tv Book Discussion on Showdown CSPAN November 26, 2015 7:00pm-9:01pm EST
thing about thurgood and how important he was to the country for african-americans, for those who wanted to go to law school. i was a part of that generation who looked up to and believed in him and was inspired by him that ii to someday could go to law school and become a lawyer. and there is a whole generation of people just like me who have gone on to do that because of the bravery and the courage of thurgood marshall. so tonight we are here together this evening. i view this as the intersection of history and the future. what do i mean by that? intersection of history and future?
well, we are in lincoln theater. in this theater this was the only place where black folks could come and be entertained in a theaterthe theater because they could not go downtown. they come right here. in this theater, it was nearly demolished. we saved it, renovated it, and it is now one of the jewels of the city of columbus. history. [applause] in the intersection of arts and culture the rehabilitation for rejuvenation, the creation of the king lincoln district in the process. history and the future, the intersection.
willwill hagood who was raised in columbus winstead east high school, everything that he learned in life he learned in here in the city of columbus. [applause] its values, and skill, it's inspiration. in fact, his 1st writing job was for the post which was located right around the corner. this very neighborhood. someone who never forgot about our city even though he has gone on to win awards , written multiple books, great books. oneone of his books turned into a movie, the butler.
someone who cares deeply about his past, deeply about the city of columbus, and he is now one of the if not the premier great american biographer in our country. country. someone we are proud of the city of columbus. [applause] will hagood, someone needs to tell the stories of our people. or there willwithin we will be lost. and he does it in an eloquent way, when it is exciting and expect -- exciting and inspiring for the future, for our children i say that we can never plan ahead unless we understand from where we come. will hagood has been that person, explained where person, explained where
we come from so that we can march on to the future, and he has many more stories to tell. history and our future intersecting here tonight at lincoln theater. thurgood marshall, thurgood marshall visited columbus many times. we did research on him. he was somewhere between nine and 13, 14 times you visited columbus. he is always back to 1938 when he 1st came to columbus. he may have come before. but in 1938, five years after he graduated from harvard law school he came to our city to advocate, to participate, to speak, and many times thereafter often at the naacp annual meeting in the city of columbus they
probably stayed at st. clair motel which is right around the corner on garfield because back in those days black folks could not stay at the hotel downtown like they couldn't go to the theaters downtown. so they came to this area of our community. the harlem of the midwest. and i can envision thurgood marshall walking up and down the street going to our churches, walking up and down the streets. i can envision thurgood marshall being in this theater at some point in time. everybody came to this theater on long street during that period time. so this is an intersection between history and our
future. and with thurgood marshall, he helped set the path for the future of our country in many ways. he helped set the path for all of us here tonight to enjoy the fruits of democracy and the greatness of our constitution. he was a true american that did so many good things to lift up our nation. lincoln theater, hagood marshall all at one time at one place in the city of columbus. how fitting. [applause] the son of columbus, he is our son. his city in this theater
with thurgood marshall probably spend time on the streets of long street. tonight you're going to hear about the lowdown with the showdown. thank you. [applause] >> the one thing i forgot to tell you is i spent 16 years as president of the king arthur complex and six years as the chairman of this board command it is great to have the two institutions collaborating. itit is my distinct honor and pleasure to give you a brief overview of will hagood. he has authored several nonfiction books including a
trilogy of biographies of iconic 20th century speakers hailed as culturally important but the los angeles times, king of the, life and times of adam clayton powell junior, a new york times notable book of the year. the 2nd book. noteworthy and black-and-white, black-and-white, and the life of sammy davis junior, multiple of 100, and the next book was called sweet thunder, the life and times of sugar ray robinson named as a best book of the year by forbes. his other books or two on
he found himself standing outside the south african prison were freedom fighter nelson mandela was released after 27 years of imprisonment. little-known fact, he was one of the few american journalists to report from behind the berlin wall. he has been a john simon guggenheim fellow and a national endowment for the humanities fellow. these are two of the highest towards bestowed upon an author.
he has been called america's canny as cultural historian, has explored the cultural and historic dynamic of this country as few writers have. the works of mr. hagood come to life. as he says, his works are made to engage in a conversation going back to the old-school way of life, simply less wrath. revitalization plan that would agree. that is what he says motivates them, revitalized him and give send the insight to write these meaningful historical journeys. his subjects must inspire you. by that he means they are welcome at his dining room table for sunday dinner. that is how he chooses.
his book tells about this harlem congressman's rise and reveals one of the most effective legislative persons in the history of congress. like thurgood marshall he formed a bond with lyndon johnson and has moved major legislation through the house like no other. historically significant. he crossed paths with thurgood marshall. they had a common bond in their interest. this is another one of those journeys that will hagood takes the better grasp the significance of the historic figure who happens to be african-american. we learn that sammy davis junior was of fierce,
dedicated, passionate civil rights advocate the coordinated info together black and white entertainers to assist martin luther king and the civil rights movement, witnessed the struggle,struggle, gotten inside seat to his interaction with the rat pack, frank sinatra and company, a witness to history. his career is forever diminished. the nixon kennedy race for president, it was clear based upon the history makes it was more deserving of the black cloth and kennedy. no entertainer had the skills of sammy davis junior.
pound for pound he may be the best prizefighter the world is ever seen. that was mohammed ali. telling us that he was not just a fighter but a harlem renaissance man who love the art including literature, dance, song,literature, dance, song, and art. interacting with all the great entertainment and artists. this cat was hip and cool. we get to see him in thea way that no other offer could have brought to life. the story of eugene allen, the butler is termed a presidents and turned into a successful blockbuster movie , invisible the great
discipline and hard work of an individual. he breaks away and individual that was invisible during critical times in iraq in history. only will hagood had the insight to give us this perspective and the cultural competence. brought the constitution to light. i will beat you at your own game. recently donated for the prestigious team andrew carnegie medal for excellence. [applause] the trade magazines and technical journals, but has received four stars from
journals and magazines across the prestigious literary world from publisher weekly, cookers review, the library journal, and the. it led to magazine said it best, rehabilitated thurgood marshall. his decision to focus on marshall's confirmation hearing. we at the lincoln theater inducted will is our 1st inductee. were we smart. our 1st fundraiser for the publication. you know, we met about four or five years ago.
but what the library has done is extraordinary. traditionally in each of us in each of our brothers will engage like nothing else. this is the magic that will hagood has provided. this is the journey we have been through. this book brings us to a place where we can engage in a discussion like no other has before.
>> for some reason the older i get the less online people saying extravagant, beautiful, lovely things about me. i find that somewhat peculiar. i'm going to have more to say in the moment. when i was growing up in this neighborhood going to monroe junior high school right down the street me and my sister were walking to school together, the days when everyone had a transistor radio. you could hold it up year here and listen or put it in your pocket.
there was a catchy tune that i remember the started out with spoken verse and went into song. and it started like this, i hear you pretty good on your feet. don't you know there's announce, market street. hey hey, going to be a showdown. hey hey. but i have been humming that a lot. even if i did leave my band back.
and even ike this was not possible without a great coalition coming. organizations across the city of bonded. it is not possible to bring native son home. i am mindful that great people, great organizations represented here tonight starting with and o'connor, susan branford. she is wearing a dazzling dress. i took note of that. the lincoln theater. demetrius of the king arts
complex, the columbus public library and, of course, the mayor's office. i can't fight everybody individually thought that there are people here i would like to acknowledge. i will say a little something about you, and then you can stand up. some of you know that i teach at my alma mater for miami university in oxford, ohio. the lady who signs my paychecks is here, so i wouldn't i introduce her 1st? she is the provost of miami university. stand up. [applause]
marched with martin luther king junior. [applause] i can't tell you how touched i was when she called me and said she wanted to come. januarygot your group with the side of town with aa friend of mine who talked a lot about thurgood marshall, bob miller. i study that miami under this professor. he was in the civil rights movement. light switch john lewis.
i will be returning to the city, going on a 24 city book tour. october 21 to appear at the ohio state university. that invitation came from the vice provost of diversity and inclusion, and her name is sharon davies. [applause] my cousin just flew and today from atlanta, charles nichols. [applause] my two sisters are here. [applause]
my brother's shift in los angeles. [applause] this is a man i got to know some years back because ii wrote a story about him, chief james jackson. [applause] i teach media journalism and film. the chairman of the department plays a large role in getting me to leave or zones and journalism, doctor richard campbell. [applause] david harrison has done a
great legal decisions in this country thanks to brown v board of education. do segregated he became the 1st african-american federal judge in the community. i think every african-american knows ; that. hehe can put his name in the same paragraph as thurgood marshall, you would be proud to do so. his name, judge robert m
came across a letter. i was in arkansas visiting the archives of senator john mcclellan. the 2nd day of the hearing commercials nomination was in trouble. the nyt wrote a letter and concluded who letter these words, chances are that the nomination will be turned down. call it is not make a person senator. his character that makes the man.
one of these days the president of the united states will be in the group. years later a kid born in the city in 1954 k all right that kid, now a grown man was by himself scrolling through journalism the "washington post" in washington. the kid now a man and a writer had an inkling that the senator from chicago might when the 2,000 election. the kids became the man in the writer went out and track down an african
american public. stefan's sean after the story of the kid born in 1954 wrote: became the man who became the writer, stefan rochon was hired as a technical advisor to the movie that the hollywood movie producers started to make in 2012. one day stefan rochon was in the white house. he bumped into the negro president who barbara ross had tricked it would be in the white house.
that president then asked stefan rochon what he was up to. he said, i've just been hired to be the 2nd advisor to obama. and i stopped in the white house today because ii wanted to get a little gift for the wider. the negro president who barbara ross predicted when turned on his heels and went back into his office and came out. he said, something and i'm blue other case encased in velvet and gave it to stefan rochon who said thank you, mr. president. i know for a fact will is
going to love this. the president said, i think you'll love it, too. the gift that the kid received from the negro president the barbarossa predicted from the presidential campaign but i have taken from out under lock and key in my home brought here tonight and signed every book that you will leave here with this evening. [applause] nothing is more personal than deciding who you will dedicate your book two.
so now as we dedicated to two people both like thurgood marshall are trained into law, they are residents of the city. i wanted to do a little something special for these people. so the 1st person received the 1st copy of this book from the printing press and i also went to a jeweler in washington because i wanted
come up and accept this book [applause] >> thank you very much. i have always wanted to feel like a mayor. [applause] this is given me an opportunity to do so because i have written a citation to go along with the book. [applause] i gave myself the power to issue a citation. this is goldman and says in
the dark days of legal segregation and state-sponsored terrorism the black sharecroppers and the families of the deep south days out upon the fields they worked looking for hope, wanted to train. a man arrived on the scene and began marketing -- marching in the state in federal court houses. began changing the laws, one writes for those in the fields and those in the big cities, too. some of these people began referring to him as lotus. his name was actually thurgood marshall. we do not need to anoint man or woman a saint, but it helps us to know our heroes have saintly ambitions. the 1st took public office
you have sought to lift up, like thurgood marshall your vision has helped all races and creeds and colors. thurgood marshall one set of someone he greatly admired community did not quite. he took the bull by the horns. you did not wait for the time. you made it. had as it. and as it has been noted in this midwestern city and beyond commit you broke barriers did not wait for the times, you made them. you have earned your place in the collective memories of so many. as he prepared to leave city hall consider this book that has been dedicated to you a mighty wave of thurgood marshall and the literary valentine of a writer born in the very city you have
would have nothing to do with thurgood marshall. his name would never go on one of the buildings command he knew it. he did not bemoan his plight he had ahe had a higher calling. he was fighting in the trenches on behalf of justice and freedom. time passed and walls came tumbling down, but history, as we know, turns rather beautifully. now there are many buildings even in airports with the name thurgood marshall. since 2001 larry james has had his name on all law firm in downtown columbus, brown and james. [applause] yet even with that distinction time and time again larry james has returned to the trenches. fighting in the name of justice and freedom, he has
won so many of his showdowns larry james is thurgood marshall's kind of lawyer. someone once asked thurgood marshall about his personal successes. i dug way deep, he said. larry james in the universe of law, art, books, and philanthropy you have set a glorious standard. this book is dedicated to you because like thurgood you have dug way deep. will hagood lincoln theatre september 292015. [applause]
one of the things that pres. lyndon johnson said after he nominated thurgood marshall and after thurgood marshall was confirmed he said, i want every black mother to be able to look across the breakfast table in the morning and no now that her son or daughter can become a great supreme court justice or a great judge. the mother of algernon marbling was one of those ladies. she looked across the breakfast table and poured a dream into her son.
now for the book. there have been in excess of 20 biographies written about thurgood marshall. so what was the impetus for showdown which tells justice marshall story through the context of the confirmation process? >> well, while there have been multiple books on marshall, with this book i am hoping that -- well, someone once came to duke ellington and said that they were going to make a song, that they were going to rerecord a song that gillespie has made command duke said don't. he is close the door on that song. so i am hoping that people
will pick up my book and if someone else comes to them with an idea to write a book about thurgood marshall that they will say don't. will hagood has closed the door on that. what i think, though, what really was a magnet to me was that marshall, marshall's hearings were five days stretched over 12 days and his nomination set in limbo for six weeks before marshall the supreme court have been all-white. before him none of these hearings lasted more than a day. so with southerners leading the charge i knew that there was great drama in that and wanted to figure out why that happened and why they wanted to stop thurgood
marshall. well, and you told it beautifully. >> excuse me? >> you told it beautifully. >> the backdrop of the confirmation. but it is also a very poignant story about the relationship between two great men, the relationships between thurgood lyndon johnson, and you should great light on this. tell us why you chose that particular approach and use it as a subtext. >> these were two men who were somewhat poor in their youth. neither was born with a silver spoon. and so when you are poor i
think it soaks inside of you. i think it does something to you. it's sort of gives you a quicker gear into people, especially if you are inclined to help people. so thurgood marshall as this naacp lawyer went to texas to fight the voting rights case in 1948 blacks were being forbidden for the most part to vote. the democratic primary. and marshall took the case all the way to the supreme court and one. smith the all right.
a young senate candidate started winning election after election you cannot argue. think of sending them back to the senate a game seniority and became senate leader. >> the reason that he felt so comfortable around blacks in texas. fdr made certain of that. >> yes, he appointed lyndon johnson to head the national youth program throughout the state of texas, and he would get in a car and driver around the state and visit
blacks in houston and dallas and san antonio and would constantly told him that one day things are going to be better and i won't forget you. i think that scarred him in a very humane way. >> we are going to get to lyndon johnson and why he was hell-bent on the marshall nomination. first, i want to have some personal context for thurgood marshall. he was raised in segregated baltimore. he give us a great glimpse into the wimbledon justices family. was there a defining moment or a set of circumstances that you feel made him the fierce advocate that he was?
where did he get inspired? >> from his father told him to fight back, racial epithets at him. he hopped on the railway he was told to go stand in the back. mr. conductor i can't. they might fall out of my arm and get squished. fell down. and he thought that was wrong and of course it was wrong. that store owner no reason
except the color of skin. >> that resonated. >> and it was coupled with the fact that his father used to like to take him in and out of state and federal courthouses because thurgood learned at a young age that the law subjugated blacks. he got it in his mind, i need to make the law elevate blacks. and so he was constantly fighting the active subjugation against the hope and promise to elevate. >> and he got much of the impetus about how the lock and elevate from a young
dean at howard university. >> yes. >> charles hamilton. >> a great lawyer. >> harvard trained. >> came to howard to resuscitate the program. how important was that relationship in setting the trajectory for thurgood's career? and tell us about the impact of the soldier and they took the summer of 33. >> dean houston was a formal man, very sophisticated and wanted to go down south. he did not want to goby himself. he was afraid with good reason. and so he asked this tall, strapping one time student of his graduated number one this class. >> recent graduate. >> he asked marshall if you would like to ride in a car with him go visit school
houses and take notes and file a report to get back to naacp headquarters in new york city. they were both stunned at the conditions of the school houses, many southern communities, the black children had to walk 2 miles to school and had no buses in the white children had buses that were brand-new. they made notes of this. they take photographs. they file their reports. they were often scared, sometimes threatened, but they survived. the mother and father were worried sick. >> now, what is interesting about it is they did not
but the architect of this naacp legal strategy we have to do over here and take it to the supreme court and then we have to good over here to texas and then florida and then to michigan. not all of these cases were in the south. there were some up north as well. the book is shaped around five days of the hearingings but what i do -- because the --
>> the horse exist in the back. >> i wanted to take the reader outside of the hearing room because hearingses -- thurgood marshal's hearings were not that civil. >> the hearing rooms were not covered by the press. >> talk about freedom of the press. >> these people were powerful, they were called ron -- bare ronessed. >> and always called a pack of
wolves. >> a pack of wolves. >> a fair characterization. >> yes, yes. here i didn't say it. it was said in "the los angeles times." >> that's right. but getting back to his travels through the south. a couple of those had a tortured, if not violent, past themselves, and you explained that in the book but i was struck by the circumstance of harriet and perry moor, the first naacp members killed in the line of duty. >> these were dear friends of thurgood marshall's. they were husband and wife, voting rights activists. they came home one night -- actually criminal -- christmas eve. they went to bed.
while they were ware clansmen stuck dynamite under their house. early on christmas morning, the house blew up. harry moore died immediately. harriet moore was rushed to the hospital. thurgood marshall had loves these two people, and he had slept in their guest bedroom self times. he could have been in that house that night if he had been working in florida. marshall's -- harriet, harry moore's daughter, who i interviewed, she told me she had been on a train trying to get home for christmas. and she was seated in the segregated section, and nobody got word to her that her family was trying to find her. when she stepped off the train,
on christmas day, she liked around and didn't see her mother and father and thought that was mighty strange, and she saw some relatives walking toward her. he said where is mom some daddy. they said we have to talk to you. she said, no, where is mommy daddy? and they said, well, we're sorry but your father is dead and your mother is holding on. she wants to see you at the hospital. the doctors told the family that if harriet moore could hang on for seven days they thought she would make it. she died on the sixth day. >> it was an interesting post script, if we fast forward to 1967, with her. >> when was at her house, interviewing her over the course of four hours, before i got
ready to leave, she said -- as i was walking from her living room to dining room, i stopped in my tracks. there was a gigantic oil painting, maybe four feet by five feet. and i stopped in my tracks 'wasn't an oil painting of her father, harry moore, or her mother, harriet moore. it was an oil paint of thurgood marshall. and i said, oh, my god. mrs. moore. why didn't you tell me that this painting was hanging here? and she said, oh, i don't know why. on the day that thurgood marshall was confirmed, a friend of mine in florida knew how
close he was to me and my family, and had this our portrait painted and shipped to me. and i mean, i was just stunned, that here i was, sitting there for four hours, and thurgood marshall was right on the other side of the wall. maybe he was listening. >> well, i'm sure he was proud of the work you were doing. he got to know the moores as a result of his work with the legal defense fund, and as you chronicle his life he was with the defense fund for two years,ing a an associate and then from '38 to '61 he ran the legal defense fund, and when he was there -- if dr. king was the moral and spiritual leader of the civil rights movement, thurgood marshall certainly was
the chief legal architect. he made law. he was a sterling advocate. he argued before the supreme court 32 times, won 29 of those cases. now, once he was at the legal defense fund, would it be fair to say that he had trained his sights on dismantling separate but equal and oblitz rigging clefy vs. ferguson, and he did that in the brown decision that has been discussed. but thurgood marshall the advocate spent much time in the south battling other issues. many before brown, including -- you highlight the diversity of cases, the breadth of thurgood's practice. why was that so important? when you could have just written the book about events leading up to brown. >> yes. for the simple reason, to show
his versatility. he was a high brow lawyer and also a lawyer with his feet squarely on the ground. he went to tennessee one time. there was a -- this was in world war ii era, and there was a little small town. >> lawrenceburg. >> lawrenceburg, tennessee. >> the judge read the book close. close. for once i read something other than the cliff notes version. >> close. and so this mother wanted to take her radio back to this store. her son -- her african-american son went with her -- >> african-american soldier son. >> yes. went to the store, and the
mother was talking to the clerk, who was white, and said this radio doesn't work. and the clerk, a young white male, said, you're a lie. you probably broke it. and the son looked up at the clerk, as if he was unsure that somebody had just called his mama a liar. the mother said, i'm not lying. you are. the clerk slapped the black soldier's mother. the soldier unleashed a punch that can only be summarized as an act of sweet thunder.
and threw the white clerk through the window, and by nightfall, the city had been engulfed in a riot. and many blacks, and some whites, were shocked, and they called thurgood marshall to the rescue. marshall came and got most of those who had been convicted off. one night, marshall was getting out of town with a couple other lawyers who worked on a case, and he was stopped by the local sheriff, and they told him one time that he had been speeding, and he said he wasn't. and they told you, i'm going to keep going, and then they stopped him again -- >> stopped the second time to check for alcohol. >> yes, drinking.
you've been drunking, and then they stopped him a third time and said, you can't drive the car anymore. let this other person drive. then the went about 15 yards in the car, and then the sheriff stopped them, and told everybody but marshall to get out. and then they finally told marshall to get out, saying he was being arrested for drunk driving there was this river in this tennessee town called the death river. when blacks were lynched they were thrown into the river. the families would have to get them. the sheriffs put thurgood marshall in the back of the car and started heading off to the river. the lawyers who were out of the car, quickly found another ride because there was newsman who was following them, too, so they
quickly hopped in the car and followed the car towards the duck river, and the sheriff got scared that they were going to be found out if they attempted to kill thurgood thurgood marsho they took him on into town, and thurgood marshall survived that night by the skin of his teeth. >> what was also interesting about that incidentes when the sheriff's stopped them there war highway patrol cars in the vicinity. >> yes. >> who didn't respond or intervene. when he was taken back into the town, they told him to get out of the car, and they wanted him to walk to the jail. >> right. >> but he was smart enough to know that answer he started oning away from them he would get shot in the back. i'm not walking over there by myself. you got to walk with me. i'm your prisoner. >> right. right. >> so he lived long enough for you to write the book. >> yes.
>> in -- >> in line with that, marshall was very canny. no federal department of civil rights in the south to protect him or any black lawyer, and so marshall formed an unusual alliance with, of all people, j. edgar hoover. he would chat up mr. hoover, compliment him, he would bring back little knicknacks from the road for j. edgar hoover, who probably through them -- threw them in the trash can when their good left. >> host: 'thurgood got along with j. edgar and dr. king did not. what do you attribute that to? >> well, hoover detested the klu
klux klan. he detested them. so marshall would get these horrific stories about the klan and say, mr. hoover, i was in florida and saw these 12 klans men walking down the street. they owned this little town. you fbi has to do something about that. y'all got to clean that town up. and hoover would get worked up. where did you see them senate he would just get worked up. and marshall kept needling hoover. >> a lot of their relationship was based on the fact that marshall was a lawyer. he believed in the rule of law and at least hoover held himself out as one giving fidelity to the rule of law. was there a commonality in their approach to problem-solving?
>> yes, marshall was very careful not to label himself liberal. marshall's theme was the u.s. constitution is the u.s. constitution, and the truth needs no defense. you're breaking the law. if you arrest blacks for no reason, you're breaking the law. says you can't do that in the u.s. constitution. he used to carry it in his pocket. getting back to the harry and harriet moore case, a great scene in a movie. marshall, after the harry and harriet moore case, there war scuttle but from the clan that they were going to kill thurgood before he got out of town. so marshall knew not to call the
airport because one of the clerks there might tell somebody, hey, marshall has a ticket for friday night at 7:30. so, thurgood walks out of his motel and it's dark, and he is getting ready to slowly make his way to the airport. he has a friend who is driving. and these two whites start walking across the street slowly. now i think i'm lee daniels with the camera. and they start walking across the street, and marshall is nervous. and they ask him to roll down the window, and one of them leans in and pulls out his fbi badge and says, mr. marshall, j.
edgar hoover sent us, our mission, to get you to the airport and get you out of here safely. that's a great scene because when they got to the airport and marshall and the two agents walk up to the desk, the clerk says, sorry, that next flight is sold out. matter of fact there nor nor flights going back to washington tonight or tomorrow. and one of the beefy fbi agents leaned over the counter, got nose-to-nose with the clerk, and said, you better find a seat on that next airplane for this man or else. an hour later thurgood marshall was in the air. >> helped when the agent flashed his bed. >> yes, yes, absolutely.
>> now, let's talk about the confirmation hearing. as i read the book and i read about those five days of the hearings, especially in the context of the violent episode that you portrayed throughout the book, i couldn't help but think that the behavior of the southern democrats, the gang of five, was a metaphor for white character to stifle black advance: did you mean to leave that impression with the leader or is that my southern roots coming to the fore? >> no. because i'm from north carolina. sam irving was a senator from my state. there were some very real things that happened that made the southerners who were trying to stop thurgood marshall. first of all, lyndon johnson, they considered him one of them,
southerner. so, now, he had signed the 1964 civil rights bill, which in johl in the coffin of white supremacy. the second nail was the 1965 voting rights act. the third nail in the coffin of white supremacy was the nomination of thurgood marshall to the u.s. supreme court. lyndon johnson saw to emancipate the entire american judicial system by nominating thurgood marshall to the highest court in the land. >> now, in june of '67, when he announced that -- at least -- before that there wasn't a seat available. so, he had to use his political
savvy to make that seat available, lynn johnson son. how did he make that seat available? a fascinating story. >> lyndon johnson was hell bent on integrating the u.s. supreme court. but as you noticed there was no seat, and so there was a justice on the court named tom clark, and he and lyndon johnson had texas roots, and so lyndon johnson wanted to see tom clark and said, tom, how you doing? how is the wife? tom, i wish i had a boy. i got all daughters. i love them dearly, but, wow, you got a boy. and i tell you something, i want
to make your boy my attorney general. but, dang it, i can't do it because you on the high court and they going to accuse me of nepotism. but i tell you something, tom. i know how much you love that boy. and i know how much that boy love you. and i know any daddy in the country would be so proud to see his son ascend to the high court. but, tom, my hands are tied. there's nothing i can do because there's no vacancy. oh, lord, i wish there was a vacancy. and a day later i interviewed justice clark's daughter. a day later, justice clark in fine health, had lifetime appointment, went home and said, hey, everybody, i'm tired of the
court. i think it's time for me to take a long vacation, maybe play some golf. >> or take a trip around the world. >> or travel. >> travel. >> and so it happened. tom clark stepped down, lbj nominates thurgood marshall-doesn't tell a single senator until the day of the nomination. a month later, former justice tom clark and his wife, are sent first class tickets around the world on a fact-finding mission. >> nice way to retire. >> yeah. >> what was the tone of the hearings from the outset? did you get the impression in doing your research -- and you told me your research was done mostly through transcript.
is there a reason you relied on the transcript in doing your research of the confirmation hearing? >> well, let me correct that. in case some of my miami students are out there. >> okay. >> i went and tracked down as many people as i could. shoe leather, old-fashioned shoe leather. but the spine of the book, as you rightly said, is the hearings, and the hearings from the outset -- james eastland, mississippi, the chairman, allowed the media in there on the first day for 30 minutes and that's it. he said, get out. that would never happen today. >> no. >> but he said, get out. and so they weren't there. and you've asked me how come some of these ran corious things
didn't make into it the media? the journalists were there. there were horses, senator tidings of maryland, center ted kennedy, hart in michigan. everett dirksen. these were great people who were fighting for marshall. >> dirksen was one of the republicans. >> yes, he was. and one of the things during the hearings, they tried to marshall as not sophisticated about the u.s. constitution. >> that wasstrom thurmon. >> right. which is bizarre. >> one of the more sophisticated
persons ever to grace the hall of congress. [laughter] >> that was pretty bizarre. was for the fact, sam irirvin -- >> noted constitutionalist. an avuncular hisser during the watergate hearing but not these hearings. >> right. harvard law school. sam irvin collected books. he had 35,000 books. he went into book stores all the time and walked out with loads and loads of books. law books, books about history, books about the arts, books about religion. he had a ton of books. and he was a very smart man. but nowhere in none of those books did sam irvin ever feel he
found a line or paragraph that justified equality for the black man. >> well, how about i want to come back to that southern statesman, strom thurmond, and how between thurmond and eastland, and irving, they set the tone for the hearing because it seemed they did the lionies share, as you recount it, of the questioning of the. >> well, yes, they had seniority and had been in the senate a long time and known as the old bulls. eastland in mississippi once
stopped the hearings. it got real quiet, and flared hat thurgood marshall and said, mr. marshall, do you like the white people of the south? that was the question. it was like a hammer fell. that was the question that all the southerners wanted to ask thurgood marshall, because their mindset, you've upend it our way of life, all these legal cases -- >> held ground against -- >> thurgood marshall was considered public enemy number one throughout the south. one man, white man, in his late 60s who i interviewed, he said, one of the amazing things is that when i was little, and my community, our parents would tell us if we're bad, thurgood
marshall is going to come get you. [laughter] >> this is a line -- ya. this is a line in my book. he told me, he said, and i didn't even know what a thunder good marshall was. >> these old bulls didn't all come to the table with clean hands, did they? >> no. that is -- >> host: had a murderous past. >> you're stealing my thunder. that is a fascinating little sidelight. james eastland's father, several months witheastland himself was born, lynched a black man.
strom thurmond's father murdered a white man. i you look at the book in terms of fathers and songs, that is a subtext. thurgood marshall and his father, willy marshall, strom thurmond and his father, james eastland and his father, a lot of blood and tears and family that courses through the book, and so these were people who brought blood -- family blood into the hearing room, and also there was a subtext of interracial sex. the marshall hearings happened in the year of the famous loving case, loving -- they were a couple in the state of virginia. y'all have heard about this couple. by the way, there's a movie being filmed about that right now. anyway, the lovings were
arrested in the state of virginia, in 1967, just weeks before thurgood marshall's hearing started, for sleeping in the same bedroom. the state of virginia said, we'll drop the charges if you just leave. leave the state. so they did, and they came to washington d.c. to live. and strom thurmond has asked marshall about the loving case. the same strom thurmond who was sleeping with his black maid, fathering a child, and paying her hush money to not talk about it. >> and he was directing those comments at marshall for a
discrete reason. >> yes, his wife was filipino and that was strom thurmond's way of making an attempt to hurt thurgood marshall during the hearings. >> those democrats, those southern democrats, particularly senator irving, made the argument that his opposition to justice marshall was not predicated on race but rather the justice's penchant for activism. he labeled marshall as one who would be judicial activist. the warren court was considered an activist court. how much was fact and how much was fiction? >> well, it was fact because there was no option. you had to be an activist lawyer to take down blessing vs.
ferguson. >> marshall said the constitution was an organic, living document, and so maybe you don't have to be so much the activist. maybe the constitution adapts 0 to the times. the framers, i think, wrote it in such terms. those who disagree with that but as a judge, i certainly believe, as marshall believed, it is an organic document. otherwise it won't survive this long. >> one of the senators asked marshall how come you don't rely or doubt voluntary confessions, and thurgood marshall said, well, i had a client once, black kid, he was beaten for six days, and he finally voluntarily confessed. >> now, there's a little known
fact, though, that the hearings weren't going that well, at least through the first three or four days, even through day five, and as the hearings were dragging on, lbj plotted an alternate strategy. >> plus, they were not consecutive days. they were spread out over 12 days, which made thurgood marshall and the white house nervous. on the second day of hearings president johnson was so nervous he said to his aides, my guy might not make it. they are tough. goodings in gracious. and so johnson was hell bent on integrating the supreme court, so he summoned william coleman to thes who. he had known thurgood marshall
well, had worked with him on the brown case, and william coleman did not know why he was being summoned to the white house. when ogot there johnson said, my man might not make and it i need you on standby because if he doesn't make it, then i'm coming after you. and william coleman was taken aback. >> why did johnson think that coleman could get past the bulls while marshall could not? >> he was a republican, and he was not known as a civil rights fighter in the vein of a thurgood marshall. >> and coleman, i think, had been the first african-american ever to clerk on the supreme court, having clerked for justice frankfurt. >> you're exactly right. >> so, justice marshall was eventually confirmed.
69-11. there are 20 votes unaccounted for. tell us about the 20 votes. >> which is amazing. senators go to washington to vote for their con city students. that their job. lyndon johnson made calls and the calls went like this. hey, senator, my goodness. my goodness. my goodness. i see where there's a bridge scheduled to go up in your home town next year. some of my sources telling me they might be putting your name on that bridge. well, let me tell you like this. there might not be a bridge. there might not be no money for a bridge.
if you vote. what you need to do when you come out of your houston next tuesday, go down -- house next tuesday, go down to the corner go to a coffee shop, and sit in there all day long. and 20 of them were so fearful of lyndon johnson that they did it. they didn't vote. >> 20 nonvotes. >> that is astonishing, they're sworn to vote. he put the fear of god them and they did not vote. now, marshall, yes, was confirmed, but you have to pay attention to the arcane rules of the senate. if the southerners and those who
didn't like marshall -- if they could stop the white house they reached 60 votes, then the could filibuster the nomination to death. so they got only a handful of votes over the 60 votes. so it really was a close vote when you look at it that way. and the white house had some concerns going against its congressmen. adam clayton powell was on the run, just been thrown out of congress for ethics violation. people were linking adam clayton powell and thurgood marshall's name in the media, writing letters to the senate, and to the president on the last day of the hearings. detroit erupts in a massive race
riot. >> milwaukee. >> yes, milwaukee erupted in a massive riot. the riots were gans of decades of pain and lack of opportunity. and so-so many things happened aside from the very powerful southern men who didn't want marshall to make it. so many things happened that made thurgood marshall him worry. he had sleepless nights. will i make it on to the court. >> -- drew it out. the more the riots raged eastland drew it out because he kept -- he and irvin and thurmond kept coming back too the mantra, soft on crime, miranda, and as a result of you being soft on crime, the inmates
are running the institution in these cities. molotov cocktails are flying. your guy, adam clayton powell, coined the phrase "black power." stokely car michael and brown ran with it. so they were trying to draw some synergy between the confluence of facts. >> right. >> do you think that the white house set up this game, put more pressure on the other senators, including the democrats on the committee? >> yes. one thing that the white house did, they got word out to voters, if you love thurgood marshall, write your senator, start writing letters. write letters to the white house. people started flooding the
white house with wonderful letters. now, some of the letters were hateful but a good many of them that were very poignant. >> well, the justice served on the bench from 1967 to 1991. based on all that you gleaned from your very extensive research, do you think he enjoyed his time on the bench as much as he enjoyed his time as an advocate? >> okay. well, i think that's a good question because i have -- just got the motion we have to wrap up for the book signing. i think that thurgood marshall knew how important it was to have a gifted, wonderfully talented lawyer, on the supreme court who was black. now, was he happy on the court or happier in his job when he was traveling around the
country? winning those cases. the court turned right shortly after he got on. i i don't think they were the happiest years of his life. he wrote a lot of dissents but you can read those and learn an awful lot about thurgood marshall's legacy. he really was a giant. i'm sorry so many people have said that he got lost in history. and that this book sort of brings him -- >> rehabilitates him. >> yes, rehabilitates him. he needs no rehabilitation. but i'll take the compliment. >> i have one more question. we're going to have maybe a minute or two for questions from the audience. in fact i know that since i'm
conducting this interview. so, you have written a number of books now. you have written about adam clayton powell, sammy davis junior, sugar ray robinson. how does that fit into the pantheon of great african-americans about whom you've written? where does thurgood fit? >> i think my books are about american and african-american history. they're told to re -- they're told through a lens, and all these people are rebels,, for
freedom. and that the good angle to shape your writings around. it's drama. these are great stories. marshall -- of that group marshall was the supreme figure. no doubt about it. but you could see eye-to-eye with adam clayton powell, surgery way robinson, mr. allen, the butler, and powell. i think it's best summed up like this. on the day marshall was nominated, he was in the white
house and there were three african-american butlers serving tea and refreshments. one of those butlers was eugene allen. mr. allen lived and worked -- lived sometimes, slept overnight a lot, at 1600 pennsylvania avenue. the most powerful address in the world, and the '50s, muc of the '60s, we could go back to his native virginia and couldn't try on a suit in the store. now he is serving thurgood marshall. thurgood marshall had seen how the law could subjigate.
the good marshall looked at the black butlers in the white house and his mindset was, i'm going to keep using the law to elevate you. and that to me is why i love the majesty and mystery of history. >> with that, thank you very much. [applause] >> thanks to judge marbly. we have time for a couple of questions from the audience. i know you want to take this opportunity to talk to mr. haygood. ask him a question. we have microphones in the audience for anybody who wants to ask a question.
speak now. all right. we have someone. come on down. >> before him there was hastings -- william hastings. how do you think -- because you heard about hasting was more radical than houston, and by the way, i'll say this. i'm the great nephew of robert carter. >> oh, yes. >> his sister just died. 99 years old, my great aunt. >> oh, wonderful. thank you for being here. >> anyway, because we -- today i said to my friends last week, who would think we would be talking today what they talked
about in the '60s when we were born, all the racism and the black murders of young black men, so forth and so on, and then also with the radical race theory of modern day -- what done with the lawyers. you know, with obama -- >> can you state your question, please. >> so how do you think it would take -- bring forward hastings -- took a big change from houston and bridges forth the naacp on us. >> i think different lawyers have different strategies, different times or periods in history. and so maybe the naacp lawyers now don't have to try as many of
the kinds of cases that thurgood marshall tied -- tried because there are more civil rights lawyers doing that kind of work. it's all still needed very badly, as we know. judge marbly himself has voted on some epic voting rights cases, so i think each generation finds its own best lawyers. >> last question. how would you think thurgood marshall feel about barack obama and the things -- and also with clarence thomas, who talked about being the difference between -- >> that's a loaded question. i think if thurgood marshall was here today he would be very happy about the first family in
the white house. there's no doubt about that. some things would certainly pain him as well. but this is not the same country it was in 1967, and yet there are still that we have to address. there is no doubt about it. >> take a question over here. >> hi, will. how are you? >> hi. >> i would like to know -- you have all the men on there. are you going to weave any women into your historical autobiography? [applause] [laughter]
>> that was not the question i told you to ask. >> well -- >> i'm going to -- there are multiple figures who i am thinking about writing about next, but like -- wait a minute, now. let me sort of defend myself. my sugar ray robinson book, major figure in that book was lina horne because she was a dear friend of thurgood marshall, but that doesn't quite fully answer your question. i know, but thank you for asking it. very well stated. >> i would like to welcome a woman to the stage, susan
bradford. [applause] >> we just want to make sure that all of you enjoyed your age with wil l haygood. thank you. and the wonderful judge marbly. thank you. again, as we close out this evening, we'll just want to let you know that we will have a reception upstairs in the ballroom. most of you who have your books now have a pass that is in there that will get you -- your by into the reception and we'll also be there to sign -- personalize your book. i want to make note that tonight's event will be shown on c-span booktv on sunday, october 4th, at 6:00 a.m.
6:00 a.m., so schedule your dvrs for that. >> no, sunrise service. >> sunrise service. and then i'll let jack speak a little bit more about our conversations that will lead us up to our event coming up, and also if you want to purchase more books in the lobby, you can do that at that time. [applause] >> the lincoln theater strives to make this place a forum for public discussion on october 22nd, at 6:00 p.m., we'll be holding a forum on 50 years of the voting rights act, very timely forum that relates to what they were talking about tonight with streeting rights act bag key part of thurgood marshall's rise. this event will feature dr. herb
asher, professor emeritus of political science at the ohio state university. asian seabrook, attorney and general counsel for former secretary of state blackwell, and members of the black elected democrats of ohio. so this will be an excellent forum. they're free of charge. doors open at 6:00 p.m. on thursday, october 22nd. join us as we make the lincoln theater your preferred place for community conversations. and now, it's time to go upstairs and get your books signed. thank you so much. >> mr. haygood will take pictures upstairs so we'll join you at that time.
the. >> booktv is on facebook. like to us get pushing news, author information and talk directly with authors during our live programs. facebook.com/booktv. >> you know, why did i write this book? and america is such a great place, and i am so glad i was born here. i have traveled to 57 different countries, gotten to know lots of people in and a lot of other ways of life, but this remains the place that is the land of dreams, and i know a lot of people like to criticize our nation and demonize us and say it's responsible for a lot of horrible things, and yet i see a
lot of people trying to get in here and not a lot of people trying to get out. so i'm not sure that is all that legitimate to be honest with you. but growing up in poverty, with a lot of disadvantages, the thing that was really great is i was still able to focus on my dream of becoming a doctor. it was the only thing i ever wanted to die. skipped right by policeman and fireman and went straight to doctor, and i loved anything that had to do with medicine. i even liked going to the doctor's office and would gladly sacrifice a shot just to be able to smell the alcohol swabs. it was so cool, and on through the whole process. were there a lot of hurdles? absolute limit tremendous hurdles along the way. but nevertheless, it was still
possible to realize that dream, and i want to make sure that continues to be the case. one reason it was possible is because we have a system that did everything possible to create fairness. even when there were people in the system who did not want to be fair. and that is why it is so important that we must preserve our constitution. virtually all americans know that we have a constitution. how many people actually know what is in it? how many people actually know what is behind it? and of course, it is the mechanism that guarantees our liberties and that provides the guidelines for the restraint of government. because our founders recognize that it was the natural tendency
of government to grow, and to invade every aspect of your life, and try to control your life. that's what people do. and that is what they wanted to avoid by doing this, and that's why it's so important that we understand it. in 1831, when detocqueville came to mrs. to study or great country, because the europeans were just so flabbergasted that this fledgling nation, barely 50 years old, was already competing with them on virtually every level. he was going to really dissect and it see what was going on, but one of the things that really impressed him was how educated the people were. anybody finishing the second agreed was completely literate. he could find a mountain man on the outskirts of society and the guy could read the newspaper and
could tell him how our government worked. and nowday we don't seem to emphasize civics and things like that in school anymore, and i'm sure some of you have seen some of those man on the street interview situations, where they go out and ask basic questions, and people have no clue what you're talking about. and they think -- you say, who was the first president? they say, huh, reagan? they have no idea. and it's funny but so sad. ...