tv Washington Journal Douglas Wilder Discusses Race Relations CSPAN September 29, 2017 4:16am-4:53am EDT
governor since reconstruction. you write that you are a product of that state, the good, the bad, and the ugly. what did you mean by that? [laughter] mr. wilder: as you pointed out, ,eing the grandson of slaves one would never expect that person to run to be the governor of a state, sit in the same seat that patrick henry occupied, thomas jefferson occupied. to the extent that those tribunals were overcome, it is a testament to show what the people of virginia had gone through relative to refurbishing and making certain that the image did not continue. so i like to think does what i would like to say is that the new dominion, rather than the .ld dominion ima product of that. i represent what the people of irginia have brought forth -- am a product of that. i represent what the people of virginia have brought forth.
host: so have things changed? mr. wilder: yes, things have changed. that internalis --lage alliance -- villages villages is the place of freedom. you cannot address -- v the place of freedom. there are things you have to work at. what did take place in charlottesville was such as -- now we look back. some of that could have been prevented, stopped, some of that could have been curtailed, but it does not describe virginia or describe charlottesville, and the people of virginia do not like what went on, they do not like how it ended up, and getting to your question, it means that we just cannot go by
what we used to do. we have to see what we did, improve what we did, and address it in the times of today. one of the things i have always insisted that we need to do more of his acquaint -- is a quaint cquaint our people with their history, of virginia, of all places, so they can learn where we have come from, to predict are, so we can more conscientiously as to where we needed to go. i do not think we do that in our schools, we do not teach it in any of our history, we do not discuss it as i think we should, because america is still in search of itself. mericae wrote the books "a in search of itself," he was talking about we go through this
cycle every 30 years of needing to see who we are as a people. host: if you would like to talk to former virginia governor doug wilder, (202) 748-8000 four virginia residents, (202) 748-8001 for all others. governor, you spoke about history. you were governor, he ran for and became mayor of richmond. there is monument avenue down there in richmond. what is that and what do you think should be done with it? host: monument at -- mr. wilder: monument avenue is monument avenue. when i was a kid, i knew what it represented, what it meant, i where i was not supposed to go, not supposed to live. you hear the stories now about the monuments there and what is the 1970's -- i
mean, the 1990's, right after i became governor, left the office of governor, i wanted to make sure that monument avenue had the address meant of all of america. sment of all of america. and that is why i work so hard to get that statue on monument avenue. some people asked why would you want that on monument avenue? and i said that is because people put those there who they revere. have in ourblems we country today, and our schools today, particularly education, it is more important to improve the quality of education now, spending the taxpayers dollars more wisely on the kind of things that we need to do rather than talk about destroying and taking down. sure, it will be difficult, with reference to what goes on.
one other thing -- when i was elected to the state senate in carryi had no idea that me back -- old virginny" to is the state song. but i point that out, "carry me not have thisld as the state song of virginia. was first bill i introduced to get rid of the state song. they said that would be the end of wilder. i had only been in office for two weeks. but i knew the song because we were forced to learn it as kids in schools. they stop singing that song anywhere i had ever heard, and ultimately, they came to retire thes the court announced state song was [indiscernible]
those are the kinds of things education brings about. there on she was monument avenue, and when people come to see it, they are proud of it. radish, he of arthur has a tennis racket in one hand, and in the other hand he has a book. he was a very good friend of mine. sports is one thing, but stay in your books. should robert e lee remain on monument avenue? mr. wilder: that should be a ifision for people to make, they feel that he should remain on monument avenue. that decision is being discussed, the mayor has made a commission, appointed a commission to look at it and come up to whether the city even they own property, did
the property, do they have the authority? to the state and city -- do the and city get-together? i think mines will emerge. it is not a knee-jerk solution. if you are talking about spending millions of dollars at this time, richmond schools knew that money first. then you can talk about other kinds of things like removing and getting rid of. host: let's hear from our viewers. portsmouth, virginia. you are on with former governor doug wilder. caller: it is an honor to speak with you, governor wilder. mr. wilder: thank you so much, ma'am. caller: you are welcome. i wanted to ask you to comment on the fact that in two years, we will be celebrating the anniversary of one of the first africans who joined the , andtown colony arrived what effort are you a part of in
terms of that commemoration? we would hope that this would become a national venue for conversation about race in america, because especially since slavery started and ended in america, virginia has had an opportunity to teach americans how to overcome slavery, and you are talking about education making you realize you are probably very much a part of wanting to see us be the leaders in terms of how this works. mr. wilder: thank you very much. yes, i will be a part of that. the jamestown-yorktown foundation is part of that. i will be working with that i of when- that aspect the first africans came to america. the four separate things we will be celebrating in the 2019 event tobacco coming in for
19, women time in 16 coming for the first time, africans were the first time, -- for the first time, and the first legislative body. they were not brought here as slaves. untily was not made legal some 50 some on years later. i am very interested in making sure that we have a national slavery museum at the first african baptist church at 14th and broad street in richmond, presently on by the virginia commonwealth university. -- we saw what took place. one thing yesterday will tell us though, is that slavery as such was not just practiced in the settlements. we will show how the north participated -- the south.
we will show how the north participated as well as profited from slavery. any people do not know that. people do not know that. and it goes to the history that we speak of. four monroe -- fort monro has a history that still needs to be told. we will do things to love the general public know what is going on by education -- to let me general public know what is going on by education, and going to the areas and letting people know who we are and what we have ofmind for this great period time to take place. host: jeff, temple hills, maryland. go ahead. caller: it is a pleasure to speak with you. i followed your campaign down in virginia, and among your many alwaysishments i have wanted to publicly thank you for what you did for --.
that was one of the most heartfelt acts that i have ever seen. i have been a schoolteacher for more than 20 years. who loseen kids opportunities and then regain them, and some never get them. so i would like to thank you for that. mr. wilder: thank you. caller: lastly, i would feel that what went on at uva a couple of months ago -- i have to be honest with you, i felt that some of it was a bit trump, dusted up by the administration to shift attention in the country, but what happened to the next day out on the street was something different. we are alwayslike getting conflicting messages about what real white supremacy
is, and all of us know that it is not just a bunch of people walking around with torches the policy that controls where and who gets what. i was just curious to know what you thought and how you think we need to get that message out. host: we will leave it there. governor wilder? thank you very much for your knowledge meant of what took place at alan iversen. what a lot of people do not know is that there were three young men who were involved. i thought the double for what i may have done for richmond, but i did that for three young men. i did not do it for a basketball player, i did it for three young men who i felt were prosecuted for something was a lot -- that was a law that had never been
used. it was an antiriot statute that had never been used before. i was very pleased that after i did that, even those who were pursuing it through the courts of virginia sustained my view to ,he extent not that they had to because i had already done the pardoning, but to the extent that they concurred in that what i did, i was very pleased. i did think there was some staging in charlottesville. what takest a lot of place today is staging. that is why it is so important for us to educate our people as to who we are and where we are. i am introduced -- when i was elected governor of virginia and campaigned through every city, every independent town, every county, i took six a day and would not come off the road.
i would not stay in hotels, i went to every conceivable place you could campaign. some people do not know and may still not know that virginia has the smallest concentration of african-american voters of any southern state. it numbers around 13%-15%. so for me to have been elected, ofad to have any numbers persons not designated african americans to vote for me. they could not look for somebody they did not know, and consequently, i went to them. i think that is a testament not to me, but to the people of virginia who have shown they will break from the cycles of the past, they will break from what people designated them to are a newat is why we dominion, not a old dominion. i think the people of virginia do not accept what took place in charlottesville. that is not virginia, the people
of virginia. a lot of outsiders came there. why it is so important for us to bind their wounds, come together to understand this beour country and we will part of making it an america for all americans. are on lot of people search engines right now looking up doug wilder and alan iversen, but we will take this call from new york. you are on the air. caller: can you hear me? host: go ahead, we are listening. caller: can you hear me, sir? mr. wilder: yes, i hear you. host: that caller is gone. we are moving on to charlene in florida. caller: hi there, how are you. mr. wilder: how are you? it is very, very good to see you and meet you this morning. this is the first time seeing you, governor wilder. i love what you have to say. it hits home.
i blame a lot of our chaos on booksr school's history have been changed. the emphasis has not been put on both sides of history, and the truth in what has happened in our country, because that is so important. you cannot go forward if you do not know what you did in the past, you keep making the same mistakes. i love what you are in doing -- what you are doing, and i encourage you very much. thank you. mr. wilder: thank you very much. i really do thank you for that. we are going through some very difficult times in america today, but we have gone through more difficult times before. we, as dr. king would say, we overcome. host: governor wilder, do you get more done as governor or mayor? mr. wilder: you know, i used to
jobs are very but when you are mayor, people are closer to you. they will tell you what they do not like and what they do. rubber where the meets the road. who picks up your trash? puts out your fires? who is called to respond to crimes? who was responsible for your schools, your safety? that is local government. i think the experience i have as governor helped me greatly to become mayor, and i was the ng mayor they have had for over 60 years. i thought we needed a strong form of government, and i worked to get that done. i was not looking to run, but as
it turned out i ended up being there, and i do not regret it at all. -- they were both difficult jobs. host: is there another elected office for you know? mr. wilder: yes, i am going to run for cover. [laughter] i answered that at the wilder school of public affairs at virginia wealth common -- at virginia commonwealth university, where i teach. it is named for me. i am doing tuesday imposing -- two symposiums to answer questions that people would not answer and debates on a national or local level. i had a conversation with one of the persons here, and i can tell you that we ignore the people more often than we should.
we do not listen to the people. involve the people, and that is why i think symposiums, listening to people -- we are paying far more for government and getting less, and people are saying why do we need so much government when we do not see the fruits? i think it is really important for that to take place so that be to further educate, explain, involve, and listen to the people. host: we are listening for your question or comment. good morning, america, and good morning governor wilder. it is your neighbor, randy. schoolng to the state board meeting this morning in hopes of convincing them that my mobile fitness trailer will add value to their academics and improve the learning environment , the activities. some background knowledge for
the kids in rva. i hope to convince dr. staples, who i have been working in and around his division over the past 15 years, to help me get in the schools around the block, especially because i have already worked in 22 of them, and i believe that is because of your insight into health, education, and safety. mr. wilder: thank you. caller: and one more note, thank you for removing the battle flag from the virginia national guard fighter jets. i think that was a wonderful step. mr. wilder: thank you. let's explain that to the people as to what that meant. the virginia national guard, when i was governor, had a patch that they wore on their sleeves. it was a confederate insignia
for the virginia air national guard. case,no idea that was the and someone came into see me about a matter and he brought that with him, and showed me. i said this is not on our national guard? yes it is. i am in the national guard. i said very well, i know how we can handle that. as to whether that was the case, he said it was, and i told that gentleman to remove it, and he did. there was no fuss, no argument, nothing about it at all. it was done. thank you for recognizing that, and many numbers have -- of people have said that was the right thing to do. host: charles, bristol, virginia. caller: good morning. host: please go ahead. ,aller: i met you
governor, in a campaign when you came to the coal fields. mr. wilder: i do remember. i loved it. -- yes iople like you did. in 2017, thathat wilder carried the southwestern coalfields, people would think you are crazy, but i did. but only because of people like gave me the opportunity to come and visit, to be heard, and to listen to me and hear what it was i was speaking up. i cannot thank you enough for .hat you did thank you so much for what you relates to providing
that opportunity for me. host: governor, do you agree that virginia is basically three or four different states? you have the hampton roads area, north virginia, bristol. mr. wilder: i think it is a state that has many numbers of persons who have come to live here from other parts of the country. retirees from the northeastern part of the country, many in northern virginia who have never ofwn how the people southwest virginia live, people in southwest virginia might not know the same thing. virginia and the people of southwest virginia, they are closer than five date capitals -- closer to five state capitals. with travel being what it is now, we are one state, but we have different feelings about different things, different expressions. we may speak differently, talk
differently, may even dress differently, but we are one people, one state, and one america. that will continue. host: three poin -- 3.8% virginia,nt rate in and we have a caller from texas. caller: how are you? mr. wilder: how are you serve? -- sir? caller: i am doing great. i used to live in virginia, and i am pleased to see how virginia is going now, because it was not such a great place when i lived there. a lot of racial profiling going on. go ahead, governor. i would say that i am pleased to see that we lost former president james madison
university [indiscernible] not too long ago, and i used to those areas,ton in and a previous call or called from the southwest. this would pretty much be the northern part of the state, but the more northwestern part of the state, and it is a silly question that was -- it was a question asked earlier relative to the different parts of virginia. they are different parts, and people have different ways of expressing themselves, different ways of living. and yet, i think what we are finding out is that virginia is pretty >> it is long considered a mid-atlantic state than a southern state. independent is more . you will have more growing independent voters than party
voters. that might be good. , virginia is next. go ahead. caller: governor, i worked with one25 years ago to get that gun per month bill passed. quite -- mr. wilder: i remember. got anything past. i thought it is just the beginning. we are going to finally win this battle. 30,000 people a year in this country. areng those -- how many being wounded, their lives ruined. we've gots though
over 300 million guns that are out there. thatere any kind of hope we can reduce this carnage that goes on in this country, because it is impossible. host: ok. we've got the point. mr. wilder: thank you for your health net regard. -- for your help in that regard. over 65%rs for showing of the people favored that. what we were talking about is not taking guns away from anyone , not taking any kinds of guns away. but limiting the guns you could purchase. purchase one gun a month. wife, had a relative, a
that is to a month -- 2 a month. it was the law until a few years ago. it was defeated in the senate by one vote. , bob mcdonnell, he said that if the measure came to him he would have very little choice but to sign it, which he did. unfortunately. it is going to have a tough time coming back but for those people who recognize the proliferation big,ndguns is big money, big money. i'm not speaking of controlling anybody's right to own a gun, to
hunt. i own guns. i would be less than honest if i didn't say that. but we do need to control these proliferation. amazing, the guns that are out there. where do they come from? who profits? who suffers? you have to look at the overall result as to who is paying the price. host: is it time to change the one term governorship rule in virginia? mr. wilder: i have always thought it was time. i think the reason it has not governors is aia strong governor constitutionally. not only do you have line item the no authority as a relates to
budget, you can amend any bill. the veto is something you don't have to do. you make up a 4000 appointments during your term. appointees will be there longer than the governor. the legislature would not so easily change. the people who would like to see it change, the legislature is saying give us some of that appointment authority, the authority that resides in the wouldor so his period not be such that it would strangle us. there might be some merit to that. i would like to see change because it takes a couple of .ears to get your sea legs