tv James Robenalt Ballots and Bullets CSPAN September 9, 2018 9:00am-10:31am EDT
in your bank account will evaporate and all the goals you carefully hidden with the end of time will be revealed for what it is, and not especially useful yellow rush. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. .. throughout the year, one such event is the one we are doing this monday, july 9, the monarchy of fear. a philosopher looks and our politics. a little bit of housekeeping before we start. if you could turn off or silence your cell phones, we would appreciate it for the q and a, please remember that
the, to step up to the microphone over there so that we can not only ensure that everyone can hear the conversation but ensure that it is beingrecorded. for those of you who want to buy copies of the book, there are copies behind the cash registers. will be doing a signing after the q and a, line up to the right of the podium . lastly after the event i'd like to ask all of you to keep their chairs where they are as we have another event after this one.i am happy to introduce james robenalt to all of you.james is a cleveland-based lawyer and author of three previous books including january 1973, watergate, roe v wade, vietnam and the month that changed america for ever. it was originally source for january 1973. his new book is called "ballots and bullets" black
power, politics and urban guerrilla warfare in cleveland. robenalt's account of racial violence could be taken from today's headlines but the incident he reports happened on july 23 1968 in a clash between black nationalists and police. six people were killed and 15 injured. the shootings led to heavy rioting but what set them off is still unclear. re-creating the date in question, robenalt puts them in the context of cleveland's long racial history. although the city had been the site of malcolm x's ballots or bullets speech, and elected carl stokes its first black mayor months earlier, these work in a to mitigate decades of injustice nor to prevent the nationalist leader fromfacing an all-white jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death . kirkus reviews also painstakingly reported, clearly written case study
that is all too relevant today. ladies and gentlemen, james robenalt. [applause] >> thank you very much. can you hear, is it loud enough? i've got a presentation today that includes some audio clips from malcolm x, some video clips with martin luther king and various photographs that i want to share aboutthis book . the first thing i want to do is this first slide we are looking at right now, that is martin luther king shaking hands with a guy named fred ahmed evans in 1968 and he would be the guy who was involved in the shootout 50 years ago. in king, cleveland was about to elect its first african-american mayor and the first african-american mayor of a major us city.
the guy in between them is an fbi informant so art of my research in getting to this book was finding here in washington the fbi files on fred ahmed evans which nobody else had ever seen before and they are incredible, 400 pages and the guy who's the informant there literally is giving like an hour by hour account leading up to the shootout while he calls fbi agents from the road to say this is what's going on so it's an incredible story, it's highly nuanced and i think you'll enjoy some of it . but it's also a very disturbing story because it is about not just cleveland's damage but our country's damaged past so first question and this by the way is a photograph of stokes
walking through a place called husk which had about a riot two years earlier. they were commemorating that riot but if you look closely, the two guys on each time rifles on their shoulders. this is three days before the shootout so i'll come back to that in a moment. a little moreintroduction on me, i've done , this is my fourth book. i've never gone looking to write a book, they always come and find in one way or another. the first book is called linking rings, it's about my great-grandfather who came here to washington in 1880 a little town in ohio. went back and became the chairman of the democratic party in ohio. he rode the train with william jennings bryan and helped wilson become president and when he died he was registered to the treasury for fdr so my family is a new deal family but he was also the president of the international brotherhood of magicians. politics and magic, how can you lose? that was the first book so it is about his life and my getting to know him after my
mother died, his grand daughter. the second come came from john edwards debating in cleveland. it's a very forgettable debate, in fact it was an awful debate and i was asked by the people who put on that to do a program on ohio and its president so ohio's boasts eight presidents and so i ask all the people who derisively written about ohio presidents and some of the descendents of these presidents and one of the guys who i asked to come was john w dean who was nixon's white house counsel and he had just written a book on harding at the request of arthur schlesinger junior. and john wrote in merion ohio which is where harding was from he said to arthur, i'd like to do this book because i took one president down, i think i should pick another
one up. he wrote a book about harding. when he came to do this program, i asked a local historical society, do you have anything of interest on war and harding and the guy on the phone to me i can't tell you on the phone, you've got to come see me. i went out, he closed the door, got everybody out of his office, pulled out this box and said you know who carrie phillips is? i said i think that's one of harding's mistresses. he said these are the love letters. i knew enough to know they were under seal at the library of congress, discovered when he died, this woman died when she was 60 and they been in the library of congress under seal for 50 years so this was long before they were ever going to come out though we went to look at them. turns out it's 900 pages of love letters. then i sent out a freedom of information act request and it came back, nobody ever asked about her husband jim phillips that they were german spies during the first
world war so the book is the harding affair, love and espionage during the great war and it is quite a story because harding, this view of him as seen through the love letters that he wrote to her that she is i think pretty extraordinary. so that's an enjoyable bookto write . this comes from the fact that i go around the country with john dean begin to lawyers about watergate. we continuing legal education program together and have done 150 programs and this book is very relevant today in washington. it is about a month that changed our history. it's about the watergate burglars file. it's about the end of the vietnam war when kissinger goes over to end the war and it's about the back story of roe v. wade. i talked to the law clerk
that helped write the court's opinion on roe v. wade and he gave me the back story. he was released by his justice to write about what his justice and talk to him about and it turns out powell was involved in putting the viability standards into roe v. wade so this book is about all these events happening at once. to tell you how extraordinary that book is, on the day henry kissinger goes to fly, for the visa courts, two hours later, justice blackmun reads the opinion of the court in roe v. wade and three hours later lyndon johnson drops dead in texas so it's really this thing that i love about history. these confluence is and so forth. that's that book. and this book, "ballots and
bullets", i didn't go looking for this. the reason i wrote it and there is a picture of john dean speaking, the woman all the way to the left, your left in the red top is a woman named diane muse. she's a secretary at the law firm i work out in cleveland. the guy in the middle is her father and the other women are her sisters. her father was one of the guys badly wounded in the shootout 50 years ago. in fact, they're kind of holding him up there. he lost part of his leg in this shootout so diane had told me that her father was injured and wounded as a policeman, but never talked about this particular instance until 2016 and for some reason, that summer i became more interested. i said tell me about your dad and he brought in a book which i'll show you. i started to read it and this is where her father was shot at that intersection. this is a little book done about the shootout year after it happened by a professor.
it's full of errors, i know now know. it was before all the trials were completedbut as i was reading that , and this is about -- what happened was dallas and in fact we stand here today on the second anniversary of the shootout in dallas. it was july 7, 2016. and whathappened on that day is exactly what happened years earlier in cleveland . it was a group of black nationalists targeting police, white police in particular to kill them. and this guy who went to dallas with this terrible event that you all remember, yes. [inaudible] the five policemen were shot and killed in dallas. yes.
okay, so the question that was asked was which one was it, we are starting to blur. what happens is this guy is an army veteran and it's a result of two african americans being killed by policeman and at an event that's protesting those killings, he comes with his weapon and begins to shoot white policeman on purpose to sabotage them and the echo to the guy back in cleveland, this fred ahmed evans is pronounced, both of them were army veterans. fred evans was a korean war veteran. all of them were black power black nationalists responding to what they called police abuses so the question i have been as i was reading this book was why are we here 50 years later? why is this happening 50 years later that we have somebody who gets upset that
they would actually go out and deliberately shoot white policeman and why do we replay this. so in getting to understand this story, obviously racism in the united states goes back 400 years. but i wanted to understand in cleveland what happened. and it turns out that this church which is in cleveland is central. this church is a mile away from where the shootout in cleveland happened in july 1968 area and it's a magnificent church. it is originally built as a jewish synagogue in the 1920s. and then it was sold to an african-american methodist church in near 1950. and what i like about this is that this brings together the strands of the story. take a look at that cross their . look at that picture. that's martin luther king in 1963 at this church and i'll explain why he's there. but in addition, if you look at that pulpits, that's
malcolm x., the same a year later. so here we have in one place in cleveland, it's a mile away from where the shootout happened, the two ends of the spectrum of the black freedom movement that martin luther king was christian, who believed in integration and who believed in nonviolence . on the other hand you have malcolm x. who was a black muslim who was for the separation of the races and who believed in armed self-defense as the way to black freedom. they both spoke at the same church within a year of each other and the malcolm x's speech is what i named this book after, it was called the ballot or the bullet and the speech was originally given at this pulpit in cleveland ohio in april 1964. let me go back and tell you more about this. the church is huge. the synagogue is huge so why does king come to cleveland? in the spring of 63, he had
the birmingham campaign and went to birmingham to oppose the jim crow laws of birmingham and the segregation and these images changed the civil rights movement. this is old connor going after the people involved in direct protest. so during the middle of that, as you know martin luther king was put in jail and on grab book paper he wrote what became known as the letter from birmingham jail. after he got out of jail, he came to cleveland. he came to cleveland because england was considered alabama north. a lot of the migrants during the great migration after the wars came from alabama to cleveland so he came there. he liked cleveland a lot. he loved the people there but he was coming to raise bail money for not only all the adults but if you remember in birmingham, a lot of kids took part in the protests and they were also put in cages.
during the birmingham campaign. so he comes and he gives a speech and they passed the hat around. there are 3000, 4000 people crowded into that church, 15,000 outside the church. it's an enormous event, a big happening. the people still alive remember this tell me he had the letter from birmingham jail in his case when he came to cleveland on these scraps of paper. so very importanttime in the life of this . a couple months later he comes to washington and delivers the i have a dream speech in august 1963 and then the 16th street baptist church in birmingham is bombed area it's a month after he gives the speech. and so the question arises, does nonviolence work? is it effective? what is the best way to go to look for freedom and so before young girls were killed in that awful event. in cleveland we were likewise
having a lot of violence because of the integration of the schools. there was an attempt to integrate the schools because they were very segregated. the migrants who came to cleveland were really located in to ghettos. that became severely overcrowded. 70,000 people in each and today there's like 17,000 people in these neighborhoods. severely overcrowded. lots of problems, this is a picture of the time. there was a lot of violence going on and so the people, congress on racial equality asked malcolm x. to come to cleveland to speak. malcolm x had just broken with elijah mohammed and the nation of islam so this speech, the ballot or the bullet was one of his most important speeches . and it was in cleveland that he first delivers this. this was right after if you know the story, he had spent
all this time with caches clay who's on his way to becoming mohammed ali. and he is moving, malcolm x. is moving away from the idea that you had to keep separate within the black community. there's a time for everybody to unite and not worry about their religion and not let that control what's going on. this beach is considered one of the top 10 most influential speeches in the 20th century.nine days later after getting it in cleveland, he gave it in detroit at a church there, a guy named reverend clay who was good friends with reverend like franklin was aretha franklin's father but i want you to hear a little bit about this becauseit's important to hear his voice. this would have been the same speech he gave in cleveland but this is in detroit . >> mister moderator, reverend clay, brothers and sisters. friends.
and i speak for. [inaudible] [applause] >> i think we be fooling ourselves if we had an audience this large anddidn't realize that there were some enemies present . but that be known, we want to talk about the ballot or the bullet. the ballot or the bullet explains itself . but before we get into it, since this is the year of the ballot or the bullet , i would like to clarify some things that referred to me in setting my own personal position . i'm still a muslim, my religion is still islam. >> it's at a christian church and he is saying we should not let our religion divide us.
and this next statement, i've only got three clips butthis one is why he said we should be united together despite our religious differences . >> whether you are a christian or a muslim or a nationalist, we all have the same problem. they don't hang you because you're a baptist, they hang you because you're black . they don't hang me because i'm a muslim, they hang me becausei'm black . and they hang us for the same reason, all those kids know from the same entity, we are all in the same bag, in the same booth. we suffer political oppression. economic exploitation. antisocial degradation. all from the same enemy. the government has made it,
you cannot deny that. anytime you live in the 20th century 1954 and you're walking around your singing we shall overcome. >>. [applause] >> this is part of what's wrong with us. you're doing too much singing. today, it's time to stop singing and start swinging. >> you get the idea of what he's at this point. and the thing that he wants to do is to explain his new philosophy of what you went through. it's black nationalism and what he says is that this is a time in the world when in
asia, africa, liberation movements had come up after the second world war. people were throwing off their colonial oppressors and what he said essentially is and what the philosophy is behind the black nationalism is that the united states did not have a colony in africa, they brought the colony here and they established it in the south and that the idea of black nationalism was made that group needs to be cohesive to work together and it's a spectrum, it's all away from political involvement together. owning your own source within the your community all the way to a black nation established in the south . and he was along that spectrum. so there's the last second i'll play from the ballot. >> when we look like in other parts of this earth upon we live, we find this black around radio people in africa
and asia are getting their attendance. they're not getting it by singing we shall overcome. they're getting it through nationalism. it's nationalism that brought about the independence of the people in asia, every nation in asia aids of independence through the philosophy of nationalism, every asia nation that has gotten this independence brought about through the philosophy of nationalism and it will take black nationalism to bring about the freedom of 22 million afro-americans during this country we have suffered colonialism for the past 400 years . >> though that the underpinning of black nationalism and that's what he's talkingabout, people working together and that's why he says it's the ballot or the bullet . and voters who are black can make a difference, if it doesn't make a difference, use the bullet and he encouraged people to have rifle clubs, armed self-defense as opposed to letting people get beat up during civil rights
demonstrations. he really is coming in at a totally different way of what looking at it from martin luther king. the problem is that he did not survive much beyond 1964. the day after he gave that speech, in detroit, he went and did his eye in the middle east. and came back to change. he was saying we shouldn't worry about civil rights. this is a human rights issue and it's this international issue. it's not just our civil rights in the united states, it's more of a united nations human rights question. and we have the support of theworld. and so he comes back.the problem is you was in deep trouble with the nation of islam because he brokewith elijah mohammed in a very ugly way . and eventually, and he leaves , he's a marked man so by february 1965 he is killed and assassinated in new york city .
but that doesn't end obviously black nationalism. one of the guys sitting in the church listening to malcom x speak about the ballot or the bullet is fred evans. guy who becomes a nationalist in cleveland and leaves the shootout. and he listens to this and what he heard was when you are a colonial people, and if you have someone who has superior power to you, the best method to counter that power is through guerrilla warfare. and it was happening in africa, and asia. and that became his mantra. so the shootout in 68 and i'll tell you about is not about drugs, it isn't about territory. it isn't about anything other than dignity and an urban guerrilla warfare to make a statement that these guys had started to think about in 1964 so it was four years later that that happened. these things that happenedin the united states .
malcom x is killed. watts happens, that summer in 65 and that comes out of nowhere, by the way. in white americans, it comes out of nowhere too. and what was, what people couldn't understand was lyndon johnson had just passed the 65 voting rights act. and two weeks later it was watts and the question is what's going on here? we are having progress, we are seeing things progress and yet this violence happens and what white america didn't know is that these thing that had built up from these migrations during the wars were really pestering places of injustice and police brutality. and it was just too little, too late. so we begin with watson 65 and cleveland in 1966 we have the rebellion . and it is, comes out of
almost nowhere. again, the community has no idea that this is coming that it has been building up and the african-american community certainly knows what's coming. the mayor of the city is the tallest guy in this picture. he had no clue. he was not a bad guy, he had no clue how to deal with most of his african-american citizens. he just didn't relate to them, had no idea what their issues were. you can see the befuddlement ashe walks through in the half rebellion . now on the other side of the black freedom movement we have martin luther king . and he had had the 64 act in the south, birmingham 64 times man of the year. and then 65 after cell, voting rights act. these are great achievements and he decides he's going to move north area out of the south into the north so he goes to the first place, chicago.
which has actually i think more african-americans in chicago at the time and in mississippi and again, they have been crowded in together. king goes to move into one of those ghettos to understand the conditions. and he's troubled by two things that happened and surprised by two things. one is he's surprised by the level of animosity of the north. he thinks it's worse than what he sees in the south and i'll explain that in a second. the other thing that he's very precise about is the young african-american males particularly in chicago and not believe in his nonviolence. they believed in malcom x area they believed in armed self-defense and in, they just did not follow with him. so he was having kids walk out of speeches that he was giving. and it was just, the whole thing turned into a disaster for him.
in chicago. he decided that the biggest issue and he was right was that the schools were not integrated. that they were segregated and that was a huge problem and why were they segregated? because the neighborhoods were segregated. how do you address an open house? he did a lot of marching for open house in chicago and that brought out the worst in many people in these chicago neighborhoods. a lot of stonethrowing and so forth. there's this awful picture of king getting hit on the side of the head in one of his marches and it's one thing to be in the south and the same people where going to give people the right to sit on a bus. it's a different thing for somebody to say somebody's going to be allowed to move into your neighborhood . it just evil this anger that he was astonished by how strong it was. he's not surprised that people would feel that way but he's astonished by the strength of it. he literally chicago after negotiating a deal with mayor richard daley, that is not
much of a deal. it has no teeth. it promises a lot of stuff but he knows he can't win in chicago and he gets out so where does he look? he looks to cleveland ohio. he knows that charles stokes, african-american warrior in town as almost won the mayor ship in cleveland. by this time cleveland has almost 40 percent african-american population . so he knew that this was the place to go to because he now wanted to move from civil rights in the black power. and the otherguy really pushing him on this is stokely carmichael . the whole black power movement is malcolm x-based and he comes to cleveland because he sees this as an opportunity. this is a clip i found of him when he first comes to cleveland in 1967. not long after he declares
his opposition to the vietnam war, by the way which he did on april 4, 1967. this is later. listen to how he explains why he's coming to cleveland we feel that overthe last few years , we have achieved the moral power and we have literally subpoenaed large segments of the nation to appear before the judgment of morality on the question of civil rights. now it is necessary to transform this moral power into political power so that we can bring about the necessary political reform that will solve the problems we face so big deal. he comes to cleveland april26 , at the speech that he gives to the high school students in glenville, many of whom took part in the half rebellion earlier and he gives a speech that i think is one of his best speeches
because it tells the kids, don't let anybody tell you you're not somebody. you are somebody. i knew i was somebody when i was little. my parents made me feel that way. he talked about getting on a bus to go across school in atlanta and he said every time i got on the bus, i left my mind on the front seat and someday i knew i was going to put my body there with my mind. a very inspirational speech but the speech is more, you guys go home and tell your parents devote. we're going to get into exercising political power so this gives you a little field for this. i highly recommend listening to whole speech but listen to this. this is about 20 seconds. >> work passionately and unrelentingly for first-class citizenship but we must never use second-class methods to gain it. we've got to get smart. we've got to organize.
we've got to organize respectably and so well and indeed in such powerful, creative protest that there will not be a power in the world that can stop us. >> so king has a problem in cleveland . carl stokes does not want him to come to cleveland. he wants to win and he thinks king will alienate the few whites that he wants to get so you will not find any pictures of carl stokes with martin luther king, even though he came to cleveland old every week during the summer of 1967 and this is not written about in the history books. i'm surprised when i go and read most of the biographies, they don't emphasize cleveland but cleveland was what it was all about. it was all about moving civil
rights and black power and in a lot of ways, martin luther king and malcom x moved towards each other at the end of their lives. interestingly, both of them were 39 years old when they were killed. it's hard to believe how much influence they had in this world but you have malcom x moving towards human rights, and martin luther king moving towards more aggressive black power as he's being pushed by it. the same time cleveland is the center of the universe on this picture is known as the ali summit. talk about somebody kicked in the knees. this is june 1967 and what i like in the reason i have this, i love this photograph . it's jim brown, greatest running back of all-time and he calls in all these black athletes to talk to ali who is saying he's not going to join the army, that he's going to resist the draft. this is in cleveland ohio and you can see bill russell is on one end, then senator,
later kareem abdul-jabbar and a lot of other football players in the back and the green bay packers and other cleveland browns but the guy who i like in this photograph is all the way to the left. you see carl stokes who is the only non-athlete. and the carl stokes two weeks from this photograph will declare his race for the mayor of cleveland. next is this guy named walter beach area walter was on the team with jim brown that one the championship in 1964. that shut down johnny unitas and his like 27 to nothing. he was the quarterback was the shutdown for end walter is still alive. and walter and i have probably talk 25, 30 times about all of this reedit when he was going through his life as an nfl player, he was from detroit and he met malcom x and went to his balance and bullet speech in detroit, the one that welisten to segments
of he also will be , one of the last guys to see before the shooting starts so he's a very important guy. he's a wonderful human being and in fact, most of our conversations and with him saying he's in love jim. and that appropriate i think. that's his big tagline. so stokes is running. you will see king with him but king was there, very much and when he came to cleveland, he met with pastors but he made sure to include fred ahmed evans who was the militant black nationalist atthe time so this is a picture of them. this is also that picture i showed you, this is the day before carl stokes is elected . and so king, and to me i love this part of the story. i don't know if you know this after he violated the injunction in birmingham, the case went up on appeal he served so many days in the birmingham jail and was let
out like five days early on bail. he went to the united states supreme court and in 1967, the us supreme court, the warren court ordered him to go back to jail. for five days cause he violated the injunction. and we just had a president who pardoned somebody for violating an injunction. arizona. king went back to jail and he went back to the birmingham jail right before this picture was taken. and he had three books with him, and economics book, nat turner's book the confessions of matt turner and he had one other book, i can't remember what it was but he then comes back to cleveland because he wants to be in cleveland when this event happens. carl stokes does win but he barely wins. and you look in vain for king tanning next to him. he was in cleveland, he was being held in a hotel room by carl's brother who became a very well-known congressman
and a wonderful human being. i never met: i met lou many times but they did not want carl just didn't want martin luther king there to plug alienation as he started his, what he was going to do and the cleveland elected somebody on tuesday and the following monday they were in office so he didn't have any time to do anything, he just did it but this is the victory of carl stokes in cleveland . martin lutherking was not happy about this . this is the short clip, this is the day after stokes wins. and you think this would be a very happy day for martin luther king but he's very unhappy. where coretta scott king told ebony magazine that this was the greatest snob of his life not to be included in the celebration. so the next day the king gives this talk, the very incendiary, old apocalyptic. he goes to one of the churches in cleveland, listen
to the tone and tothe message of what he says .>>. >> as a result of what has taken place in congress concerning the poverty bill, or for the first time we face the possibility of winter riots and escalated summer riots. and if these ominous developments takeplace and come into effect , the congress of our nation, not the rioters must take the chief responsibility for making it so. >> so he leaves cleveland and this is what happens four months later. he's killed inmemphis. what he's talking about with the poor is how many people know about the poor people's campaign ? he had come up with this idea , there's a lawyer here in georgetown named peter ellman
and the marion comes up with the idea through bringing bobby kennedy to mississippi to start the poor people's campaign. kennedy says tell doctor king to bring the poor the washington. have them camp here all summer. until the anti-poverty bills are passed, the ones that should be passed. they were mimicking the veterans from world war i who came in the 30s , that bonus army that they did. so that was the idea and king was in the midst of putting that together and the only reason he went back to memphis bythe way it was that he had gone there the week before . sanitation workers strike, he got in the front of the line of protests . the southern christian leadership conference, at the back of that line, some of the younger teenagersstarted riots. and they broke windows , and etc. and the police came inflamed and one of the kids was killed and martin luther king was curated out and he
was responded because he wanted to bring this poor people's campaign here andnow it looks like he couldn't control something . so he decides that that night he's going to abandon the poor people's campaign. he's talked out of it but that's on a thursday area on a sunday which is march 31 1968, he comes here to washington to the national cathedral. and gives his last sermon there and the reason he comes is to ensure washingtonians that he's people are going to not tear up washington and so he goes back for what would be the redemptive march in memphis and is killed. so we have that happen. right before this all happens, the kernercommission comes out . that johnson had put together about why are the detroit riots in particular brought about in 67 area they were looking at why is all this violence happening and they came back with a stunning report at the end of february
68 said it's a white problem. it's not a black problem. it's the insanity of blaming the victims of racism with the consequences of racism so they very clearly said two things. it's a white problem to be solved and secondly, it's going to cost a lot of money and we got to spend that kind of money. so the threats now are coming apart though. king is killed and of all things, you know washington, there's a picture of washington, goes up in flames. a lot of places go up in flames but not cleveland because cleveland elected an african-american mayor and that mayor walked the streets with fred ahmed evans to keep things cool. but if you notice, this is
the cleveland plain dealer. it says rfk gives eulogy on king. the next day, bobby kennedy came to cleveland ohio and he came to cleveland as part of his running forpresident , he had announced march 15 and he gave this speech. a lot of people talk a lot about his courageous talk in indianapolis the night king was killed . this to me is much more important. this is like his gettysburg address. it's 10 minutes long, he stayed up all night putting it together with jeff greenfield and he came to cleveland and he was scheduled to speak. the place was packed with people, it was a very solemn occasion and i want to play two segments of this speech that becomes known as the mindless menace of violence speech but this is bobby kennedy in cleveland ohio . >> it is not a day for politics . i have saved this one opportunity, my only event of today, to speak briefly to
you about the mindless menace of violence in america which again stains are land and every one of our lives. it is not the concern of any one race. the victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. they are most important of all, human beings whom other human beings love and needed. >> let me go back area it makes you emotional just to hear it. >> our lives on this planet are too short. the work to be done is to great, to let this spirit
flourish any longer in this land ofours . of course, we cannot banish it with a program nor with a resolution. but we can perhaps remember if only for a time that those who lived with us are our brothers. that they share with us the same short moments of life, that they speak as do we nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can. >> across the street from where he was speaking this scene was developing. people outside the church called old stone church in public square. inside, stokes was sobbing
over the assassination of martin luther king and out of this tragedy he came up with the idea of an anti-poverty program that he's going to call cleveland now and in all life to freedom now in the south, this is cleveland now and look at the number there. this is 1968, $1.2 billion over 10 years for education, housing, healthcare. it's like the many great society. it's the many war on poverty and that commitment is made in may 1968. it comes out of all this tragedy. bobby kennedy is killed in june, another thread now unraveling at this point. and at that point, hubert humphrey comes to cleveland. he is now the candidate, and if you look at this picture it's with carl stokes, that button says we blend now on it. he delivers to me one of his most important speeches at the same place where body kennedy has spoken three months earlier and he says
we've got a problem with our cities. and my plan is to have a marshall plan for our cities. it's that big of a problem. we need to make that big of a commitment on the part of the united states so he delivers that in cleveland because of the cleveland now program. and the american history changes for all sorts of reasons but the total tragedy of this is the day that he delivers that speech, fred evans and some of his nationalist brought in by rivals with cleveland now money. to shoot policemen. >> is this horrible turn of events and this is money that was for a summer program in cleveland now isused by these rivals , these are some of the rifles used and then we have three days before the shootout, this is stokes walking through thestreets . and then we have the shootout, this is the neighborhood where ithappened and i will describe it . because i don't have time for it but you can read the book
area and it is dramatic and it's very violent. three policemen are shot dead on the scene, 12 of them are badly wounded. the nationalists have these high-powered rifles and including an m1 and an m2 and they were shooting and really causing havoc and the policeman had their 38 revolvers. those policemen didn't know what was coming but the fbi did because they had informants and the hierarchy of police knew it so you can read a lot about this in the book but let me just say that these are the three policemen thatwere shot dead . the two of them had alcohol blood levels of .24.25 . they didn't know they were going to be killed that night . this is a tavern next to the nationals house where it all took place and these are the various places. the nationals ended up irrigating themselves in the house, selecting out of it
and the police burned to the ground. nobody knows for how many were killed because they stokes bulldozed it two days later and nobody looked for remains so it was national guard coming in. fred evans going to jail and he was convicted. this is a picture of him on death row, he ended up dying in prison of cancer in 1978 but here's, i'll conclude with this point. this cause, this violence like the other violence caused a great counter reaction and brought in richard nixon and two weeks after this shootout, this is nixon in miami beach and he gives a very dark speech saying you know, we need law and order. sirens everywhere. and does that sound familiar to you? it should because donald trump used that exact age in 2016 two weeks after the dallas shooting. so we are in a cycle that
started in 1968. we were on the right track in 1968. the carter commission was right, cleveland now was right. this is huge problem that needed resources and the backlash nixon brought in, guess what the first thing he did? he got rid of the office of economic opportunity. the war on poverty clearinghouse, would you think he put in charge? a guy named donald rumsfeld . so this all happens and repeats itself 60 years later, this is trump in cleveland and his nixon law and order speech, that dark speech and you know, it's just a remarkable story, but it holds in it to me the whole that if we can get a reset button and go back to 1968, go back to february 1968, the carter commission, go back martin luther king is still alive, body kennedy is
still alive. we are moving in the right direction and the violence and not that was sparked by all this, all these problems followed it and caused the great backlash which we are still living through we've been doing nothing but cycling through . and so that's why i think this book is important. this is taylor branch the pulitzer prize winning series, the trilogy on king and he says nonviolence is important among democratic ideas, and nearly vanished from public discourse even though the most basic element of free government, the boat has no other means. every ballot is a piece of nonviolence. dignified hard-won consent to raise politics above ire power and bloodied conquest area so cleveland has a lot to teach us today. it has a lot to teach us about what went wrong and a lot to teach usabout what should go right . if we have the national will to move in a direction we need to move. one of the things when i was writing this book, i went to
glenville and hot in cleveland and they are devastated. it is a war zone. there's just all sorts of problems. imagine, just imagine $1.2 billion and on the ghettos of cleveland over 10 years. 40 years ago. and how we've lost that and instead we spent money on military, all the things that bobby kennedy and hubert humphrey and they all were turning against this idea of, and i keep saying this huge military giant that goes around the world exercising power. what if we spent it here ? that's my talk and i don't know how much time we have four questions but i think if we can open it up now for q&a. >> you have to let go of the microphone. you're not allowed to set in stone. >>. >> any questions?
>> by the way, while we're waiting for somebody to come up i would like to thank politics andprose for having me here. this is a great event and it's an honor to be here . >> iq very much for bringing forward this very important history and making the connection . did the black militants, were they familiar withhumphrey speech and they didn't think it would go anywhere ? >> in writing this book, i had to -- i'm neither a black nationalist or somebody from a police family so i had to understand both and one of the guys was a black nationalist back in the time who is now in his 70s became a good friend of mine through interviewing him. he was a poet back at the time.
and what he said was, and what he still says, what walter beach said, both of them black nationalist is that jim, things are not going to change so they have a very dim view of things really changing and i think that they would agree that a huge amount of money needs to be spent to solve this problem. a national will to solve this problem. but they are highly skeptical and whether younger african-americans today would feel different or not, i don't know but i doubt it. i think that in just looking atthe situation, it's pretty dire . and that's what they said to me. so i don't think they believe that it would ever happen. another question?
>> okay jim, you teased us. you told us the fbi and higher-ups at the cleveland police department knew about the ambush but atthe responding officers didn't . you've got to give us more. >> so what happens is the fbi had put together a program which i didn't spend a lot of time on. it's called the co-intel program and co-intel stands for counterintelligence program and it started in the 50s with hoover going after communists and the whole idea was to infiltrate and destroy from within in particular misinformation, disinformation, spread stories to newspapers and things like that. guess what? that intel group more into a group that went after black nationalist who they considered a hate group . sothey at that point , they ended up getting informants all across the country. if you know the fred hampton story in chicago, he is skilled six months after this
shootout, by the way by an fbi informant telling the chicago police where he was and they came in and assassinated him. so this program was in high gear, hoover felt strongly about it. he was getting reports and there are 40 page memos on fred evans and who he is, what he's doing and what's going on. so they had in particular one guy, that guy in the photograph was so inside his group, it was a drug addict so he's getting money from the fbi to tell the stories. but he was so inside that the night before this happened, fred evans goes to detroit. by the way,this was supposed to be i am multi-city kickoff. it wasn't just cleveland. it was supposed to be in chicago, pittsburgh, new york . this was going to be a
coordinated assault on police by black nationalists and the night before, fred evans drove with three other people including this informant to detroit to pick up rifles and make sure they were ready to go and he drives back and when he gets back to cleveland, this guy called the fbi and says it's about to happen, about to go down. the fbi reported to the cleveland police, there's a meeting at city hall but unfortunately and this again is the tragedy, carl stokes is in washington speaking to a group about all things are our inner cities dying? he came to speak here, he was there. so this was left to all director who was 36 years old, had been a lawyer for six years to deal with the crisis and the safety director came in and said okay, we know these guys have rifles. guess what, united states, you can have rifles.
but we can't do anything about it. and they didn't do anything about it. they had more than enough to get asearch warrant, to arrest them, to get the stuff but that was the idea what happens is they say okay , let's mail was going on and we will at least do that but whatever you do, don't have a stationary surveillance. have them going through the neighborhood. somehow between that meeting and what happened, somebody probably from the cleveland police who was aggressive and didn't like the fact they had an african-american mayor and wasn't too unhappy about seeing the shootout told them to be stationary. so there were two cars parked outside fred evans house and those two cars had four white guys in them with an ocular's and shotguns and evans but he was about to be attacked. his attack was supposed to start the next morning but he thought he was about to be attacked and that's what happened so the shootout
starts and all the police have not been warned about the fact that these guys had these rifles. so does that answer your question? >> thank you so much. it was nice to learn about yourother things i was reading . i read andrew butterfield book with bob woodward about the election . >> to try to get the timeline down a little better as far as the date of this event and nixon you said was in miami, that wasn't a convention, was it? it was a convention in miami and how all that momentum, because i didn't quite understand. i thought maybe the riots in chicago later on had helped and i didn't quite understand , what had given nixon the momentum and one also place? >> it's not just the shootout
that causes the turn, is all this violence going on, all the rioting in chicago and so forth . i saw coming over here that on this day. years ago you were free led richard nixon. and then things changed. so what happens is the shootout happens, two weeks later nixon gives his speech in miami beach. two weeks later democratic convention . and by the way, carl stokes goes to speak their and they pan away from him because of all the stuff that's going on in the streets. so nobody even hears his speech that night. but it's this big turn and nixon place to this whole fear that things were totally out of control and that we neededto have law and order . >> at the time witnessing this, some of that law and order stuff had some actual,
there were actually things going on that we didn't often hear about like you're bringing it upnow about all these weapons and plans and stuff so there were things going on at the time . >> it was a very violent time, crime was onthe rise's i know all that but we don't know about these little . >> he's kind of spark things. that's what's interesting. >> and this was all new to me. i was probably about your age and i was in a town in western ohio and knew nothing about any of it.this is why when i first started looking into it i was thinking why did this story get bigger and it got buried in cleveland because the policedidn't want to talk about it . >> .. he was trying to do the right thing. that's the tragedy of all this,
the tragedy at 68 and why we are still living in it. >> the date of the shootout sh- >> july 23, 1968. the assassination was april 4. >> and kennedy was -- this took place in july what? >> july 23. >> unfortunately that is our time one. can we get one round of applause for james robenalt. [applause] >> we are told at the time, i'm sorry. [inaudible] >> yes. >> pleased to keep your chairs where they are. he felt not bought your book yet and you'd like to they are behind register and he will be appear happy to sign, and key. >> thank you all for coming. [inaudible conversations]
>> booktv is on twitter. follow us to get publishing news, scheduling updates, author information and to talk about with authors during our live programs. twitter.com/booktv. >> lewis rosetta, when did you found "wired" magazine? >> my partner and i started wired through a project in 1991 and launched into the american market january 1993 as bill clinton was taking over as president and notably aligarh was talking about the information superhighway. it was a generational change that was occurring at the political level and on the larger scale on the cultural technological level it was a
massive revolution going on. >> do you remember in that first issue of some of the articles were, what some of the products were you were talking about? >> we were talking, in an interview with stuart brand, talk about technology, talking about culture. we had a story about japanese talking, who are obsessive japanese young men basically who go crazy, go a deep dive into obscure or weird little subcultures. we had a story on education, how education was the last soviet left on the planet, because it's all organized locally and get
results are abysmal. even though at that time gross penny was on the order of $500 million. we had a broad collection of stories trying to capture the people, companies and ideas that were driving the digital revolution as we saw at that time. >> why did you get fired from the magazine that you founded? >> i always considered myself a troublemaker but i've -- magazines restarted, it grew to be $50 million business by the time we were fired. and we didn't just make a magazine. we started making a magazine but what we were writing about was a revolution in media. we were not simply observers but participants in that revolution.
we started the first website that had original content and fortune 500 advertising in 1994. we grew that at the time it had like 90% 90% of eyeballs on th. we were the first and best at it. we grew a a business that was larger than yahoo! and excite and infoseek at the time, but it was a business that required investment. there was a whole new sector for us in expanding universe. we went out to finance that through private and then try to go public to support that growth enterprise for our business. in the process we ended up getting investors who didn't have the patience or the foresight to understand the opportunity that they're getting involved with. and so in the end it was a
conflict between us as the visionaries and managers versus people who could only see immediate return. they ended up basically liquidating our company. they sold the magazine and they sold online business. they made a lot of money. everybody involved made a lot of money by divas like they sold, as far as i'm concerned, too early in the process. they sold in 1997 -- rather, in 1990-1999 and that was just the beginning of the dot com boom. if they waited another year they could have doubled, tripled quadrupled their money but in any case they would have been in the wrong thing to do because we would've been major players in the new world that was arriving with the internet and the web. >> host: it's still a major force in the technological
today, isn't? >> guest: these for "wired" was so dumb that they broke the company into two pieces. they sold the digital properties to lycos. they sold the traditional media property, books and magazines, to conde nast. >> host: which is more valuable at the time? >> guest: the magazine sold for $95 million. the digital the digital properties which were the ones that were lossmaking but which were going to clear to be the future media, they went for $295 million. their bet was basically, , anyw, without getting back into that, why did we get fired? we had a different view of what was going to happen. >> host: all right. what are you doing today? >> guest: today i guess i'm going back to what i was when i first got out at school, which was a writer and a novelist.
and so after i got done with "wired", lots of people came up to me and said you should write the story of "wired." it was such a painful and weird experience that he needed to get away from it and i didn't want to relive it, but i did want to tell that story, i did want to tell the story of the times because the times are just amazing. "wired" was the first draft of history of the digital revolution and we were watching a society in insane transformation. it's hard to imagine, i can we started "wired" there were 20 million computers connected to the internet. the internet was like a private club for certain people. now there are 3 billion people connected to the internet and everybody has a supercomputer in their pocket. in between that time the economy and every aspect of our life has been changed. we were trying to capture that in the pages of "wired."
i was witness to it and we are placed in it as well with the development of our online business. so the 1990s himself were about creating this revolution. they were a period of utopianis utopianism. it began with, intellectual begin with something like the writing of the end of history as if they could never be any more history after the collapse of the soviet union and the triumphant of democracy. no more history of bad things. all we need to do is focus on the possibilities of reimagining our world. everything was possible. these two technologies were coming along that were putting enormous power at the hands of individuals and leaching out of big organizations and institutions. so anybody could become a publisher. anybody could start a business, and they had all these powerful
things that they could work with and get networks that they could connect to. meanwhile it's like the nation of "wired" in the nation of these people that we were living among, their mission was kevin kelly described it as their mission was to travel to a new land over the horizon called the future, and to come back with fresh kill for the human race. that's what we were reporting on and that was the attitude of the young people, the 25 year olds that were running around and building these new companies and basically creating the world that we know now. everything that we know now was done by these kids. and so if you ask people today where it came from and what was it like, they are more inclined to think it was only what it is
now and it was always predestined to be that. as if there was no risk involved, as if everything was just going to happen, these big companies were going to emerge and they're going to effortlessly transform everything. instead, it was like being with lewis and clark discovering the louisiana purchase. you are out there in the wild adventure where disaster lurks everywhere, and bears and waterfalls and indians were ready to shoot you, and you are trying, you you are not tryingo invent anything. we were just trying to discover what does this all mean? what is really here? can we really do? at the end, now, 25 years later we know how these stories turned out. but at the time it was fraught it was dramatic. i was trying to capture that
story of those young people as they relate to it, you mentioned change is good and that is the story you told in novel form of that era. i want to show the audience what this looks like. here is the title of the book, "change is good", subtitle, the story from the heroic era of the internet. as we talk i want to get this out because this is a pretty impressive, pretty impressive volume. this is german engineering, isn't it? >> guest: so when we made "wired" we tried to do the best we could possibly do with the print medium. we did six color printing when most magazines did four. we do did special papers. we did fluorescence and metallic inks. i tried to exploit the medium to its maximum every time i've done stuff, and so in this case i
worked with my best buddy eric spiegelman who is a design god in germany and around the world. a lot of the typefaces we use we see all of the place all the time, and he has gotten back to his roots piggy . he started out as a printer, and specifically, letterpress. this book is the way books used to be manufactured back in the day. before all set. which means that they are actually typed pressed into paper. letterpress has made a come back and cut of tuzla form with people making business cards and so they look kind of cool. you will, in fact, it was a way everything was printed until the 50s. the 50s changed with offset because it was a cheaper, faster way to manufacture. it was almost okay, people could
accept it and said everything went to that but, in fact, it's not the best way to read because it's not really black. it's a water-based technology that leads, it's, the type is great when you take a look at it. where as with letterpress they used to think the form and they would press on paper -- inc. -- you end up with the black sharp oppression against the white paper and it would be a little slight indentation around the letters which could catch come suddenly catch light falling across it provided a shadow and giving this almost subconscious sense of depth to what you are reading. that's gone by the board. people don't make letterpress books anymore except eric has developed a new technology for creating plates direct from screen and then using like the 1950 heidelberg presses which
the state of the art at the time to print books economically or relatively economically. this is an expression of the best printing could be in the 21st century. it's recognizing how print is still the best way to read anything. print on paper is to the best way to read, especially things that are complex and that require, and that along, that are over time. anyway, we tried to make the best possible book that people could delight in when they got it. and not just give them the cheapest piece of junk they can get away with. >> host: we literally have not gotten into the book yet but i've a few more questions. why did you start with kickstarter to raise funds for this book and not go through a publisher? >> guest: i think it's the way i've always thought about doing
things. and also a legacy of the revolution, the digital revolution itself which said you could diss intermediate all sorts of stuff, that it was taking out layers of hierarchy from whether it's an organization or from getting to market. so the internet itself anybody can be a publisher. you just have to plug your server into the internet, then anybody can get to you. kickstarter is kind of in that spirit. if you are a creator or a producer you don't need to go to a gatekeeper like an agent for a publisher to try to get your workout to the world. you can just say here i am, i've got a story, take a look and reach your audience directly. in that spirit, in the original spirit of the internet itself, it was like let's do something that is reflected what we can do today. what we can do today, only in a
20% to way reaching our audience. we said kickstarter was way we wanted to do this. >> host: i don't want to necessarily go through the story, louis rossetto in "change is good" but of what you some of the phrases that you use in the book and i want you to tie those in, if it's applicable, to the tech world. number one, change is good. >> guest: change is good, was a reaction, the phrase changes could do something we said all the time in offices at "wired." because we were dealing with other media which was obsessed with all the challenges that they were imagining technology was creating. and so our running joke in office was once these weeks headline in the "new york times" about internet, threat or
menace? there were only negative stories, like would help you cheat on your exams or there would be nothing but pornography or whatever else they were imagining was going to be the problem. it was like change is bad from their point of view. let's protect our little piece of the world here and the way we think about things some all of the interlopers who would come to try to take over some of our magic. we were juicing change is good as reaction to that, no matter what it was. i think a general in the korean war said there are either problems or opportunities. i prefer to look at things as opportunities. it was for us to say change is good. so many things have been stuck for so long that any kind of change in them is going to be moving things forward. so that's basically the origin of change is good. >> host: in this room, this is
tied to the book, you are the most important people in the world, not the popes, not the presidents, not the priests. >> guest: correct. coming into the '90s, it was after the close of the cold war and the century of conflict, murder, and the people who were responsible for the with the politicians, the generals, the priests and the pundits. were saying that in contradistinction to that, new people were emerging that had the power to change things themselves directly without subcontracting it out to other people, and they were the people who are creating and using these new technologies. the new technologies were
personal computing, which started basically in the 1980s, and then networking which started to gain traction in the beginning of the '90s and exploded with the arrival of the world wide web. we were saying that those people who are creating these technologies where people who are having a bigger impact or were going to have a big impact or having a bigger impact on the world and all of the old establishment before then. people were not looking at them. they were invisible to the media elites at the time and the political elite at the time, and yet the things that they were inventing with the ones having real positive change in the world. we were about focusing on those people, holding a mirror up to
them because they were not being represented in the world and they were often beavering away and silos and known to each other. and there's also a window we were trying to hold up to them for anyone else outside who just wasn't aware of this new cool colorful group of people who are having a big impact on the world. >> host: everything is going to be new all the time. >> guest: all knew all the time, i mean, that was the '90s can write? it was one use price, after another. >> host: is that still today? >> guest: in one area not so much. the things that we were originally covering in computing and networking, i think a lot of that has already worked itself out and the big established players like facebook, google and twitter have become the abc, nbc, cbs of our days. where they are shaping the public mind in predictable ways.
nevertheless, there are new revolutions occurring that as disruptive or even more disruptive than the digital revolution in the past. there's a neo-biological revolution that is coming that by parker, jane metcalfe, is focusing on inner media startup called neo-a life which is all about genetic editing and crispr and genomics, et cetera. there's the blockchain. there's space. there's the energy revolution. i'm not just talking about green energy. i talk about fracking, talking about moving general from higher carbon to higher hydrogen content in fuels and the new nuclear stuff. they're a bunch of new revolutions that are occurring that will have major impacts on the society over the rest of this century.
we are only seeing a look of it. all of it is based on the fact that we have now computers and centers and networks all over the place that a gathering data and doing big data analysis of it. ai, augmented intelligence, i prefer to call it by the artificial intelligence is intelligence we are going to be using in network computing to enable us to better perform tasks come to do tasks we never did before in collaboration with technology. it's part of the natural evolution of our species to incorporate these new tools and enabling us to do more. >> host: another phrase from the book, kill your tv. >> guest: kill your tv, well, what's happened to television? exactly. i mean, if you're going into the
1990s, television was still a big deal. even cable television, though it has supplanted in many ways, broadcast television, it was still television. it was still one way and basically uninterruptible delivery of a narrow set of points of view. whereas, ended up happening is all these people producing, all the people had a new technology with access to the internet became publishers on their own. you didn't have to go out and break the television but the fact you are now, my love media, that is, the consumption of media is a zero-sum game. if you are online participating in a discussion group or are surfing the web, you are not reading the "new york times" for you are not watching abc.
you were doing something else, and that process of subtracting your attention from old media was part of killing television as we knew it at the time. and building a new public space where there were lots of different voices heard that were not there before. >> host: one more, the universe believes in encryption. >> guest: i'm not sure it believes in encryption per se, but one of the ideas that was out there is optimism is warranted. so there's a lot of pessimism in the media. the media business in general is about fostering anxiety. it's about making sure you stick around past the next commercial because you're just been told that the world is coming to an end and we will tell you about it in 30 seconds, but just wait
after this commercial. or something else like that, right? there's some horrible thing happening. it's like they are trained in pessimism, but actually we have a lot to be optimistic about. that technologies have unleashed. of boom -- unleashed a time of increased freedom for humanity and increased wealth. people are living longer in general across the planet. people are living longer, better, healthier lives than they ever did before. not because of politicians, priest, abundance and generals, but because of the spread of new technology. i think the universe favors, or the universe deserves a sense of optimism today.
that optimism is based on reality that the world is actually getting better. that optimism is also a strategy. strategy. it's a strategy for living. if you are pessimistic about the future, you can't be a not for newer. entrepreneurs need to be optimistic. they have to think things are going to get better. but in general you need to optimism in your life if you want to make a better world. because if you don't he won't step up and take responsibility for it. if you do think the world can be better, if you do think your children can live in a better world, then that will give you the strength to step up and take responsibility for actually making that world better. >> host: into sentences what is the plot of "change is good" -- in two census ? >> guest: sex, drugs, technology and money. it's all about -- section people
off on the adventures of their lives. some of which are actually about losing their lives but it's also about the opportunities, the threats, the wonderful things and the horrible things that are going on around them. >> host: was that your life in the '90s? >> guest: sort of. i didn't have to face personal danger in the '90s. others did. things happen in the '90s that we only became aware of later, like we know what happened with the digital revolution. we knew that software. we knew about startups and money. money. we knew about that stuff. it was another organization that was forming in the '90s that was made up of young men that were using networks and computers to build nonhierarchical organizations which exploded into all of our lives on september 11, 2001. that's another component of the changes that were going on at that time. part of my story is also about
journalist who's on the trail of the story and what happens, it's only wants to pick up "change is good" where can they find it, louis rossetto? >> macon county changes go.com and order their own copy of it. and then if they wait around another couple of months, there will be a copy available on kindle, on amazon. >> host: louis rossetto is a cofounder of "wired" magazine. he was fired from "wired" magazine. he has written this book, "change is good." thanks for being with us. >> guest: super pleasure. thanks for having me. >> this year booktv marks are 23 year of bring you the countries top nonfiction authors and their latest books. find this every weekend on c-span2 or online at booktv.org.