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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  November 27, 2009 10:30am-11:00am EST

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the book is divided into three parking lots, the first part is about race and ole miss, it is about what happened at the university from the late 1940s up to meredith's application dealing with race. and this is where someone who did not live through the period or someone who is unfamiliar with mississippi in that period can learn what it was like. not by my telling them, but by my showing them. so we see the university enduring a series of crisises involving the newspaper, involving free speech, involving a whole host of issues and controversy beginning in the late '40s. and those crises build in scope and intensity, and so we begin to see then that what happens in 1962 is almost the culmination of them. wasn't predictable, but certainly it did not come as a
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surprise if you had seen all these other things happening. .. and administration lose control. by 1962, the controversy involving james meredith, the university is no longer a key actor. the actors are the board of trustees, the legislature, the governor and others, not the
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university. the second section of the book introduces james meredith. he has not appeared in the first half dozen chapters. there is a chapter on meredith in which i explained his family background, to his grandparents were and who his parents were and what they did for a living. his father and mother were independent landowners which set them apart. that should give the reader some indication of how independent and sturdy a man his father was. that is one example, to prove james meredith's father raised the vote you would go to the court house and go through the voting registration books until
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you find mr. meredith. as far as i know, no one has done that. to verify he was an independent loan donor you have to follow those through the years. you bet is the research. then i spent two chapters on what might at first seem like a rather uninteresting topic and that is meredith's lawsuit in mississippi. james meredith verses the board of trustees. you see in real detail the on abstinence of the power structure in mississippi to james meredith. the lawyers in the state, the members of the board of trustees, the federal judge involved, the assistant attorney general and others. they put up an incredible fight to keep him out. i won't go into the language they use but let's just say in
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all cases they are not respectful of mr. meredith and his counsel at the naacp. you will find real examples, concrete evidence of the opposition that he faced. the third section of the book deals with several attempts to the rest james meredith from the university and one instance in jackson and how they failed. the longest chapter in the book on the riot, that is the most famous event in western mississippi history. probably to the lynching. there are two chapters that nothing else has ever done.
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that is described james meredith's ten -- the ordeal he went through. put the opposition on campus and how he was able to persevere. anybody reading those two chapters will almost have to come away. i don't say this in the book but most come away if -- how did the man do it? how did he persist through all the difficulties for so long? such a hostile environment? one of the chapter titles is a prisoner in a strange land. the final chapter that examines the controversy over the debate that occurred in mississippi across the nation about who caused the riots and what happens to the university in the
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following years as very briefly, the enrollment of african-americans after meredith university and ends with the dedication a few years ago of the civil rights memorial and the statute of james meredith. one thing i hope that people will appreciate is how interconnected -- people not from mississippi might not know that interconnected parts of the story are. the same people appear in various ways throughout the story. in very curious ways. i think one of the first or second pages of the book, i mention university of mississippi is known for miss america. i quote the mayor of
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mississippi's home town, some people say why do you bother as my students would say, why do we need to know this man's name? this is something to confuse us and distract us? he is later in the state legislature and actively endorses and supports segregation and later at the time of meredith's and roland, september 30th, 1962, he sends four trusted people in state government as representatives and one of them is john klein. unless you know people are opposing this all their life. people who watch miss america grow up, another example.
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this is my favorite little underpining story of the book, during world war ii there was a black man at the university of mississippi who was part of the military unit being trained, he took classes as a regular citizen. he was fine. i am going to dump and they all connected. 1950, and 50 one. there is a controversy by suggesting the university should admit blacks to graduate programs. when he graduates, the following summer, 1951, he is invited by aaron henry, to speak to the national naacp meeting in
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atlanta. he goes and speaks and after each speaks a young man brings his parents up to meet him. krebs' thinks nothing about it. 11 years later newspapers in new york show a man named harry murphy showing his id card and saying what is all the to do during world war ii? crabs is working for newsweek in new york city. that is the man i met in 1951. they got together and had lunch. one chapter write-off about that at the university to get treated, how white paternalism
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may help african-americans. a native who worked as a custodian, he is helped by essentially being a student befriended by him because he is an impressive young man. dean love gets to know him and get ready to go to college and helps him get admitted to hawthorne and get an apartment place family and get a job on campus. it is a success story. several chapters later, one of the controversies in the university -- come to the university in 1958, and african american professor, king is very quickly taken into court because
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he must be crazy. while he was teaching at hawthorne he had been very controversial. so controversial that there was a student strike that closed the school down and that was ernest mcun. these things come back. one final example, stokes/robertson. some of you may know judge roberts in. he presided at the lunacy hearing in jackson in 1958 that sent king to the state mental hospital, committed him. stokes robertson had been a harsh critic of the university when the university programs wandered by fiscal minister from ohio to speak on campus.
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that minister was in support of the naacp. stokes robertson later advocates mercy, i suppose, for a young man who got in trouble for harassing james meredith on campus. someone from jackson that stokes robertson new. these people reappear in various forms throughout the story. i hope i have given you something of the flavor of the book and what it tries to do. i want to close with my favorite passage in the book. may be even inspiring. it was not written by me. this is by langston hughes and the chicago defender, october of 1962. toast to ole miss. here's to ole miss who fluttered and flared and cussed and squared and tried to keep colored folks out by hook or by
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crook and loopholes they took in the law and ignatius and proclamation to the job showing off their bravery like in slavery when white folks were the law and it could not be colored man down to the ground and he dare not fight back because he was black. but in this day and time things is not that way. a testament to ole miss on immigration day. thank you. [applause] if you have questions i will be glad to at least listen to them and maybe try to answer them. anyone? yes? >> what is the response to your book? has he read it? >> i interviewed james meredith in 1998. after that interview which went
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very well people at the university made contact with mr. meredith and he gave me his papers at the university of mississippi. i was involved in that. we ask him to give the papers. i don't know that since then i have spoken with mr. meredith. we have corresponded on a few occasions. in fact he was very helpful to me in trying to help me gain access to the naacp legal papers dealing with his case. other than that i have not had any contact with him. my publisher sent him a copy of the book. i have heard in directly that he liked it but i have no idea. i hope he did. i hope he thought it was fair to him. beyond that, i don't know.
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if you have heard something i will be happy to hear it. anyone? >> you mentioned specifically records and papers at the universities that no one had looked at those before. had they been sealed or was no one interested in looking at them before? is there a reason no one looked at them? >> i am going to speculate. i think no one has to see them. i first decided to do this project as a result of a history department flight and someone came over to me and asked me would you be interested in doing a book on the university? someone had been talking over
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there from the department and one of the people at the party was not a member of the history department but a friend of the department in the administration for years said that if i wanted to to it you would help me get it in the papers. i don't think anyone ever asked. the papers were not in the library. he had some in a storage place but i look at papers in basements of dorms that were water damage and other things. they have been collected and put in the archives of the library. i don't think anybody thought of doing that kind of research because most people focused on the riot and what happened and i wanted to tell the longer story. i wanted to explain why it happened, not just the guns and bullets and mayhem.
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no others? >> you mentioned june silver at the beginning. he was a professor. does he have a legacy? the time that he spent still have any manifestation at the university? >> i mention him in my presentation because he was such a prominent person since he arrived in the late 30s until he left in the 60s. his decent on a number of topics caused him to gain quite a bit of notoriety. i think he is an example of how the society dealt with the senders and how they dealt with
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outsiders. i don't know of any legacy that he has, his paper is in the library. i did a lot of work, learned a lot from them. beyond that, i don't know other them word of mouth and talking to old hands and that kind of things if they were a member at all. is very unfortunate and you would think there would be something recognized in his contribution. he was run out of the university. i suppose people who are dedicated ole miss people don't consider him one of their heroes. ok, thank you very much.
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[applause] >> charles eagles is the author of the civil-rights movement in america and outside agitator. he is a history professor at the university of mississippi. for more information visit le r lemur lemuriabooks.com. >> 20 years ago in june of 1989, a small, new, unknown and since bankrupt publishing company published a small novel about an unknown author from mississippi. 20 years ago. the book was "a time to kill". at the time, i wasn't starving
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but i wasn't prospering. i was practicing law in a small town in mississippi and dreaming of a better life. i didn't have any money but i had more than my publisher. they printed 5,000 hardback copies and i bought a thousand of them. mike scheme was simple. i was going to sell them at retail. are always going to have a big book party in my home town. this was the town i grew up in. i went to college, law school, came back to my home town. the town elected me to the state legislature. i thought i was pretty popular. my wife was there, her parents were there, family and all that stuff. it would be a huge book party. at the local library. we actually halt 1,000 books to
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the local library. if you have never seen a thousand books stacked up, we have photographs of our two small kids climbing on copies of "a time to kill" all over the place. a huge crowd showed up and i was excited and signed books and i spoke. when the party was over, i still own 882 copies of "a time to kill". i had an invoice to pay for these things and i panicked. what am i going to do now? are went to my librarian and i said you got any friends around the state? i can take this show on the road. we can load up some books. he got on the phone and started talking to libraries all over the state. i packed a bunch of copies, boxes of "a time to kill" in my trunk and i took off and went to small towns. the ladies would make punch and
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cookies, i played the bold -- all 15 or 20 copies. i have been in bookstores before and stole -- sold zero. all offers have been through that. it seems kind of funny. when you go to a bookstore they can't wait to see you, the staff, they have a real author come in and they can't wait to fuss over you and they are watching the clock and they sit you down with a stack of your books. at 4:00 they all managed. then the clock stops. time freezes. you are sitting there and waiting for anybody to walk by. if you are ever near a bookstore and see some poor soul sitting
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with a stack of books i don't care -- whatever it is, please buy it. spend some time with them. >> this was a portion of a booktv program. you can view the entire program and many other booktv programs on line. go to booktv.org. type the name of the author or book into the search area in the upper left-hand corner of the page. select the watch lincoln. you can view the entire program. you can explore the recently on booktv fox to find recent and featured programs. >> judy sheppard recount the torture and murder of her son
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matthew due to his sexual orientation and tells of the prosecution of her son's murders and founding of the mathew shepherd foundation. >> i don't want you to ever give up. even though it doesn't heal all wounds time changes things. personal situations happen all the time. things change. if your parents realize they may lose you forever over this particular thing who knows what might happen? don't give up and don't ever think that you are wrong. the most important thing is to keep your power to you. you are the most important part of the story. i want to thank you for coming tonight. it has been a treat to be with you all.
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thank you so much. [applause] >> that was judy shepard talking about her book "the meaning of matthew: my son's murder in laramie, and a world transformed" in salt lake city. now the author joins us live in dallas to take your calls. thank you for being with us this morning. in your view if the mathew shepherd act were passed into law what would be the effect? >> guest: send a great message of respect to the world about how the government feels about the gay community. the laws were that effective. once we establish the law,
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people's mind . we hope to incrementally get better. >> host: what is in the legislation? >> guest: it includes sexual orientation and gender identity keep original we already have hate crimes, race, ethnicity and religion. we expand the groups and government parameters. to help communities finance investigations and -- to step in and help prosecute? >> host: this is the cover of the book, "the meaning of matthew: my son's murder in laramie, and a world transformed". if you have been watching c-span you saw her present on her book in salt lake city.
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202 is the area code. from those of you in the east and central time zones, 0002 for mountain and pacific time zone than you can send a tweet twitter.com/booktv. the first call is from idaho falls, idaho. go ahead with your question. >> i happened to catch the last bit of your program. how to deal with his parents and letting him know who he is and i am very fortunate to have a brother and that is day. he lives in the salt lake community. he is so loved by his family. such a great love for somebody who don't want to be around them
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because of who they are. >> all of our children are wonderful. to reject one because of their sexual orientation. >> the next call is from allen in baltimore, maryland. you are on the air. >> how are you doing? >> guest: hi, alan. >> caller: i am a gay man and i know longer practice the gay lifestyle for survival. the catholic church teaches in the catechism and i'm not officially catholic. when you are 58 years old and you don't know if you are a man or a woman you are screwed up inside of yourself psychologically and emotionally and everything else. it really screwed up my life in
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terms of my weaknesses and all that kind of stuff. are you going to make the bible illegal in the united states in terms of we are no longer allowed to criticize people, as soon as you criticize a gay man you are bigoted and prejudiced and all that kind of stuff? >> host: you spoke in salt lake about religion and your views on it. >> guest: everyone no matter their sexual orientation has the right to worship no matter what. whether they can or cannot worship gay or straight. my understanding of the bible is you are supposed to love your fellow man. i am not a scholar nor am i a particularly religious person. i am more spiritual. i am happy for people who

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