was killed on june 12, 1963. >> my name is rochelle william, and i'd like to welcome you to the book store here in prince georges plaza in maryland. thank you for coming out to celebrate and talk about this very important new book on medgar evers. ... at the university and appears regularly on national immediatea and speaks on behalf of prisoners rights and civil and labor and social justice. "the great walls of democracy,"
his syndicated public affairs column appears in pub locations. he's true pioneer >> mississippi state'scp office negative she continues to be active but even after his death in 1998 establishing the institute to further t community human-rights into quality but now i will turn over to professor manning. marable. eve [applause] >> it is wonderful to be here this evening. i'm going to read very
briefly three short excerpts from the autobiography of medger evers that captures different aspects of what the book covers.f thloe autobiography of the medger evers was a labor of love the cut is medger eversas was more than simply a pioneer for the blackbl freedom of struggle but in deed a central figure in america who has yet to be fully recognized for the giant that he was. this evening i would like to speak for about 20 minutes following with their own personal reflectionug following on thegl experiences and the struggle for civil rights going side-by-side
and with american history then we can entertain questions and your comments. the true origins of medger evers political life can beve traced back actually at 1832 when the mississippi state constitutional convention was held and adopted the principle of universal whitete manhood suffrage eliminating all property qualifications on the voting franchise so those who were obviously were not permitted to vote would during that period the construction 1875 there is a brief experiment in the
biracial democracy with the demise of every construction but the legal and political regime of voice supremacy established teenine the win this state held a new constitutional convention the provisions were adopted including the literacy tests -- deliberately designed to exclude the african american from voting. blacks we're kept from then polls and between 1882 and 1927, there were 517 african-americans lynched in the state of mississippi. the highest number in the t nation during any period of a backward political oppressive culture rooted in violence was firmly
established by the early 20th century making mississippi symbolic with everything undemocratic and oppressive and in that repressive environment turning it into which medger evers was born july 2nd 1925 james was employed as a sacker and jesse took him on tree and ironing for local white families and the evers family was never well-to-do but yet managed to acquire land and a modest degree of security a devout christian and actuant active in the church of god and heard the phrase had an effect in all of her children attending
one of the town's baptist churches and both parents q reached preach the qualities of self-reliance and pride and self-respect values directly a contradicted by the customary values that african americans and estate were supposed to assume as a tau child medger was taught that his maternal great-grandfather during reconstruction had killed twore white men in a dispute managed to escape retaliation by escaping from the town. medger was taught have prided himself and the awareness of his ownto heritage when medger was 14 h years old and the event to occur that have a profound
impact on subsequent events in his life. been diverted friend brought into trouble supposedly for sass thing a local white woman at the local fair grounds. w the black man was promptly apprehended and beaten toth death. the lynching had a profound effect on the races conditions surrounding himself and his entire family and was determined to escape the omnipresent pain and fear that segregation imposed on every black person as a teenager he sought to assert himself according to interviews last gearhart in high school large that oversized coats said have style also favorite the same time by
malcolm little who would later become famous as malcolm x.wn he often wore large stylish hats in his vocabulary and high school was little on the groggy side then he prematurely left high school by lying about his real age to followis his brother charles into the army and served in europe during world war ii. 1944 the u.s. supreme court outlawed the white primary election which had solidly throughout the south the principal means of disenfranchising african-american voters. 1946 the mississippi state legislature told people they--
could not pay the local poll tax. but there was also 80,000 african americans who are residents of the state of mississippi to serve and a segregated army in world war ii who would also be eligible to vote in the state elections. thousands of black veterans came back with awith determination. is on the 21st birthday july 2nd, 1946, charles and medgar -- medger evers went to the county courthouse words spread of their voting and a cluster of 20 well armed angry white men stood at the courthousearle
and according to the account of charros they held shotguns and rifles and pistols and we stood at the courthouse steps eyeballing each other.te to recognize the two and urged them to be before violence erupted. of the county sheriffted. watching the confrontation did nothing but in deed the sheriff was it going to let us vote but did not want to try to kill us. he knew he may have to killbut us but did not want to do that. within decided now was not the best time to have a confrontation. don't worry said medger we will get the next time. as they departed one reese's steeled "you damned evers
niggers will be killed" end quote. this was the beginning of the political education of medger evers our book documents the writings and speeches be extraordinaryt me journey that the great man took beginning as he was coming back and sacrificing life and all of these things. to fight for a democracy that did not include his family or friends or himself. and then became the mostelle respected and students oname campus as a business manager excel that track and the ball and editor of the campus newspaper over several years and recognized
by naming who's who in american colleges the greatest accomplishment was convincing and winning over an 18 year-old from vicksburg mississippi to be his wife and the two became an indomitable force of partnership that rewrote the history of the civil-rights movement.the to move forward in the book and talk about what happened win medgar -- 86 took his first home in mississippi. the baidu was a historic african american town founded in the lat e 1880s the and the mississippi delta.
it begins early 1952 the evers household move there and medgar began to travel extensively going to homes to sell life-insurance policies.inqu all the raised in mississippi he could scarcely believe the incrediblerc poverty andss backwardness of the deltathe region "bad experience gave him a real taste of povertyta on thest plantation and now reflects. said to me at least i can call these people mr. and mrs. and give them a sense when they need to escape sharecroppers will bear landlords incredible sums of money which they could never hope to repay simply would vanish from their v shanty in the middle of the night lead to medicis then to m freedom
in the north to chicago. manicure decided to assist them and became active as civil-rights organizations he along with other black women and men seriously questioned that it is possible to achieve or substantive civil rights for political reform and perhaps other strategy from the experience of black people struggling throughout the ever 10 diaspora needed to be employed and medgar was a fascinating by the revolution being raged and the charismatic intellectual came to personify to show
the leadership that african-americans needed to embody.-ame he pondered if the same radical resistance should bewh employed by the oppressed blacks against their oppressors. and also seriously struggling with the issue but eventually he came to the conclusion it was possible to build a non-violent movement but it is significant win at medgar have his first child, they're all the first middle name was a pinata. he was not a advocatein ofce ninth baseman -- nonviolence with white terrorism.ri he her -- purchased the
rifle and carried it with him in his automobile and casey had to protect his family lowered himself.e wa he concluded the race for was unfortunately a real possibility in the deep south and if it ever had a political movement to resist oppression the white structural racism and withut the bridges power and privilege that have of permanent subclass of americans now what alternatives with the blacks have? during the writing of this book it was said to me that medgar "founder sows and a separate part of america. how we could not be starved out but in a location to not be surrounded or wiped out at one time.
thinking about building an asian of black people.gar this is the side of medgar evers few of us appreciate.o go to go to the end of the book to talk very briefly first fire reading the short excerpt been talking about my own personal experience. p medgar evers was assassinated and pronounced dead university of pol mississippi medical center 1:14 a.m. june 121963 and was 37 years of age. this was the first political assassination of the modern black freedom movement but not the last. perhaps the thousands of men and women and children gathered in jackson to honor the servant leader and
understood that covers changed everything. thousands of people who came, 6,000 came to theto t funeral including dr. king and other prominent civil-rights leaders understood that something had fundamentally change. the vast majority came or not prominent celebrities or so rights spokespersons, and they came from hundreds ofas tiny towns in rural areas from all over the state of mississippi to honor the natives they marched 3 miles to the masonic temple others chanted after medgar no more fear. following the formal funeral
march those that preceded dirt days toward capitol ed street john salter and other civil-rights activists who could be quickly identified by the police were club, a stampeded and the cops began to shoot up into the air of the demonstrators but medgar evers it became not just the principal architect of the freedome struggle in mississippi but no longer the holder of the most difficult civil-rights jobs in the country that a field organizer of the naacp in the most difficult and racist stay in the nation , now a hero to the entire nation. following medger evers civil-rights organizations redouble their commitment
for fundamental democratic change against racism in mississippi. the conservationists equality accelerated thein t campaign is civil-rights activist launched thes freedom of both project to demonstrate to the nation of those who could vote in favor andou franchise to the project organize the mock collection in which nearly 100,000 african-americans voted in that state and a mock election. but the following year there was the freedom summer of 1964 largely white to those to assist local civil-rightsagin workers to engage in voternd e
registration and education campaign. but yet as three know there were more sacrifices her james chaney and good men and those who were brutally murdered by white supremacist and late august racist were responsible for firebombing or attacking that summer alone, 37 black churches sam black-owned is an businesses and 80 civil rights workers and 1,000youn civil-rights activists had been arrested but with the courageous leadership of aaron henry who had replaced the late younger brother as a secretary there was nougus turning back and august 1964 president lyndon johnson endorsement and support
finally belatedly pass the 1964 civil rights act outlawing racial segregation laws andra all public accommodation across the country. the first such law in yea american history.g the following year the voting rights act was passed. by 1969 a span of only six years mississippi went from less than 6 percent black who are registered to vote to up at 61%. today the largest number of african-american and elected officials of every state -- any state in the country is from mississippi. medger evers vision has partially, true. this is the book that documents in his ownin words the struggle of medgar evers. but i want to speak for one
minute about the courage, dignity, and struggle of myrlie evers-williams. to put together thisi t book, as a labor of love by traveled several times to mississippi and i walked with myrlie through her former home where measure had been killed. i stood in the carport where he had been shot cowardly in the back. she told me this story how lateur at night after her husband's murder she would go wrong side in the middle of the ninth and try to scrub sustain of his blood from the carport and the driveway sustain that was a stain on the driveway but had takenut away the beloved father from her children and
of living has been from herself but had taken away a central figure and visionary leader of the black freedom struggle.e.in for all of us regardless of race to believe in democracy in this country, i walkede into her bedroom and she paused for a moment and i asked her why and she told me this story several days before his assassination and he came home early. she was ironing his white shirt.o she had done about one dozen and said are you going to think me for ironing and searching your shirts? he said i am not going to be needing them. what we owe medgar evers and what we zero myrlie evers-williams cannot be put into words. because the struggle for democracy and for freedom is
indeed a struggle. we what we have sacrificed for the principles of this country ironically, a majority that benefits from those principles, does not realize is the sacrifices obtained it has taken to win them for all of us.tn part of his conviction was not something that was just for the black folks but something that was a principal extended to all americans. he wanted fairness and justice for all. but as an african-american, he was grounded in his history and in his people and what he fought for was the human dignity and justice for the black folk.s it is a struggle that was worth fighting for and he
believes it was worth dyingw for.n that is why i am deeply honored to be with my partner and friend, myrlie evers-williams to put forward for the first time the voice, the writings and documents of medgar evers. i would like to turn ther podium over to myrlie evers-williams. [applause] >> good evening to all of you. i am so delighted to see you here. as always, i am moved by my friend dr. manning marable
and hall articulate he is the historian many as and the picture that the present so thoroughly and so colorful a polka . if i may now call you manning in front of all of these people, i think you. dr. manning marable hasm played such an important role to get the book published in and out to the public.utt, i want to in thanking him tell you how this came about. but before i do that i do want to say he is a man who makes promises and i am sure very carefully but he keeps them and that is something epitomized medicare as well. n iot am not promising anything that you cannot keep but
that you do promise keep the promise. that is what medgar did. i thank you for going into his new interiors and background. i met to medgar evers the first day, the first hour of the first day that i was on campus as a freshman studental as we call it at a endow college my grandmother and aunt i was just looked at my dormitory and love me with the last words of wisdom and to quote them, they said baby, i don't get involved with any of those veterans. and within 30 minutes i wasi w involved so to speak with
one of those veterans of one week before and there was if the ball practice going on and mentor was a member of theth football team and wet wereby standing out by the president's house and there was a big tall lipo i just happen to be leaning on ita elephants are something coming your way and just in full regalia and that is what was keeping them they came over and looked at us up and down to say which one i will claim for myself?
he looked at me and i looked at him that you better get off of the light post you may get shocked. he said i tossed my hair. it was long men and gave him a funny look but i was intrigued his words of being shocked would come to fruition because my life was never the same after that moment. it was never the same after that moment. medgar was what we called a big wheel on campus. his your book president of his class and the other things thata
dr. manning marable said it something else as well thatlo everyone looked up to. but he was also at the same time someone that people were afraid of. teachers, students, because tell them and the fraternity men you partied too much. be serious about why you are here.y what about your ability to register and vote? and to rock the boat he doesn't know what fund is but i found all of thaet intriguing seto looking for an excuse to go to my dormitory room to look up the words and he had movedex
from that point* to express w himself with words that werem not of the best choice toreal someone who had becomeduc interested in education andin interested to be to articulate to everyone good student and said teachers of the president of the college or anyone else what he felt and how he saw his country and what he thought needed to be done. and he said i went into the army and served my country. i came home and i found out i was still a second-class citizen. r my father was addressed as boy and a mother as a barrel.r
in a sense we were slaves of that mentality during that period of time. mid decided that he couldne only do one thing that was to give of himself to make those changes i was surprised and little enthralled by the man the first couple of weeks that we dated coming he said to me, i will make you into the kind of woman that i want you to be. i was 17 years old. i knew nothing about the women's movement. but believe me that struck a chord with me. i don'tr like this but i am fascinated by a.
he said shortly thereafter. you will be the mother of my children. i replied as the '90s girl of 17, but you haven't told me that you love to me at. his reply was, whenever i do i will let you know, . but it was something abouta the man who had a sense of purposee even then it and who knew what he wanted and a new how to go about it that was absolutely fascinating to me and was very different. medgar came from a family of activists. his father challenged the system. they called him crazy jim because he simplyes refused toot take any of those negatives from other people in the
community. it was a time when we were not allowed to walk on the sidewalks. but he made sure his familyf walked on the sidewalks. when he was challenged about the cost of food on his bill, medgar and charles in the store said no, that isen not it. and a group of men descended upon him and i am told that he said to his sons, go outside. then gm proceeds to take a bold and crack across the counter in to tell those men who were challenging him and his sons and his family, come on.co and back out of the door and they went homeme. but that was the kind of
example of manhood, strength, a devotion of family that medgar grew up in. i grew up in another kind of home. one where there were three females.r, a my grandmother myself and my aunt. we did not argue because my grandmother have the last word each and every time.. it was peaceful there.e they it were schoolteachers. and they were told don't rock the boat. so here we have these two people coming together, one that says i cannot do anything and the other that says you are so wrong you must challenge the society don't reach for the stars but go beyond that. i it meant to you there weres
periods of adjustment herei and there and i did notdg always support medgar in his work. that is not necessarilyu something i am proud of but remember how young i was. and i was deathly afraid of his life. when we moved into this town ins mississippi, we worked for an insurance company the magnolia mutual life insurance company. it was owned by negro's as we use the word to describe versos then and medgar said why not work to build businesses in our owncon communities? i can be in control of my own career. i worked alongside of him.m and i. was the punch card
operator when the computers were as big as the table. we were there and medgar decided he wanted to pursue a law career.st it was something that most people don't know that medgar evers was the first african-american to apply forh admission to the university of mississippi. of course, he was rejected. and in this book guess i thumbed through it to refresh my memory come i saw a copy of the letter that he had written in response to the rejection and asked where are you going to stay? the senate dormitories with the other students. hi daveev every day and intee guarantee you this brownl will not ruboff on anyone else.de
he was determined to pursue that. he was rejected and the naacp said work with us. open up the first office of the naacp and the state of mississippi and he accepted i provided that i was his secretary. they agreed and we moved to jackson mississippi and a new life opened up to us.he but during that time when medgar fault so hostile to his own country, and when he fell to the only way we could possibly survive plus the eye for the eye or the tooth for the two is coming he and other strategically planned how they would manipulate and use what littlee t resources they had to protect his family and i am reminded now of this one
piece of warfare that we had that was broken down into three parts. it was a machine gun. i i would ask him what goodw will that do if we need it? when one part of it is in the upper delta of clarksdale the other part isd in the lower part of thean delta and we have one part? how willt we ever bring those three pieces together forhi one piece of damage? he said don't worry about it. we have a plan. but over the years that is the plan that we have as well in the way in which we communicated with each other.it. i will fast lowered just a little. i find what is happening today so criticallyy
important to what happened during that time because it was during that time when emmitt till was killed. and medgar and others stressed and old clothes and disguising themselves says sharecroppers made that investigationma possible that we've read about today. i remember the anger and the hurt and the need for vengeance but he was able to take the anger and turn it into something using the mind, the strategies, the techniques, and when you read this book, i think you will find that those strategies are there for anyo
community group to go into action in. i don't mean violence but just a plan of action that we can adopt today that took place them. but i think that's how wen look at what is happening in mississippi when this man is on trial for the murder ofl the three civil rights leaders that occurred one yeari almost to the day of medgar assassination in. and here we are looking at at and what do we see? we still see if you ku klux klan members cheering him on. we still find people in those communities say that is an old case. etg itot need to revive why bring up the past? what us go and let god take
care of that.d didn't god give us the minder the strength? why are we depending on that? it could bring closure i feel to the negatives that still flow too around in thethe air whether mississippi orof in other parts of this country. it was the same thing that was told to me. years and years i search for evidence to help us get the third trial with medicare's assassin. people said you are crazy, you're living in the past and you have to move away from it. i cannot help you. i will not help you and in the one word, the on e word that medgar had and that i had and i hope all of us will want to make positive
changes and that is perseverance to believe in something coming to bea determined of having a division to be determined that that vision comes intoha being and from whatever is out there, the pros and them konz to make the positivechan change that we need. it is almost as i stand before you today these things come around full circle and refine interests again would happen during that time because indeed it does relate to us today and where we are. oftentimes we don't have to worry about the clan of the other is visiting us in the white robes and a hood but what we do have to worry about is to be leased awarecn of those in the brooks
brothers suit who are still undercutting what this country is all about and what it is supposed to be about and what medgar worked and stood four. you may ask me why, why this book? years i was upset, hurt, angry, i didn't know what to do and why is it that t every book and every magazine, everyly o pamphlet, every calendar that corporate america points out, and edgar's name is not mentioned or mentioned as a footnote? or there is one sentence that says medgar evers civil rights leader slain9 june 12, 1963.
this book is not about the life -- of the death ofout medger. it is about his life and living and loving ofgizi strategizing and moving forward. hopefully as we read and plus -- pass the buck on to others we will reacha out to young people. young people who are interested in the spirit of time and those who are not to help them to understand anand move away from the attitude that ib don't need your help and i don't need to know i have made it on myself i don't need to be bothered with. hopefully, we will find ways to communicate with them and through medger what yearss you can be able to say thiske is why. make a link from where you a
are today and your future and the roleo they play one way or another positive or negative as leaders in your community. if those can happen as a w result i personally can say, and edgar, it was worth it.y and sometimes that is very difficult to say and then i think about emmitt till and i think about us and our young son who was three years old when his father was assassinated and a young man who went to arlington cemetery when the casket was exhumed and they took the body and the casketor to albany new york then insisted on being there.
we did not know what theyket would find what they found changed his life forever because when it was opened his body was as well h preserved as if it had been two or three weeks of histha death and except the tips ofit w his fingers. as documented in tv andian picturesd so be new and i know it was the fact that when my child said to me , now i know where i came from, and was a blessing that that had happened. as much as we may think it is very difficult to go through the times like that it is critically important as well and i am just soo hopeful was read revisit these cases and where we are and honest with our sauce
with our communities we will soon adopt what manning marable says that we need servant leaders. not people who are out there for thed glory or for the press but people who have avisi vision, who truly believet and their people in their country and to change it around. a book that medgar sent to president eisenhower at the time, you have been fighting people from russia, a delegation from russia to come to america to view house democratic we are and how we vote to and he said to him, may i suggest to you that you bring the russian delegation to mississippi so they can see what it is like?
and now i say see what it is like to be asked to the question how many baubles and a bar of soap? to see what it is to be asked how many peas or beans jar or to see what it is like from the depths of your soul, this fear and desire to register and to go and you cannot do it but your business is shot into your name is in the paper the bank's call in the mortgage overnight and think of those things. not to go back with a negative this is the way that it was but to learn from it and i am truly hoping that is what will happen.t ov i am just overwhelmed by the
people who have purchased this book who have come tom me, who have stood as yout are sitting to say we need this booe k because there is nothing out there by him. we need to know what he thought and we need to know how he walked. we need to know how he felt about that. and i hasten quickly to say that medgar evers did not want to be a martyr. he wanted to live to see his children grow up but he said in the last-- , i am so tired but i cannot stop. this is something that i must do and i knew that he meant that because we did not have the all sweet and kind marriage it was ain t loving one and a good one but in their early years, i could notce embrace all that
he was doing was because i wasas afraid but he said to me, i cannot fight the people out there. and bring my people along to gunfight with you, myrlie you have a choice to make. easier with me where you are not. and i am standing here so you know, the decision that i made and as i look at all of the changes that have taken place in our country, i can say that medicare, it it was worth it all and he would agree with me as well. if you have any questions i would be willing to answer them. [applause]
if there are questions that t is fine if there are not that is wonderful because i expecty all of you to purchase 10 or more books and we would be absolutely delighted to sign them.'t i do not see any hands. >> we are still thinking. >> good evening. i admire your strength. i work in virginia high school witches and a small rural county and the black history section it is about seven books and the first book ive ever read i could not
find a copy of it. i said i would get the original copies when i became a man and i picked up the book.p i would be honored if you would sign that this evening as well. >> i would be delighted. >> again i would be delighted to sign this for you. >> i went to the play last night. >> i was so pleased to be in attendance about the life.
[laughter] and i was also surprised to see the myrlie character in the play and i had no idea. i think the young woman performed admirably. i see myself little bit differently than i think she did and perhaps i was like that at that time and living has made me much tougher. and stronger. i was truly devastated when medgar was killed. what can i say except he was the love of my life? i wasn't as sure that i could live for sure that i wanted to live after that but i have three children who were looking at met and i had to survive for them. i can recall in her words in
the play, she said certainlyr no one will hurt you medgar because the fbi is here and others are here.t the fbi is here is not meant as a sense of protection because we knew better than kne that. they were not there tous a protect us at all.o i don't know what to call it that gave the cents that i truly thought the fbi wouldct protect us but that was not so at all.m i am just please the character was there. for the brief moment because when the movie the ghost of mississippi came out and whoopi goldberg played myrlie i said please point* o little of view into the but the nine character and i know that she wanted the correct way to portray me
but i was very angry and iion wanted more emotion to showo and she did a very good job with the script that she hadfo which was not much for thatyo character. different interpretations of a person medgar used to say to me you are not as nice as people think.th [laughter] theyin don't know because i have lived with you.t kn i don't know. it depends who you are or where you are in that particular period of time. thank you for asking and i hope that play will be successful throughout this country. >> over the years have you given thought as to what we may do now to continue or build on the struggle and sacrifice the people have made? it seems people experience
certain gains and did notal think about all of the efforts that have gone into theo progress that we have now and the effort we need to move forward again.we we are at a point* if we don't move forward from here, we will move backward.s o if you have any idea is of what you think might be? >> manning marable has strong opinions of that as well.t i truly feel that those of us of that generation who were active best and paid such der prices were so pleased when we began to see some progress being made. when we realize our children would not have to go through the same things that we did oothat time and we werea tired and stood back andthat
really felt we had finally done it.ve i truly don't believe that we worked with children in t terms of imparting that history to them in the way that we should have and now we try to recapture some of that and i am afraid we will have to be very creative to do that to bring people into the fold or at least listen to them because that is what we did during the civil rights movement. ourg young people moved forward and were beaten and bitten by dogs and thrown into dirty trash trucks and found themselves behind barbed e wire with the tubs and the policemen to spit into it but they went through so much during that time and some way or anothere we have to do that.
but i doha believe with all ofr the different groups that wed have an immediate still asks who is your leader, not leaders, that we have to come together as a unit at least for once and develop a plan of action of strategy that every organization can go out to implement in its own way. . . by inviting me to give the first medgar evers honorary lecture
in jackson, mississippi, in 2003. and during the research, i learned that when medgar was killed, in his back pocket, he had his voter card showing that he was a registered voter. it was stained in his blood from his assassination. medgar evers was killed because he fought for the democratic right that all americans have to vote. what is important for us to consider is that that vote is now being taken away all over this country and especially in mississippi. a third of all black males in that state have lost the right to vote for life. we have millions of americans, white, black, and hispanic who
have lost the right to vote either permanently or temporarily because they are former prisoners. and so the prison industrial complex, the structure of the criminal justice system in this country that penalizes unfairly millions of people who are disproportionately black and unemployed folk taking away their right to vote, after they paid their debt to society, millions of people, 818,000 floridians, citizens of the state of florida, were not allowed to vote in the presidential election of 2000 because they had a prior felony conviction. in states like mississippi, across the south especially in the far west, many of these states -- you lose the right to vote for the rest of your natural life.
and so what i call the new racial domain, the colorblind racism of the 21st century doesn't have the simplicity of the old white and colored signs that segregated us when i was a child, when i was a boy, growing up visiting my grandmother and my relatives in tuskegee, alabama, in the 1960s. the new colorblind racism is mass unemployment, mass incarceration and mass disenfranchisement. all three of these things -- this unholy trinity, it represents a new kind of institutional racism that in my view is even more pernicious than the old jim crow system because it's colorblind. it doesn't operate with the word -- with the epithets of the "n" word. it carries out the disen-fran
disenfranchiseme disenfranchisement. i read the "new york times" the other day pointing out the african-americans who have the identical criminal record and identical job job qualification will be turned down jobs at three times the rate of a white former prisoner. and an african-american male who has no criminal record has a more difficult time getting a job in this country than a white man going to prison. so when you look are we going back? oh, yes we're going backward rapidly. and so i participated in this book because, unfortunately, we must relearn the knowledge that medgar had. we move back 50 years from the kind of vision and strategy and commitment to serve the community that medgar embodied.
and until we get a leadership that speaks to that, we will continue to regress. but if we have a knowledge base of what it takes, what does it take to lead? leaders aren't born. they're made. medgers' parents, that community helped make him the visionary he was. and we can make our young women and men have the same values, courage and principles yet again. because the challenges are even greater today than they were then. because we now have colorblind racism. >> thank you. just let me add this to what dr. marable has said, in these last few days i believe we certainly have had a wakeup call
in this country. when the senate voted to apologize for the lynchings that have taken place, everyone did not vote in favor of that. you would think today that might not be the case. but when you look at it, you say initially there should have been no lynchings anyway, huh? secondly, it's taken so long to say, i'm sorry. what benefit does that get us, i'm not sure. and maybe the benefit comes from the third thing that i'm going to mention, is that everyone did not vote for that. and if you look at it, i'd go right home again because the
representatives from the state of mississippi said, no. and they said why should we do that? and i think of one in particular, who said praises be unto you strom thurmond at his birthday party. have you forgotten that little incident? if we had elected you then, we wouldn't have to deal with these. now, what did he do? he went on bet; he went on every radio station and tv station he could get on apologizing for it because i think -- i think it was the president who said, you really need to do something to smooth that over, even if you feel that way.
and he did that. but does it not state to you, what i just said no longer in white robes but in blue brooks brothers suits. this man, after all of the apologies, those men, after all the apologies that they made, said, no. we are not voting on an apology. why should we? we don't have to. and for any of us who have fallen asleep and i think that it's all right, you need to refer to that and i think how far have we come and what do we have to do because you don't register, you don't vote, unit say, all right, i have done my part and then not keep up with what those elected and appointed officials are doing. it's a continuous struggle. and you have to be aware lest
we're going to end up losing everything through all kinds of acts that are being passed, all kind of action that is being taken on terrorism today. and the little subtleties that go underneath. and am i taking too much time? yes, i am. but i do want to say we must be aware. ever vigilant. >> all right. [applause] >> myrlie, you should get the last word. >> huh-uh, i said it. >> all right. i want to thank you for coming out tonight. i know there are additional questions. but c-span is covering this so we have to reach at least the conclusion at this stage, but we're not disappearing and we will answer questions. yes, you do -- you seem to have an urgent question. yes. one more question.
one more. >> i need to say something that's very important. i'm from the mississippi delta. medgar evers was one of my heroes. when i was growing up in mississippi. in fact, i saw him shortly before he was killed. i want to say that i will always remember his service and the freedom struggle. i am grateful that the two of you are bringing his legacy and his living and the documents, we need the documents, that show his sacrifice. i just can't tell you how this anniversary is like an anniversary because this time in june so many years ago reminds me of the day that i learned
that he had died. i will always, always remember that. and i just can't tell you how we mississippians benefited from his sacrifice. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> it is a fitting closure. medgar, and the only thing i would add to that, is actually medgar evers lives because as long as there's a struggle for justice, medgar is alive and well. and this book is a testament to his courage, to his dignity. it is his voice. it is his vision for the struggle for freedom. and it was an honor to work with myrlie to put this together so that a future generation could be similarly inspired to achieve the greatness that he embodied.
thank you so much. and now please come forward. we would love to sign your copies. thank you very much. [applause] >> booktv is at the annual publishers convention at the javits center in new york city. it's called bookexpo america. we're covering the 2012 books that are coming out. ferrar strauss and giroux is part of the mcmillan company.
i want to start with that used to be us, a book that you have coming out. what is that? >> well, peter, it's a continuation of tom friedman's amazingly influential and bestselling books "the world is flat" and "hot, flat and crowded" this this time he's collaborating with a foreign policy advisor who is also a close friend and long time associate of his and the book is really outlines four ways in which america has gone off the rails and four ways we can get it back on. >> when is this coming out? >> it's coming out right -- the day after labor day. highly programmic. and it's just a roadmap for the u.s. which is going to be a great event. >> who is andrew feinstein? >> andrew feinstein is most likely the world's leading
expert on the global armed trade, the kind of black market in arms around the world. he was a south african by birth and a politician who now lives in exile in london and he's the go-to person for every media organization and every ngo on the global arms trade >> why in -- why in exile? >> well, it's -- it's a long story but it has to do with the corruption of the government and his attempts to stand up against it two years ago. >> in south africa. >> in south africa, correct. >> and finally, i wanted to ask you about a nobel economics prize winner author that you have. "thinking fast and slow." >> we like to say he's the most influential author you've never heard of. he won a nobel prize in economics for his psychological thinking. his area is decision-making. and