tv American Artifacts Jackson Foundation Museum CSPAN September 1, 2018 10:00am-10:26am EDT
in the 1960's, martin luther king jr. often visited the jackson family home in selma, alabama three had in the 1960's, martin luther king jr. often visited the jackson family home in selma, alabama. it was there he planned the civil rights march and watched president johnson urge congress to pass the voting rights act. next, on american artifacts, we talk with john a. jackson who lived there. this is about 20 minutes. jawana jackson who grew up there. >> even if we pass this bill, the battle will not be over. what happened in selma is part of a far larger movement which
reaches into every section and state of america. it is the effort of american negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of american life. their cause must be our cause too. because it's not just negroes, but really, it is all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. and, we shall overcome. [applause] >> the night president lyndon addressed the assassination of martin luther king, he and of that speech by echoing the words that that dr. martin luther king jr. used so rightsn the civil movement. there was a photographer here, "life" magazine at the time and he was embedded in the house. king'sed to capture dr. emotions as he watched on television, president johnson committing to signing the voting rights act.
this is the chair that dr. king was sitting in that night, watching the television. as president johnson addressed the nation. uncle martin, as i knew him, the world knew him as dr. martin luther king jr., first started coming to this house in the late 1950's early '60's as a young minister. that's when he met my parents. he was ministering in montgomery, his first church, dexter. and he would come to selma and, selma university which is directly across the street from the house, to participate in classes and to give lectures at selma university. so he would come and spend the night here in the early years. during that time, you probably had a 30% african-american population, 70% caucasian population here, and there was some racial tension here.
selma was a product of the south. it had come through the early part of the century into the '20's and '30's and '40's under jim crow. and, you know, the races had gotten to the point where everyone was existing. and things were somewhat fragile during that time. my father moved here from indiana, was raised in anderson, indiana. my mother had deep, deep roots here in selma and in alabama. so she was a native. and they made the decision to make selma their home when they married in 1958 because of my mother's family connections.
my mother was an educator. she loved being an educator. my father practiced dentistry in selma for 42 years. and they had a vested interest, in this community for many, many reasons, not only because of their careers, but because they both were committed to community , peace and justice. and i think that's where the two paths of dr. and mrs. king and my parents came together. as i said, dr. king was a young pastor in montgomery. my parents were a young, a newly-married couple. and, you know, they talked about affairs of the day and issues that would affect families and raising children. just issues common to all people that had a vested interest in making this society a much better place in which to live.
that's how the friendship started. it grew over the years. and then when dr. king made the, decision to stage the selma to montgomery march from selma to montgomery, he asked my parents if they would allow him to come to this house and use this house as a planning base for the selma to montgomery march. and, the rest is history. because quite literally, the world came into our house that had previously been occupied that a mother and a father and a little girl. all of a sudden, it became the house that the world came to. through this room is the actual room in which dr. king held a meeting one night with some of his top advisers. this room is special also , because it happens to be my room. there was a photographer embedded in the home that night
from "jet" magazine that took this picture that appeared in "jet" in early 1965. this is the actual bed. this bed happens to have the actual mattress and box spring that was still here when dr. king slept on it in 1964 and 1965. during the months that dr. king lived in this house, of course, he slept in every bed in the house. but over the course of years, my mother changed out mattresses and box springs in other bedrooms but kept the original, mattress and box spring in this room. in the picture that was in "jet" with dr. king in this bed, he was wearing these particular regiments tha pajamas that night is in the same picture that is displayed in the room. i must say though, that my parents never thought about the danger. that's not something that the principals like dr. king, dr.
abernathy, ambassador young, you know, they never lived their days and their lives thinking about the dangers. same with my parents. they lived their days and their lives with hope and with dreams about making this country a more just nation. same with my parents. yes, there were dangers every day at every window, around every corner. but again, the shared hope and the dreams of making selma and this nation a place of peace and prosperity overruled fear. , the world was quite literally, he had the world on his shoulders, and if i had only known what this man was committed to doing and how much he had on his shoulders, i havebly one day, wouldn't tugged at his pant leg and begged him to have tea and mud cakes with me. and he stopped, because my
mother was going to intercede and pull me away, and he stopped and he looked at my mother and he looked at me, and he said i , "i must have tea and mud cakes with the baby," and he did. for about 45 minutes we sat, in the living room. and as a reporter, the questions i asked him were out of the mouths of babes. again, i wish i had understood a little bit more, because i asked dirt martin, "why is the brown, and why is the sky blue?" you know, the principles he carried with him it was very easy to explain to a little girl about how my life would be and how i needed to be committed to making the world a much better place.
this room is significant because this is the bedroom in which dr. king would receive telephone calls from president johnson. president lyndon johnson would call into my parents' home, and my mother was the receiver of the calls. the operator, during those years, would announce that she was the operator from the white house, calling on behalf of president johnson to speak with dr. martin luther king jr. king, junior. this room was chosen because it was the most insular room in the house, and those phone calls sometimes lasted for hours. so that is the actual phone in which dr. king would receive the president's phone calls that came into this house. things were very volatile. the country was aware of how volatile things were in selma and in the south. so, dr. king and the president want to sayt regular calls, but they did have a direct connection on a
semi-frequent basis to discuss what was going on, what would repair the country, and exactly what both men needed to keep this country on track, to keep violence down. >> then, we've got to come up with the qualifications of voters. that will answer 70% of your problems. >> that's right. >> if you just clear it out everywhere, make it age and reason-right. no test on what susser said or poetry or constitutions, or memorized or anything else.
you may have to put them in the post office and let the postmaster do it. he stays local and is recommended by congress. i don't want to start off with that anymore. i don't want to publicize it, but i wanted you to know the outline of what i had in mind. dr. king: yes, well i remembered your message from the other day from the white house. diligent in not making this statement. johnson: your statement was perfect, but the vote is very important, and i think it is good to talk about that. i just don't see how anybody can say that a man can fight in vietnam, but he cannot vote in the post office. dr. king: yes. jawana: the dining room in the jackson museum is very much a foundation for this house. it is not only the place where my mother and father and i shared so many wonderful dinners, but it is also the only place in the world that hosted the first jew, african-american
nobel peace prize recipients. dr. ross bunch and dr. -- dr. ralph bunch and dr. martin luther king jr.. and helped private meetings private meals here in this room at this table, on this china, for three days and two nights, as they discussed the planning of the summer to montgomery march. dr. bunch, during that point in his life, was ailing, and to give you a little bit of a background why dr. bunch traveled to selma to meet with dr. king. of course, dr. bunch received the nobel peace prize in 1950 for brokering the peace agreement between israel and palestine. dr. king received his in 1954. but, my mother finish cordova high school in washington dc, and during her high school years she lived two doors down from dr. bunch.
my mother and his daughter, joan bunch, were best friends in high school. so there was a connection. joan bunch called my mother one day and say, jean, is martin luther king jr. living in your home? and my mother said, yes, joan. and she said, my father wants very much to come and talk to him about this upcoming march. and my mother assured her that, if dr. bunch came to selma, she and my father would take excellent care of him. so the trip was planned. my father went to birmingham, picked dr. bunch up at the train station and brought him here. dr. bunch, of course, spent his life negotiating and standing for peace for people not only in this country, but around the world. he and dr. king shared similar goals, similar wishes for people in the united states and around the world.
so he knew that this was such an important for voting rights march in this country. he wanted to give dr. king as much advice and help as he could, because i think both men knew that the possible passage of a voting rights act in this country would transform not only the united states, but would transform the global world house. the third bedroom in the jackson museum is the actual bedroom the morning of the selma to montgomery march, the successful four-day march. dr. king and many of his closest associates came into this room that morning, held their prayer session, put on their marching boots before going to brown chapel, eventually going to the edmund pettis bridge to begin the selma to montgomery march. this is the chair that dr. king was sitting in the morning of he the selma to montgomery will march. will he put on his marching
boots in that chair. and led prayer. in a prayer was so much a part you will prayer was so much a part of dr. king, being a baptist minister, but it was so wild much a part of the american in my much a part of the american civil rights movement. you will nothing was done you without prayer and faith. you you know, there was so much apprehension, but there was so much hope in the air. you will will people were almost you everywhere in the house, but ok and no one actually knew what was going to happen the moment they set foot out of this house, in the approaching brown chapel, approaching the edmund pettis and bridge. you will and, of course, history has shown us that that things in did work out. however, that morning, it was a very, very tenuous time in the life of everyone here that had
any connection to the civil rights movement in the selma to montgomery march. they quite literally did not know whether their lives would end at the end of that day. but with the prayers that were held in this home in the third bedroom, putting on the boots and then going to brown chapel, of course, as history has recorded, things did work out well. and after four days, the march was successful. >> there is no constitutional issue here. the command of the constitution is plain. there is no moral issue. it is wrong, deadly wrong to deny any of your fellow americans the right to vote in this country. [applause]
jawana: dr. king was still living in the home the night that president johnson delivered a major address to the nation and quite simply, reaffirmed that he was going to sign, that he intended to sign the voting rights act. which we all know in august of 1965, he did sign. and, you know, the johnson daughters consider the legacy of their father, the greatest piece of their father's legacy is the 1965 voting rights act. dr. king was still here sitting in the living room in the chair that's still in the jackson museum, as he witnessed president johnson tell the nation his commitment to the voting rights act and justice and peace and freedom. and, you know, i must say that both lyndon johnson and martin
luther king jr. were two distinctly different individuals and men, but they came together in a very, very critical time in the life of this country. both of these men were committed to a more just, a more equal and a more democratic america. so they came together to make america much, much stronger. he came back in late 1965 to have a weekend with my parents and to discuss a move. he came to ask that my parents consider moving from selma to atlanta. it was so interesting, because my parents told him that they pretty much knew what they wanted to tell him, their decision, but he spent the
night, and the next morning my , my parents let him know that they thanked him for the offer to relocate us to atlanta and to continue our lives there, but there was so much history here in this house, related to my mother's family, the civil rights movement. my father wanted him to know that they were going to stay here and keep the light shining in this house. because one never knows, martin, you may need to have another march, and jean and i will be right here with the house. my parents and i were here having dinner. and as most ameriy night you had to listen to how many people were killed in vietnam, and you had to listen
to the rest of the news. and while that was playing, i never shall forget the news commentator broke in and said i ini have just learned about memphis, tennessee," and my mother looked at my father and mmediately said, "martin's dead." my father said, we don't know that. and then walter cronkite continued to say in his report "it has been reported by martin luther king jr. tonight has been assassinated in memphis, tennessee." it changed our lives again. the 3 of us went into different parts of this house to reflect, to think about what we had just heard.
we came back together as a family, the 3 of us, in the kitchen, and i never shall forget what my father said to my mother and i. to the world. to the world, he was dr. martin luther king jr. to us, he was a very, very dear friend that we will miss dearly. this house, having been built in 1912, over 100-years-old now, continues to welcome individuals and the world and people who are committed to the global community. this house deserves to continue to be preserved for generations yet unborn, so that they can feel and hear a story about
people who are connected through community here and all over the world. my goal is the final preservation of this house and all that it contains. and there are not that many, places like the jackson home still intact, still telling a story and still welcoming all who are committed to justice, peace and freedom. >> this labor day weekend, american history tv on c-span3 has three days of future programming starting tonight at 8:00 eastern with lectures in history, as colorado state university pueblo professor harris discusses the antislavery movement before the civil war. sunday at 10 a.m., our women continues. there is
then at 8:00, on the presidency, a look at the relationship between george washington and alexander hamilton, and the historical accuracy of "hamilton" the musical. and come the white house historical associations presidential sites summit. watch labor day this weekend on c-span3. this weekend on american history tv, we talk with national park service chief historian about her career, job and priorities for turning. the nation's stories she is the first woman an african-american to hold the post. here is a preview. >> the are the first woman and first african-american to hold this job. >> i am. >> what does that mean to you? >> it means i have a very big job. legacy tohat i have a carry on for the national park
service. we have lots of traditions that we are interested in upholding, that we very much care for, but my ownhave to forge path, as the first african-american and first woman, what that will look like. adon't know if there will be lot of significant changes, but maybe a difference in perspective and style as i go about it. john: in what way? helen: being an african-american and being a woman, i have first themselves tolend maybe a different lens. most of the chief historians prior to myself were military -- irians and i myself are myself are more of a social historian by academic training and personal experience. .t just gives me that lens
announcer: which the entire interview sunday at 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. eastern. you are watching american history tv only on c-span3. this weekend, american history tv joins our sudden link by partners to showcase the history of flagstaff, arizona. /cities tour tog learn more about that. we continue now with the history of flagstaff. >> the fred harvey collection is popular for a number of reasons, and i think significant for a reasons. it is important because it reflects the activities of a corporation built from one man's endeavors. fred harvey came to america from awfuld, experienced traveling and in short, determined that he could do a better job