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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  March 8, 2015 12:00pm-2:01pm PDT

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enormous crowds are in place to march for justice on this sunday, march 8th 2015. 50 years since the selma campaign that transformed america. these are live pictures from the historic bridge in selma, alabama. thousands are lining up to march this afternoon. they will make the same journey activists did in 1965 when they were tear gassed and beaten by state troopers. and what quickly became known as bloody sunday. it was this movement this moment that paved the way for president lyndon b. johnson, which became a corner stone of
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the civil rights era. one that was struck down in 2013 when the supreme court declared section 4 unconstitutional. today's march is not just a tribute to those courageous foot soldiers, but also as outgoing attorney general eric holder underlined this afternoon a call to action. >> progress is not the ultimate goal. equality is still a prize. still even now, it is clear we have more work to do that our beloved community has not yet been formed and our society is not at a just peace. >> marching for justice as the very thing fought for and bled for on that bridge 50 years ago is still under assault, the unobstructed right to vote. welcome to our special coverage this afternoon. selma, 50 years later. people from all across the country have traveled to sell ma to commemorate the march for voting rights. i want to start with joy reid who is live in selma today. good afternoon to you, joy.
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set the stage for what's happening there today. >> reporter: okay. thank you very much. yesterday, the focus was on president obama who, of course traveled here on the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday to give a really momentous speech that tried to distill the history, the racial history of this country that was so pivotally moved in selma 50 years ago and link that to today and 100 members of congress who came down saying they were hoping to galvanize their colleagues back in washington to renew the voting rights act. that was yesterday's set-up. today, the community of selma itself stages its commemoration. the star of today is actually the community here and the people who have traveled thousands of miles to come to this community and undertake the reenactment of that march themselves. this is the traditional ceremony that takes place annually here in selma, just a lot bigger. i'm here at brown chapel ame, which, of course is the historic church where the original march in 1965 was launched where civil rights
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leaders strategized. and i don't know if you can hear it behind me there's a jumbo tron playing the service ongoing inside the chapel. you played a clip of attorney general eric holder who received a rousinge inging ovation. but you also had other luminaries of the civil rights movement andrew young is inside of that service right now of reverend jesse jackson. our colleague is going to deliver the sermon the keynote inside of this service that we're watching going on behind me. and it's really just a day to commemorate the foot soldiers themselves. the foot soldiers of the movement. the people who were not necessarily famous not necessarily well known. and the ongoing struggle for voting rights. that is a big theme of all of the speakers inside. there are cabinet secretaries there. you also had shawn donovan, the secretary of omb. so it's really a full display of the power of the presidency
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inside of there. the president sending a full complement of his cabinet. but also the ordinary folks, the men and women part of that movement then and now really showcase showcased. that is what is happening here. i'm joined right now by one of the people that is pushing for the ongoing movement for voting rights. and i want her to step in now. gloria brown marshall. gloria brown marshall. gloria tell me what you think this commemoration means and how we can connect the past 50 years ago to today when it comes to the issue of voting rights. >> i think it comes down to power. we have the power then. even though people try to make the black community feel powerless. and even today there's a sense that we are powerless when we are not. we have political power, we have economic power, and we're going to show that power. and i think that's what this 50th commemoration is about. the voting rights cases before the court now, the legal issues before the court regarding photo
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i.d. and there's a sense that those things are taken away our right to vote suppressing our right to vote. but once again, i feel this should empower people to know that we can make a difference. >> gloria, martin luther king iii spoke inside of brown chapel today. he talked about not feeling like this was a celebration and feeling that it really needed to be something more sober and serious. and he put forward three ideas he felt would secure the right to vote. there was a lot of theme inside that there needs to be legislation. that it's not enough to remember what these marches did, what john lewis did, but there actually needs to be a renewed call for legislation in washington. do you agree with that? and do you think it's realistic to try to hope that would happen now? >> i think it's realistic to push for legislation. remember, there was a time when there was no legislation protecting our rights as human beings. and then we fought for it and it was something that we achieved. we had jim crow laws there was no legislation to protect our
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rights as equal citizens in this country. and we push for it and it came to be. the voting rights act existed because people gave their lives and livelihoods agreeing that we would have something to protect our right to vote. and we push for it and it came to be. and it came from a president, lyndon johnson, from the deep south. so we don't know who is going to be on our side. you make your friends when you don't need them so you have them when you do. so there are republicans out there who believe in what is right. and there have always been people that stood up for african-american citizenship, full citizenships for rights. but as we open the door as the conscience of the constitution and teaching the constitution, i've always said there have been other people who stood up for our rights as well as we open the door for others. now is the time for our brothers and sisters in latino communities, gay communities, immigrant communities across the board and the communities who don't know our struggle but are learning it from this experience
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to step in and understand. when we open the door for african-americans, the doors open for all. >> indeed. and betty, there's a lot of passion here that you -- that is inside and outside of brown chapel ame. the issue of the right to vote. the voting rights act. very salient here today on this commemoration of the 50th anniversary of that march over the bridge in 1965. back to you, betty. >> without a doubt. thanks so much. we'll be checking in with you later. but right now, we want to go to trymaine lee. >> folks are not so much excited, but they are committed to taking part in this continuum of the push for voting rights. i'm a little further down the street from where brown chapel is where the reverend al sharpton is now delivering the final sermon. there are hundreds of people gathering along the sides of the streets of the courtyards around the church. ready for this mile mile and a
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half march to the bridge. now, there are already hundreds if not thousands at the foot of the bridge right now. and so we're waiting. there should be a rally any moment now. and folks will proceed down martin king street on toe the bridge. >> and i'm seeing behind you trymaine, big screens so people are able to hear the speeches that are being made. and we see reverend al sharpton and one of our colleagues behind you on that screen at this hour. >> oh, that's right. this morning around 10:00 or so hundreds of people began gathering here right outside of the church. many who didn't have tickets were trying to hustle their way in or push their way in but the fire marshal shut it down. there were too many inside. there are hundreds outside watching on the jumbo tron. and again, they've been here for hours on end now. they're confident, they're ready, and it's for many folks, it's about that time.
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>> it's historic, too. joining me now for our coverage today. author of a biography of the civil rights. >> thanks for having me. >> what do you make of the massive crowds gathering in selma this weekend? >> well i think it's tremendous. i think we saw with the president's speech yesterday, he gave an historic speech about race and democracy and the way in which race and democracy stand at the core of america's story. and he didn't back away from saying that story in terms of the civil rights movement is a complicated story. 50 years ago, those in power, like president obama suggested yesterday, criticized demonstrators who we now acknowledge are american heroes. i think what we see is a new generation of americans who are willing to take up that banner. and this is beyond voting rights. i would say this is about citizenship and freedom and democracy that really
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encompasses everything from our criminal justice system to our public school education, to really our rights as americans and as human beings. and people are very much galvanizing and inspired to follow in the footsteps of that heroic period of the civil rights movement. and we can really draw a through line from selma to ferguson to these black lives matter protests and our contemporary periods. we're standing at an exciting time historically. we're at a crossroads but people want fundamental change. >> and connecting the dots today, is very important. that's why you see a lot of people out there in fact not only to commemorate the 50 years, but also to make sure people understand as many would say, that fight continues today. doctor, thank you so much. you'll be with us throughout this special as we cover the 50th anniversary of selma. we'll be checking in with you very shortly. and here is a live look at the
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edmond pettis bridge. thousands will walk across the bridge to recognize the day that turned the tide for civil rights injustice. andrew young looks back on this day 50 years ago. >> we started to redeem the soul of america from the triple evils of racism, law and poverty. did good on racism, as you can see. we have a long way to go on poverty. your mom's got your back. your friends have your back. your dog's definitely got your back.
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a live picture now. marchers 15 minutes from the start of the march in selma, alabama. a culmination of events marking the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. joy reid is by brown chapel and
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joins us again. quite a day there, joy. >> yeah, indeed and our colleague is right now delivering a stem winder of a sermon talking about his own background in the movement and also really joining the crowd inside to step forward and continue movement. it was young people when this was taking place. and there were a lot of people who were teenagers, college students, but even some young teenagers who participated in the march itself. and i have with me the youngest i believe officially the youngest marchers over the bridge in 1965. and if you could step into me cheyenne webb christburg. and first of all, how old were you when you participated in the march? >> i was 8 years old when i joined that march. the bloody sunday march. i was a very disobedient child.
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i grew up in george washington carver projects which is adjacent to the church. and i would never forget vichlt moment i had the opportunity ask that child to meet dr. martin luther king jr. who had a profound impact on my life. and dr. king inspired me. he motivated me. he was that special person who made me feel special. and that is what really i believe, created that motivation that stimulation from me from a child to really stand for what i believed in. i truly understand what was going on when i first became a part of it. but it didn't take me long. because when you would have come out to these mass meetings in 1965 it wasn't ordinary for adults to participate and be in the -- be part of those turbulent times. and never with a child. but you just couldn't be in that
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church with those courageous people and not feel the spirit that was embedded in them to come together to for african-american women to become equal. >> and yesterday, we were walking, just talking to people, we met some women, sisters who were teenagers, they were 14 and 15 years old. so older than you, when the march happened. and they talked about their parents being fearful of them being a part of the movement and really wanting to protect them from it and not have them confront. how did your parents react to the idea of you wanting and being motivated at such a young age? were you conscious of what you were doing? and did your parents fear for you? >> surely my parents did not agree with me being a part of this movement at all because that fear that was exuberated in them and many african-americans during that time was really a powerful tool which really made them feel complacent in a sense
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that was the way, perhaps, that life was supposed to be before the movement would come because it was the life in which they were living before this movement would come. and when i really understood that dr. king and those courageous soldiers came here to change that. i was there listening to those speeches. my parents were at home because they were afraid to come out here and be a part of it because they could lose their lives. they could lose their jobs. and that is when i made up in my mind asked that 8-year-old girl that i was going to stand for them and in spite of their fear and stand up for what i believed in. and that's what i did. p. >> and what does it mean to you to be here 50 years later? standing on this spot at brown chapel ame? >> i am filled with mixed emotions as we have come to commemorate the 50th anniversary. it has really encouraged me particularly when i see
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thousands of young people who have come from across the country to share in this historical and this educational event with hopes they would take this education with enthusiasm and as they crossed the bridge today, that they will go back to their homes with a great sense of determination. a great sense of courage to do something, not only in their lives to make a difference but also in the lives of others. dr. king said everyone can be great because everyone can serve. only need a heart full of grace with a soul that's generated by love. and i learned at a young age that greatness is never achieved by being served. greatness is always achieved by serving others. >> yeah, indeed. it's an honor to meet you. the youngest marcher over the bridge in 1965. thank you so much for joining us here today.
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betty, back to you. >> she really puts it in perspective. all right, joy. thank you so much. and we will continue our special coverage of selma 50 years later in a moment. but we do want to get you up to date on other stories making headlines today. demonstrators marched near madison, wisconsin, protesting the shooting death of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer. tony robinson was killed friday night. police say officer matt kenny responded to calls about a man who hit and tried to strangle someone in the house. investigators say he had a struggle with robinson before shots were fired. the shooting led to protests in the community. kenny is on administrative leave. the city's mayor has asked administrators to give them time to investigate. dianne feinstein says hillary clinton needs to speak out about the e-mails. clinton needs to quote, step up and come out and give more details about why she used a private e-mail account for
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government business while she was secretary of state. news of the personal account surfaced last week. and since then the special house committee investigating the benghazi attack has issued subpoenas for information about clinton's e-mails. i want to take you back live to selma, alabama, where thousands are waiting to walk across the bridge to commemorate bloody sunday. stay here with us.
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lee who is with the marchers. you'll be walking with many of them as they cross that bridge. the excitement and anticipation has to be building. >> that's right. there are hundreds of people if not thousands here lining martin luther king street. you can feel the energy as folks prepare to march down martin luther king street toward the bridge. now, dignitaries and the reverend al sharpton and those folks are still inside the chapel now. i'm here with a member of girl trek a group that brought hundreds. you can see the sea of blue. all these folks come from all across the country, these women are coming here to show their support. but what brought you and your group here to selma? >> well my nephew's girlfriend and also i came because to commemorate the 55th anniversary of crossing the bridge. i was raised during a period of
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late part of integration. so i've been suspended from school three times expelled once all because. i'm old enough to know what the struggle is about. >> your organization is geared to getting -- getting women to be active. it's called girl trek. what will it mean for you and your organization to walk across the bridge? >> this will be a great thing. i'm new, but this is a relatively new organization. so it means a lot to us because of the exposure of it all. so that women will see all these women on national television. and they'll say who are they? and they'll know, well, come out and take a walk with me. >> one more person in here. how are you doing? >> i'm doing well. >> again, you are the leader of
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this organization what does it mean for you to be here in selma today? >> well i'm a city captain for new orleans. and it's a national organization just around the country. motivating black women and girls to get fit, healthy and active. we're in over 20 city. >> here you are we're here on martin king street. and as you can see, again, the sea of women here ready to take part in this. >> love that. smiling faces and a sea of blue as this march is about to begin any moment now. of course, we will bring that to you when it happens. stay right here on msnbc as we commemorate selma 50 years later. hey, girl. is it crazy that your soccer trophy is talking to you right now? it kinda is. it's as crazy as you not rolling over your old 401k. cue the horns... just harness the confidence
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welcome back to msnbc, and our special live coverage. selma, 50 years later. we are awaiting the start of a reenactment of that historic march half a century ago. msnbc host melissa harris-perry is standing at the historic bridge. melissa, the sight at that bridge is quite different than it was 50 years ago. what are you seeing? >> well so many things that i'm seeing here. i mean one is just an enormous outpouring of love. i mean i don't know any other word to use other than love but it is this sense of rootedness and community, this sense of connection to history, and this deep sense of love for this country. and when i say love for the country, i mean the kind of love for the country that the president laid out for us yesterday. in his discussion about the ways in which those people who are true patriots, who truly love their country seek to perfect
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it. and seeking to perfect your nation always means being willing to engage in social action in political action, to help change it. and you really see that here. >> absolutely. and you see people who have come by the hundreds by the thousands to be part of this. and i can't help but to hear in the background i believe that is reverend al sharpton speaking. >> yes. >> he's at the chapel there. but what is remarkable about this is everyone is included if you can't get into the chapel, you can still hear what's being said. this is an event of inclusion, which really represents what this was all about. >> absolutely. inclusion, but also technology. the idea that we can be listening to reverend sharpton and he's not speaking, he's preaching. you can feel the energy out here in the crowd. they're watching the reverend on the big jumbo tron in front of me. they're going to start making their way up the bridge where
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you see thousands are gathered. you can feel the whole sense of it. the entire movement coming together in one moment because of technology. you can be in the church and at the bridge at the same time. >> and as we hear the reverend preach, you have heard other speeches today by some really important and special people when it comes to what has happened there. and the movement if you will. what struck you the most? >> i think for me i am just stunned at how important it clearly is to so many elected officials to find a way to be here. the number of congressional representatives who were here yesterday, more than 100. and although the republican leadership was not here there were republican members of the house and senate who found their way here who recognized that it is important to be here in this moment. the president, of course being here, the attorney general speaking today in the same service where reverend sharpton is speaking now. there were three or four members of the u.s. cabinet, also in the
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event today. but there is a sense that you cannot miss this moment. that particularly if you were not here 50 years ago, that it is important to be here to acknowledge as a political leader that the world that you exist in. that the political environment in which you engage was all made possible by the sacrifices that occurred on this bridge. >> and it also makes you feel like this is history, too. yes, you're commemorating what happened 50 years ago, but watching this play out, having the first black president speak there yesterday, having so many come out to do this historic march today. it is like history is taking place. >> well that's right. and we had last week we had congressman meeks on the show. he said, melissa, yes, we're commemorating, but this is not a commemorative march. this is a civil rights march. we are standing in a moment with a fierce urgency of now. and that is around some critical issues. it's around criminal justice reform and community policing
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reform. it is around the voting rights act which needs to be renewed and strengthened and fixed again again. and it's about economic empowerment. the city of selma is such a good example. here in selma, you see political power that's come about. >> thank you so much. standby. i want to bring in now, he's a professor and author of "stoekly." doctor, as we know marchers are fighting for voting rights in 1965. what strides are you seeing in the fight for voting rights today? >> yeah i think the -- like
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melissa's saying it's connected to criminal justice. it's connected to social and political transformation of these institutions that are actually having this negative delatarious affect. he was a philosopher, and yes, he was preaching and people gave him a standing ovation when he talked about voting rights. radical democracy and transforming american citizenship. the vote should be restored. there's all these challenges to the vote. african-americans criminal warrants that put so many black men and women in jail but they can't be good dads. they can't be good mothers. they can't find employment with dignity.
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means a living wage. and we haven't increased that. when we think about voting. voting is one very, very important aspect of citizenship. so selma leads to the voting rights act. but selma's about more than the vote. those doors of opportunity swung open for latinos, asian americans, for those with physical disabilities for gays and lesbians. so the black movement and struggle for black equality is always a struggle that transforms everybody else's life in america for the good. and even globally. the president mentioned south africa, he mentioned the iron curtain. he mentioned the military rule in other parts of the world. people were inspired, what happened in birmingham what happened in mississippi. so the important part of the vote is that the vote is
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connected to transforming citizenship. and remember martin luther king jr. in 1963 he said the activists in birmingham were taking this nation back to what he called the great wells of democracy that were dug deep by the founding fathers. selma did the same thing. and in 2015, we need to return to those great wells of democracy. if we return to those great wells, we're not going to have mass incarceration, we're not going to have unemployment rate twice the rate of whites. and we're not going to have the criminalization of black bodies and black youth that is pervasive in this society. we're going to have the country that we actually all deserve. >> those have wide ranging effects. we'll ask you to standby, doctor. thank you so much for that insight. want to go live now to trymaine lee who is traveling with the marchers today. what are you seeing at this hour?
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>> thousands still readying to be marching. i want to introduce you to mr. benny tucker. we know who dr. martin luther king is john lewis. but mr. tucker was really remarkable in leading the original campaign. and mr. tucker, i want to ask you. you were such an integral part. what does it mean to you on the 50th anniversary to have thousands in this city again ready to cross that bridge. >> i hope they stick with us and produce something. we need someone to look back and help us grow this city. and help -- >> now, sir, you and so many have sacrificed so much to fight for folks not just here in selma but across the country.
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when you look around when you see young people taking up that fight and other people who are, you know joined together to keep pushing for rights. how does it make you feel? >> makes me feel good? continue to fight -- we have so many that will not go and -- >> wow. there's this picture i've seen of you and you're standing in the background. you're watching over with dr. king and they're kneeling down on the ground and you were standing watch over them. do you remember those moments and what that time felt like? >> yes, i remember. before i be a slave, i be dead and buried in my grave. so when they asked me to put my body over him, i was willing. >> you were his body guard? >> yeah at that time they asked me to do it. they asked me to protect him.
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they don't get the credit probably they deserve. >> the young people. >> yeah. some of them still alive. >> and you're still here? in selma. by the time 50 years ago, it might have been unthinkable. here you are as one of the key city council members. >> i want to say, thank you very much for your time. i really appreciate it. >> thank you. >> yeah. >> here we are on martin luther king street, again, people who are the original foot soldiers. you have unions everyone is here in selma today and they are preparing to march to the bridge. and you can feel the energy. it's been a long day. it's been a hot day.
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folks are. >> 74 years old, the man has seen so much history and still there today to witness so much of it. thank you for bringing that to us. >> right now. thousands of people are walking across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama. it was the scene, the day known as bloody sunday 50 years ago. john lewis led that march back in 1965. here's how he reflects on the significance of that day. >> this city on the banks of the alabama river gave virtual movement that changed this country forever. because of what happened on this bridge. cil everyday? because it helps me skip the bad stuff. i'm good. that's what i like to call, the meta effect. 4-in-1 multi-health metamucil is clinically proven to help you feel less hungry between
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welcome back and i'm here for the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. this is the commemorative march which is also a march for contemporary issues around voting rights and equality. i'm standing here at the foot of the edmund pe thettus bridge. and i'm standing here with jacqueline harrison foote. you were here 50 years ago. >> 50 years ago. >> but you were a little tiny girl. >> i was 11 years old. >> and what were you doing here? why were you an activist at 11 years old? >> i knew even then that in order to create change had to create action. i'd been taught at 5 years old, i knew i was black, i knew there were places i could not go. at that age, i just wanted to go to the movies.
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i just wanted to drink from any water fountain that i wanted to because at 8 years old, i've been reprimanded for drinking at the white fountain and not knowing. so there was a different time then even though we were young. i was 11 but there were also 8, 9, and 10-year-olds. we already knew that we wanted a change for ourselves and for future generations. >> so talk to me about the strategy of children. children had been part of a birmingham strategy. they became part of a selma strategy. they were obviously part of the little rock children. we talk about young people. even dr. king himself was quite young throughout the movement. but i'm talking about children. with what were the strategies that you all were learning as young kids about what to do in moments like this? >> we knew that our parents' jobs would be jeopardized if they -- if we were arrested and they linked us to them.
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so taught us. my brother's one of the founding foot soldiers and he told me if you're going to be involved in this, then i have to train you. and we were taught and given made up names so that if -- when we were arrested we were questioned, we would have a fake name and they would know the name to come and get us. that way we wouldn't be jeopardizing our parents' job, but they would know who to ask for when they were coming to bail us out. >> part of what i love is that idea that there is deep strategy. sometimes we talk about as though it's a march. as though it just happened impromptu as opposed to a long-term strategy. when you look at the current movement around black lives matter, around hands up don't shoot, the ways in which young people are organizing now, do you feel a sense of solidarity? do you feel them following in the footsteps you all created along those pathways?
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>> sometimes. and sometimes not. i feel a disconnect. from 50 years ago instead of the transition on. and i blame our parents. myself. for not teaching, you know. not bringing your children to selma to montgomery, to birmingham, little rock. not from a young age teaching what your people have gone through. every culture knows its background. and i think that we should know too, that it didn't start in selma. there were -- >> it's one of my favorite things about this event is how many young people i have seen. like little people. how many parents have seen that it is important for the children to be here on this day. i want to send this over now to my colleague joy reid.
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she's over at brown chapel where the service is beginning to wrap up. joy? >> thanks very much melissa. very important and poignant story. i story. i am standing here with marie ka coleman who is a state representative representing birmingham. >> that's correct. >> talk a little bit about this what this anniversary means. obviously the city of birmingham so crucial in the civil rights movement, so much violence there and of course the violence that took place in selma. >> to me now we more than commemorating what happened 50 years ago, and of course i give all 0 imagine to my an says sores. i wouldn't be in the alabama legislature had it not been for them marching on the edmund pettus bridge. today we must remember that we so much more to do.
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we are right next to shelby county. because of that case we've lost a section, section 506 the voting rights act. that was the portion to make sure polling places were not moved away. that was the section to make sure that african americans had a fair opportunity to get elected. although we're company rating today and of course we're celebrating how far god brought us, we still have a lot of bridges to cross. >> we've talked about the straight line that connects jimmy lee jackson and the cases that we see in ferguson that we see in new york. the deaths of young black men. you're work in the state legislature on that issue. can you tell us about that. >> eric holder reminded everyone again that 50 years old the movement was started after the death of jimmy lee jackson. but now we have young men all over the country -- it's like it's open season on young black males in this country.
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i have a young black man at home. i'm afraid for him. i have sponsored in the alabama legislature that any police-involved shooting that there is oversight. but anytime there is a police-involved shooting to make sure -- have fresh eyes. i believe that black eyes matter. i believe that blue lives matter. this is not anything detrimental to the men and women in blue. i support them 100%. so if i support you, what is wrong with having a fresh yooi to come in and make sure everything is good. >> that's what we saw, that you did sort of have a shift in the democratic party in the south. it became the black party. and there was a wide spread abandoning of it by white voters. what does that mean to the actual power that someone yourself wields in a state legislature. are you now able to geshnegotiate
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with that brand. >> i'm in the super minority. when i came into the alabama legislature, i was one of six democrats. now i'm one of 23. this is my fourth term. i've been able to build relationships across the aisle. to me government works when you do just that. i may not get all that i want you may not get all that you want. but whenever whatever we can come together in the middle that's the best for the public. the power is not with me as the lenl legislator. the power is with the people. if the people demand they want any piece of legislation passed their power -- they often give away their power by not voting or not connecting with the legislators legislators. i'm appealing to the public to not yield your power away. you want to make sure that
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there's oversight, make sure they hear from you. >> thank you. back to you, betty. >> all right. powerful words there. and pictures as well as we witness right now people walking across that edmund pettus bridge as we company rate selma 50 years later. ♪
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troopers. it was a crucial moment that became known as bloody sunday. and while the selma campaign transformed america, voting rights legislation is still languishing since the supreme court gutted the vra in 2013. i'm sure that you're feeling the anticipation and excitement. the importance of what is taking place right now. >> that's right. you can feel the energy is bubbling. a few moments ago folks were chanting. i'll not sure if you can see the sea behind me. there are literally thousands of people abehind me. downtown selma is packed with folks who are marching towards the edmund pettus bridge. what brought you here today and what does it mean to you? >> i came here actually to bring my children so they could see
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even though a lot of people look at the fact that we have a black president but things have really not changed. so much going on in ferguson and all over where, you know everybody is demonstrating and protesting. you have to realize you can't forget where we came from. we still have a long way to go. >> we're marching along what is really hallowed ground here. 50 years ago they marched along this same route. >> exactly. >> how does it feel for you to give that to your children? >> it's great. my child is learn about it in school now. and for her to see it for herself, the streets that they kak chul actually walked. >> where are you from? >> i'm from prattville but i live in birmingham. >> you have people from across the country. you can feel it bubbling. you can feel it. we're literally marching the same steps that 50 years ago those brave freedom fighters took from brown chapel. i want to ask you, whatty you
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doing here? what does it mean for you to be here? >> it's a school field trip. >> shut up. i'm here for -- >> let's march. >> freedom and everything else. >> did you learn about this in school. >> yeah, learned about it in history. that's my history teacher right there. >> so what does it mean to actually be living this history? >> amazing. question understand what they're experiencing, you know. we didn't get to do all of this. so we're actually learning something. we're going through what they went through. >> reporter: thank you so much. >> you're welcome. >> reporter: as i mentioned, you can still see folks are marching gallantly coming towards the edmund pettus bridge. back to you, joy. >> thank you very much. we're here at the starting point. i'm here with texas congresswoman sheila jackson lee who i'm going to be quick with because i want to get her in place to participate in the march. there was a lot of focus inside
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brown chapel on voting rights. tell us, what is the say lency of the moment for you? >> can i thank you so much for what you do and all that you've done for us. but that's what this moment is. this is a powerful moment in history infused with hope energy and recommitment. i've come so many years. this is a moment in history that mixing together. black lives matter. young people saying is the criminal jus sis system going to worker for us. we as legislators have the active duty, after the marches and the company ration and the outpouring of the spirit that is coming to your soul to do the work in washington. the only place that we can fix what the united states supreme court did in shelby is in the united states congress. as a member of the you dish rare committee i can say that there are many many members who are interested in doing what is right. in fact the court said that it was about numbers. and i would say to the court, we
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are ready to deal with the numbers and introduce, as we've already done a fix for the shelby case and to restore the voting rights act. it is so crucial to what we're doing. and all of these people that are here, the thousands upon thousands, it is crucial to them. we must breathe life into this day by passing this reauthorization. >> what would it take to get speaker john boehner to put the bill that you've discussed that's already been introduced by yourself and colleagues what would it take for the speaker to put it on the floor to allows it for a chance to pass. >> i think members of congress who really feel committed that they could vote for this fix that we have have to have an even handed aggressiveness. first they have to read the bill. there are members who have not read the bill and are suggesting that the bill is onerous. it is not. if they look at the formula that we've crafted, it means if you're a bad actor and a state in the north or a state in the west or a state in middle america, then you opted in.
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but if you're doing good if you're doing good and made amends and you let people vote and a number of provisions where the military can vote people who are overseas can vote there is a means to expand voting then you have obviously opted out. that's the message i want to give. i want to give it to the state of texas and my governor who wants to support a voter id law. there are ways of looking and making sure that everyone who should vote votes and those who are not able or eligible to vote do not vote. we cannot leave brown chapel where the foot soldiers marched away and headed toward their bloody end, if you will -- jimmy lee jackson ultimately lost his life. where blood has been shed. we cannot leave this day without a reinvig ration and a commitment to all of these. these are the foot soldiers of today who are standing out here
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willing to come thousands of miles to be willing to say do something and do it in a way that speak to the honor of the nation and the tribute to martin luther king, the leadership that came down. i believe that i'm going to find a pathway. and i do not say it in a tone of arrogance. but i say anytime a tone that i will never give up on the fact that this supreme court was wrong, it was very wrong, but we have the measure and the legislation for which i am on the shoulders of those foot soldiers never, in the united states congress had it not been for the vote rights act. maybe never finished college or law school. but it all about these people that we must commit to go back to the congress aeng make a different. >> very well said. eni think you have many millions of americans behind you in your
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effort. we'll definitely keep up with you. we'll free you to go to the march. thank you so much. back to you, betty. >> very powerful words there. thank you, joy. msnbc host melissa harris perry is near the historic bridge. looking at some of these pictures, the thousands walking across, they are coming from near and far. they are from all walks of life and people of all races. >> well look. there are thousands here. but one of the things to remember about a moment like this, even though there with thousands of people each one has their own story. each person is here motivated by their own reasons. i want to introduce to two people who i met who i just love. this is ms. lady freedom. and very importantly this is ms. raids yens ransom. how old are you? >> eight years old. >> why do you want to be here today at eight years old? >> because i have to and because it's important and my feet are going to be tired. i just don't care. >> your feet are going to be
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tired? what happened in selma 50 years ago? >> it's how we got our voting right. it's just very important. >> i have heard so many people today talking about how important it is for us to be passing on the lessons of selma, the lessons of the civil rights movement and the reality of the movement with our children. here you are passing it on. why was it important for you to bring her? >> we were charged by a special foot soldier. he gave us a charge saying you all keep saying that you stand on our shoulders, but it's time for you to get off of our shoulders, take the torches and run with them. i hear the foot soldiers say over and over again. we did not teach them the lessons of how we actually did the logistics, how we strategized to make things happen. i'm striving to learn those lessons that the foot soldiers are trying to teach us so our seven generations behind us can continue fighting this voting
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rights struggle to hopefully by them they won't have to fight to save section five. hopefully they'll go ahead and get it right. hint hint. it's important to me as someone who is here. it's important to me as just an american you know. i mean what selma did for the world made america really kind of live up to the promise that it was selling across the world. you know and so that's why it's important to me. not only because i live here my grandparents -- i remember coming here and visiting before i became a resident because i grew up in st. louis. it's that important. it's a blessing that so many people are coming out. but you know when the march is over today, the city is going to be back to the ghost town. people need to know okay we marded across the bridge in the 50s. but we're still struggling. we're still literally fighting -- we have black city council people in selma who
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marched with dr. king who thought it was okay to give land to the people. >> what i heard from the president is this idea that there's an intergenerational struggle still going on. radiance, i heard you say this is how we got the vote. when you turn 18 do you plan to be a voter? >> i don't really know. but i plan to. >> if you're going to vote what's important to you. what do you want to hear from the people who want to be president. what do you want them to do? >> first they need to make the kkk invisible. >> that's a good one. >> and they also need to clean up trash. this whole place looks like it just came out of the dumpster. >> so that's a real thing, this question of economics. he she used athd-year-old words to talk about the issue of economic development. is that still the central question here in addition to the political question?
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>> it is. because there's a lot of question about yeah there's a lot of revenue coming into the city, a lot of revenue in the black belt. but where is the infrastructure left bind. when we had the bond set up for the city of selma was there was not one thing that was going to make ref knew. the police cars are going to break down. we need -- it -- in a city like selma, you need to know, ms. perry, that there's still discrimination about who gets the sewers done. the same streets that are already paved, they don't need it. they keep saying we're going to look what needs it the most. we know. it's selma. selma is this big. it's indicative of what goes on. i want people to learn the lessons about what we're still fighting here in selma and cease what's going on there so we can do what we need to do to really move forward for real. >> the president said it is not a post card. it is living history happening
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in this moment. radiance, i am so excited that you said to me when can i be on your show and the answer was today. >> yay. >> and she a had her voice heard. absolutely love that. i want to take us live to msnbc ter main lee who is with marchers. every person there stepping across that bridge has their own personal story. what are some of the stories that you're hearing today? >> that's right. some folks are from that community so they're honoring the legacy of their family and friends who originally marched over this bridge. other folk have been allies in the struggle back in the 60s whether they were here or otherwise. there's a whole generation of people bringing their children grandchildren to make sure they get the opportunity to walk through history. as we walk down alabama here to broad street -- you want to make a left toward the edmund pettus bridge. right in front of us there are
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thousands of people who are jammed hire along broad street trying to get to the edmund pettus bridge. now from the pictures that you can see, there are thousands of people on the other side. some folks are marching forward. a.c thomas from tuscaloosa. what brought you here today? >> we wanted to be a part of history. hearing so much about this. we want to be a part of history. we brought or kids our church family. we brought so many people here today because we want this legacy to go on you know to carry on that they might be able to tell their kids their grandkids about what happened here so many -- 50 years ago, that they have the right to vote to be a part of that freedom of speech. somebody paid the price for them to be able to come here and have
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the freedom in the united states of america. just a great country that we live in. >> tracy, i want to ask you. we're asking these same steps that 50 years ago yesterday, you know folks were met by state troopers posse men with clubs and whips and people were brutalized including men, women and children. why do you think it's important to take these same steps in company ration right now? >> if you don't take the same steps, you'll never be able to fully embrace what rights we have right now. if you don't know then you cannot even take in the opportunities that we have right now. somebody really put their life down, they sacrificed. they showed that nasty and strength and pers very rans to go down the streets although they knew what was waiting for them. we can freely go up and vote. we take our children ever time we go vote because we want them to understand that we can do it. and it was because of the sacrifice that so many did for us. >> now you sadia eel come every year.
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have you ever seen anything like this in. >> nothing like this. >> nothing. >> this is quite an amazing experience. there's so many people around here and so many people are excited. everybody wanted to remember the great sacrifice of so many. i'm so excited to be here. >> as tracy mentioned, people are excited to walk and march in this legacy. they're celebrating their legacy but there is no sense of celebration here because again there was bloodshed on these very steps we're walking. so people have been balancing the company ration and the celebration. you look around thousands -- i want you to see this. i want you to see this. look down -- this is broad street. look down at the base of that bridge. all the way until it crests there are thousands of people. you see some families you see little children hoisted on shoulders. and among this crowd are people from all over the country and
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from this community and fought so very hard. it's amazing to see people honoring those home grown, those home grown foot soldiers. like this -- i want to ask you, ma'am, i see -- ma'am, you're holding your badge right here. were you here during this earlier days? >> college when we rode before the white and colored signs and did the -- but anyway for my job was to sit in front of the white and colored sign and ride from fairfield birm hamm. >> thank you very much. again here we have looks like the delegation is arriving. there are many people here at broad street. you see the crowd of thousands growing. they're chanting the chants "we
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want justice." thousands of people here. you see bernice king. you see other influential people who are not only civil rights leaders and icons but again many of the foot soldiers and all of their allies. looks like the heart of -- msnbc. as you see, pushing through the crowd back to you betty. >> we're a watching many of the dignitaries make their way there. you saw bernice king. many others are making this historic walk. yes it's been 50 years since that original march. but this is yet a bit of history today as you're seeing thousands march across that brinldge one more time to company rate bloody
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sunday. u.s. attorney eric holder reflects on the progress that's been made since that day 50 years ago. >> with the relentless drum beat of their footsteps, they walked the conscience of this nation. and they belt the arc a little closer to justice. their courage and sacrifice led a dubious congress and a great president to work with the attorney general to enact into law the voting rights act of 1965. just show them this - the american express card. don't leave home without it! and someday, i may even use it on the moon. it's a marvelous thing! oh! haha! so you can replace plane tickets, traveler's cheques, a lost card. really? that worked? american express' timeless safety and security are now available on apple pay. the next evolution of membership is here. hey mom, you want to live by the lake, right? yeah.
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here's a live picture now selma, alabama. adds you see, many people have gathered toward the edmund pettus brinl there, the historic
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bridge to company rate bloody sunday selma 50 years later. not many of the marchers are moving very swiftly through the crowds and that's because there are so many people there at that bridge that they're being stalled just a little bit because they're trying to make their way through. of course we're going to continue to follow all of this for you, and especially the individual stories of people who have come out to mark this occasion. i want to send you to my colleague, msnbc's joy reed who is standing by. she's been talking all day long to many of the people in the crowd. joy, the stories are truly remarkable. >> yeah, no. absolutely. i'm here at brown chapel ame and i'm standing here with three -- actually a big group of 50 people who came down from memphis, tennessee to be a part of this company ration. and i want to now talk with the lead sister, suzen, peggy and elaine. elaine, you were actually a marcher in 1965. >> yes, i was a marcher.
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i was living in memphis, tennessee. that's my home. i was a student at the college at the time. i had already participated in a lot of sit-ins, marches, pickets an and all of that. a member of the naacp. we was very active. when dr. king made the call for people to come in from all over the country after the citizen of selma, alabama were beaten on the bridge on that sunday it tore my heart apart. when the call was made i wanted to be a part of that. i wanted to come in and join in and march into montgomery alabama. and i was fortunate to do that. u it was an amazing march. it was an invigorating experience to be there. and i just feel honored to be back here 50 years later. >> and i know that these sisters are one of 14 siblings in the family. how did you mom feel about your sister participating in this march? >> well by that time we were
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seasoned protesters. we had been arrested many times. so my parents were in full support of what we were doing. >> and i understand susan, you were arrested as young as 12 years old. >> yes i was. we were picketing and that wasn't my first march i participated in. we were picketing in front of a department store on main street in memphis. protesting against the employment practices at the department store. so i was arrested. i was 12 years old, thrown into the patty wagon. of course we were taken to juvenile court being that age. there were actually five of us of our sisters that were arrested at that moment. >> the group that's come here from memphis is one of so many that have traveled a long distance to be a part. i want to pull this young lady over here and embarrass her. 15 years old. just looking at the young age at which your andunties were
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participating. you're 15 years old. do you feel that young people your age get it and are part of the activist spirit that the generation that your aunts had? >> i feel that -- i don't really know. but, i mean somehow they feel it because it's obviously there because they've experienced it in different ways. but i think it's obviously a different kind of experience that they get. >> and just to wrap up with you, when you look at the young people that are involved in things like black lives matter and these movements, do you see echos of yourself and your sisters and what you guys were doing back in the 1960s? >> it was so heart warming to see the thousands of young people to pour into the streets all over the country to protest the injustice that was taking place as far as the murders of young black men. and it reminded me so much of
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the 1960s. and my heart was just filled with joy to know that they are stepping up now. so our generation understands, they understand and i am so proud of them. and i hope that will keep on marching. i'll be marching with them. >> betty, as you can see to be spirit of activism very much alive here in selma 50 years of the original march over the edmund pettus brinldge. >> i want to bring in now dr. joseph, a professor at tufts university. let's continue to talk about that. is this a new age of activism, if you will? has the spark been reunited? >> absolutely. i think one thing we have to remember 50 years after selma, activism always continued. but certainly the eric garner and ferguson decisions -- when we think about ferguson starting in august of 2014 but once the grand jury decision came in a few days before thanksgiving and
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then eight, nine days later eric garner grand jury decision came in as well you saw a lot of millennials. personally i think of millennials a as the second half of the millennials, those born after the rodney king decision and the uprising. some of those are any students at tufts university. some are just young people not connected to any institution of higher education. and they've been very active. they've been organizing and active through social media. it's been multicultural and multiracial. it's been african american white, latino asian mesh gay, lesbian, transgender. we see young people getting it that what they saw in ferguson was the metaphor for the state of race relations in the united states. and what they've been doing is organizing to such an extent that they've shut down highways
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they've shut down mass transit. they've really demanded -- and president obama talked about this yesterday. jump starting our moral imagination saying this is wrong. and really connecting the criminal justice system to public school education, to residential segregation, to lack of access to health care. all of these different things that we're dealing with. this is about small d democracy and the young people have been the biggest and the best, most eloquent arctic laters of what kind of meaning that citizenship would have in the 20th century. that harkens back to the committee that pushed this country to transform itself. >> i want to take us back on the ground there in selma to msnbc host melissa harris perry. she has someone special that she wants to speak with. >> again i'm here at the bridge. as i was standing here i watched
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the head of the naacp, cornell books, about to walk over the bridge. i wanted to talk a home. how are you feeling as you're about to make this journey? >> for me it feels more akin to a pilgrimage than a walk. you think about the pham fact that so many people laid down their lives and limbs for the right to vote. to me who was born like the president, same year really after the civil rights movement or being too young to remember it. for me this is a way of connecting with my forebearers. with all of these folks. it's profounding spiritual experience. not a political experience. >> you know that language of the spiritual -- i was asked earlier how would you describe the mood. and i kept saying it feels like love and not an easy love but what toni morrison might call a thick love. have you felt that here?
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>> it's a kind of agape love for the nation. unconditional in two respects unconditional as we're forever committed to the country but also unconditional in our commitment. it's a profound love. the kind of love where we literally as a people have been willing to lay down or lives for this republic. and as i like to say, we are the ones that breathe the breath of live into the constitution. the modern civil rights movement is a second reconstruction. we're in the midst of a third reconstruction. all of these young people are the young practitioners of the democracy. in a real sense, they're the ms. boynton who will be around 100 years from now saying this is what we did in 2015 to secure the right to vote to bring about justice in the criminal justice
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system. it's powerful day. >> kind of a sunning difference in this moment, having the president and the attorney general at the front end of the march before crossing the bridge rather than the back end. still so much critical injustice. thank you for pausing before you headed over. this is melissa harris perry coming to you from the edmund pettus bridge. stay with msnbc for continues coverage throughout the day. if you're running a business legalzoom has your back. over the last 10 years we've helped one million business owners get started. visit legalzoom today for the legal help you need to start and run your business. legalzoom. legal help is here.
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♪ [piano background music begins] ♪ we are one, we are essentially the same regardless of where we come from. um, there are definitely things that are different about us culturally and everything else but at the end of the day we are the same and we really need to start seeing the world as a place that was gifted to us. [thunder and rain] [thunder and rain] [thunder and rain] welcome back to our special coverage of selma 50 years later. here is a live picture of selma, alabama at the edmund pettus bridge that historic site where in 1965 about 600 civil rights
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marchers were confronted with tear gas as thaw tried to cross the bridge. but today people are crossing it peacefully. they're trying to make their way across. there are so many in there that some of them aren't able to walk forward. they're in a holding pattern. but it signifies how many people wanted to come out and commemorate what was happening there 50 years ago this weekend. and to make sure they are a part of today's history as many will tell you the fight continues. i want to take you now live to msnbc trymaine lee who is on the ground with many of the marchers. as you talk to people individually, you have to wonder what the freedom fighters might think in seeing this scene today as so many have come out to remember what was done there. >> that's right. when you think back 50 years ago, 50 years ago yesterday actually had 600 marchers trying to march across the edmund pettus bridge, what they were fighting for and what they were thinking. here we are 50 years later and
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there are tens of thousands at least out here today attempting to cross the bridge. here we are at the foot. a lot of folks talk about how young people are disconnected from the pr says. vi two young men here carter and michael. what brought you out here today? >> i'm here because it makes me feel a part of something more than what i am because it shows that as a whole black people came together to say you will not stop us from being able to vote. it meant something to those people who walked across the say i want my right to vote because i'm just as much of an american citizen as you are. >> reporter: wow. and michael, what do you think? you're here among thousands of people who are out here some are chanting. everyone so encouraged to get to the bridge and walk in those same footsteps. why are you here? >> i'm here because it feels great to be a part of history. something that happened 50 years ago, the struggle that many african americans went through
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for us to get the right to vote how many people died on this bridge, how many people suffered. people of all color helped in order for us to be where we are today. >> reporter: when you think about these young people that are here, among so many including some of the original foot soldiers -- and people can -- you know history can gloss over the harsh reality of what happened that day. men and women were beaten simply for pushing for voting rights. we have an original freedom fighter here. what es ooh your name sir. >> rev michael boeing. >> reporter: when you're here and hear young people speak about wanting tore a part of that history that so many like yourself fought for young black men and women being able to vote, how does that make you feel? >> i must applaud them highly. i'm down founded when i see the dream dr. king preached so many
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years ago, 50 years ago that came alive today. today we witnessed the evidence of what was spoken what these brothers died for that came alive today for me. i've been doing the march for at least 17 years. jubilee march across the bridge. but today i witness it came alive in my time. i'm happy and rejoicing with my brother right here. >> reporter: does this one feel different at all? we're 50 years out. is this one special in some kind of special way? >> this is a special march. you look at people today, we still have many of those that have fear in their eyes. but today i see rejoice and jubilee. >> reporter: we've seen it in recent months with the protests around the count pri. there seems to be a separation of two americas. for him to say every single day to see people with fear in their eyes but today jubilation speaks to what many have say time and
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time again. this is about commemorating the past and raising people's voices. >> thank you so much for that. this weekend's selma march coincides with international women's day. richard louis is in times square where thousands held a m for gender right and equality. how has the general made women's rights important for the u.n. >> reporter: you can probably hear some of the speakers just off to my left here. we've been commemorating selma 50 years. and here in new york they're company rating gender equality that goes back to 1908 where some 10,000 women walked through this streets. we've got people marching for gender equality. you were asking me about the secretary general and he made jend are equality his number one
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priority. and he was telling me why personally it meant so much to him. take a listen. >> i have seen so many times in my young hood i have seen my mother always working very hard. but they have not been treated equally. >> one day i was actually speaking at a gala in support of the organization and i just -- they kind of pulled me up stage impromptu and i didn't know what to do. i was suicidal and cutting my wrists because iz was raped. literally that came out on stage. the truth that's come from it has been incredible. maybe at this point over a thousand girls are reached out to me over e-mail twitter, the social media networks letting me knee they're also survivors, that they didn't think they could say anything. >> as you hear anna lin mccord actress sharing a personal story
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in terms of how she waited ten years before coming out and talking about her own incident with violence against women. it's because she became involved in events like this. here we are in manhattan, some 5,000, 10,000 people. and they just finished their walk. as you can hear they're fin shing it out. a march for equality here a parallel to the march for equality there in selma, alabama. >> absolutely a parallel. thank you so much for that. we of course will continue our coverage of selma 50 years later. you're looking at a live picture of edmund pettus bridge where thousands are recognizing the anniversary of bloody sunday. john lewis helped lead the march in 1965 and today the daughter of george wallace, the governor of alabama back then had a special message for congressman lewis. >> 50 years ago you stood here in front of your state capitol
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and sought an opportunity as a citizen of alabama to be recognized and heard by your governor and he refused. but today, as his daughter and as a person of my own, i want to do for you what my father should have done and recognize you for your humanity and for your dignity as a child of god, as a person of good will and character and as a fellow al bammian and say welcome home. [ applause ] tuff. i'm good. that's what i like to call, the meta effect. 4-in-1 multi-health metamucil is
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the americans who cross this bridge they were not physically imposing but they gave courage to millions. they held no elected office, but they led a nation. >> that was president obama at the events marking the 50th anniversary of the selma march. today as you see, thousands are making the same journey that the president made yesterday. msnbc's melissa harris perry is standing at the edmund pettus bridge. how many are people feeling on the ground. many still trying to make their way across the bridge. so many people have come out that it's going to take a little while. >> reporter: it is. as we've been watching the crowd, we're right at the foot of the bridge. we're watching the crowd as i oohs coming from the church where the church service was. folks are coming and starting to cross over the bridge.
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i'm recognizing some of the faces from brown chapel this morning. initially it was folks who had staged themselves on this side. but at this point there's a whole group who have made the pilgrimage, the same pilgrimage that the initial activists made from brown chapel here to the foot of edmund pettus. >> so as you speak with people out there, especially the young people -- because this is more than just marking history. this is passing it on as well. are young people understanding the torch that is being passed on to them? >> reporter: i think so. i mean in fact part of what is so important about the number of people here the age of the people here and the level of enthusiasm is that it tells you, this is not just about something that happened in the past. this is truly motivated by what the president has called and of course in quoting martin luther king jr., the fierce urgency of now. there is a sense in this crowd that what people are marching
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for are issues that are on the table right now. we saw an enormous contingent of planned parenthood go past. folks marching because they believe that reproduct ty rights continue to be threatened in this country, particularly in the south. we saw a whole group go by from the chicago committee of lawyers for civil rights under the law. that is an organization founded by bobby kennedy in this same moment that is saleelma. they're moving across the bridge because they're interested in the questions of criminal justice reform. we saw the head of the naacp making his way across not because of the past but rather because he's right now fighting for the question of voting reform. this is a march right now about the issues that we're addressing. >> about many issues thaz you described some f them right there. thank you so much. we're going the take you now to msnbc easter main lee who is also on the ground making his
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way across the ground. trymaine you've been talking to a lot of people today. what has been the overriding feel that you're getting and the sense of why people are there? >> reporter: okay. i want to correct one thing. we're attempting to march across this bridge. you see how many people are here. it's a little difficult. we're heen on broad street at the foot of the edmund pettus bridge. it's jam packed here. i have two folks here with me from cincinnati ohio. you said it was eight hours, a long eight hours but finally you're here at the base of the bridge. what does it mean? >> it means a lot to be just to be here and see how far we came and how long we still got to go. >> reporter: what about you? >> it's truly humbling just to see the road that all of the activists and everybody marched for voters rights. just to see how far we have come. it's truly humbling. it's a great experience. we're happy to be here. >> reporter: we're actually literally walking history's path
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here. this same path they took from grown chapel. here we are. can you feel the history? >> i feel like they're walking with me. >> and we watched the movie and now to have a chance to come and see it in person is a great experience. >> reporter: wow. the idea that they're literally walking through history but she said it feels like they're walking with them. and in some cases they literally are because some of the original foot soldiers and those who put it all on the line are right here on this very street right there on the bridge where so many were bruttized. they're walking with them. as people are gathering here there are so many people on the bridge that it's difficult to move at this point. but if you look behind us there are still thousands of people stretching back what must be at least a half a mile if not more. so folks are out here. everyone seems to be content. the sun is high. it's hot. but everyone is here taking part in this really mo men tus
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weekend. >> it's great to see them making their way slowly across the bridge. it shows you how many people wanted to be there to mark the occasion. selma 50 years later. coming up we'll continue our live coverage of the march across the edmund pettus bridge in selma, alabama. thousands are there to honor the 50th anniversary of bloody sunday. stay with us. first, listen to how martin luther king, iii reflects on that day. >> i think about what dad said in montgomery in 1965 at the end of his remarks almost. and he talked about how long will it be. went on the say he didn't know how long but he said he knew that it wouldn't be long because no lie can live forever. you can't predict the market. but at t. rowe price we've helped guide our clients through good times and bad.
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selma 50 years later. do you think the freedom fighters would have imagined this crowd crossing the edmund pettus bridge today? it is quite remarkable. i want to take you live on the ground to msnbc's trymaine lee who has been walking with marchers there trying to get through the crowds and to the bridge. it is quite a sea of people. and i know you've been talking to a lot of different people today of what bring themselves there. but i want to get your opinion. i quantity to know what this means to you personally to walk these steps. >> reporter: i'll tell you what betty, as a journalist i'm usually at least one or two feet removed from the story. but being here today, being an african american and having benefitted from so many struggles and having the opportunity to talk to so many people who not only fought but some of them shed blood on the ground i'm walking on right now.
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to talk to young men and women in high school who say they've learned about it in school but to be here and shake the hands with the foot soldiers who marched here and confronted the police to speak to young parents -- i'm a parent of a young two and a half-year-old girl. given we have so much further to go. but to stand here on this bridge whereas a figure tif bridge from 50 years ago here we are today. it means a lot to me. when you see the thousands of people out here streaming across the bridge going in each direction, they're young, old, black and white, they're families. it really does touch me in a special way. we'll go back to you, melissa. >> some final thoughts for you as well-being there today amidst the sea of people that have come out for this. >> reporter: i want to underline what trymaine is saying. it's impossible is to be
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standing here and be separated from it. to feel like you're just reporting on it. this is the place where the things that people did here the kurnl that they showed made me a citizen. without their sacrifices without the literal blood sacrifices made there in that moment, i could not now be a citizen. i would not have the right to offer a critique of my government. i would not have a right to demonstrate my support of a can date in an election. it is an overwhelming and extremely sobering reality to stand with people, not who have passed on but people living and breathing and working right now who won that right for me and for my chrn and for trymaine and for all of us. and it is just a moment not to be missed. >> i can see it in your face i can hear it in your voice. and like your father said to you many times, the struggle continues. are you feeling that out there
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today? all right. melissa, can you hear me? all right. we've lost melissa. but that is something that many there have said that today, yes, it's about company rating what happened there 50 years ago but it's also about taking that forward and making that difference with what they have at hand and the sea of people there has within quite remarkable. we want to thank you for joining us. as we look at the live pictures from selma, alabama. and just see people who come from near and far all walks of life all races making their way across that bridge. that historic bridge that means so much, not only to the people there but to people across this great country. it just gives so many people courage to continue on. and to continue fighting for things within their own community. because that essentially is what this original march was about. so thank you so much for joining us for our special coverage of selma 50 years later.
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we do appreciate you being here with us. i'm betty nguyen. stay with us for more updates throughout the day right here on msnbc. ♪ ♪ ♪ i love my meta health bars. because when nutritious tastes this delicious
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