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tv   1968 - America in Turmoil Civil Rights Race Relations  CSPAN  April 1, 2018 8:29am-10:01am EDT

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the law of prescription used birth control. they ruled the statute to be unconstitutional and in the process established a right to privacy still evolving today. our guests are law professor at george mason university's antonin scalia a law school and the associate dean for research into law professor at kaplan university. watch landmark cases monday and join the conversation. our #is landmark cases. resources on our website for backgrounds on each case. , a link toon book the national constitution center's interactive constitution and the landmark cases podcast at cases. >> now, live, we continue our dose series "1968 -- america and
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at race" with a look relations, including martin luther king, jr.'s assassination in memphis, and the kerner commission report. cleaver, our kathleen former black party communication secretary, and historian peniel joseph of the lbj school of public affairs. first, here is walter cronkite on april 4, 1968, announcing that martin luther king, jr. has been shot and killed. ♪ walter: good evening. king, the luther apostle of the civil rights movement has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. present issued a bulletin for an arrest scene running from the scene. officers reportedly chased and fired on a car containing two white men.
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dr. king was standing on the balcony of his second-floor hotel room tonight when according to a companion, and a shot was fired from across the street. in the friend's words, the bullet exploded in his face. they rushed the 39-year-old negro league her to a hospital where he died of a bullet wound to the neck. police found a high-powered hunting rifle about a block from the hotel. it was not a neatly identified as the murder weapon. the mayor has reinstated the desk to dawn curfew he imposed on the city last week after a march corrupted in violence. fourovernor has called out national guardsmen, and police report the murder has touched off sporadic acts of violence in a niekro section of the city. in a nationwide television address, the president addressed the nation's shock. >> america is shocked and
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saddened by the brutal slaying tonight of dr. martin luther king. i ask every citizen to reject the blind violence that has struck dr. king. who lived by nonviolence. i pray that his family can find comfort in the memory of all he tried to do for the land he loved so well. toave conveyed the sympathy his widow mrs. king. i know that every american of goodwell joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader, and is praying for peace and understanding throughout this land. nothing byeve lawlessness and divisiveness.
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-- and divisiveness among the american people. it is only by joining together, and only by working together, can we continue to move toward for all and fulfillment of our people. i hope that all americans hearts will search their as they ponder this most tragic incident. walter: king was born in atlanta, generally 15, 1929. he was a so no and the grandson that he was the son and the grandson of prominent leaders. he graduated with a doctorate from boston university in 1954, got his first pastorate in birmingham, alabama. in montgomery, alabama, he won fame. he took leadership of a bus
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and with his, policy of nonviolence over a period of a year, won that strike with the federal desegregation order in alabama. his nonviolence campaign sprint through the south, and he became the leader of the southern christian leadership conference, the conference primary of niekro ministers. since the rise of radical knee grows suggest oakley carmichael, king had been considered a voice of moderation and white leaders have look to his policy of nonviolence to those who preached hatred. to 1968. looking back america and turmoil on c-span and c-span3's american history tv. that report from michael -- that report from walter cronkite the crane 50 years ago this week. we will talk about it this morning. that topic and others as the
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cover civil rights in race relations from 1968. we are joined by kathleen cleaver, senior lecturer at emory university school of law, and the former communications secretary of the black panther party. and we also welcome peniel joseph at the center of race and relations. professor joseph, i want to begin with you. 1967,s back to the end of and where the civil rights movement was in 1960. this was 13 years since the brown versus board of education decision was handed down. what was the state of the movement? prof. joseph: it was very strong, but also the was a lot of debate, and a lot of controversy. in a way, when we think about the civil rights movement and dr. martin luther king, jr., as this iconic figure, king is a political mobilizer, and there
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are a number of different movements. there are movements within the movement. seeing blackre power activists who are talking about community control all across the united states. talking about radical, cultural self-determination. we have groups like the student nonviolent committee were professor cleaver was a part of, and we are talking about antiwar activism and anti-imperialism. we have the death we have an organization talking about poverty. king isway, by 1968, talking about a poor people's campaign and an anti-poverty campaign at the same time you have young, black political radicals, talking about everything from educational activism, and the creation of black student unions to anti-imperialist strategies and
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anti-capitalist critiques. certainly, the black panthers and the black panther party for self-defense really understands what is happening at the local level in a place like oakland, california. and really in an era before black lives matter, they are talking about everything from community control and free breakfast programs, but also they are questioning the legitimacy of state sanctioned violence, questioning the incarceration and the high rates of incarceration in 1967-1968 a black men and women, and questioning police brutality at the local level, and really looking at poverty because one of the first things the panthers do in oakland, california is try to get a street light set up at a corner where african-americans have been hit by cars in oakland in the east bay. when we think about 1967, the
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movement is a movement of movements, a panoramic movement, but sometimes people will say dr. king goes north because he goes to chicago, but there was always a movement happening in chicago, new york, and outside of the south. at times, the media focused on the old confederacy because we have the police dogs in birmingham, alabama, civil rights activist murdered in mississippi in 1964. we had protesters beaten on the augustine,int florida in the summer of 1964, but in truth, political activism during the civil rights movement from 1954 to roughly 1968, was happening in virtually every major city, but also rural, urban areas across the united states. movementwe see the some of the cohesiveness we have seen when the movement was going
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for the voting rights act in the civil rights act in the aftermath of brown and the montgomery bus boycott, but in fact, the movement is going from -- the movement is going -- the movement is trying to transform american democracy and reimagine black citizenship by calling for an end to not just racial and economic oppression, but is calling for things like a living wage, the right for black women and men to have good jobs, decent homes, and schools that actually educate young people. host: kathleen cleaver, you are in your early 20's at the end of 1967. you are involved in the civil rights movement. what did you see as the biggest barriers yet to be overcome? prof. cleaver: we were in the movement, i was in a nonviolent coordinating committee. the biggest councils
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political empowerment of people being subjected to racism and poverty, particularly police violence, so the issues of , socialense, food justice, it was a range of issues. but the key focus for the movement i was then was police brutality and against violence directed towards blacks. host: i want to go over some of the key dates and issues we are talking about. in 1968, civil rights and race relations, we will talk about the vietnam war and its impact on civil rights in this country. generally 30th, 1968, february 12, the memphis sanitation strike begins figure 29th. the current commission releases its report on race relations in the country. an april 4, martin luther king,
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jr. was assassinated. to the days after his assassination, riding in chicago, baltimore, washington d.c., and other cities. on april 11, johnson signs of fair housing act. six,ne 4, fifth, and kennedy wins the california primary and died the next day on the sixth. october 16, that comic image of olympic athletes tommie smith and john carlos posttesting at the olympics -- protesting at the olympics. and then richard nixon elected president on november 5. we will talk about all of this this morning on our 1968 america in turmoil series. special for lines -- special phone for those 25 years old and older. for 61 and older, we want to
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202-748-8001at --202-748-8002. kathleen cleaver, we introduced to as the former communications secretary for the black panther party. how did you get involved with a mark -- how did you get involved questio? prof. cleaver: we had a conference for our committee. short, a long story cleaver fell madly in love with me and persuaded me to come out to california. was a partrt that he of the black panther party -- he was a part of the black panther party. it was very exciting and
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with verynd filled positive, energize young men and women. professor joseph, you talked about the organization of the civil rights movement at the time. the different organizations out there. how does white america view these different organizations we have talked about as well as dr. king's movement? 1968, there isy going to be what some people call a white backlash against the movement. this is this idea that there was there was real broad-based support for the civil rights struggle and racial equality. generally, white people, when we look at everything from polling data in the state of the nation at the time were increasingly at unease with this idea of civil rights. by the time we see urban rebellions, where critics called
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race riots, but the president, the kerner commission calls civil disorders, that started 1963 in birmingham, alabama. explodes, andm then the lost area in los angeles explodes after the passage of the voting rights act, and we see massive urban rebellions in newark and detroit in 1967. webetween 1963 and 1958, will have hundreds of civil disturbances in hundreds of american cities. what the kerner commission argues, and that is the president's on the commission, is that the root of the violence the violence is going to be poverty in institutional racism. it says white racism has created and maintained urban ghettos, and it is only white society that can get rid of these ghettos in that sense.
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so there is going to be increasing unease, and increasing unease about the level of radical rhetoric that black power activists are engaged in. int black power activists do contrast a civil rights activist, they really talk about structural oppression. they link the war in vietnam with the ineffectiveness of the war on poverty and great society programs. the link police brutality with the impoverishment of african americans in rural and urban areas. so, they are talking about race and class. by 1968, gender as well, when you think about radical black feminists who were organizing, including feminists who are schnickd to check -- to . when we think about how the white public is perceiving civil
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rights, for the most part, it will be negative, but it is interesting to remember that martin luther king, jr. by 1958 is not the same mainstream hero he is by the end of 1964 when he accepts the nobel peace prize. by 1958, king is touring the country like a man on fire, critiquing the johnson administration about the vietnam war, trying to galvanize broad-based support for multiracial pour's people campaign. planning to go to washington and stay in washington until congress passes meaningful poverty legislature -- legislation that dr. kane -- that dr. king describes as a guarantee for all americans. hadave congress persons who depraved king saying he is a socialist and that he is un-american. when we think about 1968, there
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is a feeling of doom as if the subversives have taken over. what is interesting, and this is one of the things dr. king says, you start to feel that even white liberals are abandoning the movement because so many white americans are embracing this notion of peace, law, and order with no justice. so, when you think about 9068, it is going to be an incredibly tense year, but a hopeful year and an optimistic year because black power activists are trying to talk about the politics and transformation at the grassroots level. when you think about those politics, they are talking about everything from community controls of urban schools, talking about building farm cooperatives in the rural south. they are also talking about black elected officials, but talking about welfare rights activism, and talking about the relationship between african-americans in africa and
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u.s. foreign policies and critiquing capitalism, saying, is this the right economic system for poor black people? and they are really trying to reimagine what citizenship will look like in the future. it is an incredibly hopeful time as well. of thosementioned one activists already, eldridge cleaver. who was he we knew 10? prof. cleaver: he was a law student who started an organization and open, california. he in the bobby had met in college and he created an organization, outlining a platform, gave it a name, and there were -- and they were two men, but they had a vision of what change would be like, and once they started, they started it in oakland and people flocked to the organization, and it really got a lot of attention very, very quickly. it was the black after party for self-defense. host: huey newton and eldridge
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cleaver is speaking about the black panther party in 1958. [video clip] >> in america, black people are theted very much as vietnamese people or other colonized people. we are used to my brutalize, the police in our community occupied -- community occupied our area. us, toe there to contain brutalize us and murder us. because they have their orders to do so. just as a soldier in vietnam has her orders to destroy the vietnamese people. the police in our community could not possibly be there to protect our property. they could not possibly be there to see we receive due process of law for the same reason the police do not ask for due
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process of law. it is very apparent that the police and our community is not there for our security, but the security of the business owners in the community, and to keep the status quo intact. >> they are not aware. know whateople don't is going on with the black people. all of those rights are causing our lives to be miserable. they really haven't focused in on the fact that it is big. the power structure, the baldheaded businessmen at the chamber of commerce, they are not turned on the that power structure. is becoming increasingly miserable for everybody. host: kathleen cleaver, tell us about the early days involved in the black panther party. prof. cleaver: it was very
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exciting because it was a new organization. flocked into the black panther party, a large number of college students from the -- from san francisco state. it was so positive, so optimistic, so full of energy. the organization that i left was at the point of breakdown and burnout after eight years of confronting racism and demonstrations, and losing money. by the time they made that articulation, the organization was pretty much done. the black panther party took that and it spread across the country on the concept of black power. host: that the black power party endorsed violence? prof. cleaver: the black panther party was initially called the black panther party for self-defense. violence was all around us. black people were shot in the street. the violence was against us. we were not a violent
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organization. we were trying to challenge and defend our communities against the existing violence. can youofessor joseph, talk about the tactics of the black panther party? prof. joseph: i would say the tactics are going to be multiple. there will be multiple strategies. like professor cleaver was saying, the initial name was black panther party for self-defense. when we think about the 10 point program, it is really 20 points that the black panthers outlined. and what we need. they talk about everything from ending police brutality to freeing black women and men who were in state and local and federal prison to having employment, good jobs, good schools, educations. .10 talked about land, peace, bread, and justice. on one level, the tactic was self-defense and legally arming
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themselves, at least by the fall of 1966, before the state of california passes gun control legislation, that is really anti-panther legislation by the spring of 1967, which is one of the reasons why the black panthers go to sacramento to ,rotest this gun control bill which was to prevent panthers from patrolling the police armed , which was legal in the state of california at the time. on one level, we got this marshall-military image of the black panthers with the berets and leather jackets, and rifles. there is an iconic picture of professor cleaver in that mode. another strategy was the strategy of community empowerment, and the strategy of anti-poverty and survival programs. call survivalr
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programs, this idea of survival pending revolution. when you think about the panthers, we think of not just free breakfast programs and free lunch programs, but food giveaways, legal aid, there is a great book looking at the black panthers in the medical clinics that they did. when you think about the panthers, they also anticipated the rise of mass incarceration, so they had free busing to prison programs. you know, they had an ambulance service, they had a tenants rights organization, legal aid, and they were interested in drug rehabilitation and the mental health of the black community. when you think about the environment, the panthers talked about capitalism plus don't equals genocide -- plus dope equals genocide. in a way, there is a dual strategy. on one level, they are talking about defending the black
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community. there will be strained of the group that talk about even proactive revolutionary activities, but then there is another aspect of this group that, at times, attracts much less attention but that has been very, very substantive, and that is the strategy of empowering impoverished people mentally, , andcally, spiritually also providing them critical thinking skills to understand what is going on. that clip you played of he renewed and eldridge cleaver is really profound and powerful because you are watching two different political activists who were also intellectuals and there is, and what they are doing is theorizing about the structure and nature of political and racial and economic oppression. 50 years later when we think about the movement for black that isttering,
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completely connected in trying to build on what the panthers realized when we think about the state wasch the institutionalizing the oppression of african-american students. two point 3 million people in prison right now. half of those, african americans. sixth-inning are 7 million on parole or on probation, and millions of children who are black that parents that are incarcerated. the panthers really formulate at the dawn of that era, that era of not just mass incarceration, what the panthers were calling state-sanctioned violence, meaning the police, law enforcement, but like professor cleaver said, there were also talking about economic violence. the reason he started the free breakfast programs with so many black children were impoverished , and those free breakfast programs eventually become something that are widespread and that his institutionalized in cities like milwaukee and in states like wisconsin.
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and at the federal level as well. host: the are looking back 50 1968, the civil rights and race relations in this country. joining us on the phone is james and mississippi. we split our phone lines up by age. james is on the line for those 61 and older. james, good morning. caller: good morning. hello? host: go ahead, sir. you are on the line. i hope everyone has had a happy passover anything else to have to celebrate the birth and death of jesus christ. in 1968,r years old and i live in mississippi, and i lived in chicago. i can tell the difference between night and day in some places. in some ways, but my main point was in 1968 when dr. martin luther king, jr. was
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assassinated, i was in chicago, and i saw the riots, the burning of buildings, and things going on. one thing about it, my mother would not allow me to bring anything into our house that was stolen. she refused to let us do that, but my main point is this -- in 2018, going back that far, a lot has changed. but a lot is not changed in the 2018,of, when you say in you are going to make this country great again, and you are you have what the hell to lose? well, america has always been great and will always be grateful matter what. but the thing is, you have to make america right again because the civil rights marches and
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whites, blacks, and everybody that during that time, it was not the government exposed wrong in this country. it was people getting out in marching. host: thank you for the call. kathleen cleaver, i will let you take up some of the issues he brings up. prof. cleaver: he is talking about how people felt about what was happening. we are not talking about the war in vietnam, but everything that was happening, with the civil rights and black power movement was generated and amplified and in some sense, kicked off by the interactivity of the vietnam war, the impact of the draft, and the sense of young men that they were going to get killed or died, and some attitudes were, why should i go to vietnam and i? why should my stay home and fight for black freedom? andintensity of black power civil rights in america was
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amplified over and over again by the activities of the vietnam war and by the population. these young high school men out ofaking -- be taken minister to war, or deciding they are not going vietnam and become draftdodgers. there was turmoil involving war, racism and the future of what this country was going to be. this is when leaders like bobby kennedy get murdered as soon as they get elected. let you take angela in north olmstead, ohio on the line between 30 and 60 years old. >> good morning. everybody ins to whatever way you celebrate. i want to say that when they started killing off all the civil rights leaders with the kennedys, with martin luther king and malcolm x.. when all the big people were
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gone, this what did under the rug and say they are all a bunch of criminals. they started locking us up in droves. you walked across the street sideways or something. now the police just run people over, they don't care. i never thought i would live to see some like this in my lifetime. me she grandmother told never thought she would live to see a black man in the white house. she didn't live to see it, but i did. i lived my grandmother's dream. after she lead -- after he left the white house, looked at just look at the shadow our nation is in. nobody could've ever predicted this. host: angela this morning. what do you want to pick up on from that, press a joseph?
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-- professor joseph? despitei think -- >> the assassinations. we can go back as far as 63 with the kennedy and of edgar evers in mississippi who was in thenated june 11 early morning of june 12, 1963. those assassinations had a big impact. it's important for members of the protestant demonstrations continued to proliferate in spite of those assassinations. in a way what we see is political assassinations drive social movements narratives that are formed around -- especially in the 1960's, predominantly male figures. it does not mean that the movement goes away. by after 1968, you will see more protest against the vietnam war
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than before 1968. after 1968 we see more protests for community control, women's --hts, chicano advocates activists, civil rights, social justice, black power movements all the way into the mid-1970's. when we think about those assassinations, we remember them as important. points, but it is important to recall that the social movements we havend because political mobilizes or icons were assassinated. whether a liter or representative spokesperson is a woman or man, they are representing a groundswell of political organizing that is happening at the local level. there is no dr. martin luther king jr. without joanne robinson of the women's political counsel in montgomery, or rosa parks, people who were actual day-to-day organizers.
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what he is doing as an articulate her, he is able to galvanize attention to what people are doing at the local what and even though movements lose when people are assassinated is that there is not necessarily that focal point and that figurehead who can bring that kind of media attention. but the movement continues. host: the caller brings up robert kennedy. he entered the presidential race for the democratic nomination in march of 1968. what did he and mean -- what did he mean to the civil rights movement? >> i'm not so certain the civil calls movement in 1968, we ourselves a black power movement which was different energy than civil rights. we were not committed to nonviolence. we were committed to radical social justice and economic change. bobby kennedy articulated as a mainstream politician some of the interests that the social
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justice movement had, which is more than likely why he did not even get a chance to get out the gates. he was murdered as soon as he was making a speech. the right-wing repression that was coming, they made it very clear that the politics of robert kennedy and social justice, antiwar, were being repudiated and that set the tone for a very radical uprising across the country on many levels. host: we set the tone for this discussion with that news report of the death of martin luther king jr. 50 years ago this week. describe your memory of learning about the death of martin luther king jr.. , i was inremember oakland at the time. the black panther party headquarters were in oakland. stun andmember was how
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angry black people around the country were very washington, d.c. was set on fire. there were tons of uprisings, riots, protests. the country seemed to be in a state of total chaos and what was sold that so intriguing is that clearly there was instruction to police to stand down because police were not stopping these riots and uprisings. you saw a huge explosion of anger and frustration and violence in the wake of these assassination -- the assassination. host: why was martin luther king jr. in memphis on that day? because hen memphis had been called by one of his who was helping to organize sanitation workers in memphis, tennessee on strike for
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a living wage. king starts going there in march to give speeches and one of the -- one time during a visit, one of the demonstrations turned violent not because of the demonstrators part of the organized civil rights activism, but because of outliers, john people in the city who were very frustrated and they smashed windows and king is determined to return to memphis to have a rally that his peaceful because people are very critical. critics are saying if he cannot lead a peaceful rally in memphis , how can he come down to washington, d.c. and do this camp in in these tend cities as part of the poor people campaign. he was in memphis because king is convinced that the vietnam war is this immoral illegal war. a war that has robbed resources for people and attention from
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the plight of the poor. so he goes to places like mississippi, he goes to the southwest and meets up with mexican american advocates -- activists. he meets up with farmworkers and poor whites as well. he has a whole caravan of a multiracial caravan that will come to d.c. in the summer for this poor people campaign and by 68, king is talking about a guaranteed income and we should remember 50 years ago, there were many americans across political lines who were talking about a guaranteed income as a way to fight poverty and end poverty and joblessness once and for all. some people talked about full employment at how that would look. works progress administration that went beyond the new deal. when king it to memphis, he uses beachhead a sort of
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in this larger battle for social justice and by 68, king is going to be vilified for talking about poor people, talking about a guaranteed income and for saying he is going to bring this nonviolent army to washington, d.c. even though king is always articulating a philosophy of nonviolence, journalists and politicians are going to criticize him and say he is trying to bring a violence to washington, d.c. when all he is trying to do is force the united states into a reckoning with the gap between democratic rhetoric, democratic reality. especially for poor people. but really poor people of all colors. he is intensely interested in racial justice and economic justice, but he sees a
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connection between race and class. host: nearly halfway through our discussion on this weeks installment of 1968 america in turmoil. talking of the civil rights movement and race relations. we have split our phone line that different. if you are 29 and under, it is 202-748-8000, if you're 30 to 60, it is 202-748-8001. if you're 61 and older, 202-748-8002. nicholas is been waiting in tennessee on the line for 29 and under. caller: good morning. i'm glad to come across this conversation and i wanted to ask about the speakers thoughts on the leaders ship -- leadership, organization and structure of today for revolution and black revolution because often times they will talk about the full points and leaders as they were the heart and soul and the
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drumbeat of those movements. i'm curious as to what to think about how revolution looks today in an organized structure and if there is anything you want to highlight from your experiences of revolution for people who are 29 and under in the next generation. what would you like us to learn or pay more attention to? host: kathleen, i will let you start. >> there were mass mobilization people in the united states and other countries triggered in large part by the dislocations of the war in vietnam. also the sense of hope, the sense that the world was going to change. the decaying and people -- that wereand people like him making in a vision for america and there were massive people who believe in america could be
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changed. i remember being with radical revolutionary at -- activists who were 25 or younger down to teenagers. who really were convinced this was a moment we had a chance, we will change the country. we talked about we would change the world. there was a lot of optimism. america was a wealthy place. we have a lot of resources in the vietnam war dislocated the whole economy and country and challenged and made it possible for people to think about revolutionary transformation, whether peaceful or violence. host: dr. joseph, did you want to weigh in? >> certainly. 68 really is a global year of political revolution. ofn we think of domestically 68, 1 of those slogans is going to be the whole world is watching. when young activists are being brutalized at the democratic national convention in chicago. what they mean by the whole world is watching is the whole world was watching what american
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democracy actually meant for the hugeotesting is chasm between rhetoric and reality when it came to reimagining american citizenship. globally when we think about what's going on, we think about the tet offensive, the prague spring in czechoslovakia. we are thinking about may day demonstrations across europe. , southtin america america, africa, we are thinking about anti-colonial struggles. student strikes and protests all throughout the world. political feeling of revolution and optimism and also cultural revolution. the question was about leadership today. i think leadership today in terms of contemporary movement and we are seeing this with black lives matter and the me too movement, we are seeing this
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with the recent youth march. we are seeing it with the dreamers movement. instruction in a much more cohesive and democratic way. ella baker was the leader of the student nonviolent committee. feminist,radical trade unionist, organizer, worked with dr. king and men toward people like stokely carmichael. piece -- it was the people themselves who would have to organize for their own justice, for their own rights and when we think about now with the social movements that are happening in the contemporary context, the huge positive is many of them are female lead and when we think about the movement of the 1960's, women were absolutely leaders, but a lot of times marginalized when we think
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about the public transcript of the 1960's. such as theomen cofounders of the black lives in ar who are out there very public way and a very brilliant way. these movements are not relying on one figurehead, one iconic leader and i think that makes them much more powerful and potentially more effective and long-lasting. host: let me let kathleen jump in. do you agree with his assessment of how women leaders of the civil rights movement were remembered? , the concept of women leadership was somewhat subdued. there was no question that the civil rights movement was woman i'mand woman directed and thinking of gloria richardson and ella baker. but the willingness of the media to of the black community
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enhance the role of men was very important. women weren't seeking recognition as much as participation and it was fundamental and essential. host: what was the role of communication secretary? how did you get that job? into the black panther party at a moment of crisis. we were planning a demonstration at the alameda county courthouse . we were going to have the demonstration. my first thing to do was announce the demonstration. i adjust coming to the party fairly recently. the press release had to go out and i had to identify who sent it so i said communications kathleen neil. host: you gave yourself the
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title. i modeled myself on julian, but i called myself secretary a ministerwas also information. there was chairman, that was my title. host: to dallas, texas. charles is on the line for those between 30 and 60. caller: thank you for taking my call. it is an honor to speak with one of the mothers of the movement. distinguished professor joseph from texas. i am right up the street from him in dallas, but i grew up in sacramento, california where police violence is happened. what i wanted to say is how amazing both the panthers and dr. king were able to describe with a brilliant rolls-royce with a knock in the engine. i would like him to respond to that. >> i think it is brilliant, i've
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never heard that before. it is a huge difference in america between what the people experience and desire and what in fact is actually happening in this country and i believe in the 60's, what we saw was a waking up among black people, latino people, exploited people of what was really being done to them and looking at how we can take this on. because of vietnam. it was something malcolm x. says that resonated. in -- yellowe men men in black pajamas are taking down the van. poor people can make a difference in the world and that was radicalized across the country. host: professor joseph, bring us back 50 years ago this week and the death of martin luther king jr. who was james earl ray and what was his motive in the assassination? >> james earl ray is the
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assassin of martin luther king alland his motive by reports is just racial hatred and unease with what king represented in the world in the sense of social and political change and transformation that dr. king was trying to achieve. i think the king family accepted and the king's attorney accepted the james are already was the shooter. they saw him as a position holding a position covering up who killed king. the people who organize the assassination. that he was a front, but not the killer. host: what do you believe? >> i believe that. i don't think one man was going to take down martin luther king. there had to be more. there was probably more than one person.
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host: dr. joseph, what do you think about that question mark caller: as a historian i quote -- what do you think about that? >> idolater been doubts raised by different orders, including the king family posthumously questioning the way in which as evidence was gathered, questioning whether james are already in fact murdered there -- james earl rate. murder their father. i go with the historical record the james earl rate is the shooter until evidence is presented that shows something different. >> i guess you understand that the rocksolid evidence is seriously being covered up. i understand that people are absolutely saying that. i would love to see and hear more.
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i've read those perspectives. host: i want to go back to that night on april 4. this is the audio of robert kennedy announcing the death of martin luther king junior at an impromptu speech in indianapolis. here's what he had to say. in this difficult day, this difficult time for the united states, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. ,or those of you that are black considering the evidence evidently here that there were white people responsible, you can be filled with bitterness and with hatred and a desire for revenge. we can move in that direction is a country and greater polarizations, black people
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amongst blacks and whites among whites. filled with hatred towards one another. or we can make an effort as martin luther king did to comprehend andto replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land with an effort to understand, compassion and love for those of you who are black and are tempted to be ,illed with hatred and distrust of the injustice of such an act. against all white people. i would only say that i can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. i had a member of my family
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killed, but he was killed by a white man. we have to make an effort in the united states. we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond your go beyond these rather difficult times. professor joseph, take us back to the hours and days after .he death from that speech to the writing and burning of cities we saw around the country. kennedy's >> bobby words are really ironic because he has attorney general under his brother had approved the wiretaps of j edgar hoover put on dr. king and that had really accelerated the fbi's war against dr. king. in a lot of ways those wiretaps led to that anti-king atmosphere in the united states that in part led to his death. it's really interesting, bobby
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kennedy's evolution. these days are very tumultuous days. kennedy says this in difficult 3, thend king on april night before he was assassinated had said we had some difficult days ahead of us. what he was really talking about was the way in which there was a huge gulf between what social movement activists and leaders felt the united states needed to do legally and politically and what the country was willing to do. the country response, the state response with more political and economic oppression. in 1968 we have to remember the omnibus crime bill that was passed a couple months after king died. really expandl wiretapping and eavesdropping that the federal government allowed to do. it provides states with billions of dollars in money for law
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enforcement that sows the seeds to mass incarceration. that bill provides the money that now is given to states through the grant that provides all the states and local municipalities with huge incentives to arrest and incarcerate african-american and latinos, and poor whites in the country. host: kathleen, take us back to where you were that night in the days after. in sans in california francisco at the black panthers headquarters in oakland. once king was killed, once his death became public knowledge, there was an explosion across the country. there were riots, uprising, rebellions. washington, d.c., 14th street were on fire. the police were standing down so the black panther party wanted to respond. believe peoplet should go out and riot so they
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took it upon themselves, a group of panthers took it on themselves to engage in actions in response to king's assassination and the groups were about eight panthers in a car who were going to essentially attack police and respond. but does what ended up happening , a a group got scattered small contingent ended up in a and wereoakland shooting back and forth with the oakland police. and -- were in the same house and the house began to catch on fire. said we don't want to burn to death, so bobby hutton came out and attempt to surrender and was shot. no one of them bobby hutton was killed that night. about eight other panthers were arrested and it became a huge case. the whole country was at war.
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host: what happened to eldridge cleaver. >> he was sent back to prison. he was able to get out on bail through some very unusual decisions by a judge because when he went to court, no one from the state appeared. it was only him and the judge and he said lopez on the evidence i've heard, i have to take the story and let them out on bail. it was unheard of that he would be out on bail. and he was also a candidate for president under the peace and freedom party which was a protest party. what he did was run his presidential campaign. across the country until his timeframe to surrender and return to police -- prison at which point he disappeared. he showed up a few months later in havana. host: were you with him? >> no, i did not know where he was.
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when did you reconnect with him after that? >> in algeria, 1969. was in the-, i united states, i was trying to figure out how to get cuba. you had to go a very roundabout way and people take a flight to algeria to cuba and that got to death got there and then i got a message, don't leave, eldridge is coming to algeria. did you want to add something professor joseph? caller: -- >> when we think about the immediate aftermath of dr. king's assassination, his funeral in atlanta is going to be seen by over 100 million americans. mule,ffin is carried by a a mule train in atlanta. every major presidential candidate attends king's funeral
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, that is eugene mccarthy, bobby kennedy, hubert come free and richard nixon. becauset lyndon johnson of concerns -- security concerns is not attend, but he is accorded desk king is accorded the equivalent of a state funeral. when we think about what's going on on college campuses and black communities, there is a huge rning.of mou there is a sense of rage. there was also a sense of organizing that took those as well. looking as assassination becomes a global event. there worked sympathy demonstrations around the world, america --ica, latin sending telegrams to the king family, telegrams to the u.s. in solidarity with king's memory. so king was really going to be
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-- the country was really going to be reeling in the aftermath of the assassination. at some time, bobby kennedy the start of what becomes and 82 day campaign for president, until he is assassinated himself young, onelike andy of king's lieutenants, made -- many people started to transfer some of the feeling they had, not necessarily lacked power activism, but mainstream back americans thought the loyalty that they had towards king and they transferred it to robert kennedy as he continued -- as if you could somehow bind the ones ripping the nation. when you think about bobby kennedy, he tried in 68 to do what barack obama successfully create 2008, he tries to a multiracial, multi-class coalition to win the presidency. >> we have about 30 minutes left
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this morning. taking your calls on the phone lines. under,202 29 and 7487000. nicolas is coming in from scotland this morning on the line for those 61 and over. nicolas, go ahead. hi, good morning. having been raised in detroit, i was 15 at the time of the detroit area. in 1967, i was in high school when dr. king was assassinated. it struck me while i was watching the program this joseph, the professor neck adamic for the center of the study of race and democracy, and i mean that after 50 years of all that has gone on, it was
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something ironic that they had the time to set up a center for the study of race and democracy. i think it is time to you know, come off the ivory tower, dr. joseph. host: professor joseph, which elected take that? professor joseph: nicholas, we do more than study, we do public research and history and policy programming which connect to race and democracy, civil rights rights,uality, voting mass incarceration. to talk -- tackle these issues, we have to do both. -- ien we think about would not say that it is just an ivory tower, think about how we leverage the resources of these wonderful universities that we have in the united dates. to try to transform, not just critical consciousness, but also
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public policy. leverage those resources on behalf of communities that would not have the access to the kind of brainpower and resources that we have at universities. universities have in, when thinking about issues of social justice, very important in terms , inegal transformations terms of public policy transformations, in terms of providing nonprofits and other grassroots organizations, the information and the research and ofncy, they need on behalf social and political justice. so i would say active, it is not just the center here at, but the whole idea of black studies coming out of the black power era. we were talking about how we leverage the intelligentsia than leverage these resources, not just humanities and social
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sciences, but the hard science is like medicine. .t.e.m feels, on behalf of people who are being marginalized and universities, they play a role. as ms. cleaver was talking about, she and some of the most brilliant activist of the period were either university students, college graduates or at sometimes, even high school students or high school graduates who shut cities down. when you think about parkland, the young people in parkland are connected to the movement we are talking about, because high-school students in the south, north and west coast waged all kinds of struggles, including latino high school students, to get not just educational quality, but equal ofortunity and equality outcomes for their surrounding communities. you havehleen cleaver,
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michael in florida on the line for those between 30 years old and 60 years old. good morning. caller: professor cleaver, it is an honor to see you. i saw a special recently about black women involved in the movement. i knew that you were part of that and they pointed out that the women involved took great care in making sure that the men were out front. the men knew that they were a part of it, but they need the important thing about the black men being out front. professor joseph, i will say to what you havent mentioned several times this morning about the importance of black women participating in the new movement, black women have always been in the movement. be very careful about this new emphasis on women being involved in a new movement, because it is a wedge issue that is designed oiticked blac --
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black men against that women --pit black men against black women. my family has those had black women involved in the process. host: response? kathleen cleaver: i am happy to hear you acknowledge that we had the backbone of these movements have in women for several reasons one of which is that the attention on a pressing man was so vicious that what was necessary for women -- women took on the responsibility, women leadership has been a feature of the struggle against slavery segregation and racism. part of that i think is the church, the role of churches in the past, not so much now, church is a gathering place for and whoo are activists
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support the leadership of male pastors, but essentially running the church. the place of social activism and political activism in black communities very frequently is women, women organizations and women leaders. virginia, leesburg max is their calling from the line for the 29 and under. go ahead. host: thank you. caller: thank you for hosting this conversation, it is a great conversation. the professor mentioned before about dr. king's later works, he focused on anti-poverty and antiwar. it seems to me that his legacy has been manipulated in the time since 1968, and that later aspects of the -- the later aspects of his program have been deemphasized. i was wondering if you could speak on his legacy and the panthers, the way that their legacy has been in it related historically. thank you? kathleen cleaver: it is rather
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difficult for them to manipulate their legacy given the images on the platform that they have. whereas in the case of dr. king, we saw that dr. king was generally -- genuinely a revolutionary leader and represented in the christian context, which made it even more threatening. dr. king was very aware that his life was going to be shortened by the things he did. mostlyck panthers were teenagers, it was a youth movement with a handful of leaders who were over 21. so, the energy of the black panther party was very, very different in the sense about, we had chapters all of the country, all kinds of different programs and we focused in on social, political issues which greatly affected like people and made a huge impact on the generation. our generation, and the children of that generation. host: professor joseph, elizabeth from fort lauderdale order on those -- on the line of
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those 61 and over. caller: hello. present company excepted, it is a bright light -- i am agreeable with everything that has and said today, but my point is, what gets me on a regular basis is that women come on, mostly women, come on programs with these very serious subject and they smile and grin and they laugh. they get introduced and they have the big old smile. it could have been the killing of 100 people, run over by cars, guns, whatever, and they come on to discuss these things. i understand that, have been watching for multiple years that i have never seen the many women come on with great takes miles-- i don't see anything funny about this stuff. host: we take your point,
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elizabeth. professor joseph, would you like to start? kathleen cleaver: i was thinking about the king holiday -- joseph: i think the king holiday has been a source of power and symbolism because the king holiday was passed in 1983 and now we have a memorial which ensured that dr. king would never be forgotten. and he was recognized as america's founding thinkers in a post-world war ii sense. king, whatrace dr. the nation has really done in terms of the mainstream is really the radicalized his message and his anti-imperialism, his anti-capitalism, his courageous ability to speak truth to power and talk about white racism, white privilege and turn it into this soft, -- they have turned
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him into this soft, fuzzy teddy bear that everyone can love. even though the last three years of his life, when he is in chicago that a link daily, -- chicago rattling daily, when he was no longer friends with resident johnson, people were castigating him. one in the super report in 1967 said king and stokely carmichael are the that men and robin -- batman and robin on the movement, two sides of the same coin. we choose to remember only the king who ends with the "i have a dream speech" at the march on washington. we do not even interrogate that speech. it is a speech about reparations. the speech where he said, we are coming to cash a check which has been stamped "insufficient funds" but we refuse to believe that the bank of american -- that isbankrupt what he said in 1963. part of the irony of his legacy,
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is the fact that it becomes the most visible symbol of the 1960's, or none. even bigger than black panthers. but we rob him of his own political agency in the way that he tried to move all of us forward. king loves america enough to criticize america. host: you mentioned stokely carmichael a couple of times. i know that you are author of life." "stokely: a explain where he fits into the story where we have been talking hour.the past hour ? prof. joseph: he is one of the few african-american students at bronx science high school, a competitive school where he had to test to get into. he joined the nonviolent action affiliate at
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howard university in 1960, and he becomes one of the most courageous civil rights activists of the era. he was a freedom rider who got arrested in jackson, mississippi thespent 49 days in penitentiary in june, 1961. he became the second congressional district leader and mississippi -- in the mississippi democratic party. he was good friends of martin luther king jr. and he knew malcolm x and was impressed by him. by 1965, stokely was one of the leading graduates from howard university and he goes to live in mississippi and alabama. he helps organize sharecroppers in alabama and become the -- will become the county freedom organization nicknamed the black panther party. that is where when we think about the black panther itself, , whichn lowndes county
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provides us the first sign of a symbol of what becomes the black panther party in 1966. stokely carmichael's who caused 1966lack power june 16, during a march in greenwood, mississippi. postcomes this huge icon the assassination of malcolm x. carmichael was named honorary prime minister of the black panther party. initially he was the field marshal by the executive order from huey p newton, executive order number ii of 1967. he helped publicize the "free huey" movement -- "free movement and he becomes one of the key pivotal figures, the bridge figure between human rights and civi black power.
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he moved to africa in 1969 and died of rustic cancer in november, 1998. he was one of the stalwart iconic figures who becomes the unreconstructed revolutionary. kwameanged his name to clim toure, in honor of the pan african leaders, kwame nkrumar toure, african leaders who were assassinated. he continues to articulate the revolutionary ideas. host: cufflink wanted to jump in with a calm -- kathleen wanted to jump in with a comment here? kathleen cleaver: i just wanted to clarify that the black panther party, the name him from an organization that stokely carmichael and others from alabama were collaborating with the local community who wanted to, for the first time, run candidates for office. so they had a political party,
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lowndes county freedom organization, and they had a symbol, which is a panther. some people began calling it a black panther party. but they used it for certain reasons, they saved up panther is the kind of animal who would --er mind his own business you mind his own business, but if you go to attack him, he will let you up. he is not on attack animal. connecting with black radical politics was very popular and another group in california took the name and they called themselves the black panther party for self-defense. host: in texas, the line for those between 30 years and 60 years old, good morning. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i wanted to highlight something i have been seeing over the weekend, several articles in the new york times, actually. regarding the census bureau and a study that they had been
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working on since 2004. it concluded with them deciding that they would create a designation for hispanics and arab-americans, so they would not have to define themselves as white. however, the trump administration through jeff sessions came up with another question, which of course you all know, they rejected the designation for hispanics and arab-americans, and opted for -- thestates citizen question about whether you are a citizen or not -- of course, because the fear a true depiction of what the demographics in the country really are. my concern is that just as they did for years, they keep repackaging these same practices and bringing them to us in different ways. that it will have an impact or it could have an impact according to the articles i
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read, on voting rights, housing and many other important resources. practices have not made us greater, to have actually made us weaker. host: we will take the comment and come back to your question after we hear from ed in rolling, north carolina. go ahead. caller: good morning and thank you thomas c-span and the guests for having this conversation. i really appreciate this. if i could ask for their comments on a couple of topics, one, what their opinions are about critical legal series that i heard about recently that might be related to civil rights. the other thing is, i do not know if it is too inappropriate to ask now, but if dr. king was still with us today, do they that the political
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landscape in the country would be different? host: thank you for the question. kathleen? kathleen cleaver: had he remained alive, had his movement been able to implement the poor people's march and some of the projects he initiated, it is not so much if he was still alive, but if those structures for political change were still dynamic and being funded, and people could participate in them, then some of those goals that have conceivably been implemented. but he was assassinated for very clear reasons. that is what exactly the power structure did not want to happen . , do you answerh history questions ever -- prof. joseph: when we think about dr. king, we have seen this transform the political landscape.
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including someone who recently was elected president who never held political office. so i think there would have been tremendous pressure on him and we would've seen how he responded. he would have responded always by saying no, really symbolically on protests -- i think now that the idea of having some massive social movement leader actually running for political office, would not be far-fetched, it is just that we do not necessarily have the same kind of iconic leaders now that we did then. but i do agree with professor cleaver that if the movement that he helped mobilize had and develop evolve while he was alive, maybe things would be somewhat different. it would have continued to evolve and develop, it is just that he would not have been be primary articulators
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of the movement which had both its own benefits and its own drawbacks. left, weew more calls have about 10 minutes left. c-span3, c-span and the american history tv, as the cover the civil rights movement and race relations in 1968. james in a greensboro, north carolina on the line for those 60 and older. go ahead. caller: good morning. was is going on back then, -- ms. cleaver was a hero to me. i remember one of my friends and ie his album, i listened to his speeches. -- mr. need to do cleaver was a hero to me and i listened to his speeches. the 60's was a spiritual movements to advance the
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program of this country, which was so dominated against us because of the color of our skin, the melanin. and then he gave us so many names, but act than we were called need grows and collards --negroes and coloreds. which ifcame blacks, you look in the dictionary, it is all negative. hatred introduces himself in different faces and colors and stuff. so we need to do something to change things. everybody is waiting for us. host: i will let you take that one, officer cleaver? prof. joseph: i think what you are complaining about? prof. cleaver: it is something we would refer to as white supremacy which has been a key component of america from its beginning. point, whitehis
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supremacy is in trouble, because the majority of the american population, i say within that next 25 years, will not be a white population. it is increasingly latino, african-american, asian. they have these cities which they call majority-minority which mean that the minority populations are the majority and that will continue. i have a feeling that in the next 40 years or so, we will see toitical changes in response the composition of american population, and therefore, the composition of the political class,0 the caller= -- host: when did you get married to eldridge cleaver? prof. cleaver: it was the end of 1967. host: and when did he die? prof. cleaver: he died may 1, i'm trying to think of the year
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,uh... i cannot remember it right this minute. host: and did some of those people who joined you at the beginning of the black panther party, were they there at the end? prof. cleaver: not at all. he had left the party and become a republican. his funeral was in los angeles where he was living at the time and quite a few people came, but the thing that sticks in my mind, was that one of our panther leaders, geronimo pratt was framed on a murder case and spent 25 years in jail. by the time the fifth child came along, i was a lawyer. they finally decided to let the man out. geronimo pratt who had been a major leader in the black panther party. i remember that he was able to come to eldridge's funeral. wasblack panther party
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annexed ordinary organization which took an enormous amount of violence, and please invent, denigration -- imprisonment and denigration. people who are still in present and still supported, and a large number of community people, we never hear much about, still admire the efforts of the black and the party. host: dr. joseph, we have about five minutes left. i would like for you to talk a little about the iconic movement from 1968, the olympic games come a win two african-american athletes gave the symbol. explain the moment for viewers who may not be familiar? prof. joseph: that is the 400 meter relay race in mexico city in october, 16th 1968. that was coming smith and john carlos who won the gold and bronze medals respectively. they were part of a larger movement that had been inspired by dr. harry edwards in the late
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1960's to try to have a boycott of the olympics, of black athletes boycotting the olympics because of the human rights violations that were happening in the united states against african-americans. brutality from police to racial segregation, to violence against lax. ---- balance against blacks violence against blacks. they decided that if they would not win, they would stage these protests. what smith and carlos do, is they go to the podium without how many -- without any shoes on, with black socks and a black love and they raise they black power symbol it was a very powerful and iconic movement, but they were kicked out of the olympic village, stripped out of
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their medals and vilified in the mainstream. josee 1990's, in san state, where they were both athletes, had erected statues in their honor. but for quarter of a century, employment,nied access and opportunities that they should have been afforded because they made to this human rights protest. for them, what they were in solidarity with was indigenous people all over the world who were being oppressed. including african-americans in the states, but people all over the world, third world, people of color, others who were being oppressed. when you think about smith and carlos, they anticipate what happened to colin kaepernick, and where his protests against police brutality and against racial injustice it came reinterpreted as an indictment as this anti-american act, when
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he was he was trying to do was really unveil and shed light on contemporary racism, something that smith and carlos were trying to do. one last thing, they were embraced by black power. after they come back from the olympics, they toured howard university, a historically black college. carmichael was there and others and they were supported,. people like kareem abdul-jabbar, jim russell, black athletes who were very racially-conscious at the time, supported them as well. cleaver, ween started by asking dr. joseph, where the civil rights movement the end of 1967 and the beginning of 1968. where do you think it was at the end of 1968? prof. cleaver: it was at a crossroads. there were those who wanted to
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go back to africa, those who wanted to go to community service, those who wanted to work in the community. we should be out here, ,rganizing for the community solving community issues. there were those who remember the universe eddie. i want -- the university. there was a panorama, which was in some level part of our culture. host: kathleen cleaver is at emory university school of, senior lecturer and research fellow there. the joseph as director for study of race and democracy at the university of texas at austin. thank you both for your time this morning, we appreciate the conversation. kathleen cleaver: thank you very much, for having me. prof. joseph: thank you. host: we will continue to explore liberal politics, our guest will be robert kennedy's kennedy's, -- robert
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daughter, and michael a cohen, author of american maelstrom -- the 1968 election and the politics of decision. coming up on c-span3, american history tv's reel america begins. we will be showing the cbs news coverage of april, 1968 of martin luther king jr.'s assassination come the aftermath and the funeral of the slain civil rights leader. evening. king, the luther apostle of civil rights and nonviolence has been shot in memphis, tennessee.


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