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tv   Panel Discussion on Civil Rights  CSPAN  December 25, 2015 8:46am-9:44am EST

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in public and behavior in public. and one of the secrets of reagan's success is knowing how to behave in public. people who become president who don't understand those ritual aspects are as important as policy aspects. jimmy carter was a drunkard than reagan on any number of policy issues but carter seems to lou distain what it meant to be president. reagan to accused use -- it took his abuse with the ability for the hopes and
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dreams of the american people especially if they are at a moment of crisis and looking to use somebody that who day look to is the president to represents the country as though whole. but because of president is head of government and head of state aid to both said reagan understood that you can perform that role to channel the hopes and dreams then you can accomplish whatever you are looking for. roosevelt did in the '30's reagan did in the '80s. >> talk about arms for hostages would of my most
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vivid memories to say this is not in arms for hostages deal. i hope everyone reads your respect the be reading killing reagan could you comment for us? >> i hate to be a spoiler but there is a problem with killing reagan. he does not die in the book. he survives. there is that. had you read the book? [laughter] i have to say maybe he does die the there are more problems than i thought. [laughter] i leave others to comment on other authors' work. >> that is the end of recession here.
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thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> it is my great pleasure to moderate to the pedal of civil-rights history is important to understand the importance of this building and what it meant for segregationist and the civil-rights movement for the course of history and this may be the largest crowd since 1966. and the march so we have that going for us as well.
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ended with the ohio state university received herb bachelor's and african-american studies for memory and a master's and ph.d. in american studies from perdue. interdisciplinary research and teaching over black and women's studies. but then from the university of of georgia press with that civil rights era with, it's with the free them struggles of america.
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with the statewide abortion fund am looking -- working with the us citizenship from jackson state university since 2005. next is assistant professor from the college of charleston in south carolina his research looks as stated in teacher activism and segregated high schools for the civil-rights movement. his manuscript on the front lines of the mississippi movement is currently under contract with columbia university press and is co-editor of the freedom school newspapers writing essays and reports from the civil-rights movement that was just released from the university press of mississippi. and the history of education quarterly have a the eternal
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of social studies research. connecting from the two initiatives and quality education as a constitutional right end on the advisory board of state university from south carolina. dr. hill. next as professor and chair of the history department university of memphis where he teaches courses on american history a ph.d. from perdue. his books include down to the crossroads black power in the march against freer and keying of the corps to university of california press.
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nextel graduate university of utah and the co-editor of for herb books to of which won the christiansen award but his book and it tilled of murder that shocked the world was 10 years of exhaustive research and writing taking him to the south on a dozen occasions where he interviewed witnesses and family members of killers to spend countless hours and has spoken on the case throughout the united states and lives in salt lake city and is an editor. we will begin. >> afternoon. into say next to guide women
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first for yourself then to make it worth living. keeping in mind my focus is on black women specifically to think about as the only woman on the panel to make sure we put women in our discussions this afternoon. but it is about the jackson based organization and was founded because the freedom writers came to town and wanted to mobilize black women in jackson to support the freedom writers. she had the opportunity to attend the first trial and at that hearing she noticed some individuals were shivering. said the mothering instinct kicked and. in real enough to be her
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children. and decided we needed to take care of them end she mobilized other women throughout jackson with that practice as nurturance as resistance. in to be engaged in the civil rights movement. a woman was there to meet them with food and clothing and day place to stay. because there were able to mobilize so quickly they could take another initiative. with voter registration but they also give out to their activism a humanist agenda and much more progressive
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than others at that time. they were flexible and did not perpetuate many of the issues that were keeping women on the periphery of male-dominated organizations. they did not charge dues because they didn't want to limit participation meeting at flexible times there could be a masonic temple or churches that created an organization designed to ensure they have the greatest participation from local women. with the key activists points government anti-poverty initiatives to help create an organization that was of a broad based understanding of what it meant to be a civil rights activist. many organizers were middle-class women ever
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middle-aged and entrepreneurs. mrs. logan was an independent woman selling beauty products to black women. this is sanders who owned a boutique so they were middle-class women and as a result they didn't have to worry about the same level of economic retaliation that they had to engage in activism. they were well respected and known in their churches with experience to the freedom writers so they were the perfect women to nurture these activist to mobilize activism as well as around the state. ultimately a group of plaque
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women who had a unique definition of what social justice said back to the cement. they were unique in the civil-rights movement and not in the legacy of of black women's activism. they're doing what they have done for generations taking care of their communities if families to make scheerer the black community could survive. so to contextualize is there legacy to build on generations to lay the foundation and that black women do today so like ella baker or others who were willing to risk their lives for the collective good and create a truly democratic society, and these black women are unique and important. they don't take center stage
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with the traditional definitions to focus on the most visible leadership positions and what my work attempts to do is to center for the work of women and local people to see the contributions and those that have made. . .
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[applause] >> jon hale. >> good afternoon, everybody. thank you for attending today's session. my name is jon hale. i'm coming from the college of charleston in south carolina. as many if not all of you know, the summer we lost nine lies in the basement of the ame emanuel church in charleston, which was a catalyst to take it on a confederate flag and succulent and other states across the south. i was little shocked and surprised come from charleston we are still grieving and trying to understand the ways to move
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forward from this tragedy and to seek to confederate flags displayed her on the courthouse. it just reminds me how important the work of all the panels here is edward the with to do in mississippi to continue to challenge the use of the flight today. [applause] >> saw want to start out, i'm the second editor and the lead editor, dr. william sturkie to the universe of north carolina chapel hill was unable to attend this weekend but he was the mover and shaker, if you will, behind this book project. he sends his regrets he was unable to make it today but he did want, he did instruct me on a few things to say, and he shared with me a document which is also very relevant at this period in time because it's written or submitted by julian
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bond, and swaddling, the coordinator of all the freedom schools which this book is about in 1964. julian bond in the sled is writing to doctor lynne and i quote, there are two ideas that are particularly pressing. one is including a book on the freedom schools. this book to be printed in our own, i could be so very cheaply, 50 cents to 1 dollar if we could get that much for the. in any case the most important thing would be to collect the material, collectivism and ideas into one single place permanently and to include some opinion about it would give others ideas that perhaps encroachment for the future. for the freedom school book i had thought of doing it by chapters. one by you, when by charlie, when giving factual material, a chapter illustrate on the two schools that were built in several capital materials including poems, essays, newspapers, et cetera that were published by freedom school
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students. that's the end of the litter. julian bond in 1964 called for a book like this. i'm glad that julian bond could see this book before he passed away last sunday and he wrote a nice review which we are extremely grateful for. i must admit our editor who gets bent on to work with them, i'm glad he didn't read this first because julian bond only wanted a dollar per book. so we are happy that, yeah, a console for a little bit more. more importantly of course what julian bond was going for was a comprehensive social history of freedom school or perspective of the freedom schools from the students themselves. many times, or many books coming out on freedom summer sometimes our whitewash. to get the perspective of the white volunteers who yes, they did risk their lives but that's not telling the complete story of the freedom schools. so this book will be tempted to
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do was uncover every freedom school and newspaper publisher during the summer of 1964 and collect them in this one volume in order to provide a student's perspective on freedom schools and freedom summer. therefore, to honor the integrity of the freedom school students. there are about 2500 freedom -- freedom school students who attended, over 40 schools during summer 1964. in order to honor their integrity i like to read just some drug samples from some of the students themselves, and just to ge give you a sample of some of the profound work that they published during that summer. please keep in mind the students are between the age of eight and 15 years old writing this. they are publishing this and circulated around the state of mississippi. collectively the freedom school newspapers were the largest collection of civil rights newspapers during that summer. first selection i will read from is a poem entitled now is the
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hour. now is the hour. no other time will do. for us to go and get what belongs to me and you. now is the hour to stand for what is right, together we know we will win the fight. now is the hour that we must say farewell to tears and hardships, freedom is better, i can tell. so as you notice in her palm, there's a sense of urgency and a call to action for all students. as you reduced to the collections of newspapers you see that students are oftentimes urging older adults to participate. in many ways they are often strong not only encourage but sometimes shameful to adults into participating. one such student tried to encourage adults to participate was a student, 16 year-old joyce brown who was coming from mississippi which earned the
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nickname, the unfortunate nickname of the bombing capital of the confederacy because the homes were bombed repeatedly throughout freedom summer. the freedom school was bombed and destroyed during the course of the summer. she wrote this poem. actually attended school outside in the trees after waiting for their home to be prepared. she writes, i cannot for the fortune won the fame. i seek not to at glory to a known name. i did not come under the shadow of night. i came by day to fight for what's right. i shed a little fear, my monstrous foe, compromise all the threat and will. here i come in here i shall say, no amount is here at determination can sway. in a bomb house have to teach my school because i believe all men should live by the golden rule. to a bombed how's your children must come, because of your fear of a bomb them because you've
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let your. over your soul, and is bombed how's these mines i must try to mold. i must try to teach hi them to stand tall and be a man when you, their parents, have cowered down and refused to make a stand. and the final selection of the read today is a passage entitled why i deserve the freedom by a 15 year old albert evans. i am a black man, and because of my color i am deprived of the human rights which are given to me by god, and promised to me by the united states. i live in a country of free people, yet i am not free. if necessary i will die in order to freedom for my people. canada and the world footstool but tomorrow i hope to be one of its leaders. by attending freedom school this summer i am preparing for that tomorrow. and i'll close with those words,
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as in some ways a haunting reminder as we still see people gunned down in the streets of america. who are continuing to risk their lives to fight for what is promised in the united states constitution, by we the people of the united states. and i appreciate this opportunity presented this material today and i strongly encourage all of us to consider what the perspective of the students are today, the young people into the school who have the potential they have to make this a true democracy. thank you. [applause] >> and dr. rafe al-issawi. good afternoon. my book is called "down to the crossroads." let me begin near the beginning. on the late afternoon of jun june 61966. just south of fernando mississippi and james mann is walking down highway 51. james meredith is famous of course for integrating oldness for years earlier which sparked
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riots, the kennedy administration. but this walk four years later as well as the endeavor of a solitary man. so this didn't have a plan to trek from memphis to jackson, mississippi, which is outlined to goals. the first to go challenge that all pervasive fear that dominates the day-to-day life of a negro in the united states, special in the south and particularly in mississippi. second, to quote encourage the 450,000 unregistered negroes to go to the polls and registered. he's passing down this stretch of road and here's a shout, james meredith, james meredith. is a white man who raises a shotgun. bang, bang, bang. james meredith. of the ole miss crisis is all of a sudden lying splayed on the gravel shoulder of highway 51 with blood soaking through the back of a sugar free blast from a shotgun transform would've been one man's walk into an
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extravaganza. the next three weeks that next three weeks the types of black politics would descend upon mississippi, activists and reporters would arrive from around the world. it was a march full of political experiments, practical alliances, chaotic debates. this march is most famous for spawning the cry of black power, a slogan so is defined a next-generation. those three weeks in june 1966 by the star of this book turn 11 -- "down to the crossroads." black people overcome their fears, registering to vote, and defined the symbols of white supremacy. i would submit this book gives us a way to think about the civil rights movement not as one single pure nonviolent triumph over all of america's racial ills, but rather as a string of ideas emerged into a river, that hopefully a national to the local, that help link the famous leaders of the movement to people at the grassroots, to a struggle that continues well before the 1960s and continues
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beyond. moreover, to think a black power not as the bad guy who killed the civil rights movement but rather kind of like the march itself, something that is both constructive and destructive, hopeful and cynical, both unifying and alienating. it's also an extraordinary story, in march that is the with extraordinary characters include many of the major figures of the civil rights movement. james meredith survived the attack. there were bird shot pellets lodged into his head, his back, his neck and his leg. elect the march continued industry but at the same time he was a constant critic. he was a fundamentally conservative person and he wanted this to be a march conducted by independent following his lead. he hated potential into a mass march, women and children imposing local communities, led by others. however, he did return to mississippi at the end of the march. during the final rally in jackson at the statehouse it was
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james meredith the one the largest cheers. the march was famous for the emergence of stokely carmichael as a national figure. stokely carmichael was the new chairman of the student nonviolent committee. issued a statement condemning the vietnam war. they boycotted a white house conference on civil rights. on june 16 in the midst of the march in greenwood in the mississippi delta at the rally it was stokely carmichael who prefer the cut about 1000 bits of what black power, we won't black power. and when he turned to the crowd and asked what you want to they responded black power. is a slogan to emerge from the current context of the civil rights movement. it captured frustration among african-americans with a very slow pace of federal reform. with the limits of nonviolent action. with the uncertainty that of white liberals that it was also a slogan for captured
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aspirations, hopes, dreams, control over their own communities, pride in blackness and its history and its culture. along the march black power was a contested term with many meanings the oppressed tennessee blocked the entrance of violence which contrasted the nonviolence embodied a martin luther king. but for me it was more, a way to express pride, a way to control their lives. by the into the march the charismatic stokely carmichael emerged as an era. martin luther king in many ways was that the narrative center of the story. the march revealed his greatest gifts, even as they tested him as never before. is organization the seventh leadership christian conference tuesday because fails opportunity to replicate some of the great triumphs. the hope was nonviolent action helped to bring about racist violent and stimulate a national politicians -- conscious.
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martin king was a key moderate influence on the more radical groups like sncc but also the protracted the press and to attracattractive black people of mississippi to block the march. people would literally touch the hem of his garments. it was a testament to his great will and the civil rights movement. this was in march that also featured instances of our dramatic and harrowing violence. and the third week of the march on june 21 they took a side trip to philadelphia, mississippi, and they were there to recognize the second anniversary of the murder of three civil rights workers. because they were not on the official march route and make a little protection from the mississippi agricultural. the local sheriffs were affiliated with the ku klux klan. there at the center of a federal conspiracy trial. the marchers were attacked, a brawl broke out at the inter- despite what happened in philadelphia, despite the pleas of civil right leaders can the
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president refused to increase the federal presence on the march. it was a sign of his increasing alienation from the civil rights movement. is action free the governor of mississippi paul johnson and i would've told unleash more violence. when they were just north of jackson to try to pitch their tents on the public school but local authorities would not let them. as the sun was setting into the darkest the mississippi highway patrol, the very same police who have been protecting them, launched teargas to punish the crowd. half blinded people running in every direction to a chain-link fence public under the weight of scrambling people. then the police moved in on the ground and hit the marchers with her nightsticks and kicked and rifle budget and. is by that intimidation they moved onto jackson. as robby said at the beginning internet to be the greatest civil rights demonstration in history of mississippi, 15,000 people participated in the final
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march right into the statehouse. what had begun as the endeavor of a single, quirky man in james meredith turned into the largest civil rights demonstration in the state's history. this was the last great mass march of the civil rights movement, the last time organizations cooperate on a nonviolent demonstration that we become and lobbying symbol. but to understan understand impe smart enough to shift the focus from those figures and look at the local people in mississippi. over 4000 blacks registered voter in the march itself and there were rallies at court houses all along the route. most dramatic in batesville a man registered to vote for the first time in his life. he was 106 years old and born a slave. again and again just a james meredith had intended, people defied that culture up there in mississippi. this book is filled with stories of african-americans who weren't interested in voting rights for outside agitators and yet get up, dust themselves off a march
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through town with martin luther king and stokely carmichael. it was an extraordinary three-week march. i'd like to end with a story that actually ends the book itself, a story of a woman named elsie dorsey, a woman have since passed away. she talked to me about how she joined the march on the last day and she gave me some extra. she grew up on a plantation of the delta. she was kicked out or lost her job with the mechanization of a plantation. she had seven children and should have gotten involved in the civil rights movement and sure to march on the last day but she could bring her children and decided not to bring her children. she feared it would be a bloodbath. she regretted not bringing in ashes walking with 15,000 other people through the streets of jackson. she said it was like a spiritual awakening. the whole bunch remained afraid there might be violence. but that spirit on the block
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reminded her of a little mass media and to tell the church when she first got involved in the civil rights movement. when they started singing freedom songs she swore she could to the individual voices upper fellow fighters. when they got to to the state capital and the singing stopped she poetically described the crunch crunch crunch of the marching footsteps. then the marching stopped. she said it was as if the birds stopped flying and something beautiful, soulful and fewer. thank you. [applause] >> and every anderson. >> thank you so much, and good afternoon to everybody. and it's great as always to be in mississippi. over the last 10 years i've been researching and writing this book of mine about the emmett till murder. i've come to feel that mississippi is almost like a second home. i've grown to love the people here very much.
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just a couple of months before he delivered his famous speech on august 28, 1963, as part of the march on washington, dr. martin luther king, jr. talked about another dream that he had had probably for some time. he said i have a dream this afternoon that the would be a day when we want a longer face the atrocities that emmett till had to face or medgar evers had to face, or that all men can live with dignity. and he saw the brutal murder of emmett till as not just another local matter, as many people tried to frame it at the time, but as part of, as a larger movement, or that it fit in well with that movement. five years earlier, as he wrote his book about the montgomery bus boycott, he had already declared today it is emmett till, tomorrow it is martin luther king, then and another tomorrow it will be somebody else. so we already saw this movement
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and process, its list of martyrs had already begun and he knew it was inevitable that other names would be added to that list in time. and so as far as background, emmett till was a 14 year old african-american boy from chicago who visited mississippi relatives. his uncle, his wife and their three sons were still in agile. he and a cousin took the train down south, after on august 20, and 4 days later he went into a country store in money mississippi, bought some bubblegum and whistled at 21 year old carolyn bryant whose husband owned the store, she was working behind the counter that night. he whistled after which, of course, violated one of the oldest taboos in the south as far as any interaction between
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the races, or more particularly in this case, any interaction involved at blackmail and a white woman. as a result of that whistled, three days later about 2:00 in the morning in the two was kidnapped at gunpoint from his uncle's home from the bed that he was sleeping in, and he, by the husband of the woman at the store and also his half-brother. and three days after that is brutally beaten and by then decomposing body surface and the tallahatchie river, and that news made headlines not only throughout the country but soon throughout the world. within days, the two men were arrested and indicted for murder and kidnapping, and they went on trial for murder in some of mississippi on september 19.
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they had a publicist that help them with this crime, but those men, their names didn't surface right away. there were rumors during the trial we know some of those names now, but you never saw the inside of a courtroom. bryant did but it didn't do any good or five days after the trial started on september 23, 1965, they were acquitted in all white, all-male jury. not long after that, to add in justice year, layer of injustice, these men sold her story, begin meeting privately with a journalist named william bradford hewitt. they met in the offices of their defense attorneys, and sold their story for $3150. told the details. at least their version at this point. they were careful not to indict anybody else who would help them to could still be tried for kidnapping and murder. so they took all the credit themselves and talk about how
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they did kidnap and murder emmett till. at that point they could not be tried again. and so the local community have to live with that fact, that they had to acquitted murderers in their community. they had rallied to the defense, many of them anyway, during the trial began putting out money jars in various stores to raise money for their defense. not a lot of people doubted their guilt, but they didn't want to hear about it. and once it was out there, and we can deny what's right in front of our faces, sometimes that's obviously the easiest thing to do not is what's doing this right in the face. and once that happened and things change. the emmett till case kind of was forgotten in the sense that it was painful for a lot of people, and it was an embarrassment to many others. so as a result of that, historians didn't talk a whole lot about it for quite a while.
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but it's the type of thing that couldn't stay buried forever. there would be a day when it would have to be resurrected, so to speak. there have been other books on the emmett till case, some of them very, very, welcome a lot of very good there have been memoirs by family members who are talking of what they had experienced. other such as a book also published by university press of mississippi, emmett till and the mississippi press, by -- was very good and focusing on the press. a book, documentary, the emmett till lynching and documentary history. was also very good. what i wanted to do was i wanted to dig deep and i wanted to look at the earliest sources and try to put together a full narrative of this case from beginning to end. when i say again, it's kind of hard because when i started writing this book in 2004, it was another chapter that was beginning. this was in may of 2004, the fbi
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reopened, or should say open the emmett till case because it was really investigated before. but there was enough evidence that there may been, well, there were others involved and possibly people still living who were involved with the kidnapping and murder of emmett till. sadr launched his investigation in may of 2004. it went on for about a year and have. they uncovered a lot of good information, found the trial transcript which had been missing for decades, were able to talk to a lot of people. and so i begin writing does knowing that there was going to be another chapter ahead. and when that investigation ended and nobody was indicted, a lot of people were upset because there was still needing to be some closure with emmett till. but i've discovered and as i've written this book and has appointed in the book, there is much more that's still unfolding really there because of emmett till we've been able to do some powerful things.
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starting off with back in 1957 with the civil rights act of 1957, introduced by the eisenhower administration, which was bought by, in congress, white house others didn't like it and fought against it to others were for it in the name of emmett till was evoked during this debate on both sides of this issue. part four of the civil rights act was, white southerners wanted to read files, a jury trial and emmett to be included in that. those who opposed that said basically, and now washington of republican national convention said, you know, if people did not convict committed jury did not convict the murders of emmett till, you have to expect a jury to convict anybody or hold anybody in contempt who denies blacks the right to vote? that's why they wanted,
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southerners, white southerners wanted a jury and emmett in that bill because they knew these injuries were being tried by white men who would never really convict anybody for violating voting rights for blacks, and the problem which is continue. then in 2007, 50 years later, alvin sykes, an activist from kansas city push the emmett till unsolved civil rights act and that sponsors without, and that ended up being passed 422-2 in the house and after some obstacles overwhelmingly so in the senate, president bush signed shortly before leaving office which appropriated $13.5 million a year to investigate cold civil rights cases. that expires in 2017 and alvin sykes is now pushing for emmett till build 2 which would have no sunset provision which would not expire and which would be expanded to include other federal crimes besides hate
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crimes and that's civil rights, race crimes. that's also known as till bill two. and because of him a lot more is going to be happening. so that's what he a significant date and his legacy goes on and why i wrote this book. thank you. [applause] >> in the name initiate and democracy in the room and the best officer of democracy i'm going to open the floor to questions. if you have questions please come to our podium and we will let you line up there and go in order of the questions that those of you in the audience may have. i will say one of the things that has struck me about all of these books and the work that we all do as writers and civil rights historians is how much
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the story of the modern civil rights movement is a living history. and it is especially a living history here in mississippi and in this room. many of you may notice or may not but i see on every single row living civil rights activists come and we all a great deal and debt of gratitude to all of them who are here. [applause] >> so i'll start the questions off and if you do have questions, please come on up to the podium. in that sense i'm interested in the voices and the people who fill your nurses and the people that you talk to over the course of the research of writing this book and what struck you in meeting with them and talking to them, and how that impacted your books. start with doctor morrissey on the ed. >> unfortunate i was only able to interview a couple members of the organization. they were middle age in the
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1960s so many have passed by the time to dig into my research. i was able to talk to mrs. loken. i interviewed her twice, and she was oftentimes called the mother of a jackson civil rights movement. i was also able to get some of the freedom riders in members, family members of the organization members. so that was extremely beneficial, and abou that world history is important to really understand what those women thought, how they perceived of their activism. i was fortunate in that mrs. harvey donated her papers to the resurgence in and she kept meticulous records of her civil rights activism of the religious activism. she was also the first black woman to become president of the church women united and they worked with women are unlimited and worked with the national council of negro women on the mississippi project. i was able to access primary documents from a variety of sources. with respect to the oral history and giving those women's voices,
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one of the things i wanted to do was center their ideas, thoughts and interpretations of their works. i was able to do that from conversations with their daughters, other family members. that was extreme and board and releasing of the women and vision of themselves in their own contributions to the civil rights movement. i would just say make sure, under one of the panelists earlier on another panel say this, that it's important to talk to the elders and your family. to make sure especially that the stories of black women don't go down in the margins of history, right? these stories become well known in our families and in our communities and in the public historical record. >> and an excellent question. civil rights movement history is oftentimes living history historycomfortable with what we're talking about now is, in our work with the freedom, working with african schools and talking with the freedom school students, you really learn how
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powerful the civil rights movement was as an educated space in terms of, meaning if you purchase the in the movement you are just learning how to process based in the movement, what it meant to be in, what it meant to be a citizen. such as participating was educating young people. this at such a strong impact on the rest of their lives. so for instance, ms. mitchell voter first articles that were published in the freedom school newspaper. she went on to found her a newspaper which still lives this day called the midsouth tribune. dr. thomson, she went to freedom school still lives in jackson today and went to get her ph.d come with you desegregate high school faculty in the state of wisconsin. a lot of these students went on to live very profound lives and were strongly impacted by the work of the movement, just conspiring to learn more about that. >> it's an interesting question
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to me for well because writing about the merit of march, for historians a treasure trove of documents. the press covered it so extensively. the papers of civil rights organizations all involved that meredith march. the editors press wasn't there. activist newspapers, africa and the newspapers. the store took on a different dimension when i started to do interviews. pfeifer started by finding people on civil rights veterans website. what transformed the perspective for me in a lot of voices coming to the annual meeting of the mississippi civil rights of veterans i sat down ugly to a gentleman who was one of these activist and a strict obama a project. of course, i was on the meredith march. you need to talk to the watkins and him and talk to them. these are all the people you've got to make sure you talk to. i went around and got the contact information, major i talk to the. their perspective more than many others change so i thought about the struggle on the ground and for them that the meredith march was an extraordinary national
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story but was rather part of their long continuum of work they have done predated the 1960s and went into the presently still see themselves as activists and that was important for me to understand. >> for me, might entities begin about eight years before it even really thought about writing this book. it was because for a class project when i was at the university of utah i decided i would try to interview him and tells mother as part of my project. and so i did it. -- emmett till's mother. that was december 1996. she died in january 2003. so for the next six years we talked a lot on the phone about her son. i would codify questions about something or at this point it was just me being, just been very passionate about this case and i was studying at all the time. and so those introduce standout for me.
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especially with her, because when she passed away i realized what i' i had lost personally ad what the world had lost. i was just so grateful i had this information that had come from a. nobody was more important to this story than her. that was something that will stay with me. i did interview several journalists who covered the trial. most of those i interviewed, i think are still alive know the identity of them probably after 50 years. so having them go back and remember this case 50 years later was an amazing thing to witness because they all, nobody forgot it. they were still quite emotional in many cases about what they had seen. the challenge for me was getting people from the side of milam and bryan morley's trafalgar cannot mess with miss a people who were sympathetic to them but family and friends. i did in a few cases get people to talk, and it was important to
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them that i not use the name in the book. but i was able to use the information they gave you. but they were worried about some repercussions from other family members, or friends if they were to be on the record. at least to me. so they were challenges but it meant a lot to me to write what i wanted to write to get those who were involved or in some personal way on either side of this. and so that's, indeed if the book you see a list of interviews i did with a lot of important people that made the book much better than would otherwise. >> thank you all. i'm going to now turn it over. >> thank you so much and i think each of you for participating in this panel. my name is jon and i'm from clark still mississippi and the delta not far from sumner. and i grew up in cleveland, mississippi. as a child my education about
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the civil rights came to a great degree from walter cronkite. that is what i saw on the news. as it was taking place. but my question for you has to do with teaching history. i have three daughters and i'm involved in their education. and in their schools. but what i find often is that civil rights education is not taught to our high school and junior high students. it's hard to really begin a broad discussion with one's children without historical context, especially where i'm from a. and i would appreciate your thoughts on this, your thoughts on how they can introduce this into our education system better so that our children do grow up with a sense of the history and their past. >> what a great question to we
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haven't actually panel to address that i will say one thing either way started in the state of mississippi we do have a civil rights curriculum mandated by state law to be taught in every social studies class k-12 so you can begin by demanding that joe public schools teach that civil rights curriculum as mandated, but i will turn it over. >> i would say needs t to be a people so stupid and needs to focus on grassroots activism because that's the only way you're going to incorporate people other than rosa parks and martin luther king, is to focus on those people who are active behind the scenes, the everyday people that most people don't know about but they were on the ground, who were in those communities. that's how you get not only local people but also primarily women. >> just to build upon that as well, to reiterate, mississippi has a bill passed mandated to teach civil rights history and all mississippi public schools but what we find is it's incumbent upon the local
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district to actually make that happen. south carolina has a similar law on the books will provide a local deserts are not making that happen so we depends upon local people and teachers, students, parents to demand that the schools incorporate that into the curriculum. so that's what starts as well. then to build upon the theme of a people's history, there's an education project that offers wonderful organization for teachers. that's what we tried to do in this book is tell the story of the freedom summer for the perspective of the students. too many times i feel students and young people are taught they are too young to do anything, you can't vote yet but wendy we the history vacancy that they are change agents and they can continue this history and on schools today. >> i'll just add one small thing and that is i think too often the history is taught in a way that makes us feel comfortable. there was a problem, we addressed it, martin luther king was a hero and we moved on.
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and really i think which we teaching the movement to make us uncomfortable and we should be thinking about race in america to make us uncomfortable. the events of the last you should really reinforce that. what i teach u.s. history survey, i begin with a lynching because of what the students to understand the stark brutality of lynching and to use the present activism as a lens back into the past is important for students in our civil rights classes to think about. >> i'm not a teacher so, i'm an editor, and so if someone wants to write up something good for the curriculum, i can probably help edit it. but all i can sit on the road is just my own expense because of contemporary pagans, people, students have a lot of questions, see that a lot of battles are being fought today that should've been flawed and so before so that's the way to introduce history today, and it makes it come alive because there are enough contemporary events and make those questions
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relevant steel. thank you. >> i live in jackson, but during the '60s i live in the black community in greenwich and lived through everything you've talked about. i want to thank you for writing books so that this will be down and down for history in the future. my other question is to robby luckett or oppose investments i don't really know what goes on now. i want to buy some books. you know go down to the places to sell the books and sign them? [laughter] spent all of these books are available. please go out a buy and bought the books. >> okay, then how do we get them to scientists because the entire panel will be right beside the bookstore, the 10th just just adjacent to it right after this pesticide them. >> okay, but i want to go to the next conference. >> you are going to have to track these guys down. they are pretty nice so i think there will be more than willing to sign for your.
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>> all right, thank you. >> robby, i think she was a plant for the bookseller. [laughter] >> my name is todd allen on the u.s. history teacher here in jackson. and i appreciate the attention that we are putting on the so-called cold cases, but i just wanted someone to stand up and remind us that we have a very hot case in mississippi, july 8, this summer, jonathan sanders was riding his horse's at night because it was cool enough to do that. the stories vary but there was some altercation with the police, and he was killed by kevin harrington, part-time police officer in stonewall mississippi. kevin harrington is still free, and jonathan


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