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tv   Reel America A Time for Freedom - 1957  CSPAN  February 21, 2019 9:44pm-10:16pm EST

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approximately 25,000 people gathered at the lincoln memorial to demand an end to segregation and lobby for voting and civil rights for african-americans. the prayer pilgrimage for freedom was organized to mark
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the third anniversary of the 1954 brown versus board of education. next on a time for freedom a film documenting the event. is courtesy of the library of congress it also includes scenes from the montgomery bus boycott, segregated areas in the south and interviews with attendees. >> ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ ♪ >> i am interested in my people becoming full citizens because of my faith in god i realize that for freedom there must be
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a great price. >> this prayer pilgrimage is the greatest demonstration on behalf of civil rights since the writing of the declaration of independence. we feel that this crusade to washington will speak just as profound as did the great document that our forefathers of this nation when they expressed to great britain that they were determined to be free and that they wanted their freedom. >> this is the day, this is it. the pilgrims are coming to washington, coming to our capital from all over for prayer and thanksgiving. coming to standup for right and freedom.
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washington is waiting. the pilgrims are coming. today is a new day, we've got unity now. the church, the labor and naacp are all working together. working together to bury jim crow. today the city of washington takes notice, our leaders received the keys to the city. yes this day has been a long time coming. preparations have been going on for months all over the south in all of the big cities of north, just about all over the country. you might say this day has been
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300 years and coming. ever since the first black woman told her child, this is our country too. ever since the first black man said to himself, i am going to be free. never stopped working for freedom, never stopped praying and hoping and fighting. >> ♪ >> harry belafonte. >> all my life i believe that
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as an artist and human being, i cannot isolate myself from the struggles of my people. their victories are my victories and their defeats are my defeats. >> everywhere people are talking about the pilgrimage, a street rally in harlem. [ music ] >> the reverend martin luther king of montgomery alabama, cochairman of the prayer pilgrimage. [ music ] >> roy wilkins, executive secretary of the naacp, cochairman of the prayer pilgrimage. all writing that freedom train.
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may 17, a friday, eight day. took time off to come. left the children with grandma, got up early in the morning, our church hired buses. union delegations are coming from detroit, chicago, st. louis, north and south, and there are college students, lawyers, teachers, all kinds of folks, thousands and thousands. [ music ] >> some are losing the days pay. some are risking their jobs. some have been told better not go if you know what is good for you. but, we are here, we are coming. want to be part of this great day. [ music ]
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listen to us, this is why we have come here. >> personally, i am going on a because i am a negro in the united states, and i feel that it is time for the governing body of this company country to make a stand on the issue of equality for the negro in the united states. we have petitioned and petitioned.
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>> i feel that this pilgrimage will show congress we are tired of being second-class citizens. our people have come from all parts of the nation to impress congress that we want the civil rights legislation passed in the session. >> i think not only the negro themselves have a problem, but the white recognizes that there is a problem, and that they are doing all they can to help, which i think is wonderful. >> organize labor is not right. civil rights is therefore important, not only to minorities in the labor movement, but for all of the labor movement, because the labor movement is basically dedicated to advancing democratic rights for all citizens. >> that was ted brown of afl- cio. >> some years ago when i began working in youngstown, local 1011, there were jobs denied the rights of negro to work on.
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we organized a civil rights committee in our local. and through that way, we convinced the white brothers that negros were qualified to work on these jobs. and, through that way, today, negros are working side-by-side with their white brothers. >> mr. hopson came with the negro and whites delegation of steelwork. >> this is their inspiring, knowing that you are a part of it, and knowing that you are doing and not only for yourself, but for all around you, and for your children, and those coming after you. i think it is one of the most important steps in history. >> they prayed and the walls came coming down. so we are going to pay today that racial segregation is going to tumble down all over.
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>> cochairman a. philip randolph . >> we have come to the rise the third anniversary of the historic united states for supreme court decision, of the desegregation of public schools, of the emancipation proclamation, of the mind and the human spirit. we have come to demonstrate the unity of the and their allies, label liberals and the church. we are here to tell those, and white supremacist, to keep their evil hands off of the national association for the advancement of colored people. >> reverend weston, unitarian church. >> grant us the courage to enter the arena of life, and there, battle intensely against all of the forces of injustice,
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exploitation, bigotry, and discrimination. let us never take our faith and freedom for granted. that we salute it, and go our way unchanged. for if we do not make it a part of us, if we do not wrote it in our hearts and in our minds, that faith will die and our nation shall die with it. >> but we need not fear. today, our children are upholding the honor of the nation. [ music ] >> james and teresa gardner play kentucky and the many others elsewhere.
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dorothy council of charlotte, north carolina, joe, and, alan, and bobby kane of clinton, tennessee, elizabeth beckford, one of the nine of little rock, arkansas, and so many more in henderson, kentucky, nashville tennessee, mansfield, texas. >> children setting an example
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of courage and dignity for all of us. cochairman roy wilkins. >> we are here because the rulers of the darkness of this world, the darkness of ignorance , arrogance, prejudice, and hatred have permitted to rise up and ravage the peace of our nation, to recruit and inflame the wicked, and to bow pete the righteous. now, my friends, we have gathered here today, because certain principalities of government in our own land, certain powers in the ascendancy in many communities have not only turned their faces from us, but have attacked us with the weapons of wickedness, was slander, with economic oppressions, with
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tailor-made laws, with guns, and with bombs. we have been given not bread, but a stone, not meet, but a sword. virginia and texas and many state in between have set up laws against the naacp to put it out of business. it would prevent us from going to court and it would prevent color people from lobbying against laws in the state legislator. my friends, these laws tonight basic freedom and deserve the attention of every american. or, they will be used against whites as well as against us.
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yes, my friend, we are in warfare for our right, from local courthouses to the halls of congress. we could have used some help in our fight. we can still use it. but, we are holding up by ourselves. both because of our own spirit, and because we know we are in tune with millions of our right fellow citizens, in and out of the south. we are troubled on every side, yet not distressed. we are perplexed, but not in despair. persecuted, but not forsaken. cast down, but not destroyed. >> we had to crawl in front of our church while we were in meetings. they threw rocks that shot
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through. we have had no violence, we only pray that god would take care of our enemies, and make a strong to pray for them. i'm out here today to take a stand for rights for the people of tallahassee, florida. >> all the people will stand. >> reverend kilgore, friendship baptist church. >> and, we will follow as the litany is printed on the program . it is a good thing to gather in this hallowed place, to give thanks unto the lord. lift up your hearts, let all people everywhere and so turn the hearts of men toward each other that any qualities and injustices may disappear, and the spirit of brotherhood may dwell among us. bless the pilgrims who have come from far and near, led each work for peace and freedom.
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>> mahalia jackson. >> ♪
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♪ >> we are perplexed, but not in despair. we are marching, and nothing will stop us. reverend milton perry walked from jersey city to washington. walked 230 miles, a bible in his hand, and his feet on the road to freedom. >> may i say this, that i walked because the people of montgomery led by reverend martin luther king walked to maintain their human dignity and their rights.
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let us all walk together for freedom, for liberty, and equality! >> he walks like the people of montgomery, alabama. the whole world listening to their footsteps. it all started with mrs. rosa parks would not give up her seat on the bus to a white man. >> as far as i can remember, during my lifetime, i resisted the idea of being mistreated and pushed around because of my race, and i felt that all people should be free, regardless of their color. when the driver demanded that we give up the seat, i felt about the time had come to not take it anymore. i had had enough, and this was truly the end of being pushed around.
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>> they walked in pride. they would not ride in chains, walked and weary feet, walked honorary feet until their cause was one in the highest court of the land. answering bombs and fire with love. answering violence with standing together. >> there are three ways to deal with injustice, one is to accept it slavishly, or one can resist it with arms, or one can use nonviolence. the significance of nonviolence is that finally one depends upon his body and his spirit. he puts that in within reach when everything else fails. secondly, because the man who
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believes in nonviolence is prepared to be harmed, to be crossed, but he will never crush others. this is what the southern leaders conference mean when they say in our struggle, not one hand of one head of one white person is to be harmed. >> we will now have a report from our fighters for freedom in the south. >> over and over the lesson of montgomery has been repeated. reverend shuttlesworth of birmingham, alabama. >> i have embalmed, but i am not dead. and neither am i angry. we are simply determined to carry on the site until victory is one. >> reverend davis of new
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orleans, louisiana. reverend steele of tallahassee, florida. we are studying that lesson, marching on down that road to freedom. dr. mordecai johnson, president, howard university. >> this gathering is but a suggestion of the power of cooperation that lies within us. we must never forget this day. it must be a symbol of what greater things yet lie before us. >> adam clayton powell, congressman from new york. >> we are faced with a bipartisan, jim crow policy. and, we are not going to have a successful bipartisan part of lessee until we wipe out our bipartisan jim crow policy.
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>> charles dean, congressman from the michigan. >> the basic lesson to be learned today is as ancient as time itself. it is that there is power in unity. if there are no restrictions on your political participation back home, and you are not exercising your voting privilege, then you do not deserve the benefits of first- class citizenship. >> cochairwoman reverend martin luther king. >> three years ago, the supreme court of this nation rendered in temple, eloquent, and unequivocal language, a decision
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which will long be stenciled on the mental sheets of succeeding generations. all men of goodwill, this may 17 decision came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of human captivity. it came as a great beacon, light of hope to millions of disinherited people throughout the world who had dared only to dream of freedom. unfortunately, this noble lands
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sublime decision has not gone without opposition. this opposition has often risen to ominous proportions. so, our most urgent request to the president of the united states, and every member of congress, is to give us the right to vote. give us the ballot, and we will no longer have to worry the federal government about our basic rights. give us the ballot, and we will no longer plead to the federal government for passage of an anti-lynching law. we will, by the power of our vote, write the law on the books of the south, and to bring an end to the dastardly
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acts of the hundred perpetrators of violence. give us the ballot, and we will transformed the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. give us the ballot, and we will quietly and nonviolently, without bitterness, implement the supreme court decision of may 17, 1954. >> give us the ballot. give us the ballot. we have come together walking, singing, praying. we have come to claim our rights as citizens of this land.
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we have come to bear witness that all men are brothers. we have come to arouse the conscience of decent men. listen to us. [ music ] we are headed for freedom. [ music ] let us live together in brotherhood. [ music ] let us live together in friendship. let us live together in peace. let us walk together with love.
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[ music ] >> coming up live friday, syndicated columnist george will talks about presidential authority, and the role of congress in light of president donald trump's recent national emergency declaration. this is live at 12:20 pm eastern on c-span. then, later in the day, massachusetts senator and 2020 residential candidate elizabeth warren to speak at a democratic
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party dinner in new hampshire. and on c-span 2, politico is hosting its ninth annual state solutions congress, with governors from across the country, who are in washington dc for the winter morning meeting. that gets underway at 9 am eastern. >> this weekend, c-span has live coverage of the national governors association winter meeting, beginning saturday at 9:15 am eastern with montana governor and aga chair steve bullock, and how to build a workforce of the future, through his initiative good jobs for all americans. then, at 10:15 am, cnn host and commentator van jones, on criminal justice reform and innovative strategies, shortly after 11 am, j.p. morgan chase and company chair and ceo jamie diamond on the intersection of public policy in the modern economy. and on sunday, our live coverage continues at 9 am eastern, as governors look at a new u.s., mexico canada trade agreement.
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and at 11:45 am, governor stay ensley and asa hutchinson discuss education policy. watch the national governors association winter meeting, life this weekend, on c-span, cspan.org, or listen with a free c-span radio app. in august 1619, 20 africans who had been forced to cross the atlantic ocean arrived in the virginia colony, aboard a dutch ship. next, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the beginning of forced migration to north america, the association for the study of african-american life and history host a panel discussion of the same 400 years of perseverance. this is about two hours. good afternoon. thank you again. here for black history month,

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