Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Mississippi, Democratic Party discussed on Fresh Air

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More at safety action center, not pg dot com. Coming up in eight o'clock a half an hour from now. Science Friday. The topic. One of the topics is skin Science Cove. It has led some people to shower less. The upside better skin joined science Friday for the history of why we started showering in the first place and redefine healthy skin. Les will hear about Aya was devastating to rate show weather event and why it was so unexpected. It's 7 30. Good evening. This is fresh air. I'm Dave Davies in for Terry Gross. Let's get back to Terry's 2014 interview about Freedom Summer a movement in 1964 to open the poles to African Americans in Mississippi. Freedom. Summer was organized by Snick. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which brought down about 700 students, mostly white students from the North to help register African Americans to vote. Racism was so institutionalized in Mississippi that it was dangerous for black people to register. The presence of the white students helped focus national attention on what African Americans were facing. Harry spoke to Charles Cobb, one of the organizers of Freedom Summer and with Stanley Nelson, who directed a documentary about freedom Summer now streaming on PBS dot or GE. Nelson explained how freedom summer led to the formation of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. 1964 was a presidential election year and Lyndon Johnson would be nominated for for the presidency in Atlantic City. So the idea of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party was to take an alternate delegation. To the convention in Atlantic City and try to obtain the right to be seated as opposed to the regular delegation from Mississippi. The regular delegation from Mississippi was all white. It was no way an African American person could become part of that delegation, and that was against the rules of the Democratic National Convention. So the idea was we will. We will take our own delegation, which is integrated, and we'll take that and get a hearing at the Democratic National Convention and be seated as the delegation from Mississippi instead of what was called a regular delegation. The all White delegation Charles Cobb did the members of Snake who organized Mississippi Freedom Summer think that the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party would actually be seated. At the Democratic Convention and be allowed to replace the official Mississippi delegation. Did you see it as a more symbolic action, or did you think we have a chance? In the real world of politics. This might actually happen. I think most of the delegation felt they would be seated and many and sneak and core felt the delegation would be seated. Our lawyer, Joe Row famous Democratic Party lawyer Was encouraging on this point. If you can get the story out, you will be seated and I think the delegation would have been seated accepted. Lyndon Johnson pulled all his political levers ruthlessly. To force sympathetic Democrat from the north and from the West, in particular to back away from the M F D P. Let me add something about about the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in the and the convention, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party got what it wanted at the convention. It's got its hearing at the convention, and it had an incredible lineup, which was televised from the convention. So Martin Luther King spoke in favor of the Mississippi Democratic Party. Redish Warner, whose husband had recently been killed, spoke and Fannie Lou Hamer was kind of like the cleanup hitter. She was the final speaker who spoke eloquently about what it meant to be African American Mississippian and denied her right and they really won the day. I mean, they had won, they had swayed the convention to their side. Until Lyndon Johnson stepped in. What did President Johnson do to prevent to try to prevent the Mississippi delegation from being seated at the convention? He threatened people, he said, You know, you want to be a judge. Not if you support the M F D p He used Hubert Humphrey as his hatchet man. In fact, Us dangling the vice presidency over he would hump for his head saying, You want to be vice president. The vice presidential candidate. You help me squash this challenge by the Mississippi. Democratic Party. He used the labor unions water, Ruth. Told Martin Luther King, If you back the FDP, don't look for any more money from us to Martin with the King's credit. He never backed away from the M F D P. This's a political ruthlessness. That's not unusual in American politics. You've seen it with Tammany Hall politicians. You saw it with a Dick daily political machine. And you've seen it in Boston and Other places. It's that kind of political ruthlessness that was brought to bear at the 1964 Democratic Party National Convention to make sure That that m f d p Freedom Democratic Party delegation didn't get seated. What is your understanding of why LBJ didn't want the alternate delegation seated. He had already signed the Civil Rights Act. He worked really hard to get that past. So what was his fear? Well, I think you know LBJ was a complicated man. You know, he wanted the Democratic National Convention to be kind of a coronation. You know of him and for it to go very, very smoothly from all indications he was really paranoid that Bobby Kennedy had a plan and that any disruption in the convention would then allow Bobby Kennedy To enact his plan, and his plan, then would be to kind of sees the mo mentum and somehow place himself in position to get the nomination for the presidency of the United States. It's ridiculous, but from multiple sources that we did in the film that was part of Johnson's thinking. So a compromise was reached. What was the compromise? I don't think a compromise was was ever really reached. And Charlie, you should probably proposed. I'll put it that way. No, it wasn't proposed amount now. No, no Bob Moses, Fannie Lou Hamer Ed King, who was a member of the delegation, Aaron Henry, who was the head of the delegation. Several other people were in conversation, inhuman Humphrey's hotel suite about a compromise. If Green, who was congresswoman from Oregon, had put a very serious proposal on the table, saying that Each delegation would that be asked to swear loyalty to the Democratic Party and to the presidential Nominee that emerged out of convention and delegates who swore that would be seated both from the M F, D P and the All White because The Mississippi delegation had come to Atlantic City, the Democratic Party National Convention. Having announced their support for Barry Goldwater. Precisely because that's one of the aftermath of the 1960 for Civil Rights Act. What happened during this meeting Wass, somebody knock on the door. And said, Turn on the television and look and there was Walter Mondale announcing a compromise. Now that compromise and not been discussed with the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. In the compromise, he announced Wass that the Democratic Party was prepared to seat Two Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegates as honorary delegates, and then they proceeded the name who those delegates would be Fannie Lou Hamer and Edwin King. And they would be given some kind of special status. At the convention. Well, what irritated the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party People wass that one they presumed a name who the two diets.

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