how about this unique perspective cnn is bringing to you. it's really like nothing you have ever seen before. by use of a special drone and a special camera that cnn is launching, this special view today, with the help of our correspondent, ryan young.
>> it's a bridge now just as important for what it brings together than for what it kept apart. from above, you can see the edmund pettus bridge stretch across the alabama river. named after a general, u.s. senator and high-ranking member of the ku klux clan time has not changed this landmark much over the last 50 years. >> i had no idea there was a possibility of violence. selma gave so much to america and the world. >> this bridge is a powerful piece of metal for so many people across the country. when you stand here you can't really see what's on the other side of the bridge. and the protesters had no idea what they were walking toward. but their walk changed the future of this country. the images that were beamed across the country, the video that helped everyone understand
the struggle for the civil rights movement a movement that really got its wings because of what happened here. >> i heard what i thought were gunshots and screams. and people just screaming and screaming. >> joanne was just a child when she marched on bloody sunday. >> before we turned to run, it was too late. the policeman came in from both sides, the front and the back and there was nowhere to go. tried to walk across i couldn't. >> it's a painful memory she shares with people a memory she found a way to embrace, despite the horror and sounds of that fateful sunday. >> i saw this horse and this lady and i don't know what happened. i could still hear the sound, her head made when it hit the pavement. and my sister, linda, and my sister sadie, both think it was my head hitting the pavement. >> we must march! >> now the people who marched are being celebrated in movies like "selma" for their courage.
the actor and rapper common highlights this bridge during his recent academy award acceptance speech for the song "glory." >> a dream we had and epiphany. now we right the wrongs of history. >> during his speech he points back here to selma, where he remarks, 50 years ago, this bridge once a landmark of a divided nation now it's a symbol for change. the nature of this bridge transcends race gender religion sexual orientation and social status. >> isn't that an incredible view by way of cnn's launch of this special drone. and camera combination. ryan young now in the thick of it with thousands of people now descending on downtown selma. so ryan while that is an incredible view certainly does not exemplify that it's just that easy for anyone to put a drone up with a camera and start taking pictures. tell us how this came to be.
>> we had a drone team who worked on this for several weeks to get this story together and i can tell you the whole team worked very hard to show people the images of that bridge. when you look at the bridge though, and see it the way that drone captured the video, you have to understand wow, it really kind of brings you 50 years ago, how powerful video was, letting the country know what was going on here. now once again this video showing the world how beautiful this area is and, of course we talked with so many people who watched that drone go up and they were happy we were taking a look with that special piece of equipment. >> and ryan of course there was special faa approval that went into the use of this camera and this drone. what happened when you saw just ordinary citizens here in selma who saw this kind of spider-like image just floating in the sky? what was the reaction about the drone? >> you know quite honestly we all stood there ourselves and had big smiles on our faces like we were kids. and so many people stopped their cars and tried to take pictures
and see what was going on. unfortunately, we just had a woman fall next to us so sorry for that if you heard the sound. i think they is okay. but so many people stopped to watch and see that drone fly. they wanted to make sure what was going on. but we had a great time using this piece of equipment. >> ryan young, thank you so much. and hopefully the woman near you gets some medical attention. it is getting warm here. >> she's okay. >> there are a lot of people -- all right. that's good news then. thank you so much ryan. we'll check back with you in our special live coverage. also coming up you heard the governor talk about earlier poverty is still very much a big problem here in selma. in fact 60% of people live in poverty in this town of 20,000. what are the answers? i'm going to explore that with cnn digital respondent and political commentator, van jones, when we come right back.
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welcome back. i'm fredricka whitfield in historic selma, alabama. the president of the united states arrival, we're about two hours or so away from the president are and first family taking to the podium behind me here at the foot of the historic edmund pettus bridge. what is unclear, how much of sem
selma will the president get to see. on one hand it represents a powerful and yet tumultuous port for change and voting rights. on the other, poverty remains a very big problem here in this city of 20,000 60% of the population lives in poverty. that's one in five children living in poverty in this city. how is it -- and what next? i've heard from so many people who live in selma who say they feel like this is a forgotten city. with me now, cnn digital correspondent, moni basu and van jones. moni you have spent time in selma and surrounding areas, and downtown selma is not representative of all of dallas county or this whole region. but the poverty is blatant. it is big. you just see in this city the dillapidation of buildings. what did you find in the
outskirts? >> well you know i've been talking to people in weeks past and many today. and i hear something that's very common among people who live here who say we helped change america, but america forgot about us. where is the education, where is the economic development. and one thing that really struck me was how many young people in selma who graduated from selma high school which has now become an all-black high school and the state has taken it over. they want to stay here and do something for their community. but there are no opportunities here. so people are clamoring for a better education system and maybe vocational training or job training that helps keep young folks here. >> and it really is so saddening. it doesn't matter if you're from this area but i think it's so obvious, you drive into the city and see these beautiful buildings, these beautiful structures. and it's hopeless. you know? it has not been cared for. there is no money, no stream of revenue, is what a lot of people
have told me. so van, i talked to the governor earlier, and he says in large part it does fall into his lap. but is there also some responsibility from the federal government since this is a historic landmark there are historic markers throughout the city. >> all over. i think so. i saw a headline online that said, history was made in selma, but history wasn't made for selma. and that i think really sums it up. one of the great things that is going on you do have people now beginning to organize. the movie -- let's not forget selma is no longer just a part of history, it's now a part of pop culture now. you have oprah winfrey who is coming so people are beginning to rally. the kinds of poverty you're seeing though are shocking. you really are talking about people who don't have sewer systems that function. they have septic tanks that back up into their homes. third-world sorts of problems. we can do better. they want to move forward, but we need to work with them. >> let's talk about the movie. some of the movie was shot here. we have heard from a lot of people who said when the movie
came here they had high hopes that maybe people would start paying attention and things would change. but that didn't happen. >> no. and i think a lot of that hope and optimism is present here today now that attention on their city all of america, all of the world is watching them again. a lot of people i talked to today said we hope this will start a dialogue about how we can better selma and move selma forward, not just what we can do nationally but don't forget about us. people who started everything here. >> wonderful conversation. moni basu van jones, appreciate it. so much more use? straight ahead. let's go to suzanne malveaux in washington. >> thanks fred. e-mails and firings. the latest from ferguson just ahead. but first, have you ever wanted to turn your doodles into a 3-d object? well now there is a pen that can actually do that. it's a subject of this week's cnn money innovate report. >> the 3-doodler is the world's
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nemtsov. russian officials say the suspects are from the north caucasus region which has been a hot bed of rebellion against moscow for years. nemtsov, one of president vladimir putin's most vocal critics, was shot in the back one week ago. surveillance video actually captured the murder. officials in madison, wisconsin, they are urging calm after protests erupted overnight following the deadly police shooting of an african-american teenager. police say the teenager was suspended of battery and attacked the officer during a police call. authorities say the officer suffered a blow to the head. and we may never know what happened in the moments before unarmed teen michael brown was shot and killed in ferguson missouri last august. what we do know is the justice department this week released a scathing report of racial bias in the ferguson police department. sara sidner has been covering this story and bring us up to
speed. >> reporter: look we now know from the department themselves and the city they have gotten rid of three people two officers one a sergeant one a captain, have resigned. the city clerk has been fired over racist e-mails that the doj uncovered. and they spelled out many different things but they were very targeted at the obamas. and, you know terrible things that were said. and the department admitted those were things they would not allow their employees to say, certainly not on company e-mail. but also we saw what the doj says was a pattern of racist you know movements from this department. that basically, the stuff they got up to really targeted black folks, and when it came to tickets and that sort of thing. but there is another part of the story. because the doj also decided not to press charges against darren wilson, the officer in this case. neither did a grand jury. and there's a lot of questions
as to what happened the day, still, that michael brown died. what really happened the final moments of michael brown's life? the justice department investigation makes it clear. the evidence does not support the mantra still being used by some protesters. >> don't shoot! >> hands up! >> instead, department of justice found that is inconsistent with the physical and forensic evidence and witnesses acknowledged their initial accounts were untrue or witness accounts were not credible including the witness closest to brown when it happened. brown's friend dorian johnson, whose words helped spark the mantra. >> his weapon was already drawn when he got out of the car. he shot again, and once my friend felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air. and he started to get down. but the officer still approached with his weapon drawn, and he fired several more shots. >> attorney general, eric
holder supported the investigator's findings. >> i recognize the findings in our report may lead some to wonder how the department's findings can differ so sharply from some of the initial widely reported accounts of what transpired. america's justice system has always rested on its ability to deliver impartial results and precisely these types of difficult circumstances. >> despite the evidence laid out by department of justice that michael brown's hands were not up when officer wilson shot and killed him, the hands-up don't shoot movement lives. >> we know for a fact that he's dead. whether his hands were up or not, he's not here and he didn't have a weapon. >> but the argument is that if he wasn't surrendering then there's a justification, which is what the doj and the grand jury found. >> to me that's a repetitive tactic that's been used against black males when dealing with the police for the longest. you can go back to slavery with
that tactic. you have to find a way to villainize the victim. >> but an attorney for michael brown's family points to witnesses in that same doj report who say brown's hands were up briefly. >> there's a distinction between hands over your head and hands up. and so that's one clear distinction we have seen already when we have reviewed the report. >> the head of the st. louis police union says the refusal to believe all of the details in the investigation is an example of why the community and police can't see eye-to-eye. the gulf of distress is as wide as it's ever been. >> it's not completely surprising. it's become so ingrained in these protests and in the minds of people who believe that something happened on august 9th that didn't. >> hands up! don't shoot! >> just today, a group of ferguson protesters traveling to selma still chanting the same mantra. but we did notice one difference. this time, their signs read "we
can't stop now." as i mentioned there, the protesters many of them took a bus to selma. they took cars to selma to be a part of that march there. but here it is very quiet. we did have a chat with the mayor about what all has happened. we asked him, are you going to discipline your chief and your city manager for some of the things that the doj found. and they said we are investigating and we'll get back to you. suzanne? >> sara sidner thank you so much. we'll have much more ahead. our special coverage of the selma marches 50 years later continues right after this.
i was standing up there, and the people started running. >> and all of a sudden racism unleashed its brutality upon us. >> 50 years ago today, a moment in the civil rights movement changed america. >> i'll never forget seeing hundreds of policemen with tear gas masks and state troopers on horses and you could see dogs and policemen with billy clubs. >> we were really doing something so that our children would have a better life. >> today, we celebrate those who sacrificed so much in selma. we are having problems fredricka withitfield in selma.
>> we are here and is we are standing before the forces of power in the state of alabama saying we ain't gonna let nobody turn us around. >> well welcome back to historic downtown selma, alabama. i'm fredricka whitfield. we continue our special live coverage from selma. it is indeed a time of remembrance, reflection and even renewal. i've heard that from so many people who have come here from all parts of the nation. and the president of the united states, too, will be here along with the first family. they will be taking to the podium roughly an hour and a half or so from now, taking to the stage right behind me at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. and then an hour after that we understand the first family will be walking across the bridge.
and then after they get to the other side they will go to the national voting rights museum and it's an eye-opening experience let alone just the bridge. but also to go to that national voting rights museum. there have been so many tools available to help extend to people just the real education behind what happened 1965 from the museum and, of course some of the most recent references have been from the movie, "selma," despite the fact there have been some historical references that have been disputed it has raised some awareness and even interest particularly from a younger generation. this 50th anniversary indeed comes at a time that this nation still struggles with some issues as it relates to race and voting rights. cnn political commentator, van jones, is with me now.
van, we understand that the president has a 40-minute speech. he has written a good part of it as he likes to do. you were reminding us at the top of our broadcast. while he has speech writers, this is personal. he was here in 2007. and he made reference to what these marchers did in 1965 opened the way for him to become a college-educated ivy league college-educated young man who became a state senator and u.s. senator. and now his message will be as a president of the united states. >> it's amazing. it's amazing. and one of the things is now you're seeing as people get ready for the president to come you're seeing the senators flowing in. you're seeing congress people flowing in. usually a senator comes in they look like a giant. they come in after these civil rights icons in wheelchairs, walkers, and they're in awe. you're seeing senators in awe. >> that's right. we saw many of the 100 congressional members arrive we saw former house speaker, nancy
pelosi republican house leader kevin mccarthy. >> tim cook was here. elizabeth warren is here. so you have some of the greatest leaders in the country. but they are awe-struck when they look at john lewis and some of the old people on walkers. >> and 103-year-old amelia boynton responsible for calling dr. king. saying there is a problem in selma, people are not allowed to vote you've got to get here. and she's here today in her wheelchair. >> in her wheelchair at 103 years old and just radiant. so the president comes into this moment he's not speaking to this crowd. he's not. he is speaking to history. he's speaking to the ages. and, you know -- his daughters with him. i don't think people understand how important that is to the obama family. >> this is intentional for the president to include the entire family. >> for the entire family to be here. he gives speeches all of the time the girls don't come. he wanted them to be here he wanted them to be able to be a part of history and to understand you have to be here to feel the energy.
there is an electricity here. >> there is. >> there is something about coming to selma that you have to experience. and so that's important for him as a father to have his young girls here to take them to the museum. all this -- this is not just politics today. i hope people understand that. most of the people here there is so far beyond politics. when you see senators weeping, you are in a completely different world and reality. that's the magic of selma. >> earlier i saw naacp president cornell brooks in the crowd and i approached him and he said he was so impressed the president would bring his daughters. and he felt like the daughters being here also helps speak to his children of the same age. and other elders who are here who have brought their kids their grandkids. i have spoken with people who have made this pilgrimage with their families because they want to make sure that the youngest of the family understand what their grandparents what their forefathers went through so they can vote. because still, a huge issue
today, young people are not voting. are not taking it seriously. like these civil rights foot soldiers who were in their early 20s and early 30s. >> and the level of courage it took for them to vote. i mean to be beaten to vote. to go to jail to vote. to have your house burned down to vote. and then people you know this younger generation they have to be encouraged and reminded to vote not just for the presidential -- i think the president will speak to that and voting rights. i think it's going to be a powerful speech and i think everybody here is going to be floored by what he does. >> fantastic. van jones, thank you so much for being with us. we'll see you throughout the afternoon. president's arrival maybe two hours or so from now. i say maybe because they took off from the white house about an hour late. but funny thing, air force one can make up time when it wants to. we're going to see if they stay on schedule for 2:30 for the president to take to the podium behind me. we'll have much more from selma, and, of course we're covering other news in the news room out of washington, d.c. with our suzanne malveaux. for right now, let's go to break.
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welcome back to downtown historic selma, alabama. we understand that the president's air force one has arrived at maxwell air force base in montgomery alabama. and then if they're traveling by ground it should take them about 30 to 40 minutes to get here to selma, alabama, by way of u.s. 80 or whatever route the motorcade does take. it will be really fascinating to hear from the president himself when he arrives here when he takes to the podium behind me if he foot of the edmund pettus bridge what it feels like for him, the first african-american president of the united states. the 44th president. and what it will be like for the then 25-year-old john lewis, who
took a bad beating on the edmund pettus bridge 50 years ago. he too will be joining the president on the stage to express his thoughts and feelings about what this 50th anniversary feels like. and what if you are the last living daughter of the great dr. and reverend martin luther king? bernice king. i sat down and talked to her. >> so how do you characterize the last 50 years? and what do you see in the next 50? >> i think the last 50 years, we've kind of wandered around some things. i think people got consumed in individual pursuits and we forgot about the collective and lost grounds in that collective. we forgot about another generation behind us and the importance of continuing to
prepare, teaching the lessons of the past drawing from that and understanding that -- what my mother said about the struggles, freedoms never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation. more importantly, i think the next 50 years is really going to be about economic equality. >> that's not too different than 50 years ago. >> no it's not. but it got cut short. in terms of his leadership. daddy, he didn't get a chance to really -- he laid out the agenda the blueprint, but he didn't get a chance to really work it. and it's got to be worked now. >> so now 50 years after selma, some people feel like that was an eternity ago, lifetime ago. it really wasn't that long ago. but if there is a lesson particularly young people you're hoping will learn from this anniversary date what is the lesson you're hoping that they
are perhaps not getting from their history books, not getting from movies new releases old releases. what's the lesson you want young people to get? >> it's not over. i know that sounds you know too simplistic. but in other words, that's not just history. that's today. meaning, you have a role and responsibility in continuing the story. in advancing the cause. >> reverend bernice king. and we saw her just moments ago walk into the crowd, continuing the story. in fact that just might be one of the storylines the president of the united states articulates when he takes to the podium behind me. the president has landed in montgomery at maxwell air force base. air force one has arrived.
we understand that he will then be making his way to marine one, so earlier i told you there could be a motorcade. guess what they change things up all of the time. instead a motorcade, it will be marine one that will take him closer. there are some air strips here near selma. and then the president will be transported here into downtown selma. that of course still a mystery. a lot of that information being kept secret for security reasons, obviously. we'll have much more of the president of the united states arrival. and he will be greeted warmly both figuratively. i think we're seeing the plane now. as it makes its way into montgomery. there you can see it right there. sorry, i had a glare on my view finder there. it was difficult for me to see. those of you at home can see air force one arriving there at maxwell air force base there in montgomery. the first family now making its arrival to alabama.
and then boarding marine one before making its way here to selma. it appears as though the president just might be on time for his scheduled 2:30 eastern time speech right here at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. the schedule as we know it after his speech which may run roughly 40 minutes, the president expected to make comments about the responsibilities of younger generations. to keep that story, as reverend bernice king was referring to keep that story going. and then the first family will actually walk across the edmund pettus bridge. so much more of our live coverage from historic downtown selma when we come right back. i've lived my whole life here in fairbanks, alaska. i love the outdoors, spending time with my family. i have a family history of prostate cancer. i had the test done and that was when i got the news. my wife and i looked at treatment options. cancer treatment centers of america
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don't be old fashioned. xfinity customers add xfinity home for $29.95 a month for 12 months. plus for a limited time, get a free security camera call 1800 xfinity or visit comcast.com/xfinityhome. welcome back to our live coverage here from selma, alabama. the president of the united states will be speaking at 2:30 eastern time at the podium right behind me at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. that is the bridge of course so historic because of the 300 marchers who walked across met by billy clubs and violence in 1965. today president barack obama has a message, appealing, a message to the nation of the work that has yet to be done. the president, along with the first family has just arrived
in montgomery's maxwell air force base. you can see it right here on your screen. i'm going have to block the shadow here in order for me to see it along with you. we're waiting for the president to descend from the plane right there, along with the first family. and then we understand that the president will then be getting on marine one, and be making their quick jaunt from montgomery to selma. it's about 54 miles or so but by helicopter it's going to feel like a minute just about, 15 or 20-minute ride. and when the president arrives, he will see -- he will see that there are thousands of people here many of whom live here in selma and take the opportunity every year to come to the commemorative ceremonies. and then there are those who have been on buses, and have traveled from as far away as minnesota to get here. they have traveled through snowstorms in the mid section of the country.
there are people i talked to who came from arizona. who came from the northeast. for some it was a first time. for others they have family connections here. and they wanted it to be a family experience. there have been so many who i have spoken to while being here in selma who talked to me about being 8, being 12 being 11 in 1965 and in defiance of their parents' orders coming out to the edmund pettus bridge because they knew the civil rights struggle meant that one day they could have freedom. what they equated it to was that perhaps no longer would there be -- there would be water fountains marked for coloreds. or for whites only. that's what these young people knew. they didn't understand what it meant about voting rights when they were just 12 and 8 and 11. but they tell me that they were motivated by a movement that perhaps they would have freedom. so in defiance of their parents'
instructions they came to the bridge. and many of them said their parents didn't want them to because they were day laborers. and their mostly white employers would tell them if your kids go out and be a part of the civil rights movement if you're a part of it, you're going to lose your job. in fact some people actually lost their homes. their residences. with me now is cnn commentator, van jones, who has been with me. he has talked to an ayou feel lot of people here while we wait for the president to come off the steps there of air force one. he'll then get on to marine one, he'll make his way to the edmund pettus bridge and to this podium. and it really is symbolic in so many ways. there are a lot of people who are looking back. but really most people here want to look forward. >> they really do. >> and hear the president's message help constitute that. >> i think so too. and i think eric holder just arrived. and we haven't talked that much about ferguson but for a lot of young people today who were coming of age, what happened in ferguson where there was
controversy about a young man -- >> and there is the president and the first family now coming off the stairs there. and van, perhaps you can see. we have a lot of sun glare on our monitor. >> look how big those girls are. those are some big girls. remember how little they were at the inauguration? remember the day when they were elected, they came out and now they have come of age. >> they're young ladies. >> young ladies now. you can't say girls. those young ladies now -- >> so poised. >> so poised. and michelle obama, mom-in-chief has done such an extraordinary job of making sure -- they have to do their own chores don't get waited on hand and foot. and they're going to have an extraordinary experience today. they are. >> they are. and it was intentional for the president. let's elaborate further. intentional for the president to bring his daughters here. because part of the speech is really about the responsibility that the younger generation should bear. >> absolutely. and we do need to continue moving forward. i think for the obamas as a family you know let's not
forget i'm roughly the same age as the president. my mother was born in segregation. not my great, great grandmother, my mother my father they were born in segregation. i was born in '68, the year king was killed. this is fresh. we're such a twitter addicted fast paced social media culture, we forget how new it is. >> it really is new. so many times people think it's a lifetime ago. it was just -- >> my mother. my mother was born in segregation. my -- i had uncles part of the sit-in movement in nashville, tennessee. i'm from tennessee, i'm from this part of the country. and so when you see white senators -- listen i took a picture with a state trooper, and he was happy to see me i was happy to see alabama state troopers. this is going to be a big movement for the obamas and also for the country. the issues now that need to be addressed, you're talking about ferguson, you're talking about how do we have better policing that's better trusted, how do we get away from having so many people going to jail for
nonviolent offenses. these are the kinds of issues the younger generation is taking up. i think having the girls here is going to help with that bridge. >> and it's interesting, the parallels being made. it's not a distinct black and white parallel of ferguson and the edmund pettus bridge or the struggle here. and so it might be a little confusing to a lot of people when they hear that. because they also think, wait a minute you had unarmed marchers in a nonviolent approach even when met with violence they stayed nonviolent. and they were trying to push for equal rights for everyone. in ferguson sometimes people were a little confused about what part of the ferguson experience is being compared to this. >> yeah. and i talked to reverend young, and he brought reference. he was talking about some parallels and they were fighting for voting rights here. and he was saying that in large part voting rights people
taking advantage of the right to vote should have been exercised more aggressively. and at the same time there are the comparisons that we have heard from naacp's cornell brooks talk about -- and marc morial with the urban league police brutality. it was jimmy lee jackson who died not long before this bloody sunday march happened. and that really helped instigate. >> that was the trigger. right. >> and that was the trigger for the march that king said we're going to march for equal rights as well as voting rights right here on this bridge. >> look i think that for the younger generation african-americans in particular they look at their incarceration rates being so high, and they know that all kids unfortunately, use drugs at the same level. and yet african-americans four or five times greater. they feel like that's not liberty and justice for all and they want to have a new civil rights movement to give them a sense of equality. but what i think is so important
is for these young people now who have -- most have marched peacefully. most have used those same tools and tactics. some did not and got too much attention. where we are, i think, with this next generation, is they have seen the movie "selma." they're now watching right now, seeing selma reenacted and i think black, white, latino asian, young people, want to make america better. and the take-away is whether bringing attention itself to ferguson whether bringing attention to selma, is getting involved does make a difference. that young people matter. it was a lot of young people on that bridge. they're old today. they weren't old then. they were young. >> early 20s and early 30s. isn't that remarkable? >> yeah. >> you know the congressional delegation has made its way in. there are more than 100 representatives here. >> yes, beautiful. and they have the leis -- >> i love the story of the leis so many of us remember the black and white images of dr. martin luther king wearing the leis to promote inner peace and we have
the president's birthplace of hawaii wearing leis. >> they're passing out leis hawaiian leis flowers, you see the pictures of dr. king he had those beautiful flowers. and they asked him why and he said i wanted to bring beauty forward. >> and real quick, they're now on marine one, i understand. and will soon be taking off from maxwell air force base in montgomery and making their way here to selma. you and i will continue to talk. they'll be here in a minute. >> it's good. it's a remarkable thing. representative gabbert congresswoman from hawaii passes out the leis and says aloha, and it's about respect, it's about honoring beauty it's about honoring each person. dr. king wore a lei, a hawaiian lei. and you think about that he was trying to embrace all americans. not just black and white. and that's so important now. even in alabama, we have a large latino population that's growing. there was a very tough anti immigrant bill that passed. african-americans, latinos and others said listen we think
this bill is too harsh. they built a massive movement using those same nonviolent principles and they were able to push that law back. why? there is a magic in selma. there is a magic in this movement. there is something about the moral witness that is infectious. so people even latinos, whose families were not here then they can reach back to that legacy and people in this state will say, we know what it means to march for justice. we're going to march with you. those are the kinds of things that are happening, even here in the deep south, that people don't necessarily hear about. and i think this march, the 50th anniversary march, is probably the last big anniversary where you'll have some of these lions and lionesses still with us. and that's why it's so precious today. >> it is good to see that this is a bipartisan effort in terms of representation. but at first, there was, you know a little dust-up that there wasn't a republican leadership. >> yes. >> here. now we understand that a republican has -- kevin mccarthy is here. i saw him, waved to him to come
join us and talk if he could. >> it's so important. >> he will make his way over here to talk more with us. but more than 100 delegates here. >> it is so -- and it's so important, because everybody has to remember civil rights and voting rights were bipartisan. the democrats pretend like it was just us democrats. republicans stood for those values, and every time the voting rights act had to be renewed, it was done on a bipartisan basis, very important we don't lose that in america. >> van jones, thanks for that reminder marine one, i think it has since taken off. you were a moment ago looking at the edmund pettus bridge because the president of the united states will be making his way here by way of marine one along with the first family. and then of course at about 2:30 eastern time is expected to deliver his 40-minute speech. we'll have much more from historic downtown selma, alabama, after this.
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welcome back to historic downtown selma, alabama. i'm fredricka whitfield. you are hearing the choir from the brown ame church behind me. brown ame is just about four blocks from here and that is the church that dr. martin luth king and his fellow foot soldiers john lewis, reverend andrew young, they all met. they met for weeks at that church which happens to be positioned right next to a housing project. and many of those foot soldiers who came here to meet at brown ame church many of them slept with families who welcomed them into their homes in the projects next door. but i do want you to hear the reverend's beautiful, emotional sound of brown ame, just for a moment. ♪
emember reverend andy young, in my interview with him earlier, he said this was not a political movement. this was also a spiritual movement. and that indeed just underscored that very point. and then you have the 44th president of the united states. now 50 years after bloody sunday the 44th president, also the first african-american
president of the united states who has just landed in montgomery alabama. boarded marine one. and soon to be on his way, along with the first family right here in selma. they'll be taking to the stage right where the choir is right now. at the foot -- well right where they were at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. and the president will have a message about looking forward, of course, reflecting as well. i have with me now cnn political commentator, van jones, and also presidential historian, douglas brinkley joining us from dallas. and gentlemen, this really is a remarkable setting. >> yes. >> here we are, historic selma, alabama, 50 years after bloody sunday. and douglas, if i could go to you first, because we're talking about the president of the united states who will be here. but he won't be alone, obviously. there are thousands here. but he will have his family and he will be accompanied by the 43rd president, george w. bush and laura bush. explain to us why this is so
poignant so important for this president to reach back to a previous administration and be here. >> sure. >> first off, when having that great core us the ame church was the freedom church. people forget about the ame, but that was harriet tubman's church rosa parks church, so the church you just had on-screen is very important for what happened in selma as the meeting spot. for barack obama, bloody sunday means a great deal to him. the biography of martin luther king was one of his favorite books. john lewis is a hero to the president. in fact when barack obama was inaugurated, he went over and hugged john lewis and autographed a photo and said because of you, john and without you, i would not be
president. so this connection selma, for this president, means a lot. he's mentioned selma in one of his inaugural addresses. and to come here today i think is an opportunity to give a major speech, because of what's going on in ferguson and what selma represents in america as a sign of hope but also dealing with problems that we still need to tackle with race relations. >> how major do you believe, van, this speech will be? >> i think it's going to be huge. i think it's going to be a big part of his legacy. also you know we just heard that beautiful music. let's not forget the power of a president. nobody remembers. 1963 with the march on washington the song "we shall overcome," was a militant song. people thought it was too controversial to even sing on the mall. two years later, johnson takes the stage, after bloody sunday and he says we must overcome the legacy of racism and we shall overcome. and when he looks into the camera and he says "we shall
overcome," he ledge mated -- only process who could do this on the world stage. so the power of a president, the power of music, the power of moral witness, cannot be underestimated. president obama has a chance today to do something few presidents do. he can make a connection between our most powerful moments in the past and most important challenges today. and i think you're going to see a beautiful speech from the soul of this president. this is not a speech-writer's speech. this is a father's speech this is a leader's speech this is someone who believes in the cause that people bled on this bridge for. >> and, you know powerful can be used -- that word can be used in so many different ways here douglas. there is going to be great symbolism, too, when you have president barack obama on stage with john lewis. as well as former president george w. bush. explain to us why it is so important for a president to make a mark, to make comment
about a moment a page in history, such as this. >> well president obama has been thinking a lot about lyndon johnson and the voting rights act and civil rights act last year. he went to the johnson library in austin texas, and was just eno, ma'am orred with johnson. he was listened to some of the taped conversations of lyndon johnson. so to be able to come here today and be surrounded. remember john lewis, congressman from georgia, as far as the living symbol the witness, the participant of bloody sunday. but you had nine people that were arrested, and it was a horror scene there that lyndon johnson wapd watched on his television and it wasn't just being beat by clubs and whips. they even had a barbed wire cutting into some of the protesters here. and the whole scene with the horses and the like. so what transpired on that bridge is a battle zone. but it's one that was for
democracy, and john lewis now has become the symbol. he let's kids touch his head john lewis, and you can feel the dent he had from being clubbed that day. but with the movie, "selma" out now and oprah winfrey coming there, this is becoming really an international eventuality. and i agree with van. the president has a chance to -- and i'm positive he will give one of the great speeches of his lifetime because of what transpired in selma in the fight for voting rights is so near and dear to his heart. >> at the same time do you feel like there is a tremendous amount of pressure on this president, especially as he took office there were so many voters who felt like he was going to be a fixer, a fixer for everyone and particularly a fixer for black america. but he became the president of all america. and so douglas, how does this president try to convey a message of fixing that applies to everyone without also i
guess ruffling the feathers of some who presumed he would do more for the black community just by virtue of him being black. >> well that's a good question. i mean i think the president is going to talk about the unfinished business of voting rights and civil rights that selma wasn't a cure-all. and he'll praise lyndon johnson, obviously. but i think that for barack obama, i mean he has to talk about ferguson. there is a direct link when people write this chapter of the obama presidency the linkage to the speech today and what's transpired at ferguson with that horrific report that the justice department has just brought on and the president just a day ago said there are a lot of fergusons. it's not just unique. many communities are targeting african-americans and it has to stop. but keep in mind at the core of your question barack obama is still beloved by african-americans. he has at least an 85 and 90%
approval rating. so they never broke ranks with him. and so there will be a lot of warmth and love for the president felt at selma by the -- the people that are survivors of the fights of the civil rights movement but also the young people. i will be curious to see if he at all thinks about or will mention what the bridge means. he had pound pet us was a racist there is talk about changing the name of the bridge perhaps to john lewis or something else. but it's something very ugly about it being this jim crow bridge and perhaps the bridge now can start being seen as a healing spot around the world, and the president might be able to reflect on that some in his speech. >> and douglas, i know you actually recently wrote about that very notion and that movement. but you know it's remarkable. i have spoken to so many people who live in selma. their perspective, very different. black and white. but particularly black people right here in selma, who say we
have lived knowing that this bridge was named after a grand wizard of the ku klux clan. but if you change the name of the bridge you change history. and they said there was quite a lot of irony that these marchers mostly black, and led by dr. martin luther king at one point, would cross over and walk over the name of edmund pettus bridge. so they see that that irony is actually representative of great foreshadow foreshadowing, so it's remarkable while there may be this movement it is not within selma, at least not among the people i spoke with. and once you hear the reasoning, it is very profound. douglas brinkley thank you so much. sorry, i said you were in dallas. you're in austin texas. i love the state of texas. >> yes, i'm in austin. mavis staples. >> thank you so much. >> bye. oh okay. fantastic. thank you so much for being with us. and van jones, thank you, as well. we're going to chat more. and douglas, actually i think we are going to be talking with you again.
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reportings two suspects under arrest in the murder of boris nevada stove. he was one of putin's most vocal critics was shot in the back one week ago. his daughter says she was not told of the arrest and has no idea who the suspects are. in wisconsin overnight, protests erupt after a police officer fatally shot an african-american teen. the 19-year-old was shot after allegedly attacking police after police responded to a complaint. they are urging restraint. the mayor spoke about the raw emotions in the community. >> it's an enormous tragedy. we had a family that's really hurting, and we got a city and
neighborhood that's feeling pretty well hurt itself. >> an outside agency has been brought in to investigate the incident. and senator robert menendez a top democrat on the foreign relations committee, responds to criminal corruption charges. the justice department is allege alleging he used his office to push the business interest of a democratic donor and friend in exchange for gifts. overnight, the new jersey senator denied any wrong doing. >> let me be very clear, very clear. i've always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. every action my office has taken in the last 23 years i have been privileged to be in the united states congress has been based on pursuing the best policyies
for the people of new jersey and of the entire country. >> investigators are focusing on plane trips he took to the dominican republic in 2010 as a guest of a donor. and, tonight, hillary clinton speaks in coral gables florida in a clinton global initiative conference and it's possible she could address the growing controversy over a private e-mail account she kept as secretary of state. clinton will take part in a panel moderated by larry willmore the host of comedy central's "the nightly show." more of the coverage the selma marches 50 years later, after the break. the lexus command performance sales
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♪ ♪ well because of the persistence of news photographers and news reporters, those horrifying images of bloody sunday moved a nation and the world. one of those television correspondents who was here, march 7, 19 65, cbs's bill clant. >> i was here the night, in marion, alabama, not far from here when there was a night march. they tried to keep the news people out. a few got in. we stood there two minutes, and they turned out the street lights and then they started wailing on us and the demonstrators. that was the night that a young man named jimmy lee jackson was
killed. we think protecting his mother. and he didn't die for about eight days but the shooting was the spark that set off the idea for a march to montgomery to protest to governor wallace the way his troopers treated jimmy lee jackson and to ask for voting rights. >> and we know the civil rights food soldiers prepared themselves for confrontations but they wanted to maintain mon violence but as a journalist how did you prepare yourself just in case you found yourself in the middle of the my lay? >> you didn't you just ducked. that night when jimmie lee jackson was shot there was a number of people including reporters and cameramen who were clubbed, abc news was whacked in the back of the skull and had six stitches. they didn't care. we were just -- we were just as
much a hindrance to them as the marchers because we were getting the story out. >> and people did not want the story out, and, really these images from bloody sunday is really what awakened in large part a nation and a world. >> you bet. i mean, most of the nation in those days had no idea what it was like in the south. and you grew up in the big city like chicago as i did, you might know that there was segregation. you didn't see it every day. it was not in your face all the time. it was maybe on the other side of town and down here then segregation was the law, not literally, but in fact. >> did you ever think at the time that your reporting of this story would also contribute to helping to change a nation? help promote the change of law, a way of thinking? >> i think what we gathered was that by making it public and making people aware, that
probably some things would change and they did. it was shortly after bloody sunday that lyndon johnson made the speech, one week in fact calling for a voting rights act and said on television in front of congress we shall overcome. >> does this bridge look any different to you? does it strike any particular memories? now 50 years later for yourself? >> i have to say that it looks just exactly the same as it did. and, you know it was a while back then before i realized that it was named for a confederate general who was leader of the ku klux klan and it still is. >> right. >> the supreme court of the united states -- >> cbs's bill plant, and bill plante has a one-on-one sit down conversation with the president of the united states in selma. you'll see that later on this weekend. we have much more straight ahead in our special live coverage
from selma, alabama. >> the people started running. >> and all of the sudden, racism unleashed brutality upon us. 50 years ago today, a moment in the civil rights movement changed america. >> i'll never forget seeing hundreds of policemen with tear gas masks and state troopers on horses, and you could see dogs and policemen with billy clubs. >> we were really doing something so that our children would have a better life. >> today, we celebrate those who sacrificed so much in selma. i'm in downtown historic selma, alabama. i want to also welcome our international viewers, and our
domestic viewers here on cnn. the president of the united states the 44th president, the first african-american president of the united states barack obama, and the first family are on their way to selma. we understand the president in a matter upon moments of arrival will deliver a 45 minute speech. with me cnn political contributor, van jones, as well as presidential historian joining us from austin texas. gentlemen, we've been trying to talk about and trying to place a forecast on what the president will say. there is so much symbolism for this president to come here on the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday at the bridge and douglas, this is not first time the president has been here. he was here in 2007. then he was a u.s. senator, but he then gave credit to john
louis and foot soldiers saying it was on their shoulders he stands. what do you believe the resinating message will be to the generation of foot soldiers from this president? >> well and john louis said obama is a product of selma. it's not a stretch or exaggeration to say it there was not that confrontation in selma, johnson did not sign the voting rights act, it's unlikely we would have had our first african-american president. it would have taken decades. john louis himself was shocked america was ready to elect an african-american in 2008. there's a lot of messages to talk about today. talk about what transpired at selma. what does it mean to america? the women's movement, stonewall for gay americans, selma means a
great deal to african-americans and all americans because voting rights is the most seminole of the basic american principle. he'll talk about what it means to vote and and what it means to march and protest, and i -- he will be talking about john louis, but he's made it clear he sees selma not just about a couple civil rights leaders, but about all the people in the south that endured slavery and endured jim crow and selma is a liberation spot the beginning of the new era in american history. >> douglas, all the viewers here and all those downtown are instructed to stay put because the president's arrival is shortcoming. you know the president well enough to understand his speech writing techniques approaches especially to moments like this that will resinate. this is part of his legacy. >> a big part.
>> give us an idea of the process of what the president encounters when he works with the speech writers and what he decides to take on individually. >> you know what? the heart of the speech was probably in his mind and in his heart before any speech writer knew he would do it. first of all, you may hear a helicopter which may be the president of the united states. the people hear the tension building excitement is building but what i think is important to keep in mind 50 years ago today, that bridge was running with blood. 50 years ago. the people were beaten. people -- there was tear gas. i mean it was a horrific scene, and 50 years later, an african-american president will stand just meters from that spot and address the world about justice. now, it does not get more epic than that. we are in that moment where the circle is complete. you'll have john here to see that. it was not complete in the first
inauguration or second inauguration. it's not complete until that man, that president walks here and says here i stand. that is going to happen. now, what that is going to mean and what he uses that moment for, i know this president. he has spent more time probably on this speech than any speech in a long time because he understands the challenges that we face of racism still in the country. ferguson exposed pain on both sides, mistrust on both sides. there was a need for healing. identifying problems last year. are there solutions? can the president bring us together on race? identify solutions that both sides feel good about to strengthen policing and trust? talk about too many people going to jail? do something about that. talk about voting rights. this president, to come back now, he has more moral power standing meters from the bloody bridge than even in the oval office. i hope he uses it. i hope he uses it. >> the issue of race, there is a cnn poll showing race is still
an issue, still of great concern. there are many who still believe that racism is much an issue now as it was in the height of the civil rights movement. the cnn poll 39% believe race relations are worse under this administration and 15 % say it is better improved under this administration administration. douglas, from your perspective, looking at the legacies of presidents, there is not one like the experience of this president, particularly because he's the first black president but it doesn't seem fair that this president would have to or is expected to bear the burden of being the fixer of the healer of race relations in this country, which still is an issue. >> well that's right. you know, the point of history is to remind us our own times are not uniquely oppressive and we've got to be careful because back in the days of selma in in '65, it was worse in the south. people -- all sorts of trickery
to keep black people from voting. you had literacy tests to take intimidation. that kind of thing still goes on but we have come a long long ways. i think it's interesting that this is become a democratic event, selma, john louis, i've gone with the congressman to the edmund pettus bridge. interested in getting republicans involved with in and the fact that george w. bush and laura bush is here speaks volumes for them that they are willing to come here with a lot of republican senators and congressmen just don't want bother to be there or lending their help to this george w. bush extended the voting rights act when he was president. it's -- this is a moment pointed out that i think is one of the most significant speeches that obama will ever give is today. this is a culmination of the whole career.
this is his gettysburg address moment. he's right. this is the speech who the president made a living as a writer before becoming president, this is one he's been working on personally. it will have all the obama rhetorical flourishes and emotional roller coaster up and down you can expect this to be one of the speeches when there's an obama presidential library, words from the speech are carved on the word of the new building. >> douglas, this is about looking forward, and i want you, if you could, to look forward. might this be a starting point or perhaps there's been a starting point for this president and former president bush to embark on a special relationship similar to h.w. bush and former president clinton embark upon following their administrations, especially since it seems the commonality on number one, extendsing those voting rights
you speak of that george w. bush and advocacy of such from this president obama. >> that's a wonderful question. remember george w. bush did so much to combat aids in africa. he's been fairly progressive on immigration policy or at least by republican party standards, and wanting to -- there's no doubt that george w. bush wants to see people register to vote, considers that great americanism. there is potential here for president obama and george w. bush to perhaps create together a new kind of dialogue about race. remember racism is the original curse of america. we have founding fathers who had slaves the horrors of racism still lives with us, and a speech is not going to eradicate that or a new government policy. we have to teach tolerance in the schools, and i think the president will want to talk about that you know the possibility that new generations could fulfill dr. king's dream
. i want to show you pictures now just coming in. we just turned this around. this is the arrival of the presidential motorcade traveling across the edmund pettus bridge the president and first family arriving in selma, alabama for the historic occasion, the 50th anniversary of the bloody sunday march, and you see there the vehicles crossing the bridge the crowd just erupting in applause. thousands of dignitaries, news
makers and ordinary folks who are paying home imagine to this historic occasion and, of course the president doing so with his own family in a very personal way. we know there's going to be crossing over the bridge by foot later, but you see there the motorcade just arrived. the president will be speaking momentarily giving his own personal reflection and remarks about this historic occasion and what it's meant to him, family and this country during a time that of course has been trying in terms of race relations for many people. we also want to bring you some other news of the day that is making news at this hour. first, to russia, russian state media reports that officials now arrested two men in connection with the murder of opposition figure and putin critic boris,
the authorities say the suspects are from the north caucuses region a hot bed of activity. we have the latest now from moscow. >> reporter: more than a week after the killing, russian investigators made a breakthrough the head of the russian federal security service appearing on national television to say two people have been detained in connection with the killing that took place right here on this bridge in the center of moscow a short distance from the kremlin. two men named, and they say from the volatile north caucus region of southern russia and putin denied involvement in the murder. he's vowed to bring those responsible to justice. but critics accuse the kremlin of responsibility for the killing, if not directly ordering it creating an atmosphere in russia in which those who oppose the government are seen as enemies of the state. from moscow matthew chance reporting. officials are peeling for
calm in wisconsin after protests erupted overnight following the deadly police shooting of an african-american teenager. police say the teenager attacked an officer. reporter christian with our affiliate, wkow was on scene after the shooting and she spoke earlier to cnn's "new day." >> caller: immediately, when we got to the scene, upwards of 20 police cars on scene. we quickly started to hear that was it was involveofficer-involved and representative chris taylor was across the street at the gas station, heard shots fired, told to get down. she came over to me and told me that this was an officer involved shooting. we then saw protesters gathering as word spread it was a black 19-year-old shot and killed by an officer. the police chief said originally they were called for a person causing a disturbance in the street running in and out of
traffic, acting unsafe. as officers were responding to the call, the police chief tells us the call was upgraded to disturbance inside this apartment. when the officer arrived on scene, he said he heard disturbance in the apartment, forced entry, and the police chief says the officer was knocked down sustained a blow to the head, and that's when he pulled the weapon and shot the teenager. >> madison's mayor calls the shooting an enormous tragedy. under the law, officer involved shootings are investigated by the state, not by local officials. senator robert menendez responds to facing criminal corruption charges. the justice department is alleging menendez used his office to push for the business interest of a democratic donor and friends in exchange for gifts. overnight, the new jersey senator denied any wrong doing. >> let me be very clear, very
clear, i have always conducted myself appropriately and in accordance with the law. every action that i and the office have taken for the last 23 years i've been privileged to be in the united states congress, has been based on pursuing the best policies for the people of new jersey and of the entire country. >> investigators are focusing on plane trips menendez took in 2010 as a guest of a donor in florida. hillary clinton expected to speak in just a few hours at the clinton global initiative university conference in miami. what a lot of folks want to know is if she's going to talk about the growing controversy over a private e-mail account she used as secretary of state. the white house and state department are getting hammered with questions about why clinton used that private account for government business instead of an official state department
account. and potential 2016 republican presidential candidates are in iowa today for the agricultural summit. among them, former florida governor jeb bush speaking friday and while he focused the national security he also criticized president obama and potential 2016 democratic contender, hillary clinton. >> we have new threats that did not exist a decade ago, cyber security these threats of terror defending the homeland and protecting while we protect civil liberties, we have to be engaged to ensure no attack takes place in our own country. there's a lot of things we have to restore. this president, and, by the way, his former secretary of state have let us down in this regard. >> the key caucus state of iowa familiar grounds for the bush family jeb's father, george h.w. bush, lost iowa back in 19 88 but went on to win the
general election. we're now awaiting president obama's remarks in selma, alabama. more of that coverage up next after a quick break. ♪ ♪ the bed reacts to your body. it hugs you. it's really cool to the touch. this zips off so i can wash it-yes, please. (vo) visit your local retailer and feel the tempur-pedic difference for yourself.
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alabama. i'm fredricka whitfield. these are the images when the president and first family came across the edmund pettus bridge when they came into downtown selma. take a listen to how the city of 20,000 and the roar of it swelled to thousands more because of the 50th anniversary. [ cheers and applause ] [ cheers and applause ] the president and his contingency there, they pulled over to the white tents, where you see the vehicle, majority of them are in the white tents assemble assembling. we are wondering and trying to pontificate where is congressman louis now, are they having a private moment, perhaps in the white tent? the most recognizable man from the -- the edmund pettus bridge in 19 65.
he was a 25 -year-old man, now a u.s. congressman, and many have said he really is one of thee most courageous civil rights foot soldiers of american history, and what it must feel like for this president. the first african-american president, to now, who also gave credit to the civil rights soldiers years ago, that he is standing on their shoulders and now here he is in historic selma, what it feels like for him. there's an incredible crowd here. as i mentioned, this is a city of 20,000 but today perhaps it's 25,000 30,000 or more. no telling how many thousands turned out for this but guess what? in the thick of it all, our own ryan young is there finding out where so many have come from and, ryan i met people from minnesota, arizona, new york. what have you encountered? who have you encountered?
>> i think i have you beat. i'm talking to a guy here who flew in from vietnam to come back for this celebration. in fact, he's one of three soldiers who came back after bloody sunday, felt the call to action years ago. you have a picture here from back then. can you show us everybody? >> we'll have to try that again. we're having technical problems out here. there's a lot of people a lot of media folks and wires and cables. we lost the signal temporarily. we'll reestablish when we can. oh wait a minute we have it again. ryan i think you can continue now. we may have reworked the wiring. >> no problem. it's you know you got to roll with live television. this is a picture that shows these three foot soldiers here back in the day. you felt it was important to come back for today? >> i did. the voting rightings fight is
not over yet. familiarparticularly since two years ago, the supreme court made a ruling that actually weakened the civil rights law that we are the voting rights law we fought hard to get past 50 years ago, and so it's not over. >> and you flew in all the way from vietnam. tell me why did you feel like it was necessary to come back? >> well a couple reasons. okay first of all, it was an important time in my life important thing that happened to me and from this, from doing this i moved down and did more work in the civil rights movement ended up in south africa at one time did a lot of work in south africa, and so i've had a particular commitment that started all the way back then. and then i think, if you look at the country today, there's still problems. there's economic problems. look around you in selma. you see it everywhere you look. there's economic problems. as was said voting rights people access to the vote and i
lived in australia for a while where it's compulsory to vote everybody votes. it's part of what we did. i think it's important to again, bear witness and testimony to what happened. >> i want to make sure when you see all the people here, and you see everyone standing together all races and gnashnationalities, do you feel you had success? >> i did. my daughter encouraged me to come and i notice with her that what she -- she takes racial equality as a given, and for her, it's a reality. for me it was, you know when i came down here it was like coming to outer space. i had never seen anything like this before and so i think at the time we did not know how historical it was. we were kids, 17 years old. it was an adventure. in retrospect you see how far we've come. >> i totally agree with that.
i want to see the picture if you don't mind. show it again. it was cut off the first time. >> okay. this is richard. that's me. >> okay. >> that's richard's mom. that's bob. right here. and there was a fourth teenager also about 16 or 17 he's sitting here. >> what was it like that day walking across the bridge? >> wow. i think it was -- it was a little scary. i don't think any of us appreciated what we were walking into it, and there were heck lers on both sides, and there were armed -- there were armed people on both sides, and -- but we just kept walking. and it's really -- it's actually surprising how little i remember except that i know i was there. >> i think it's important to say that you know when we came it was the third day, the big march, and there were troops lining you know the route, and we were really protected. i remember thinking, you know
the guys who were in bloody sunday you know without protection you know who went through what they went through and suffered what they went through, they are the real heros. we came down when it was easy. >> so you get some of the sentiments. people have been walking through the crowd, talking, sharing stories with one another, and you hear that perspective, understand why so many people are connected to the date and they want to be here for this very moment. >> all right, ryan young, thank you so much. we'll check back with you in the crowd there. thousands who are here from every corner. also joining us right now, cnn political commentator, van jones back with us in austin, texas. douglas brinkley is here and charles is here, cnn political commentator as well. i say that because he was aboard air force 1 with the president and first family.
charles, you made the effort to get here you were with the president and first family and climbed on through here. can you tell us about your experience with the president? >> well i mean, the conversation the interviews are about today, i can't give details of it, however, he was relaxed and confident about what his mission would be here today, and in this particular speech and this moment and understanding his -- the context around him and this moment and i think one, you know one of the most striking things for us the people who are traveling with him was not even on the plane, but driving here from the helicopter and all the people who lined the street not even able to make a here but just lined the streets with signs and waving and him, his motorcade coming across this bridge and seeing all of these tens of thousands of people and everybody, you know in the van could understand what was
happening in that moment how big a moment it is for him, and for america, and it's not really even focused on him. it's an american moment. when we think about what's happened to the voter rights act and that this march was about voting and we think about that march being about young people being engaged and active and we have seen so many protests with young people being engaged and acting and the meeting of those moments is more of what it's about. >> and that route from montgomery here you couldn't avoid repeating the same path of that march from selma to montgomery that historic markers. >> we took the helicopter from montgomery to here to selma, but from where the helicopter landed to here you did have to trace part of where they walked and that drk and when people realize that what we were doing because we didn't really understand
where we would be traveling and how we would get here and realized we were coming across the bridge and meeting the crowd face-to-face in the caravan, it was -- it made people understand the history. >> and people forget. there were three moments in that march of 1965 there was the bloody sunday right here on the edmund pettus bridge and days later, martin king called in clergymen, turned around tuesday and walked the bridge turned around and a week later they would make that historic march and walk that started out with a few hundred and swelled to 25,000 by the time they walked over five days to montgomery. >> yeah. unbelievable and you know, you saw it from your point of view coming in. here you have the anticipation just building and building. people waiting. he's coming. he's coming. that bridge not one vehicle moved all morning. suddenly to see the motorcade, the presidential motorcade, the president of the united states coming here to redeem a country
to finish the promise. it was electric. i mean people the people if you could have been here you would have been in tears. i'm sure you were there, but this is a huge moment for america. i think the contrast of seeing that name, that edmund pettus bridge iconic a painful name a name of a grand wizard and here comes the president of the united states over that bridge the lights going, flags are flying, and you have a redemption story for a nation like you've never seen before. >> here's a replay of the moment and douglas brinkley presidential historian in austin bringing you in the conversation because i heard from you earlier, saying this is a powerful big, heavy speech from the president, and you heard charles blow underscore the same similar words that you used. why is this speech this president is known as being a great orator but there's something about this speech this place in this time that
really does cement perhaps, all the speeches or many of the speeches and his legacy? >> that's right. i think selma, for this president was a coming of age moment. he was a child when it happened but he heard all the stories about selma, and, you know, he is a great reader and the awe biography inspired him, a scholar of the movement historian of it. he understands the symbolism of today, what it means 50 years later to come to selma, and he's not going to be just speaking to the people there, but when it happened like lyndon johnson watching on the white house, rosa parks in detroit and caught images of bloody sunday. it woke up a nation and was, i think, the major hinge point, the turning point for voting
rights in the united states and so the president has opportunity to give one of his very special speeches. he's able to do this once in a while. he -- i find when he speaks about race he's always very elegant and eloquent and i'm sure that's the case today. >> and, van, the president will see this end try point of selma. he will not see all of selma, but you seea lot that sets the tone on your journey to selma from montgomery. you know him. what do you think he was thinking when he saw all the cotton fields, the rich black soil the farmland here and there's still a lot of farmland on the way here and along the way, there's markers of where so many of the marchers slept on friendly farmland because they had no other place to bed down that night during their journey to montgomery.
what do you suppose? this is a president well read. he's a historian. >> he is. >> what do you think he thought when he saw the markers, these places? >> i know that he was thinking two things at the same time how far we've come and how far we have to go. part of the challenge, the numbers, the data it's bad. he wanted to do more. he had a hard time finding a good partner on the republican side at times, and he's looking at that clock, and he's saying if i only have a few more years to be in office i'm doing everything i can, and i beltt he has a sense of renewal. people act like the big people don't have bad days or get down and frustrated. this is a moment of renewal for him to look out in the crowd and see the old folks who had it tougher than he had it and to see young people who don't know their future and he gets the
chance to be the commander in chief and the visionary, the minister in chief. >> yeah and douglas -- >> he does it well. >> presidential historian, wrote many books on many presidents many papers. share with us what would your frame work be for president obama's presidency? clearly, he is another year and a half but what are some of the flash points you're thinking of that you would write about if you were to help document his journey as a president? >> well he wanted to be seen as somebody who cared about all the american people and, in fact the president keeps talking about selma being about la tee knows getting the right to vote and native americans, and people poor people in general, and so -- but overall, i think his presidency's been a fire wall presidency. there's an attempt to tear down the new deal great society,
progressive, relation things like medicaid medicare civil rights acts or environmental regulations, and the president has said no these have been hard earned and we're not turning the clock backwards, but in a general way, the war in terror consumed him a great deal and inherited the great recession. although there's too much poverty in america, the economy seems better than it was when he inherited it. if he leaves office with unemployment at 5.3% or something like that he'll be able to claim he got us out of the great depression and that obamacare was part of the great society revolution that did not get done the health care piece, and he was able to accomplish that. >> presidential historian, thank you so much. i know you're going to stick with us as well as political
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welcome back to the special live coverage here in downtown selma, alabama. the president of the united states said the first family and former president george w. bush and first lady, laura, all here, awaiting president obama. so when in 1965 and just before that, so many civil rights foot soldiers came here to plan to march, to try to make a plan about where to go next and how
to go about it. they did not have a place to say. they did not have hotel rooms, but they did find space in people's homes. people who are willing to open their doors to them and some living in projects. some living in small clapboard homes. we caught up with one family, sullivan jackson, the jackson family opened their doors to martin luther king jr. while they planned here. what was that like? >> we toured the home a special place, the daughter of dr. sullivan gave us a tour of the home her parents, her father a black dentist, they opened up the home to martin luther king jr., and others and it played an essential role in the movement where he ate, slept, and where they strategized while here in saleelma. >> if these walls could talk they would tell a story of a family here in selma that tried to give and contribute and they would also tell a story of a movement.
>> on lapsley drive in selma, alabama, stands a house where time stood still. >> this is the bedroom in which dr. king would entertain all of the phone calls that would come into the home from president johnson and the white house. this is the actual phone that he used to take the calls. >> did you hear his end of the conversation? >> i would hear a voice. i could not understand, but i could hear the tone and internations of what i now know to be very very serious conversations. >> this home and a young jackson, were depicted in the oscar nominated movie, "selma." >> you were 5 years old at the time. >> i was 5 years old. i remember the wonderful bedtime stories that he used to read to me. humpty dumpty was his favorite. >> tell me about the room. >> this is the exact room where dr. king still living in the
home was sitting the night that president johnson gave his famous we shall overcome speech this is the actual chair. this is the television. all the furniture in this room is original. >> how many people are we talking about would be here at any one time? >> some days there was 20 30 people. there were times when people had to sign up for bathroom and bathtub space. very often, people would sleep in the bathtubs. this is the room that dr. king and his staff met the morning of the selma, montgomery march, booted up in this room and had a pair session in this room. this was the home that sheltered the movement. it was the home that gave the people that led this movement comfort. >> that's one of selma's many stories, and it really was a treasure being able to go and see that home and see everything.
pretty much unchanged, fred. >> remarkable they preserved it. we are talking about a city with a lot of big problems and it's hard for people to afford maintaining their own homes let alone maintain a treasure and in this case a family treasure. >> absolutely. you know the daughter now lives in atlanta. came down special to selma to give us the tour and it's remained as is. her parents specifically decided not to change anything. even the coverings on the chairs and the wicker chairs around the dining table and the china. all the same as it was back in 1965. >> wow. >> remarkable. >> it is. fantastic. thank you for bringing us that, and and that perspective of the jackson family. so much straight ahead. of course the president of the united states highly anticipated moment here why thousands descended on the city. more live coverage right after this. the lexus command performance sales event has begun. take command of every urban adventure, scenic drive or parts unknown. with the highly capable gx.
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hello. i'm fredricka whitfield. welcome back to our live coverage in downtown selma, alabama. moments ago, there was a buzz of excitement and people thought the president of the united states was going to walk out, but instead it was his two daughters, very statue and beautiful sasha and malia in the front row taking their seats, and moments later, the president will deliver a 40 minute address. meantime let's look back.
the mayor in office the day of bloody sunday held office for 36 years until he died in 2005. well his daughter diane, tells me in a very rare sit down conversation that she remembers when he her dad, received a phone call from governor wallace not to let the marrers cross the bridge 50 years ago, and she tells me that she is still very proud of his history. >> would there be an interpretation by people that your dad stood for racism daus-- >> my father did not stand for racism he did not allow it. he did not allow it. he was not conflicted. the edge of the bridge is federal highway, selma's stops at the foot of the bridge. the governor ordered that. not the mayor.
>> what do you want people to know about your dad and his leadership particularly on this weekend as the 50th anniversary is commemorated. >> i want them to know he was not a racist. yes, a segregationist. 99% of the people in the south were segregationists, including the blacks but as time wore on and times changed, he changed. everybody changed. he was the man that could change. he was not a racist. >> did you see your dad change? >> we all changed. we all evolved. i didn't know what racism was. i didn't know what segregation was. that's just the way we lived. you're talking about in the the '60s. certainly, that is not there now. >> what way do you think you evolved? >> i had no problem. as i said we had freedom of choice when i was in high school. they were great classmates i mean just accepting a person for who that person is rather
than the color of your skin. that's the way my daddy was as he evolved, accepting people for who they were not the color of their skin. >> there's been discussions outside of selma about the change of the name of the edmund pettus bridge because he was the grand wizard of the clan and people thought that offensive. do you have any view as to whether the name of the bridge matters? if it should be renamed, or if it should just remain as a symbol -- >> i think it's ironic that it was grand wizard and guess who got voting rights by marching on that bridge? i think that's kind of good. the bridge is made more famous by the movie selma. it was an icon on i academy awards. why change that now? >> all right. that conversation with die nan,
the daughter of the late selma mayor, who was in office here for 36 years including that time of bloody sunday. we have much more coming live from selma as we await the president's arrival to the podium right over my shoulder to the foot of the edmund pettus bridge moments away. we'll be right back. no matter who you are, if you have type 2 diabetes, you know it can be a struggle to keep your a1c down. so imagine ... what if there was a new class of medicine that works differently to lower blood sugar? imagine loving your numbers. introducing once-daily invokana®. it's the first of a new kind of prescription medicine that's used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. invokana® is a once-daily pill that works around the clock to help lower a1c. here's how: the kidneys allow sugar to be absorbed back into the body. invokana® reduces the amount of sugar allowed
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welcome back to downtown selma, alabama. i'm fredricka whitfield, the program just about to begin involving the president of the united states. now the alabama governor speaking part of the introduction. let me tell you how excited the crowd was, thousands here excited when they saw former president george w. bush, laura bush, and then walking right behind them michelle obama and the 44th president of the united states barack obama taking positions there. the front row there, on the podium. and then right next to president obama, of course is john louis, just a 25-year-old man, the president of the student nonviolent coordinating committee on bloody sunday march 7th 1965 when he led 300 marchers across the edmund
pettus bridge met with violence of night sticks from police and alabama state troopers and he was badly beaten, and many have called him thee most courageous one of thee most courageous civil right foot soldiers ever since, now a u.s. congressman. he is sitting right alongside the president of the united states. the president has said many times that he admires, he is he is the president's hero and, likely we'll hear that once again when the president takes to the microphone there. he has a 40 minute speech. we have been told of course he has speech writers, but we know from somebody who knows the president well, our own political commentator, van jones, that this president likes to write a lot of his speeches and this is one that is likely to be so powerful so compelling that you will be able to hear the president's voice in the writing of this speech. van jones with me now. this