Skip to main content

tv   Democracy Now  PBS  May 5, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

12:00 pm
05/05/16 05/05/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] nermeen: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> we have done in the last 12 years about 70,000 interviews across america, two people coming to talk about what is important in their lives. a lot of these stories talk about work and what this book is is a love letter to people, teachers, nurses as you said, social workers, people who don't get the credit they deserve. nermeen: today, "callings: the purpose and passion of work." a new book by dave isay and storycorps presents unforgettable stories from people doing what they love. >> that was one of my daddy sayings.
12:01 pm
i can remember one time when we were racing the atlanta 500 and he was sick and he needed an operation. i said, daddy, we don't have to rest a day. he whispered to me and said, lived my legs up and put me in the car. he drove 500 miles that day. nermeen: we'll talk to dave isay about storycorps, his new book, and the recent death of freed death row prisoner maurice bickham. all that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm nermeen shaikh. the united states and russia have reached a deal to extend a fragile cease-fire to the embattled syrian city of aleppo. a surge in fighting between rebels and the syrian regime has guilt about 300 people over the past two weeks. the city now appears relatively calm.
12:02 pm
jeffrey feldman condemned the recent attacks on area hospitals. >> ever more shocking reports from the aleppo city in the past two weeks. you have all seen the horrifying images of on hospitals in both government and opposition held neighborhoods of the city. let me be absolutely clear once again. intentional and direct attacks on hospitals are war crimes. nermeen: new details have emerged about the death of a u.s. navy seal in northern iraq. video obtained by the guardian shows charles keating iv was fatally shot in an intense firefight with isis militants. the battle reportedly began when isis launched an attack, disrupting a meeting between navy seals and the local kurdish peshmerga. keating was part of another group of seals sent in to help repel the attack. amid a lengthy firefight, he was fatally shot in the side, then evacuated by helicopter before being pronounced dead.
12:03 pm
he is the third american killed in iraq as part of the campaign against isis. u.s. officials have acknowledged keating died "combat death" but if continued to deny the u.s. campaign in iraq is a combat mission. defense secretary ash carter spoke about keating on wednesday. >> well, his mission was to advise and assist the peshmerga who are fighting isil along that of troops between the peshmerga forces and the isil forces. that is what is mission was. in an interview with the new york times, keating's grandmother, phyllis holmes said -- "we keep saying it's supposed to be advising that we're doing, and yet we're losing one kid at a time. even defense secretary ash
12:04 pm
carter said it was a combat death. and it was one hell of a combat death," she said. a u.s. army officer has sued president obama, saying the u.s. war against isis is illegal. captain nathan michael smith, who is deployed in kuwait, says he believes the mission is justified, but lacks proper authority from congress. "i began to wonder, 'is this the administration's war, or is it america's war?'" smith wrote. "my conscience bothered me." smith once a u.s. court to tell obama he must get approval from congress for the war in iraq and syria. ohio governor john kasich has dropped out of the republican presidential race all but , sealing the nomination for donald trump. kasich's campaign had initially said he would remain in the race after texas senator ted cruz dropped out following a loss in the indiana primary. but kasich reversed course on wednesday. >> you see, i have always said
12:05 pm
that the lord has a purpose for hass es for everyone -- he for everyone. as isis been my campaign today, i have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life. thank you and god bless. nermeen: the province of alberta has declared a state of emergency over a massive wildfire that has forced all 88,000 residents to flee the city of fort mcmurray in the heart of the oil sands region. more people have been ordered to evacuate from surrounding communities, while a number of oil companies have shut down or curtailed operations. scientists have linked the increase in wildfires to climate change. president obama criticized what he called a man-made disaster in the city of flint, michigan wednesday during a visit to
12:06 pm
, address the city's water crisis. the crisis began when an emergency manager appointed by governor rick snyder switched the city's water supply to the corrosive flint river, which ate away at the lead pipes, poisoning the drinking water. during his visit, obama took sips of filtered water to reassure residents it's now safe. >> i know there is a lot of suspicion about whether or not the water coming out of peoples taps in their homes are safe, or whether there still contaminated and still a problem. that the epahasize has looked at this very carefully and they are very confident that if you use a , then it is safe for kids over six.
12:07 pm
domingo the justice department has warned north carolina its new anti-lgbt law violates the civil rights act by discriminating against transgender people. it could jeopardize funding. the department gave north carolina until monday to confirm it would not implement the law, which prevents trans people from using the bathroom that corresponds to their gender identity. in related news, the city council and oxford, alabama has , voted to rescind its ordinance which made it a misdemeanor punishable by jail time for a person to use a bathroom that didn't match the sex they were assigned at birth. and in illinois, a group of families have sued the palatine school district for allowing a transgender student to use the girl's locker room. in egypt, a court has sentenced human rights activist to six months in prison on charges of "insulting the judiciary." seif was summoned by a prosecutor on accusations of inciting protests against president abdel fattah al sisi, but officials said she failed to
12:08 pm
comply with the summons. seif is the sister of blogger alaa abdel fattah, who has been jailed since february 2015. to see democracy now!'s interview with her when she was just 17 years old, go to democracynow.org. meanwhile, thousands of journalists rallied wednesday to call for an apology and the ouster of egypt's interior minister following a police raid on the journalists' union and the arrest of two reporters. protests against president al sisi reignited last month over his decision to hand two red sea islands to saudi arabia. hundreds marched in mexico wednesday to mark 10 years since a brutal police raid on the town of atenco. current president enrique peña nieto, who was then the governor of the state of mexico, ordered the police raid on atenco amid protests in support of local flower vendors. two people were killed, 200 activists and peasants arrested,
12:09 pm
and more than two dozen women said they were sexually tortured. activists continue to protest renewed plans to build a new airport in the area. adan espinoza of the people's front in defense of the land spoke at wednesday's march. >> there has not been any justice as the intellectual author, the president, has not been held responsible for the death and the women who were sexually assaulted who have not received any justice which is the most important thing. we have kept our word and we will keep doing so, saying no to the new airport. we are not going to leave our land. it will keep our land at whatever cost. nermeen: and an israeli army general has compared modern-day israel to "nauseating trends" in 1930's germany. the israeli military's deputy chief of staff, major general yair golan, made the remarks wednesday evening on holocaust day, saying -- "after all, there is nothing simpler and easier than hating
12:10 pm
the foreigner, there is nothing easier and simpler than arousing fears and intimidating, there is nothing easier and simpler than becoming bestial, forgoing principles and becoming smug." following a firestorm, he was forced to walk back the comments, saying he had not "intended to compare israel to nazi germany." and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm nermeen shaikh. today we spend the hour with dave isay, the founder of storycorps. over the last 12 years, storycorps has gathered the largest single collection of human voices. in 2003, the first storycorps recording booth opened in new york city's grand central station. since then, a quarter of a million people have recorded interviews with their loved ones through storycorps. dave has just published a new book titled, "callings: the purpose and passion of work". amy goodman and i recently interviewed dave isay about the
12:11 pm
book, but we began by discussing the case of maurice bickham, a former death row prisoner who recently died at the age of 98. in 1958, bickham, an african american, was sentenced to death for shooting and killing two police officers in mandeville, louisiana, even though bickham said the officers were klansmen who had come to kill him and shot him on the front porch of his own home. many other people in the community also said the officers worked with the ku klux klan, which was a common practice in small southern towns. maurice bickham served 37 years at angola state penitentiary in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day. dave isay chronicled his story in the 1989 radio documentary, "tossing away the keys." bickham won seven stays of execution, but louisiana's governors repeatedly denied him clemency until, under enormous pressure, he was finally released in 1996.
12:12 pm
days after he was released, he traveled to new york, where he was interviewed on wbai's "wake-up call" by amy goodman, bernard white, and others. "wake-up call" had closely followed bickham's case and helped give it national attention. we began our interview with dave isay by playing for him moreese -- marie spectrum in his own words. heart.s shot through the i said, lord, i know you are good and you made one promise, -- i thy father and mother tried. i said for that reason, allow me to have a few more days. and he did. -- i'd never had a personal relationship with the lord until i was laying with a my heart.t atop the
12:13 pm
when i got shot in 1952, i asked the lord, i said ever been nothing else like this, give me something to shoot. let the other man die, not me. wordsreminded of those and i got injured and i had 37 years. toould have at least said the lord, don't let this happen anymore and it would not have happened. but i was the person that did not see but one way, and that was my way. it was not god's way. people, hit me in the head and told me to do it i did. [indiscernible] i lived through seven stays of execution, heart attacks in operation and come out good enough health to be final over the world?
12:14 pm
god wasould not tell me in on my side. amy: that was marie spectrum and the studios of wbai. 1996. back in the studio was packed. i remember so well. it was martin luther king day and he came in with his family, with his daughter. i think his grandson might have been there. the late great deal noble was there, of course bernard white and i. we hosted "wake-up call." dave isay, you had shot the spotlight on his case when he did the documentary in angola. talk about the significance of maurice bickham who just died at the age of 98. >> i remember that day well. i just watched this video well last that that the tv viewers saw. e momentn incredibl with all of us sitting there. wbai have been fighting for his lease -- release for i think a
12:15 pm
year. amy: is maurice bickham gotten out of jail yet? i think even the louisiana attorney general or the governor talked about the significance of this radio station. >> i think every day you would play the nina simone song "i wish i knew how it feels to be free." sitting in that room with maurice 48 hours after getting out, listening to that song with his kids and his grandkids, crying, it was one of the most remarkable moments i think of my life. insanean absolutely case. these two sheriff deputies had come to his house -- amy: in the 1950's. >> in the 1950's. they had come to kill him. they shot him right above the heart and he rolled over on a gun and killed two of them. he talks in that interview, because i watched last night this thing from 20 years ago, he
12:16 pm
talks about how one of the kids and grandkids of one of the officers he shot was visiting him back then in the 1950's saying you should not be here. and there is a granddaughter of one of the officers who was killed with been trying to apologize to maurice and never got a chance because he was 98 when he died and he was too sick. indigo these deputies were so determined to kill maurice bickham that they wore their sheriff's close over their pajamas. they came in the middle of the night. >> they claimed they had to kill him because he was angry for not allowing them -- allowing them to get in the car with him or something. fine, finebsolute -- human being. amy: you discovered him when you did your documentary "throwing away the keys is what about angola. >> he had been in angola serving
12:17 pm
the longest prison sentence in history and he cared for the rose bushes at angola and was just -- amy: a plantation prison named for the country in africa were so many people had become enslaved in this country, taken, kidnapped from africa and the plantation was named for the country that the africans had been taken from. >> there were a bunch of men who had been there for longer than anyone else in history. some of these men had actually -- this was not the case with maurice, but there were many men who had been brought in and told to plead guilty to whatever crime they had been accused of, even know many of them had not committed them. because of they went to trial, they would get the death penalty. there was a law back then that the rule was, you got out after 10 years on a murder. and then they changed the law so these guys were about to get
12:18 pm
out. you had people serving 30, 40, 50 years for crimes that they had not committed because they were trying to save their lives. marie's has been all of this time on death. he was a minister. he told the story of how he became tops from when he was the young man, how you had to pretend he was crazy on death, going into psychiatric hospitals because it was the only way to avoid the death penalty. he was an amazing man and more than that, he got out 20 years ago and lived until the age of 98 by himself independently and open with his family. amy: in california. >> yeah, just a remarkable man. nermeen: that was storycorps founder dave isay. we will be with him in a minute. ♪ [music break]
12:19 pm
nermeen: this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am nermeen shaikh. in a democracy now! special, we spend the remainder of the hour looking at storycorps founder dave isay's new book, "callings: the purpose and passion of work". over the last 12 years, storycorps has gathered the largest single collection of human voices. in 2003, the first storycorps recording booth opened in new york city's grand central
12:20 pm
station. since then, a quarter of a million of people have recorded interviews with their loved ones through storycorps. the new book is a remarkable collection of stories from the heart of the american workforce -- teachers, social workers, public defenders, deli workers, plant supervisors, and beyond. they include stories by dreamers, healers, philosophers and groundbreakers. , amy goodman and i interviewed dave isay last month. let's turn to one of the stories featured in the book, the story of english teacher ayodeji ogunniyi. speaking to storycorps, he explains how the murder of his father inspired him to become a teacher. he now mentors students with backgrounds similar to those of his father's killers. >> 11:00 that night, the knock came and they told me that my father was found in an alley. he was murdered. i remember yelling "no" really loud.
12:21 pm
my brother punched a hole in the wall. my mother just started to pull her hair and she scratched her face. they found the murderers and four days. they were 18, 19, 22. i was angry. i was very, very angry. retaliate, it to just wanted to just ask them why. what happens to a person? where do they get lost to become murderers? touring anime, i was afterschool program for extra money and these kids came from the same conditions of the people that murdered my father came from. a student came to the afterschool program and was probably around 16 years old. we were doing something where everyone had to read out loud. he stormed out of the classroom. i went out to talk to him. he just broke down. he said, it's hard for me to
12:22 pm
read. there are many people that cried because their herds, have been neglected, but to cry because you could not read, that spoke volumes to me. he started to read and it was like this gift that money can't buy. buy me giving that to him, i totally forgot about the pain of the murder and i wanted to continue to get more of what i had heal. it just dawned on me, everybody at some point sits in a classroom. that could be the foundation for everything else. so that is when i said, whatever happened to my father is not me.g to be i'm going to follow my heart and become a teacher. ,my: that was ayodeji ogunniyi an english teacher, just one of the 53 stories featured in storycorps founder dave isay's new book. the books title, "callings: the purpose and passion of work."
12:23 pm
welcome to democracy now! great to have you with us. talk about what you're doing with this project. >> and in that clip, i should say a couple of things, ayodeji ogunniyi was actually headed to medical school in this happen and his dad was a cabdriver and was murdered. it is one of those moments where, kind of like the moment when i can do radio when uni met for the first time. one of those moments where, boom , he knew this is what he was meant to do with the rest of his life and decided not to become a doctor but a teacher and he is still teaching in the public schools. he was talking to a loved one, as everyone does at storycorps. we have done in the last 12 years, about 70,000 interviews across america, two people coming to talk about what is important in their lives. a lot of the stories talk about work. this book is a love letter to people, teachers, nurses, social
12:24 pm
workers am a people who don't get the credit they deserve. amy: before we play more of them, explain how people talk to each other and what this project you started so many years ago that has become the largest oral history project in the united started -- i did a lot of social justice work, the maurice bickham work. being in a place like louisiana state penitentiary and interviewing someone like mauri ce, giving him the opportunity to talk about who he was and what his dreams were and i saw doing these interviews, many of which were done kind of with you as editor, many, many years ago, that how important and sometimes transformative it was in people's lives to have a chance to speak their truth. documentaries for many years and had this kind of crazy idea 12 years ago to turn documentary on its head and say maybe we could do something for
12:25 pm
the purpose is in the final product, but giving many, many, many people the chance to be listened to in this way. we built this booth and grand central terminal or you could come and honor someone who matters to you. you can ask them, how do you want to be remembered? you get a copy. the old days it was cd and now it is a digital copy and another goes to the library of congress. this process, this 40 minute process where it is almost -- the conversations are almost like it as if i had 40 minutes left, what would i say and ask of this person that means so much to me? interviewing her father, our coworkers talking together, student interview and a teacher. >> that's right. we work with hundreds and hundreds of nonprofit each year so that they can tell the clients that they serve about storycorps, and no spoke scan come in a be a part of american history as well. so your great great rate
12:26 pm
grandkids get to listen it is at the library of congress. that experience reminds people many times just how much their lives matter and they won't be forgotten. and their stories are important. it builds off that work, the maurice bickham work from that many years ago most of amy: maurice bickham who served how many decades in prison and angola -- and angola. >> it is the poetry in the power and the beauty and the stories that we find all around us when we take the time to listen. nermeen: let's go to another story from the project. in 2015, wendell scott begin the first african-american inducted to the nascar hall of fame. 70's,hout the 1960's and he poured his earnings into maintaining his own race car. in the storycorps animated short, his son, frank scott, speaks to his grandson. together they remember what it took for wendell scott to cross the finish line at racetracks
12:27 pm
throughout the south. this is frank followed by his grandson. started racing in 1952. it was like picasso, great artist doing his work. he was in that car and doing his work. he could not get the support for other drivers we were competing against that had sponsorship. he did everything he did out of his own pocket. as children, we did not have that leisure time. we cannot go to the playground. he said, i need you at the garage stop i remember him eating injured and he would just keep working. he was not allowed to raise at certain speedways. he a death threats not to come to atlanta. he said, if i leave and a pine box, that is what i have to do. i'm going to raise. i remember him raising in jacksonville and he beat them all, but they would not drop the checkered flag. when they did drop the checkered flag, my father was in third place. one of the main reasons they gave was there was a white beauty queen and they always
12:28 pm
kissed the driver. the trophy was gone. the fans were gone. the beauty queens were gone. >> did he ever consider not racing anymore? >> never. of my daddy sayings, when it is too tough for everybody else, it is just right for me. wereime when we raising the atlanta 500, he was sick and needed operation. i said, daddy, we don't have to raise today. he said, lift my legs up and put me in the car. he drove 500 miles that day. he always felt like some days he was going to get his big break. for 20 years, nobody mentioned wendell scott. you did not let it drive him crazy. i think that is what made him so great. you chose to be a racecar driver. he was going to raise until he could not raise no more. nermeen: that was a son and grandson of wendell scott who became the first
12:29 pm
african-american inducted to the nascar hall of fame. dave isay, could you talk about that short? >> just another example of the hidden heroes. wendell scott is the kind of thatn, an amazing guy someday people would know his name and a people finally are starting to know his name. we get so many messages about work and what meaningful work life is from the celebrities and the politicians and the billionaires, and here's the kind of person you hold up to your kids and your grandkids about examples of what a good work life, what a meaningful work life is. he is an american hero and that is what this book is about. amy: let's go to a story from tacoma, washington, grew up a native american migrant farm worker in the 1960's. she started working as a full-time laborer picking fruit when she was eight. her family lived without electricity or running water but
12:30 pm
one day something arrived in the camp that forever changed her life. let's hear storm reyes. >> the conditions were pretty terrible. tonce told someone i learned fight with a knife long before i learned to ride a bicycle. when you are grinding day after day after day, there is no room in you for hope. you don't even know it exists. there's nothing to aspire to accept filling your hungry belly. that is how i was raised. mobile cam12, a book to the fields. you have to understand that i was not allowed to have books because they are heavy and when you are moving a lot, you have to keep things as minimal as possible. so when i first saw this big vehicle on the side of the road and it was filled with books, i immediately stepped back.
12:31 pm
fortunately, one of the staff members saw me and waved me in. and youese are books can take one home. i'm like, what is the catch? he explained there was no catch. then he asked me what i was interested in. the night before the bookmobile had come, in the camps, there was an elder who is telling us about the day that mount rainier blew up. so i told the bookmobile person that i was a little nervous about the mountain blowing up. and he said to me, the more you know about something, the less you will fear it. he gave me a book about volcanoes. and then i saw a book about dinosaurs. i said, that looks neat. so he gave me a book about dinosaurs. devouredem home and i them. i did not just read them, i devoured them. i came back in two weeks and had more questions. he gave me more books and that started it. that taught me that hope was not just a word.
12:32 pm
and it gave me the courage to leave the camps. that is where the books made the difference. knewe time i was 15, i there was a world outside of the camps. i believed i could find a place in it, and i did. up intorm reyes who grew five marker -- four marker canceled the 1960's. >> she is a library now and has been for many years. amy: a place so close to my heart as my father sat on our library board in long island for 25 years. our radio listeners cannot hear this and they will see it online, but our tv viewers can. the animation that we are watching that are a part of everything you're doing now. storycorps works,
12:33 pm
it is two people talking to each other and it will always be that way. we will never have cameras in the booth. that we live, as you know is a former radio person now in tv -- amy: never say never. >> in order to reach as many people as possible, you have to have the visual element. a bunch of years ago, one of the facilitators who worked at storycorps came in and said, i have been animating storycorps stories. facilitators are the people who bear witness of the interviews and sit in at every interview and help people through the process. he said, my brother is a swim teacher but he is also an animator. he put this thing in my computer and i saw there was a way to add visuals to these stories that not only did not take away from the power of the human voice, but added to the power. so this is part of the way that we are trying to reach a lot more people with storycorps and make storycorps part of someday the fabric of this country and have the stories everywhere and that people everywhere listing
12:34 pm
to each other and recognizing that truth that you have been speaking for so long. you know, that there so much when we listen to each other, there are so much more we share in common and recognizing ourselves and others. nermeen: let's go to another story. sanitation workers angela and eddie worked together for nearly a decade on the same garbage route in manhattan's west village. after 31 years on the job, angela retired. as storycorps comic he talked -- talked with eddy about the unexpected lessons you learned along the way and what he still misses about the job. this clip begins with eddie. >> everybody would come out to talk to you. people would say, good morning angelo, eddie, you want lunch? >> and the nuns kissing us. >> the younger guys would ask me, how did you get that? it is just a good morning, have
12:35 pm
a nice week, you look great today. carriage?ft a baby >> the garbage will be there at half hour from now, an hour. you get it, you get it. what's he made a statement that he does all of the work and i do all of the talking. >> it came out wrong. >> lookout he is getting out of this, it just came out wrong. >> there was one old timer when i came on the job. one day he stopped the truck and he tells me, angelo, you look down this block first step see all the sidewalks crowded with garbage? i did not think nothing of it. myfather told me to respect elders. i get to the end of the block and he stops me again. get out of the truck and look back. nice and clean, right? sidewalk, walk on the guys can make deliveries. he prodded yourself. >-- be proud of yourself. >> the day he said he was going
12:36 pm
to retire, six people came up and said, what am i going to do when you leave? >> i never thought my last a would be so emotional for me. >> he is crying, they are crying, i am crying watching them cry. i have been lucky because he was the best partner i've ever had. we used to try to have the same vacation and day off. i miss my partner. >> i feel the same way, eddie. i miss you terribly. i am like a little kid looking out the window when i hear the truck. i think i could have done it another 31 years. nermeen: that was angelo and eddie. dave isay, could you talk about that story and also how you made this election of what stories to include? >> sure. we have done tens of thousands of storycorps recordings and over the last year, we have an app so people can download this app to record a storycorps interview with a loved one and with one cap, uploaded to the library of congress.
12:37 pm
we have gone from 70,000 stories to 170,000 stories in the last couple of months. the way it works is we see every , asrview as valuable important, as sometimes often a sacred moment in people's lives and equally valuable. but some of them have this quality that make them appropriate to share with a larger audience. i just saw this figure a couple 04 -- of the date the report for storycorps makes air. this is just somehow stories speak to people universally. what i've been trying to do since the very beginning, and i was thinking, walking over to the studio this morning about when i was in my early 20's at the louisiana state penitentiary and called you -- amy: i remember well. >> you remember?
12:38 pm
>> yes, i do. was, what am i going to do yet so i can do this. and you just said, just do it. this is too important. stories have this, you know, ability, that kind of rise up. i think speak to who we are as people. i have always believed the power of an authentic story of people -- storycorps is the opposite of reality tv. no one comes to get rich or famous. it is an act of generosity and love. the story honestly told has the ability, i think, to build bridges of understanding between people that is unparalleled. amy: your book is called, "callings: the purpose and passion of work." the fact is, many people spend more time with their colleagues at work, their coworkers, then they may with their families. every single day for decades sometimes.
12:39 pm
that is what we see with the sanitation workers of the west village in new york. >> and sometimes it is falling that -- finding that calling is isaha moment, sometimes it being treated with dignity and feeling like you're doing something for people. those are the stories. the stories in this book show us a path. there's a many messages in the ether now that work is about, specially the young people, that work is about doing as little as you can to get as rich as you can as quickly as you can. this book shows a different path , a path that people have got this of joy and love in their work and want to get up in the morning and go in and do something. nermeen: storycorps founder dave isay. we will be back with him and a minute. ♪ [music break]
12:40 pm
nermeen: the grammy award-winning musician has just received amnesty international's top human rights award along with three african youth activist movements for their work standing up to injustice. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i am nermeen shaikh. we continue our conversation with storycorps founder dave isay. storycorps is the award-winning national oral history project that over 12 years has gathered the largest single collection of human voices.
12:41 pm
this is one of storycorps' animated video clips. it tells the story of ronald mcnair, a physicist who became the second african-american to go into space. he died in the nasa challenger shuttle explosion in 1986. his brother carl talked about ronald and his childhood in lake city, south carolina. >> when he was nine years old, ron, without my parents or myself knowing his whereabouts, decided to take a mile walk from our home down to the library which was public library, but also public for black folks when you're talking about 1959. all of these folks were staring at him because the white folk only and they were, who is this negro? he politely position himself in line to check out his books. said, thisian she library is not for colored's. he said, well, i would like to check out theses.
12:42 pm
books. she said, if you don't leave right now, i'm going to call the police. he propped himself on the counter and said, i will wait. so she called the police and subsequently called my mother. the police came down, two early guys who say, where is the disturbance? she pointed to the little nine-year-old boy sitting on the counter. he says, ma'am, what is the problem? so my mother, meanwhile, she comes down praying the whole way, jesus, please do not let them put my child in jail. my mother asked the librarian, what is the problem? be know your son should not down here, she said. the police officer said, why don't you just give the kid the books? i mother said, he will take good care of them. reluctantly, the librarian gave ron the books in my mother said, what do you say? he said, thank you, ma'am. later on, as youngsters, a show came on tv called "star trek."
12:43 pm
it showed the future were there were black folks and white folk working together. i looked at it as science fiction, because that wasn't going to happen really. ronald saw it as science possibility. he came up during a time when there was neil armstrong and all of those guys. how was a colored boy from south carolina wearing glasses or never flew a plane, how is he going to become an astronaut? ron was the one who'd did not accept societal norms as being other norms, that was for other people. he got to be aboard his own starship enterprise. nermeen: that was carl mcnair, the brother of ronald mcnair, a physicist who became the second african american to go into space. the text at the end of that remarkable story reads, "the library in lake city was renamed the dr. ronald e. mcnair life history center on january 28, 2011, 25 years after the challenger explosion." well, democracy now!'s amy goodman and i recently sat down with dave isay and asked him about the significance of
12:44 pm
mcnair's story and the many others that storycorps has chronicled over the last 12 years. >> i think watching that of that famous mary oliver line, tell me what it is you plan to do is your one wild and precious life, and he did it. those are the stories in this book, the stories we celebrate in storycorps. i should say another thing that happens all the time in this book are people thinking people who help them find their calling. i just want to take a second to thank you for being the person when i fell into radio 30 years ago, i don't know nermeen if you know this story, but i found a story that i thought someone should do and i called amy. she said, sounds like a good story, why don't you do it yourself? i went and recorded the story. amy: let's be clear, you did not just comic, you calling every night after the wbai newscast
12:45 pm
every night and said, that was a nice newscast, but i did not hear the story of drug paraphernalia. ok, sorry, sir, i don't even know it story that is. in the next day would say, great newscast, but where is that story? >> the museum for drug addiction. they were a couple who were dying of aids. i actually had not heard wbai before and you said, you know, i don't have anyone to do it, do it yourself. the minute i was really blessed at the age of 21 or 22 to find my calling. ie managed -- the minute pushed record on a tape recorder, i knew this is what it was when it is the rest of my life. amy: we aired it that night. you walked in with this realtor real tape them up which was very unusual. i said, ok, i will take a listen, whatever this is. it was just the husband and the wife who were doing this museum around drugs, just talking.
12:46 pm
and what you brought out in them, we aired it that night. and then npr aired it that we can. >> because someone was driving through the city and happen to hear it who worked for npr. i was very fortunate to be able to be blessed to find my calling all those years ago, so thank you for what you did for me. and it go thank you for pursuing that calling. the fact that you provided this forum for people to speak for themselves, to speak to each other true acts of love. >> this is more important than ever and it builds on the work that you have been doing for all of these years. someone said to me a couple of weeks ago that, hate is louder than love. i think that what you're doing and what we are doing is trying to turn up volume up on love with everything that we've got. amy: let's go to barbara moore who spent more than 40 years working as a brick layer.
12:47 pm
she helped lay the groundwork for some of baltimore's most famous landmarks. when she started she was 21, the first woman to join her first local bricklayers union. she tells her daughter, olivia, how she first got into the trade. >> right out of high school, i worked in an office but a couple of hours behind the desk and i was falling asleep. so i became a brick layer. >> i specifically remember getting bullied at school and telling boys that were bullying me, you better watch out, my mom is a brick layer and she will be you up if you mess with me. >> it was kind of rough at first because a lot of the older guys did not think i should be there and a was taking a job from a man. but i believed that i could do that job. i was working with this guy tony who was a world war ii veteran and yet a plate in his head. he was really really old school guy but he was willing to work with me when a lot of people did
12:48 pm
not want me as their partner. when he passed away, his daughter called me and said, he wanted to leave me his tools. i think that is -- if you're getting tools from the bricklayers that of gone before you, that would be a sign of respect. >> i can't even really remember a time that you came home and you said, oh, i'm going to quit, or, this is too hard. i at a very young age learned how to massage your callused hands, then a little later on in life, sometimes i would paint your singer nels -- >> not that a manicure lasted very long. >> i noticed throughout my life, people always came up on the street and said, are you barbara moore's daughter? there are many people in this town that have a great respect for you and you have earned that. >> you are very kind. >> how would you like to be remembered? >> deal a thing important to me,
12:49 pm
my dear, is that you remember me. >> that you have had your hands in so many things that will last for so much longer than either one of us. >> i don't care about that. it was always something i wanted to do for you. amy: barbara moore spin more than 40 years working as a brick layer in baltimore. dave isay? example it is another people who live these lives of sacrifice and decency and courage that just don't get talked about enough. this is kind of a radical book. there are no billionaires, no millionaires, no celebrities, no professional athletes, but to me these are really the stories about work that matter. amy: it really harkens back to stats terkel he cut the ribbon
12:50 pm
on our first big many years ago. and 92 he flew to new york to cut the ribbon on the booth. he is since passed away. i think he came on your show when he did that. he said when he cut the booth, we know who the architect of grand central was. but who lay these floors, who built these walls, those are the stories you have to get through storycorps and we're been fighting ever since to do it. and you go let's turn to studes terkel. >> what has happened to the human vice? loud talking buzz. i was leaving the airport in atlanta. you leave the gate, take a train, it takes you to the concourse of your choice and i get into this train. dead silence. are seated, all standing. up above i hear a voice that once was a human voice, but no longer. now it talks like a mission. "concourse 1 fort worth dallas, lubbock" that kind of boys.
12:51 pm
just when the doors are about to close, a young couple rushed in and push open the doors and get in. without missing a beat, that was above says, "because of late entry, we are delayed 30 seconds." the people looked at that couple and the couple just -- like the couple just committed mass murder. the couple is shrugging like this, you know? i'm known for my talking. i say, george orwell, your time has come and gone. i expect a laugh. dead silence. and now they look at me. and i am with the couple, the three of us, at the hell of calvary of good friday. and i say, my god, where is the human voice? and just then, little baby, maybe about a year old, and i say, sir or madam, to the baby, what is your opinion of the human species?
12:52 pm
what does a baby due? the baby starts giggling. i say, thank god! the sound of the human voice. any code that was studs terkel. we both worship him. >> yes, we do. someone once wise said something like, i believe that media has the potential to be the greatest force for good that the world has ever seen. i think that was you. and that is something that studs believed and that i believe and i know something that you believe. amy: i believe the media can be the greatest force for peace on earth because it provides a forum for people to hear each other him and that is the beginning of understanding and understanding is the beginning of peace. >> you got it. we're not listening to each other. we don't listen to each other. people fear people that they don't know. i think this work and the work we do is to try and let people need and understand and know
12:53 pm
people who otherwise they might have been afraid of our never had the chance to talk to, and that is such an important piece of the puzzle for helping us move forward and become a stronger and better country and world. nermeen: in 1991, reverend williams was a new pastor at the calvary chapel pastor -- baptist church in kansas city, missouri. as storycorps, he told his colleague jeanette about his first experience ministering to the family of an aids victim in his church. >> so i get a call from a local funeral home. she said, i've got a really big favor i want to ask. there's a kid that died. he of been a member of the church all his life. the mom sang in the choir. but any rate, 25 years old. he died of aids. and he just happened to be gay. she said, when his pastor found out how he died, he said, well, not going to do the funeral.
12:54 pm
and it can happen in our church. >> how did you respond to that then? >> did not want to do it. did not want to do it. it is not appropriate for one pastor to go against what another pastor a said, this is what i'm going to do my congregation. i was perfectly all right with that until i went home and started thinking about this family. that i've been able to accomplish has started with some kind of a burden and aids burdened me. so reluctantly, i did a funeral. i met the parents of this kid. i was used to black dads disowning their gay sons. that was the thing to do. "my son can't be gay." but not this family. this father and his mother, they celebrated his life. they embraced all of his friends
12:55 pm
. you know, they taught me more about unconditional love in that little experience than any of the sunday school books and any of the courses of seminary or any of it. was the event that kind of rearranged my life. , can you tellisay us about this extraordinary story? >> i know reverend williams, since that day, has been running an aids ministry. it is one of those moments that again that happen in life when people are lucky enough to have something happen where you just know. as amy said earlier, finding your calling is never easy. sweat,s -- his blood, and tears. and credibly hard work you have to fight for. as you guys know, there is nothing better than when you're doing that work you know you're meant to do. amy: let's go to a story told by as theer named al or sy
12:56 pm
students call him. he is been teaching science at middle school in new jersey for more than three decades. a while ago, he was helping a group of students study for a test when he received energy and phone call from under a surgeon. as it turns out, the doctor on the phone was lee bono, one of sy's students in the 1980's. as storycorps, they sat down to tell the rest of their story. this story begins with teacher sy. >> i will never forget you because of that day you state after school to do the dissection of the frog brains, spinal cord and i said, you have the hands of a surgeon. you can be a brain surgeon i told you. >> i remember that. i remember i did not want to be anywhere else. that day when i called you, this patient comes in and yes of a nine tumor pushing on his speech area. you can get some words out but it is almost unintelligible like someone is showing -- sewing
12:57 pm
around close. we talking to his wife and try to lighten up the situation. they started asking me about myself. they asked me who inspired me. of course i mentioned you. we have the surgery. he gets his speech back and he is just excited and happy and crying and wanted to just hug me. he said, you make sure you call that teacher. you make sure you thank him. so i called you. i picked the phone up and say, lee buono, i hadn't heard from you since you were in high school. and you said, i want to thank you. i was flabbergasted. people in yourof entire career, you want to thank me. it was the same killing i had when my kids were -- same feeling i had when my kids were born. then i started to cry. in many film really important
12:58 pm
that i had that influence on you. i almost am afraid to say i'm a teacher to some people lately, but i'm not because you called me. i'm a teacher and i'm going to help as many people as i can to find their passion. nermeen: that does it for today's show. fork you to dave isay joining us, the founder of storycorps and the author of the new book "callings: the purpose , and passion of work." amy goodman will be broadcasting from seattle tomorrow. she will be speaking in olympia, washington tonight at 7:30 at , evergreen state college recital hall. friday night at 7:30 she will be at seattle town hall. on saturday, it's mt. vernon at noon sunday she will be in , eugene, oregon, at 2:00 and portland at 7:30 p.m. check our website for details at democracynow.org. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to outreach@democracynow.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!] on this episode of "eat! drink! italy!"...
12:59 pm
1:00 pm
we'll make plin, a great stuffed pasta, and i'll show you how to make a pomodoro rustico and two other dishes with spices right off the shelf. tony verdoni and i talk about wines made using the champagne method. and we'll make a classic tuscan chicken dish. my name is vic rallo, and i love to eat and drink italy. follow me, and i'll prove it. "eat! drink! italy!" is brought to you by the asaro line of sicilian extra virgin organic extra virginitaly!" is bolive oils,ou by tomatoes, olives, and more. from the asaro family to yours. martin-scott wines, providing wines from around the world. banville & jones, importers of italian wines.

28 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on