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tv   In Depth with Herb Boyd  CSPAN  July 8, 2017 9:00am-12:01pm EDT

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as this software interaction paradigm was born behind the steve jobs back, this crew of job-- guys that i document in the book started basically experimenting with this freewheeling research that was fun and wild kind of stuff. they had this crazy projector read they were using to hack products together and create what would become the iphone. >> watch afterwards sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern on t-pain-- on c-span2 book tv. >> and now book tvs monthly in-depth program with author, journalist and history professor herb boyd. professor boyd teaches at the city college of new york and writes a call oil-- column is the author or editor of many books including autobiography of a people, the harlem reader and his latest, black detroit, a people's history of
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self-determination. .. >> host: author herb boyd with us on this independence day weekend. professor boyd, what is july 4 me deal? >> guest: it means the same thing what it meant to frederick douglass, you know. while you can have the general celebration and everything, we have a different perspective from the african-american community. this was a long history to understand exactly the distinction in terms of the celebration for one community and the kind of lack of observers on the other part of the community. what does it mean to people who history of segregation. you have to understand the kind
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of sensitivity that might be distinct from one community to another. obviously we start talking about this history of this country and the role of african-americans in terms of providing that celebration, that is a whole another question because we have been in the forefront of the so-called battle for freedom and justice and liberty in this country from day one. from day one!going back to the so-called boston massacre this was the first - and since that moment you can look at it. across the years, no matter what kind of turmoil or conflict battle for world war this country was all involved in youth on the contribution of african-americans. certainly what frederick douglass was saying at the time is what does it mean to the
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slave in this country? your so-called celebration? we have to keep that in mind as we approach this particular holiday.>> in your autobiography of a people but i think you say 5000 african-americans fought in the revolutionary war. >> exactly. some of those, most heroically, i was think about one of the individuals that stand out when solomon -, peter salem, -- he was a flute player in terms of you always see this here image of the revolutionary war where three people are marching to drum of the flute player. at that time a - player and someone else holding the flag. will that player could have very well have been him in terms of the contribution that he made they are providing the kind of musical inspiration and
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it has always been part of our struggle in this country. almost inseparable for the people who were wielding the guns and going out to battle. if you look at the civil war, if you look at the civil rights movement also, again the music is very important. but here he is during the revolution. who is providing the kind of instrumentation you know the martial music of that day as well as picking up a gun at some point. so you're absolutely right in terms of the contribution. not only from an army standpoint but also in the naval situation. there were black naval participants in the war at the same time. so that is the beginning. in terms of understanding this whole history, the odyssey, the evolution of participation of blacks in the military in this country. >> are there two separate
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histories going on in the us? [laughter] >> i think that has always been true peter. almost from the beginning and i think when you look at it from the origins of the country and going back to the first africans that was brought here. and understanding the treatment that they received, the distinction. we always understand the indentured servants who were brought in. the whole 1619 and going back to the mayflower compact of 1620. you look at the history of black people in the state of new york and particularly in the city of new york. or even detroit for that matter. because like a microcosm you know of the history of black people. and understanding these here two separate societies are being shaped. and at very dramatic moments in our history, that separation is
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sharpened by conflict. we can talk about it in terms of the rebellion of 1967. we can talk about the current report of 1968. we can talk about you know these two societies out there, one black and one white. moving almost inevitably toward the conflict that is created and the tensions, the turmoil that comes as a result of those distinctions. the kind of separate treatment, the restrictive covenants, unemployment, lack of unemployment opportunities for african-american people. all of this here as into the notion of two separate communities, two separate societies, two separate countries that we have inside of this united states of america. there is a kind of separation almost from the beginning.and whether or not we can ever kind of mollify that in bring these
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two communities together well, that is what we have been struggling about over the years in terms of from the emancipation days right on down to the current situation where we look at the differences in the treatment of african-americans particularly from the police department in the country. >> herb boyd, in your book black panthers in beginning. here is that dedication.for font families who dared to challenge the most oppressive government. >> the black panther party's almost emblematic of this here resistance. the reluctance to go along with the status quo. to speak out, to speak truth to power. to pick up a gun even. did you - to do something about the oppression that they were experiencing. the black panthers from the beginning was a very interesting development for me
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because it was a way of working with lance who is an opportunity for us to graphically present you know the, other than the kind of academics that that had been done over the years. lance is the illustrator of the book. and he did a remarkable job of capturing the kind of check for both goal of the panthers. what i tried to do with the narration of there is kind of matched the kind of graphic interpretation that he had in mind. we went back and forth on that. but at last i think he just demonstrated an ability to absorb the kind of imagery that it presented that an emory douglas had also who was the electric artist, the illustrator, the cultural commissar you know of the black panther party at that time. so what we are trying to do there is to give a, a negative perspective on some of these memoirs and of course the
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absolute, their endless beginning with bobby seal and you renew in and eldridge cleaver and kathleen cleaver. all of these individuals, erica huggins that put our books about the panther party. the real is just our contribution to that. but giving another angle in terms of particularly for young readers out there who are just being introduced to the panthers. here's a way because many of them are coming out of their visual experience counseling is an opportunity for us to give you a kind of visual representation of black panther party. -- i think we are told about one of the world's most oppressive governments. that was certainly their perspective on it.
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that is how they viewed it and they moved at that particular understanding. so i don't argue with you know, with their particular interpretation. i tried to find out what do they mean in terms of how they deliver, who was or what was the reaction to this oppressive government? and the reaction across the country was a very violent period. probably one of the most violent periods in the nation's history in terms of what was happening out of the african-american community. and voicing the resistance. you know this is an outrage, and outcry coming from them. and sometimes i guess you know in terms of expressing our resistance, it takes on these very violent terms and that is not the first time.many many elements of black people fighting back. that's pretty much. the applicant american history. the whole sense of resistance. the idea that you know we kinda just went along with the idea
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of the way things were. no way! in my studies of african-american and american history, i have kind of highlighted some of the moments in which that resistance check a very, very very violent forms. of course with the black panther party that was the most dramatized aspect of it. television is available, you have these charismatic individuals, the whole presentation if they had, the swagger, the dress, the black beret. you know wearing leather jackets and everything. kind of marking to a very different beat. as we talked about marshaling a resistance against this oppressive society that you are talking about. some of their perspective on it peter. we may have argued with it, they were different organizations out there who had different strategies. you know proposing different kind of tactics as well as
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philosophical and ideological approaches to that oppressive society.they wanted to dramatize it in such a way that you know sometimes even saying that out of the barrel of the gun, picking up the whole redbook that they did at some point. the -- approach. it was a revolutionary practice going on. it was not at all unique for the black panthers party. it was kind of a, a universal, global expression of resistance. they picked it up, they say the wind has changed it was blown across the african continent. a kind of liberation movements there. fighting against portuguese colonialism for example picked a fight against what was going on in south africa what was happening in other parts of the
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continent, algeria.through algerian revolution. the kinds of things in the air so we picked it up, gained the same in terms of moving against this oppressive society.that you have to do this in a violent way because john bounces his know we can purge the land without blood. >> with his natural heirs to marcus garvey? >> where they went? >> natural heirs to marcus garvey? >> not exactly. i think you have to understand that they were more the natural heirs of malcolm x. [laughter] and there is a connection it. very interesting because you have to get to malcolm and going back before you get to marcus. because malcolm, his parents were garvey-ites. right? and they had picked up from the members of the un ia the universal negro improvement association for the whole movement at that time that grew out of the 1920s or less.
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because at one point in 1922, you had almost 6 million members you know of the garvey movement here in this country and across the caribbean. and that is really the connection the panthers have is with malcolm x. because you know malcolm was assassinated in february of 1965. the panther party came into existence almost a year later. in october 1966, boom!it is fully blown out in oakland california.although many people feel also elements of it developed right in harlem. so that was a certain kind of energy, inspiration, influence, technically that they picked up from malcolm. so if there's any kind of direct connection between the
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panthers any president, thinker or movement, that probably be, it would probably be malcolm x. >> in your collection of essays about malcolm x, by any means necessary. malcolm x -- we live in a short memory culture. white supremacy is the system that dominates black life from cradle to grave. therefore, black life is seldom formally taught in our institutions and even less discussed informally. >> he is absolutely right. i should also add with that particular publication, is that i have -- with me. then i have three doctors there with me. [laughter] i like to keep those doctors with me. and really the book is this reaction to many transport very very controversial biography of malcolm x. and we put our heads
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together on and said something had to be said you know to counter some of the conclusions that manny had reached in his book. so what has to happen, i had meant something like 75 reviews. and i reproached the other ricoh editors there and proposed the idea, of course the book is published by third world press. and so he was very very you know something has to be done because we are kind of the sons of malcolm. we figured that you know what he had to say in their, what manny had to say and of course, you know i love manny and i really stood right with him across the years. but we have had some differences when he came to his interpretation.we figured let's express them and rather than personally expressing why don't we round up all of these different other thinkers about
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it and for the most part, people who are taking opposition to what manny had to say in so many respects. it may not be here transport there at this point to summarize exactly what was happening with that. it is very complicated and involved process in terms of understanding what manny was saying. and what are we reacting to? and what were some of the problems he presented? but when you have some 35 different writers there and for the most part, they are against what manny has to say. oppressive bring seven and who support him also. to have some kind of balance there. but what he is talking about is that we have an absence in terms of, and it goes back to black studies. the whole creation of black studies, peter, is that we were saying some things back in the 1960s that we were not being
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properly reflected in the education system, the curriculums and what have you in this century and something had to be done about that and we all grew out of a period in which black studies is very typical in terms of educating and getting a perspective and an understanding and an analysis. a very critical analysis of what was going on from an educational standpoint in this country. and he had been like a superb teacher. a superb publisher, a magnificent poet. and it was really basically his idea that picked up and made this project work for us. so i felt very comfortable in having anything he proposed intensive analysis about society. i just talked to him the other day and the whole project that he is involved in now intensive dealing with the trump administration.
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so that continues the same kind of legacy and desire to bring about change in our society. >> and by any means necessary came out in 2012. and - before he wrote his national award-winning book has an essay in there as well. >> well, you mean in terms of the american book award? >> the national book award, right? but you have an essay in here find him. >> yes well my goodness, what a remarkable young man. you know, he, you have to go back and read his essay in terms of how he deals in.kind of like a balanced approach to -- any it has been a phenomenal thing to put them out there on front street you might say. and rightfully so.
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he is a very very insightful you know commentator on the times. i think it captured a spirit particularly for the next generation that is coming along and picking up some of the things of the older folks, the elders put forward in that particular publication. i know his father very well, paul, who was a publisher of black classic press. over the years equates is a former panther himself. talk about the black panther party. paul was a member of the black panther party. we always hit a fruit never falls that far from the tree and he has picked up a number of the elements of the previous generation and incorporated it into his understanding of what's happening right now in our society. and it was always just a joy to work with him. i mean, he glared black except for me so we have this
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continuing relationship in i have a tremendous respect for him and what he is doing out there. you know they kind of throw him into i think some of the other people who began to see him as the second coming, you know of james baldwin, i don't know that that is actually fair for him. and he kind of disavows it to a certain extent. but i know what they are saying. they are saying that we finally have someone who has the same sensibility, the same sensitivity in terms of where we are as a people. and what needs to be said, what needs to be done. you know, speak truth to power. and i think he carries on the tradition. he has a similar eloquence. he has a similar perspective, a sense of analysis. at the same time you know a command of words. and that is very important because that is what baldwin was. he lived in the whole command of our literature and how to present that in such a way that
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it could resonate for just the ordinary person out there. but also for the academics out there who require a little bit more inches if you presentation. so as to strike a nice balance between what you quality street folks who can connect with some of those ideas at the same time some of the academics who really demand a little bit more rigor and intellectual inquiry. >> herb boyd, you wrote a biography of james baldwin that came out in 2008. baldwin's harlem. there seems to be a resurgence in discussion and reputation of james baldwin. it is not fair? >> no doubt about it! no matter where you look you have baldwin. i was looking at sonia sotomayor who is in the supreme court. and she was courting james baldwin.
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there is a film that made the rounds called i'm not your negro. a very fine filmmaker, stephanie did was significantly important. so i had an opportunity to address the particular film at the comet in pittsburgh at the - film and arts festival to talk about the significance of baldwin again. you know, the fire next time. they have like three or four publications that that kind of play off the title, james baldwin from that variance. i mean those essays, two or three essays that comprise the fires next time you know if baldwin had his magisterial best. this is the epitome of james baldwin in terms of addressing the kind of inequities that exist in our society. i mean this is superb supreme baldwin. and i understand people going
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back in revisiting not, it is a 1963 publication. but it is eternal. it won't go away and thought they won't go away because he was, his words were so prophetic. he was dealing with a situation that his time and there was a number of problems and issues. some of the same concerns we have today that he addressed back then. so that's why his words have meaning today. because the issues that he addressed continue to be very a part and germane to our days. whether you looking at it from a legal still point, if your talk about a filmmaker or bubble -- or journalist that met last year in paris and had a major confidence and dissected baldwin in a number very relevant ways i think. and looking at his novels, his nonfiction, his poetry and
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looking at his drama which is often overlooked in terms of the playwright. baldwin the playwright. so whether is the poet, the playwright, the public what my call, the public clarion out there. a voice for the people. whether you talk about the prophet, anyone of those themes work with baldwin. so we can understand that he was speaking and addressing issues of his time that have not gone away. that is why you can find younger people coming along now who are picking up on it and kind of what you call mixed taping and sampling. you know, baldwin's words into their particular creative endeavors. i think that speaks to the kind of power that he had in terms of perception. when he understand that was happening, not only in his personal life but it went for us as a people in this country.
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he was one who i would feel that was exemplary. exemplary about feelings. we had an articulate voice who could address the issues in such a way that it continues to resound today peter. people still plucking off of baldwin in so many different ways. so you are absolutely right in terms of how omnipresent he continues to be from a prophetic and literary standpoint. >> you met him? >> oh yeah. i had a couple opportunity to be with james back in the day. back in the day, i remember one evening escorting him home.ngmy good friend is attorney robert - who is just a phenomenal filmmaker. he did two films, two documentaries on the struggle against portuguese colonialism. one was called the struggle continues and the other one was
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called the people organize. and we did i think it was at hunter college, we had this year a big fundraiser out there. for the mozambique project and baldwin was the invited guests. and i sat right next to him. after it was all over, robert - escorting him home and i relish the opportunity. that was really the only opportunity other than being in the audience and listening and being absolutely engrossed in what he had to say. but an opportunity to walk with him and ask him some concerns about and discuss some things with him of course i was absolutely terrified you know walking with such a supreme intellectual. but he was not that kind of individual, he was like basic down-home, smoking his cigarettes and you know, boom, boom, boom. chapter 2 verse.
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he was ready to expound about anything under the sun. so those are the quick moments i had with him and of course for the most part, being in the audience i remember he came to detroit it must have been 1980 to speak at some conference dealing with linguistics and that is when the whole ebonics thing was going on and i remember being there with doctor geneva smitherman. we just absolutely, just enthralled you know hearing him talk about the importance of ebonics. you know it was the black language, there is such a thing and you begin to break it down and specify exactly what he meant by that. it was another longer essay that he produced out there but those opportunities of being in his presence you know that magnetism, charisma that he presented that has lived with me all of these days. >> why did he moved to france and how often did he return to the us? >> he left, he left mike lee first of all he left harlem. he was 18 years of age and by
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the time he is like an 1948 you know when he is like boom, he's already gone through a certain period of developing his writing style. he started with doing book reviews. you know a lot of writers start that way. you see what you can do out there dealing with other folks you know and of course, richard wright and ralph ellison, to say nothing of a number of the white writers at that time and including faulkner and all of those were part of his purview in terms of dealing with how do you develop yourself as a writer? so here is someone who was born in 1924 in harlem. and by the time he is 24 years of age in 1948, he is out of the country. he is on his way to another country. you might say. and you read through some of
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the reasons he has explained that in a number of the, in his own writings in essence but as well as their biographies have picked up on that same issue to understand exactly why did you leave this country and why did you choose to france at that time? and i think he was evolving in that way if you go back to his early years, coming of age in harlem in going to high school in the bronx and being under the influence of - one of his teachers and taught him french. so the whole inculcation in terms of the connection to france and french culture, literature and language came through county calling. he is a very fine poet coming out of the harlem renaissance. i speculate involvements harlem that it may have been the seed that was planted very early on.
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by county and 11. he was a voracious reader. both french and otherwise. and then, at that time you had different kind of cultural developments going on in europe. and france, given his background, baldwin's background with french literature, the language and what have you, that seemed to be a good place to go in terms of expressing and finding the kind of space. to be liberated in a sense. you know although he is going to discover that there is going to be some restrictions. maybe circumscribed in a certain kind of way when he arrived in france. because there is another culture. you know how you get to adjust and adapt to that culture. but it did afford him in a very private way because the whole writing process you know is a very private affair. and so here is an opportunity
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to go in somewhere where you are not that familiar with the culture or the language yet. see have a certain isolation. there is going to be even more isolation when you go off to switzerland and he puts together transport he becomes more isolated. but those moments given an opportunity for expression. you know, you cannot necessarily involved in the community as he did back in the states. so it afforded him an opportunity to kind of really be introspective. and in doing so, he cannot with his first novel. he had been working on for a number of years and had all kinds of different transformations before the finally arrived as go tell it on the mountain in 1953, 1954. so it exploded out there in such a way that i mean, i think he was halfway ready for that in another way he was kind of surprised. like wow, here it is.
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but we fully take advantage of it. so with a publication of that and the notoriety and the publicity, the recognition that it received, he had to come back. he had to come back. and in doing so we are going to see that over the years, it's going to be this going back and forth. until at last the civil rights movement arrived. and i think that is when he becomes a little more involved than what is happening in this country. because many people thought that he had been like disconnected. he had been gone too long, he didn't really understand what was going on in their country. of course there is no real truth to that. he had his hand on the pulse no matter where he was because he was a communicator. and we begin to get some understanding of that because all of his letters had been turned over to the schomburg center. and in those letters, you get an idea that not only was he expressing himself to his own
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creative endeavors as a playwright, a poet, a novelist. but he also was this here letter writer. he wrote all kinds of letters to all kinds of individuals out there. so it is good to go to the schomburg eventually and take a look at all those letters and get a look at how he was in touch and what was going on in this country. and then at math and the civil rights movement jumped off in full blown form he had to come back and be part of it. particularly the march in 1963. >> herb boyd, what is your connection to malcom x and his family? >> i need a drink of water on that one. >> you go right ahead. while you're doing that limited is the program to our viewers. this is booktv on c-span2's monthly program where we invite one author on to talk about his or her body of work. this method is author and
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professor and historian, herb boyd. mr. herb boyd has written many books beginning in 1994, african history for beginners. 1995 black panthers for beginners came out.down the glory road also came out in 1995. contributions of african americans in us history and culture. but the man which has been featured on booktv, the odyssey of black men in america. an anthology came out in 95. autobiography of a people, three centuries of african-american history as told by those who lived it.he is the editor of that book. race and resistance, african americans in the 21st century came out 2002 and he served as the editor. harlem reader came out in 2003. we shall overcome, the history of the civil rights movement as it happened came out in 2004. heroes of america, part of that series. martin luther king was professor boyd's topic.
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2005. pound for pound, a biography of sugar ray robinson came out in 2005 as well. baldwin's harlem which we talked about just a little bit, a biography of james baldwin 2008. civil rights yesterday and today, he is co-author of that which came out in 2010. by any means necessary, malcom x real, not invented coeditor of those essays. the diary of malcom x again, coeditor 2013 and his most recent book, "black detroit: a people's history of self-determnation" that just came out this year. professor boyd will be with us for the next 2 and a half hours. to take your calls and comments about our discussion. here's how you can get in contact the area is 202. you can quote - in 202-748-8200 or 202-748-8201.
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if you cannot get through and still would like to make comment we have social media ways you can do so. beginning with facebook. you can go to he was a short video of professor boyd posted there and you can make your comments underneath that. you can also send a tweet, or you can send an email to we will put that all backups you can see them and if you like to make a comment will begin taking those in just a little while. now, herb boyd, back to the question. your connection to malcom x and his family. >> my goodness! without malcolm, i don't think i would be sitting here with you. his assassination was almost like i guess to some extent, you know, my birth. political birth.
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although i had been assisted with him very early on you know like 20 years of age. i met him for the first time in detroit. because at that time i was in and around several friends and relatives who were members of the nation of islam. and they were very interested in me understanding with the organization was all about and coaching me and teaching me and bring me all kinds of literature and everything. so you know i am just 20 years of age at this point and just a high school graduate. i had not been to college. and just about the whole work community i mean because my idea was like many young people in detroit at that time. when you graduated from high school, your dream was to get a job at one of those automobile factories.
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get you the job, get you a car, you know go around the community. maybe get a girlfriend and you know what i am saying? and buy a house, raise a family and all of us, things. but i met these individuals out there i guess you could say that i was always interested in the people who were kind of the nonconformists. people on the outside who, raising some kind of issues and saying some different things about life. and i was attracted to them. and the next thing i know i'm involved in going to the meetings and everything and i had an opportunity to go to a couple of sessions when malcolm came into detroit to speak at the mosque on lynwood. i was absolutely blown away, i mean, it was just amazing to hear the kind of 202-748-8201
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eloquence and analysis that he provided at that time. so i said okay, that's it for me. i'm going to be down here all the time. so each time nothing came to town i would go to the mosque. particularly with a friend of mine who lived right around the corner. floyd not just come out of jackson penitentiary. he convinced me to come and join the nation of islam. so after about a year and and a half of that as a matter fact, i took off in 1960 and moved to new york city for about a year and 1/2. i lived in the village and in brooklyn and everything. and finally indirectly connected with malcolm in those days because i was struggling trying to survive, get a job and everything.but now and then you know i would periodically, i would go to harlem and you know see or hear malcolm speaking in the harlem community. and resuming that connection with him but not in a concrete way. because i was more or less at
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that time involved in the literature and the music of the village you know where i was hanging out with individuals like bob kaufman and bob thompson and mary baraka, -- you know they were like what i would call the time of my idols at that time in terms of my own literary aspirations. you know i wanted to write the great american novel and so, i looked to them as inspiration and examples of how to move. they kind of embraced me in a way, malcolm was like you know this voice i was hearing. and walk away, it was echoing but i am connected to more immediately with these other writers of the because after my aspirations were there at that point.
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but anyway, the army was chasing me. [laughter] and emma contact me. i went into the service in 1962 when i was just on the precipice. because i returned to detroit and floyd knox again is around the corner. he said perm, i said okay i'll go ahead and join the nation of islam. just as i was going through all of that process, the army grabbed me and i almost an option whether to go to the nation of islam and say i am a conscientious objector and all that. for during the army and see the world. i just had always that adventurous spirit i had, i think i inherited it from her mother. she kind of get out there and see the world. the army offered me that opportunity. so i went off into the service. even so, malcolm stayed on my mind. and i remember, it was in 1964. i was stationed outside of frankfurt germany, a place
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called - about 20 clicks climbers from frankfurt. and i got word, and i'm not sure at this moment whether my mother had told me through one of her letters or a newspaper article she had sent me. or had picked it up in terms of reading the various international newspapers in germany. but i heard that malcolm was going to be traveling you know to across north africa to morocco. going to casablanca. and when i heard about that i said i have got to go see malcolm. so where many of the gis at that time were going north to denmark, going to stockholm, going to sweden and copenhagen, my thing was to go south. i'm going to north africa. i'm going to morocco. and now i have really purposed to do so to try and hook up with malcolm. and as a young man named ralph burns in philadelphia, i
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convinced him to go with me. and often i hitchhiked across germany. france, spain. i had a 32 day leave so i said i will take full extent of it and ralph was right there with me. we got all the way down to - took the ferry across to tangiers. when i arrived there, since i have is village background knew about the fat black pussycat. which is a bar where ted jones, i knew he owned or co-owned a bar or at least frequented a bar that was in tangiers called the fat black pussycat. and we went they are and found out that he was a migratory bird. whenever the seasons change he would switch. in the winter he would go where it was warm and otherwise.but you know it was timbuctoo as well as parts of tangiers was where he hung out.
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so when we got there he wasn't there. so the bartender told me a place you can get upstairs and a room you can have on the fifth floor, so we got we called the top floor. you know, onto the roof. of this building and about 3 o'clock in morning someone broke into four came in through the window and took ross wallet and moneyed everything and i saw him running across the was tooth late to catch them. ross said that is enough for me. and the next thing you know, the next morning he got the ferry and went back to the base. and i said i'm not going back to the barracks malcolm may be coming through here any day. but i am cut off the communication, i am not sure how to find out information. how was he traveling? will he be arriving at certain times? but i did my best. i said i'm good to stay here in tangiers.
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so i stayed there the full 30 some odd days and missed him completely because it could not get word on exactly where he would be coming. later on i found out certain other things happen in his life that delayed that arrival that tied to retirement in such wave anyway i missed him. i was going to miss him again peter february 14, 1965. i am back in detroit now, i am working at dodge maine and the word that malcolm is coming to town. i'm all excited about that opportunity to see him again. but on that morning, two or 3 o'clock in the morning his house was firebombed. east elmhurst. endangering his life and his family and what have you. he was lucky to get out of there alive.and when they were thought out, early in the morning hours, i figured that there is no way in the world he is going to come.
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you know with all of this kind of turmoil and disaster. you know there's no way he's going to come to detroit. but malcolm, being a man of his words, got on a plane at 9 o'clock that morning and flew to detroit to honor the obligation to speak at the ford auditorium. you know, invited by the henry brothers who had their own recording company everything very much involved in the black nationalist movement in the city. later on we will hear more about them in the republic of new africa. but malcolm came and when i heard about that, i worked the graveyard shift you know at dodger maine. my cousin told later on he said you could smell the smoke from malcolm.and he was -- but
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here malcolm arrived and one of the most important speeches of his life. one of the last major speeches that he delivered. he was going to do to others when he got back to new york. i think at the college at columbia university. but this was a very important speech that he did that i missed. so i have two great disappointments in my life. i missed him in africa and i miss him back in the hometown of detroit. and i continued to miss him now in ways that are different from and even kind of physical i guess, i miss him kinda you know his kind of intellectual guidance. and so that is why i guess i returned to him in so many different ways in terms of exploring what he meant. not only to me but to the world. you know, working with malcolm's daughter was another way of doing it.
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teaching a class, i teach a class at city college on the life and times of malcolm x. so that is another way that i kind of stay in touch with him. in fact, when i first started teaching at wayne state university 1967, the first book i used was the autobiography of malcolm x. it had just come out two years before. so even in the beginning you know malcolm in my teaching career, malcolm was my guidance. he was my guide right there in his book is just so absolutely expressive of the black experience in this country. so when i am teaching a course now, the memory that i have going back you know to those days in the 1960s when i was close to him and just to meet him you know after a speech at the mosque. we would line up in the hallways and he would come and go down the other cheek everyone's hand.
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i remember when he got to me, my cousin had talked about it before. because in a city you going to say anything? are you going to ask you a question?are always asking me, asked him. and when he got there i was aptly intimidated. i described his big hand and i said salama -- and never had a one on one with him as i am with you. >> herb boyd, another question. did you ever fully join the nation of islam? >> no. >> and when he dropped out they said that was his death sentence. >> in terms of the actual joint of it you know, going through the process. i had gone until i went to all of the papers and have to look we really a process of joining the nation of islam. before you get their approval. that process was cut up the credit went into the it was not completed. i never got that.
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you know, it never came back to me. but my intentions at that time was before went into the army, to become a member. so to get up there you know something to be said about your career and your life. you have to go through this kind of correction to make sure that people pick up things that even like, they may be doctor boyd. i don't have a phd. i have a ph b. and sometimes they get mixed up in terms of transmission. -- when malcolm x left the nation of islam, why did he leave? >> that is a very interesting question because you have two different understandings of that. first was he pushed out of the nation of islam what did he voluntary leave the nation of islam?
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it may be a combination of factors so often happens that you have to say that is part and parcel to some degree. he was pushed out into a great agree, it was time for him to leave. you know? he said that on one occasion, that now we talk about this is march 1964. when he officially, he makes the announcement that he is no longer a member of the nation of islam. >> and he was dead within the year. >> yes and what happens is, even before then, go back to 1963 with the assassination of jfk. that was pretty much the beginning of the end as i see it. you know, that he had already began to move in a certain direction. matter of fact if you go back one more year to 1962, when he got involved in the killing of one of the members of the nation of islam out in los angeles, california. he began to express a kind of political outlet that was
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inconsistent with the general philosophy or theology you know of the nation of islam. we don't get the whole political scene. we are not involved. don't get involved in the focusing whatsoever. malcolm was impressively drawn to that. he felt a need to be actively involved out there. and i think that the nation of islam at one point was a platform for that. and mike lee but he talked about being in a straitjacket. a political straitjacket. he had to get out of that straitjacket. and when he said what he had to say about the chickens come home to roost, had been a number of interpretations of that. but for the most part i think he is beginning, for malcolm beginning to declare his independence. beginning to say i'm going to say what i want to say, speak my heart into my mind. about the particular issues of the day.
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he already had begun to raise concerns about his idol in terms of the morality of the you know what was happening in the life of elijah mohammed. the possible you know, in terms of the situations and violations he had made appear to all of that becomes a process pushing him more and more to the point of separation from the nation of islam. so i think it's really a combination of factors of them saying that it's time for him to go. him saying it is time for me to go. you know it is time for me to move on to something else. and what he did as a result of leaving indicates that you know he quickly began to put these different other formations and of course the trouble in 1964 is probably the most eventful year of his life. a little bit into 65 but you
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know he is on a couple of months into 1965 before he stopped. he is taken from us. but 1964, from march 1964 done through january 1965 was a very significant part of malcolm's growth and development. the kind of political outlook, the understanding he had about you know the whole global affairs. to arrive, to speak at the oau summit in cairo, egypt at that time. that was a monumental leap for someone who in 1952 was walking out of the penitentiary. and suddenly moving to the ranks of the nation of islam, become the national spokesperson and that by 1964 is meeting with world leaders. i mean you can look at from -- you know in ghana, all the way -- to talk about even in egypt
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with nasser. to say nothing about saudi arabia and meeting with everyone. and he had important international leaders. he was almost like the president of black america at that time. he was certainly our voice. our emissary. he was on a mission. malcolm was on a mission at that time in terms of not only bringing the us government to bear in terms of the kind of mistreatment, the genocidal things. because he picked up the cry of william patterson who said we charged genocide. he was making the same kind of charge against the us government in terms of the violation of our civil and human rights. he was going to make that case summit. he never had a chance to speak
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there when he did submit a petition. in that time, declaring some of his objectives as he called it coming american dollar ism. he wanted to take the oath to the world court. she can understand the interpretations that the us state department had about this particular powerful voice. this charismatic, magnetic individual who is having swag with all of these world leaders out there. so i feel that 1964, when you look at how malcolm had made that evolution and moving toward this kind of assessment of who he was. i think it was kind of a self discovery process that was going on at the same time. that you have a certain amount of power out there and how you are going to utilize it. so, 1964, boom! malcolm was probably at the peak of his political understanding. >> herb boyd, we are couple
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miles south of harlem here. 42nd street. as the audubon auditorium still exist? quest it does but it has been transformed. it is a -- you can go there and different activities depending on the time of year. what is going on. particularly around the birthday of malcolm x which of course is may 19, 1925. around his assassination where people, and want to remind themselves again of the importance that he had in our lives. so a different kind of events going up but it is not in the form that it was. you know for that particular building, went through the kind of transformation that many of the individuals connected to the, to malcolm's life.
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you know have their lives transformed also. but you know you find different kind of ways of coming together. have malcolm x societies, grassroots movements out there. people involved in ensuring his legacy continues far beyond the audubon ballroom. >> i am going to ask you a question like a college professor would ask. >> i just ran! press compare and contrast malcolm x and martin luther king. >> that is something i do quite often in the classroom. and, i think more than anything, i mean you have to look at the history of african-american thought. african-american political thought. because we have always had, if you go all the way back to the very beginning. the other day i spoke at the association for the study of african-american life and history.
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the organization there that they pulled together and the theme was the 190th year of the abolition of slavery in the state of new york. 190 years ago. that is going back to you know, that is at february - 1827. at the same time you talk about the 190th, the abolition of slavery. first african-american newspaper that was pulled together by john russ worm and samuel cornage. who individuals who put their ideas together, put together this newspaper, and within a year or so they're going into different directions. one becoming samuel cornage, his
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understanding that, oh, i'm a little bit more involved in what happens with us and this country and less concerned about africa. russworm was what they called at that time a colonist. he was the whole american colonial taken missionary to lie western aye and begin to teach and bring some of the ideas of struggles that we had to the african population. samuel had a different kind of view. in 1820's you had this break. individuals that came together, they would go in separate directions. you will see that happening from generation to generation. right down to the differences that they have, you know, right
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down to looking at henry highland garnett and fredrik douglas in terms of how do you move to deal with this oppression, racism and white supremacy that we have in the society. how do we have that, how tactically and strategically we go about it. marcus, wt deboise, how do we move about political change, social and economic condition that is are oppressing us, how do we do that, you have different strategies and tactics, when you get down to malcolm, all you have to do is take a look back at study and development over years and there's nothing difference and if you go further than that,
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beyond dr. king and malcolm as you move into the civil rights movement, human rights struggle, you will have differences in terms of tactics, more than anything, we've had a couple of fine scholars out there who have dealt with the differences there, you know, between our martin and in my classroom what i try to do, peter, i try to find the commonalities, where is the common ground and the same way i try to do with booker t. washington and duboise.t that's what's happening in term of the kernel, the seed. they should be some kind of way that we can bring you together on those things and if martin and malcolm were on a
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trajectory, this is myra preposition that they were moving in such a way that their ideas were coming closer and closer together, particularly from a malcolm perspective, maybe less so with martin.m beg he began to tamp down on the big six, the leaders of the civil rights movement at the time and become less absorbed with that and keeping his eye on another e that when he spoke at the brown memorial church in selma, alabama. this is like -- he's reaching out to the civil rights movement. in africa in 1964, he ran into john lewis, who was traveling with don harris. they were traveling and had this encounter, john lewis talks about walking -- in his out
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autobiographyy meeting mall culp and how con jean al -- congenial the situation was and coming together and when he spoke on february 4, 1965, an indication the is moving more. he shared a podium with fanny lou hamer right here in new york. all of these indicative of him saying i'm moving closer and close toker where you are, you dig it? so meet me halfway. malcolm had already reached a certain plateau of understanding about what was happening in this country and had an analysis on that. i think martin was gradually moving that same direction, too. you can see that the poor people's campaign, what he did was on a memphis here with the sanitation workers, began to talk less and less about color but more and more about class. speaking out against the war in
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vietnam. malcolm had been on those particular issues before. it was nothing new for him. so to have martin talking about them, you can see the political trajectories, coming closer and closer together, and i think that maybe some governmental forces that were aware of the same possibilities. >> they ever meet? >> they met once, and that was, again, going back to the 1964, march of 1964, when they happened to bump into each. kind of a photo op that had. very little was said at that point, i think it's important to go back to selma. malcolm went to selma. and at that time martin was in jail, but he met -- the film captures what -- they do with
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the film on sell marks captures the moment where malcolm is meeting with coretta and telling her, you tell your husband, you tell martin, i got his back, more or less, that's what he is saying. he kind of reaching out and expressing an attitude of protection. in other words, if they don't deal with martin they have to deal with me. kind of a hidden threat attachment to this governmental powers and forces in this country. so, that's another indication that malcolm was beginning to reach out in such a way that he had never done before. i mean, when he talked about the march on washington being a farce on washington, now he talking -- that's 1963. almost a year later, his attitude is beginning to change and i think it had -- his eyes opening to so many other potentialities so many other realities of coalescing, of collaboration, of bringing a
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kind of -- our resources together because we have a mutual enemy. >> herb boyd is our guest, and you have been very patient, waiting on the phone line. we'll put the known numbers up again and cycle through the social media site you so yukon tact professor boyd. we'll begin with neville in cleveland, ohio. thank you for holding on, you're on the air on booktv. >> caller: mr. boyd, i'd like to bring up the matter of the role of the black church and black clergy in the civil rights movement. all of us know that martin luther king and ralph abernathy and a whole number of other people, including mr. jackson, were in the black church, but has anyone ever written a book about the role of the black
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church as a long description of the challenges, the triumphs, the disagreements, the problems between the leadership and also the role of men and women who were not clergy. i'd like to find out if anyone has written -- any win of the fine historians has written a book on that topic. thank you. >> host: thank you, neville in cleveland. >> guest: that's quite a feud, come to think of it itself. earlier when i was making reference to a scholar who is just down -- done a magnificent job of bringing the ideas of malcolm and martin together, i was -- as doctor james koehn and
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james koehn also worked with gay rod wilmore and how black nationalism within the whole church movement. obviously the caller raises a very interesting question that has a long history in terms of the -- the church being a sanctuary, a refuge, where we could come together, begin to express our ideas without the overseer, you might say, the slave holder, i don't say master. i say slaveholder, looking in and having access to ideas and everything. you know our detrimental that was in terms off offsetting the possibility of revolt and certainly the idea of rebellion could be stifled.
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you begin to express yourself and have a common -- commentary with ourselves without somebody listening in all the time. but i think the church has been that refuge, the sanctuary, and the political ideas that grew out of the church. we can go back and look at a number of the ministers who were revolutionaries, down to the 1960s. and black detroit, for example, i kind of invoke at least five or six very important pastors who were connected to political developments up there. when you talk about the whole walk for freedom in 1963, reverend c. l. franklin was -- >> host: father of aretha franklin. >> guest: right. beyoncé or franklin, we talk about the albert clay, who
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eventually becomes -- the whole back nationalism within the church, and the role he played at that time in 1963, when malcolm comes to town and spoke at king solomon baptist church. the difference there between in the outlook of c. l. franklin and reverend clay at that point. anyway we talked about whether or not it's coming from islamic or christian standpoint. the church or religion, you might say, has been very instrumental in our understanding of how we canbrin bring gor -- formations together in a way they can have impact about bringing change. the church now ministers, james washington, for example, has f done a phenomenal amount of work in pulling together the certainly oans of dr. king, i certainly would recommend that
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book. colonel west has done over the years in terms of looking at the black church. there's any number offcomm commentators that we've had that has been indispensable and given understanding, male or female about the role or -- of religious leaders detroit" you have a small note at the back that says you wish you hat the christian charity of your mother. >> guest: my mother. it's kind of hard -- i think it's a certain kind of pride that i take in invoking which influence and impact she had on me. we had the c-span did that nice -- i was talking to her this morning. she is watching this right now. i'm on my p's and q's mom. she is 97 years old, peter, and we talk about this earlier in
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terms of the influence that she had on me over the years, and one of the opportunities i think she gave the family and particularly my brother and me as well as our sister, colorist, she gave us a sense we could do anything. all those possibilities out there. and i think her life is an example of that because she was born in alabama, as i was, and began to venture out as a very young woman. that was not that common to find -- i mean, young black men would take off but rarely black women would take off and she's in her 20s, and she is venturing out of alabama all the way to michigan, and meet up with people up there who embrace her and her native abilities and
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certain kind of intelligence and intuition has always been amazing for me. her grasp and understanding of the -- having only a tenth grade education, but the kind of worldly understanding that she possessed. i don't know where she got that from. tried to understand my grandmother, who in a certain kind of adventurous spirit, the male side of the family, which is pretty much unknown for me. so she is kind of the -- a resource over the years and moving us around the community of detroit for the most part when i talk about my history in the city, it's really her history. and the close read of it, people will find immediately who she is and what she meant to not only my understanding of the history but her whole life. it's her biography of her life
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and i know some degree she takes exception -- don't be be putting my business on the street, that kind of attitude, and i can understand that. i think that's instructive. think the lessons of her life should be shared with a much larger population than just our family. i think what she has meant to me and i try to convey that. try to capture what i feel is the essence of her spirit, and because at 97 years of age, she still expresses this will, this sense of community, of getting out there. she goes to the food pantry -- 97-year-old woman going to food pantries -- >> host: driving herself. >> guest: driving herself. not at night. but driving herself to get goods to bring it back to the complex to share with all of her friends, and they really miss it when she doesn't do that.
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so, i mean, i just love her that kind of commitment, and i hope that we always hope that you can pick up some of that same energy and understanding from your parents, but i think she taught me well, and to understand how do you give back? and i tried to do it in a different way, of course, but i just felt her story need to be told -- maybe not in a direct way but in an indirect way, becomes like a -- kind of -- she seems to be all the different moments in detroit's history, when she wasn't there she has an understanding. going back to the 19 -- riot of 1943. just a riot? she just brought my brother and me in about a couple of -- two or three months before the riot of '43, and here she was, she got caught up in all of that, and some of the stories she told
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me, well, won't be a spoiler on this. read "black detroit." >> host: well, derek williams posts on tower facebook page: big fan of your work, as an alabama native i read you moved from birmingham at an early age. can you talk about that event in your life and how it. pacted you? would you be a different person if your family stayed in birmingham. >> really not actually birmingham. we go back and forth. where i was raised was in cotton valley, which is just outside of tuskegee. i was told -- my father told me -- i had a chance to see him on several occasions after he and my mother separated over the years. and he was telling me -- he took me to the church where his
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father built the church there and this mole houston virtually was built -- it's kind of like boydsville but it's cotton valley, and i left there when i was four years of age. heaven only knows what would have happened if i had remained there to some extent i guess i can look at my half brothers and half sisters who did stay there, and they have lived very, very productive and very important lives of their own, without necessarily breaking outside of alabama. pretty much in alabama except for one of my sisters who moved out, but for the most part they have been actual -- actually two of my sisters moved out. one in new jersey, adrian, and yoletta who is with the ancestors now who i met in detroit. many years later. a strange meeting.
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was on the television show called "awe beula land that it came out. capturing the slave days and i was invited on channel 4 to talk bit; an historian from wayne state university. and carmen harlan, who is retired, was host of the show after the show she said there's a call for you. picked up a phone and this young lady started asking me, what's your father's name? i told her, clinton. she says, were you born in alabama? i said i was born in alabama she says i thing you're my brother. i look like him and da da da. so, that was yoletta and she was important to introduce
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introducing me to my other half-brothers and sisters. they grew up in a.m. and stayed there with my father and his second wife. into they was right there. and i look at their lives and they have made tremendous contributions. they're professionals, teachers, involved in community activism. so i imagine i would have had that same spirit. heaven only knows where it's cooking from. whether it's from your father or mother or a combination, jumps over generations, mary a grandmother or grandfather and they feet a need to give back. think principally it was my mother. watched her example of the years as a very young person, and she moved us around that community in such a way that i grew up with an entire city of detroit, and i never left any of those neighborhoods behind. i brought them right along with me and i went back to visit them
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in the same way that she moves around the community today, making sure that connecting the dots, bringing these people together, whether i'm doing it in a classroom, whether i'm doing it through my articles in the amsterdam news and other publicses, whether in my publications as an author, it's an attempt to kind of bring folks together. how do you provide some understanding about your life that could be an example for them. some lessons for them. >> host: rome, washington, dc, thank you for holding on. you're on with author and professor herb boyd. >> caller: you're welcome, peter. thank you, c-span, for this very important conversation about a very inspiring author. there's so much of herb boyd's work that has inspired me. mainly his critique of liberalism and i want to thank
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c-span, brian lamb's vision, for allowing his kind of conversation about this important type of work. mr. boyd, professor boyd, you have written a lot, so it's hard within i guess a short time period to tell you, thank you for everything but i think i want to focus on at least two points from your entire body of work that has helped me tremendously. you wrote, we shall overcome, mentioned earlier in the program. narrated by davis and dee and something about dee's narration of fannie lou hamer's story that it go to when i'm sad. and another thing you have in that is ozzie davis' anywhere rigs of kwame, and in d.c. different parts of the city rick niced the birth day of kwame. in your book, you write: malcolm and baldwin would find common ground in their distrust
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of white liberalled, subject that recures throughout baldwin's texas and nonfiction and i thank you for that and i also thank you for writing and editing by "any means necessary" and which was mentioned and i thank you for selecting my essay, mara -- marabells. you mentioned to earlier american dollarism, the speech called the african appeal to african as a state and one of your notes on page 85, you mentioned earlier in the program, he didn't get a chance to say this speech but i'm so glad that earlier in this program you said the term you wanted to speak about which is one of my questions, american
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dollarism and my question is basically can you talk about how the liberal media promotes american dollarism even in coverage of trump? >> host: is this roan frazier? >> caller: yes, it is. i earned my ph.d in african american study in 2012 and interviewed mr. boyd for weai radio. i'm so grateful for c-span to allow this range of reasons and to -- and specifically somebody that means so much to me as a writer to help me developed my voice by discussing the development as he mentioned as
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malcolm x's voice, baldwin's voices and actors' voices who are narrating our history. >> host: we will leave it there and hear from professor herb boyd. >> guest: no, no.>> [laughter] >> guest: i'm glad you brought that up in terms of contribution. he's a very fine scholar, writer and colleague, you know, and you hope that there's more like him out there who are picking on this information, not so much from my kind of personal gratification but feeling, a need to participate, to be engaged in a community of activism and intellectual ideas and roan is a part of that.
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so good to hear from him. he raised so many questions aise- >> host: let's go to dollarism. in the age that we're living in today. >> guest: what malcolm was commenting on -- that was kind of the political economic analysis that malcolm cultivating, and refining, and in the process of developing. you have to understand he is coming out of a situation where those ideas a were not that pregnant. they did not -- he didn't have an opportunity to really engage a community of scholars in a way where they could go back and forth in terms of sharpening analysis and forwarding of the politically economy of this country. he had to go abroad. as baldwin had to do had to leave this country in order to see the country. you get a perspective when you step away from it. almost like the old expression,
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the fish is the last to know it's in the water. when you take a step back and you say, ah-ha, can see the full picture of it, baldwin was able to see the full picture once he arrived in france. malcolm began to get a better understanding of the american situation, a bit removed from it, and at the same time not only removing yourself from it but being surrounds by other critics and picking up their information, too, and their analysis and their understanding, and he was just on the precipice of that. just beginning to gather that. when he said american dollarism, the last two words at the end of that petition that he circulated was that he was trying to comment on something that is still very relevant today in terms of how we begin to move in a political economic way, and i
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think that when you look at a -- other than american dollarism, american capitalism, think essentially he was trying to get to that. what is your assessment of that. how you break that down and how meaningful could that be in terms of our overall development, our growth and development as a people elm went could separate ourselves completely from that because certainly enterprises, entrepreneurial things going on. talk about that in "black detroit." they're inseparable in tucking about the understanding of the people. we talk about the people who own the business. no not say that particular ownership is predisposed to being in opposition to our political outlook. they could be in concert with it. and so many of them are. i work at the amsterdam news, and many people say, well do you see that fitting within the
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whole capitalist formation? the capital network? i guess in one way we're making money but always a matter of dispensing service. how do you give back. to what extent're just exploiting the people? you profit before people? or an opportunity to provide jobs for individuals? you can see if you have 20-25 employees there, you know you're sustaining their lives so that's a very important part of them. of course then you're concerned about the political content, the editorial direction of that particular publication, and that is where the analysis comes in to say that are you providing the information that we need for liberation? are you giving us the kind of insight towards self-determination? i think that's where the rubber meets the road in terms of distinguishing the whole
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american dollarism, the american capitalism, from the entrepreneurial zeal and outlook from the people who are our business men and women who are interested in preserving our communities, expanding our possibilities, providing jobs, and wherewithal for people in desperate need. so, you cannot just dismiss them entirely and saying that they're just a part and parcel of the overall exploitation of our people. no. there's some of them who are very much concerned with the livelihood and moving news a very productive and a concrete way toward political change. i think they have to be separated from peeve who people who have impofrishment and have some discussion between whether
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one is valuable and not value and that's what malcolm bag beginning to suggest. let's get to this discussion. now he is over in africa, in the middle east, and he is surrounded by different kind of individuals and critiques on the american experience so one way he has to defend and it begin to explain it and to understand how unique that experience is in global affairs. that's where malcolm was. he was just in the learning process. you have to understand that he was 39 years of age. he is just 39 years old when he is coming to grips with certain realities out there that he never had -- he didn't go to college. i mean, this man is an self-educated. he got his ph.d in the pennal
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systems in the u.s. taught by elijah mohammad. the began to discussion this parent's connection to the garvey movement and again to read everything he could. he was a quick study. one of my surrogate fathers says malcolm was one of the best students he ever had. that student was just begin doing emerge before he was taken from us. >> host: next call for herb boyd from russell in brooklyn. russell, did i say this first name correctly. >> caller: not quite. rasul. professor boyd, it's a pleasure to be able to publicly acknowledge the important contributions you have made in chronicling and enter operating our history and our -- interpreting our history and our culture. also a joy to be able to remind him of something i'm sure he knows, he done good. on the serious side when you
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talk about the church, you talk about the newspapers,, as venues for develop of black thought. having come of age at the time that the book store and frederick douglass become store in harlem were the places where black intellectuals denies an opportunity to be in the universities, gathered together and provided an opportunity for that intellectual exchange at the same time you talked about the church and the press. i was wondering if you could talk about the role of the independent book store as a -- as depth of that black political thought. >> guest: good question. i'm sorry i left that out. it's very important to me in more than one way in terms of booksellers.
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in fact, just the other day i was at revolution books, which is right on the corner dish don't know how much our listenerred understand about the gee -- geography of harlem but the book was on the corner of malcolm x, lennox, and 131st 131st street. >> host: just north 0 of the shomberg center. >> guest: her father was hugh mosak who wrote a book called "a star to steer by." he was a trained maritime captain, merchant marine all of that. he advised marcus in terms of the whole buying of the ships
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back in 1920' that was hugh mosac and here is his daughter who was injured in an explosion and ended up in harlem that opened up a bookstore and you're absolutely right in terms of it being a source and center of all kind of intellectual ideas and gatherings. i lived in that store. i at least once a week i there was if there either some concern, picking up a book, or just talking to some of the individuals who worked there i remember ernie allen, for maybe years he worked there many years at the university of massachusetts, professor up there, and me in detroit and wayne state university back in the day, and the kind of love that he had for being in that,
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around all those books. bibliophiles. we love that. but having the kind of literature availably you can pick up james, the blackjack, where you can get the -- the african liberation magazines and publications in picker. they were available there. she had the top of the line books that other outlets did not have, you could find them there i had to -- now revolution books -- matter or fact revolution books is on the other kosher now and they tried to pick up and carry on the same tradition of providing literature out there that is otherwise not available, particularly militant radical political revolutionary, communist, what have you, literature that covers the full -- a broad expanse of genres. so, i think that's what your
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caller is talking about in terms of frederick douglass book store, going back to individuals who out of that revolutionary period, and harlem in particular. we had louis b. charles book store, where the state office building is now, where the intersection of 125th street and adam clayton powell boulevard. for many years you could see images of malcolm speaking out in front of that particular book store in terms of the propaganda, the house of propaganda they talked about in those days. that was an important book store and over the years we have sisters uptown now, in harlem, and if you go out into other parts of the country, in philadelphia, chicago, pittsburgh, where i've been, all of the book stores have been very important in terms of
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offering opportunities for authors who otherwise are not invited to some of the major booksellers. so, the independent booksellers issue stand by them and i love them all. >> host: next call for herb boyd from helen in philadelphia. good afternoon. you're on booktv on c-span2. >> caller: good morning -- well, good morning, guess. excellent show. god bless your mother, brother boyd. can you please clarify she the assertion about self-determination and black leadership, and i'm framing this question in relation to the so-called criticism of "black lives matter," following black agency with black only leadership meet examination my question is -- meetings, and my question is the media is tribal trying to label "black lives matter" as racist which is ridiculous.
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as we now, brother john henry clark told us, the only racism is white supremacy, and white supremacy is the only racism. can you please discuss this in relation to elma wiley's assertion that african people can have alliances but have to have self-determination and can you always throw in some kwame turrei because the system of white supremacy that is racism and thank you and shoutout to c-span, excellent show, black power, please support the move nine, hands off, and i'm remembering brother obadeli. good work, brother boyd. good work. thank you so much. >> host: herb boyd that was helen in philadelphia.
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>> guest: don't go away. she said -- my feelings -- my sentimentses entirely is with her. we're getting back from kwame, former heir stokley carmichael. the biography of joseph, his own residentings with charms hamilton in terms of looking at black power the whole concept and and how it evolved. that's a constant in our struggle for self-determination, and i'm glad that she kind of dwelled on that particular notion. across the years with brother obady lil in terms of free the land in terms of the republic of new africa, and milton henry, all those individuals, the mayor in jackson, mississippi.
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a continuation. we can cease see this processing going on this cryout for shakur in view of the anti-normalization of the trump administration. whiching away at the obama legacy and of saying something about, hey, bring back this fusionism justice in terms of shakur and the cuban government saying hands off, she's note going anywhere. and then to go back in terms of "black lives matter," should she's absolutely right in terms of criticism of being leveled against them. these three young women who brought this organization into existence and then picked up -- i mean the whole ferguson thing we in other words with the michael brown as well as what is happening with freddie gray in baltimore and has resonated
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across the country because the continuation of police brutality and then exoneration of and acquittal of officers irvest reminiscent of the discuss i discussed in "black detroit" because we had a series of the same situations and you see that what happened to boyd in chicago is similar that would happened with jones in 2010 in detroit when the police kind of invaded their home and shot this seven-year-old young woman, young girl, in detroit. that's back in 2010. to say nothing of green who the police brutalized him. that's 1992. right after the whole rodney king thing in terms of the continuation of this. just amazing that you could absolutely categorize an organization that is concerned with the protection of this communities and its people and to see them in such a dissparing
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light and some of the media is responsible just beyond the altright. eh we have some main stream media just not sensitive enough to where ore or concerns are. the inneck inequity that exists and "black lives matter" is a continuation of a spirit of struggle and resistance that has been part of the american experience, the black american experience in particular, from if you go back to david walker, you go back to nat turner, the individual that is cried out even with john brown, when we talk about john brown, militant abolition in this country, we have yet to have the kind of film, i think a film is needed where we can really capture what john brown was all about and particularly the five black men that road with him, they were ignored in the whole discussion,
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not only did you ignore john brown be what about the individuals that road with him, anderson who was a one-survivor. >> host: this is an e-mail from thomas as we approach the 50th anniversary of detroit 12th street uprising this month, i would like to know, does professor boyd recall the murder danny thomas a month before and whether he had any personal connection with the victim' c relatives and in august, the movie detroit will open which recounts the motel murderers, does professor boyd have any advanced impressions about the film and then thomas who lives in marieta, georgia says, yes, i was 14 in 1967 at press paper route which allowed me on the street in early morning hours itt
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and helped inspire a live life-long dedication to issues of social justice. >> guest: well, quite a bit there first of all let's deal with the probably the most significant development out of that is the film, katherine bigelow, very fine filmmaker, academy award "the hurt locker," "zero dark --" one of the things that -- i haven't soon the film. i statue the trailer. the trailer is all over the place. the film opens august 4th and focuses on the algiers motel incident. first of all you have to kind of con tech to allize the -- contextualize the rebellion and you get in terms of whether it was a riot or rebellion. civil disturbance, uprising, upheaval. >> host: the 1967 riots in
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detroit. >> guest: exactly. we characterize it as a rebellion, those who were very much part of that period of time and was bringing a more political analysis to what was happening in terms of the content of that uprising. so we're saying that more class elements and not any kind of racial an animus was going on as in 1943. it was clear lay black and white thing, going after each other savagely. but the rebellion was like a consumer upriding. people going after property. >> host: you were 28 at the time. >> guest: oh are yeah. >> host: were you involved. >> guest: right there one thing about that, i was living in new york city in 1958 when henry hampton put together his just classic probably incomparable study of the civil rights movement in terms of documenting -- the documentary he did on it.
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"eyes on the prize" is a facts fantastic study of the civil rights mom, and sam palmer came to new york and caught up with my and judy richardson and interviewed me about the '67 rebellion and i had an opportunity to talk about it. the experience was still fresh with the 1985. some 20 years later. still resonates so strong live we me because i was in the streets at that time, very much involved, an activist, what have you, and then later on at wayne state university we capitalized on that particular uprising to put some pressure on the university to bring about some changes in terms of black studies and curriculum but that's another discussion. one thing about the film that's coming out, focuses on the algiers motel incident which happened two days after the actual uprising on 12th and claremont, the so called blind
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pig ready 80 some people were arrested. the community crazy outraged, boom, boom, boom, and the next thing you know michael lewis was called as the culprit and targeted as the individual who sparked the whole rebellion. we had a movement to rescue him from this vicious vice of injustice, and but the other thing, two days later, on july july 25th at the algiers motel incident -- john hersy put a become out on it, and again, talked about my friend earlier, reverend dan all driven -- aldrich who was involved in bringing in a discussion -- >> host: once in a great city. >> guest: exactly. "once in a great city" by david
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moranis, and the whole cnn documentary. that zero is in on 1963 and the rebellion is 1967 and july 25th you had three young black men who were killed, odd audrey pollard, fred kemple and -- the three who were killed. no justice -- no justice was going to come as a result of this. we figured these officers who had this tragic, dastardly deed, they were not going to be tried or convicted at all of this, and that's when this whole people's tribunal was developed, and of course, dan aldrich and lonny pete and kenny cockrel, the activists in the the community got involved to say we'll have our own sense of justice. so i'm curious -- one concern
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i've heard about the film is it was shot in boston. they had little or no detroiters involved, either in back or in front of the camera. so we have to see how true this is. i heard there's going to be a screening coming up soon at the african-american museum there, and i'll get it first hand from some individuals who have seen it at that time and get their commentary, maybe before the national release of it in august 4th, because they're focusing on a number of events, transpiring in detroit now around the '67 rebellion. it's 50 years. we love 50 years and 100 years, let's get together and look at this thing. so we got all these different kind of activities going on around the '67 rebellion and the film is a centerpiece, it's called "detroit."
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not called "detroit '67" or "detroit rebellion" some people are concerned about the title that may be infringing on creative efforts and may have hijacked their projects and what have you, but that's the toe be seen. we say the old expression out of the '60s, if you haven't provided any kind of -- really take a look at it. no critique no right to speak. have to check it out and see what the film is all about. anticipate that. >> host: what was your role in the '67 riots, rebellion? >> guest: my role -- >> host: in the streets? >> guest: my role was to -- first of all, as a reporter, to kind of report on it to analyze it, later on, i was on the -- using it in the classroom. >> host: were you at wayne state at that point teach. >> guest: yeah.
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had been at wayne state two years, 1965, after malcolm's assassination -- i was on my dui new york when he was assassinated, coming out of the military then, working for a short time the factories, my next thought was malcolm. and, boom, he's gone. so i went to wayne state university. 26 years of age. i'm arriving at wayne state university. so i arrived there, a little bit older than the other students, 18, 19-year-old kids there. so i've been around the world and read everything, so almost by default i was made a leader on campus so in '65 when i arrived there -- a different kind of -- there was 11 colleges at wayne state university. monteith was just one of the colleges. offered an alternative to the
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liberal -- the traditional liberal arts crick rum in the sense -- curriculum and it interwove social and political science and humannivities and the natural sciences. how you bring these things together. i guess i'm trying to do that same thing in my life. is as the author, the activist, as the journalist, how do you bring these different threads together you can see the commonalities and how they feet off of each other, and there's a continuum, this inner penetration of these disciplines a that's what they did at monteith college. they instilled that notion that it try to continue in my whole practice as a -- i call the three as, alter academic activist so be involved in such a way. that what i was trying to do in 1967.
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i'm at wayne state university, right? one of the concerns i had was the freeing michael lewis, because they had blamed him, one individual was sparking this whole rebellion. so i led that whole campaign, i brought different activists at wayne straight university. only been there -- had only been there two years but the two years of being in monteith college. they had a curriculum you could delve what you can't to do here's he classes, want to teach this. that's when i thought the first malcolm x class at monteith college. s into popular and it was opened up to the campus. i had something like 150 students at one standpoint had to bring in some help. i brought in people like ernie allen and david rambo and gloria
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nebhouse and danny aldrich, all these individuals who came into my classroom to help me control -- i didn't have a ta or teaching assistant and this is a cash cow, peter, for the university. all these students paying money and enrolling in these classes and each year it accumulated more and more students. got to pint that when we did a thing onroots"," we had something like 250 students but we got so large, almost unwieldy so necessary to bring some help in, when we got to the "roots" level my wife was indispensable at that time. helping me coordinate those activities along with two or three of our other aassistants, going out to the part of the extension of the university, kind offered we had an east side extension of the campus at that time. reaching out into the community again because wayne state
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university has had problem over having african-american students on the campus. so the '57 rebellion gave us the opportunity to open up the campus and allow more african-american students. that's one of the demands we put on the president. >> host: why was your wife indispensable and who is she. >> guest: at that time she wasn't my wife. she was a colleague me and hired me to to come on the east side campus to teach a class over there. in...
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if i with with get it past her i have a clear feeling. >> how long have you been married? >> 1986. we got married in africa and, i guess, we did it there but we did it again when we came back but just an opportunity for us to bring our -- the very valuable resource that is we had. the way in which we could make sure, you know, throughout our literary pursuits in particular because she got me my first -- one of the books we haven't talked about the former portuguese colonies in africa. >> host: don't have that listed. you've got like 30 books out
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there. [laughter] >> guest: well, that was the first one, peter. she was working at franklin watts and she contacted me. i was still in detroit at the time. hey, there's a possibility, you want to do this book. i had traveled all over the continent, you know, in and out of africa, at least every summer i took off and went to some parts of africa for about 10 straight years. i had accumulated a lot of information in having some colleagues out there, people who were living on the continent, many of them monroe, thosean individuals who my connecting points when i went and then later in 1974 when we had the pack, there was an opportunity when we had powerful intellectuals to come together
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and continue to spear dubois with don. the fifth one was, i think, in manchester in terms of black power conferences, you might say. the world congress of black people coming together.was out .. of ideas that i was able to feed into the book on the former portuguese colonies in africa. mozambique and -- >> list here from ab in toledo. >> i have two concise questions please.
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one, what does a phd - that i heard you say? >> what is your second question? >> i would like him to suggest that peter if you do not mind. >> let's get your questions out on the we there are a few peter. what is your insight on the pull the plug quote - coming from the owner of one of the big world towers building and the near chuck fire chief. given the collaboration between islamic community and christian community in regards to the million man march, what is your
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insight relative to the outcome of that and the millions of dollars collected and given the fact that all of the valuables from the world trade fiasco horrific as it was, was not there when the building collapsed and the examination went down. what occurred? thank you very much. requested that we disappoint. beginning with phb, pull the plug, million man march and the valuables in his view were removed from the world trade center prior to 9/11. so - in connection with the million man march, the connection between islam and christianity. >> the first one is the easiest one! the phb is just a bachelor of philosophy, that's all.
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because you can have like a bachelor of science, right? a bachelor of arts, and you can have a bachelor of philosophy. and that is what it was. that is what they offered at the college. my attraction there had less to do with any kind of had much to do with the opportunity just to get into a certain intellectual community. and it had a reputation of being, attracting - the nonconformists, the hippies and stuff like that. and essentially that is what i found i felt right at home and very comfortable and those people had nontraditional ideas about curriculum you know about how to conduct, how to pull their lives together. so all of those things appealed to me. then later on i saw this phb
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and i said what is that all about? i raised the same question. what is a phb? so over the years my send my resume out, people say to correct it. and they think i meant is a phd. no, i meant to say phb. so in other words, that is a correction that should be made that i do not have a phd, and the history of that is back to 1967 again peter. back when i made a decision at that point what are you going to do with your academic career because coming out of wayne state university in 1969 kind of a late bloomer. but still, opportunities existed there. one of the opportunities is actually fascinating is to get a 40 he arrived at the university of chicago in the history department.but by that time i'm already teaching at wayne state university as an
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undergraduate and when you have $8000 coming in a looks a lot better than $1000 down the road. so i took a decision, i was comfortable at wayne state university. i was at home, i was a you know with my comrades. many of them had a five or six year age difference which was no big deal at that time. in many of those young people became students then were my lifelong friends and my colleagues. just the other day two or three of them called me when they heard i was going to be here on c-span and going to be checking you out herb, see what is happening. over the years. so they have gone from students to colleagues and onto their own professional, remarkable careers that they have had. and so that is probably the most fulfilling aspect about all of this is that utensils individuals and put them on a path in the same way that malcolm put me on the path. and it goes back to the other part for at least one part of
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the caller's concern. in terms of the million man march. of course, i participated in that. and i wrote about it and felt good about it. and in the same way, i feel good about black lives matter because that was a kind of iteration of this year kind of community or expression coming from the black experience translating that in a political way. and i think that is what happened with the million man march. bringing together some of the ideas that i put forward with when we did the brother man. black men in america. the million man march would say a larger version of that, a much larger version and of course the ideas coming from minister louis farrakhan was
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instrumental in bringing a particular formation together and of course we applaud him for that. he always concerned about when you have this major moment. how do you capitalize on them in such a way that you may get meaning beyond that particular assembly? what you gather from that as they call it today, what is the take away from that particular coming together? and you hope that it begins to instill in individuals who participate a sense of their own, what power they possess as an individual. it is kind of putting you, you feel like you were lost and outside of it all but now you are part of it. you know you have a gathering of all of these brothers mainly with the million mid-march of course we can have subsequent developments after that with women as well as the family which i think is even more meaningful. when you can bring the whole family together for that.
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but you have to start with some of the problems that black men have in the society. both among themselves as well as with society in general. and i think that was useful. i saw a different kind of attitude expressed by black men as a result of the march. the respect, they began to dispense with their children and loved ones. kind of reaching out. a sense of peoplehood. it is an important development in terms of those coming together because you don't have the is opportunities too often. of course, the nation of islam was pivotal in all of that and louis farrakhan, we salute him for that particular endeavor. of course islam, how that plays into a lot of this. of course when malcolm, when he
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peeled away from it and began to move in a more orthodox way, even with islam it caused a little consternation for the people who understood that no one could do the story like malcolm in terms of the cosmology of african-american people. a sense of beginning, you know malcolm could do that like no one's business. and but then began to move away from, that orthodox islam, stuff like that. you see creating the right people and stuff like that. but he began to move in a more orthodox way and i think that you know, we kind of created some differences with members who were still left in the nation of islam as well as his particular, when he was beginning to express about elijah mohammed. you know because a lot of people that were in the nation
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of islam still hold him you know as the lamb. the holy apostle. and they have every right to do that people are left to their own particular icons and idols and what have you. malcolm became mine and i kind of held true to a lot of what i felt was kind of the unimpeachable integrity that he expressed. and i tried to see his life as an example of my own. in terms of moving toward orthodox islam and stuff like that, well you know, in terms of one's religious preferences and of course you can be private and do what you want to do. i have always had a lot of respect for all of the religions you know because i have gone through most of them myself. i think i am more or less a born-again marxist. [laughter] leave it at that. >> a born-again marxist!>> okay was 9/11 an inside job?
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that come from toledo, his third question was about 9/11. >> 9/11, yes. i am not sure what exactly he is asking. >> basically i think he's a 9/11 conspiracy theorist that things it was an inside job and - >> i have very little to ask that. again you have all these different kind of things out there. i was close to traber he gently was concerned know that certain elements, it was not fully disclosed and to the total community and others were informed that there was something, a day of reckoning was upon us. you talk about the conspiratorial aspects. i usually run for the hills. [laughter] unless i have some solid information to refute or to dispute you know any particular, i had to go long i mean we have this historically,
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we have had that peter. when you go back and look at american history. i mean, there almost every. we have had a situation where conspiratorial aspects get in there. sometimes we do not even need a conspiracy to bring about the results of things. it's just an accumulation of forces. that began to reach a critical mass in such a way that there is no other outlet for expression you know for that particular a logical way, you know? we stopped about who was in back of it. but i have no concrete information. no investigation, no right to speak. [laughter] >> our conversation with herbert boyd will continue. as we do with every author and in-depth, we ask him or her what influences they had in their lives. what books they are reading and
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that type of thing. we are going to show you that but before that, we want to give you a little bit of a tour of harlem. that is where her herb boyd list today. the harlem reader is one that he edited.we are going to show you this tour done by neil shoemaker. harlem heritage chores. he gives us a bit of a literary tour of harlem. it is harlem heritage tours this is no shoemaker and our conversation will continue after this. >> today we are going to take a literary walk through harlem. and this is in 1920s harlem. we're going from here to 125th street and then we'll go back down going south to hundred and
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31st street back to 135th street. here it stands, 138 street and fifth avenue as i you can see on this site, marcus garvey, held the first public meeting in the united states in the year 1916. many people feel that the thing that gave birth to the harlem renaissance was the opportunity award center held in 1924 by the urban league mr. charles s johnson put together the celebrated birth the urban league offices are right over here and from their offices they would have the opportunity
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where they would celebrate varied artists of the 1920s. these buildings here are the offices of the urban league. this particular site here, here at 267 west 136 street. there should be some type of heritage indicator. celebrating the fact that on this site, he had a building known as -- and this was a huge apartment that was made available to wallace thurman. and also various other writers of the period. [inaudible]
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[inaudible conversations] >> it all started in 1938. the honorable joseph c wells really, really loved a dish called chicken and waffles. waffles with fried chicken. he liked it a lot. he told his wife, you know what? will me open a restaurant put it on the menu. she said you like it, everybody else don't like it. nobody will buy it and he said, give it away for free for a little while. so they started giving it away for free. the community fell in love with it. people started buying it. negative chicken and waffles all over the country. now let's start with connie -
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this is one of those jazz clubs that did not allow african-americans to go in and have a good time. they would have these shows, a wonderful floor show that were precursors to broadway hits like black and blue, and so on. what they have is here, and on top there is a gambling hall. also here you have a theater. many times during the 1930s, the performers that would play the lafayette theater, they would all wait outside in front of that tree under leaves of the tree. hoping to get paid for their performances and hope that -- in 1941, they chucked the tree down. -- the mayor at that time was there. laguardia was there, a big ceremony. now where the step of the tree
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exists on the stage of the apollo theater. so you go to the apollo theater and you see the performers come out. before they go to the microphone, they rub that log. here you have 168 w. 133rd street. this particular place here was known as -- in the 1930s it was one of the happening speakeasies. you can see was located done in the basement of this particular brownstone here. when i first started to do research on this speakeasy, i went to the schaumburg and i started to read things. and imagine 168 west 133rd street and they said they change the name to the log cabin. so here i am walking at 133rd street looking for 168 and i look. and i see the original log cabin still here! amazing. it is now a church as you can see. in 1933 the story goes that
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billie holiday came here to try out and be a dancer. but unfortunately, she was not the best dancer. one of the club owners said, you are not the best of dancers. why don't you try singing? she takes the microphone and sings. and it is realize she has a beautiful unusual voice. and she has brought on to sing here. more than once and becomes a regular here and then john hammond a great producer from columbia records hears her and puts it on wax for the first time. the story goes that billie holiday got her start here. [applause] >>.♪ ♪ [music] [music]
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♪ [music] ♪ [music] ♪ [music]
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♪ [music] ♪ [music] ♪ [music] ♪ [music] >> herbert -- herb boyd, would
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james baldwin recognize harlem today? >> i think parts of it. he was most interested in people. i think that the general changes that happen in the communities he would be interested in talking to the people and what are they saying and how they feel about different issues out there. i know the last time he visited harlem was like 1986. you know, - >> he died in 1987. >> 87. and he came to harlem and had a series of interviews at that time. i think it to interviews at that time with major publications.he talked about what are you seeing, what is
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different, what is new and how do you feel about things? he was expressing at that time, he saw the general change going on in the community from the housing standpoint, from beyond the commercial. the commercial residential thing has always been an issue in harlem and you start talking about gentrification. he was concerned about gentrification at that time but he was always a pretty dreadful individual. he could see down the road and around the corner like no other person. he anticipated a lot of changes coming in harlem and he figured there were like inevitable and very little that we can do about a lot of them. but more than anything peter i think he had a connection to seeing the general attitude of people. had not changed from one generation? did he feel a sense of outrage? he always felt that to be a black american is to be daily you know filled with outrage. in terms of what was going on
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with the treatment that we incurred in this country. but i think you know it was a combination of looking at the street is not the same, i used to look out here and see this particular bookstore, it is no longer there. i am looking at this here big high-rises going up and an apartment building where i used to live, those things are immediately understood. you can see that it is a change that kind of strikes you right away. but even deeper than that is to find out the mood of the people. and that is where he lived. >> you mentioned during everything you know neil shoemaker. >> oh yeah, oh yeah! he is just a remarkable tour guide. someone who has really been in touch with that community in a way that he can transfer what he understands about harlem's history to a group of strangers.
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you know, people who have no idea what is going on. they may have a semblance of this or that in terms of an individual, episode or an experience. but he has a way of elaborating on that and contextualizing it and making it live and breathe in a fresh way for people who have at least just a spark of interest. and just a spark of interest is all he needs. he will ignite that. he has done it for my classes on several occasions. i teach a class on the history of harlem and i often call on him and he is an expert on malcom x as well. he takes us to the various locations and he really complements and supplements what i do in the classroom. so, i am sure that the glue was must have been very much entertained by the expense of his knowledge and the way he conveys that experience.
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>> who would you go to for a tour of your hometown in detroit? >> what individuals? i mean - >> i mean is there a neil shoemaker out there? >> there is a matter of fact, one man who has done a similar thing there in detroit. go to the various landmarks you know, here is where frederick douglas met john browning here is the underground railroad and here is where fanny richards, you know who was the first black school teacher, this is her marker out here on lafayette. he has that down pat. there are a few others out there who i also turned to in my day-to-day conversations. i must talk to dan aldrich every day. he has his finger on the pulse
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of things there. both politically and culturally. and that is important. sometimes you can have these political individuals but they have no understanding of the cultural arena.what is happening with the theater. what is happening with the literary or what is going on with the music. and so to have someone like danny there who has this here kind of comprehension and exhaustive understanding of what is happening on a day-to-day basis in the city. it is very important to me because it keeps me abreast you know on the current developments there.because his seat, invite detroit i go way back to 1701. i go back to mr. cadillac himself. before you had the car and everything, right? is a long 300 your voice that i take with black detroit.
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it is the past and not so much the current. and that is where i rely on individuals like ron luckett who has the northwest activity center here or joann watson you know or charles farrell, these individuals that keep me abreast on terms of what developments are going on. and what is on folks mind other than what i can read in the metro times, the free press worth way others have to say in the michigan chronicle. >> 202 is the area code if you want to participate in our conversation this afternoon with author and historian herb boyd. 202-748-8200 if you live in the eastern central time zone. 202-748-8201 for those of you in the mountain and pacific time can also contact us via social media and we will put the addresses up as we go. let's hear from kristin in los angeles. kristen, thank you for holding. you are on with author, herb
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boyd. >> hello professor herb boyd. i would like to echo the other colors in thank you for your work. i'm a phd candidate at ucla with an emphasis on african-american female intellectuals taking it all the way back to david walker and the ramon's in salem. i'm just curious besides your wonderful mother and your scholarly wife, if you can talk a little bit about women who have influenced you either historically in terms of their writings and or woman that you are active with in terms of dealing with activism in terms of your life.>> and, i don't know if you noticed kristin when we are playing some of herb boyd's favorite books one of the books there is the daughters of africa edited by margaret busby. are you familiar with that?>>
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yes, i also he put on anything which -- >> do you have an hour? [laughter] i do a column each week in the amsterdam news and alternately, i go from what i call significant black men and women who are unheralded. you need to know little bit more about the current one that is of if you can get the amsterdam news. you can probably go online and check it out. there is a woman named fanny peck. she is the wife of a minister called william peck. they arrived in the 1920s and got involved in the religious immunity. her claim to fame is that she is one of the instigators and founders of the housewives
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league, the national housewives league of america. and it is something that, it is strong for me because my mother for many many years was a house you know she was a domestic servant. and of course you know these housewives in terms of organizing themselves and beginning to make a mark you know because they were ignored by the union movements and stuff like that. how do we bring together our own issues? and the very special demands that we can make. and fanny peck was in a leadership role of that. earlier we talked about in terms of being a pioneering education in the country but what i do in the amsterdam news each week peter, i go back and forth between important black woman, important black men. i've accumulated now, a stack like that! and people say you need to do that, it would be a nice book. and i have enough book ideas
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going as it is. but i think it is important because we have to do that on a week to week basis. and you don't have to wait you know for a book to come out. but here are these individuals and i just, i am making these discoveries myself about a lot of black woman who just have been, just tireless and unflinching. and their concern about liberation, the whole defeating the particularly, the attack, the abuse, the domestic violence. and barbara ramsby has a book out there about ella baker. in terms of the role that she played with civil-rights movement, she is a very pivotal individual in bringing together so many ideas. across the years though, from a
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literary standpoint i can go all the way back to francis ellen watkins harper, colleen hopkins, you can go all the way to nia hurston, all of the women around margaret alexander. the things that -- have done in terms of some of these women being brought to the forefront. one of my colleagues, mary helen washington out of detroit. molly evans who we lost last year. when she, you know when you start talking about maya angelou who was like my heart and soul. and toni morrison particularly the part of solomon. in a crop of black women writers coming out of africa. and to say nothing of jacqueline woodson who is one of my colleagues at the
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harpercollins, so we have got these black women writers, thinkers and activists out there. and the whole black lives matter movement. these are three very devoted, dedicated black woman who right at the epicenter and development, new concern about fighting for civil and human rights in our society. but we can see, there is a long history of that you know some of the black women that i profile each week. whether they are in the literary or artistic circles. we need to be there and there need to be more attention given to them. >> well from your 2000 book, autobiography of a people. >> autobiography of a people. >> yes thank you! you write that rosa parks was
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the mother of the civil rights movement and ella baker was - >> they go, ella baker, was you know a professor. the kind of satellite of individuals around her. that is always important you know when you look at somebody and say this is the biography of so-and-so. and then when lewis talks about - you talk about all of these individuals that win in around dubois i think that's when some of the better historians you know they bring some of these seemingly insignificant individuals into the spotlight. and you know little bit about the niagara movement. a little bit more about some of
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these other players. who otherwise are unknown. you don't know anything about, that is why gerald horne does so well. you talk about davis but it is beyond that. you have some of these you know he's done learn about other individuals and that is the same way that one of the colors earlier said something about davis and ruby dean. you know peter in my life, i have had like, i will depart a little bit. i'm going to make my surrogate fathers get into this picture. doctor john henry clark and of course davis is one, the late percy ellis sutton and gordon parks is one. all of these individuals who i call my surrogate fathers, i had an opportunity to work with. i mean, you talk about the autobiography of people. gordon wrote the forward for that. percy sutton wrote the forward
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to the other book you mentioned in terms of the life and times of sugar ray robinson. that is robinson, not leonard now. and of course, with ruby we did we shall overcome. and in one take peter, that narration that accompanies the book, the two that we have that they did that in one take, it shows the type of professional that they can bring to particular assignment. i think it is so funny because i would cover press conferences and everything and all of these here, the clambering, - "the new york times" and daily news and what have you. and it is all over and then it cooled out. and they would often say herb boyd comedy of questions? and i would say that is the kind of man davis was.
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this insignificant reporter suddenly singled out from all of these here other journalists out there. but he had that kind of human touch about him. and of course, with gordon i mean - doctor clark and the last two years of doctor clark's life, you know i was there with him. from 1996 through 1998. he lost his sight but not his vision. and we worked together on a book called the middle passage. which is that holy spirit of you know, being dragooned from out of africa, kidnapped from africa and put on these slave ships and brought across the atlantic ocean.tom feeling spent 25 years in developing the artistic representation of that experience. and near the end of his days he approached doctor clark. to provide some text on the book. by that time doctor clark had lost his vision and everything
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so he called me up to work with him. and i was just so blessed to have that opportunity to sit with doctor clark. because he would put together 100 page, despite his sightless nest, he put together a 100 page manuscript where they would say this has to be trimmed down to 20 pages. so that was my responsibility to come in and work with him. to kind of compress, condense this 100 page narrative he put together for text for the book. and so that exists now you know as the middle passage for - so doctor clark was one of my surrogate fathers along with gordon and percy. >> let's hear from crane in louisiana. good afternoon to you. >> good afternoon and thank you so much professor herb boyd for all of the work you've done. a fun question for you.
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what are your top three bucket list items and tell us why. >> the top three? don't do that to me. [laughter] >> what is on your bucket list these days? >> oh my good! that's what i am saying. let's see, first and foremost is that we have a book out called black detroit. and at the top of that list is to make sure that i make all the rounds. and they are accumulating is such a very interesting and absolutely, a way that an author dreams of in terms of getting the recognition and attention that the book is gathering at this point. and i appreciate that i have
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had such a team around me of people who you know just volunteer their service. certainly i am not in a position to pay them all but they volunteered to service and help spread the word. that has just been so hard lifting and so rewarding to know that that kind of reception is occurring. if i have bucket list of the top is to make sure that i live up to what my team is doing and making these appearances, the book signings. we get quite a few coming up and i am back to detroit again! >> where are you going to be? >> i will be at three different locations again with the african-american museum and of course doing anything with the book festival. that is the first event, the book festival on 16 july. then on the 18th i will be at the museum talking about the 50 year anniversary of the rebellion of 67. probably the most, the largest of that would be on the 20th.
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i will be at the northwest activity center there in conversation with rochelle riley who is a columnist at the free press. so we have an opportunity on those three different dates to spread the word. get the book out there and then after that, down the trail is a bunch of other appearances i have to make so, promoting the book insured is the, the top concern i have at this point. then after that you know you start talking about other book projects, my goodness! i have at least three that i am working on now including a book on the harlem renaissance that i am doing for third world press. decelerate their 50th anniversary of the press. -- was an outstanding activist in the harlem community. the foundation, the family - they asked me to edit a collection of his writings and what a phenomenal writer and
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activist he was. probably understood these affairs is nobody's business in this country. he was very close to gil noble for many years. his television show, like it is, so working on that book as well as trying to pull together the day-to-day activities with the amsterdam news. that continues to be top. and then i have my classes! i have to deal with my students and i love my students. i am hoping that you know when we come back in the fall, not sure my situation is going to be because the book is getting such attention. i never thought that you can go home again in such a fantastic way, peter. you know, i was concerned about that in doing a book on black detroit because you know i left in 1985 and one way. and in the same way that baldwin left harlem in one way.
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but in another way, you can never leave. you know when you take that cultural and political baggage with you no matter where you go. and there was just a matter of going back and fleshing out those memories. you know somebody asked me how long did it take you to write that book? and i say i have been writing the book my whole life. it has been accumulating there just waiting in the back. waiting for an opportunity to spring forward into halves like an editor like tracy and having an agent like marie and a wife like elsa. i mean, it made that, the possibility so absolutely there i am! >> let's hear from a viewer from detroit. this is gene in detroit. >> how are you? thank you c-span for coming to detroit. i hope it is not too long when you come back again. herb boyd, i know you have talked a lot about the classes
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at wayne state. i was one of your former students and if you can, can you elaborate a little more on that? but i would talk about the bookstore, league of revolutionary black workers. finally they got the news about some of the current things happening in detroit. particularly with the foreclosures, the water shut offs, the grand bargain, grand theft bargain some of us call it! and funds to the rest of the city to the midtown downtown and i want to thank you so much. >> two things gene, what do you do in detroit these days and what was the bookstore you mentioned? >> barnes bookstore. and -- it has been closed a long time.the owners in alabama. i am currently a real estate
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agent. and on the board of directors for the detroit association of realtors. we have been pressing home for the old ordinance to be reenacted in the city. it has been on the books for over 30 years. >> so gene, given detroit renaissance summit would say, how is business for a real estate agent? >> it depends on what color you are and what company you work for. and where it is you're doing your business. if it is inside where it is beyond the 7.2 it is pretty lousy! but it is currently being investigated by a federal grand jury.hundreds of thousands are up with the market. if you are inside of the 7.2 or in the suburbs and your complexion is - or you are a good little boy or girl business can be adequate. >> thank you, sir.
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[laughter] >> a little part of gene's resume, beyond being a former student. a very active because in the 1967 through about 1977, a 10 year period in which he was actively engaged in bringing about change in detroit. principally, as the editor of the south and newspaper there, he picked up where john watson and harry clark know and art johnson had done previously and that same outlook. that is class conscious workers. ecb slogan or a motto for that paper so gene carried on the
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whole activist tradition. and making the newspaper resonate beyond the campus. and connecting you with the community.the same way i try to straddle it to one foot like they say in the grassroots and the other foot in the ivory tower. to make sure that these communities come together and gaining the wealth of the resources that he can bring. and gene was on the front line of that. he was on the ramparts of the struggle in those days and i appreciated his friendship over the years as i appreciate his call today. because he has to resurrect a few things in terms of revolutionary black workers and of course, i have a pretty extensive discussion of that in black detroit. matter of fact, all the things that he talked about in terms of black studies outweighs the university. because wayne state university at that time was a hotbed of
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political activism. all the way back to the 60s with - a swahili word for freedom. we had individuals on campus concerned about the issues that were pertinent for campus and off campus. many of them later involved into being members of the dodge revolutionary movement. league of revolutionary black movements. and activism, concern. when i worked at dodge for example many individuals later on became permeable leaders of the league. they were my work is that i worked with at the plant. wasn't around dodge main. particularly general baker and -- mike hamlin and john watson and john williams. of course, a number of very important women also, helen jones and michelle russell,
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sheila - all of these individuals that were involved around the movement at that time. gene cunningham was an experience all of the things he is talking about i'm sure he can put together a very interesting narrative on his life. in his connection with some of these here, very pivotal movements at that time. >> let's hear from clayton in las vegas. >> i would like to thank you for what you do herb boyd. in my opinion, why - belongs to the mount rushmore -- berry gordy junior. the work was done in motown records. whatever you think about detroit you have to think of
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motown and as malcolm was the front lines doing what he did and martin luther king certainly gave his life, i think that motown records in the music and the political statements they change more to music than they realized there were certain activists and i think as a nation, motown was found in 58 on west grand boulevard. as time went on, music was nice and everybody wanted to dance and there was a time where the white people, particularly in the south. white families, the parents would not let their kids by the records so he was smart enough that he used to put cartoons and different pictures and things on album covers that were not the artists. because the parents wouldn't know they were black artists. and that's how they got started. and later on, you get to 67 and 68. now that society is changing things are becoming more, we have rights and assassinations. now here comes marvin gaye with what's going on. stevie wonder, all of the people started to do political songs. i think the nation went with
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the and even among the turmoil of the 60s you can turn on the television tonight if you see the supremes, temptations, for tops. they were reaching out and changing our society at almost a stealth manner. through their music. i have been fortunate, i have been fortunate to travel around the world. i am an entertainer and i performed in over 70 countries and i have done a lot of motown tribute songs. i've thought to contribute people cannot even speak english that they know the words to my girl and what is going on and smokey robinson is music and stevie and marvin. your first connection to the struggle in america chain through the music. they wanted to find out with the artists and in the front of the black people from detroit and that led to the struggle that black people all over america were going through. especially in the cell. i would like to hear your opinion on the influence of this. >> before you hang up, tells
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your forename and what kind of entertaining that you do. >> my name is clayton hooker. i was born in detroit in 1958, i am an entertainer. i've been on broadway and unchosen physical spirit estimate some of the motown acts. i sent particularly with some temptations years went on, the temptations had turned over people..the former members would have been on tribute groups. -- those kinds of people, that is what i do. >> are you working in vegas right now? >> yes, sir. i have done many shows in vegas. i still perform to this day. i still travel around the world to this day. everywhere ago i've been all over africa, australia, new zealand, japan, malaysia. i've been all around the world. i have been to europe more times than i can count. but the one thing constant whenever i go anywhere and they
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know it is a motown shortcoming. people struck with these t-shirts with the big afros and the motown, all of that kind of thing.motown is just so big and prevalent it is like the elephant in the room that nobody talks about with the civil rights movement. berry gordy had an album martin luther king's march to freedom. and people do not know that he had a label that was specifically designed for those kind of spoken word records. not music. i am just so proud of it but doctor herb boyd i would like to hear him speak on this. >> we are going to let him know as soon as you finish. herb boyd, thank you clayton. >> what is there to say? [laughter] smokey robinson, i get what smokey was saying. i second that emotion. i think he expressed very well, the articulation there and the energy and enthusiasm. >> we should tell him that there is a picture berry gordy's former home in your new book. >> 918 boston boulevard!
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go check it out. black detroit, i capture a lot of that. maybe not as expansive as some of the other things because it has just been done and done and done again. i think that the caller isn't blurry of that in terms of people understanding the importance of motown. obviously some of the things he mentioned have not been absorbed as it should be in terms of the label and barry's concern. even with film going beyond as they left detroit in 1972 and got involved in hollywood. you know with the whole monogamy of diana ross. all of that is a part of the legacy and history. i do not go into too much of that since it has been done so well elsewhere particularly like with marvin gaye and divided soul. i think it is still one of the most important books because
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even i you are talking about marvin gaye you are talking about a number of other elements about motown also and what it meant in terms of how he pulled that together. what he did to be loved, it was very important autobiography that barry did and it is hard to get past that. you know you can maybe cut into some of the sections where he did not fully disclose information and you can find some gaps in there and feed into it. and maybe express your own particular experience as the caller has done in terms of understanding the evolution of motown records. >> email, alvin brown. mr. herb boyd when we speak about the thoughts, words of the key people in our history and our times, i have difficulty conveying and relating to the knowledge because i have learned of them through their deeds and my personal observations of them. how can you differentiate between what those people do as
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human beings and what they expound upon at the core of their organizations, ideals. so to people's and do what i say, forget what i do. also relayed this to what rappers and people are promoting a musical style that also promotes a gang lifestyle and black on black violence. you have two minutes. [laughter] >> i need two hours! no, i mean - it is very interesting and complicated question. i do not know if i can do this any justice in a short amount of time but let me say this about in terms of one's commitment. what they say in terms of words and deed. for me, you know someone says we talk about the example of malcolm's life. he is someone who had his house
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firebombed and nonetheless, made a commitment and had an obligation to fulfill that. to come to detroit with the kind of destruction in his life. word and deed are inseparable for me in terms of the whole rap and hip-hop thing. in terms of activists and you know sort these out to make sense in terms of the value or to dismiss this. >> for the last three hour author, professor and historian herb boyd has been our guest. his most recent book is called black detroit. this is booktv on c-span2. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2. with top nonfiction books and
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authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> this weekend on booktv, we've got 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books. here are a few of the programs you will see. on the afterwords program, online magazine senior editor brian merchant retraces their creation and development of the iphone. former nixon speechwriter and advisor matthew cannon reflects on his time working for the 37th president. and -- details experiences with food, weight and self-image. and paul hawkins discusses project drawdown. a collection of policies, plans inductive programs to reduce carbon emissions outside of the purview of the federal government.also this weekend, new york times business correspondence, jack ewing provides history of the volkswagen car company. if corporate culture and efforts to deceive admission standards in the united states.
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