MetroFocus: March 14, 2023

A state assembly member has introduced legislation in Albany to end the practice of forced prison labor, and to require that incarcerated people make at least minimum wage for their work. The bills would abolish slavery without exception in New York’s constitution and extend workers’ protections to incarcerated New Yorkers. New York is among a dwindling number of states with no such protection for inmates. Advocates say it’s a move that is long overdue, and part of a nationwide movement to close the “slavery loophole” in the 13th amendment, which abolished slavery at the federal level with one exception: when used as punishment for a crime.  Tonight, we’re joined by New York State Assembly Member Harvey Epstein, who sponsored the legislation, as well as prison reform advocates Jesse Koklas and Johnny Perez, a formerly incarcerated New Yorker who shares his experience of being threatened with solitary confinement while working for pennies an hour sewing underwear, pillowcases, and sheets.

In her book “Leadership In Turbulent Times,” famed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin explores our history to make sense of today’s national narrative by focusing on four Presidents: Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson.

TRANSCRIPT

> IS SLAVERY STILL LEGAL IN AMERICA?

A NEW YORK STATE LAWMAKER SAYS YES.

THAT IS FOR INCARCERATED NEW YORKERS THANKS TO A 13th AMENDMENT LOOPHOLE.

WHILE SEVERAL STATES BANNED FORCED PRISON LABOR, NEW YORK HAS NOT.

TONIGHT THAT LAWMAKER AND AN INMATE TURNED ADVOCATE WHO ONCE WORKED FOR PENNIES AN HOUR TAKE US INSIDE THE PRISON SLAVERY SYSTEM AS 'METROFOCUS' STARTS RIGHT NOW.

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

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, FILOMEN M. D'AGOSTINO FOUNDATION, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION, THE ROLAND CARLIN FOUNDATION.

GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA PFLANAGAN.

THE AMERICAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM DICTATES IF YOU DO TO CRIME YOU HAVE TO DO TO TIME.

AS MANY PEOPLE ARE CONCERNED THOSE WHO ARE IN PRISON FORFEIT THEIR RIGHTS AS SOON AS THEY WALK INTO THE CELL.

IT'S AN IDEA THAT'S BUILT INTO THE CONSTITUTION ITSELF, THE 13th AMENDMENT, WHICH ABOLISHED SLAVERY MAKES AN EXCEPTION FOR THE INCARCERATED, AND IT'S THAT LOOPHOLE THAT ALLOWED FOR FORCED PRISON LABOR ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

RECENTLY A GROWING NUMBER OF STATES PASSED LAWS TO END THE PRACTICE OF UNCOMPENSATED PRISON LABOR, BUT SO FAR, NEW YORK STATE IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

SOME LAWMAKERS IN ALBANY WANT TO CHANGE THAT AND HAVE INTRODUCED TO LEGISLATION TO END THE PRACTICE AND REQUIRE THAT INCARCERATED PEOPLE MAKE AT LEAST MINIMUM WAGE FOR THEIR WORK.

JOINING ME NOW TO TALK ABOUT PRISON LABOR AS PART OF OUR CHASING THE DREAM INITIATIVE FOCUSING ON INJUSTICE AND INEQUALITY IS HARVEY EPSTEIN WHO INTRODUCED THE RECENT LEGISLATION.

WELCOME, ASSEMBLY MEMBER EPSTEIN.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME AND TALKING ABOUT THIS REALLY IMPORTANT ISSUE.

OF COURSE, OF COURSE.

ALSO WITH US IS JOHNNY PEREZ, A PRISON REFORM ADVOCATE, FORMERLY INCARCERATED NEW YORKER WHO FOR YEARS SOLD SHEETS AND PILLOW CASED FOR PENNIES AN HOUR.

HE WAS ALSO THREATENED WITH BE SPENT THREE YEARS IN SOLITARY CONFINEMENT.

HE'S NOW THE DIRECTOR OF THE U.S. PRISONS PROGRAM AT THE NATIONAL RELIGIOUS CAMPAIGN AGAINST TORTURE.

JOHNNY, WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

AND LAST BUT CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, I'D LIKE TO WELCOME JESSI JESSIE KOKLAS.

SHE IS A STATEWIDE COORDINATOR FOR ENDING -- JESSE, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US.

THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

I SEMIABLYMAN I WANT TO START WITH YOU, BECAUSE I THINK IT MIGHT BE SURPRISING FOR SOME PEOPLE TO REALIZE THAT THE 13th AMENDMENT, WHICH IS FAMED FOR ABOLISHING SLAVERY ACTUALLY HAS A LOOPHOLE BUILT INTO IT.

CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THAT IS?

OF COURSE.

SO, WE'VE ALL HEARD ABOUT THE 13th AMENDMENT THAT HAD THE NEW YORK STATE CONSTITUTION, U.S.

CONSTITUTION.

THE EXEMPTION IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE INCARCERATED, SO THERE IS MANDATORY SLAVE LABOR THAT HAPPENS IN NEW YORK STATE IN THEIR PRINCE SONS EVERY SINGLE BECAUSE STATE LAW AND FEDERAL LAW ALLOWS IT.

OUR JOB IS TO CHANGE THE STATE CONSTITUTION, STOP THE MANDATORY LABOR AND THEN ALSO PROVIDE A MINIMUM WAGE FOR THOSE WHO ARE VOLUNTARILY DOING THE WORK WHILE THEY'RE INCARCERATED.

JUST TO GIVE A SENSE OF WHAT KIND OF WORK WE'RE TALKING ABOUT, JOHNNY, I WANT TO GO TO YOU AND GET MORE OF YOUR EXPERIENCE WHILE YOU WERE IN PRIN, SPECIFICALLY WORKING SHOWING THINGS LIKE PILLOW CASES AND SHEETS.

THANK YOU FOR INTRODUCING THIS IMPORTANT CONVERSATION TO THE STATE.

6 OUT OF 13 YEARS I WORKED AT THE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY WHERE I SEAMSTRESS.

I MADE 17 CENT ON THE DOLLAR.

THERE ARE NO SICK DAYS, OFF DAYS, BEREEVEMENT DAYS.

IF I DECIDED NOT TO GO TO WORK, YOU WOULD BE SENT TO SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, WHICH IS LOCKED IN 23, 24 HIS OR HERS A DAY WITH LITTLE TO NO -- SO, THAT WAS MY EXPERIENCE.

JESSE, FROM YOUR ORGANIZATION'S PERSPECTIVE, HOW DO YOU VIEW THE WAY THAT THIS FORCED PRISON LABOR HAS BEEN INCORPORATED PERHAPS IN AN UNCONSCIOUS WAY TO MOST AMERICANS, BUT INCORPORATE INTO THE OUR ECONOMIES?

YEAH, SO -- AND JUST TO SAY AGAIN, WOOE'RE PART OF THE 13 COALITION, A STATEWIDE COALITION OF MORE THAN 50 COALITIONS ACROSS THE STATE OF NEW YORK, A BROAD COALITION, AND WE SEE THIS AS A REAL PROBLEM, BECAUSE IT'S REALLY THE STATE THAT'S PROFITING OFF THIS UNPAID LABOR, WHICH IS JUST PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR, AND THE RANGE IN NEW YORK STATE IS 10 CENTS A HOUR TO 50 CENT AN HOUR FOR ALL MANNER OF JOBS, THE TYPE OF JOBS THAT FOLKS DO TO MAKE THE PRISON RUN, LIKE CLEANING AND COOKING, TO THINGS LIKE ASBESTOS ABATEMENT TO INDUSTRY JOBS LIKE JOHNNY MENTIONED THAT PROP UP STATE IND INDUSTRIES, CREATING THINGS LIKE PILLOW CASES BUT ALSO THE FURNITURE OUR LEGISLATORS SIT ON, THE DESKS THAT OUR SCHOOL CHILDREN SIT AT.

ONE THING THAT REALLY BROUGHT THIS TO A LOT OF PEOPLE'S ATTENTION IS DURING THE PANDEMIC, FOLKS INSIDE WERE PRODUCING PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT LIKE HAND SANITIZER WITHOUT PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT THEMSELVES.

AND THE FACT THAT THESE WORKERS ARE PAID PENNY ON THE DOLLAR ALLOWS THE STATE TO COST SAVE OFF THEIR BACKS OF OUR INCARCERATED WORKERS ACROSS THE STATE.

CAN I JUST ADD ONE THING?

ABSOLUTELY.

REMEMBER, THERE'S TWO PIECES HERE.

ONE IS THAT THE LAW ALLOWS MANDATORY WORK, INVOLUNTARY WORK.

AND THEN ON TOP OF IT, THE LAW ALLOWS CORE CRAFT, THIS ENTITY, TO -- STEAL PEOPLE'S WAGES BY NOT PAYING THEM THE MINIMUM WAGE.

SO THEY'RE BASICALLY -- WE'RE SUPPORTING WAGE LEFT THE OF OUR INCARCERATED BROTHERS AND SISTERS BY SAYING, WE'RE GOING PAY YOU 13 CENTS AN HOUR, EVEN THOUGH WHAT CORE CRAFT IS MAKING IS MADE BY OTHER COMPANIES.

EVERY POLICE STATION, EVERY GOVERNMENT BUILDING, ALL THESE THINGS ARE ITEMS THAT ARE IN -- AROUND US ARE BEING MADE BY INCARCERATED PEOPLE, AND THEN CORE CRAFT IS BENEFITTING BY THEIR LABOR BY SELLING IT TO THE PUBLIC AND SELLING IT TO OTHER GOVERNMENT ENTITIES.

SO NOT ONLY ARE WE FIRST ABUSING PEOPLE BY FORCING THEM TO WORK, SECOND OF ALL, WE'RE PAYING THEM SO LITTLE THEY CAN'T EVEN BUY TOILET PAPER, TOOTHBRUSHES WHILE THEY'RE INCARCERATED AND PUTTING THEIR FAMILIES IN DEBT.

1 OUT OF EVERY 3 INCARCERATED PEOPLE, FAMILIES ARE GOING INTO DEBT JUST TO INCARCERATE THE PERSON WITH BASIC NECESSITIES LIKE TOOTHBRUSH, TOOTHPASTE, AND SOAP.

WHAT I WANT TO GET AT IS THE LEGISLATION INTRODUCED.

I TALKED ABOUT THE 13thED.

MENT, FAMED FOR ABOLISHING SLA SLAVERY.

WHAT IS IN THIS LEGISLATION THAT WOULD PUT AN END TO FORCED PRISON LABOR OR AT LEAST UNFAIRLY COMPENSATED PRISON LABOR IN NEW YORK STATE?

, SO IT JUST PULLS OUT THE EXCEPTION.

IT SAYS, THE 13th AMENDMENT ABOLISHES SLAVERY EXCEPT FOR INCARCERATED PEOPLE.

WE'RE PULLING THE EXCEPTION LANGUAGE OUT OF THE OF OUT OF OUR STATE CONSTITUTION SO THERE WILL BE NO EXCEPTIONS.

WE'RE SAYING YOU CAN'T FORCE PEOPLE INTO LABOR NO MATTER WHERE THEY ARE, WHETHER THEY'RE INCARCERATED OR NOT.

THEN WE'RE SAYING ON TOP OF IT, THEN AFTER WE CHANGE THE CONSTITUTION, THEN WE'RE REQUIRING THE GOVERNMENT TO PAY MINIMUM WAGE.

SO THERE'S TWO PIECES OF THIS -- THE NEED TO BE DONE -- TO END THE CONSTITUTIONAL ALLOWING FOR SLAVERY, AND THEN SECOND OF ALL, CREATING THE MINIMUM WAGE FOR OUR INCARCERATED PEOPLE.

MAY I ADD TO THAT?

YES.

SO, LIKE SENATOR EPSHTTEIN SAID, WE HAVE TWO BILLS.

ONE IS THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT.

IN ADDITION TO ENDING THE FORCED LABOR, IT WOULD MEANS FOLKS CAN'T BE PINNISHED FOR REFUSING TO WORK.

NOW FOLKS FACE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT, FAMILY VISITS, GOOD TIME CREDITS, WHICH EARN TIME OFF THEIR SENTENCES.

SECOND BILLING IN ADDITION TO RAISING WAGES, WHICH IS SUPER IMPORTANT, IT ALSO INSTITUTES WORKER HEALTH AND SAFETY PROTECTIONS, WHICH AS I MENTIONED, FOLKS ARE PERFORMING SOME DANGEROUS JOBS INSIDE WITH NONE OF THOSE PROTECTIONS BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT CONSIDERED WORKERS TO THE STATE.

THEY'RE NOT COVERED BY THINGS LIKE OSHA.

AND THEN ANOTHER BIG AIM OF THIS CAMPAIGN IS TO PROVIDE PATHWAYS TO EMPLOYMENT POST INCARCERATION, SO THIS BILL WOULD SET UP -- WOULD BASICALLY REDO THE JOB TRAINING PROGRAMS INSIDE WITH NOW THE SPECIFIC PURPOSE OF PROVIDING PATHWAYS TO EMPLOYMENT POST INCARCERATION, BECAUSE WE'VE HEARD THAT THE TRAINING INSIDE FROM MANY OF OUR INCARCERATED MEMBERS WHO ARE PART OF THIS COALITION, THEY'RE JUST REALLY NOT HELPFUL.

SOMEONE WAS DESCRIBING USING A COMPUTER PROGRAM WHEN THEY WERE INCARCERATED TWO YEARS AGO WHERE THE OPERATING SYSTEM WAS ON A FLOPPY DISK.

THAT'S SETTING PEOPLE BACK.

MOST PEOPLE IN OUR STATE PRISONS AND JAILS ARE RELEASED, AND, YOU KNOW, STUDIES SHOW THAT IF YOU GET GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT UPON RELEASE, YOU'RE LESS LIKELY TO BE RE-ARRESTED AND RETURN TO PRISON AND JAIL.

SO, THOSE ARE SOME OTHER THINGS THAT THE BILL DOES.

JOHNNY, I WANT TO TURN TO YOU.

AND FIRST ASK IF YOU'RE COMFORTABLE ANSWERING THIS QUESTION.

I GUESS, WHAT WAS IT THAT LANDED YOU IN JAIL OR IN PRISON?

YEAH, AND I REALLY APPRECIATE THAT QUESTION.

THAT'S A QUESTION I GET A LOT, ESPECIALLY IN THE CONTEXT OF THESE CONVERSATIONS.

I FIND WHEN PEOPLE ASK WHAT I WAS INCARCERATED FOR, THEY'RE TRYING TO DECIDE IF SOMEBODY SHOULD STILL BE TREATED FAIRLY, SHOULD BE TREATED WITH DIGNITY, SHOULD I STILL BE A FATHER IN WHAT I WANT TO HIGHLIGHT IN THE SPIRIT OF THE BILL, REGARDLESS OF WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU'VE DONE, YOU DESERVE A BASIC LEVEL OF HUMAN DIGNITY.

YOU DESERVE SOCIETY YOU'RE GOING TO COME BACK INTO.

YOU'RE STILL ABLE TO HAVE A FATHER.

YOU'RE STILL ABLE TO HAVE SICK TIME WHEN YOU NEED SICK TIME.

THE WAY THEY TREAT PEOPLE SAYS MORE ABOUT US THAN IT DOES ABOUT THEM.

IF WE ARE A SOCIETY OF COMPASSION, SECOND CHANCES, SAFETY, AND WE ARE TO UPHOLD THOSE VALUES IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT SOMEBODY WAS INCARCERATED FOR.

I'M GOING TO GIVE YOU THE FINAL QUESTION, BECAUSE WE ARE COMING TO THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER, BUT WHAT KIND OF DIFFERENCE WOULD IT HAVE BEEN FOR YOUR FAMILY IF YOU HAD BEEN PAID AT LEAST MINIMUM WAGE?

BEFORE I WAS REMOVED FROM SOCIETY I WAS THE HEAD OF THE HOUSEHOLD, WHICH WHEN I WAS REMOVED FROM SOCIETY, FORCED MY FAMILY TO HAVE LESS INCOME.

I WASN'T ABLE TO SEND MONEY HOME AND ALSO SHOW UP AND SUPPORT MY DAUGHTER'S MOTHER, WHO WAS STILL OUT HERE BY HERSELF.

BUT ALSO I THINK THAT THERE'S A -- THERE'S THIS -- SOMETHING WE DIDN'T TAP INTO IS THAT THERE'S A LEVEL OF DEHUMANIZATION THAT GOES ON THAT ACTUALLY IMPACTS YOUR MENTAL HEALTH, IMPACTS YOUR SELF-WORTH, YOUR OWN DIGNITY.

WHEN I CAME OUT, I DIDN'T FEEL I WAS WORTH MORE THAN A DOLLAR, BECAUSE I WAS PAID LESS THAN A DOLLAR FOR YEARS WHEN THEY MADE MILLIONS OF SHEETS I SEWED.

I SEWED EVERY DAY AND I MADE 12 DOZEN HER POUR IN MY TIME.

IT WOULD HAVE NOT ONLY MADE A DIFFERENCE FOR ME, BUT IN MY COMMUNITY.

THANK YOU FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHARE THAT.

ABSOLUTELY.

LIKE I SAID, UNFORTUNATELY WE HAVE COME TO THE END OF OUR TIME TOGETHER, BUT I DO WANT TO THANK ALL OF MY GUESTS.

HARVEY EPSTEIN, JOHNNY PEREZ, AND JESSE KOKLAS.

THANK YOU FOR BRINGING AN IMPORTANT ISSUE LIKE THIS TO THE FOREFRONT, AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ON 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

> SO, WHAT MAKES A LEADER?

AND ARE LEADERS BORN OR MADE?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN SPENT THE PAST FEW DECADES WRITING DIE I DON'T GIVEFIES OF LEADERS.

HER LATEST BOOK, 'LEADERSHIP DURING TURBULENT TIMES,' SHE DANGEROUS UPON FOUR PAST PRESIDENTS, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, THEODORE ROOSEVELT, PHILIPPE DE MONTEBELLO, LYNDON BAYNES JOHNSON AND FIGURES OUT WHAT MADE HIM THE LEADER FOR HIS TIME AND WHAT LEADERS CAN LEARN FROM THEM.

WE WELCOME DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN TO 'METROFOCUS.'

THANK YOU.

SO GLAD TO BE WITH YOU.

THEY ARE SO VERY DIFFERENT THESE FOUR CHARACTERS.

BUT WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM AGAIN THROUGH THE LENS OF LEADERSHIP, DID YOU FIND SIMILARITIES AMONGST THEM THAT MAYBE HADN'T BEEN REVEALED TO YOU BEFORE?

I THINK IT'S TRUE, THEY CAME FROM ENTIRELY DIFFERENT BACKGROUNDS, TWO OF THEM VERY PRIVILEGED -- THE ROOSEVELTS, LINCOLN, AND LBJ, CONCERNED ABOUT POVERTY, ECONOMICS.

THEY HAD DIFFERENT TEMPERAMENTS, DIFFERENT TIMES.

SOMETIMES IT'S TRUE, THE TEMPERAMENT FITS THE TIME.

BUT THERE WAS A FAMILY RESEMBLANCE OF HUMILITY.

YOU WOULDN'T THINK OF LBJ HUMILITY AT FIRST, BUT NOT HUMBLENESS, THE ABILITY TO ACKNOWLEDGE ERRORS.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU SAY HUMILITY VERSUS HUMBLENESS.

LINCOLN, YOU MIGHT, BUT THE OTHER THREE THAT'S NOT GOING TO POP INTO YOUR MIND.

DOESN'T MEAN YOU HAVE A LOW ESTIMATE OR YOU'RE MEEK OR HUMBLE.

IT SCENES YOU ACCEPT THAT HUMANS HAVE LIMB TAKES.

FOR EXAMPLE, TEDDY ROOSEVELT WHEN WE GOT INTO THE STATE LEGISLATURE, AND ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, YOU NEVER THINK OF HIM AS HUMBLE.

THEY SAID HE LOVED THE CENTER OF THE ATTENTION SO MUCH HE WANTED TO BE THE BABY AT BAPTISM, THE BRIDE AT THE WEDDING AND CORPSE AT THE FUNERAL.

HE GETS TO THE LEGISLATURE AND REALIZED HE HAD A SWELLED HEAD.

HE'S GLAD TO BE THERE.

HE'S BLISTERING COMMENTS ABOUT HIS OPPOSITION, POUND HIS FIST, MAKES HEADLINES, HE'S FAMOUS AND ALL OF A SUDDEN HE CAN'T GET ANYTHING DONE.

HE SAID, I REALIZED THAT I HAD TO CHANGE MY WAY.

I WAS NOT ALLOWING MYSELF TO GET ANY COMPROMISE OR COLLABORATION.

THAT'S THE ABILITY TO LEARN, TO GROW IN OFFICE, AND THAT'S WHEY MEAN BY HUMILITY.

WE OFTEN HEAR FOLKS TALKING ABOUT OUR TIME AS TURBULENT TIMES, AND YET YOU ALMOST FORGET WHEN YOU LOOK AT THESE FOUR FIGURES, TALK ABOUT THE TURBULENCE THAT SURROUNDED THEM AND THEIR ASCENSION TO THE OFFICES AND WHAT THEY HAD TO DEAL WITH ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY FIRST WALKED IN.

THINK ABOUT LINCOLN COMING TO OFFICE.

HE LATER SAID IF HE HAD KNOWN THE TURMOIL HE WOULD FACE, THE SOUTH WAS SECEDING BEFORE HE GOT THERE, WAR WAS BEGINNING TO RAMP UP.

600,000 PEOPLE WOULD SOON DIE.

HE SAID HE WOULDN'T HAVE THOUGHT HE COULD HAVE LIVED THROUGH IT.

OR TEDDY ROOSEVELT COMING IN AFTER THE ASSASSINATION OF McKINLEY.

THERE'S A MOOD IN THE COUNTRY BECAUSE OF INDUSTRIALIZATION AND THERE'S A GAP BETWEEN THE RICH AND WORKING POOR AND THE WORKING CLASS IS FEELING LIKE THEY'RE NOT GETTING A FAIR SHAKE, AND THEY'RE NOT.

HE HAS TO DEAL WITH THAT TENSION.

THERE'S BOMBS IN THE STREET, NATIONWIDE STRIKES GOING ON.

FDR COMING IN AT THE HEIGHT OF THE DEPRESSION.

WHEN HE SAID HE WAS AFRAID THE WHOLE HOUSE OF CARDS MIGHT COLLAPSE BEFORE HE TOOK THE OATH OF OFFICE.

LBJ'S GOT ASSASSINATION AND THE COUNTRY IS OBSESS WITH THE KILLING OF JFK AND OSWALD AND THE FEELING HE'S NOT WORTHY OF BEING THE SUCCESSOR AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT HEATS UP AND THE BILL IS STUCK IN THE SENATE.

EACH HAD TURBULENT TIMES AND IT'S IMPORTANT FOR US TO REMEMBER THE TIME WE'RE IN NOW, BUT THE CITIZENS MADE A DIFFERENCE.

THERE ARE SO MANY STORIES AND SO MANY THAT MAKE YOU FILE AS IF YOU'RE CONNECTING WITH THEM IN SOME WAYS.

I WAS FASCINATED BY WHEN YOU TALKED ABOUT WHO EACH OF THEIR HEROES WERE.

TALK ABOUT THAT.

IT CAME AT THE END.

I SUDDENLY REALIZE THERE'S A FAMILY TREE THAT COVERS THE HISTORY OF OUR COUNTRY, BECAUSE LBJ'S HERO WAS FDR.

HE CALLED HIM HIS POLITICAL DADDY.

HE MET HIM WHEN HE WAS RUNNING FOR CONGRESS.

HE WAS IN THE NATIONAL YOUTH ADMINISTRATION, AND ELEANOR ROOSEVELT CAME AND SAID IT WAS THE BEST PROGRAM IN THE COUNTRY.

SO THAT WAS HIS HERO BE HE MODELLED HIS WHOLE LIVES A YOUNG NEW DEALER ON FDR.

FDR'S HERO WAS TEDDY ROOSEVELT.

HE WAS HOPING HE'D HAVE THE SAME FRAJTRY WHEN-A YOUNG LAW CLERK AT 28.

HE WAS TALKING ABOUT, WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN TO US?

AND HE SAID, I'D LIKE TO STATE LEGISLATURE, AND THEN I'D LIKE TO GO TO THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AND THEN I'D LIKE TO BECOME NAVY, AND THEN WHO KNOWS THE, PRESIDENCY.

POLIO CUT THAT IN A DIFFERENT WAY, WHICH HE DIDN'T KNOW AT THE TIME.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT'S HERO IS ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

IN ONE OF THE SUMMERS IN 1902 WHEN HE WAS FACING A COAL STRIKE HE READ ALL NINE VOLUME OF NIKOLAI AND HEY.

HE WOULD COME OUT AND TALK TO PEOPLE AND SAY, HE GOT THROUGH THIS.

HE WAS IN THE MIDDLE AND I'M THE SAME.

AND LEARNED OVER AND OVER AGAIN.

THEN HIS HERO WAS ABRAHAM LINCOLN'S HERO WAS GEORGE WASHINGTON.

IT'S AMAZING TO THINK YOU GO FROM LBJ TO FDR TO TEDDY ROOSEVELT, ABRAHAM LINCOLN TO GEORGE WASHINGTON.

THE THREAD RUNNING THROUGH ALL THEIR LIVES.

YOU LOOK AT EM THIS, THEY'RE SUCH DIFFERENT MEN.

ROOSEVELTS, SAME FAMILY, LINES OF PRIVILEGE, BUT TERRIBLY DIFFERENT.

DID YOU FIND A SINGLE SORT OF CONSISTENT STRAND OR LEADERSHIP TRAIT THAT IDENTIFIED EACH OF THEM?

I THINK I'D HAVE TO CHOOSE THAT THE MOST IMPORTANT ONE IS EMPATHY.

AND IT'S EITHER BORN IN YOU, WHICH IS IT WAS FOR LINCOLN, AND MAYBE FOR LBJ, WHICH MEANS YOU UNDERSTAND OTHER PEOPLE'S POINTS OF VIEW, THAT YOU CAN HAVE A FEELING OF PEOPLE'S OTHER WAYS OF LIFE.

LINCOLN FELT THAT AS A YOUNG KID.

HE WOULD WATCH HIS FRIENDS PUT HOT COALS ON TURTLE KNOWING IT WAS PRODUCING PAIN, AND HE'D GO AFTER THEM FOR DOING THAT.

LBJ, WHEN HE WAS A YOUNG PERSON AND TAUGHT AT SCHOOL AND SAW THE PAIN OF PREJUDICE ON THESE KIDS' FACES AND FELT IT EMOTIONALLY, HE DID EVERYTHING HE CAN TO MAKE HIS LIVES BETTER THAT YEAR.

ROOSEVELTS HAD TO DEVELOP EMPATHY.

THAT'S WHEN POLITICS CAN BE THE MOST BROADENING THING.

TEDDY SAID, WHEN I WENT INTO POLITICS THE FIRST TIME IT WASN'T TO MAKE PEOPLE'S LIVES BETTER.

I JUST LIKED THE ATTENTION OF IT.

THEN HE SAW TENMENTES, FACTORIES AND SAW CHILDREN WORKING AND SAID, I WANT TO CHANGE THEIR LIVES.

FOR FDR, POLIO PRODUCED MORE EMPATHY.

HE SUDDENLY IDENTIFIED WITH OTHER PEOPLE TO WHOM FATE HAD AN UNKIND HAND.

IF THAT'S THE QUALITY MISSING IN A LEADER, HOW DO YOU GET TO OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY DIFFERENT FROM YOU?

HOW DO YOU GET PEOPLE WHO AREN'T IN YOUR RENAL, CLASS, RACE?

THEN THE ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE IT IN THE TECHNOLOGY OFFURE TIME AND PERSUADE PEOPLE TO MOBILIZE THEM TO ACTION WOULD BE THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT EMPATHY, I THINK.

WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE TURMOIL THAT WE'RE EXPERIENCING TODAY, AND I'M NOT JUST TALKING ABOUT POLITICALLY, I'M TALKING ABOUT SOCIETILY -- WHICH OF THE FOUR YOU CHRONICLE HERE WOULD BE BEST SUITED TO BE A LEADER TODAY?

I THINK IT WOULD BE TEDDY ROOSEVELT.

THE REASON BEING THAT HIS TIME WAS SIMILAR TO OURS.

I MEAN, HE ALWAYS WARNED THAT THE ROCK OF DEMOCRACY WOULD FOUNDER IF PEOPLE IN DIFFERENT RE REGIONS OR RACES OR RELIGIONS BEGAN TO THINK OF THEMSELVES AS THE OTHER.

IT'S THAT CONDITION IN OUR COUNTRY THAT -- THE LARGER DIVISION THAT'S THERE.

HE KNEW HOW TO SPEAK IN DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.

HE ALSO WOULD BE GREAT AT TWEETING.

COULD YOU IMAGINE TEDDY ROOSEVELT TWEETING?

ABSOLUTELY, BUT HE WOULD THINK BEFORE HE TWEETED.

DON'T HIT UNTIL YOU HAVE TO.

HE GAVE MAXWELL HOUSE THE SLOGAN, GOOD TO THE LAST DROP.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, WHAT WE ARGUED FOR WAS A SQUARE DEAL.

HE'S ARGUING -- THERE'S PEOPLE ON THE LEFT, PEOPLE ON THE RIGHT, AND HE'S SAYING I WANT A DEAL FOR THE CAPITALISTS AND THE WAGE WORKER.

I WANT A DEAL FOR THE RICH AND THE POOR.

IF YOU'RE A RICH PERSON, THAT'S FINE AS LONG AS YOU DEAL FAIRLY.

IF YOU'RE A UNION GUY -- UNLESS YOU DEAL UNFAIR LITTLE HE WOULD STAND IN THE CENTER PROGRESSIVELY MOVING THE COUNTRY FORWARD.

HE HAD A SELF-DEPRECATING SENSE OF HUMOR.

MY FAVORITE STORY IS WHEN A JOURNALIST WROTE A REVIEW OF HIS MEMOIR AND SAID HE SO PLACED HIMSELF IN THE CENTER OF EVERY ACTION OF THE WAR HE SHOULD HAVE CALLED IT ALONE IN CUBA.

HE WRITES A LETTER TO THE JOURNALIST TO SAY, I REGRET TO INFORM YOU MY WIFE AND FRIENDS LOVE YOUR REVIEW OF THE BOOK.

NOW YOU OWE ME SOMETHING.

I WANT TO SEE YOU, MEET YOU AND THEY BECAME FRIENDS.

HE BECAME FRIENDS WITH JOURNALISTS KNOWING THEY COULD CRITICIZE HIM.

BECAME THE GOLDEN AGE OF JOURNALISM.

HE HAD THE ENERGY.

IN TODAY'S WORLD YOU HAVE TO BE SOMEWHAT THE CENTER OF ATTENTION GIVEN THE MOMENT, THE MEDIA WORLD, AND HE COULD DEFINITELY BE.

HE WAS THE MOST COLORFUL PRESIDENT UP UNTIL THAT TIME.

LAST QUESTION FOR YOU.

IN TRYING TO LEARN THE LESSONS OF HISTORY, WE'RE TOLD THINGS SUCH AS, IF WE DON'T LEARN HISTORY'S LESSONS, WE'RE BOUND TO REPEAT THEM.

THE NOTION OF THE PAST ISN'T EVEN PASSED.

DO YOU GET A SENSE THAT OUR LEADERS OF TODAY -- AND I'M TALKING ABOUT ACROSS THE BOARD HERE -- THAT OUR LEADER OF TODAY DON'T GRASP THAT?

DON'T GRASP THE NEED TO LEARN FROM THESE MEN AND THEIR TURMOIL AND THEIR LEADERSHIP SKILLS?

DON'T GRASP THE NEED TO LEARN SO THEY CAN LEAD BETTER?

I WORRY THAT THAT'S NOT HAPPENING.

EVERYONE FORGETTING ONLY OUR LEADERS.

HISTORY COURSES ARE BEING NARROW IN ED IN A LOT OF OUR COLLEGES NOW BECAUSE OF S.T.E.M. STUFF.

WHAT YOU GET FROM BEING A HUMAN BEING, NOT JUST A LEADER IS HOW THEY DEALT -- WHAT WERE THEIR STRENGTHS, THEIR WEAKNESSES?

I LIKE TO THINK STUDYING LEADERSHIP HELP YOU IN YOUR EVERYDAY LIVES.

AND YOU JUST NEED TO TAKE THE TIME TO GO BACK A FEW DECADES.

AND IT'S LIKE YOU LEARN FROM YOUR PARENTS, GRANDPARENTS SOME LEARN FROM ABRAHAM LINCOLN, GEORGE WASHINGTON.

THESE PEOPLE KNEW SOMETHING ABOUT LEADERSHIP AND SOME OF THE TECHNIQUES YOU CAN ACTUALLY FOLLOW.

WHEN I THINK ABOUT LINCOLN'S WRITING A HOT LETTER AND PUTTING IT ASIDE UNTIL HE COOLED DOWN, NEVER SENDING IT.

HOW HELPFUL THAT WOULD BE TO KIDS WRITING EMAILS TOO QUICKLY, RIGHT?

BROADER THAN, THAT YOU UNDERSTAND THEIR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE WHEN THEY'RE DEALING WITH A TEAM, HOW THEY'RE ABLE TO SHARE CREDIT AND SHOULDER BLAME.

THESE ARE HUMAN QUALITIES THAT MANY OF THEM MAGNIFIED BY BECOMING LEADERS, AND HOW YOU GROW THROUGH YOUR MISTAKES.

I GOT TO BELIEVE EVERYBODY CAN LOVE HISTORY.

IT TEACHES YOU.

TEACHES YOU ABOUT HUMAN NATURE.

TEDDY ROOSEVELT SAID, IF YOU WANT TO BE A LEADER, YOU HAVE TO READ BOOKS.

BOOKS ARE ABOUT HUMAN NATURE.

YOU READ KNIT POETRY, PROSE, DRAMA.

NO MATTER WHAT YOU WANT TO BE, YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK HERE.

AS ALWAYS YOU TAKE US ON A FABULOUS AND PERSONAL JOURNEY INTO THEIR BACKGROUNDS AND STORIES.

YOU COME AWAY WHEN YOU CLOSE THE BOOK SAYING, I'M SAYING GOOD-BYE TO SOME FRIENDS AND I'M NOT THAT COMFORTABLE WITH THAT.

BUT IT'S -- YOU AND I COULD TALK FOR HOURS ABOUT THIS.

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AND AGAIN, JUST ANOTHER FABULOUS WORK BY DORIS.

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YOU BE WELL.

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