Skip to main content

tv   Hal Crowther and Charles Marsh  CSPAN  March 30, 2019 1:00pm-2:16pm EDT

1:00 pm
search for a cure to an antibiotic resistant superbug, george papadopoulos details his role in the trump potential campaign in the russia investigation on "after words" and university berkeley's collar ãblooks at criminal justice system happening tonight on booktv in prime time visit or check your cable guide for a complete schedule. >> now booktv recent coverage of the virginia festival of the book in charlottesville. a discussion on some lesser-known leaders and social and political justice movements. >> good morning ... ...
1:01 pm
>> before we get into the substance of the program. so i want to welcome everybody to this session on behalf of the virginia humanity, producer of the virginia festival of the book. many of you know this is the 25th anniversary of the start of this fabulous program. my first order of business is to ask you all to please silence your cell phones. now, having done so, this is a moment of reckoning, however, although you can silence your cell phones, i gather you don't absolutely need to turn them off being you are being requested to tweet about this event at
1:02 pm
#vabookfest. i also want to thank this event sponsor and host, the host for this event is uva lgbt committee for faculty and staff. as most of you know the festival is free of charge but it's not tree of cost, so we request that you go back online after this event or after the festival to make a contribution or to pick up one of the giving envelopes from the information desk and support this festival so it can be sustained for many more year. there are also program evaluations and we ask you to fill those out so that we can keep the festival free and open to the public. the books of both of our authors today will be on sale immediately following the
1:03 pm
program in the lobby yieght behind you so we ask that you support both the festival authors as well as support books to read, i can assure they are incredible books to have in your library. i thought i would begin -- first, i'd like to introduce both of our authors. so charles marsh sitting directly to my left, common wealth professor of religious studies and director of theology at the university of virginia. he is the author of at least 7 books, one of the most recent prior to this current edited volume being strange glory, a
1:04 pm
life, been recipient of a john simon fellowship in creative arts, fellow at the american academy of berlin and currently writing a new book entitled evangelical anxiety which will be out in 2020. so i suspect you will be back with us. >> hal crowther. infuriating american, the art of hlmankin, finalist for book critic circle prize and he has
1:05 pm
won numerous prizes working in journalism today, he's the winner of lou anne smith award for commentary, received numerous fellowship, columnist. we have wonderful speakers, has written two books, book of charles marsh, editor of this book called can i get a witness, 13 peace makers, community builders and agitators for faith and justice and hal crowther, freedom fighters, gallery of memorable southerners. so i thought i might just start out by making a couple of remarks of what i see as the broad-base similarities and
1:06 pm
differences between these books. ly take as little time as i can to give our speakers as much time as possible, but i thought it might help just to create a little bit of a context for what each one of them will speak about today. so both of these books are collections of essays about different individuals. they are all -- that's one of the similarities, another similarity is that all of the people that are being written about are deceased. both authors believe in the power of stories to reach into the hearts and minds of -- of readers and to clearly influence readers and both sets of essays reflect the diversity of
1:07 pm
interests of the people that they're writing about, so they're not all journalists, they are not all artists, there's a combination of interests that these individuals that they're writing about represent, they cover the fields of music, literature, theology, writers, public activists so it's a really broad sloth of people that makes books interesting. both of these books represent racial diversity in terms of the people it is being written about and finally both authors are deeply interested in telling stories of complexity as a way to understand truth. there are some differences between them, one of them is an edited work, the charles marsh,
1:08 pm
there are three editors but each of the essays is written by a different person whereas hal cowther is a book written by himself that creates a slightly different tone for each of the works. the focus of the works although similar in the ways i just explain today you are also different in some ways, for marsh's work for can i get a witness, the focus is to christian social progressive and -- and to understand how christian teaching and christian theology forms people who knows a very significant difference in the world. i just want to read very quickly from page 2 of the introduction
1:09 pm
to this book which i think tells you more about what the book is about. so in this -- in this paragraph, the reference is who is author is saying that when he visited the united states found a largely forgotten tradition of a confessional life, activist, bible wielding organizers, social goes gospel reformsers which -- reformers and can i get a witness, that reflects on the diversity of the book itself.
1:10 pm
the focus is that christian social progressive tradition. the focus and scope of his book is also national, so we -- we come into contact with a variety of people from all parts of the country. the focus of hal crowther is southern freedom fighters, and in his own words, he calls this meditations on race, religion, art, policy, social justice and much more. he says they're either obituary nor eulogies and i thought i would just very quickly read way back for the back of the book something which he says which help us understand more broadly
1:11 pm
what the focus of this book is. he says, the people i admire most are embarrassing people. outlaws, agitators, crusaders whose courage make the rest of us uncomfortable. during their lives we write about less than we should perhaps because most journalists affect the detachment that distances them from the champions of loss and causes. then one of them dies and guilt seizes me but in one sense it's too late but pay respect to heros to settle scores with history that place accomplishments in the context they deserve. the truly embarrassing people he writes, martin luther king, jr., for instance or jesus christ can be a greater force dead than alive. it's a little maybe -- an
1:12 pm
opportunity for some questions at the end. [laughter] >> so, again, the books have broad similarities but also some significant differences and i will just add by saying i really appreciated having the opportunity myself to read both of these books thoroughly, they really resinated with me personally because in my own career, i have also focused on some people and causes that i think are similar to some of those that are being written about here and in 2015i published a book called black leaders on leadership, conversations based on project we did at the university and that book also focuses on individuals, their leadership, their path to success, how they were really significant change agents and most recently and i
1:13 pm
just want to very briefly mention this, i'm doing this with the permission of the festival, i wrote a -- this book called the value of one, the power of all. and in my mind this book which reflects the 20-year history of the ron brown solid program. how many of you know about the ron brown scholars program. it's absolute hidden gem. national organization in charlottesville, it's a scholarship organization for african american students but it is so much more than that, it's also a very rich mentorship program and they were celebrating their 20th anniversary and i wrote this book for them called the value of one, the power of all, tells the story of their 20-year history and if we want to think about the change agents of the future, i think we will find a
1:14 pm
tremendous number of them in this program. so if you would like to know more about that program, this book is not on the program and it's not for sale, but there are free copies of it in the coffee shop next door if anybody would like to pick up a copy. okay, that ends my introductory remarks and i would like to turn this over the charles marsh. >> thank you. good morning, y'all, how are you? thank you, that was such a beautiful introduction, wasn't it? >> mic. >> nancy told me if i didn't speak directly to the mic -- >> you can take it out. >> okay. >> i can pull it out. >> you can stand if you want to. >> that was one of the most beautiful introductions and i am so grateful to you -- [laughter]
1:15 pm
>> for -- for -- for your careful attention to these books and framing this conversation so eloquently and i like many of you am deeply grateful to professor leffler for her pioneer work over the decades in charlottesville as a director of center for the study of local histories, as one of the moral voices on ground for conversations about race and community and place and justice, so it's a delight to be with you today and i have to say how crowther, i'm so glad we meet at last. i think of you as not only just one of the great one-liners of your generation and one of my
1:16 pm
favorite essays, i've read your pieces in oxford american over the years, but it's also a kind of evangelist for the forgotten traditions, the neglected tradition of southern humanism, if you will, and someone who is involved in this project of -- of a really mining these forgotten, often neglected aspects of the southern story for not only humor and color but also a profound kind of courage, civil courage and promise. just a quick story, i grew in small town of laureltown,
1:17 pm
mississippi and i'm note going to bore you with sad stories in the late 1960's, in the collisions of fundamentalist religion, civil rights and the late 60's pop culture, i will say that rock and roll music was not something that i was encouraged to listen to, so word came to town that i new group out of texas was going to be playing at the laurel civic center, gymnasium downtown, and i was 14 year's old and another baptist boy, we decided we would sneak out and we would somehow make our way into that concert. in any case, my parents never
1:18 pm
found out but i walked in to this place of smoke and power and energy and to a song that was pounding out the words beer drinkers and hell raisers and i apologize if i refer to your book throughout as beer drinkers and hail raisers but you bring that kind of pulsing energy and rhythm and kind of fire to all of your work, so i could stand here and sing your praises indefinitely. [laughter] >> i'm going to make this quick, 8 or 10 minutes. i will say this just to frame the conversation a bit further and to -- to -- and to add to this eloquent introduction, writing from a gestapo prison,
1:19 pm
member of the conspiracy against hitler who would be one of the few christians involved in the resistance effort to -- attempt to fascinate and would be executed by the nazis in a concentration camp the next year, he reflected on the -- the german church in the wake of its sort of fatal, loyalty to the right and he said this, he said the time of words is over. if the christian faith is going to have any redemptive roles in human flourishing in future generations, we will have to
1:20 pm
limit our witness to two things in the present area, prayer and righteous action. prayer and righteous action, the language of the tradition had been so domesticated and profaned and misused to the point at which there existed no difference between the language of faith and the language of the right, who could deny that now is a -- is a good time to give meditation a new hearing and in some respects that is the kind of systematic and if you will evangelistic mission of our collaborative work in this project can i get a witness that
1:21 pm
brought together 13 writers and scholars, activists from across the nation to work and to write in community, looking at this forgotten tradition of progressive american faith base activism and to retell the stories in the present area. i just want to read one quick passage from the book and then turn to mr. crowther and we will then hopefully have some time for conversation. so this also comes from the introduction and it reads as follows, it is a good time to remember the peculiar people, this isn't listed and now
1:22 pm
content who sings spring and beautiful songs of god's peaceable kingdom. being peculiar has never been easy but in the second decade of 21st century, amid the violent convulsions and confusions of christian behavior in the united states, the testimonies take on new urgency. these are challenging days for those who affirm the integrity of religious conviction, who read the bible against principalities and the powers and there to speak against the vague, peculiarity is not a quality intended to highlight the feeling of specialness as in the notion that we are peculiar because we are god's chosen people, god's chosen nation, the stories of scripture make clear
1:23 pm
much of those who call on your claim relationship with god, being peculiar, royal priesthood, holy nation means people who practice mercy and seek justice. only the nation that defends the defenseless, establishes equity and relieves the oppress is chosen. this is the message of the profits of the hebrew bible. thomas murton, many of you know is one of our great voices wrote in 1966 essay that was later published in fabulous book called violence and faith, it's just one of the gems that -- that i think we might want to carry with us into the uncertain
1:24 pm
days ahead. brother murton said, the church has an obligation not to join temptations of political slogans and con -- concoctions and event by simplicity and love. we submit in communal act of writing fought at its best to cut propaganda with the double edge of heavenly discontent and disarming love. the good news i hope in our book is that the spiritual vision that animated the 13 witnesses from ella baker to john ryan, the founder of the living wage campaign who was a priest to
1:25 pm
mehali jackson to cesar chávez, to philip, that inspired their moral imagination and civil courage, remains vital source for the present age mainly accept that vision and these witnesses as gifts and guide in the uncertain years ahead. so just a word or two about my book and now i'm happy to turn over the conversation to mr. crowther. [applause] >> thank you. >> i could probably say that the title of this book even using
1:26 pm
hell raisers comes from my classmate in journalism school, the late ivan once said that all my friends are freedom fighters and hell raisers and the first essay in the book is about molly, kind of an unusual book in that almost all of these people are people that i knew. i think the only people that i never layed eyes on in this book is george wallace and judge from alabama who threw out most of his worst work and all the other people, 7 or 8i can call friends of mine and they are all gone now, they are all dead and this, you know, there's some personal grief involved here but in most cases these are people that i think didn't get the recognition that they deserved. they are all people that i very much approved of except for
1:27 pm
george wallace and jesse helms. jesse helms my neighbor and former senator of north carolina and i thought that i should throw in a little bit of the other side of my personality, but in a way this is a happy book because all these people are people that i admired. i'm a former syndicated columnist and if you ever read my work, you're probably -- you probably know that journalists don't have a lot of heros and a lot of these people actually are my heros. these are the people that -- that most of them were writers themselves, these are books that i would call attention to and if you look -- i don't know, any of you heard of thomas berry? thomas berry wrote a book called the dream of the earth. catholic priest from cash olna
1:28 pm
-- carolina who wrote a book about dream 25 years ago and you will never read anything more intelligent or more prophetic about the environment. i've tried to celebrate him and he was much overlooked not only in north carolina but by his own church. but, you know, although i've tried to keep myself out of the people's stories as much as possible, if you look at the subject matter that they were involved, you will see, you know, kind of a map of my own commitments and prejudices. i think out of 19 profiles in this book, 8 or 9 of them can be traced to civil rights. huge issue in their time and my time especially in the south. oddly this book is descendant of longer book that included a number of people that i admired
1:29 pm
who were definitely not southerners like sack well. they will have to wait for next volume, i think, this publisher was more interested in the southerners. if you look at these people, there's really quite a remarkable cross section, two famous scholars, several journalists, there's a nun, a priest, a baptist minister and a number of poets, writers, novelists and so on and it's kind of a face by face portrait but you can probably tell my accent, not all my life. i'm half breed, my mother was from boston, massachusetts. .. ...
1:30 pm
>> i read this back in the early '90s my wife and i were for the seven possible books. one of the first i attended and i was impressed to see the black riders that had been invited to read and present the books. i had time to circulate and noticed an uncomfortable book life. it is always been my curse to notice uncomfortable facts where others see you only serendipity. in the lines were purchasing readers waited to get the writer
1:31 pm
signature on their books, jimmy carter's line was two blocks long. it was painfully obvious that black readers were buying for black writers in white readers from white. book signing lines gave the impression of the integra getty. there was one exception. a fully integrated book line with perhaps more blacks than whites waiting to secure the signature of the reverend well campbell. his black readers were not customers only but apparently personal friends. way back in the line people were hollering at will and joking with him that it was hard for him to focus on the title pages that he was trying to sign. i had not met reverend campbell or his celebrated memoir brother to a dragonfly. i knew him by reputation in an alternative who served as an
1:32 pm
unofficial chaplain to the community of music city irregulars. as a spiritual advisor he became highly recommended and i'd heard that his chaplain at the university of mississippi in his native state had been terminated because of his enthusiasm of integration attracted death threats. i turned the heat during. with thomas merton. i didn't realize the extent of his involvement in the civil rights movement in the 60s. i was not aware that he was the only white men invited to the meeting that launched southern leadership conference. he marched with freedom writers and alabama in the gotland recess with the nine black students who integrated central high school in little rock. for those who knew that he was a trusted friend and confidant of martin luther king jr. the long white friend who became friends with his family and must after
1:33 pm
his assassination in memphis. there's no surprise to see black people hailing him like family in nashville. later i had the good fortune to join his extended congregation of privilege that included pilgrimage to his home place in tennessee. where pastoral confrontation might include drinking whiskey, and listening to well sing ballads to his own guitar accompanying him. cussing and praying were not incompatible in his religious worldview. where the sacred and the profane was inseparable as god's children, white black and all shades in between. in mount juliet no pilgrims were turned away. none were confronted for their sins and ears. will could harmonize with the best of them but he was just as comfortable listening, nodding and whittling away at the
1:34 pm
walking sticks he bestowed on his friends. nonjudgmental is not for me to it say, reverend campbell was nonjudgmental on the surface to evolve. like many people who influence other profoundly he provided ample confidence with the court of impregnable humidity. it's unnecessary to explain who anyone who knew him why he was one of the most remarkable and solivaluable of his generation. mention his name and they will grin and shake their heads. but for those who never had the privilege of meeting him it is important to place him in a proper context. he was described as a maverick, renegade, prebudget, that is one i've attracted from time to time myself. words that condescendingly distance the subject from the
1:35 pm
mainstream of respect to both opinion. just the shade removed from crank curmudgeon is often fastened to citizen to bear truth that not everyone wishes to hear. campbell borne many in his time but he was never a calculating country and ever a by god original and he believed in the gospel of jesus christ and he put it on like a coat that fit him. he took it places where it had not gone before. of the many categories that included him christian, southern baptist, clergyman, theologian, liberal, even redneck which he embraced cheerfully as long as it came without an yankees fear. there is not one of which will was typical on 76 i've been over
1:36 pm
the world and i've only met one will campbell and a longtime admirer. there must be something special about this man and what set him way apart to begin with was a moral compass tuned to true north or true self, i suppose. the south mississippi deepwater baptist as he described himself, he was called to preach the gospel at the age of 17. he derived his politics in his theology from the new testament as he interpreted it. not for his intellectual friends though he had plenty, but from other books though he had read plenty two. the sermon was the text for his belief that a true christian always sides with the powerless and the marginalized. the chasm of difference between will campbell and the southern preachers better known to america, jerry, pat, jim baker,
1:37 pm
jimmy swagger, and this is sincere and intellectual challenge billy graham. , that difference is so vast that only jesus could abridged it. he watched described televangelists as electronic soul molesters. [laughter] and he admitted they sorely tested his personal gospel of unconditional forgiveness. one since jesus is always in imagine figure historically indistinct and far away. the great strength of relievers like will is that they can imagine christ so vividly they almost resurrect him body and blood. it is likely that the actual jesus would have a poured many southern christians for their hypocrisy and paul's piety and for the preposterous certainty,
1:38 pm
always denied but pathetically obvious that heaven itself was segregated. perhaps help as well. but despite language barriers, he surely would have taken a shine to will campbell. when i compare brother will to a bigot like pat robertson, i think of the scene and crocodile dundee. when a new york dog pulls a knife on paul hogan and hogan producing a blade the size of the scimitar, says, that's not a knife, this is a knife. that is not a christian, this is a christian.
1:39 pm
all of his congregants learned well is a difference between a commitment to social justice which means acting always in a way that you believe will help the underdog prevail in political correctness which means always agreeing with the underdog and parroting his language on every issue that concerns them. reverend campbell who chewed could tobacco and deplored abortion was about as pc as a bengal tiger. he valued what he called liberals about as highly as he valued televangelists. the night before wills memorial service i had north carolina novelist dinner wayne caldwell who complained that new yorkers have asked him how he can call himself a baptist. if that was an ominous in superstition and political reaction. i tell them i'm a will campbell baptist, caldwell said. and let them figure it out for themselves. he wrote a dozen
1:40 pm
but not every chapter and verse of the jo, gospel was crystal cr to his inherence. not even to the most loyal and attentive. the writer john edgerton who is wills) for decades later served him admitted after his death that the holy man's logic sometimes escaped him. i never understood a lot about him, edgerton allowed but he was no phony it was wills insistence that jesus gave the worst criminals while their hands or somebody in a radical belief that compelled them to counsel and to visit james earl ray the king's murder in his prison cell.
1:41 pm
hate the sin not the sinner. that's an ambitious moral goal to which many pay lip service most often it seems to do neither homophobia. but will campbell made the cornerstone of his face as he was quoted repeatedly if you are gonna love one you got to love them all. the way campbell solid only a small percentage of god's children could ever find and steer their lives by the light of reason that did not exclude the rest of his children from the light of his love. when wilma asked needs help or love more than a benighted klansman. i see the sense and that. bold deepwater religion and the doctor of amnesty were harder himself with someone like me a product on the one hand of four generations of unitarians. [laughter] and on the other of untold
1:42 pm
century a vengeful celt. but he did not proselytize. he was a pastor, shepherd not an evangelist. if you disagree with him, he only needed to be sure that you thought it through his care and that you had not recycled some cheap piece of conventional wisdom. if he says something harsh or stupid in his presence he would look at you with mild disappointment as if he had just bitten into a sour apple. with real concern as if he was ready to help you. if you asked him. with the agreeable flavor of his ministry. it was a hard road that he set himself to travel. he can be hard on himself. he warned me about a very bad person that we both knew. i wish i wouldn't listen more carefully.
1:43 pm
what tormented will was not to trespass committed against him but his uphill struggle to forgive the trespasser unconditionally. a friend described will as obsessed with grace and he was one-of-a-kind at dixie dyad and navigating by his own life searching for honesty and virtue in the troubled land. this was the depression era cotton farmer son from jim crow mississippi who decided at the age of 20 this is what i will do with the rest of my life and try to rectify the evil of racial injustice. his theology led him from integration to the antiwar movement to denouncing the capital punishment and championing the rights of women and gay people. at a time when the south as a whole is not distinguishing itself for creative thinking moral vision, or progressive
1:44 pm
politics, we might ask ourselves how someone like will campbell came about. did we clone him? we need to find a way to breed more. was he just a rare gift from attired gene pool? as he might say, but never about himself, the manifestation of the grace of god will campbell was a sage eulogized congress of john lewis surviving hero of the civil rights movement. he was a gift to america who never received the recognition that he truly deserved. characterize him as many disguises. as young lewis and his colleagues remember him he sounds like the lone ranger in whatever injustice and oppression soiled the south and he would appear mysteriously a black cat on his head, always a
1:45 pm
pack cat on his head. and forgiveness in his heart. the day he was memorialized in nashville my wife and i held our own memorial in the northwoods. a service which consisted mostly of listening to gospel standards recorded in the late great senator george jones. nashville's most second painful loss in the spring of 2013. it is no secret was the him that choked me up. with his arms wide open help pardon you it is no secret what god can do. right will, sometimes this time. i think i get it. thank you. [applause] >> thank you to you both for
1:46 pm
this wonderful overviews and presentations of these two books that treat and get us to know so many different people and i will start out with one. question and then i hope we will have time for a broader discussion. can i get a witness you talked about working in communities to create this book and bring different people together and i imagine that must've been a pretty difficult feat in its own right to create your community a common collective work. and in your work, you basically created a community of southerners for us. as you read this book what emerges is a real diversity of people but through your eyes, and through your eyes i think
1:47 pm
you created a community of rich individuals that we need to pay more attention to. so i thought the one question i might have has to do with the kind of creating a community for us through these lies. and whether in your own construction of these books if you had any sense of how you are going to organize the books around these people. are these separate portraits of interesting people or have they been organized in ways to make a larger point? >> that's a great question and so beautifully framed. the larger vision was something like this, you mentioned the story and started to come back to him but he is one of my
1:48 pm
heroes in a young harry diet privileged who at the age of 25 with two doctorates under his belt came to the united states to spend a year as a visiting scholar in new york at union seminary in 1930, he came as a straight arrow academic and certainly had nothing to learn from american theologian and regarded a sophomoric and really nothing but a combination of american pragmatism and american exceptionalism. but at the end of the year he returned to germany with a profoundly transformed understanding of the possibilities of the theological vocation but more importantly of
1:49 pm
the relation between faith and responsible action in the world of social justice. he came that she later said in search of a cloud of witnesses here never seen in the vocation or demonstration that the power of faith in the fashion that was old and reductive and countercultural but new as he encountered the american social tradition the american organizing, people working as his or her rights and people developing various agricultural and economic communes and communities. an african-american church. when he returned he wrote in a note finally it was in the church and the outcast of america by which he meant the
1:50 pm
black church, that i discovered a cloud of witnesses. it is that kind of cloud of witnesses imaginative community that i fear has been so diminished and exchanged with the celebrity soundbites and proclamations in the kind of tweets and flattened language of our time. we can talk in shape my colleague and coeditor in ingenious organizer about how we selected these characters but really the vision was to create this imaginative community that was rich in nurturing and that
1:51 pm
would provide us courage and subsidence in these uncertain times. >> i think in terms of a community you can be misled. when i was working in new york there were stereotypes about the state of mississippi. we shared by almost all my colleagues and when i moved to the south suddenly became acquainted with people like carter, and people like richard ford, and there were many people for mississippi that i happen to know who were the exact opposite of new yorkers at that time would've led to believe. and i was in a cocoon in a sense and i thought there were plenty of witnesses of the kind that i hope existed. later years, i too have found
1:52 pm
disappointment and it seems sometimes as if a group of people were the most influenced is smaller good people and i find fear of people who carry weight who have the burning torch that we are talking about and it is partly the function of things like social media and television the all these voices drowned out the powerful voices like billy graham, it talks about a book in my book marshall brady wrote a biography of billy graham. he is one of these people that will campbell attested. and he meant very well of billy graham. his heart was pure according to everybody that knew him. but he did not have the intellectual grasp to pick up on what was really important. and to get back to finding a community i have tremendously
1:53 pm
bit impressed with the catholic radical movement and i knew both of the brothers and interviewed feel imprisoned. and right now there's people in alabama who are in prison who are banging on nuclear submarines were there hammers and they could get years in jail and i am getting messages from them and this is a tightknit community that you can always, to do the right thing. very small. >> i think that speaks to the importance of urgency of storytelling because there are stories to use from an old song and the return of the previous angels. they are there and on the back wires but we have to tell their stories. and that involves getting in her car and driving in involves
1:54 pm
immersion it also involves moving into unfamiliar spaces. mustering up the courage to find ways to convey the ink simplifications of several courage and faith, i want to say that they are out there. and i want to say that we are all tasked with that mission of finding the stories and telling the stories. >> thank you. i think we are prepared for your questions and are there mics? [inaudible] [laughter] that would be great. thank you so much.
1:55 pm
[inaudible] >> we have about ten to 15 minutes for questions so please keep your questions focused if you can so that lets of people will get to ask. [inaudible] [inaudible] >> montgomery started running for president that shining governor in 1962 when i moved to california. anyway, i recall dixon who is
1:56 pm
not a president that is not occur, when he was the treasurer of montgomery in the boycott and i sought to go to the mansion and to go in they would not let us in. because they had been killed and he was elected. but the relation to this is billy graham was criticized by the movement in his son later franklin said to obama, he change the pitch. the church has lagged behind two great extent. i do not mean that there was some deeper coming up. but my question has to do with how do we deal with violence. untruth against leaders.
1:57 pm
they were not killed but other people who were the victims of guns and i know martin luther king who i worked with in our secretary, untrue. talked about gun violence. my position has to be responsibility. what is the responsibility thing to do in any given situation. how do these characters that you mentioned deal with the issue and what is your kick on america. we could say america is a violation and a nation that incarcerates people since we have more people incarcerated in america than any other place in the world. [applause] >> unfortunately there is very few choices.
1:58 pm
>> there are very few choices for people who don't have a piece of existence and power in their hands and one of the people in my book that i call the last southern hero was judge frank johnson who happened to be a republican back when republicans were on the side of civil rights. when it was completely the opposite in the state of alabama. and frank johnson was a liberal. he was a judge who believed in the law and what was right and what was then entered within history diction and he did more to turn the south around than any other person. certainly any white person i would say. but people who are outside the system are in a position often of being martyred in many of the ways that you're talking about. the bear get spent more time in jail between the two of them almost in milton ben dahle. that is the kind of commitment
1:59 pm
that these people have. impersonally i was asked the other night in a reading if i consider myself an activist and i said are you kidding, i have been in jail one night in my life and that was for drinking too much and making george with my friends and is 20 years old. i am claustrophobic and i would not spend years in jail for my convictions. and the number of people that can and will we must treasure them but they are never going to be many of them. and it is very important to locally pay attention to the right wing people are constantly pushing on the local level and to see what they're doing and to oppose them with all the time that you have to spare. there is a lot going on and negative things going on. >> a quick response to that, i was so fortunate to know the way
2:00 pm
to civil rights victoria gray, and some of you might know ms. adams is one of the founders of the mississippi freedom democratic party back in the early 1960s an early field secretary for the nonviolent correlating committee. she spent her last 15 years as a methodist chaplain at virginia state university. she became a friend of my students in the work we do here at uva and sadly died of a brain tumor about ten years ago. the last time she visited my class we are actually meeting in my home and it was a cold winter day in the civil rights seminar and we were hobbled around the fireplace and ms. adams had an extraordinary ability in her voice and music and poetry in
2:01 pm
testimony to condor the spirits of the movement and make it palpable in ways the students can feel it in the happened that day and at the end of her talk a student said ms. adams, i have a question, and i want to know if this is the third year at uva, and a member of the generation, was unfinished business of the civil rights movement and without any hesitation a lot of really helpful accounts of this question ms. adams said, it is learning to speak the language of peace. one level it sounds perhaps in another level it's the deepest profound challenge to us. learning to speak the language of peace means also reckoning
2:02 pm
with all the ways in which our language layered with violence and rage and i offer that as a beautiful vision of years ahead. >> go ahead. [inaudible] i teach at duke and this is a common question and i will own up to that from the beginning. i just last year in a large required christian as class one of the films that the students had to watch with spotlight. the several students in the class asked if one word, one
2:03 pm
sentence to do a close reading of the film in several students wanted to know if they were allowed to write about a theme as they put the f word in it. from the movie spotlight. i was distraught at the time and thought of course you can write about is seen with the f word and it where did you get it that you can't write about affinity with the word that is an obscenity. my question is, how do we distinguish between the language of peace and a false call to stability because i don't know how to name some obscenities without coming across as lacking instability especially as a woman in the south. i will go ahead in a knot.
2:04 pm
>> as an older gentleman i have found that my own instinct to blow and set the page on fire with powerful language is something that i personally have outgrown it when i read people online ones that use pornographic verbs are not the words i tend to pay the most attention to. i agree with you, indignation sometimes requires thompson language to make it stick. my own personal feeling is that you can do better with a calmer tone of voice them by shouting back at the shutters. which i've been known to do.
2:05 pm
>> as he once said, sometimes in order to get the hard of hearing to hear in the difficult to see, you have to shout real loud and draw big large distorted images. so the language of peace is not to be misunderstood as the language of acquiescence conformity. if i make it to 60 seconds, it took place and the trial of san bowers and the white knights of the ku klux klan orchestrated the murders of james cheney and it's a shorter and countless others and brought back to trial in the late 1990s. will campbell brought went down to the mississippi for the trial and on the first day he was seen
2:06 pm
walking down the aisle and shaking the hands of san bowers. and going and sitting with his family with his courageous african-american from hattiesburg at naacp leader and activist. later journalist asked what on earth were you doing as a baptist minister helping a gesture of compassion and surrounded by cameras and newspapermen, he just nodded his head and said i guess it's because i'm a god damn christian. [laughter] >> is very much like will.
2:07 pm
>> yes or go ahead in the front. >> waiting for the microphone. between the both of you, you consider your little hairy thoughts to be junctional in order to achieve the faith objective? >> could you repeat that question please i'm not sure i heard every word. >> to consider your literary thoughts to become junctional. >> can you tell me more of intrigued by your question what tv by junctional? >> you mentioned what has inspired your thoughts, you consider to be unfaithful basis?
2:08 pm
>> i do. i think. there is a community of people who respect the word and ideas and it's unfortunately small community but i think we all recognize brothers and sisters in the community and i think that coming to an event like this is a good chance to separate the sheep from the goats. the people who will come here and specifically come to hear about books like these and you recognize your brothers and sisters. >> i think we have one question in the back and i'm afraid that it will have to be the last question. >> about civility, i was
2:09 pm
intrigued by the ndr article a day or two ago about civility in the opening of the conversation in the city council meeting to becoming less civil which i personally am struggling with because i felt that part of the problem in our current administration was the absence of stability. but understanding that the comments that the african-american from this town at least by the mayors are difficult to be heard by the city council over the years historically. i wonder where you all live with this and your comment about not wanting to publish pornographic words in your literature. where are we with this? what is your opinions on this conversation of stability if he could speak more to it ?
2:10 pm
>> i would just say, i would love to show you a ten-point treatise that doctor king and many of his sisters and brother travelers in the nine violence civil rights movement that ran from montgomery in 1956 to the summer of 1964. about the necessity of soul preparation and confronting the principalities and powers. there was a nomination to a
2:11 pm
certain kind of gentleness, a certain kind of empathy, the capacity to listen, and to speak empathetically. i would want to give you that as something that we might circulate as a useful document in thinking about this question of stability in contemporary. >> i think it's a dark time for public language. when certain totally uncivil and uncivilized tweets from people with tremendous power set the tone for the news and set the tone for the vulgarization that were experiencing is very hard also when their broadcasting the
2:12 pm
specialized and hard-core propaganda. to respond civilly. there are people who are not civil. but who may be necessary to combat some of the things that we're dealing with on the other side. what did mrs. obama say, they go low we go high. that is something we would always like to believe. and always want to do but it is not always possible. >> in closing, our discussion today i feel has tended to focus a lot on christian thinkers and in the two books i want to tell you that there is such a diversity of backgrounds that are represented from people from elite backgrounds who came to
2:13 pm
the thinking in opposition to some of their personal backgrounds to people from poverty-stricken backgrounds who rose to leadership in various ways and non-christian figures particularly in lots of people who don't focus on the christian tradition. i just want to say these are both very rich folks and worthwhile of your time and encourage you in addition to thinking our authors to pick up copies of their book in the lobby and if you want to know more about the local program again, there are three books to pick up in the coffee shop.
2:14 pm
>> i just want to make a point to talk about communities. some of you have heard the officer the other day, she spoke of my wife on wednesday. her father-in-law, you can find this online has painted hundreds of individuals he calls americans to tell the truth. in his most recent was reverend barber whose portrait was the head of the civil rights movements in north carolina. i think you will be amazed by the variety in the quote from each individual. it's something that defines community and it was to be something you'd be interested in seeing. american to tell the truth,. >> the last time i visited with will campbell i asked him where he was going to church, and he
2:15 pm
said i have become a horizontal list. and that speaks to the invisible church quality to this cast of characters. i also want to say my colleagues who is a coeditor, has a fabulous book that she submitted this week called on the faith of freddie rogers, i hope you will read and enjoy when she presented next year perhaps at the virginia festival of books. thanks to all of you. >> please fill out your evaluations. [applause] [inaudible conversations]


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on