John Lewis Pt. 1

  • Aired:  08/13/13
  •  | Views: 10,401

Civil rights pioneer John Lewis remembers the March on Washington and the 1965 Selma march. (5:13)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: WELCOME EVERYBODY,

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS A *EUFL

RIGHTS PIONEER WHO FOUGHT FOR

VOTING RIGHTS IN THE SOUTH.

I'LL ASK FOR VALID I.D.

PLEASE WELCOME CONGRESSMAN JOHN

LEWIS.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

CONGRESSMAN LEWIS, GOOD TO SEE

YOU.

>> GOOD TO SEE YOU.

>> Stephen: THANK YOU FOR

COMING BACK.

>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.

>> Stephen: SIR, FOR THOSE OF

YOU WHO DO NOT KNOW YOUR C.V.,

YOU WERE A GIANT OF THE CIVIL

RIGHTS MOVEMENT, CHAIRMAN OF THE

NONVIOLENT STUDENT COORDINATING

COMMITTEE, THE YOUNGEST AND ONLY

SURVIVING SPEAKER AT THE 1963

MARCH ON WASHINGTON WHEN

DR. KING GAVE THE "I HAVE A

DREAM" SPEECH.

YOU WERE A LEADER TO THE SELMA

TO MONTGOMERY MARCH AND A

RECIPIENT OF THE PRESIDENTIAL

MEDAL OF FREEDOM AND PROFILES IN

COURAGE AWARD AND YOU HAVE A NEW

BOOK.

I'M EXHAUSTED.

(LAUGHTER).

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

>> DON'T BE EXHAUSTED.

IT'S ALL RIGHT.

>> Stephen: I WANT TO SAY THAT

YOU DO NOT OUTCIVIL RIGHTS

PIONEER ME.

BECAUSE I HELD IN MY HAND THIS

IS A BANNER FROM THE MARCH ON

WASHINGTON, ALL RIGHT?

GOT THAT.

AUGUST 28, 1963, ALL RIGHT?

THIS IS IN MY HAND BECAUSE I WAS

THERE.

ALL RIGHT?

IN MY MAMA'S BELLY.

SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH ME AND SHE

WAS AT THE "I HAVE A DREAM"

SPEECH SO DON'T FEEL ALL HIGH

AND MIGHTY.

I WAS AT THE "I HAVE A DREAM

SPEECH" TOO.

>> DO YOU HEAR ME?

>> IT WAS A LITTLE MUFFLED.

AND I'M NOT SURE IF I'D

DEVELOPED EARS YET.

BUT, YEAH, IT WAS --

>> I SPOKE NUMBER SIX AND

DR. KING SPOKE NUMBER TEN.

>> SO YOU WERE THE SIXTH PERSON

TO SPEAK.

IF I'M NOT MISTAKEN, NEAR THE

END OF YOUR SPEECH YOU KEPT ON

SAYING "WAKE UP."

>> I'D SAY "WAKE UP, AMERICA."

AND HE SAID "I HAVE A DREAM."

SO WEREN'T YOU FIGHTING EACH

OTHER?

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

WHAT DO YOU THINK WE SHOULD

REMEMBER ABOUT THE SIGNIFICANCE

OF THAT DAY?

>> IT WAS AN UNBELIEVABLE DAY.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF

AMERICANS CAME TOGETHER: BLACKS,

WHITES, LATINOS, ASIAN

AMERICANS, NATIVE AMERICANS.

MEN.

WOMEN.

CHILDREN.

WHEN I WAS INTRODUCED, I LOOKED

UP OVER THAT AUDIENCE, THE SEA

OF HUMANITY, I SAW ALL OF THESE

YOUNG PEOPLE ON MY RIGHT AND

THEN I LOOKED TO MY LEFT I SAW

MANY YOUNG PEOPLE IN THE TREES.

THEN I LOOKED STRAIGHT AHEAD I

SAW HUNDREDS AND THOUSANDS OF

PEOPLE YOUNG AND OLD WITH THEIR

FEET IN THE WATER TRYING TO COOL

OFF AND I SAID "THIS IS IT."

AND I STARTED SPEAKING.

>> Stephen: WERE YOU NERVOUS?

>> NO, I WAS NOT.

I HAD BEEN ARRESTED AND GONE TO

JAIL MANY TIMES BY THE TIME OF

THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

I MET WITH PRESIDENT KENNEDY A

FEW WEEKS BEFORE THE MARCH.

AND PRESIDENT KENNEDY DIDN'T

LIKE THE IDEA OF BRINGING

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE

TO WASHINGTON.

HE SAID "IF YOU BRING ALL THEE

FOLKS TO WASHINGTON, WON'T THERE

BE VIOLENCE AND CHAOS AND

DISORDER?"

WE SAID "NO, MR. PRESIDENT, THIS

WILL BE AN ORDERLY, PEACEFUL,

NONVIOLENT PROTEST."

AND THE DAY OF THE MARCH, WHEN

THE MARCH WAS ALL OVER, HE

INVITED EACH ONE OF US, THE TEN

OF US, BACK DOWN TO THE WHITE

HOUSE AND HE STOOD IN THE DOOR

OF THE OVAL OFFICE.

HE WAS BEAMING LIKE A PROUD

FATHER, HE WAS JUST SMILING, HE

SAID "YOU DID A GOOD JOB.

YOU DID A GOOD JOB."

HE SHOOK OUR HAND.

WHEN HE GOT TO DR. KING HE SAID

"AND YOU HAD A DREAM."

AMERICA IS A BETTER AMERICA

BECAUSE OF THE MARCH ON

WASHINGTON.

AND WE ARE A BETTER PEOPLE.

(APPLAUSE)

YOU NOW HAVE A GRAPHIC NOVEL

CALLED "MARCH, BOOK 1."

AND THIS IS A GRAPHIC NOVEL OF

YOUR LIFE, HOW YOU WERE INSPIRED

TO JOIN THE CIVIL RIGHTS

MOVEMENT AND THIS IS THE MARCH

ACROSS THE EDMUND PETTIS

BRIDGTON ROAD TO SELMA.

AND THIS WAS FOR VOTING RIGHTS,

WASN'T IT?

>> IT WAS, PEOPLE IN SELMA, LIKE

SO MANY OTHER PARTS OF THE

SOUTH, COULD NOT REGISTER TO

VOTE BECAUSE OF THE COLOR OF

THEIR SKIN.

IN SELMA PEOPLE HAD TO STAND IN

WHAT WE CALLED UNMOVABLE LINES.

YOU COULD ONLY ATTEMPT TO

REGISTER TO VOTE ON THE FIRST

AND THIRD MONDAY OF EACH MONTH.

>> Stephen: THE FIRST AND

THIRD MONDAY.

>> RIGHT.

YOU HAD TO PASS A SO-CALLED

LITERACY TEST, PAY A POLL TAX.

ON ONE OCCASION A MAN WAS ASKED

THE NUMBER OF BUBBLES IN A BAR

OF SOAP.

ON ANOTHER OCCASION A MAN WAS

ASKED TO COUNT THE JELLY BEANS

IN A JAR.

>> Stephen: HOW MANY BUBBLES

ARE THERE IN A BAR OF SOAP?

>> WELL, I DON'T KNOW.

>> Stephen: SHOULD YOU BE

ALLOWED TO VOTE THEN?

I GUESS OBVIOUSLY -- EACH STATE

GETS TO SET THEIR OWN STANDARD.

STATES ARE SETTING THEIR OWN

STANDARDS NOW.

>> BUT IT'S SO WRONG.

IT'S SO WRONG.

>> Stephen: IF YOU CAN STICK

AROUND FOR ONE MINUTE, WE'LL

TAKE A COMMERCIAL BREAK AND COME

BACK TO TALK ABOUT A COUPLE

OTHER THINGS AND THE BOOK.

THANKS SO MUCH, WE'LL BE RIGHT

BACK.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)

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