MetroFocus: January 11, 2022

Encore: June 17, 2022

RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS

While the world may know some of the significant names of the Civil Rights movement, there are countless everyday heroes who also fought to advance equal justice for all. As part of our “Chasing the Dream” initiative, Reverend Al Sharpton joins us to discuss his latest book, “Righteous Troublemakers: Untold Stories of the Social Justice Movement in America,” in which he aims to shine a spotlight on the unsung heroes who were called to do extraordinary things and who helped advance the cause.

 

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

WE THINK OF THE LEADERS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, SOME FAMOUS NAMES IMMEDIATELY COME TO MIND.

DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., ROSA PARKS, MALCOLM X.

THESE COURAGEOUS INDIVIDUALS ARE KNOWN THROUGHOUT THE WORLD FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE FIGHT FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE.

HOWEVER, THEY ARE FAR FROM THE ONLY ONES THAT TAKE PART IN THIS FIGHT.

THERE ARE COUNTLESS OTHER ACTIVISTS AND LEADERS WHO STRUGGLED EVERY DAY FOR EQUAL RIGHTS BUT WHOSE NAMES AND LEGACIES HAVE PERHAPS BEEN SOMEWHAT LOST TO HISTORY.

NOW REVEREND AL SHARPTON HAS WRITTEN A NEW BOOK TO RECTIFY THAT AND TO TELL THE STORIES OF SOME OF THESE UNSUNG HEROES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT WHO MAY HAVE NEVER ACHIEVED FAME, BUT CERTAINLY HELPED OUR NATION TO PROGRESS.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS: UNTOLD STORIES OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT IN AMERICA.'

AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE THE AUTHOR OF 'RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS,' CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST, TELEVISION AND RADIO HOST, AND BAPTIST MINISTER REVEREND AL SHARPTON TO JOIN US.

REVEREND, WELCOME, IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.

GOOD TO SEE YOU ALWAYS, JACK.

THIS IS -- IT'S A FABULOUS BOOK.

IT'S A COMBINATION OF STORYTELLING AND HISTORICAL PROFILES WHICH I THINK IS SO IMPORTANT FOR SO MANY PEOPLE TO REACH OUT FOR TODAY.

SO LET ME START WITH THIS QUESTION WHICH IS, WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO FOCUS ON THE LESSER-KNOWN NAMES OF THE INDIVIDUALS THAT YOU TALK ABOUT HERE IN YOUR BOOK?

WELL, WHAT REALLY MOVED ME TO DO THIS, AND I OPENED THE BOOK TALKING ABOUT THIS, IS IN 2020 WHEN WE WERE DEALING WITH A LOT OF THE PROTESTS AROUND THE POLICE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD.

I HAD, DURING THE EULOGY THAT I DID FOR GEORGE FLOYD, JUST OUT OF NOWHERE, CALLED FOR A MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

THAT WAS NOT PLANNED, FINANCED, ANYTHING.

AND I CALLED, I SAID, WE NEED TO GO TO WASHINGTON, WE NEED TO BRING THIS TO THE STEPS OF THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL.

MARTIN LUTHER KING III WORKS CLOSELY WITH ME, HE WAS IN THE AUDIENCE, AND HE KIND OF LOOKED AND SAYS, WHAT IS HE TALKING ABOUT?

BECAUSE HE KNEW THERE WAS NO PLANNING.

AND WE DID GO ON AUGUST 28th.

THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE 1963 MARCH WHERE HIS FATHER MADE THE HISTORIC ADDRESS, 'I HAVE A DREAM.'

SO WE'RE THERE.

AND IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC, JACK, IT WAS AMAZING.

OVER 20,000 PEOPLE SHOWED UP.

NO INCIDENTS, NO SUPER SPREAD, WE TESTED EVERYBODY, TEMPERATURE COMING IN AND ALL.

SECURITY CAME TO GET ME AND SOME OF THE FAMILY MEMBERS OF GEORGE FLOYD AND OTHERS TO BRING US UP TO THE STEPS TO ADDRESS THE CROWD, AND THERE WERE THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE AROUND.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE CROWD, THIS OLD MAN WAS LIKE JUMPING UP AND DOWN, HOLDING SOMETHING IN HIS HAND.

AND FOR WHATEVER REASON, BECAUSE I'VE DONE THIS 40 YEARS, HE CAUGHT MY ATTENTION.

AND I SAID TO SECURITY, WAIT A MINUTE THAT OLD MAN LOOKS LIKE MAYBE IN HIS 80s, SEE WHAT HE WANTS, WHAT'S THE PROBLEM, MAYBE SOMETHING'S WRONG.

AND THEY BROUGHT HIM OVER TO ME.

I ACTUALLY STOPPED THE PROCESSION.

AND HE SAID -- HE SHOWED ME WHAT I WAS WHAT HE WAS HOLDING IN HIS HAND WAS A BUTTON FROM THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON '63.

AND HE SAID TO ME, REVEREND AL, I WAS HERE WITH DR. KING IN '63, AND I WANTED TO BE HERE WITH YOU TODAY.

AND HE HUGGED ME AND GOT BACK IN THE CROWD.

AND I MOUNTED THE STEPS, AND I THOUGHT ABOUT IT LATER, IT HAUNTED ME.

I SAID, YOU KNOW, IT'S GUYS LIKE THAT, THAT NOBODY KNOWS THEIR NAME, NOBODY KNOWS WHERE THEY WORK, NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THEY DID -- THAT CAME TO MARCHES, PROTESTS, THAT WERE INVOLVED, THAT KNEW THEIR NAME WAS NOT GOING TO BE IN THE NEWSPAPER, KNEW THEY WOULDN'T OB TBE ON TV THEY MADE THE MOVEMENT AND NOBODY EVER TALKS ABOUT THEM.

AS ONE THAT NOW HAS A SPARE AMOUNT OF RECOGNITION, I OWE IT TO THEM TO TELL THEIR STORIES.

BECAUSE IF THEY HAD NOT BEEN BEHIND A LOT OF WHAT WAS DONE HISTORICALLY, EVEN DONE IN MY TIME, NONE OF IT WOULD HAVE WORKED.

THAT'S WHAT MADE ME SAY, WE NEED TO DIG AND UP RESEARCH SOME RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS, BEFORE MY TIME, AND SOME THAT I'VE KNOWN.

YOU USE A TITLE FOR YOUR FIRST CHAPTER, A QUOTE FROM THIS GENTLEMAN YOU SPOKE TO.

WHAT HE SAID TO YOU AT THE MARCH.

USED THAT TO GET INTO THE BOOK.

LET ME ASK A QUESTION ABOUT THE TITLE.

I THINK -- YOU'VE WRITTEN A NUMBER OF BOOKS.

I'M ALWAYS FASCINATED ABOUT HOW AUTHORS COME UP WITH THEIR TITLES.

WHERE DID YOU GET THE TERM RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS?

JOHN LEWIS, THE LATE, GREAT JOHN LEWIS, SAID WE MUST GET IN GOOD TROUBLE.

AND MOST OF THE BOOK IS ABOUT PEOPLE THAT FOUGHT IN SEGREGATION TIMES ALL THE WAY UP TO NOW ON OTHER ISSUES.

THERE WERE ALWAYS -- THINK WERE ALWAYS CONSIDERED TROUBLEMAKERS.

MANY TIME IN MY CAREER, I'VE BEEN CONSIDERED THAT.

SO I WANTED TO TWIST THE TERM WHERE IT'S NOT SOMETHING TO RUN FROM.

BUT BECAUSE YOU'RE MAKING GOOD TROUBLE, AS JOHN LEWIS SAID, AND BECAUSE YOU'RE DOING IT FOR A RIGHTEOUS REASON, YOU SHOULD SAY IT IS RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKING.

THAT'S WHERE I CAME UP -- I WANTED TO TRY TO TAKE THE STING OUT OF PEOPLE CALLING PEOPLE TROUBLEMAKERS.

BUT UNDERSTAND THAT THEY WERE RIGHTEOUS.

AND THESE PEOPLE WERE MORE RIGHTEOUS THAN EVEN SOME OF US OUT FRONT BECAUSE THEY GOT NOTHING.

NO NOTORIETY, NOBODY EVER WANTED TO STOP THEM IN THE STREET, TAKE A SELFIE.

THEY WERE REALLY THERE FOR THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF THE CAUSE.

IT'S A POWERFUL USE OF THAT TERM AND TURNING IT AROUND, IF YOU WOULD.

AS YOU KNOW, BACK IN THE '50s AND '60s, THAT THOSE WHO WERE FIGHTING FOR CIVIL RIGHTTGHTS BS AND WHITES, ESPECIALLY COMING FROM THE SOUTH, WERE CHARACTERIZED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AND POLITICAL LEADERS WHO WERE AGAINST THIS AS TROUBLEMAKERS, AS INSTIGATORS.

SO TO APPEND THE TERM 'RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS' GETS THE POINT ACROSS THAT YOU WANT TO MENTION.

LET ME ASK ABOUT SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR BOOK THAT YOU HIGH HIGHLIGHT.

THEN I WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE ISSUES THAT ARE PERCOLATING AROUND US TODAY.

THERE'S SOME NAMES THAT PEOPLE MIGHT NOT RECOGNIZE.

ONE OF THEM IS POLLY MURRAY.

TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHO POLLY MURRAY WAS AND WHY POLLY MURRAY IS CONSIDERED ONE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS.

PORLLY MURRAY WAS A LAWYER, AND I WOULD SAY LEGAL SCHOLAR, AND HER WRITINGS WERE SO INFLUENTIAL AND SO INSIGHTFUL THAT THE PREMISES THAT SHE WROTE ABOUT WAS PARTLY WHAT THURGOOD MARSHALL DEVELOPED SOME OF HIS LEGAL ARGUMENTS AROUND THE HISTORIC BROWN VERSUS THE BOARD OF EDUCATION, 1954, IN FRONT OF THE SUPREME COURT THAT LITERALLY DESEGREGATED PUBLIC EDUCATION.

AND POLLY MURRAY WAS ONE OF THOSE THAT HAD RAISED THE ARGUMENTS THAT HE ELABORATED AND USED.

SHE NEVER GOT A LOT OF RECOGNITION BECAUSE, ONE, WE'RE TALKING THE EARLY 1950s.

AND THERE WAS NOT, EVEN IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, A LOT OF DUE CREDIT GIVEN TO WOMEN.

WOMEN WEREN'T EVEN ALLOWED TO SPEAK AT THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON IN '63, IMAGINE 10 YEARS BEFORE THAT.

AND SOMEONE THAT WAS LGBTQ.

SO THE CULTURAL BIASES OF THE TIME, EVEN AMONG THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, WAS ROB BED POLLY MURRAY OF WHAT I THINK WAS HER JUST DUE.

I CONFESS TO YOU, UP UNTIL A FEW YEARS AGO, I KNEW THE NAME POLLY MURRAY BUT I DIDN'T KNOW THE BACKGROUND UNTIL YALE UNIVERSITY, WHERE I WENT TO SCHOOL AND TEACH, HAVE ABOUT 15 YEARS ABOUT FAMOUS TRIALS, DECIDED TO NAME ONE OF THEIR RESIDENTIAL COLLEGES AFTER POLLY MURRAY.

AND I LEARNED ABOUT THE BREADTH AND THE EXPANSE OF THE WORK THAT POLLY MURRAY HAD DONE.

AND QUITE CANDIDLY, I SAID TO MYSELF, HOW DID I NOT KNOW THAT STORY?

WHEN I SAW THAT YOU HAD INCLUDED POLLY PURMURRAY IN YOUR BOOK, I THOUGHT, THAT'S JUST WONDERFUL.

THE BREADTH OF HER WORK IS ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

AND I THINK THAT I WANTED TO, DEEP DOWN INSIDE, AS A BAPTIST MINISTER AS YOU SAID, WANTED TO GO AGAINST THE NORMS OF THAT TIME OF A LOT OF THE CHURCH LEADERS IN THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

AND THIS WAS WRONG TO NOT GIVE THE RECOGNITION TO HER BECAUSE OF HER SEXUAL ORIENTTATION AND BECAUSE OF HER INJURY.

LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT MAMIE TILL-MOBLEY.

WE HAVE LEARNED A LOT ABOUT EMMETT TILL, ESPECIALLY RECENTLY.

BRUTALLY MURDERED INST IN THAT 1955.

A 14-YEAR-OLD BLACK BOY FROM CHICAGO COMES TO VISIT HIS COUSINS.

A QUICK BACKGROUND FOR OUR VIEWERS.

THE TWO MEN WHO KILL HIM, WHO MY THE WAY ADMIT TO IT ON CAMERA AFTER THE TRIAL, AFTER BEING PAID $4,000 BY 'LOOK' MAGAZINE, GO TO TRIAL, THERE'S ALL SORTS OF EVIDENCE AGAINST THEM BUT NO COOPERATION.

THEY NEEDED VOLUNTEERS TO PROSECUTE.

THE SHERIFF DIDN'T COOPERATE AT ALL.

A JURY OF 12 WHITE MEN FIND THEM NOT GUILTY AFTER THE DEFENSE ATTORNEY SAYS TO THEM, IN THE SUMMATION, IMAGINE THIS TODAY, SAYS TO THEM, 'YOUR WHITE ANGLO-SAXON BROUGHT SFANT ANCESTORS WOULD ROLL OVER IN THEIR GRAVES IF YOU CONVICT A WHITE MAN OF KILLING A BLACK MAN.'

THAT WAS THE ARGUMENT IN THE COURT.

AS YOU KNOW, THE MEN ARE ACQUITTED IN LESS THAN AN HOUR.

THEY ADMIT TO IT ON CAMERA AFTERWARDS.

THEY EVEN ADMITTED TO KIDNAPPING HIM BEFOREHAND.

BUT SAID, WELL, WE DIDN'T KILL HIM, BEFOREHAND.

YET THEY WERE NEVER EVEN CHARGED WITH THE KIDNAPPING.

IT WAS A HORRENDOUS SITUATION.

EMMETT TILL OFTEN REFERRED TO AS THE SACRE PHYSICAL LAMB OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

YOU WRITE ABOUT HIS MOTHER, MAMIE TILL-MOBLEY.

WHY IS SHE SO IMPORTANT AND WHY WOULD YOU CONSIDER HER ONE OF YOUR RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS?

MAMIE TILL-MOBLEY, EMMITT'S MOTHER, WAS A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST DENOMINATION WHICH I GREW UP IN.

AND WHEN SHE BROUGHT HIS BODY, DEAD BODY, BACK TO CHICAGO, BECAUSE HE WAS THERE IN MISSISSIPPI VISITING RELATIVES, SHE GOT THE BISHOP OF THE DIOCESE TO LET HER HAVE THE FUNERAL IN THAT CHURCH.

AND SHE DID SOMETHING UNPRECEDENTED.

AS BATTERED AND BROKEN AS HIS BODY WAS, SHE HAD AN OPEN CASKET FUNERAL.

SHE SAID, I WANT THE WORLD TO SEE WHAT THEY DID TO MY SON.

WHICH WAS UNHEARD OF AT THAT TIME.

AND IT WAS THE OPEN CASKET, AND THEN THEY TOOK THAT PHOTOGRAPH AND PUT IT INTO A POPULAR AFRICAN AMERICAN MAGAZINE AT THAT TIME CALLED 'JET' MAGAZINE.

AND WHEN THE COUNTRY SAW THE BEATING THAT THIS YOUNG MAN TOOK BEFORE THEY KILLED HIM, IT WAS THE IMPETUS FOR A LOT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT THAT STARTED IN THE LATE 1950s.

ROSA PARKS HAS SAID PUBLICLY BEFORE THAT, WHEN SHE WAS SITTING ON THAT BUS IN THE FRONT OF THE BUS AND THEY TOLD HER TO MOVE OR SHE'D BE ARRESTED, SHE THOUGHT ABOUT EMMETT TILL AND SHE SAT THERE.

THAT WAS WHAT EMMETT TILL WENT.

BUT MAMIE MADE ROSA AND ROSAS THE WORLD THINK OF EMMETT.

BECAUSE HAD SHE NOT OPENED THAT CASKET, IT WOULD NOT HAVE HAD THE SAME IMPACT AND THE SAME SHOCK THAT THE NATION WENT THROUGH.

SHE NEVER STOPPED FROM OPENING THAT CASKET TILL THE DAY SHE DIED FIGHTING FOR OTHER VICTIMS.

SHE TOURED THIS COUNTRY.

SHE NEVER STOPPED PURSUING JUSTICE FOR HER SON.

THERE WAS SOMETHING ABOUT HER THAT IT WAS JUST NO WAY YOU COULD PUT OUT THE FLAME WITH JUSTICE IN HER.

AND I WAS PRIVILEGED TO MEET IN HER LATER LIFE.

SHE CAME DOWN TO NEWARK AIRPORT, SHE SPOKE.

I WOULD TALK TO HER AND SHE WAS ONE OF THESE PEOPLE THAT YOU FEEL, FROM THE BOTTOM OF HER FEET UP, SHE FELT THIS FIRE.

I THINK PEOPLE SHOULD KNOW, THIS WAS A REAL SHERO.

THIS WOMAN WAS COMMITTED AND COURAGEOUS.

BECAUSE HAD SHE NOT DONE WHAT NO ONE DID BEFORE THAT, OPENED THAT CASKET, I DON'T THINK WE WOULD HAVE KNOWN MUCH ABOUT THE EMMETT TILL STORY AND A LOT OF THE REACTION THAT CAUSED THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

YEAH, I HAD THE GOOD FORTUNE TO INTERVIEW HER ONCE ALSO BEFORE SHE PASSED AWAY, AND I HAD THAT SAME INSTANT REACTION.

WHAT A STRONG, COURAGEOUS WOMAN.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE LOSS, THE HORRENDOUS NATURE OF THAT STORY, IT EVEN MAKES YOU RECOGNIZE HOW POWERFUL HER VISION WAS AND HER PRESENCE WAS.

THERE'S ANOTHER WOMAN THAT YOU MENTION IN THE BOOK.

AMELIA BOYNTON ROBINSON.

THIS IS PROBABLY A NAME MOST PEOPLE HAVE NOT HEARD OF.

BUT THEY SHOULD.

WHY?

SHE LIVED IN SELMA, ALABAMA.

WAS FROM SELMA.

AND SHE WAS A LOCAL ORGANIZER, VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES IN ALABAMA WHEN BLACKS WERE NOT EASILY GIVEN THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

IT WAS HER MOBILIZING IN SELMA THAT LED TO A LOT OF THE MOVEMENT IN SELMA.

AFTER A MAN, JIMMY LEE JACKSON, WHO WAS AT A VOTER REGISTRATION RALLY THAT WAS DISRUPTED IN ALABAMA NEAR SELMA, AFTER HE WAS SHOT BY THOSE WHO CAME TO BREAK UP THE RALLY, THEY RUSHED HIS BODY TO SELMA AND HE DIED.

AMELIA AND ACTIVISTS SHE PUT TOGETHER STARTED PROTESTING, SAYING JIMMY LEE JACKSON, VOLTER REGISTRATION, WE MUST REGISTER.

THAT IS WHAT ATTRACTED MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. AND JOHN LEWIS, HEAD OF SNIC AT THE TIME, TO SELMA.

IT WAS AMELIA.

AND IN FACT, BECAUSE OF SEGREGATION, STILL PRACTICED IN SOME OF THOSE AREAS EVEN THOUGH IT WAS GOING TO LEGALLY BE CHALLENGED WITH THE '64 VOTING RIGHTS ACT, I MEAN, THE '64 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, DR. KING AND OTHERS STAYED AT AMELIA BOYKIN'S HOUSE.

IT WAS THE HEADQUARTERS FOR THE MOVEMENT.

SO AS I BECAME ACTIVE, I WOULD HAVE TO SELMA EVERY YEAR, THE TRADITIONAL GO TO SELMA, WEEKEND OF THE BIG SELMA MARK WHERE THEY WERE BEATEN ON THE BRIDGE, THE FAMOUS STONING OF JOHN LEWIS AND JOSE WILLIAMS ON THE BRIDGE, I GOT TO MEET MISS ROBINSON, AMELIA BOYNTON ROBINSON, SHE REMARRIED.

SHE WOULD TELL ME STORIES ABOUT HOW IT WAS BEFORE THE CAMERAS GOT THERE AND AFTER THE CAMERAS LEFT, TRYING TO GET THE RIGHT TO VOTE.

AND SHE TOLD ME AND PEOPLE FORGET, JOHN LEWIS, YES, WAS TEAR GASSED AND BEATEN.

BUT SO WAS I.

Y'ALL FORGET ABOUT THE WOMEN, REVEREND, NOT GOING TO REPRIMAND YOU, BUT I WANTED TO TELL HER STORY.

ONE OF THE JOYS OF MY LIFE IF I LIVE 100 YEARS, ON THE 50th AN VERSE SAESH OF THAT BEATING ON THE BRIDGE, I WALKED ACROSS THAT BRIDGE HOLDING THE ARMCHAIR OF A WHEELCHAIR WHILE SHE HELD THE HAND OF THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT, BARACK OBAMA.

TO GO ACROSS THAT BRIDGE WHEN SHE HOUSED DR. KING, WHO WAS TEAR GASSED, SHE HAD NO DREAM THAT WE'D EVER HAVE A BLACK PRESIDENT THAT SHE LIVED TO SEE.

FOR ME TO STAND RIGHT NEXT TO HER AND RIGHT BEHIND THE PRESIDENT WAS A THRILL.

BUT I WANTED TO TELL HER STORY BECAUSE EVERYONE KNOWS THE JOHN LEWIS STORY.

THEY NEED TO KNOW THE AMELIA BOYNTON ROBINSON STORY.

WOMEN ESPECIALLY LIKE HER ARE THE REPOSITORIES OF SO MUCH OF THE HISTORY, THE STORIES BEHIND THIS.

AS YOU SAID, WE'VE SEEN SOME OF THEM, BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN WHAT HAPPENED IN THE DAYS LEADING UP TO THAT.

YOU ALSO TALK HERE ABOUT THE FAMILY MEMBERS OF SOME OF THE PEOPLE WE HAVE HEARD OF MORE RECENTLY.

SOME OF THE VEHICLETIES OF POLICE BRUTALITY.

AND TALK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS HAVE BEEN.

AGAIN, NAMES WE MIGHT NOT KNOW.

WHY HAVE THEIR STRUGGLES BEEN SO IMPORTANT AND WHY DID YOU WANT TO INCLUDE THEM IN THE BOOK?

I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE KNOW THAT FAMILY MEMBERS OF VICTIMS, FAMILY OF ERIC GARNER IN NEW YORK, OF GEORGE FLOYD, AHMED ARBERY, THEY DO NOT CHOOSE TO BE SPOKESPEOPLE OR ACTIVISTS.

IT'S THRUST UPON THEM OUT OF NOWHERE.

I CHOSE TO DO WHAT I DO.

OTHERS CHOSE TO DO WHAT THEY DO.

GEORGE FLOYD'S BROTHER AND SISTER, WHO I WRITE ABOUT, PHILONISE AND BRIDGET, THEY WOKE UP ONE MORNING IN THE MIDDLE OF A MAELSTROM THEY NEVER PLANNED, NEVER PREPARED FOR.

THEIR BROTHER GOT KILLED.

THEY'RE A VICTIM'S FAMILY.

GWEN CARTER, MOTHER OF ERIC GARNER.

I WANTED PEOPLE TO UNDERSTAND HOW THESE PEOPLE ROSE TO AN OCCASION THEY NEVER PLANNED OR DESIRED.

AND THEY HAD ALL OF A SUDDEN TO BEAR THE BURDEN OF NOT ONLY THEIR GED RELATIVE, BUT THE MURDER OF MANY PEOPLE THAT BLEED IN THEIR CAUSE.

PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW HOW THEY WERE JUST ORDINARY HUMAN BEINGS WHOSE LIFE FLIPPED OVER AND THEY'LL NEVER BE THE SAME.

YOU USE THE EXPRESSION, I'VE HEARD IT BEFORE, HOW ORDINARY PEOPLE WHEN CONFRONTED WITH THESE GREAT CRISES IN THEIR LIVES CAN FIND THEMSELVES CAPABLE OF DOING EXTRAORDINARY THINGS.

AND I THINK SO MANY OF THE PEOPLE IN YOUR BOOK ARE THAT WAY.

YOU MENTIONED GEORGE FLOYD.

YOU TALK ABOUT IT IN THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK, AT HIS FUNERAL, THE EULOGY, THE MAN YOU MET AT THE MARCH.

WE HAVE HAD SUCH A LITANY OF DEATHS AS A CONSEQUENCE OF POLICE MISCONDUCT.

WHY DO YOU THINK GEORGE FLOYD'S CASE HAD SUCH AN IMPACT?

AND WHY DO YOU THINK THAT THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD WAS, IN SOME WAYS, I THINK -- TELL ME IF YOU AGREE -- YOU CAN COMPARE TO IT EMMETT TILL IN THE SENSE THAT IT HELPED TO -- I DON'T WANT TO SAY REJUVENATE.

MAYBE GALLIVANIZE IS A BETTER WORD.

HELPED TO GALVANIZE A MOVEMENT.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IT WAS ABOUT GEORGE FLOYD'S KILLING THAT DID THAT?

I THINK THAT THE FACT THAT IT HAPPENED DURING THE HEIGHT OF A PANDEMIC, WHEN EVERYONE WAS GLUED TO THE TELEVISION, WATCHING THE NEWS, BECAUSE WE WANTED SOMEBODY TO TELL US, THIS IS OVER TONIGHT.

YOU CAN GO TO WORK TOMORROW, GO TO SCHOOL.

AND THE FACT THAT THIS WAS VIDEOTAPED.

AND THAT IT WAS SO EGREGIOUS.

THE MAN'S KNEE ON HIS NECK, 9 MINUTES 29 SECONDS.

THE COMBINATION OF IT BEING IN A PANDEMIC, BEING VIDEOTAPED, WE WERE ALL LOCKED IN, THERE WAS NO DISTRACTIONS.

YOU'VE GOT TO REMEMBER, NO SPORTS.

SO YOU COULDN'T TURN OFF THE NEWS AND WATCH THE BALL GAME.

WE FOR THE FIRST TIME HAD A GLOBAL, CAPTIVE AUDIENCE WATCHING WHAT WAS GOING ON, AND IN THE MIDDLE OF THIS, WE SEE THIS POLICE OFFICER IN UNIFORM ON THIS MAN'S NECK FOR THAT LENGTH OF TIME.

AND A LOT OF PEOPLE JUST EXPLODED.

SAID, WAIT A MINUTE, I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS.

PEOPLE THAT NEVER SAW THE VIDEOTAPE OF ERIC GARNER IN NEW YORK, BECAUSE THERE WAS A TAPE, SAW WHAT HAPPENED WITH GEORGE FLOYD.

AND A LOT OF IT WE ORGANIZED.

BUT THE HONEST TRUTH IS, 98% OF IT, NOBODY ORGANIZED.

PEOPLE ORGANICALLY STARTED MARCHING ALL OVER THE WORLD.

AND BEGAN A MOVEMENT UNLIKE ANYTHING WE'VE SEEN.

AND I THINK IT WAS TANTAMOUNT TO EMMETT TILL IN THE '50s.

WE'VE ALSO SEEN, AND YOU KNOW THIS, YOU LIVED THROUGH PART OF IT, WE'VE SEEN IN OUR HISTORY AN EBB AND FLOW, IF YOU WILL, IN TERMS OF PROGRESS, CIVIL RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE, AND THEN PUSHBACK AFTER SOME OF THESE ERAS.

SOMETIMES VIOLENT PUSHBACK.

WE SAW IT IN RECONSTRUCTION.

WE SAW IT IN THE '50S AND '60s, CIVIL RIGHTS ERA.

THERE WOULD BE LEGISLATION PASSED AND THERE WOULD BE PUSHBACK, INDEED, OFTEN VIOLENT PUSHBACK.

I'M WONDERING YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT WHETHER WE MIGHT BE SEEING SOME OF THAT PUSHBACK NOW FOLLOWING THE GALVANIZING EFFECT OF THE DEATH OF GEORGE FLOYD.

AND WE'RE SEEING SO MANY THINGS HAPPEN NOW.

BRINGING ATTENTION TO ONE THING, WE'RE SEEING NOW LEGISLATURES, STATE LEGISLATURES, ACTUALLY PROPOSING BILLS LIMITING HOW MUCH WE SHOULD BE TEACHING ABOUT OUR HISTORY WITH SLAVERY.

AND ONE OF THE ARGUMENTS THAT'S BEEN SUGGESTED IN SUPPORT OF THAT IS THAT, WELL, BY TEACHING THAT, IT'S EVEN MORE DIVISIVE IN TERMS OF RACE RELATIONS.

IF YOU HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO SOME OF THESE LEGISLATORS WHO ARE PROPOSING THIS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TOO THEM ABOUT THAT NOTION, THAT TEACHING IN DEPTH THE HISTORY OF SLAVERY IS ACTUALLY DIVISIVE IN TERMS OF RACE RELATIONS?

I THINK THAT IN ORDER TO HEAL ANYTHING, YOU HAVE TO EXPOSE IT.

AND IF YOU DON'T EXPOSE IT, IT CAN RECUR.

THERE'S A REASON WHY PEOPLE FELT IT WAS ALL RIGHT TO ENSLAVE PEOPLE IN THE FIRST PLACE.

AND UNTIL YOU RAISE AND EXPOSE THE NAKED WICKEDNESS OF THAT, THEN PEOPLE WILL NOT RESIST THOSE IMPULSES, THOSE TEMPT TAKINGS, OR THEIR DEMAGOGUERY IN THE PAST OR THIS PRESENT TIME.

THEY'LL SAY, WAIT, I'VE SEEN WHAT THAT DOES, WE CAN'T DO THAT.

IT IS AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE WE NEED FOR HEALING AND TO MAKE SURE IT IS NOT REPEATED.

IF YOU HIDE SOMETHING, IT CAN RECUR.

IF YOU EXPOSE IT, IT WILL IN MANY WAYS BE RESISTED BY PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY WILL SEE WHAT IT COULD LEAD TO AND SEE THAT THEY DON'T WANT TO BE BRANDED AS THAT.

SECONDLY, IT IS OUR HISTORY.

AND WE SHOULD NOT LIE ABOUT OUR HISTORY.

WHETHER IT'S IN OUR PERSONAL LIVES, TO OUR CHILDREN WHEN THEY GET OLD ENOUGH, WE OUGHT TO BE HONEST ABOUT OUR LIFE AND THE NATION MUST BE HONEST ABOUT ITS HISTORY.

YOU CANNOT TALK ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT SLAVERY.

LUCKILY, IT DIDN'T END THERE, BUT IT WAS THERE.

AND I THINK YOU ROB A LOT OF THE CREDIT FOR PEOPLE, BLACK AND WHITE, THAT FOUGHT AGAINST SLAVERY AND THEN FOUGHT AGAINST JIM CROW.

YOU ROB THEM OF WHAT THEY STOOD FOR AND THEIR COURAGE BY NOT TALKING ABOUT WHAT THEY HAD TO FIGHT AGAINST.

YOU MENTIONED -- GOT ABOUT THREE MINUTES LEFT.

I WANTED TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

YOU MENTIONED AHMAUD ARBERY AND A CONVICTION OF THREE WHITE MEN FOR THAT.

WE KNOW THAT WITH REGARD TO THE KILLING OF GEORGE FLOYD, WE'VE HAD A CONVICTION OF THE MAN WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THAT.

THEY'RE ISOLATED INCIDENTS, OBVIOUSLY.

TRIALS.

BUT DO THEY GIVE YOU SOME HOPE IN TERMS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM AND THE NOTION OF SOCIAL JUSTICE THAT YOU LOOK AT EMMETT TILL, YOU AND I TALKED ABOUT IT, 12 WHITE MEN IMMEDIATELY SAYING, WE'RE NOT GOING TO CONVICT OTHER WHITE MEN OF KILLING A BLACK MAN.

DO YOU GET A SENSE MAYBE WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS IN TERMS OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE?

I DO THINK THERE IS PROGRESS.

I THINK THERE'S A LONG WAY TO GO.

WE NEED TO CHANGE THE LAWS.

WE CAN'T GO WITH RUSSIAN ROULETTE TO WIN THIS TRIAL, THAT TRIAL.

WE MUST CHANGE THE LAWS.

BUT CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE.

WHEN I WENT TO BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA, PARENTS ASKED ME TO HELP FROM DAY ONE ALONG WITH ATTORNEY BEN CRUMP.

THEY DID MY TELEVISION SHOW.

SO I WAS THROUGHOUT THIS CASE.

WHEN I HEARD THAT THEY HAD SELECTED A JURY OF 12, 11 WHITES AND 1 BLACK IN RURAL BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA.

THIS IS NOT ATLANTA, THIS IS BRUNSWICK.

YOU CANNOT GET MORE DEEP SOUTH.

I SAID, IT'S UNLIKELY THEY'RE GOING TO CONVICT ONE OF THEIR NEIGHBORS, THEY HAVE TO LIVE IN THAT COMMUNITY.

AT FIRST, THEY DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO PROSECUTE.

THEY HAD TO GET OUTSIDE PROSECUTORS.

THE MOTHER OF AHMAUD ARBERY SAID, I BELIEVE GOD, REVEREND, WE'RE GOING THROUGH.

I WOULD GO, AND THERE WAS CONTROVERSY ABOUT ME GOING.

FINALLY I WAS THERE THE DAY THE VERDICT CAME IN.

AND I THINK THAT WHEN I SAT THERE NEXT TO THE MOTHER AND FATHER, BETWEEN THEM, AND SAW 11 WHITES IN BRUNSWICK, GEORGIA, CONVICT THEIR NEIGHBORS OF MURDER, I SAID, I DON'T CARE WHAT ANYONE SAYS, WE ARE MOVING FORWARD.

THAT'S THE IMPORTANT THING, MOVING FORWARD.

'RIGHTEOUS TROUBLEMAKERS: UNTOLD STORIES OF THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT IN AMERICA.'

IT'S A POWERFUL AND COMPELLING BOOK, AND IT'S A BOOK THAT WE SHOULD ALL BE READING.

RIVER RECHBD SHARPTON, THANKS SO MUCH.

IT'S ALWAYS A PLEASURE TO TALK WITH YOU.

YOU STAY WELL.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM.

THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, AND BY -- JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

THE JPB FOUNDATION.

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