tv T Vs Influence on Race Politics in the 1990s CSPAN April 17, 2019 8:01pm-9:36pm EDT
in television on race relations in politics in the 1990s. we will talk about bill clinton's relationships with the african-american community and the 1999 seattle wto protests. >> good afternoon and welcome to this session of american historical association recasting recent american history through video on the politics and race in a televisual age. i am robert browning. i am the executive director of the c- span archives, the faculty director of the center for c- span's scholarship and engagement at purdue university , and i am also a professor of political science and communications. that is a big mouthful, but they all kinda fit together in this panel as a political scientist, it is exciting for
me to see and learn more about modern american history, because it overlaps so closely with what we study in political science. this is an exciting panel for me personally. it is also a little different panel than a normal panel. as i look through the program earlier, i thought panels on archives and how they could be used, and i saw many panels on traditional papers. this panel is a hybrid of the two. it has traditional papers, but rather than me being responding to them, we are going to respond to them through video and have video clips of the ideas and concepts that are talked about in the paper. we will let the authors respond to that. at the end, we will have a general discussion about the importance and utility of video archives in modern american history. i want you to go away with four things about us. the video
library of course, is all c- span, all indexed, all digital and searchable, shareable and capable. think it is important for historians to use it in four ways. the first is as reference, just information like reading the new york times from that period, looking at video from that period. and many of you probably do that just in your daily lives if you wonder why there was a trump rest conference and you didn't see it, you might turn to c- span. it is a resource. the second is we want citations. everybody likes citations. we want you to think of the video as an a/v primary source document and to use it as you would use any other archive or primary source. third, is a little different but well illustrated in our
presentations today. it is to use video as illustrations. whenever it is appropriate, say on panel that has audio visual equipment, or collect presentations about an idea, or in your own classes, bringing history alive and seeing the actual moments you are talking about makes for stronger presentations. and the fourth is a video production. that is probably beyond what most people here would do, but it is still a possibility and is something that historians do . you can take clips and put them together using either our clip player and playlist or in an easy to use movie type of software. those are four things, reference, illustrations, video
productions and locations. i will do things a little different. we will introduce catherine burnell first, because we need to take her paper which is on mtv for technical reasons we need to play that first. for a better reason is chronological. we are studying history and we want to stay chronological. catherine kramer burnell is an associate professor of history at purdue university , editor of the history section of the washington post made by history. her research and teaching focus on media, politics and popular culture intersections with a particular interest on the american presidency. her first book, showbiz, politics, hollywood in american political life, north carolina press 2014 examines the dues
collation of entertaining styles and structures in american politics of the rise and fall of celebrity presidencies. that is certainly something that is current today. she is now working on a book project, republic of entertainment cable television and the transformation of american democracy, which examines clinical origins and implications of policy transformation regarding the cable industry from the nixon period through the clinton periods. in her paper today, the title is bill clinton and the mtv presidency. very good. >> thank you. >> do you want to come up here? >> i will just stand. excellent. thank you so much robert and the center for c-span scholarship and engagement, which was just launched last year at purdue. they are doing really exciting things in terms of using the c-span archives and classrooms for research.
i am excited about this panel because it does show why video is so important to understanding recent american history. i think it will actually make the panel discussion a lot more engaging, as well. the study of the recent past, especially looking at the 1980s , 1990s in particular is very much the study of the information age. and the ways in which new technology shaped clinical communication and create new communities, new forms of communities. frequently when we think about information age, the emphasis is on the internet. for many significant reasons the internet commands a lot of attention when we think about globalization and the new tech economy. but i would argue that it was cable television that first offered an alternative vision for how a new media could function, that changed the way the public and politicians interacted with one another. and it actually provided new
styles of programming and the actual infrastructure on which the internet would ultimately depend. and further ingrained into american society. in my new book on the politics of cable television, i contend that understanding cable and the political, economic and cultural changes it ushered in is at the core of how we think about recent american history. in this capacity, the 1992 election is really a transformative moment. it is the moment in which the cable television became recognized and celebrated as something different from broadcast television. it is something that could be very politically advantageous. for the first time, a presidential candidate, bill clinton made cable-television a priority during his national campaign. he used programs like cnn's larry king live, and mtv news as tools to bypass the
traditional media establishment and connect to specific demographics directly. watching his campaign in action come a one journalist observed how cable was a low cost alternative that offered a quote , revolutionary if obvious revolution that is inevitably democratizing. perhaps the most striking thing about cable in the 1992 election and ultimately in what i call the birth of the mtv presidency under clinton, is not that bill clinton used a market segmented and a soft news strategy to connect to new voters. it is rather that it is the fact that it took too long for politicians like him to understand table television and its potential. in the 1992 election, it is important because it validates a political idea about communication and how to connect with voters through an alternative style of media that
had been ultimately pushed by the cable decade, or by the cable industry for the past two decades. bill sentence successful turn to larry king live and mtv to very innovative cable- television programs expanded a cable revolution in politics and business that was ultimately 25 years in the making. my larger book charts this transformation. it starts at the era of broadcast television and it really examines the political muscle that broadcasters use to secure a very profitable monopoly over television programming. from the 1950s through the 1980s collaboration between broadcasters, congressional leaders and the federal communications commission created a very favorable regulatory environment that benefited congressional representatives eager to stay in the public eye of their constituents on broadcast television and the broadcasting
industry, which experienced very little competition in exchange for this very favorable coverage. cable-television as a business and as a new idea was stunted and prevented from growing in this environment. so piercing the power, the political power of broadcasters required severing this really tight bond they had with congressional representatives, and the assumption that casting television was the only path to political power. daniels, an early pioneer in the cable industry recognize this. in 1969 in a memo to fellow cable operators, he urged the entire industry to recognize the quote public opportunity of offering low-cost or perhaps free time on the cable wires to all candidates. daniels and the newly established lobbying
organization, the national cable television association sent letters to specific candidates extolling the virtues of cable television, telling them how they could reach specific demographics for longer periods of time in what they called cable casting. throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, cable operators embarked of this campaign to educate lawmakers on how they could use the cable dial for their political benefit. this effort to show the value of cable also resulted in really innovative programming, like c-span, cnn, and mtv in particular. they all targeted different demographics come a very specific demographics with particular style. while bill daniels found he was able to get local or state politicians to think about how to integrate cable into their campaigns, and perhaps even their administrations it was not until the 1992 election that cable television became a
key part of a national presidential campaign. this was an opportunity that clinton recognized, but it was also an opportunity that these cable stations recognized that could boost their business. it was very good business to be involved in these political conversations. that is exactly the case of what happened with mtv. with two thirds of its audience are 20 ages of 18-34, mtv saw the 1992 election of a political and economic opportunity to launch this new vote initiative. during the primary campaign and they launched choose or lose turnout campaigns during the national elections. linnton and gore both agreed to go on mtv. and in june, they appeared for 90 minutes with a q&a. it was really well received. this was the most exciting thing that had happened in that campaign to date. notably, president george bush turned
down the show's invitation. he stated he would not go on quote a teenybopper network. following clinton's close victory, the president elect promised to expand this talkshow strategy. he told the american people that he would use satellite and cable television to continue his quote to wait dialogue with the people of this country. the information age, he contended required a different type of communication and specific engagement. one that depended on cable- television. and the clips we are about to see really show this strategy in action. what i think is really fascinating and is something to think about as you are watching this clips, is how the conversation about mtv changes over time. that is my introduction to the video. >>
bill clinton and ross perot particular learned how to go on longform television shows. >> do you know why i put you on the press conferences? because larry king liberated you from me giving me to the american people directly. talk to people. avoid the prosecutorial process of the press and avoid the condensing of your comments to a one second in the newspaper. it worked. the new medias mtv, donahue,
oprah and arsenio hall. too often we are a pbs party in the mtv world. it will be hard for people in public life not to be able to communicate the nature of the issues. communication and persuasion will be important. how many people will it actually affect? i hope only a small number of people. >> do you plan to endorse any of the candidates?>> no. mtv news doesn't want to endorse any candidates. we had a forum with clinton and we have extended the invitation to bush. we are trying to keep everything very unbiased and bipartisan. >> i understand you're getting better at that. >> on ntv the other night, one of the folks in the audience asked you about the spring quarter point. >> i challenge a new generation of young americans to a season
of service. to act on your idealism. >> it was the national absalom sung the way the kids can appreciate it to open an inaugural ball. in this election the kids stepped up and participated like never before. mtv helped them big time. >> this is an expressive land that produced cnn and mtv. we were all born for the information age. this will make it easier for young people to register and vote. that is an issue that has been a big issue for mtv and mtv watchers who want to make young people a bigger part of the voting process. i am pleased to be able to keep the promise today that i made on this broadcast. >> meissen and i argue about whether he should watch beavis and butthead on ntv mtv. he should be held responsible. >> too often debates of liberal and conservative issues are a
problem. the fact that we create economic and social institutions that direct things at people. if you don't want to have mtv, you have to give up c- span. and c-span is barely with it, so we have to tolerate ntv coming into our house. >> on an appearance on mtv i was asked the question about my undergarments, more specifically whether i wore boxers or briefs . i did not show my briefs at that time. it was a wholly inappropriate sense of my zone of privacy. >> what i found fascinating about going to mtv was that the young people were genuinely worried about their future and their country and appreciated
the chance to be able to speak about where america is going to it was the washington reporters who couldn't quite get it. >> there are a couple things i want to highlight from this video before passing it over to my colleagues. first, is that some of the conversations about mtv that happened for the 1992 election, different media figures and democratic strategists. they are talking from both sides of the political aisle about figuring out what to do with cable-television. how to use this pitch programming to their benefit. but there is an underlying assumption in statements like we are a pbs station in an mtv world, that mtv ultimately
undermined the political conversation. there is a negativity that is embedded within some of those early conversations about mtv that politics is about substance and mtv is about style. it is pushing us to focus more on style than substance this contrast between substance and style goes deep in american history. it is something i really examined thoroughly in my first book that looked at hollywood and entertainment in american politics. it really becomes a way to critique a changing media environment and those who succeed in it. even while recognizing that there is a need to adapt to this broader environment. but the tone changes after the election. and cable is celebrated as that liberating tool, as clinton himself says. there is the mtv inaugural ball which celebrated as a great way to get young people to celebrate this inauguration. his townhall appearance on mtv in 1994, when of course he was
very infamously asked if he preferred boxers or briefs. but, that is part of an hour- long conversation that he has with young americans over issues like drugs and crime. it is an hour-long conversation about policy in which he is able to command the narrative of that conversation. there is no one challenging him on particular issues. he is in control about how they are talking about these issues. and what i think is really compelling, and i didn't know this until i actually was looking through the c-span archives is that newt gingrich goes on ntv in 1995. he is celebrating and is one of the people critiquing clinton for going on these talkshows and being all about fluff and style. by 1995, he embraces mtv too and he celebrates this is a way he can connect to voters and bypass this elite washington press corps. this really does expand some of
the archival research i have done and the responses that people had to the 1992 election. what they see is that factor that gave clinton that the victory. and they celebrate that it is his turn towards table, and they wanted to highlight what cable had done. they hammer this point home. it talked about how mtv, cnn or even the comedy talent could provide in-depth information and opportunities for voter opportunities for candidates. this batik of the broadcasting model, and its promotion of cable as a solution to this engagement becomes really powerful after clinton's victory in 1992. as many scholars have noted, by the year 2000 politicians of all stripes went on soft news programming in an effort to blend this entertainment and politics and engage these
nontraditional voters. and the other thing i want to highlight is i love the one clip that clinton has a line about, how they taught me that on mtv. and in response to how he learned to be quick with some of his responses i think this is a really important dynamic. to think about the ways in which experiences, political experiences on these new programs can really reshape ideas about what strategies are necessary to be successful in politics. as cable television became the celebrated mode of governing and opportunity for civic engagement, politicians believed more and more that media ratings and performance was central to their political authority. and this belief shaped how they pursued their campaigns and how they think about their administrations and how they will sell particular policies and connect well in office.
thank you very much.>> thank you catherine for that. it was a well integrated presentation. our second paper is, and it is so hard to think back on how mtv was the new media when we hear the phrase of today what new media is our second paper is in search of the first black president. leah right wrecked or is an expert in 20th century u.s. political and social history of modern african- american history. in harvard she teaches courses on the civil rights movement, on liberals, conservativism and race. she also leads race in american politics, a series of the
webinars dedicated to pressing political and social issues in america. her first book, the award- winning loneliness of the black republican, pragmatic politics and the pursuit of power was published in 2015 and is instrumental in understanding race and politics within our current clinical climates. her next book, morning in america, and that is mourning, black men in the white house explores cultural and political landscape of black america in the united states in the 1980s and 1990s. sorry. we will turn to leah for the second presentation. >> thank you very much. and thank you all for having me here. thank you to c-span for doing this and really also thank you
to katie for putting together this panel and thinking outside of the box. we are really interested in doing something different particularly with the panel format, even in traditional venues like the american historical association annual meeting. what i want to do is for a couple minutes before we play my video is to talk a little bit about this project i am working on and what i am interested in, and what i'm tried to do here. part of the aim of this project is exploring bradley the political and social unraveling of race in democracy in post- civil right movement america. i am really concerned with the experiences of black men and women who worked with residential administrations, but also the experiences of black women and men who push the democratic party on racial issues through a variety of actions and means. this could be grassroots, upper
echelon, but i am particularly interested in african-american pushback as a means of using this as leverage within the democratic party's. in particular, i want to move beyond overt or surface explain nation based on partisanship so as to discuss the nuances of black attitudes, in this case towards william j clinton and the democratic party. and how those attitudes also changed and influenced attitudes towards the gop as well. so, part of what visuals do here like the clip we will show is expose the nuance of black or african-american relationships and how that relationship, whether it be clinton or the democratic party or the republican party, how that evolved and how that moved over time. one of the things that visuals do that is incredibly helpful
is expose these kind of nuances and aspects that are not visible through numbers or a public opinion polls, or even paper archives at times. so, in other words even as african-americans overwhelmingly vote for bill clinton in 1992, and again in 1996 it is always an uneasy relationship, but we can't necessarily see that uneasy relationship if we simply look at that partisanship. if we just look at black partisanship, it appears as though african-americans love bill clinton in 92 and 96 simply because they vote for him in mass. when we think about this uneasy relationship, it is better to explore context. think social dog whistle and initial stages of antagonism towards affirmative action versus time.
think the worst cabinets and appointees versus the crime bill or workfare bill. also have to think about like a low economy or a better economy or low employment by 1996 and how that might factor in. now, to give you an idea at one point purdue in later years, bill clinton holds a 90% approval rating amongst african- americans. that approval rating comes with caveats including complaints by african-american leaders and people, everyday people who are pandered to. part of what i am arguing is that african-americans start out with the typical black democratic relationship with clinton, one that has been in effect respectively since 1996, 1964 with lyndon b. johnson.
it shifts in part due to very specific actions and events both notably monica lewinsky and impeachment. african-americans interpret the impeachment hearings as injustice or proof of a broken system. again, we begin to see african-american support of bill clinton with a remarkable intensity, in his darkest moment of political and legal peril. as the scholar randall kennedy writes, it is as if in his vulnerability, bill clinton had become more attractive. there is a way in which the impeachment hearings work in order to absolve clinton of some of that uneasy alliances early in his first two terms. we see in fact, a deep desire to help the president animated a substantial portion of black turnout in the 1998 midterm elections. african-americans also argue that impeachment is
proof that republicans want to discredit or get rid of clinton in order to block the interests of american africans. in terms of the argument becomes a partisan assault on clinton is an assault on african- american interests and civil rights. this evolution from an uneasy alliance with a southern democrat eventually evolves into something else entirely over the course of eight years, in large part due to the impeachment hearings. just to give you a little bit of context here, when the monica lewinsky charges against clinton arise, 53% of black people do not believe the charges. 54% of white people say they do believe the charges. so there is a visual difference, which is a racial polarization beginning to happen here. one of the things that emerges is we see somebody like democratic pollster, ron lister
argue that african-americans will begin to stick to clinton because they identify with him and his misfortune and travails so, lester, and i will share a quick quote says, there have said been so many investigations that didn't culminate to anything, speaking of black officials, just the notion of an investigation doesn't affect black voters as it doesn't white voters. it just says the law is handed out on a different basis. people say that they treat bill clinton like he is black. this is the moment when we joke and say the first black president and they point to black bill clinton or arsenio hall playing the saxophone. the moment that the idea of the first black president emerges directly out of the clinton impeachment hearings. morrison rights in new yorker essay, some blacks begin to murmur that white skin notwithstanding, this is our
first lack president. she says this is not because of cultural transcendence, but because clinton has been unjustly targeted. linnton displays almost every trouble black households have. more important, when the president body, his privacy became the first focus of persecution, when he was metaphorically seized and body searched, the message that black people heard was clear. no matter how smart you are, how hard you work, how much coin you are in, we will put you in your place or put you out of the place you have somehow, albeit without her permission you have achieved. you will be fired from your job, sent away in disgrace and who knows, maybe sentenced and yelled to boot. in short, unless you say as we do, assimilate at once, your expletives belong to us. that is a toni morrison quote from the new yorker. what i want to leave you with, before we roll out the quote is
this significant idea. african-americans, in particular black men argued they must support clinton through impeachment as a demonstration of solidarity and loyalty. they also forgive him for forgetting about african- americans are being overtly hostile to african-americans. they are willing to turn a blind eye to their misgivings about a number of his policies, especially the crime bill and workfare, because of what he is going through in the impeachment . so essentially, bill clinton's impeachment ends up entrenching black support for bill clinton. i am going to stop there and we will look at the clip, and we will circle back and discuss some of these pointers.>>
when do you estimate your party will both nominate and elect an afro american and female ticket to the presidency of the united states? >> governor clinton, why don't you answer that first? >> i don't have any idea, but i hope it will happen sometime in my lifetime.>> the public perception is about a particular campaign strategy that the clinton campaign has adopted going back to january, jesse jackson orchestrated a black convict scheduled to be orchestrated. jesse jackson
orchestrated a campaign that tried to get bill clinton to stay the execution. it became front page news and was all over television. bill clinton did not, so he was executed. in the process, bill clinton was seen publicly in terms of perception as pushing jesse jackson away. at the same time, he accomplished two other goals. bill clinton in effect persuasively to the reagan democrats demonstrated he was a different sort of democrat by the way he behaved. >> the next democratic nominee for the president of the united states of america is bill clinton from arkansas. >> you had a rap singer last night named sister soldier. i defend her rights to express yourself through music, but her
comments before and after los angeles were filled with the kind of hatred that you do not honor today and tonight. just listen to this, what she said. she told the washington post about one month ago, and i quote, if black people kill black people everyday, why not have a we can kill white people ? so you are a gang member and you normally go somebody, why not kill a white person? >> soon to be present clinton called her out in front of jesse jackson. jesse jackson is annoyed that he did that, but that moment has become a famous moment. it is a sister soldier moment where you take on certain elements of your party and show you can be independent. >> the sister soldier moment is about the continuing ambivalence about race in american life. a continuing anxiety on the part of some of the public role of african-americans. a continuing fear that perhaps
african-americans have too much power in american life. and a continuing wooing of white democrats, reagan democrats in the north and white southerners in the south. they are using coded and veiled messages about race. >> mr. president, many african- american leaders have expressed their anger or extreme disappointment with the way you handled that denomination in the way you handle the haiti situation. and additional the congressional black caucus said it is angry about the fact that they voted for your budget package and cast a very politically difficult vote only to have you negotiate a watered- down package in the senate. how would you assess your relationship right now with blacks, and what are you doing to mend the congressional black caucus so they will not vote against the congress report?
>> first of all, i did not negotiate that bill with the senate. that is just inaccurate. i did not do that. secondly, and quite to the contrary when members of the black caucus came to see me and asked me to pursue sanctions in united nations against haiti that included oil, i examined it and agreed to do it. they were the first people who asked me to do it, and very shortly after the meeting i agreed to go forward. thirdly, i don't think my commitment to civil rights is very much open to question. and i think my actions as president and the point is i have made and the things i have stood for document that. >> a congressional black caucus this year denies president clinton's pursued the blacks for the big house, like little children. that man knew he had to make some kind of deals with the congressional black caucus in
order to get his legislative agenda through. that is power. that is unity. we can't break that unity in the congressional black caucus. we must establish that unity. we need to look back on this time and say, in this time of change where so much was threatened and so much was promised, we beat back the threats and we seized the promise. revised the american dream. we honored the deepest traditions of america and we gave power to our children and the children of the world and gave them a better future. thank you and god bless you. >> so today, america does remember the hundreds of men used in research without their knowledge and consent we remember them and their family members. men who were poor and
african-american, without resources and with few alternatives. they believed they had found hope when they were offered free medical care by the united states public health service. they were betrayed. to the little rock nine, gold medals in recognition of the selfless heroism these individuals exhibited in the pain they suffered in the cause of civil rights by integrating central high schools in little rock, arkansas. melba and others.>> in 1998, toni morrison the legendary rioter remarked that he was the first black president. she said and i quote, after all clinton displays almost every truth of blackness, single parent households, born poor, working- class, saxophone playing,
mcdonald's and junk food loving boy from arkansas, unquote. >> the term bill clinton is the first black president of the united states, what are your thoughts? >> it is absurd, first of all. i really don't understand. but when you look at his record, outside of naming blacks to positions, i don't see some of the not so well-known things, of course. they would reveal that he did some rather unsavory things to the black community nationally. >> about 50 years and 29 days ago, when rosa parks refuse to give up her seat to a white man in the south, where segregation extended even to the close confines of the city bus, she was just taking the next step on her own long road to freedom.
>> okay. i am going to keep my closing comments for debrief. but there are a few things i wanted to point out about the clips we just saw. the first is, we really should be thinking about both entrenched loyalty and the nuances that underlie fractures in the modern, democratic party black alliance. and so how the two things can exist. where do they come from? also thinking about the contemporary moment, where we are trying to pursue where these emerge from, thinking about what the roots of this might be. how is it possible to both distrust and dislike bill
clinton in his policies and later on express a 90% support for him? you can really see the contrast between a couple of things. the contrast between the early years when african americans supported him, and we saw that in the clip. where audience members are standing up and cheering and clapping and the congressional black caucus is extremely upset. and in later years with the congressional that congress is embracing him. we also see the evolution of bill clinton within policy and more importantly, in rhetoric as well in terms of symbolic gestures toward the later years of his presidency. and the last point i want to make here is that all of this does an incredible amount of work around issues of impeachment to alienate african- americans away from the republican party. because they in weight equate
impeachment with an attack on civil rights. both president clinton is savvy in making the connection and pushing this idea that an attack on him is an attack on civil rights and on civil rights agenda. so, we see things like a report that says there are whispers amongst african-americans that the impeachment would not be as great if the president had not placed racial injustice on the national agenda and if he had not appointed african-americans to national cabinet editions and had never been appointed to before. the joint center for political and economic studies credits the congressional black caucus for changing the tone of the impeachment and essentially saving clinton by equating impeachment with an immoral and unjust attack by anti-civil rights politicians and anti- civil rights republicans. lastly, there is an insistence that the entire party, even moderate republicans who had done well with black voters had
been tainted with this rush of events, because it is not just about impeachment or criminal procedure, it is also about being anti-civil rights. so, i think i will stop here. one last point, african- americans come out of the impeachment hearings in a way where they see bill clinton in a light that they reserve only for black elected officials. and we actually see later on that does not translate to white elected officials. it doesn't translate to al gore or john kerry. it also does not translate to hillary clinton in the 2016 election. so we might think about those nuances and the work being done there. i will end there. thank you very much.>> very good. and our third paper, whiteness, ambivalent american and the
orientation of the movement of the 1990s. the united states and mexico and is an assistant professor at the university of massachusetts. his current project is titled, grounding anti-globalization race protests and grassroots globalization of united states and mexico. eric? >> thank you everybody. thank you in particular to katie for organizing this really interesting panel. i am excited to be here. i am going to speak, or divide my comments here into three themes. protests, polarization, and power disparities. through this i will talk about some of the research subjects of my own work, which as my title indicates is to think about whiteness, americanism
and nationalism in recent american history. for most of the 20th century, nobody really wanted to talk about trade and investment politics. this was, speaking of popular culture in u.s. politics, as people on this panel have thought a lot about it was not part of popular culture. it was the reserve of industry lobbyists meeting in back rooms discussing obscure industrial regulations. in general, french countries wanted open markets and foreign countries wanted protected markets. they wanted to protect their industries. some of that changes in recent american history. i think those changes were pretty important. the wto was created in the 1990s, as an entity to both promote trade liberalization for international trade and
also to create what it considered a rules-based international trading regime. in the decade of the 1990s, the term globalization became a household word. bill clinton and others pushed the major meetings of the wtol to be held in the united states and ultimately the process was put up to bidding and seattle won. what happened? many of you may remember, or have seen images of this, and we owe that party to television. there was a major protest. for a lot of people it was a surprising act of property disc action. there was a lot of teargas. some of the meetings were canceled, because of this. the objectives of bill clinton and others to work out
agreements, especially with developing countries completely failed. a lot happened, a lot didn't happen. ultimately, the enduring message of those protests were rarely through the mediaof thos partly through the media, were of the smashed starbucks window, and of the tear gas. so that takes me to my second kind of theme here which is polarization. people didn't go out and smash starbucks windows because they were really concerned with tweaking milk tariffs between the u.s. and canada or something. something else was up. and what we see in the late 20th century is that organized interests began to popularize international trade and investment rules, and frame them in ways that would be compelling for everyday americans. for usually the story of seattle protest is one of the
left, and of liberalism and progressivism, which is part of my research project. for people on the left, and for liberals, for unions, the wto and internationalized trade, meant the facilitation of off shoring of jobs. for environmentalists, the wto represented the body that could overrule a domestic environmental law, saying that it was an unfair trade barrier. so that was the kind of left. but my research kind of things about how there was more to it in the 1990s. indeed, the people who were maybe cheering the protests on november 30, 1999, or december 1st, were absolutely unions, consumer groups, but it was also the john birch society, it was also pat robertson, the conservative white evangelical. it was also white nationalists, for whom the wto
was the latest symbol of a globalist usually jewish conspiracy, to overrule the sovereignty of the american people. i suspect that none other than donald trump was also celebrating the night of november 30 or december 1. people, many people don't remember or know that donald trump first tried to run for president as the seattle protests were getting going, he tried to do so with the reform party. and he was advocating a kind of america first anti- globalization politics. so in other words, the seattle protests are also about, tell us something about the right as well as the left. one of the perhaps, one of the products of, talking about recent american history, perhaps one of the cultural products is the term frenemy.
sociologist named nancy whittier has actually written a book about political frenemies. and here we have the case of frenemies, the extreme left, extreme right, not so much collaborating in seattle, but absolutely cohabiting the same kind of political space. so part of my research is kind of thinking about what that really means. ultimately, i'm arguing that white liberals and progressives ultimately thought to counter the challenge of this growing white nationalist right. and remember, the 1990s were the decade of timothy mcveigh bombing, waco, the rise of the militia movement, so white liberals and progressives hope or tried to respond to the rise of the right in general, by seeking to reclaim this idea of america.
and a vulnerable or threatened america. but they did so and definitely. and that's why i think about ambivalent americanism. because they also, these were liberals and progressives, fretted about the ways that could reinforce exclusionary forms of white supremacists, forms of nationalism. so my third theme i'd like to think about for today then, is power disparities. during the protest planning, organizations from working- class communities of color in seattle and elsewhere criticized the protest planning, for the ways that it marginalized the concerns and the leadership of those kinds of working-class organizations of color. shortly after the protests, someone who i think is an important organic intellectual from the late 20th century, elizabeth martinez, wrote a
piece called, where was the color in seattle? and indeed, that's part of what my research, that question is part of what my research seeks to answer by tracing out some of the historical undercurrent that ultimately played out in seattle. i think that the ways that, the ambivalent americanism of white progressivism and liberals were partly indeed why the protests were like martinez claimed, so white. secondly, the second power disparity, i'd just like to mention, has to do with seattle in kind of global history and transnational history. the protests were often referred to as sparking something and indeed, after the seattle protests, there was a wave of such protests in cities around the world. but i think an important way
to think about transnational impact is actually to think about the transnational histories of this, of these movements, and also the ways those histories of struggle especially in the global south, didn't really get translated or recognized in protests like seattle. my research in mexico and that of many others shows clearly the ways that everyone from farmers to workers and countries like mexico had been advocating and organizing to confront some of the inequalities created by trade liberalization for at least two decades. the same can be said for different postindependence governments of the colonized nations. so there's a long story there in the global south. but i guess i'm going to close my comments just with, just by closing with the notion that
seattle was indeed the start of something. but also reflected historical currents from at least the last two decades. the prior two decades. >> and in november we will open the wto ministerial conference in seattle. this will be the largest trade event ever held in the united states. bringing heads of government, trade ministers, business
executives and citizen groups to seattle from all over the world. >> later into the piece she writes that if seattle host committee is chaired by the microsoft ceo bill gates and boeing ceo philip conditt fears that the protest can overshadow the event, trade the plants are more concerned that the negotiations themselves could implode. >> the stakes are extreme the high. in this case. and the run-up to seattle had been pretty negative for the possibility of success until recently with the united states and china reaching the agreement on the wto. but all of these protesters are going to be around because it's a great international platform and because for a lot of the people from the labor people and ralph nader on the left all the way to the right and pat buchanan supporters, this is the time when they feel they have to stop the growth in international trade and internationalism before it gets out of control and becomes almost a consensus. >> can you explain to me how we can possibly survive by
letting other countries charge us what they want to and we are the good guys also? >> thank you for your call. let me just say, we have survived pretty well for the last 50 years, with very low tariffs compared to the rest of the world. >> demonstrations come in different flavors. americans historically have reacted well to serious demonstrations. i expect the labor march tuesday will be a serious affair. americans do not historically react well to people blocking traffic. or even worse destroying property. namely automobiles. that hits home. >> many people heading to seattle are deeply concerned about the environment, human rights, and the impact of global poverty. so are we. >> protests going to take place this week in seattle, will this overwhelm substantive work that might be done? >> i don't think so. there's important work that's going to go on. >> as a farmer i can certainly see some pughes advantages to any events we might make in
the wto talks. as you know, your charges about 50% tariff on anything i might want to export from my farm where america only charges 5% on food crops coming in. so we have a huge stake in these negotiations. >> secondly i refuse to worry about losing my sovereignty to the wto until they have a navy and air force. >> that's a good point. >> with one shoe, that's why i'm praising you. >> i know. >> i would ask one thing, since i've been talking about monopoly, i see trade opening as against closing is essentially a way in which you get people, the big firms, ibm, hitachi, to compete with one another. really a closed market, someone like bill gates could take us in a very big way. >> this is not free trade. here's the chief agreement, 500 pages is just the beginning.
these are who makes the rules. and it isn't the people. it's concentrated corporate power, utilizing the government of the world, against us. >> the best thing we can do to maintain the gross world trade, hope for its expansion, and as to the wto, fix it and not mix it. >> pickable front pages, the baltimore sun has an ap photograph and the headline protest disrupts trade talk. >> what wto, we are serious! >> the same photograph, stop the wto, short quote from one of the 75 congressmen out there representative david of telephone's says he was appalled at the mob tactics to stifle debate and dialogue. >> and here we stand on the streets of america, and we say to our political leaders, shame on you. shame on you! >> and that photo appears
again in "the new york times." a chaotic intersection of tear gas and trade talks is this headline. david sanger, joseph con from seattle. they write the following, it was an embarrassing beginning to negotiation with the administration had once been reluctant to hold at all. in a move many american officials clearly regretted, the white house reversed positions, the president volunteered to play host to the session in the hopes that opening the talks at home would give washington a bigger sway agenda. >> what they are telling us in the streets here is this was an issue we used to be silent on, we are not going to be silent on it anymore. we have not necessarily given up on trade. but we want to be heard. the sooner the wto opens up the process, and let people representing those who are outside in, the sooner we will see fewer demonstrations, more constructive debate, and a broader level of support in
every country for the direction that every single person in this room knows that we are to be taken into the 21st century. >> we are walking into the pages of history! today, the day we start a movement, we start an association of the diverse groups, the environmentalists, the religious folks, and everybody together to form a coalition that will change the way we do business in the 21st century. this is only the first-day, this is the first round of a long fight and maybe we won't win today, but we are going to win tomorrow and we are going to do it together, all of us together. let's get to work and let's start marching! let's do it! thank you very much! thank you very much! thank you very much! >> the protest have already had a big impact, i think the wto secretariat has been taken aback by the protest from labor groups, they've already
succeeded, in sort of shifting the agenda of the organization. so the wto and its members are certainly paying attention to the protests that are taking place here in seattle. on the other hand, i think amongst some of the members they feel that a lot of these protests are being driven by perhaps u.s. interest groups and environmental groups and advanced economies, labor groups in the united states. and so some of these countries see these protests as perhaps reflecting the interest of certain groups, within the united states and other richer countries rather than the membership as a whole. >> the wto has outgrown the processes appropriate to an earlier time. just as issues of transparency may affect, may affect outside perceptions of the wto. issues of transparency also
impact internal perceptions of the wto. by the member economies themselves. >> so there was chaos. but there was also great continuity. there was perseverance. among the most horrific abuse. and with that optimism. >> okay. first of all i want to thank steve bannon, for those great clips, they really do show some of the dynamics that i'm interested in. in terms of the protests. but i think some of the dynamics that are simply most important ones. so those are really great. i think if we think about recent american history, one of the narratives that many people refer to is that of growing polarization.
so the polarization, political polarization of today and its origins in recent american history. and i think they seattle protests tell us something interesting about that. i mean, i've already mentioned i think that there were frenemies there. between the left and the right. but these clips, i just want to comment i guess that donald trump has said that he, i think the quotation was, i believe in free trade but only if it's fair trade. if these were historians, the unions and the consumer groups from the '90s could sue him for plagiarism. it's right out of the book. so there's something interesting about both political polarization that gets maybe challenged around these issues. but also we see a lot of foreshadowing. there were significant numbers of the population in 2016 whose first choice was donald trump and whose second choice
was bernie sanders. or bernie sanders rather. and so we see previews of dad, here in seattle i think. the video clips shown as the spokespeople of the resistance to the wto, on the one hand, jim hoffer, so hoffa was in particular one of the figures from seemingly the liberal side of things, who months after this invited pat buchanan to be the spokesperson at one of the next big kind of global justice or anti-globalization rallies. and half accorded or visited buchanan as well as bush, and made overtures to even endorse him for the presidency the next year. the other spokesperson here we see or one of them is ralph nader and i think that's also fitting. so i mentioned that part of the reason this all happened,
people like nader tried to popularize the international trade and investment policy in the 1990s, he tried to make it a household set of conversations himself. and he was perhaps the most influential in doing that. he was also the target of criticisms for that from the left. so in seattle, the organization legacy of leadership quality and organizing was a working class largely black and brown organization, with roots in the 1970s kind of third world marxism, and had really been central in fighting for the desegregation of the building trade in seattle. since the '70s. but they had developed their own kind of global justice set
of programs and networks throughout the '90s, especially the late '90s and had in fact hosted already two international gatherings of workers including from the global south. so things that were, they in fact had kind of done the kinds of things that organizers like nader were kind of trying to do in seattle. but really felt like they weren't consulted. their leadership was denied. and they ultimately forged their own coalition for the seattle protests. as a kind of rejection of that centralized leadership. of ralph nader and others, who mobilized this kind of, this ambivalent americanism that i've spoken about. finally, the seattle protest in fact, in 1999, were not in fact even the first kind of
global justice or anti- globalization protests in seattle themselves. the apec meeting in 1994 itself had brought protests. so i guess to conclude, i think seattle both as the result of a lot of historical dynamics, but it also previews some things we saw in later decades. >> thank you so much. for those comments. i want to say something just a moment about the ccse, which you've heard about and you see the name, the center for scholarship and engagement, it's the vehicle that we're using at purdue university to push out the research and scholarship related to the archives. so the archives are the place where the video is collected, organized and indexed, and
it's panels like this, if you have ideas about future panels, or future research or you want to take part in our research conferences, we invite you to look up and there's some materials here on the front, you're welcome to take some pens and some pads and some things about our books. and i want to introduce connie, who is our managing director, who puts all the video together. and supervises all the research and engagement activities. we have people, students working on clips for classes, and working directly with professors. so it's sort of our vehicle to make sure that the archives are not just collecting dust, or digital dust. but are used actively. so let's turn to our panel just for a moment. and are there any insights that you didn't think about, that the video gives you, or
ways that you see using the video in the future? >> i'll start briefly, because i am a historian that looks at media. and media is very much a cultural history. and in this capacity, looking at not just the political advertisement or the political speech, that you may be able to look at, on a piece of paper, perhaps you look 30 seconds at advertisement, but looking at the conversations around that event. that's very important. especially during the 1990s, as david greenberg has written a lot about how you have this elite opinion makers in d.c., that are shaping interpretation of events. and 24/7 news, c-span, cnn, all of these different outlets give a lot of space and time for pundits to comment on a
variety of events. and shape that interpretation. and they shape ideas about again what is successful. what is not. what candidates need to do. how effective are they at their messaging? and those conversations that are around these events, not just the events themselves, become really important about how people understand those events, how they understand the role of media. and how they understand, how they think about their political leaders. so i think that's one thing, the commentary and those conversations that you absolutely see through the c- span archives. >> anyone else want to add anything? let's open up to any questions from the audience. we'd like you, there's a microphone in the middle, so we want to get the audio. recorded. not so much your face as much as just your questions. as long as i can hear. >> what a great panel. such interesting projects.
i had a question for katie. everyone can answer it certainly. katie, really sort of central to what you presented is this question of that hard versus soft divide in news. in the age of trump, that's a big and important topic of conversation as well as the freedom of press, sort of terrifying and important. i also, overly simplistic understanding of hard versus soft news and we know that divide is really class, race and gender, everything about who gets thought of as producing and consuming soft news for example. women, just to give some examples, if you could talk more about right, this question of hard versus soft? >> that's a really great question. thank you. and i do think that one of the ramifications of this reliance
on demographics, you see clinton overwhelmingly throughout his administration, he takes polls on everything. he's thinking about in preparation for the '96 election, he works with morris to produce a targeted advertising campaign where he's thinking very specifically about demographics. and in many ways has that ministration is getting some of the insights into these demographics from their cable channels themselves. who they are selling we speak to young people, we speak to women. and that's been shaping their strategy and why they go on a particular show and how to change that message. so i do think that it does ingrain certain stereotypes about voters. into the broader political communication. that this connection between what programmers think and how they're selling their programs to advertisers, that then becomes ingrained in our politics as well. and you can absolutely see that with the difference in administration, it's a really excellent point. >> any other questions?
many voices as we can, i'd like to hear from anyone else who wants to step up and ask questions. go ahead. >> this question is for leo. you talked about, you said that it was mostly black men who's kind of openness shifted on what their significant difference in how black women responded to the impeachment trials? >> so one of the interesting but very frequently ignored or overlooked part is that there is a gender divide in black voting patterns. and also black public opinion patterns. in the states, this dates back to from the point where scholars started keeping track of the public opinion and statistics and things like that. some issues, african americans very much gender differential, but in terms of voting partisanship, things for
example like clarence thomas, we do see some, i'm sure political scientists would say statistically insignificant but for a historic historian, everything is scenic. we see some slight difference, black men seem more receptive or more attuned not necessarily because black women are incredibly in tune to this idea that black men are being persecuted by the u.s. justice system, that the systems are biased or unequal, but there's a way in which black men identify with what clinton is going through, or the charges or accusations. so you do see a in letters to the editor or you seeing comments from people on the ground, about black men have long been accused of sexual misconduct or misbehavior or
assault, falsely accused. so you do see a lot of this, so it resonates to a different degree with black men. although it still does. toni morrison introduces this idea in "the new yorker." the one other thing that i will say though is that black women in terms of voter participation, are more engaged than black men. so these are black women in 2016 it emerges that black women are the backbone of the modern democratic party. so when we do see differential, black women have been consistently steady in terms of their politics. so they're already up there in terms of support. it's black men who we see movement on, on this issue in part because they are not as engaged as black women. so that's another way of looking at it as well. >> okay. other questions. thank you for a very nice presentation. i think my first question or
question is for katie, the first presenter to anyone else, your presentation was professionally optimistic at least for this session. so thank you for doing that. that said, i'm wondering if you had any thoughts on it seems that that very proliferation of cable is sort of what led the reagan administration to say we don't need a fairness doctrine anymore. so all the information is out there, and it was sort of this optimistic thing like go get it. i'm wondering if you have any thoughts on proliferation versus the balkanization to the last presentation leads to that polarization and i feel like i'm writing too much. i'll throw that out there. if you have any thoughts on the fairness doctrine, the proliferation of cable. >> since the early '70s, it's a great question, and since the early '70s, the argument about cable has been linked to this question of fairness. we can get rid of all these regulations. because if we just had this diversity, this marketplace of ideas, that market populism is
so central to how people are talking about regulations. and it's not the fairness doctrine, absolutely a part of it, there's an opportunity for all viewpoints to be heard, we don't have to regulate all of the different programs. so the business growth of cable does help with that although the debates around the fairness doctrine are a lot more complicated. but it is part of that story. and this belief in that market populism, is so central and i think it underscores a very important shift. that points to all of the different ideas that you're talking about, is that there's a shift in the public interest that happens. that allison perlman has written about so effectively, you have this public interest that is overwhelmingly in the age of broadcast news, in the '50s, '60s and '70s that public interest is defined by the federal government, the fcc, regulations and elite newsmakers.
the broadcasters at national networks. who are defining what the public should hear. and overwhelmingly is more elitist. and in terms of who's defining that. and then that breaks down in the 1980s and the 1990s and it does become more about the public interest as what the public is interested in. and that leads to ratings and the market driving what is seen as important. and yes, it is a lot of people in 1992 and aftermath of looking at this way to talk directly to people when they're frustrated with the broadcasting model, because it is these small soundbites, they're talking about cable as liberating. well yes, it is more democratizing, but it also is more dependent on those market forces. which may not be actually more informative in terms of the information that people are getting. >> okay, is there another one? go ahead.
>> i have a question for leah. in 1995, the o.j. simpson -- >> can you speak of a little bit? >> 1995 after the o.j. simpson trial, bill clinton comes out with a speech kind of seeming very sympathetic, a clear divide in the country and saying we need to be more loving, more caring and like, try to get to know one another better. do you think that led to increased solidarity, through his impeachment process with the black community? >> no. not to be short, i think that there are moments where, i also think it's important to connect to the economy. so the economy improves, we see that african-american support for clinton improves, but also that intangible, the thing that you can't quantify. it exists outside of numbers and public opinion polls and things like that, the alliance
with clinton, that in 1995, o.j. simpson, that is something completely different from a president coming out and giving a kumbaya, can't we all just get along statement. as opposed to the impeachment hearings, and so the impeachment hearings which begin not just in african- americans minds but in the american public, more than 50% of the american public at one point classifies the impeachment hearings as a witch hunt. so that's something where it is systemic and people are viewing it in a systemic way as opposed to this kind of again, kumbaya come out and say kind of a statement, that's about can't we all just get along? everybody hold hands, sympathetic to this and et cetera, et cetera. one of the things that i would put that in, if we had a
spectrum of things that we were looking at in terms of african-americans relationship to bill clinton during the 1990s, and we are including cultural and political and social moments, i would include that in these kind of moments that we see on cable tv, like arsenio hall moment where he comes out and he plays the saxophone, with sunglasses on and people go, oh, man. that's great. or when he's pictured jogging to mcdonald's or things like that. or when his brother camps out on the white house grounds. or these cultural touchstone moments where people are saying, okay, this is the president, et cetera, et cetera. but that still doesn't transcend this idea, that's not what cements this idea of the black president in people's minds. even though years later, people say black president and point to those things. robinson says in this club, in
the c-span clip, that's absolutely ludicrous, this is one of the things he's pointing to, they're all these cultural indicators that people are pointing to right now that say that the first black president but that's not actually what this moment is about. >> we have room for one more question. >> hi, thank you all so much. i have a question about how to write about tv. so i think one of the, as a cultural historian, one of the issues that i face wanting to use images and videos is like actually connecting them to sort of proving how they actually affect people. and we sort of want to look at the images and videos and let them stand for themselves but it's also important as historians to provide evidence that those images and videos are actually affecting people and society. so i was wondering if you have any advice on how to do that or what evidentiary avenues to go down to find that
information? >> thank you. that's a great question. i'll take the first step at that, i thought about that a lot. and one of the ways that i've done this is a lot of times especially in my first book which looks at hollywood and entertainment and politics, and when i would introduce that tv mattered, it's not, you can look at the 1960s kennedy/nixon debates and there's an inaccurate assumption that kennedy won on tv and that's why he won the election. that's actually been disproven multiple times by historians. it's a lot more complicated than that. but what i traced is the way people talked about the 1960 election. and if you look at richard nixon and the way that he talked about 1960 when he's reframing his debate or his strategy in 1968, he has very
specific lessons that he learns, and he changes his campaign to prioritize media and say this is what went wrong in 1960s so we are going to go on the mike douglas show, we are going to on laugh in and these things that make tv a priority because it is the central key to raycas. so i think tracing these conversations about these moments, these media moments, how they can perhaps reshape political strategies, because there are these iconic moments even as leah was talking about that resonate and become used to justify certain actions. and i think that's really the power is that yes this happens, but it resonated in these ways that perhaps change the way people spend money on their campaigns, change who they hired in their administrations. and even changed perhaps the conversations. and i think tracing that trajectory becomes a really useful way to show that a
particular moment, a particular appearance resonated and sometimes it's an unexpected way, it's not the way that you would particularly imagine that a statement someone makes can then be used in all of these different areas. i think leah's point about some of these images of clinton and how they were later used is a really good example of that. >> i'll just say really quickly, i actually started my book with my first book, with a "saturday night live" sketch. and to me, the significance there and the reason why i wanted to use this was to suggest that this is a moment that america's most popular sketch comedy show is picking up on this issue that within the scholarship, scholarship tells us it's actually not important. but here's a show that the top- rated show on tv, tackling this, in the moment, suggests something completely different from what the historical scholarship and historiography has told us.
the other thing, in thinking about the current project i'm working on, one of the things that tv, film, media would have you do is present kind of arresting example, of something that is intangible within kind of written or, i'll just, written examples, so one of the things that i'm looking at right now is paul manafort's testimony actually through the c-span archives, paul manafort's testimony in front of the investigation into corruption and housing and urban development in 1989. and it's really important that we have the visuals to go along with it. because he walks in with a thousand dollars suit on, his body language is incredibly important, the way that he interacts and his intonations when he's talking to speakers and their response, is incredibly important for
parsing out the nuances of this larger scandal that happens. we can only do that by actually watching it rather than reading the transcript. >> go ahead. >> yeah, i don't have any quick answers for that great question. but i would say that from people and political organizations in this era are asking these very questions. the sierra club for instance in the '90s is perhaps, the effect of this ratings culture that katie is talking about, are kind of, this is before kind of counting hits maybe but they were kind of doing that with tv and print media. and you know what, you know at the same time, we see in seattle, probably shows us that people on the left and maybe this is also foreshadowing something, were
really frustrated with the media and didn't see it as liberating or anything as kind of discourse of marketplace, the marketplace of ideas kind of view of it would suggest. they in fact kind of created their own kinds of media. and finally i can't, i'm also working through that question, but i can't, but i think the visual impact of television is really important. and i know that the visual impact of the tear gas and the smashed windows is really what led to what some historians call the seattle effect, certainly from my research in mexico, you know, a lot of the media coming out of seattle was english, so that didn't mean much to a lot of people in mexico. but the visuals did. so all i can say is these are great questions to think about. >> all right. i want to thank our panelists.
and thank connie for putting the good videos together. and thank all of you for participating in what was very interesting discussion. thank you. >> this is a special edition of american history tv. a sample of the compelling history programs that air every weekend on american history tv. like lectures in history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nation's history. enjoy american history tv, now and every weekend, on c-span 3. the battle of guadalcanal was the first major allied offensive in the pacific in world war ii. thursday night on american history tv on c-span 3,
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working with our cable affiliates as we explore the american story. from 1955 until his retirement in 1977, roy wilkins was at the forefront of the civil rights movement as the head of the national association for the advancement of colored people. up next on real america, on american history tv, roy wilkins, the right to dignity. narrated by sydney poitier, the 20-minute film includes interviews with mr. wilkins, and clarence mitchell of the naacp. >> if there is one thing i resolve in the courthouse, it was that never would i be like those in the mob, never would i hate another human being, so much that i would kill him and me. even