tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC December 5, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm PST
david corn. and i want to thank everyone for be being with us tonight, and thank you to president obama and also to the american university for hosting us. goodnight. it's now good evening rachel. >> good evening. thanks a lot. and thanks to you at home for joining us tonight. this is the pass you had to carry. it had your fingerprints on it you, your photo and who you worked for and where you lived and where you were allowed to go and when you were allowed to go there and for how long and for what purpose. starting in 1950, with the pop haiti lation registration act, everyone had to register by race, a racial review board, give you a look, decide what race they would say you are and give ah racial id card so you
would know what laws applied to you. but as of 1952, every black person over the age of 16 had to have not only a racial id card but also this passbook which any white person could demand to see at any time. and if you were found to be in a place just reserved for black people, then it was illegal for you to be there and you could be arrested just for existing, just not having your passbook on you taught was also grounds to be arrested and thrown in jail. the pass laws meant that by virtue of being black in south africa, you were presumed to be a criminal unless you could prove otherwise by having the proper paperwork. and any white person could challenge you anywhere for any reason, and if you did not have the passport, if you did not have the right documents, if you did not have the right written
permission to be where you were when you were there, then you could be put in jail. passbook laws had been around since the 18th century, and the structure was always the same. white people never needed them. white people could go wherever they needed. but non-white people need add internal passport. papers please. at the end of world war ii, the election in south africa in 1948 unexpectedly brought to power a nationalist government on a platform they called apartness. in their language, it was pronounced apartheid. they started codifying immediately all the various ways that they could separate the population by race and treat people according to the ways that they thought the various races should be treated. in 1949, the prohibition of
mixed marriages act which banned people of different races from getting married to each other, whether or not you got married, the immorality act of 1950 made sexual relations between different races a criminal act. also in 1950 the population registration act which made everyone in the country register by race and receive a racial classification, black, white, indian or colored. those were the four categorieca. and there were a million sub categories beneath those. not beneath white of course, white was just white. but for everybody else it could be a little more complicated. also in 1950, the group areas act which geographically positioned people by race. in 1953, the reservation of separate amenities act. 1953.
that's the year before the u.s. supreme court declared that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal, the year before we said separate but equal was dead, they codified it for their nation, the apartness, the apartheid, separate park bench, separate everything. everything assigned to specific races, and the lion's share of everything and the best of everything reserved only for the white minority. black people had no right to vote. people classified as colored, for a while they had a right to represent specifically for white people to represent them. but eventually that was stripped too. only the white minority had the vote. only the white minority was represented in government and only the white minority had any say whatsoever in the affairs of the country. 80% of the country lived entirely segregated and without
representation under white rule. 80% of the country. and by 1960, the resistance to apartheid, the demonstrations against it had started to zero in on those passbooks, the papers please laws which made your mere existence criminal if you were challenged by a white person as to what you were doing there. in 1960, when different resistance movements were talking about the best way to overthrow apartheid, just outside joe andes bill, in a black township, somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people showed up and said they wanted to turn themselves in. these thousands of people, they turned up and they said they all felt that they needed to be arrested. they all wanted to be arrested. a all 5,000 of them, they did not have their passbooks, so they were turning themselves in. that was greeted by the police
with live ammunition. they shot into the crowd. they wounded over 150 people, including many women and irn ch. in the end, it killed 69 people. at the time nelson mandela was in his early 40s. he had joined the african national congress, the anc, way back in 1944. the anc opposing apartheid had been organized as non-violent resistance. but after sharpville, they decided maybe that wasn't enough. after sharpville they decided they would form a paramilitary wing and nelson man delg la was one of the anc leaders who went undergroutd to help it. they would target infrastructure and try to sabotage the state. after sharpville the government of south africa started mass arrests of anc leaders and other activists. they banned the a nchnc.
they made it illegal to be a part of that group. nelson mandela was arrested in 1961, again in 1962 and convicted of traveling illegally. they sentenced him to five years hard labor on robben island. while he was already serving that sentence they put him on trial again, this time for sabotage. and they convicted him, and they sentenced him to life in prison, to life on robben island. so in 1964 he began a new sentence that was a life sentence, and for the first 18 years of it his cell on robben island had no bid, no plumbing of any kind. he was permitted one letter every six months. he was permitted one visitor per year for 30 minutes. he became a symbol, worldwide, of the fight to stop apartheid. the south aftrican government
would not allow a picture to be taken of him. the free nelson mandela picture of him was the one before he was locked away. he severed 27 years in prison, 18 of them at hard labor in that island cell before south africa was ready to give aup apartness, aparthe apartheid, and when declerk was elected it was to relength, to start to give up the arcane and brutal system that south africa invented. it's hard to remember, but invented after hitler and that they fought for for 50 years against the people they subjugated with that sis tell. f.w. declerk was elected. he legalized the anc. and in february of 1990 he visited then 71 year old nelson
mandela, still imprisoned 2 y7 r years later. and on february 11, 1990, nelson mandela emerged. >> i now announce to you the great mandela who has been in prison for 27 years. >> nelson mandela speaks after 27 years. >> fellow south africans, i greet you all in the name of peace. democracy and freedom for all.
i stand here before you not as a prophet, but as a humble servant of you, the people. >> after 27 years in prison when nel some mandela was released he led the negotiations for the anc for the end of apartheid and apartheid was dismantled. and on the 27th of april, 1994 he was elected the new president of south africa in the first election ever held in that country where all adult citizens were welcome to vote regardless of race. millions of people waited in line to vote, in voting that took three days. and april 27 is now a national holiday in south africa. it's called freedom day. and when it came time to sign the new constitution for south africa which eliminated all
vestiges of ha by race, president nelson mandela went to sharpville to sign it. he died today at his home. it was his wish to be buried in the town he was born. joining us now congressman lewis. thank you for being with us tonight on this historic day. >> thank you very much for having me. and thank you for that rich history telling the story, what happened and how it happened. it is very moving. >> i have to ask. after your long career, especially as a young man in the south and the american civil rights movement, how did nelson mandela's work form your own? what's been the interplay between our civil rights movement and his struggle? >> the commitment, the dedication, the inspiration of
this one man meant everything to the american civil rights movement. i remember it as a young student in nashville in 1962 and '63 and '64. we said if nelson mandela can do it, we can do it. we identify with the struggle. and when i met him for the first time, he said to me, john lewis, i noknow all about you. i follow you. you inspire us. i said no, mr. mandela, you inspire us. so there was this unbelievable relationship between what was happening in america and what would happen in south africa. we would say from time to time the struggle in birmingham, the struggle in selma is inaccept raable from the struggle in sharpville. >> one of the reasons i wanted to talk to you today congressman was reading about and thinking
about and trying to understand the importance of those decisions made by mandela and other apartheid leaders after sharpville, when they decided non-violence was not enough, they have been so committed to nonviolence, even in the face of incredible brutality, they needed some sort of military response as well. never ended up being the khai part of their response to apartheid, but they made that hard decision. how international were those discussions about the importance of non-violence and whether or not it was enough to overthrow governments and to change the world? >> here in america and around the world, there was ongoing discussion about the way of peace, the way of love, the way of non-violence. appealing to people to not to give up. but mr. mandela and the people of south africa learned and
stand in prison 27 years, he came out committed to the way of peace, to the way of love, to the way of non-violence. to the way of reconciliation. in south africa, through his leadership, he liberated the spirit of the oppressed and the spirit of the oppressor. >> when you met him, when he was released from prison, you described a little bit about what that conversation was like. what did it feel like for you to meet him? is that an intimidating prospect? a yen spiring prospect? what was that relationship like? >> it was boath inspiring and intimidating. we greeted each other. he hugged me. he hugged me tightly. and i said thank you, thank you, thank you mr. mandela, thank you for speaking up. thank you for being such a leader. i knew i was standing in the
midst of greatness. so i was a little nervous about meeting him. and i had an opportunity to see him several other occasions. and he just made me feel more human. >> congressman john lewis. wrut person i wanted to talk to more than anybody else tonight. thank you so much for being with us sir. i really appreciate you being here. >> thank you. >> we've got so much more ahead. please stay with us. lots more to come. i went to see the man who organized this stairway, a 42 year old african lawyer, nelson mandela, the most dynamic leader in south africa today. the police were hunting for him at the time, but african nationalists had arranged for me to meet him at his hideout. he is still underground. this is mandela's first
television interview. i asked him what it was that the african really wanted? >> the africans require, want to franchise on the basis of one man, one vote. >> do you see africans being able to develop in this country without the european being pushed out? >> we have made it very clear in our policy that south africa is a country of many races. [ male announcer ] this is george.
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or suicidal thoughts or actions. tell your doctor right away if you have these, new or worsening depression, or unusual changes in mood or behavior. or swelling, trouble breathing, rash, hives, blisters, changes in eyesight including blurry vision, muscle pain with fever, tired feeling, or skin sores from diabetes. common side effects are dizziness, sleepiness, weight gain and swelling of hands, legs and feet. don't drink alcohol while taking lyrica. don't drive or use machinery until you know how lyrica affects you. those who have had a drug or alcohol problem may be more likely to misuse lyrica. ask your doctor about lyrica today. it's specific treatment for diabetic nerve pain. you see, i wasn't born into a political family. i was not active in student government in high school, but when i was in college, there was one issue that moved me for the very first time in my life to become politically active and play a small leadership role in my community. the issue was apartheid, and as a young college student i became
involved in the investment movement here in the united states. i remember meeting with a group of anc leaders and hearing stories of their struggles and of their leader, nelson mandela. >> that was a video birthday message that president obama prepared for nelson mandela back in 2008. we've got much more ahead. please stay with us. ooh, homemade soup! yeah... [ male announcer ] campbell's homestyle soup with farm grown veggies. just like yours. huh. [ male announcer ] and roasted white meat chicken. just like yours. [ male announcer ] you'll think it's homemade. i love this show. [ male announcer ] try campbell's homestyle soup.
earlier tonight announcing the death of nelson mandela. mr. mandela was hospitalized in june because of a lung condition. at one point, mr. mandela was placed on life support. his family gathered, seemingly getting ready to say good-bye. for several days in late june the whole world braised for the word of mr. mandela's passing. everybody from president obama and ban ki-moon offered prayers and remembrances, but mr. mandela hung on this summer. by the time of his 95th birthday on july 18th with crowds gathering outside to sing to him, mr. mandela was described by then as responding to treatment, and his doctors said he was steadily improving. by august, mr. mandela was breathing normally. and although he was still battling the lung infection that
hospitalized him in the first place, on the first of september he was discharged from the hospital so he could continue to receive intention sieve care at his home. his home there is where south africans have gathered tonight to pay their respects. joining us now is nbc news african correspondent who is in front of nelson mandela's home tonight. thank you very much for being with us. what can you tell us about the scene where you are and the reaction there? >> reporter: well, rachel, quite extraordinary picture behind us. it's 4:00 in the morning here in south africa. and we have a crowd of hundreds of people who haven't gone to sleep, hundreds of people who on the whole, fairly young. these are people who are part of the so-called born free generation. those who have no memory of apartheid, who were born after the birth of democracy in south
africa, and they have come here not to mourn, i have not seen a single person here crying. they're all here to celebrate. and they're doing that by singing songs from the anti-apartheid struggle, sinking the south african national anthem which includes all 12 languages of south africa. sort of the rainbow of multi-cultural south africa. and they are going to keep going. this is a party. the mood, the expectation was one of mourning, but actually, what people are celebrating here is not only the life of nelson mandela, but what he gave to all south africans through his fight against apartheid through his 27 years in prison. much of it's been in solitary confinement, even the youngest ones are well aware of the life that they might have lived had it not been for the sacrifice of nelson mandela, and i suspect
that's a great deal of what's being celebrated here early in the morgue here in south africa outside the home of nelson mandela. >> i wonder if it's your sense that with the scare this summer in july in particular when everybody was so worried that he was going to pass and when the world sort of prepared for the idea that he might die, if that sort of, if some of the grieving happened then, the recognition that he was going to pass, and people have started to move on to his legacy rather than just his loss since then. >> reporter: yeah, i think that's a fair statement, rachel. it's six months into his first admittance to the hospital he spent months seriously ill, then critically ill, then he was discharged from the hospital in september, but he's finally made it clear that we weren't to get too excited, because lihis home
here had been essentially fitted out as a yin intentiosive care . a 95 year old man with a serious respiratory illness who has been incredibly sick for several years now dying at this grand old age was entirely predictable, but it was painful nonetheless, painful in those first few hours, talking to people here, listening to people, but i sense even in those first few hours since the mood is changing as people reflect on the life of nelson mandela and what his sacrifice did for everyone here. >> nbc correspondent live from johannesburg outside nelson mandela's home. thank you for staying up with
us. appreciate you being with us. please stay with us. lots ahead. we enter into a covenants in which all south africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall without any fear in their hearts. assured of their inalienable right to human dignity, a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world. electricity comes from. they flip the switch-- and the light comes on. it's our job to make sure that it does. using natural gas this power plant can produce enough energy for about 600,000 homes. generating electricity that's cleaner and reliable, with fewer emissions-- it matters. ♪ like, scoring the perfect table?
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when president obama visited south africa this past summer, he brought his family to robben island to see the cell where nelson mandela had been impressened by the apartheid regime for so many years. because mr. mandela had been so ill this year president obama did not personally visit with him on that trip. the only time the two men apparently ever met in person was in 2005 in washington when mr. obama was just starting his career in the united states senate. the new york times reports that the one visit started when mr. mandela's advisers told him that while he was there he ought to take a little bit of time to try to meet this rising star young senator who had given such a great speech at the democratic national convention the year before. and so senator obama got the call unexpectedly. he was on his way to a meeting on a totally different subject
at the time, but he diverted course and drove to mr. mandela's hotel room in washington, and that is where this picture was taken, which is the only picture of the two men ever taken. it was taken by senator obama's personal assistant at the time who was driving him to that other meeting when the call came through to please come meet nelson mandela, and that's the only time they've ever been photographed together. we'll be right back. more to come. i need a car that's stylish and fashionable... especially in my line of work. now do you have a little lemonade stand? guys, i'm in fashion! but i also need amazing tech too... like active park assist... it practically parks itself. and what color would you like? i'll have my assistant send you over some swatches... oh... get a fusion with 0% financing for 60 months, plus $500 ford credit holiday bonus cash during the ford dream big sales event.
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30 days ago my delegation, my wife and i stepped, stepped onto soil of this united states once more. we were received with overwhelming attributes of friendship and solidarity. it is here, beyond any reasonable doubt that the unbending of our organization came the result of the pressures exacted upon the apartheid
regime. i want to tell you that oakland is the last city that i am visiting in the cause. let me assure you that did fight makes 71 years. at the end of this visit, i feel like a young man of 35. [cheers and applause] it is you, the people of oakland, the people of the bay area, who have given me and my delegation strength and hope to go back and continue the struggle. [cheers and applause]
you must remember that you are our blood brothers and sisters. [cheers and applause] you are our comrades in the struggle. remember that we respect you. we admire you. and above all, we love you all. [cheers and applause] thank you. i was there that day in person. i was 17. and the oakland coliseum of all places in oak land, california was nelson mandela's final stop on a tour of the united states that he took upon his release from prison after 27 years. this was less than six months after he was freed from prison.
he was in his 70s. he'd not been free in decades, and he took this exhausting tour and you would not think of the bay area in oakland being must stops. but he made a specific point of traveling to oakland, california, because oakland, california and berkley and san francisco had all passed municipal policies that insisted on divesting stock from any company that did business in south africa. even the long shoreman at the west coast ports in california had refused to unload south african goods coming into the bay area, all to try to support the fight against it in south africa, all to try to pressure the government to give up. so nelson mandela came all the way to oakland to say thank you for doing that. it is part of why i am free and
part of why apartheid is ending. and the comment about divestment, president reagan was opposed to that strategy. they actively imposed sanctions against the apartheid regime. margaret thatcher went so far as to call mandela a terrorist. but both voted. by 1980s, there was enough public momentum in fave of blocking trade to south africa. there was enough in favor of it that the u.s. congress passed the comprehensive anti-apartheid act. it blocked the importing of most south african goods and president reagan was vehemently against it. >> mr. reagan on friday vetoed a
bill that imposes economic sanctions on south africa. it limits investment and bans imports of, coal, steel and agricultural elements. >> president reagan's veto was not sustained. it was overridden, including by many of his own party. and anti-apartheid leaders credit that with bringing about the pressure and the isolation that was necessary to eventually humble the apartheid regime, to humble the ruling south african government and bring them to the negotiations that eventually freed nelson mandela and brought
him into the apartheid system. the fight here to do that was nothing in comparison to the fight in south africa, but politically it was a fight here. joining me is a former oak hand mayor. he was the responsible sore of the 1986 anti-apartheid act. thank you for being here. >> it is my honor to be here. i am one of your fans, my friend. >> thank you. >> what led you to sponsor the act in 1986? >> a little known fact of history is a group of employees of the polaroid company, which took pictures that were in the passbooks of black south africans during the apartheid regime were inspired by the organization of the congressional black caucus in late 1971. they came down to washington, d.c. because they were concerned about trying to make a statement of divestment of polaroid and
its partnership in the apartheid cooperation in the apartheid effort. the congressional black caucus asked me to meet with these folks. we met with them, and we agreed to put a piece of legislation together and i kept reintroducing it for 15 years and fought every day for 15 years until we finally got it passed by the house of representatives. but it was a small group of militant polaroid workers who had the courage and the vision to help begin that process. >> when the other side in this american political fight argued against you, when ronald reagan's side argued that instead they wanted engagement, that divestment would help the very people you were trying to help and it would help black south africans more than anybody. why did you eventually win such an overwhelming vote? >> because people understood
that if the folks who were feeling the oppression were the ones arguing for disinvestment, and they were, south africans were arguing for divestment. and so what we did was simply put into legislative form the screams of the people in south africa who were feeling the pain and the activists coming out of the civil rights movement who understood that pain and were willing to stand with them. so we said how can you from the outside make such a tragic argument. it was the moral imperative that eventually overcame these folks. >> and to what degree do you think divestment in those sanctions ended up being a tipping point in south africa? how important did it end up being in conjunction with the work that was being done by
anti-apartheid activists around the world? >> a gentleman came to washington, d.c. several years earlier. his research indicated that f edward declerk and march dwret thatcher had a conversation. her response was the bill passed on a voice vote two years ago. it passed again on a record vote this year. now the democrats controlled the senate. it will pass the senate. disinvestment will become the law of the land. his response was so what should i do? her response was free man della and begin to negotiate a new south africa while you have leverage, because if disinvestment becomes the law of the nation you will have no leverage. so he tell him that while his bill never became law it hung over south africa like the sword
of dammer cleese. >> thank you very much for helping us underthan this history on this night of all nights. >> it's my honor, my friend. >> dan rather's going to join us next. at the end, goodwill prevailed. at the end, the overwhelming majority, both black and white decided to invest in peace. [ applause ] [ male announcer ] when mr. clean realized the way to handle
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nelson mandela arrives in america, a ready-made hero with a strong message. >> south africa shall be free! >> this is nbc news with tom brokaw reporting from nbc news headquarters in new york. >> good evening. nelson mandela was honored today in ways usually reserved for champs. the president said u.s. sanctions would stay on until
certain additional steps were taken. but for the most part, this was a day to celebrate mandela. the man who spent 27 years in prison was given a hero's welcome. governor cuomo calling him a symbol of the indestrubtable spirit. he seemed tired, not quite ready for it all. jesse jackson gave him a hand with his tie. man della urged the united states to maintain its stance against south africa as blacks struggle for equality. >> the only way we can work together on this difficult road is for you to ensure that sanctions are applieapplied. >> mandela and his wife winnie stopped by a brooklyn high school. they were greeted by 10,000 people. then new york city honored mandela as no other city can.
a ticker-tape parade up broadway. and he said he knew he had friends in new york but never dreamed he was so loved. the key to the city from mayor david dinkins. he then talked of unlocking the shackles of apartheid. >> we want the old south africa to be a nation that vanishes forever. south africa shall be free. this struggle continues. thank you. >> i am one of the countless millions who grew inspiration from nelson mandela's life. my very first political action, the first thing i ever did that involved an issue or a policy or politics was a protest against
apartheid. i would study his words and his writings. the day he was released from prison gave me a sense of what human beings can do when they're guided by their hopes and not by their fears. and like so many around the globe i cannot fully my own life without the example that nelson mandela set the and so long as i live i will do what i can to learn from him. >> with us now is dan rather, a man who has interviewed nelson mandela numerous times over the years. dan is now the host of a series. i wanted to play that footage of him arriving in the united states after being freed. i didn't want to show you, because i didn't want you to feel like you were up against your younger self. >> i appreciate that.
>> but i do think i'm setting you back up against brokaw in a way. >> he did a great job. >> i have to ask you just having met him a number of times, your overall reaction to his passing, to his having lived to be 95 and to what he came to mean to the world before he died. >> well, nelson mandel dedela remains in a straight historical line from gandhi, to martin luther king, junior, and through the first decade of the 21st century, because of his character and determination, to change the balance of power if you will in terms of racial justice. >> when you interviewed him after his release from prison in 1990, what do you remember about, what do you remember
about that personal encounter with him? i'm struck by what governor cuomo said at the time, the indestructibility of the human spirit. he was not a world famous man when he went to prison. >> he became famous when he went to prison spending 27 years in prison. never broken, always expected to take up the leadership mantle after all that time and prove worthy of it. there was something about his human resilience that made him super human. >> resilience is a word that will always be associated with nelson mandela, and also of forgiveness, through a colleague and friend, i was with nelson mandela in his home, the night he first came back to his home, and i was struck how calm his demeanor was, how often he spoke of forgiveness. if there was any sense of revenge or pay back in the man, it was not apparent. i don't think there was any.
he was the first to say, he was an imperfect person, an imperfect leader. he engaged in violence which he later regretted. he made his mistakes. but he was all about forgiveness. my most vivid memory of him that night was his absolute determination for reconciliation in his country and a sense of forgiveness. now a few days later, i had a one on one television camera interview with him and he expanded on that and talked eloquently about the desire for south africa to move forward in the future. he had no illusions it was going to take a lot to reconcile the country, of course he accomplish thad before his death. >> you talked to him about the man who released him from jail. was it obvious to you back then that nelson mandela was going to win that election? was the future of south africa clearly written? >> no. first of all, it was not assured
that mandela would be elected. i thought he probably would be, but it was by no means certain. there was no certainty three would be able to reunite and reconcile the country. i do want to say the remarkable thing about nelson mandela, he never claimed to be a saint, he wasn't. what made him the larger than life hero was his vulnerability, his weaknesses. the fact that he had done things that he wished he had not done. and that made him all the more human. but let's have no mistake that there was, there is no greater leader than nelson mandela. >> thank you very much for your time. >> thank you, always a pleasure. >> we'll be right back. in the nation, we know how you feel about your car.
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afternoon east coast time. the government of south africa has not yet released an official schedule of what's going to happen now in the next few days. but what we can best understand is probably this. the government's going to issue a formal notice about the memorial service over the course of the next 48 hours. then it will be three days after that announcement when the memorial service will actually be held. it will be held at the fnb soccer stadium in soweto. after the memorial service at that huge arena, mr. mandela's body will lie in state at the union buildings in pretoria. his body will lie there in state for three days of public viewing. and then his body will travel home to the town of qunu which is where he was born and where
he will be buried at his family compound. it is expected that jimmy carter, bush the younger, bush the older, bill clinton and president obama will visit. dan rather just said that he should be considered the greatest leader of the second half of the 20th century. that is how he is viewed around the world. his stature in the world is something that few people have ever known in modern history let alone in history. as the details of the arrangements for the next few days emerge, we will bring them to you right hire. now it's time for the last word. nelson mandela told his biographer men come and go,