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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  March 22, 2014 11:59am-2:01pm EDT

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i would love to say that our president, mr. obama, was correct when he said we can't be at war forever, we just have to end this thing. i wish that were the way the world worked. but mr. president, i am sorry, both sides have to stop in a war. as chris has discussed today the other side hasn't decided to stop yet. that means we need to stay involved as well. i asked you to join me in thanking chris for great presentation. [applause] >> he is going to stay here to sign any books. anyone who purchased one outside can bring it back and he would be happy to sign it. >> thanks for being here at heritage with us. >> booktv is on facebook? interact with booktv guest endures as get up-to-date information on events.
12:00 pm .. >> my forthcoming book is called "r freedom now," and i have an edited volume, "black women respond to michelle obama." i want to welcome everybody on behalf of the links, wonderful organization here in
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charlottesville, virginia, as well as the virginia foundation for the humanities and the producers of the virginia festival of the book. please turn off all your cell phones, okay? i will just tell you the festival is free of charge, not free of cost. so please remember to go online and give back or pick be up a giving envelope from the information desk at the omni hotel and support your festival so we may sustain it for many, many years. please till out the evaluations, these provide useful information that helps the festival continue to be free and open to the public. following the talk there will be a book sale so, please, support our fabulous authors by buying tear books, okay -- their books, okay? and the program today is called african-american stories of
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work, change and dispossession. and this is featuring m.j. o'brien, tammy ingram, steven a. reich -- is that correct? >> reich. >> ike, okay. -- can reich. okay. pete daniel, and i am the moderator. we'll begin with pete daniel, he has been both a professor of history and a public historian. he has served as the president of southern historical association and the american association of historians, and he currently lives in washington d.c. this is his seventh book, "dispossession." let's welcome him, please. [applause] >> thank you. how many farmers do we have here? one farmer?
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two, okay. in "dispossession," i analyze discrimination that drove black farmers from the land and record the story of the stalwart brach farmers -- black farmers who fought back. it was an unfair fight. from top the bottom, the u.s. department of agriculture, usda, was run by white men, many prejudiced against african-americans, women, indians, hispanics; that is, anyone who was not a white male. recall that by 1910 african-americans held title to some 16 million acres of farmland. by 1920 there were 925,000 black farmers, the acquisition of land and tenure coming under some of the country's harshest racial discrimination and violence. during the height of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, the black farm count in ten
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southern states fell from 132,000 to 16,000. and 88 -- an 88% decline. this was not an sent. three -- an accident. three usda agencies played a role in discriminatory process. the ascs managed a lot of subsidy programs. the federal extension service offered advice on the latest farming techniques, organize toed 4-h clubs for rural youth and established home demonstration clubs for rural women. fha offered loans to farmers unable to secure credit from private sources. these three powerful agencies wielded tremendous economic and political power. they hired office staffs, selected extension and home demonstration agents, controlled information, adjusted acreage
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allotments, dispersed loans, adjudicated disputes and in many cases, looked after family and friends. county administrators had enormous discretion in how programs were carried out and who benefited. the student nonviolent coordinating committee, sncc, contested ascs elections for these powerful county committees that carried out these policies. and despite sncc's tactics, they ran into duplicity, lies and even violence. and they won only a few seats over the years they were involved in actively contesting these seats. i devote three chapters to their efforts. and this effort as largely been whited out by the department of agriculture that claims that it was today, not sncc, that encouraged black farmers to vote, which is totally untrue.
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and the cover of my book -- have you got? this was taken by one of the people who work for sncc, and it's a picture she took in mississippi of a black farmer doing something with plowing across a field. and she, there's several other of her pictures in the book, but she's one of these people who came to mississippi in the summer of '64. and it was her and others who organized these to contest these elections. the extension service integrated in 1965 meaning that african-american administrators transferred from black to white land grant colleges where they were given nothing to do. black county agents and home demonstration agents out in the counties were put under white control with secondary titles. at tuskegee university, willie strain had edited "the negro
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farmer," which was a very popular newspaper giving accounts of all the news that farmers like to read. when he was transferred to auburn university, he was shunned and given no duties. he said when he walked in in the morning, the white people would turn their backs to him, and he would go into his office and put his books down, and then he would go to the library and read. well, he got tired of that and went back to graduate school to seek another degree and then returned to auburn, received the same treatment. when he was passed over for position of head of the department which he was highly qualified to do, he sued. and the case became a major, major civil rights case. strain v. fillpot, and the decision, rendered by judge frank johnson, basically dismembered all of that prejudicial structure that the alabama extension service had
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and said you will hire a black person for this and this and made it very, police sit what had to be done -- explicit what had to be done. the strain case is very important, but how many of you had ever heard of willie strain before? i hadn't either until i started this project. and the around conservativists at -- archivists at the university said did you know he's still alive and he's living over in tuskegee? so i went and interviewed him and another person who had this similar treatment. the farmers home administration systematically denied farmers loans and since they, like their white neighbors, needed credit to buy seeds, fertilizer and pesticides to stop the crop year, many were forced out of farming. these county fha people had total power on who got loans. there was no appeal no matter what even the committee said. it was the administrators, and
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there are many stories in this book about administrators that were horrible, prejudicial and so forth. some of this story is seen through the eyes of william sebron who was an african-american administrator of the civil rights office in the department of agriculture. and he was an isolated black man in a very prejudiced bureaucracy. and his attempts to do things were thwarted, memos he sent were intercepted, and then after the fix son administration -- nixon administration came in, usda people blamed him for not having achieved more civil rights. timothy pickford was a north carolina farmer who this 1999 after joining with a lot of old farmers had a case called pickford v -- [inaudible] how many of you have heard of that case? a lot of more of you have heard of that.
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the judge in this case basically said since 1981 when the nixon administration quit -- when they started throwing complaints into the trash, since then any black farmer who had documentation to prove discrimination could join this suit and try to get some money back. for discrimination. and, of course, that happened. the case was decided, an elaborate system to see who was owed what was set up, and in the fullness of time, the money was appropriated. meantime, of course, many farmers passed away and never received the benefits from this. the focus of "dispossession," the book that i wrote, is before 1981. most of it is about, takes place if the 1960s -- in the 1960s. there's no tombstone marking the final resting place of discrimination. thank you. [applause] >> thank you, dr. daniel.
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now we have m.j. o'brien who's an independent writer. his interests in the civil rights era was sparked as a catholic seminarian during the late 1960s and deepened as he studied the nonviolent philosophies of gandhi, martin luther king jr. and dorothy day. he excelled at english and history at st. marie's seminary -- st. mary's seminary in maryland, graduating in 1973. he earned a second ba in communications from washington, d.c.'s american university in 1984 and worked as a corporate communications executive for over 30 years. o'brien recently retired from the national rural utilities cooperative finance corporation, and o'brien -- along with his wife, allison mcgill -- adopted three african-american children from washington d.c. and because of this, they developed a keen interest in
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u.s. race relations. his published "we shall not be moved," is by university press of mississippi, 2013 be, coming out -- 201, coming out, has come out in paperback, right? and o'brien blogs regularly on issues of race and civil rights at please welcome him. [applause] >> well, thank you all for being here. it's wonderful to be here at virginia festival of the book, and it's great to be on the panel with such other great authors. my story really begins with a photograph, and so i hope you'll indulge me with a few visuals. i think many people who see this picture are familiar with it, and it is a picture, a unique picture in the civil rights movement of the jackson
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woolworth sutt-in. and i wanted to tell you a little bit about that story. it has now become iconic and instantly recognizable, but there was a time when this was just another one of many photographs taken during the civil rights movement. i was lucky enough if my 20s to meet -- in my 20 to meet the woman at the suspect of the photograph, the white woman with her head turned away from the camera with the bun on the back of her head. her name is joan mulholland, and she was a radical freedom fighter from the beginning of the student movement in 1960. i met her -- and the story, one of the things that people know is the photograph but they really don't know the entire story of what this photograph represents and how it is uniquely connected to the story of method ger evers in mississippi. and i, in the book i kind of connect those dots and try to weave together the stories of
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the many people who made up the jackson movement as it came to be known. i met joan, the woman at the isn't of the photograph, through -- center of the photograph, through her children. and this is just a kind of blurry photo of her five children at the time that i met them this 1977 when i was playground counselor in their neighborhood, and they would come to the playground. and it was through them that i met this very interesting, hippie-like-looking woman who drove a purple vw, you know, bus with a big peace sign on the back. and i didn't really know her history in mississippi or understand, you know, what she had gone through. and it was only over the course of years that she began to tell me her story. the prior panel focused on the fact that there are a lot of oral histories that we don't know, and it was new -- through her story to begin with and then the many other people who participated in the jackson movement later that i got to
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talk to that make up the centerpiece of this book. it's not unlike, my meeting joan is not unlike the story that was told by thomas key neely in "schindler's list". he happened upon one of schindler's people when he went into a store the in california to buy a suitcase, and the people who ran the store was one of the folks who are now, you know, dock uted in schindler's -- documented in "schindler's list". the story of the jackson movement may not have come to light except for my chance meeting with joan and her chirp. it took me -- and her children. it took me 15 years to really understand the significance of this photo. her kids would always tell me that my mom's in a famous picture, but 15 years after i first saw that picture, i went to the king center for social change in atlanta and saw this picture in context with all the other iconic civil rights
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photographs and realized that this was more than just a family photograph, this was a significant moment in the history of the civil rights movement. and i started interviewing joan when i got back from that trip, and that is what eventually led to the book. i had -- it was such a shock to see that picture this that space and to realize i had a deep connection with the person right in the center. and joan introduced me to other people in the picture. some of you may not know, but the black woman in the picture is ann moody who wrote her own, you know, significant document -- oral history, really, of her own life called "coming of age in mississippi." the man sitting to the right of joan is john salter who was a professor at a college, a historically black college right outside of jackson. he also wrote a memoir of his experiences in jackson called "jackson, mississippi." but nub of them really -- none of them really had gone to the
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trouble of actually documenting, you know, footnoting, making sure that this is really prepared for the historians who will review it in depth in the future. and so i determined to take that task as by own, and for the next 20 years, really, from 992 until -- 1992 until just last year, it took me that long to get it down and to find a publisher and get it out. so thankfully, it's out now. and if i have a little bit more time, paula? how much we got? >> [inaudible] >> five minutes, okay, we're good. i wanted to talk a little bit about how this story is i uniquely linked to med garre's life -- medgar's life. and i didn't know this until i started going deeper into the story. because, of course, medgar evers was a naacp field secretary in mississippi, the sole staff person for the naacp within the state s. and since late 1954 he
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had been agitating for change within the state of mississippi. often, you know, a sole, lone wolf figure who, you know, was harassed and really terrorized within his own state. his family was harassed. they got phone calls almost every day threatening to kill him and his family. it was a horrible, horrible situation he was in, and i didn't realize that this photograph and this sit-in that happened in may 1963, now many people mistake this photograph for the original greensboro sit-in which happened in 1960 in north carolina where four black guys from north carolina a and t went down and sat in at the woolworth's. and that was really the start of the student movement. it created, you know, a blast that we're still kind of reeling from. but this sit-in happened three years later, the woolworth's
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did. so it took three years for that movement to get to mississippi and to make it into the mainstream and for people in mississippi to realize we, too, have to rise up like the rest of the south. and this is the first three people who went to the sit-in were from the college, these three black kids. i got to meet all of them and talk with all of them. in fact, i i got to meet and talk with all of the nine folks who were in the sit-in. but to get back to medgar, this sit-in, the jackson woolworth's sit-in created in a waying with the kind of opportunity -- in a way the kind of opportunity for all of the black populists to come together under the banner of the jack ason movement led by medgar and supported by john salter. finally the black populace rose
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up. it was such a repressive society that people were unwilling to stand up because they would be mowed down or hounded out of the state. particularly black people would lose their jobs, you know in but the young people said we've been putting up with this for far too long, and we're just going to have to make stand, and that's what they did. this turned into a scene that went on for three hours with people harassing. you see the kids in the back harassing the common astronauters, pouring sugar -- demonstrators pouring sugar and salt and ketchup on them. it was more than what you see. brass knuckles were pulled out, cigarettes were put out on the back of his neck. the girls were pulled off their stools and dragged through the store. i mean, all kinds of crazy things went on during those three hours, but because the police did not come in and stop the demonstration, this made national news, and it gave the oxygen to movement that enabled it for the next two weeks to become a major movement.
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and for more than a thousand people, mostly young people, to be arrested. and so the spotlight finally was beginning to shine on mississippi, would shine much harder the following year during freedom summer. but unfortunately, the two weeks of unrest that this demonstration started ended with the assassination of medgar evers in jackson. and that's how those two events are uniquely linked. and i got one minute, so i want to tell my final story about the photographer, and that's fred blackwell there who was only 22 years old when he took this famous photograph. he worked for the local newspaper, the jackson daily news. he was a segregationist just like all the kids in the background were. he grew up with those kids. he had gone to school with some of their, some of tear brothers and sisters -- some of their brothers and sisters. and he went in the store that day hoping that the demonstration would be, you
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know, taken out. and he was on the side of the kids who were doing all the bad things to the demonstrators. but as he witnessed and continued to take pictures throughout the three-hour common straight and saw -- demonstration and saw his neighbors becoming more and more out of control and doing more and more outlandish things to the demonstrators, he had a change of heart. during the demonstration as he was taking photographs and realized that segregation could not continue and that he was on the wrong side of history. and it took him 30 years before he told anybody, luckily, i was able to capture his story before he told anybody that story. and he graciously allowed me to publish it in my book. so i'm happy to tell that story and the many, many other stories that the demonstrators and even some of the people in the crowd in "we shall not be moved." thank you very much. [applause] >> okay.
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so let's welcome dr. tammy ingram who received her ph.d. from yale university in 2007 and is currently assistant professor at the college of charleston where she teaches courses on the modern south, 20th century u.s. politics, film and history. her first book, "dixie highway," is the first comprehensive study of the progressive era good roads movement and the dixie highway. ingram's current book, new book, "dixie mafia: sex, race and organize toed crime in the sun belt," sounds very -- [laughter] offers a broad view of organized crime networks in the postwar u.s. in the south. professor ingram blogs and writes op eds about her scholarly research interests for the huffington post and the
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"atlanta journal-constitution". please let's welcome her. >> thank you for the nice introduction, thank you for being here today. for those of you who don't know where the dixie highway is, it was an unofficial route that lasted from about 1915 until 1925. it was originally planned to stretch from chicago to miami beach, and in the process of deciding precisely where the route would go over the winter of 1914 and 1915, rural southerners were so excited about the prospect of having this new, you know, access to new lines of commune caution and transportation that they lobbied really hard to be on the route. and as a result of that, the organizers of the highway who were not elected officials, they were mostly businessmen and newspapermen and boosters,
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decidedded that a single route was not going to serve all of these diverse constituencies who wanted to be on the route. so instead they decided to make it a much more ambitious route, and i didn't know we could have images, or i would have brought you a map. there is a map on the back of the book. it turned into nearly 6,000 miles of local roads that had been stitched together into what i argue is really the first modern interstate highway network in the united states. and it looped, ultimately, from michigan right on the canadian border all the way to miami beach and back up again. so it was a very ambitious and sophisticated project at a time when the vast majority of roads in the country were entirely local in scope. there were not very many or really no road maps back in those days, but if there had been, it would have looked like spokes on a wheel with the railroad depot in the center. but if you wanted to travel long
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distance, you were dependent upon the railroads which, obviously, was very problematic for a lot of rural southerners and particularly for african-americans and for farmers. so because the ducks city highway really challenged -- the dixie highway really challenged that model of road building, it was significant. but in the book i focus more on the political processes that moved road building from entirely under the jurisdiction of local authority and into the hands of these massive state and federal bureaucracies that had enormous political power and also control of pretty massive budgets as well. so to sort of explain how i came to this and what it has to do with african-american history in particular, i actually started out trying to write a book project on, a research project on movement within the south, interregional migration during the great migration. and wiz interested in
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african-americans -- i was interested in african-americans who went to industrial centers like birmingham or atlanta and what sort of demographic patterns had been overlooked in the scholarship on the great migration. not everybody left the south, but a whole lot of people left the rural south and went into cities. i realized that all the political debates during that time were all about roads. everyone in the rural south felt so isolated. white southerners, black southerners, but this these small rural hamlets, they were very isolated and couldn't get around. so i sort of transitioned to writing about road building because of that. and i thought that what i would find in the process of researching this book was that these i new interstate highway networks, like the dixie highway and the advent of the automobile in and the affordability and accessibility of automobiles by the 1920s, gave rural southerners in general and african-americans in particular much greater control over their
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own mobility and much more independence. and while that's certainly true, the story that really seemed more sort of overwhelmed me in the archives was really not so much a story of triumph as it was about the story, a story of, ployation of black labor -- exploitation of black labor on county cane gangs. although white southerners were initially willing to turn over local control to be state and federal bureaucracies if it meant they were going to have these great long distance highways and be able to get around a little more easily, once they realized that doing that took away a lot of their own control over road projects in the south, they started to back away from it. and one of the issues that really -- over which they broke on this was the issue of chain gangs. chain gangs had been passed in the south under the guise of
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progressive era political reform, and the idea was that they could rehabilitate men, bad men and bad roads at the same time. a historian has written quite a bit about this. but at the very same time that the south was trying to engage in this great modernizing project that was the roads movement and that is exemplified by the success of the dixie highway, they were also recommitting themselves to a very brutal system of labor that reentrenched local control. because although chain gangs were legal because of state laws and they were state prisoners, they were controlled entirely at the local level. and even as they are trying to modernize and build highways like the dixie highway and state highway engineers and federal engineers are saying, you know, you can't have these brutalized prisoners building these roads, it's not working the roads are in terrible shape and you really need to invest in engineers and
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modern road building machinery, the white south was unable to do that because it meant giving up control over black labor. so state and federal bureaucracies incidentally were come plus sit this this because the state -- complicit in this because in some states i focus on the state commission can the state highway department were one and the same. and so they saw these things as their plan for modernizing highways was to exploit black labor. georgia was the last state to abandon chain gangs. it was not until the 1940s. incidentally are, largely because of a white prisoner who escaped and wrote a them hour, robert burn withs. there's a film about it called "i am a fugitive from a georgia chain gang." and it was because of that negative publicity from a white man that finally moved georgia officials to ban chain gangs. but the sort of narrative arc in
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the book is really about how what looks like it's going to be this very successful project, and it was successful and the dixie highway was completed, and it was pretty remarkable it was completed so quickly before it was absorbed by state and federal highway systems that, ultimately, by the end of the life span of the dixie highway, a lot of people had sort of backed away from their support to have good roads movement. and one of reasons for that was their unwillingness to give up control over black labor. and so for white southerners, i suggest that there was a lot greater value both politically and economically in controlling black labor than in building good roads, ultimately. and it was really coupled with the onset of the great migration and the second world war this sentiment, this sort of populist backlash that i detail in the book really slowed road building until after the second world war, until eisenhower took it up again in the 19 50z. and that's really the story that we're almost more familiar with
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when we think about infrastructure. but if you look at it in the early 20th century, it's really very much a story about race and about the exploitation of black labor in particular. [applause] >> thank you v. -- thank you vey much. thank you, excellent. so now we have dr. steven a. reich, patient d. from northwestern, and he's a professor of history at james madison university in harrison, virginia, down the street. he teaches courses in labor, african-american and southern history as well as in historical research methods. he edited the three-volume encyclopedia of the great migration, 2006, with a condensed version forth coming. he won the organization of american historians' louis m. peltzer memorial awe ward. he has written -- award. he has written on southern labor history, the great migration, racial violence and black
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political act absolutely in the jim -- activism in the jim crow south, and these have been published in the journal of historical society as well as be many others. roman and littlefield press has invited him to write on the history of the great migration for their african-american history series. he will be discussing his book, "a working people: a history of african-americans since the emancipation." let's welcome him, please. [applause] >> good afternoon, and thank you, paula, for that introduction and to the organizations and the virginia it's value of the book for inviting me and the other panelists to to come and speak to you for a few moments about our work. "a working people," my book, does appear in the roman littlefield african-american history series, and this series of books, edited by jacqueline moore and mien that -- [inaudible] two historians, they have
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engineered this series as kinds of books that are neither books that academics write for themselves, nor are they books by, for popular audiences that academics often complain that do not have the proper, those authors don't have the proper training or in collecting and interpreting and evaluating historical evidence. and so jackie and nina imagined a series of books that, of volumes written by experts, but that would be written this lively and accessible prose, free of jar gone but by -- jargon who could synthesize the latest research meds and offer succinct key moments of african-american history. and all the volumes in the series include an amen ducks of primary -- appendix of primary source documents that are witnesses to the historical events that the volumes describe n. my volume on african-american
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labor places work at the center of the post-civil war black experience. and the reason they do that is that -- do this is that work in many ways shaped the social, political and cultural outlook of african-americans. finish for african-americans efforts to win equality and secure the rights of citizenship, to fulfill the promise of reconstruction in many ways, they understood, could not be achieved without guarantees of dignity at work as well. black experiences of discrimination were felt most profoundly, i would argue, at work and in the spheres of economics. and that work experience, that workplace discrimination -- not to dismiss these, but i think was far more important than the experiences of discrimination on buses, streetcars, schools -- well, not necessarily schools, but lunch counters and other public, other public accommodations. most blacks, therefore, understood the connection
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between the economic rights and civil rights and understood that the two could not be separated. and in many way it is thesis of my book is, when the march on washington in 1963 and activists who descended on washington that day carried a series of banners with various slogans, all these printed with the help of the united automobile workers, and one of my favorites is a sign that said "civil rights plus full employment equals freedom." and my book tries to restore the full employment side of that equation, that it's more than a civil rights movement. the civil rights movement is not simply about civil rights, but there's this economic component to it, and that when we look at the story, when we write african-american history as labor history, that story emerges much more clearly, and it's a way, and the book is largely intended for a student
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audience, one that i think is very important for students and young readers to grasp. so the book has six chapters, and it sort of covers reconstruction through the current day, and i just sort of give you a brief sort of outline of how that story of the quest for full employment fulfilled this larger black freedom struggle history. the story of reconstruction in the book, as i narrate, emphasizes how class as well as racial conflict were at the center of reconstruction politics, for it pitted the interests of former slaves against those of former masters, and that conflict determined the boundaries of freedom, for this was about who would control the terms of work in the post-civil war south. and although black activists and african-americans were successful during reconstruction in winning formal, civil and political rights during reconstruction, they did not -- they were unable to translate that political access into a
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kind of political power that would deliver a redistribution of the south's economic resources. and, hence, today failed to really break the political power of the ruling white elite. and then the second chapter on jim crow's black workers really underscores this economic rationale to to segregation and disfranchisement. having secured the command of black labor in reconstruction, i argue southern planters and industrialists sustained the economic and political sub odder to nation of african-americans -- subordination of african-americans. as tammy says, the interest here is to maintain control of black workers and black labor, to maintain a subordinated, economically-discriminated- again st, politically-week, pliable labor force. and so that's how i argue the way in which jim crow disenfranchisement denies the
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right to vote funks. but finish functions. but the story i tell in the book is not just discrimination and horrible experiences at the workplace. the book explores centrally the many ways in which black workers struggled to change the conditions that structured their working lives. and it sort of tries to rescue or are to restore, to bring to readers' attention the importance of black labor activism to african-american history and to the black freedom movement. and here there are sort of three themes that -- emerge. first, african-americans migrated to take advantage of tight labor markets when and where they existed. and this was especially in world wars i and ii, two fundamental episodes in which black working class fortunes improved. these years of in this mass migration of blacks out of the south transformed the african-american labor force from an industrial surplus reserve of casual labor into a
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population that became over the first three, well, three or four said to have the 20th century that became integral to the work force of america's core industries; steel, meat packing, automobile manufacturing, ship building and so forth. there they joined and built a labor movement responsive to their interests. this didn't always happen. african-americans were very skeptical of the labor movement, and there was a long, difficult and uneasy alliance between the labor movement, unions and african-americans. but by the 1950s, if not a little bit earlier, african-americans had become the most committed unionists in the u.s. labor force. and thaw had understood the advantages -- they had understood the advantages that a union contract brought to black workers. and then third, activists pressured the government to respond and force employers and
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vim that tour unions to eliminate employment scrum nation. african-american workers benefited most when state and federal laws passed antidiscrimination statutes. but, and i think as pete's book emphasizes, those laws didn't always work in their favor, nor were government administrators and bureaucrats necessarily willing to represent black enters or to lobby on their behalf. thus, black labor activists realized that government agencies and bureaucrats wouldn't willingly protect their interests unless through their own vigilance they would transform federal laws into effective instruments of public policy. so here i tell up the stories of the fepc can, title vii under the civil rights movement and so forth. in conclusion, the sort of things i would emphasize that the book tells, black workers
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broke the barriers of exclusion to employment, forced the labor movement to represent their interests as blacks and as workers and tried to compel the government to enforce its own standards of fair and equal employment. along the way, though, they encountered safe resistance and violent opposition in creating a more open and inclusive work force. and the story of what they achieved is a testament to their efforts, their activism and their struggles. but not just a heroic story, not at all. the fact that they did not succeed earlier, nor achieve more reminds us of the obstacles that they encountered and the endurance of racial and economic inequality that remains 150 years after e emancipation. thanks. [applause] >> so we have excellent books
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that have just been discussed, so i'm opening it up for questions, comments, thoughts. and there's a microphone right at the center. yes, microphone. yes. yes. >> mr. o'brien, could you please talk a little butt about why the jackson -- bit about why the jackson sit-in was so different from the one preceding it? >> in mississippi? well, in mississippi, you know, the typical m.o. for the police was instant arrest. so i think many of you are familiar with the freedom rides. the freedom rides or were supposed to go from washington, d.c. all the way to new orleans. but when they got jackson, everybody got arrested. they weren't going to put up with the kind of crazy mobs that
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they, people had seen in alabama where the police stepped back and let the klan and others, you know, attack the freedom ride ors. in jackson the police said we're going to enforce the local laws. we're not going to care about the federal, whatever the federal law says. we have our laws here, and we're going to enforce them. so they immediately arrested people. the reason that the jackson woolwoort's sit-in took off is that there had been a supreme court ruling just the week before that sit-in that said that the sit-ins were legal and that the police could not interfere with them unless they were invited into the store by the store manager. and so the police decided they were going to stay outside and let whatever happened happen, no matter whether there were ore crimes -- other crimes being committed in the store, they believed that it was their job just to wait physical they were invited in by -- until they were invited in by the store -- so that's why the media
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anticipation, tsa why it was able to get the kind of focus that it did in a different way than most other demonstrations in mississippi had. >> i have two questions. one is for the first panelist, and the other is for the last panelist. the first panelist, you mentioned the farmers. of course, i was brought up on farm when i was a boy. my grandfather's farm. and i noticed just recently finish i believe in the last couple weeks -- the courts ruled that they was cutting off the number of people who could receive renumeration for having been excluded. and i wanted to know your comments on what has happened, because it seems like bowd and some of others have been very much in that fight to actually have the government to finally come around after many years to
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compensate people who are denied many of these rights that white farmers had. and the question, of course, for the final panelist has to do with this you mentioned work and economics. but it seems to me that politics plays a much greater part than economics. and i say that, i know you can look at that and disagree. finish but i recall that some years ago senator stennis and some of his cohorts were able to get almost a million dollars not to plant when people who were planting did not make seed money. and that was a political decision. and on down the line we can see where politics control what economics are all about. and so i wonder how can you bring in the politics to show that what's happening at the workplace is really a political thing. we say we are a nation of laws, not a nation of work. and so if you could deal with
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that, i would appreciate it. >> i hadn't heard that there'd been any other reductions on the settlement of the pickford people who was the class action suit that involved a whole lot of african-american farmers. judge friedman set out a very deliberate way to go about getting this money, but it was only appropriated a year and a half or two years ago. when they finally appropriated the money. that doesn't mean that there isn't a bureaucracy standing there that will discriminate as to money that is parceled out to people. the department of agriculture has consistently put up barriers to anyone collecting any money for discrimination. there was an article in "the new york times," for example, a year ago where the writer alleged there was a lot of fraud and so forth in this whole thing. well, she listened to the people in the department of agriculture. that was her source for her story. and there were all kinds of student, people who studied this
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who wrote to "the new york times." i wanted to write an op-ed, but they wouldn't publish it, and several other peek i know did get -- people i do know did get published statements pointing out factual errors in that kind of approach. but i didn't hear there was a new restriction on this, so i really can't talk about that. sorry. >> 245ub8 -- [inaudible] sorry. >> yeah. thank you for your question, it's a great question. and you're absolutely right, i mean, politics is central to this. i mean, the story is, the story that i tell in the book is a very political one. the question is, is where do you bring this -- it's the politics of work, if you will. and to improve conditions at work, to gain greater access to fair employment one needs to access political channels. and to have or to have political
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leverage, if you will. and let me tell you two stories, both of which are in the book that might speak to your question. one is during reconstruction if the very early years of reconstruction, former slaves were deeply committed to acquiring land as a compensation for years of uncompensated toil as slaves. the question is how to go about acquiring land and convincing those who control the land to give it to them. when you don't have any kind of leverage or political power. and there are a number of letters to the friedmans bureau, hundreds and hundreds of these very moving e petitions to try to move friedman's bureau administerrers and orrs -- administrators and others who had the power to distribute that land. and it becomes very clear that
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african-americans have the ability to appeal, to make moral appeals, to appeal to their sense of christianty, to appeal to their sense of loyalty, to appeal to their goodwill. but without think kind of economic backing, without my kind of power, without any kind of leverage, these really didn't deliver much. the one who understood this well into the 20th century is a. philip randolph who plays as much of a role as i can put in here, who really understood that in order to achieve in this completion of the promise of reconstruction, african-americans needed political leverage. they needed the ability to make demands. and the only way you can make demands is to organize and to organize the black community and to get not just the unions
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involved, but to get the entire black community involved, to understand that victories at work are victories for the entire black community. and by patiently organize toking not only the brotherhood of sleeping car brothers but by mobilizing through churches, through fraternal orders, through taverns, through local groups to accumulate the backing to make a demand in 1941 in the imagined march on washington to threaten the roosevelt administration, franklin roosevelt administration to open up employment and defense industries to african-americans, to demand that there'd be no discrimination in employment in companies that have government contracts. that's politics. and that's power politics. but be randolph could could only succeed there if he could to say we can make this demand, this is
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more -- this is a demand, not simply a plea to your goodwill. and so a lot of the story then is to acquire -- is how to acquire, and that's the story of black labor activism, how to acquire the political leverage to make the demands on the state to respond to black working conditions. and the march on washington in 1963 there are, it's politics w passed the civil rights bill. but part of that is also to raise the minimum wage, to open up coverage of the wagner act to agricultural workers and domestic workers and so on and so forth. and then in the post, after the passage of the civil rights act, it's how to make that civil rights act stick. how to force people into actually enforcing its mechanism. it takes filing lawsuits, it takes working with lawyers, it
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takes appealing to legislators and so forth. so, yeah, it's a very political story. >> thank you. questions? more questions? comments? >> i want today maybe, if you could, just comment on something that steven had mentioned earlier which was kind of discussion about whether or not the kind of attempt to open up public aecom accommodations to sit-ins is perhaps as relevant as attempting to open opportunity workplace or the schools. to that, you know, it's almost like a staged attempt to open everything up. and i think the students and those who were fighting for freedom had to make a strategic decision, you you knowings, what is -- you know, what is the most visible aspect of life that discriminates? and at the time, clearly, it was the fact that blacks and whites couldn't even sit down and have a cup of coffee together, or blacks couldn't go into a store and try on the clothes, you
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know? they were unwelcome. so, i mean, i think you did have to pick your battles. clearly the employment -- and i think we had the same kind of situation in the attempt to integrate schools. i mean, you had black teachers with great experience once the schools were integrated, then ended up, you know, not having a lot to do, similarly to what pete had described. so i think i would probably prefer to see it maybe more as a gradual staged kind of process where eventually we do get to employment and schools. >> yeah, i mean, as i say, it's not to discount those, it's that so many students come to when i teach african-american history and southern history, they come to this thinking of it as simply a seat on the bus or a seat at a lunch counter. and as so many civil rights strategists argue during those days, it's what good is it to sit at a lunch counter if we
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can't afford the hot dog? this was said over and over and over again. and it's not that the it's one or the other, but they are together. it's that the denial of accessing the clothing store or the denial of the seat on the bus has this, it's an enforced second class status, second class citizenship status that makes those -- that population easily exploit bl and to command their labor. and there was a poll on the eve of the march on war in 1963 -- washington in 1963 that asked african-americans where do you feel more scrum nateed. -- discriminated. nine out of ten said it was at work. martin luther king said we're not simply to arrange seats on a bus, but for much, much more. when we split civil rights from economic rights, then that sort of makes us think less
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creatively about what it is that we're fighting for, what's the vision of society that we want. and as activists always understood, it's resources. access to affordable housing, access to rewarding employment, access to a good education. you can't live free without those resources. and the, you know, the segregation of downtowns and buses is a visible reminder that you don't have those. there's this great quote by one woman who sent a letter to the sepc during -- fepc during world war ii. she said i want to be treated as an american, not as a negro. and i think that quote says so much about what this larger issue is. >> all right, thank you. and i think even back to pete and maybe even tammy the fact that even the students recognized after a certain point that, you know, we're not really getting that far just by integrating lunch counters, we need political power.
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and that's why by 1964 they're focused on voting rights, they're focused on, you know, getting the ballot. freedom democratic party challenges, you know, the democratic segregationist, you know, elites in mississippi at atlantic city. i mean, there are all those attempts to finally realize, okay, we need metropolitan just a seat on -- more than just a seat on the bus. >> i can speak to that really briefly about just from the earlier period i think whites also perceived that what they were doing to limit african-americans' economic opportunities was also inextricably link today their efforts to limit african-american political opportunities as well. so the chain gang example that i was discussing in my talk, in georgia and some other states the very same legislative packages that, at the state level that passed chain gangs under the guise of progressive reform saying we're replussing the system of convict -- replacing the system of convict leasing in which prisoners had
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been rented out for a pit anticipates to railroads -- pittance to railroads to treat them however they wanted to, those same legislative pangs were also the same ones in which franchise amendments or were passed. so even in the earlier period i think, it's not -- african-americans obviously had economic definitions of freedom, political definitions of freedom, and whites also had economic and political deaf us ins limiting that freedom and limiting those opportunities, and they were very cognizant of that. so in some sense i think a lot of african-americans were articulating in the early period and in the sort of high point of the civil rights movement is they're responding directly to white efforts to limit them in both of those ways. and so, you know, whites saw it that way as well and were making a concerted effort to make sure that they addressed both. >> yes. my name is -- [inaudible] can you hear me?
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i have a question about, e guess more about -- i guess more about the hope of the economic survival and life of african-americans in this nation. and i'm thinking about two scholars in particular, randall robinson, who wrote a book called "quitting america," and said that america is never going to do right by her african-american citizens. so he wrote "quitting america, requests and he actually did quit america, and he moved to st. kit. and he's encouraging other african-americans to look at our history to say we had oklahoma, we had black wall street, how long have we been here? when is it going to change? so i wanted to kind of get your comment on that. and the other one is dr. claude anderson who said it's no longer about the civil rights, it's about economic rights for this group of people. we see other minority groups coming to america, they seem to have established their own communities and have economic viability within this nation. so i just wanted to get any
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panelist your comment on the importance of economic empowerment of african-americans. >> well, as far as farmers go, african-american farmers were almost off stage. they were part of the civil rights movement but were never looked at as farmers, and their issues they had -- the country was mechanizing. they were using more chemicals, they didn't have access to credit to join this modernism that the department of agriculture and the land grant schools or were pushing. ..
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>> there were no law books like in the courts. it took place with whatever nay wanted to please. there have been any number of attempts to get this to be recorded the way law is recorded, but it hasn't happened, so there are things like that that basically push the economic opportunity aside because what you have is a group of elites in every county who runs the whole situation, and they have access to the levers of economic opportunity.
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>> yeah, i mean, that's a difficult question. looking at the past rather than the present or the future, but, i mean, at one level, the comment you make sort of acknowledging dispair. many african-americans looked at those situations and felt dispair and left. immigration movement of the late 19th century, the repeal, that there is a -- there's a very strong black political tradition too that says america's never going to change. america will never atone for its sin. the only way to do it is to find better soil elsewhere.
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there's more to making things right, to improve conditions here. i would sort of emphasize the three things that sort of i found in putting this narrative together, same sort of precinct emphasized that black workers do better, and i say all workers do better. we're in app economy now that doesn't look like it's going to get any better any time soon for employment, for -- i mean, look at the struggles now on minimum wage, on how to -- the power the corporations have accumlated over unions in organizations, in workplaces, but i would sort of say, you know, tight labor markets, workers do better when labor markets are tight, when the labor movement is
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invigorated, expands, access to political power and people are joining unions, not afraid of unions, and workers do better when the government is on their side protecting them, protecting their interest at work rather than the interest of employers and preventing employers from pitting workers against each other whether it's black against white, men against women, immigrants against natives, however you see it. it takes an actively engaged organized labor force to preserve those things. we need, i mean, i think the history, as i see it, fairly clear that those are the things that help the most, and we need committed activists to remind us of that and bring about and keep workers not afraid of those things. >> i want to chime in there too.
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someone sent me a link to a television show that was put on tv on the actual day, and it was a dialogue between, and a member of the staff of the naacp, and it was interesting for me because he was the one, at the time, under elijah mohamed, and so they could have their own economic structure. it was further from the congress of racial equality saying, you know, i don't see that happening. i see we're all one nation and we have to find a way to get along and be successful together. it seems at this time that as i look at it now, he was naive in
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thinking that would actually ever be in that direction, and i think today, in terms of economic justice, we see all kinds of people suggesting that we have difficulties today as we did back then. inequality for all, and that talkings about the incredible discrepancy between the 1% and the rest of us and how it's getting wider, and so, again, we have to work together to challenge the power elite, whoever they may be, used to be just white men, and now it might be others. primarily, it's rich white man, who are trying to hold on to the reigns of power, and we've got to organize this as the folks
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did not civil rights movement to arrest the power that we are all in this together. >> i want to add something as well, and i'm not only the panel, but there's communities built by african-american. one is called promise land, a community of activism and struggle where these african-americans build it and wanted to be separate from whites. they were farm owners, kept farmings and so on. what happened there was every time they gained something like crawford owned 8 hirks acres of land, the why supremists murdered them. monroe, north carolina, the negro movement, with an african-american community that was off from the white communities because the ku klux klan was going in there and, you know, terrorizing the african-american communities, but as soon as they held arms,
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it alleviated. there have. efforts, you know, the ab by bill begins after reinstruction. monroe, north carolina, you know, we have that, you know this negro movement beginning in 1956, and so there have been efforts, the republic of new africa, one of whom he alluded to, and the nay your of mississippi who just died. i mean, yeah, you have these sparks, you know, where african-americans are trying to find a way to live here, but then you have, as has been pointed out by everybody, you have governmental forces preventing this from happening, so you're absolutely correct to bring all of this up. we had someone else who was getting ready to ask the question.
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>> maybe somebody called you, and you wanted to do a documentary, or you got a call from somebody from another country that would bring to light something that you wrote about into something interesting that you can share, maybe since you relesioned your book? open ended, different. >> not necessarily because the research took that long, but it was hard to find the right publisher. i line the up a publisher, a small press, that went out of business as we were going to press in 1999, which, you know, almost killed me, lit rail -- literally. we submitted to the university press of mississippi in 2000-2001. it was rejected. it was a mississippi story so it didn't make since.
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eight years later, we resubmitted, and they accepted it right away, and it was published. it's a happy ending, but it took a long time. in terms of the others, once getting published, there's a documentary about my friend, joan, that came out exactly the same time as this called "an ordinary hero," and the fact the movie and book came out at the same time, that opened up a lot of opportunities for public appearances. i often do a lot of public appearances with joan where she's the headliner, but i'm there, in the movie, telling the story, so that gives the opening for the book as well. that is a nice tendency. >> i don't know that this is -- how long it takes to get the book out, and in my case, it worked in my favor because these hundredth anniversary is coming up next fall, and winter, and actually coincides very cliesly
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with the project that i knew nothing about until recently, but, apparently, the georgia department of transportation is working with the georgia historical society to map the original route of the highway through georgia, and maybe they'll puts up markers or something, but my book came out, so it's hard to answer the question. i don't know what the response is going to be, but so far, most of the questions i've gotten and the interest i got about the book has really been about the stuff i was talking about today, which is just one chapter of the book, but it is the most demoralizing chapter of the book, but it's also the one that i like the best and that i think is the most interesting, and maybe the most important chapter of the book because you can want argue that the great, you know,
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modernizing movement and the eastern highway, incredibly impressive, sophisticated, ambitious project completed was an unmitigated success because that came at the expense of an entire generation of african-american men. i think the book sort of turns on that chapter, and it is interesting to me that that seems to be what -- i get the most questions about, about that, part of the book. >> yeah, i mean, the book, my book has not been out that long, so it'shearted to gauge what the response would be, but what i would say is that one, you know, writing the book and having people in harrisburg know i was writing the book got me involved in an effort in the city of harrisburg to change a major thoroughfare named martin king, jr. way, and i was able to
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participate in that campaign, that grew on. i was able to present myself as the next person into organizing and african-american history and so forth, and gave me some credibility with people in town, and then it was a wonderful experience, and in bringing my methods, not to academics, but to -- our students, but to just people in the community, and as it was before city counsel, editorials written on that and so forth. that's the story. >> well, my book has been out almost a year, and i think it's been greeted mostly brought with advocacy by the reading public, and there seems to be a blog, people do not want to hear about farmers in general or african-american farmers in particular, and i don't understand that because we're very close to our ancestors,
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many of whom were farmers. i have, already, some reviews. they showed that people are not attentive readers or understand what i was getting at. to say the thing that was one of the happiest things that happened to me, i gave a talk at unc, and one of the students is timothy, would you like to meet him? yes. i met him in the library there, and it was like we had been friends for life. we talked for two hours, a nice comfortable conversation of the book, which happened to him, of course, because he brought -- he was a principal first in the suit that was brought. after that, i kept in touch with him, but that past spring, he graduated from unc wilmington, and he started there in 1969 or
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so, and i taught there from 1963-66, so it was almost overwhelming there, but he won the hoggard medal of achievement as he graduated, so that's quite a story. he is an incredible person. he's very, very humble person, but when you talk to him, he's met with the leaders of this country, very important people. he sat in very important meetings, just a fantastic guy. i thought i'd share that with you, thank you. >> well, thank you, everybody, panelists, for coming. this was a fantastic talk. [applause] please make sure -- they are having a book signing, so buy the book and make sure you do the evaluations, and thank you, again the to the virginia foundation for the humanities and the links. have a great day, everybody. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations] naves a panel on african-american history, live from the 2014 virginia fest -- fast value of the book. in 45 minutes, we'll be back. while we wait for the next live event on the book "a green foreclosed," but here's a few recent interviews from the conservative political action conference held every year in maryland. [inaudible conversations] >> the people have spoken is dave's new book, and they are
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wrong, the case against democracy. what are the people wrong about, david? >> about everything, at some point; right? that's the problem, which is okay. we're all wrong about a lot of things, but more importantly, when we're wrong and coerce others to agent a certain way or accept social norms that we do, i think that democracy becomes a problem. >> in what way? >> well, because we're coercing people to change. we're underminding their freedom because of coercion. democracy is tyranny of the majority; correct? the larger government grows, more intrudes on our everyday lives and our decisions, the more democracy matters, and the more we need to stop it, diffuse it, decompartmentallize it, localize it, and try to do away with it. >> are you talking specifically about campaigns? >> no. i'm talking about growth of federal government mostly. intruding on the rights of states. i mean, i have a philosophical
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problem as well with democracy, but i think specifically in america, we have to remember our federalist roots, which i talk about in the book, and allow people to make the decisions in their own communities rather than having someone from far away be able to decide because of a good campaign, how your health care, for instance, looks like. >> so if not democracy, then what? >> well, the world is imperfect, humans are imperfect, but we need some kind of democracy to elect people to run things. what i don't think we need to do is have democracy decide what marriage looks like, what my health care looks like, what our communities look like. i think you have to localize that, and diffuse democracy as much as possible. there's no perfect system. i think we do have the structure of the best available. i think we're getting away from what makes the decision great. >> how would we do that or diminish that >> allow states to
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make their own decisions. you don't have sort of huge projects like obamacare and other thing, and i'm not just pointing the finger at democrats. i think republicans with no child left behind, other programs undermind local control of education and other things, and thus, creates this sort of central democracy rather than local democracy. >> what is the quote from john adams, that's used in the book, there never was a democracy yet that does not commit suicide? >> yeah, that's what we're doing in a way. i'm more hopeful, i guess, than he is that we can turn it around because we're not really a democracy. we're a republic. i think people have to remember that. it's a cliche. people say it all the time, but i think that was a cliche, and there's a lot of truth in it. >> where do we go? >> we're going to be headed in the wrong direction for a while, i think. religious liberty, for instance, washington decides what it means
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elsewhere by pressuring governors and essentially working people to participate, advocate for a gay wedding. i'm actually for the government getting out of the business of marriage completely. what relationship i have in my personal life is none of government's business if no one's getting hurt. i'm a libertarian, and i believe that, and i think democracy undermind that p. >> recently interviewed a professor in georgetown law who said it's time to do away with the constitution. >> that's a terrible idea, obviously. provocative idea. i don't know what he wants to replace it with. the constitution was written by men. it's not -- didn't come down from mount sinai, so if you want to change it, you can. there's ways to do that, and it's. done many times. i don't know what he believes. i think the constitution, though, generally speaking, is a fine document to diffuse
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democracy and centralize government and give people some of the most individual freedom possible as far as government. >> he's talking about -- do you still see a need for national elections? do you still see a need for a congress and a senate? >> i do. 40% of the people do not know the difference between medicaid and medicare, but they vote on health care policieses essential, when they voted for the president. if the voters are a problem, the politicians are a problem. i don't know if there's a better system to sort of decentralize government in place. i don't think parol limit ri
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systems work better. i like the system we have, but i think there are a lot of things we can do to fix it. >> name another example of how to fix it. >> well, just education policy. i mean, i might have mentioned it in passing before. i think every president, lately, wants that national education policy as if the kids in mississippi have the same reason as the kids in vermont. it's just not the case. in fact, within a state, i lived in colorado for many years, and there's boulder, the most liberal city in america, and there's colorado springs, which is the most conservative cities in america. people should be allowed to live in those communities, and i believe it's school choice as well and vouchers to be able to teach their kids whatever their values are. i think -- i don't think people would live in the communities and teach their kids witchcraft or something, but i think, generally, people choose to do the right thing for their children on their own without government, but i think if you want to teach your kids creation, you should be able to. >> when it comes to diffuse
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democracy fission, as you keep saying, does that mean get rid of the department of education, get rid of the energy department, ect., ect.? >> well, i mean, i live in one world of sort of theoretical world and the real world, and the real world is probably not going to happen, but i think it should. i don't see the need for the department of education specifically. that's not going to happen. let's be honest, but the bet we can do is rely on federalism every day, you know, starting with obamacare, which probably will never be repealed, you know, but that's reality. moving forward, i think, we should always be, you know, laboratories of democracy are the stage; right? i think they should stay there. >> what about the direct election senate. >> i think there would be far more if the state's legislatures elected the senators, i think you'd have a lot more --
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senators less concerned about national politics and more concerned about their state, which, i think, is what the founders had intended. again, we can't even pass a bill to do anything, so we're not changing the constitution in the near future, but, yeah, i think the original way spark a barrier. >> david, you talk about the bandwagon effect, what is that? >> talk about gay marriage, and it was pop popular in polls, direction election, and all the sudden, a pes says he's for it, and there's a bandwagon effect, oh, the president says it's okay, it must be. they sort of gather around the issue and sort of change their mind, apple people are guilty of that in culture, music, everything, so i don't know why they'd be immune when it comes to the political issue, which they, as i say, the poor know
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little about in reality, typically, most americans. you believe a lot of crazy things, you know, tons of americans believe in ufos, atrolg, all kinds of things that make me not want to trust them to make decisions for me. >> what does the constitution say about democracy? does it address it? >> no. democracy's not mentioned in the constitution. federalist papers talk about it. i hate to disagree with the founders, they had a rosy view of what democracy would be like. i think -- it's not mentioned in the constitution, and they -- no one thought democracy specifically was central. centralized democracy, i don't think they ever imagined that. >> is your view shared across the spectrum? >> you'd be surprised how many. look, when i told my, like, parents when i said what book i was writing, they were, like, what? they don't think of democracy as the sort of process that reflects our ethics and morals, but think of something that's
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very positive, so meaning freedom and all these things, duh democracy is seen in russia and elsewhere does not manifest in more liberty or individual liberty. what was the original question again? >> what does the constitution say about democracy? >> no, the constitution says nothing about democracy. >> no, no, political spectrum. >> oh, people secretly tell you one person should be running something. people want people in the federal reserve to open up the files to participate, but can you imagine having everyone talk about the federal reserve when the fed governors don't understand why things are happening. i think we have to say we have to allow people to run whatever institution we're talking about. >> talking here with david, his
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most recent book, the people have spoken, and they are wrok, the case against democracy. david is the author of "obama's four horsemen" thank you for your time. >> thank you, any time. [inaudible conversations] >> looking in the jefferson school african-american heritage center. the location of the book in charlottesville, virginia. we'll be become with more live coverage of the annual event. [inaudible conversations] >> who are the seven men, and who do they have in common? >> it was written by a ghost writer. who are they?
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i have to tell you these are seven great men. it doesn't mean there aren't others who are great. this is, if anything, a subjective grouping, but not entirely subjective. i said the reason i wrote the book is i said there's a crisis of manhood in the culture in a way we shied away from the idea of saying this is greatness or this is a great man, you know, really since the 60s, we celebrated antiheroes, and i feel like it's not done -- it's not been good for us, so i said, i think that this generation needs heroings, but real heros, and i had the privilege of writing a book about one which i was on c-span, booktv, talking about him, a great hero, a true hero, dpied for what he believes, had the privilege of writing a book about william, and so many friends said, you know, i'm not a reader, not going to read a 300-page book,
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but i'll write a 20-page version and put it in "seven men," so i started there, and i thought, what makes anyone great? in a way, that has to do with self-sacrifice. it's about using -- i leave it there for now, it's much more. we thought about the stories which i was familiar with, with which i was familiar of great men of history, i said, i know the many people don't know the stories. for example, so few people know what happened to eric little. younger people don't know -- came out 30 years ago. seems like ten. eric little was one of the seven men in there. of course, bonhoffer i mentioned. will burr, george washington --
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i have to talk about him. jackie robertson. few people know the whole story of jackie robertson, what an amazing story. a central piece of the story, most people don't know that. obviously, john paul ii, a great man. i'm not a catholic, but a pro-catholic non-catholic, and someone i had the privilege of knowing personally, chuck olson. that's the long answer to the question. did you prefer a shorter answer? >> that was fine. who was wilbur? >> he's the man who led the battle for abolition of the slave trade in the british empyre. if anybody knows very little about him, they may know that much, but there's so much more to him. i didn't know it until i wrote my biography of him, "amazing grace," and when the movie came out, "amazing grace," i was asked, would you like to write a biography? i never wrote a biography. i never had the ambition or desire to write a biography.
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i fiferged that's a genera to skip in this lifetime, happy to skip it, but it was one of those things i really thought carefully about it, prayed about it because this was a great man, and i thought, the honor, the privilege to tell that story is not something to be taken lightly. i wrote the story. in the course of writing that story, i discovered what i didn't know and what most people don't know, which is that what he did in the slave trade is really the tip of an iceberg. it's app ceo -- it's an extraordinary thing to think one man could effect history as he did. he's a humble man. he would be the first to say he was helped by others and that it was god who did it. when you study a life like that, you can't help be be inspired. you can't help but be inspired to sew what happens if i turn my life over to some nobler purpose or to god's nobler purpose, in
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this case, certainly plural. the great britain into which he was born, 1759, was a broken place. it's hard for us to believe how broken it was, but every social evil you can imagine, the slave trade was only the worse of a host of social evils. i, myself, was astoppedded. this is news to me. i'm not a historian who studied this for decades and decided let me write a book about it. i knew what people knew, which is almost nothing, but in 178 a, they had a dramatic conversion experience, very dramatic, and they turned everything over to god, basically said i've been given wealth, connections, influence, tremendous talent, oracle skills, how do i put them in service to others, not my own political ambitions, but to the service of others? you know, the cardinal example of that is his efforts to end the slave trade, which he led and accomplished to end slavery itself, which he also was
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successful in accomplishing just before he died, but a host of other things, so, to me, you know, he's -- he's a true example of boldness in history of what's possible through one person. >> the secret to the greatness is what? >> well, the secret of their greatness is -- i'm referring principally to the idea of self-sacrifice. i mean, you know, the new testament version of love, therefore love, wrote about them, but the one devine love is agape love. being green, i've known that my whole life, is agape. that's self-giving love. love that i will sacrifice myself. each of the men in this book either in one dramatic way or in a number of dramatic ways or in a lifetime of obedience to a nobler purpose, sacrificed of themselves.
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in some cases, in the case of chuck olson, whom i have the honor of knowing, there's two things that stick out. he came to faith around 1973. i mean, i was -- i barely remember this, and during the watergate -- most made fun of him thinking, oh, sure, you know, that's like dick cheney, you know, becoming a jehovah's witness, like, please, give me a break, he's not going to change, tough guy, that's the end of it. well, on the contrary. this tough guy, this white house man, a nasty political operative, had a historical conversion, and the most dramatic example of that, at least initially, he tells his lawyer who got them a plea bargain, a great plea bargain to avoid jail time, said, i will not take it. i will go to jail. i will not lie to save myself jail time. i refuse. i claim to have begin my life to god. i refuse to lie. i will honor god, and he will
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honor me. his lawyer, of course, went ballistic. excuse me, chuck, that's noble. you're out of your mind. you're insane. you have a family. you have three kids. you cannot go to jail. chuck said, no, i'm going to -- i'm not going to disobey what i think is the rights thing to do. i'm going to trust god. he literally refuses the plea bargain and goes to jail, and anybody who thinks it was a country club, it was not a country club. his life was threatened. it was awful. when he gets out of jail, something very similar, he says, i'm going to give up a lucrative career, think of martha stewart, out of jail, you want to move on. chuck says, i'm going to spend the rest of my life not forgetting jail, but spend the rest of the life going into prisons bringing my faith into prisons, bringing hope to prisoners, bringing justice, reform, found something called prison fellowship, and i had the
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privilege of working for prison fellowship, to help prisoners, prisoners' families, bring restitution to victims, on and on, he sacrificed his life, 35-plus years, to do what he thought was the right thing to do, and he gave up a lucrative career, you know, as a big shot lawyer, all connections in washington, and now that's somebody i knew, personally, and i could see that his faith was real and sacrifice was real. he was not perfect. he was a person just like we're people. he was somebody whose life changed dramatically, whose life was given over to several nobler purposes. when you see that, it effects you. you can't help it. when he died a year and a half ago, pundits did not believe they were referring to watergate and couldn't believe after all those years he really changed. he had. that's really the secret of every one of the stories in here that the people really were the real deal, even though they were not perfect. in each story, it's not -- they
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were not perfect, but they were the real deal. >> eric, how did you get hooked up with prison fellowship? >> coi think so dense, other than i don't believe in coi-- coincidence. i have a dramatic conversion, and a lot of the stuff, the story is right there, and there's a video, but i know immediately somebody recommended to me the book the chuck olson, and i have a thin memory of water gate as a kid, and i read chuck's book "loving god," the most extraordinary examples of the books i thought, and i i thought, who is this guy? next to the president of the united states, has a profound faith conversion, clearly not a phoney, the real deal, clearly intellectually honest, extremely bright, so i read the book, and i timely had the hunt -- i
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graduated yale in 84, and around 1994 he was speaking in yale law school. i drove back to new haven to hear him speak, handed him a children's book, and a letter, just telling him what i thought of him. within days, got a letter back. i couldn't believe it. my hero, this guy, wrote me a letter, said, keep in touch, and i said, oh, sure, and a year later, they were looking for writers and editors for break point, his daily radio commentary. you can still go to every day, it's a commentary of world issues, views, coastal issues, a typical world view, and i ended up writing and working for break point, and today, all these years later, i'm one of the voices of break point. chuck passed away, they asked me at prison fellowship, would i take over, so i've been doing that for a year and a half now. >> what's the short version of your conversion? >> of what? >> your conversion?
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>> i was raised with some faith, greek orthodox, believed in god, but i did not know the details, i didn't know why i believed or why is this something that's intellectual sound? i was not convinced it was. i thought it was just some sort of, you know, if you're greek, you go to the greek church, don't ask questions, be a good boy, get good grades, go to a good school, make a good living. well, at yale, my faith, such as of it was, strongly challenged. they are secular, and when i graduated, i was lost. i had in idea what i believed. i never drilled down to know, do i believe what i claim to believe? push comes to shove, i guess i don't. i don't know what i believe. i'm open minded, which is an excuse of saying i don't think there are answers to any rational person can have, so i hold the thing lightly.
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i want to be a writer. of course, that's tough. i floundered. i drifted. i floated. it was not a good time in my life. moved back in with my parents, which i don't recommend, and during a lost time, i took a menial job as a proofreader in connecticut. very unpleasant. during that misrabble period, i met a serious christian, generous soul, kind soul, who began having conversations with me. i thought, don't get too close. i don't want to be a weird born again christian, but i was asking questions. one night, literally, like a year later, i had a dream, it's on my website, forgive me, but i had a dramatic dream, god revealed himself to me. i did not ask for it. it just happened. it was life changing. what can i tell you? either i'm lying or crazy or it happened, but i think it happened, and it's given me a
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deep peace, which i actually did not think was possible to have. again, that's -- forgive me for making that longer than it ought to be, but it's hard to tell that story. >> we're here at the conservative political action conference, talking with you. are the seven men you profile, here, are they conservatives? consider them political conservative? >> would i consider them conservative? oh, not really. i think what one calls "conservative" today is what one called "conservative" 50 or a hundred or 200 years ago. i think, you know, i'm less interested in conservatism than i am in truths, and if conservatism is speaking truths, i'm interested in conservatism. on the issue of life -- when i spoke at the national prayer breakfast two years ago, i talked about my values, the value of unborn life, the value of loving our political enemies,
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of being gracious to those with whom we disagree. i fail at that. i believe that's what i ought to try to do. those things are important. these men, in "seven men" possess thous qualities, nobility, a quality. put faith in truth before party. not always an easy thing to do, but he felt it was the right thing to do, stood against the government a couple times, spoke out against his friend, william pits, and i would say that if you look at the life of jackie reportson, jackie robertson was profound christian, very few people know that, few people know that his ability to, well, his strength in breaking the racial barrier came from his faith, from prayers on his knees, that god would give him the strength to do something he could not humanly do.
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his recruiter was a christian, did what he did, and they were linked by faith. that story needs to be told. robertson was not a buckley conservative, but he was a republican, no doubt about that, but, you know, who cares? to me, his faith was just beautiful. >> well, you talk about speaking at the national prayer breakfast. you have a mini book, "no pressure, mr. president." what is this? >> well, two years ago, i had the high honor to talk to every big shot as you can think of at the national prayer barak fest. it was the honor of my life. i didn't take it lightly. i know as soon as i was invited this is absolutely not about me. that god has something to share with everyone there, those who agree with me politically or
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those who disagree with me politically, but not to use the occasion to try to embarrass the president, but to reach out to him in love with some thoughts, and ideas, and that's what i attempted to do. i think i was successful only by god's grace because that's not easy to do, by it's online, again, the website, and i put it up because it's -- it was a crazy morning, and that book, my speech is in there, but the background story, which i won't tell now, but it's a crazy story of talking to joe biden and nancy pelosi, having conferences with all kinds of people, and the conversation with the president. i won't go into it, hilarious, crazy with the president, and then, finally, i led the president and a number of others in singing "amazing grace" a cappella at the end of it. i didn't know i would do that. i was inspired. that's a story in there. i said, i have to write it up. it's a long essay, and it's -- it's pretty funny, actually. i mean, a lot of what happened
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was just hilarious and unplanned. >> your whole life, not just an author. you got other -- >> yeah, actually, now i'm a tv host. i'm hosting a show airs every sunday morning across the country, most markets, on sunday morningings half hour show, a tv morning show, dealing mainly with faith issues, not exclusively, but a morning show for sunday morningings, but you go to, the details are there. we are making a mew view of a book right now, which is extraordinary to think of, but what a great story, what a great life. it needs to be celebratedded. it needs to be known. people are so inspired by his story, and that's the success of the book. it's not my writing, it's -- he lived his life, and it's touching people, and so if we can make a movie from it, we're in the process of doing that.
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it's exciting. >> and >> i had the diswroi of working for veggie tales as a writer. i'm the voice of the narrater on the esther video. i've written 30 children's books over the years, and another genera i was expecting to skip, but god had other plansment i mean, i love writing for children, one of the most fun things you can do. some of the heros have been children book writers, cs lewis wrote children's books, and i -- i really do enjoy it, and my children's books are usually met also for adults. i hope there's a sophistication and wit that some of the best children's writing has. mine aspires to have that i've done a lot of children's box, and now i have socrates in the
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city. it's a series that i interviewed a lot of people that you might have heard of and might not have heard of, but that's a lot of fun. i really enjoy doing that, anyone can come or nip can see it online. >> and we've been talking with eric mettaxas, the most recent book "7 men and the secret of their greatness." you're watching booktv on c-span2. >> today's young adults, so-called millennial generation, with a lot of trouble getting started in life because they've come of age in a hostile economy. they are paying money into a system to support of level of
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benefits for today's retirees that they have no chance of getting when they, themselves, retire. there needs to be a rebalancing of the social compact. it's a very important challenge, difficult challenge for the country politically because not only is social security and medicare half of the budget, about to become half the budget, by far the biggest thing we do, but it is symbolically the statement in public policy that as a country, we are community, all in this together. these are -- these are programs that affect everybody, and the old mass of the programs does not work. >> paul taylor on the looming generational show down tonight on ten eastern and sunday at nine on booktv's afterwards. in a few weeks, your chance to talk with military strategist bing west, taking calls, comments, e-mails, and tweets on the middle east, iraq, and afghanistan live from noon to
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three eastern "in-depth." booktv, every weekend on c-span2. also this month, join the online discussion of joseph's new biography. look for the book club tab at >> live in a few minutes from the virginia festival of the book, but another interview from cpac2014. >> kevin friedman, what do you do for a living? >> i'm a money manager, investment manager. >> why are you writing books about security? >> in 2008, when the target started to collapse, my clansing were losing money, and i wanted to understand why. i started digging into it. i found evidence of financial terrorism in the 2008 collapse. i shared that with friends
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connected to the fbi, and then i was the government contractor doing research which came out in 2009, found unequivocally there was evidence of foreign terrorism, financial terrorism as a part of the target crash. >> that resulted in the first book? >> that came out in 2012 titled "secret weapon". >> what's the thesis of the book? >> basically, when we were doing all sorts of crazy things in the housing bubble and so forth, enemies of the united states, particularly radical islam, elements of the pla, elements in russia, noticed vulnerability economically, and they started using george soros style teg sneaks to target lehman brothers, aig, citi bank, goldman sachs, and they actually started using manipulative techniques in the market with the intent of crashing the stock market. sounds like a conspiracy theory, but it's not.
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hank paulson, former treasury secretary, came out and said in his memoirs, he said the russians approached the chinese saying if we dump all holdings of american debt now, we crater the american economy, and, in fact, the russians did, the chinese did not. the russians did. that worsened our economic situation substantially. >> now you've got a follow-up, "game plan: how to protect yourself from the coming cybereconomic attack." >> as a part of research, i not only did what happened in 2008-2009, but i got into the chinese doctrine, which was written in the book called "unrestricted warfare" plashed by the people's liberation army of chienl. two secret certainlies in the pla wrote this in 1999 saying the best way to beat america is cyber attacks on the infrastructure or ruining the currency. i not only looked at what happened in 2008 and 2009, but i look forward to what could happen. what i found was the next type
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of war that we will face is not going to be a shooting war or guns and tanks and aircraft carriers, but it will be cyber economic in nature. this is what all enemies said, because they don't want to take on the military head-to-head now. they said, we will crash the american economy if we get into a war. it's not just conjecture. that's a putin said recently when he invaded ewe ukraine. you slap sanctions on me, i'll hack your financial system, crash the stock market, dump the dollar. the very things that i wrote about in 2008 and then covered in game plans, game plan then says, okay, if that's what they intend to do, what would you as an individual american protect yourself? where do you save? do you invest? put it all in gold? buy silver? what do you do with the none? that's the game plan. >> as a money manager today, are you in the stock market? >> i am.
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in fact, the stock market in a currency collapse performs pretty well. i have with me that i carry zimbabwe currency. that is from 1998, zimbabwe produced $100 bills that you extended for 20 u.s.. flip it over. that's what they were producing in 2008. their currency collapsed, those were hundred trillion dollars bills not worth one penny. despite the fact their currency completely collapsed, the stock market did well. it was the best performing stock market in 2008. i cover this in the book. if a currency collapse happens, you don't want to avoid stock. if deflation happens, you want bonds. the question is what kind of economic attack would we be facing? what are they going to do? how should you respond? that's game plan. the plan is you look at the offense and say, well, they are going to pass. if they pass, you pass defense. if they are going to run, run
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defense. we cover all types of economic attacks, and all finds of investments and how you respond. >> right now, what kind of defense do we have up against such an economic attack? >> unfortunatelily, we don't have anything at the national level. general keith alexander, outgoing head of the nsa has said recently, in fact, he was on "60 minutes," and he said, basically the enemies know how to crater the financial system, and there's nothing to do to stop it at this point. we can't stop hackers from hacking target or rogue employees from stealing secrets from the nsa. iran has hacked the navy website. we can't totally prevent this. it's a complex topic. it's the new form of warfare and that's why putin was confident in saying, if you do this, we crater your markets, attack the system. there's very little we can do as
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a federal level. we're trying. we're improving. i've been working with several groups in the government trying to figure out solutions to the problems, but, in general, game plan tells the individual, imagine you were living in honolulu that 1941 and somebody said, oh, hey, by the way, if japanese bomb, this is what to do. that's the nature of the book. if the russians, the iranians the north koreans, chinese start attacking us economically, game plan tells you how to respond. >> what's one piece of advice you have for individuals? >> one piece -- everyone in the financial system says go electronic. we'll give you $50 # if you take electronic statements. don't do it. if you do it, print out actual savings. have a personal life experience example. in 2001, when the trade towers were hit, i had a line of credit in one of the companies that was housed in the towers, and i accessed that to pay payrolls because all the money dried up
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in 2001. the banks didn't know what to do. i had to go with my paper statement and convince jpmorgan chase, at the time, it was bank one, to let me have access to the line of credit when all the records were down. if i did didn't have the paper statements, i couldn't have done it. that is one thing. keep copies of the statements, your bank accounts, so forth because if the system is down for a week or ten days or 14 days, how do you pay your mortgage? how do you pay your bills? that's one solid individual piece of advice. another one is keep more than two days of food and water in your pantry. if the electric grid were hack and taken down, it takes a week to ten days longer if it was a serious attack. keep a little food on supply, on hand. we're the only nation in the -- we live in a just in time cede, but we're the only nation in the world that does not have access to food or water beyond just a day or two if the pumps stop
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working. i'm not talking about being crazy and moving into the basement as a preparation and all of that, and, by the way, it's seems less and less crazy to me all the time, but i'm not talking about that. i'm keeping about keeping a week or ten day food supply op hand on a regular basis. if something goes down, you need to eat. you need to have water. you need a gallon per person per day in the household. there's, you know, this could happen from hurricane sandy, from hurricane katr iring's na, flood, fire, or an event that i cover in the event, a natural solar flair that could wipe out the electric grid for a short time, at least, and maybe a long time. practice call advice number two is keep a little food and little water on hand. >> in the subtitle, you say it's a coming cyber economic attack. when is it coming?
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>> i don't know. i tell you with a hundred percent certainty it will come. we get hacked ten million hacking attempts a day. everybody in the government, both sides of the political aisle tell you, we will have a cyber pearl harbor at some point. al-qaeda has recruit the some of the best hackers in the world. the iranians, the supreme leader of iran went down and showed the iran news network shed all hackers they are training, and their intention is to attack the united states and the west. every day they are hacks that happen. the syria electronic army in 2013 hacked the twitter feed, sent out false tweet the white house was hit, and the algorithmic trading exchange picked up on it, and the stock exchange immediately dropped 1%. it was fake. what if they did that in conjunction with a terrorist attack? what happens? we could be down 10% instantly.
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the point is, we will face a terrorist attack. it is inevitable. we need to prepare for it. >> first book, secret weapon, how economic t. brought down the u.s. stock market and why it could happen again. the most recently recent book out, "game plan: how to protect yourself from the coming cyber economic attack." this is booktv on c-span2. >> today os young adults, millennial generation, trouble
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starting in live because they came of age in a hostile economy, they are paying money into a system to support a level of ben fitses for today's retirees that they have no realistic chance of getting when they, themselves retire. there needs to be a rebalancing of the social come papght. it's a very important collage, a difficult challenge for this country politically because not only is social security and medicare laugh of the budget or about to be half of the budget, it's by far the biggest thing we do, but it is symbolically the statement in public policy. ..


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