Eleanor Holmes Norton

  • Aired:  06/25/14
  •  | Views: 15,595

Congresswoman and civil rights veteran Eleanor Holmes Norton explains the significance of the 50th anniversary of Mississippi's Freedom Summer. (6:41)

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]>> Stephen: MY GUEST TONIGHT

IS MY ARCH NEMESIS.

PLEASE WELCOME CONGRESSWOMANELEANOR HOLMES NORTON.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

CONGRESSWOMAN, THANK YOU SO MUCHFOR COMING.

GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN.

YOU AND I HAVE BEEN ENEMIES LONGENOUGH THAT I THINK WE'RE ALMOST

FRIENDS AT THIS POINT.

>> NOT QUITE.

>> Stephen: ALL RIGHT.

ALL RIGHT.

YOU REPRESENT THE DISTRICT OFCOLUMBIA WHERE YOU ARE A

NON-VOTING MEMBER.

I WANT TO THANK YOU IN JOININGYOUR REPUBLICAN COLLEAGUES IN

NON-VOTING FOR ANY LEGISLATION.

[APPLAUSE]>> THE DIFFERENCE IS THEY CAN

VOTE AND STILL WON'T VOTE FORANY LEGISLATION.

>> Stephen: BUT IT'S ADMIRABLERESTRAINT ON THEIR BEHALF.

YOU'RE HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE50th ANNIVERSARY OF WHAT'S

CALLED FREEDOM SUMMER INMISSISSIPPI.

TELL THE YOUNG PEOPLE WHATFREEDOM SUMMER WAS AND THE ROLE

YOU PLAYED IN IT.

>> WELL, FREEDOM SUMMER WAS WHENA LARGE NUMBER, ACTUALLY

THOUSANDS, OF STUDENTS FROM ALLOVER THE COUNTRY CAME TO

MISSISSIPPI TO TRY TO HELPMISSISSIPPIANS WHO WERE KEPT

FROM VOTING LEARN HOW TO VOTEAND TO GET THEM TO THE POLLS.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WHY WOULDN'T THEY JUST REGISTER?I UNDERSTAND THAT ONLY 10%

OF BLACK VOTERS IN MISSISSIPPIIN 1964

WERE REGISTERED BEFORE YOU ANDOTHER FREEDOM RIDERS WENT DOWN

THERE TO HELP THEM REGISTER.

AND YET THEY WERE HALF THEPOPULATION, SO WHAT'S UP?

STEPHEN: YEAH, WHAT UP IS MYQUESTION.

>> WHAT WAS UP IS THEY WOULDN'TLET THEM VOTE.

THEY WOULDN'T LET THEM REGISTER.

>> Stephen: WHO IS THEY? THEMAN?

ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT THE MAN?

>> THE MEN.

>> Stephen: THE MEN. OKAY.

WELL YOU WERE A STUDENT AT YALELAW SCHOOL AT THE TIME.

>> YEP.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WHEN YOU FIRST CAME DOWN IN1963, MEDGAR EVERS MET YOU AT

THE BUS STATION.

TELL THE YOUNG PEOPLE HERE AGAINWHO MEDGAR EVERS WAS AND WHAT

HAPPENED TO HIM THAT SUMMER.

>> MEDGAR EVERS WAS A MARTYROF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

MEDGAR EVERS WAS THE HEAD OF THENAACP IN THE STATE OF

MISSISSIPPI.

MISSISSIPPI WAS AT THAT POINT SOFAR BEHIND THE REST OF THE

COUNTRY THAT IT HAD NOT EVEN HADSIT-INS, THINGS WHERE WE USED TO

SIT IN AND SAY WE'RE ENTITLED TOHAVE A CUP OF COFFEE.

THEY HADN'T EVEN HAD THOSE.

HE HAD TO LEAD THOSE.

AND THERE WERE VERY FEW LAWYERS,MUCH LESS LAW STUDENTS LIKE ME,

SO WHEN I CAME, HE WANTED ME TOREMAIN IN JACKSON, WHEREAS I HAD

PROMISED TO GO TO THE DELTA,WHICH WAS THE HEART OF THE WORST

PART OF MISSISSIPPI WHERE PEOPLECOULDN'T VOTE.

HE PUT ME ON A BUS AFTER SHOWINGME AROUND JACKSON ALL DAY, WENT

HOME AND WAS SHOT IN THE BACK.

MARTYR OF THE CIVIL RIGHTSMOVEMENT.

>> Stephen: AND THAT'S YOURFIRST DAY IN MISSISSIPPI.

>> VERY FIRST DAY.

>> Stephen: YOU WENT BACKAGAIN THE NEXT YEAR.

>> WELL, NEXT YEAR WAS THEMISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SUMMER.

ACTUALLY, WHAT I WAS DOING INTHE DELTA THE YEAR BEFORE WAS

THE PROTOTYPE FOR THEMISSISSIPPI FREEDOM SUMMER WHEN

THE STUDENTS WERE GOING TO COMEDOWN.

THE QUESTION IS: WHAT ARE THESTUDENTS GOING TO DO.

THEY'RE GOING TO DO WORKSHOPS.

>> Stephen: OUTSIDE AGITATE IBELIEVE IS THE TECHNICAL TERM.

DON'T GET ME WRONG.

AGAIN, I'M NOT THE MONSTER HERE.

BUT SHOULDN'T IT BE UP TOINDIVIDUAL STATES AS TO HOW EASY

OR HARD IT IS FOR BLACK PEOPLETO VOTE?

[LAUGHTER]DOESN'T THE 10th AMENDMENT

GUARANTEE THAT TO THE STATES?

>> STEPHEN, HAVE YOU EVER HEARDOF THE 14th AMENDMENT?

>> Stephen: I HAVE NOT.

NO, I HAVE NOT.

NO.

I DON'T THINK IT GOES THAT HIGH.

[APPLAUSE]I DON'T THINK IT ACTUALLY GOES

THAT HIGH.

[LAUGHTER]WHAT'S THE 14th AMENDMENT?

>> EVERYBODY HAS TO BE TREATEDEQUALLY.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

>> EVEN WHEN IT COMES TO VOTING.

>> Stephen: I'LL TAKE YOURWORD FOR IT.

>> DUH.

>> Stephen: OKAY.

WE'RE APPROACHING THEANNIVERSARY OF THE 1964 CIVIL

RIGHTS ACT.

AND TODAY IN CONGRESS THISHAPPENED.

THIS IS SEVERAL MEMBERS OFCONGRESS JOINING ARMS SINGING

"WE SHALL OVERCOME."

♪ WE SHALL LIVE IN PEACEWE SHALL LIVE IN PEACE ♪♪

>> Stephen: WAS IT WORTH ALLTHIS EFFORT AND ALL THIS

SUFFERING TO SEE TEX DEPRESSIONON MITCH McCONNELL AND JOHN

BOEHNER'S FACE WHEN THEY SANGTHAT SONG?

>> I DON'T SEE HOW YOU COULDLAUGH AT MEMBERS OF CONGRESS

JOINING US IN SINGING "WE SHALLOVERCOME."

>> Stephen: I WANT TO POINTOUT TO YOU THAT MITCH

McCONNELL AND JOHN BOEHNER ARENOT SINGING.

THEY ARE HOLDING HANDS ANDSWAYING IN AGONY.

[LAUGHTER]>> THEY DIDN'T... THEY JUST

DIDN'T KNOW THE WORDS, STEPHEN.

>> Stephen: THE WORDS, JIM, GOFIND THIS FOOTAGE, BECAUSE IT'S

IN THE SAME THING, GO BACK ABOUT30 SECOND, BECAUSE THE WORDS ARE

ON A GIANT PROMPTER ROLLING.

I [BLEEPED] YOU NOT.

THEY ARE.

I PROMISE YOU.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]I'LL WAIT.

I DON'T CARE HOW LONG THIS SHOWGOES.

IT'S ON A PROMPTER IN THEBACKGROUND.

>> SO WHAT DO YOU WANT FROMTHEM?

>> Stephen: I DON'T WANTANYTHING FROM THEM.

[LAUGHTER]NOW, HOW MANY PEOPLE DID YOU

GUYS END UP REGISTERING THATSUMMER?

>> I DON'T HAVE THAT NUMBER WITHME, STEPHEN.

[LAUGHTER]>> Stephen: IT'S CABLE.

MAKE IT UP.

[APPLAUSE]ALL I'M SAYING IS... ALL I'M

SAYING IS YOU MUST HAVE SIGNEDUP A LOT OF PEOPLE BECAUSE YOU

SAW WHAT HAPPENED WITH THADCOCHRAN, THE BLACK VOTE SWAYED

THE VOTE.

IT SWUNG THE ELECTION INMISSISSIPPI.

WOULD YOU LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENTRIGHT NOW AND APOLOGIZE TO CHRIS

McDANIEL?

>> I'D LIKE TO TAKE A MOMENT TOSAY TO THOSE WHO WENT TO THE

POLLS, THOSE AFRICAN AMERICANS,YOU SURE KNEW WHAT TO DO WITH

THE VOTE.

WE WENT TO GET FOR YOU IN 1964.

THANK YOU.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

>> STEPHEN: CONGRESSWOMANELEANOR HOLMES NORTON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOININGME, MADAM.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.

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