tv 1968 - America in Turmoil Civil Rights Race Relations CSPAN August 8, 2018 11:44am-1:16pm EDT
jr.'s poor people's campaign, his assassination in memphis, black power and the kerner commission report. kathleen cleaver, former black panther secretary and peniel joseph from university of texas public affairs. here's walter cronkite announcing martin luther king jr. has been shot and killed. >> good evening. dr. martin luther king, the apostle of nonviolence and the civil rights movement has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. police have issued an all-points issued for a young white man seen running from the scene. officers also reportedly chased and fired on a radio equipped car containing two white men. dr. king was standing on the balance keen of his second floor hotel room when according to a companion a shot was fired from across the street. in his friend's word, the bullet
exploded in his face. police have been keeping a close watch over the noble peace prize winner because of turbulent situation were on the scene almost immediately. they rushed the 39-year-old negro leader to a hospital where he died of a bullet wound in the neck. police said they found a high-powered hunting rifle a block from the hotel but it was not immediately identified as the murder weapon. they have reinstated the dusk to dawn curfew he imposed last week when a march led by dr. king erupted in violence. governor ellington has called out 4,000 national guardsmen and police report the murder has touched off sporadic acts of violence in a negro section of the city. in a nationwide television address, president johnson expressed the shock. >> america is shocked and saddened by the brutal slaying 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. i have just conveyed sympathy of mrs. johnson, myself, to his widow, mrs. king. i know that every american of goodwill joins me in mourning the death of this outstanding leader and in praying for peace and understanding throughout this land. we can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness among the american people. it's only by joining together and only by working together can we continue to move toward
equality and fulfillment for all of our people. i hope that all americans tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident. >> king was born in atlanta, january 15, 1929. he was the son and grandson of prominent negro ministers in atlanta and he had an extended education. he graduated finally with a doctor rat from boston university in 1954 and got his first pastorate in birmingham, alabama. it was there he was -- or montgomery, alabama 37 it was there he was to win fame because in december 1955 he took leadership of a bus boycott there and he -- and with policy of nonvie lebs over period of a year won that strike with the federal desegregation order in
alabama. his nonviolent campaign spread through the south and he became the leader of the southern christian leadership conference, a conference primarily of negro ministers. since the rise of radical negros since as stokley carmichael and rap brown, king had been considered a voice of moderation and white leaders had looked to his policy of nonviolence as a hopeful antidote to those who preached riot and hatred. >> we're looking back to 1968: america in turmoil on c-span and c-span3's american history tv. that report from walter cronkite on the death of martin luther king jr. occurring 50 years ago this week. we're going to be talking about it this morning. certainly that topic and others as we cover civil rights and race relations from 1968. we're joined for that discussion this morning by kathleen cleaver, senior lecturer at emory university school of law as well as a former communications secretary for the
black panther party, and from austin, texas, we welcome back peniel joseph, center for race and democracy as ut-austin. professor joseph, i want to begin with you. take us back to the end of 1967 and where the civil rights movement was as 1968 was dawning. this was 13 years since the brown v. board of education decision had been handed down. what was the state of the movement? >> well, i think the state of the movement was very strong, but it was also -- there was a lot of debate and there was a lot of controversy. in a way, when we think about the civil rights movement and dr. martin luther king jr. as this significant figure, this iconic figure, king is really a political mobilizer and there are a number of different movements. so, there are movements within the movement. so, by 1967, we're seeing black power activists who are talking about community control all
across the united states. they're talking about radical, social, political, cultural, self-determination. we've got groups like the student nonviolent coordinating committee, sncc, which professor cleaver was also a part of, who are talking about s.n.i.c., whi professor was also a part of, who are talking about anti-war activism and anti-imperialism. we have the national welfare rights organization that's talking about poverty. in that way, by 1968, king is talking about a poor people's campaign and an antipoverty campaign, at the same time that you've got young black political radicals who are talking about everything from, you know, educational activism and the creation of black student unions, to anti-imperialist strategies and anticapitalist critiques. certainly the black panthers and the black panther party for self-defense really understands what's 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're questioning the legitimacy of state sanctioned violence. they're questioning the high rates of incarceration then, 1967, 1968, the black men, black men and women. they're questioning police brutality at the local level. they're really looking at poverty. one of the first things the panthers do in oakland, california, is try to get a streetlight set up at a corner where african-americans have been hit by cars in oakland in the east bay. so when we think about '67, the movement is a movement of movements. it's a panoramic movement. sometimes people will say dr. king goes north because he goes
to chicago. there was always a movement happening in chicago and new york and outside of the south. at times the media focused on the old confederacy because we had the police dogs in birmingham, alabama. we had civil rights activists murdered in mississippi in 1964. we had protesters beaten on the beach of st. augustine, florida, in the summer of 1964, but in truth, the heroic period civil rights movement, from '54 to roughly '68 was happening really virtually in every major city but also rural, urban hamlet across the united states. so by '67, what we see is that the movement has lost in the minds of the american public some of the cohesiveness that we had seen when the movement was going for the voting rights act and the civil rights act in the aftermath of brown, in the aftermath of emmett till and the montgomery bus boycott, but in fact the movement was
going for more than just civil rights or voting rights. it's trying to transform american democracy and really reimagine black citizenship by calling for an end to not just racial and economic oppression but it's 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. >> and on that, kathleen cleaver, you're in your early 20s at this point at the end of 1967. you're involved in the civil rights movement. what did you see as the biggest barriers yet to be overcome as 1968 dawned? >> well, we were in the movement that -- i was in the student nonviolent coordinating committee. that's where the call for black power came. what we saw was the biggest challenge of political empowerment of people being
subjected to racism and poverty, particularly police violence. and so the issues of self-defense, community control of police, food, social justice. there was a range of issues. but the key focus of the movements i was in was against police brutality and against violence directed towards blacks. >> i want to go over some of the key dates and issues we'll be talking about in the year 1968 as we discuss civil rights and race relations. we're going to be talking about the vietnam war and its impact on civil rights in this country. the tet offensive begins on january 30th, 1968. february 12th, the memphis sanitation strike begins. february 29th, the kerner commission releases its report on race relations in the country. of course april 4th, martin luther king jr. was assassinated. the days after martin luther king jr.'s assassination, rioting in chicago, baltimore, washington, d.c., and other cities. on april 11th, president johnson
signs the fair housing act. on june 4th, 5th, and 6th, robert kennedy wins the california primary. he's shot after his victory rally. he died the next day, on the 6th. october 16th, that iconic image of olympic athletes tommie smith and john carlos. november 5th, the impact. we'll be talking about that on the movement. we'll talk about all of that in our special series. special phone lines if you want to join the conversation. 202-748-8000. if you're 29 years old and under, for those 30 years old to 60s years old. 202-748-8001. the phone line for those 61 and older, we want to hear from you, your memories of that year, 202-748-8002. kathleen cleaver, we introduced you as well as your position at emory as the former communications secretary for the
black panther party. how did you get involved in the black panther party? >> i was in an organization called student nonviolent coordinating committee. we had a conference, and invited quite a few civil rights leaders. the only one who managed to get there was eldridge cleaver. the leader of the black panther party. he fell madly in love with me and persuaded me i should come out to california, which i did. we got engaged, we got married. i got involved in the organization he was a part of, called the black panther party, which was very much in line with the thinking and planning of snic. but snic was an organization that started many years ago and was in a state of chaos. and the black panther party was brand-new, had been in existence for about a year. it was very exciting and engaging and filled with very positive, energized young men and women. it was great.
>> professor joseph, you talked about the organization of the civil rights movement at the time, the different organizations that were out there. how did white america view these different organizations that we've already talked about as well as dr. king's movement? >> well, by 1968 there's going to be what some people call a white backlash against the movement, and this is this idea that there was that one time real broad based support for civil rights struggles and racial equality. generally white people, when we look at everything from polling data and 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, what critics called race riots and what the president, the kuerner commission calls civil disorders that start in 1963 in birmingham, alabama.
by 1964, harlem explodes. in '65, the watts neighborhood in los angeles explodes a few days after the passage of the voting rights act, and we see massive urban rebellions in newark and detroit in 1967. so between '63 and 1968, we'll have hundreds of civil disturbances in hundreds of american cities, and what the kerner commission argues, and that's the president's own commission is that root of the violence and the rioting is going to be poverty and institutional racism. it says that white racism has created and maintained urban ghettos and its only white society that can get rid of these ghettos, in that sense. so there's going to be increasing unease and there's increasing unease about the the level of radical rhetoric that black power activists are engaged in. because what black power
activists do in contrast to civil rights activists, they really talk about structural oppression. they link the war in vietnam with the ineffectiveness of the war on poverty and great society programs. they link police brutality with the miseration of african-americans in rural and urban areas. they're talking about race, class, and by 1968, gender as well, when we think about radical black feminists who are organizing including femme nich -- feminists connected to snic. when we think about how the white public is perceiving civil rights, it's going to be for the most part negative. and it's interesting to remember that martin luther king jr. by 1968 is not the same mainstream hero he is by the end of 1964 when he accepts the nobel peace
prize. by 1968, 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 a multiracial poor peoples campaign, planning to go to washington and stay in washington until congress passes meaningful poverty legislation, antipoverty legislation, that dr. king defines as a guaranteed income for all americans. we've got congresspersons who had praised king after winning the nobel peace prize who are saying he's an anarchist, a socialist, and un-american. so when we think about 1968, there's a feeling of doom, as if the subversives have taken over. and what's interesting, and this is one of the things that dr. king says, is that he starts to feel that even white liberals are abandoning the movement
because so many white americans are embracing this notion of peace and law and order with no justice. so when we think about 1968, it's going to be an incredibly tense year, but it's also a hopeful and optimistic year, because so many not only civil rights activists but black power activists are trying to talk about the politics of transformation at the grassroots level. when you think about those politics, they're talking about everything from community control of urban schools, they're talking about building farm cooperatives in the rural south. they're definitely talking about black elected officials. but they're also talking about welfare rights activism. they're talking about the relationship between african-americans and africa and u.s. foreign policy. they're critiquing capitalism, and saying, is this the right economic system for poor black people, and they're really trying to reimagine what
citizenship will look like in the future. so it's an incredibly hopeful time as well. >> we mentioned one of those black power activists already, eldridge cleaver. who is hughie newton? >> hughie newton was a law student in oakland, california who started an organization along with his friend bobby seele. they created an organization, they outlined the platform, they gave it a name. they were just two men. but they had a vision of what change should be like, and once they started, they started it in oakland, people flocked into the organization, and it really got very -- a lot of attention very, very quickly. >> and what was that organization? >> black panther party for self-defense. >> here is hughie newton and eldridge cleaver speaking about the black panther party in 1968. >> in america, black people are treated very much as the
vietnamese people or any other colon iced people. we're brutalized. the police in our community occupy our area, our community, as a foreign coup occupies territory. the police are there in our community not to promote our welfare or for our security and our safety but they're there to contain us, to brutalize us and murder us because they have their orders to do so. and just as the soldiers in vietnam have their orders to destroy the vietnamese people, the police in our community couldn't possibly be there to protect other property, because we own no property. they couldn't possibly be there to see that we receive due process of law for the simple reason that the police themselves deny us due process of law. so it's very apparent that the police only in our community not for our security but for the security of the business owners in the community and also to see
that the status quo is kept intact. >> people are not aware of it. a lot are people don't know where it's at. they think it's the black people doing it. all those riots are causing my life to be miserable in all areas. you know? they really haven't focused in on the fact that it's the pigs and their mentors, the people who control the pigs, the power structure, the bald headed businessmen, the chamber of commerce. you see? they're not turned on to that power structure. they just know that life is becoming increasingly miserable for everybody. >> kathleen cleaver, tell us about the early days of being involved in the black panther party. >> it was very exciting. because it was a new organization. it was in the middle of the vietnam war. young people flocked into the black panther party, a large number of college students from san francisco state and merritt
college, and it was so positive. so optimistic. so full of energy. the organization i had left, the student nonviolent coordinating committee, which was at the point of breakdown and burnout after eight years of confronting racism and demonstrations, they were losing money. they articulated black power but by the time they made that articulation, the organization was pretty kaput. the black panther party took that and ran across the country on the concept of black power. >> did the black panther party endorse violence? >> the violence was all around us. it was for defense. black people were being shot in the streets. the violence was against us. we were not a violent organization. we were an organization trying to challenge and defend our communities against the existing violence. >> professor joseph, can you talk a bit about the tactics of the black panther party?
>> well, i would say that the tactics are going to be multiple. there's going to be multiple strategies. like professor cleaver was saying, the initial name is black panther party for self-defense. so when we think about the 10-point program or really the 20-point program that the black panthers started in '66 and released in '68, they talk about everyone from ending police brutality, to freeing black women and men who were in state and local and federal prisons, to having employment, good jobs, good schools, education. point 10 talked about land, peace, bread, and justice. so on one level, the tactic was self-defense and legally arming themselves, at least by the fall of 1966. but before the state of california passes anti -- or
passes gun control legislation that's really anti-panther legislation by the spring of 1967, which is one of the reasons why the panthers on may 2nd, 1967, 30, go to sacramento to protest 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. so on one level we've got this martial, military image of the panthers with the berets and the leather jackets and rifles. there's an iconic picture of professor cleaver, you know, in that mode. another strategy was really this strategy of community empowerment and this strategy of antipoverty and survival programs, what they later called survival programs. this was this idea of survival pending revolution. when we think about the panthers we think of not just free breakfast programs and free lunch programs but food giveaways, legal aid.
there's a great book by nelson looking at the black panthers and the medical clinics that they did. when we think about the panthers, they also anticipated the rise of mass incarceration so they had free bussing to prison programs. you know, they had an ambulance service. they had tenants' rights organizations, legal aid. they were interested in drug rehabilitation and the metal health of the community. the panthers talk about capitalism plus dope equals genocide, which was one of the iconic pamphlets of the party in 1970, '71. so in a way, there's a dual strategy. the group is a janus-faced group in the sense that on one level they're talking about defending the black community, there will be strains of the group that talk about even proactive revolutionary activities, but then there's another aspect of the group that really at times attracts much less
attention, but that has been very, very substantive, and that's the strategy of empowering impoverished people, mentally, physically, spiritually, and also providing them critical thinking skills to understand what's going on, because that clip you played of hughie newton and eldridge cleaver is really profound and powerful, because you're watching two different political activists who are also intellectuals and theorists. what they're doing is theorizing about the structure and the nature of political and racial and economic oppression in the united states, and 50 years later, when we think about the movement for black lives mattering, that is completely connected and trying to build on what the panthers realized when we think about the way in which the state was institutionalizing the repression of african-americans. 2.3 million people in prison right now. about half of those,
african-americans. 6, 8, 8 million on parole or probation, and there's over 1 million children. of them who are black, who have parents who are in prison and incarcerated. the panthers really formulate at the dawn of that era, that era of not just mass incarceration but what the panthers were calling state-sanctioned violence. by that they meant the police, they meant law enforcement. but like professor cleaver has said, they were also talk about economic violence. the reason why they start the free breakfast programs was because so many black people and black children were impoverished, and those free breakfast programs eventually become something that's widespread and gets institutionalized in cities like milwaukee and states like wisconsin and eventually at the federal level as well. >> we're looking back 50 years to 1968, the civil rights and race relations in this country. joining us on the phone is james in collins, mississippi. we split our phone lines up by
age. james on that line for those 61 and older. james, good morning. >> caller: good morning to you, everybody. hello? >> go ahead, sir. you're on with kathleen cleaver and peniel joseph. >> caller: i just wanted to hope everybody has a happy passover and whatever else they have to celebrate the death and birth of jesus christ. i was 14 years old back in '68, i'm thinking. i lived on both sides of the street. i lived in mississippi and i lived in chicago. i could 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 was assassinated, i was in chicago. i saw the riots. i saw the burning of buildings. i saw things that was going on. and one thing about it, my mother would not allow me to
bring anything into that apartment, 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 there's a lot has not changed in the sense of when you say in 2018 you going to make this country great again and you're going to -- what the hell you have to lose, black folks, african-americans, well, i don't think that -- america has always been great and always will be great, no matter what, but the thing is, you got to make america right again. because the civil rights marches and whites, blacks, and everybody back during that time, it was not the government that exposed the wrong in this country. it was people getting out marching.
>> james, thanks for the call from mississippi. kathleen cleaver, i'll let you take up some of the issues he's bringing up there. >> he's talking about how people felt about what was happening. i think the context, we're not talking about the war in vietnam, but everything that was happening, and particularly in the civil rights and black power movement was generated and amplified and in some sense kicked off by the impact of the vietnam war, the impact of the draft, and the sense of young men that they were going to get killed or die and some attitude was, why should i go to vietnam and die in a rice paddy? why don't i stay home and fight for black freedom? the intensity of the civil rights energy in america was amplified over and over again by the activities in the vietnam war and by the population. these young high school men being taken out of school and shipped to vietnam, or deciding they're not going to go to vietnam and becoming draft
dodgers or whatever. so there was a lot of turmoil involving war, involving racism, and the future of what this country was going to be. i mean, this is when our leaders like bobby kennedy get murdered as soon as they get elected. it was a very, very traumatized time. >> professor joseph, i'll let you take angela in north olmsted, ohio, the line for those 30 to 60 years old. good morning. >> caller: yes. good morning. happy holidays to everybody in whatever way you celebrate today. i just 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 gone, they swept us under the rug and said, oh, they're all a bunch of criminals and hoodlums, then they start locking us up in droves. it wouldn't matter, if you was
black -- just if you were black you would get locked up if you walked across the street sideways or something. you were the enemy against them. now the police just shooting, murder people, they don't care. i never thought i would live to see anything like this in my lifetime. when my grandmother told me, she never thought she would live to see a black man in the white house. she didn't live to see it, but i did. so i lived my grandmother's dream. and since he left the white house, look at the shambles our nation is in. nobody could have ever predicted this. >> angela, this morning. professor joseph, what do you want to pick up on from that? >> well, i think when you talk about all the deaths that were occurring, i think that despite the assassinations, and we can go as far back as '63, with the
kennedy assassination and also the assassin afgs medgar evers, who is assassinated on june 12th, 1963, those assassinations had a big impact, but it's important to remember that the protests and the demonstrations continued to proliferate in spite of those assassinations. so in a way, what we see is that political assassinations sort of after 1968, you'll see more protests against the vietnam than before 1968. after 1968 we see more protests for community control. women's rights. chicano activism, anti-war activism.
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 police were not confronting the riots and the uprisings. so you saw a huge explosion of anger and frustration and violence in the wake of the assassination of martin luther king. >> professor joseph, why was martin luther king jr. in memphis on that day in 1968? >> well, he was in memphis, because he had been called by one of his good, close friends, jim lawson, the reverend jim lawson, who was helping to organize sanitation workers in memphis, tennessee, who were on strike for a living wage. so king starts going there in march and giving some speeches. and one time during the visit, one of the demonstrations turns
violent. not because of the demonstrators who were part of the organized civil rights activism, but because of outliers, young people in the city who are very, very frustrated, and they smashed some windows, and king is determined to return to memphis to have a rally that is peaceful, because people are very critical, critics are saying if he can't lead a peaceful rally in memphis, how can he come down to washington, d.c., and do this camp-in and this tent city that they're talking about as part of the poor people's campaign. so he was in memphis because by '68, king is convinced that, one, the vietnam war is this immoral, illegal war, but it's a war that has robbed resources from poor people and attention from the plight of the poor. so he goes to places like, you know, sparks, mississippi, and he goes to the southwest and meets up with mexican-american
activists. he meets up with farm workers. he meets up with poor whites as well. he's going to have a whole caravan of -- a multiracial caravan that's going to come to d.c. in the summer for this poor people's campaign, and by '68, king is talking about a guaranteed income. 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 ak fubout fu employment. how would that look? a works progress administration that went beyond the new deal. so when king goes to memphis he uses memphis as sort of the first beachhead in this larger battle for social justice, and by '68, king is going to be really vilified for talking about poor people, for talking
about a guaranteed income, and for saying that, you know, he's going to bring this non-violent army to washington, d.c. even though king is always, always articulating a philosophy of non-violence, journalists and politicians are going to criticize him and say that he's trying to bring a violence to washington, d.c., when all he's really trying to do is force the united states into a reckoning with the -- the gap between democratic rhetoric and democratic reality. especially for poor people. but really, poor people of all colors. king is intensely interested in racial justice, and economic justice, but he sees the connection between race and class. >> nearly half way through our discussion this morning on this week's installment of 1968 america in turmoil. we're talking about the civil rights movement and race relations that year and split
our phone lines up differently this morning. if you are under, 29 and under, 202-748-8000. 30 years to 60, 202-7489-8001. 61 and older, 220-748-8002. nicholas waiting in nashville on the line for 29 and under. go ahead. >> caller: hi. good morning. i'm really glad to come across the conversation today. and i wanted to ask about both the speakers thoughts on the leadership organization and the structure of today for revolution, a black revolution, because oftentimes in schools they're taught about the focal points and the leaders, that they were the heart and soul, drumbeats of those movement but really the reality is they weren't. so i'm curious what you think about the, how revolution looks
today in the organized structure and also if there's anything that you want to highlight from your experiences of revolution for people who are 29 and under who are that next generation, what are those things you would like us to pay more attention to? >> thanks for the question. kathleen cleaver, you start. >> what's important to understand is there were mass mobilizations of people in the united states and other countries than the united states triggered in large part by the dislocations in the war in vietnam and the sense of hope. the sense the world was going to change. that king and people like king were articulating a different vision for america and there were masses and masses of people and a belief that america could be changed. i remember being with radical revolutionists, 25 and younger down to teenagers who really consented this is a moment we had a chance, were going to change the country.
we talked about, we were going to change the world. there was a lot of optimism. america was a wealthy place. we had a lot of resources, and the vietnam war dislocated the whole economy, the whole country, and challenged and made it possible for people to think about revolutionary transformation, whether peaceful or violent, in this country. >> dr. joseph, did you want to weigh in? >> oh, certainly. '68 really is a global year of political revolution. so when we think of domestically of '68, one of the 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 democracy actually meant for people who were protesting for social justice, and the huge yawn and chasm between democratic rhetoric and reality when it cams to reimagining
american citizenship. globally, thinking about what's going on, thinking certainly about the tet offensivoffensive prague spring in czechoslovakia. may day in europe, but also latin america, south america, africa. we're thinking about anti-colonial struggles, student strikes and protests throughout the world. so '68 is this -- this feeling of political revolution and optimism and also cultural revolution. the question was about leadership today. i think leadership today in terms of contemporary meovement. we see this with black lives matter, with the recent youth march and the dreamers movement. immigration and the daca movement. you know, leadership has been structured in a much, much more cohesive and democratic way. ella baker, founder of the
student alabama coordinating committee famously said that strong people don't need strong leaders, and what she meant by this and ella baker was a radical feminist, trade unionist, organizer, worked with dr. king, mentored people like sophie carmichael, mentored the young activists on the coordinating committee. she meant the it was the people themselves who were going to have to organize for their own justice, for their own rights, and when we think about now with these social movements that are happening in the contemporary context, the huge positive is, one, many of them are female-led, and we think about the movements of the 1960s, women were absolutely leaders, but a lot of times marginalized when we think about the public transcript of the 1960s. now we see women such as the co-founders of the black lives
matter hs hash tag in a public y and the movements aren't eliing on one iconic leader making them much more powerful and potentially more effective and long-lasting. >> professor joseph, let me let kathleen cleaver jump in here. do you agree with his assessment how women leaders of the civil rights movement, black panthers were remembered, a part of that story? >> at that era, the concept of women leadership was somewhat subdued. no question the civil rights movement was women-led and woman-directed. i'm thinking of gloria richardson and ella baker, but the willingness of the media and also the willingness of the black community to enhance the role of men was very important. so women weren't seeking recognition as much as participation and their participation was fundamental and absolutely essential.
>> what was the role of communication secretary? how did you get that job? >> i came to the black panther party from an organization called snic and came in at a moment of crisis. we were planning a demonstration at the alameda county courthouse when hughie newton, arrested, shot by policemen and charged with attempted murder and murder was coming to court. we were going to have a demonstration. my first thing to do was write a press release and announce this demonstration, and i had just come in to the black panther party, fairly recently. so the press release had to go out and i had to identify who sent it. so i said, well, communications said kathleen neil. communications secretary, black panther party. that's how that came about. >> you gave yourself the title? >> yes. julian bond was the communications director of snic and did press releases. i modeled myself on julian but called myself secretary, because there was also a minister of
information, a chairman, there was a, you know -- that was my title. i took it myself. >> through dallas, texas, charles, line between 30 and 60. good morning. >> caller: good morning, c-span. thank you for taking tmy call. it's an honor to speak with one of the mothers of this movement and well at the distinguished professor. i'm from dallas but grew up in sacramento, california, where the latest example of heartbreak in police violence has happened. what i wanted to say was, how amazing both the panthers and dr. king was able to describe america at this immaculate rolls-royce with a knock in the engine. it looks good on the working stage, but socially the car was a lemon. i just would like you to respond? >> it's brilliant. never heard that before. there's a huge difference in america in between what the people experience and desire and what, in fact, is actually happening in this country.
i believe in the '60s 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. and because of vietnam, i mean, something malcolm x said that resonated. he said, little men in black -- little men in black pajamas are taking down uncle sam. it was like, come on people, poor people can make a difference in the world. that was a radicalizing across the country. >> professor joseph, bring us back to 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? >> well, james earl ray is the assassin of martin luther king jr., and his motive by all reports was just a racial hatred
and unease with what king represented in the world, and in the sense of the social and political change and transformation that dr. king was trying to achieve. >> i'd like to say something. i don't think that the king family accepted and -- king's attorney, british attorney, accepted that james earl ray was a shooter. they saw him as a position, holding a position to cover up who actually killed king. >> covering up for who? >> the people who actually organized the assassination. that's it. that he was front. not the killer. >> what do you believe? >> i believe that. i don't think one man is going to take down martin luther king. a conspiracy and had to be more. probably more than one. >> dr. joseph, what do you think about that? >> well, as a historian i go with the historical record in terms of james earl ray is the shooter, but i definitely acknowledge that there are,
there had been doubts raised by different quarters, including the king family posthumously, questioning the way in which evidence was gathered. questioning whether james earl ray in fact. >> moderator:erred their father. -- murdered their father. when you think about the historical record i go with the historical record that james earl ray is a shooter until and unless we're presented with rock solid evidence that shows something completely different. >> i guess you understand that the rock solid evidence is very seriously being covered up. >> i -- you know, i understand that people are absolutely saying that. and i'd love to see and hear more, and i have read those perspectives, definitely. >> i want to go back to that night, 50 years ago, on april 4th. this is the audio of robert kennedy announcing the death of martin luther king jr. and an
impromptu speech in indianapolis. here's what he had to say. >> in this difficult day in this difficult time for the united states, it's perhaps describes what kind of a nation we are and what direction we want to move in. for those of you who are black, considering the evidence evidently is that they were white people who were responsible, you can be filled with bitterness and with hatred, and a desire for revenge. we can move in that direction as a country. and a greater polarization. black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites. filled with hatred towards one another.
or we can make an effort as martin luther king did to understand and comprehend and 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 attempted to be filled with hatred and mistrust 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 killed, but he was killed by a white man. but we have to make an effort in the united states. we have to make an effort to understand, to get beyond or go
beyond these rather difficult times. >> professor joseph, take us back to the hours and days after the death of martin luther king jr. from that speech to the rioting and the burning of cities we saw around the country. >> yeah. i think bobby kennedy's words are really ironic, because kennedy at attorney general under his brother john f. kennedy had approved the wiretaps that j. edgar hoover put on dr. king and that had really accelerated the fbi's war against dr. king and 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 kennedy's evolution. these days are very, very tumultuous days. kennedy says, these difficult times, and king on april 3rd, the night before he's
assassinated, had said that we have some difficult days ahead of us. and 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. so the country responds, the state responds, with more political and economic oppression, and really in 1968, we also have to remember that the omnibus crime bill is passed in 1968, a couple months after king die, perhaps june 19, 1968 and that bill expands wiretapping and ease dropping the federal government is allowed to but provides states with billions of dollars in money for law enforcement that so w sows the seeds to mass incarceration. the burn grant that provides all
the states and local municipalities with huge ince e incentives to arrest and incarcerate african-americans and latinos and poor whites in this country. >> cleaver, attaus back to where you are. >> the black panther headquarters was across the bay in oakland. once king was killed, once his death became public knowledge, explosions across the country. washington, d.c., 14th street was on fire, and the police were standing down. there wasn't much krocontrollinf this so the black panther organization wanted to respond but didn't believe they should be rioting on the streets. a group of panthers took it upon themselves to engage in riots in response to king's assassination. eight panthers in a car,
eldridge, and bobby and others who were going essentially attack police in response. but ended up happening was the group gauss scattered. a small contingent ended up in a house in oakland. and were shooting back and forth with the oakland police and bobby hutton and eldridge were in the same house, and the house began to catch on fire and they said, well, we don't want to -- we don't want to burn to death. so bobby hutton came out and -- attempted to surrender and was shot. no one other than bobby hutton was killed that night. about eight other pan chthers w arrested. it became a huge case and the whole country was at war. >> what happened to eldridge cleaver? >> arrested. sent back to prison. he was an ex-convict. he was able to got 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 eldridge and the judge. he said based on the evidence i've heard, i have to let him out on bail. unheard of a black panther leader engage fld a shoot-out with police was out on bail and also was a candidate for president under the peace and freedom party, a protest party and so what he did was run his presidential campaign across the country until it was time for him to surrender, return to police, return to prison, at which point he disappeared, and showed up a few months later in havana. >> and you with him? >> oh no. i wasn't -- i dmoen where idn't he was. he was spirited off to montreal. i didn't know where he was. >> where did you reconnect with him? >> in algeria, 1969. he was in cuba. i was in the united states.
i was on my way to try to figure out how to get to cuba. you had to go a very round-about way. the way to get to cuba, take a flight algeria to cuba. i actually got there, and then i got a message, don't leave. wait. eldridge is coming to algeria. >> kathleen cleaver joining us in studio. did you want to add something, mr. joseph? >> yes. when we think about the media aftermath of dr. king's assassination, his funeral in atlanta is going to be seen by over 100 million americans. his -- his coffin is carried by a mule. a mule train in atlanta. every major presidential candidate attends king's funeral. so that's eugene mccarthy, bobby kennedy, that's hubert humphrey and richard nixon. president lyndon johnson, because of security concerns, does not attend the funeral. but king is really afforded the
equivalent of a state funeral, and when we think about what's going on on college campuses, in black communities, there's a huge sense of mourning, at times a sense of rage. there's over 125 cities that erupt in some kind of violence, but then there's also a sense of organizing that takes place as well. so when we think about the king assassination if become as global event. there's going to be sympathy demonstrations around the world. europe, africa, latin america. they're sending telegrams to the king family and telegrams to the united states in solidarity with king's memory. so king is really going to be, the country's really going to be reeling in the aftermath of the assassination and for a time bobby kennedy, who sort of at the start of what becomes an 82-day campaign for president until he's assassinated himself
on june 5th of the year, like andy young who's one of king's lieutenants, main aides in southern christian leadership conference has said, many people start to transfer some of the feeling that they have, not necessarily black power activists but mainstream african-americans, some of the feeling and loyalty they had towards king, towards robert f. kennedy as if kennedy can somehow bind the wounds that are gripping the nation, and we think about bobby kennedy, final thought, is that kennedy in '68 tries to do what barack obama successfully does in 2008, which is, tries to create a multiracial, multiclass coalition to win the presidency of the united states. >> about 30 minutes interest in our discussion this morning. taking your calls on phone lines split up by age. 29 and under, 220-784-8,000.
32 to 60, 8001. 60 and older, 202-784-8002. nicholas, go ahead? >> caller: i was listening, of course, at my age, am having been raised in detroit, i was 15 at the time of the detroit riots in '67. i was 16 in high school when dr. king was assassinated, and what i wanted to say, it struck me while i was watching your program this morning that prof joseph's an academic for the center of the study of race and democracy, and i mean, after 50 years of all that's going on, it's a bit ironic that they've had the time to set up a center for the study of race and democracy. i think it's time to -- you know, come off the ivory tower,
dr. joseph. >> nicholas in scotland. professor joseph, you want to take that? >> sure. i would say we do more than just study. we're doing public research and history and policy programming that connects to race and democracy. civil rights and equality. voting rights. mass incarceration. to tackle these issues we have to do both. right? so when you think about the -- i wouldn't say it's just an ivory tower. think about, how do we leverage the resources of these wonderful universities that we have in the united states to try to transform not just critical consciousness, also public policy, leverage those resources on behalf of communities that would not have access to the kind of brain power and the kind of resources that we have at universities, and universities
have been -- when thinking about issues of social justice, very, very important in terms of legal transformations, in terms of public policy transformations. in terms of providing nonprofits and other grassroots organizations. the information and the research and the agency that they need on behalf of social and political justice. i'd say that, again, it's not just the center here at ut, but really the whole idea of black studies coming out of the black power era and really coming out of this period we're talking about this morning was, how do we leverage the intelligencian and reserve ratch resources, not just humanity and social sciences but the hard sciences? you know, medicine. s.t.e.m. fields. how do we leverage that on behalf of people who are being marginalized? universities play a role and like professor cleaver was saying, many of the people
attractsed to groups like the black panthers including lett s herself, were university students. some of of the most brilliant activists of this period either took college classes, were college graduates or also sometimes were high school students, and high school graduates, who shut cities down. when you think about parkland. the young people in parkland are connected to the movements that we're talking about, because high school students in the south and in the north and in the west coast, they waged all kinds of struggles including latino students to get not just educational equality but equal opportunity and equality of outcomes for surrounding communities. >> a little time and a lot of calls waiting to talk to you both. kathleen cleaver, michael in florida on that line for those between 30 and 60 years old. good morning. >> caller: good morning, and professor cleaver, an honor to see you. i saw a special recently about black women involved in the
movement back then. i know you were part of that and they pointed out that the women who were involved took a great care in making sure that the men were out front. the women knew they were a part of it, but they knew the important thing about the black men being out front. professor peniel joseph, i'll say to you, if you want, what you 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 the new mooshment, because it's a wedge issue that's designed to pit black men against black women. i'm 58 years old. my mother was a very strong, black woman. she raised 11 children. she went to high school. we've always had black women who have been involved in this
process. >> michael, thanks forral call. kathleen cleaver? >> to respond? >> yeah. go for t. i'm happy to hear you acknowledge that the backbone of all the movement for black movn black justice and black freedom and anti-slavery have been women, for several reasons. and one is that the attention on owe pressing men was so vicious that it was almost necessary for women, but the other one was that women took on that responsibility and women leadership has been a feature in the struggle against slavery, segregation, racism and part of that i think is because of the role of churches in the past, not so much now. churches are a gathering place for women who are activists who are supporting the leadership of male pastors, but essentially running these churches. so the base of social activism and political activism in black communities very frequently is women organizations and women leaders. >> from leesburg, virginia, max is waiting on that line for those 29 and under.
go ahead. >> caller: thank you. i wanted to say that this has been a great conversation and i wanted to hugh for hosting it. when the professor mentioned before about dr. king's later work being focused on anti-poverty and anti-war, it seems to me that dr. king's legacy has been manipulated in the time since 1968 and that the later aspects of this program have been deemphasized. i was wondering if you might speak about the way that dr. king's legacy as well as the panthers, the way that their message has been manipulated historically. thank you. >> well, it's rather difficult for them to manipulate out the radicalism of the black panther message basically given the youth and platform and the images that they have, whereas in the case of dr. king, we saw and could tell that dr. king was genuinely a revolutionary
leader, but he presented it in a christian context, which makes it even more threatening. king was very aware that his life was going to be shortened by the things that he did. the black panthers were mostly 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 that we had chapters all over the country, we had all kind of different programs and we focused in on social and political issues that directly affected black people and made a huge impact on the generation -- our generation and the children of that generation. >> professor joseph, you've got elizabeth waiting in ft. lauderdale, florida, on that line for those 61 and over. >> caller: hello. present company excepted i have just -- it's a gripe like an
irritant. i'm agreeable with everything that's been said today, but my point is what gets me on a regular basis, we will come on, mostly women, come on programs with these very serious subjects and they smile and grinning and laughing. they get introduced, they've got this big old gigantic smile. it could have been a killing of 100 people, run over cars, guns, whatever, and they come on to discuss these things. i understand, i've been watching for multiple years, but i've never seen so much women coming on, great big smiles. i don't see anything funny about this stuff. >> all right. elizabeth, we will take your point. professor joseph, do you want to start? >> well, you know, i still was thinking about the king holiday and what the caller was talking about with king and king's
message. i think the king holiday has been a great example of the power and the limitations of racial symbolism. the king holiday's passage in '83, and now we have a king memorial, really ensured that dr. king would never be forgotten and dr. king was recognized as one of america's founding thinkers in a post-world war ii sense. but to embrace dr. king what the nation has really done in terms of the mainstream is really deradicalized king's message and his anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, really his courageous ability to speak truth to power and to talk about white racism, white privilege and turned him into sort of this soft fuzzy teddy bear, this figure that everybody could love even though the last three years of his life when he is in chicago battling mayor daley,
when he no longer is political friends with president lyndon johnson, people are castigating king and saying that king -- there's one newspaper report in '67 that's saying king and stokely carmichael are the batman and robin of the movement and saying that they are two sides of the same coin. so we choose to remember only the king who ends with the i have a dream speech at the march on washington and we don't even interrogate that speech because that's a speech about reparations, that's a speech where he says we are coming to cash a check that has been stamped insufficient funds, but we refuse to believe that the bank of american justice is bankrupt. that's what king says in '63. so i think when we think about king's legacy part of the irony of his legacy is the fact that he becomes the most visible symbol of the 1960s bar none. even bigger than the black panthers, but we rob him of his
own political agency in the way in which he tried to move all of us forward because king loves america enough to criticize america. >> you've mentioned stokely carmichael a couple times now, i know you are author of the book "stokely a life." explain where he fits into this story that we've been talking about over the course of the last hour. >> stokely carmichael later quame tira was born in trinidad, comes not united states in 1952. he is one of the few african-americans students at bronx science high school, a competitive school that you have to test into. he joins the nonviolent action group which is a smic affiliate at howard university in 1960 and he really becomes one of the most courageous civil rights activists of the era. he is a freedom writer who gets
arrested the jackson, mississippi, and spends 49 days in penitentiary in june of 1961. he becomes the second congressional leader of the mississippi democratic freedom party. he is good friends with martin luther king jr. he knows malcolm x and is impressed which malcolm x. by 1965 stokely is one of the leading -- he graduates from howard university, he goes to live in mississippi and alabama, he helps organize share croppers in alabama who become the lowndes county freedom organization who are nicknamed the black panther party. that's where when we think about the black panther party for self defense it's lowndes county becomes -- provides us the first sign of the symbol of what becomes the black panther party in '66, in early '66. stokely carmichael who calls for black power june 16th, 1966,
during the meredith march in green wood, mississippi, and becomes this huge icon post the assassination of malcolm x. carmichael is named honorary prime minister of the black panther party, initially field marshall by executive order from huey newton, executive order number 2 in 1967 and really helps publicize the free huey movement on february 17th and february 18th, 1968 at two large rallies in oakland and los angeles. really becomes one of the key pivotal figures. he is a bridge figure between civil rights and black power because he really participated in both of those movements. moves to west africa in 1969 and dies of prostate cancer in november of 1998, but really one of the stalwart iconic figures who becomes an unreconstructed revolutionary. he changes his name in honor of
the pan-african leaders, but really one of the key revolutionary figures of the 1960s who even in the 1970s and '80s and '90s continues to articulate those revolutionary ideas. >> kathleen cleaver wanted to jump in with a comment here. >> well, i just wanted to make a clarification that the name the black panther party came from an organization that stokely and brown and other people in lowndes county, alabama, were collaborating with the local community who wanted to, for the first time, run candidates for office. so they had a political party, lowndes county freedom organization and they had a symbol for their electoral so you could go vote for them and their symbol was a panther. people began calling it a black panther party and they used that
for a certain reason. they said the panther is the kind of animal who will never, you know -- minds its own business but then if you reach out to attack him he will wipe you out, but he is not an attack animal. so the symbol and the notion and the black panther as connecting with radical black politics was very, very, very popular. another group in california took the name and they said black panther party for self defense. >> let's take a couple calls. anthony has been waiting in mansfield, texas. that line for those between 30 and 60. good morning. >> caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i just wanted to highlight something i've been seeing over the weekend, several articles actually in the "new york times" regarding the census bureau and a study that they had been working on since 2004 which
saying no when people wanted had i'm to run, really symbolically on protest tickets. i think that now the idea of having some massive social movement leader actually running for political office wouldn't be far-fetched. it's just that we don't necessarily have the same kind of iconic leaders now that we did -- that we did then. but i do agree with professor cleaver that if the movement that he helped mobilize had continued to evolve and develop while he was alive, maybe things would be somewhat different. that movement continued to evolve and develop while he was alive, and that continued to develop, but he has not been alive to be one of the primary articulators of that movement, which had both its own benefits and few drawbacks. >> time for a few calls. about ten minutes left this morning on 1968: america in
turmoil. we are on c-span and c-span 3's american history tv as we're covering the civil rights movement and race relations in 1968. james is waiting in greensboro, north carolina, on that line for those 61 and older. go ahead. >> caller: good morning, c-span. i'm glad everybody came on to talk about this situation. what's going on back then, ellis cleaver was a type of a hero to me. i remember one of my friends gave me his album, they had albums back then instead of cds, but i listened to his speech and it all made sense. what we need to do is we need to organize even better than the '60s because the '60s was a spiritual movement to advance the program of this country because this country was so dominated against us because of the color of our skin, the melon.
he gave us so many names, but back then we was called negroes and color. then it became black. then if you look in the dictionary under the word black it's all negative. so this is why we're getting shot in the streets, the hatred and stuff because hatred is like born and it introduces itself in different faces and different colors and stuff. so we need to do something to change things, and everybody is waiting for us. >> kathleen cleaver, i will let you take that one. >> well, i think what you are complaining about is something i would refer to as white supremacy and white supremacy has been a key component of america from its beginning, however, at this point white supremacy is in trouble because the majority of the american population, i'd say within the next 25 years, will not be a
white population. it's increasingly latino, african-american, asian and the population growths that are protected they have these cities that they call majority, minority, they mean the minority populations are in the majority. that's going to continue. i have a feeling over the next, you know, 40 years or so we're going to see some political changes that are in response to the composition of the american population and, therefore, the composition of the political class. >> the caller brings up eldridge cleaver. when you get married to eldridge cleaver? >> the end of the 1967. we kept arguing was it december 30th or was it december 31st? >> and when did he die? >> he died in -- he died may 1st, i'm trying to think of the year. i can't remember right this minute. >> and did some of those people who joined you at the beginning of the black panther party, were
they there at his funeral. >> no, not at all. not at all. he had left the black panther party, he had become a republican, he had gotten involved in other organizations. his funeral was actually in los angeles where he was living at the time and quite a few people did come to the funeral. the thing that sticks in my mind is one of our panther leaders, he was frame on a murder case and by the time the fifth habeas petition, that one they finally decided to let this man out. geronimo pratt, who had been a major leader in the "black panther" party. and what i'm remembering is that he was able to come to eldrid eldridge's funeral. so the "black pantheblack panth an extraordinary organization. it took an enormous amount of violence, imprisonment, denigration, and people who are in it, who are still in prison or are still in it, still love this movement, still support it
and i think a large number of community people who you never, ever hear that much about, still admire the efforts that the black panther party made. >> about five minutes left. i did want you to talk a bit about that iconic moment from 1968 at the olympic games, the two american olympic athletes and the symbol, the salute that they gave our viewers seeing it on their screen. explain that moment for viewers who may not be familiar. >> yeah, that's the 400 meter relay race, mexico city olympics, october 16th, 1968 and that's tommy smith and john carlos who won the bronze gold medal, respectively. they are part of a larger movement who had been inspired by dr. harry edwards in the late 1960s 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. everything from police brutality to racial segregation to violence against blacks. when we think about what eventually happened, some athletes at the olympics decided that if they -- if they did win they were going to stage these -- these protests and what smith and carlos do is they go to the podium without -- without any shoes on, just black socks, they each have a black glove and they raise the black power symbol. it's interesting because that was a very, very powerful iconic moment, but they were really kicked out of the olympic village, they were stripped of their medals, they were really vilified in the mainstream by the 1990s san jose state where they were both athletes have erected statues in their honor but for really over a quarter of a century they were denied employment, they were denied really the access and opportunities that they should
have been afforded because they made 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 united states, but all people all over the world. the third world, people of color, but others who were being oppressed. and in a way when we think about smith and carlos, they anticipate what happened to colin kaepernick and where his protest against police brutality and against racial injustice became reinterpreted as an indictment and this anti-american act when what he was trying to do was really unveil and shed light on contemporary racism and that's what smith and carlos were trying to do. one last thing, they were embraced by black power-ites.
so after they come back from the olympics they tour howard university, historically black colleges, stokely carmichael is there and others and they really become supported. people like kareem abdul-jabbar, people like bill russell, jim brown, black athletes who were racially conscious at the time support them as well. >> kathleen cleaver, less than a minute left in this segment. we started by asking dr. joseph where the civil rights movement was at the end of 1967, the beginning of '68. where do you think it was at the end of '68 at 1969 dawned? >> it was at a crossroads that had many possible options. there were those who wanted to go back to africa, there were those who wanted to go into community service, there were those who wanted to do work in the communities, that we shouldn't be out here, we should be organizing and building community struggles, solving community issues, there were
those who wanted the university. i would say it was a panorama of possibilities at the end of the '60s all of which are still part of our culture. kathleen cleaver is at emory university school of law, senior lecturer and research fellow there. neil joseph is director for the center for the study of race and democracy to tat the university texas at austin. thank you both for your time this morning. we appreciate the conversation. >> thank you very much for having us. >> thank you. you're watching american history tv programs normally seen only on the weekends. while congress is on break this month we focus on the economic and political situation in the u.s. 50 years ago. coming up, civil unrest in 1968 and the economic conditions leading up to that unrest. later martin luther king's plan to shift the civil rights movement to economic issues and how his assassination before the kickoff impacted the movement.
wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on 1968 american in turmoil we look at civil rights and race relations. we will discuss the national civil rights agenda in 1968 from martin luther king jr.'s assassination to the rising power of the black power movement. watch 1968 america in turmoil, wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span 3, and all nine programs are available on spotify as a podcast or watch anytime at c-span.org on our 1968 page. c-span, where history unfolds daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable television companies. and today we continue to bring
you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span is brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. this year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 poor people's campaign envisioned by martin luther king jr. to shift the focus of the civil rights movement to economic issues. reverend king was assassinated a few weeks before the campaign got under way in washington, d.c. next from the smithsonian national museum of african-american history and culture, a discussion on civil unrest and economic conditions leading up to 1968, particularly in detroit, michigan, and newark, new jersey. this is about an hour and 10 minutes. >> and welcome to the national museum of african-american