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tv   1968 - America in Turmoil Civil Rights Race Relations  CSPAN  August 8, 2018 11:45pm-1:18am EDT

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king, the apostle of the civil rights movement has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. good evening. doctor martin luther king, the apostle of nonviolence has been shot to death in method -- memphis, tennessee pick a white man seen running from the seat. officers chased and fired on a radio equipped car containing two white men picked doctor king was standing on the balcony when according to the a companion shot was fired from across the street. the bullet exploded in his face.
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he was keeping a close watch over the winter because of the turbulent racial situation. they were on the scene. they rushed the leader to the hospital where he died of a bullet wound in the neck. they found a high pirate -- high-powered hunting weapon. the mayor reinstated the dusk to dawn curfew imposed last week in a march lead by doctor king. they called a 4000 national guardsmen pick it touched off sporadic acts of violence in a [null] section of the city. president johnson expressed shock.>> america shocked and saddened by the slaying tonight of doctor martin luther king. i ask every citizen to reject
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the violence that struck doctor king. he lived by nonviolent >> i pray that his family can find comfort in the memory of all that he tried to to for the land he loved so well. i have conveyed sympathy pick i know that every american of goodwill joins me in praying for peace and understanding throughout this land. we can achieve nothing by lawlessness. among the american people it is only by joining together and only by working together can we
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continue to move toward equality and fulfillment for all of our people. i hope that all americans to -- tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident. >> king was born in atlanta on january 15, 1929. the son and grandson of the ministers in atlanta and he had an extended education pick he graduated finally with a doctorate from boston university in 1954 and got his first trip in birmingham when he won fame . took leadership of a bus boycott. his policy was nonviolence over the period of a year one they strike with a federal
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desegregation order. they campaign spread to the south and he became the leader of the southern christian leadership conference. the conference primarily of [null] ministers. since the rise of knickers -- negros. king was considered a voice of moderation and the white leaders look to his policy of non- violence with a hopeful antidote to those who preached hate. we are looking back. american and turmoil -- and turmoil. the death of martin luther king jr. occurring 50 years ago. we will talk about it this morning. that topic and others as we cover our race relations from 1968. we are joined this morning by kathleen cleaver. a senior lecturer at the school
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of law. from austin texas we welcome back, peniel joseph. i want to begin with you. take us back to the end of 1967 and where the civil rights movement was in 1968. this was 13 years since the decision was handed down. what was at the state of the movement? >> i think of the state of the movement as strong and there was a lot of debate and controversy. only think about the civil rights movement and martin luther king jr. as of this iconic figure, he is a political mobilizer. a number of different movements . by 1967, we are seeing lack power activists talking about
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community control across the united states. radical, social, self- determination. groups like the student nonviolence committee which the professor is a part of. they are talking about antiwar activism. the national rifle -- welfare rice association talking about poverty. in 1968 king is talking about the poor people's campaign and an anti-cavity -- anti-poverty campaign with young lack of political radicals talking about everything from educational activism and the creation of black student unions to anti- imperialist strategies, anti- capitalist critiques. the black panthers and the party for self-defense really understands what is happening at the local level in a place
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like oakland, california. 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 and the high rates of incarceration of black men. they are questioning police brutality at the local level and they are looking at poverty because one of the first thing the panthers do aim oakland california to get a streetlight set up at a corner where african- americans have been hit by cars in oakland by the east bay. in 1967 the movement is a movement of movements. a panoramic movement but sometimes they say doctor king goes north because he goes to
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chicago. always a movement in chicago and outside of the south. the media focused on the old confederacy because we have the police dogs in birmingham, alabama. civil rights activist murdered in mississippi in 1964. protesters beaten on the beach in saint augustine, florida. political movements had a heroic . from 64 to 1968 and happening in virtually every major city but also urban hamlets across the united states. in 1967 the movement was lost in the minds of the public. some of the cohesiveness that we saw the civil rights act and the aftermath of brown and the
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bus boycott but the movement is going for more than just civil rights. it is transforming american democracy and reimagining plaque citizenship by calling for an end to not just racial and economic oppression but it is calling for things like a living wage, the right for black women and men to have good jobs and decent homes and schools that actually educate young people.>> kathleen cleaver, you are in your early 20s and 1967 and involved in the civil rights movement. what did you see as the biggest barrier to be overcome? >> we were in the movement that i was in the committee where they call for black power came. we saw the biggest challenge being political empowerment of people subjected to racism and poverty, particularly police
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violence. the issues of self-defense and the community control of police, social justice, a range of issues. the key focus of the movement was against police brutality and against violence directed toward blacks.>> i want to go over some of the key dates that we will talk about. in 1968 as we discussed, we will talk about the vietnam war and the impact on civil rights. it begins on january 30 1968 pick february 12 the sanitation strike begins. the current commission releases its report on race relations in the country. april 4, martin luther king junior was assassinated too. the days after his assassination rioting in chicago and washington dc and on april 11
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president johnson signed the fair housing act. on june 4, fifth and sixth, robert can today -- kennedy died the next day. tommy smith and john carlos protesting at the olympic games. richard nixon elected president and we will talk about the impact on the movement. we will talk about this this morning. a special phone line if you want to join the conversation. if you are 29 years old or under and for those 30 years old to 60 years old the phone line for those that we want to hear your memories. kathleen, we introduced you as well as your position as the
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former communications it secretary for the black panther party. how did you get involved? >> i was in an organization who had a conference with quite a few civil rights leaders. the only one that was able to get there was eldridge cleaver who was the leader of the black panthers. he fell madly in love with me and persuaded me to come out to california, which i did and we got engaged and married and i got involved. >> it was in line with the thinking and planning of the organization started many years ago and it was in chaos. the black panther party was no and it was exciting and it was positive energy for the young and women.>> you talked about
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the organization at the time. how did white america view the different organizations that we have talked about as well as doctor king's movement? >> by 1968 there will be what some people call it white backlash against the movement. this idea that we had a broad- based support for civil rights struggles and racially -- racial equality. generally white people when we look at polling data in the state of the nation at the time, they were increasingly at unease with this idea of civil rights by the time you see herbal -- urban developments or race riots and the commission calls it civil disorders, it's
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in 1963. harlem explodes and in 1965 the neighborhood in los angeles explodes a few day after the passage of the act and we see massive urban rebellion in newark and detroit. between 1963 and 1968 we will have civil disturbances and hundreds of cities and with the commission argues is that the root of the rioting is going to be poverty and institutional racism. it is created and maintained the urban ghettos. it is only white society that can get rid of the ghettos. they will be increasing the unease and the level of radical rhetoric that black power
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activists are engaged in. what they do in contrast to civil rights activists is talk about structural oppression. they link the war on vietnam with the ineffectiveness of the war on poverty and great society. they link police brutality with the impoverishment of african- americans. they are talking about race class and by 1968 the gender as well. radical black feminists organizing and connected cleavere
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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
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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 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.
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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. -- from san francisco state. it was so positive, so
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optimistic, so full of energy. the organization that i left was at the point of breakdown and burnout after eight years of confrontinthere were tons of up,
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riots, protests.
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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
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junior at an
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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 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
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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 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 was an explosion acrossnd your
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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 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
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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 attends kin'l
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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
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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 -- the country was really going to be reeling in the after
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fellow there. the joseph as director for study of race and democracy at the university of texas at austin.
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