Skip to main content

tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  January 19, 2013 10:00pm-11:00pm EST

10:00 pm
matter. when the davis administration makes the governor go after all the men who refusing to serve or deserted the campaign. they try clemon sei. they try all kinds of things. they send out troops after them to bring them back in. when they duoout to look for them, they can't find them. because the deserters are not staying at home. ..
10:01 pm
a they have so a few men to start with. then they have to use units. they are constantly deploying troops to prevent slaves from running away to the enemy and joining the union army. they also have to divert troops to contain the deserters. they don't have any extra troops, so the pressure on them on numbers by the end by late 1864, by 1863 the secretary of war said there are no more white men to be had. and at that point, the conversation starts seriously about whether they have to use black soldiers. it's bizarre but i think the perfect arc of justice from slavery as an element of strength to, we have to consider emancipating the slaves to force them to enlist in the
10:02 pm
confederacy. so that is another story i tell in the book. they don't contemplate emancipation out of the goodness of their heart. a lot of people think that the confederacy chose independence over slavery because by the end, some people were willing to enlist slaves in the army but the confederate congress and the virginia legislature refused to write in emancipation clause. they actually expected while they were still in slaves so you can imagine but that's a desperate they were. the demographics that you asked me about it first are infinitely connected with the political challenges and i think the political failure of the confederacy. one of the things i'm trying to do in the book in focusing this civil war story on the confederacy is to ask you no, let's talk about the confederacy for a change, not just the union and ask why did they do this? what was their vision of the
10:03 pm
future to take seriously the confederate project? in order to take seriously the historical reckoning that came with secession and i think you know in the end to say that yes this is a story of a terry esteem, that is intimately connected to the political ambition and the political failure of that national independence project in part not simply because of what the union did that because of their own people. i mean, any people still talk about southerners in the mean white southerners but it's a 21st century and when we write this history and talk about the south we are talking about the white women. we are talking about the enslaved men, women and children what i'm trying to do by bringing human beings into the story in using these records to bring them to life is to say all of these people played a part in the state of the confederacy, not just the union army but it was the connection between the
10:04 pm
actions within the confederacy and the military pressures that were coming from the outside that really explains what happened. >> confederate reckoning. it won the frederick douglass book prize in the organization of historians craven award and is a finalist for the pulitzer and we are at the university of pennsylvania talking with history professor stephanie mccurry. thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> he had been talking about this dream he that he had. yet talked about it for years, the american dream and then it becomes history and he had been in detroit just a few months before. yet talked about, i have a dream and america will someday realize these principles in the declaration of independence. so, i think he was just inspired by the moment. >> sunday on after words clayborne carson recalls his
10:05 pm
journey as a civil rights activist participating in the 1963 march on washington through prominent historian and martin luther king jr.'s papers. >> up next on booktv after words with guest host authors and play right janet langhart cohen. this week is dorian clayborne carson and "martin's dream" my journey and the legacy of martin luther king, jr.. in it he recalls his journey from teenage civil rights activist to his presence at the 1963 march on -- he includes encounters with the many leaders and organizers in the civil rights movement including stokely carmichael and the king family. it's about an hour. >> host: dr. carson thanks for joining me on after words.
10:06 pm
>> guest: it's my pleasure. >> host: your book, "martin's dream" is a memoir and a history book. in the book you talk about your personal journey and you are very candid about your life and you also cover new insights as a historian to the life and legacy of dr. martin luther king jr.. what prompted you to write the book this way? >> guest: well, i wanted to write about the martin luther king anniversary and 50 years of my life that came to light and his legacy and life coincides with my coming-of-age. so part of it was to move those two tasks. i felt my life have been connected to the king legacy and yet i felt that there was something about my life that needed to be told in order to understand how king impacted me. and how i got involved in this
10:07 pm
journey of editing kinks papers. >> host: it's an excellent read and you and i are of the same generation and i too was coming-of-age in the 60s. and the book i must say was bittersweet for me because i guess week because they knew dr. came. he was my mentor and i knew in the last two years of my life in bitter because of the way he was taken from us because of racial hatred in this country and i guess we can start at the beginning he caused at the beginning of your book you are run the mall with dr. came and ere the end of your book you are on the mall again 50 years later. with his monument which you helped to design. >> guest: in between coming back so many times on important occasions to them all. it seems like even though i only lived in washington for a short time, the mall seemed to be a place that had such great symbolic meaning for my life.
10:08 pm
>> host: and sentimental. >> guest: every time i come down i have all these memories. >> host: it's a beautiful city. you are 19 years old in 1963. you are on the mall. the march on washington where dr. king gave the iconic address, i have a dream. how did you happen to go there? >> guest: part of it was a grew up in a small town where they were not very many black people. i think there were three black families growing up there. so i had always been fascinated by what was the black community like. i didn't have very much -- except on visits to my relatives into trite. so i think i learned about the black community through the black freedom struggle. i would pick up my newspaper and there was martin luther king. the little rock nine, the students in the sit-ins and
10:09 pm
sncc's. they became my role models. by 1963 i was in college and i get to go to this student meeting, national student association meeting in indianapolis. >> host: my hometown. >> guest: in bloomington actually and i met stokely carmichael. he was the first person in sncc's that i talk to and i remember when i told him that i wanted to go to the march. he just kind of dismiss that. >> host: was he a detractor of mr. king or his methods? >> guest: he didn't say that in terms of martin luther king. martin luther king was just one of the people that would be at the march. it was just for me, he felt that i should be in albany georgia and cambridge maryland and he was at howard university at the time. he would be going to these
10:10 pm
places where there was activism. >> host: in danger. >> guest: a one day march just was not what he had in mind and i think he was trying to recruit me into the movement. me going to a one day march would be the most exciting and radical thing i had done in my life at that point. >> host: let's go back to the march. to be there when he gives that address, what did you think of the speech? did you think it would be iconic like fdr's day of infamy? >> guest: not at that point. for those of us who were there, it was the final speech of a long day of speeches. so yes i was very pleased to see martin luther king in person. i had heard about him and everyone kind of looked forward to what was martin luther king going to say because he was always known this is great orator. but his speech was very short.
10:11 pm
it wasn't one of his long-winded long-winded -- he spoke for an hour or so. this is 15, 16 minutes and it wasn't actually planned to be less. it was planned to be seven or eight minutes and that is what he wrote out his speech to the. >> host: why was it longer? ditties decide to it at -- tell that story. >> guest: one of the things i found out later that i didn't know then was that when he got to the end of his prepared remarks he thought this location require something more. he it kind of laid out his agenda and now i can look at his text and see which is the end and he's talking about going back to the south and going back to all these places to continue the protests. but then he thought the occasion required something more.
10:12 pm
>> host: more gravitas. >> guest: he had been talking about this dream he had any talked about it for a year. the american dream that had become his dream and he had been in detroit just a few months before and yet talked about, i have a dream and america will someday realize these principles in the declaration of independence. so i think he was just inspired by that moment. >> host: in a group there was talk that andrew jackson was there and was taking him on saying tell the dream. >> guest: yes. i listened to lots of recordings of that speech and i never quite heard that. may be -- i want to believe that story. >> host: the reason i met dr. king is the cousin was staying in her home in chicago as a young girl when i was working for ebony magazine and
10:13 pm
dr. king would come by there and as a matter of fact i met him the day after he was hit in the head at age part. the story, you talk about it in the book about him being head -- hit in the head in illinois. did you meet dr. came? >> guest: i only saw him from a distance. i try tried to get as close as i could so i got to the foot of the lincoln memorial but the notion of this 19-year-old that i would actually shake hands with him, that would have been the thrill of my life. i only saw his. >> twice and both times i saw as a member of the crowd. he came to ucla when i was a student there and spoke so that was the other time in 1965, something like that. >> host: how did that impact you on the way home?
10:14 pm
you have this long journey on the way home. >> guest: i didn't have a right back. i didn't tell my parents i was coming and i had a bus ticket that only went back to indianapolis. so then i just had to hitchhike and i hitchhiked across the country. >> host: were you scared? >> guest: of course i was but his 19-year-old you can do anything. >> host: you think you're invincible. how did that speech that day impact you on how stokely was trying to influence you? you talk to stokely afterwards. >> guest: well know, before. not afterwards. probably three years before i talk to him and by that time he had become -- in 1963 he was not a well-known public figure. in 1966 he was the african of black power so at that time we got back in touch with each other again. from that point on i stayed in touch with him for the rest of
10:15 pm
his life. >> host: we want to talk about him some more. stokely carmichael is one of my heroes as well as malcolm x. i was more in agreement with malcolm x, the later malcolm x and stokely carmichael then i was with dr. king despite knowing him and later as i got older i appreciated dr. king's tactics. he was the one with with the monument on the wall. during that time you had some misgivings about time magazines naming dr. king man of the year. >> guest: not at all. from a distance i was very proud of martin luther king but i think i kind of absorbed a lot of -- the people -- martin luther king is following us. we are not following him. he is the one. we are out there trying to break new ground in terms of before me
10:16 pm
it was moving to los angeles in getting involved with a group called non-violent action committee which was kind of the sncc group at the local level, getting involved with issues like employment issues and urban issues and this was a year before kaine comes to chicago. we are already from a prospective king is following us and catching up the same on the vietnam war. you know we were very involved in opposing the war and kaine was much more cautious than that because he knew he had much more to lose. >> host: and he lost a lot. >> guest: one of the things i discovered is it's much easier for a 21-year-old students to take a stand on anything. if you don't have anything to lose except your draft status
10:17 pm
which i did lose. and you know so for king he understood that everything he accomplished on the civil rights agenda gives access to the white house and congress. all of that was contingent on not taking a stand on vietnam. >> host: president johnson was very upset with dr. king in the stand he took a cozy felt -- we have handed civil rights and voting rights over and now you are going to go against me for re-election. you are going to go against me on the vietnam war. >> guest: yes. king now i understand what courage it took to take the stand that he did and i understand more about why he hesitated. faretta was very much involved in the antiwar movement from an early stage but again she was not the public figure so he could send her essentially to
10:18 pm
speak for him. >> host: again he proved dr. king right. >> guest: i think so. this was one of the ways -- i think he's a visionary. i think he understood the connection between the anti-colonial movements going on around the world and understood how the cold war had prevented us from seeing -- we were on the wrong side, that because the communist movement had identified itself with anti-colonialism many of these nationalists wanted to have the assistance of the soviet union so we saw it in cold war terms. >> host: my enemy's enemy is my friend. you left the country during the vietnam era. why? >> guest: well, for me looking back it wasn't that difficult a
10:19 pm
choice because i knew i wasn't going to go into the military. >> host: how did you know you weren't going to go? weren't you drafted? >> guest: i was drafted several times actually. i was a conscientious objector that was turned down. so it was really come down to do i want to go to prison for three years or do i want to explore the world? i recognized that if i left i might not be able to ever come back. >> host: i was going to say when reading your book i thought that is a decision between your life and your life living your life outside of your country and being castigated. >> guest: that's right. that is what i had to really think through. >> host: and your father was a military man. >> guest: he was an officer in the army reserve and reach the rank of lieutenant colonel.
10:20 pm
for him, the military had offered an opportunity. we had been mired in the depression and gets drafted and because the military needed lack officers as a drafty he was able to go to officer training school and has opportunities with the military but never had a civilian life. >> host: it would not have been the same for you. >> guest: i thought about that actually. i was a nominee to the air force academy at west point so i could easily have seen how my life might have gone in a very different direction. >> host: couldn't you have done what your brother michael and my mother -- brother james did? they joined the navy to avert the address. did you discuss it with michael? >> guest: i thought about that but by that time i was very politicized and i would have felt guilty that i was taking the easy way out. and i think i knew that i could
10:21 pm
have gone into the military and i wouldn't have been sent to the front lines. i might have been sent not even to vietnam. but by that time it was more the symbolism of it. i knew that i did not want to support that war. >> host: a lot of young people our age, black people our age at that time had been reconciling not having of the right's that whites had in serving this country. mohamed ali. >> guest: if i was going to play for democracia would have done it in mississippi and alabama. i didn't have to go 10,000 miles to fight for democracy. >> host: did you ever think about going down there because you talk about -- >> guest: i came very close and in the run-up to the mississippi summer project in 1964 i went to new orleans.
10:22 pm
i met with bob moses and other people there. i thought very seriously and probably if it hadn't been for the financing. they wanted people to bring their own money to bail themselves out and other things. i worked my way through school. i needed a job in order to go finish college. >> host: talk about that period. you mentioned sncc and then there was dr. king's organization, the clc. what were their respective missions? what was the overall mission of the movement? was it to get a quality was the big word. was it to get voting rights and civil rights and what else did they want and how were their approach is different from each other? >> guest: i think both thought in terms of her freedom struggle. i think in some ways we mislead ourselves when we use the term civil rights movement.
10:23 pm
in 1965 the civil rights agenda were achieved the would have the civil rights act of 1964 in the and the voting rights act of 1965. that have been the goal. martin luther king would have said i'm going to retire and go to a college and be a minister. stokely carmichael would have said i have achieved my goal. that of the people i knew -- because all of the song that goal that was much more radical in some some ways than that. >> host: why? >> guest: economic change, empowering the black community. the black power movement and black power for black people. using the rights that have been gained to actually bring about concrete changes. i think for many of us we saw 1965 is the beginning, not the
10:24 pm
end. now we had basic human rights. now the question becomes what you going to do with them? how are you going to -- the black community by that time is 100 years in time because of the restrictions and discrimination. >> host: apartheid. >> guest: we can't just say suddenly we are going to catch up. there has to be movement. as martin luther king said where do we go from here? that is where we still are. we still haven't faced the question of what do we do with the right's? wright's? now that we are citizens what do we do with citizenship? >> host: dr. king and you quoted in your book. he trickery talked about moving from racial injustice to the hard rock of brotherhood. dr. carson where are we? we have a black man in the white house but michelle alexander who endorsed her book, she is the author of that wonderful book
10:25 pm
the new jim crow. the statistic she writes about where black people are right now in the 21st century. we are underemplunderempl oyed. we are unemployed and more afflicted with aids and other diseases and diabetes and more of diabetes and morbus are incarcerated. lee gets tougher sentences for the same crimes as five people get we have a black president and i'm thinking for silence in the black community for me is definitely coming from our generation. we approach everything and we want we want moriches said after we got the voting rights. civil rights, we wanted more and 65. think the black community -- >> guest: you can see the difference between the kind of support that king got when he was fighting for civil rights reform. up until 1965 the level of support came when you look at the polls overwhelming support in the black community and wide
10:26 pm
spread support among whites for what he was trying to do. if you look after 65 when he moved to chicago and takes a stand on vietnam when he gets to support garbage workers. >> host: poor people. >> guest: the poor people's campaign which was the first occupy movement. he wanted to occupy the national mall. even during the occupy campaign in recent years no one put forward something so radical is coming and staying on the national mall. that is what king was about in his support in the black community went down dramatically. >> host: why? were they afraid it would make white people in great? >> guest: because there were certain element of support for the early king from black people who were doing well but still faced jim crow. so for them once he removed these jim crow barriers their
10:27 pm
agenda is gone. then there's just a matter and in fact at that point they are overqualified. opportunities are going to open up because now they're no longer facing explicitly racial barriers. jobs are opening up. so, for them they don't need the black movement. for the black poor, the movement is just beginning. getting the vote, getting the right to go into a restaurant and go into a hotel. if you are poor, what if you have you gained? >> host: a larger amount of blacks are still poor and there is the silence. >> guest: well i think one thing that happened before that is people who came out of the middle class saw their
10:28 pm
responsibility to go and help mobilize those who were poor and destitute. that is what sncc was. the college students. the sons and grandsons and granddaughters of the black peasants. people like myself. my mother grew up in rural florida and in segregated schools. >> host: where was your father? was he from tennessee? >> guest: originally from alabama but he was part of that lot migration that went to detroit in world war i. >> host: our parents generation shows to show their activism against racism by moving, by migrating and our generation use protest. >> guest: historically for most people who come from the
10:29 pm
peasant background the route to freedom was not a staging a political movement. you moved toward the freer environment of the city. you moved from the south to the north. that is what most people did. in the process of doing that some of them became politicized. >> host: because they expected things to be markedly different in the north. they didn't think racism existed in the north. >> guest: in the north they are not going to be murdered for taking a stand. and so in a relatively freer environment they are able to create the conditions for the modern movement. >> host: talk about some of the people of the movement. there is sncc and the clc and the others. who were the people who most move things? was a king? king? was it malcolm x? was at the death of medgar
10:30 pm
evers? was a stokely carmichael or john lewis? >> guest: all of them have different roles. one of the ways in which i try to explain to students that parks made martin luther king possible. if she hadn't done what she did by refusing to give seat on that montgomery bus martin luther king would have simply been an articulate well meaning baptist minister. is because of rosa parks that we are talking about him today. he opened up -- she opened up the possibility for him to display those qualities that he had and to rise to the occasion. >> host: she also said as you well know that while she was sitting on the bus refusing to give seat she was thinking about emmett till, the young 14-year-old but what from chicago who went to mississippi in 1955 and because he looked at
10:31 pm
a white woman he was brutally murdered. do you think that changed or sparked anything in the civil rights movement? >> guest: a lot of things did. there was his death. there was the brown versus board of education decision. there was the killing of the civil rights workers. it was people like barbara jones, the young high school student who led a walkout of the segregated schools to protest against the inferior education. that's in 1951. many people we don't even know their names oregon before rosa parks in montgomery. there were two other teenagers who did the same thing. so this resistance largely among young people. >> host: always among the young.
10:32 pm
>> guest: when we talk about south africa it was the students and saleh though. we all remember nelson mandela. nelson mandela was in a prison. it was the students stephen eco-who revived a movement in the early 70's and late 60's. >> host: there was james sybil talking about children the young people leading the way. he did something that got a lot of criticism for him and for dr. king. tell the story about the children's movement. >> guest: again, king was at a crucial point. we have the image the king gave the direction and he had a margin people across the country followed him. that is wrong. from montgomery which king did not initiate through birmingham,
10:33 pm
king is a leader in search of a follower. only in birmingham can he initiate and sustain a movement but that reached a crucial point in april of 1963. all the people who are adults who are willing to get arrested had already been arrested. including king himself. that is when he writes his letter from a birmingham jail. and is that the crucial point where it was not clear that he was going to win in birmingham. and when you think about it if he had lost their would have been no march on what shinkman. there would have been no nobel peace prize. they wouldn't be talking about martin luther king. so would save the day in birmingham was well there are no adults to be arrested. but james bevel and dorothy cotton are saying they're the same people who are just eager to be arrested. they are eager to join.
10:34 pm
we have been saying you are too young and you can't get involved. at that point they are coming into the picture. is save the day. >> host: are there any iconic pictures of that time this spring to mind for you? >> guest: oh of course. the young young people and the dogs in the hoses but a story that really one person that was involved told me about was being in high school and because the teachers and the principals were all -- they knew they had to get things under control and that time their resentments were boiling over. and at this one school they locked the gates. they had a fence around it. >> host: to keep the children in? how old were they? what age were they? >> guest: they were high school age and at a certain point the students left and
10:35 pm
actually pushed the fence down. >> host: they say a child will lead the way. >> guest: they could not be restrained at that point. that changed the momentum of the birmingham campaign and that became the basis of kennedy introducing the civil rights act and the march on washington which in some ways was an extension of what was going on in places like terming him. >> host: but wasn't after the march that dr. carson that the bombing of the church before -- with four young black girls killed in alabama? >> guest: that was a reminder that the sense of triumph that king had after the march in washington. just a few weeks later he was
10:36 pm
faced with going back to birmingham and conducting a funeral. >> host: do you think he felt guilty? >> guest: of course. he felt guilty about all those kids being in jail. he felt guilty and he tried to explain. i was listening to one of his speeches and he said these children are doing -- they need they know to do this for future generations. they know and some of their parents i think recognize. i think my own parents, they didn't want me to get involved. >> host: of course not. >> guest: they brought me to los alamos new mexico so i wouldn't have to deal with that. >> host: you said in your book they were surprised after the church bombing of the white complacency and white people didn't seem to react to children being murdered, brutally murdered -- murdered and we also
10:37 pm
what happened in the tragedy at the sandy hook elementary school. all humanity was moved by that. why weren't white people moved by those children being murdered? >> guest: why aren't white people is concerned about the death of a black child as they are about the death of a white child's? that is one of the fundamental issues that we still address. you know, we have had situations where assault weapons are used on a weekly basis, monthly basis in the urban areas and the victims are black children. >> host: dr. carson, 500 people in 2012 or murdered, black people were murdered on the south side of chicago and it seems to matter more that they are killing each other than there are children who are dead. it doesn't seem to be --
10:38 pm
in the country even in our community about it. >> guest: that is where we are so nation. i think most americans, blacks and whites and all races understand that we are not the nation -- >> host: that we say we are. >> guest: but there is still a reluctance to address that issue and understand it. part of it comes from -- if you put say one of the problems of school education is that of white children are at inferior schools, then there is action. >> host: there is action. >> guest: that is one of the things about desegregation. black parents get their kids into a school with white kids. they have got leverage.
10:39 pm
one of the problems with the way in which we went about desegregation is that i agree we should have had -- the black kids should have been allowed to go to central high school. but that was little rock nine. what about the 900 who were still in the all-black schools? what is being done to make sure that their education is -- because that would have cost a lot of money and would have cost a lot of resources. that is where the nation failed during that time. yes we need to break down the racial barriers and make it possible to have an all white school. but that still doesn't do with the problem of what happened to the predominantly black schools. >> host: during the blessing i was living in boston in the early 70's. some call it forced busing and i collect court-ordered busing.
10:40 pm
we didn't want our black children to go to school with white kids because we wanted to integrate. just as you said we wanted to go to the schools because the schools were better than the books were better. the teachers were necessarily better but the opportunities were better and it begs me to my other question of where i'm the on the quicksand of racial injustice and the hard rock of -- where are we in this country? not just black people that way people to? where are we? are we somewhere in the middle? are we almost there? where are we? >> guest: i think that we need to celebrate the victories. any generation of people who bring an end to the jim crow system in the south with segregation and discrimination that exists and the generation that ended colonialism. when i tell my students about colonialism they have to look in their history books.
10:41 pm
about apartheid and what was that about? legalizing discrimination and racism. so the victory over white supremacy as a legalized system of oppression, that was a tremendous victory. the heroic figures. during that time the majority of humanity has change. that has never happened in history where the majority of people in a relatively short period of time went from being peasants to citizens. but now -- >> host: 300 years or more of slavery and then they tell the slaves to way. about 150 years of apartheid here in america of jim crow and we were told to wait. and many black people were told
10:42 pm
to wait four more years for president obama second term, for him to act. women brought their issues to the president. we want of immigration reform and other governments are bringing their issues to our president. martin took his issue -- >> guest: who is stopping them? >> host: why is at? >> guest: it's one thing to say president obama is not responding. but what are we doing to put the issue to it so that we have to respond to? and to me, we are not using that leverage. everyone knows that it's the black vote -- >> host: 93%. >> guest: the latino vote that was decisive in the last election, women. each of these groups who played
10:43 pm
a role in electing him. that is why in my view when i came here for the inauguration i said in the day before the non-duration i gave a speech to the more house alums that came and i said the important day is not tomorrow. we celebrate that. the important days the day after tomorrow. what are we going to do them? and for a lot of people they went home. >> host: that's true and celebrated. it is a milestone. i never thought in my lifetime i would see a black president so it is. we have talked a great deal about the movement that we have talked very little about you. i think you're getting to know you or your comments. you have edited dr. king's papers. there are papers from boston university where he went to school and there are other papers. how are the papers are you it is different? what did you find? >> guest: there is many
10:44 pm
different. the papers of boston in the papers of atlanta and the papers in so many different places, hundreds of archives around the world. i found king papers in india. so you bring them all together and you decide how to publish them and make them available to people. that has been my job for the last 25 years. >> host: you are a historian and your african-american. i can see your interest. what really brought you to want to do this? coretta his wife, his widow asked you about what was her motivation for wanting to do at? >> guest: i think i didn't want to not do it. i think it was more -- i had a lot of doubts because i didn't know of wanted to devote the rest of my career to doing this. >> host: what did she say to you? how did she ask you? >> guest: she asked whether i would be interested in actually when we first talked on that
10:45 pm
phonecall i said aren't there other people who have done more were? my work was on the grassroots struggle and not so much on king's role. i never have really written much about king apart from the movement. so but then she came out and i remember my wife saying do you want to spend the rest of your career saying you could have been the editor of martin luther king's book and you turned it down? ..
10:46 pm
>> people were telling me she has papers under her bet, in her house. part of what i tell is a gradual process by which i gained access to those materials. >> host: how did you do that? >> guest: it took time. >> host: they were valuable. >> guest: that was part of it.
10:47 pm
when the bill -- the young guest. i am sari. the youngest son decided he wanted to bring them all together and put them up for auction. at that point* the question became what will happen with the papers in the home? then i would go through the materials. they were extremely rich opening a whole new dimension about martin the third king but dealing with his life as a minister. you could find out what he was thinking about putting together his sermons, and his library, when he was
10:48 pm
reading, in the basement of ago through his materials, handwritten notes. >> host: was it in longhand? >> guest: yes. for example, i have a yellow pad that he wrote out the draft of the speech of the nobel peace prize. when i first saw that, my heart stopped because first of all, who have a sense the last person who touched this was martin luther king. >> host: you talk in the book "martin's dream" about him being more of a profit within a protester. did you see his early philosophy as a theologian? >> guest: one thing that set him apart was they would go to meetings and organized
10:49 pm
campaigns. this is not the best. what he was best that was the montgomery bus boy. women organized a boycott. [laughter] it was almost 100 percent successful before he became the leader. but after the first day, with the mass rally, he is the one who said when the history books are the future that there were great people who have the courage to recognize the historical importance of what they have done. i am sure they think now we have the one day boycott not to bring about desegregation but better treatment. he said no.
10:50 pm
is a movement that later people will be writing about he is right. every american history book now you see the boycott. >> host: as the young man on the mall at 19 and you heard him, then a historian years later and touching what he touched a and reading what he wrote in rough draft, what was the picture of him then and how did that change? >> there is a chapter about compiling the autobiography. at that point* i take all of the autobiographical writings and putting it together in a narrative. when i get to the march to recognize now i can see that
10:51 pm
person that i saw from a distance, he is describing people like myself from all forms of transportation and who are becoming active, i see my 19 year old self sue the eyes of the person that i saw. >> host: amazing to do that. >> guest: i could never a mention. being 19 year-old black kid at that point*, even mentioning 12 years later to be professor at stanford. 1963 was inconceivable that 12 years later a word to decades later to get a call from coretta scott king war
10:52 pm
i would be designing for designing the king memorial. but there is another question about the papers. there were charges against dr. king. you found an unwanted discoveries. i hate to talk about it but full disclosure. >> guest: i think it is necessary not to put him on a pedestal. he was a flawed individual i found this out when i went through his academic papers and finding plagiarism. >> guest: how old was he? was see in school? >> he was in college academic papers it was not like he was handing in a paper he copied from somebody else but, i'll look
10:53 pm
at like he was taking passages sometimes writing accurately sometimes not attributing. >> guest: preachers preach. >> but not with a college professor. there are specific rules what you can do and can do and everything you get from another source you attribute to another source. >> host: we need more time. your play. you want to do more with the dr. king legacy than just write a book you have written a play, passages of martin luther king and you took to china, palestine. those are amazing places to take up play who is a protester against the
10:54 pm
government. >> host. >> guest: i tried to find other ways to do documentary's about the movement. i worked on eyes on the prize. i was a colleague of another playwright. ms. smith suggested i have to create a minor documents. you have spare life to bring together all these sources burkhardt station so take that and transform it into a plate. >> guest: i did not know how much work and difficult it would be, but i did it and the play was produced at stanford and i worked closely with the person in the drama department.
10:55 pm
we did it. since then i tinker with it. is the hobby. >> host: some of it is in the books. how did you write a play, go through all you have to do it with governments and what was the reception? >> guest: in china a former student was there. she was fluent in chinese and was there for a long time and she had seen danny glover perform king and she said why can't we do this in china? it would be a great impact. she convinced the national theatre of china.
10:56 pm
said the leading theater company of china was at my disposal 2007. we performed in a theater less than 2 miles from. >> host: square in the chinese. we have the birmingham protest with the chinese men are part to mr. king leading protesters all of this before packed audiences within walking distance of tien an men square. so translate his legacy and translate a baptist choir and i said how would you like to go to china? so they had the opportunity to work with the greatest
10:57 pm
theater company as well as people from other parts. this is the first time african-american performers performed on the same stage in china. >> host: so you make history. >> guest: it was historic. but after china and then, where else? la had been in the palestinian territories in the '90s. because of the role of nonviolence off between the israelis and palestinians. i thought why not there? fell again the palestinian national theater taking on this play. we took it to different communities.
10:58 pm
>> host: what was their reaction from the israeli government? you have a protester story. >> guest: i did not ask permission to it. >> host: you did not have to have it? >> guest: not really. i had a little bit of trouble getting in. but once we got into israel israel, coming through israel into jerusalem, they just chose not to oppose it. i'm sure they could have. >> host: always read your conflict the word terrorism is always mentioned. here they had interest in nonviolence. >> guest: including one of the students who had taken with my class and took a student from india.
10:59 pm
palestinian student going with me to him to indiana and comes back to his hometown and now one of the leaders of student non-violent movement on the west bank and staged the freedom riots and the west bank. >> host: he did? >> guest: he got arrested of course. but it was a way to challenge the discrimination in the nonviolent way. >> host: we did not get to you being on the mall again when the monument was dedicated. did you have to do anything about the drum major conflict? >> guest: i tell the whole story. part of the vision set in stone and the


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on