tv Wil Haygood on Showdown CSPAN August 26, 2017 4:00pm-6:01pm EDT
thurgood marshall was confirmed 50 years ago on august 30, 1967. next on history bookshelf, author wil haygood talks about his book, "showdown: thurgood marshall and the supreme court nomination that changed america." he examines the life and career of the justice, in particular his five-day senate confirmation hearing. this was recorded in the lincoln theater in columbus, ohio in 2015. it is just under two hours. >> i want to acknowledge and thank c-span for being here tonight. [applause]. >> let's hear it for c-span. [applause] mayor coleman: let me just say one quick thing about thurgood,
how important he was to our country, for african-americans, for those who wanted to go to law school -- african-americans who wanted to go to law school, i was a part of that generation who looked up to him, believed in him, who was inspired by him . that i too someday could go to law school and i could someday become a lawyer. there is a whole generation of people just like me who have gone on to do that because of the bravery and the courage of thurgood marshall. so tonight, we are here gathered here this evening and i have view this really has the intersection of history and the future. what to i mean by that? the intersection of history and the future? well, we are in lincoln theater .
in this theater, this was the only place where black folks could come and get entertained in a theater because they couldn't go downtown. they would come right here. and this theater was nearly demolished. almost tore it down. and we saved it, renovated it and it is now one of the jewels of the city of columbus. history tonight. [applause] mayor coleman: the intersection of our future of arts and culture in the black community, the revalidation, the of this king lincoln district in the process. history in the future, the intersection, will hagood who
was raised in columbus, went to east high school, called himself playing basketball, everything he learned in life, he learned it here in the city of columbus. [applause] mayor coleman: his values, his skill, his inspiration. in fact, his first writing job was for the column post. it was located right around the corner. in this very neighborhood. will hagood never forgot about our city, even though he has gone on to win awards, written multiple books, great books. one of his books turned into a movie, "the butler." someone who cares deeply about his past, deeply about the city
columbus. notnow he is one of the, if the premier great american biographer in our country. someone we are proud of in the city of columbus. [applause] mayor coleman: wil hagood someone needs to tell the stories of our people. or they will be lost. and he does it in an eloquent way. in a way that is exciting and moving and inspiring for the future. for our children. i say we could never plan ahead unless we understand from where we come, and wil hagood has been that person that has explained where we come from, so that we can march onto the future and he has many more stories to tell. history and our future
intersecting here tonight at lincoln theater. thurgood marshall. thurgood marshall visited columbus many times. we did some research on him. andas somewhere between 9 13, 14 times he visited columbus. it goes all the way back to 1938. when he first came columbus, first recorded time he came to columbus, he may have come before that. but in 1938, he came to columbus , five years after he graduated from harvard law school. he came to our city to advocate, to participate, to speak and many times thereafter, often at the naacp annual meeting in the city of columbus. he probably stayed at st. clair hotel. which is right around the corner
on garfield. because back in those days, black folks could not stay at the hotels downtown like they couldn't go to the theaters downtown. so they came to this area of our community. the harlem of the midwest. and i can envision thurgood marshall walking up and down the streets of mount vernon avenue, going to our churches, walking up and down the streets of long street, i can envision thurgood marshall being in this theater at some point in time. because everyone came to this theater on long street during that period of time. so, this is an intersection between history and our future. and thurgood marshall helped set
the path for the future of our country in many ways. he helped set the path for all of us here tonight, to enjoy the fruits of democracy and the greatness of our constitution. he was a true american that did so many good things to lift up our nation. ,incoln theater, wil haygood marshall, all the one time, in one place in the city of columbus. how fitting. [applause] the son ofan: that columbus, he is our son, picks his city in this theater, where thurgood marshall probably spent time on the streets of long
street and mount vernon avenue. tonight, you are going to hear about the lowdown with the "showdown." [laughter] mayor coleman: thank you. [applause] larry: the one thing i forgot to tell you is that i spent 16 years as president of the king arts complex and now i have spent six years as chairman of this board and it's great to have the two institutions collaborate and this is first of many to come. it is my distinct honor and pleasure to give you a brief overview of the wil hagood. although he needs no introduction to this audience. he has authored seven nonfiction books, including a trilogy of biographies of iconic 20th century figures hailed as culturally important by the los -- "the king of
the cats," "the life and times of -- adam clayton powell junior," a "new york times" notable book of the year. the second book of great , "in black and white." the life of sammy davis junior. a multiple award winner and the "sweetok was called thunder, the life and times of sugar ray robinson," named as a best book of the year by forbes. his other books are two of the river, about a 2500-mile journey down the mississippi river, and the family memoir of columbus, a
family memoir: the story the butler needs no induction. a story of eugene allen, a white house butler who served eight presidents, turned into a blockbuster movie. mr. hagood's career has been notable for 17 years he was a national and foreign correspondent for the boston globe. in 1990, he covered the civil war in somalia and was taken hostage by the rebels. he was eventually released with the aid of pakistani and troops. on another foreign correspondent ce he found himself standing outside south africa, the south african prison where freedom fighter nelson mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment. little-known fact, he was one of the few american journalists to report from behind the berlin wall. mr. haygood has been a john simon guggenheim fellow and a national endowment for the humanities fellow. these are two of the highest upon an author.
a cultural called historian. he has explored the social and dynamics of this country as the -- as few writers have. the works of mr. haygood come to life as he says his words are meant to engage in a conversation or going back to the old school way of life, simply lets wrap. he says that stands for revitalization of the apathetic public and i would agree. that is what he says motivates him, revitalizes him and gives him the insight to write these meaningful historical journeys. as mr. haygood says, his subjects must be inspiring and , and by that he means they are welcome at his dining room table for a sunday dinner. he wants to be able to talk with them and that's how he chooses his subjects.
his book, "king of the cats," tells about this harlem congressman's rise to power and fame. it reveals one of the most effective legislative persons in the history of congress. adam clayton powell junior likes thurgood marshall formed a bond with lyndon johnson, that moved major legislation through the house like no other. "king of the cats" is historically significant. adam clayton powell crossed paths with a thurgood marshall and they occasionally communicated. they had a common bond in their interests and they were aligned. this is another one of those wil haygood takes us to better grasp the significance of a historic figure who happens to be african-american. in black and white the life sammy davis junior we learn that sammy davis junior was a fierce dedicated passionate civil rights advocate.
he coordinated and pulled together both black and white entertainers to assist martin luther king in the civil rights movement. we witnessed the struggle that sammy went through in his conversion of his religion. we get an insight seat to his interaction with the rat pack, frank sinatra and company. we are a witness to history when sammy places a kiss on richard nixon and his career is forever diminished. the book also tells us that in , john kennedyxon race for president, it was clear nixon wasthe history more deserving of the black vote than kennedy. we witnessed firsthand that no entertainer had the skills of sammy davis junior. there is a scene where he plays every instrument and orchestra and we all know about his ability to sing and dance.
"sweet thunder: the life and times of sugar ray robinson." sugar ray robinson, pound for pound, may be the best prizefighter the world has ever seen. that would include mohamed ali. wil will tell us that sugar ray was not just a fighter, he was a harlem renaissance man. he loved the arts, that included literature, dance, song and arts. sugar ray interacted with all of the great entertainments and artist during the harlem renaissance. this cat was hip and was cool and will told us about it. we get to see sugar ray in the life that no other author could have brought to life. again, wil it resurrected an icon. the story of eugene allen, the butler, who served eight presidents who turned into a very successful blockbuster movie. again, wil brings to life someone who was invisible to america. wil gives us the dignity, the grace, the discipline and hard work of an individual who believed in the american dream.
he brings to life an individual who is present, but invisible during critical times in our 8erican history over presidents. only wil had the insight to give us this perspective in the cultural competence to do so in such a magnificent way. "showdown: thurgood marshall" brought the constitution to life. he said find the rules. , i will live by the rules and i -- and beat you at your own game. he had been recently nominated for the prestigious 2016 andrew carnegie medal for excellence in nonfiction. [applause] larry: not that the trade magazines and technical journals are the end-all, but wil has
for "showdown" for ur stars, they are from journals and magazines across this prestigious literary world. star reviews from publishers weekly, kirkus review, the library journal and booked list. the atlantic magazine said it best, wil haygood has rehabilitated thurgood marshall with "showdown." his decision to focus on marshall's confirmation hearing proves ingenuous. we at the lincoln theater conducted him as our first inductee into our walk of fame. boy, were we smart. wil also did our first fundraiser for the lincoln with the publication of the sammy davis junior book. patrick laszewski in the library, we met, i can't remember at the office about four or five years ago, i do recall. but i think what the library has done in addition to this one city, one book and bring the
ing the community together is extraordinary. wil and i were talking about family members and who traditionally have not read and each of us gave our brother a copy of "showdown." each of our brothers just engaged the book like nothing else. and we had a conversation, different from any other we have had before. this is the magic that wil haygood has provided for this community, this state and this nation, and i think when the world looks at america and it says, this is the journey that we went through to arrive at the crossroads we are today, this book brings us to a place that i think we can engage in a discussion about race where no other had before. ladies and gentlemen, we present wil haygood.
i get the less i mind people saying extravagant, beautiful lovely things about me. [laughter] i find that somewhat peculiar. i'm going to have more to say about larry james in a moment. when i was growing up in this neighborhood going to munro , junior high school right down the street me my sister would together.school those were the days when everyone had a transistor radio. you could hold it up to your ear and listen or put it in your pockets. there was a very catchy tune
from those days that i remember. it started out with spoken verse and then it went into song. and it starts like this. hey man, i hear you pretty good on your feet. well, don't you know there's a dance down on market street. [singing] hey, hey, there's going to be a showdown. showdown. and i have been humming that a locked. t. [laughter] wil: even if i did leave my band back in dc. an evening like this wouldn't be
possible without a great coalition coming together, organizations across the city have bonded and merged to make this night possible and to bring a native son home. i'm very mindful that great people, great organizations are represented here tonight and billwith kappa nor, susan bradford-- man, she is wearing a dazzling dress. i took note of that. [laughter] wil: of the lincoln theater,
dimitri neely of the king arch complex, the columbus public library, and of course the mayor's office. i cannot cite everybody individually, but there are some people here who i would like to acknowledge. i will say a little something about you and then you can stand up. some of you know that i teach at my alma mater, miami university in oxford, ohio. the lady who signs my paychecks is here, so why wouldn't i introduce her first? [laughter] provost of miami university, phyllis callahan. stand up. [applause]
wil: dear friend of mine, used to protect me on these rough streets back in the day, many of you know him as a championship prizefighter, mondello johnson. [applause] wil: the athletic director of the ohio state university, eugene smith. i think he is here. [applause] wil: one of the great attorneys of this country, alex shumate. [applause] wil: guy i used to talk with a lot about sports and life, jerry saunders. [applause]
wil: last year, i received the rosetta james foundation award, named after an alabama civil rights pioneer. she's 90 years young. rosetta james is here and i would like her to stand up. she is the icon of american civil rights movement. [applause] she's up in the balcony. she marched with martin luther king jr. [applause]
wil: i can't tell you how touched i was when she called me and said she was to come. -- she wants to come. guy who i grew up with on the north side of town, dear friend of mine, we talked a lot about thurgood marshall the past five years, bob miller. [applause] wil: i studied at miami under this professor. he was in the civil rights movement. he marched with john lewis, the selma hero. he was also jailed for marching in the movement.
rick mo meyer -- mulmeyer. [applause] wil: his wife is here. she has served me some mighty fine meals during my stay thus ohio, sumo meyer. [applause] wil: a writer can't dream of a moment like this when their book has been selected in a citywide program to be read by everyone at the same time. i will be coming back in a month with a some multiple multiple , multiple -- what do we used to
call those? [indiscernible] wil: yeah, multiple-choice questions. [laughter] wil: i can't thank the library enough where i used to go on $.50.ay mornings with my there was never a car in my family, but i could go to tokyo, i could go to paris. i could go to memphis, tennessee. i could go to chicago if i could get myself into the library. the genius behind all that has liszewski. [applause] i will be returning to the
city -- i am going on a 24 city book tour and i will be returning to the city october 21, to appear at the ohio state university. that invitation came from the vice provost of diversity and inclusion at the ohio state university and her name is sharon davies. [applause] wil: my cousin just living today -- just flew in today from atlanta charles nichols. , [applause] wil: and my two sisters, diane and wanda are here. [applause] suave brother is
here from los angeles, harry haygood. [applause] wil: this is a man who i got to know some years back because i wrote a story about him, chief james jackson. [applause] wil: i teach media journalism and film at miami. and the chairman of the department played a large role in getting me to leave the war journalism, and he is here, dr. warren campbell. [applause] wil: david harrison has done a
lot in this community with social justice issues. he is president at columbus state college, david harrison. i think he is here. [applause] donna james, absolutely wonderful. [applause] wil: i think she is here. [applause] wil: it was great that the king center honored african-american judges this year and their legaciey honorees. there was a man in this community, who when he graduated from college and wanted to teach they sent all the
, african-american teachers down to champion junior high school, but there were too many teachers down there. so he switched gears and went to ohio state university law school. he launched his career into law. i had a chance to get to know him. the first letter he ever wrote the brown v.ut board education decision. he authored one of the last great legal decisions in this linked to brown v.
education. that desegregated school system in this city in 1974. he became the first african-american federal judge from this community. i think every african-american owes him a him -- great debt. you can put his name in the same paragraph as thurgood marshall, and you would be proud to do so. his name, judge robert m. duncan. [applause] i have traveled from
"showdown," i came across a letter from a lady named barbara ross. visiting thensas, johnves of the senator, mcclellan, who was one of the senators who did not want thurgood marshall to extend to the high court. by the second day of the hearings, it was thought that marshall's nomination was in trouble because he was being grilled so harshly. a young lady wrote a letter and she concluded her letter to her arkansas senator with these words, "chances are that the nomination will be turned down. color doesn't make the person, senator, it is character that makes the man. one of these days, senator, the president of the united states will be a negro."
years later, a kid born in this city in 1954, the year of thurgood's legal march, became a writer. and that kid, now a grown man , would find himself rolling through the fields of journalism, from charleston, west virginia, to pittsburgh to boston massachusetts, to the "washington post," in washington. the kid, now a man and a writer , had an inkling that the senator from chicago, in 2007, might win the 2000 election. so the kid who became the man and the writer, went out and tracked down an african-american
butler. stefan rochon, after the story that the kid born in 1954 wrote, the kid who became the man who became the writer, stefan rochon was hired as a technical advisor to the movie that the hollywood movie producers started to make in 2012. one day stefan rochon was in the , white house. he bumped into the negro president who barbara ross had predicted would be in the white house. [applause] wil: that president asked stefan
rochon what he was up to. he said, i have just been hired to be the technical advisor to "the butler." and i stopped in the white house today because i wanted to get a little gift for the writer, for wil haygood who wrote the story. the negro president, who barbara ross predicted would win, turn ed on his heels and went back into his office and came out. he said, he had something in a blue leather case encased in velvet. he gave it to stefan rochon who said, thank you mr. president. i know for a fact wil is going to love this. the president said, i think you
he'll love it too. the gift that the kid born in the year thurgood in 1954 received from the negro president, who barbara ross had predicted, is a presidential ink pen that i have taken from lock and key in my home and brought here tonight, and signed every book that you will leave here with this evening. [applause] nothing, nothing is more personal than deciding who you're going to dedicate your book to. "showdown" has been dedicated to two people.
both, like thurgood marshall, are trained in law. they are residents of this city. i wanted to do a little something special for these people. so, this first person received the first copy of this book from the printing press, and i also went to a jeweler in washington, because i wanted a goldplated nameplate designed to put in front of the book.
when i asked the jeweler how much it was going to cost and he hm, maybe iid, should go with a post-it. but i didn't go with the post-it. [laughter] goldplated with the nameplate and it says. first copy of this book, showdown, by wil haygood to roll off of the printing press is exclusively for michael b. coleman. [applause] wil: i would like the mayor to come up and accept his book. [applause]
mayor coleman: thank you very much. thank you. wil: i have always wanted to feel like a mayor. [laughter] this has given me an opportunity to do so because i have written a citation to go along with the book. [laughter] wil: i gave myself the power to issue a citation. [laughter] says,s mayor coleman, it
"to mayor coleman, in the dark days of legal segregation in state sponsored terrorism, the black sharecroppers and their families of the deep south gave zed out upon the fields they worked. they were looking for help. they wanted to dream. so, a man arrived on the scene and began marching into the state and federal court houses throughout the south. he began changing the laws. he wanted rights for those in the field and rights for those in the big cities too. some of these people began referring to him as moses. his name was actually thurgood marshall. as laypeople, we do not need to anoint man or woman a saint. but, it helps us to know our heroes have saintly ambitions. since you first took public office, you have sought to lift up. like thurgood marshall, your
vision has helped all races and creeds and colors. thurgood marshall once said of someone he greatly admired, you didn't wait, you took the bull by the horns. you did not wait for the times, you made them. and as it has been noted in this midwestern city and beyond, you broke barriers. you didn't wait for the times, you made them. you have earned your place in the collective memories of so many. as you prepare to leave city hall, consider this book that has been dedicated to you in from thurgood marshall and a literary valentine from a writer born in the very city you have led.
up to the stage. [applause] wil: larry, with the power --ested in me [laughter] wil: i will now read your citation. , in the 1930's 1940's, and 1950's, the big fancy law firms of this great nation would have nothing to do with thurgood marshall. his name would never go on one of their buildings. and he knew it.
demoan his plate, he had a higher calling. he was fighting in the trenches on behalf of justice and freedom. time passed and walls came tumbling down. and history as we know, turns , rather beautifully. now there are many buildings airport with the name thurgood marshall. since larry james has had his 2001, name grace a law firm in downtown columbus. brown and james. [applause] wil: yet even with that , distinction, time and time again larry james has returned to the trenches. fighting in the name of justice and freedom. he has won so many of his showdowns.
larry james is thurgood marshall's kind of lawyer. someone once asked thurgood marshall about his personal successes. 'i dug way deep,' he said. larry james, in the universe of law, art, books, and philanthropy you have set a glorious standard. this book is dedicated to you because, like thurgood, you have dug way deep. wil haygood, lincoln theater, september 9, 2015." [applause] wil: one of the things that
president lyndon johnson said after he nominated thurgood marshall, and after thurgood marshall was confirmed he said, "i want every black mother to be able to look across the breakfast table in the morning and know now that her son or her daughter can become a great supreme court justice or a great judge." ey was marbl one of those ladies. she looked across the breakfast table and poured a dream and her into herson.
i am very proud to prepare to have a conversation with judge marbley who will inject one more of those seeds that sprouted in the glow of the great men mighty thurgood marshall. please come to the stage. [applause] >> right here. >> right here? >> yep. thank you. have a seat. [laughter] algenon: now for the book.
there have been in excess of 20 biographies written about thurgood marshall. the impetus for : book that tells his story through the context of the confirmation process? wil: there have been multiple books about thurgood marshall, but with this book i am hoping well, somebody once came to duke wellington -- duke ellington and is said that they would rerecord a song that does thellespie had made and duke said, don't, dizzy has closed the door on that song. so i like, i am hoping that people will pick up my book and if somebody else comes to them
with an idea to write a book about thurgood marshall they will say, don't. closed the door on that one. [applause] wil: what i think though what was really a magnet to me was marshall's hearings that were five days stretched over 12 days, and his nomination set a in limbo for six weeks. before marshall the supreme court had been all white. and before him, no nominee's hearing had lasted more than a day. so with southerners leading the charge i knew that there was , great drama in that, and i wanted to figure out why that happened and why they wanted to stop thurgood marshall. algenon: wil, you told it beautifully. wil: excuse me?
algenon: you told it beautifully. [applause] wil: ok. algenon: against the backdrop of the confirmation proceedings, and we will talk at length about that. but it is also a very poignant story about the relationship between two great men, the relationship between thurgood and johnson. and you shed great light on this. so why don't you tell us why you chose that particular approach and use that as a subtext? who these were two men who, were somewhat poor in their youth. neither was born with a silver spoon in their mouth. so when you are poor i think that it soaks inside of you. i think it does something to
you, it's sort of gives you a quicker gear into people, especially if you are inclined to help people. so thurgood marshall as this naacp lawyer went to texas to fight a voting rights case. in 1948, blacks were being for bid in for the most part, to primariese democratic . and marshall took the case all the way to the supreme court and won. all right. the young senate candidate started winning election after election, and that was lyndon johnson.
so you can argue -- i know some people think it is the other way nound, but you can argue thurgood marshall, no lyndon johnson, because with the help of the blacks in texas, they kept sending lyndon johnson back to the senate. and in the senate, he gained notoriety and he gained senate leader. algenon: there was a reason that lyndon johnson felt so comfortable around blacks in texas. fdr made certain of that. wil: yes, he appointed lyndon johnson to head the national youth program throughout the state of texas. and lyndon johnson would get in car and drive on the state and visit blacks in houston and dallas and san antonio, and he would constantly tell them that
one day things are going to be better. and i won't forget you. and i think that scarred him in a very humane way. algenon: we are going to get to lyndon johnson and why he was hell-bent on the marshall nomination. but first, i want to have some personal context for thurgood. now he was raised in segregated baltimore. you gave us a great glimpse into his family. but was there a defining moment or a set of circumstances that you feel made him the biggest advocates that he was? where did he get his fire?
wil: some from his father who told him to fight back if racial epithets. thurgood marshall had a job. one day he hopped on the railway car and he was told to go stand in the back. and he said, mr. conductor, i cannot because these hats might fall out of my arm and get squished and then i would have to pay for them. and the conductor argued with him, shoved him, he fell down, they summoned the police and young thurgood marshall, 19 years old was arrested. and he thought that was wrong. and of course it was wrong. the hat store owner fortunately came down and bailed thurgood marshall out, so he had been jailed as a young man for no reason except the color of his
skin and that resonated with them. algenon: that resonated with him. wil: it resonated a lot. and it was coupled with the fact that his father used to like to take him in and out of state, federal court houses. because thurgood learned at a young age that the law subjugated blacks. he got it in his mind, i need to make the law elevate blacks. and so he was constantly of subjugationt against the hope and promise to elevate. algenon: and he got much of the impetus about how the lock and aw could elevate from a young dean at howard university. charles hamilton houston.
wil: a great lawyer. algenon: a great lawyer, harvard trained, came to resuscitate the program. wil: right. algenon: how important was that relationship in setting the trajectory for thurgood's career? and tell us about the impact of the soldier that they took in the summer of '33 to the south, andhal thurgood marshall dean houston. wil: dean houston was a very formal man, very sophisticated. he wanted to go down south a to look at the school system. he did not want to go by himself. he was afraid, with good reason. and so he asked this tall, strapping, one-time student of his. algenon: he was a graduate. who had graduated. wil: yes, he did. he asked marshall if you would like to ride in a car and go
visit school houses and take notes and file a report to get back to the naacp headquarters in new york city. they were both stunned at the stringent conditions of this in many of the southern communities. the black children would have to walk 2 miles to school and had no buses. the white children had buses that were brand-new. they made notes of this. they take photographs. they took photographs. and they filed the reports. they were often scared. they were sometimes threatened. but they survived. marshall's mother and father were worried sick that he was down south. algenon: now, what is interesting about it is, they did not personally witness acts of violence and brutality that
characterize some of the details that you set forth so eloquently. did i say that right? set forth so eloquently in the book. wil: yep. but you talk and you trace the violent history of race relations in the south and talk about, you call it state-sponsored terrorism earlier. domestic terrorism is the same thing. but what impact did it have on thurgood as he traveled throughout the south and his quest for justice? and how did he handle it? wil: wil: one of the interesting things for me is the amazing bravery of thurgood marshall. algernon: and the lawyers traveled with him. wil: yes. andould often get to a town
the local black farmers would have to hide him. they would take turns with their shotguns. they would have to guard him through the night. best hope.nation's he was the one-man crusade. who heother lawyers would regroup and help him file cases, but he was the architect of this naacp legal strategy. we have to go here and filing case to the supreme court, then we have to go to texas and florida and michigan. not all of his cases were filed in the south. some of north, as well. the book is shaped around five , but what ihearing -- algernon: you had to give the
hearings context, which is why you told those various stories. wil: exactly. i wanted to take the reader outside of it. hearings can be somewhat civil. thurgood marshall's weren't that civil. this was not covered by the press, either. press,out freedom of the horsemens four big ,ere sam ervin, strom thurmond and john mcclellan. these people or if our poll -- these before powerful. they were called bearings in the senate. algernon: ty were also called a pack of wolves. wil: yes. it was a nice line. algernon: that was a fair
characterization. wil: yes. it was in "the l.a. times." algernon: getting back to his travels through the south, a couple of those had a somewhat tortured, if not violent, pass themselves. you explain that in the book. i was struck by the circumstance moore, theand perry first naacp members killed in the line of duty. wil: right. these were dear friends of thurgood marshall, husband and wife. voting rights activists. ,hey came home one night christmas eve, and went to bed.
while they were away the klansman and step dynamite under their house. early on christmas morning the house below. harry moore died immediately. ore was rushed to the hospital. thurgood marshall had loved these people and slept in their guest bedroom several times. he could have been in that house that night if he hadn't been working in florida. --.hall's e'sre's -- harriet moor daughter had been on the train trying to get home for christmas. she was seated in the segregated section and no one got word to her that her family was trying to find her. when she stepped off the train on christmas day, she looked
around and didn't see her mother and father. she thought that was mighty strange, and she's all relatives walking toward her and said, where is mom and dad smart -- mom and dad? they said, we have to talk to you. evangeline, we are sorry, but your father is dead in your mother is holding on. she wants to see you at the hospital. the doctors told the family that is harriet could hang on for seven days they thought she would make it. she died on the sixth day. algernon: that was an interesting point. 1967 with-forward to event -- with evangeline. wil: i was interviewing her. , shee i get ready to leave
said, can you come to my kitchen and help me get something down from the top shelf? i said sure. as i was walking from her living room to her dining room, i stopped in my tracks. there was a big oil painting, gigantic, maybe four feet by five feet. i stopped in my tracks. it wasn't an oil painting of her father or her mother. it was an oil painting of thurgood marshall. , mrs. moore, god why didn't you tell me this painting was hanging here? on said, i don't know why the day thurgood marshall was confirmed, a friend of mine in florida new how close he was to
me and my family. they had this oil portrait painted and shipped to me. i mean, i was just stunned. here i was sitting there for four hours and thurgood marshall was right on the other side of the wall. [laughter] algernon: maybe he was listening. i'm sure he was proud of the work you are doing. moores as aow the result of his work with the legal defense fund. he was with the defense fund for andyears as an associate then ran the legal defense fund. , if dr. kingthere was the moral and spiritual leader of the civil rights movement, thurgood marshall was surely the chief legal architect. he was a sterling advocate.
he argued for the supreme court cases.s, won 29 of those once he was at the legal defense fund, would it be fair to say he had trained his site on dismantling -- trained his sights on dismantling separate but equal and plessy v. ferguson? thurgood marshall the advocate spent a lot of time in the south battling other issues. you highlight the diversity and breadth of thurgood's practice. why was that so important when you could have just written this look about the events -- this t the events leading up to brown? wil: to show his versatility.
mother was talking to the clerk, who is white. she said, this radio doesn't work. male,erk, a young white liar.you are a you probably broke it. clerkn looked up at the as if he was unsure that somebody had just called his mama's liar. -- his mama a liar. she said, i'm not lying, you are. slapped the black soldier's mother. the soldier unleashed a punch that could only be summarized as an active street thunder. [laughter]
not -- if not the white clerk through the window -- it knocked the white clerk through the window. by nightfall the city was in a riot. many blacks and some whites were shot. they called thurgood marshall to the rescue. and got most of those who had been convicted off , but one night marshall was getting out of town with a couple other lawyers who worked on the case, and he was stopped by the local church. time to keep one going, and they stopped him again -- algernon: the second time was for alcohol. wil: yes, drinking.
then they stopped to make her time and said, you can't drive the car anymore. let this other person drive. they went about 15 yards in the car and then the sheriff stopped them and told everybody but marshall to get out. then they finally told marshall to get out and said he was being arrested for drunk driving. there was this river in this town called duck river. when blacks were lynched they were thrown into duck river. their families would have to go get them. put thurgoodriffs marshall in the back of the car and started heading off to the duck river. who wear out of the rideuickly found another because there is a news man following them. they quickly hopped in the car and followed the car toward the
duck river. the sheriffs got scared and going to be found out if they attended to kill thurgood marshall, so they documented town and he survived that night by the given his teeth. algernon: was also interesting -- by the skin of his teeth. algernon: what was also interesting is there were other patrol cars in the sanity who did not respond, didn't intervene -- in the vicinity who do not respond, didn't intervene. he was smart enough to know that once he started walking away from them he was going to get shot in the back. i'm not walking over there by myself. you got to walk with me because i'm your prisoner. wil: right. algernon: he lived long enough for you to write the book. [laughter] marshalline with that,
was very canny. , noe was no foundation federal department of civil rights in the south to protect him or any black lawyer, so marshall formed an unusual alliance with j. edgar hoover. hoover --heck up mr. would chat up mr. hoover, complement him, bring back knickknacks from the road for j. edgar hoover, who probably threw them in the trash can as soon as thurgood walked out. but there was a reason thurgood gottwald -- thurgood got along so well with j. edgar hoover while other figures like dr. king did not. hoover detested the coup cooks
can best detested the ku klux klan -- detested the ku klux klan. so he would say, i saw these 12 klansmen walking down the street in this little town. your fbi has to do something about that. you got to clean that town up. hoover would just get worked up. where did you see them at? kept on hoover. do you think a lot of their relationship was based on the fact that marshall was a lawyer, he believed in the rule of law? you would think that was a commonality in their approach to problem-solving. wil: yes.
toshall was very careful not label himself liberal. theme was the u.s. constitution is the u.s. constitution. if you arrest blacks for no reason, you are breaking the law. it says you can't do that in the u.s. constitution. used to carry it in his pocket. getting back to the harry and -- this wouldcase make a great scene in the movie. [laughter] marshall had a scuttlebutt with the clan that they were going to kill him before he got out of town. marshall knew not to call the airport because one of the
clerks there might tell somebody , hey, marshall has a ticket for friday night at 7:30. so thurgood walks out of his , and it's dark and he is getting ready to slowly make his way to the airport. he has a friend who is driving. these two beefy looking man, white, start walking across the street slowly. now i think i'm a lee daniels with the camera. [laughter] they start walking across the street and marshall is nervous. they asked him to roll down the window. one of them leans in and pulls out his fbi badge and says, mr. marshall, j. edgar hoover census
-- hoover sent us to get you to the airport and out of here safely. that's a great scene. [laughter] airport andt to the marshall and the two agents walk says,the desk, the clerk sorry, next flight is sold out. noter of fact, there are flights going back to washington tonight or tomorrow. one of the bc fbi agents leaned over the counter, got nose to nose with the clerk, and said, you better find a seat on that next airplane for this man, or else. and thurgood marshall was in the air. algernon: it helps when an agent flushes his badge. -- flashes his badge. wil: absolutely.
algernon: let's talk about the confirmation hearing. as i read the book and read about those five days of the basically and the context of the violent episodes per trade throughout the book, i couldn't help but think that the behavior of the southern forcrats was a metaphor white stifling of black advancement. did you mean to leave that impression with the reader, or is that my southern roots coming to the fore? [laughter] wil: there were some very real things that happened that made the southerners who were trying to stop thurgood marshall angry. first of all, lyndon johnson, they considered him one of them. he was a southerner.
now he had signed a 1964 civil , which in johnson's mind, that was the first nail in the coffin of white supremacy. the second nail in the coffin was the 1965 voting rights act. of third nail in the coffin white supremacy was the nomination of thurgood marshall to the u.s. supreme court. lyndon johnson sought to emancipate the entire american judicial system by nominating thurgood marshall to the highest court in the land. 1967, or rightne before that, there wasn't a seat available. he had to use his political machinationsf the
of johnson politics, to make that seat available. how did he make that seat available? wil: lyndon johnson was hell-bent on integrating the u.s. supreme court. as you noted, there was no seat. there was a justice on the court named tom clark. he and lyndon johnson had texas roots. wanted to see,on clark and said, tom, how are you doing? how's the wife? tom, i wish i had a boy. i got all daughters. . love them dearly, but wow i'll tell you something. i want to make ramsey my attorney general.
but i can't do it because you are on the high court, and they are going to accuse me of nepotism. [laughter] but i will tell you something. i know how much you love that boy, and i know how much that boy loves you, and i know any daddy in the country would be so ascend toee his son the high court. but tom, my hands are tied. there's nothing i can do because there is no vacancy. oh lord, i wish there was a vacancy. i interviewed justice clark -- i day later -- i interviewed justice clark's daughter -- went home and find health and said, hey everybody, i'm tired of the court. [laughter]
takenk it's time for me to a long vacation, maybe play some golf, or take a trip around the world. so it happened. tom clark steps down. lbj nominates thurgood marshall. doesn't tell a single senator until the day of the nomination. a month later, former justice tom clark and his wife are sent first-class tickets around the world on a fact-finding mission. [laughter] algernon: nice way to retire. what was the tone of the hearings from the outset? did you get the impression in your research -- and you told your research was done mostly through transcripts -- is there a reason you relied exclusively
on the transcripts in doing your research of the operation hearings? that in caseorrect some of my miami students are out there. i went and tracked down as many people as i could. old-fashioned shoe leather makes up most of my books. , from thearings , the chairman allowed the media and they are on the first day for 30 minutes, and that's it. get out. that would never happen today. so they weren't there. if you ask me how come some of these rancorous things didn't make it into the media, and to
the newspapers of the journalists weren't there. some of the senators who were on marshall's aside -- because they kennedyoes, senator ted ,enator hart, edward derksen great people fighting for marshall -- was one ofnd derksen the republicans on the committee. wil: yes he was. one of the things during the hearing, they tried to paint sophisticatedt about the u.s. constitution. algernon: that was strom thurmond. we all know he was one of the more sophisticated persons ever to grace the hall of congress. [laughter]
he found a line or paragraph that justified equality for the black man. algernon: how about -- i want to come back to that stubborn howesman strom thurmond and , between thurmond and eastman and irving, they set the tone for the hearing because it seemed that they did the lion's share of the questioning of the justice. wil: well, yes. they had seniority. they were known as the old bulls.
they glared at thurgood marshall , do you, mr. marshall like the white people of the south? that was a question. ell.as like a hammer f that was the question all the southerners wanted to ask thurgood marshall. their minds said, you've upended our way of life. all these legal cases. thurgood marshall was considered public enemy number one throughout the south. in his latete man 60's who i interviewed, said one of the amazing things is that, when i was little in my community, our parents would are bad, thurgood
at the book in terms of fathers and sons, thurgood marshall and his father, strom thurmond and his father, there's a lot of blood and tears and family brought were people who , into theily blood hearing room. and also, there was a subtext of interracial sex. -- martial hearings happened all hearings happened in the same year as the loving case. the lovings were a couple. there is a movie coming out about that, now.
the lovings were arrested in the state of virginia in 1967. this was just weeks before thurgood marshall's hearings started. they were arrested for sleeping in the same bedroom. the charges were dropped if they left the state, and they did, they moved to washington dc to live. and strom thurmond had asked thurgood marshall about the the same strom thurmond who was sleeping with his black maid, fathering a child, and paying her hush money not to talk about it. and he directed those comments a thurgood marshall, for a reason.
wil: you're exactly right. thurgood marshall's second wife was filipino. and that wasn't strom thurmond's way of making an attempt to hurt thurgood marshall, during the hearing. democrats,e southern particularly senator earth in -- made the argument that his opposition to justice thurgood marshall was not dedicated on race, but rather the judge's penchant for activism. activistd marshall and . how much of that was fact, and how much of that was fiction. fact because there was no option. you had to be an activist lawyer to take down plessy versus ferguson.
thurgood marshall says the constitution -- marshall said the constitution was a living document. maybe the constitution a depth to a time. wrote itrs, i believe as a judge i certainly believe that marshall looked at it as an organic document. otherwise it would not survive this long. wil: one of the senators asked marshall, how come you don't lie or doubt voluntary confessions? doubt't like, or voluntary confessions. and thurgood marshall said, well, i had a client once, black kid,black kid, he was beaten for six days and finally voluntarily confessed. [laughter]
>> there is a little known fact that the hearings were not going that well, at least through the first three or four days, even through day five. and as the hearings were dragging on, lbj plotted an alternate strategy. they were not consecutive days. they were spread out over 12 days, which made thurgood marshall and the white house were very nervous. on the second day of hearings, president johnson was so nervous that he said to his aides, while, my guy might not make it. they are tough. goodness gracious. and so johnson was hell-bent on integrating the supreme court. so he stealthily summoned william coleman to the white house. william coleman was an
african-american lawyer and worked with him on the brown case. and william coleman did not know he was being summoned to the white house. when he got they're johnson told him, hey, look, my man might not make it. i need you on standby. if he doesn't make it then i'm , coming after you. and william coleman he was taken , aback. >> why did johnson think coleman could get past the bowls, while marshall could not? >> he was a republican, and he was not known as a civil rights fighter in the vein of thurgood marshall. >> and coleman, i think had been the african-american ever to first circle on the supreme court. wil: you are exactly right. justice thurgood marshall was eventually confirmed, 69-11.
but there are 20 votes unaccounted for. i'm not doing the math, but i know there were 20 votes unaccounted for. tell us about those votes, which is amazing. wil: senators, they go to washington to vote for their constituents. that is their job. lyndon johnson started making some phone calls. and the phone calls went like senator, my goodness, my goodness, my goodness. i see where there is a bridge scheduled to go up in your hometown next year. one of my sources is telling me they might be putting your name on the bridge. well, let me tell you like this. there might not be a bridge. there might not be no money for a bridge, if you vote.
so, what you need to do when you come out of your house next tuesday, go down to the corner, go to a coffee shop, and sit in there all day long. [laughter] and 20 of them were so fearful of lyndon johnson that they did it. they did not vote. >> there were 20 abstentions. wil: yes. and that is astonishing. they are sworn to vote. and, johnson, he put the fear of god into them if they did not vote. yes, he wasl, confirmed, but you have to pay attention to the arcane rules of the senate.
if the southerners and those who did not like marshall, if they could stop the white house votes,they reached 60 then they could filibuster the nomination to death. so, they got only a handful of votes over those 60 votes. so, it was really a close vote, when you look at it that way. and the white house had some concerns, going against congressman adam clayton powell was on the run. he had just been thrown out of s people wereethic linking adam clayton powell and thurgood marshall's name in the media, writing letters to the
the senate. on the last day of the hearing, detroit corrupted in massive erupted in-- detroit a massive race riots. >> same time, milwaukee. wil: milwaukee erupted in a massive riots. these rights, of course, were done because of decades of pain and a lack of opportunity. so -- so many things happened aside from the very powerful southern man who did what marshall to make it. so many thing happens-- he had sleepless nights. >> eastman drew it out, the more the riots raised, eastland drew it out because he and irvine and and andnd ervin thurmond coming back to the
mantra of soft on crime, miranda . and as a result of you being soft on crime the inmates are running the institution in these cities where molotov cocktails are flying. adam clayton powell coined the phrase black power, so they were trying to draw some synergies between all of these rights. >> do you think the white house upped thisthis, op game, put more pressure on the other senators including the democrats on the committee? wil: yes, the one thing the white house did was they got word out to voters, if you love
thurgood marshall, write your senator. start writing waters. -- start writing letters. people started flooding the white house with wonderful letters. some of these letters were hateful but there were a , good many of them that were very poignant. >> the justice served on the bench from 1967 to 1991. based on all of you have learned from your experience do think he , enjoyed his time on the bench as much as he enjoyed his time as an advocate? wil: well, i think that is a good question, but we have to wrap up for the book signing. i think that thurgood marshall and how important it was to have a wonderfully talented
lawyer on the supreme court, who was black. now, what is he happy on the court, or happier in his job when he was traveling around the after the court turned right, shortly after he got on it? no, i don't think they were the happiest years of his life. he wrote a lot of distance, but you can read those unlearn on awful lot about thurgood marshall's legacy. he really was a giant. i'm sorry, 70 people have said that he got lost in history. and this book sort of rehab tell of -- sort of rehabilitating. he needs no rehabilitation. but i will take the compliment. [laughter] >> i have one more question. we may have a minute or two for
questions from the audience. in fact, i know-- so, you have written a number of books now. you have written about adam clayton powell, semi-davis, junior, sugar ray robinson, and how does this fit in to the bad beyond great african-americans about whom you have written? i think my books are about american and african american history. they are told through a lens. all of these people are rebels with causes, and their causes were freedom.
angle tois a good shape your writing pen around. it is drama. these are great stories. marshall, of that group, marshall was the supreme figure. there is no doubt about it. eye you could see eye to with adam clayton powell, sugar ray robinson, and mr. allen, the butler, and powell. i think it is best summed up like this. on the day marshall was nominated, he was in the white , and there were three
african-american butlers. they were serving tea and refreshments. one of those butlers was eugene allen. lived and work, lived sometimes, he slept over a lot, at 1600 pennsylvania avenue, the most powerful address in the world. the 60's,s, much of he could go back to his native virginia, and could not try on a suit in a store. now, he is serving thurgood marshall. thurgood marshall had seen how the law can subjugate blacks. know, lookrshall, i at those black butlers in the white house, and his mindset
was, i am going to keep using the law to elevate you. that, to me, is why i love the majesty and mystery of history. [applause] >> with that, thank you very much. [applause]. lets thank will hagood for an engrossing conversation. we are running a bit long, but we have time for a couple of questions from the audience. i know you want to take this opportunity to mr. good, --
haygood, ask him a question. speak now. yes, we have someone. come on down. before him, there was hastings, william hastings. think, because you heard about hastings being kind of more radical than houston, and by the way, i am a great -- great-nephew of robert carter. >> yes, great new yorker. >> thank you for being here. >> anyway, i am saying that , because because today i said
to couple friends last week who -- last week, who would think we would be talking today what they talked about 60s when we were born, where all the racism, so forth and so on. also, with the radical race theory of, you know, done with the lawyers with obama-- >> can you state your question, please? >> how do you think it would bring it forward with hastings so-called being radical, the big change and bring forth these guys to naacp? >> i think different lawyers have different strategies, s in history.e
so, maybe that naacp lawyers now don't have to try as many of the kinds of cases that thurgood because there, are more civil rights lawyers doing that kind of work. it is all still needed very badly, as we know, judge marble ly himself voted on some epic voting rights cases. so, i think each generation finds its own best lawyers. >> last question. how do you think thurgood marshall would think about barack obama, and also the things with clarence thomas? that's a loaded question. i
think it thurgood marshall were here today, he would be very happy about the first family in the white house. there is no doubt about that. certain things would pain him, as well. but this is not the same country it was in 1967, and yet there are issues we have to address. there is no doubt about it. i will take the question over here. >> how are you? >> hello. >> i would like to know that you all the men over there. are you going to weave any women into your historical -?graphies [laughter] wil: that was not the question i
told you to ask. [laughter] wil: i'm going to-- there are multiple-- there are multiple figures who i am thinking about writing about next. wait a minute now, let me sort of defend myself. sugar ray robinson book, a major figure in the that book horne, because she was a dear friend of thurgood marshall, but that doesn't quite fully answer your question. thank you for answering -- thank you for asking it. i would like to welcome a
woman to the stage. susan bradford. [applause] you can watch any of our programs anytime, when you visit our website, c-span.org/history. watching american history, a weekend every weekend, on c-span3. up next, a visit to the national building museum, to learn about the exhibit, architecture of an asylum, saint to 1970. 1822, it was built on them -- to 117. it was built on a farm. at its peak, saint elizabeth's
had a dozen patients uncovered 3000 acres. it is still open today. whaturator shows us architecture can about how the mentally ill were cared for, overtime. we decided to do this exhibition for many reasons, one of which is come i think it is very important to talk about the role of the federal government and providing health benefits, and providing health care for the mentally ill, and what that role has been overtime. this is an interesting time to talk about that. also, right now at saint elizabeth's, in d.c. is really a time where they are looking to develop the land. it is now split into two halves. the federal government owns half isit, and also, development really starting on the east campus, which is owned by the city of washington, d.c.. . there are really moving forward and starting that development process.
we start our story by looking at mental health care at that time, and some people who were trying to change what was happening by building these large asylums. come on in. welcome to our exhibition. we are quick to start by looking at architectural fragments from the original building at saint elizabeth's, that was built in 1855. it's one of about 80 hospitals that were built in that style in the 19th century, in the latter half of the 19th century. ,e start the exhibition in here i look at some of those architectural fragments. there is also patient art. one of the things we will see his art done by patients, as part of therapy or just recreationally. ais piece was actually on plaster wall of the building it depicts, which is the center building. here, we talk about how our
definition of mental health has changed, overtime. we look at diagnoses of patients, and we look at how did people think the mentally ill should be careful or, -- should be cared for. should it be cared for at home, or at a hospital, a separate, purpose built institution? certainly, before the 19th century, there were different places where you would find the mentally ill. in jail,-- many were many were in places for the poor because they did not have anywhere else to go. dorothy dix visited several hundred of these places across the country, and actually traveled the world and saw the terrible, wretched conditions of people who were not being treated well. her --eally frustrated and it really frustrated her. she was a sunday school teacher,
a christian teacher, and she really believed in empathy. also firmly believed it was the role of the government, specifically the government and not private organizations, to help people. and she really devoted her life to changing the situation for the mentally ill. one of the places she wanted to really make a difference, in terms of how the mentally ill were treated, was here in washington dc she came to d.c., she worked with the secretary of the interior, she talked with the president of the united states, and she also worked with thomas kirkbride. he was a physician who worked with the mentally ill. about had specific ideas what type of asylum architecture could actually cure patients. she found and identified the land. if you come over here, you can see this is the land that she founded. there is a photo over here of the original farm that was at
the site. ownerx convinced the farm and his wife to sell the land to the federal government, which they did, in 1852. thethat's where they sited hospital. it was originally called the government hospital for the insane. i think it is important for people to understand those two threads of history. one is how we should come at how we have and how we should, care for the mentally ill. and really think about what the role of the government should be on and building that infrastructure for the mentally ill. -- whatthat look like does that look like architecturally, what does that look like on our landscape, and how are we going to care for these people? some thought that there was something wrong with what dix
and others thought about custodial health care. we haveportant that that understanding of what happened before in history, and what will happen next. also, for d.c. residents, it is interesting to come in and learn about land use and who makes those decisions. this is land that has been walled off from the rest of the city for a century and a half, and who makes the decisions about what happens there next? one thing that i'm interested in is having community participation, wherever you live. wherever you live, there is something happening in your community, of oliver's are caring something down. i think that is important to understand, and be part of the conversation.
and certainly for residents of anacostia, it is happening right here in their neighborhood. whathey should understand should happen to that land, now. a facebook question from peter. other any historical resources of the people who died in detroit? >> you could be featured in our next life program. join the conversation on facebook, and on twitter, at c-span history. on november 19, 1860 three, president abraham lincoln delivered what has since become one of the most noted speeches in american history, the gettysburg address.
next, miami university professor martin johnson talks about lincoln's planning for, and writing of the speech, which was given at the dedication of a national cemetery for soldiers killed in the battle. was part of atalk conference hosted by the gettysburg college civil war institute. our first speaker this afternoon, to kick off our conference, is martin johnson. associate professor of history at the university of miami, in ohio, where he teaches courses on abraham lincoln, the civil war, and modern europe. earned his phd in 1993 from brown university. he has devoted much of his career to discussing the 16th resident of the united states. he is also the author of a number of books. his first two books were on european history. one is on the paris commune. and the other is