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tv   Politics Nation With Al Sharpton  MSNBC  April 22, 2018 5:00am-6:00am PDT

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g to help grow your business... ♪ ♪ another way we have your back. ♪ ♪ the powerful backing of american express. don't do business without it. welcome to "politics nation." yesterday i concluded the national action network national conference here in new york having spent four days listening to the nation's most prominent politicians, performers and media personalities discuss how to move the country forward amid the regression of the trump era. i came away as i always do with the renewed sense of why i host this convention.
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see, we are not event planners, looking just for record numbers that we did get an attendance. we are those that are involved in social justice work, cross party and racial lines to try to make a difference. now the work begins to help to recapture the soul of america in the vision of dr. king. as one of the highlights we had the honor to host some democratic front-runners for the 2020 race for the white house. kamala harris and elizabeth warren and bernie sanders and christian gillibrand. you're going to hear from all four today in what we call the sharpton primary. first, i challenged senator kamala harris of california. >> senator harris, thank you for being with us this morning.
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you spoke at the national action convention about how we have to reflect on the past but really face the challenges of today and you've coined a phrase about coalition. >> yes. >> coalition strong. >> coalition strong. my parents met when they were active in the civil rights movement of the 60s. a my memories of that time and of the discussions about that time that they had was included that there was a coalition of people who seemingly had nothing in common, but have everything in common. and as we know the civil rights movement had been at its strongest when people understand that each person's krystcivil r is a matter of everyone's civil rights. so the importance of bringing people together, to march, to talk, to shout to speak in unison about our collective interest and making sure each
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one is treated equally is so important. and the coalition just makes it better. and it makes us stronger. >> as you have been going around the country and you just in michigan and they tell me that you -- more people than the democratic caucus there usually gets in these events. do you see a real energy of people around the midterms, what does the democrats need to do to win the house and the senate? >> you know, so i think those are two points that you are making which are equally relevant and to the uniqueness of this time. there is the democratic party piece but also the people piece. people are self selecting. so the beauty of what is happening is people aren't waiting for the democratic party to touch them on the shoulder. if anything, they're touching the democratic party on the shoulder and saying you need to see me and hear and speak for me
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with courage and with action. and so people are self selecting. we see that from the women's march, the march for our lives, the march for science, right. people are showing up who have never been a part, because they are figuring out if they're interests are reelected -- refl policy and law then they have to be out there and be heard. so there is that happening and i think the democratic party is seeing in and encouraging it but also also energized and listening to people where they are. >> you talking about running in 2020 and said you have not made that commitment. vice president biden was on with me last sunday and said he was thinking about it, and senator warren and others have been here. what could make kamala harris say yes, i'm going to do this?
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>> well i can't even get to that question until we deal with some of the stuff right in front of us, rev. it is great and i know people like to think about that and -- because i think people think about that being the highest office in the land so that is the most interesting for people. but the offices that truly make a difference every day include these congressional offices and include the senate offices right now we have a lot of people up in 2018 and november, just 200 days from now and we've got to make sure that we do the right thing with those elections. because each day in the life of the american people is a very long time. each day in the life of the american people that they are struggling to put gas in their car, struggling to get that rent paid by the end of the month, to pay off their student loans, each day is a very long time. they don't want us to wait until
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2020 to figure out and solve some of the problems they're experiencing. they want that to happen now and people in a position of leadership, if they are really leaders, i think, have to be focused on what we need to do right now and that includes focusing on the 2018 election cycle. >> you have a unique background of having been a state attorney general and prosecutor and then on -- and have had to balance between criminal justice issues like mass incarceration and police community which would give you a unique place if you were to run to be president because you have lectured law enforcement about being more responsive but then lectured people like me understanding police have their lives out there every day. is it that balance you are trying to get into the public space to discuss. because i was told by the family
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of stephon clark he recently did a town hall in sacramento where you struck that balance. i don't understand why this mung man is bed but i don't think all cops are bad so let's deal with this in a justice -- justice is balance. >> that is exactly right. and accepting a false choice. listen, i know based on my experience that every time a police officer leaves their home, going to their shift, their family will say --s silent or not silent prayer that they return at the end of their shift. i know that every black man i know, be he a relative or colleague has experienced some kind of situation where they have been profiled or unseasonably stopped. i know that we have a duty to create and always pay attention to the need to eliminate bias in terms of the way that any of us
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think and make our decisions and in particular those who are in positions of power. i know that we need to have a system of justice that includes that when people -- when a human being kills another human being or a woman is raped or a child is molested, there needs to be a swift consequence. i know all of these things to be true. they are all true. they all coexist. >> and what and when will you make a final decision? after we see what happens in 2018. >> several after this interview. >> can't blame a brother for trying. >> no, you'ra good brother. >> we'll wait and see what happens but the message is there and we thank you for being with us this morning. >> thank you, rev, for everything you do. thanks again to senator harris. next in the sharpton primary i had a chance to sit down with democratic new york senator
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kirsten gillibrand. >> senator gillibrand, first of all, thanks for being with us this morning. you spoke at national action netwo network convention this week and you're essence was 50 years after the assassination of dr. king we need to find the issues to unite on to deal with changing the direction this present administration has the country going. what are those issues in your mind? >> we have a lot of issues. both social justice and economic justice issues and i think they are all intertwined and go hand in land. you have to do the criminal justice reform and have to change the fact that we still have two black men in a starbucks getting arrested for sitting there. and that is a huge structural impediment to make sure everything is fair and i talked about full employment and we
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focus on how do we make sure thatern -- that every person who wants to be working is working and one of the original visions of dr. king and his wife coretta scott king after he was murdered is to talk about how you create universal jobs. and i think you could create a program or invest in communities and create public service jobs for anybody who needs one and doesn't have one and if you do that, you could deal with structural and intertucson -- institutional communities. >> and you have taken a position in terms of dealing with the march and demonstrations from gender equality to dealing with new gun legislation. where is the temperature you think in the mid-term elections? will the democrats be able to take the house and enough of the senate to actually enact some of the things that you've been advocating for? >> i do. i think people are angry and they don't agree with president
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trump. i think president trump has been spewing hate into the world since he became president. and it is dividing the country. and unfortunately, that makes us a weaker country. we are strongest when we care about one another and i think what makes our country is exceptional is when we care -- care about others on thur selves. and it is life and liberty and the pursuit for all americans and every men are creating equal and each generation is trying to create a stronger union and i believe the american people are so angry this president is taking us down the road that they are coming out and in favor of gun violence and gun safety and common sense reforms and i think people are willing to vote and organize for what they believe in and fight for what they believe in and that is what we're seeing today and we see it in the number of candidates and women running in record numbers, over 400 women running for the house of representatives alone and a lot of challengers in all of the different districts across the country and i think
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we'll flip the house. we only need 24 seats and we have a lot of candidates that are strong. >> you have been touted by some as a possible candidate in 2020. you know that i had had vice president biden on the show last sunday and he said he's not ruling it out, but he's going to think about it and let us know by the end of the year. are you ruling it out? >> i'm focused on 2018 as you know. because i want to be your senator and continue to serve in the u.s. senate and so i'm up for e -- election in november and so i'm traveling the state and asking for support in what i want to do for this state. that is what i'm focused on. >> after '18 if you were re-elected would you consider on running. >> i'm not planning on it. i'm focused on 2018. >> what is the message you think that whoever runs in 2020 needs to run on? if you were the one -- if you were not the candidate but could advise the candidate and they're facing donald trump or vice
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president pence if something legally prevents president trump from running, what do you think the message is? because i think a lot of times we get caught up on the messenger and not the message. >> i think the message is about fighting for what is right against what is wrong. i think it is about fighting for other people's kids as hard as you fight for your own and about basic human rights and civil rights and social justice for everyone. so whether that is making sure people have south caroli-- have care as a right and not a privilege and get the job you need and have universal jobs in this country, those are the type of priorities that i think i stand for and a lot of democrats do and i think that is what they'll be talking about in the midterms in '20. >> and when we talk about gender equality and message, i've talked to you today, talked to senator kamala harris, do you think the country is ready for a women president? >> i do.
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hillary won the popular vote. the country is ready. and i think that what they really want is a leader who speaks from conviction and from their heart with great authenticity and passion and that could be a man or a woman. so i believe the country is ready. it is just about someone who is going to really share their values and fight for what they care deeply about. >> thank you, senator gillibrand. >> thank you reverend sharpton. >> thanks again to senator gillibrand. coming up, two more potential 2020 candidates, senator bernie sanders will run for the second time possibly, will the second time be the luck needs to put him in the white house. and then senator elizabeth warren who has taken relentless attacks from president trump. we're getting just started. we'll be right back.
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running for president two years ago, senator bernie sanders carved out a name for himself as the fresh breath of air liberals have been waiting for. a politician who doesn't shy away from single payer health care system, a living wage, and criminal justice reform and por. but i wanted to find out in this sharpton primary whether this message is getting old or is it the one that could put him in the oval office.
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>> senator sanders, it is interesting, you are no stranger to the national action network conventions, and you've been here before and a lot of people are saying things that i only heard you say in '16 so has the parry caug parry -- the party that the progressives need to save you and senator warren and others. >> i think the democratic party is now understanding it makes more sense to listen to ordinary americans and working families rather than just wealthy campaign contributors and when do you that, a lot of things change. >> as you moved around the country and you -- you have been all over the place, you really never came off the road, are you finding an intensefying of the drive and ferver of people to come out? >> i was last week at a organizing effort in
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there were 450 people who are running for office, many for the first time, significant numbers of women and people of color. what we are seeing all over this country is people standing up and fighting back, not only against trump, but for progressive agenda that speaks to the needs of the middle class and working families. >> you have decided yet, are you running in 2020. >> i have not made that decision. >> what would make you make the decision? >> i want more than anything to see -- that trump is defeated and what i will assess at the proper final is who is the best candidate -- i remember that sincerely, everybody has an ego, i have an ego but what is most important is we come together to transform america to create a government that works for all and the not few and to defend donald trump and at the appropriate time and right now my focus is on 2018, doing
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everything i can to see the democrats regain control of the house or maybe even the senate. that is where my foucus. but at some point we'll look around to see which candidate is the best candidate to defeat trump. >> and you'll go that w that. >> yes. >> and do you think that others will go if it is bernie sanders, if they will support you. >> i think increasingly, if that is the case and if people assess that i am the best candidate, i think they will be supportive. >> one of the things that i've seen you go out of the your way to do is to expand progressives in supporting african-american candidates and our causes. it wasn't two weeks ago that you marched with martin luther king iii and i, in memphis, commemorating his father's assassination and i think a lot of people in civil rights felt that some progressives took us for granted. you not only didn't do that in '16, you started with things sh you consistently have done that since then.
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why has that become so important to bernie sanders' legacy. >> our job now is to bring people together. especially at a time when trump is trying to defeat us and to divide us up. and right now with a lot of people hurting, it is clear that the african-american community in terms of issues of criminal justice, in terms of issues of poverty, these are issues that have to be addressed and will have to work together. >> you were praising president ramos -- you were praising him and saying that we were not looking at a lot of things because of this figure, things he was fighting for. the irony is when you read the old script, you were giving him a lot of praise. clear that up. >> what boeshlthers me, i don'te to explain politics to you. we have conservative democrats that will try to take everything i saw out of context and if you
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look and who disagrees, if you look at what happened to the democratic party over the last ten years, democratic party has lost about a thousand legislative seats. about half of the country is now controlled fully in states by right-wing extremists. that is not a business model of success for the democratic party. and what i said is sometimes we forget about this because you had an extraordinary president and an extraordinary candidate. and they said, oh, obama won in 2008 and 2012, isn't that great? yeah. but forget about what was happening at the grassroots level. >> and because if they had been doing what he was doing, or what did you in '16, there might have been different results at a local level. >> absolutely. one of the points i make all of the time, it is a disgrace that the democratic party is not a 50-state party. how do you concede states like mississippi, or south carolina, or idaho for that matter or for
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kansas. you can't be a strong national party unless you exist in 50 states and i'm doing everything i can to make that happen. and by the way, we're making some good success, not only in the african-american community but all over the country and in trump land as well. you know that in birmingham, alabama, you now have a progressive young african-american mayor. >> yes. >> randall woodfin who ran a brilliant campaign. we worked with him. choky la mumba in jackson, mississippi, he's extraordinary. so we're making progress all over this progress and we have to keep that progress going. >> let me ask you this, last question, as you look at the landscape now do you think that donald trump with all of these mounting problems, do you think he'll be in 2020? >> hard to say at this point. i think what we have got to do and when what is the right thing to do is to let this process work its way. let mueller's investigation continue. what i will tell you is if he
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fires mueller, then you're into a whole new world. because i think that would be very clearly an obstruction of justice and obstruction of justice is in fact an impeachable offense. >> thank you, senator sanders. >> thank you. thanks to senator sanders. in just a few minutes, senator elizabeth warren. but first, connecting the history of nazi german to that of the confederate south. i'll explain in a minute.
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to keep our community safe. before you do any project big or small, pg&e will come out and mark your gas and electric lines so you don't hit them when you dig. call 811 before you dig, and make sure that you and your neighbors are safe. and now for this week's gotcha. later in the show i'll talk about the historical legacy of jim crow one of which is the continued celebration of confederate generals and leaders, traitors who formed a white supremacist terrorist state dedicated to more. and many states in and out of the old confederacy either removed or proposed removing the con fedderat memorials that
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sprouted almost every time black americans made gains in the 20th century. but one southern state wasn't having it. alabama, the heart of dixie and the home of the confederacy first capitol and so that end is republican governor kay ivy signed the alabama memorial preservation act of 2017. a legislative end around to protect public monuments more than 40 years old. now up for re-election, governor ivy released this ad on tuesday. >> up in washington, they always know better. politically correct nonsense, i say. when special interests wanted to tear down or historical monuments i said no and signed a law to protect them. i went change our erase our history, but here in alabama we
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know something washington doesn't. to get where we're going means understanding where we've been. >> cute, right? of course she neglects to mention the monument includes public schools named after confederates and the special interest she drags including the naacp and the alabama black caucus. like there is some problem with black students going to jefferson davis high school. but apparently surplus of stupid -- on tuesday, because on that same day i saw the city of memphis, tennessee, stood to lose a quarter of a million dollars in state funding as punishment by republican state politicians, angered by its removal of two confederate statues last year and the money was earmarked by the city's
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bicentennial celebration and races love history as long as its theirs. i'm tired of explaining why black southerns, americans, should pay taxes to commemorate racist scum bags so i'll just say this. the past is prologue, sure. but if we allow it to be the epilogue of our story then we failed as a country and a society. as human beings. the germans got this 80-year-old problem from 80 years ago, they got it right. you don't see nazi memorials anywhere in germany. except where they belong. in museums. in books. oh, i think they know where they're going as a country, madam governor. a place you may have heard of, but clearly never been. it's called forward. and if you watch this show, i'm there most every sunday in the
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welcome back to the sharpton primary. next i sat down with massachusetts senator elizabeth warren at the national action network convention this week. as expected, she had a lot to
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say. >> senator, warryou were at the convention today and you made a strong direct attack about housing discrimination in the 50th anniversary of the law on housing. why do you think that the country has not dealt with the racism and discrimination in housing and is this a national issue that you would like to see more people really dealing with? >> let's just start with the fact that the numbers don't lie. housing discrimination is not something from back in the 1930s or 1950s, it is something that is going on right now in america. and one of the principle ways it goes on is in mortgages. that is that african-americans get turned down for mortgages more than whites with the same kind of credit. and when they do get mortgages, they often get charged more than whites do.
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and the consequence of that is it means we have much lower home ownership rates among african-americans, and that central way that middle class families build wealth, the way that a family buys a house and pays a little every month and eventually owns this asset that appreciates, that has just been undercut for african-americans. and so the way i see this is this is why you put a cop on the beat. you put a cop on the beat to say the law is clear, housie -- housing laws have been out there and fair credit laws have been out there for as long and we say, you know, that is the deal. the last is clear, you can't charge african-americans more than you charge whites. you can't turn them down at higher rates. it should all be about the credit, not about the color of your skin.
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and yet we still haven't lived up to a law that is a half a century old. so for me, this is about you got a put a cop on the beat and then get that cop to enforce the law. reverend, this is why we built the consumer financial protection bureau and why we supported it. in that it has right there in it a unit on discriminatory lending and right now the problem with the consumer agency is its got mick mulvaney and 12 months has gone by and they have not enforced any action. >> this is the law. you have to stand in for the delegates and where this is the law. >> yeah. >> and i think you running for re-election in massachusetts, it is not enough to just say trump is no good but we want to do these things and this is what
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you specifically outlined this morning on the network. >> this is what gets me up in the morning. look, you know me and my background. you know iu up out in oklahoma, we didn't have much of anything. about how we lost our family station wagon and nearly lost our home and we were right at the edge. but i saw what happens when kids get a little opportunity. we got to save our home and i'll tell you one reason why. because when my momma went off to get a minimum wage job to save that house it was a at a time in america when a minimum wage job would support a family of three and when i got ready to go to college, i could go to a commuter college that cost $50 a semester. those opportunities aren't out there for people any more. a minimum wage job is not a way to keep yourself in the middle class or haul yourself into the middle class. there is no $50 college opportunities for our kids today. i think about this, you know me,
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i was never going to run for public office, never saw any part of that. but i give you exactly the one reason that i do. it is gratitude. i'm grateful for the opportunities that came my way. and that makes me determined that those same opportunities are going to be available to all of our kids. not just some of them, all of our kids. >> i raised this morn that the president has derived at calling you pocahontas. >> he has. >> do you see any racial dog whistling in that. >> oh, yeah. and look, he's been told over and over and over by tribal leaders, cut this out, stop this. this is racist, because it is a racist intent. he is not doing this to pay a compliment, he is doing it to get out there and -- us against them, us against them and in every possible way. and you know, i went to talk to the tribal leaders, it has been
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a couple of months ago now, and at the national conference of american indians, and i told them my story. i told them about growing up, i told them about how when i was a little kid my mom and my dad, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, what everybody talked about was that branch of our family tree. the native american branch of the tree and how my mother -- my mother was just quiet young woman who played the piano. my daddy saw her when he was 15 years old, fell head over heels in love with her, but his family was deeply opposed to the marriage. because my mother was part native american. >> right. >> and my parents ended up eloping and they faced a lot. they made it through the depression in oklahoma. they made it through the dust
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bowl. they made it through a lot of rough times. they raised three boys and sent them all off to the military. they raised a public school teacher. and they hung together. for 67 years and that is all -- always going to be a part of me and that is something nobody or the president of the united states could take away from me. >> and what you went through and i advised vice president biden and he said he will not try to run for re-election and you say leave me alone because i'm committed to massachusetts, but what message do you think the democratic party needs to really embrace and whoever runs in '20 needs to embrace if they are successful because again, just being against trump is not enough. if you were calling the shots to a candidate or party in 2020,
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what would you tell them they need to start focusing on now? >> so the big message is we care, and we're willing to get out there and fight for some results. and, boy, they're going to be around things like health care, the other side is willing to rip away health care for 35 million americans, we believe health care is a basic human right. and we will fight for it. we believe that taxes should be every -- every pays a fair share and the richest and most powerful should not be able to shove off to everybody else the cost of running the army and paving the roads and keeping our schools open. but most of all, for me, we believe in building opportunity. i really believe in this. and you know what that means, it means home ownership like we jury just talking about. with means education. it means our kids get a chance to get a technical education or to go to four years of college or even on to graduate school without getting crushed by
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student loan debt. it means that those entry level jobs are not dead-end jobs, they're entry level to a real middle class life and all of those things, all of those things are set by policies in our government. and as long as a handful of rich and powerful people control that government, they're going to make it work for themselves. what i want to see is i want to see the people take back that government. and i want to see the people make that government work for them. >> well, senator warren, we'll be watching and hoping. thank you so much for being with us. >> thank you. it is so good to see you, reverend. my thanks again to senator warren. up next, why a museum is putting a spotlight on the country's darkest past. be right back. ♪ i want some more of it. ♪ i try so hard,
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african-americans were lynched, hung, shot, burned alive, often as entertainment for entire towns. towns. between the end of the civil war and the dawn of the civil rights era, in four days the eji will open the national memorial for peace and justice in montgomery, alabama to commemorate the victims and to expose her legacy often downplayed, if not left out, of the history books. joining me now is brian stephens stephenson, executive director and ceo of the equal justice initiative. brian, i think that the museum brings home the graphic and ugly display of what african-americans went through that a lot of people want to erase or ignore.
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>> no, you're absolutely right, rev. i don't think we've done a very good job in this country of confronting this history of enslavement and brutality. most americans don't have a visual that adequately expresses the trauma and the heartbreak and the tragedy of slavery. we instead have given people these pictures that make slavery look benign, make it look harmless and offensive. and that has left us unwilling to confront the legacy of slavery. similarly, we haven't talked about the terrorism that shaped the lives of african-americans. most people in this country don't appreciate the fact that thousands of lynchings, they were terrorism. all the people -- >> that is what really strikes me about the museum and the work you guys are doing. because you see these movies almost like the slaves were family and the maid was like an
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auntie or something, and people don't realize that we lived -- our grandparents, our forefathers lived under the fear of terror and that they were hung at the center of cities if they did anything wrong, and people would come out of church on sunday to watch the lynching of african-americans. and we need to know this so we don't drift back there when you hear people saying charlottesville has some moral equal between people that were neo-nazis and people that were protesting them. we really need to understand what these people did and do and we can drift back toward. >> i don't think there is any question about that. when people use the word murder to describe these lynchings and when they use the word even hate crimes, they undervalue what this was. this was terrorism. older people of color come up to me sometimes and they say, mr.
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stephenson, i get angry i hear somebody dealing with domestic terrorism for the first time after 9/11. we had to worry about being bombed and lynched and menaced every day of our lives. the geographic of this country was shaped by terrorism. the black people in cleveland and detroit and oakland and boston didn't go to those communities to look for opportunities, they went to those communities as refugees and exiles from terror in the american south. it is the kind of stain, it is the kind of tragedy that haunts this region. because as you've described, everyone was complicit. people of faith, the law enforcement community, judges, lawyers, all would come out and they would celebrate and they would actually enjoy this carnival of violence. and i look at the photographs where young children are being brought, lifted up so they can
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see a black man burn to death, to see a black woman mutilated, to see these people hanged and tortured, and it has done something terrific to our psyche that we have to address. >> like they were going to a circus or some amusement park. i've worked with you on occasion, and i know that you are not doing this, and the group is not doing this museum, this memorial, to ignite resentment or hate but to really expose where this country has had to come from and make sure we never go back. what is your hope that people who come and watch these exhibits leave with? >> you're exactly right, rev. our hope is to actually create healing. we want truth and reconciliation. i believe that a society like ours can be stronger, healthier, better, but we have to tell the truth about our history. in germany, they've actually encouraged people to look at the
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holocaust. you can't go 100 meters in berlin without seeing those markers or stones chls th. they don't want to be thought of as nazis all their lives, and because of that i'm willing to go to germany. i'm willing to engage in that relationship. we haven't done that in the american south and it's left us vulnerable to this future. my interest is not talking about this history because i want to punish america, i want to liberate us. i want us to get closer to the kind of relationship that can liberate us. >> we need to hear, but in order to hear we need to expose the scars. thank you, brian stephenson and good luck at the opening. >> thank you, sir. up next, my final thoughts. stay with us. i just got my cashback match,
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as i thought about this museum opening this weekend, montgomery, as i watched literally thousands of people taking their earnings and spending it to come to new york for national networks convention, it energized me that we have got to move this country in the right direction. we have got to deal with protecting voting rights and deal with health care for everyone and economic justice and gender equality and ending
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ho homophobia. we must be re-energized. there is no time to relax, no time to rest. if you love this country, then you protect it from going off into hateful and dark periods. if you're a person of faith, today going to church, remember that faith without works is a dead thing. thank you for watching. i'll see you back here next sunday. now to my colleague, alex witt. >> good morning to all of you. i'm alex witt at msnbc in new york. fall out and new reaction today after the president on twitter went after some of his favorite targets. but now some of them are firing back. >> statistically a lot of people flip when they're confronted with the possibility of a federal sentence of many, m

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