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I'm -- I don't know -- professor -- writer author of gospel of freedom Martin Luther King junior's letter from Birmingham jail -- the struggle that changed the nation.
And also the word of the lord is upon me the -- performance -- with the king junior professor of sociology at Barnard College professor -- -- with us today of -- days.
Alan I'm delighted and especially on this particular day.
Absolutely -- you've written some interesting things about that Doctor King first of all that he was.
Gave a very different different different tone -- in his letter from Birmingham jail than he did at at his.
At the speech that took place fifty years ago today give us the -- during that you know month.
The -- with -- -- is like this if you compare it to the letter from Birmingham jail which was written in April when you're going to jail in Birmingham was the really breakthrough of this civil rights movement because once the victory in Birmingham was done it put.
Pressure and motivated John Kennedy to finally confront police as a moral issue and addressed the nation has started in the mid of towards the civil rights bill.
And took a look at letter from Birmingham jail.
It's -- kind of -- -- I did what I would call the Christian warrior not the dreamer.
And what it can say he's dead he doesn't have a lot of kind of romance that moral appeal to individual like alone will bring democracy to America or -- black people and he you know edit data -- very clear idea that.
Tension is required to career that ties.
The suffering of black in order to get somewhere in America.
And so there.
There's a toughness there and it kind of -- officially the black people are going to have to deliver themselves with a -- with the help of white allies.
So we might call that the firing -- kidding keep indignant over people who call him an extremist -- he's -- Christian love her.
-- have nonviolent.
So we get to the march and that glorious -- fifty years ago in their we have a fiery -- at king.
They hit the brotherhood.
We had this notion.
The you don't -- that we're all.
Any nation that really will comport with the values of the founders the architects of the republic.
So it looks like a contradiction.
But some of that other -- reminded king we -- in the shadows on the mall that day and I have a dream.
A -- -- from any chance.
If so it's gonna get you to pick up so we can hear a little better -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- But that's -- -- just wanna make sure.
And a -- and good good -- from there we are let me ask you about.
The it was Martin Luther King an angry guy but I'm because we have this image of him as this this peace -- this peace lover.
You know -- and yet you -- him in some respects is being very very angry with the white establishment.
The way I would put it is I would not describe him -- an angry man -- days loving Christian who really took quite seriously the obligation to turn the other cheek and love those who hate you.
He -- -- a black man not a feeling to the anger at injustice that he felt personally.
And he's going through a period of -- all white people and his parents had taught him you cannot give being given to that feeling -- bitter.
And so -- you always empathize with black bitterness even.
They tried to elevate people to the larger Christian message you must he would say to audiences.
Well all I know the temptation to become bitter it comes to all of -- But if you would try to lift his audience to the better way.
Love and care so what I would say is -- -- Angry rant but he knew anger -- a better word maybe he also -- indignation.
We need to make sure we have.
Anger in just -- And so lead in the eight -- clergy so called moderates criticize him in Birmingham.
In keeping his jail cell.
He didn't didn't get that they have accused him of the extremists -- he's just simply trying to get this country to live up to its creed.
You know million Jackson.
It who was at that speech on talk about in a moment that there's a -- of her and audio cut.
However saying you know I can be up on -- stage and performing and people applaud me -- love me and I walked down the street.
And I'm treated you know horribly and in -- society that doesn't respect previous -- -- a black skin but just a few minutes ago there it was up on the stage and people were applauding.
The same people.
Exactly it is very much and that -- -- -- does in the letter from Birmingham jail he doesn't want to do it so much you know I have a dream because.
Things have moved forward that summer we have to think of this summer in the late -- -- 1963.
We in America -- breaks through it's move towards becoming non racial democracy.
And so he doesn't let it dissipate that move.
Movement forward lights are coming in to support the movement black protest is spreading is -- civil rights bill in congress.
So in a way the first half of I have a dream as a kind of carefully scripted speech until he throws -- -- prepared remarks.
Less interesting is what you -- -- Jackson -- then -- gets he gets up and says they tell us about the dream right.
In the middle helping.
That's one element in the legend and -- certainly added that she is 88 in -- king had no memory of hearing it.
But we can you but there's something else that's going on at that moment.
And the -- -- -- Orlando in this case.
It turned away from the national like eagle and it's briefly this day.
I know that some of you have come to the mall today from trials and tribulations.
These are the people who have been in -- would be -- in Mississippi and Alabama.
And I also think in addition to -- you Jackson tell about the dream came -- subtly pulled back.
To his powerful -- I think you have sparring with his freedom fighters who he saw as embodying quite the -- Actually did -- help I will suffer so others can be redeemed in the secular way as well as a religious way.
So whenever it's going well and there when he comes back.
From say he -- go back to Mississippi go back Alabama.
When he first -- I have -- dream.
It really hurt the larger white society but it can really short and then reinforce their resolve.
But then that during that span than -- really let everybody into it by the end of.
But I see where everything was he planning even to save the words I have -- -- Well.
Had not intended to do when he finished that recent speech the night before -- the late in the early morning of August 28.
He was -- tired man and he had he had written this BJ out.
However he'd given the I have a dream kind of -- many times over the last few years he gave it in Detroit in June.
It hit about it about 45 days before navy actually -- -- but it's going to be too long for the march on Washington.
So the answer is no he didn't think is gonna do it that morning but it was part of his repertoire.
-- deeply being in India.
What he -- speech if you notice that in the video he stopped looking down every game and he's preaching he's looking well.
And it's just.
Speaking you know I think that the spirit of the -- the word of the lord of the currently.
That was hit the man who built this spirit and was gonna stop worrying about -- Scripting.
And -- what was in his heart.
Which -- -- professor Jonathan Ryder.
Bernard college and it it fascinates me that.
Each side tries to claim him Republican -- would be Republican today liberals say you know he's our hero he's a great liberal hero.
What we we would be politically -- -- on the political spectrum.
-- he -- a -- -- liberal persuasion.
And you know that we deeply beat him and it came out of his -- version of christianity.
What do you say I've been ignoring it to deliver the captives in feed the hungry and free the prisoners.
-- -- -- The notion.
The American dream should be some leave it alone leave me alone individual bootstrap ideology he.
Critical -- that.
Can't you -- was.
We should follow the good samaritan.
Yeah always people who want wounded warriors on wounded victims or in the Jericho -- of life.
And so he would've thought seeing the effort by.
Radical individualistic and he's -- the American dream as if it was forced some leave me alone.
Self sufficiency I got -- you'll get it going hero.
And this artery in his basic Christian belief.
I'd love for all -- children their obligation.
As Paul did to go out from -- to answer the call Macedonian call for help.
That is really central and that was reflected in his -- that inequality.
Harms the spirit wasn't just the material conditions.
It was a little Christian in part.
What if supported affirmative action of quarters or any of the things and later came as a result of the courts.
I think it's hard to say for sure.
When you think about what affirmative action at what it would have made any different just.
And that's where conservatives say you know he's really -- -- -- because he would have gone for any of this stuff.
-- -- with -- at the writer of Barnard professor of sociology.
Author of gospel of freedom -- -- the king junior's letter from Birmingham jail and the struggle that changed a nation also.
The word of the lord is upon me the right just performers of -- to king junior was such interest -- your part professor with a dart not to Martin Luther King.
Well you know the king is somebody to be in the -- two things converged in that man more.
It was deep profound moral conception of the American life.
Which is Lee are not simply rugged individualists but the notion.
And it was his -- pretty prophetic Christian terms.
But is larger point as we have an obligation to sort of yeah.
-- -- the suffering.
Mankind to end Aaron fellow citizens.
-- the other aspect.
He was that they artistry of his expression.
This is gorgeous oratory I mean today is the anniversary of I have -- -- -- and it was just an extraordinary moment.
And so that putting these two things together -- -- being -- -- kind of beautifully crafted artistic motivated just mix in a very compelling figure.
-- -- -- for voting that he was gonna die because he would say things like well I may not be here to say it.
Wyatt -- walker one of his key deputies in Birmingham told -- it -- to look.
You know he remembered the moment when they were deciding to go into in 1963.
Bull Connors who -- system violent Birmingham and Cain looked around and that I want you to consider.
Some of -- may not come back from Birmingham.
And he's had a look at a little past forty.
And what walker says is -- walker said.
We think is dangerous Mac but he had a better understanding of white racism that we did -- and can.
He would preach their funerals -- did you all think they're gonna hit you -- -- -- jumping out front of the camera they're gonna kill you but I will preach do the best.
Funeral you ever have to go off when the weakness -- their foibles of each individual and preach this is sermons there what.
Any -- don't put it your way you -- Doctor King was teaching.
To accept the possibility of her own -- and I think what's really important we think of American democracy.
American democracy was created.
By the civil rights movement.
We -- non racial democracy because of what Doctor King did.
To say that this is this to say we were not really democracy until the Civil Rights Act.
We were not really a democracy we were democracy for some people which is not a democracy.
And then that's it.
You know when you think about that saying -- Still it is simple moral.
High eighties wasn't gonna get the constitution.
Was gonna get -- he would say so well.
They're gonna have to die so they're gonna have to -- -- But they might put you -- in jail in transport you to glory.
Until his Christian -- really prepare him.
That he would have to suffer at his eight year suffered formed across and we get -- secular liberal who is this about king but I.
And you know his connection in Jesus and his christianity weapons yet.
Hit -- the man.
But did not the kind of possibly Lee what do you make the American dream and I have -- -- -- kind of nice feel good moment.
Because king live that there would be valley after the -- of the march on Washington.
It just weeks later on the next play and blew up the four little girls and sixteenth street Baptist Church.
He wasn't night he -- think that wouldn't happen just because he gave a speech on the ball.
August 2850 years ago.
We started talking about affirmative action quotas and some of the things that liberals have been accused by conservatives of hurting America and hurting equality.
And where king might have stood on some of those issues.
-- you thought that compensation efforts were necessary he said.
To the white backlash when did win the white working at lower middle class voters are starting to say we worked our way out -- -- it -- don't you.
Continues who would say that's like.
Anything that the analogy is black people had been unfairly imprisoned.
For a hundred years and they -- let a man out of jail.
And you say OK my bad sorry but you're okay and that includes two -- it's okay now.
You know and so who believed -- it might be -- in order to get.
The impoverished black sharecroppers.
Who -- -- living basically under near slavery conditions even after slavery was abolished for a hundred years.
This country owed them something but can't have another view of that -- -- is the white working class.
So even those.
It welfare revisit what they thought -- special efforts for a black.
-- they needed help as well and came -- -- prepare old understanding of the limits of that leave me.
-- boot strapping ideology.
There is no way that he would won his -- -- -- notion of American dream to be hijacked by the conservative movement.
Could it would have thought it was and Christian and get so theologically wrong about how people get ahead.
You know this says this is a noble this next -- question but who better to ask than you and what how how would he feel.
About how far we've come fifty years later.
Well I think the people.
-- minimize the progress -- today.
You know doing injustice the king and that's -- -- President Obama did today.
-- estimate that an hour of the transformation of American Americans should all feel good about this we -- more fair and just society because of what the civil rights movement did.
And not just -- But brigades in the Latino in women and I would argue even further right -- Christian and play Chris Evans no -- to -- Upfront about their identity in the.
It took fifteen years to get a black president who's half -- and it also.
Brought out of the woodwork so much racism even subtle racism like -- his birth certificate is really a Muslim.
I really think you're just -- -- didn't mean.
What sometimes don't like the -- speaking gonna talk about seeing.
-- -- insurgent polices them in a backlash.
But you have to think of -- -- -- a tremendous battle racism in America it is a radically -- from the high baseline.
Lee who -- in millions of people that feel the world is becoming I've done.
But that doesn't really address.
The reality which is the white working class that -- don't play at the -- -- -- come very far away.
And so those -- really little Democrats source solar event the resentful in the eighties.
In McComb county Michigan orient.
Biggie Indian Norton being missed a -- -- -- Philadelphia Mississippi.
You know it's okay -- any of those people were able to vote for a black president so I think yes.
There are some disturbing.
Backlash out there.
But I don't think that the dominant force in the light American's parent they get that diet and it is the then there's this central.
It -- -- among Republicans.
That I think is unfortunate but I don't.
Really think that changes the larger verdict in America we've come very far and you could lead even in how quickly the acceptance of gay marriage and civil.
So what I would say is there's a lot of there is plenty of races out there.
But it is nothing comparable to what we had fifty years ago or even twenty or thirty years ago.
And I think what Doctor King would it did it because it is a -- half -- person.
He noticed that even we saw a lot of major problems there were eight.
There's still plenty of poor people and -- -- working class people and that it is.
Worthy of our commitment an outrage and indignation.
As Jim -- And it just a system we have different their punishments for cocaine powder cocaine -- -- we you have.
Four blacks who get lawyers in the fall asleep for their truckers are signed by the state they're not really as good his lawyers -- -- Martin Luther King would have stressed.
How far we needed -- go even as he was proud of how far we've come.
You have to learn to keep both of those in mind.
And that's why Obama.
It is such a good job today because he says black and white workers who have been hurt by the global economy we have to bring doctor -- Passion to solving their collective problems.
Even though they're not the same problems as Doctor -- -- Is there an -- -- has there been an heir to Martin Luther king and all these years.
There has not been there and I think it's a good thing.
Because the reality is Doctor King did not free black people -- lead this country to the promised land.
Hundreds of thousands of ordinary black people.
Participate in white supporters participated in that movement.
And then yeah.
This to the other side of the American individualism that good the other side of the boot strapping notion.
We -- -- big hero to think that helped social change happened it was Doctor King who did it.
He made important contributions but so did John -- since it gained a whole -- in the billions.
And collected change never comes through -- single or murders golden time.
It never comes from one hero in many ways the march on Washington.
Simply culminated in confirmed changes that ordinary black and white had been undergoing.
For the number of years so I think it endangers always been trying to -- knowing that air just someone who we understand is.
If ever -- moment.
-- the democratic promise we all have to protect them.
-- -- freeing ourselves and bettering society and that the -- the moral arc of the universe doesn't naturally enjoy it got this.
We have to help it.
And and so I think we get caught up in trying to look for who has the Doctor King I think it's a good thing that we're not -- line long leaders.
Because in fact many different organizations in human beings have to do what they need to do and all that and don't understand this.
Whether you agree with the Tea Party or not they take it.
Seriously the democratic imperative to participate in this society just does all those people who work for a bomb in 2008 and 2012.
And I think that's the message.
I had a dream because like to hit before it starts screaming his.
If we work together we go to jail together.
A lot of people had to do certain things to realize the dream that's how we should celebrate Doctor King.
Professor thank you very much your time tonight appreciate it very much.
Allan thank you so much for having me on your show and and I about I think I will go along with a very important celebration of -- glorious days it.
-- our thanks very much Jonathan -- a professor of sociology Barnard College.
And author of gospel of freedom march with king junior's letter from Birmingham jail.
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