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tv   Rep. John Lewis D- Georgia Speaks With High School Students  CSPAN  July 18, 2020 9:02pm-10:06pm EDT

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we were blessed by his friendship, support and wise counsel. we will miss him so much. >> from the carter center in georgia, former president jimmy carter released this statement. rosalind and i are saddened by the death of congressman john lewis. he made an indelible mark on history, through his quest to make our nation more just. john never shied away from what he called, good trouble, to lead our nation on the path toward human and civil rights. >> next, the late congressman john lewis speaks with students at washington, d.c.'s, eastern senior high school, as part of the c-span program, duties and leaders. he talked about his childhood, work in the civil rights movement, and his congressional career, as well as taking questions from the student. students.e
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[crowd conversations] jim: good morning. >> good morning. jim: my name is jim. i am with the comcast corporation. we are pleased to be with you here today at eastern high school. we have a wonderful guest speaker. many times, leaders have a very uncommon vision and uncommon commitment to excellence, convictions. i think we will hear all of that this morning. we are in for a very special treat.
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this program, the students and leaders program, is a wonderful opportunity to bring leaders back to the classroom to show young people the values of public service, the importance of leadership, and to give people an opportunity to become more involved in government and more aware of the issues that face our society. c-span, our partner at comcast, c-span is one of the very special ways we are able to do that every day. it gives our audiences on cable a chance to see their government firsthand, whether it is from the floor of the house of representatives, the senate, or special debates about public policy. it is a wonderful way, and a gift to the cable industry, to see how our government works and how we can all be better citizens.
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without any further ado, i would like to introduce steve scully, who will introduce our student leader and our speaker. [applause] steve: good morning. my name is steve scully and i would like to thank eastern high school for allowing us to do this in conjunction with comcast. we are midway through this month-long effort called students and leaders. you are in for a unique opportunity to hear the story of a fascinating man who has served in congress for nearly two decades, grew up in alabama, and wrote a best-selling book. i am pleased to introduce somebody who we may cover on c-span sometime down the road, timothy wilson, student leader. he will be graduating and going on to morehouse college and law
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school. i asked what his ambition is, and he says to someday follow john lewis in the house of representatives. we will save this tape. if he is ever elected, we will show it when he comes back and take some calls on our program. we want to thank you for being with us. you will hear a compelling story and learn a lot. we hope it is an experience you will forever remember. timothy wilson, we are glad to have you. [applause] timothy: thank you for that warm introduction. once again, my name is timothy wilson. i am a senior here at eastern. it is with great pleasure and i join me indents welcoming the honorable congressman john lewis from georgia here this morning. [applause]
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rep. lewis: thank you, mr. wilson, for those kind words of introduction. let me say i am delighted, very happy, and very pleased to be here this morning. let me say good morning. >> good morning. rep. lewis: i, too, want to thank c-span and it comcast, for making this possible, to be here at eastern high school, with each of you and your principal mr. shepherd. let me start by saying i did not grow up in a big city like washington, new york or atlanta or los angeles or chicago. i grew up on a farm 50 miles from montgomery, near a little place called troy, in southeast alabama. my father was a sharecropper, a tenant farmer. when i was four, my father saved
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$300 and bought 110 acres of land. my 88-year-old mother is still living on this land. on this farm, there is a lot of corn, peanuts, hogs, cows, and chickens. as a young kid, it was my responsibility to care for the chickens. i fell in love with raising chickens like no one else. do you know anything about raising chickens? let me tell you what i had to do as a young boy growing up in alabama in the 1940's. taking fresh eggs, mark them with a pencil, place them under the setting hen, and wait for three long weeks for the little chicks to hatch. i know some of you students are going to say, john lewis why did you mark , those eggs with a pencil? from time to time, another hen could get on the same nest, and there would be more eggs. you had to be able to tell fresh eggs from eggs already under the
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setting hen. i would fool these setting hands i would cheat on these setting hands. i would take the chicks and give them to another hen, or put them in a box with a lantern to raise them on their own. i get more fresh exit marked and whether pencil and place them under the setting hen. i kept on fooling and cheating on these setting hints. -- hens. it was not the right thing to do. it was not the moral thing to do. it was not the most loving thing to do. it was not the most nonviolent thing to do. but i was never quite able to $18.19 to order the cheapest from the sears roebuck store. the catalog, some people call it we used to getthe catalog, some people call it the ordering book, but i just kept cheating on these setting hens. as a young kid, seven and i half, wanted to be a minister.
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one of my uncles wrought me a bible. with the help of my cousins from , time to time, we would get all of the chickens together in the chicken house, the chicken yard, like you are gathered here, and the chickens, my brothers and sisters and cousins would make up the congregation. i would start speaking and preaching. what i look back on this some of , these chickens would bow their heads, some would shake their heads. they would never quite say amen. [laughter] but i am convinced some of these chickens i preached to tended to listen to me much better than some of my colleagues listen to me today in the congress. some of these chickens were a as a matter of fact little more , productive. at least they produce eggs. that is another story. when i was growing up there visiting the little town of , troy, 10 miles from home, visiting montgomery, about 50 miles away, visiting tuskegee, i saw signs that said "white men,"
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"colored men," i saw the signs that said "white women," "colored women. as a child, i tasted the bitter fruits of segregation and i did not like it. in 1955, when i was 15 years old in the 10th grade, i heard of mark luther king junior. i heard his voice on the radio. i listened to the words of martin luther king and the words inspired me. i heard of rosa parks and i followed the drama of the montgomery bus boycott. i wanted to find a way to get involved in the civil rights movement. in 1956, at the age of 16, with some of my brothers and sisters and first cousin, we went to the library in troy, alabama, trying to get library cards, trying to check books out. and we were told by the library
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and that the library was for whites only and not for coloreds. 1998, i want back to the pike county public library in troy, alabama for a , book signing. of my book, walking with the wind. hundreds of white and black citizens showed up and they gave me a library card. it says something about the distance that we have come progress we have made in , the progress we have made in america. toward laying down the burden of race. toward dealing with what martin luther king called an interracial society. the beloved community. the good society. some of you may ask, how do you get involved? how did you meet dr. mark luther king junior? when i finished high school in 1957 at the age of 17, i wanted a school called tri-state college. it is now known as troy state university. so i wrote a letter to dr. mark luther king junior.
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i submitted my application, had my transcript sent to the school. i never heard a word. i wrote a letter to martin luther king, junior and told him i needed his help. i did not tell my mother, my father, any of my sisters or brothers. dr. king wrote me back and sent me a round-trip greyhound bus ticket, invited me to come to montgomery to meet with him. in the meantime, i had been accepted at a college in nashville, tennessee. i will never forget it. on a saturday morning, september, 1957, my father drove me to the greyhound bus station. an uncle of mine gave me a $100 bill. more money than i ever had. gave me a footlocker. i put everything i owned except those chickens in my footlocker. i went off to school in nashville. dr. king heard from one of his friends, who was a teacher, professor of mind. that i was in nashville. he suggested when i was home
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from spring break to come and see him. in march of 1958 i am 18 years old. i father drove me to the greyhound bus nation on a saturday morning. i boarded the bus and drove to -- travel the 50 miles from troy to montgomery. arrived in montgomery, taken to the first baptist church, pastored by reverend ralph abernathy. i walked through the door and saw martin luther king junior and dr. king said, "are you the boy from troy? are you john lewis?" i spoke up and said again quote i am john robert lewis -- "i am john robert lewis. i get my whole name. i do not want there to be any mistake i was the right person. i continued to study in nashville and it was in the city of nashville as a student that many of us started attending nonviolence workshops, studying the philosophy of nonviolence, passive resistance.
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and civilhoreau disobedience studying the great , religions of the world. a group of black and white college students started sitting in at segregated lunch counters. and restaurants. we would sit there in an orderly, peaceful nonviolent , fashion waiting to be served, doing our homework and someone would come up and put a lighted cigarette out in our hair or down our backs, spit on us, pull us off the lunch counter stools, beat us. we did not strike back because we accepted nonviolence as a -- not simply as a technique or a tactic but as a way of life. ,my mother, my father my , grandparents and my great grandparents said to us over and over as children "do not get in trouble," but in nashville i got in trouble. it was good trouble. it was necessary trouble
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to make our country a better place. we believe in the constitution, we believe in the bill of rights, we believe in america, so we wanted to change america, bring down those signs -- "colored men, white men, colored women, white women. i got involved later in the freedom rides. i first came to washington in 1961, 21 years old. i had all of my hair and i was a few pounds lighter. [laughter] seven whites and six blacks to test a decision of the united states supreme court prohibiting discrimination in places of public transportation. if you left washington, dc and traveled in virginia through north carolina, south carolina, georgia, alabama, mississippi, whites had to sit in the front of the bus, blacks at the back of the bus.
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whitewas a sign saying waiting, colored waiting, white women, colored women. on the freedom ride we brought those signs down. we were beaten, jailed. at the greyhound bus station in montgomery, and anger mob attacked us. i was beaten and left bloody and unconscious at a greyhound bus station in montgomery, alabama, but we did not give up. we did not give in. we did not give out. we do not become bitter. a few years later, in 1963 i became the head of the student nonviolence committee, the national chair and moved to atlanta. for three years i served as the chair of that organization coordinating sit ins and freedom rides and efforts for voter registration all across the american south.
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in june of 1963, 40 years ago, at the age of 23, i was invited to come to washington again along with martin luther king jr. and others to meet president kennedy in the oval office of the white house. it was during that meeting someone spoke up and is said to president kennedy, "mr. president, we want to have a march on washington. we went out and mobilized to the nation and organized people from all over to come to washington on august 28, 1963, 250,000 americans came to washington to hear martin luther king junior say i have a dream. a dream that is deeply rooted in the american dream. i was there to speak also. when i stood and looked out, i saw a sea of humanity. we came back to the american south, back to alabama, georgia, back to mississippi.
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there was so much optimism. and 18 days after the march on washington on september 15, 1963, there was a terrible bombing of a church in birmingham, alabama, the 16th street baptist church. four little girls were killed. it was a very sad time and a dark hour for the civil rights movement. we went all across the south to try to get people to register people to vote. for example in the state of , mississippi, they had a black body as population of 450,000. only 16,000 blacks were registered to vote. there was one county in alabama between selma and montgomery was , more than 80% african-american but there was not a single registered african-american voter in the county. in the little town of selma, only to put 1% of blacks of
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voting age were registered. you had to pay a poll tax. in the section of the constitution of alabama, georgia said mississippi's lawyers and , doctors were told that they could not read well enough. a black man with a phd degree flunked the so-called literacy test. on another occasion, and man was asked to give the number of bubbles in a bar of soap. my organization the student , nonviolent coronet in committee organized the mississippi summer project where more than 1000 students, lawyers, doctors, ministers, priests, non-binet nation also -- not nation of -- nondenominational came to work , in the freedom school. on june 21, 1964 three young men i knew, two whites and one black went out to investigate the burning of a black church. these three young men were arrested, taken to jail,
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and later that same sunday night , were taken out, beaten, shot, they and killed. we did not give up. later we marched from selma to , montgomery, something called bloody sunday where we were beaten. but because of what happened in selma in 1965, at the mn pettus bridge there , was a sense of righteous indignation. president johnson spoke to a joint session of congress and introduced the voting rights act. congress responded, past that act. pass that act. now across the south hundreds of thousands of people are registered and voting and we have many black elected officials. i want to close by telling one last story. when i was growing up outside of troy alabama, 50 miles from montgomery, i had an aunt.
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she lived in a shotgun house. do know what a shotgun house is? you have never seen one because all of you grew up here in urban washington. my aunt lived in a shotgun house. i was born in a shotgun house. it did not have a green, manicured lawn. it had a simple, plain dirt yard. sometimes at night, we could look up through the ceiling, through the old tin roof of this shotgun house and we could count the stars. when it rained, she would get a pail or bucket and catch the rainwater. from time to time, she would walk out into the woods and take branches from a tree and make a broom and she would sweep her dirt yard very clean, ut especially on friday and -- sometimes two and three times
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a week, but especially on friday and saturday because she wanted her dirt yard to look good during the weekend. a shotgun house is an old house with a tin roof where he could bounce a basketball at the front door and it would bounce at the back door -- out the back door. the rain started beating on the 10 roof of this little -- tin roof of this little shotgun house. we were playing in my aunt's yard and a storm came out. lighting started flashing. my at became terrified she started crying and thought this old house was going to blow away. she got all us children together and told us to hold hands. and as children we did as we were told. the wind continued to blow, the thunder continued to roll and the lightning continued to flash. in one corner of this house, this house appeared to be lifted from the foundation. she had us run to that corner to hold down the house with our little bodies. when the other corner appeared
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to be lifting, my aunt had us walk to that side to hold down the house with our bodies. we were little children we never . we never left the house. as students, as leaders of the 21st century, you must never ever give up. you must never lose faith. you must stay with the house. we all live in the same house, we are one house. we are one people. we are one family. it does not matter whether we are white, black, native, hispanic, we all live in the same house. maybe our forefathers and foremothers all came to the land in different ships. but we are all in the same boat now. so hang in there. you will eat america. you will help lead the world to help make america better, help make our world better and create a more peaceful world.
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it is better to love than to hate. do what you can as leaders of the future to help make our world, to help make our society a little better. find some good trouble. and just get in the way. walk with the wind and to let the spirit of eastern high school and the spirit of history be your guide. thank you very much. [applause] we have time for some questions. >> good morning. my name is danielle creek. i'm a senior at the academy. my question for you is what are some of the most important factors do you think that helped prepare you for the early stages of your political career? rep.
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let mewis: thank you and respond by when i was growing up and when i was in school, i was very, very poor in rural alabama. we could not afford a subscription to the newspaper, but my grandfather had a subscription and when he was finished reading his newspaper, we would read his newspaper -- i had teachers who told me to read, to everything. i think by working hard, , and having asng part of my responsibility, to care for those chickens, gave me a sense of discipline and a sense of responsibility. inspired by martin luther king jr. that one man changed my life. he taught me how to stand up, how to act, and how to speak out.
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speak up and speak out. speak up and speak out. good morning. >> due to the affirmative action that took place here in washington, d.c. what is congress doing to change segregation around here and around the u.s.? rep. lewis: there was a case in the supreme court coming from the university of michigan. many of us in the congress, on both sides of the aisle, believed that affirmative action is still necessary. it affirms the participation and inclusion of people who have been left out because of race or gender. we are waiting on the decision of the united states supreme court and we are hopeful that we will have a decision by the end of next month. based on the decision of the united states supreme court, it
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will tell or imply what the congress may or may not do. >> good morning. i am a junior here at eastern high school. my question is -- i know you are very big on civil rights. so how do feel about that segregation scandal in your own state? rep. lewis: it is a very good question. it made me very sad. that in 2003, in the state of georgia or in any place in america but in my home state of georgia that we have segregated , prom. you have a one integrated prom and then come back and have a segregated one. it doesn't make sense. we have to learn to live together as dr. luther king would say as brothers and sisters. or we will perish as fools. we have to learn to live here in america before we tell the world we have to learn to live together.
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we are one people, one family. we are the american family. we are the world's family. >> good morning. my name is kevin and i am a senior here. congressman, i understand you have known dr. martin luther king junior on a personal basis. how has he inspired you to be the man you are today? rep. lewis: i did know dr. martin luther king and got to know him very well. he was a wonderful human being. just to speak with him, to talk with him. he inspired me. when i was growing up he became , my hero. later, a wonderful friend, like a big brother. later, we became colleagues in the struggle for civil rights. i don't know where i would be today if that not been for martin luther king jr. he had the ability he had the , capacity to inspire people, to
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tell people to have raw courage but not to be afraid. i said today, if it had not been for martin luther king jr. i would not be in congress, i would not be where i am today. >> good morning. i am a senior here. my question is, as the son of a sharecropper, how did you feel when you were awarded the medal? rep. lewis: when i was awarded the very special medal from the naacp, i felt good but i did not accept you or just for myself. but for the countless individuals who participated in the sit ins, who went on the freedom rides, for the americans
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, hundreds of thousands of americans who stood in lines in selma, in places in mississippi day in and day out trying to get the right to vote. but i was very, very moved by receiving that wonderful honor from the naacp. >> morning, congressman. my name is maurice brown. i am a junior. do you feel that affirmative action is the most effective way to promote multiculturalism in post secondary schools and do you believe such a system should be used in our world? rep. lewis: i think affirmative action is a necessary tool. it is a necessary instrument. it is part of a process to bring about this greater sense of community, to bring about what dr. king called and what i
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continue to call, beloved community. to end the schism, to end a gap. we can have diversity, but at the same time we need to move closer toward a truly integrated society. here at home in america and around the world. we should not put people down because they come from different backgrounds or different cultures or because of a different racial or religious group. we all are in the same family, the family of humankind. i think affirmative action -- we can make it work in america and if america can be used as a model for the rest of the world, then we should do it. >> good morning, congressman lewis. my name is lauren williams and i am a senior here at eastern. i would like to get your views
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on retirement age been moved to 75. rep. lewis: i am moving up myself. i'm not so sure the retirement age should be moved to 75. i do not think those of us in that 60 category what us to move the goalpost. it may be for selfish reasons but on the other hand, if people are able or prepared to work past 65, 66, past 70, and want to work until they are they should be free to do that. 75, we should not discriminate against people because of their age, but i am not necessarily for moving the retirement age and having it said, you must wait until your 75. some of us may want to retire much earlier if we can afford it. >> good morning. my name is callahan, and i am a
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senior at eastern. congressman lewis, i have read about your work in the in-house budget committee. i would like to know what are , your plans to create better neighborhoods? rep. lewis: first of all there , is a program we have today that has been successful across , the housing program to rebuild public housing. i think we have to rebuild our neighborhoods, to make our community more livable. we have got to have our parks, more open space. we have to find a way to clean up the old neighborhoods and have an urban policy where people can move back into the heart of our cities. city life is important. i live in that city of atlanta. here in washington, i live on capitol hill. i have been here 17 years. i don't even have a car you're -- here in washington.
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i walk or i get ride with one of , my staff people or i take the train. >> good morning, congressman. my name is williams, a junior here at eastern senior high school. my question is, can you give us a general idea of what the republican tax bill was and why you rejected it? rep. lewis: during a time of crisis and when you are involved in military action and a war, it is not a time in my estimation to cut taxes. we need those resources to see that all of our people get the best possible education. we need those resources to take care of the health condition of our seniors, our low income people, and our children our , babies. we need those resources to clean up the environment, protect the environment.
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i say from time to time we have , a right to know what is in the food we eat, what is in the water we drink, what is in the air we breathe. the great majority of americans are not saying, give me a tax cut, give me a tax cut. resources for homeland security. ,e need to build bridges, roads to improve housing. so i opposed it. because the proposed tax cut as it went through the house, and may make its way to the senate, it will help people at the very, very top and most of the people at the top don't need it. they don't want it. it will not help the people in the middle or the people at the bottom. it is not going to create jobs and economic growth. >> good morning, congressman lewis. my name is portia rise and i am a senior here at eastern. my question is a what is your
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personal opinion on the war with iraq? rep. lewis: as a person who believes in the philosophy and discipline of nonviolence, i happen to believe that war is obsolete. it is my feeling that humankind, not just in america, but all around this world, all around this little planet, this little real estate we call earth, must come to the point where we lay down the tools and instruments of violence and war and study war no more. it is my hope that as young leaders, that you will help people in america. and help people around the world, evolve to the point where we won't even think about going to war. war creates more problems than it solves. not only for the effort in iraq, but now we have to spend
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hundreds and thousands millions , and billions of dollars to rebuild iraq. we will rebuild the schools, we are going to provide health care for everybody, rebuild the towns and cities. many of those dollars in resources can be used right here to help rebuild america. i supported the troops after the war started but i was not a supporter of the war. >> good morning. my name is chanelle and i am a senior here in the academy. congressman lewis, i am sure throughout your life you have had many goals planned for yourself. at this point in your life, are there any that you have yet to accomplish and if there are, how do you plan to accomplish them? well, you always have goals. you try to reach those goals.
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i had a goal to do what i could to help end segregation and racial discrimination, especially in the american south and we have made tremendous progress. we have brought on the signs. i know sometimes young people and people not so young say, nothing has changed. and i feel like saying, come and walk in my shoes. it will show you things have changed. i do not go to tri-state and did not get into tri-state. i continue to study in nashville at american baptist marriott fisk university. but when i got elected to congress they had john lewis day in alabama. and the troy state university band led the parade. and that chancellor of the university heard i wanted to attend tri-state so he invited me to come down to the next graduation, and they gave me an honorary degree, so i have an honorary doctorate from tri-state university. i got it the easy way. [laughter]
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my goal tonight is to do what i can to help make our world a world of peace. that is a long struggle. to do what i can to help build the beloved community here and in america and around the world, a community at peace with itself. so i have spent a lot of time traveling around the country and visiting other parts of the world speaking about love, , nonviolence. >> hi, my name is rhonda and i am a junior at eastern senior high school in the academy. i know you say that you are supposed to keep going with what you're doing but was there any time in the 1960's as a civil rights leader that your fear made you stop or hesitate? rep. lewis: it is good question. never ever did i consider giving up or throwing in the towel.
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or say maybe this is too dangerous. when we marched from selma to montgomery and we were facing .he state troopers an unlawfulis is march and it will been not be allowed to continue and i give you three minutes to disperse and go back to your church. less than a minute and a half, the major said, troopers advance. you saw this man coming toward us, beating us with nightsticks and webs. traveling us with horses, and releasing the tear gas. i was hit in the head by a state trooper and had a concussion at the bridge. but i did not give up. i was hospitalized for three days. two weeks later, we started the march all over again. i got up and i walked all the way. i remember on that march someplace between selma and montgomery, it rained. one day, it rained and the heavens just opened up. on luther king junior was
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walking beside me and wearing a cap. i do not have a cap on my head. dr. king took the cap off of his head and put it on mine and said "john, you have been hurt, you need to protect your head. " it was not just dr. martin luther king junior it was a , sense of family. it was old and young, black and white, protestant and catholic jewish all their together. -- we all wear their together. -- we all were there together. you cannot give up. you could not turn back. >> good morning i just want to , know as a congressman with such a busy schedule, you have taken the time out to talk to young students like ourselves about spreading the message of love and nonviolence. what has been some of the comments or what do your colleagues think about you
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taking the time to spread love? rep. lewis: i think the great majority of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, democrats and republicans, they appreciate it. they encourage me to continue and they asked me from time to why aretime to time, you better, you had got arrested, you had a concussion at the bridge in selma. you are beaten on the freedom ride. and i said to them, i don't have any time to become bitter or hostile. we've been trying to keep our eyes on the prize. me to come to their own districts and speak to students and young people and also to people not so young. i think it's part of my mission, part of my obligation and responsibility is to tell the story and let people know that
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another generation of young people stood up and tried to make our country a better place. >> good morning again. my name is danielle crete, and i'm a senior in the academy. and i want to know, what are some of your responsibilities serving as the deputy minority whip and also being a senior minority member of the house of representatives? rep. lewis: thank you very much for the question. as a member of congress, i sit -- i serve on the ways and means committee in the house and on the budget committee and on the ways and means committee i sit on the subcommittee on health. so i have a great deal of interest in seeing that people get the best possible healthcare. that's one of my interests. and that is why i tie environment to justice as a health issue. as a whip and part of the whip
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organization, we try to be aware and be in front of what is coming to the floor of the house and try to get our colleagues to vote the right way. and sometimes it's just what it implies, you have to whip them into line. we don't use the whip, but sometimes you go and have what i call an executive session with them, or you have to just say, now, listen, we need you to vote this way. we need to stick together. and we need to -- this is a good deal. we need your help. we need your support. and you just stay with them. you try to help educate and sensitize your colleagues and fellow members to vote a particular way. >> good morning, congressman lewis. my name is tiffany shaw. i'm a junior here at eastern senior high school. i believe that education is the key to success for an individual. what has the democratic party done as a whole to ensure that
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inner city youth receives a brighter education and a safe and proper environment? rep. lewis: that's a very good question. the democratic party as a party and the leaders of our party are committed to seeing that all of our children, all of our young people get the best possible education. that's why i've taken a position, and some of my colleagues have taken a position, that we don't need to spend more money on bombs and missiles and guns. we have enough bombs, enough missiles, and guns. let's spend the money on helping our children. all of our young people, not just to compete with other young people in washington or detroit or new york or atlanta. but to compete with other young people around the world. that's what we must do. and that's why many of us are arguing that we got to spend more money, more resources to
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make real this idea of the president, dealing with education, no child left behind. it's one thing to have words, but we got to -- you got to spend some money. resources. and not only on just getting materials, but we got to pay our teachers. i said in the past, and i said again today, that the two most underpaid people, group of people in our society, i think, i said in back home in my district and i said around the country and i said on the house floor, schoolteachers and law enforcement people. i had a son who went through the public schools. i don't know how the teachers do it. day in and day out. i would visit the public school. i would visit a lot of schools. and sometimes i said every teacher should be nominated for the nobel peace prize just for maintaining order. now, you're a very orderly group here.
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so i know you don't have problems at eastern high school. but in some of our schools, there are problems. >> good morning again, congressman. i'm a junior here at eastern. my question for you this morning is education is very important. due to the economic failures of the states in the united states, how is congress preparing to raise money for teachers and to better education? rep. lewis: well, you're making a good point. that's one of the reasons many of us are opposed to a tax cut. you're right. you're well informed. the states are suffering. in many states, they're ending the school session earlier. they're doing away with art and p.e. because they cannot afford the pay. they don't have the resources. they're laying off teachers.
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that's not right. that's not fair. so the money that we're using for a tax cut should be used to give it to the states, make it possible for the teachers and young people to get the necessary resources to get an adequate education. that's what some of us have been standing up, but we're in the minority, so we have to continue to fight to change things. >> good morning. councilman lewis, my name is deron willis. i'm a senior at eastern senior high school. my question to you, what do you think of the future of the house of representatives since the last election since the power shifted in favor of the grand old party? rep. lewis: well, we have our work cut out, and we have to continue to make a case to the american people that we should
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change. and we're going to do what we can. we're going to work hard. we're going to encourage everybody to get registered and go out and participate in the electoral process. have to say to young people, when you become 18, you should register. when there is an election, you should go out and vote. people died for the right to vote. too many of us, too many americans, especially young people, still stay at home and fail to get involved in the political process. >> i'm a senior in the law and legal services academy. since i know you are a congressman of georgia, i plan to attend clark atlanta university in the fall. what advice could you give me about your home state? rep. lewis: my home state is a changing state.
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i have been living in atlanta, in georgia. earlier i told you i grew up in alabama. but i have been living in atlanta for 40 years this june, next month will be 40 years. and the city has changed. the city is still growing. the state of georgia. there are hundreds of thousands of people moving there. it's a wonderful city. the state is a wonderful state. we made a lot of progress. when i first moved there, there was still a sign that said white and colored, but those signs are gone. we have in the city of atlanta a wonderful young mayor, a young woman, who is a graduate of harvard university. there's a sense of -- that this is a good city and we're going to make it better. clark atlanta university is a great school. as a matter of fact, my wife worked there for several years.
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we would welcome you. i have an honorary degree from clark also. if i can be of any help, you let me know. there's a lot of history there about the old south and the new south, so it would be a great place to study. several other schools there. in the clark atlanta university center, there are several schools like spelman and morehouse and nearby is georgia tech and emory and georgia state. and there's several other colleges and universities. so it is a great place to study. >> good morning, congressman. my name is timothy wilson. i'm a senior at eastern. recently some of the city leaders have come out in support of vouchers. with you being a supporter of public education what are your , views on that? rep. lewis: i was very disappointed to see see some of
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the city leaders in washington, council members and others -- i don't want to get involved in local politics. but i'm not a supporter of vouchers. i happen to believe in public education. there are not enough private schools to accept all of the public school students. the great majority, more than 90% of all students in america, attend public schools. audit want to see the resources i don't want to see the money , drained from public education and shifted to private schools. i think public education has been good for america. and been good for hundreds and thousands and millions of young people. and i think there should be stronger support for public education. so i'm not a supporter of vouchers. but not all of the elected officials in the district are supporting the vouchers. i know there's some that are standing up and standing out. but i don't want to get involved in district politics.
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>> good morning, congressman. my name is ricky i'm a senior , here at eastern. i don't have a question. i have more of a comment. being a senior in high school, we go through a lot of trials and tribulations. there's been some time during the school year i feel like giving up and not continuing, but after hearing you this morning, you have inspired me to continue and keep going. and i also have an invitation. when we graduate june 10, 2003, at 10:00 at constitutional hall, and we're looking for a speaker. i would like to know if at all possible, would you like to speak at our graduation? if not so, would you like to come and watch us graduate. rep. lewis: i would love to come. it's june 10? [applause] i would love to come. i would love to come. i appreciate your comments. we must never give up.
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and i know times come and it's hard and it's difficult. i used to ask my mother and my father, why? why segregation? why racial discrimination? why do we have to work so hard in the field and all of that? and my mother would say from time to time, "that's the way it is, but don't give up. don't give up." and i had teachers that said "don't give up. so don't give up. you must never, ever give up. you have to hang in there. you have to push and pull sometimes. another generation of young people. i was saying to some of my colleagues yesterday. we were talking about birmingham and selma and what happened 40 years ago when hundreds of thousands of students were caught up in the civil rights movement in the city of birmingham and two years later in selma. it was almost like a children crusade. they sort of got in the way.
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sometimes you have to sort of get in the way. and when you get in the way, you stay focused, but don't give up. i said to you as young people and as students, hang in there. you can be what you want to be. if you want to be a lawyer, a doctor, a teacher, scientist, a politician, a reporter, a journalist, hang in there. keep the faith. keep your eyes on the prize. and hold onto your dreams. and just think, when i was involved in the civil rights movement, we didn't have a website. we never heard of the internet. we didn't have a fax machine. we didn't have a cellular telephone. but we had certain ideas.
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we had faith in god. we believed in the constitution, the bill of rights, and we did what we could to make our country a better place, and our country is a better place today. and you will help make it much better as leaders of the 21st century. thank you very much. [applause] >> good morning, congressman lewis. i will be the last speaker today. my question for you today is, as a student who wants to become a law enforcement official, do you have any plans to encourage the government to raise the salaries of our law enforcement officials? rep. lewis: well, that's a very good question. when i served on the city council in atlanta from 1981 to 1986, before i ran for congress,
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i served on the public safety so -- committee, so i got to know all of the local police officials. got to know so many of the police officers by name, first name, and since i have been here in washington on capitol hill for almost 17 years, i know most of the police officers on capitol hill. most of the people, the young men and young women that were in law enforcement work very, very hard. they put their lives on the line every single day. if i can have anything to do with it, i want to do what i can to increase the compensation, the salary of law enforcement. people. not just federal, but also on the local level. we must do it. i think we have an obligation to do it, really. so maybe i'll be around to help when you become a law enforcement person.
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thank you. [applause] >> congressman lewis, since you are a man of all seasons, we first would like to present to you this t-shirt, this sweatshirt, of the eastern senior high school sweatshirt, so we would like to give this to you. rep. lewis: thank you. and i would also like to present to you this t-shirt from the distinguished class of 2003. [applause] representative lewis: thank you. wonderful. >> congressman, you are the first to receive this t-shirt. so now you are a member of the class of 2003. [applause] representative lewis: thank you.
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since i'm the first, i could see -- i should see whether it fits, put it on. [applause] >> congressman lewis, on behalf of our superintendent of schools, ms. vera white, associate superintendent of high schools and transformation, dr. wilhoit, assistant superintendent of high schools, who was also present, miss fay dixon, coordinator of the law and legal academy, mr. smith, who is also present, students, faculty, administration and friends, thank you, for a warm and powerful presentation.
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your experiences and the importance of never giving up will never be forgotten. thank you. [applause] representative lewis: thank you. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2020] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [applause] conversations] >> do you guys want to stand right here?
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>> 1, 2, 3.
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>> today, the president ordered american flags to be lowered to half staff in honor of congressman john lewis. the congressional black caucus issued this statement on the death of congressman lewis. "despite 40 arrests, brutal attacks and physical injuries,
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mr. lewis remained devoted to the principle of nonviolence in his fight for justice and equality, even to this day, as america faces another reckoning with racism, and hundreds of thousands around the world sparked a modern-day civil rights movement against police brutality and racial injustice. he taught us to keep our eyes on the prize, and that lesson is ."re crucial than ever dailych our live, coverage of congress, the white house, on issues that matter to you. >> our ongoing effort to focus on a mission to save lives, meet the needs of our states, our health care workers. >> along with briefings on the coronavirus pandemic, supreme court oral arguments and decisions. >> thanks for coming out to say hello. >> and the latest from 2020. >> your calls and comments
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welcome. >> be a part of the conversation live every day with our call-in program "washington journal" and if you miss any coverage, watch online on demand or listen on the free c-span radio app. >> next, florida governor ron desantis gives a briefing from flagler hospital in saint augustine, the state's coronavirus pandemic. the governor is joined by representatives from the hospital. they discuss the importance of seeking medical treatment for non-covid related conditions. due to technical difficulties. a portion of the beginning of this briefing was not able to be shown. -- due to technical difficulties , a portion of the beginning of this briefing was not able to be shown. mr. barrett: we continue to see approximately 30 patients daily requiring hospitalizations. this means we have adequate resources to serve our community effectively at this time

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