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tv   Reel America The Time Has Come 1977  CSPAN  January 22, 2017 3:59pm-4:31pm EST

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announcer: interested in american history tv? visit you can see our upcoming schedule or programs. announcer: each week, american history tv's "reel america" brings you archival films that provide context for today's of -- public affairs issues. next, "the time has come," a 1977 u.s. information agency film documenting the progress of african-americans by profiling several newly-elected black public officials. narrated by james earl jones, the film includes interviews and scenes with u.s. senator edward brooke of massachusetts, atlanta mayor maynard jackson, pennsylvania secretary of state delores tucker, future congressman john lewis, and representative barbara jordan,
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the 1976 democratic convention keynote speaker. the 30 minute film was originally created for overseas audiences and was recently restored by the national archives. >> political participation is a new cutting edge of the civil rights movement and what black leadership is trying to do today is to get black americans who are 10% of the total electorate in this country as zealous and as fired up and as committed in as active and as aggressive and as sophisticated in politics as they were during the protest movement of the 1960's. >> we also serve notice here and now that if we have anything to do with it, the days of taking black and poor votes for granted is over. let it be understood that we say this not in the spirit of self arrogance, but as a natural consequence of our firm belief that the legislative and executive branches of government must be more accountable to the
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more neglected of our citizens than they have been in the past. >> i believe that politics is the best available nonviolent means of changing how we live. >> i just felt that there was some need to correct some of these problems, to solve some of these problems. and i thought that the best way to do it was through the political system. >> by being a part of the justice system as a judge, i feel that i am making an impact on the social economic input life of my community. >> they read it straight, they vote, the participation of life in the democratic process is bringing about a new sense of hope. not just a new sense of hope in a new sense of optimism, but it is also bringing about a sense of economic parity.
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black men and women are being elected, we see people getting decent housing, people getting better jobs. streets and roads are getting paved. blackf the things that people have wanted for many years are now being ushered in. >> except for a brief period following the civil war, black americans participation in the american political process was minimal. with limited political power, their needs and desires often went unmet. but times changed, and a new leaders have emerged drawing forth the strength, the courage, and the determination to make the applicable process also work to the advantage of black people. >> i think it is fair to say that where black americans are today in terms of using politics and political participation as
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the new cutting edge of the civil rights movement, beginning in the civil rights movement of the 1960's. at that time, it was a time of protests, seeking to address certain grievances, trying to get laws changed, laws having to do with segregation, discrimination in employment, education come almost every walk of life, especially in the south. that is where we know the names of those great civil rights leaders dr. martin luther king, john lewis and members of the student nonviolent corrugated committee, and many others. they led marches and they suffered and some died. but progress came out of that. first of all, congress passed a public accommodations law which said it was unlawful to the night a black american or anyone -- one of the more significant to
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moments with the patches of the voting rights act. long overdue, it finally said ons government put itself the side of assuring that every citizen had the opportunity to participate in an unfettered way in the political process of this country. are 18 black elected officials in the united states congress. the highest ranking is republican senator edward brooke. senator brooke sits on many important committees, including the powerful appropriations committee. >> i recommend the committee overturned the referral. >> well, i certainly did not believe i could have been a senator when i started off my political career because, as i said, iran first unsuccessfully
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for a state legislative position. i ran a second time and was defeated. they were both very close elections. eight years later i ran for secretary of state in massachusetts and again i was so i was so was -- defeated three times before i won an election. after that i ran for attorney general and won that election and served two terms as attorney general. senatorn senator -- the retire, i had the strongest local organization in the state and had gained some public awareness and public approbation for my work in a just decided i would run for the united states senate. was a placethat right to do the most good. being the only black in the senate, black constituents of black constituency not
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only includes massachusetts, but blacks all over the country me forto me who look for leadership and united states senate. apply to low and moderate income people. paying -- some paying people pay as much as $5,000 a month or more for rent. with that person be entitled to -- would that person be entitled to a tax relief? >> the argument that senator buckley made is that over half earne people who rent $5,000 a year or less. to assist the senator in conducting the affairs of his office, his legislative staff greece and regularly on it -- briefs him regularly on a wide
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variety of issues. brooke, atly, senator state was elected in a 98% white, indicating that many whites who wants suck to deny blacks the vote could now vote for a black. senator brooke reflects on a change. evolution -- it's evolution. it could not have lasted as it had forever. it has been coming for a long period of time, just like the end of apartheid and minority rule in southern africa is coming to an end because the time has come. africans.epted by education, intelligence. drive was within man to
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and ae his a quality piece of the action, his turf, it is something that you just cannot control you cannot forever. when the time comes, it happens. >> in the state of alabama, during the early 1960's and 1960's, there were several black people of voting age but very few were registered to vote. fact, in the part lma, a black belt in se small town in alabama, they had only about 2.1% of the black people of voting age registered in 1965. than 30% ofma, more
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the blacks of voting age are registered to vote. and five members of the city council happened to be black. in greene county, alabama, during the early 1960's, very few blacks were registered. but today there county is controlled by blacks, the highest elected official in the county is a young man, thomas gilmore, the sheriff. for sheriff thomas gilmore, it was a long time coming. he often wondered if it would ever come to greene county, alabama. when it did come, it was startling in its completeness. in 1968, greene county's population was 75% black. his government was 100% white. was970, the government almost 100% black. sheriff thomas gilmore and probate judge william mckinley branch, who led the march is to get the vote, are now the
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leading county officials. i have tried to dignify the way.e of sheriff in this me tried tobefore operate by putting people -- somebody was going to jail. that is the only way to i remember the sheriff growing up. he put people in jail. we used to march down the street here. some days i would leave home and i would hope to come back alive. walking to the street you could just feel the hostility. >> i got beat up. i was recognized as a leader in my community. me, theould do that to
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--ice officer would >> as soon as we gain our dominance and voting strength, we went to our white constituents and ask them if they would go a long with a 50-50 slate of various candidates for office. and of course they refused to do that. but tono other choice complete black slate. i would do for them with the white officers were doing to blacks. none far harder than ralph banks come a member of greene county's richest and oldest most powerful families. >> atop the world turned upside
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down. -- i thought the world turned upside down. but whether i liked it or not it was here and i had to accept it. i have lived here all my life my did not plan to leave. inaugurated, ie needed a county attorney. our present county attorney, the honorable ralph banks, was on the other side of the street. what i mean by that, he fought hard against me. and of course i went to him and asked him, i said, is to banks, what about being our county attorney? he said, you mean to tell me we have been fighting you, i thought you told to toe -- i fought you tow to toe. i said people who have the political -- the people at
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hast, once the election been decided, they bury the hatchet and come together for the common good. and he consented to come over and be our county attorney. in we established a friendship and trust and it has grown over the years. >> the sheriff is supposed to protect people. sheriffd to me that the given the responsibility he had, ought to be able to help people better their lot in general. >> i told him from the beginning that i would not be able to pay the bills. they told me that they would and see if i could get any aid so he could get on medicaid. eeks if theo more w
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surgery heals up on his back they will place them in a nursing home. home. in a nursing at all,can help you call me at home and i can drive over and do what i can. we will do what we can for you. what did you call that? >> i called it the only one. look like these ones are attacking everything. >> you have a bumble of them. you need to get those folks on show you seven here, how to treat these guys and get rid of them because you do not need that on your front -- your farm. if you have access to an extension service, you can take the problem that mr. chambers
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had and take it to the extension service and get those people out here to do something about his problem. nothing to do with law enforcement. to me, it does. ye, this honorable court is now open. judge sarah jane harper presiding. there will be no smoking, talking, or any third -- or any disturbances tolerated in this courtroom. i, as you know, have separate functions. you decide the facts and the court provides the instructions of law. it is your sworn duty to accept these instructions and to apply the law as it is given to you. you are not permitted to change the law or to apply your own conception of what you think the law should be. judge, sheio court
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presides over criminal and misdemeanor cases. a little comparatively few in number, blacks surge -- serve in judges at every level. up to the supreme court of the united states. the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. >> i practiced law for 14 years on my law -- on my own. the only black female in the school. the first one in the history of the school. and the only girl in my class. that, i was want to be independent so i decided i would have my own office, practice law in my own for 14 years. in our community a black mayor was elected. we were childhood friends.
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he asked me to come and work for him. i thought of my deep love for the law and my enjoyment and pleasure i get out of practicing , i was unsure about whether to be a judge. but i feel in our country, with 220,000 judges in the united ,tates, less than 400 blacks less than 30 are women, black women. i had a responsibility and a duty to not only accept the appointment, but also to do the very best job that i could do. >> this first gentleman is charged with assault on his wife. a family situation. apparently this is not the first fight, they have had previous arguments. there is alcohol involved. whystates she does not know they actually started fighting. >> what about his record?
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primarily stemming from this family situation. there are three children, all very young. >> based on this record, let's give him the maximum sentence allowed under the law. we will extend the sentence because he has no money to pay the fine anyway, and the children and family would suffer with the money he would pay the court. probation isf his that he will have to seek treatment in his neighborhood community alcohol treatment center. as part of the desire to bring to the administration of justice what some might call the black perspective or a different perspective, the black judges in minority judges in this country have organized. we now have a judicial council made up of a majority of
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minority and black judges in the country. with three purposes in mind. to eradicate racism and sexism and classism in the administration of justice. to increase our number, because we are few in number in the justice system. and also to improve the competency and efficiency of all judges by our relationship with them in seminars and educational conferences. marriage is as old as the family of man. it is the preserver of true love, the foundation of the home, and late bullhorn of society. patricia, will you have james to be your wedded husband? to cherish him and his development as well as you do your own, and to see through love, kindness, understanding, to achieve within the life you have positioned? patricia, now that robert mitchell junior and toeel have given and pledged
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each other and have witnessed the same before god in his company, i do by virtue of the authority given to me by law pronounced that you are husband and wife. humank of myself as a female black person. be judge, wife, mother. all of these things in a totality. not interrelated, but i never think of them as being separate. this is just me. [applause] crucial tests. a could a black become mayor in a major u.s. city? as richard hazard one in gary, indiana, cleveland, detroit, newark, los angeles, and 130 other cities elected black
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mayors, including atlanta's maynard jackson. >> i urge our citizens to join in for this extraordinary young man. [applause] give him a hand. [applause] ♪ be crazy to have to be mayor, but it helps. [laughter] it is almost like a form of masochism when you run for reelection as mayor.
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there are different kinds of jobs in politics. the best in the country is to be the u.s. senate, in my opinion. the worst job in politics in how much you really have to sacrifice of yourself, your time, your family and so forth, is the position of mayor. your smack upfront on the firing line. it never stops. you are on target for the four hours a day, 70's week. on the other hand, the -- seven days a week. on the other hand, you can really see changes begin to take place because you can make her imprint. you can see your policies begin to take shape. >> the existing facility was running at phenomenal volume. 104,000 cars a day on a four lane highway. narrow shoulders, no merging lanes.
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part of our challenge was not rebuildermine how do the freeway but how to maintain 104 thousand cars a day. cars a day. led to the design which is using the the highway existing freeway. making the existing freeway and arterial highway to connect these facilities. ,> an elected official especially in mayor, is a deliverer of the goods. in a city government, you are engaged far more in the delivery of basic services than what would be in a legislative position. on the other hand, from a black political perspective, i kind of shy away from being viewed should we as a deliverer,
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because expectation level of black people in this country is so high, when an elected official who is black takes office, that it is impossible to satisfy what black people expect and want within the timeframe that has -- that one has to serve. however, in my opinion, there is a growing expectation by black people, they understand this, we understand we cannot change everything overnight. elected officials are to be accountable, to be dedicated to be honest, into try to change the inequities overnight. timely 1976 conventions to nominate the president came, black plague strength had grown to a force to be reckoned with -- black political strength had been grown to a force to be reckoned with in both parties.
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i think the uncommitted strategy among blacks -- that's why i abandoned it. it is much more important to commit early, even if you cannot always commit to the same person. somebodymerges, that -- there is somebody close to them and you can all rally together to establish an agenda that benefits everybody. >> i think political power means investing in candidates. people -- te having a real implementation of strategy. he was open, he was honest. he said he would go further than we expect him. i think he did. he reached out and said i want you. that is different. >> he intends to provide the
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kind of necessary support, financial, moral and otherwise, to make sure we get black folks registered so that they can express their concern with a vote. that is the only way we can do it in america. though they had attended conventions before, blacks were more accustomed to roles in the background. 1976, they stepped forward to play significant roles in one of our country's most important political processes. >> there is something different about tonight. there is something special about tonight. what is different, what is special? i, barbara jordan, ma keynote speaker -- am a keynote speaker. [applause]
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when -- [applause] a lot of years past since 1832. -- passed since 1832. during that time i would have been most unusual for any national community partner -- party to ask a barbara jordan to deliver a keynote address. but tonight, here i am. and i feel, i feel that notwithstanding the past that my presence here is one additional bit of evidence that the american dream need not forever be deferred. [applause]
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and i ask you that as you listen to these words of abraham lincoln, relate them to the community a national uswhich every last one of , as i would not be , so i would not be a master. [applause] this, this expresses my idea of
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democracy. whatever our differences, to the extent of the difference is no democracy. thank you. [applause] >> blacks spoke out in america heard. though their struggle is not over, their voice, once a voice of protest, is now a voice of participation. for many black americans, it was an indication that the time had come. ♪
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