tv 1968 - America in Turmoil Civil Rights Race Relations CSPAN April 3, 2018 10:11pm-11:44pm EDT
program both at george mason university's antonin scalia law school. watch "landmark cases" monday and join the conversation. our hashtag is #landmarkcases. and follow us at c-span. we have resources on our website for background on each case. the "landmark cases" companion book, and the "landmark cases" podcast at c-span.org/landmarkcases. now we continue our series, "1968: american in turmoil," with a look at civil rights and race relations including martin luther king jr.'s poor people's campaign, his assassination in memphis, black power, and the kerner commission report. our guests are kathleen cleaver, former black panther party communications secretary, and
historian peniel joseph of the lbj school of public affairs. first here is cbs anchor walter cronkite on april 4th, 1968, announcing that martin luther king jr. has been shot and killed. good evening. dr. martin luther king, the apo apostle of nonviolence in the civil rights movement, has been shot to death in tennessee. an all points bulletin has been issued for a young white man running from the scene. dr. king was standing on the balcony of his second floor hotel room tonight when, according to a companion, a shot was fired from across the street. in the friend's words, the bullet exploded in his face. police, who had been keeping a close watch, were on the scene almost immediately. they rushed the 39-year-old
negro leader to the hospital where he died of a bullet wound to the neck. police say they found a high powered hunting rifle a block from the hotel but it was not immediately identified as the murder weapon. the mayor has reinstated the dusk to dawn curfew he installed last week. the governor has called out 4,000 national guardsmen and police report that the murder has touched off sporadic acts of violence in a negro section of the city. in a nationwide television address, president johnson expressed the nation's shock. >> america is shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of dr. martin luther king. i ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck dr. king, who lived by nonviolence. i pray that his family can find comfort in the memory of all he
tried to do for the land he loved so well. i have just conveyed sympathy of ms. johnson, myself, to his widow, mrs. king. i know that every american of goodwill joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader and in praying for peace and understanding throughout this land. we can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness among the american people. it's only by joining together and only by working together can we continue to move toward equality and fulfillment for all of our people. i hope that all americans tonight will search their hearts
as they ponder this most tragic incident. >> king was born in atlanta, january 15th, 1929. he was the son and the grandson of prominent negro ministers in atlanta and he had an extended education. he graduated finally with a doctorate from boston university in 1954 and got his first pastorate in birmingham, alabama. it was there -- montgomery, alabama. in 1965 he took leadership of a bus boycott. through nonviolence over the period of a year, he won that strike with a federal desegregation order in alabama. his nonviolent campaign spread through the south and he became the leader of the southern christian leadership conference, a conference of primarily negro
ministers. since the rise of radical negros such as stokely carmichael, king had been considered a voice of moderation, and white leaders had looked to his policy of nonviolence as a hopeful antidote to those who preached riot and hatred. >> we're looking back to 1968: america in turmoil on c-span and c-span3's american history tv. that report occurring 50 years ago this week. we'll be talking about it this morning. certainly that topic and others as we cover civil rights and race relations from 1968. we're joined for that discussion this morning by kathleen cleaver, senior lecturer of emory university school of law as well as a former communications secretary for the black panther party. and peniel joseph from u.t.
austin. professor joseph, take us back to the end of 1967 and where the civil rights movement was as 1968 was dawning. this was 13 years since the brown v. board of education decision had been handed down. what was the state of the movement? >> i think the state of the movement was very strong. but it was also -- there was a lot of debate. and there was a lot of controversy. in a way, when we think about the civil rights movement and dr. martin luther king jr. as this significant figure, this iconic figure, king is really a political mobilizer. and there are a number of different movements. so there are movements within the movement. so by 1967, we're seeing black power activists who are talking about community control all across the united states. they're talking about radical, social, political, cultural self-determination. we've got groups like the student nonviolent coordinating
committee which professor cleaver was also a part of, who are talking about anti-war activism and anti-imperialism. we have the national welfare rights organization that's talking about poverty. in that way, by 1968, king is talking about a poor people's campaign and an antipoverty campaign, at the same time that you've got young black political radicals who are talking about everything from, you know, educational activism and the creation he have black student unions, to anti-imperialist strategies and anticapitalist critiques. certainly the black panthers and the black panther party for self-defense really understands what's happening at the local level in a place like oakland, california, and really, in an era before black lives matter, they are talking about everything from community control and free breakfast
programs, but also they're questioning the legitimacy of state sanctioned violence. they're questioning the high rates of incarceration then, 1967, 1968, the black men, black men and women. they're questioning police brutality at the local level. they're really looking at portfolio. one of the first things the panthers do in oakland, california, is try to get a streetlight set up at a corner where african-americans have been hit by cars in oakland in the east bay. so when we think about '67, the movement is a movement of movements. it's a panoramic movement. sometimes people will say dr. king goes north because he goes to chicago. there was always a movement happening in chicago and new york and outside of the south. at times the media focused on the old confederacy because we had the police dogs in birmingham, alabama, we had civil rights activists murdered
in mississippi in 1964. we had protesters beaten on the beach of st. augustine, florida, in the summer of 1964. but in truth, the heroic period from '54 to roughly '68, was happening in really virtually every major city but also rural, urban, hamlet, across the united states. so by '67, what we see is that the movement has lost in the minds of the american public some of the cohesiveness that we had seen when the movement was going for the voting rights act and the civil rights act in the aftermath of brown, in the aftermath of emmett till and the montgomery bus boycott. but in fact the movement was going for more than just civil rights or voting rights. it's trying to transform american democracy and really reimagine black citizenship by calling for an end to not just
racial and economic oppression but it's calling for things like a living wage, the right for black women and men to have good jobs, decent homes, and schools that actually educate young people. >> and on that, kathleen cleaver, you're in your early 20s at this point at the end of 1967. you're involved in the civil rights movement. what did you see as the biggest barriers yet to be overcome as 1968 dawned? >> well, we were in the movement that -- i was in the student nonviolent coordinating committee. that's where the call for black power came. what we saw was the biggest challenge of political empowerment of people being subjected to racism and poverty, particularly police violence. and so the issues of self-defense, community control of police, food, social justice. there was a range of issues. but the key focus of the
movements i was in was against police brutality and against violence directed towards blacks. >> i want to go over some of the key dates and issues we'll be talking about in the year 1968 as we discuss civil rights and race relations. we're going to be talking about the vietnam war and its impact on civil rights in this country. the tet offensive begins on january 30th, 1968. february 12th, the memphis sanitation strike begins. february 29th, the kerner commission releases its report on race relations in the country. of course april 4th, martin luther king jr. was assassinated. the days after martin luther king jr.'s assassination, rioting in chicago, baltimore, washington, d.c., and other cities. on april 11th, president johnson signs the fair housing act. on june 4th, 5th, and 6th, robert kennedy wins the california primary. he's shot after his victory rally. he died the next day, on the
6th. october 16th, that iconic image of olympic athletes tommie smith and john carlos. november 5th, the impact. we'll be talking about that on our special series. special phone lines if you want to join the conversation. for those 30 years old to 60 years old, it's 202-748-8001. the phone line for those 61 and older, we want to hear from you, your memories of that year, 202-748-8002. kathleen cleaver, we introduced you as well as your position at emory as the former communications secretary for the black panther party. how did you get involved in the black panther party? >> i was in an organization called student nonviolent coordinating committee.
we had a conference, invited quite a few civil rights leader. but the only one who managed to get there was eldridge cleaver, the leader of the black panther party. he fell madly in love with me and persuaded me i should come out to california, which i did. we got engaged, we got married. i got involved in the organization he was a part of, called the black panther party, which was very much in line with the thinking and planning of snic. but snic was an organization that started many years ago and was in a state of chaos. and the black panther party was brand-new, had been in existence for about a year. it was very exciting and engaging and filled with very positive, energized young men and women. it was great. >> professor joseph, you talked about the organization of the civil rights movement at the time, the different organizations that were out there. how did white america view these different organizations that we've already talked about as well as dr. king's movement?
>> well, by 1968 there's going to be what some people call a white backlash against the movement. and this is this idea that there was that oat one time real broad support for civil rights struggles and racial equality. generally white people, when we look at everything from polling data and the state of the nation at the time, were increasingly at unease with this idea of civil rights. by the time we see urban rebellions, what critics called race riots and what the kerner commission calls civil disorders, that starts in 1963 in birmingham, alabama. by 1964, harlem explodes. in '65, the watts neighborhood in los angeles explodes a few days after the passage of the voting rights act. and we see massive urban
rebellions in newark and detroit in 1967. so between '63 and 1968, we'll have hundreds of civil disturbances in hundreds of american cities. and what the kerner commission argues, and that's the president's own commission, is that the root of the violence and the rioting is going to be poverty and institutional racism. it says that white racism has created and maintained urban ghettos and its only white society that will get rid of these ghettos. that's increasing unease about the level of radical rhetoric that black power activists are engaged in. what black power activists do in contrast to civil rights activists, they talk about structural oppression. they link the war in vietnam with the ineffectiveness of the
war on poverty and great society programs. they link police brutality with the miserati ichlmiseration of african-americans in rural and urban areas. they're talking about race, class, and by 1968, gender as well, when we think about radical black fell in hminists organizing, including snic. when we think about how the white public is perceiving civil rights, it's going to be for the most part negative. and it's interesting to remember that martin luther king jr. by 1968 is not the same mainstream hero he is by the end of 1964 when he accepts the nobel peace prize. by 1968, king is touring the country like a man on fire, critiquing the johnson
administration about the vietnam war, trying to galvanize broad based support for a multiracial poor peoples campaign, planning to go to washington and stay in washington until congress passes meaningful poverty legislation, antipoverty legislation, that dr. king defines as a guaranteed income for all americans. we've got congresspersons who had praised king after winning the nobel peace prize who are saying he's an anarchist, a socialist, and un-american. so when we think about 1968, there's a feeling of doom, as if the subversives have taken over. and what's interesting, and this is one of the things that dr. king says, is that he starts to feel that even white liberals are abandoning the movement because so many white americans are embracing this notion of peace and law and order with no justice. so when we think about 1968,
it's going to be an incredibly tense year. but it's also a hopeful year and an optimistic year because so many not only civil rights activists but black power activists are trying to talk about the politics of transformation at the grassroots level. when you think about those politics, they're talking about everything from community control of urban schools, they're talking about building farm cooperatives in the rural south. they're definitely talking about black elected officials. but they're also talking about welfare rights activism. they're talking about the relationship between african-americans and africa and u.s. foreign policy. they're critiquing capitalism, saying is this the right economic system for poor black people. and they're really trying to reimagine what citizenship will look like in the future. so it's an incredibly hopeful time as well. >> we mentioned one of those black power activists already, eldridge cleaver. who is hughie newton?
>> hughie newton was a law student in oakland, california who started an organization along with his friend bobby seele. they created an organization, they outlined the platform, they gave it a name. they were just two men. but they had a vision of what change should be like. and once they started, they started it in oakland, people flocked into the organization, and it really got very -- a lot of attention very, very quickly. >> and what was that organization? >> black panther party for self-defense. >> here is hughie newton and eldridge cleaver speaking about the black panther party in 1968. >> in america, black people are treated very much as the vietnamese people or 94 colonized people. we're brutalized. the police in our community occupy our area, our community, as a foreign coup occupies
territory. the police are there in our community not to promote our welfare or for our security and our safety but they're there to contain us, to brutalize us and murder us because they have their orders to do so. and just as the soldiers in vietnam have their orders to destroy the vietnamese people, the police in our community couldn't possibly be there to protect our property because we own no property. they couldn't possibly be there to see that we receive due process of law for the simple reason that the police themselves deny us due process of law. so it's very apparent that the police only in our community not for our security but for the security of the business onerwn of the community and to see that the status is kept intact. >> a lot of people out there don't know where it's at.
they think it's the black people doing it. all those riots are causing my life to be miserable in all areas, you know. they really haven't focused in on the fact that it's the pigs and their mentors, the people who control the pigs, the power structure, the bald headed businessmen, the chamber of commerce. they're not turned into that power structure. they just know that life is becoming increasingly miserable for everybody. >> kathleen cleaver, tell us about the early days of being involved in the black panther party. >> it was very exciting. it was a new organization. it was in the middle of the vietnam war. young people flocked into the black panther party, a large number of college students from san francisco state and merritt college. and it was so positive, so optimistic, so full of energy. the organization i had left, the student nonviolent coordinating
committee which was at the point of breakdown and burnout after eight years of confronting racism and demonstrations, they were losing money. they articulated black power but by the time they made that articulation, the organization was pretty kaput. the black panther organization went across country. >> did the black panther party endorse violence? >> the violence was all around us. black people were being shot in the streets. we were not a violent organization. we are trying to challenge and defend our communities against the existing violence. >> professor joseph, can you talk a bit about the tactics of the black panther party? >> well, i would say that the tactics are going to be multiple. there's going to be multiple strategies, like professor cleaver was saying, the initial name is black panther party for
self-defense, so when we think about the 10-point program or really the 20-point program that the black panthers release in '68, they talk about every from ending police brutality to freeing black women and men who were in state and local and federal prisons, to having employment, good jobs, good schools, education. point 10 talked about land, peace, bread, and justice. so on one level, the tactic was self-defense and legally arming themselves, at least by the fall of 1966. but before the state of california passes anti -- or passes gun control legislation that's really anti-panther legislation by the spring of 1967, which is one of the reasons why the panthers on may 2nd, 1967, 30, go to sacramento
to protest this gun control bill which was to prevent panthers from patrolling the police armed, which was legal in the state of california at the time. so on one level we've got this martial, military image of the panthers with the berets and the leather jackets and rifles. there's an iconic picture of professor cleaver, you know, in that mode. another strategy was really this strategy of community empowerment and this strategy of antipoverty and survival programs, what they later called survival programs. this was this idea of survival pending revolution. when we think about the panthers we think of not just free breakfast programs and free lunch programs but food giveaways, legal aid. there's great book looking at the black panthers and the medical clinics that they did. when we think about the panthers, they also anticipated the rise of mass incarceration
so they had free bussing to prison programs. you know, they had an ambulance service. they had tenants' rights organizations, legal aid. they were interested in drug rehabilitation and the metal health of the community. the panthers talk about capitalism plus dope equals genocide, which was one of the iconic pamphlets of the party in 1970, '71. in a way, there's a dual strategy. the group is a janus-faced group in the sense that on one level they're talking about defending the black community, there will be strains of the group that talk about even proactive revolutionary activities. but then there's another aspect of the group that really at times attracts much less attention, but that has been very, very substantive, and that's the strategy of empowering impoverished people,
mentally, physically, spiritually, and also providing them critical thinking skills to understand what's going on, because that clip you played of hughie newton and eldridge cleaver is really profound and powerful, because you're watching two different political activists who are also intellectuals and theorists. what they're doing is theorizing about the structure and the nature of political and racial and economic oppression in the united states. and 50 years later, when we think about the movement for black lives mattering, that is completely connected and trying to build on what the panthers realized when we think about the way in which the state was institutionalizing the repression of african-americans. 2.3 million people in prison right now, about half of those african-americans. 6, 8, 8 million on parole or probation. and there's over 1 million children, many of whom are black, who have parents who are in prison and incarcerated.
and the panthers really formulate at the dawn of that era, that era of not just mass incarceration but what the panthers were calling state sanctioned violence. by that they meant the police, they meant law enforcement. but like professor cleaver has said, they were also talk about economic violence. the reason why they start the free breakfast programs is so many black people and black children were impoverished. those free breakfast programs eventually become something that's widespread and gets institutionalized in cities like milwaukee and states like wisconsin and eventually at the federal level as well. >> we're looking back 50 years to 1968, the civil rights and race relations in this country. joining us on the phone is james in collins, mississippi. we split our phone lines up by age. james on that line for those 61 and older. james, good morning. >> caller: good morning to you, everybody.
hello? >> go ahead, sir, you're on with kathleen cleaver and peniel joseph. >> caller: i just wanted to hope everybody has a happy passover and whatever else they have to celebrate the death and birth of jesus christ. i was 14 years old in '68, i'm thinking. i lived on both sides of the street. i lived in mississippi and i lived in chicago. and i could tell the difference between night and day in some places, in some ways. but my main point was in 1968, when dr. martin luther king was assassinated, i was in chicago. i saw the riots. i saw the burning of buildings. i saw things that was going on. and one thing about it, my mother would not allow me to bring anything in our house that was stolen. she refused to let us do that. but my main point is this.
in 2018, going back that far, a lot has changed, but there's a lot has not changed in the sense of when you say in 2018 you going to make this country great again and you're going to -- what the hell you have to lose, black folks, african-americans, well, i don't think -- america has always been great and always will be great no matter what. but you have to make america right again. because the civil rights marches and whites, blacks, and everybody back during that time, it was not the government that exposed the wrong in this country. it was people getting out marchi marching. >> james, thanks for the call from mississippi. kathleen cleaver, i'll let you take up some of the issues he's bringing up there. >> he's talking about how people
felt about what was happening. i think the context, we're not talking about the war in vietnam. but everything that was happening, and particularly in the civil rights and black power movement, was generated and amplified and in some sense kicked off by the impact of the vietnam war, the impact of the draft, and the sense of young men that they were going to get killed or die and some attitude was, why should i go to vietnam and die in a rice paddy, why don't i stay home and fight for black freedom? the intensity of the civil rights energy in america was amplified over and over again by the activities in the vietnam war and by the population. these young high school men being taken out of school and shipped to vietnam, or deciding they're not going to go to vietnam and becoming draft dodgers or whatever. there was a lot of turmoil involving war, involving racism, and the future of what this country was going to be. i mean, this is when our leaders
like bobby kennedy get murdered as soon as they get elected. it was a very traumatized time. >> professor joseph, i'll let you take angela in north olmsted, ohio, the line for those 30 to 60 years old. good morning. >> caller: good morning. happy holidays to everybody in whatever way you celebrate the day. i just want to say that when they started killing off all the civil rights leaders, with the kennedys, with martin luther king, and malcolm x, when all the big people were gone, they swept us under the rug and said, oh, they're all a bunch of criminals and hoodlums, then they start locking us up in droves. it wouldn't matter, if you was black, you would get locked up because you walked across the street sideways or something.
now the police just shooting, murder people, they don't care. i never thought i would live to see anything like this in my lifetime. when my grandmother told me, she never thought she would live to see a black man in the white house. she didn't live to see it, but i did. i lived my grandmother's dream. he leaves the white house, look at the shambles our nation is in. nobody could have ever predicted this. >> angela, this morning. professor joseph, what do you want to pick up on from that? >> well, i think when you talk about all the deaths that were occurring, i think that despite the assassinations, and we can go as far back as '63, with the assassination of medgar evers who is assassinated on june
12th, 1963, those assassinations had a big impact. but it's important to remember that the protests and the demonstrations continued to proliferate in spite of those assassinations. so in a way, what we see is that political assassinations sort of rob social movements of narratives that are formed around -- especially in the 1960s, predominantly male figures. but it doesn't mean that the movement goes away. really by after 1968, you're going to see more protests against the vietnam war than before 1968. after 1968, we see more protests for community control, women's rights, chicano activism, anti-war activism, civil rights, social justice, black power activism, all the way into the mid-1970s. when we think about those assassinations, we remember them as really important pivot
points. but it's important to recall that the social movements don't end because we have these big political mobilizers or these icons who are assassinated. whether a leader or a representative spokesperson is a woman or a man, they are representing a groundswell of political organizing that is happening at the local level, right? so there is no dr. martin luther king jr. without joann robinson of the women's political council in montgomery, alabama, or rosa parks, people who were actually day to day organizers. so what he's doing as an articulator is he's able to galvanize attention for what people are doing at the local level. and even though what movements lose when people are assassinated is there's not necessarily that focal point and that figurehead who can bring that kind of media attention, but the movements definitely
continue. >> kathleen cleaver, the caller brings up robert kennedy. he enters the presidential race for the democratic nomination in march of 1968. what did he mean to the civil rights movement in 1968? >> i'm not so certain that the civil rights movement in 1968, at least not the wing that i was in, and we called ourselves the black power movement, sort of a little different energy than civil rights, we were not committed to nonviolence, we were committed to radical social justice and economic change. bobby kennedy articulated as a mainstream politician some of the interests that the social justice movement had, which is more than likely why he didn't even get a chance to get out of the gate. he was murdered as soon as he was making a speech. so the right wing repression that was coming, they made it very clear that the politics of
robert kennedy, politics of social justice, anti-war, were being repudiated. and that kind of set the tone for a very, very radical uprising across the country on many levels. >> we set the tone for this discussion with that news report of the death of martin luther king jr. 50 years ago this week. describe your memory of learning about the death of martin luther king jr. >> what i remember, i was in oakland at the time. i mean, i was living in california at the time, the black panther party headquarters were in oakland. what i remember is how stunned and angry black people around the country were. washington, d.c. was set on fire. there was tons of uprisings, riots, protests. the country seemed to be in a state of total chaos. and what was so intriguing is that clearly there was an instruction to the police in
cities to stand down, because police were not confronting the riots and the uprisings. so you saw a huge explosion of anger and frustration and violence in the wake of the assassination of martin luther king. >> professor joseph, why was martin luther king jr. in memphis on that day in 1968? >> he was in memphis because he had been called by one of his good close friends, jim lawson, the reverend jim lawson, who was helping to organize sanitation workers in memphis, tennessee, when were on strike for a living wage. so king starts going there in march and giving some speeches. and one time during the visit, one of the demonstrations turns violent not because of the demonstrators who were part of the organized civil rights activism, but because of outliers, young people in the city who are very, very
frustrated, and they smashed some windows. and king is determined to return to memphis to have a rally that is peaceful because people are very critical, critics are saying if he can't lead a peaceful rally in memphis, how can he come down to washington, d.c. and do this camp-in and this tent city that they're talking about as part of the poor peoples campaign. so he was in memphis because by '68, king is convinced that, one, the vietnam war is this immoral, illegal war, but it's a war that has robbed resources from poor people and attention from the plight of the poor. so he goes to places like, you know, sparks, mississippi, and he goes to the southwest and meets up with mexican-american activists, he meets up with farm workers. he meets up with poor whites as well. he's going to have a whole caravan of -- a multiracial
caravan that's going to come to d.c. in the summer for this poor people's campaign. and by '68, king is talking about a guaranteed income. and we should remember, 50 years ago, there were peoples gathering. there were many americans who were talking about a guaranteed income as a way to fight poverty and end poverty and joblessness once and for all. some talked about full employment, a project that went beyond the new deal. when king goes to memphis, he uses memphis as sort of the first beach head in this large are battle by social justice and king will be really vilified for talking about poor people, for talking about a guaranteed income, and for saying that he's going to bring this nonviolent army to washington, d.c.
even though king is always, always articulating a philosophy of nonviolence, journalists and politicians will criticize him and say he's trying to bring violence to washington, d.c., when he's trying to force the united states into a reckoning with the gap between democratic rhetoric and democratic reality, especially poor people of all colors. king is intensely interested in racial justice and economic justice but he sees the connection between race and class. >> nearly halfway through our discussion this morning, on this week's installment of "1968 in turmoil." if you're 29 and under, or 30 to
60, if you're 61 and older, call the numbers on the screen. nicholas is on the line of 29 and under. >> caller: good morning. i'm really glad to come across this conversation today and i want to ask about your -- both of the speakers thoughts on the leadership organization and structure of the day for resolution and black resolution because oftentimes in schools we talk about the focal points and the leaders as if they were the heart and soul, the drum beat of those movements and every action, but really the reality is they weren't. i don't care what you think about the power of revolution looks today and the organize structure and is there anything you want to highlight from your experiences and revolution for people who are 29 and under who
are that next generation, what would those things be that you would like us to learn or to pay more attention to? >> thank you for the question, nicholas. kathleen cleaver, i'll let you start. >> what's important to understand is there were mobilization of people in the united states triggered in large part by the dislocations of the war in vietnam and the sense of hope, the sense the king, and people like king were articulating a different vision for america and there were different beliefs america could be changed. i remember accident with radical, revolutionary activists who were 25 or younger down to teenagers, who really convinced this is a moment we had the chance, we were going to change the country. we talked about we were going to change the world. there was a lot of optimism. america was a healthy place. we had a lot of resources and
the vietnam war dislocated the whole question, the whole country and made it possible for people to think about revolutionary transformation, whether it's peaceful or violent in this country. >> dr. joseph, did you would want weigh in? >> certainly. '68 really is a global year of political revolution. one of the slogans will be the whole world is watching when young activists are being brought although ased at the democratic convention in chicago. what they mean by the whole world was watching, is the whole world was watching what american demmock rackocraciment when it came to sort of reimagining global
citizenship. we're talking about the prague event in czechoslovakia, and latin america, south america, africa. we're thinking about anticolonial struggles. student strikes and protests all throughout the world, so '68 is this feeling of political revolution and optimism and also cultural revolution. the question was about leadership today. i think leadership today in terms of contemporary movement, in black lives matter and the #metoo movement, we're seeing this with the recent youth march and the dreamers movement, the immigration and the daca movement. leadership is structured in a much more cohesive and democratic way. the founder of the student nonviolent coordinating committee said strong people don't need strong leaders and
ela baker was a radical feminist, and worked with the students of the nonviolent coordinating committee, she meant it was the people who were going to have to organize for their own justice, for their own right and when we think about now with the social movements that are happening in the contemporary context, the huge positive is one many of them are female led and when we think about the movements of the 1960s, women were absolutely leaders, but a lot of times marginalized when we think about the public transcript of the 1960s. now we see women such as the cofounders of the black lives matter who are out there in a very, very public way and a very, very brilliant way, and these movements aren't relying on one figurehead, one iconic leader and i think that makes
them much more -- much more powerful and potentially more effective and long lasting. >> professor, let me let kathleen cleaver jump in. do you agree with his assessment how women leaders of the black power movement were part of that story in. >> at that era, the concept of women leadership was somewhat subdued. there was no question the civil rights movement was woman led and woman directed and woman -- i'm thinking of gloria richardson and ella baker. the willingness of the media -- and also the willingness of the black community, to enhance the roll of men was very important. so women weren't seeking recognition as much as participation and their participation was fundamental and absolutely essential. >> what was the role of communications secretary? how did you get that job? >> i came in from an organization called snake and at
a moment of crisis. we were planning a demonstration at the alameda county courthouse when huey newton, who was arrested and shot by a policeman and was charged with attempted murder and murder, was coming to court, we were going to have a demonstration. so my first thing to do was write a press release and announce this demonstration and i had just come into the black panther party, fairly recently, so the press release had to go out and i had to identify who sent it, so i said, well, communications -- kathleen neil, communications secretary, black panther party, that's how that came about. >> you gave yourself the title? >> yes, julian bond was the communication director and he did press releases so i model myself on julian but i called myself secretary. there was a minister of information, a chairman, i took it myself. >> in dallas, texas, charles is on the line of those between 30
and 60. good morning. >> caller: good morning, c-span. good morning, ms. cleaver, it's an honor to speak with you, as well as professor, joseph. i'm up the street here in dallas but i grew up in sacramento, atlanta, where the latest heartbreak in police violence was happening, but i wanted to say was how amazing the panthers and dr. king was able to describe america as this e immaculate rolls royce with the knock on the engine. socially, the car was a lemon. and i'd like to respond to that. >> i think that's brilliant. i've never heard that before. there's huge difference in america between what people desire and what is actually happening in this country. and i believe in the '60s, what we saw was a waking up among black people, latino people, exploited people, of what was really being done to them and
looking at how we can take this on, and because of vietnam, it was something malcolm x said, little men in yellow and black pajamas are taking down uncle sam. black people, poor people, can make a difference and that was radicalizing in the country. >> professor joseph, bring us back to 50 years ago this week and the death of martin luther king, junior. who was james earl ray in the organization? >> james earl ray is the assassination of martin luther king, junior and his motive by all reports was just racial hatred and unease with what king represented in the world and in
the sense of the social and political transformation dr. king was trying to achieve? >> i'd like to say something, i don't think the king's family and the king's british attorney accepted james earl ray was the shooter. they saw james earl ray as holding a position to cover up who really killed king. >> covering up for who? >> the people who organized the assassination, that's it, but he was not the killer. >> what do you believe that? >> i don't believe that. it had to be some form of conspiracy and was probably more than one shooter. >> dr. joseph, what do you think of that? >> as a historian, i go with the historical record in terms of james earl ray as the shooter, but i definitely acknowledge there have been doubts raised by different quarters, including the king family, posthumously, questioning the way in which
everyday was gathered, questioning, whether james earl ray in fact murdered their father, but when we think about the historical record, i go with the historical record that james earl ray is the shooter unless -- until and unless we're presented with rock solid evidence that shows something completely different. >> i guess you understand that the rock solid evidence is very seriously being covered up. >> i -- i understand that people are absolutely saying that and i'd love to see and hear more and i have read those perspectives. >> i want to go back to that night 50 years ago on april 4th. this is the audio of robert kennedy announcing the death of martin luther king, junior at an impromptu speech in indianapolis. here's what he had to say. >> in this difficult day, in
this difficult time for the united states, it's pressed well to ask what kind of a nation we are, and what direction we want to move in. for those of who you are black, considering the evidence evidently is that there were white people who were responsible, you can be filled with bitterness and with hatred and a desire for revenge. we can move in that direction as a country and greater polarization. black people amongst blacks and white amongst whites filled with hatred toward one another, or we can make an effort as martin luther king, junior did to understand and comprehend and replace that violence that stain of blood shed that has spread
across our land, with an effort to understand compassion and love. for those of you who are black and are attempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust, of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, i would only say that i can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. i had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. but we have to make an effort in the united states. we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond or go beyond these rather difficult times. >> professor joseph, take us back to the hours and days after
the death of martin luther king, junior from that speech, through the rioting and the burning of cities as we saw around country. >> yeah, i think bobby kennedy's on words are really ironic, because kennedy as attorney general under his brother, john f. kennedy, approved the wire tabs put on dr. king and that accelerated the fbi's war against dr. king and it in a lot of ways those wiretaps led to that anti-king atmosphere in the united states, that in part led to his death. it was really interesting, bobby kennedy's evolution. these days are very, very tumultuous days. kennedy says these difficult times and king on april 3rd, the night before he's assassinated, had said that we have some difficult days ahead of us. and what he was really talking about was the way in which there
was a huge gulf between what social movement activists and leaders felt the united states needed to do legally and politically and what the country was willing do. so the country responds, the state responds with more political and economic oppression and really in 1968, we also have to remember that the ominous crime bill was passed in 1968, passed perhaps june 19th, 1968, and that crime bill expands wiretapping and ease dropping the federal government is allowed to do, but it also provides states with billions of dollars in money for law enforcement that shows the speed to mass incarceration. that crime bill provides the money that now is given to states through the burn grant that provides all the states and local municipalities with huge incentives to arrest and
incarcerati latinos and blacks and whites in the country. >> talk about where you were in the days after your reaction. >> i was in california. eldridge and i lived in san francisco, black panthers were headquartered in oakland. once he was killed it was an explosion across country. there were riots, uprisings, washington, d.c. and the police were standing down. there wasn't much controlling of this so the black panther party wanted to respond but they didn't believe people should go out and riot in the streets so they took it, themselves, a group of panthers took it, themselves to engage in actions in response to king's assassination and the group that i'm talking about were about eight panthers in a car, including eldridge cleaver, bobby hutton and some others who were going to essentially attack
police in response. what ended up happening, the group got battered. a small contingent ended up in a house in oakland and were shooting back and forth with the oakland police and bobby hutton and eldridge were in the same house and the house began to catch on fire and they said we don't want to burn to death, so bobby hutton came on and attempted to surrender and were shot. no one other than bobby hutton was killed that night. about eight other panthers were arrested and it became a huge case. the whole country was at war. >> what happened to eldridge cleaver? >> he was arrested, sent back to prison. he was able to get out on bail through some very unusual decisions by a judge that when he went to court, no one from the state appeared. it was only eldridge and the judge. he said based on the evidence i
heard, i have to take his story. he let him out on bail, which was unheard of that a black panther leader engaged with a shootout with oakland police is out on jail and was he was a candidate for president under the peace and freedom party, which was a protest party, and so what he did was run his presidential campaign across the country until it was time for him to surrender, return to prison, at which point he disappeared and showed up a few months later in havana. >> and were you with him and. >> oh, no, i didn't know where he was. he was actually -- he was in montreall. >> when did you connect with him? >> in 1965. i was on my way and how to figure out how to get to cuba in a very roundabout way and to
take a flight in algeria and then to cuba and i got a message, don't leave, wait, eldridge is coming to algeria. >> kathleen cleaver joining us. did you want to add something, mr. joseph? >> when we talk about the media aftermath of dr. king's assassination, his funeral in atlanta is going to be seen by over 100 million americans. his -- his coffin is carried by a mule train in atlanta. every major presidential candidate attends king's funeral, so that's eugene mccarthy, bobbi kristina kennedy, that's hubert humphry and president lyndon johnson does not attend because of security. king was afforded the equivalent of a state funeral and when we think about what's going on in
college campuses, black communities, there's huge sense of mourning, at times, there's sense of rage, there's only 125 cities that erupt in some kind of violence and there's also a sense of organizing that takes place, as well. so when we think about the king assassination, it becomes a glob at event. there's going to be this -- global event. there's going to be this demonstration around the world, europe, africa, latin america, are sending telegrams to the king family and telegrams to the united states in solidarity with king's memory. so king is really going to be -- the country is really going to be reeling in the aftermath of the assassination, ahead of an 82-day campaign for the president until he's assassinate theed
assassinated on -- assassinated on june 5th, many people transcends some of the feelings they had towards robert f. kennedy as if kennedy can somehow bind the wounds that are gripping the nation. and when we think about bobby kennedy, final thought is kennedy, in '68, tries to do what barack obama successfully does in 2008, which is he tries to create a multiracial, multiclass coalition to win the presidency of the united states. >> about 30 minutes left in our discussion this morning. taking your calls on phone lines split up by age, 29 and under, 30 to 60, and if you're 61 and older, call the numbers on the screen. nicholas is calls in from scotland this morning on that
line for those 61 and over. nicholas, go ahead. >> caller: hi, good morning. i was listening, of course at my age and having been raised in detroit, i was 15 at the time of the detroit riots, in '67, i was 16 in high school when dr. king was assassinated and what i wanted to say is it struck me while i was watching your program this morning that professor joseph is an academic for center of the study of race and democracy and i mean after 50 years of all that's gone on, it's a bit ironic they've had the time to set up a center for the study of race and democracy. i think it's time to and off the ivory tower, professor joseph. >> do you want to take that? >> sure. nicholas, i would say we do more
than just study. we're doing public research and history and policy programming that connections to race and democracy, civil rights and equality, voting rights, mass incarceration. to tackle these issues we have do both, right? so when we think about the -- i wouldn't say it's just an ivory tower. think about how do we leverage the resources of these wonderful universities that we have in the united states to try to transform not just critical consciousness, but also public policy, leverage those resources on behalf of communities that would not have access to the kind of brain power and the kind of resources that we have at universities. and universities have been -- when thinking about issues of social justice, very, very important in terms of legal
transformations, in terms of public policy transformations, in terms of providing nonprofits and other grassroots organizations, the information and the research and the agency that they need on behalf of social and political justice, i'd say that again it's not just the center here at u. it, but really the whole idea of black studies that's coming out of the black power era and really coming out of this period that we're talking about this morning was how do we leverage the intelligencecian, not just humanities and the hard sciences, medicine, stem fields, how do we leverage that on behalf of people who are being marginalized. universities play a role and like professor cleaver was saying, many people attracted to the groups like the black panthers, including here's, were university students, some of the
most brilliant activists of this period were college graduates, or sometimes were high school students and high school graduates who shut cities down. when we think about parkland, the young people in parkland are connected to the movement that we're talking about because high school students in the south and in the north and in the west coast, they waged all kinds of struggles, including latino students to get not just educational equality, but equal opportunity and equality of outcomes for their surrounding communities. >> a little bit of time and a lot of calls waiting to talk to you both. cathleave you've got michael on that line between 30 and 60 years old. good morning. >> depend morning, professor, it's an honor to see you. i saw a special recently about black women who were involved in the movement back then. i know you were a part of that and they pointed out that women who were involved took great
care in making sure that men were out front. the women knew they were a part of it, but they knew the important thing about the black men being out front. professor peniel joseph, you've mentioned the importance of black women participating in the new movement. black women have always been in the movement. be very careful about this new emphasis on women being involved in the new movement because it's a wedge issue that's designed to pit black men against black women. i'm 58 years old. my mother was a very strong black woman. she raised 11 children. she went to high school. we've always had black women who involved in this process. >> thank you for the call. kathleen cleaver. >> respond? >> go for it. >> i'm very happy to hear you acknowledge the backbone of all
the movements in black justice and black freedom and antislavery have been women for several reasons and one is the intention on oppressing men was so vicious testimony almost necessary for women but the other one is that women took on that responsibility. and women leadership has been a feature of the struggle against slavery, segregation of racism and part of that is because of the role of churches in the past. no so much now. our churches are a gathering place for women who are activists, who are supporting leadership of male pastors, but certainly running these churches. so the base of social activist and political activist in black communities have been frequently is women, women organizations, and women leaders. >> from virginia, max is waiting on the line for those 29 and under. go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i wanted to say this has been a great conversation and i wanted
to thank you for hosting it. when the professor mentioned before about dr. king's later work being focused on antipoverty and anti-war, it seems dr. king's legacy has been manipulated in the time since 1968 and these later aspects of these programs have been deemphasized and i was wondering you may think about the way dr. king and as well as the panthers, the way their message has been manipulated historically. thank you. >> it's rather difficult for them to manipulate the radicalism of the black panther message, given the youth and the image they have, whereas in the case of dr. king we saw and could tell dr. king was generally revolution leader, but he presented it in a christian context, which makes it even more threatening and king was very aware that his life was going to be shortened by the
things that he did. the black panthers were mostly teenagers. it was a youth movement with a handful of leaders who were over 21. and so the energy of the black panther party was very different in the sense we had all chapters over the country, all different programs and we focused in on social and political issues that directly affected black people and made a huge impact on the generation -- our generation and the children of that generation. >> professor joseph a caller from florida. >> caller: hello. i have just -- i'm agreeable with the things being said today, but what gets me on a regular basis, women come on --
mostly women come on programs with these very serious subjects and they're smiling and grinning and laughing. they get introduced. they've got this big old gigantic smile. it could have been a killing of 100 people. ran over, cars, guns, whatever, and they come on to discuss these things. i understand it. i've been watching for multiple years bust i've never seen so much women coming on great big smiles. i don't see anything funny about this stuff. >> all right, elizabeth, we'll take your point. professor joseph do you want to start? >> i still was thinking about the king holiday and what the caller was talking about with king and king's message. i think the king holiday has been a great example of the power and the limitations of racial symbolism because the king holiday's passage in '83, and now we have a king memorial,
really ensured that dr. king would never be forgotten and dr. king was recognized as one of america's founding thinkers in a post-world war ii sense. but to embrace dr. king, what the nation has really done in terms of the mainstream is really deradicalize king's message and king's antiimperial imp, anticapitalism, his cower aimous ability to speak truth to power and to talk about white racism, white privilege, and turned him into sort of this soft, fuzzy teddy bear, this figure that everybody could love even though the last three years of his life when he's in chicago battling mayor daily, when he no thinker is political friends with president trump lyndon johnson, people are castigating king and there's one newspaper report in '67 that's saying king and car michael are the batman
and robin of the movement, and saying that there are two sides of the same coin. so we choose to remember only the king who ends with the "i have a dream" speech at the march on washington and we don't interrogate that speech because that's a speech where he says, we are coming to cache check that has been stamped insufficient funds, but we refuse to believe that bank of americans, justice, is bankrupt. that's what king says in '63. when we think about king's legacy, part of irony of his legacy is that he becomes the most visible symbol of the 1960s bar none, even bigger than the black panthers, but we rob him of his own political agency in the way he tried to move us forward. king loves america enough to
criticize america. >> you mentioned stokely carmichael a couple times. explain where he fits into the story we've been talking about over the course of the last hour. >> stokely carmichael, later quame was born in trinidad in 1941 and comes to the united states in 1952. he was one of the few african-american students that bronx high school, a competitive school you have to test into. he joins the nonviolent action group, which is a snick affiliate at howard university in 1960 and he really becomes one of the most courageous civil rights activists of the era. he's a freedom writer who gets arrested in jackson, mississippi, and spends 14 days in the penitentiary in 1961. he becomes the second district
leader of the mississippi democratic party. he's good friends with martin luther king, junior. he knows malcolm x and is impressed by malcolm x and by 1965, stokely is one of the leading -- he graduates from howard university and goes to live in mississippi and alabama. he helps organize share croppers in alabama who become the county freedom organization who are nicknamed the black panther party and that's where when we think about the black panther party for self-defense, it's louns county becomes -- provides the first sign of the symbol of what becomes the black panther party in '66, and early 66, and it's stokely car michael who calls for black power june 16th, 1966, during the meredith march in greenwood, mississippi, and
becomes this huge icon post the assassination of malcolm x and is named primary prime minister of the black panther party. field marshall by executive order from huey newton, by executive order number two in 1967 and helps publicize the free huey movement on february 17th, and 18th in 1968 at two alarm rallies in okay land and los angeles, becomes one of the few pivotal figures between civil rights and black power because he really participated in both of those movements. removes to west africa, free in 1969 and dies of prostate cancer of in november of 1968. really one of the iconic figures who has become an unreconstructed revolutionary. quame changes his name in honor
of the pan-african leaders of ghana, respectively. really one of the key revolutional figures who in the 1970s and ''80s -- '80s and a 90s, continues with those revolutionary ideas. >> i wanted to make a clarification the name the black panther party came from an organization that stokely and rad brown and other people in alabama were collaborating with the local community who wanted to, for the first time, run candidate for office and so they had a political party for the freedom organization and they had a symbol so you could go vote for them and their symbol was a panther and so people began calling it the black panther party, but they used that for a certain reason. they said the panther who is a kind of animal who will never -- you know, minds its own business but if you reach out to attack him, he will wipe you out, but
he's not an attack animal. the symbol and the notion as connecting with radical black politics was very popular. another group in california took the name, black panther party for self-defense. >> from mansfield, texas, anthony is waiting on the line for those to 30. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i wanted to highlight several articles in the "new york times" regarding the census bureau and a study they had been working on since 2004, which concluded with them deciding that they would create a designation for hispanics and arab-americans so they wouldn't have to define themselves as white, however, the trump administration through jeff sessions came up with another question, which of
course you-all i'm sure know, they rejected the designation for hispanics and arab-americans and opted for united states citizen, a question about whether you're a united states citizen or not because of course they fear a true depiction of what the demographic in the country really are and my concern is that just as they did back for years, they keep repackaging the same practices and bringing them to us in different ways, but basically it's going to have an impact, or it could have an impact according to the many articles i read on voting rights, on housing, and many other important resources and it's just that these types of practices have not made us greater. they've actually made us weaker. >> anthony we'll take the comment and come back to your question after we head from ed in raleigh, north carolina on that line for those 29 and under. ed, go ahead. >> caller: good morning and
thank you c-span and the guests for having this conversation. i really appreciate it. if i could ask for their comments on this -- a couple topics, one, if they know anything or what their opinion is about critical legal theory, something i heard about recently, and might be related to civil rights. i'm not quite sure. and the other thing is -- and if this is -- i don't know if it's too inappropriate to ask or not, but if dr. king were still with us today, do the guests think that the political landscape that country, do they think it would be different than it is? >> thank you for the question. a couple different issues there. kathleen cleaver? >> about dr. king, had he remained alive, had his movement been able to implement the poor peoples' march and some of the projects he initiated, it not so much if king was still alive, but if those structures for
political change were still dynamic and being funded and people could participate them, then some of those goals could have conceivably been implemented. but king was assassinated for very clear reasons, that's exactly what our structure didn't want to happen. we were left to our own devices again. >> dr. joseph, do you do what if history questions ever? >> not really, but i'll -- what i'll say is this, when we think about dr. king, if king was still alive, we've seen this transform political landscape including somebody what recently was elected president who never held political office, but i think there would have been tremendous pressure on him and he would have seen how he responded, always by saying no when people wanted him to run. really symbolically on protest
tickets, really the idea of something social movement running for political leader, wouldn't be far-fetched. we don't have the same iconic leaders now that we did then. but i do agree professor cleaver that if the movement that he helped mobilize had continued to evolve and develop, maybe things would become different. he's not been alive to be one of the primary articulators of that movement, which had both its own benefits and drawbacks. >> time for a few more calls. about ten minutes left on 1968 america in turmoil, we're on c-span and c-span 3, american history and the civil rights race relations in 1968.
james is waiting in greensboro, north carolina, on the line 61 and older. go ahead. >> caller: good morning, c-span. i'm glad everybody came on to talk about this situation. back then, eldridge cleaver was a hero to me. i remember one of my friends gave me his album -- they had albums instead of cds. i listened to his speeches be and all made sense but we need to organize even better than the '60s the 's 60 was a spiritual movement to advance the -- the '60s was a spiritual movement, so dominated by the color of our skin, the melanon. we were called negros, and then became black, and if you look under the word black, it's all
negative. so this is why we get shot in the streets, because of the hatred, because hatred is born and introduces itself in different faces and different colors and stuff. we need to do things to change things and everybody is waiting for us. >> kathleen cleaver, i'll let you take that one. >> i think what you're referring to is something i would call white supremacy and white supremacy has been a key component of america from its beginning, however at this point, white supremacy is in trouble because the majority of the american population, i'd say within the next 25 years will not be a white population. it's increase ly creasingly latino, and --
increasingly latino, and have a majority minority population. that's going on to continue. i have a feeling over the next 40 years or so we're going to see some political changes that are in response to the composition of the american population and therefore the composition of the political class. >> the caller brings up eldridge cleaver. when did you get married to eldridge cleaver? >> the end of 1967. we keep arguing was it december 30th, or december 30th? >> when did he die? >> he died may 1st. i'm trying to think of the year. i can't remember right this minute. >> some of those people who joined you at the beginning of the black panther party, were they there at his funeral? >> not at all. he left the black panther party. he was a republican and gotten involved in other organizations. his funeral was in los angeles where he was living at the time and quite a few people did come
to the funeral. the thing that sticks in my mind is one of our panther leaders, his name was edmond gerenamo prat. by the fifth one came along, i was a life. that one they decided to let this man out who was a major leader in the black panther party and what i'm remembering is he was able to come to eldridge's funeral, so the -- the black panther party was an extraordinary organization and took an enormous amount of violence, imprisonment, and people who were still in prison, still loved the movement do support it and a large part of
the community party you hardly ever hear, speaks about the black panther party. >> i want you to talk about the 1968 olympic games, the two american athletes. explain that moment for viewers who might not be familiar. >> that's the 400-meter relay race, mexico city olympics, october 16th, 1968, and that's tommy smith and giancarlo, who won the gold and bronze medal respectively and they were part of a larger movement that had been inspired by dr. harry edwards in the late 1960s to try to have a boycott of the olympics of black athletes boycotting the olympics because of the human rights violations that were happening in the united states against african-americans. everything from police brutality, to racial segregation, to violence against blacks, and when we think about
what eventually happened, some athletes at the olympics decided that if they -- if they did win, they were going to stage these protests and what smith and carlos do is they -- they go to the podium without any shoes on, just black socks. they each have a black glove and they raise the black power symbol and it's interesting because that was a very, very powerful iconic moment, but they were really kicked out of the olympic village and stripped of their medals. they were vilified by the mainstream. san jose state, in the '90s, had erected statues in there honor but for over a quarter of a century, they were denied opportunities they should have been afforded because they made
this human rights protest. and for them, they were in solidarity with indigenous people all over the world who were being oppressed, including african-americans in the united states, but all people, all over the world. the third world, people of color, but others who were being oppressed and in a way when we think about smith and carlos, they anticipate what happened to colin kaepernick and where his protests against police brutality and against racial injustice became reinterpreted as an indictment and this anti-american act. when what he was trying to do was really unveil and shed light on contemporary racism and that's what smith and carlos were trying to do. one last thing, they were embraced by black power. so after they come back from the olympics, they toured howard university, historically black
colleges, stokely car michael is there and others -- and they've really become supported and people like kareem abdul-jabbar, bill russell, jim brown, black athletes who were very racially conscious support them, as well. >> just less than a minute left, kathleen cleaver, we talked about asking where the civil rights movement was at the end of 1967, the beginning of '68. where do you think it was at the end of '68 as 1969 dawned? >> it was at a cross roads that had many possible options. there were those who wanted to go back to africa and those who wanted to go into community service. we should be organizing and building community struggles, solving community issues. there were those who wanted the university. i would say it was a panorama of possibilities at the end of the '60s. all of which are still in a way
some level being part of our culture. >> kathleen cleaver, is at the -- at emory university school of law, senior lecturer and fellow there. neil joseph is director for the center of race and democracy at the university of texas at austin. thank you both for your time this morning. we appreciate the conversation. >> thank you very much for having me. >> thank you. is. >> announcer: c-span, was created a public service by america's television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> announcer: coming up on american history tv, we'll take
a look at the 50th anniversary the murder of martin luther king, junior with films from our reel america series of cbs news coverage on martin luther king, junior's murder. american history tv is next here on c-span 3. c-span's washington journal live every day with issues that impact you. wednesday morning, education week reporter madeleine will discusses future pay and benefits of teachers. author and commentator cynthia nelson joins us to talk about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of martin luther king, junior. and we'll talk about top policy issues, live at 7:00 a.m.
eastern wednesday morning. join the discussion. >> announcer: next walter cronkite announces the death of martin luther king, junior april 4th, 1968, and we'll hear from president lindon b. johnson who spoke about the life and legacy of dr. king. good evening, dr. martin luther king, junior, the apostle of nonviolence in the civil rights movement has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. police have issued an all-points bulletin of a young white man reportedly running from the scene and officers fired on a radio-equipped car containing two white men. dr. king was on the balcony of his second floor hotel room tonight when according to a companion, a shot was fired from across the street. in a friend's words, the bullet exploded in his face. police who were k