tv Arthur Ashe Boulevard Dedication Ceremony CSPAN August 10, 2019 8:20am-10:00am EDT
next on american history tv, the virginia museum of history and culture cohost a ceremony commemorating the naming of arthur asp boulevard for the late african-american professional tennis player. guess include virginia officials and keynote speaker congress meant john lewis. -- congressman john lewis. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome. [applause] >> good morning and welcome. my name is jamie bosket and i have the privilege of serving as the president and ceo of the virginia historical society and on behalf of our volunteers and everyone who made today possible, i am honored to be the first to welcome you to the virginia museum of history and culture. [applause] i am so thankful to see such a remarkable turnout today as we dedicate arthur ashe boulevard . we open our newest exhibition
and together we mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of captive africans in north america. today's gathering is one of remembrance and reflection, and also one of celebration. we are gathered in the front lawn of an historic institution, in fact, the oldest cultural organization in the commonwealth of virginia. for 200 years, we've been collecting materials for the purpose of telling the story of this place. some 14 million artifacts are housed in the walls behind me. we have much to be proud of. but we still have so very much we must do to be the state history museum we deserve, to represent all and welcomes all. [applause] dr. carter woodson, the man considered the founder of black
history wrote, "those who have no record of their forebears lose the inspiration that comes from the teaching of history. how true. we must do more and we will. we are committed at the museum to a bright future dedicated to inclusion and access. the exhibit is a legacy project of the 2019 commemoration, american evolution, which remembers key historical events that occurred in virginia in 1619 and continues to influence america today, including the arrival of enslaved africans. i hope you will learn more about all the statewide activities this year. with the support of bank of america and supporters conrad and peggy hall, we have done something special that we are proud of and i hope you will take time to see it and to learn, learn the stories of 30
virginians over for centuries. stories of people like arthur ashe, important stories of perseverance and progress. stories that remind us of the work still to be done. history is valuable for this reason. it gives us perspective to make us better people and a better community. this is why commemorations like today are important. this is why dedications are important. we are fortunate to have a distinguished assembly. i would like to make a few acknowledgments as we begin. to the members of the city first, council. thank you for your support and for making this happen. [applause] thank you to our mayor, your team and the city has been a remarkable partner in making the program possible. thank you, sir. [applause] that one step
further because i would like to commend the many dedicated city employees who contributed their talents to make today possible. dozens of them under the chief administrative officer. thank you to all of them. i would like to acknowledge the representatives of the commonwealth, including members assembly,eral lieutenant governor fairfax and governor northam. if you would please waive and be recognized. [applause] >> i would like to acknowledge the national representatives including members of the congressional black caucus, including congresswoman presley, congressman john lewis, as well as our virginia representatives, congressman bobby scott and congressman don mceachin. [applause] also with us this morning, senator tim kaine. [applause]
>> now i would like all members of the arthur ashe extended family to please give a big wave so we can clap for you. [applause] >> it is my pleasure to invite mr. tom farrell, to extend his welcome, which he does with our deep appreciation for the sponsorship of today's ceremony. tom. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. today marks a bold step forward for our city. many folks remember the hard work to build the arthur ashe statue on monument avenue now almost 25 years ago. like many things important in
richmond, it was very controversial. lots of people had reasons not to build it or to build it somewhere else or to do something else altogether. it was not easy. but richmond is a better place today because political and civic leaders with vision took action. leaders like senator tim kaine who served on the city council representing the second district. [applause] >> he helped to that celebration possible. councilwoman kim gray represents the second today. she helped make today possible. [applause] >> we should all thank her for her leadership. these efforts demonstrate what can happen when good people who love our city come together and persevere despite all the hurdles and naysayers. two of my friends did that a generation ago. first was a political leader,
senator benny lambert. he served on the board of directors of dominion energy and was my boss. he dedicated his life to serving this city and state. he led the campaign to build a statue. his partner was a business leader who was the chief financial officer of dominion energy. tom had played tennis with arthur ashe in the 1960's. because the law kept us divided, they had to sneak around to do it. arthur ashe was not allowed to play at the bird park tennis courts a few miles down the road. his father would pick tom up and take them to the north side of town and then he would stand guard around the courts to make sure nobody harassed them. those tennis courts are long gone. they were in a park. eventually the post office got
built on that site. there's actually a lot of richmond history in that story. when it came time to honor arthur ashe, they achieved a wonderful thing. today we honor arthur ashe in this new way. not because of tennis or wimbledon or the fact he lived here. we honor him because he believed in serving people. his community was the world. he taught us to call injustice from apartheid to poverty. [applause] >> he valued education. his parents taught him learning shapes human dignity. he believed in inclusion, despite the fact he grew up in a city that did not. he believed everyone deserved a
job and the chance to work so they could contribute to society. he believed everyone deserves an affordable place to live. he believed in shaping a future that is different from the past. all of us believe those things. he also believed in learning from the example set by great people who had come before him , like congressman john lewis. there are a lot of distinguished political leaders up here -- [applause] >> and he is almost here. the governor has done a lot to make 95 work better. [laughter] >> looks like it could use more help, governor. [laughter] >> i think we should all be proud to have such a distinguished leader come to richmond to do this event. [applause] >> i believe it is important to
name the values that arthur ashe lived by. today is not only about honoring such a great man, it is also about ourselves and the values that we want to shape the future of our hometown. we believe in a richmond that welcomes everyone. we believe in a richmond that welcomes everyone. ones that learns from our past and builds a future that is better for everyone. we believe in holding ourselves accountable to each other, and we believe in looking forward, because we have a lot of work to do to shape the future that we all believe it. today, we dedicate ourselves to the words that arthur ashe chose for his statue. paul's letter st. to the hebrews. "and now since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight in the sin which so
easily ensnares us and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us." thank you. [applause] pres. bosket: thank you, tom, for dominion's lasting support of this institution and for your sponsorship today. ladies and gentlemen, if you are able, please now rise for the presentation of colors by fort lee's army colorguard and the singing of the national anthem by representatives of six mount zion baptist church of richmond.
pres. bosket: ladies and gentlemen, if you are able, please remain standing. it is now my pleasure to invite powell reverend grady for the invocation. in addition to being a longtime pastor at the historical gillfield baptist church of petersburg, virginia, his leadership helped shape the future, his life continues to inspire us today. reverend grady powell. [applause] rev. powell: would you bow your heads? let us pray. oh, divine spirit, whose presence has been with us from one generation to another, we thank you for your kind investments in all of us. most especially we are grateful for the gift of time that has steered us to do and to be good. for the acts of yesteryear, which is a part of our history, that have lifted humankind for the making of a better world, we say thank you. please forgive us for those times we have used our gifts to
divide, to subjugate, and to destroy. the collection and preservation of these gifts which span over 400 years by this organization, the virginia museum of history and culture, these acts give us a clear picture of whom we have been. we pray that in reading and observing this history, we will devote ourselves to building that world that is most pleasing to thee, amen. >> amen. >> please be seated. ladies and gentlemen, governor of the commonwealth of virginia,
ralph northam. [applause] gov. northam: please be seated. good morning. >> good morning. gov. northam: and thank you to the virginia museum of history and culture for hosting this gathering today, and thanks to all of you for being here on this important occasion. to our congressional delegations representing other states, welcome to virginia. this year, we mark the 400th anniversary of virginia's long history of representative democracy and the arrival of enslaved africans. we must remember that our history is complex. the story of virginia is rooted in the simultaneous pursuit of both liberty and enslavement.
a full accounting demands that we confront and discuss those aspects of our history, and it demands that we look not just to a point in time 400 years in the past, but at how our commonwealth and our country has evolved over the course of those four centuries. how did we live up to our ideals or fail to do so? we are examining these issues in various ways this year through exhibits, forums, and other american evolution events, and we are also looking at this history through exhibits that determine the 400-year black
for black equality and the virginiaat museum of history and culture . african-american history, black history, is american history. [applause] gov. northam: and the way that we teach that history is inadequate and inaccurate. which makes -- [applause] gov. northam: which makes exhibits like this all the more important as we continue to work to rewrite the narrative. my hope and intention is that virginia will take long overdue action on addressing the racial inequities that exist today.
[applause] gov. northam: i am grateful for the virginia museum of history and culture for taking up this important conversation. we need to continue to have this kind of dialogue, because when we know more, we can do more. today, we also honor a man who challenged the limitations society placed on men of his skin color, and by doing so, advanced the struggle for equality. by breaking down racial barriers in tennis, arthur ashe achieved much more than sports fame. that legacy is why we are here to honor him today. arthur ashe was a groundbreaker, and i am proud to be here today as we honor his legacy. thank you and may god bless all of you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, the sixth mount zion baptist church choir from richmond, virginia.
thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you, lord, for all you have done for me yeah, i want to say thank you, lord, for all you have done for me yeah, yeah yeah thank you, lord, for all you have done for me thank you thank you, thank you thank you thank you thank you, lord thank you for loving me every hour i want to thank you, lord i want to thank you for your power thank you, thank you
i want to thank you for your protection thank you thank you thank you thank you, lord thank you thank you thank you, lord thank you thank you for loving me thank you for loving me thank you for keeping me thank you for your protection thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you ♪ [applause]
>> ladies and gentlemen, united states senator from virginia, tim kaine. [applause] sen. kaine: how about another great hand for sixth mount zion? [applause] sen. kaine: a beautiful congregation formed by freed slaves right after the civil war and the reverend john jasper, a great historical figure in his own right. so good to have you here with us. and so good to be together with all of you richmond friends. i want to thank the museum and all of the elected officials here today, especially the members of the congressional black caucus who are visiting virginia to participate in the forum later this afternoon -- let's give them a big welcome. thank you, congresswoman bass. [applause]
sen. kaine: i am thrilled to be here with my federal colleagues , donald mceachin and bobby scott together. [applause] sen. kaine: together, we were the sponsors of the congressional bill signed by president trump that commemorates 2019 and forms a commission to celebrate 400 years of african-american history in this country. there was a federal commission in 2007 to commemorate 400 years of the english roots of this nation. there was a federal commission in 2015 to commemorate 450 years of the hispanic roots of this nation. if english roots matter, if hispanic roots matter, then african roots matter. [applause] sen. kaine: and i applaud my colleagues for their work in that way. my role today in the program is
old-timer. >> [laughter] sen. kaine: i know i don't look that old, do i? but my role today is old-timer, because 24 years ago, when i was much younger, much thinner, had a lot more hair, and it was much darker, i was a newly elected member of the richmond city council as we engaged with our community in a very, very memorable debate about whether arthur ashe's statue should be ethan on rose and monument avenue just a few miles from here. some of you were around. i particularly hoped viola would be here today because she was a member of our city council who played such a role in that debate. give viola and all the 1994 council a round of applause. [applause] sen. kaine: it was
controversial, there were protests. there were discussions, there were different points of view. tom farrell said it well, whether arthur ashe should be recognized at all, if he should, should he be recognized on monument avenue? some said monument avenue should be reserved for civil war generals. others said it was not good enough for arthur ashe. we talked about all of that at the time. the debate finished in the seven hour council meeting that lasted until about 1:30 in the morning, where hundreds of people came and spoke. the pulitzer prize-winning "washington post" journalist, tony horwitz, who just died within the last two months, came to cover that event. here's what he wrote. at the time. "i came expecting an angry meeting, but what i witnessed instead was a thoughtful discussion on public art, the potency of historic symbols,
racial healing, and affirmative action." that's what richmond did at the time, and the decision to place the ashe statue on monument avenue was a healing in a city and commonwealth and country that still needs healing to this day. [applause] sen. kaine: i want to congratulate mayor stoney. i want to congratulate the city council, especially kim gray for this active healing. especially kim gray, for this act of healing. the naming of the boulevard, a principal gateway into our city, to honor the great arthur ashe. [applause] sen. kaine: some people ask the question about whether names or naming or renamings are important. names are very important. the power to name is very important. let me prove it to you.
in the book of genesis, the story of the formation of the world and of man and woman in the garden of eden, what is the first power that god gives to man? the power to name. this is a story that is sacred to jews, and christians, and muslims -- it is in the quran, the story is well known. god gives us command, be fruitful and multiply. god gives a warning, don't eat from that tree or something bad will happen . and god gives a power. the first power given to man was the power to name all of the animals in the world. god could have named all of the animals. god was god. but god decided that it was very important for man, for man to be
able to choose the names of those around him, choose the names of those that would be given to his reality. he brought them to man to see what he would call them, and the man chose a name for each one. naming is important. this is not a minor thing we are doing today. we have to acknowledge that so many of the names on a map of richmond, on a map of virginia, on a map of this country, so many of the names were not chosen by a full community invested with the power to choose their name of their reality or tell the story about who they were. no. so many of the names that we live with were chosen by a tiny, tiny subset of people who do not
represent the full community of our city, or state, or nation today. this is an act to rectify that. arthur ashe boulevard is a name chosen by and ably representing richmond's full community, and that makes this -- [applause] sen. kaine: and that makes this a very great day for our city, and hopefully a day that will be followed by many more such days. thank you so much. it is great to be with you. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, mr. david harris, nephew of arthur ashe. [applause] mr. harris: good morning. >> good morning.
mr. harris: it seems i'm using modern technology today where everybody else has a book. bear with me. senator tim kaine, thank you for your kind words. thank you for supporting this effort, and this commonwealth, and this state. additionally, richmond, this is truly a spectacular and momentous day. [applause] mr. harris: one we should never forget. our efforts together are epic. today, we are letting the world know racism, discrimination, exclusionary tactics, lack of investment in our children,
education, and people is bankrupt. [applause] mr. harris: we can no longer support these ideals. and if you find yourself a gatekeeper to discrimination and exclusionary tactics, give up your keys today. [applause] mr. harris: to mr. jamie bosket, we met over a year ago. and at the moment we walked in the door, you said yes, and i realize that was the easiest sales pitch i ever had. >> [laughter] mr. harris: i want to thank you
for allowing us to join you. you have been a gracious host. and you have contributed significantly. i will tell you this. there are many who avoided this building right here behind me because of what's inside. today, i want you to consider this building is now fully integrated by the city of richmond. [applause] mr. harris: and as we've discussed, we are going to partner with you in bringing more and different faces, peoples, ideals, and thoughts into this building and be a beacon to the world. [applause] mr. harris: i do need to give thanks and gratitude to councilwoman kim gray. [applause]
mr. harris: you know, it is pretty hard to get with the councilperson and have a good, open dialogue and conversation. she also said yes right away. we knew it was risky. but we knew it had to be done. we chose to do the right thing at the right time. you are courageous, and you are a gracious leader. and to council, thank you for joining her. [applause] mr. harris: the fight and struggle is real, but today is a celebration. please pat yourselves on the and last but not least, i must thank the mayor, levar stoney. [applause] from the beginning, he said yes,
also, which is amazing, because we of heard no a lot of times in this world. he is truly a man of the old. the children of this city, that is truly phenomenal. you have made it possible for the world to see what real leadership looks like. continue to lead with your heart and ideals of the man we have named the street after. i owe you a debt of gratitude. thank you. [applause]
>> good afternoon, richmond, how are we doing out there? [applause] >> isn't this a beautiful day in the city of richmond? today, we celebrate a true champion, a champion not only on the tennis court, but on the world's stage, for civil rights and for racial equality. david, thank you for the introduction and for all you have done to make this day a reality. let's give him around of applause, everyone. [applause] not only to preserve and share an important part of your family's legacy. but also to literally mark an important time and a physical
place that will from this day forward be known as arthur ashe boulevard. [applause] that's right, arthur ashe boulevard. arthur ashe boulevard. say it with me one more time, arthur ashe boulevard. [applause] i would be remiss if i did not acknowledge the work and action of our richmond city council. in particular, the efforts of our second district councilwoman, kim gray. [applause] miss gray carried the legislation that the council passed without opposition, making this well-deserved and long-overdue name change possible. thank you, councilwoman gray,
and the city council. [applause] and i want to give a shout out to all the relatives of arthur ashe who are here today. would you please wave your hands to be recognized again? [applause] ladies and gentlemen, this is what progress looks like. for too long, words like progress, change, and ambition have been considered bad words in the city of richmond. in richmond, folks did not know that those were arthur ashe's keywords. as many of you know, richmond was a different place when arthur ashe was growing up here, a place that was not welcoming to people of color, a common refrain i'm sure those like arthur heard was "how do you
dare want change and be black?" "how dare you want progress and be black?" "how dare you be ambitious and be black?" growing up, arthur ashe was denied access to the tennis courts just south of here. instead, he played tennis at brookfield park, a segregated playground near his home. despite the adversity he faced right here in his hometown, by sheer talent, perseverance, courage, arthur ashe wrought change to the game of tennis. he brought change to this country, and he brought change to this world. [applause] so it is only fitting on june
22, 2019, his name and his legacy bring both symbolic and real change to the city of richmond with this renaming today and the renaming of the jeb stuart elementary school to the barack obama elementary school. [applause] and erecting a new statue to the great maggie lena walker and jackson ward and our city is transforming. [applause] it is changing its future and it is triumphant over its past. as you all may know, arthur ashe already has a statue in our city on monument avenue, and he is the only true champion on that block. [applause]
but i believe, i believe naming the boulevard after him is just as powerful and even more meaningful. ladies and gentlemen, this stretch of state route 161 will never be the same after today. today, route 161 is getting an upgrade. by naming this boulevard here today after arthur ashe, we are once again partnering with our darker past and embracing our brighter future. we are making a pledge that is not simply in paint in steel street signs but in our hearts.
we are reaffirming our commitment to fairness by creating opportunities for everyone. we are reaffirming our commitment to equality by protecting everyone. we are reaffirming our commitment to being inclusive regardless of who you are, the color of your skin, where you come from, how you worship, or who you love. [applause] and in the scorekeeping of of tennis, the game that arthur ashe loved and accelerated out so well, we are reaffirming our commitment to love. to love our neighbor, to lift them up and not write them off, to connect and unify, not divide and conquer. to put aside differences and focus instead on seeking common
ground and common understanding. i think arthur said it best -- we must reach out our hand in friendship and dignity, both to those who would befriend us and those who would be our enemy. simply put, arthur ashe boulevard symbolizes the city we want to be, and are becoming each and every day as we build one richmond. what better time and place to continue this work that in richmond as we commemorate 400 years since the first enslaved african arrived on the shores of the state. represented by the extraordinary work at our friends of the virginia museum of history and culture.
today we stand on the shoulders of the generations and legacies of the great men and women who came before us, men like congressman john lewis who honors us with his presence today. [applause] will get here.he 95 is tough, y'all know it. oh, he's here. ok. still, 95 is tough. [laughter] and now at the intersection of our city's past and present, it is our duty to take the next step in our journey down the right path that leads the way for future generations. we already have a map, a road to follow that will take us in the right direction. let's follow it together. it's called arthur ashe boulevard. [applause] thank you, richmond, and god bless you. [applause]
it is now my honor and distinct pleasure to welcome my friend in my congressman, the congressman for the fourth congressional district, mr. donald mceachin. [applause] >> good morning, richmond. welcome to virginia's finest congressional district, the fourth congressional district of virginia. [applause] mr. mayor, i want to thank you, and i want to thank all the dignitaries and people who are with us on this solemn but important occasion. today is an emotional day for me and i hope we can get through this little chat with you without shedding too many tears. but when you walk into that
exhibit and the first thing you see is these faceless negroes,of 20 some-odd is just grabs you. and to think 400 years later, 56 of their children had the honor and privilege of serving in the united states congress. god is good all the time. [applause] as i stand here today, almost inside of the confederate chapel, i am reminded how far we have come and, yes, how far we have to go. usm reminded that each of stands on the shoulders of those who have before, on the shoulders of those who make sacrifice to improve our lives. whether it was an enslaved individual risking harsh and severe punishment to seek freedom, or even to learn to
worship, orher to those who after the civil war fored death and lynchings incremental improvements. those who tried to overcome jim crow or struggled to pay an or pass a poll tax, literacy test to try to vote, a right supposedly given to them by the constitution. those who knew in their hearts and eyes that separate but equal was a fiction, one more depravity to keep people down and treat them as less than human. those who sat at lunch counters, who refused to go to the back of the bus, and those children who risked mocking and isolation and even violence to integrate schools. in those children who took risks, recognizing that their second-class schools would never prepare them to succeed or lead like our own virginian barbara jones.
and those who used their own stature, their hard-earned education to fight for all of us through the judicial system to break down the racist systems in place like our own oliver hill. and those who said yes when everyone else saying no, those who knew that with work and courage, effort barriers can be , broken, such as the first african-american governor in the united states, here in virginia, in the confederate capital. [applause] and as we all know, many barriers still exist. systematic racism still permeates our country 400 years after the forced migration of africans to british north america. but we have these examples, we have these incredible examples,
shoulders to stand on, and in our own time, in our place, we still have heroes willing to stand up and risk insult and injury to help all of us rise up. that is what gives me hope and inspiration. i see a people brought here under the worst conditions imaginable, treated as less than human and seen as nothing but property and second-class citizens. i see people who have overcome, who believe, who will assist and fight until we really have the ideals and the reality of this country. joining us today are several folks who are heroes, who stood up, who every day in congress fight to dismantle the racist and bigoted system of laws that still hold people back. i have learned so much from each of these folks in the congressional black caucus. our chair, karen bass, from california -- [applause] she inspires me each day.
her knowledge, her fearlessness, her eyes on the prize make me proud to be a soldier in her army. karen made history in her home state of california when the california assembly elected her as speaker, making her the first african woman in history to serve in this role. in the cbc, karen is our northstar, providing invaluable leadership and guidance. and someone who i know needs no introduction to anyone here my , mentor, my northstar, my big brother congressman bobby , scott. [applause] bobby is the dean of the virginia congressional delegation, and you better know that when he speaks, everyone listens. and i don't just mean another representative, or african-americans, and i don't
just mean democrats, all the virginians know he speaks with wisdom, compassion, and straight from the heart. congresswoman ayana pressley who will be here later on tonight. who is here now! [applause] who has kept her promise to me, to come north in massachusetts to the real commonwealth here in virginia. [laughter] [applause] she may be the newest member of the cbc, but as a freshman, she brings experience and knowledge and inspiration. she has broken barriers her entire life, most recently as the first woman of color elected from massachusetts and previously the first woman of color elected to the boston city council and its 100 year history. [applause] her life demonstrates her belief to lift the voices of those she represents.
but today, today we are incredibly fortunate to have a singular hero with us, a man whose name is synonymous with courage and conviction, someone on whose shoulders we all stand , and who is an inspiration not only to me but to so many every single day in the united states congress. i have to admit as a delegate and a state senator that man was an inspiration, but never someone i thought i would actually meet and see him in the halls of congress and talking to him, listening to his words of wisdom have been a life-changing experience for me. for those of you, and i can't imagine there are many of you who don't know the story of the incredible john lewis, let me review some highlights. born the son of sharecroppers in alabama and forced to go to segregated public schools, john lewis was inspired at an early age to join the civil rights movement to make a difference for his people in his community.
even as a college student at fisk university, he organized counter sit-ins and participated in freedom rides all across the south, challenging segregation at bus terminals and elsewhere. those actions came at great risk, and he was severely beaten by angry mobs to within an inch of his life. in 1964, congressman lewis coordinated voter registration efforts during the mississippi freedom summer. in 1965, in moment seared in all our memories, unfortunately now, finally appearing in history books, he and jose williams organized to lift over 600 peaceable protesters over the edmund pettus bridge. these peaceful, nonviolent protesters -- [applause] >> they were met by alabama
state troopers in the violent confrontation that became known as bloody sunday. news coverage of this assault on innocent people helped move congress to pass the long overdue voting rights act of 1965. over the next 20 years, john dedicate hise to leadership to the community both in terms of bringing rights and bringing them out of poverty. he held diverse positions such as the director of the voter education project. in 1977 he was appointed by president carter as the head of action, a federal agencies overseeing over 250,000 volunteers. -- a federal voter registration overseeing over 250,000 volunteers. in 1981, he was elected to the atlanta city council, and in 1986 elected to congress from georgia's fifth district. he has held and continues to hold numerous leadership positions in congress. congressman lewis's civil to dust contributions
--seminal contributions to civil rights has been recognized by numerous accolades. he has received and richly deserves, including over 50 honorary degrees from prestigious universities and numerous awards, including the medal of freedom, our highest civilian award given to him by president barack obama. [applause] in addition, he is a recipient of the only lifetime achievement profile in courage award given by the jfk library foundation. in addition, he is the co-author of the best-selling number one book series on the new york times list graphic novel called "march." this important work is used in classrooms around the country to teach the civil rights movement and to lead us to inspire our next generation of leaders. i could go on and on, you are not really here to hear me, and if i did, i would still barely
skim congressman lewis's , but i will stop now. because he has inspired all the work we do, inspired by his words. let me introduce to you are inspiration truly great , a american, richmond, give a warm welcome to congressman john lewis! [applause] rep. lewis: thank you. thank you very much. thank you, brother mceachin, thank you for those kind words of introduction. >> love you! rep. lewis: i love you, too. i love each and everyone of you.
[applause] rep. lewis: it's a beautiful day here. i must tell you, it is good to be in virginia. [applause] rep. lewis: it is good to be here in richmond. senator king, governor -- [laughter] thank you. thank you, mr. mayor. [applause] rep. lewis: it is good to be here. 400 years later, it is good to be here. [applause] honorable of the elected officials, you look good. you look smart. to be here with my colleagues from congress, the chair of the
cbc. your own congressperson, who i mentioned earlier. barbara scott. congressperson mcceachin. to be here with your wonderful mayor. to be here with my sister from the northeast, congresswoman pressley. you know, so much is going through my mind. i have a prepared text, but i'm not going to use it. [applause] overcomes: i am almost with something. 400 years later, 400 years later. this young brother, the young
father., i know your can become the lieutenant governor. [applause] young man by the name of bobby scott can become a congressperson. here is young brother following in a great line of leaders in becoming a mayor. governor, thank you for being you. senator, thank you for being you. honorableall of the elected officials for getting out there and getting in what i call "the way" getting in good trouble, necessary trouble. i didn't grow up in a big city like richmond. i didn't grow up in a big city like washington, d.c. or los angeles or boston.
i grew up in rural alabama on a farm. my father was a sharecropper, a tenant farmer. but back in 1944, when i was four years old, and i do remember when i was four years old, my father had saved $300 and a man sold him acres of 110 land. my family still owns this land today. [applause] so during many, many days and many years, long before it was -- long before i was even a them, when we came over ocean 400 years ago to this land, we learned to pick cotton.
learned to work in the tobacco fields. we learned to plow mules. sometimes we were beaten and left for dead. but we never gave up, we never gave in, we never lost hope, we kept the faith and we kept our eyes on the prize. so somebody somewhere should say thank you! [applause] and i know there's some people in america today who have said -- who are saying, nothing's changed. but then we tell you, you live in a different america. when i was growing up and working in the heart of the civil rights movement, people
had to count the number of bubbles in a bar of soap, the number of jellybeans in a jar, people stood in immovable lines. we no longer have to count of the number of jellybeans in a jar. no longer have to count the number of bubbles on a bar of soap. because somebody somewhere and sometime gave a little blood and during this season that is coming up, none of us -- and it doesn't matter whether we are black or white latino, , asian-american, or native american, straight or gay -- we must come out and vote like we never, ever voted before! [cheers and applause] our democracy is in trouble, big trouble. save our country. we can do it.
we must do it. when i was growing up and had to go to the field and work and sometimes i would fall behind, and my mother would say you need i wouldup, and say, this is hard work. and she would say, hard-working never killed anybody. and i would say, it's about to kill me. [laughter] during the height of the civil rights movement, we worked from sunup to sundown the same way we worked in the field. growing up there in rural alabama outside a little town called troy 50 miles from , montgomery, i saw the signs ," colored"white man
"white women," colored women." i asked my mother and father and grandparents and great-grandparents why. and they said that's the way it is. don't get in trouble. don't get in the way. but the actions of rosa parks, the words of martin luther king, jr., and the young people in little rock, and even here in this city -- there was a young man from selma, alabama, some of the lawyers remember this case, warrington versus greyhound. they were arrested. a student at howard university who had taken a seat in the so-called white waiting room. it became the boynton case. because of what happened here, we decided to organize something called the freedom rides. i was 21 years old, had all of
my hair and a few pounds later. -- a few pounds lighter. back in 1961, black people in white people couldn't be seated on a greyhound bus together, leaving the nation's capital. in may of 1961, 13 of us, black and white met in leadershipunder the of a man by the name of james former, organize the freedom rides of 1960. [applause] along the way, we were beaten, and i will never forget in a little town called rock hill, we south carolina, where we attempted to get off the bus. my sleep mate was a young white gentleman from connecticut.
we started to enter a so-called white waiting room and we were beaten, left bloody by members of the klan. many years later, the young man who had beaten us came to my office in washington, d.c. he said, "mr. lewis, i have been a member of the klan. i'm one of the people who beat you. will you forgive me?" he was in his 70's. he brought his son in his 40's. his son started crying, he started crying. they hugged me, i hugged them back. and i cried. it is the power of the way of peace, the power of the way of love. the power of the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence.
we must never, ever give up on any human being. [applause] we must have the power to forgive. we cannot remake what happened 400 years ago, but we are here today as one people, as one family, as one house living in america's house. [applause] i got in trouble, what i call good trouble, necessary trouble. i say to all the people here, to my colleagues in congress, it is time for us to get in trouble again. good trouble, necessary trouble. [applause] my philosophy is very simple. when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. do something. you cannot afford to be silent.
[applause] during the 1960's, i was arrested and jailed 40 times. since i have been in congress, i have been arrested another five times. and i'm probably going to get arrested again for something. [laughter] [applause] how can we be silent when our government, the federal government is taking little children, little babies from their mothers and their fathers and put them in cages. we should say something. we should stand up and do something. [applause] so, as we celebrate, as we commemorate, let's think, what are we doing? what are we saying?
now, my colleagues know that i'm not a long talker. and, i try to make it short. i try to speak through action. but, i'm sick and tired, just sick and tired of what has happened on so many levels in our government. [applause] and i don't want to be political today. but, i think it is time for us to get anyway. to get in trouble. if it means a sit-in, just sit. if it means a sit-down, sit down. when you saw the democratic
members two years ago, occupied the floor of the house of representatives for the first time in history for more than 26 hours trying to do something about gun violence. we've got to stop it, the madness. we should have the right to be safe at school. to be safe in church. be safe at a party, a club. we must have that right. we all are human. we must be protected. by government. we don't need all of these guns. we don't. we don't need all of these guns. [applause] we must stop the killing and put an end to the violence. we can do it and we must do it. i go back to another point i tried to make earlier.
so many, so many of our brothers and sisters, so many of our mothers and fathers never had an opportunity to register to vote. to cast a vote. so when president barack obama was elected, was declared the winner, i jumped so high at dr. king's old church in atlanta speaking. i didn't think my feet were going to touch the ground. and i started crying. and members of the press asked me why are you crying so much, john lewis? i said, i'm crying for those who never had an opportunity. never ever had an opportunity to register to vote.
then, lived to see a man of color elected president of the united states of america. [applause] crying for my mother, my father grandparents and my great , grandparents. crying for the four little girls who were murdered in birmingham in a church. crying for dr. king and many others, emmett till and many others. rosa parks, president kennedy and robert kennedy. two young men that i got to know very well. sometimes you have to cry. there is nothing wrong with crying. sometimes you just have to move the tears and get up again and again and again and keep coming. said to each and everyone of you, especially
young people here, never ever up.ve never ever get lost in a sea of despair. keep the faith. keep your eyes on the prize. get in the way. get in trouble. that is how we are going to change things for the better. we can do it. and get a good and great education, young people. stay in school. [applause] and be prepared to fight the good fight. we're one people, one family. we all live in the same house. not just the american house, but the world house. and it doesn't matter whether we are black or white, latino, asian-american, or native american, we are one people. we must believe in the way of peace, in the way of love, in the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence.
in the teachings of dr. king and gandhi, our mothers and our fathers, many of us would not be standing here today. so, again, i'm very, very hopeful, very optimistic about the future. there are forces that want to take us back. but we are not going back. we have come to far, and we're not going back! we are going forward! we're going to create one america. we are one people, we're one family. we all live in the same house, the american house, the world house. and never, ever give up! keep the faith! thank you very much. [cheers and applause] mr. lewis: thank you.
i'm glad to know members of the arthur ashe family are here. arthur ashe, glad you have changed the name of the boulevard to arthur ashe. was a good friend. in our home in atlanta, there is a picture with arthur ashe and my wife when he came to visit us many years ago. so, think about what arthur ashe did and the contribution he made. he came out of this state and out of this city. thank you very much. [applause] announcer: ladies and gentlemen, the allegra folklore society. ♪
-- can you hear me? all right. the drum calls us. the drum connects us. the drum strengthens us. the drum encourages us. the drum affirms that we are determined. the concept of the drum evolved, congressman lewis, into the drum namesake,re like our leba, opens the roads. opens the boulevard so that the people can come through. [applause] so we are going to the root right now. it is foundational. cosmology of west
mayor stoney: pierre! yea! look at that talent we have in the city of richmond, right? all right, i want to end by extending a special thanks to jamie bosket, the entire staff at the virginia museum of history and culture which put on this fabulous event. let's give a round of applause. [applause] vmhc's boldly leading the way in advancing our understanding of our commonwealth's past with a view towards the future, as evidenced by the exhibit that just opened. if you have not gone, i ask you go today. determined is an appropriate way to describe not only its current
exhibit, but also the mission of vmhc. and again, i would like to acknowledge the efforts of david harris, the nephew of arthur ashe. [applause] who along with dontrese brown from randolph macon college, help bring in key sponsors like dominion energy and spearheaded the outreach behind the arthur ashe initiative. they helped turn the street renaming into a national celebration of our city and an american hero that was long overdue. [applause] thanks are also due to our regional and state government partners in the richmond metropolitan transportation authority, and the virginia department of transportation.
their support for the change and then you signage you will see on the highways that greets visitors and workers to our city every day will make the right first impression on the city of richmond. [applause] and finally, i'd like to thank our very own city of richmond employees. [applause] mayor stoney: uh-oh. little windy up here. [laughter] led by our chief administrative officer celena glenn, i also want to thank our recreation director. i also want to thank the men and women of the department of public works led by bobby vincent. in just a moment, they will begin the process of replacing every sign in our city with a sign that reads arthur ashe boulevard, all by the end of the weekend. [applause]
mayor stoney: so i have question one left. are you excited? are you ready for the unveiling? >> yes! if i could ask our choir to move into position now for the big moment. i also would like to invite councilwoman kim graves, if you could clear a path down the middle please for councilwoman .ray and also, i would like to invite david harris to join me for the unveiling.
[applause] mayor stoney: to represent the great cooperation between the city, rmta, and v-dot, one sign has been provided from each. the work in the city will begin immediately after the ceremony and others will follow shortly in the weeks ahead. once we are in position, i will invite you all to join me in the countdown. are you ready? >> yes! mayor stoney: are you ready? >> yes! mayor stoney: all right. mayor stoney: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 -- ♪ [drumroll]
♪ felt in the day that hope unborn had died; ♪ yet with a steady beat, ♪ have not our weary feet, ♪ come to the place on which our fathers sighed? ♪ we have come ♪ over a way that with tears has been watered, ♪ we have come, ♪ treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, ♪ out from the gloomy past, ♪ till now we stand at last ♪ where the white gleam ♪ of our star is cast. ♪ ♪ god of our weary years, ♪
god of our silent tears, ♪ thou who has brought us thus ♪ far on the way; ♪ thou who has by thy might, ♪ led us into the light, ♪ keep us forever in the path, we pray ♪ ♪ lest our feet ♪ stray from the places, our god, where we met thee, ♪ least our hearts, ♪ drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee, ♪ shadowed beneath the hand, ♪ may we forever stand, ♪ true to our god, ♪
true to our native land ♪ ♪ [cheers and applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today for this important moment of remembrance, reflection and celebration. let us not forget the anniversary remark today -- we mark today, nor the remarkable people that forge our path. as our platform party departs, please stay seated for a few more moments. but i do hope you enjoy the rest of your day on arthur ashe boulevard. and the virginia museum of history and culture is free all day. please enjoy. i would like to recognize our wonderful neighbors and collaborators, the virginia museum of fine arts. they invite you to visit the exhibit,ommemoration cosmologies from the tree of
life, art from the african south, which features 34 extraordinary works of art. the museum is also free and they have refreshments as well. at 2:00 p.m., the congressman will host his colleagues from the congressional black caucus for a town hall session on the state of black america at the museum. also today, i hope you join us at arthur ashe atlantic center for a community gathering of games, food and fun. this has been a remarkable day for richmond, further virginia museum of history and culture, and the commonwealth of virginia. thank you for joining me and have a wonderful day. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] announcer: now you are watching american history tv. every weekend beginning saturday at 8:00 a.m. eastern, we give you 48 hours of unique programming exploring our nations past.
american history tv is only on c-span3. american history tv products are now available at the new span online store. spanstore.com and check out all of the he span products. presidency, on the former secret service agents talk about protecting the first family, and the challenges they faced. the agentr includes who prevented the 1995 assassination attack on president gerald forward. >> here is a preview. >> my position at the time was. >> right at his left shoulder, so as he is walking along shaking hands, i am kind of concentrating on his hands, kind of in a downward motion, because
i didn't want to have anybody grabbed too long, take his watch or whatever. so i was looking down. out on the crowd. is a member of the charlie manson family who haven't to be carrying a .45 strapped to her ankle. she was back a couple of people in the crown, so as he is shaking hands, suddenly i see this can't come up something. at that time, i didn't know it stopped the, but i hand from coming up, because i didn't want him to get hit with whatever it was. the minute i hit it, i knew it was a gun, so i yelled out, gun. one of my very best friends that he said,rison -- you're on your own, buddy. [laughter]
so she is screaming in the crowd, the crowd is screaming, got her hand and of got the gun right here. another thing. , mr. director, i didn't have my best on, so i am thinking, i don't know if there is more to this, but i know i am not letting go of her. i am pushing her back to the crowd. the crowd is screaming. . i see a guy in a suit. he's got a gun. he's got this girl and she is screaming, keep pushing her away. at this time the president is gone with the agents. eyedropper done on the ground. some of the agents and police from the back of the ground came forward. i noticed. one of the agents and gave him -- gun proceeded to cut her, her.ff once she was cuffed, they turned her to police, and i went back to rejoin the ship. and was pretty fast and furious.
seconds you have a chance to sit back and think about how fast it went down. [applause] learn more about secret service agents and their challenges sunday at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern on the presidency. you are watching american history tv. >> hi, i'm corinne porter. i'm a curator here at the national archives museum. i'm going to show you around the "rightfully hers" exhibition today, which is in the lawrence f. o'brien gallery. before we head into the gallery i wanted to talk about this lenticular that's out in the lobby in front of the entrance. it has a photograph of the 1913 women's suffrage march, looking up pennsylvania avenue towards the united states capitol, and