Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise

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Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise - Part 2

Black America Since MLK: And Still I Rise looks at the last five decades of African American history since the major civil rights victories through the eyes of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., exploring the tremendous gains and persistent challenges of these years.

AIRED: November 22, 2016 | 1:49:15
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
TRANSCRIPT

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE, MAN, WOMAN, AND CHILD.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

GATES: I GREW UP IN A WORLD THAT WAS TRANSFORMING,

A WORLD WHERE SEGREGATION WAS FADING AWAY,

WHERE BLACK PEOPLE WERE STEPPING OUT OF THE SHADOWS

AND INTO THE LIMELIGHT.

SINGING: ♪ YES, I'M WILD AND FREE ♪

FREE, YEAH!

GATES: AS A YOUNG MAN, I SAW RALLIES AND REVOLUTIONARIES,

AND I WAS CONVINCED THAT CHANGE IS RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER.

WE WANT BLACK POWER. WE WANT BLACK POWER.

BUT I NEVER IMAGINED HOW MUCH WAS STILL TO COME.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

KANYE WEST: ♪ FOR MY THEME SONG

♪ MY LEATHER BLACK JEANS ON

GATES: I'VE LIVED TO SEE ASTONISHING PROGRESS.

[APPLAUSE]

AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE ACHIEVED SO MUCH IN SO MANY WAYS,

SURPASSING OUR GREATEST HOPES AND OUR WILDEST DREAMS.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

WE'RE VISIBLE IN VIRTUALLY EVERY FACET OF AMERICAN LIFE...

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

DEFINING ITS FACE AND ITS VOICE TO THE WORLD.

JOHN LEGEND: ♪ ONE DAY WHEN THE GLORY COMES ♪

GATES: YET FAR TOO MANY BLACK LIVES

ARE STILL THREATENED BY HARSH INEQUALITIES.

[CHANTING "WHOSE STREETS? OUR STREETS!"]

WHY DO WE STILL HAVE TO MARCH TO PROTECT OUR RIGHTS?

[CROWD SHOUTING "BLACK LIVES MATTER!"]

50 YEARS AGO, I THOUGHT THAT, BY NOW,

WE WOULD HAVE BEEN LONG PAST ALL THIS.

HOW DID WE GET HERE?

HOW HAVE WE COME SO FAR...

AND YET HAVE SO FAR TO GO?

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE. CALLING ALL BLACK PEOPLE.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

DOES NOT MEAN THE SLUM IS BORN IN YOU,

AND YOU CAN RISE ABOVE IT IF YOUR MIND IS MADE UP.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: I REMEMBER WATCHING THIS SPEECH

AND FEELING A SENSE OF AMAZEMENT,

REALIZING THAT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN

COULD BE A VIABLE CANDIDATE

FOR THE PRESIDENCY OF THE UNITED STATES.

IT WAS 1984.

I WAS 33 YEARS OLD

AND THE FATHER OF TWO LOVELY DAUGHTERS.

I WAS AN ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR AT YALE.

THE FUTURE SEEMED BRIGHT.

RACE RELATIONS IN AMERICA WERE SO MUCH BETTER

THAN WHEN I WAS GROWING UP, AND FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME,

PEOPLE WHO HAD BENEFITED SO MUCH

FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, IT FELT LIKE

THERE WERE NO LIMITS TO WHAT WE COULD DO.

DID RACE STILL MATTER? OF COURSE IT MATTERED.

BUT THE QUESTION WAS, HOW MUCH DID IT MATTER?

OPRAH: GOOD MORNING, EVERYBODY. I'M OPRAH WINFREY.

GATES: THE ANSWER, AT LEAST FOR SOME,

SEEMED TO BE NOT VERY MUCH.

[THEME MUSIC PLAYING]

♪ EVERYBODY LOVES OPRAH

YOU MEAN ME?

GATES: IN 1984, OPRAH WINFREY STARTED HOSTING

A LOCAL MORNING TALK SHOW.

SHE WAS 29 YEARS OLD, BORN IN RURAL MISSISSIPPI,

AND SHE WAS ABOUT TO BECOME A NATIONAL PHENOMENON.

♪ SHE'S STEALING THE SHOW ♪

GATES: I REMEMBER WATCHING HER RAPID RISE

WITH IMMENSE PRIDE.

OPRAH AND I ARE PART OF THE SAME GENERATION,

A GENERATION THAT BUILT ITS SUCCESS

ON THE VICTORIES OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

OPRAH: REVEREND JESSE JACKSON SPOKE AT MY HIGH SCHOOL,

AND HE SAID, "EXCELLENCE IS THE BEST DETERRENT TO RACISM.

THEREFORE, BE EXCELLENT."

SO I HAD THAT QUOTE ON MY MIRROR--

"EXCELLENCE IS THE BEST DETERRENT TO RACISM.

BE EXCELLENT."

WAS RACE EVER AN OBSTACLE IN YOUR CAREER?

NO. YOU KNOW WHY?

BECAUSE I WAS BORN AT THE RIGHT TIME,

AND I WAS NEVER, NOT ONE DAY,

IN A SEGREGATED SCHOOL.

MMM. SAME WITH ME.

SO I HAD NEVER HAD THE INDOCTRINATION

OF "YOU'RE LESS THAN"

OR MADE TO FEEL, LIKE, IN A CLASSROOM

I COULDN'T RAISE MY HAND,

COULDN'T SAY WHAT I WANTED TO SAY,

COULDN'T BE MYSELF.

MY CHILDREN.

GATES: LOOKING BACK, IT'S EASY TO FORGET

THAT OPRAH WAS DOING SOMETHING RADICALLY DIFFERENT

FOR A BLACK PERSON SIMPLY BY BEING HERSELF

ON NATIONAL TELEVISION,

EXPOSING THE INTIMATE DETAILS OF HER LIFE

FOR EVERYBODY TO SEE.

OPRAH: I HAVE LOST, AS OF THIS MORNING...

AS OF THIS MORNING, 67 POUNDS SINCE JULY 7th.

GATES: PEOPLE IN OUR GENERATION,

BUT CERTAINLY PEOPLE OLDER WHO WERE BLACK,

WOULD NEVER HAVE MADE THEMSELVES VULNERABLE IN PUBLIC

BEFORE WHITE PEOPLE. NEVER.

WE DIDN'T HAVE PAIN, YOU KNOW.

WE WERE BEYOND, UM, SUFFERING.

YEAH.

WHAT WAS IT ABOUT YOU? HOW DID YOU FIGURE THAT OUT?

WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO LITERALLY CONNECT

TO THE HEART OF SOMEBODY AND THEY CAN SEE THAT,

"OH, I DO THAT. OH, I EAT THAT.

"OH, I HAVE A WEIGHT ISSUE.

"OH, I FELT TERRIBLE

"WHEN I LOST MY FIRST BOYFRIEND,

"AND I WAS DISTRAUGHT,

AND I ATE A SLEEVE OF OREOS..."

ALL THE THINGS I WAS WILLING TO TALK ABOUT

THAT FELT NEITHER BLACK NOR WHITE

NOR ASIAN NOR HISPANIC, THEY WERE ABLE TO LOOK

BEYOND COLOR OF MY SKIN

AND SEE THE CONTENT OF MY CHARACTER.

GATES: OPRAH EMBODIED A NEW ERA,

AN ERA OF BLACK CROSSOVER SUPERSTARS...

["BILLY JEAN" PLAYING]

FROM MICHAEL JACKSON

TO BILL COSBY,

MICHAEL JORDAN

TO WHITNEY HOUSTON,

AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE WINNING FAME AND FORTUNE...

MURPHY: I HAVE SOME ICE CREAM.

GATES: IN WAYS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN UNIMAGINABLE

EVEN A DECADE BEFORE.

LISTEN TO ME.

GATES: AND THEIR SUCCESS ENCOURAGED AMERICA

TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT RACE.

♪ THERE'S A BACK-SEAT ♪ LOVER

♪ THAT'S ALWAYS ♪ UNDERCOVER

♪ AND I TALK TILL...

BROWN: WHAT HAPPENS IS THAT I THINK WHITE PEOPLE

CAN NOW SUDDENLY IMAGINE THEMSELVES,

IDENTIFYING WITH BLACK SUCCESS IN A NEW WAY.

WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE FAMOUS,

RIGHT? "THEN WE'LL ACCEPT YOU INTO OUR SOCIETY

AS A ROUGH EQUAL, MAYBE EVEN A BETTER."

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE ONE-ON-ONE?

I'M READY.

GATES: BLACK SUCCESS WASN'T CONFINED

TO THE REALM OF CELEBRITIES.

AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE MAKING DRAMATIC GAINS

IN ALMOST EVERY ARENA.

BRAZILE: THIS WAS A TRANSFORMATIONAL PERIOD.

VISIBILITY IS VIABILITY.

AND WE START SEEING MORE BLACKS IN CORPORATE AMERICA,

MORE BLACK TELEVISION PERSONALITIES.

SO THINGS WERE CHANGING SLOWLY, ALBEIT SLOWLY.

BUT THERE WAS NO QUESTION THAT WE WERE NOT GOING BACK.

THIS WAS A JOURNEY FORWARD.

GATES: AS THE 1980s PROGRESSED,

THERE WERE MORE BLACK DOCTORS AND LAWYERS,

MORE BLACK POLITICIANS,

AND PIONEERS IN DOZENS OF FIELDS--

THE FIRST BLACK ASTRONAUT, THE FIRST BLACK MISS AMERICA,

EVEN THE MAN WHO WOULD BECOME THE FIRST BLACK BILLIONAIRE.

IN 1980, ENTREPRENEUR ROBERT JOHNSON

WAS TRYING TO START A CABLE CHANNEL

AIMED AT BLACK AUDIENCES.

JOHNSON HAD ALMOST NO MONEY.

90-PLUS PERCENT RETURN ON INVESTMENT.

BUT HE WAS ABLE TO TALK HIS WAY INTO A $500,000 CHECK

FROM AN INVESTOR.

JOHNSON: HERE I WAS, 9 OF 10 KIDS,

GROWING UP IN FREEPORT, ILLINOIS.

$500,000 WAS EQUAL TO THE ENTIRE GDP

OF EVERYBODY BLACK IN THE CITY.

SO I GOT THIS MONEY IN MY HAND, AND I'M--

DID YOU CRY? DID YOU CRY?

IT'S PROBABLY LIKE SIR EDMUND HILLARY

WHEN HE LOOKED AT MOUNT EVEREST

AND SAID, "HEY, THERE'S A MOUNTAIN.

I'LL BET YOU I CAN CLIMB IT."

AND HE JUST SAID, "OK, I'M GONNA DO IT, BECAUSE I THINK I CAN."

♪ B.E.T.

GATES: JOHNSON USED THE MONEY TO LAUNCH B.E.T.,

BLACK ENTERTAINMENT TELEVISION.

IT WAS A MODEST ENTERPRISE AT FIRST.

BUT JOHNSON SOON SAW A WAY TO MAKE IT GROW.

THE RECORD INDUSTRY STARTED MAKING MUSIC VIDEOS,

BUT MTV WAS NOT PLAYING BLACK VIDEOS.

RIGHT. NOT BEFORE MICHAEL JACKSON.

NOT BEFORE MICHAEL JACKSON.

[ORAN "JUICE" JONES' "THE RAIN" PLAYING]

♪ I SAW YOU

JOHNSON: I WENT TO THE RECORD COMPANIES,

AND I SAID, "LOOK, YOU GUYS MAKE VIDEOS.

I'LL PLAY THEM AS LONG AS YOU KEEP MAKING THEM."

AND THAT BECAME A SOURCE OF FREE PROGRAM, WHICH IS REALLY GOOD.

♪ TIMES ARE GOOD OR BAD

BECAUSE WHEN YOU'VE GOT FREE PROGRAMMING

AND YOU'RE GETTING PAID BY THE CABLE OPERATORS

AND YOU GET PAID BY THE ADVERTISERS,

THAT'S A PRETTY GOOD BUSINESS MODEL.

THAT'S PURE PROFIT. KA-CHING, KA-CHING, KA-CHING.

YOU'VE GOT TO WORK HARD TO SCREW THAT ONE UP.

LL COOL J: ♪ FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE ♪

♪ I SEE I NEED LOVE...

GATES: B.E.T. SOON BECAME A MAJOR FORCE

IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY

AND AN EXTRAORDINARILY PROFITABLE COMPANY.

♪ THIS IS HOW WE DO IT

JOHNSON: IT PROVED UNEQUIVOCALLY

THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS,

GIVEN FINANCIAL SUPPORT AND A VISION,

CAN CREATE SIGNIFICANT WEALTH

FOR BLACK INVESTORS AND WHITE INVESTORS AND ANYBODY ELSE.

AND THAT'S A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT.

WE WERE THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN COMPANY

PUBLICLY TRADED ON THE NEW YORK STOCK EXCHANGE.

THAT'S RIGHT.

ALL OF THE THINGS I'VE DONE,

PART OF IT IS TO PROVE IN SOME WAY

TO WHITE AMERICA THAT IF YOU SIMPLY INVEST IN...

TRANSFER AND PUT MORE CAPITAL

BEHIND TALENTED BLACK INDIVIDUALS,

THEY WILL GENERATE AS MUCH WEALTH

AS ANYBODY ELSE.

YOU'VE JUST GOT TO HAVE THE CONFIDENCE

AND THE COMMITMENT TO DO IT.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: FOR PEOPLE OF MY GENERATION,

SUCCESS STORIES LIKE JOHNSON'S WERE UTTERLY THRILLING.

THEY INSPIRED US TO THINK ABOUT

THE POSSIBILITIES OF INDIVIDUAL BLACK ACHIEVEMENT

IN ENTIRELY NEW WAYS.

THE SYSTEM SEEMED TO BE OPENING UP AT THE TOP.

IT WAS INTOXICATING,

BUT IT WAS ALSO, IN SOME WAYS, DECEPTIVE.

CORNEL WEST: THE 1980s DID PROVIDE VARIOUS OPPORTUNITIES

FOR BLACK FOLK

BECAUSE THE MARKETS WERE BURSTING OUT ALL OVER,

AND SO IF YOU WERE PREPARED,

IF YOU HAD HIGH-LEVEL SKILLS,

YOU WERE ABLE TO GET IN, AND LO AND BEHOLD,

LIVE LIVES OF FAIRLY DECENT MATERIAL PROSPERITY.

BUT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT A SLICE OF BLACK AMERICA.

YOU SEE, THE REST OF BLACK AMERICA

HAD TO DEAL WITH THE REAGAN CUTBACKS,

THE REAGAN SPEED-UPS AT THE WORKPLACE,

INCREASING UNEMPLOYMENT AND UNDEREMPLOYMENT.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: AT THE SAME TIME THAT SOME AFRICAN AMERICANS

WERE FINDING THAT RACIAL BARRIERS HAD FALLEN,

MANY OTHERS WERE LIVING IN PLACES

WHERE THE BARRIERS SEEMED INSURMOUNTABLE.

DAY: THE POVERTY IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD WAS STRIKING,

AND IT WAS PERVASIVE.

WE WERE THE ONES WHO WAITED ON THE LINE FOR WELFARE CHEESE,

AND I KNEW I WAS POOR,

BUT IT WAS EMBARRASSING FOR ME

TO HAVE MY MOTHER SEND ME TO THE STORE

TO GO SPEND FOOD STAMPS ON FOOD.

GATES: RONALD DAY GREW UP IN THE SOUTH BRONX

IN AN ALMOST ENTIRELY BLACK NEIGHBORHOOD.

THE PEOPLE HE SAW GETTING AHEAD

WEREN'T STARTING THEIR OWN CABLE TV COMPANIES.

THEY WERE SELLING DRUGS.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

RON, PAINT A PICTURE FOR ME.

WHAT WOULD WE HAVE SEEN ON THESE STREETS,

MIDDLE OF THE DAY?

DAY: YOU HAD MAYBE 5 OR 6 DIFFERENT CREWS DEALING DRUGS,

AND SO THERE WAS A LOT OF COMPETITION,

AND SO ONE CREW WAS ON THE CORNER,

ONE CREW WAS ON THE NEXT CORNER.

THE OTHER CREW WAS UP THE BLOCK.

I MEAN, WE WERE RESIGNED TO THE FACT

THAT THIS WAS THE NEIGHBORHOOD THAT WE LIVED IN,

AND THERE WAS NOT MUCH THAT WE COULD DO TO CHANGE IT.

GATES: BY THE TIME HE WAS 15,

RONALD HAD DROPPED OUT OF HIGH SCHOOL

AND WAS DEALING HEROIN.

DAY: I DIDN'T SEE PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING TO SCHOOL

EARNING A HIGH-SCHOOL DIPLOMA

AND REALLY DOING WELL WITH THEIR LIVES.

SO IT WAS LIKE, TO WHAT END DO I STAY IN SCHOOL?

THE LURE OF THE STREET

WAS MUCH MORE POWERFUL THAN THE CLASSROOM.

I MEAN, I WENT FROM MAKING MAYBE $50 A DAY

TO MAKING, A YEAR OR TWO LATER,

MAYBE A COUPLE OF THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY.

A DAY? YES.

THAT'S A LOT OF MONEY.

IT IS A LOT OF MONEY. IT IS A LOT OF MONEY

FOR SOMEONE WHO IS 15, 16, 17 YEARS OLD.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: THE MONEY GOT EVEN BETTER

WHEN A NEW DRUG FLOODED THE MARKET--

CRACK COCAINE.

CRACK PROVIDED AN INTENSE HIGH AT A LOW PRICE.

IT WAS FABULOUSLY PROFITABLE FOR RONALD'S BUSINESS

BUT DEVASTATING FOR HIS NEIGHBORHOOD.

MAN: YOU CAN FIND CRACK IN FRONT OF SCHOOLS,

IN FRONT OF CHURCHES, IN FRONT OF SYNAGOGUES.

YOU CAN BUY CRACK WHEN YOU CAN'T BUY A BOTTLE OF MILK.

YOU HAVE NO WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW BAD IT IS.

I'VE SEEN YOUNG MOTHERS WITH BABIES IN STROLLERS

AND SMALL TODDLERS AT THEIR SKIRT TAIL

BUYING CRACK IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD WHERE I LIVE.

DAY: THE CRACK ADDICT WOULD PURCHASE DRUGS

AND THEN BE BACK AN HOUR LATER.

AND THEY WANTED SOME MORE THEN?

AND THEY WANTED SOME MORE,

AND PEOPLE HAD TO GET MONEY

ON A REGULAR BASIS IN ORDER TO FEED THAT HABIT.

SO YOU TOOK FROM YOUR MOTHER,

YOU TOOK FROM YOUR FATHER, YOU TOOK FROM YOUR CHILDREN.

DID PART OF YOU WORRY, FEEL GUILTY ABOUT THE EFFECT

THAT THIS WAS HAVING ON THE COMMUNITY?

I WOULD SAY THAT I DID FEEL GUILTY,

BUT THE FEELING WAS FLEETING.

SO I WASN'T OUTSIDE,

MAKING THE OBSERVATION ABOUT...

WOW. LOOK AT WHAT MY BEHAVIOR IS DOING,

LOOK AT HOW I'M CONTRIBUTING

TO THE HARM THAT'S BEING DONE IN MY COMMUNITY.

I NEVER HAD THE OPPORTUNITY

TO DO THAT TYPE OF REFLECTION.

ALL I KNEW WAS THE DRUG CULTURE

AND THE DRUG LIFE.

GATES: THE DRUG LIFE EVENTUALLY CAUGHT UP WITH RONALD DAY.

WHEN HE WAS 24, HE WAS CONVICTED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER

AS WELL AS DRUG AND WEAPONS CHARGES

AND SPENT 15 YEARS IN PRISON.

AT LEAST HE SURVIVED.

MANY OF HIS FRIENDS ENDED UP DEAD,

KILLED IN TURF WARS BETWEEN RIVAL DRUG GANGS,

LIKE COUNTLESS OTHERS IN CITIES ACROSS AMERICA.

WOMAN: AS THE DRUG TRADE HAS ESCALATED,

SO HAS THE VIOLENCE.

VIRTUALLY EVERY NIGHT, POLICE PICK UP BODIES.

COBB: WE SAW THESE EPIC DEATH TOLLS,

OVERWHELMINGLY BLACK MALES IN AMERICAN CITIES,

EVERY MAJOR AMERICAN CITY,

IN A WAY THAT PEOPLE HAD NOT SEEN BEFORE.

MAN: EVERY NIGHT THERE ARE DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS

AND VICTIMS WHO ARE SOMETIMES SOLDIERS IN THIS WAR

BUT OFTEN NOT.

OFTEN THEY ARE INNOCENTS IN THE CROSSFIRE.

GATES: IT'S DIFFICULT TO ESTIMATE THE DEATH TOLL

OF AMERICA'S DRUG TRADE.

EVEN EXPERTS SAY THE CASUALTIES ARE UNCOUNTABLE.

BUT WHILE THE VIOLENCE WAS REAL AND TERRIFYING,

THE NEIGHBORHOODS THAT WERE MOST AFFECTED

WERE FULL OF PEOPLE

WHO WERE NEITHER DRUG DEALERS NOR DRUG USERS.

AND SOME OF THEM BEGAN TO BAND TOGETHER TO FIGHT BACK.

SHARPTON: SELL CRACK! SELL CRACK!

GET CRACKED! GET CRACKED!

SHARPTON: PEOPLE'S HOMES WERE BEING ROBBED.

PEOPLE WERE BEING ROBBED IN THE STREET.

I WAS WORRIED FOR MY OWN MOTHER.

PEOPLE WANTED MORE POLICING. PEOPLE WANTED MORE PROTECTION.

SHARPTON: GET BACK, CRACK! GET BACK, CRACK!

GET BACK, CRACK! GET BACK, CRACK!

GET BACK, CRACK! GET BACK, CRACK!

GET BACK, CRACK! GET BACK, CRACK!

CLOSE THE CRACK HOUSE! CLOSE THE CRACK HOUSE!

SAVE THE BABIES! SAVE THE BABIES!

SHARPTON: WE'D MARCH OUT, AND I'D PAINT RED Xs

ON THE STORE

TO SAY, "THEY'RE SELLING CRACK IN HERE."

SHARPTON: SELL CRACK! SELL CRACK!

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

CRACK IN NEW YORK!

SAY WHAT? STOP CRACK IN NEW YORK!

STOP, STOP, STOP, STOP CRACK!

SAY WHAT?

STOCK CRACK IN NEW YORK!

NEXT CRACK HOUSE! NEXT CRACK HOUSE!

SHARPTON: THE IDEA OF IT WAS TO EXPOSE

"WE KNOW WHERE THE CRACK IS.

WHY AREN'T THE POLICE DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT?"

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

GATES: ACTIVISTS SAW THE DRUG TRADE

AS A SYMPTOM OF A MUCH LARGER PROBLEM.

THEY CALLED FOR BETTER POLICING, SOCIAL SERVICES,

JOB PROGRAMS, AND MUCH MORE.

BUT THEIR CALLS WERE DROWNED OUT

BY A DRUMBEAT OF SENSATIONALIZED ONE-DIMENSIONAL MEDIA STORIES.

MAN: THIS IS THE BATTLEFIELD,

AS MUCH A BATTLEFIELD AS THE JUNGLES OF VIETNAM.

AND THIS IS THE ENEMY--

DEALERS PEDDLING DEADLY DRUGS.

SHARPTON: THE MEDIA PORTRAYED IT AS A BLACK HABIT,

WHEN IT CLEARLY WAS NOT LIMITED TO THE BLACK COMMUNITY.

BUT THE FACE OF CRACK BECAME BLACK,

AND THE STREET CRIME BLACK.

AND IT REALLY, AS THAT IMAGE WAS CONSTANTLY POUNDED

IN THE AMERICAN PSYCHE, IT WAS THAT IMAGE

OF MAKING BLACK AND CRACK AND CRIME SYNONYMOUS,

IS WHY THEY GOT AWAY WITH THEN TURNING IT INTO

A HIGH INCARCERATION RATE FOR BLACKS,

BECAUSE PEOPLE HAD BEEN SEEING THAT ALL THESE YEARS.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: THE DELUGE OF MEDIA STORIES ABOUT BLACK CRIME

HAD AN EXTRAORDINARY EFFECT,

TURNING COMPLEX SOCIAL AND MEDICAL PROBLEMS

INTO A WAR ON DRUGS,

A WAR JUSTIFIED AND INTENSIFIED BY ITS OWN RHETORIC.

TOMMY ROBINSON: THE DEATH PENALTY IS A DETERRENT.

WHEN YOU FRY THAT DRUG DEALER

THAT CAUSED THE DEATH OF SOMEONE,

THAT PERSON IS NEVER GOING TO COME BACK.

IF YOU'RE GOING TO WAGE A WAR AGAINST DRUGS,

YOU'VE GOT TO DETERMINE THAT YOU'RE WILLING TO DO

WHAT'S NECESSARY TO GIVE YOU THE THRESHOLD OF A TRUE WAR.

MAN: POLICE!

BUSH: TAKE MY WORD FOR IT, THIS SCOURGE WILL STOP.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

HOLDER: I WAS A U.S. ATTORNEY HERE IN WASHINGTON, D.C.

AND THERE WAS A REAL NEED

FOR SOME KIND OF EFFECTIVE LAW-ENFORCEMENT RESPONSE,

BUT I THINK, UNFORTUNATELY, WHAT WE DID WAS COME UP WITH

A RESPONSE THAT, UM... DIDN'T THINK ABOUT

THE LONG-TERM CONSEQUENCES OF WHAT IT IS WE WERE...

WE WERE DOING.

[SIRENS]

GATES: THE WAR ON DRUGS

COMBINED MASSIVE INCREASES IN POLICE SPENDING

WITH NEW SENTENCING LAWS

THAT DISPROPORTIONATELY AFFECTED BLACK COMMUNITIES.

IFILL: A WHOLE APPARATUS WAS CREATED

THAT ESSENTIALLY CRIMINALIZED BLACK MEN

AND CRIMINALIZED THEM AT A HIGHER LEVEL FOR CONDUCT

THAT WHITES WOULD ALSO ENGAGE IN.

THE MOST INFAMOUS EXAMPLE, OF COURSE,

IS THE HUNDRED-TO-ONE RATIO

BETWEEN CRACK AND POWDER COCAINE.

GATES: POWDER COCAINE AND CRACK WERE CHEMICALLY IDENTICAL.

BUT CRACK WAS CHEAPER,

MORE COMMON IN POOR NEIGHBORHOODS,

AND UNDER THE NEW LAWS, PUNISHED MUCH MORE HARSHLY.

MAN: THERE'S A MANDATORY 5-YEAR PRISON TERM

FOR SELLING 500 GRAMS OF POWDER, ABOUT A POUND.

BUT THE SAME PENALTY APPLIES TO SELLING JUST 5 GRAMS OF CRACK,

100 TIMES LESS.

GET ON YOUR [BEEP] KNEES, BOY.

IFILL: THAT HAD NO PHARMACOLOGICAL BASIS,

HAD NO LOGICAL BASIS,

BUT IT WAS UNDERSTOOD THAT AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN

WERE MORE LIKELY TO BE ARRESTED FOR CRACK-POSSESSION CRIMES

THAN WHITE MEN WERE, SO THE RACIAL IMPLICATIONS OF IT

WERE WELL KNOWN WHEN IT WAS ENACTED,

AND YET IT WAS DONE ANYWAY.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: FROM 1983 TO 1997, THE NUMBER OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

INCARCERATED FOR DRUG OFFENSES GREW BY OVER 2,000%.

THAT'S MORE THAN 6 TIMES THE RATE OF INCREASE

FOR WHITE AMERICANS.

HOLDER: WHITES AND BLACKS USE DRUGS

AT ROUGHLY THE SAME RATES,

AND SO HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THESE UNBELIEVABLE DIFFERENCES

IN THE WAY IN WHICH WHITE FOLKS AND BLACK FOLKS

WERE...WERE TREATED?

UM...THERE WAS A CERTAIN CALLOUSNESS.

[INDISTINCT SHOUTING]

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

FARMAN: THERE'S A POLICY RESPONSE

WHICH IS INCREDIBLY AGGRESSIVE AND INCREDIBLY INTRUSIVE

AND TARGETS BLACK COMMUNITIES NOT FOR HELP, TREATMENT,

BETTER SCHOOLS, BETTER JOB-TRAINING PROGRAMS.

INSTEAD, BLACK COMMUNITIES GET ONE THING REALLY

AND ONE THING ONLY, WHICH IS MORE POLICE

AND LONGER PRISON SENTENCES.

♪ [BEEP] THE POLICE, COMING STRAIGHT FROM THE UNDERGROUND ♪

♪ A YOUNG NIGGER GOT IT BAD 'CAUSE I'M BROWN ♪

GATES: AS THEIR NEIGHBORHOODS CAME UNDER SIEGE,

YOUNG BLACK PEOPLE REFUSED TO BE SILENT.

THEY USED HIP-HOP TO CALL OUT THE INJUSTICES

THAT WERE ENGULFING THEIR COMMUNITIES

WITH A HARSH LANGUAGE DESIGNED TO MATCH THE BRUTALITY

THEY SAW ALL AROUND THEM.

JEFFRIES: I REMEMBER GOING DOWN TO MOREHOUSE COLLEGE

AND HEARING FOR THE FIRST TIME, IN THE DORMITORY,

ICE CUBE AND N.W.A., AND THE LYRICS--

TALKING ABOUT "NIGGER THIS" AND "NIGGER THAT"--

AND JUST BEING SHOCKED,

LIKE, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

COME AWAY. WHAT IS THIS?

ICE-T: ♪ DAMNED RIGHT I'M A NIGGER ♪

WE WERE LIKE THE VOICES FROM DOWN HERE IN THE HOOD

YELLING OUT TO PEOPLE ON A RAP RECORD.

♪ PEOPLE MIGHT GET MAD 'CAUSE THEY DON'T SEE ♪

♪ THAT THEY'RE LOOKED UPON AS A NIGGER JUST LIKE ME ♪

GATES: THE MEDIA NAMED THIS NEW MUSIC GANGSTA RAP.

MANY OF THE ARTISTS SIMPLY CALLED IT REALITY RAP.

ICE-T: ♪ DOES SOUTH CENTRAL LOOK LIKE AMERICA TO YOU? ♪

TUPAC: ♪ TIRED OF BEING TRAPPED IN THIS VICIOUS CYCLE ♪

COOPER: THE THING IS, THESE SONGS HAD A POLITICAL CRITIQUE,

AND IT WAS IMPORTANT IN THAT MOMENT.

THIS WAS THE ABILITY OF BLACK YOUTH TO TALK BACK

TO THESE POLICIES THAT WERE MAKING THEIR LIVES UNLIVABLE.

I DON'T THINK THEY WERE POSITIVE IMAGES,

BUT I THINK THEY WERE VALUABLE REPRESENTATIONS

THAT TOLD US ABOUT PARTS OF BLACK LIFE

THAT WE WEREN'T TALKING ABOUT.

DYSON: THEY'RE LISTENING TO TUPAC SAY,

"JUST THE OTHER DAY, I GOT LYNCHED BY SOME CROOKED COPS,

"AND TO THIS DAY, THEM SAME COPS ON THE BEAT GETTING MAJOR PAY.

"BUT WHEN I GET MY CHECK, THEY TAKIN' TAX OUT

SO WE'RE PAYING THE COPS TO KNOCK THE BLACKS OUT."

SO HERE'S TUPAC GIVING THEM A LESSON IN ECONOMICS 101,

AND AMERICA'S GOING, "WAIT A MINUTE.

THERE'S SOME INTELLIGENCE HERE. THERE'S SOME INSIGHT HERE."

TUPAC: ♪ STRESS IN THE CITY, THE COPS ON TOP OF ME ♪

♪ THE PROJECTS IS FULL OF BULLETS ♪

♪ THOUGH BODIES IS DROPPING

TUPAC: WE SHOULDN'T BE ANGRY, THAT MY RAPS

THAT I'M RAPPING TO MY COMMUNITY

SHOULDN'T BE FILLED WITH RAGE? YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?

THEY SHOULDN'T BE FILLED WITH THE SAME ATROCITIES

THAT THEY GAVE TO ME?

THE MEDIA, THEY DON'T TALK ABOUT IT.

SO IN MY RAPS, I HAVE TO TALK ABOUT IT.

♪ AND GUNSHOTS

GATES: MOST GANGSTA RAP WAS WRITTEN BY YOUNG BLACK PEOPLE,

BARELY OUT OF THEIR TEENS,

YET IT QUICKLY BECAME A GLOBAL SENSATION.

♪ I GET LOVES ALL OVER THE PLANET ♪

[WOMEN SPEAKING FOREIGN LANGUAGE]

GATES: BUT NOT ALL OF THE MUSIC WAS A CRITIQUE

OF INNER-CITY NEGLECT.

SNOOP DOGG: ♪ GOT SOME BITCHES FROM THE CITY OF COMPTON ♪

♪ TO SERVE ME...

GATES: MUCH OF IT DEPICTED A SOCIAL WORLD

THAT SEEMED TO SOME MISOGYNISTIC AND DEEPLY AMORAL.

♪ NOW, A FREAK IS A FREAK, AND A HO IS A HO ♪

GATES: AND AS IT BECAME INCREASINGLY POPULAR,

MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE HORRIFIED.

THEY WORRIED THAT IT WAS GLAMORIZING THE DESTRUCTION

OF BLACK COMMUNITIES

AND REINFORCING LONGSTANDING RACIST STEREOTYPES.

JEFFRIES: WHEN THE ONLY THING THAT YOU'RE HEARING

BECOMES THAT WHICH IS MOST DEROGATORY,

THAT WHICH IS MOST DEMEANING TOWARDS BLACK WOMEN,

THAT WHICH IS CELEBRATING SORT OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION,

THE IMAGES THAT ARE BEING PROJECTED ARE PROBLEMATIC

BECAUSE THERE IS NO COUNTERBALANCE.

PETERSON: THERE'S AN ENTIRE ECONOMY

AROUND CRIMINALIZING BLACK MEN.

IF YOU'RE MAKING A TV SHOW, A RAP SONG, OR A MOVIE

ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE BEHAVING BADLY,

IT'S MUCH MORE LIKELY THAT IT'S GONNA SELL AND DO WELL

THAN ABOUT MORE COMPLEX NUANCED DEPICTIONS OF BLACK LIFE.

[CHANTING "NO GANGSTA RAP!"]

TUCKER: WE AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN PARTICULARLY

ARE TIRED OF BEING CALLED HOS, BITCHES, AND SLUTS

BY OUR CHILDREN, WHO ARE PAID TO DO THIS

BY TIME WARNER.

BUTTS: WE'RE NOT AGAINST RAP. WE'RE NOT AGAINST RAPPERS.

BUT WE ARE AGAINST THOSE THUGS WHO DISGRACE OUR COMMUNITY,

OUR WOMEN, WHO DISGRACE OUR CULTURE,

AND WHO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING OF REDEMPTIVE VALUE TO OFFER

EXCEPT THE LEGACY OF VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT

AND FOUL LANGUAGE.

PETERSON: IT'S NOT THAT THEY'RE JUST SAYING,

"DON'T AIR OUR DIRTY LAUNDRY."

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING IS, "BE CONSCIOUS OF THE FACT

"THAT THERE IS A TREMENDOUS AMERICAN APPETITE

"FOR BLACK PATHOLOGY AND WHAT THE CONSEQUENCES

OF THAT APPETITE MEANS IN OUR COMMUNITIES."

JACKSON: SOMEHOW I GET THE IMPRESSION

THAT BASIC WHITE MASS MEDIA WANTS TO FOCUS ON...

ON...ON RAP AND NOT REALITY.

AND I SAY, "IF YOU'RE GONNA COVER VIOLENCE,

COVER REALITY AND NOT JUST RAP."

RAP IS AN EXTENSION OF THE CULTURE.

LET'S BREAK UP THE VIOLENCE IN THE CULTURE.

AND I HOPE Y'ALL PUT THAT ON CAMERA,

BECAUSE THAT'S REAL.

I MEAN, DON'T... DON'T JUST PICK AND CHOOSE

STUFF OUT OF HERE TO FIT ME ON ONE SIDE

AND THE RAPPERS ON THE OTHER.

THESE ARE OUR CHILDREN IN TROUBLE. THEY ARE IN PAIN.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: THE DEBATE OVER RAP MUSIC WAS INTENSELY EMOTIONAL

BECAUSE THE STAKES SEEMED SO HIGH.

AS THE 1990s BEGAN,

THE POOREST AFRICAN AMERICANS

WERE FALLING EVER FURTHER BEHIND,

AND THERE WAS NO CONSENSUS ABOUT HOW TO HELP.

INDEED, SOME WERE BEGINNING TO FEEL

THAT POOR BLACK PEOPLE

HAD ALREADY RECEIVED TOO MUCH HELP

AND NEEDED INSTEAD TO FOCUS ON THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR.

WILLIAMS: IF YOU LOOK AT THE JEWISH COMMUNITY

AND THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, THEY DON'T HAVE

THE KIND OF ISSUES THAT THE BLACK COMMUNITY HAVE

BECAUSE THEY NEVER ALLOWED THE GOVERNMENT

TO TAKE OVER THEIR LIVES.

THEY...THEY WERE INVOLVED IN THEIR CHILD'S EDUCATION.

THEY WERE INVOLVED IN THEIR CHILD'S DISCIPLINE.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED IS, WITH THESE WELFARE PROGRAMS,

THEY'VE CONCEDED SO MANY OTHER THINGS--

THE BABIES, THE ABSENTEE FATHERS,

THE CRIME, THE DRUGS-- AND THERE'S JUST NO WAY

YOU COULD PUT THE GENIE BACK IN THE BOTTLE.

THE HOPELESSNESS, THE DESPAIR THAT PERMEATE

MANY OF OUR INNER-CITY NEIGHBORHOODS

HAVE CAUSED SOME OF US TO TURN ON OURSELVES

RATHER THAN TURNING TO OURSELVES.

GATES: BLACK AMERICA WAS NOW ENGAGED IN A HEATED DISPUTE

OVER THE QUESTION OF WHERE GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITY

FOR THE POOR ENDED AND PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY BEGAN.

THE DISPUTE WOULD SOON BOIL OVER ON A VERY PUBLIC STAGE.

IN 1991, THURGOOD MARSHALL, A CIVIL RIGHTS HERO,

ANNOUNCED HIS RETIREMENT

FROM THE UNITED STATES SUPREME COURT.

TO FILL THE VACANCY, PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH TAPPED

CONSERVATIVE APPEALS-COURT JUDGE CLARENCE THOMAS.

BUSH: HE IS THE BEST PERSON FOR THIS POSITION.

GATES: UNLIKE MARSHALL, THOMAS DIDN'T BELIEVE

THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

SHOULD ADVOCATE FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS

OR FOR ANY RACIAL GROUP.

TO MANY, HIS NOMINATION WAS DEEPLY TROUBLING.

CRENSHAW: THE SUPREME COURT WAS IMPORTANT

BECAUSE THEY BACKED UP

THE DEMANDS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

FOR GREATER ACCESS TO THE POLITICAL SPHERE.

THEY BACKED UP DEMANDS FOR THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

FOR GREATER ACCESS TO EMPLOYMENT,

FOR GREATER ACCESS TO EDUCATION, TO HOUSING.

WELL, NOW THE VERY INSTITUTION THAT BACKS US UP

IS GOING TO HAVE AN AFRICAN AMERICAN

WHO SAYS, "ACTUALLY, YOU KNOW,

YOU DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT THAT STUFF ANYMORE."

GATES: THOMAS GREW UP IN RURAL GEORGIA

DURING THE WANING YEARS OF JIM CROW.

HE KNEW POVERTY FIRSTHAND,

AND HE'D SEEN HOW THE GOVERNMENT

COULD HELP LIFT PEOPLE OUT OF IT.

HE'D BENEFITED TREMENDOUSLY FROM AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

BUT JUDGE THOMAS DIDN'T SEE IT THAT WAY.

THOMAS: IT IS EXPECTED

THAT WE ALL HAVE THE SAME BASIC BELIEFS,

THAT WE BELIEVE IN CERTAIN SOCIAL PROGRAMS

THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP BLACK PEOPLE,

AND WE DON'T--WE'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO QUESTION THESE PROGRAMS.

GATES: THOMAS WAS PART OF A SMALL BUT GROWING WAVE

OF BLACK CONSERVATIVES.

HE BELIEVED THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS

WERE BEING HURT BY MISGUIDED GOVERNMENT POLICIES,

LIKE WELFARE AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.

RIGUEUR: CLARENCE THOMAS SAYS THAT AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

MAKES AFRICAN AMERICANS FEEL INFERIOR.

THEY ARE CONSTANTLY LED TO BELIEVE

THAT THEY ARE UNQUALIFIED.

SO IT REALLY UNDERMINES THEM

ONCE THEY GET TO THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THINGS, RIGHT?

AM I LOOKING AROUND AND SAYING,

"DO I DESERVE TO BE HERE?

WAS I ONLY CHOSEN BECAUSE I'M BLACK? AM I A TOKEN?"

WOMAN: IN A DIVISIVE DEBATE, THE NATIONAL BAR ASSOCIATION

VOTED THOMAS DOWN, AS DID THE NAACP.

GATES: CIVIL RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

EXPRESSED OPPOSITION TO THOMAS' NOMINATION.

AND THE CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS

REFUSED TO ENDORSE HIM.

TOWNS: THIS NOMINATION IS A MATTER

OF THE REFUTATION OF THE VERY PRINCIPLES

OF JUSTICE AND FREEDOM FOR WHICH SO MANY GAVE

THEIR LIVES DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

IN THIS COUNTRY.

GATES: BUT IN THE END, THOMAS' IDEAS

WERE NEVER DEBATED BY THE SENATE

IN A MEANINGFUL WAY.

INSTEAD, THE CONFIRMATION PROCESS BECAME TRANSFORMED

WHEN LAW PROFESSOR ANITA HILL,

A FORMER COLLEAGUE OF THOMAS',

ACCUSED HIM OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT.

PROFESSOR, DO YOU SWEAR TO TELL THE WHOLE TRUTH

AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, SO HELP YOU GOD?

I DO. THANK YOU.

GATES: HILL'S ALLEGATIONS TRIGGERED AN INTENSE DEBATE

AMONG BLACK LEADERS.

YOU DON'T JUST HAVE ORDINARY BLACKS IN THIS COURTROOM.

YOU HAVE VERY WELL EDUCATED BLACKS FROM YALE LAW SCHOOL,

FROM HOLY CROSS, THE DE LA CREAM OF THE CROP.

AND IF THEY'RE IN THE COURTROOM BICKERING OVER THIS NONSENSE,

WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE ARE WE SENDING

TO OUR YOUNGER GENERATION?

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: ARMSTRONG WILLIAMS HAD WORKED CLOSELY

WITH CLARENCE THOMAS AND ANITA HILL

AND CONSIDERED THEM BOTH HIS FRIENDS.

BUT AS THE HEARINGS UNFOLDED,

HE THREW HIS SUPPORT BEHIND JUDGE THOMAS.

WILLIAMS: I REALLY LIKED ANITA.

ANITA WAS REALLY GOOD PEOPLE.

BUT JUSTICE THOMAS AND I ARE AS A...

HE'S MY HERO. HE'S MY MENTOR.

IT MUST STOP. WE MUST STOP THIS SENSATIONALISM.

THERE'S SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT THIS.

CHAIRMAN THOMAS IS INNOCENT.

I BECAME MALCOLM X AT THAT TIME.

BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY, WE WOULD GET HIM ON THE COURT.

GATES: WILLIAMS JOINED A CHORUS OF CONSERVATIVES

WHO CLAIM THAT HILL WAS PART OF A LIBERAL CONSPIRACY,

EVEN THOUGH SHE ACTUALLY SHARED MANY OF THOMAS' POLITICAL VIEWS.

BUT THE CRITICISM DIDN'T STOP HER FROM TESTIFYING.

HILL: HIS CONVERSATIONS WERE VERY VIVID.

HE SPOKE ABOUT ACTS THAT HE HAD SEEN

IN PORNOGRAPHIC FILMS INVOLVING SUCH MATTERS

AS WOMEN HAVING SEX WITH ANIMALS

AND FILMS SHOWING GROUP SEX OR RAPE SCENES.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: THOMAS REFUSED TO BACK DOWN.

INSTEAD, HE SHIFTED THE TERMS OF THE HEARING,

PORTRAYING HIMSELF AS A VICTIM OF RACISM.

THOMAS: THIS IS A CIRCUS. IT'S A NATIONAL DISGRACE.

AND FROM MY STANDPOINT, AS A BLACK AMERICAN,

AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, IT IS A HIGH-TECH LYNCHING

FOR UPPITY BLACKS WHO IN ANY WAY DEIGN TO THINK FOR THEMSELVES.

JEFFRIES: RIGHT THERE, HE'S INVOKING A CALL

FOR SOLIDARITY,

BECAUSE WHO WAS NOT GONNA DEFEND A LYNCHING

OR THOSE WHO WERE TRYING TO LYNCH A BLACK MAN?

WILLIAMS: IT WAS WAR.

AND IN WAR, USE EVERY WEAPON AT YOUR DISPOSAL. OK?

A LOT OF REPUBLICANS DID NOT LIKE THE FACT

THAT THOMAS WAS USING THIS LANGUAGE,

BUT IT WAS THOMAS' LIFE AND CREDIBILITY ON THE LINE.

IT WAS THOMAS WHO WAS BEING HUMILIATED.

YOU'VE GOT TO DO WHAT YOU'VE GOT TO DO.

WOMEN: WE SUPPORT THOMAS! WE SUPPORT THOMAS!

GATES: THOMAS' STRATEGY PROVED EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE.

POLLS SHOWED THAT HE WAS RECEIVING ENOUGH SUPPORT

FROM AFRICAN AMERICANS TO ALLOW REPUBLICAN SENATORS

TO KEEP PUSHING HIS NOMINATION FORWARD,

EVEN AS MOST CIVIL-RIGHTS GROUPS CONTINUED TO OPPOSE HIM.

CRENSHAW: WHEN HAS AN AFRICAN AMERICAN MAN

EVER BEEN LYNCHED OVER ANYTHING

THAT HE'S EVER DONE TO A BLACK WOMAN?

I MEAN, WHAT KIND OF HISTORY IS THAT COMING FROM?

IT'S NOT A HISTORY THAT WE EVER LIVED.

BUT IT DID THE WORK THAT IT WAS SUPPOSED TO DO.

MILLIONS OF AFRICAN AMERICANS WERE ABLE TO COMPLETELY WRITE

ANITA HILL OUT OF THE RACE,

AND SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY CALLED FOR THAT LITERALLY.

SOME PEOPLE ACTUALLY SAID, "ANITA HILL SHOULD BE SHOT

FOR WHAT SHE'S DOING TO CLARENCE THOMAS."

WORDS SIMPLY CANNOT EXPRESS

THE KIND OF ANGUISH THAT I HAVE EXPERIENCED

OVER THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS.

BROWN: THERE HAS BEEN A STRAIN OF BLACK NATIONALISM

THAT'S "MY PEOPLE, DO OR DIE."

AND SO THAT EVEN CLARENCE THOMAS, HE WAS ONE OF OURS,

AND AS ONE OF OURS, WE SHOULDN'T BE CRITICIZING HIM,

ESPECIALLY WHEN HE'S ABOUT TO EARN THIS HIGH POSITION.

THERE IS ALSO, YOU KNOW, FRANKLY,

THE SEXIST COMPONENT OF IT.

A BLACK WOMAN CRITICIZING A BLACK MAN OF HIGH POSITION

IS AUTOMATICALLY BETRAYING THE RACE.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

REHNQUIST: REPEAT AFTER ME.

I, CLARENCE THOMAS...

I, CLARENCE THOMAS...

DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR...

WILLIAMS: THEY BACKED DOWN. YES, THEY DID.

AND HAD HE NOT USED THAT LANGUAGE,

HE WOULD NOT BE ON THE COURT TODAY. SO I SAY AMEN.

[APPLAUSE]

GATES: IN THE TWO DECADES SINCE HIS CONFIRMATION,

JUSTICE THOMAS HAS HELPED ROLL BACK

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR AFFIRMATIVE ACTION

AND SOCIAL WELFARE PROGRAMS,

WHILE IMPLYING THAT AFRICAN AMERICANS

SHOULD TAKE PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

FOR THEIR OWN PROGRESS.

YET IT'S NOT AT ALL CLEAR THAT POOR INDIVIDUAL CHOICES

ARE THE MAIN OBSTACLE TO BLACK PROGRESS.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

INSTEAD, TOO OFTEN, IT HAS SEEMED THAT RACISM

DEEPLY WOVEN INTO THE FABRIC OF OUR SOCIETY,

POSES A GREATER THREAT.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GUMBEL: THE FBI TODAY IS INVESTIGATING

AN EXPLOSIVE CASE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

INVOLVING WHITE POLICEMEN AND A BLACK MOTORIST.

LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICERS PULLED OVER A CAR

THEY SAID WAS TRAVELING IN EXCESS OF THE SPEED LIMIT.

WHAT YOU'RE SEEING IS WHAT HAPPENED AFTER THAT.

GATES: THE RODNEY KING BEATING

MADE AMERICA'S RACIAL TROUBLES CLEAR,

EVEN TO SOME IN THE LAPD.

POWELL: I SAW IT ON TV,

AND MY HEART JUST STOPPED.

THIS WAS PROOF THAT POLICE BRUTALITY

WAS ALIVE AND WELL, AND THERE WAS THIS EXPECTATION--

NOW SOMEBODY IS GONNA DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

THEY HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT

BECAUSE THE WHOLE WORLD CAN SEE IT.

YOU COULD SEE IT RIGHT THERE. IT'S CAUGHT ON TAPE.

GATES: STEPHANIE POWELL WAS AN OFFICER

IN THE LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT

WHEN THE KING VIDEO CAME TO LIGHT.

WATCHING IT, SHE WAS TORN.

POWELL: BEING AFRICAN AMERICAN AND BEING A POLICE OFFICER,

YOU'RE MAKING THIS ATTEMPT TO FIT IN BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

AND BE LOYAL TO BOTH.

SO BEING LOYAL TO YOUR RACE

AND AT THE SAME TIME BEING LOYAL

TO THE DEPARTMENT THAT YOU SERVE.

WHEN YOU SAW THE VIDEO,

DID YOU THINK, "I DIDN'T KNOW THIS HAPPENED,"

OR "OH, MY GOD. THEY GOT CAUGHT"?

I THINK IT WAS MORE SO OF..."OH, MY GOD.

WE'RE GONNA HAVE A SERIOUS SITUATION HERE."

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

FEMALE REPORTER: A CONTROVERSIAL CASE

INVOLVING 4 LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICERS

GOES TO COURT TODAY.

THE OFFICERS FACE CHARGES STEMMING FROM

THE VIDEOTAPED BEATING OF A MOTORIST.

THE CASE HAS ALREADY RAISED ACCUSATIONS

OF OFFICIALLY SANCTIONED RACISM AND BRUTALITY.

WOMAN: HE WAS DOWN. HE WAS DOWN.

HE WAS UNARMED. THEY COULD HAVE...

THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO DO THAT.

GATES: THE HARD EVIDENCE OF THE VIDEOTAPE

ILLUMINATED TWO RADICALLY DIFFERENT PERCEPTIONS

OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BLACK PEOPLE

AND THE POLICE.

COBB: DEPENDING UPON YOUR VANTAGE POINT,

THIS IS AN INNOCENT BLACK MAN.

KING: I WAS SCARED FOR MY LIFE.

OR THESE ARE POLICE DOING

WHAT YOU NEED POLICE TO DO

TO PREVENT PEOPLE LIKE HIM FROM GETTING INTO YOUR COMMUNITY

AND INVARIABLY DOING SOME WRONG.

AND, YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE TWO COMPLETELY DIFFERENT REALITIES.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: BUT THE TAPE DIDN'T PRODUCE THE RESULTS

THAT MOST AFRICAN AMERICANS HAD HOPED FOR.

MAN: WE FIND THE DEFENDANT NOT GUILTY

OF THE CRIME OF ASSAULT BY FORCE

LIKELY TO PRODUCE GREAT BODILY INJURY AND...

POWELL: WHEN THE VERDICT CAME IN,

I HEAR THE CHEER GO UP

WHEN THE OFFICERS ARE EXONERATED,

AND I JUST LOOKED OVER AT MY...

ONE OF THE OTHER BLACK OFFICERS,

AND WE DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING.

WE DIDN'T NEED TO SAY ANYTHING.

WE BOTH KNEW AT THE SAME TIME

WHAT IT WAS WE WERE FEELING,

AND WHAT WE WERE FEELING WAS, UM...

"THIS IS NOT GONNA GO TOO WELL." MM-HMM.

POLICEMAN: HOLD YOUR LINE! HOLD YOUR LINE! HOLD YOUR LINE!

HOLD YOUR LINE! NOBODY LEAVES THE LINE!

[SHOUTING AND GLASS BREAKING]

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

MAN: SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES IS RESPONDING WITH FURY

TO THE ACQUITTAL OF 4 LOS ANGELES POLICE OFFICERS.

WOMAN: IN SOUTH CENTRAL LOS ANGELES,

THE SITUATION APPEARS TO HAVE GOTTEN WORSE THERE.

YOU KNOW, WE JUST CANNOT SEND CAMERA CREWS IN THOSE AREAS

BECAUSE IT'S JUST TOO DANGEROUS AT THIS POINT.

POWELL: IT WAS HEARTBREAKING TO WATCH

BECAUSE I WAS LIVING IN SOUTH CENTRAL L.A.

DURING THE RIOTS,

AND I STARTED SEEING

LANDMARKS THAT I KNEW AS A CHILD START TO...TO BURN.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: I REMEMBER FEELING SHOCKED BY THE VERDICT,

BUT NOT BY THE ENSUING RIOTS.

THEY REFLECTED SOMETHING VERY DEEP AND PAINFUL.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

BROWN: WHEN THOSE GUYS WERE EXONERATED,

YOU JUST THOUGHT, "WHAT'S IT ALL FOR?" RIGHT?

I MEAN, ARE WE EVER GONNA FIND JUSTICE HERE?

ALL THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, ALL THE BLACK POWER MOVEMENT,

AND EVERYTHING THAT'S COME BEFORE...

YOU'RE THAT VULNERABLE, RIGHT, TO A LYNCH MOB OF POLICE.

AND THEY'RE GONNA GET AWAY SCOT-FREE.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

JEFFRIES: THE RESPONSE TO THE ACQUITTAL,

THE FURY, THE ANGER, AND THE FRUSTRATION,

IS BECAUSE OF THE VISUAL EVIDENCE.

IT'S LIKE, "HOW DID YOU NOT SEE WHAT I SAW?"

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

DuVERNAY: I GREW UP IN COMPTON IN SOUTH CENTRAL.

THAT WAS A REAL SHATTERING AT THAT TIME

AS A YOUNG PERSON IN THAT PLACE, FROM THAT PLACE,

WHEN YOU CAN HAVE EVIDENCE OF THIS KIND OF ASSAULT,

AND YET, UM... YOU KNOW, YET...

YET IT DOESN'T MATTER.

GATES: THE RIOTING EXPRESSED BLACK AMERICA'S FRUSTRATION

AT OUR CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM,

AS BOTH SIGN AND SYMBOL OF OUR NATION'S SYSTEMIC RACISM.

YET MANY WHITE AMERICANS SAW ONLY POINTLESS DESTRUCTION.

IT REVEALED A PROFOUND DIVIDE

IN THE EXPERIENCES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE,

AND AS TIME PASSED, THIS DIVIDE WOULD ONLY GROW.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

MAN: AND NOW WE'RE FOLLOWING SOMEBODY

THAT WE'VE ALL LOVED FOR SO LONG

THAT'S BEEN ACCUSED OF SOME TERRIBLE CRIMES,

AND MY KIDS ARE QUITE UPSET ABOUT THIS.

GATES: O.J. SIMPSON'S ARREST ON SUSPICION OF MURDER

JUST TWO YEARS AFTER THE L.A. RIOTS,

EXPOSED THE SAME RACIAL FAULT LINE

BETWEEN WHITE AND BLACK AMERICA,

DEEPENING THE SENSE THAT WE SEEM TO BE LIVING

IN TWO SEPARATE WORLDS.

SIMPSON WAS ONE OF THE FIRST BLACK CROSSOVER CELEBRITIES,

A MAN WHOSE SUCCESS AND POPULARITY

APPEARED TO DEFY RACE.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

BUT AS HIS TRIAL UNFOLDED, IT BECAME OBVIOUS

THAT RACE WAS VERY MUCH A FACTOR.

JEFFRIES: FOR WHITE AMERICANS, IT'S A TRIAL

OF GUILT OR INNOCENCE OF ONE MAN, O.J. SIMPSON.

FOR AFRICAN AMERICANS, IT'S A TRIAL

OF THE LEGITIMACY OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.

GATES: THE ISSUE TOOK CENTER STAGE

WHEN O.J.'s DEFENSE TEAM BEGAN TO FOCUS

ON THE CONDUCT OF THE POLICE.

WOMAN: THE PEOPLE CALL DETECTIVE MARK FUHRMAN.

MAN: SUDDENLY, FUHRMAN IS THE MOST FAMOUS COP IN AMERICA,

NOT BECAUSE HE FOUND THE BLOODY GLOVE

ON O.J. SIMPSON'S ESTATE, BUT BECAUSE OF INFERENCES

THAT HE PLANTED IT THERE,

MOTIVATED BY RACIAL HATRED.

MALE REPORTER: FUHRMAN USED RACIAL EPITHETS

AND TALKED OF FRAMING PEOPLE, FUDGING POLICE REPORTS.

MAN: DETECTIVE FUHRMAN, DID YOU PLANT OR MANUFACTURE

ANY EVIDENCE IN THIS CASE?

FUHRMAN: I ASSERT MY FIFTH-AMENDMENT PRIVILEGE.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: EVIDENCE OF RACISM ON THE PART OF THE LAPD

CONFIRMED THE BLACK COMMUNITY'S BELIEF

THAT THE POLICE COULD NOT BE TRUSTED

AND SOWED DOUBT ABOUT SIMPSON'S GUILT.

WOMAN: BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, HE IS A BLACK PERSON,

NATURALLY, I FEEL THAT HE'S NOT GONNA GET A FAIR TRIAL.

RACE IS ALWAYS AN ISSUE WHEN IT COMES TO CRIME.

DO YOU THINK HE CAN GET A FAIR TRIAL?

NO.

THIS IS THE NATURE OF THE SYSTEM.

THIS IS THE WAY THE SYSTEM WORKS IN THIS COUNTRY.

IT DOES NOT WORK FOR US, NOT AT ALL.

I TRULY DO FEEL LIKE IT'S A FRAME-UP.

DuVERNAY: THEY REPLACED THE IMAGE OF O.J.

WITH THE IMAGE OF ALL THE BLACK MEN WHO HAVE BEEN SET UP,

PEOPLE THAT THEY KNOW, BROTHERS THAT THEY KNOW.

SO, YEAH, I MEAN, YOU COULD TALK TO MANY PEOPLE

WHO WERE LIKE, "NO, HE DIDN'T DO IT.

YOU KNOW, THIS WAS A SETUP."

MAN: THIS IS PEOPLE'S 164-A.

GATES: MANY WHITE AMERICANS SAW THE SAME EVIDENCE

BUT CAME TO A VERY DIFFERENT CONCLUSION.

WOMAN: FROM ALL THE INFORMATION THAT I HEARD ON TELEVISION,

UM...I JUST ASSUME THAT HE'S GUILTY.

GUILTY. GUILTY AS SIN.

THERE'S SO MUCH EVIDENCE.

GATES: ON OCTOBER 3, 1995,

AS THE WORLD WAITED IN SUSPENSE FOR THE VERDICT,

OUR NATION'S RACIAL DIVIDE WAS OUT IN THE OPEN,

PLAIN AS DAY.

BUT WHAT HAPPENED NEXT STUNNED EVERYBODY.

WOMAN: WE THE JURY IN THE ABOVE AND TITLED ACTION

FIND THE DEFENDANT, ORENTHAL JAMES SIMPSON,

NOT GUILTY OF THE CRIME OF MURDER

AND VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL CODE SECTION 187...

GATES: FOR A BRIEF MOMENT, AFRICAN AMERICANS FELT

A COLLECTIVE SENSE OF VINDICATION.

COOPER: THEY PUT ON THE TVs IN THE CLASSROOM

AND LET US WATCH THE VERDICT.

ALL OF THE WHITE KIDS COME OUT OF DOORS,

AND THEY'RE JUST SHAKING THEIR HEAD,

AND YOU LITERALLY SAW BLACK KIDS RUN OUT OF THE DOORS JUMPING.

IT WAS SUCH A CLEAR DISTINCTION.

MANY OF US WERE FRIENDS, AND WE HUNG OUT,

BUT THOSE WERE THOSE... THOSE...THOSE TOUCH MOMENTS,

THOSE, UH...YOU KNOW, MOMENTS THAT, YOU KNOW,

RUBBED AWAY THE SURFACE, AND YOU SAW THAT THERE WAS

A REAL DIFFERENCE IN THE WAY

THAT WE PERCEIVED RACE RELATIONS IN THE COUNTRY.

BROWN: FOR A LOT OF BLACK PEOPLE,

THIS WAS ABOUT A SYSTEM THAT HAD GOTTEN AWAY WITH MURDER

FOR SO LONG FINALLY MEETING SOME KIND OF LIMIT.

NOT GUILTY!

NEVER MIND THAT HE HAPPENS TO BE RICH

AND HAVE A GREAT LEGAL TEAM

AND THAT YOU'RE NEVER GONNA GET THAT KIND OF JUSTICE,

IF WE WANT TO CALL IT THAT.

THE POINT WAS, FINALLY THE SYSTEM

HAD MET SOME KIND OF LIMIT.

THIS IS THE PROBLEM OF RACISM IN THE COUNTRY,

IS THAT IT ETHICALLY MESSES US UP. RIGHT?

THAT BECAUSE OF THESE PAST HISTORIES OF RACISM

AND THE FAILURE TO ADDRESS AND DEAL WITH THEM,

THEN WE CAN SEE AN INJUSTICE,

AND OUR SENSE OF JUSTICE IS YOU'VE GOT TO GIVE US ONE,

YOU OWE US ONE.

GATES: WHILE THE O.J. VERDICT EXPOSED THE PERSISTENCE

OF AMERICA'S RACIAL DIVISIONS...

ANGELOU: LIFT UP YOUR FACES...

GATES: IT ACTUALLY CAME AT A TIME

WHEN MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS HAD SUBSTANTIAL REASONS

TO FEEL OPTIMISTIC.

HISTORY, DESPITE ITS WRENCHING PAIN,

CANNOT BE UNLIVED, BUT IF FACED WITH COURAGE,

NEED NOT BE LIVED AGAIN.

LIFT UP YOUR EYES UPON THIS DAY BREAKING FOR YOU.

GATES: BY THE MID-1990s, AMERICA WAS IN THE MIDST

OF AN ECONOMIC BOOM,

PRESIDED OVER BY PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON,

A DEMOCRAT ELECTED WITH THE OVERWHELMING SUPPORT

OF BLACK VOTERS.

BILL CLINTON WAS SURROUNDED BY BLACK PEOPLE.

I THINK HE WAS SURROUNDED BY BLACK PEOPLE

THE MOMENT HE WAS BORN.

HE'S SO COMFORTABLE AROUND BLACK PEOPLE

THAT OFTEN, YOU KNOW, YOU LOOK AT HIM

AND SAY TO YOURSELF, "OK. REALLY?"

HOLDER: THERE WAS AT SOME REALLY BASE, VISCERAL LEVEL

A CONNECTION THAT EXISTED BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT

AND THE AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY.

AND HE WAS A PERSON WHO PROMISED

TO DO A GREAT MANY THINGS AND DID DO, YOU KNOW,

A GREAT MANY THINGS.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: CLINTON APPOINTED

AN UNPRECEDENTED NUMBER OF AFRICAN AMERICANS

TO HIGH POSITIONS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION,

AND UNDER HIS ECONOMIC POLICIES,

THE INCOMES OF BLACK MIDDLE-CLASS FAMILIES ROSE.

THE BLACK ELITE SAW ITS FORTUNES IMPROVE DRAMATICALLY.

AND BLACK CULTURE CONTINUED TO FLOURISH.

DuVERNAY: THAT TIME WAS JUST SO...SO GREAT.

I CAME OF AGE IN THE BEST TIME

FOR POP CULTURE FOR BLACK PEOPLE.

I MEAN, LITERALLY, IT WAS...

THE MUSIC WAS AMAZING IN THE EARLY NINETIES.

IT WAS THE GOLDEN AGE OF HIP-HOP.

IT WAS ALSO THE GOLDEN AGE OF BLACK CINEMA.

PETERSON: "DO THE RIGHT THING," "BOYZ N THE HOOD,"

"MENACE TO SOCIETY..." AH, MAN.

WHERE IS THAT MOMENT? CAN WE GO BACK TO THAT MOMENT

IN TERMS OF FILMS?

GATES: THIS ERA WAS MARKED BY A WAVE OF BLACK FILMMAKERS

TELLING THEIR OWN STORIES...

MAX HAS A MEETING WITH CLARENCE THOMAS NEXT WEEK.

GATES: TELEVISION SHOWS CENTERED AROUND BLACK CHARACTERS...

WOMAN: ENOUGH!

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

I MAKE THIS LOOK GOOD.

GATES: AND HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTERS

BRINGING BLACK STARS INTO EVERY THEATER IN AMERICA.

BUT ALL THIS SUCCESS

BROUGHT LITTLE TO THOSE WHO NEEDED IT MOST.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

EVEN PRESIDENT CLINTON COULD PROVIDE FEW ANSWERS

FOR THE AFRICAN AMERICANS WHO STILL LIVED IN HARDCORE POVERTY,

AND AS TIME PASSED,

UNDER PRESSURE FROM POLITICAL OPPONENTS,

HIS ADMINISTRATION ADOPTED POLICIES

THAT SEEMED TO SUGGEST THAT POOR PEOPLE

WERE LARGELY RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR OWN CONDITION,

AN IDEA THAT FELL ESPECIALLY HARD ON BLACK AMERICA.

PATTILLO: WHAT WE SEE DURING THE CLINTON ERA

IS THIS EMPHASIS ON WHAT INDIVIDUALS SHOULD DO.

SO IN WELFARE, IN IMMIGRATION,

IN CRIME, AND IN HOUSING,

HE WAS A "PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY" DEMOCRAT.

CLINTON: THIS BILL PUTS GOVERNMENT ON THE SIDE

OF THOSE WHO ABIDE BY THE LAW,

NOT THOSE WHO BREAK IT...

GATES: IN 1994, CLINTON SIGNED NEW CRIME LEGISLATION

THAT PUT ANOTHER 100,000 POLICE OFFICERS ON THE STREET,

ADDED A FEDERAL "3 STRIKES" PROVISION,

AND POURED BILLIONS OF DOLLARS INTO THE CONSTRUCTION

OF MORE PRISONS.

SPENCE: THE OMNIBUS CRIME BILL WAS, AT THE TIME,

THE LARGEST PIECE OF CRIME LEGISLATION EVER PASSED.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE SLOPE OF INCARCERATION, RIGHT,

IT GOES UP. IT'S NOT STRAIGHT.

IT'S NOT, LIKE, A STRAIGHT LINE FROM '72 TO NOW, IT'S A CURVE,

AND THAT CURVE REALLY STARTS TO CURVE UP

UNDER CLINTON'S WATCH.

BRAZILE: I THINK THEY WENT TOO FAR.

I MEAN, IT WAS A "TOUGH ON CRIME" ERA.

I MEAN, PART OF THE REPUBLICAN MANTRA

WAS LOW TAXES, A SMALLER GOVERNMENT,

AND TOUGH ON CRIME.

BUT BILL CLINTON TRIED TO OUT-TOUGH THE REPUBLICANS.

AND AS YOU KNOW, RECENTLY HE BASICALLY SAID,

"I MADE A MISTAKE."

[DOOR CREAKING]

GATES: ALMOST A QUARTER OF A MILLION MORE PEOPLE

WERE INCARCERATED DURING BILL CLINTON'S PRESIDENCY

THAN RONALD REAGAN'S,

AND A DISPROPORTIONATE NUMBER OF THEM WERE BLACK.

BY THE LATE 1990s, AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN,

JUST 6% OF THE GENERAL POPULATION,

MADE UP NEARLY HALF OF ALL INMATES,

LEAVING A TERRIBLE VACUUM IN BLACK COMMUNITIES.

WEST: IT'S RESULTED IN THE DISEMPOWERMENT

OF THEIR FAMILIES,

OF COMMUNITIES.

IT'S RESULTED IN A TEARING APART OF BONDS,

AND IT'S RESULTED IN AN ESCALATING SENSE

OF DEPRESSION AND DESPAIR

WHEN YOU'RE LOCKED IN IN THAT WAY.

SHARPTON: YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT MY FRIENDS.

WE COULDN'T HAVE REUNIONS

BECAUSE THERE WASN'T NOBODY THERE.

EVERYBODY WAS LOCKED UP OR DEAD,

AND CONNECTED FROM THE WAR ON DRUGS

TO JUST LOCKING US UP, JUST LOCKING US UP.

IF I HADN'T BEEN IN THE CHURCH,

I PROBABLY WOULD HAVE BEEN ONE OF THEM TO GO DOWN,

BECAUSE MOSTLY EVERYBODY ELSE I KNEW DID.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: UNWILLING TO GIVE IN TO DESPAIR,

BLACK MEN TRIED TO COME TOGETHER.

WE CAME HERE TO BE HEARD,

SO WE CAME HERE TO MAKE SOME NOISE.

[CHANTING "WE ARE ONE!"]

DICK GREGORY: I LOVE YOU! AS OF 10:00 THIS MORNING,

WE REACHED ONE MILLION BLACK MEN!

[CHEERING]

PETERSON: I DON'T REMEMBER IT AS, LIKE,

SOME KIND OF CONSCIOUS DECISION TO GO.

I MEAN, IT WAS THE MILLION MAN MARCH.

I'M A BLACK MAN. EVERY BLACK MAN WAS GOING.

GATES: ON OCTOBER 16, 1995, AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN

FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE CONVERGED ON WASHINGTON, D.C.,

DRAWN TOGETHER BY A SHARED SENSE THAT SOMETHING NEEDED TO CHANGE.

MAN: THIS IS ABOUT RESPECT,

UNITY, AND LOVE FOR THE BROTHERS.

WE'RE TRYING TO GET SOMETHING OUT OF THIS, OUT OF LIFE.

WE'RE TIRED OF BEING BEHIND EVERYTHING.

WE WANT TO BE IN CHARGE SOMETIMES.

WE WANT TO UNIFY, AND THAT'S WHAT THIS IS ABOUT--UNITY.

LOOK AT ALL THESE BROTHERS AROUND HERE.

GATES: IT WAS ONE OF THE LARGEST

BLACK POLITICAL DEMONSTRATIONS IN AMERICAN HISTORY.

[CHEERING]

WHAT WAS IT LIKE?

WHAT DID IT FEEL LIKE?

BLACK MEN EVERYWHERE,

LIKE LITERALLY EVERYWHERE.

GATES: JAMES PETERSON WAS A 24-YEAR-OLD GRADUATE STUDENT

AT THE TIME.

FROM THE MOMENT HE ARRIVED, HE WAS SHOCKED

BY THE SHEER SIZE OF THE CROWD.

IT WAS ASTONISHING? IT WAS ASTONISHING.

REMEMBER, THAT'S BIGGER THAN THE '63 MARCH.

IT'S BIGGER THAN ALMOST ANYTHING ELSE.

I MEAN, IT LOOKED LIKE AFRICA ON TELEVISION. I SAID, "WHOA!"

[CHEERING]

GATES: THE MARCH'S MOST PROMINENT ORGANIZER

WAS LOUIS FARRAKHAN, LEADER OF THE NATION OF ISLAM.

FARRAKHAN WAS DEEPLY ATTUNED

TO THE STRUGGLES OF BLACK AMERICA,

BUT THE SOLUTIONS HE OFFERED WERE SURPRISINGLY FAMILIAR.

WILL STRIVE... WILL STRIVE...

TO IMPROVE MYSELF... TO IMPROVE MYSELF...

GATES: HE URGED BLACK MEN TO CHANGE THEIR BEHAVIOR

AND ATONE FOR THEIR FAILINGS.

FARRAKHAN: SOCIALLY... SOCIALLY.

FOR THE BENEFIT OF MYSELF...

FOR THE BENEFIT OF MYSELF...

MY FAMILY... MY FAMILY...

AND MY PEOPLE. AND MY PEOPLE.

GATES: THE BIG SURPRISE FOR ME

WAS THAT THE MESSAGE WAS NOT

"DOWN WHITEY," CRITIQUE THE SYSTEM

AS MUCH AS IT WAS INDIVIDUAL ATONEMENT...

YEAH.

INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY.

HELP ME TO UNDERSTAND THAT.

I THINK THAT SURPRISED A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND THE COUNTRY.

IN THAT PARTICULAR MOMENT, THE SENSE

OF ATONEMENT WAS VERY REAL FOR A LOT OF US

BECAUSE WE REALIZED, AS YOUNG MEN,

THAT THERE WERE... SOME OF THE TRAPPINGS

OF MATERIALISM AND VIOLENCE OF AMERICAN SOCIETY

HAD GOTTEN TO US,

AND WE HAD LOST A LOT OF OUR FRIENDS,

WE HAD LOST RELATIVES TO SOME OF THAT VIOLENCE.

WE HAD INTERNALIZED RACISM. WE HAD...

WE, OUR PEOPLE, HAD INTERNALIZED

THE WAY WE WERE BEING TREATED.

ABSOLUTELY. AND... AND THE WAY

THAT WE WERE BEING DEPICTED IN THE MEDIA

AND THE WAY THAT WE WERE BEING DEPICTED IN THE MUSIC.

[CHANTING "WE ARE HERE!"]

WILLIAMS: I WAS AT THE MILLION MAN MARCH.

I RESPECT THE NATION OF ISLAM VALUES,

TO BRING BLACK MEN BACK TO THEIR FAMILIES,

TO STOP THIS KILLING IN THESE COMMUNITIES,

TO STOP THE DISRESPECT OF WOMEN,

AND TO REALLY FIND AND CLAIM OUR PLACE IN AMERICA.

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

GATES: THE TROUBLE WAS, FOR ALL ITS GOOD INTENTIONS,

THE MARCH EMBRACED A STRANGE CONTRADICTION.

SPEAKER AFTER SPEAKER ATTACKED A RACIST AMERICAN SYSTEM

BUT ALSO CALLED ON BLACK MEN TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY

FOR THEIR OWN LIVES.

SPENCE: THE THEN BLACK MAYOR OF DETROIT, DENNIS ARCHER,

HE'S GIVING A SPEECH,

AND EVERYBODY WAS CHEERING, WAS CHEERING, WAS CHEERING,

"TAKE RESPONSIBILITY, TAKE RESPONSIBILITY,"

AND I REMEMBER HIM SAYING,

"IF THE CITY DOESN'T PICK UP THE GARBAGE,

PICK IT UP YOURSELVES!"

AND EVERYBODY'S CHEERING, LIKE, "YEAH!

"IF THE CITY DOESN'T PICK UP THE TRASH,

PICK IT UP YOURSELVES!"

AND I'M LIKE... WAIT A SECOND.

THAT'S WHAT WE PAY TAXES FOR. RIGHT?

AGAIN IT'S THIS SENSE THAT...THAT THE GOVERNMENT

DOESN'T HAVE RESPONSIBILITY, IT'S YOU.

[CHEERING]

GATES: IN THE END, MORE THAN ANYTHING,

THE MARCH CRYSTALLIZED THE CENTRAL QUESTION

FACING BLACK AMERICA AT THE TIME.

WERE THE PROBLEMS WE FACED REALLY OF OUR OWN MAKING,

OR WERE THEY PART OF THE UNFINISHED BUSINESS

THAT THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT NEVER HAD A CHANCE TO RESOLVE?

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

JACKSON: JUST BECAUSE YOU'RE BORN IN THE SLUM

[WIND BLOWING]

MAN: HURRICANE KATRINA IS ABOUT TO UNLEASH HER FURY

ON THE GULF OF MEXICO TONIGHT.

DIFFERENT MAN: 140-MILE-PER-HOUR WINDS,

A STRONG CATEGORY-4 STORM.

DIFFERENT MAN: THIS IS WHAT EVERYONE FEARED--

THE STORM SURGE.

TAKE A LOOK OUT HERE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: ON AUGUST 29, 2005,

I TURNED ON THE TELEVISION AND COULDN'T BELIEVE MY EYES.

HURRICANE KATRINA HAD HIT NEW ORLEANS

CATASTROPHICALLY DAMAGING ANTIQUATED LEVEES

AND FLOODING 80% OF THE CITY.

NEARLY 100,000 PEOPLE

FOUND THEMSELVES STRANDED WITHOUT FOOD OR SHELTER

IN A RISING TIDE OF DEADLY WATER,

AND IT LOOKED LIKE ALMOST ALL OF THEM WERE BLACK.

IT WAS AGONIZING TO WATCH.

BRITTNEY COOPER, VOICE-OVER: ALL OF THOSE BLACK FOLKS

STRANDED ON ROOFTOPS, WAVING AMERICAN FLAGS,

CAME FLOATING THROUGH THE TELEVISION SCREEN,

AND IT WAS A STARK MOMENT

BECAUSE HERE WE ARE, IN THE 21st CENTURY,

AND BLACK PEOPLE ARE STILL HAVING TO MAKE THE CASE

TO THEIR COUNTRY THAT THEY ARE CITIZENS

AND, THEREFORE, WORTHY OF BEING RESCUED.

MAN: YOU GOT A 3-WEEK-OLD INFANT OUT HERE.

HOW IS A 3-WEEK OLD INFANT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE

OUT HERE WITH NO MILK, NO WATER?

DIFFERENT MAN: THEY NEED MEDICAL ATTENTION.

THEY GOT--THEY GOT OLD PEOPLE THAT'S SICK.

THEY GOT PEOPLE DYING IN THERE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: KATRINA LAID BARE THE UNFINISHED WORK

OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT...

WOMAN: WE ARE IN DESPERATE NEED, AND WE ARE AMERICANS.

IT IS TERRIBLE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: REVEALING THE DEEP VULNERABILITY

OF THE POOREST BLACK COMMUNITIES AND MAKING IT PAINFULLY CLEAR

THAT RACE REMAINED A DECISIVE FACTOR IN AMERICAN LIFE.

OPRAH WINFREY: I WAS IN SUCH SHOCK.

WHY WERE SO MANY OF THE PEOPLE BLACK AND POOR?

BECAUSE WHEN YOU'RE BLACK AND POOR,

YOU'RE THE MOST DISENFRANCHISED,

AND THAT'S WHY.

AVA DUVERNAY: THE HURRICANE KATRINA SPECTACLE

WAS REALLY WHAT IT WAS--

DEVASTATING, TRAGIC, HORRIFIC--

REVEALED THE GREAT DIVIDE THAT WE KNOW IS THERE

AND, YOU KNOW, WE DON'T TALK ABOUT,

BUT FOR ANYONE TO SAY THAT IT WASN'T DISREGARD

BASED ON RACE AND CLASS

IS TO BE DISINGENUOUS ABOUT WHAT WE ALL SAW.

WOMAN: PEOPLE ARE DYING.

THEY'RE DYING. BABIES ARE DYING.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE DISASTER WAS COMPOUNDED

BY THE GOVERNMENT'S SLOW RESPONSE,

WHICH SEEMED TO EXPRESS A DEEP INDIFFERENCE TO THE VICTIMS.

TWO DAYS AFTER THE STORM,

PRESIDENT BUSH FINALLY CAME TO VIEW THE DEVASTATION

FROM THE SAFETY OF AIR FORCE ONE,

NEVER EVEN SETTING FOOT IN THE CITY

WHILE ON THE GROUND

THE CASUALTIES AND THE CHAOS WERE MOUNTING.

MAN: THEY TOLD US, "IF YOU WANT TO BE RESCUED,

GO TO THE SUPERDOME."

ALL OF A SUDDEN, NOW THEY'RE TELLING US, "GO TO THE BRIDGE."

OH, WE HAVE VERY FEW RESOURCES. WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO DO?

DOWN, BOY.

MAN, VOICE-OVER: TONIGHT, THE REAL CONCERN IS LOOTING.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: RELIEF EFFORTS WERE ALSO HAMPERED

BY THE MEDIA'S LURID STORIES

OF CRIME SPREES IN THE FLOOD ZONE,

WHICH ISOLATED THE VICTIMS EVEN FURTHER.

DESPERATE, HUNDREDS OF BLACK PEOPLE

ATTEMPTED TO ESCAPE ON THEIR OWN

BY WALKING TO SUBURBS ACROSS THE RIVER.

THEY WERE STOPPED BY POLICE OFFICERS

AND LOCAL RESIDENTS WITH RIFLES.

JELANI COBB: THE PEOPLE IN SURROUNDING AREAS

ARMED THEMSELVES TO PREVENT BLACK NEW ORLEANS RESIDENTS

FROM GETTING OUT OF THE CITY.

THAT IS A DIRECT KIND OF METAPHOR

FOR WHAT HAD BEEN HAPPENING IN AMERICAN CITIES--

WHITE PEOPLE WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE

AND LITERAL BARRIERS TO BLACK PEOPLE

GETTING OUT OF THE CITIES AND-- AND GOING TO WHERE THEY ARE.

YOU HAD TO DO WHAT YOU HAD TO DO, YOU KNOW?

IF YOU HAD TO SHOOT SOMEBODY, YOU HAD TO SHOOT SOMEBODY.

WE SHOT THEM.

WOMAN: THEY WERE LOOTERS.

IN THIS NEIGHBORHOOD, WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN.

GATES: SO HOW COULD THIS BE?

HOW COULD RACE RELATIONS HAVE BEEN SO BAD

LEADING TO SUCH DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES?

I THINK IT'S HARD FOR AMERICA TO SEE

THIS POOR, BLACK MASS,

THIS POOR, BLACK MASS OF PEOPLE.

PEOPLE ARE SCARED OF THAT.

THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THAT.

THEY-- THEY JUST DON'T,

SO WE'RE STILL GRAPPLING WITH HOW TO SEE US

AS WHOLE HUMAN BEINGS, AS WHOLE PEOPLE.

GATES: TRYMAINE LEE, A YOUNG JOURNALIST,

STAYED IN THE CITY THROUGHOUT THE DISASTER

TRYING TO REPORT WHAT WAS ACTUALLY HAPPENING.

PLEASE GET US SOME HELP. PLEASE.

LEE, VOICE-OVER: THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE GATHERED HERE.

CHILDREN, UH, FOLKS WHO NEEDED MEDICINE,

FAMILIES WITH NOWHERE ELSE TO GO.

WHY WEREN'T PEOPLE BRINGING FOOD OR MEDICAL SUPPLIES?

THOSE EARLY DAYS, THERE WERE SO MANY RUMORS

OF RAPE AND MURDER AND MAYHEM,

AND--BECAUSE WE'RE DEALING WITH POOR,

BLACK PEOPLE--IT SEEMED PLAUSIBLE, RIGHT?

SEE, THE OFFICIALS SAY, LIKE,

"WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO? THEY'RE KILLING EACH OTHER."

RIGHT, SO THESE WERE THE STEREOTYPES.

THE STEREOTYPES.

PEOPLE BEING VICTIMIZED BY STEREOTYPES OF THEMSELVES,

AND ALL THEY WANTED TO DO WAS SURVIVE.

THAT'S RIGHT.

WE TALK ABOUT THESE YOUNG THUGS,

THESE YOUNG GUYS WITH THEY DREADLOCKS

AND THEIR PANTS HANGING DOWN OFF THEIR BEHINDS.

THEY WERE BREAKING IN PLACES

AND GETTING MEDICINE FOR OLD PEOPLE. REALLY?

THEY WERE BREAKING IN AND GETTING FOOD FOR PEOPLE.

THEY WERE KEEPING PEOPLE SAFE.

SOMEHOW, THAT WASN'T REPORTED ON MY TELEVISION.

THAT WASN'T REPORTED BECAUSE THE IMAGE,

THE OPTICS OF THE SCARY, BLACK MASS

OF LOOTERS, RIGHT?

AND IF YOU STEREOTYPE THEM, THAT GETS YOU OFF THE HOOK.

OH, THAT'S RIGHT.

"WE WOULD HELP THEM, BUT THEY JUST ANIMALS."

BECAUSE THEY WERE POOR AND BLACK,

AND "WHO CARES?" RIGHT?

WE'VE SEEN THAT TIME AND AGAIN,

THAT "WHO CARES ABOUT THEM?"

I HATE THE WAY THEY PORTRAY US IN THE MEDIA.

IF YOU SEE A BLACK FAMILY,

IT SAYS THEY'RE LOOTING.

SEE A WHITE FAMILY,

IT SAYS THEY'RE LOOKING FOR FOOD.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AFTER 4 EXCRUCIATING DAYS,

RAPPER KANYE WEST ON A TELETHON FOR KATRINA'S VICTIMS

SUDDENLY BLURTED OUT WHAT MANY OF US WERE FEELING.

THE MOST TRAGIC LOSS OF ALL.

GEORGE BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE.

LEAH WRIGHT RIGUEUR, VOICE-OVER: I SEE KANYE WEST, WHO SAYS,

"GEORGE BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE."

MY MOUTH DROPPED. HA HA HA!

MY--I--I WAS STUNNED.

HE'S TALKING ABOUT OUR GOVERNMENT.

HE'S TALKING ABOUT THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT, AND HE'S RIGHT.

GOVERNMENT DOESN'T CARE ABOUT BLACK PEOPLE, RIGHT?

HOW COULD YOU THINK THEY DID IN THE MOMENT

WHERE WE'RE LOOKING AT KATRINA?

GATES: KATRINA REVEALED AMERICA AT ITS WORST,

AT ITS MOST CALLOUS, ITS MOST RACIST,

BUT IT DIDN'T REVEAL AMERICA IN ITS ENTIRETY.

OUR NATION STILL HAD THE CAPACITY TO SURPRISE.

DAYS AFTER THE FLOODING,

AN OFFICIAL DELEGATION VISITED EVACUEES IN HOUSTON, TEXAS.

WHAT'S YOUR NAME, SWEETIE?

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AMONG THE VISITORS

WAS AMERICA'S ONLY BLACK SENATOR--

BARACK OBAMA.

OBAMA: THE EMERGENCY RESPONSE HAS BEEN ENTIRELY INADEQUATE

AND UNACCEPTABLE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: IT WAS REFRESHING TO HEAR A POLITICIAN

SPEAK SO FRANKLY, AND OBAMA WASN'T DONE.

DAYS LATER, HE ADDRESSED THE UNITED STATES SENATE

DETAILING THE SYSTEMIC RACIAL PROBLEMS

THAT UNDERLAY THE TRAGEDY.

THE PEOPLE OF NEW ORLEANS WEREN'T JUST ABANDONED

DURING THE HURRICANE.

THEY WERE ABANDONED LONG AGO

TO MURDER AND MAYHEM IN THEIR STREETS,

TO SUBSTANDARD SCHOOLS,

TO DILAPIDATED HOUSING,

TO INADEQUATE HEALTH CARE,

TO A PERVASIVE SENSE OF HOPELESSNESS.

NOW, THAT'S THE DEEPER SHAME OF THIS PAST WEEK.

GATES: LOOKING BACK, THIS WAS A CRITICAL MOMENT

IN OBAMA'S CAREER,

A MOMENT WHEN HIS POTENTIAL BECAME CLEAR...

I STAND BEFORE YOU TODAY TO ANNOUNCE MY CANDIDACY

FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BUT LESS THAN TWO YEARS LATER

WHEN HE ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS GOING TO RUN FOR PRESIDENT,

MANY AFRICAN AMERICANS, MYSELF INCLUDED,

DIDN'T BELIEVE HE HAD A CHANCE.

HASAN KWAME JEFFRIES, VOICE-OVER: WHEN BARACK OBAMA

BEGINS TO RUN, I WAS SKEPTICAL

NOT OF HIM AS A CANDIDATE.

I MEAN, I--I APPRECIATED HIM AS A CANDIDATE.

I WAS SKEPTICAL THAT HE WOULD BE ABLE TO WIN.

NO ONE SAW THAT THIS COUNTRY WAS PREPARED

TO ELECT AN AFRICAN AMERICAN TO THE PRESIDENCY.

IT JUST WASN'T SOMETHING THAT WAS ON PEOPLE'S RADAR.

AT THAT TIME, I THINK THERE WERE 4 BLACK PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY

WHO THOUGHT THAT A BLACK PERSON COULD BE ELECTED

TO THE PRESIDENCY, AND THEY ALL LIVED

AT THE SAME ADDRESS ON THE SOUTH SIDE OF CHICAGO.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: OBAMA'S RISE WAS DRIVEN

IN PART BY CIRCUMSTANCE.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOLOUS: THE WHITE HOUSE CALLS THESE

DIFFICULT TIMES.

OTHERS FREELY USE THE R-WORD-- "RECESSION."

GATES, VOICE-OVER: IN 2008, OUR COUNTRY WAS ADRIFT.

BRIAN WILLIAMS: BIG TROUBLE FOR MILLIONS

OF AMERICAN HOMEOWNERS...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: SLIPPING INTO A FINANCIAL CRISIS...

[GUNFIRE]

AND MIRED IN A STRUGGLE AGAINST GLOBAL TERROR,

OBAMA PROMISED TO STOP THE WAR IN IRAQ

AND REDIRECT OUR ECONOMY.

HE SEEMED TO OFFER A GENUINE ALTERNATIVE,

BUT EVEN SO, HE FACED A TREMENDOUS OBSTACLE,

MAN: THE BIG QUESTION-- CAN HE REALLY WIN?

I JUST DON'T THINK HE HAS A LEGITIMATE SHOT.

I THINK THE--

I THINK REPUBLICANS WILL TEAR HIM APART.

I DON'T WANT TO SOUND PREJUDICED OR ANYTHING,

BUT FOR ONE, UM,

I'M NOT GOING TO-- I DON'T WANT TO VOTE

FOR A--A COLORED MAN TO BE OUR PRESIDENT.

I JUST DON'T THINK AMERICA IS READY FOR A BLACK PRESIDENT.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: FROM THE OUTSET, OBAMA'S RACE

WAS A CONSTANT FACTOR IN HIS CANDIDACY,

AND IT UNDERSCORED A DAUNTING MATH PROBLEM.

EVEN IF EVERY BLACK PERSON IN THE COUNTRY VOTED FOR HIM,

HE WOULDN'T COME CLOSE TO WINNING.

HE NEEDED A BROADER COALITION.

JEFFRIES: IT WAS LIKE, WAIT A MINUTE.

YOU KNOW, THIS--THIS--THIS IS DEPENDENT UPON WHITE FOLK

GOING INTO THAT BALLOT BOX, UH,

AND--AND PULLING THIS LEVER

FOR THIS--THIS PERSON OF COLOR, AFRICAN AMERICAN,

WILL BE COMPLETELY UNPRECEDENTED, UH,

AND--AND I JUST--I JUST KNEW IT WOULD BE ENOUGH WHITE FOLK

WHO GOT IN THERE AND JUST BEFORE THEY PULLED THAT--THAT LEVER,

SAID, "I JUST CAN'T DO IT," YOU KNOW?

ONE DAY, THERE MAY BE A BLACK PRESIDENT,

BUT THERE WILL NEVER BE A BLACK PRESIDENT NAMED BARACK OBAMA.

[LAUGHTER]

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT'S TOO BLACK.

[LAUGHTER]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: TO MY ASTONISHMENT, BARACK OBAMA

ROSE ABOVE AMERICA'S RACIAL DIVIDE.

OBAMA: YES, WE CAN.

THERE'S NOTHING WE CANNOT DO.

IF YOU DECIDE YOU WANT CHANGE, WE WILL HAVE CHANGE!

CROWD: YES, WE CAN! YES, WE CAN! YES, WE CAN!

GATES: HE DREW IN VOTERS BY ARTICULATING A VISION

OF OUR NATION'S SHARED MORAL VALUES,

INVOKING THE IDEALS OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

OBAMA: IF YOU BELIEVE

THAT THE DREAM HAS TO BE KEPT ALIVE

FOR THOSE WHO STILL HUNGER FOR JUSTICE...

VINCENT BROWN, VOICE-OVER: HE WAS SPEAKING TO WHAT I THINK

WAS THE MOST IMPORTANT DESIRE OF MOST AMERICANS AT THE TIME,

WHICH WAS TO REALLY HEAL THE DIVISIONS

THAT HAD BEEN CREATED IN THIS COUNTRY,

AND THE CIVIL RIGHTS STORY HAD BEEN A POSITIVE STORY

THAT COULD BE IDENTIFIED IN THE PRESENCE OF BARACK OBAMA,

SO IN SOME WAYS, I THINK, BARACK OBAMA

WAS VERY SAVVY ABOUT TAPPING INTO THAT STRAIN

OF AMERICAN MYTHOLOGY-- THIS IS A FREE COUNTRY

THAT'S ALWAYS GETTING BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER

AND THAT WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS.

OPRAH: THERE ARE THOSE WHO SAY

THAT IT'S NOT HIS TIME,

THAT HE SHOULD WAIT HIS TURN.

I WOULDN'T BE WHERE I AM

IF I WAITED ON THE PEOPLE WHO TOLD ME IT COULDN'T BE.

[CROWD CHEERING]

MAN: BARACK OBAMA STUNNED

THE POLITICAL ESTABLISHMENT

AND MUCH OF THE COUNTRY

WITH HIS CLEAR

AND DECISIVE VICTORY IN IOWA.

DIFFERENT MAN: BARACK OBAMA, THE CAMPAIGN'S FRESHEST FACE,

HAS NOW EMERGED AS ITS FRONTRUNNER.

[KANYE WEST'S "TOUCH THE SKY" PLAYING]

GATES: OBAMA PROVED TO BE A VERY SKILLED CANDIDATE,

ATTRACTING HIGH-PROFILE SUPPORTERS

AND BUILDING AN IMPRESSIVELY DIVERSE COALITION.

GEORGE CLOONEY: YOU KNOW, I'M AN OBAMA GUY.

MY WIFE AND I, UH, SUPPORT, UH, BARACK OBAMA.

KANYE: ♪ YOU GONNA TOUCH THE SKY

COOPER, VOICE-OVER: WE HAD A SHIFT IN 2008, RIGHT?

FIRST, WE WENT FROM, "NOT IN OUR LIFETIMES

WILL THIS EVER HAPPEN," TO, "OH, MY GOD,

IN OUR LIFETIMES THIS IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN."

KANYE: ♪ YOU GONNA TOUCH THE SKY

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BUT OBAMA'S LEAD WAS NEVER SECURE.

JEREMIAH WRIGHT: AND THEY WILL NOT ONLY ATTACK YOU

IF YOU TRY AND POINT OUT WHAT'S GOING ON IN WHITE AMERICA,

U.S. OF KKKA.

GATES: IN MARCH 2008, RECORDINGS OF REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT,

THE PASTOR OF OBAMA'S CHICAGO CHURCH,

BEGAN TO CIRCULATE IN THE MEDIA.

WRIGHT CONDEMNED THE UNITED STATES

AS FUNDAMENTALLY RACIST

AND CALLED OUT WHITE AMERICA

FOR ITS HISTORIC ABUSE OF BLACK PEOPLE.

WRIGHT: GOVERNMENT GIVES THEM THE DRUGS,

BUILDS BIGGER PRISONS, PASSES A 3-STRIKE LAW,

AND THEN WANTS US TO SING "GOD BLESS AMERICA."

NO, NO, NO, NOT GOD BLESS AMERICA.

GOD DAMN AMERICA-- THAT'S IN THE BIBLE--

FOR KILLING INNOCENT PEOPLE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: OBAMA'S OPPONENTS SEIZED

ON THE WRIGHT CONTROVERSY, HOPING TO DAMAGE

THE MULTIRACIAL COALITION THAT OBAMA

WAS WORKING SO HARD TO BUILD,

BUT INSTEAD OF TRYING TO AVOID THE ISSUE,

OBAMA CONFRONTED IT HEAD ON,

ACKNOWLEDGING THE VERY REAL GRIEVANCES BEHIND WRIGHT'S WORDS

AND APPEALING TO OUR COUNTRY'S DESIRE TO OVERCOME ITS PAST.

OBAMA: THE ANGER IS REAL.

IT IS POWERFUL, AND TO SIMPLY WISH IT AWAY,

TO CONDEMN IT WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING ITS ROOTS

ONLY SERVES TO WIDEN THE CHASM OF MISUNDERSTANDING

THAT EXISTS BETWEEN THE RACES.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE SPEECH SAVED HIS CANDIDACY.

OBAMA: AMERICA CAN CHANGE.

THAT IS THE TRUE GENIUS OF THIS NATION.

WHAT WE HAVE ALREADY ACHIEVED GIVES US HOPE,

THE AUDACITY TO HOPE FOR WHAT WE CAN AND MUST ACHIEVE TOMORROW.

WOMAN: I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE, WHAT, 7:15.

DIFFERENT WOMAN: I'VE BEEN HERE SINCE 6:50.

HOWEVER THE OUTCOME IS, I'M PART OF IT.

THANK YOU. WAIT. SHE'S OK?

YOUR BALLOT WAS CAST.

YOU'RE OK.

GATES: ON ELECTION DAY, AS I SAW VOTING LINES

STRETCHING ALL THE WAY DOWN STREETS AND AROUND BLOCKS,

I TOLD MYSELF THAT, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENED,

BARACK OBAMA ALREADY HAD MADE HISTORY.

HE HAD ALREADY GONE SO MUCH FURTHER

THAN ANY AFRICAN AMERICAN CANDIDATE

FOR PRESIDENT BEFORE HIM,

BUT, OF COURSE, I WANTED HIM TO WIN.

DONNA BRAZILE: DR. KING SAID, ONE DAY, WE WOULD BE JUDGED

BY THE CONTENT OF OUR CHARACTER.

IT HAPPENED.

DAVID GREGORY: VERY IMPORTANT NEWS--

OHIO HAS GONE FOR OBAMA.

BRAZILE, VOICE-OVER: THIS WASN'T JUST THE BLACK VOTE.

THIS WAS THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS VOTING.

SENATOR BARACK OBAMA WILL CARRY THE STATE OF VIRGINIA.

MAN: AND IN MINNESOTA, IT GOES TO OBAMA.

DIFFERENT MAN: AND DELAWARE, AS WELL, FOR SENATOR OBAMA.

PENNSYLVANIA HAS GONE TO OBAMA.

KEITH OLBERMANN: THE STATES OF CALIFORNIA, WASHINGTON...

CHARLES GIBSON: BARACK OBAMA WILL BE THE 44th PRESIDENT

OF THE UNITED STATES.

[CROWD CHEERING]

CROWD: YES, WE CAN! YES, WE CAN! YES, WE CAN!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: FOR MYSELF AND FOR VIRTUALLY EVERY

BLACK PERSON I KNEW, IT WAS AWE-INSPIRING.

NONE OF US, NOT A SINGLE ONE OF US,

HAD GROWN UP BELIEVING WE WOULD LIVE TO SEE THIS DAY.

IF THERE IS ANYONE OUT THERE

WHO STILL DOUBTS THAT AMERICA

IS A PLACE WHERE ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE,

WHO STILL QUESTIONS THE POWER OF OUR DEMOCRACY,

TONIGHT IS YOUR ANSWER.

[CROWD CHEERING]

IT'S BEEN A LONG TIME COMING, BUT TONIGHT,

BECAUSE OF WHAT WE DID ON THIS DAY IN THIS ELECTION

AT THIS DEFINING MOMENT,

CHANGE HAS COME TO AMERICA.

[CROWD CHEERING]

GATES: THE VICTORY OFFERED AFRICAN AMERICANS

OF ALL GENERATIONS A CHANCE TO CELEBRATE AND REFLECT.

TO YOUNG PEOPLE, LIKE MY DAUGHTERS,

IT SEEMED TO PROMISE A NEW AGE.

TO CIVIL RIGHTS VETERANS,

LIKE MY FRIEND CHARLAYNE HUNTER-GAULT,

IT FELT LIKE THE CULMINATION OF A LIFELONG STRUGGLE,

AND OBAMA'S INAUGURATION

WAS SOMETHING SHE HAD TO SEE IN PERSON.

HUNTER-GAULT: I HAD TO BE THERE ON THAT REALLY COLD DAY

[CHUCKLES]

AS A SMALL PART OF THAT MOVEMENT

THAT MADE HIS ELECTION POSSIBLE.

MAN: THE PRESIDENT ELECT OF THE UNITED STATES--

BARACK H. OBAMA.

WHOO!

HUNTER-GAULT, VOICE-OVER: IT WAS A WONDERFUL CAMARADERIE,

BUT I HAD TO WALK AWAY

BECAUSE, UH, THE PEOPLE

THAT I FELT THE CLOSEST TO...

[SNIFFLES]

[SNIFFLES]

S--S--SOME OF THEM COULDN'T BE THERE...

I KNOW.

AND I COULD. MM-HMM.

I FOUND MYSELF HUMMING

THAT OLD FREEDOM SONG, YOU KNOW--

"WE'VE COME A MIGHTY LONG WAY,"

AND, UH, THEN I WENT BACK

AND LISTENED TO THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT

TAKE THE OATH OF OFFICE.

YEAH. HA!

I, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA...

I, BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, DO SOLEMNLY SWEAR...

RIGUEUR, VOICE-OVER: THE IDEA THAT THERE IS A BLACK PRESIDENT,

THAT BLACK PEOPLE CAN GO OUT AND SAY,

"THERE'S SOMEBODY THAT LOOKS LIKE ME IN THE WHITE HOUSE,"

THAT "THERE'S A FAMILY THAT LOOKS LIKE ME

IN THE WHITE HOUSE," IT IS HUGE.

COOPER: I'M PROUD OF BARACK OBAMA.

I'M PROUD THAT 4 BLACK WOMEN AND GIRLS LIVE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

I THINK THERE'S SOMETHING ABSOLUTELY AWESOME ABOUT THAT.

YOU KNOW, THERE ARE BLACK HAIR CARE PRODUCTS

AT THE WHITE HOUSE, YOU KNOW?

THERE'S PINK OIL MOISTURIZER IN THE WHITE HOUSE,

WHICH IS, YOU KNOW, ICONIC.

LIKE, THAT--THAT MATTERS. THAT MATTERS REPRESENTATIONALLY.

IT MATTERS CULTURALLY. IT MATTERS.

THAT IMAGE OF SEEING HIM ON EVERY TV EVERY DAY

BEING THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD,

IT SHOWED THAT AMERICA HAS MADE SIGNIFICANT PROGRESS.

YOU BETTER BELIEVE, NO MATTER WHAT HIS POLICIES ARE

AND NO MATTER WHAT HE DOES WITH IT,

YOU CAN NEVER CHANGE THE FACT THAT HE HAS CHANGED THIS COUNTRY

AND THE WORLD FOREVER.

WANDA SYKES: I GOT TO TELL YOU, I DON'T CARE

WHY WE HAVE A FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT.

I'M JUST HAPPY TO HAVE ONE. I AM.

I LOVE SEEING HIM TAKE THAT STROLL

ACROSS THE WHITE HOUSE LAWN, BOY.

IT'S JUST BEAUTIFUL.

YOU SEE HIM, HE'S JUST WALKING ACROSS THE LAWN.

[LAUGHTER]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: OF COURSE, OBAMA'S VICTORY RESONATED

WELL BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF BLACK AMERICA.

THERE WERE CELEBRATIONS ACROSS THE COUNTRY...

OBAMA! OBAMA! OBAMA!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AND AROUND THE GLOBE

OBAMA!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: UNITING PEOPLE OF ALL RACES

AND ALL NATIONALITIES IN A SENSE OF OPTIMISM.

SOME EVEN BEGAN TO VOICE THE IDEA THAT THE UNITED STATES

HAD UNDERGONE A FUNDAMENTAL TRANSFORMATION...

TERRY MORGAN: THE ELECTION OF BARACK OBAMA PROVES SOMETHING

ONCE AGAIN ABOUT THIS COUNTRY.

WE CAN OVERCOME.

WE CAN OVERCOME, UH, OUR OWN HISTORY.

I THINK WE ARE MOVING TOWARDS A POST-RACIAL AMERICA.

AMERICA HAS TURNED A CORNER ON THE ISSUE OF RACE.

YOU KNOW, I FORGOT HE WAS BLACK TONIGHT FOR AN HOUR.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BUT WHILE THE NEW COLOR OF OUR LEADERSHIP

AROUSED EXCITEMENT, THE JOB OF ACTUALLY GOVERNING

THE UNITED STATES PRESENTED SOBERING CHALLENGES.

TOM BROKAW: IT IS THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR

FOR RISING POVERTY RATES AND FALLING INCOME AFTER YEARS...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: OBAMA NOW HAD TO CONFRONT THE SAME PROBLEMS

THAT HAD LED VOTERS TO SUPPORT HIM IN THE FIRST PLACE.

LESTER HOLT: FREDDIE MAC AND FANNIE MAE

BOTH HAVE LOST BILLIONS ON BAD LOANS AND...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: ECONOMIC INSECURITY

AND THE FEAR OF TERRORISM STOKED CLASS TENSIONS,

TRIBALISM, AND DISTRUST.

SOON, OBAMA BECAME A LIGHTNING ROD,

AND RACE, ALWAYS USEFUL AS A WEAPON TO DIVIDE,

TOOK CENTER STAGE.

WOMAN: MIXED IN THE ANTI-OBAMA CROWDS OVER RECENT WEEKS,

RACIAL SLURS AGAINST THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

DIFFERENT WOMAN: QUOTE, "ANOTHER 4 YEARS OF THIS N-WORD.

MAYBE HE'LL GET ASSASSINATED THIS TERM."

HAVING A BLACK PRESIDENT HAS BROUGHT TO THE SURFACE

A LOT OF THE WHAT HAD MOVED TO THE BACKGROUND,

A LOT OF THE SORT OF THE VIRULENT RACISM

UH, THAT WE THOUGHT WE HAD SURPASSED.

BROWN: THERE WAS NO YEAR ZERO WHEN BARACK OBAMA WAS ELECTED.

WE'VE HAD A COUNTRY RIVEN BY RACIAL POLITICS

SINCE ITS FOUNDING, SINCE ITS ORIGINS.

THAT'S NOT GOING TO CHANGE WITH THE ELECTION

OF ONE BLACK PRESIDENT.

WOMAN: I BELIEVE THAT HE IS A MUSLIM.

MAN: YOU DO? YES.

HOW MANY OF YOU BELIEVE THAT HERE?

HE IS.

MAN: HE'S NOT NATURAL-BORN.

YOU MUST BE NATURAL-BORN

TO BE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

WE REALLY DON'T HAVE A NATURAL CITIZEN

OF THE UNITED STATES BEING IN THE PRESIDENCY.

ALL I WANT TO DO IS SEE THIS GUY'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE.

KATIE COURIC: PRESIDENT OBAMA WENT ON NATIONAL TELEVISION

TODAY AND DID WHAT NO OTHER PRESIDENT

HAS EVER EVEN BEEN ASKED TO DO--

PROVE HE'S A NATURAL-BORN U.S. CITIZEN.

GATES: HAVE YOU BEEN AS SURPRISED AS SOME OF US

HAVE BEEN AT THE BACKLASH AGAINST A BLACK MAN

BEING ELECTED TO THE PRESIDENCY?

I THINK IF YOU GO BACK TO THAT ELECTION

IN 2008, THERE WAS A REALLY POSITIVE FEELING

THAT, UM, EXISTED IN THE COUNTRY,

BUT OVER TIME, UM,

THOSE WHO WERE OPPOSED TO HIM

WENT TO REALLY, REALLY BAD PLACES.

THE REFORMS--

THE REFORMS I'M PROPOSING WOULD NOT APPLY

TO THOSE WHO ARE HERE ILLEGALLY.

JOE WILSON: YOU LIE!

[BOOING]

THAT'S NOT TRUE.

HOLDER: WHEN YOU HAVE A CONGRESSMAN GET UP

AND SAY, "YOU LIE," YOU KNOW,

TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES--

UNHEARD OF. UNHEARD OF,

AND, YOU KNOW, I'LL BE HONEST WITH YOU.

LET'S GO STRAIGHT-- LET'S GO THERE.

THAT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAID

TO A WHITE PRESIDENT, YOU KNOW?

IT WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN.

OH, PEOPLE THOUGHT INITIALLY WE'RE--WE'RE

ENTERING A POST-RACIAL PERIOD.

WE WOULDN'T HAVE TO TALK ABOUT RACE,

AND I THINK THE REALITY HAS BEEN THAT

HIS ELECTION HAS MEANT THAT WE'VE HAD

TO CONFRONT IN A MORE STARK WAY,

UM, RACIAL ISSUES.

PEOPLE SAY, "WELL, OBAMA'S JUST BEING JUDGED AS THE PRESIDENT.

"WE DON'T SEE RACE.

HIS RACE DOESN'T COME INTO ACCOUNT,"

BUT HIS RACE IS EVER-PRESENT.

IT DICTATES HOW HE INTERACTS WITH VOTERS,

WHAT HE CAN TALK ABOUT, HOW HE EXPRESSES ANGER.

BARACK OBAMA CAN NEVER BE THE ANGRY, BLACK MAN. HE CAN'T.

AND THAT'S WHY I INVITED LUTHER,

MY ANGER TRANSLATOR, TO JOIN ME HERE TONIGHT.

[CHEERING AND APPLAUSE]

WE COUNT ON THE PRESS TO SHED LIGHT

ON THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUES OF THE DAY.

AND WE CAN COUNT ON FOX NEWS TO TERRIFY

OLD, WHITE PEOPLE WITH SOME NONSENSE!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: WHILE THE POLITICAL BACKLASH

AGAINST BARACK OBAMA HAS EXPOSED

THE TENACITY OF AMERICA'S RACIAL DIVIDE,

IT HAS PLAYED OUT PARADOXICALLY AMIDST A POPULAR CULTURE

FILLED WITH EVER MORE DIVERSE VISIONS OF BLACK LIFE...

PRESTON: LET'S SHOTGUN IT.

MIRANDA: THAT MEANS EVERY TEST IN THE BOOK--CT...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: MUCH OF IT CREATED BY AFRICAN AMERICANS

WHO HAVE GROWN UP IN A MULTICOLORED NATION

AND WHO WANT TO SEE THEIR WORLD REFLECTED IN THE MAINSTREAM.

OUTKAST: ♪ HEY YA

SHONDA RHIMES: IT SEEMS WEIRD TO ME THAT WE WATCH

THESE TV SHOWS AND EVERYBODY, "A," LOOKS THE SAME.

THAT'S NOT WHAT MY WORLD LOOKS LIKE.

MM-HMM.

THAT'S NOT WHAT MY FRIENDS LOOK LIKE.

THAT'S NOT REALITY.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: SHONDA RHIMES EMBODIES THIS RISING GENERATION.

I WAS BORN AFTER THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

HAD SORT OF TAKEN HOLD.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: IN 2005, SHE CREATED "GREY'S ANATOMY,"

THE FIRST TOP-10 NETWORK SHOW

EVER PRODUCED BY AN AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMAN.

SHE'S SINCE CREATED "SCANDAL,"

THE REMARKABLE REFLECTION OF OUR CHANGING REALITY.

OLIVIA: THIS NEVER HAPPENED.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: "SCANDAL'S" STAR

IS A BLACK POLITICAL FIXER...

IT'S HANDLED.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: WHO'S HAVING AN AFFAIR WITH THE WHITE,

MARRIED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,

A CHARACTER NO BLACK PERSON WOULD HAVE DARED TO CREATE,

EVEN A GENERATION AGO.

GATES: THE COMMITTEE OF BLACKNESS WOULD HAVE

CALLED YOU IN AND SAID, YES.

"SHONDA, OUR PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD THIS."

YOU HAVE DEFIED THE POLITICS

OF RESPECTABILITY. WELL--

AREN'T YOU ASHAMED OF YOURSELF?

HA! I'M NOT. HA HA HA!

PEOPLE WERE SAYING, THIS CHARACTER,

OLIVIA POPE, REALLY NEEDED TO BE A ROLE MODEL

FOR YOUNG WOMEN AND BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

I DON'T BELIEVE IN THAT.

I MEAN, TRUE EQUALITY IS, BLACK WOMEN

GET TO BE WHATEVER THEY WANT TO BE.

TO ME, BEING A ROLE MODEL MEANS THAT YOU

HAVE TO BE SEEN THROUGH, LIKE, WHITE FOLKS' EYES, LIKE WE'RE--

THAT'S SOMETHING MY MOTHER WOULD SAY.

YOU KNOW, WE'RE WORRIED ABOUT

HOW THEY'RE GOING TO LOOK AT US.

YES.

I WASN'T WORRIED ABOUT THAT.

GATES: SHONDA'S CONFIDENCE HAS BEEN WELL-REWARDED,

YET HER SUCCESS ALSO REVEALS

ONE OF OUR ERA'S STARKEST CONTRADICTIONS.

WHILE WHITE AMERICA EAGERLY EMBRACES BLACK STARS

AND BLACK CULTURE, IT DOES SO WHILE STILL CLINGING

TO OLD PREJUDICES ABOUT EVERYDAY BLACK PEOPLE.

JEFFRIES, VOICE-OVER: AMERICA HAS A FASCINATION WITH STARDOM,

AND SO ARTISTS AND ENTERTAINERS CAN BE EMBRACED,

UH, REGARDLESS OF THEIR COLOR, BY WHITE AMERICANS,

BUT WHAT HASN'T HAPPENED IS THAT THOSE SAME ATTRIBUTES

THAT WHITE AMERICANS HOLD SO DEAR,

THEY'RE NOT PROJECTING ONTO, UH, THE AFRICAN AMERICAN KID

ON A CORNER WITH A HOODIE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: IN ESSENCE, EVEN AFTER ELECTING

A BLACK PRESIDENT, OUR COUNTRY IS STILL STRUGGLING

WITH MANY OF THE SAME RACIAL ISSUES

THAT CONFRONTED US DECADES AGO.

MARCUS WALKER: OK, CLASS. GOOD MORNING, GOOD MORNING.

GOOD MORNING, AND WELCOME.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THIS IS EXCEL, A PUBLIC SCHOOL

IN SOUTH BOSTON...

SEGREGATION GETTING WORSE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: A PLACE THAT ILLUMINATES

BOTH OUR PRESENT AND OUR PAST.

IN 1974, THIS SCHOOL WAS A FOCAL POINT

OF THE NOTORIOUS BOSTON BUSING CRISIS,

A BATTLEGROUND SITE IN WHITE AMERICA'S EFFORT

TO RESIST INTEGRATION.

MAN: THE BUSES BROUGHT IN 56 BLACK STUDENTS FROM ROXBURY

WHILE THE WHITES STOOD OUTSIDE AND JEERED.

BOY: THEY JUST WANT TO START TROUBLE.

THEY THINK THEY OWN THE PLACE.

I GOT NEWS FOR THEM.

THEY'RE GOING TO BE DEAD IF THEY TRY ANYTHING ELSE.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AS A NATION, WE LIKE TO THINK WE'VE MOVED ON

FROM THESE UGLY SCENES,

BUT THE FACTS ARE MORE COMPLICATED.

WALKER: FIRST OF ALL, WHAT WAS THE GOAL OF BUSING?

WHAT WAS THE--

WHAT WAS THE WHOLE POINT IN THE FIRST PLACE? DENNIS.

DENNIS: TO HAVE THEM GO TO, LIKE, SCHOOLS

THAT WERE MO--MOSTLY, LIKE, ALL WHITES

AND EVERYTHING AND HAVE-- HAVE EVERYBODY

COME TOGETHER AS ONE.

WALKER: YES. YEAH, SO THE WHOLE POINT

WAS TO HAVE EVERYBODY KIND OF MIXED TOGETHER, OK?

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BEFORE THE BUSING CRISIS,

NEARLY EVERY CHILD AT THIS SCHOOL WAS WHITE,

AND, WHILE BUSING PRODUCED A BRIEF PERIOD

OF INTEGRATION, IT DIDN'T LAST.

TODAY ALMOST ALL THE STUDENTS HERE ARE PEOPLE OF COLOR.

WALKER: WHERE ARE THE WHITE STUDENTS GOING?

WHAT'S GOING ON? WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

GO AHEAD, TRACE.

THEY'RE EITHER IN A PRIVATE SCHOOL

OR THEY MOVED OUT OF BOSTON.

WALKER: YEAH, BUT YOU GUYS...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: I WOULD NEVER HAVE IMAGINED THIS WHEN

I BEGAN SCHOOL AT THE DAWN OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA.

BACK THEN, WE THOUGHT THE SEPARATION

OF STUDENTS BY RACE WAS ENDING FOR GOOD.

GATES: HOW DO YOU MAKE SENSE

OF THE RESEGREGATION OF THE SCHOOL SYSTEM?

I DON'T THINK THE AVERAGE PERSON

SEES THE BOSTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS AS STILL

BEING A SEGREGATED SCHOOL SYSTEM.

MY STUDENTS, THEY SEE THERE'S JUST

AN OVERABUNDANCE OF CULTURAL DIVERSITY IN SCHOOL,

THE NATIONALITIES.

IT'S LITERALLY ON THEIR FACES,

UH, ABSOLUTELY. RIGHT?

ABSOLUTELY.

BUT WHITE AMERICA WASN'T REPRESENTED.

EXACTLY. EXACTLY.

DO YOUR STUDENTS EVER TALK ABOUT

HOW NONWHITE--HA HA!-- THEIR SCHOOL IS?

WE--WE'VE HAD THAT CONVERSATION.

WE'RE STILL HAVING THAT CONVERSATION.

WHY DOES OUR SCHOOL LOOK THE WAY IT DOES, UM,

AND NOT JUST RACIALLY, BUT ALSO ECONOMICALLY?

EXCEL HIGH SCHOOL, SOUTH BOSTON HIGH SCHOOL,

IS ALMOST 86%, UM, JUST THIS SCHOOL, IS LOW-INCOME.

IT'S DEEP AS FAR AS THE EFFECT

THAT POVERTY HAS ON--ON MY STUDENTS.

WALKER: TODAY DO PEOPLE THAT ARE LOW-INCOME

AND PEOPLE THAT ARE HIGH-INCOME HAVE THE SAME OPPORTUNITIES?

THENA: NO.

WALKER: YOU'RE SAYING NO, THENA?

YEAH.

WHAT MAKES YOU SAY NO?

BECAUSE THEY GET A BETTER

PUSH IN LIFE.

OVER RACIAL BIAS...

GATES, VOICE-OVER: EXCEL REFLECTS A NATIONAL TREND.

MANY AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN TODAY

ARE AS RACIALLY AND SOCIOECONOMICALLY ISOLATED

AS THEY WERE IN THE 1960s.

MORE THAN A THIRD ATTEND SCHOOLS THAT ARE LESS THAN 10% WHITE

AND DISPROPORTIONATELY LOW-INCOME,

ALL OF WHICH FLIES IN THE FACE OF A VAST BODY OF EVIDENCE

ON THE POWER OF INTEGRATION.

NIKOLE HANNAH-JONES: INTEGRATION DOES THIS MAGICAL THING.

IT SUDDENLY ALLOWS BLACK KIDS TO GET THE SAME EDUCATION

THAT WHITE KIDS ARE GETTING.

I THINK SOMETIMES WE GET CONFUSED,

AND WE THINK THAT THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SITTING

NEXT TO WHITE KIDS THAT MAKES BLACK KIDS SMART.

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT SITTING NEXT TO WHITE KIDS

THAT ALLOWS BLACK KIDS TO GET THE SAME TEXTBOOKS

AND TO GET THE SAME INSTRUCTION AND TO GET PHYSICS

IN THEIR HIGH SCHOOL, AND THAT'S REALLY IT.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE CONDITION OF AMERICA'S PUBLIC SCHOOLS

IS JUST ONE ASPECT OF OUR FAILURE TO FULFILL THE IDEALS

OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT.

THE RECENT ASSAULT ON VOTING RIGHTS MARKS ANOTHER.

MAN: THE SUPREME COURT UPHELD A CONTROVERSIAL

NEW VOTER I.D. LAW IN TEXAS.

DIFFERENT MAN: THE ONE IN THE SWING STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA,

WHICH IS REQUIRING PEOPLE TO SHOW PHOTO I.D.

IN ORDER TO VOTE.

WOMAN: OVER 600,000 VOTERS, MOSTLY BLACKS AND LATINOS,

DON'T HAVE THIS KIND OF IDENTIFICATION.

GATES: SINCE 2010, DOZENS OF STATES

HAVE PASSED VOTER IDENTIFICATION LAWS

THAT HAVE SERVED TO RESTRICT

AFRICAN AMERICAN ACCESS TO THE POLLS...

OBAMA: IT IS WRONG TO CHANGE OUR ELECTION RULES

JUST BECAUSE OF POLITICS.

IT IS WRONG TO MAKE CITIZENS WAIT

FOR 5, 6, 7 HOURS JUST TO VOTE.

IT IS WRONG TO MAKE A SENIOR CITIZEN

WHO NO LONGER HAS A DRIVER'S LICENSE

JUMP THROUGH HOOPS AND HAVE TO PAY MONEY

JUST TO EXERCISE THE RIGHTS SHE HAD CHERISHED FOR A LIFETIME.

AMERICA DID NOT STAND UP AND DID NOT MARCH

AND DID NOT SACRIFICE TO GAIN THE RIGHT TO VOTE

FOR THEMSELVES AND FOR OTHERS, ONLY TO SEE IT DENIED

TO THEIR KIDS AND THEIR GRANDCHILDREN.

BRAZILE: PEOPLE DIED FOR THE RIGHT TO VOTE,

AND NOW WHEN YOU GO TO REGISTER,

BRING EVERY FORM OF I.D. YOU CAN FIND.

BRING YOUR DRIVER'S LICENSE. BRING YOUR MARRIAGE LICENSE.

BRING YOUR PASSPORT. BRING IT ALL.

BRING A UTILITY BILL.

I MEAN, HOW SAD IS THAT IN AMERICA?

GATES: BUT NOTHING ILLUSTRATES OUR NATION'S PERSISTENT

RACIAL INEQUALITY LIKE THE PROBLEM

OF MASS INCARCERATION.

THE UNITED STATES HAS THE LARGEST PRISON POPULATION

IN THE WORLD,

AND THAT POPULATION IS DISPROPORTIONATELY BLACK.

SHERILYNN IFILL: WE HAVE USED THE PRISONS, ESSENTIALLY,

AS A WAREHOUSE FOR OUR RACE PROBLEM.

WE USED THAT AS THE PLACE WHERE WE COULD WAREHOUSE

PARTICULARLY YOUNG, AFRICAN AMERICAN MEN,

WHERE WE COULD WAREHOUSE YOUNG PEOPLE WHO NEEDED SUPPORT

IN ONE--SOME WAY OR ANOTHER AND DIDN'T GET IT AND ACTED OUT.

SO WE--WE HAVE A CIRCUMSTANCE OF THIS PERSISTENT

AND RISING JOBLESSNESS IN URBAN, BLACK COMMUNITIES,

AND RATHER THAN A MAJOR INVESTMENT IN EDUCATION

OR TRAINING OR JOBS, WE GET A MAJOR INVESTMENT

IN POLICING AND PRISON BUILDING AND INCARCERATION.

HOLDER, VOICE-OVER: WE LOOKED FOR SIMPLE SOLUTIONS

TO COMPLEX PROBLEMS, AS OPPOSED TO ASKING OURSELVES,

"WHAT ARE THE SOCIOLOGICAL REASONS?

"WHAT ARE THE SOCIAL DYSFUNCTIONS, THE--THE DEFICITS

"THAT WE SEE IN THE PEOPLE WHO ARE COMMITTING THESE CRIMES?

WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO TO TRY TO DEAL, UM, WITH THOSE?"

THOUGHT WAS NEVER TO DEAL WITH THOSE.

THE THOUGHT WAS ALWAYS SIMPLY TO LOCK THEM UP,

GET THEM AWAY FROM US, AND, UM, HOPEFULLY,

THEY'LL STAY THERE FOR EXTEND PERIODS OF TIME.

GATES: MASS INCARCERATION HAS BECOME

AN INTERNATIONAL EMBARRASSMENT,

IMPOSING AN ENORMOUS FINANCIAL AND HUMAN COST ON OUR NATION,

SO MUCH SO THAT IN RECENT YEARS, VOICES FROM ALL SIDES

OF THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM HAVE BEGUN CALLING FOR REFORM...

WOMAN: THE NATION'S HIGHEST LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL

HAS ANNOUNCED NEW CLEMENCY RULES.

CHUCK GRASSLEY: FOR THE FIRST TIME,

WE'RE CUTTING BACK MANY

OF THE MOST SEVERE MANDATORY MINIMUMS

SO THAT THEY APPLY MORE FAIRLY.

GATES: YET THE CONSEQUENCES OF OUR PRISON POLICIES

WILL NOT BE EASY TO REVERSE.

PEOPLE WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS FACE AN ARRAY OF CHALLENGES

TRYING TO RE-ENTER SOCIETY.

THEY CAN BE BARRED FROM JOBS,

DENIED FINANCIAL AID FOR COLLEGE,

AND BANNED FROM PUBLIC HOUSING.

IT'S NO WONDER MANY END UP BACK IN PRISON.

IFILL: NOW THAT WE RECOGNIZE THAT MASS INCARCERATION

IS OUT OF CONTROL, HOW ARE WE GOING TO DEAL WITH IT?

ARE WE JUST GOING TO SAY, "WELL, WE SHOULD STOP.

WE SHOULD LOWER SOME OF THESE SENTENCES"?

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE LIVES OF THE PEOPLE

WHO WERE HARMED BY THE SYSTEM, AND WHAT DO WE DO

WITH THE PROBLEM THAT WE DIDN'T WANT TO DEAL WITH,

WHICH IS YOUNG PEOPLE WHO NEED JOBS, WHO NEED SUPPORT?

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THESE QUESTIONS BROUGHT ME BACK

TO RONALD DAY, WHOM I FIRST MET

IN THE SOUTH BRONX, WHERE HE GREW UP.

SO I LIVED RIGHT IN THE BUILDING RIGHT HERE,

AND ONE OF MY EARLIEST MEMORIES

AT MAYBE 10 OR 11 YEARS OLD

IS SEEING A GUY GET STABBED RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET

AND RUN--AND WALKING UP THE BLOCK.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AS A YOUNG MAN,

DAY WAS A DRUG DEALER.

HE SPENT 15 YEARS IN PRISON.

HE KNOWS FIRSTHAND THE DAUNTING OBSTACLES

FACED BY EX-CONVICTS...

DAY: WHEN I KNEW THAT I WAS GOING TO BE RELEASED,

THERE WAS A--A TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF TREPIDATION.

I KNEW THAT I WANTED TO--TO GET A JOB

AND TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF,

BUT I KNEW THAT THERE WERE A LOT OF INDIVIDUALS WHO SAID THAT,

BUT THEY ENDED UP BACK IN PRISON.

GATES: BUT RONALD WAS DETERMINED TO AVOID THAT FATE.

HE'S EARNED A MASTER'S DEGREE, AND HE'S WORKING ON HIS Ph.D.,

AND TODAY, HE'S AN EXECUTIVE AT THE FORTUNE SOCIETY,

AN ORGANIZATION THAT WORKS WITH EX-OFFENDERS.

RONALD AND HIS COLLEAGUE STANLEY RICHARDS,

WHO ALSO SERVED TIME IN PRISON,

ARE NOW DEDICATED TO HELPING

FORMER PRISONERS LIKE THEMSELVES.

EDUCATION AREA, SO THIS IS WHERE

WE TEACH PEOPLE THE SOFT SKILLS

ABOUT GETTING A JOB-- HOW TO ANSWER

THE CONVICTION QUESTION,

HOW TO FILL OUT A RESUME.

MAN: OK, SO THAT--THAT'S THAT'S AN APPROACH.

THAT'S AN APPROACH, THAT, BUT THAT'S...

RICHARDS, VOICE-OVER: THE BAR ORGANIZATION IDENTIFIED

47,000 STATUTORY BARRIERS TO--

FOR PEOPLE COMING HOME FROM PRISON.

GATES: 47,000?

47,000 LOCAL, STATE,

AND FEDERAL BARRIERS TO EMPLOYMENT.

DAY: YOU NEED TO REMOVE THESE BARRIERS

SO THAT PEOPLE CAN REBUILD THEIR LIVES

AND RECLAIM THEIR LIVES, TO BE ABLE TO SAY,

"SURE. I WAS INVOLVED IN CRIME,

"BUT NOW I TURNED THAT WHOLE PROCESS AROUND,

"WENT FROM BEING SOMEONE WHO WAS LOCKED UP

"AND THROWN AWAY AND THOUGHT DIDN'T HAVE ANY VALUE

"TO WENT TO COLLEGE TO EARN THE MASTER'S DEGREE

TO EARNING THE PH.D."

SO YOU ARE THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM'S

WORST NIGHTMARE?

HA HA HA! HA HA HA!

AT ONE POINT, I WAS THE ONE

WHO WAS DEVASTATING MY COMMUNITY,

SELLING DRUGS, AND ROBBING,

AND NOW I'M GIVING BACK IN WAYS

THAT I COULDN'T EVEN HAVE IMAGINED BACK THEN.

I'M RAISING MY FAMILY IN THE BRONX.

UM, I WORK. I GIVE BACK.

I CONTRIBUTE, AND I KEEP MY VOICE IN THE MIX...

YEAH, AND IT SHOWS--

SO THAT WE CAN CHANGE POLICY.

IT SHOWS THE CAPACITY OF PEOPLE TO CHANGE.

MAN: BUT WE CAN GET BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER.

RICHARDS, VOICE-OVER: WE DON'T GIVE UP ON PEOPLE.

WE KNOW THAT BY HOLDING PEOPLE ACCOUNTABLE,

BY PROVIDING THEM SOME SUPPORT, AND BY GIVING THEM

THE OPPORTUNITY TO RECLAIM THEIR LIFE, IT WORKS.

IT WORKS.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: DAY AND RICHARDS ARE INSPIRING,

BUT THEY'RE WELL AWARE THAT HELPING PEOPLE

ON THEIR WAY OUT OF PRISON IS ONLY ONE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

TO REDUCE OUR INCARCERATED POPULATION,

WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO ALTER

OUR FUNDAMENTAL ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT RACE,

ASSUMPTIONS THAT INFORM THE VERY WAY WE POLICE.

COBB, VOICE-OVER: ONE OF MY FORMATIVE MEMORIES

WAS ME COMING HOME FROM A BASEBALL GAME.

I PLAYED BASEBALL, MY, UM, YOU KNOW, MY LOCAL TEAM,

AND I WAS COMING HOME IN MY UNIFORM,

AND A POLICE OFFICER PULLS--PULLED UP

AND, UH, PUT ME UP AGAINST A MAILBOX

AND FRISKED ME TO SEE IF I WAS CARRYING ANY WEAPONS,

AND, UM, I WAS WEARING A BASEBALL UNIFORM

AND CARRYING A GLOVE.

IT'S NOT LIKE I WAS A INCONSPICUOUS FIGURE,

BUT THIS HAD BEEN SOMETHING THAT I HAD BEEN PREPARED FOR

BY MY PARENTS BECAUSE THEY UNDERSTOOD THIS RELATIONSHIP

BETWEEN BLACK MEN AND POLICE, YOU KNOW,

SO ONE OF THE EARLY FORMATIVE LESSONS I GOT FROM MY FATHER

WAS THAT IF A POLICE OFFICER TRIES TO HAND YOU SOMETHING,

NEVER TAKE IT BECAUSE THEY SIMPLY WANT

TO GET YOUR FINGERPRINTS ON SOMETHING TO SET YOU UP.

IT'S ASSUMED THAT YOU'RE A SUSPECT WHEN YOU'RE BLACK

ON THE STREET BEFORE ANYBODY KNOWS

ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT YOU, RIGHT?

AUTOMATICALLY, YOU'RE ASSUMED TO BE

A POTENTIAL DISTURBANCE OF THE PEACE.

THAT'S NOT SOMETHING THAT EVERYBODY HAS TO DEAL WITH,

UM, AND IT'S NOT SOMETHING

THAT IS COMFORTABLE FOR PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH, RIGHT,

TO ALWAYS BE SCARED THAT EVERY TIME YOU SEE A POLICE OFFICER,

THEY MIGHT BE THINKING YOU'RE A SUSPECT

IN A CRIME THAT HAPPENED SOMEPLACE ELSE, RIGHT?

THAT'S NOT FULL CITIZENSHIP. THAT'S NOT FULL EQUALITY.

GATES: ON A SHOCKING NUMBER OF OCCASIONS,

RACIAL PROFILING HAS LED TO TRAGEDY.

THESE SENSELESS DEATHS OFTEN DISAPPEARED QUICKLY

FROM THE NEWS CYCLE IF THEY WERE EVER NOTED AT ALL.

THAT BEGAN TO CHANGE ON AUGUST 9, 2014,

WHEN A POLICE OFFICER SHOT AND KILLED

18-YEAR-OLD MICHAEL BROWN

DURING AN ALTERCATION IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI.

MAN: RAN. POLICE GOT OUT, RAN AFTER HIM.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE CONFLICTING ACCOUNTS

OF WHAT LED TO THE SHOOTING HAVE NEVER BEEN RECONCILED,

BUT, REGARDLESS OF THE CIRCUMSTANCES,

THE SIGHT OF BROWN'S BODY LYING IN THE STREET FOR HOURS

WAS AN OUTRAGE.

[BARKS]

COOPER, VOICE-OVER: THE PICTURE OF HIS BODY IN THE STREET

IS BEING TWEETED, AND THEY STILL HAVEN'T REMOVED IT.

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

WHY IS THIS BOY LYING DEAD IN THE STREET?

BLACK PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IT MEANS WHEN A BLACK KID IS KILLED

BY SOMEBODY THAT IS WHITE WITH POWER,

AND THE BODY IS LEFT THERE TO TERRORIZE THE COMMUNITY.

YOU TOOK MY SON AWAY FROM ME.

YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT WAS FOR ME TO GET HIM

TO STAY IN SCHOOL AND TO GRADUATE?

YOU KNOW HOW MANY BLACK MEN GRADUATE?

NOT MANY BECAUSE YOU BRING THEM DOWN

TO THIS TYPE OF LEVEL WHERE THEY

FEEL LIKE, "I DON'T GOT NOTHING

TO LIVE FOR, ANYWAY."

MAN: HANDS UP!

CROWD: DON'T SHOOT!

HANDS UP! DON'T SHOOT!

HANDS UP! DON'T SHOOT!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE NIGHT AFTER BROWN'S DEATH,

LOCAL RESIDENTS GATHERED IN PROTEST,

AND THE POLICE RESPONSE SHOCKED THE COUNTRY.

IT LOOKED MORE LIKE A SCENE FROM WAR-TORN IRAQ

THAN A SUBURB IN MISSOURI.

COOPER, VOICE-OVER: IT WAS THE TANKS THAT MADE

EVERYBODY PAY ATTENTION.

CONSERVATIVE, WHITE FOLKS, REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS,

AND WHITE PEOPLE ACROSS THE SPECTRUM SAYING,

"WHY DO YOU HAVE A TANK IN FERGUSON, MISSOURI?"

WHY ARE THE POLICE IN MILITARY RIOT GEAR?"

MAN: YOU MUST DISPERSE THE AREA IMMEDIATELY.

YOU ARE IN VIOLATION OF THE STATE-IMPOSED CURFEW.

YOU ARE SUBJECT TO ARREST.

DeRAY MCKESSON, VOICE-OVER: THE POLICE HAD EVERY TYPE

OF MACHINERY YOU COULD EVER HAVE,

AND WE GOT TEAR-GASSED, AND I WAS LIKE,

"THIS IS JUST NOT THE AMERICA I KNOW, RIGHT?

"LIKE, I CANNOT BELIEVE I'M GETTING TEAR-GASSED

WHEN THE POLICE HAD KILLED SOMEBODY."

I WAS LIKE, "THIS JUST ISN'T OK, RIGHT,"

AND I'M JUST ONE OF MANY WHO, LIKE, STOPPED BEING SILENT

BECAUSE OF--BECAUSE OF WHAT HAPPENED.

GATES: DeRAY MCKESSON, A FORMER MATH TEACHER,

WAS APPALLED BY WHAT HE SAW ON THE STREETS OF FERGUSON.

CROWD: I AM MIKE BROWN!

MAN: NO JUSTICE!

HE LEFT HIS JOB TO BECOME A FULL-TIME ACTIVIST,

JOINING A RISING GROUNDSWELL OF OUTRAGE

UNIFIED BY A SIMPLE BUT POWERFUL SLOGAN

THAT HAD BEEN CREATED JUST A YEAR BEFORE

BY 3 YOUNG WOMEN--

PATRISSE CULLORS, OPAL TOMETI, AND ALICIA GARZA.

I FELT LIKE IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HAVE ANOTHER VOICE OUT THERE

THAT WAS SAYING, YOU KNOW, "THIS ISN'T ABOUT

"SOME DEFICIENCY THAT BLACK PEOPLE HAVE.

"THIS IS ACTUALLY ABOUT THE RACISM

THAT'S IN THE DNA OF THIS COUNTRY,"

SOMETHING LIKE, "BLACK PEOPLE, I LOVE YOU.

"I LOVE US. WE MATTER.

OUR LIVES MATTER. BLACK LIVES MATTER."

CROWD: BLACK LIVES MATTER!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

BLACK LIVES MATTER!

CORNEL WEST: WE KNOW BLACK LIVES MATTER

THE WAY ALL LIVES MATTER, BUT UNFORTUNATELY IN AMERICA,

YOU GOT TO SAY, "BLACK LIVES MATTER,"

BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY, "ALL LIVES MATTER,"

OFTENTIMES YOU DON'T GET TO THE BLACK LIVES.

[CROWD CHANTING]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AS PROTESTS SPRUNG UP ALL OVER THE COUNTRY,

IT QUICKLY BECAME CLEAR THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER

WAS A PROFOUND RESPONSE TO AMERICA'S RACIAL LANDSCAPE.

GARZA, VOICE-OVER: JUST A FEW MONTHS AGO, YOU WEREN'T HEARING

CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE IN AMERICA,

AND, IN FACT, WE WERE BEING TOLD THAT WE LIVED

IN A POST-RACIAL SOCIETY, AND WHAT HAS BEEN EXPOSED

IS THAT THAT'S CERTAINLY NOT ONLY NOT TRUE,

BUT THAT THE LIVES OF BLACK FOLKS, BOTH BLACK AMERICANS

AND BLACK IMMIGRANTS AND BLACK PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY,

HAVE BEEN UNFAIRLY TARGETED FOR DEMISE.

[BEEP]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AMID THE UPROAR,

POLICE BRUTALITY CONTINUED TO OCCUR WITH DISTURBING FREQUENCY,

CAPTURED BY CELL-PHONE CAMERAS, DASH CAMS,

AND HANDHELD DEVICES, THEN SHARED WITH THE WORLD.

GET OUT OF THE CAR!

BRAZILE: WATCHING THOSE VIDEOS-- THE VIDEO OF MS. BLAND,

THE VIDEO OF--OF TAMIR RICE,

THE VIDEO OF ERIC GARNER, "I CAN'T BREATHE.

I CAN'T BREATHE. I CAN'T BREATHE," 11 TIMES--

HAS STIRRED SO MANY.

THAT HAS STIRRED SOMETHING IN SO MANY.

GATES: ARE THERE MORE INCIDENTS OF VIOLENCE

AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE BY THE POLICE,

OR ARE WE JUST MORE AWARE OF IT

BECAUSE OF DIGITAL MEDIA?

THE ONLY THING THAT'S DIFFERENT NOW

IS THAT THE TRUTH IS BECOMING MAINSTREAM

AND WE GET TO CONTROL IT.

WE DON'T NEED A BREAKING REPORT.

WE CAN BE THE BREAKING REPORT.

BUT I THINK THE PEOPLE HAVE THE SENSE THAT

MORE OF THESE ACTS ARE BEING COMMITTED

BECAUSE THEY'RE SEEING IT MORE.

THAT FEELING MAKES SENSE TO ME.

IT'S PROBABLY A NATURAL RESPONSE, UM,

BECAUSE, FOR SOME PEOPLE, THEY HAD NEVER EVER

THOUGHT ABOUT THE POLICE AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN

THE MOST, UH-- THE MOST HEROIC

OF ALL PUBLIC SERVANTS, BUT WE KNOW THAT

SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE WERE KILLED BEFORE,

BUT IN THOSE MOMENTS, WE DIDN'T NECESSARILY

HAVE THE TOOLS TO TALK ABOUT IT.

MAN: THEY GOT THEIR GUNS OUT.

[GUNSHOTS]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AS YOUNG ACTIVISTS EXCHANGED PHOTOS,

VIDEOS, AND EYEWITNESS ACCOUNTS ON SOCIAL MEDIA,

THEY KEPT RACIAL INJUSTICE AND POLICE BRUTALITY

IN THE PUBLIC EYE,

RAISING HOPES THAT EXPOSURE WOULD BRING CHANGE,

BUT THE KILLINGS CONTINUED.

MAN: THE POLICE SHOOTING DEATH OF KEITH LAMONT SCOTT.

WOMAN: AN UNARMED FATHER OF 4 WITH CAR TROUBLE

IS NO LONGER ALIVE.

WOMAN: POLICE SHOOTING THAT KILLED ALTON STERLING.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AND IN CASE AFTER CASE,

WHAT LOOKED LIKE HARD EVIDENCE

FAILED TO YIELD CONVICTIONS.

MAN: IT HAS HAPPENED AGAIN.

A GRAND JURY HAS REFUSED TO INDICT

YET ANOTHER WHITE POLICE OFFICER.

WOMAN: CLEVELAND GRAND JURY'S DECISION NOT TO FILE CHARGES

AGAINST OFFICERS IN THE SHOOTING DEATH

OF 12-YEAR-OLD TAMIR RICE.

COOPER: SO WE KNOW NOW REALLY CLEARLY,

WHETHER WE BEGIN AT HURRICANE KATRINA

OR WE BEGIN AT TRAYVON MARTIN

OR WE BEGIN AT MICHAEL BROWN,

THAT THIS COUNTRY'S HAVING A REAL PROBLEM AFFIRMING

AT THE LEVEL OF POLICY AND TREATMENT

THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER.

SOME THINGS ARE STILL NOT RIGHT.

YOU KNOW, WE'RE UNEVENLY YOKED HERE.

IF YOU CAN'T ACKNOWLEDGE THAT,

THEN WE--WE CAN'T MAKE IT BETTER.

GATES VOICE-OVER: AT TIMES, THE ANGER AND FRUSTRATION BUILDING

ON ALL SIDES SEEMED LIKE IT WOULD TEAR OUR COUNTRY APART.

TRUMP: WE WILL BUILD THE WALL, AND IT WILL BE A HIGH WALL.

GET YOUR HANDS OFF ME!

MAN: ALL LIVES MATTER!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: YET THROUGH IT ALL, ACTIVISTS

WORKED TIRELESSLY

TO KEEP THE COUNTRY FOCUSED ON THE LARGER ISSUES AT STAKE.

BRAZILE: THIS IS AN UNEASY PERIOD,

BUT IF NOT NOW, WHEN,

AND IF NOT THEM, WHO?

WHO WILL LEAD THE FIGHT?

BECAUSE I'M GLAD PEOPLE ARE READY TO FIGHT

AND READY TO ORGANIZE AND READY TO DO BATTLE

BECAUSE THE FIGHT'S NOT OVER.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: FROM SPORTS ARENAS...

TO CITY STREETS,

TO THE CORRIDORS OF POWER...

AMERICA, I HOPE YOU'RE LOOKING.

I HOPE YOU'RE LOOKING AND YOUR EYES ARE OPEN.

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BLACK AMERICANS HAVE COME TOGETHER,

UNITED BY A SHARED SENSE THAT DESPITE

ALL THE PROGRESS WE'VE MADE WE REMAIN VULNERABLE

IN OUR OWN COUNTRY.

JESSE WILLIAMS: THERE HAS BEEN NO WAR

THAT WE HAVE NOT FOUGHT AND DIED

ON THE FRONT LINES OF.

THERE HAS BEEN NO JOB WE HAVEN'T DONE,

THERE'S NO TAX THEY HAVEN'T LEVIED

AGAINST US, AND WE'VE PAID ALL OF THEM,

BUT FREEDOM IS SOMEHOW ALWAYS CONDITIONAL HERE.

CROWD: ♪ WELL, YOU TALK ABOUT... ♪

GATES, VOICE-OVER: THE CALL FOR JUSTICE

HAS ECHOED ACROSS THE COUNTRY,

AMPLIFIED AND INTENSIFIED BY POPULAR CULTURE.

MARCHERS: ♪ IF WE DON'T GET NO JUSTICE ♪

♪ THERE WILL BE NO PEACE

♪ SOMETIMES I GO OFF

♪ I GO OFF

♪ I GO HARD, I GO HARD

GATES, VOICE-OVER: WATCHING, I SOMETIMES FEEL MYSELF

TAKEN BACK DECADES,

BACK TO THE WORLD IN WHICH I GREW UP...

KENDRICK LAMAR: ♪ LOOKING AT THE WORLD LIKE, "WHERE DO WE GO?" ♪

♪ AND WE HATE PO-PO

♪ WANNA KILL US DEAD IN THE STREET FOR SURE ♪

♪ BUT WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT ♪

♪ WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT

♪ WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT ♪

CROWD: ♪ WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT

♪ WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT ♪

♪ WE GONNA BE ALL RIGHT

GATES, VOICE-OVER: BUT WHILE IT HEARTENS ME TO SEE YOUNG PEOPLE

REVIVING THE PASSION OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ERA,

IT SADDENS ME THAT, WE'RE STILL FIGHTING

SOME OF THE SAME BATTLES

THAT DR. KING FOUGHT HALF A CENTURY AGO.

BROWN: THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT REMOVED A LOT OF RESTRICTIONS

FOR MIDDLE CLASS PEOPLE AND WELL-TO-DO BLACK PEOPLE

SO THEY COULD ACHIEVE GREAT THINGS,

AND THAT IS A FANTASTIC THING.

IT DIDN'T SOLVE THOSE MAJOR PROBLEMS OF SOCIAL INEQUALITY,

AND WHAT WE'VE HAD HAPPEN SINCE IS THAT BLACKNESS

HAS STILL BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH LOW SOCIAL STATUS

IN MANY PEOPLE'S MINDS, SO IF I DON'T ALREADY KNOW

THAT YOU'RE WELL-TO-DO-- IF I CAN'T TELL BY YOUR CLOTHES,

IF YOU'RE WEARING A HOOD INSTEAD OF SUIT, RIGHT--

THEN I'M GOING TO ASSOCIATE YOU WITH ALL THOSE NEGATIVE THINGS

THAT BLACKNESS HAS MEANT FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

[SIREN]

GATES, VOICE-OVER: AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE INDEED STRUGGLED

FOR FAR TOO LONG TO CLAIM OUR RIGHTFUL PLACE IN AMERICA.

EVEN SO, SURVEYING THE LAST 50 YEARS OF OUR HISTORY

THROUGH ALL THE HIGHS THE AND LOWS...

WE WANT BLACK POWER! WE WANT BLACK POWER!

GATES, VOICE-OVER: I CAN'T HELP BUT FEEL INSPIRED.

WHAT STANDS OUT TO ME MOST IS THE STRENGTH,

THE WILLINGNESS, SEEN TIME AND TIME AGAIN,

TO FIGHT AGAINST THE ODDS

TO STAND AND BE COUNTED,

NO MATTER THE RISK.

LOOKING BACK, SEEING HOW HARD WE'VE FOUGHT,

HOW FAR WE'VE COME,

IT FILLS ME WITH HOPE.

IFILL: I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU CAN BE OPTIMISTIC

WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PAST.

IT'S ONLY THROUGH SEEING THAT ARC THAT YOU HAVE THE OPTIMISM

THAT YOU CAN TAKE IT A STEP FURTHER.

SOMETIMES YOU MAKE TWO STEPS FORWARD,

AND YOU MAKE ONE STEP BACK, BUT IT DOESN'T MEAN

THAT IT'S NOT A STEP ON THE JOURNEY.

AL SHARPTON: MY MOTHER PASSED,

AND I STOOD UP AT HER FUNERAL AND READ A LETTER

FROM THE FIRST BLACK PRESIDENT AND THOUGHT ABOUT

HOW, WHEN SHE WAS GROWING UP, SHE COULDN'T VOTE IN THAT TOWN

TILL SHE WAS 39 YEARS OLD, COULDN'T VOTE,

FOR IN ONE LIFETIME, TO GO FROM NOT BEING ABLE TO VOTE

TO A BLACK PRESIDENT, YOU CAN'T SAY A LOT HASN'T HAPPENED.

MCKESSON: THE STORY OF BLACKNESS IN AMERICA HAS ALWAYS BEEN

MAKING A WAY OUT OF NO WAY, DEFYING THE ODDS

THAT WE'VE BEEN GIVEN, AND KEEPING THIS SENSE OF JOY,

LIKE, IN THE MIDST OF ALL OF THE TRAUMA AND PAIN,

UH, AND THAT KEEPS ME HOPEFUL.

GATES: 50 YEARS AGO, AFRICAN AMERICANS MARCHED

ACROSS THIS BRIDGE DREAMING OF A FUTURE IN WHICH

THEY WOULD FINALLY TAKE THEIR PLACE AS FULL

AND EQUAL CITIZENS OF THE UNITED STATES.

THEY WERE MET WITH SHOCKING VIOLENCE,

BUT THEY REFUSED TO BE DEFEATED.

TODAY AMERICA HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED,

AND AFRICAN AMERICANS HAVE RISEN TO UNDREAMT-OF HEIGHTS.

OUR JOURNEY IS FAR FROM OVER,

AND YET STILL WE PRESS ON

WITH THE TALENT AND DETERMINATION

BORN OF GENERATIONS OF RESISTANCE AND HOPE

AND THE UNSHAKEABLE,

DETERMINED BELIEF

THAT THIS LAND IS OUR LAND.

STILL, WE RISE.

ANNOUNCER: "BLACK AMERICA

SINCE MLK" IS AVAILABLE

ON BLU-RAY AND DVD.

THE COMPANION BOOK

IS ALSO AVAILABLE.

TO ORDER, VISIT SHOPPBS.ORG

OR CALL 1-800-PLAY-PBS.

ALSO AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD

FROM iTUNES.

ANNOUNCER: "BLACK AMERICA

STREAM BLACK AMERICA SINCE MLK: AND STILL I RISE ON

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