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tv   Selma March 50th Anniversary  CSPAN  March 7, 2015 12:00pm-5:01pm EST

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shop. they were all black barbers. i took a seat, thinking i could get a haircut trade and these black barbers turned the other way. one of them finally came over and said, this barbershop is for whites only. black barbers only cut white hair. i didn't believe it. when i look at the progress we've made, even in our economic development, we have a long way to go, but we do have some measures of success. not to mention, the president of the united states -- 50 years ago, it could not have happened. 50 years later, i am amazed that we have a two-term president who
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is african-american. we have made an important statement as a country. we have to continue to work at this thing. if we don't continue to step forward, we will go backwards. because the world is moving. to stand still is to go back. we have to keep moving forward. that's what the movement is about. moving forward, recognizing those changes we still have to make. host: a commemoration today on the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. call american history tv at --
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reverend lafayette, you were in selma, alabama several years right or to the marches, the events that happened in march of 1965. tell us how you ended up in selma, alabama p we heard the story about the x on the map marking selma off. you went anyway. what is the story there? >> what happened is those of us from asheville had decided that since we had the sit in movement and we continued the freedom rides, once we started the freedom rides, we decided if we would give a full-time for a couple of years, it would be like the peace corps, boots on the ground, so to speak.
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community service. we started to go to work on boat registration as part of our response ability for committee service. we went to the rural areas where you had a large number of blacks who were not registered to vote even though they might have had the majority of the population. i decided i would drop out of school for a couple of years. i came down to atlanta, georgia and decided i would become director -- james forman had decided he was going to give me directorship. but, when we went to get the directorship, he said i have an urgent need to get people out of jail in louisiana. need to raise money. i went to detroit and chicago to raise money. i returned and he said "i'm
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sorry, there are no more directorships." what do you mean? we looked on the wall, the map and there was an x through selma. he said we are not sending anybody to selma. why not? he said, we already sent two teams of six workers to selma and they came back with the same conclusion. what was that? they decided nothing can happen in selma alabama because the white people were two main and the black people were too afraid. -- too mean. nothing will happen. i began to remember, when did i first hear about selma? one of the first places -- first times i heard about selma was
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when we were on a freedom ride the bus was coming from montgomery alabama and was going to jackson mississippi. the national guard, alabama national guard were armed and they said we could not go through selma. because there was a mob of 2000 people working -- waiting at the bus station here in selma. the national guard did not want to go through selma. we bypassed selma on a decoy bus and we carried on to mississippi. that's what i remember first about selma. when i took on this project, i said i'm curious how about we
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go to alabama? if you want to take a look, you can take a look at it and see what you think. i don't want to take a look at it. i will take it. if possible, that is my assignment. i took it on and i did extensive research on selma, alabama and the county before i went in. i needed to find out what was hoping kelly are about selma. -- what was so peculiar about selma. it was not the same as birmingham or montgomery. one of the characteristics was that selma was smaller and everybody knew everybody. there was a close relationship. there were no homes or churches
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bombed in selma. they had mortgages on the church. if you bond the church -- you did not have that. the other thing that was very peculiar was that people had generations of family that were close to each other, black and white. the black families were not -- they developed these relationships. they went to each other's funerals. that was the only time they came together, the church. people were very loyal. they had instilled so much fear
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into the black people until the black people themselves participated in helping other black people stay in their place. that was the attitude and the climate i found when i came to selma, alabama. host: he mentioned the student nonviolent coordinating committee. one of the voting rights activists in alabama and organizers of the selma to montgomery marches. today, the commemoration, 50 years later selma bloody sunday at the bridge are president obama will be speaking later today and we will have that for you live. at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. let's take a few more calls. joyce is on the line in inglewood, california.
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what is your question? caller: my question for him is, after 50 years or 400 years why is it that we are citizens of this united states, pay taxes, do what we do and we still have a hard time voting? people can come from other countries and get drivers license. i don't understand that. >> what we experienced is a third generation syndrome. it's not enough to understand that there is a problem. it's important to understand the genesis of the problem. what things have allowed the problem to exist?
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you can have a headache, but unless we understand the cause of the headache, we have not solved the problem. we have to find the cause and the care. the question is, how do we care this problem -- cure this problem? the third generation syndrome -- the first generation simply want to come and continue to have their religion, have their culture, have their dress code their food and music, all those characteristics. the second generation, they simply want to assimilate. the third generation is that generation that goes back and looks at the roots.
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look at the origin, which child we came from, what was slavery like? what did people experience there and slavery? then, we have people -- we experienced that third generation wearing -- he keys and having afro's and changing names of our children. we wanted to go back to our roots. the white people in many cases want to go back to the roots of their cofounders. they remember when they were in charge of black folks. they remember when black folks were not considered human beings. they also believed that black
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folks did not have souls because they were slaves. many of them are going back to those days when their own family members were actively involved in the ku klux klan. once we understand that, then we get to the root of the problem. we need a massive reeducation program across the board. it needs to be in our school systems and every institution and also needs to be in our media. we have to train our young people that this is not acceptable. we have to get people to learn how to stand up and stand together. that is how we are able to accomplish these things we did
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in the movement in the 1960's. we stood together. went to jail together, die together. if they don't understand they are brothers and sisters -- we either have to become brothers and sisters in the together -- and live together or we live separately and die as fools. that educational part is extremely important. not just to sit down in different sections of the bus or restaurant. we have to have some meaningful dialogue. that's why this program is so important. host: we are live in selma, alabama today at the foot of the admin prentice bridge, the site of bloody sunday. the first attempted march from selma to montgomery alabama. joining us today is reverend
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bernard lafayette, one of the voting rights activists and organizers in alabama. one of the organizers of this march. isaiah in fayetteville, georgia appeare. caller: what do you think the root of this evil has come from european people where they hate black people after we built this country on our back? i am a spiritual man myself. do you think god has sent us a prophet like you sent the children of israel to get out of this hell hole of north america? >> i have to search my mind and
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be able to understand those whites who harbor that hate. why is it that they hate us? i know that we did not decide which race we were going to be born in. we did not decide which country, we did not decide the times and we will not decide the time we want to die. i could have been born white. i could have been born in rural georgia or alabama. i have to look into the soul and heart of the mind of these people who behave that way towards us. then i have to say, what does it take to bring about changes. i have embraced nonviolence what martin luther king taught it we have to shortt.
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we have to show them how to love one another. we have to teach people to love one another. we have seen this kind of hatred. we have seen the results of it. we say to the silent majority of people who stand by and do nothing but when we see injustice towards one person it's a threat to all of us. we have to see ourselves as being affected by these kinds of conditions that exist. we have to stand up against that hatred. they have to see the hatred will not succeed in a couples and their goals. -- accomplishing their goals. that's when we can make a difference.
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it's true that some people will die with hatred in their hearts. i have lived long enough to see some change. i have seen people who hated other folks and i see them turn around. we have to continue to be convinced that the promised land is going to come. and we have to do everything we can do with our lives to make it come soon and not later. host: another call for bernard lafayette from maria in washington, d.c. caller: thank you. why do you continue to perpetuate the randomness of racism when the challenge of blacks is the immorality in music and videos, not teaching kids to respect the tradition of our lossaws, not insisting
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their kids use proper english or teaching them that giving back is important? i'm a teacher. i have an african-american history project. guess who did the project? the white kids and one black. why can't we teach these kids to love learning instead of perpetuating the randomness of racism and holding up signs? >> that's what i mean by education. it can only happen when people learn how to educate other people. and share that. education means not beating something in some of his head or criticizing them or their actions. education means bringing the
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best out of others. the question has to be asked are we educating our young people? are we bringing the best out of them? one of the important things is people need to learn that they can live together and work together. if you find black children are not volunteering in community projects, ask the question, why? why they don't participate. don't stop there in terms of why. you have to begin to find something that is interesting and exciting that they can participate in. one of the projects we started is we are going to have a birthday party for young people under 18.
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when they turn 18, we will celebrate. we will celebrate when they get their voter registration cards and they're going to have a once a month birthday party for all those who turned 18 that month. not only turn 18 and get a voter registration card, we will set up voter education projects so they can learn how to participate in government. it's not enough to just register to vote. they have to be able to know who was running for office and not just vote for somebody because they have the same family name. we are voting for people because of their commitment, the record and their proven and tried efforts to bring about change. education is the key thing. host: reverend bernard lafayette
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joining us from selma, alabama today. president obama speaking there. we will hear from john lewis introducing the president. john lewis beaten on bloody sunday as the marchers attempted to go from selma to montgomery alabama. 50 years ago today, what was known as bloody sunday. local police stopped the marchers. there was another subsequent march called turnaround tuesday and then some days later, march 21, the actual march successfully completed over. you were part of the organization. tell us about that sequence. bloody sunday occurred. what was turnaround tuesday? what was that about? >> i'm so glad you asked that question. there has been some criticism of
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martin luther king because he led that march and then stopped and prayed and turned around. they called it turnaround tuesday. it is more than simply protests. you have to have a strategy. what is a strategy? it is a plan of action that can accomplish the goals you are trying to reach. protest is simply complaining about the problem. strategy is helping to solve the problem. turnaround tuesday, once you have bloody sunday, martin luther king appeals to people all around the country to come and join so we can continue the march to montgomery from selma. while people are in route, there
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was an injunction in federal court. judge johnson. whenever an injunction is issued , you have to wait until that court hearing to determine whether or not the courts are going to uphold that. therefore, as martin luther king continued this march across that bridge -- one of the reasons why they got across the bridge is because of the city of selma is on the other side of the bridge. you are in the county. therefore, you get the sheraton involved and you have state police involved. -- the sheriff's involved. he decided he would not violate that federal injunction because
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the march was about getting the federal government to protect the march is because the state government was the ones attacking the people. therefore, when he turned around , he refused to violate the federal injunction. and he waited. we can always march later. you don't want to violate a federal injunction. the other strategy was this. you can never successfully defeat a revolution unless you split the army. you have to split the army of your opponents. the federal government could provide federal troops. usually when federal troops come in, they come into backup the state troopers and the county police and city police and all
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the other law enforcement officials. we were appealing to the federal government to bring troops in to protect us from those who were in law enforcement. we could see this because we continued that march with the protection of federal troops all the way to the capital of alabama. host: another call. jillian in long beach, california. caller: hello, reverend bernard lafayette i'm interested in your strategy that you guys are enacting or that you should be in acting to make sure that the states with the voter id laws make sure that people get the necessary documentation they need to get this voter id. what are you guys going to do? >> first of all, we must
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understand that our united states constitution does not provide a standard for people to be able to register to vote. it is decided by the state. we live in different states or we have different drivers licenses and tests. what we are same with our butter registration act is the federal government has the responsibility to make sure that whatever standard or whatever requirements the states have cannot be discriminatory against other people based on race or economic condition or whatever. it must be equally applied. that is the issue, whether they are equally applied. we have an amendment to the constitution that changed the constitution.
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it was a regulation that the states have. what we have to do is make sure the voter rights act stays in place until the problem is solved. an act is temporary. that's why we have to vote every 10 years or five years to renew the voter rights act because the act is not a permanent part of the constitution. we have to make sure that people are not being discriminated against, women are not being discriminate against, people of color are not being this committed against. -- being discriminated against. you hadeven the age difference in
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the states. we had to come together to say this is discriminatory to let people of one age and then in another state, another age. we must look carefully at the conditions that now exist as it relates to the criteria of foreboding and gerrymandering -- four votinr voting and gerrymandering and make sure the voting rights act has teeth and it. -- in it. if there is no enforcement, the act doesn't mean anything. host: we are live in selma, alabama. what do you hope to hear from the president today when he speaks? >> i hope that the president
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will speak in a way to give confidence to our young people who have been involved in this struggle. they need to hear from the president that our office of the president is concerned about their condition and their plight. i want to hear him say he is going to use the power of his office to ensure that every one of us, black, white, young, old is going to get the best support from the federal government. i want the president to say that this movement is not just about crossing a bridge and making a historic statement, but a statement for the future that
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not only will we cross this bridge, we are going to cross every bridge and every barrier and every obstacle that keeps us from reaching our goals. host: bernard lafayette was one of the leaders of the voting rights movement in alabama. the march was 50 years ago. he is the co-author of "in peace and freedom." thank you for joining us today on american history tv. >> my pleasure. host: john lewis one of the key organizers of the selma to montgomery voting rights march in 1965. we will be back to selma shortly. we will show you abc news coverage of his remarks and a rally at the alabama state capital in montgomery on march 25. >> i am delighted to present to you now, one of the finest young
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men i have had the privilege of knowing in my life. like myself, he is a product of alabama. he comes to the spotlight and has assumed leadership in this nation from just 50 miles away down in troy alabama. let us hear the leader of the courageous students of the student nonviolent coordinating committee, mr. john lewis. [applause] >> my fellow freedom fighters as a native of troy, alabama just 50 miles from here, i am
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happy to be able to stand here and share this great moment in history. with men like martin luther king and other great men in this great march and struggle for freedom. this is the greatest and perhaps most significant demonstration in the history of the civil rights movement. just a few weeks ago governor wallace said there would be no march. he used our troops to be dust down on march 7. -- beat us down on march 7. you headacyou said you had a constitutional right to march and you did march. the president of the united states made it clear to the american people and also made it
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crystal clear to the governor that the state of alabama is still a part of the union. we the negro people of alabama have been denied, and dehumanized by the vicious system of racial segregation and discrimination. thousands of you have gone to jail over and over again in marion and selma. today, you stand here as a living witness to the fact that you are to be free and you are to be free here and now. the president of the united
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states made it clear that we will get a voting law based on one man, one vote. all the negro people of alabama will be able to register and vote. i know that many of you have tried. you are tired of being beaten, arrested and jailed simply because you want to be free. some of you have laid the tracks , picked the cotton, cook the food and nursed the babies for low pay or no pain at all. -- no pay at all we will stand up to governor wallace that we are tired of being voiceless and tired of being invisible in the political arena. we want to participate in this
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government and we want to do that right here and now. [applause] within a system -- when any system denies a people the right to vote, it is not asking for a battle but demanding a war. we are involved in a nonviolent war. we are involved in a nonviolent revolution. we don't have guns. we don't have billy clubs. we don't have to guess. the only thing we have is our bodies. our tired feet. -- we don't have teargas. our weary bodies will take us to victory right here in the state of alabama right in the heart of the -- as we lead this march
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today, we must go back to the county courthouse and attempt to register to vote. the state of alabama and the negro people of this state will never be the same. we are making it clear all over the world, not just in this state and in this nation, that our struggle is a struggle for freedom and liberation. matter not whether it's in selma or greenwood or mozambique or johannesburg -- the struggle is the same as a struggle for human dignity. a lot of people across this country are saying that we are
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tired. too many people have been beaten , too many people have been shot and even killed. we have had enough of that. we have had a confrontation but now is the time for us to make some serious decisions. [applause] host: from 1965 in montgomery alabama. a live look here in selma the ri bridge -- the march attempting to cross this bridge 50 years ago today was met head-on by alabama state police and local police officers who stopped the march. bloody sunday took place.
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the march did eventually occur later. you heard john lewis who spoke at the end of the march. that speech you just a was from abc news coverage of that day and of the events surrounding the selma to montgomery march. we will show you at the end of our live coverage today three plus hours of abc news coverage from 1965. coverage of bloody sunday. the site seen around the country. teargas, clubbing's of marchers. here we are 50 years later in selma, live from selma, alabama. the president of the united states will be speaking this afternoon at about 2:00 eastern time.
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john lewis will be introducing him. yesterday, debbie wasserman schultz tweeted out a picture of herself and congressman lewis along with andrew goodman of the andrew goodman foundation gi. again, eight week from debbie wasserman schultz -- a tweet. coming up in 10 minutes, we expect to start hearing some of the speaking program in selma. we will bring that live. in the meantime, we would like to get your comments. you can join us at 202-748-8900. if you live in the pacific time zone 202748 8901.
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patricia, you are on the air. caller: i signed a petition recently online for a change name -- this bridge was originally named after the alabama grand dragon of the kkk. this name change would help heal psychological wounds from injustices met on this bridge. thank you very much. host: thanks for the call. rodney in california. go ahead. caller: hello? host: you are on the air. caller: good morning. i was curious, the great divide we still have been this nation with the police departments's
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misconduct etc., everyone seems to be worried about what barack obama will be speaking about this morning. what about the rest of our leaders? they have the time to host other prime minister's like netanyahu but they don't have time to show up in selma. how come they don't show up to help pull us together more? this would be great if they would show up and help destroy this great divide in our country. that's all i'm saying. they have time to host other folks. why not come and help us out here? host: the previous caller was referring to the admin pettis bridge -- edmund pettus bridge. it was named after a former
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confederate brigadier general and the grand dragon of the alabama ku klux klan. an article from politico referring to what our last caller was talking about. gop leaders skip selma event. scores of u.s. lawmakers are converging in tiny selma alabama for a large gathering -- renee is next in florida. you are on the air. go ahead. caller: thank you, c-span. i love watching you guys. it is very educational. why can't the president or the congress just an act aenact a law where the voters don't have to keep being renewed?
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the governors in all of the states need to reinstate the voting rights act for felons who have done their time and want to come out of prison and live a productive life. they should be able to vote when they are registered to vote. thank you very much. host: president lyndon johnson signed the voting rights act a few months after bloody sunday. the signing of the voting rights act taking place on august 6 1965. taking a few more phone calls while we wait for the speaking program to begin life in selma. ryan on the line from fredericksburg, virginia. caller: i want to make a comment about -- i think it is great what's going on. it makes me proud to be an american. thank you. host: mark in pasadena, california.
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caller: hello there. thank you for taking my call. i want to make a comment -- i lived through this era. i was only 15 years old at the time but i remember it well. we have come quite a ways but there is still so much more to do, especially now that we have a republican-controlled congress intent on keeping down voting amongst the minority population in the young people and students. they will not accept a student but they will accept membership within the national rifle association. that is clearly the demographic they are targeting, but to keep down student voting.
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because they vote more democratic. of course, the voter id to keep down the black voting. there are videos i saw on some shows where they should politicians bragging about how it has kept down the black voting by at least 5%. where is the justice department in all of this? we have a long ways to go. host: thanks for calling, mark. another picture from usa -- u.s. news. landmark bridge at center of obama visit. we are live today in selma alabama. president obama will be speaking at the commemoration, the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday
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when voting rights marchers attempted to cross the bridge in your picture now. attempting a march from selma to montgomery alabama 50 years ago and were met head-on by state troopers and local police and were not able to make the march. it did eventually take place march 21 through the 25th. taking your calls while we wait for the speaking portion of the program to get underway. you will have live coverage of that in the president's remarks coming up at 2:00 p.m. eastern time. the numbers on your screen -- we go to utah, salt lake city, susan, you are on the air. caller: i would like to see the
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bridge's name changed to martin luther king bridge. host: jamaica, new york. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm so surprised that i got through. i wanted to call because i just turned 72 years old. i was part of all the changes in the 1960's. i am from the south, north carolina. the reason i wanted to make a statement is that charity begins at home. we need love right here. we need to love the jewish people and everything -- we are not going to let anything happen to them. we want our congress people to
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participate in our emotional feelings here in the country. the black people who suffered so much. we want healing here and we would like for them to show more love and respect for our situation. particularly about this 50th anniversary. the march on the bridge. thank you so much. host: william in eureka california. go ahead. caller: good morning. i'm surprised i got on your dime 71 years old. i'm 71 years old. i was in sixth grade and my best friend was a black girl. that would have made me 10, 11 12?
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i asked if she wanted to see my chickens at my dads and she said yes so she came home with me and played with the chickens and as we were leaving, my parents came home and my dad got out of the car and called her all kinds of bad words and i stood there shocked. i did not have a clue. she went home crying and i went in the house and my parents never said a word to me except my dad. he said don't you ever, blah blah blah. i have had to live with that. i drove a greyhound for 50 years. a lot of the drivers are black. some of them are my best friends. all i'm trying to say is that
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this stuff is inbred in people. i'm so ashamed of my own parents. thank you. host: talking about the coverage from selma, alabama from 50 years ago. we will be showing that to you after our live coverage today of this 50 year commemorative event with the president and other speakers in selma. three plus hours of abc news television coverage from 1965 in selma, alabama. other newspersons returning today as pbs news reporter bill pla returns to selma 50 years after covering the civil rights marches. bill plante is returning to alabama for the weekends
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commemoration. he was a 27-year-old reporter in 1965 who bore witness to police tear gassing and beating demonstrators on the bridge in selma. he later interviewed martin luther king in a separate march. a number of dignitaries in selma today, as are dozens of members of the house and senate. we will hear from john lewis congressman from georgia who was part of the march. the organizer of the march, who was been on this day 50 years ago. he will introduce president obama this afternoon. that program is set to get underway at 2:00 p.m. eastern. back to your phone calls comments about this
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commemoration and the event 50 years ago. kiki in new york. go ahead. caller: i have a remark. it is a shame that the bridge is not named for selma because it is a historic thing. it should go back to selma. that is the proper name. when i heard about selma, it is very historic. all those who are not there it's a shame. they have been suffering for so many years. when i saw the documentary, i was crying so much. it is very, very sad.
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especially the congress. i guess they feel bad about themselves. that's why they are not there. host: stephen in west palm beach, florida. caller: thank you very much. i'm a 70-year-old who was most upset with the use of the congress by the israeli prime minister. i am ashamed that the leadership of the congress is not in selma for this truly historic american experience. they should be ashamed. host: jean in york, pennsylvania . what is on your mind? caller: i would like to say that i am glad we are celebrating this historical event in our lives. i would like to say because of
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that, if we would have exercised our right to vote properly, we would not be experiencing some of the pitfalls we are having with congress and their representatives. -- our presented its. i hope this day will remind people that we as african americans have to treasure our right to vote and we need to be more involved with not only the presidential race but every form of government. we need to voice our opinion and let our vote count. host: a bit of history about selma, 50 miles west of montgomery. the city of selma incorporated back in the year 1820, was named by a future vice president of the united states. selma was a main confederate military manufacturing center
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during the civil war. produced the confederate iron -- union forces captured and burn much of the city in 1865. the bridge built in 1940. robert, you are on the line with us on american history tv. caller: thank you so much for taking my call. i agree with the prior caller. i feel the gop, john boehner and his crew should certainly be here on this day. if we are going to have a foreign leader from israel, which we do support fully, at least they could have showed the same respect for this day in selma. thank you for taking my call. host: tosha in macon, georgia. caller: thank you for accepting
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my call. the name on the bridge, they were saying change the name. that name that i see on the television screen is like a banner to me that we the people that crossed that bridge overcame the bridge name itself. that should be a monument to show that we overcame -- every time you look at that bridge coming you will think about the name anyway. changing the name to me is not a big deal. changing the opinion of the people is the most important thing. host: darlene in newport news virginia. caller: thank you for taking my
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call and thank you for the supporters -- i have a question. it is quite disturbing to me -- i want to know why white america has such disdain for black america. we have been in this country together for eons. there is still no peace, no respect, not even for our president. i have heard public comments that would never be made it he were a white president -- if you were a white president. whatever grudge they have against black america -- we live together in this country in peace and love and respect. there isn't any. just as our children are being publicly killed -- this is crazy. it is crazy to me.
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i pray to god that there be peace in north america and all over the world where there are problems like this. it doesn't make any sense. host: selma, 50 years later. we are live in selma, alabama on c-span3's american history tv. seeing the sights and sounds as we await the music prior to president obama who will be addressing the crowd at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. we will have that for you live on c-span3, american history tv continues. some of the historic coverage from abc news back in 1965 with three plus hours of coverage of
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the selma to montgomery march from abc. let's go back to the phones. lisa in louisiana. you are on american history tv. what is on your mind? caller: good afternoon. i was calling because i heard a teacher earlier talking about that black kids don't have respect. host: are you there? sounds like we have -- i apologize. your call was dropped. here are the sights and sounds in selma alabama as we wait for the program to begin. commemoration, 50 years later of bloody sunday. today's date, march 7 1965, voting rights marchers attending to make a march from selma to the state capital in montgomery, alabama, met by state troopers and police.
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many were beaten, tear gas canisters were fired. the march came to an end. on tuesday, there was the famous on tuesday, there was the famous turnaround tuesday where they turned around and prayed, waiting for a federal injunction to take place. and then the successful march finally on march 20th through the 25th escorted by army troops and federalized alabama national guard from march 21 through the 25th, 1965. while we wait for the program to begin, more calls. barbara in bridgeport, connecticut. caller: hi, i'm just very saddened. i was 16 years old. i'm 66 now.
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i think this is very sad that we are still going through this. i thought all of this would actually be behind us. i went through malcolm x., when he was assassinated. it was on television. i'm a member watching that life, his funeral. i can remember when kennedy got shot. i can remember the night that martin luther king got killed. and all of this stuff, i thought was behind us. and now, my grandchildren, it is sad to say that they have to go through this and i'm just very saddened that we are still biting -- fighting to vote? -- writing to vote. this is ridiculous. host: you obviously feel there is not enough progress that has been made. what do you think are the next steps? caller: frankly, i just don't know what in the world it's going to take. what gives the white race the
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right that we have to fight to vote? who knows better than we are -- what makes them think we have to go through this marching and begging and pleading all over again? i will tell you what i actually do think. i think it's going to take an actual civil war between the black and the white, that's what i think, to stop this nonsense. we are going to have to have a war. you think isis is something, but we are having our own problems right here. we cannot solve the problems in other countries until we can solve our own problems right here. host: all right, thanks for the call. we will go back to philadelphia, pennsylvania, patrice, you're on the air. caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to comment on the historical context of today and bring it to where we are now in america. a lot of people talk about how they are surprised that none of
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the gop is attending and how they are surprised by how some members of congress are behaving. it really shouldn't be much of a surprise, given hostility in america against blacks and given the fact that after obama was elected, all of hostilities started to resurface, similar to what happened in the 1960's. people should not be said that the gop is not there. right now, the gop, they are trying to hold onto the old good old days, according to them, what america was, when black people kind of state in their place. they are playing to that base. the fact that they are not in attendance should not be a surprise to people. i think what we need to focus on is the overall picture and the fact that the world is changing. it's becoming more black and brown. more diverse. and it's maybe scaring some white people but america is a
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diverse nation and we will have to live -- learn how to live with each other. nothing is changing. these are moving forward. things are progressing. obama pretty much symbolizes that the world is becoming more diverse, more black and brown more day, more equal in regards to women's rights. we are not going to go back to the good old days. host: thanks for your call. on your screen, you have been watching some of the historic footage of the selma to montgomery, alabama march of 1965. today is the anniversary of bloody sunday in selma. we are live today for the commemoration of that event and we will hear from president obama shortly at about 2:00. the speaking program with the president will get underway and we will have that here for you on american history tv. john lewis, who was part of the march, and now congressman john
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lewis, will be introducing the president. more of your calls, sheila on the line in norfolk, virginia. caller: i'm calling just to voice my opinion that the struggle does not just stop. it has always been placed in our hands. when our fathers and mothers sat with us and showed us the things that happen on the tv in the 1960's, i can remember my great-grandmother explaining all of this to me. i feel like we as society, we need to pick up with our grandchildren come our children, and let somebody know. just like the jews, they don't stop generic is about holocaust. -- don't stop teaching their kids about the holocaust. we need to teach our family, and extended family about black history, and not just black history month to month but everything will day. and it continues until we all appreciate each other and learn
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to come together like they did for civil rights. that is just my opinion, one black woman, trying to raise her family properly. i challenge you, step up and be the leader that these people were for us in the 1960's. host: thank you. ted in penrose, colorado, what are your thoughts? caller: yes, i would like to see the president and some of the leaders take advantage of this generation -- this situation with all of them being together at that site, and call for everyone to get together again and get people off their couches and onto the street and work together. it is not just a thing of color. it is an economic problem. there are poor wife of latinos -- there are poor whites, or latinos, for indians -- who were latinos, or indians, and we need to get together and have a
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renewal of the spirit that existed in 1960's. everyone has gotten too complacent. everyone is pretty much just happy to go about the day today and they will comment on stuff but when it gets -- comes to getting out and doing something about it, you know, if we would all vote, we would not have these tuitions. -- these situations. i just want everyone together as people, not necessarily as blacks or white or latinos but joined together as people who want to have a voice in the way this country is run. that is all i have to say. host: makes very much for calling. we are alive and elma, alabama -- we are live in selma, alabama, on the 50th anniversary of what came to be known as bloody sunday. clayborne carson is the director of the martin luther king jr. research and education institute at stanford university and also
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author of "martin stream -- martin's dream. we invite you to call and ask questions of professor clayborne carson. we heard part of the speech that lyndon johnson made shortly after bloody sunday. he addressed congress on voting rights. what was lbj thinking on voting rights prior to event in selma? guest: he wanted voting rights no question. for him, it was a question of timing. that is what brought it there. martin is a king met with him and it was not the right time. the young people in the voting rights campaign made sure it was time. they reminded johnson that they were setting the timetable, not the president. host: where were you on bloody
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sunday? and when you heard about bloody sunday, what was your reaction? guest: i was in los angeles going to ucla at the time. i remember the reaction myself, and many of the people i knew, was anger. we wanted to do something. we wanted to come and protest. instead, we decided to protest at the federal building in los angeles. we basically shut the federal building down for a short time in order to make it clear that the federal government had to react on behalf of the voting rights marches in selma. host: mark luther, where was he 50 years ago today? -- martin luther king, where was he 50 years ago today? with his role in the marches? -- what was his role in the marches? guest: martin luther king decided to make it an issue after getting the nobel peace
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prize. the voting rights campaign was already underway. of course, what happened on bloody sunday was, martin luther king was in atlanta dealing with the affairs of his church, while a group of marchers left selma over the bridge, and of course that was the famous confrontation on the other side of the bridge. and martin luther king was somewhat embarrassed that he was not here, but he promised to come back and lead another march the following tuesday. host: tell us about that. that was turnaround tuesday. what was martin luther king's idea for turnaround tuesday after -- four tuesday? guest: first, he thought he could lead a march, and after negotiations with the federal government they commit sin that if they waited until the following tuesday, they would be able to -- they convinced him
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that if they waited until the following tuesday, they would be able to march with the authority of the federal judge. he decided not to trust the troopers on tuesday, and that led him to make that decision to turn back and go back to selma. that upset a lot of people. that was one of king's crucial decisions, and it was very controversial. i remember in his own memoir, the autobiography of martin luther king, gathering together all of his autobiographical writings, he spends a lot of the chapter defending that action. because some people charge that it was of a trail of the march to turn around. but i think he made a somewhat convinced -- that it was a betrayal of the march to drive
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around. but i made a somewhat convinced case -- convincing case. the next march ended up to be much more successful. we will just never know what happened on the tuesday march. host: professor clayborne carson is joining us on american history tv today. i would like to invite the viewers to join us. the numbers are on the screen. and you can join the conversation on facebook and twitter as well. let's go to the phone lines. maddie has been holding on from macon, georgia. do you have a question or clayborne carson? caller: -- for clayborne carson?
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caller: actually, i don't. i just wanted to say the irony of bloody sunday on that bridge is inescapable. and i also want to say that although we try to cover it up, history cannot be erased, no matter whose history or no matter how ugly. i think my auntie lou said it best when she said history cannot be unlit, but a face -- if faced with courage, will not have to be lived again. host: thanks for the call . guest: this bridge is not famous for edmund pettis, but what happened here 50 years ago. i hope that a name change is in the works. host: let's go back to the calls . louisiana, doc is joining us for clayborne carson. caller: good day to you and have a beautiful day out there.
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being a retired navy man of the 1960's and a vietnam veteran, my contribution to be a part of the human relations program for the navy was my commitment to help the program that martin luther king was a part of. i also want to make a statement that i want to commend the 71-year-old man from vallejo about the family that treated the young black girl with racism. it took a lot of strength and intestinal fortitude to say something like that about their family. have a good day down there. host: naked for the comment. -- thank you for the comment. clayborne carson joining us. johnny from decatur, alabama. go ahead. caller: i just want to ask you, professor, do you think there is more that could begun instead of just once a year, once a month -- that could be done instead of
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just once a year, once a month? guest: well, i think the greatest commemoration we could stage would be to increase the number of voters. black americans and young americans, and a lot of americans who favor social change would vote in larger proportion. maybe bring it up to 80% or 90% as close to 100% as we could get. we could change the face of american politics. a lot of the politics is not decided by those who go invoke but those who stay home. host: how has selma changed in the last 50 years? guest: it has changed a lot even from the first time i was here in the 1970's.
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the voting rights museum, the commemorations that have previously taken place i think we have almost reached the point and i don't know that we are there yet, that americans on the whole can take pride in these kinds of commemorations. it is not just a predominately black crowd. when i came here today i was driving down with another person and the traffic got so bad, i had to get out of the car and start walking. and when i did that, some students on a bus recognized me. i guess they had been studying one of my books. and they came out of the bus and we started our own march. even today, and these were people of various races who were
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studying the voting rights movement in their classes and wanted to be here. and they were brought by some of their teachers from butler university -- butler university. i called the march from nowhere into selma to commemorate the selma to montgomery march. host: professor clayborne carson joining us live today in selma, alabama. this 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. our live coverage continuing here on american history tv on c-span3 and simulcast on c-span radio across the country on xm satellite radio. back to the calls jenny in south windsor, connecticut, go ahead for professor carson. caller: good afternoon. i just want to commend you. and i'm greatly appreciate that you are having this on tv. i would like to be more active in this elevation as well. i was wondering -- in this celebration as well. what do i need to do to find out
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information of what is going on right now? guest: well, one of the things that any person can do is, instead of taking the next vacation going to europe or going to a national historic part -- site. just yesterday i was in atlanta at keansburg home -- king's birth home. come to montgomery and dexter avenue church working --where k ing preached. come to birmingham to the civil rights museum there.
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come to the national civil rights museum. there are lots of ways. also just read books. there is a wealth of literature about this. john lewis and so many others have written their stories. to me, it is one of the great freedom movements in human history. and as i said before, the best way to commemorate it is to take an active role in determining the of this nation. in other words, be a citizen in the full sense of that word. vote, take an active part in changing america for the better. and i think, that more than even commemorating an event, would honor king. host: so many people have connected to selma through the
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motion pictures, through the movie "selma." did the movie makers get it right? guest: i applaud the film makers. i applaud the fact that they made it. yes, i think there were some things that were not exactly historically accurate, but that happens in all hollywood movies. the controversy shouldn't distract us from seeing the film. i told my students though, that if you can get your history from going to a movie for two hours i would tell my students to leave class and go to the movies for two hours. if you want to get a deeper view of history, read about it. take a class in it. right now, i'm developing an online class about martin luther king. within a few years, it will be
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possible for people throughout the world to take the kind of glad that you would have to come to stanford university to take. you can get access to this material wherever you are in the world. host: let's go back to the phone lines for professor clayborne cart -- clayborne carson. neil is on the line from colorado. caller: hello, professor. it's changed so much in the united states, k-12 and college education should not be so involved in the push related to this issue. do you think a graduation requirement should be a cultural proficiency, having the skills necessary to live among different people? host: neil broke up on a there. -- broke up on us there. guest: what i got from it was
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what we need to do to educate people to help understand american history. because i don't see the answer being pictures or an elective course on civil rights history or something like that. it's fine if you want to do it but i think american history on the whole if it was top of it should be taught, every american would know the importance of what happened here. it was not be something -- it would not be something that requires specialized study. all of this should be part of our common understanding that americans have of the long route to create the principles that were enunciated in the declaration of independence and make them real. if you look at the civil war you see that as a war, as
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lincoln said, to have a new birth of freedom in this country . and when king is talking at the microphone in washington and he says, it's now time for us to make real, the promise -- make real the promise of democracy. that is what is happening protecting the union. if people understand it this way, then they understand is this is essential knowledge for any american. host: we have been watching some of the arrivals in selma alabama as he have been talking with professor clayborne carson. we will hear from the president later on today. you saw a few moments ago on the screen that attorney general eric holder. that reminds me to ask you about the significance of selma alabama to recent events in ferguson, missouri. your thoughts?
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guest: well, i think if king were here, he would be reminding us that his dream is unfinished, it is unrealized. it will take more struggle to bring about that understanding that human rights is a global issue, and it's an ongoing issue . we have achieved a great victory back in the 1960's. the fact that for the first time in human history most people on earth, most of humanity had basic citizenship rights. we should celebrate that. last summer, i went to zambia and they were salivating their independence. throughout the world, you have people who have never practiced. it should ship -- practiced full citizenship. and in the decades after world
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war ii, that was a challenge. but now we face a different challenge. what are our rights as human beings? we should have rights that, as jefferson said in the declaration of independence -- he didn't say all americans are entitled to life liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. he meant all of humanity. we have to take that ideal which of course, was not true especially in jefferson's time when there was slavery. but we have to make that a reality and it will take more decades of struggle. but i think ferguson, the events there, or us of that. and i applaud the young people who have taken the incident, and all of the incidents, just like the one in wisconsin recently, all of these incidents have been
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lips on the media screen -- blips on the media screen. 99% of americans would have gone on the next day without giving it another thought. but because young people now don't allow them to do that combination is forced to confront the fact that we have not achieved these ideals. host: clayborne carson is joining us from the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. back to the phones. george in brooklyn, new york your question for professor carson. caller: professor carson, thank you for being on c-span3 and thanks to c-span for having this program. as a professor in an institution as esteemed as stanford and being in a program where you are
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studying martin luther king, what do you think dr. king would be thinking today about the apathy of young people not involved in the political process or even simple civic duties in their community? and i speak to the high numbers of incarceration. is it because their parents are absent and not teaching in the homes these values? because we cannot continue like this. we can march a thousand marches. we could petition congress. the respect that we so need will not come to us just by simply marching. we have to do studies. and at stanford, i would really suggest that you linked with other institutions to study the
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effect on the disenfranchisement of minorities. because we are heading for disaster. someone made mention before you came on about the only way we will control the result is to have a civil war with white people. and that is a pandora's box. if you open that box, who's going to close it back on long will it take to close? -- who is going to close it and how long will it take to close? host: professor? guest: it's a big question, and what you're getting at is the fundamental question. because to me, democracy is not a reality. it's an experiment. and we have to treat it that way. one of the things that happen in the 1960's was they were voter registration -- voter education classes being taught. maybe we need citizenship
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education, or democracy education in order to get us out of this rut that we are in. i don't think we've made progress. i would agree with you that martin luther king would look forward -- because we achieved the voting rights act of 1964 and 1955, many people would say now we are full citizens and we can move ahead. but what we find is that simply open up the possibility. it was -- a piece of legislation doesn't change anything necessarily unless you use that as an opportunity to move forward. and i think we realize that and i think many of the young people realize now that this is not the promise land.
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this is simply a step along the way and we still need some strong leadership that is going to get us there. we still need more people to get more educated about the response abilities we have. we need to have people who understand that now the problems are global rather than local. and i hope that as i mentioned before that people in my position, you know i teach at a very elite university and it costs many tens of thousands of dollars to go there. what we are hoping to do is take that kind of education and make it available to everyone within -- with an internet connection. but that will still be simply a possibility unless people use those resources. right now, you can go on the web and find information that was only available to maybe a dozen scholars when i began editing my mr. king's papers 30 years ago.
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now we can use that to provide education opportunities to vast numbers throughout the world. host: gloria joining us in diamond bar, california. what is your question for professor clayborne carson. caller: hello, professor garson. i'm 80 years old and i'm african-american. my husband was military and we were stationed in england when all of this was going on. and if worse, what -- and of course when we came back to the country it was amazing to see what was happening. the buzz across the south and the reaction of most of the southerners that were there with us, they were so angry that the blacks were doing anything to help themselves. but i just want to pose this question. all of the education needs to confront the strongest entity in this country, and that is, the
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church. the church is standing for israel, but the church should also be standing for the rights of this country, and sending in they have to realize -- standing in such a way that they have to realize -- they are so frightened and if we don't stand for israel, there is judgment of god. what about our country here? they should have ministers crossing this country, preaching that we need to change the very conscience of this nation toward one another, and until we begin to put the civil rights movement along with the church just as martin luther king did when he knelt and he prayed, we have to put together god with this. because the conscience has to be changed.
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there is a fight here and the spiritual wickedness is in high places. we need god to do with this. so the civil rights movement cannot just be of talking cannot just be dealing with history. but with us together with god, with the strongest entity in this country, the church. guest: i think the way i would respond to that is, if martin luther king was here, he was the type of minister that was pushing the church of his day to be a picking -- be a beacon for social justice, for human rights . and not just for black americans, and not just americans, but people around the world. that is what martin luther king's good for. -- what martin luther king stood for. i think the church has become
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complacent and has forgotten that message of the social gospel that king represented. and instead, we have sort of the gospel of prosperity. i think you are right in terms of emphasizing that this is the strongest institution that african-americans control. and if that institution is not on the side of social justice then we have a problem. host: professor clayborne carson live with us in selma, alabama. help us understand some of that history. the southern christian leadership conference, martin luther king, the others involved, the student nonviolent coordinating committee, how were those groups involved? how to they coordinate their activities? and was there tension between them? guest: as some people know, i wrote a book about the student nonviolent coordinating committee.
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it was an organization is always pushing king. one of the misconceptions you might get from the film if you just look at it superficially about someselma, is that king is this sort of unchallenged leader . but the way in which the young people were challenging him they were not following dr. king. they thought he was the one following them because they were those -- they were the first to initiate the freedom rides and to initiate the voting rights campaign several years before king came here. it is important for us to understand that the movement was not just a single leader. it was a number of people who were taking the initiative. one thing i like to point out is that rosa parks made it possible for martin luther king to
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emerge. martin luther king did not make it possible for rosa parks to emerge as she did. if she had not taken the reaction that she did in montgomery, martin luther king would never have had the platform that he had to become prominent as a leader during the 1950's. i hear people saying well, we need another martin luther king. we need a lot more rosa parks. we need a lot more people like the young students who initiated these events. these are the people that are also essential. host: we have twitter questions. guest: i know there is a lot of
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controversy in reaction to the actions of the family concerning marlee the king's legacy. but i want to point out, there are more publications today of all of martin luther king's writing, far more than existed during his lifetime. and the work i'm doing could not have been done without the support of the family. you can have all kinds of questions about who profits from that, but i don't want there to be the misconception that it is stopping the information of martin luther king from getting out. that information is more available today than it has ever been in the past including when my mr. king was alive. all you have to do is a google search and you will see what i'm saying is true. you can look and find all the books that have been written about martin luther king. there are more books of martin
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luther king's writings and ideas today than there were at the time of his death. host: professor clayborne carson, thanks for doing battle there with some of the music in the background and for staying with us today. clayborne carson is the director of the martin luther king jr. research and education institute at stanford, and the author of "martin's dream." thank you for being with us today. guest: a few for having me on this historic occasion. host: now we will look at the events marking bloody sunday. you're watching it live on american history television. >> we stand before you this day at the foot of this bridge keenly aware of what happened here half century ago stop we
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can still hear the cries of those who suffered here. their footsteps are as indelibly on our hearts as they were on that bridge. we first want to thank you that we stand on the side of history as recipients of the toil and labor of our predecessors. we have been the beneficiaries of their struggle and sacrifice. for that, we are humbly grateful . your heavenly grace has been showered upon us. you, father, have never failed us. may we be intensely mindful of the enormous obligation that is upon us in this time in which we live. none of us are spectators in this life. we as recipients of your great blessings are all on the stage.
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we are all on the platform of life as performers for those who observe us. god, help us to fulfill our role with a solid sense of accountability before the many who are watching. by our lives they will judge whether the endeavors of our predecessors were passed on to a worthy generation. each individual that has claimed the right to bear the torch of trees -- torch of truth will stand in adversity as well as in times of peace. may we today are not right. god bless each person who stands for us today. -- maybe today earn that right. god bless each person stands before us today. and god bless our officials, and god bless selma. in jesus name we pray, amen.
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>> good afternoon, and welcome. selma, alabama has been my home on my life. i am 16 years old and i have been in the county schools since i was in kindergarten. the civil rights issue is evident through this jubilee celebration going on right now. the problems that people face 50 years ago have been talked about for years, though it never seemed important to me. i was just a young kid. also, i attended schools of all races and have never been involved in a conflict. i believe that when people make
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racist remarks, it comes from their homes. i believe in getting along. in school, we discussed the jubilee celebration. i learn more about the event this year than ever before because of the 50th year celebration. watching the movie "selma" also gave more inside into what people injured during the week -- endured during the movement. it was heartbreaking to watch the march during the movie. i'm told there are still people living in selma today that endured mistreatment. those who oppose their rights many years ago also thought they were doing the right thing however it's never the right thing to do -- to use violence against another human. it is obvious that hatred and racism will never completely disappear from the face of the earth, however i will do my part in making sure all people are
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treated equally. in closing, i would like to thank the teachers and students of dollars county high school -- dallas county high school that wanted me to deliver this stage. that will conclude my speech. [applause] >> distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. i am shannon colette baldwin and i am a senior at selma high school. it is with great honor that i speak to you all today. i'm overwhelmed with emotion as i stand before you and realize the magnitude of how much god has blessed me through the changes that have taken place in our great country. when i told my grandmother where i would be today and what i would be doing, she said she no
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longer had to wonder if things had changed. she spent her entire childhood working as a sharecropper alongside her parents, brothers, and sisters. she said that she would never have dared dream that her granddaughter would be giving remarks prior to a speech by the president of the united states of america and [applause] that he would be african-american. [applause] my grandmother was last my grandfather was speechless as i share the news of this momentous occasion. -- my grandfather was speechless as i shared the news of this momentous occasion. was born in the 1920's. he tells me he's proud of his country and the progress that has been made towards equality for all people. i know that every opportunity that has afforded to me has come with a price of blood, sweat
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and tears. i think all of the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement who have helped me be here today. many of you were on the front lines, battle after battle. and there were countless others who were behind the scenes so that i come and many like me, would have their dream of living in a land where we could not only dream, but make our dreams reality. because of what you did, we have choices in education. as long as we work hard and earn good grades, we can attend any public institution of higher learning, regardless of the color of our skin. despite the progress that has been made, the work is not finished will stop -- the work is not finished. the change of it like to see is more of our people taking an active role in the voting process. it is not enough to get out and
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vote, but to vote for those who will pass legislation to in -- to continue progress for all people. economic prosperity should not just be a dream, but be possible for all men, not just a select few. by voting strongly in each and every election, we can make changes. it is then and only then that we honor dr. king and those who marched across this bridge, the edmund pettus bridge for our rights as full citizens of the united states of america. thank you. [applause] >> hello, my name is elizabeth. i am one of the children of
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hosea williams that led that march across that bridge with the rest of the william -- across that bridge. would the rest of the williams family please stand? you see barbara, yolanda yolanda, little mara. and also omalani one he does, rendon, j --uanita, brandon. when i said what i would be doing, everyone asked where the movement is today. everyone sitting here today has their own edmund pettus bridge to cross. it might be of the water cooler when you hear the word "nigger" and you know you should cease -- say something. it might be in gaveling all
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where you see -- in gambling halls where you see the trafficking of women. it might be with the homeless where you see people sleeping outside and have nothing to eat. it might be in your own home when your husband is beating you end domestic violence is a part of your lifestyle. that is your edmund pettus bridge. i'm here to tell you today that we feed the hungry. we serve over 140,000 people per year. that is because the movement continues. so don't just get on the bridge. don't just crossed the bridge. but finish the work so that their lives will not have been given in vain. thank you. [applause]
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>> good afternoon. my name is doug. i'm with the faith and politics institute. [applause] 50 years ago today, brave souls 600 strong, followed their america -- followed their faith in the promise of america across this bridge. and with john lewis they marched to buy two and quiet -- and hosea williams, they marched two by two and carried the commitment to nonviolence in resistance to injustice in their hearts minds, and spirits. they were beaten. they were turned back, but only for a time. soon, they were marching onto freedom land, the land where the
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burden of race so let -- so heavy to carry my delay down. they marched all the way to montgomery. they marched toward a land of new political possibilities. from a deep swell of faith, they confronted adversaries to compassion. they with their lives in acts of courage. they awakened the conscience of a nation. we the faith in politics institute seeks to cultivate conscience and courage stability and compassion -- civility and compassion in public life. for 17 years, we have returned with congressman john lewis to the sacred story of the civil rights movement for guidance and inspiration. and we are grateful and honored to be here in selma today.
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and i'm especially pleased to be on this platform with the daughter of wholesale williams, who carries on -- of hosea williams, who carries on in her father's tradition and the daughter of george wallace, who carries a different tradition. 50 years later, issues at the hayes -- the heart of race historic issues of equity cry out again with fresh urgency. our nation's political life calls a new -- anew for acts of faith in the promise of a perfect union. may we become worthy of a legacy -- of the legacy and go forward in courage. thank you. [applause]
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>> good afternoon. to the faith in politics delegation, to all of the foot soldiers, and to all of my christian brothers and sisters in christ, i am the mayor of somaelma and then here to send greetings to you, all of you that have joined us for this momentous occasion. president obama is not here yet, however i want to extend the courtesy to them as well as to the bush family. i say to president barack obama thank you for coming to some a once again. on behalf of the city council and to all of the citizens of soma in -- selma, we thank you for being here today on this
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historic occasion. into the first lady of the united states of america, -- and to the first lady of the united states of america -- [cheers] -- mrs. michelle obama, the first lady of selma alabama wishes you, each of you, warm welcome and cheer. thank you for being here, mr. president, former president george bush and his wife. we appreciate your coming to selma on this occasion equally as well. this is a very -- this is a very humbling occasion for us all. i'm happy to be here at this
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time and this season. we have come a long way, the we yet have a long way to go because we still have many, many bridges to cross. selma is not the selma of 1955. this state of alabama is still not the state of alabama of 19 five. the majority -- 1965. the majority of the people of this state are praying that with god's help we will eventually get it right. so that those who might follow us might have a better quality of life. the very powerful movie "selma" is having to reveal those bridges of life.
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i want to thank oprah winfrey and i want to think even given a --eva dubonnet. and i want to thank the whole entire cast and paramount movies for making it. [applause] and as i close, there is a little girl here in selma, alabama, who submitted a recipe to mrs. obama about two years ago about healthy living. that team selected her recipe from all of the 50 states of these united states to be the winner. [no audio] [applause]
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and she was selected last year to be the poster child for the whole united date in healthy -- whole united date in healthy living. -- whole united states in healthy living. [applause] another little girl, though she would not call herself little, jade armstrong. she spent much of last year addressing the issue of immigration. she was in the 11th grade at selma high school. the president responded to her letter, thanking her for letter about immigration. he might even use some of her points to draw on. thank you very much ,jada. and lastly, thanks to all of you who have come to soma -- selma
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today. my hope and prayer is that each of you will come back one day again and have a pleasant and safe drive home. i want to thank the volunteers, and there are many, who we've asked to be part of this process. i know they are just regular citizens. thank you so much for volunteering. may god bless us, and god continues to bless us. [applause] >> i am hank sanders. i want to say great day to everybody. isn't it great day?
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i want to acknowledge every leader of every stripe, because it is not easy to be a leader. so i knowledge you. -- acknowledge you. i specifically want to acknowledge my wife who is the architect and moving force of bloody sunday celebrations and commemoration starting back in the 1970's and continuing every single year up to today. [applause] i want to acknowledge all of those organizations that have over the years worked with bloody sunday and the bridge crossing jubilees, including enacting the voting rights museum 21 -- 21st century youth leadership movement at the
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trinity college. and dr. mitchell, and so many other organizations and groups. i specifically want to say to the president how much we appreciate him coming. we believe he is one of the greatest presidents of all time -- [cheers] -- and we are glad to have him in i want to make three points. putting razor under attack in a way -- voting rights are under attack in a way to they have not been under attack since 1965. the supreme court of the united states has gutted section five, which was the enforcement provision. now, we have requirements sweeping across the country
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from photo id to vote, and proof of citizenship to register. less voting days, less registration days, less voting hours. less registration hours. and many other ways. we must stop this march back to the past. we have to recall that we had the right to vote, or at least lachman had the right to vote in the 1870's. and it wasn't long before it was lost. we cannot lose it again. we must do everything in our power to preserve the right to vote, and making universal. the second point is this, it's great to come and celebrate. but this must be more than a celebration.
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it must be more than a commemoration. it must be a time to recommit to the full universal right to vote and we need to do that in our hearts and in our spirits. in our lives. if not, 50 years from now, we won't have anything to celebrate, or anything to commemorate. we must do everything we can. the final point is, we must restore the full effectiveness of the voting rights act. [applause] it's not enough to have a milquetoast voting right act of section five. it's not enough to have a very weak section five. we have to have the full effectiveness of section five of the 1965 voting rights act. i know that there are some people who say we can't get it.
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but if you will recall in 1965, there was not a chance that we would have the voting rights act. but there were some people who went forward. one side had everything. they had all of the laws and law men, all of the guns and gun men. all of the business and jobs, all of the banks and money all of the radio stations and television stations. they had everything, and the other side and have nothing. but they took marching feet and singing songs and they took praying prayers and a spirit of nonviolence, and we got the most effective piece of civil rights legislation that was ever enacted by the congress of the united states. that's the spirit we have to go forth and make sure that we have universal voting rights. not just for black people, but for everybody. if we do that, this commemoration will have been a great success.
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i thank you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please stay in your seats. the program will resume shortly.
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♪ i used to sleep at night ♪ ♪ by the time we met, i the time we met ♪ ♪ time starts to change. ♪ ♪ so i never going to let her, i never took my true heart ♪ ♪ when the lights cut out i was lost in in the wilderness. ♪ ♪ now were going to change the past. ♪ our lives are changing fast ♪
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♪ ♪ it seems strange ♪ how we used to wait for letters to arrive ♪ but what's stranger still ♪ is how something so small can keep you alive ♪ we used to wait ♪ we used to waste hours just walking around ♪ we used to wait ♪ all those wasted lives in the wilderness downtown
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♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ sometimes it never came ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ sometimes it never came ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ still moving through the pain ♪ ♪ i'm gonna write a letter to my true love ♪ i'm gonna sign my name ♪ like a patient on a table ♪ i wanna walk again ♪ gonna move through the pain
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♪ now our lives are changing fast ♪ hope that something pure can last ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait t ♪ ♪ sometimes it never came ♪ ♪ ooooo we used to wait ♪ ♪ still moving through the pain ♪ ♪ we used to wait for it ♪ we used to wait for it ♪ now we're screaming ♪ sing the chorus again ♪ i used to wait for it ♪ i used to wait for it
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♪ hear my voice screaming ♪ sing the chorus again ♪ wait for it! ♪ wait for it!! ! ♪ ♪ wait for it! ♪
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[cheers] [applause]
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>> we are live in selma alabama, on his band threes american history tv. we just saw the caravan rolling in with the president obama, the president is to speak here in
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selma at about 2:00 was the scheduled time for this portion of the program. a late arrival here, so we are not exactly sure what time the president will begin. this part of the program should get underway shortly. we will bring it to you live, including the president's comments. you will be introduced today by congressman john lewis who was in selma 50 years ago today. this is the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday, the first attempt at a march from selma, alabama to montgomery, the capital of alabama, by voters rights activist. while we wait for the next portion of the program to begin we will open up our phone lines to try and take a few calls and get your comments on this 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. for those in the eastern and central time zone, our number is
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202-748-8900. mountain and western 202-748-8901 . edmund pettus bridge, were protests were -- where protesters were beaten and tear gassed. the march was not approach it -- completed at income it was later. later that year, lyndon johnson signing the voters rights act. we go your call shortly, the numbers are on your screen. you also join us on facebook or twitter. log on to facebook.com/cs panhistory. or tweet us.
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>> c-span3's american history tv live in selma, alabama, for the 50th anniversary commemoration of bloody sunday. the edmund pettus bridge on the right-hand side of your screen. we are waiting for remarks by president obama, who has arrived in selma. we will take some of your phone calls. first, a tweet -- don't just cross the bridge, finished the walk. and a picture of the edmund pettus bridge along with reverend jesse jackson and al sharpton. let's go to the calls, first up is wayne in auburn hills michigan. your thoughts today.
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caller: i was listening to a lady earlier about how blacks and whites should have a war here. the problem is everyone is taught to hate each other, and we are all god's children. i have an 18-year-old boy who is colored, he's really good kid, he's a christian, i talked to them all the time, and i'm white. he tells me in detroit schools from kindergarten to 12th, the teachers actually teach them to hate whites. this is crazy. they all hate each other, and they are all from the same god. why can't we live together? host:? walter in chula vista california? caller: i come from louisiana
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where i was brought up in a segregated atmosphere, and it never thought i would live long enough to see this. i just have one thing to say when i was in vietnam, i was fighting with all different colored soldiers, white, black whatever. we were fighting for america. the change that they have now in the voting rights act, it seems like we're going back to when i was a kid. i'm so proud of what i see today, it brings tears to my eyes. my just want people to understand that it's not just a black fight, it's an american fights. for us all to be equal and to live, that's what i thought. thank you. host: geary is up next from everett, washington. caller: i was in montgomery alabama in 1962, i had just serve some time in the air force in mississippi. i had come from everett, washington, and had never experienced being around anybody
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of african-american descent. i was going with a gal in the service, when i was in it, and she was black. she was from new york, and i have no idea, i was very naïve. the first thing i noticed is when we cross the state line and alabama and stopped to eat, she couldn't eat with us. i had never experienced that. when we were in alabama in the capital, we walked about freely, hand in hand, went to dinner and were never bothered. i was so astonished in later years to find out what was going on because outside of the obvious drinking fountains and all that, we experienced nothing except that stopped between. i was really curious about that. how that'll went on without us being killed walking hand-in-hand down selma, alabama
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streets in 1962. host: how is the world, the country changed in those years those 50 some odd years since that time for you and alabama? caller: think god. i voted for the president twice. [laughter] host: thanks for your call. robert in georgia. caller: i think that we all have to live together. god should be put first in all our lives, and we shouldn't worry about what ethnic group we are, whether we are chinese, black, white, if we learn to live together, this world will be a better place, and a safer place to live. host: thanks for your call. some of the sights and sounds in selma, alabama, the dignitaries who have gathered, members of
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congress passed and present survivors of the marches, those were involved with the student nonviolence coordinating committee, and the southern christian leadership conference all on hand today, thousands on hand at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. you can get a glimpse of senator sessions from alabama on your screen now. waiting for the president to speak, barack obama will address the crowd on this 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. in selma, alabama. taking your comments until that time. rebecca in evansville, indiana. go ahead. caller: i would like to say that i'm so proud to see the people that are gathered today, and to the gentleman that spoke about his friend, his grandson, about how the teachers are taught him hate, a lot of times we forget that the white kids marched and
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died right alongside with us. we need to recognize these things also. and to come together as one instead of trying to hate each other. john boehner and mitch mcconnell bow should be here. -- both should be here. host: we move on to lubbock texas. ruth, you are up next. what are your thoughts today? caller: my thought of the situation is, we are telling our young people, for example, my grandson. he seemed disinterested in the civil rights movement. we are trying to get him interested. i like to say, we are in a predominantly white neighborhood, there is only one black family, which is us. i am so proud to see this day,,
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and i have him right here beside me to see exactly what's going on. i hope things change for the better. even here in little lubbock, texas, i experienced so much racism that sometimes, i get angry just looking at a different race. i hope things can change. host: thanks for calling. we are waiting for the president and other speakers. we expect to hear from the mayor of selma again, also the governor of alabama. congressman john lewis will be introducing the president, john lewis was in selma 50 years ago part of the group that was being by police officers and state troopers as they attempted their march from selma to the state capital in montgomery, alabama. audrey sends us this tweet -- we are all in debt to john lewis for his relentless efforts for
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the right to cast a vote. back to the calls sybil in washington, d.c.. go ahead. caller: my name is civil, and i was in washington, i'm originally from north carolina. it's great to be able to experience the celebration of selma, and the history that came from it. we shouldn't lose sight of the fact that it's still going on in north carolina. it's great to see the celebration, but we have to keep focused on where it's still happening. we have a lot of work to do. host: lake forest, california. caller: i'm calling because i am in a biracial marriage. my husband is hispanic, i'm african-american. where is god in all this? i grew up learning that martin luther king was all about god and loving everyone, regardless of color of their skin.
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i think we need to go back to putting god in everything we do. in our white house, in our families, in our neighborhood, in our communities. i'm also living in a multicultural neighborhood, we need to go back to loving one another. host: thanks for the call. the montgomery advertiser had the story yesterday, as selma weekend begins activists look for resurgence outside the brown 80 chapel church, which served as organizing headquarters for the student nonviolent coordinating committee during the 1965 selma campaign. the young and old breed in history as they committed to a new civil rights movement friday jerome barrett, 20, and the 20 hour bus ride with college students from new york said he found a profound sense of inspiration inside. lilly, you were on the air from
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collierville, tennessee. caller: my name is lily, and i sit here today as a former educator in the collierville area, said and that i was not able to attend the march. for the ceremony today. because of illness. but when i was a little girl, along with my two brothers we were part of that march and what i'm will most is that we made it to montgomery. and there were two nuns from hartford, connecticut, who took my hand and had me to walk between them. and as we got to the capital that was the first time i had seen joan baez. there's been a big change, as an
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educator, i have met some of the best race people here in collierville of different color. let me say that, different color. and great students. i know that we have a long ways to go, but i am just grateful that there has been some change. a lot of people may not agree with my subjective opinion. but there has been some change made, from the time this occurred, and i was a little girl, to right now here in collierville, tennessee. there's one last thing i would like to say. that my sorority, the epsilon omega chapter of alpha cap alpha , a sorority that right now, in the midst of one of our targets. and that's getting all the high
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school students who are able to vote, to vote. we must continue to encourage uplift god, and direct our youth. thank you, c-span, and thank you. host: thank you for calling and relating your experiences as part of the march. kiki is in hayward, california. caller: thank you. i think this is a blessed gathering you have here. i have one request for the president, i want to initially thank him for everything he has done while he has been in term. the stock market has made records, jobs are plentiful now. we are moving forward. that's a blessing. the main request i would like mr. and mrs. obama, the president to reopen all of the
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community centers that were closed in the neighborhoods for the kids to have somewhere to go after school. these were mostly ymcas, local community centers. i grew up in one myself. it helped me a lot. a lot of the actors are supporting these community centers, we need our neighborhoods. we need to start from home base. again, get our neighborhoods back together slowly. it's the family and community and school coming together in these afterschool centers, there we can move forward and get back on track. host: thanks for your call. daughter of lbj, linda bird johnson in the center of your screen and read, talking to what look like senator sherrod brown of ohio. both of the johnson daughters are on hand today, president lyndon johnson, shortly after bloody sunday, addressed congress, joint session of
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congress, then went on to sign the voting rights act into law in august of 1965. today, c-span3's american history tv is live in selma, 50 years later, commemorating the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. remarks coming up shortly by representative john lewis, who was there as an activist on that day. he will be introducing president obama shortly. we have that for you live here on american history television. in the meantime, jeanette in georgia. go ahead. caller: giving honor to god and his sons jesus christ, i'm on the call today, it's an honor to be on here. i'm watching the program. my question was, to a lot of the comments, thank god for them. if people are not beginning to open up their eyes, and be
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willing to see the god comes first in our life. without him, there is never going to be in a change. my remark is to let's quit talking about what's going on, and talking about we need to do, and my question is, let's do it and let's quit talking about it. we need to come together. we need to quit talking about black, white, issues. let's start doing something about it, to make it a change. that is my question today. i think god for the people that live in georgia, and are there today. i was unfortunate not to make it. but i write to god that we continue to reach out to one another. let's make this change in quit talking about making a change. let's quit calling each other names. my heart just goes out because
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we are in trouble. this nation is in trouble right now. we need to come together, and i'm glad that the people are opening up their eyes to see we all bleed the same blood. host: thank you. baltimore maryland, william, you are on there. caller: i would like to talk about just how, when need more public support from the house and the senate on bloody sunday. we also should recognize what martin luther king and all the other legends, what they did so that we can move forward as a nation. so we can come together on our racial issues. that's the most thing we need to work on. host: what kind of support of the house and senate are you talking about? what do you want them to do? caller: i want them to know how they should know, what we should
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know. that we've come so far on these issues. host: barbara in bakersfield, california. your thoughts on this anniversary day. caller: good morning. it's still morning in california. my name is mrs. barbara donnelly, and i am so proud to be able to get through to tell you that my older sister was part of the original march 50 years ago. my niece and her children are there today to represent our family. we are very proud of all of them, and very proud of our president. i'm looking forward to hearing the rest of the program, i wish all well. thank you very much. host: thank you. the rest of the program should be resuming shortly. the president arrived a short time ago. he will be speaking today, addressing the crowd in selma, alabama. i live coverage continues on american history tv. taking your calls, your thoughts
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on this historic date very until that program resumes. the phone numbers are on your screen. eastern central time zones 202-748-8900. if you live in mountain pacific zones, 202-748-8901. this is the 50th anniversary of what was to become known as bloody sunday, when voters rights activists attempt to march from selma to montgomery alabama. they were met by police and state troopers at the edmund pettus bridge that spans the alabama river in selma, and were beaten, tear gassed, and that march was not able to get off the ground. some days later, a march did take place, in march of 1965 from selma to montgomery. back to your calls, roger is in fort washington, maryland. caller: i'm 62 years old, i've
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been around for a little while. i'm still concerned. i would love to see what's happening down there in selma. i'm still concerned about our young black men in killed by police officers. i support the police officers with all my power and i know they're good cops out there. but we still have some that are just committing crimes where, we really have to do and look at these things out here little different. we need to do something about these black young men that are being killed. that's my concern. i hope you keep up the good work of what they are doing about selma and many more places all over the world. that's my comments, thank you. host: a number of members of congress wearing leis.
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a story about the untold story of why mlk wore a hawaiian lei. the bright flowers looked out of place amid of the seriousness of the march. there was a reason for them. the bright hawaiian lei will be on full display one president barack obama and others march across the bridge in selma to mark the anniversary of the civil rights protests. the untold back story of a little -- aloha, that means hello, peace. in photos of the march from someone to montgomery on march 21st, martin luther king, john lewis, and other demonstrators can be seen wearing the iconic hawaiian lei. it's a jarring come out of place image of fragile flower optimism amidst a backdrop of intimidation violence and
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federalize troops. that's from the daily beast. you see alabama senator jeff sessions wearing a lei. a chance to take a few more calls before the program resumes and our live coverage continues in selma, alabama. kirsten is in hawaii, you are on the air. caller: aloha. it was great to see all the ways and sierra religious leaders out there continuing the legacy. also, it was really great to see obama's motorcade come over that bridge. it was just such a powerful image. i'm glad you guys captured and shared it. host: thanks for calling from hawaii. you can join the conversation as well at facebook.com/cspa nhistory. post a question or comment, or tweet us. we are live in selma alabama waiting for remarks by president
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barack obama. while we do so, more of your calls. daniel is on the line with us. caller: hello samuel. i'm calling from winsor, connecticut. i'm a vietnam veteran. i want to say the way things are going now when i fought for this country and everything, you see the situations that are going down right now, i just want to thank martin luther king for having a cool mind and for people to survive really, you know what i'm saying? he wasn't a violent person, he wanted to do the right thing. it's a great country, but we still have a lot of problems. host: thanks for the call. doris in las vegas, you are up next. caller: minus doris robinson, i'm in las vegas, and i would just like to see the people in
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this country who are so intelligence comes a reality that we are all based in start out the same way. none of us get to choose who are parents are, we don't get to choose what our ethnicity is, those things that we are going to take credit for how to do with those things that we are willing to achieve on our own. therefore, looking at other people and making judgments is not something that we are in a position to do. we can only judge our actions make sure that our actions are positive. and recognize that we are all created equal. none of us get a chance to have a choice in who we are when we get here, we don't use our parents, where we are born, none of that. we get to take no credit for that. if we stop poking her chest out about who we are, what group we belong to, and do something that we can take credit for and be proud of our own actions, we will be making some giant steps. host: thanks for the call.
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news organizations were out in force in 1965, of course, they are here today for the commemoration, 50 years later. they were on hand for bloody sunday of 1965. following live coverage here on american history tv today, we are going to show you some of that coverage from abc news. his three plus hours of coverage of the somewhat to montgomery march, and bloody sunday. a chance to see some of that historic coverage of that day. back to the calls and washington, d.c., tim joins us. caller: good afternoon, thank you for taking my call. on this historical day the march of selma is being commemorated. it's a wonderful of that, but there's more work that needs to be done. typically it bothers me that racial discrimination by police officers against young effort in american males continues to happen in this country. and yet, there is nothing
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legislatively being done to correct the laws that exist on the books. for example, the tragedy of trayvon martin. that's danger ground law is still in effect in florida. what really concerns me is that it doesn't seem like we able to do anything to change these laws that are predatory towards young african-american males. that is my comment. thank you. host: a programming note, if you missed any of today's events in selma, and our coverage of this 50 year commemoration, a chance to see it again tonight. we will re-air tonight's events from selma, 50 years later. tonight at 8:00 eastern time on american history tv. that's on c-span3. bruce joins us now from pasadena, california. caller: hello, many whispers. -- my name is bruce. i just wanted to make a comment
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about some of the talk about ferguson. i worked for a police department for over 23 years, and a jail. i remember when i first started. there was one officer who was known for bringing in minority prisoners, who were banged up and beat up. i remember one particular incident where he brought into young white men, and the story was that he had written to a party, and they tried to grab the guns of him and his partner. these guys were brought to jail, and i'm like wow. my first thought, whether black officer spoke and said he did you guys know you could have been killed? if they were black, we wouldn't be putting them in jail. they would be dead. there is a fine line when these officers make this decision
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about someone is grabbing my gun, you are more of a danger when you have this dark skin. no matter what the situation is. and that is my comments. host: thanks for calling. donna and l grove, california. go ahead. caller: -- host: donna, you do to turn your tv down. caller: hi, as donna rodriguez. i'm so glad to see president obama crossing the bridge. it's a great image, we thank you very much for this. host: thank you. richard is in massachusetts. what are your thoughts on this anniversary of bloody sunday? caller: thanks to the supreme court, we have to fight for voting rights all over again. it wasn't dry out paper when all these republican governors went back to repressing and
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restricting the right to vote. as far as i'm concerned, the five republican conservative justices should be there in selma to see what's really happening. and to change their conscience is what they've done is absolutely shameful. thank you. host: a look at the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama. we are live, and president obama with a speech today on this 50th anniversary of what a sunday. we will have that for you here on american history tv. taking a few more of your calls also taking in the sights and sounds, some of the dignitaries who are on hand and continued to arrive and wait for the president's remarks. charles in aurora, colorado. caller: go ahead. i appreciate giving you the time to voice my opinion. i think it's an insult to a lot of people's intelligence that the leadership of the republican
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party, john boehner and mitch mcconnell are not here at this historical anniversary. until the leadership of the republican party show that they want to make changes, they're not going to be changes. once again, thank you very much. host: let's go to lynnwood, washington. leo. caller: hello, this is leo. i have a question with a related comments. it's my understanding that all the invitations that one out to government officials were bipartisan and that none of the gop accepted the invitation to attend. considering this is one of the salvation of the law the land, the civil rights voting act of 1965, i consider it a disgrace that those invitations were not accepted. host: there have been new stories about republican leaders in congress not going to selma, alabama, but there are a number
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of republican congressmen and women, and senators on hand. we saw it jeff sessions, he is a republican. the senator from alabama, short time ago. taking your calls while we wait for the president and other speakers in selma. 202-748-8900. that's if you live in the eastern or central time zones. mountain pacific, 202-748-8901. also, checking out the posts on facebook and twitter as well. back to the calls, arthur, you are up next. caller: hello, my name is arthur. nashville, tennessee. i do think this is a historic event. i been listening to a lot of people comment to make these
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changes they are talking about. it is going to take voting, and our young people to make the change and make that transaction. i'm 65 years old. changes are coming. we've got to educate one another , that's all this is about. focusing on god, playing, and just educating our young people, because i could sit up here and say that the lord is been good to me, but i want to see our young people -- it's all about the young people. it's all about the next
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generation to come. things that they are not seeing, such as the first african-american president, to terms. i just think the points of all of this is still being missed. that's my comments. we are still being missed. there's more that we need to do, adults need to do. host: thanks for your call. we continue our coverage from selma tomorrow here on american history tv. selma, 50 years later, with live coverage from the brown chapel 80 church service that comes your way to 11:45 a.m. eastern time on sunday, again here on c-span3's american history tv television. dolores is on with this from georgia. caller: hello.
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i want to thank you all for covering this wonderful event today. i just want to say that i'm 54 years old, and i'm from atlanta and i do remember my mother and i walking down ashley street to connor street, and we washed martin luther king's motorcade go down the street. i member that. it's fresh in my mind. i just want to say that, my site is 18 years old. -- my sun -- son is 22 years old, when he was 18 years old, i majorly registered to vote because they sacrificed so much. when your children turned 18 years old, please talk to them about registering to vote. they sacrificed so much for us for them not to exercise their rights. host: mohamed joins us from
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hillside, new jersey. go ahead. caller: thank you for taking my call. what i want to speak about is saying god made the world for all people to live in peace. but ever since like people have been in america, ever since we came to the shores, we have been fighting to gain our rights human rights, the right that god gave all people. i remember my father was in the military, he was in world war ii. he came back at the time i was living in virginia. my father had uniform on, he just come back from service. he went into a restaurant, and he was not allowed to eat. i said to my father, daddy, just got back from fighting for this country. but you are not able to eat in a
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restaurant? from then on, today i'm 70 fighters old. but that still, in my heart today. but my father fought for this country, and was unable to either sandwich in a restaurant. and today, black people are still fighting, they are still fighting. when i was a child, and what you after this. i never had a normal life. white kids were running around playing in the backyard, having a good time. i didn't have those times in virginia. my time, even at night, i would want on the streets, i would see a car coming down the road, i had to hide in the ditch to keep from getting shot. or someone stop in the car or try to run over me. that's the kind of life that i have lived in america. and i still love this country.
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this country owes black people a hell of a debt. we should not be going to the same thing over and over and over again. once we gain an inch, they take two inches. it seems like today, it's pushing us back. i am proud of obama, i think that he is the greatest president of the country has ever seen. that's how i feel about him. he is a great man. it takes a lot of courage in united states of america for black men to be standing on that platform. i am proud of him. i would like to say america should be ashamed around the world, the way they are treating blacks in this country, and then they go to other countries and try to tell people how to live. i think that we have no business in other countries trying to tell the people how to live
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when a black man and women this country are not treated fair. host: thank you for the call. president obama will be speaking shortly. we have been watching folks arriving, including the obama daughters. our guest from earlier today, the reverend bernard lafayette who was one of the early organizers of voting activists in alabama, and the couple of years leading up to the selma marches. and then one of the organizers of the march from selma to montgomery. coming up shortly, again, we expect to hear from the president who will be introduced by commerce and john lewis, also one of the activists who was present on bloody sunday. the reason st. louis, you are our next color. -- marie is in st. louis. caller: hello, i marie, i'm actually in ferguson, missouri. i want to remind all of my
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friends that we have an election. one month from today. let's be a part of the change we want to see. the world watching. thank you, god bless america. host: sean in portland, oregon is up next. caller: i wanted to say i was proud to watch the president crossed the bridge today, in his presidential limousine. to know that an african-american president cannot cross that bridge and to have the world see that -- african-american president can cross that bridge and to have the world see that -- i'm very proud. i know we have our problems, they are long-standing. we have a lot of people in this country who live in fear. i hope when i pray that we all can come together. i think freire is the answer.
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thank you for your time. host: thank you. dave is up next, from hudson wisconsin. caller: i have such a hard for the teachers in this country especially those that are gifted. teaching is a gift from god. my prayer is that all of the teachers in this country will begin to sew themselves into the minority communities, especially the black unity. they are such a resource for these children, even as we go into africa, we see the aids orphans over there. they need teachers who can bring them up and have the knowledge of what their country is all about, and give them a trade or profession, so they can excel. i know so many people on the streets of north minneapolis that are in their mid-50's, and they sit there with a
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compassionate low for their children but they were never given a chance, they were never educated. those people that are in the teaching profession, my heart goes out to you. especially those that -- host: thanks for the call. we take you back live now to selma, where the teaching program is just getting underway. we expect to hear from president obama shortly. live coverage on american history television, on c-span3. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the president of the
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united states and mrs. michelle obama, accompanied by president bush and his is laura bush, and congressman john lewis. ♪ [applause] [cheers]
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>> good afternoon, again. i have the distinct pleasure to this time to introduce to you and to bring to the podium, alabama state governor. [applause] >> president obama, mrs. obama president bush, mrs. bush, congress and lewis, congress and sewall, mayor evans. it is an honor for me to be on the stage with you today, and to
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welcome all of these people to this great state of alabama. it's a personal honor for me to join in today's historic occasion on the edmund pettus bridge that has become a monument itself to the struggle for civil rights over the past 50 years. this bridge represents the strength and determination, the loss and pain that have come to define the civil rights movement in america. it's an honor for me to stand here among you today on behalf of the state of alabama. 50 years ago, approximately 600 people marched across this very bridge on their way to montgomery to demand the right to vote. those marchers, many who were nameless, had a bold vision to change the culture of america. selma stood poised, center
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stage, as a series of historical events unfolded around us, as the fight for civil day in our nation's history as the route to montgomery was met with violence. we have all seen the images and heard the stories of those men and women who desired the right to vote. this nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. it was founded on the principle that all men are created equal. in 1965 the rights of man were threatened because every man did not have the right to vote. we as a state and a nation are forever changed for having learned the lessons the bold leaders of 1965 taught us. leaders like dr. martin luther king and my good friend
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congressman lewis and so many of you who were involved in this movement. we need more men and women who are not afraid to stand up and work for what they believe in. alabama is a different state today than it was in between1965 and so is our nation. we have come a long way since the events of that bloody sunday. selma changed america. selma changed the world. today we honor the memory, the work and sacrifice of those who saw a better vision for our state and our country. and it is extremely important for younger generations to know about the sacrifices that were made on this bridge and in the entire civil rights movement. but we choose to look beyond
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those ugly scars and focus on what alabama really is and what it can be. alabama is my sweet home. i was raised here and i have a great love and respect for all the people who call themselves bam alabamans. it is a place where economic opportunity abounds and there are good paying jobs and our children can get a good education. children of all backgrounds. it is a place where neighbors love and care for one another and they work together on issues that are important to all of us. so, while we look back on a difficult chapter in alabama's history it is important that we write a new chapter together where opportunities exist for everyone regardless of race or religion or politics. as we reflect on the past 50 years, i think it is important
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to ask what will alabama look like like? what will our nation look like 50 years from now? that is up to our people. it is up to our leaders. it is up to those who have a bold vision that make america and alabama better and stronger than it was in 1965. as leaders, may we never lose vision or the boldness to do great things no matter how hard the struggle is. for without vision the people may perish. 50 years ago the eyes of the world were on alabama. today, i invite you to look at alabama again. our state is a place where we can all call sweet home alabama. may god bless this great nation and may god bless there great state of alabama forever.
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thank you very much. >> good afternoon, america. welcome to my hometown of selma. to president apdnd mrs. bush to president and mrs. obama, to all of you, it is indeed a great day to be in selma, alabama. as the daughter of selma i have crossed this bridge many times. many times i have felt the weight carried by the brave foot soldiers of the voting rights movement. many times i have thanked them for their courage that they displayed in the face of extreme hatred. i first began to understand the
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history of the edmond pettis bridge when i was five years old. my mom started to explain to me the events that took place on that bridge. it was hard for me to understand what it was like to drink from a separate water fountain because that was not the selma i knew. my selma was fully integrated. my selma further clear-- nurtured me. my selma led me to believe a little black girl could achieve any of her dreams. i was encourage ed tod to dream my dreams because of the foot soldiers that crossed the edmond pettis bridge. any dared to confront a wall of alabama state troopers, unarrangement, undaunted and unafraid. we can not celebrate how far we have come without acknowledging however we need to still go.
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there is unfinished business unfinished business of the voting rights movement. it is person for all of us to know that the story of selma is a story of america. it is america's struggles. it tells us that ordinary americans can collectively work to achieve extraordinary social change. the cause of the tpaotfoot soldiers marched for is still important today, and as we as americans we must become ever vigilant to protect the gains of the past and expand and promote their legacy. selma is now. every generation faces its own social and political struggles. there is still much work to be done. in fact, it frswas a person 105
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years old who was my special guest at the state of the union, as many passed her in the hall they would say mrs. boynton who said get off my shoulders. there is plenty of work to do. so i say to you america there is plant of work to do. may weal leave selma -- may we all leave selma inspired by the foot soldiers of continuing their legacy of fighting for quality and justice for all. i have the great honor of introducing somebody i didn't know how to address when i first came to congress. do i call him colleague? do i call him congressman lewis? do i dare call him john? he is a civil rights icon and a hreullittle black girl from selma stands in his shadow. it is because of you john, that
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so many of us get to walk the halls of congress, to get the sit in the oval office. it is because of you, john, and your bravery and the bravery of those foot soldiers. it is because of your bravery and the bravery of those foot soldiers that i get to be alabama's first african-american congresswoman. [applause] congresswoman: to say thank you is not enough. we know we have unfinished business to do, john. and i promise we know there is much work to do. i present to you the civil rights icon john lewis. john lewis: thank uyou, my dear.
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thank uyou, my sterbgs -- sister, my colleague, for those kind words of introduction. my beloved brothers and sisters members of the american family on this day, we as a nation have a great deal to be thankful for. jimmy lee jackson, jimmy lee jackson, whose death inspired the selma march along with so many others did not make it to see this day. but you and i are here. we can bear witness to the distance we have come and progress we have made in 50 years and we must use this
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moment to recommit ourselves to do all we can to finish the work that still is left to be done. get out there and push and pull until we redeem the soul of america america. now i want to thank president barack obama and mrs. obama, president bush press george bush and mrs. bush for being here today. i want to thank all the members of the cabinet and the administration who are here my colleagues in the congress, all the elected officials including the great give robert bentley and including the phaeurmayor of selma george evans and all other american people. i would like for all members of congress in our delegation just
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to stand. [applause] john lewis: thank you. i want to thank the group for bringing us together one more time and the core leaders of our delegation senator tim scott senator sherry brown, and the representatives. thank you so much. it sis good to mrs. boynton of course our first contact when we came to sell ma in 1962. she was registering people to vote long before we arrived. i'm also glad it see the daughter of governor george wallace here peggy wallace
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kennedy. thank you for being here, peggy. i want to thank each and every one of you who marched across the bridge on bloody sunday. you didn't have to do it but you did it. thank you! i will tell you it is good to be in selma one more time just one more time. people often ask me why do you come back? what purpose does it serve? we come to sell ma to be renew renewed. we come to be inspired. we come to be reminded that we must do the worbgk that we are called to do. on march 7, 1965 a few innocent children of god, some carrying
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small things, a plain purse or a backpack were inspired to walk 50 dangerous miles from selma to montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state of alabama. on that day on that day, 600 people marched into history, walking two by two down the sidewalk sidewalk. not interfering with trade and commerce. not entering with traffic. it was a kind of military discipline. we were so peaceful, so quiet no one saying a word.
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some of us were left bloody right here on this bridge. 17 of us were hospitalized that day. but we never became bitter or hostile. we kept believing that the truth we stood for would hold the final point. this city on the banks of the bengal -- alabama river gave birth to a move that changed it nation forever. our country will never be the same because of what happened on this bridge. eight days after bloody sunday the president of the united states lin bane -- lyndon baines johnson delivered one of the
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most important speeches ever made on voting ratesights. he said the time for justice has come. i believe sincerely that no force can hold it back. he went on to say it is right in the eyes of man and god that it should come. he said at times history an fate meet at a single time in a single place to shape a turning point in man's search for freedom. he said so it was at lexington and concord, so it was at appomattox. so it was in selma, alabama. each of us must go back to our homes after this celebration and build on a legacy of the march of 1965. the selma movement exists today
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so we can all do something. so i say to you don't give up on saying that has great meaning. don't get lost in a sea of despair. stand up for what you believe. because in the final analysis we are one people, one family, the human family. we all live in the same house, the american house. the world house. we are black, we are white, we are hispanic asian american, native american. but we are one people. thank you. [applause] john lewis: my beloved brothers
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and sisters it is a great honor for me to return to my home state of alabama to present to you not just to introduce to you but to present to uyou the president of the united states. if someone had told me we would cross there bridge that one day i would be back here introducing the first african-american president i would have said you are crazy, you are out of your mind. you don't know what you are talking about. president barack obama. [applause]
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president obama: you know i love you back. it sis a rare honor in this life to follow one of your heroes. and john lewis is one of my heroes. now, i have to imagine that when a younger john lewis woke up that morning 50 years ago and made his way to brown chapel heroics were not on his mind. a day like this was not on his
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mind. young folks with bed rolls and backpacks were milling about. veterans of the movement, trained new colorado com -- new colorado comers in that. describe what tear gas does to the body for giving information to contact their loved ones. the air was thick with doubt and anticipation and fear. and they comforted themselves with the final verse of the final hymn they sung. no matter what may be the test god will take care of you.
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lean weary one upon his breast, god will take care of you. and then his nap sack stocked with an apple, a toothbrush and a book on government, all you need for a night behind bars john lewis led them out of the church on a mission to change america america. president and mrs. bush, governor bentley, mayor evans congresswoman sewell reverend strong, members of congress, elected officials, foot soldiers, friends fellow americans americans, as john noted there are places and moments in
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america where this nation's destiny has been decided. many are sites of war. concord and lexington. appomattox. gettysburg. others are sites that symbolize the daring of america's character. independence hall and seneca falls. kitty hawk and cape canaveral. selma is such a place. one afternoon 50 years ago so much of our turbulent history. the state of slavery and anguish of civil war. the yoke of segregation and tyranny of jim crow. the death of four little girls in birmingham and the dream of a baptist preacher.
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all that history met on this bridge. it was not a clash of armies but a clash of wills. a contest to determine the true meaning of america. and because of men and women like john lewis joseph flowers, jose williams, amelia boynton diane nash, ralph abernathy andrew young fred shuttlesworth. dr. plant martin -- dr. martin luther king jr. the idea of a just america and fair america and inclusive america and generous america that idea ultimately triumphed.
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as is true across the landscape of american history we can not examine this moment in isolation. the march on selma was part of a broad are campaign that spanned generations generations. the leaders that day part of a long line of heroes. we gather here to celebrate them. we gather here to honor the courage of ordinary americans willing to endure billy clubs and the chasening rods, tear gas and the trampling hoof and despite the gush of blood and splintered bone would stay truth to their north star and keep marching toward justice. they did a scripture instructed for joy and hope, be patient in tribulation. be constant in prayer.
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in the days to come they went back again and again. when the trumpet call sounded for more to join the people came. black and white. young and old. christian and jew. waving the american flag singing the same anthems full of faith and hope. a white newsman, bill plant, who covered the marches then and is with us today quipped that the growing number of white people lowered the quality of singing. to those that marched those gospel songs must have never sounded so sweet. in time their chorus would well up and reach president johnson. and he would send them
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protection and speak to the nation echoing their call for america and the world to hear. we shall overcome. what enormous faith these men and women had! faith in god, but also faith in america america. the americans who crossed this bridge, they were not physically imposing but they gave courage to millions. they held no elected office but they led the nation. they marched as americans who had endured hundreds of years of brutal violence, countless daily indignities. but they didn't seek special treatment, just the equal treatment. promised to them almost a century before.
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what they did hear will reverberate through the ages. not because the change they won was preordained. not because their victory was complete complete. but because they proved that non nonviolent change is possible. that love and hope can conquer hate hate. as we kphrepl rate their a-- commemorate their achievement we are well served to remember at the time of the marches many in power condemned rather than praised them. back then they were called communists or half breeds or outside agitators. sexual and moral degenerates and worse. they were called everything but the name their parents gave
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them. their faith was questioned. their lives were threatened. their patriotism challenged. and yet what could be more american than what happened in this place? [applause] president obama: what could more profound profoundly vindicate the idea of america than plain and humble people unsung, the down trodden the dreamers not of high stations not born to wealth or privilege, not of one religious tradition but many coming together to shape their country's course. what greater expression of faith in the american experiment than this? what greater form of patriotism is there than the belief that america is not yet finished, that we are strong enough to be
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self-critical and each successive generation can look upon our impression perfection -- imperfections and make it nation to more closely align with our highest ideals. that is why selma is not some outlier in the american experience. that is why it is not a museum or a static monument to behold from a distance. it is instead the manifestation of a creed written into our founding documents. we the paoepleople, in order to form a more perfect union we hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal. these are not just words. they are a living thing a call to action, a road map for
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citizenship and an insistence in the capacity of free men and women to shape our own destiny. for founders like franklin and jeff for leaders like lincoln and f.d.r., the success of our experiment in self-governance rested on engaging all of our citizens in this work. and that is what we celebrate here in selma. that is what this movement was all about. one leg in our long journey toward freedom. american instinct that led the gunman and women to bid up the torch and cross this bridge, that is the same instinct that joe's revolution of her tyranny. the same instinct that led women to reach for the ballot, workers to organize against an unjust
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this -- unjust status quo. the idea held by generations of citizens who believe that america is a constant work in progress, who believe that loving this country requires more than singing its praises or avoiding uncomfortable truths it requires the occasional disruption, the willingness to speak out for what is right, to shake up the status quo. that is america. [applause] that is what makes us unique. that is what cements our reputation as a beacon of opportunity. young people behind the iron curtain what is he selma and eventually tear down that wall. young people would hear bobby kennedy talking about ripples of
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hope and eventually banish easterners of apartheid. young people in burma went to prison rather than submit to military rule. they saw what john lewis had done. this generation of young people can draw strength from this place where the powerless to change the world's greatest tower and -- power and push their leaders to expand the battery -- boundary of freedom. they saw that idea made real here in selma, alabama. they saw it manifest itself here in america. because of campaigns like this, the voting rights act was passed. political and economic and social barriers came down and the change in these men and women brought is visible here today in the presence of african
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americans who run boardrooms, served in elected office from the congressional black caucus all the way to the oval office. [applause] because of what they did, the doors of opportunity's long open and not just for every american. women marched, latinos marched, asian-americans, gay americans, americans with disabilities, they all came through those doors. [applause] their endeavors gave the entire south the chance to rise against by transcending the past. what a glorious thing, dr. king might say. and what a solemn debt we o we.
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which leads us to ask, how might we repay that debt? first and foremost, we have to recognize that one day of commemoration, no matter how special is nowt enough. if the selma taught us anything, it is that our work is never done. the american experiment in self-government gives purpose to each generation. selma teaches us that action requires that we shed our cynicism. when it comes to the pursuit of justice, we can afford neither complacency nor despair. just this week i was asked whether i thought whether the department of justices ferguson report shows with respect to race, little has changed in this country. i understood the question.
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the report narrative was sadly familiar. it evoked the kind of abuse and disregard for citizens that its bond the civil rights movement -- that spawned the civil rights movement. but i reject the notion that nothing changed. this is no longer ascension by law or by custom and before the civil rights movement, it surely was. [applause] we do it is service to the cause of justice by intimating that bias and discrimination are immutable. that racial division is inherent in america. if you think nothing has changed in the past 50 years ask someone who lived through the selma or chicago or los angeles of the 1950's. asked the female ceo who once might have been assigned to the secretarial pool if nothing has changed.
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as her gay friend of his is easier to be out in american now than it was 30 years ago. to deny this progress, this hard-won progress, our progress would be to rob us of our own agency, our capacity, our responsibility to do what we can to make america better. of course, mr mistake is these are just -- a more common mistake is the suggestion ferguson is an isolated incident that racism is banished, the work that drew men and women to selma is now complete and whatever racial tensions that remain are the consequences of those wanting to play the race card. we don't need the report to know that is not true. we just need to open our eyes and ears and hearts to know this nations racial history still
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casts its long shadow upon us. we know the market is not yet over. we know the race is not yet won. we know reaching that destination requires admitting as much, facing up to the truth. we are capable of bearing a great burden. james baldwin once wrote. once we discover that the burden is reality and a live where reality is, there is nothing america cannot handle if we look squarely at the problem. this is work for all americans not just some. not just whites, not just blacks. if we want to honor the courage
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of those who marched that day, all of us are called to possess a moral imagination. all of us need to feel the fierce urgency of now that change depends on our action our attitudes, the things we teach our children. if we make such an effort, no matter how hard it may sometimes seem, laws can be passed. consciences can be stirred. consensus can be built. with such an effort, we can make sure our criminal justice system serves all and not just some. we can raise the level of mutual trust that policing is built on, the idea that police officers are members of the community they risk their lives to protect it. citizens in ferguson, new york, cleveland, just what the same thing and people here marched
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for 50 years ago, the protection of the law. [applause] together, we can address under sentencing and overcrowded prisons and the stunted circumstances that rob to many boys of the chance to become men and the nation of too many men who could be good dads and good workers and good neighbors. [applause] with effort, we can rollback poverty at the roadblocks to opportunity. americans don't accept a free ride for anybody. nor do we believe in equality of outcomes but we do expect equal opportunity and if we really mean it, if we're not just given lip service, but if we really mean it and are willing to sacrifice for it, we can make sure every child gets an education the double to this -- suitable to this new century. one that expands imagination and gives children the skills they
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need. we can make sure every person willing to work as the dignity of a job and a fair wage and a real voice and sturdier rungs on the ladder to the middle class. and with effort, we can protect the foundation stone of our democracy for which so many marched across this bridge and that is the right to vote. [applause] right now, in 2015, 50 years after selma, there are laws across this country designed to make it harder for people to vote. as we speak, more such laws are being proposed. meanwhile, the voting rights act , the culmination of so much blood, so much sweat and tears, the project of so much sacrifice
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in the face of want. the voting rights stance weekend. it is good your subject to political ranking. how can that be? the voting rights act was one of the crowning achievements of our democracy, the result of republican and democratic efforts. [applause] president reagan signed its renewal when he was in office. president george w. bush side its renewal, 100 members of congress have come here today to honor people who are willing to die for the right to protect it. if we want to honor this day, let that 100 go back to washington and gather 400 more and together, planned to make it their mission to restore that law this year. that is how we honor those on this bridge. [applause]
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of course, our democracy is not the task of congress alone. or the courts alone. or even the president alone. if every new voter suppression law was struck down today, we would still have in america one of the lowest voting rate among free peoples. 50 years go, registering to vote here in selma and much of the south meant guessing the number of jellybeans in a jar, the number of bubbles on a bar of soap, risking or dignity and sometimes your life. what is our excuse today for not voting? how do we so casually discard the right for which so many thought? -- fought? how do we give away our power, our voice in shaping america's
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future? why reported to someone else when we could take the time to go to the polling place? we give away our power. so much has changed in 50 years. we have endured war and we fashioned piece. -- peace. we have seen technological wonders. we take for granted conveniences that our parents could have scarcely imagined. but what has not changed is the imperative of citizenship. that willingness of a 26-year-old begin or unitarian minister or a mother of five to decide they love this country so much that they would risk everything to realize its
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promise. that is what it means to love america. that is what it means to believe in america. that is what it means when we say america is exceptional. for we were born a change. we broke the old aristocracies declaring ourselves not by bloodlines but endowed by our creator with certain a new n unintelligible -- unalienable rights. that is why we argue and fight with so much passion and conviction. we know our efforts matter. america is what we make of it. look at our history. we are lewis and clarke. we are pioneers who braved them
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familiar followed by a stampede of farmers and miners and entrepreneurs. that is our spirit. that is who we are. we are sojourner truth. women who could do as much as any man and then some. we're susan b anthony shut the system until the lot resulted that truth. that is our character. we are immigrants stone away on ships to reach these shores, the hubble masses -- huddled masses, holocaust survivors, the lost boys of sudan. we are the hopefuls drivers across -- strivers because we want our kids to have a better life. we of the slaves who built the white house and the economy of the south. the cowboys who opened up the west, the countless laborers who
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laid rail and raised skyscrapers and organized for workers rights. we are the freshfaced gis who fought to liberate a continent and we are the tuskegee airmen and the japanese-americans who fought for this country even as their own liberty had been denied. we are the firefighters who rushed into the buildings on 9/11, the volunteers who signed up to fight in afghanistan and iraq. we are the gay americans whose blood ran in the streets of san francisco and new york just the way it ran down the stretch. we are storytellers, writers poets, artists who have bore unfairness and despise' and give voice to the voiceless. we as inventors of gospel and jazz and blues, bluegrass and country and hip-hop and rock and
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role and our very own sound with all of the reckless joy of freedom. we are jackie robinson, enduring scorn and pitchers coming straight to his head and stealing home anyway. we are the people like stan hughes wrote of -- langston hughes wrote of. we are the people emerson wrote of whom for truth and honor's sake stand fast and suffer long nor never tired so long as we can see far enough. that is what america is. not stock photos or airbrushed history or feeble attempts to define some of us as more american than the others. [applause]
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we respect the path but we don't pine for the past. we don't fear the future. we grab for it. america is not some fragile thing. we are large, containing multitudes. we are boisterous and diverse and full of energy, perpetually young in spirit. that is why someone like john lewis at 25 could lead a march. that is what the young people here today and listening all across the country must take away from this day. you are america. unconstrained by habit and convention, unencumbered by what is because you are ready to seize what ought to be. for everywhere in this country there are first steps to be taken.
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there is new ground to cover. the armoire bridges to be crossed. -- are more bridges to be crossed. and it is you, the most diverse and dedicated generation in our history who the nation is waiting to follow. selma shows us that america is not the project of any one person. because the single most powerful word in our democracy is the word "we." "we the people." "weyesd we can." what a glorious task we are given to continually tried to improve this great nation of ours. 50 years from bloody sunday from
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our march is not yet finished. but we are getting closer. 239 years after this nation's founding, it is not yet perfect but we are getting closer. our job is easier because somebody already got us through that first mile, someone already got us over that bridge. when the torch feels too heavy we will remember these early travelers and draw strength from their example and hold firmly to the words of the prophet isaiah -- those who hope in the lord will renew their strength, they will store on the wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be -- we are those who walk so we could run. we must run us our children sore and we will not go where he or we believe in the power of an
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awesome god and we believe in this country's sacred process -- promise. blessed united states of america. thank you, everybody. [applause]
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>> as we stand here, we are convinced of the eternal truth be planted in the minds and hearts of our and justice -- ancestors when they're reminded us you were able to take that which was meant for able and turn it to good. that you could take rugged -- we have come to do a little bit of patting each other on the back and patting ourselves on the back but to realize our congratulatory moment is on limit possible because we stand -- is only made possible because we stand on the shoulders of others. emission -- we want to shout to the top of our lungs that the mission as not been abandoned. we come to confess our sins and
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failures in our personal and collective lives. we declare to the world we still have faith in you, in ourselves our system of government, the city of selma. become to pay our respects to those who have gone before us because we surely cannot pay the debt we owed to them will stop bless us now and help us to go forward in the spirit of those who stood here worked, bled, suffered here, but did not stop here. in the blessed name of our lord and savior and all that is holy, we pray. amen, amen, and amen. [applause]
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>> american history tv like coverage continues tomorrow morning with a commemorative service from brown chapel service charge. eric holder, andrew young, jesse jackson, live, 11:45 a.m.
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eastern, also here on c-span three. now, our look back 50 years as the voting right movement continues with archival coverage from abc news of the march 25, 1965 voting rights rally in the alabama state capital of montgomery. the event followed a five day, 54 mile march from selma made with the protection of the u.s. army and the alabama national guard on the orders of president lyndon johnson. this program includes news anchor commentary, musical performances, and speeches by civil rights leaders including john lewis and martin luther king jr.. >> at this particular time, 612 and -- 6000 to 12,000. the estimate won't be known until they reach the capital area.
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the marchers will get their first glimpse of the capital about a half-mile away from our vantage point. as they move from their toward the capital building, as they move from their tour of the capital building, they will see the alabama state like in the flag of the confederacy flying atop the capitol dome. the u.s. flag flies alone on a cell phone of the capital. if there is a confrontation, it will begin at the front door of the capital building. at the moment, there is a lie of -- a line of conservation employees in front of the door, also state legislators are there. dr. martin luther king will make the keynote address. when one stands in the front
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door, this is their view of dexter avenue, one block down the street from this vantage point is the dexter avenue baptist church where dr. martin luther king was pastor 10 years ago. there is the alabama public safety building located on the ground floor level. a heavy concentration of national guardsmen and police are between that building and the capital. behind me in the lower left side is the office of governor wallace. he is in there. the marchers continued to stream for towards the capital. they are affected to arrive here as soon as 30 minutes from now. they are on mobile street. they will turn on to montgomery, then onto dexter, then the capital a half-mile away. the weather here is overcast. we have had intermittent rains today. spectators are being refrained
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from the immediate capital area. they are allowed to blocks away. the one exception is the dexter avenue baptist church, where those spectators are expected to join this line of marchers as they approach the capital, which you see from dexter street at this bigger time. the security here is military. there are no state troopers visible. some are inside the capital. we will be back shortly with more coverage. this is murphy martin in montgomery. the front ranks of the marchers, thousand strong, now less than a half-mile from the capital building. they are proceeding under heavy air cover as they made the trip
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from soma to montgomery. helicopters overhead above the marchers as they proceed to the capital. on the capitol steps, servicemen have taken up positions at the lower level of the capitol steps. at the top of the steps, alabama legislators are there. the markers are becoming visible to us for the first time now. they are just moving on to dexter street, one half-mile away from the state capital. these freedom marchers led by dr. martin luther king represent various black -- backgrounds. we will be back in a few moments. abc news in montgomery. murphy martin. this is murphy martin on the steps of the state capital in montgomery, alabama. thousands of freedom marchers are now just one block away from
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this historic capital building. leading the march is dr. martin luther king. overhead, the air cover from the united states military services. at this moment, it appears that exactly four days to the minute from the time these marchers left selma alabama they will arrive at the steps of the state capital. the front ranks of the marchers arriving at the state capital dr. martin luther king near the church pastor 10 years ago. they are arriving here singing freedom songs as they have done down to the days that this march has traveled from selma to montgomery. it is taken them 90 minutes from st. jude's to the state capital.
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the marchers approaching the state capital, not many spectators will be waiting for them. this area is sealed off by the military police for two blocks in all directions from the state capital. on the steps of the capitol building, you see the alabama conservation servicemen blocking the entrance to the state capital. the speaker's platform is located 50 feet in front of the servicemen.
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the final touches put on a particular platform just a few moments ago. inside in his office is alabama governor george c wallace trade we visited him with last night and there are strong indications that if in all alabama delegation leaves this cripple marchers and delivers a petition, governor wallace will see that delegation and tell them that when this demonstration is over he will meet with any time after this demonstration is over to discuss the grievances set forth in a addition. the marchers now are holding up the press moving forward to get into position in their area immediately in front of the platform has been erected here where numerous well-known civil rights leaders will be addressing the thousands in this march, among those civil rights leaders, a philip randolph, roy
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welcomes, john lewis, and dr. martin luther king, and numerous other members of the southern leadership conference. on the steps of the capitol building, you have the state legislators, who are now moving to gain better vantage point. they seem to be blocking our vision. however, the marchers are proceeding forward. as the air cover pulls away just a bit, this is on dexter avenue in montgomery, alabama live on this thursday, march 25, a historic day for civil rights, not only in the state of alabama, but throughout these united states. they are marching after a court order was issued by federal digit judge frank johnson saying that they should be allowed to make this 50 mile trip and do so with the complete protection
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from the alabama authorities. of course, it was governor george wallace who turned to president johnson and said that he would like sufficient civil aid in carrying out this march. last saturday, president johnson federalized the alabama national guard and called out about 1000 regular army troops, sent them to this particular section of alabama, and they have overseen this march from its inception last sunday, 12:45 p.m. summertime. many officials of the march are in bright orange jackets to set forth their particular specific role in the march. dr. martin luther king along with rough bunch leading the march -- along with ralph bunch leading the march. they have been singing songs that have been synonymous with
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the trip from soma to montgomery. all of the female employees in the capitol complex here in montgomery have been given a holiday today, but all of the male employees are on the job as usual. however, the legislators are on the capitol steps at the present time. this is the view of the capital from the marchers vantage point as they look up at the dome of the capital, they see the alabama state flag and the flag of the confederates. united states like is flying on the south lawn as usual alone high atop a poll there. a number of plain clothing officers are in this area, as they have been throughout.
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the capitol steps with the alabama conservation servicemen 10 feet above the platform above the first level of the steps. the marchers are now passing the dexter avenue baptist church, the first contingent. if they reach that platform in six minutes, they will have made the trip in exactly four days to the minute. it has taken the 90 minutes to come from st. jude's catholic complex, where they overnighted to the capital, a distance of four miles. no one has yet come up with an exact estimate of the number involved in this march. certainly it will be above 6000 or a thousand, at least it would appear so at this time. as they reach the appointed area
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, they start to spread out. we were told last night by bill jones, governor george wallace's press secretary, that the same plaza area was filled by some 35,000 people when governor george wallace was inaugurated here for a four-year term, which he is now serving. the air force helicopters are moving and closer to the capital area now. you can hear them. we do not have to tell you that they are there. the marchers are spreading out. they are still turning the corner a half-mile away on montgomery street from where
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this camera is located, onto dexter avenue. united states flags are interspersed throughout the group. until they reach one block away from the capital, they were marking -- marching eight abreast. there is dr. king at the head of the contingent. dr. ralph bunch, also at the head of the contingent. dr. king took part in each mile of this march with the exception of tuesday. he missed that 11 miles because of a speaking engagement in cleveland. and the mass of humanity begins to fill the plaza area as the
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windows in the capital buildings in this area are raised and people here out -- peer out. to my right, 14 feet away, jefferson davis, the first president of the confederacy. the jet at an altitude that appears to be less than 1000 feet just zoomed over the dome of the capital. no one has yet mounted the speaker's platform, at least none of the speakers have yet mounted up platform. it would seem at the moment that the marchers are holding up some 60 feet away from the platform to allow photographers to snap those pictures that they have been waiting for for some time. as the front ranks filled out to the plaza area in front of the
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capital on dexter avenue turning the corner on montgomery street, more marchers still coming. we see signs in the group atlanta's students, canada. we know that hawaii is represented. one sign says hawaii knows integration works. u.s. flags more in evidence now. apparently these funds were being carried out of the site of onlookers, and suddenly they came into view. when the marchers first arrived not as many flights were in evidence. military police surrounding the area to our left and right from the capitol steps, they are shoulder to shoulder.
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on the sidewalk, on the capital side of the esplanade. one of those signs down in the crowds says, canada too. faces in the crowd, harry belafonte, along with some 50 other entertainers on hand last night to entertain the marchers. sammy davis junior, peter paul and mary, nina simone, floyd patterson, james baldwin shelley winters, they were all there along with many others.
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harry belafonte joined marches today for a few miles, aching up at the edge of montgomery and moving into st. jude's. this march to montgomery left soma at 12:45 p.m. last sunday. all of it on a four lane portion of highway 80. on monday, about 1000 marchers began the day, but their numbers decreased to about 300 when they were reached the tooling portion of the highway. -- the two lane portion of the highway. yesterday, they concluded the march, reached the city of montgomery proper, covering 16 miles. this morning, in 90 minutes, they covered the four miles from st. jude's to the capital. live from montgomery alabama
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the now historic soma to montgomery rita march. martindr. martin luther king has called as a small size march on washington. harry belafonte conversing with the leaders of the march. that is the reverend andrew long executive assistant to dr. martin luther king on the right. among those who will be heard from the speakers but from this afternoon are dr. ralph abernathy, dr. fred troubles worth, dr. james bevel. the under secretary of united nations, dr. ralph bunch, a fellow randolph, president of
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the quarter's union, roy wilkins , james farmer, john lewis, dr. martin luther king jr., head of the southern leadership christian conference. consultations still proceeding immediately in front of the speaker's platform is the marchers continue to stream onto dexter avenue, one half mile away. turning off montgomery street. that trip from st. jude's to the capital primarily traveled to the heart of the negro district of montgomery. alabama conservation workers at the lower level of the steps
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here, a number of spectators above them, many of whom work inside the state capitol building. still no move by the leaders to reach the speaker's platform. the marchers continue to stream in. the platform actually is a truck trailer with public address systems mounted atop it. and on the platform proper there are 17 chairs. the helicopters seem to be pulling into the distance a bit more at this particular time as the crowd moves in.
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inside the capital, of course, is alabama governor george c wallace. he is located about 100 yards away from the area which the speakers will occupy. there is a good chance that this delegation moves forward to the capital door with a petition. governor wallace will accept this petition. he will be happy to discuss the issues with them at any time after this demonstration but he is long since been on public record as saying that his door is always open to alabama residents, anyone in the state of alabama, who approaches the office in a desired manner. the skies were overcast when we
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arrived here at the capital this morning. as a matter fact, they still are overcast. we have had some intermittent rain. however, no showers have fallen in the past couple of hours. the program was originally to be underway by 11:30 a.m.. it is now 10 minutes before 1:00 , montgomery time, and the program has not yet gotten underway. the program handed out by officials slated to be a three-hour program, with the first hour devoted to entertainment, but we have been told that the first hour could be bypassed now and they will go directly to the presentation of the marchers by the reverend andrew young. faces in the crowd, among those who are in the crowd, who made the entire trip, we mention one a bit earlier, jim leather from
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second on michigan, who has only one leg, and who had considerable doubts as to whether the crutches he used would make the entire trip, but they made it. he says he thinks he lost about 12 pounds. assign calling for peace, new haven, connecticut, the core chapter of the new haven connecticut also in the group, a roman catholic nun from kansas city, with whom we spoke along the route. joe young, a blind man from atlanta. the head of the community relations service marched a short way during the trip from summer to montgomery. as did what if you other prominent names in these united states. the entertainers joining in
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yesterday. dr. martin luther king's wife joined him on tuesday -- monday rather, monday at noon, she marched alongside her husband. the trip was made without incident. the fear of violence that had been mentioned, that same fear that perhaps was the direct cause the guard being mobilized and sent here to oversee this march, the fear went by the board as no violence occurred. the speakers are now mounting the platform. we see dr. abernathy, fred
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shuttlesworth, from the rear of the stage they are mounting. roy wilkins of the naacp executive director, is now on the platform. dr. king is wearing a white shirt without a coat. he is almost directly in front of the podium, aiding others onto the platform. the reverend young is there. a philip randolph dr. theodore gill, who will give the invocation is there. the march director, hosea williams --
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[no audio] suddenly they realize they do not have enough chairs there. they are still mounting the stage from the rear.
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dr. king greeting each of them. james forman, the executive secretary of the student nonviolent cord knitting committee, wearing overalls and a tie which is his normal dress when carrying out civil rights work, is there. entertainers are now moving towards the center of the stage. peter paul and mary on stage along with other entertainers. they are taking their respective
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positions. as the marchers continue to turn that corner a half away, still streaming in. , off montgomery street onto dexter. the marchers continue to come. harry belafonte is down on the stage now. he is at the rear of the stage. he is not visible to those up front.
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some state troopers are also inside the state capital. and now, dr. ralph abernathy. may i have your attention >> may i have your attention. may i have your attention.
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at this time, at this time, it gives me a great deal of pleasure to make an introduction . if you would remain quiet now, i would like to introduce to you mr. harry belafonte, the chairman of our entertainment committee, who will now give us some brief entertainment while the rest of the marchers make their way here. mr. belafonte.
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[applause] >> it is a great day, great day, great day, and there are millions on the way. we have a little group here. this is just a small portion of the group that was here last night. i think we're happily represented. ♪ >> go with me to that land
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go with me to that land. there ate no kneeling in that land. there ain't no kneeling in that land. and no kneeling in that land ain't no kneeling in that land and no kneeling in that land there ain't no morning in that land there ain't no morning in that land ain't no morning in that land and no morning in that land and no morning in that land where i'm bound.
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they will be singing in that land they will be singing in that land worm bound. -- where i am banned hash found it come with me to that land could come with me to that land could come with me to that land. come and go with me to that land. come and go with me to that land. come and go with me to that land. come and go with me to that land where i am bound.
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[applause] ♪ standing on the mountain over the hills and everywhere standing on the mountain let my people go standing on the mountain over the hills and everywhere
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standing on the mountain let my people go let my people go let my people go standing on the mountain. over the hills and everywhere go tell it on the mountain. let my people go. let my people go let my people go
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go tell it on the mountain over the hills and everywhere go tell it on the mountain let my people go. let my people go let my people go go tell it on the mountain over the hills and everywhere go tell it on the mountain let my people go
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go tell it on the mountain over the hills and everywhere go tell it on the mountain two let my people go. who is that yonder dressed in red? let my people go must be the people that dr. king has led let my people go go tell it on the mountain over the hills and everywhere go tell it on the mountain to let my people go [applause]
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>> era belafonte behind the entertainers -- harry belafonte behind the entertainers having a word with dr. martin luther king , who is immediately to the left of your screen, the entertainers seated there, with his wife, he is coat was, wearing a white shirt. ♪ this is peter, paul, and mary, harry belafonte, a number of
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entertainers combining not performing as individual acts. now back to the podium. ♪ how many times -- before -- the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind the answer is blowing in the wind how many roads must a man -- before he is washed to the sea how many years --
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before they are allowed to be free how many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind the answer blowing in the wind comedy times must a man look up before you can see -- how many years must one man
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passed before he can kneel before christ how many deaths will it take the two many people have died the answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind the answer is blowing in the wind [applause] >> as the entertainment continues on the podium, we look down dexter avenue towards montgomery street and we see the marchers are still filing in this direction. we understand that they almost reached to say jude, where the
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marchers state last night marching this direction at 80 breast. with me is someone who was down in the marcher area. what were your impressions of that area? >> it is an impressive sight murphy being an expert at estimating the size of groups, i can't say how many are here. they are still arriving. back to the podium. ♪ hallelujah michael wrote the boat ashore hallelujah michael rode the boat ashore hallelujah. the river is chilean cold
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hallelujah but it warms the human soul hallelujah michael rode the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah did you hear what jonas said hallelujah when the world thought he was dead hallelujah i was taking me a ride hallelujah in that big old wales inside
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hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah they nailed jesus to the cross hallelujah but his faith was never lost hallelujah sent christian soldiers off to war hallelujah for that line in arkansas hallelujah
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like joshua at jericho hallelujah alabama is next to go hallelujah will mississippi kneel and pray hallelujah all the marchers on the way hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah michael rowed the boat ashore hallelujah [applause]
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>> the reverend andrew young. [applause] >> that was harry belafonte turning the proceedings over to the reverend andrew young. >> would you pleas come to the platform immediately rabbi maurice-draft. friends, members of the alabama state legislature, governor george wallace -- [applause] -- i come to present to you marchers from throughout the state of alabama from throughout the united states,
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and throughout the world. they come to make their claim for a share in representation in the government of alabama. [applause] 300 young marchers, some very rich some very poor, most very poor, some very old, most very young. some officials in the government of the united states, in the peace corps, other officials in state governments, come as a silent but powerful revolutionary force to reshape the government of alabama and remove racism from its midst.
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[applause] this is a revolution that won't fire a shot. we won't break a window. we won't even curse anybody. we only come with the power of our souls and the presence of our bodies to love the hell out of the state of alabama. [applause] and so our feet may be sore, our bodies may be a king, but we got to say that we want a vote now. [applause] we come to warn you that in a few years some of you will be in the cotton patch and some of us will be in the statehouse. [applause] and so i would like to present
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the 300 marchers that walked the 50 miles from some of, alabama to montgomery, alabama. [applause] and now i would like to introduce one of the men who started this march to montgomery 10 years ago, when he responded in faith and nonviolence to an incident which occurred on a montgomery city bus. this minister has been in the number two position, but in the freedom movement, all positions are important, and the number two position in many respects is the most important.
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there could be no moses without -- and so i would like to present to you the strong right arm of dr. martin luther king the reverend ralph david abernathy. [applause] >> i stand here at this moment and at this time with a mandate from the people of alabama to call to order the freedom fighters and the believers of justice in this assembly through which we wish to make it crystal clear to mr. george c
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wallace, the governor of the state of alabama, that we want our freedom and we want it now. [applause] this is a historic spot, for it is the cradle of the confederacy , but not only is it the cradle of the confederacy, it is the cradle of freedom, for it was in this city that martin luther king led 50,000 feet and walking
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the streets for 381 days, until the sagging walls of segregation crumbled on the city buses. [applause] and so we are back here today to say to old man jim crow, you must go. [applause] we've come from as far away as the west as the pacific, as far away on the east as the atlantic , as far away on the south as the gulf of mexico, as far away on the north at this slopes of canada, and there are delegations here from foreign countries, some of us are black
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some are white, some a rich some are poor some are catholic, some are protestant, summer juice -- some are juice agnostics, atheists and nonbelievers, but we are all the children of god and we are all determined to be free. [applause] we come because there is a sickness in this nation and because alabama is sick, and it is our hope today that we will perform an operation on the heart of alabama so that alabama , the state of injustice, may
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become the free state of alabama and all of god's children may stand up and enjoyed the blessings of this land. [applause] let us now stand on our feet and let us look towards the stars and the stripes, not the confederate flag, not the flag of a dead and never to be revived order, but the flag of the united states of america. [applause] mrs. christine king farris, the
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sister of martin luther king and mrs. martin luther king, the wife of our leader, will lead us in the singing of the national anthem. >> ♪ o, say can you see by the dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed -- held at the twilight's last gleaming? whose broad stripes and bright stars. the perilous fight o'er the ramparts we watched
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were so gallantly streaming and the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there o, say does that star-spangled bannger yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave ♪ ♪

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