Congress, Fifteen Year, Ten Dollar discussed on C-SPAN2 Book TV

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

Recognition right so they're against brown V. board not only because the court was the one the intervene if they would not have been acceptable if it was Congress that intervened the magazine is against every civil rights act the Civil Rights Act of nineteen sixty four the voting rights act of nineteen sixty five their critics of the Sedin protesters the freedom riders in almost every way the magazine resist the black liberation struggle the one exception is the Montgomery bus boycott and generally speaking the magazine was okay with economic boycotts and we can talk more about that the queue and if you'd like but that was it critics of Martin Luther king against the March on Washington etcetera etcetera so Buckley finds himself allying with an interesting crew author Nicholas bolas subtitle to his book James Baldwin William F. Buckley junior and the debate over race in America he convinced could be begins commissioning of people for the magazine who can articulate a what he calls a non racist resistance to civil rights so your key recruits people like Richard Richard weaver in the bottom right there who's the who's a professor of rhetoric at the university of Chicago a southerner who provide these elaborate philosophical defenses of what he calls the southern way of life really a philosophical the defense of the sort of thing Buckley was taught as a young man he goes he's up with people like strong Thurman we'll get back to you in a minute down here the bottom left James Jackson to Patrick a very powerful journalist in those days who devoted his professional life in this period to articulating because I constitutional defenses the segregation Buckley he becomes Buckley's go to guy on race Buckley even cozies up to people like William J. Simmons in the upper right leader of the white citizens council but for those of you who don't know about the white citizens council this was in in the words of our dressing the uptown a rotary club version the Ku Klux Klan same values of the because the Klan they just didn't wear the hoods they wore business suits and they went about pursuing their resistance through through economic pressure they could ruin people's lives if they were too friendly the black liberation the Buckley closes up with people like him but behind the scenes Buckley himself states his views on civil rights very clearly in nineteen fifty seven and one of his most infamous pieces of writing call why the south must prevail the proximate cause initiative in call why the white south must prevail the proximate cause for this piece of writing from Buckley is the Civil Rights Act of nineteen fifty seven a piece of legislation we don't talk much about anymore because it's a piece of legislation that was hauled out of just about any meaning by senators like strong Thurman so it was a bill in theory that was going to help protect the civil rights of African Americans in the south but Thurman had a clause included in Thurman and people like in one of the clause included in the in the bill that would say any accusation of the violation of the civil rights of African Americans the south will be decided by juries not by federal judges you know what's going on there no jury is going to say anything any official in the south is violent civil rights of anyone and so this is essentially a an embrace of jury nullification that the juries will play the role of nullifying the federal law so Buckley writes a defense of that clause and he says in the peace and I'll quote him directly the central question that emerges and it is not a parliamentary question or question is answered by merely consulting a catalog of rights of American citizens born equal is whether the white community in the south is entitled to prevail politically and culturally in areas where it does not predominate numerically a sobering answer is yes the white community is so in title because for the time being it is the advanced race the claims of civilization Buckley concluded must supersede the claims of democracy and individual rights the Buckley publishes this piece and one of his colleagues associate at our L. Brent Bozell who co authored McCarthy book with protests he writes a a one page rebuttal to his brother in law bill Buckley and says bill I think you've gone too far it's important know Bozo was no friend of civil rights he was deeply anti federal intervention to end segregation he was supportive of massive resistance but he was also a lawyer and he said bill we're conservatives don't we care about the rule of law don't we care about the constitution and so he called his you know called his his brother in law out Buckley publishes a response to his two two goes out in the same issue that blows all issues this protest in Buckley's response is really fascinating he says a lot of things but two things are especially important one is he says well the the law in question is the fifteenth amendment meeting the right to vote and Buckley says is the fifteenth amendment really as legitimate as the rest of the constitution it was adopted after the civil war and we have to remember that in many people in the south of you in this is Buckley using those ten dollar vocabulary words many people in south view it as an inorganic accretion if we find a dictionary sex around here we can figure out what that means in an organic accretion on the original document and so it doesn't have the same legitimacy in many says well okay if we must enforce the fifteen to ma'am and this is really important is nineteen fifty seven then perhaps we can come up with a color blind way to disenfranchise people the book we propose not in franchising more people not getting more people the right to vote this only comes back to the debate with Baldwin what we need to do is take the the right to vote of way for more people so Buckley is thinking about ways in which you could hollow out advances of civil rights already by nineteen fifty seven so there is a part in the book that for me as a writer was as one of the most powerful moments and so if you'll indulge me for a minute I just want to read you two paragraphs that describe as we go from the scene of Buckley in New York arguing with his colleagues to James Baldwin who at the time was making his first trip to the American south exact same time at the very time when buckling his colleagues were debating the finer points of just how far southern resistance ought to go Baldwin was staring into the eyes of a fifteen year old boy who was among the first black students to attend a recently integrated high school in Charlotte North Carolina Baldwin had made his way to this young man's living room on assignment to write pieces on the racial situation in the south for Harper's and partisan review Paul then was taken by the boys very large eyes which not only spoke with registered volumes Baldwin's preoccupation with the eyes of his subjects has great significance the eyes speak in many ways but perhaps most importantly the eyes hold the key to intersubjective understanding Baldwin's quest was to get as close as he could to seeing the world through the eyes of his characters fictional and nonfictional and its primary goals a writer was revised his reader with a chance to do the same what had this boy's very large eyes seen lately Baldwin learned that G. as he called them the peace to protect his anonymity had been subjected to name calling threatening phone calls human barricades meant to keep him out of school and physical assault at the hands of other students his bottom listen to this nightmare he began to wonder how do you manage to face what was surely the worst moment of his day the morning when he opened his eyes and realize that all had to be gone through again the bald one has this conversation with a fifteen year old young man about what it looks like to wake up every day and confront that sort of hostility simply because you want to go to school in Baldwin notices these talking this young man that that he's having a hard time getting a lot of information out of him and he he recognizes that one of the reasons why is Jeez mother sitting in the room Jeez mother was one of only a few dozen African American parents in a city with fifty thousand African American people who even applied for this program so in a sense she had sent her son marching toward that white bear Kate and so Baldwin was always haunted by what the world must look like through the eyes of someone like she's mother any he Rick he worked he recollects back to a moment when he was in the church it is father's funeral in Harlem in nineteen forty three and here's what he says about that he looked easy describes looking around the church at his father's funeral and pondering what he calls the impossibility every parent in that room faced how to prepare the child for the day when the child would be despised and how to create in the child by what means a stronger antidote to this poison then one had found for oneself Baldwin is talking to his mother trying to get a sense of how she managed to have the courage and the audacity to try to you know create this better life for his son Baldwin goes for meeting with gene and his mother to the school to meet with the white principal of the school and Baldwin says earlier in his life he would walk in that room ready for a fist fight but what he decides in this instance is he what he really wants to do is try to understand this man try to understand his world to try to see the world through his eyes in Baldwin says he actually finds the man to be quite nice he seems gentle even honorable but also delusional he along with so many others not only in the south and this is a big point for James Baldwin not only in the south but in the entire country had deluded himself into denying the life the aspirations the universal humanity hidden behind the dark skin and by so doing he stayed insulated from any pangs of conscience that might force a painful re examination of his entire sense of reality perhaps the most powerful moment in the interview occurred towards and when Baldwin looked into the principal's eyes and said it must be very hard for you the face the child and treat him unjustly because of something for which he is no more responsible than you are in the anguish pain and bewilderment that filled the man's eyes at that moment Baldwin caught a glimpse of the impossibility of term he uses again here that so hot to those parents in Harlem Nicholas bolas his previous book the political thought of Frederick Douglass so that should give you a sense of the kind of back and forth with this going on in the book there's so much that happens you know every day in this period and so nineteen sixty to nineteen sixty three nineteen sixty four Baldwin about clear such prolific writers they're publishing so much in there also writing is with the public writings you know published writings are in this incredible resource but also their letter writing so you really have a peek into their minds every day as they're helping shape this history and there's a lot that I could say about this but I want to limit myself so we have time for for Q. NA and a couple things to note him you can just see from what's pictured here the sorts of things that are happening right you have the rise of George Wallace you have met your Evers nineteen sixty three Baldwin meaning with average was assassinated Rick later that year I you have the Birmingham campaign right you have the March on Washington you have the rise very cold water all these things are happening involved in a Buck they're reacting to them I think one of the most powerful stories on the bald one side is in nineteen sixty two Baldwin is invited on to the television program the open mind show that still still on involvement is invited on to debate James Jackson Kilpatrick wanna Buckley's go to you guys on race to Patrick a just published a book called in defense of southern school segregation so the open mind has the idea to get these two to sit across the table from each other involved in friends and as agents don't want him to do it but he thinks he has a duty to do it and it's important to know is they sit down to talk what's happening in.

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