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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  December 24, 2013 10:20am-10:31am EST

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of the president in november of 1963. the cia helped engineer that. and, of course, president kennedy himself, unfortunately, was to be assassinated three weeks later. so, therefore, you have, you know, i think historically an opportunity that early to maybe prevent the tremendous loss of not only american life, but of vietnamese life that followed the administration of president johnson and then of president nixon. bearing in mind that as many americans died under the administration of president nixon add diss under president johnson -- as did under president johnson. so, you know, early on david hall bear stamm, my colleague, wrote in "the best and the brightest" this was the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time. and i didn't necessarily agree with him then, but i agree with
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him now. and i doubt that even an extended, continued american effort could have fore stalled an ultimate nationalist victory and a nationalist victory in vietnam would have meant the supremacy of the major force in vietnam at that time and today, which was the communist party. >> okay. best i can do in the allotted time. >> peter, not bad. >> thank you, peter. so i think we're going to wrap it up. i'd like to thank you all for coming this evening, and we'll be hanging around for a little while to have a chat if anybody wants to talk informally. thank you. >> thank you all. [applause] [inaudible conversations]
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>> we'd like to hear from you. tweet us your feedback, >> host: we're here at the national press club talking with m.j. o'brien about his new book, "we shall not be moved." please tell us a little bit about how you got into this project. >> guest: i got this into project when i saw this photograph at the martin luther king center in atlanta in 1992. finish and realized that this photograph was an iconic representation of the sit-in movement. and i knew the woman at the center of that photograph. i had met her through her children 20 years before in arlington, virginia, when i was a playground director, and her kids came to the playground. and i knew at that moment when i saw the photograph in the context of all the iconic civil
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rights paraphernalia at the king center that this was a story that needed to be told and hadn't been really amplified. so i decided at that moment to go home and start interviewing my friend joan and find out more about it. >> host: so did you recognize her in the picture when you first saw it, or had she already talked to you about this experience? >> reporter: >> guest: , well, i recognized the photo, but i really didn't understand how significant that photo was until i saw in context at the king center. >> host: and what had you, what did you learn from her about the civil rights movement that you hadn't known before? >> guest: well, what was interesting about joan's story is that she's a southern white woman who really risked it all to, you know, her family disowned her, there for her involvement in the civil rights movement. she's taught me so much and her
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story taught me so much about courage and about perseverance during the most difficult circumstances. and through her i i got really interested in the entire stir of the movement. so i'm able to weave her story in to a much broader story including, unfortunately, the assassination of medgar evers which was also part of the project. >> host: mrs. mulholland, what inspired you to get involved in the civil rights movement in 1963? >> guest: well, i've been involved since 1960, but what really brought me to the movement was going to sunday school and singing about jesus loves the little children, red and yellow, black and white and memorizing those bible verses, do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and judge not that you be not judged. and then in high school we had the declaration of independence, we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal. we had to memorize the whole thing. and i felt like we were a bunch
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of hypocrites. but as a white southerner, i felt that when i haded the chance to do something to make the south the best it could be, i should seize the moment, and it came with the student movement in the '60s. >> host: and how old were you when you were participating in the sit-ins? >> guest: 18. college freshman. >> host: so did you have to join a group to be trained to join the sit-ins, or to did you just walk in one day and sit down with them? >> guest: well, the college presbyterian chaplain had told us that a group of students who, from north carolina college in durham who were doing sit-ins and pickets were going to come to our next meeting and explain what it was all about to us. and they did. and then they invited us to join 'em. so a few of us did. >> host: how many did you participate in? was this, did you -- were you involved for a long time, or --
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>> guest: oh, yeah. lots of things. arrested twice in durham, joined the howard group for the sit-ins in arlington across the river -- [inaudible] i wasn't sitting in there but i could buy tickets for the ride, so i did that and handed them off. i mean, that's -- [inaudible] we had a movement, will travel, we were down in raleigh, went to jail there, and came to freedom rides. one thing led to the next. the jackson sit-in. >> host: so how -- where are you from original hi? are you from jackson? >> guest: i was born in washington d.c. i'm home. but after the riots of charlene hunter and -- [inaudible] in georgia, my family is from georgia. anding -- [inaudible] and i felt if the integration of the colleges could not just be
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two by two, these black students undergoing this horrendous thing. it had to be a two-way street, so i would apply to some black colleges. and so the freedom rides were my ticket to mississippi and free room and board for the summer, and there i was. >> host: and did you incorporate the stories of other freedom riders in the book? >> guest: yes, absolutely. there were nine demonstrators in jackson that day. i was able to interview all of them. and there was of one additional freedom rider. unfortunately, he has died before i got involved in the project. but i was able to talk to his family and to a number of his, you know, he was part of a core group in new orleans. so i was able to talk to his comrades in corps as well. so this incorporates a lot of stories not just of the demonstrators, but of the media that were covering the sit-ins, some of the policemen who were therement i was able to get the
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fbi records. and i actually talked to some of the people who are pictured in the crowd. of i was able to identify them and talk to them as well. so it's kind of a comprehensive story of what happened that day and the impact of that day. >> host: what was that like, talking to some of the crowd members? what are they like today? >> guest: it was a very unusual situation. i think the fact that i was white helped me to draw out their stories as well. unfortunately, some of them are still segregationists and continue to believe that the races should not mix. but i think the most powerful story that i came across was the story of the person who actually took the photograph. he was a white southern photographer, and it was during the sit-in that he actually had a change of heart. he was a selling regaitionist when he walked into that wool worths, and he was an
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integrationist when he walked out. he saw the quiet dignity of the demonstrators against kind of the mob mentality of his friends and neighbors, and he realized that segregation could no longer rule. it's a very powerful story, and that's what we end the book with. >> host: you also mentioned medgar evers. how much did you get into his murder and the investigation? >> guest: well, we start the week with his -- the book with his story. and we kind of paint the picture of what mississippi was like at that time and what it was like for somebody like medgar to come back from the war where he had fought for freedom for his country and then not be able to experience it himself. and so his story is really woven throughout. and then, of course, with his assassination which is part of the book, it tells the whole story of what happened and watched to the group after his removal from -- [inaudible] >> host: thank you very much for your time. >> guest: thank you.
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>> you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs. weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on weeknights watch key public policy events and every weekend the latest nonfiction authors and books on booktv. you can see past programs and get our schedules at our web site, and you can join in the conversation on social media sites. >> and now on booktv, from the 30th annual miami book fair international on the campus of miami-dade college, pulitzer prize-winning journalist sheri fink took national viewer phone calls about her book, "five days at memorial: life and death in a storm-ravaged hospital." this is about 45 minutes. >> host: now joining us here at our makeshift set is sheri fink who is the author of this book, "five days at memorial." dr. sheri fink


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