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tv   Melissa Harris- Perry  MSNBC  January 11, 2015 7:00am-9:01am PST

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marching in a rally in paris, france. pneumonia rouls world leaders are leading the march. it is meant as a show of french solidarity because of an atax that left many dead. we go now live to richard engle who is on the ground live in paris. >> yes, there is hundreds of thousands of people in this area. we just returned to this position where we are now, we have been walking around and i can tell you we almost didn't make it back here. it took us about an hour to go just a few blocks because you see the large crowds where i am now, but in the next square and the next square it is the same
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scene. i think it is possible they're going to get a million people here. the slogans, we are charlie, je suis charlie, or i am charlie. they're holding up pens and pencils as a symbol of free speech. they're also shouting liberty, also a theme behind this march. it is france's response to that wave of attacks that started at the satirical newspaper and then the hostage attacks. >> thank you to richard engle in paris, france. >> this week at rallies and vigils across france and the world, they're carrying the signs that say je suis charlie, or i am charlie.
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two gunmen stormed into the magazine's offices and kills 12 people there. in the wake of those brutal murders, many have claims solidarity with the magazine. the guardian media group and google's press invasion fund. charlie hebdo's publishers will use the money to print one million copies of their next issue. david cameron said i accepted president hollande's invitation to join the unity rally in paris. and cartoonist worldwide have publishes support of freed of
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speech and expression. defending the content of charlie hebdo is kind of hard. it has been called satire and bigotry. a professor spoke about want difference between blasfphemy. bigotry is an assault from the outside. bigotry is an attempt by power to instrumentalize truth. a defining feature of the cartoon debate is that bigotry is being mistaken for blasphemy.
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even if we consider his speech bigotry or hate speech no one that worked there deserved to be killed. they're right to publish anything should be protected ferociously. as was written this week in "the new yorker" it is possible to defend the right to obscene and racist speech without promoting or sponsoring the content of that speech. it is a to approve, and to consider phobias real. joining me now, wally collins, comedian and actor. liz, cocreator of "the daily show." and amand who is the nbc news
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foreign cornrespondent. i'm having angst about "i am charlie" because i'm a defender of civil liberties, but i'm not sure i'm ready to be in solidarity with a magazine that was troubling. i'm in solidarity with the people for the loss they suffered. >> i guess for me the conversation about the content of what they publish is not the conversation that i feel like i'm ready to have right now because what i am ready to say is i know in america, things i have said i have had my car shot at, my life threatened my parent's lives threatened.
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so i am charlie. i didn't love the content of the cartoons, but the right to say it absolutely. people feel that my aktyctivism. i just have to say the bottom line is if you're killing people for what they said i'm on the side of the people who died. >> that is so yiesful, right? it still feels different than claimanting the identity. i am michael brown, i am charly. i don't think there is any way to be against murder is wrong. i am paris.
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so let me push a little bit. am i misreading the satire. maybe part of it is the french context. i want to go back to the new yorker color from the campaign in which then candidate obama, and his wife are shown doing the radical fist bump. that was meant to be satire but many people felt that it was african-americans and how dare you do that. >> i'm a comedian if you can be as clever as you can be but there is a consequence. muslims are very proud of their religion. now charlie makes characters of
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him and putting him in compromising positions and it upsets someone to the point of them saying look we don't like this. i'm not convinced that -- i think that is an excuse for the murders, right? so so help me to think this through. we start having this conversation, it feels to me like that becomes anjority of people that love and support the prophet are not interested in killing someone no matter how angry they are. >> you will get those radicals in every religion. you get those who take it way too seriously. like now, they personally offended me and i want to react. i'm going to treat you in the
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most heinous way possible. >> i would also say that every time we talk about should people be saying this it is about -- when it comes to -- it is the protesters, if is if is taking on giant power structures that do more damage. when you talk about what is right and what is not, it's not an equal playing field. >> i think there are a few different issues at play here. part of what happened in this tragedy is the perm traitors don't know their own religion. that is a big problem in this attack. . and i was reading earlier today
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that the word blasphemy does not even appear in the writings. it feels like there is a global network of people who are terrorists and individuals who are mentally ill and violent. >> part of that has to do with how the individuals know and learn about their own religion. the second issue is the broader issue of free speech. this is perhaps not the time. when this situation is in the headlines, that's when everyone wants to talk about it. charlie hebdo has been around for years and they have been making cartoons but they have never gathered us around the table. can you avoid not having the
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discussion. it's a painful discussion to have. no one wants to sound like they're critical of charlie hebdo on the principal of free speech, but people say they are racist. they portrayed blacks jus, muzews, muslims and christians in offensive way. how do you define satire? when we talk about some of the cartoons he portrayed in the past, my french friends will say there is a political component to a lot of their satire. but some of the religion ones were pure mockery. it still is free speech, but where is the line between
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mockery, bigotry, and satire? >> that's right, i don't know if there is a line. you talk about the principal of free speech. i want to talk about that and the issue of freedom of expression.
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7:14 am is the best.
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let's take a look now as thousands of people march through paris for a unity rally. the french president and other heads of state are celebrating their freedom of speech and i seemably. the governments do not always fully embrace those values.
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just this past summer france banned rallies in paris other the conflict at the gaza strip. in the very same plaza where leaders are rallying now. it was just two years ago that the president for the first time announced that people were withdrew dally killed by police while demonstrating freedom from france. police ordered to break up the demonstration opened fire. they killed an estimated 200 algerian protestors that night and dumped bodies off of the bridges. protestors were allegedly also beaten and tortured and denied food for days.
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for years french officials denied the massacre occurred. i wanted to bring out that history, recent and more distant because your point about the dr that is a bigger issue, what you just said right there is the bigger issue. we life in a world where we have sadly and woefully uneducated about our own history. to be able to remind people that while you are charlie, if indeed you are in the sense that you want to take on the power structure, where were you in 1961, where were you during the protests in ferguson. if you are charlie, you better have shown up. >> this is what worries me. there are many forces that keep our pens from being free. i'm a teacher, i love the free pen, free pencil as an image,
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but when a rally brings millions granted it's because lives were lost but around that principal it worries me that the thing that we're most worried about is the notion of global terrorism, and radical islam, and they tend to push down our civil liberties. >> the world that jumps out at me in this is context. these cartoons and the debate that we're having now is about freedom of spreech, diversity, plurality, freedom of expression. that is their right to do it as a society, but when you say to a population of nearly six million people that you can't practice your faith freely you're having
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french society say that is the veil has been banned. you alienate a large piece of your society. and in one of the ironies, jews and muslims have come together to reject the seculars. and you can come to public schools wearing religion symbols. i want us to be appalled by the deaths and all of the forces that keep our pens from being free. >> you probably know a lot of professors in this country that get marginalized. so i wonder how much we really have free speech in a society and across the board.
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>> maybe that is where comedians come in. it is where comedy and satire can liberate our spaces because i'm just making a joke about it but you get to tell a truth behind it. >> yeah using comedy as that layer or vehicle to make your point, the clever comedians can get it done. . . then it comes to what is funny because it is so subjective. and who is delivering the message? sarah silverman. she is an attractive woman, people say see what she got away with? could i is a they?
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no way. >> but you get away with black humor that white people will not. >> yeah i can say things that white folks will not go near. >> liz, it turns out you're -- the comedians of comedy central are better trusted news sources than people like i am. >> and that is fascinating to people, people say it all of the time. if that is the case and they put it off on them right? if people are looking toward those faces, and cable st driver by what's happening on the comedy shows, we have a media that is a little troubling, and then the comedians have become a
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watchdog of watchdogs. that is not a substitute for, your piece just now, the history of france's suppression of free speech, it is shocking and sad, quite frankly. >> yeah so unfortunately we must mauve on fromove on from the topic, but there is a moment when you see the people there is a moment of possibility and enthusiasm and excitement about free speech. thank you to my guests. we will continue to bring you the latest from paris this morning. up next the bombing outside of a chapter of the naacp. with the incredible fuel efficiency of 38 miles-per-gallon highway you can feel like royalty
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device that went off in front of an naacp. three staff members were in the building when it went off. the can of gas did not ignite and no one was hurt. there was damage to the exterior of the building. they're considering all possible motives for the bombing. an fbi spokes person said authorities cannot yet be sure that the naacp was the target of the explosion. is there anything to suggest that the organization was targeted? >> no no and that's why we're not -- we don't know who was targeted, you know? again, only the bomber knows why he put it there and we don't know why he put it there. i'm not going to be naive, i
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know what the naacp means to some extremists and we keep all possibilities open. >> they also released a sketch of a possible person of interest. joining me now from washington dc was the president and ceo of the naacp mr. william brooks. have you learned any more since the first report? >> i first learned about the incident the morning of the bombing. we have not learned a great deal more. we know that a threat was posed to our office. we don't know what the source of the threat is. but what we do know is that over the course of recent years, the naacp has been the suggest of our offices have been fire
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bombed. mans have been disrupted in terms of attacks so we have ever reen to reason to be concerned. >> we're going to talk about the film "selma." but people may have forgotten about 1993 or know that they couldn't to get threats and remain on heightened alert even today. >> yeah back in 1993 there was two bombings and an act of arson in a single year. in 1989 one of our attorneys was killed. the fact is receiving a threat at the offices of the naacp is not an infrequent occurrence. the point being here is these security concerns are real. in the wake of this bomb
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detonation we enhance our security protocols and put our fran muches and offices on heightened alert. >> i know that the fbi is involved but has local law enforcement been helpful and forth coming? >> yes, we have a branch president that has good relations with local law enforcement. within hours they turned over the jurisdiction. they have been working very closely with our branch to ensure they're security. the security of the leadership and the membership. so we have a good working relationship based on all that i know. >> one last question i know that social media, what some people call black twitter has been on this from the beginning, what are the ways we can be most helpful in social media and
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broader media in thinking through the question of ensuring that just as there is a march in paris today that there is an effort in this country to make the work that you do safe work. >> i think one of the things that we can do is all actively engage in fighting for justice. there is a certain kind of law of social justice that works in this country. for every act of justice there is an equal action for nonjustice. we cannot be intimidated. when threatened the naacp consistently doubled down for justice, that means pushing for more policing reform across the country in state legislatures certainly in congress. we're doing that and we continue to do that.
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>> thank you to cornell william brooks. here once again are the live pictures of the unity rally in paris, france. we'll be going back to paris just moments for now. next, the nypd slow down and if we want them to go back to business as usual. over an average adult lifetime. but there's a better choice. ed
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micro clean formula works in just 3 minutes, killing 99.99% of odor causing bacteria. for a cleaner, fresher brighter denture everyday. ed. it has been. suspected be machine and has been confirmed. the nypd work slow down was not imagine fd it was quite real. he called it a pretty widespread work stoppage by the offices under his command. >> i think they have coming out of a pretty widespread stoppage.
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it was following the trial of the officer whose choke old killed someone. and the pending labor contract being negotiated between the city and union leaders like path lynch, but a ♪ ble drop off in work ban after be two officers were murdered in late december. arrests in the city dropped of 66%. police were on average 90% fewer parking tickets. when we come back i want too ask my table if that is such a bad thing.
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. norm -- the new york police commission's comments garnered attention when he said they were in a work slow down. when asked about the choke hold death about eric garner. life would be so much easier if people didn't resist the police in the first place and there would not be altercations. life would be so much easier in the first place if people did not engage in activity that did not result in our citizens calling to complaint about their activity. we're talking about a much more complex larger national issue. don't go blaming the police. we're not the whipping boy for this issue in america. >> joying me now is a michael
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den denziel smith. and richie torres deputy leader of the new york city city council. why should we care about the police so down. what is it that is troubling? >> it began pretty much we started to see a dip, a significant dip in the number of low level activity and summons. this came about not because of a policy announcement but something that seemed to come up through the ranks. almost the same kind of dropoff. so almost zero parking tickets, criminal summons down to zero. it was a holiday period there was funerals there is plenty of reasons why they may have been less productive but for those two weeks, there really wasn't
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another way to explain the lack of activity other than them sitting on their hands for discretionary arrests. congressman -- i'm sorry, maybe some day councilman. this doesn't come from the top, so this is -- on the other hand right, the idea of discretion being using, that may be what they're asking for. when you look at the outcome here, is it one that is a problem? like in the sense of police using discretion to not engage in low level crime. >> i'm con flickedflicted.
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it is coming at too high of a cost it is under cutting civilian trouble. when you have police officers turning their backs, engineering a slow down without authorization, it conveys that there is no longer a handled on the police force. >> not just an impression but a reality. mike, i just thought of you, this is a new republic column. it says that to many of us from these communities, the last two weeks have been a vacation from fear vacation and pun herbment. maybe this is what it feels like to not be prejudged. maybe this is a small taste of what it feels like to be white. that ultimately this outcome is not bad. >> i understand the concern, but we're talking about
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discretionary arrests versus necessary arrests. why do we even have that language language? why is arrests not the last resort always the time. many thicks should not be crimes in the first place. we should have other mechanisms for dealing with anti-social behavior. i think that is what this slow down should force us to answer and to reckon with what is the role of policing in our lives? what should their job be? >> it seems to lead me to ask what is the role of the police chief. deblasio is safe but have that lost control of the police? >> we're talking about this the question that the slow down is out there. i think they would disagree but at the beginning of last week
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it would seem to indicate that crime is going down during the weeks that the arrests were down. and he said i'm sorry that some people feel we should get rid of it, but it's not going anywhere. it seems like we'll see a return to this kind of policeing. the question is still out there, and we'll see on monday. there has been a real effort. they sat down with the unions and had a meeting where he said this is how it's been reported. you have to get people motivated and working again. >> is this an opportunity, the opening where you could say let's two rethink broken windows? >> there is around opportunity, i think the police department can be more check selective.
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we should reserve it for serious crimes. are there too many street encounters between police and citizens. and are the encounters worse that the initial crime. >> one of the things that i found stunning is how much this really does rest on the backs of people, that $10 million in revenue comes from petty, $60 or $100 that on the east side is no big deal but can break families in poor communities. >> the thing that i would love to know is when people did report crime, you have not heard smin say someone say i called for a cop and they did not come. so it amply fiesifyies the weirdness
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of cops. you know what boss i'm only going to do the job i'm supposed to do. it's like okay, great. >> in new york at this moment, giving what is happening in paris, police officers is part of a broader public concern. i want to say thank you to my guests. i want to go back to spairs and bring in ronan faroh. thanks, tell me what happened there. >> there is an almost carnival like feeling here. deep rifts in the societies revealed in the last week. even more so, people want to let
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go of that week of strife. the title and the sentiment here someone is blowing a kazoo, someone on stilts behind me. a lot of thumbs up and feelings of festivity at this difficult moment. this is history being made in realtime melissa, a million people by some media estimates. we're close to a number that would be unprecedented since world war two for a political demonstration in paris. since liberation from the nazzis. what struck me is the world leaders heerd. but the people in the crowd, and they're so diverse, they come from all over the world.
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i want to get a reaction here. >> where are you from? >> i'm from bangladesh. >> you a sign that says we're a bangladesh and we are charlie. >> freedom and liberty. terrorism has no place in the world. >> thank you, that is the sentiment i heard from people across the crowd. there is jubilation and a real sense of unity. >> it is extraordinary how unity can push back against terror. coming up eric holder speaking out and more on the massive show of unity under way now in paris.
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hundreds of thousands of people are participateing in a unity rally in france today. among them are numerous foreign heads of state. eric holder went today and had high level talks. he appeared this morning. >> would you say the united states is at war with radical islam islam. >> i would say we're at war with terrorists that have heinous acts. we are determined to find them where ever they are. >> joining me now is jeremy ska
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scahil. >> we know in recent history, the behavior of states after terrorism is to reduce our civil liberties. give us a sense of how use and european nations respond after the jubilation is over. >> you know as we're watching this huge outpouring of support. many of the world leaders there are enmys of press freedom. people hocking up journalists. the irish reader blasphemy is
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not allowed. hypocrisy is on display. but there is also a real debate about would there be this outpouring of support if it was a different religion whose leader was under attack. my concern is this would result in an even further reduction and restriction. >> i plaintiffly want to think about the u.s. sense. they're claiming a summit for next month. . they want to prevent violent extremism. . is this now a reason to remilitarize these local police forces when we just had a conversation about removing that
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militri aization. they take advantage of people with serious issues and mental illness that need psychiatric help. the fbi will encourage them along and they say we broke up this huge lot. in min yap police there has been very racist targeted of the somali community. this is a very serious problem that these groups are calling on young westerners to do this. the response is racist and islam islamphobic. >> we're seeing a video that appears to show the gunman pledging his support oto is iergsis.
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is there a possible isis connection at opposed to an imagined one. >> he is doing push up he can barely speak arabic. i think it's quite possible that the two brothers involved with the shooting at the magazine had connections to al qaeda. they tell me that they at least one of the employers was there. that there was training involved. they have been public in seeing let's kill these cartoonists and assassinate them. i would be very careful in seeing this is an isis event. i think there is a hybrid. being around these charactered and groups and making your own plot and doing it. coming up we're going to spairs
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welcome back to new york. i want to get right to a update on the events out of paris, france today. there has been a massive turnout at a unity marching. it's a show of solidarity after a week of violence in paris. hostaging taken at a super market and police officers as well as three men allegedly responsible for the attacks. we go to ron allen on the ground right now in paris.
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hi ron. >> reporter: hi it's been an incredible day here when people dubbed it that paris is the capital of the world. there is perhaps over a million people i don't know how you estimate a crowd so large, but they're moving through the city along a route that is about two miles long. it is just impossible to move in this square. it's been that way for the past maybe three hours or so. even cell phone service is knocked out because of all of the traffic and people here. there is also demonstrations marches, in other communities around france. it is an incredible show of solidarity and a statement to the world that this country will not be intimidated. there is over 50 headings of state. you can see past all of this any
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number of flags from around the world from denmark, turkey from israel, from france of course from iraq. albania, columbia haiti, and just an incredible outpouring of support. the question is what will happen going forward beyond this day of unity. there was things going forward. but for the most part today is about coming together and marching and saying we will not be intimidating and we will be together on this issue. >> thank you, ron allen. i want to turn now from is this historic march to a march of a different kind here at home. tonight at the golden globes
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there will be a little history made. as the first african-american woman will vie for the best director award for "selma." it is in the best actor and best motion picture categories. it chronicles a significant moment in civil rights history. one of the aspects of the film was to striking to me it was the decision to shift the narrative of this historical moment and channel it through the perspective of women. i asked her about that choice. >> when i first came on board the project, the women were not there at all. it was really important to start to just realign the story and gain some balance, we know historically that the women of
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the movement have not been bolstered or amplified the way they should. dyeiane nash and her strategy. and she was a real nurturer of the movement. she clothed and fed them as they were working in selma. so yeah it was vital they be included in this narrative and there was no other way to be involved. >> maybe one of the most difficult moments is when the film does the work of discussing the infidelity. but rather doing it through the tapes or king you give it to us through coretta scott king. the film is very quiet in that
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moment despite the pain going on and even though i know the story, it never occurred to me. >> i think when we talk about that seancene and the infidelities of king, it goes to different perspectives behind the camera. there is many scripts floating around about king. and many filmmakers have tried to tackle his extramarital difficult. as a woman filmmaker, i'm interested in the act of infidelity going into the hotel room. for me it is really simple i
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want to know what the sister said when you walk in the door. how do the people in this relationship deal with it. it was clear to me it had to be dealt with in the context of their marriage but also having different people behind the camera. women, people of color, different perspectives and it was tyke we be more diverse in those areas. >> the other extraordinary moment when he asks to hear the voice of god. >> that's right. yes. yes. it is a scene where we find him in his kitchen, he just took out the trash, he had to tell her that he has to leaf again to go on the road to selma, but the bottom line is he has to leave
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home and he was gone for 27 days of the month on any given month. it is a tense conversation for is a number of reasons, and he finds himself a loan in the kitchen, and he asks and says he needs to hear the lord's voice. so 104 years old, a real freedom fighter, living in alabama, was central to the movement. all of these women contributed in different ways it was absolutely imperative they be present. >> we'll have more with my interview with ava throughout the hour and a discussion with
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my panel. poet and author of "the fourthlight of the world." and we have a professor of history and public affairs a princeton, university. author of the fierce urgency of now, the battle for the great society. i want to turn now to one of the women who was there. linda blackman was jailed five times before her 15th birthday. she was the youngest member of the march from selma. she talks about it in her book. i want to start by asking you about your experiences of violence. i wept as i red this book that you've written for young adults because the idea of an officer beating a young girl 14 years
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old. can you recount some of that story for my viewers. >> yes, i can. hello. if i seem star struck i am because i'm with you and i hope all of the audience doesn't pick up on it. as i was 14 on march 7th 1965. i was beaten on the bridge. i was about 19 or 20th in line from the front with my little section leader jimmy webb and james webb. when they told us to stop we could not go any further, jimmy told us that we would be kneeling and praying. so we were kneeling when the tear gas came.
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it causes you to be confused. and it was burning my throat and eyes. i didn't know what was happening. i felt someone at the back of my -- pulling me backwards by my lapel. and they grabbed the front of my jacket issue will apel and i bit the hand that was pulling me backwards. i heard the n-word twice and i was hit in the forehead. i managed to roll over get up and i started running. i ran into a cloud of tear gas. this person who turned out to be a sheriff's deputy was running behind me hitting me. the next thing i remember was
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waking up on a stretcher and they were putting me in the back of a hearse. i told them i wasn't dead. people were still running back across that bridge. i let them know i wasn't dead and i started running back across the bridge. >> not only were you not dead but you were the youngest person to make the whole march, you went back even when you were afraid. you said i learned a lot of things on that march and one of them was about fear. how to respect it and embrace it. there was a lot of people that cared about what happened to me. what do we need to know now, what do we need to embrace to keep the movement that youp have sacrificed so much for moving forward. >> i don't know how to explain embrace the fear.
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embrace the fear of change. embrace the fear of wanting to make a difference. embrace your fear. i really to not know how to explain that. but i think that's what we need to do. is embrace the fear so we can move forward. accept it as a part of you and move past it. but i think that's the way that we're going to make change and move forward. >> linda blackman-lowery. if you have any young people in your live buy them this book it will change their life. we also continue to keep an eye on the extraordinary pictures coming out of paris this
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the only thing left to fear is your imagination.
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"selma" at times is a hard film to watch. the film invites us to feel emotionally what it meant to be a protestor facing down a racist armed police force. during our conversation this week i asked her about how the chose to manage the violence that the film portrays. >> for me it was a question of how do you approach these violent acts in away that allows
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people to look past an impact and look into the emotion of it. to get beyond the physicality of a blast, the physicality of a hit. the fiszphysicality of a gunshot. it's important to see a mother's face after a gunshot. what a woman looks like when a man puts their hands on her and pulls her down. what is the face? so each time we did this we slow the film down and we force you to watch it. to honor it by bearing witness to it. and foremost in my mind was for every act of violence was rev reverence reverence. the way we develop and design the camera angles.
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it was about a broken body usually a broken black body. what it looks like and what it means. >> michael, what does a broken black body mean? >> i wish it meant more to us. and that's what "selma" was getting at. that for me is why it was so hard to watch and go a second time and watch it again and be forced to sit with those images and say, you know in fear in fear that what selma represents is happening now and it can happen again, and living with the fact that they could be brutalized and terrorized in that same way. and i wish that breaking of the black body meant more for us and we would not have that fear.
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>> i, you know broken black bodies have become almost -- they're so available to us as are broken women's bodies on the nightly news an you know our regular stuff that we consume in popular culture. and so i guess part of what this film seems to do is hold the brokenness and the humanity together. i'm wondering if that's what we can bring to our political discourse as well. to point to the resilience and the resistance. how do we start to do that in our discourse? >> i think what is so important is made us witness, made us pause, made us take in that historical vulnerability that is state sponsored and state sanction
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sanctioned, and what we heard is the going back the resilience willing to put our bodies on the line, to which i say to her, in this moment, thank you, it's extraordinary to be in her presence. i think that semla reminds us that we cannot turn from witnessing this violation. we can't turn from the statistics of the rate at which young black people are killed. we have stood up through that we have survived and done extraordinary things. she makes us understand that we have to continue to fight. if you see as we did the other day, the 14-year-old sister it takes your breath away. you have to watch it. then you can't say all of these things that all of these hateful people continue to say on the waves. >> julian in 1965 the broken
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black body was a strategy that the king used to get policy done. you know it was those images we're seeing now that helped to move the voting rights act through. does it still retain that power? >> it doesn't right now. i mean that hovers over the movie. this is about grass roots protest, and the goal is a very specific bill floating in congress. there is almost a framework, and this changed washington. and he does it and the movie captures that. without that bill, the protests ultimately always have limited effects. there is not a similar strategy overall for a resolution and solution. >> one of the most stunning moments for seeing it and
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putting a hand over her mouth. up next congressman john lewis on what was walking across the ed monday pettis bridge. thanks for inviting me. thanks again my friends. for everything for all your help. through all life's milestones our trusted advisors are with you every step of the way. congratulations! thanks for helping me plan for my retirement. you should come celebrate with us. i'd be honored. plan for your goals with advisors you know and trust. so you can celebrate today and feel confident about tomorrow. chase. so you can.
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>>see you tomorrow. ♪ ♪ i asked the director of "selma" about the erosion in this country. the ongoing segregation in housing and education. i wanted to know her thoughts on this one question. can we still call the selma campaign a win? this is what she said. >> yes, absolutely. if they had not dopene it, you and i would not be sitting here right now, you know what i mean? we can look at the deterioration of the act, the violence done to that act. we can look at where we are now
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in terms of the unrest that we all feel the rage that i certainly feel around you know the most recent incidents. about the breaking of the black body. we can look at these things on a continuum and say nothing was changed and there was no reward and it wasn't worth it but that would be disengenuos of this bravely that was birthed, lived, and breathed and moved us be forward. >> i want to turn now to the person who is the living imbodiment of that bravery. the leader of the movement from selma, congressman john lewis joining me now from washington
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dc. it is an honor, do you still see what you achieved in that moment as a win given how much you're still in that struggle even now? >> well melissa, thank you so much for having me today. selma was a win, and selma is still winning. without selma, without crossing that bridge there would be no jimmy carter as president, no bill clinton, no barack obama. for those that said nothing has changed, i just say come walk in my shoes. america is a different america because of selma. we're a better people. we're not there yet, but we're on our way. >> when you say come walk in my shoes, it's so important because of the violence you faced and
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endured. how can we learn from that and then have new kinds of violence. how do we not just say nothing has changed, but keep pushing forward. >> we have to be consistent and persistent. selma reminds us that if you keep the faith, you keep pushing, you keep pulling, you will have a victory. i have seen it i see it every day. that is one reason i go back to selma every year and take members of congress to convince them, to urge them that you, too, can get out there and make things different with your votes. >> one of the most powerful scenes in the movie is when the young actor, playing you in your youth, is in the car with dr. king and sort of provides him with inspiration and encourages dr. king to go forward. in this moment are you feeling like we have that sense of
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optimism as a nation. not just individuals, but as a nation, do we continue to have that sense that buy our hard work by our political engagement we can be a better place. >> selma, i have seen the movie and it inspired me to continue. gives me a greater sense of hope and optimism. i say to people all of the time you must never ever give up or give in, or lose the faith. you must keep your guys on the prize. be hopeful optimistic in the process of getting there and we will get there. >> are we going to get a new formula for the voting rights act in this congress. are you optimistic that can happen between you and your colleagues getting back at the time for that act that you
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worked so hard to get past? >> i'm very hopeful and optimistic. i pray that every member of the senate get an opportunity to see the film. and that is why i encourage all of these members to go to selma. walk across that bridge. go to birmingham. go to montgomery visit dr. king's old church. >> thank you, congressman john lewis. even has we have been talking this morning about a margin that made history so many years ago, we're seeing extraordinary pictures out of paris france a march they believe has a half million people in attendance. when we come back i'm going to talk about men known by three
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it is written that in fact selma was lbj's idea. he thought of mlk as a partner. selma being lbj's idea was said to be jaw dropping. i asked her about her depiction. >> my thought is that it is an unfortunate distraction to a fill tham is not about lbj. >> do you think that is the problem that it is not about lbj ultimately. >> perhaps, but i refused to get into the fray and start to break down history as i see it. it only draws attention to a small group of custodians of president johnson's legacy that
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find challenge with some of the portrayals as i see it. it is over taken so many conversations that i had to have with press. and pushed aside conversations that we were having before about the parallels of movement history, in 1975, and how it is unfolding presently in ferguson. >> julian you're the author of a new book. you're a custodian of his legacy. but you pretty clearly say we'll, we have every venterated him. it under values the more complicated and significant
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effects. explain that to me. >> there is a myth of lyndon johnson that he could do anything in washington the way that others can't. he only succeeded because the civil rights movement was pushing congress so hard to make it impossible to keep saying no and they create democratic majorities in a any president would dream of. i don't think the movie gets him right, i think he was firmly committed to voting rights. i think that context is the story. president's can't do anything even smart presidents, they need to movement to create a washington that will work. >> king and lbj are on the phone, and lbj is like come on and he is like you're the president, you just won, i'm going to need you to get on
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this. and what i heard in that moment was the critiques we hear about this president, and that tension between a president that we believe is on our side and a movement that is like then i have to push you to do the work. >> johnson said my power is limited. he said the only power i have is nuclear and i can't even use that. even in january of 1965 with the majorities, he was scared that if he did another civil rights movement right away that the support would fall away. and talks to king says i need you to go out and create an environment that will allow this to pass. and johnson didn't feel that he was all powerful and that congress would get the best of him. >> i'm just irritated by the
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hollywood of this particular critique right. so right or wrong, maybe she gets it all wrong, even if she does, i don't know if they noticed it in the film lincoln, frederick douglas does not speak. >> yeah one bleak person speaks. sure, let's have the story and the fierce debate about the accuracy of our films. if we're going to apply that critique here on selma, what bothers me is that we're not doing it for black people in film. we're allowed to tell our stories, we're not criticizing them with the same voracity and it bothers me to my core, particularly with selma,
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particular lid particularly in this movement when it feels like it is a privilege to have that conversation. we're trying to be inspired to keep pushing and it feels like the distraction, again, in the center a white person. >> i feel like part of the critique and we know that historically johnson uses that word, and he says let the n-word's vote. what i love about that moment is it separates that word from the whole thing. one can be a horrible racist and never use that word and johnson, just a man of his time he has opening all kinds of legislative doors. i want to talk about that attention as a valuable moment. >> it's part of the record. you listen to the tapes and in
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the heart of the civil rights battling with you can hear him making derogatory comments. that said he was pushing a schizophrenia. >> it's my favorite kind of racism, that leads to the enfranchisement of a whole people. i want to separate out that the use of that word is not the one litmus test. >> it is a question about leadership, why did we get a leader at that moment that moved with the movement. i think that is important in an age we don't always feel that. it changed his attitudes about race seeing it as a partnership rather than in more adversarial. >> it's part of why it would have been important. since it was a similar relationship, so you know just
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as long as i am able to exercise my constitutional right to vote. it is determined for me by people who would rather see me suffer than succeed. those that have gone before say no more. >> no more. >> no more. >> that was david oleo who is up for an award tonight in his role in "selma." he is in a role that is fraught with danger for thousands who fol -- thoses that followed him
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into the value. we got to deconstruct him and i have to see him excuse me be a man. i know if he was an ordinary man that achieved grateeatness, i know that myself, an ordinary person can achief greatness. you see king take out the trash. you see him arguing with his woman. you see him with ego, you see him depressed, smoke a cigarette, laugh, cry, they're things we all do. it seemed kind of rudimentary but it's what we fail to do in all of our historical dramas. >> this king will be the definitive portrayal of a king for a whole generation. this is the king they will think of. in the end, how valuable is that and maybe that's part of what
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fight is over this king. >> i think this king is a magnificent king. king is a large enough figure in our history that i hope and think he will be portrayed again. that takes us to where is our harr yet tub harriet tubman film? this film was financed with $20 million. >> you see the budget drop off, you think that's not congress that's clearly a high school auditorium, right? that's part of what i like about it is because it makes it almost home movieish at moments. >> this is not the definitive moment of our icons, it's about saying what's not there that we need to bring along. we need to pause for a moment in king's grace. and i think the film does take
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us there. they're in close physical proximity to each other. the intimacy of those black men is extraordinary and beautiful in the film. there is an interrelationship between what can the marchers do and king do. >> i had not thought about it until this moment but the proximity of the black men themselves, you're working on a book on black masculinity right now, right? it is interesting the black men in this moment as much as i love the portrayal of the women and focus most on that i wonder what you took away from how she represents them. >> yes, one of my favorite scenes is when they go to richie jeans house. and martin tussling with people, it is really like ava keeps saying he is a brother from atlanta.
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to get the chance to seem them express that and know that they were bonded together by this moment, they were friends, and they joked around and talked to each other as friends and cared about each other as friends and brothers, that's one of my favorite aspects. >> it's also part of why -- the lbj portrayal is of a very imperfect president, but a very imperfect king that we're giving also right? it points to a collectiveity to a relationship. >> king's humanity is very powerful on this level. it shows a toll of being an activist. it destroys his family i think it is important to not just depict the superhero, and second, not the courage this took, not just for king but i think the movie really captures that, without the humanity, can i think it is hard to imagine
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how do you do that again. when they're human, you can have a better sense of how that game together. >> it's one thing to face death for yourself, but to carry with you, innocent people and there is a moment when he discovers that james reid has come down from boston and been killed and the weight of that like you think, oh yes. he would have felt responsible for those four little girls, felt responsible for all of it. >> yes, and the scene where he is attempting to console exquisite moment in the entire film. he's trying and he's taking something from the man's bravery and profound dignity. but ultimately, it's just the two of them left with unspeakable tragedy and loss. >> it is, you know, i love that we have a martin luther king monument in washington, d.c. i have never liked the monument
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much because it's just him and he's coming out of a rock. and i think, he didn't come out of a rock, he came out of a movement. thank you. up next what little black girls talk about according to eva and selma.
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we all know what happened to the four little girls, murdered when their birmingham, alabama, church is bombed in 1963. you know what will happen, but you forget to brace yourself. because takes you offguard by drawing you into their youthful banter. an imagined conversation of sunday schoolgirls utterly unaware that they are about to be killed just for being black. i asked director eva daverne what inspired her to create the scene. >> i called my mom born in 1954. and i said what did y'all talk about when you were little in 1965? and she was like, what? so, you know what were little girls talking about in 1965? and she said, probably what little girls talk about now. hair? i was like, hair.
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>> of course. >> of course. >> of course. >> that's all sisters talk about. >> of course they were talking about how coretta did her hair. >> how coretta did her hair. as i started to think about hair, i started to think about the iconic position that she held even at that time as it was happening. as history was unfolding. she was our jackie o. at that time we'd not seen -- they were our camelot. and so to have them admiring her style. so i started to talk to many women who were alive at that time, who were older at that time younger at that time. i did a whole little day of research of impressions of coretta at that time and what people thought her. yes, first lady obama, beyonce, dare we say. diana ross and coretta scott king in terms of women you could see that glamour and say, wow, she looks like me. >> and tonight, many little girls will gather around to watch eva.
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this extraordinary accomplished artist as she represents at the golden globes and say, wow, she looks like me. to see my entire interview, go to later this afternoon. you can also see all of the golden globes action tonight on nbc at 8:00 p.m. eastern. and that's our show for today. thanks to you at home for watching. i'm going to see you next saturday at 10:00 a.m. eastern. coming up next is "weekends with alex witt." continuing coverage of the massive rally of unity in paris, france. estimating up to 1.5 million people turned out for today's march through the streets of paris. and as you can see as night falls, the crowd there. more coverage with alex is next. i make a lot of purchases for my business. and i get a lot in return with ink plus from chase. like 50,000 bonus points when i spent $5,000 in the first 3 months after i opened my account. and i earn 5 times the rewards on internet,
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world leaders locking arms and walking through paris. was there enough security? and what will this show of solidarity accomplish? on the run, the search for the fourth terror suspect. did she escape to syria? plus guns not bombs. a striking change in the weapon of choice for terrorists in western europe. good day, everyone, it's high noon here in the east, 9:00 a.m. out west. it was an extraordinary sight. hundreds of thousands of people and more than three dozen foreign leaders filling the streets of paris this morning to honor the victims of this week's terrorist attacks. the crowd could be heard chanting je juis charlie. world leaders met before the march to attend a security summit. eric holder who was among the attendyes
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