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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  June 4, 2011 7:00pm-8:15pm EDT

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power to hold power. one must understand that anyone who has absolute power, this tends to be true in dictatorships like china or the soviet union. they will use the power to identify and keep power. we must remember that. c-span: here is the book in paperback and hardback. thirteen days "tiananmen diary: thirteen days in june." they keep. >> the redesigned website features over 800 authors interviewed where you can view programs, transcripts, and use a
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searchable database to find links. a brand new look and feel. a great way to watch and enjoy authors and books. what are you reading this summer? ..
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because of his role in the legal history of the movement, civil rights movement, many, many books that are written about the legal history of the movement revolve around thurgood marshall and his conception of equality. well, my book is different. it begins with the question of what would the legal history of the civil rights movement look like if the work of thurgood marshall and the work of the supreme court justices weren't so central to the story?
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what would we see? who would we see? and my book answers that question with this observation. if we move those familiar persons and institutions away from the center of analysis, we can see unsung lawyers and activists at the local level. people who contributed a lot to the social and legal world that we live in today. people who sometimes disagreed with thurgood marshall and his conception of equality. people whom we ought to remember just as we remember marshall. and i say that because i think in remembering these people, we add depth to the history of the civil rights movement. now, my work, my book "courage to dissent" recalls the history
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of the movement in atlanta. and, of course, you all know that atlanta is a leading american city today, but it was also really important during the civil rights movement because it was the home to leading civil rights organizations, including the southern christian leadership council and sncc, so i would like to focus on sncc and other lawyers and lawyers who are unsung and contribute to the history of the movement. i take a bottom-up perspective on constitutional law. cr unsung lawyers and activists who
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i argue in my book who contributed to the civil rights movement in important ways. the first point i want to emphasize is that all of these dissenters, and i style all of these people dissenters have the same overarching goal of equality. but they had different priorities and tactics for achieving quality. in fact, they defined equality in different ways. the first wave of dissenters were pragmatists. i call them pragmatists because they wanted to challenge jim crow but without destroying the economic capital that the black middle class had created during segregation. they were some of the black college presidents in atlanta, many african-american teachers who were the lion's share of the
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black middle class and they also included a.t. walden who was one of the south's first african-american lawyers. and here he is a portrait of mr. walden. now, walden was the son of former slaves and sharecroppers. he studied at atlanta university with w.b. dubois. he went on to graduate with honors from the university of michigan law school. he excelled at michigan while waiting tables at a local fraternity. he is little known today but walden really inspired a generation of african-american lawyers including vernon jordan, a lawyer -- the counsel among presidents who i'm sure some of you have heard of. jordan called walden so impressive. he said, quote, i wanted to be a lawyer just like walden. i wanted to walk like him and
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talk like him and hang out my shingle on auburn street just like walden. above all else, pragmatists like walden and the black college president prioritized voting rights as the path to black power. and here we see walden challenging the so-called white primary, the laws, the tradition of excluding african-americans from the vote in georgia and elsewhere. and here is the result of his activism in 1946, after the fall of the white primary blacks lined up all over the streets in atlanta, eager to exercise the franchise. and yet walden and other pragmatists were called uncle tom's and the question is, why would that be?
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well, it was because he didn't challenge segregation in housing. instead, he made deals with local whites to find housing for african-americans wherever he could in the midst of a post-war housing crisis. and this has the effect of maintaining the color line. and as a result, poor black neighborhoods remained intact, neighborhoods like the one where this woman lives remained intact. and really his decisions had the impact of exacerbating segregation over time. he also was called an accommodationist because he never fully embraced school desegregation. of course, a chief way in which thurgood marshall conceived equality. now, why would that have been? well, it was partly because he was interested in preserving the
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jobs of african-american school teachers. but also, it was because he was worried that in desegregated schools, african-american students would not have a nurturing school environment. so because of his skepticism of school desegregation, he didn't file a case to desegregate the schools in atlanta until 1958, although he promised thurgood marshall that he would file a case right after brown was decided in 1954. he also was slow in filing -- or carrying forth prosecuting the uga case. walden was replaced as lead counsel on the initial case to desegregate the university of georgia, which was filed in 1952. he was replaced because the ldf lawyers in new york thought he was too beholden to the white
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power structure to litigate the case aggressively. it fell to constance baker motley and donald hollowel to litigate that case to fruition in 1961, which was 11 years after walden initially started that fight and here you see horace ward, who was the initial plaintiff in the uga case and donald hollowel. moreover, walden, and other pragmatists opposed the direct action tactics of the second wave of dissenters in my book. now, the second wave of dissenters were street demonstrators and movement administrators. they are squared off here in
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1964 against the clan. these activists sought to achieve social and economic empowerment for black communities by desegregating public accommodations, by walking picket lines with unions and with rent strikes and generally trying to reach the african-american community where it was. there are two lawyers who became allies of the student movement during the 1960s. and my book spends many, many chapters detailing the synergies between these lawyers and the student movement over the course of the 1960s. what i first want to do, though, is give you a little background on the student movement itself, which official burst onto the national scene in 1960 and the
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sit-ins in greensboro, where black college students request for service really launched a revolution in southern race relations. the movement quickly spread including to atlanta in march of 1960 and there we see some students who were engaged in one of these demonstrations. the students in atlanta, like all over this country, engaged in a year's long effort to desegregate public accommodations. now, for my purposes this afternoon, i want to emphasize two points about the student movement. they are, first, the students turned to direct action partly out of frustration with civil rights lawyers. and with civil rights litigation, the pace of civil rights litigation. it was too slow for them, but, two, even as they pursued their new tactics, they didn't turn entirely away from the law.
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and i want to read you a quote from john lewis that illuminate, the student' critique of a lawyer-dominated movement. lewis said, quote, we were all about a mass movement, an irresistible movement. thousands of every day people taking their cause and belief to the streets. not so interested in lawyers, john lewis. now, it's important to appreciate the context of lewis' statement. he made it at a time when mainstream's lawyers including thurgood marshall were very negative on the sit-ins, very negative on direct action so the beginning of the student movement, thurgood marshall said
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to the students that the way to change america was through the courts, not in the streets. he told the students that they were going to get someone killed if they continued with their tactics. he told them that they were invading the property of whites. and in atlanta, a.t. walden agreed with that assessment. so this is the context in which the students pushed back and said, no, anyone can serve. we don't need to be mediated by lawyers and we're going to do our own thing. now, as it turned out, there was a problem. the students' preferred tactic often landed them in jail. and so they realized that they desperately needed representation. they needed lawyers because if nothing else, we know that
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lawyers can get you released from jail, right? so in the middle of their movement and their excitement about their political tactics, the students realized something that we all know or at least we know or hope is true, and that is that lawyers -- you can't live with them but you also can't live without them. so these students turned back to lawyers. they sought new allies in the bar and they realized that they could find allies who were interested in their tactics and those lawyers are lynn holt and howard moore, jr. they answered the call and now i want to tell you a bit about those lawyers. their approaches to litigation really illuminate, i think, looks at the value of the movement system, i think, from the bottom-up. the first lawyer that i'll talk about is lynn holt who collaborated with scores of
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community-based organizations in the south including sncc and the community on heal for human rights. lynn holt was charismatic. he was called the snake doctor. because of his style, he was a rabble-rouser. he was an activist lawyer and he was proud of it. and i think it really comes through in this photograph with the hat, and that very long cigar he calls it a clint eastwood cigar. quite evocative of him. holt identified as a movement lawyer, by which he meant. he wanted to catalyze the social movement. he said the movement should lead and lawyers should follow. his goal was to fortify participatory democracy. he wanted to use the courtroom as political theater.
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the interesting thing is that biography is a key to understanding why lynn holt chose this approach to lawyering. lynn holt had attended high school at howard university during the 1950s, which was a golden age for the institution. this was when thurgood marshall and other lds lawyers had their arguments that they would make at the supreme court at howard law school. imagine how exciting this was to have thurgood marshall and all of these lawyers in the midst especially for someone like lynn holt, who wanted to be a civil rights lawyer. he was right there in the midst. he in an important way, it turned out that he had the privilege of fetching coffee and sandwiches for thurgood marshall and doing a little bit of legal
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research for those lawyers as well. and imagine being so close to someone whom you admired so much. he was intent on going to work for lds after he graduated from howard. but he did not do that. and why was that? well, because he became very troubled by lds school desegregation strategy, how it played out in prince edward county, virginia. the school board there closed its schools for five years rather than comply with a school desegregation decry. and for all of that time, local children did not go to school. lynn holt, who was a virginia lawyer, witnessed the impact of the school closings as he traveled back and forth
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throughout the state and would go through prince edward county and he saw black boys and girls 8 and 9 years old standing around and doing nothing. these are the the children of black agriculture workers sharecroppers who themselves had not been well-educated. and lynn holt thought that it was another lost generation. and he concluded that the school desegregation litigation imposed strong rules and they hadn't cared for his clients and he also questioned the narrow focus on school desegregation anyway given the material deprivation of these communities. so it's within this context that he developed this commitment to movement lawyering. he said that he would lawyer in a different way. he would put the objectives, the
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goals of the people first. he explained, lawyers were no longer the central agents fighting to achieve the goals of freedom and equality through their own special arena, the courts of law. their primary task was to find ways of helping the black people themselves enforce the constitutional promises of freedom and equality. now, my book recounts lynn holt pioneered the use of a tack particular called omnibus civil rights suits to facilitate the movement's goal of desegregating public accommodations consistent with this concept of movement lawyering. the omnibus civil rights action was unique in that it challenged segregation in many, many venues
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all at once rather than on a piecemeal basis. and let me describe what i mean. a complaint omnibus complaint filed in danville, virginia, or a caption revealed that it attacked segregation in the danville memorial hospital, the danville technical institute, the city armory, the city's housing projects and many other state-controlled entities. so the idea here is that with this omnibus litigation, holt advanced the student' goal of freedom now. they were uninterested in waiting and challenging jim crow bit by bit. that was inefficient from their standpoint. so by filing these suits, the students would be able to have a lawsuit that would hopefully tear down jim crow much quickly at the same time, they would continue their protests in the streets and battle segregation
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in two different fora. now, the student movement in atlanta filed one of these omnibus in 1961. and the complaint's caption reflected the flare of the pro se lawyers, lawyers who file on their own or without a lawyer. here was the caption. a suit to exhume much of the cancerous racial segregation that is festering within atlanta the student said. now, thurgood marshall probably would have left out the cancerous part, right? and they describe the city's segregation policies themselves in equally provocative terms. they call them, quote, insulting, degrading, unnecessary, medieval, foolish and septic. and again, you could imagine that thurgood marshall and other
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ldf lawyers would have called them unconstitutional. the thing is the students with their provocative style won their case in 1962. the federal district court in atlanta struck down all ordinances requiring segregation into the parks, theaters, arenas, publics, halls and other places of public assembly finding them unconstitutional under the 14th amendment. the students had filed this lawsuit amid continuing protests linking the political tactics and the legal tactics just as lynn holt had imagined and as you can imagine the students were very happy with lynn holt and the way in which he contributed to their idea of what the movement should be. because of his support of the movement, he was beloved. mary king compared him to,
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quote, an abolitionist on the underground railroad. james for man called him, quote, far ahead of the conservative legal profession. and another called him one of the great unsung heroes of the civil rights movement. certainly, lynn holt ought to be remembered. now, let's talk about howard moore, jr., who was there on the lef left. moore said to himself, i can talk like that and so he could. >> he was so eloquent and just like e.t. walden and others before him and other ambitious african-americans had to go out of state to law school and that
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was because at the time, he was excluded from the university of georgia because of his lace he went up north to boston university. and when he graduated he came back to georgia. he really wanted to be a member of the georgia bar and to break in his home state and city. he joined the bar in 1962. and when he did he was the only tenth full-time black lawyer practicing, not in atlanta but in the entire state of georgia, which might strike you as pretty incredible. those numbers by the way didn't improve very much until the 1970s. once he joined the bar, he went to work for donald although owell who's there on the right. he's another legendary lawyer
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who was important to the student movement. he was moore's mentor although when they first met each other, it was an odd encounter. although -- although hollowell told moore he was a lawyer and moore, when he said this, that's bull. i think he said something a little bit more colorful. [laughter] >> fortunately, he said it to himself and got himself a mentor. the point is black lawyers were very, very rare. it was inconceivable a black man could be a lawyer at that time. nevertheless, more went on to make a tremendous impact in the law. as sncc's general counsel he represented the three movements the civil rights movement, the antipoverty movement and then the peace movement. he filed actions that spanned substantive areas of law. so he litigated housing cases
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for impoverished clients who were subjected to summary evictions. he got to know these clients because sncc, these students in the atlanta movement, worked with -- in atlanta's ghettos trying to help people who were poor find a way out of those conditions. the students helped people objected social services, balanced budgets, all sorts of matters and moore handled related legal cases. he also worked on behalf of contentious objectors who were anxious to avoid service in the vietnam war. he represented school desegregation school plaintiffs at least until he became quite a critic of school desegregation. he handled criminal proceedings including capital cases. he filed first amendment actions on behalf of all manner of administrators. his roster of clients including
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sophie carmichael, angela davis, julius bond and some of the most prominent actors of the 1960s. moore had an empathic lawyering style which endear him to students. he was called a big lovable character. she said moore held it all together for activists under pressure. if howard moore hadn't worked with me and tried to get my act together, i don't know what i would have done. that's an important testament to how moore was to the movement he told me he view the practice of law as a crusade of justice. he was quite brave, which made him a good fit for his roster of clients including julian bond. and there mr. bond is. julian bond in 1965 was elected
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to the georgia house of representatives. after he campaigned on an antipoverty platform in atlanta's poor communities, the community like you see here where he has an adorable little kitty, and yet when it came time for bond to be seated, his colleagues refused to seat him. refused to actually swear him in? why would they have done that? well, because bond had endorsed sncc's statement's avoiding the vietnam war. although sncc lived up to its daycare for the u.s. and it's for this that bond had been called unqualified for public office. some had said he had committed treason with these words. he was asked to repudiatie and
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they not only came from whites but from the entire black establishment in atlanta. howard moore recalled that the leadership in the black community was, quote, 100% against julian bond. now, as i say that, bear in mind that as these actions were taking place in january of 1966, most americans still supported the war. dr. king would not publicly express opposition to the war until 1967. and so sncc was on the leading edge of antiwar sentiment. bond was under intense pressure but he stood pack. he said i hope through my entire life i shall always have the courage to dissent and his supporters in sncc backed him up
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saying what could be more patriotic than the expression of dissent in america, a country born of revolution? this photograph is a picture of bond in the chambers where his colleagues are refusing to seat him. so sncc argued that the right to express dissent was a keystone of democracy. members of sncc mobilized and supported him. and he actually was required to stand for re-election while he had been unseated. and his constituents backed him up. they supported him. he was re-elected. they remain loyal to him. in the meantime, howard moore filed a lawsuit challenging this expulsion and ultimately he won.
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moore and a team of lawyers prevailed in the bond case. his activism there yielded an important supreme court decision upholding the first amendment right of elected officials, which is one reason among many that howard moore, jr., deserves to be remembered. and now let's consider the third wave of dissenters who in my book are personified by welfare rights activists and a lawyer who represented them. now, this third wave of dissenters really bring the book full circle. because just as the students had challenged the first wave, these pragmatists, did third wave challenged the students. in fact, they challenged the entire society. and in my book, ethel may
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matthews, who's shown on the cover and in the slide personifies this wave of dissenters. ethel may matthews, was the daughter of alabama sharecroppers. she arrived penniless in atlanta during the 1950s. she worked as a housekeeper. she lived in public housing and she later found her political voice in the welfare right movement during the 1960s. matthews and others like her, as she rose to -- they roads to challenge the second wave and others in the civil rights movement made it clear that the formal equality of a civil rights act of 1964 and the voting rights act of 1965 were not enough. they were not enough. matthews and others said because jim crow had left a legacy of
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racialized poverty. and, thus, ms. matthews and other women, mostly women, in the welfare rights movement waged protests for affordable housing and an adequate income and they were vocal critics of many politicians including the new black political class elected in the wake of the voting acts of 1965 saying again the right to vote alone was not enough if the representatives were not responsive. matthews and others lobbied for a responsive political structure for accountability. and listen to her voice. she said, quote, many of those who profess to want change don't care nothing about poor people. if they had poor people at heart, she said, they could make
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it better. they forget about you. they forgot about who they are and where they come from. and there she's talking about the people who are elected by people like her. one of her priorities was school desegregation. she filed a lawsuit to challenge the atlanta public schools. she wanted school desegregation. and she met resistance. not only from whites but from blacking. now, recall that the pragmatist like a.t. walden had opposed desegregation in the 1950s, mostly to protect the black middle class. but also out of concern for students. well, it turned out that during the 1970s, the local naacp in atlanta opposed school desegregation and for much the
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same reasons. they decided to settle the school desegregation case that was ongoing in atlanta in order to preserve the jobs of african-american school teachers and principals. they were concerned about employment discrimination. and also they were concerned that black students would not have a good environment in desegregated majority white schools. now, even as matthews challenged this perspective, prominent blacks in atlanta's community supported the settlement. this included dr. benjamin mays who had become the president of the board of education in 1969. it included maynard jackson who would become mayor of atlanta. andrew young supported the settlement. lots of african-american --
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prominent african-american leaders. but this does not stop matthews and other women from the housing projects from pushing ahead. they challenge the sthment and they met the resistance of, say, lonnie king who was the head of the local naacp. he defended it with these words, among others. he said, if i have to choose between sitting beside whitey and a job that pays, i want the job. matthews shot back, quote, why should our children be pawned for a few greenbacks? and, thus, you can see that matthews and her neighbors were concerned about their children. she knew, they knew that they would never be wealthy, but they did want the opportunity for their children to climb out of poverty and they thought the way
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for them to do that was to get a good education and they associated racially mixed schools with that opportunity. so they pushed ahead. they hired margerie pitts-haines who was a lawyer associated with the aclu to back them up in court. challenging the settlement. matthews confronted and other women confronted powerful lawyers in the courtroom and again, i want to share matthews' voice with you because i think it's quite powerful. she said in the courtroom, i represent poor people. and i think their children need equal education as well as the rich person's children. she continued, so i would ask the court to let us poor people be in on the decision as black and poor people. because we are the ones that live it. we are the ones that our children go to the ghetto
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schools. and she also said you don't know how it makes a mother feel when her children go all the way through 12 grades and come out who can't even spell her name. now, margerie haines didn't win her case, but even as i say that, i'll emphasize that "courage to dissent" isn't just winners' history. in fact, i think it's important to write the history of society's losers. the voice of ethel may matthews and her neighbors it seems to me is critically important to -- adding to the legal histories especially of the civil rights movement again because they insisted that we remain that jim grow and poverty were interwoven
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and left a legacy. now, i'll conclude by drawing out the larger lessons that i think one can learn from this bottom-up view of constitutional history of the civil rights movement. i want to offer three possibilities. the first is this, it seems to me that decentering the supreme court doctrine and even legendary lawyers like thurgood marshall from the legal history of the civil rights movement opens up a much broader, deeper and synthetic interpretation of the civil rights history one can really see how dynamic the movement was. it was so much more than a few marquee legal cases such as
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brown versus board of education. the lawyers whom i've spoken about, margerie haines pitts, lynn hotel, howard moore -- these are figures whom it is important testimonial. they were creative. they offer models of social change that are different in important respects from the model that thurgood marshall embraced and i say that in part because there is a literature, a political science literature that argues that civil rights lawyers were actually ill-served by reliance on the courts and by affirmative constitutional litigation. and that is because it turned out that the supreme court would not or could not enforce its own decries. meanwhile, the movement was so
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focused on the law that it tended not to mobilize politically. well, what i argue in my work is that these lawyers did not fit that description. they were very savvy. they were able to use the courts and constitutional concepts to their own advantage even when they were skeptical of those same concepts. a second lesson here is that i'm telling a different story about accommodationists. so a man like a.t. walden who is dismissed as an uncle tom by ldf on the other hand and by the students on the other, because he didn't tow either line, looks more complicated when we consider him in his own time on the ground from his own perspective.
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within that context, his choices look more reasonable. what he was trying to do and what the pragmatists were trying to do was reconcile the theories, the philosophies of dubois and booker t. washington while dealing with white supremacists. moreover, i think it's notable that the school desegregation and walden came to be shared by lots and lots of people in the civil rights movement. now, all of whom thought something more complicated than integration. so, of course, people came to understand that one needed nurturing teachers, a good curriculum and representation on school boards, for instance, so you could say he was prescient. above all else, i would argue
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that a bottom-up understanding of constitutional history is that organizers demonstrators, women and men in interaction with national institutions helped to shape and give meaning to the constitution. they were people on the ground and yet they were law-shapers. they were law interpreters, even lawmakers if you begin to consider their role in the passage of the landmark civil rights legislation. now, i talked about a few people who were public figures and you're already familiar with them so john lewis and julian bond but there are a lot of people in this book whom i talk about were less familiar or totally unfamiliar, big weir, margaret simmons, eva davis, emma armor, these people are all history-makers. and i hope that one day when a group is assembled and their names are called out, people
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will be able to raids their hands in remembrance of them. yes, i remember ethel may matthews and howard moore, lynn holt, a.p. walden -- all of these people who helped to create a more vibrant democracy, a more perfect union. all of them ought to be remembered, along with justice marshall and i hope that you will. thank you. and i look forward to your questions. [applause] >> and if you'll please come forward, if you have questions. >> is this on? >> i believe so. >> i don't know if i need it. what explains atlanta advancing
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in civil rights, it seems, at a better pace than, let's say memories and birmingham? i've heard this mentioned by others that if you compare atlanta, birmingham and memphis, let's say, 1955, they're all about the same in size and let's say stature. but atlanta becomes the -- what, the leading city of the southeast. and is it because atlanta handled integration better than the others? is it the better -- a larger, more dynamic black middle class? i think this in a way ties into what you're talking about, you know, the movement in atlanta, the, you know, singling it out. you know, it did have a remarkable role nationally that seemed to have a bigger impact than, leigh say, those other two southeastern cities?
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>> uh-huh. that's a great question. and i will answer you by noting that when i first started this project, i chose atlanta because i thought that it would yield a success story and that was for two reasons, one, because i understood that the white city fathers viewed themselves as racial moderates. and, two, because of the relatively black middle class. i thought with that combination of factors, one would see a pretty rapid and pretty smooth transition from jim crow to regime civil rights. and i think the premise that you are articulate there and this idea of success in atlanta certainly is a story that can be told. and yet i would emphasize that
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what atlanta was able to do better than many cities was p.r. so mayor hartsville was very keen and the business leaders in atlanta were very keen on minimizing violence and transitioning when there were crises in such a way that atlanta preserved its image as a moderate city. in contrast, to a birmingham or in contrast to little rock, for instance. so it's the case that the school's in atlanta, once the school desegregation case was actually filed in 1958, that the schools were desegregated by august of 1961. so as these things happened,
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that's a pretty short -- a relatively short transition period and yet what i would emphasize is that that desegregation occurred on a token basis. there are only 9 african-american students. and when one starts to think in terms of meaningful desegregation in atlanta, i don't think the record looks that different from any other city. and one could talk about lots of other areas and make the same observation. so, yes, atlanta has a great reputation. and it was able to transition in a way that maintained its image of moderation. and i would emphasize that, obviously, atlanta can boast still today having a successful african-american middle class, and that's really important. but at the same time, we should remember that there were people who were left behind and that's
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the important story to tell. >> i just had the question about -- referring to ms. matthews' comments about trading in her children's education for somebody else earning $1. to what extent do you think her fears have been bourne out in subsequent civil rights litigation or have her fears been answered in a positive way in subsequent civil rights litigation? >> uh-huh. huh, that's an interesting question. well, i can say this, in atlanta, the perspective of the african-american middle class won out. thus, the settlement was put into place.
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atlanta was able to have african-american black school superintendent. it's the school board initially was 50% african-american and soon it was a majority african-american. the same was true of the city council. and over time mayor jackson became mayor and over time atlanta, like many other cities became a black-controlled city. and the theory that the african-american middle class had was that same race representation control by african-americans would yield progress for the entire group. and what ms. matthews was challenging, she was challenging that premise as early as the
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late 1960s and 1970s, certainly. and i can tell you that certainly it was the case that pretty soon in the evolution of the atlanta school board, it became clear, the schools, that having same race representation was not enough to make the city schools good schools for the majority of children, and certainly for children who had the most needs and, of course, those are typically going to be the children what william julius wilson called the truly disadvantaged and those living in poverty. so i do think her fears that these majority black school systems would not necessarily
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yield the progress that the black middle class promised were bourne out. and the story of atlanta, the idea of community-controlled schools -- it's not just an atlanta story. it's a story that an approach to education reform that was attempted all over the nation. and in part -- and when i say attempted, i should say that it was attempted, it was embraced but also it became the approach out of necessity because atlanta, like so many cities had to deal with white flight, with a contracting economy so it was a very complex circumstance. a part of why the african-american -- african-americans who took over these cities were not able to achieve all that they hoped was because they didn't have very
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much to work with by the time that they actually came gained power. i think ms. matthews' fears were bourne out, in politics, in the political arena. >> so i really liked your bottom-up approach to history. i think that's really valuable because it lends texture and really an understanding of what actually happened. and it makes -- it makes things seem more contingent and more contested than they were -- than the sort of dominant narrative has. so where does the dominant narrative sort of come from? are the lawyers and thurgood marshall -- are they just more prominent and is that what makes that the dominant narrative or is it -- what explains that? >> hmmm?
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well, a number of things, i would say. i mentioned that my book is not just winners' history. so the dominant narrative is consistent with winners history. sox we want to tell the history of the naacp lawyers, of thurgood marshall and his conception of equality because we're proud in this country of brown versus board of education and its role in cleansing constitutional law of jim crow. and its role -- and there's some debate about this in contributing to all of the changes, subsequent changes in the law. so to the extent that we value the work of marshall and the
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history that's being written by those within law schools, one would expect that that particular narrative would be dominant. a corollary of that is that in the constitutional law, as many of you will know, we don't talk so much about inequalities as they relate to economics, right? there's not a lot one can do with that, right? if you're thinking in terms of the mainstream and thus it's hard to fit in that bottom-up approach into that dominant narrative because the bottom-up approach is more complicated. ..
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>> i probably did not have to come to the mic for this, but you mentioned that -- will you talked about but the dissenters would have preferred to move and to have looked like as opposed to the mainstream leaders. i wanted to get your personal opinion on whether or not you think the movement would have been better served had the dissenters had their way, i
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guess in a very large a robust fashion. >> so that is a complicated question, in part because a part of what i'm arguing is that as dissenters disagree with one another so i can only answer the question by referring to particular dissenters that particular historical moment. and so i will start with the parameters. i do think that the critique of school desegregation that was offered was valuable. thus, when i think, and i teach education, law and policy, when i think about what makes for a good school, a good education, i don't just think about putting
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students in a classroom and just you know letting them be. of course it takes nurturing teachers and it takes thinking about the curricula, and you know other criticisms of school disaggregation, the way in which the process unfolded related to the destruction of cultures, so things like mascots and all sorts of things that might seem small to us but from the perspective of students who have certain traditions, i think they are large. thus, to that extent, i think those critiques were valuable. now, as to the second wave of dissenters, the move of lawyers and the activists, certainly the
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emphasis on and approach to lawyering that is connected to communities resonates with me very much. now, the trick with that is this. it can be difficult to engage an impact lawyering and remain connected to communities. impact lawyering, class actions, because those cases take on a momentum of their own that is driven to a large extent by the courts and not so much by the plaintiffs. which is why the lynn holds's in the howard moore's often litigated cases that warrant -- the scale of them doesn't
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compare to the scale of brown versus board of education and yet they are important cases. thus, i would suggest that if one is going to listen to that kind of dissent, one has to be committed to a variety of approaches to lawyering as well as to integrating political tactics and when i say political tactics i don't only mean lobbying. i mean protest tactics is what students were interested in into legal programs. as to matthews and her approach to dissent, yes, i think that it is important to think about the ways in which the legacy of jim crow includes poverty and of course we do talk about those
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issues. we just don't the story size those issues. thus for instance we talk about the achievement gap. we talk about -- we talk about mass incarceration. we talk about all sorts of issues that relate to that legacy, but they are not historicizing i'm not sure that we speak about them in a way that is sensitive, that is sympathetic, empathetic to the couple may matthews of the world. one of the things that i think is important by the way is that ms. matthews and others like her -- i have only spoken about her, but i do think that she refutes in a powerful way the sense that as the poor don't really care about their kids or the education of their kids.
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she and these women who've litigated this school disaggregation case who were involved in the school desegregation case were motivated entirely by a concern about the welfare of their kids and yet a lot of the rhetoric that one hears around education policy, and again, i do work in this area, is very far removed from that reality. other questions? i really love this part. >> i think you touched upon this to some extent, but one trend that has occurred in a metro atlanta area and a lot of other places throughout the country have been the resegregation of a lot of public schools largely among socioeconomic lines. do you think that we should be
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working -- in light of the historical perspectives you mentioned should we be working towards reversing that trend of resegregation or is it even worth addressing? i just wanted some of your thoughts on that. >> sure. there is a great deal of literature that demonstrates that concentrations of poverty undermine educational achievements. the literature strikes me as very persuasive and thus for that reason i think it is important to try to break up those concentrations of poverty. now, having said that, and i will also add that i think it is important -- i value racial diversity. i think it is important for a number of reasons, thus i would
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endorse as a general matter both race-based integration and ses-based integration in school. now, having said that, i do think we have learned that there are better and worse ways to try to engage in those kind of reforms, and it strikes me that one of the lessons of this history is that there are many different communities and those communities should have the ability to choose their approaches to education. thus, for some students and integrated education might be valuable and they might not mind
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some of these social inconvenience, discomfort that comes along with that as they are integrating into an overwhelmingly safe white environment. for their students that is going to be really harmful and harmful to their education, and does i think, and this is my bottom line, i would hope that increasingly, we could consider some kind of approach to breaking out those concentrations of poverty and integrating schools that focuses on choice. no now what that look likes, and i mean choice within the public school systems, which is different from vouchers or other kinds of programs although i'm not saying that i'm opposed to
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that. but what that looks like in practice i am not exactly sure. other questions? yes? [inaudible] >> he right. that is a good question. one thing i will say is that there have been cases in the state courts where change has been made along the lines that you suggest.
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so, federal constitutional law is not the only constitutional law. states make constitutional law as well and you know, i can only answer your question by saying that it depends. again on how programs are implemented and designed to. it really does. which may not need a satisfactory answer but i do think that is the answer. other questions? very good. while thank yous a much for coming. this has been a thrill for me. thank you. [applause] >> booktv has over 100,000 twitter followers. be a part of the excitement. follow booktv on twitter to get publishing news, scheduling
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updates, author information and talk directly with authors during our live programming. >> booktv is at bookexpo america, the annual publishers convention in new york city looking at some of the fall 2011 books that are coming out and we are pleased to be joined by george gibson who is the publisher of bloomsbury press. mr. gibson tell us about some of your books and let's start here with carl bogus' book. >> this is the first full biography of bill but he, an icon of course of the conservative arena and he was really the father of conservatism as it is known today. but a remarkable man, absolutely remarkable man and very little has been written about him and this is the first full-scale biography of him. >> did mr. bogus have any access to his library? >> had every available resource. of this interestingly enough is
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more liberal in his political persuasion so does a interesting balance biography. >> somebody who is not liberal in their persuasion is an author we have covered off and on booktv who is victor davis hanson but now i see a novel coming out by him and this is his first novel. a remarkable at the base -- if it is. the extraordinary battle c-5. it brings alive warfare in the ancient world in a way that very few people can. because he knows so much about history and about ancient history. this book is alive with that kind of detail. it is a fascinating thing for him to do to write a novel and i think it will be a great success. >> mr. gibson up on your a shelf here they'll narco-inside mexico's criminal insurgency. >> well ian grillo who is the author who has lived in mexico for the last 10 years has gone inside the drug insurgency in mexico and is


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