tv Democracy Now PBS February 16, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm PST
02/16/16 02/16/16 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from pacifica, this is democracy now! >> you may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies you may charred meat in the dirt. a still like dust, i will rise. amy: in a black history month special we remember the life and legacy of the legendary poet, playwright, and civil rights activist maya angelou. now for the first time, documentary chronicles her remarkable life from her traumatic childhood, she was raped and went mute for five years, to her days working with martin luther king, jr., and malcolm x to the writing of her classic, "i know why the caged bird sings."
the film is called, "maya angelou and still i rise." >> the writer has to take these most known things and put them together in such a way that a reader says, i never thought of it that way before. that is a challenge. id i know many writers and said, no, are you sure you want me to do this? amy: we will speak to the filmmakers rita coburn whack and bob hercules, as well as maya angelou's ran son colin johnson. all that and more, coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. more senate republicans have backed majority leader mitch mcconnell's pledge to block any nominee president obama chooses to replace justice antonin scalia.
scalia died on saturday at a hunting resort in texas at the age of 79. republicans are threatening to stall his replacement until a new president is in place 11 months from now. the white house has noted none of the last 12 supreme court justices to be confirmed had to wait more than 100 days for a vote. four u.s. journalists detained in bahrain on sunday have been released following an international outcry. anna therese day and her camera crew have reportedly been charged with illegally assembling with the intent to commit a crime. bahraini authorities accused them of falsely representing themselves as tourists, and claimed one of the journalists participated in an attack on police. bahrain is a close ally of the united states, home to the u.s. navy's fifth fleet. in egypt, newly released documents show the senior police officer investigating the death of italian student giulio regeni has a prior conviction related to the torture and killing of a prisoner. regeni, who wrote about egyptian
labor unions for an italian newspaper, was found by the side of the highway, naked from the waist down, his body showing signs of torture. reuters reports khaled shalaby, who was investigating regeni's death, was one of four people charged in with torturing and 2000 killing another prisoner inside an alexandria police station. on the campaign trail democratic , presidential candidate bernie sanders has launched a petition against the democratic national committee's quiet lifting of a ban on donations from federal lobbyists and political action committees. the rules were introduced by then-candidate barack obama in 2008. but the washington post reveals the dnc quietly lifted the rules sometime in the past few months. critics say the change could boost sanders' rival hillary clinton, whose joint fundraising committee with the dnc has raised about $27 million. bernie sanders continues to face questions over his dismissal of the possibility of reparations for slavery. on friday, at a black america forum organized by neighborhoods
organizing for change, sanders was questioned by felicia perry. >> i know you're scared to say black and disabled operations because it seems like -- >> hold it, hold it. i don't think it is fair. >> and seems like every time we talk about black people and us getting something for the systematic oppression and exportation of our people, we have to include every other person of color. a you and i may have disagreement, because it is not just black, just latino. their areas in america where it white. i have said "black" 50 times. that is the 51st time. but it is a national issue. amy: bernie sanders responding to an audience member who yelled, "say black!" at the black america forum in minneapolis. sanders went on to say he would invest in african-american communities. former president bill clinton drew attention for his comments on race while campaigning for his wife hillary in tennessee
on friday. after he was introduced by democratic tennessee congress member steve cohen as a "heck of a stand-in" for the first black president, clinton told the crowd in memphis, "we are all mixed race." >> we learn that unless your ancestors -- every one of you -- 100% from sub-saharan africa, we are all mixed race people. amy: another hillary clinton supporter, civil rights icon and georgia congress member john lewis has walked back his comments on democratic rival senator bernie sanders' involvement in the civil rights movement. last week lewis said of sanders, , "i never saw him. i never met him." lewis later said he did not mean to disparage sanders activism noting "the fact that i did not , meet him in the movement does not mean i doubted that senator sanders participated." bill clinton is not the only former president to hit the campaign trail. former president george w. bush turned to the spotlight monday to campaign for his brother jeb
in south carolina. >> this is a serious election for a serious job, so, please, welcome a serious and thoughtful candidate, a good man, a man i am proud to call my big little brother, jeb bush. amy: george w. bush's appearance came after donald trump slammed the former president for invading iraq, calling the war a "big, fat mistake." and saying that george w. bush lied to get us into war. the brazilian state of rio grande do sul has suspended the use of a larvicide after reports pointed to a potential link between the chemical and the devastating birth defect microcephaly. brazil has seen a spike in microcephaly cases thought to be linked to the mosquito-borne zika virus. but two health advocacy groups say the spike may actually be linked to a larvicide made by a japanese subsidiary of monsanto that has been used to stop the development of mosquito larvae
pope francis addressed indigenous people in the southern mexican state of chiapas, asking for forgiveness over what he called their systematic exclusion from society. >> many times in a systematic and structural way, your people have been misunderstood and excluded from society. some have even considered you inferior as well. your values, cultures, your traditions, others dizzy with power, money, and market laws have robbed you of your lands or have taken part in actions that contaminate the land. amy: pope francis is expected to end his trip to mexico wednesday with a trip to juarez along the u.s.-mexico border. ahead of his visit, families separated by u.s. immigration policies lined up to reunite with each other through the border fence. the british government is planning to ban public
institutions from engaging in boycotts, including those aimed at pressuring israel over its occupation of palestinian land. growing boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement in the global campaign to divest from fossil fuel companies over climate change, written plans to ban publicly funded institutions from refusing to buy goods some companies. labor leader german corbyn criticized the plans, calling them an attack on local democracy. a planned parenthood clinic in colorado springs, colorado where an anti-choice gunman killed three people and wounded nine others, has reopened nearly months after the attack. the alleged gunman, robert lewis dear, has said he targeted planned parenthood "because it's murdering little babies." and at the grammy awards monday night, hip-hop artist kendrick lamar drew a standing ovation after appearing in prison garb and chains during a medley performance of his songs "blacker the berry" and , "alright." at the end of the performance, the word "compton," lamar's hometown, appeared inside a map of africa.
the mark takano five grammys including best rap album. , taylor swift won best album, becoming the first woman to win the top award twice. frequent democracy now! guest angelique kidjo won her third grammy, for best world music album. and the hit broadway musical "hamilton," won best musical theater album. the legendary, blind jazz musician, stevie wonder, called for greater accessibility for people with disabilities. he delivered the award for song of the year, reading the name off the card in braille. >> we need to make every single thing accessible to every single person with a disability. amy: and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. today a black history month remember mys we angelou. now for the first time, documentary chronicles her remarkable life, beginning with her traumatic childhood. she was raped and refused to speak for five years.
she went on to become an occultist singer and actress, then worked with martin luther king, junior, and malcolm x.. after king's assassination with encouragement from james baldwin, maya angelou and, "i know what the caged bird sings." the book launched the phenomenal career for which she is known around the world as an award-winning author and people's poet. five years ago this week, president obama is stowed upon her the nation's highest civilian honor -- the presidential medal of freedom. the new documentary "maya , angelo, and still i rise," and takes its title from one of angelo's most beloved works. >> you may write me down in history with your bitter, twisted lies, you may tread me in the very dirt but still, like dust, i'll rise. does my sassiness upset you? why are you beset with gloom?
'cause i walk like i've got oil wells pumping in my living room. just like moons and like suns, with the certainty of tides, just like hopes springing high, still i'll rise. did you want to see me broken? bowed head and lowered eyes? shoulders falling down like teardrops. weakened by my soulful cries. does my sassiness upset you? don't take it so hard just havese i laugh as if i gold mines digging in my own back yard. you can shoot me with your words, you can cut me with your eyes, you can kill me with your business, but just like life i'll rise. ,does my sexiness of hindu? does it come as a surprise
that i dance as if i have diamonds at the meeting of my thighs? out of the huts of history's shame i rise up from a past that's rooted in pain i rise a black ocean, leaping and wide, welling and swelling i bear in the tide. leaving behind nights of terror and fear i rise into a daybreak that's recklessly -- miraculously clear i rise bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, i am the hope in the dream of the slave. naturally, there i go rising. reading fromelou her poem "still i rise" surprisingly, she has never been the subject of a feature-length
documentary until now. the new film, "maya angelo and still i rise." it offers insight into the public and personal life through rare archival footage and in-depth interviews with angelo and her friends from rapper common to oprah to former president bill clinton. last month, i sat down with the coproducers and directors of the film, rita coburn whack and bob hercules, as well as angelo's grandson, colin johnson. i began by asking rita for a thumbnail sketch of angelo's life. >> so you have a person that is born in 1928 in arkansas. by 1935, she goes to st. louis, so she is action part of the great migration. by the time she goes to san francisco in her teens and then thees there and goes in
1960's to new york -- amy: but for a second, she is being handed out between her grandmother and her mother -- >> i think the overarching thing happening in her life is she has experienced a lot of rejection. she has experienced abandonment, experienced not being accepted from that racism to even inside her home. so when we start the film with one of her quotes, you may many defeat for you must not be defeated, it sums up her life. amy: she was raped as a child by her mother's boyfriend. >> yes, at seven. amy: at seven years old. she did not speak for the next five years? >> she did not speak for the next five years, but she also says when she decided to speak, she had a lot to say. the during those five years, she read. and that is one of the equalizers. and also, go back to the south
at a time when people carry themselves, blacks, with a certain comportment. there may have been poor people around, but for her, her family was not poor. her grandmother owned a store and owned land. so she was educated from the moment she got there. so in that five years, she is work thate kind of would give her a college 13 --ion from seven to all of shakespeare's works. she's a self educated person in a south that blacks held in esteem about education. does she transfer that into, as she moves into adulthood, where does she had? you talk about her going to new york. >> well, when she goes, she has all of that background in her.
it is ingrained in her. and she also has from grandmother henderson, religion, biblically based, classically taught. and then from her mother, vivian baxter, vivian baxter's family was more like a group of gangsters. i mean, they fought. they gambled. it was a fast life. so she had the streetsmarts. she has extraordinary intelligence. she had faith. and she ins up taking that and having the strength to go and try new things. it is not like it came from nothing, it came from all of that together. >> when she went to new york, she joined the harlem writers guild and she is been writing and she had run into langston hughes and john killen and they convinced her to move to new york in the late 1950's and join the harlem writers guild come a which was a very important thing for her because then she was in a community of writers. and they could critique her work
and she could critique their work. in a way, it changed her life and set her on that path to become a writer, though she was to performing at the time. amy: even before she meets all of these legendary figures, she had a child. she had a baby. colin, you are her babies baby. you are guy johnson son. talk about maya angelou as a young, single mother, the decisions she made, the stories you told in your family, how she ended up having your dad, guy. >> how in the first question are little different. womand say her as a young , i think she had this power and feeling inside of her that she is a work that was unaccomplished. it ella sing that with being a mother. and i think she was torn with the same decision that her mother at her parents actually
made as well as the stay on a daily basis and be that parent or go off and live your life. amy: she was a teenage mother. and she made the decision to have this baby alone. >> i don't know i would phrase it that way. i would say that her pride in the way she was raised allowed her to walk out of the door with the young child intel and -- in tow and rid the world. i don't know it was a decision thought out from the very beginning to have the child. i think was a series of events, as the rest of her life has played out, is like, i decided have sex with this man and a few months at her, i found out i was pregnant and now we have to deal with that. and her mother, my great grandmother, was an amazing powerful woman. basically sent her, when you step out the store, don't tell anybody else you don't feel like you have been raised. you have been raised.
you have all of the tools to go out and conquer the world, we just amazing statement to make two young woman who was -- to a young woman with little formal education, but self-taught. and self driven internally. i would just use different words in the description of it. renownedre being world as a poet and writer that she was, she was an actress. she was a calypso singer. let's go to 1957. can you place this for us? >> yes, she was a singer and somewhere along the way she had picked up calypso singing. she started out as a dancer and then became a singer. somebody at one point had said to her, you know, if you could do this calypso act, you can get paid a lot more money and you could be in some of the better clubs in san francisco. she took that on and
begin to calypso singer. she ended up being in this movie, somewhat obscured movie that came out in 1957 called "calypso heatwave." as aareer was launched performer. she had been playing in vegas and doing all kinds of shows will stop eventually, she went to see performance of "porgy and bess" in san francisco and one thing led to another and they offered her a job of going on to her --tour and she went all over the world with "porgy and bess." amy: setting up this clip from this little-known part of my angelou's life, the time when she was a calypso singer interspersed with her singing and performing. you have diane carroll speaking. >> one of our favorite lines, maya comes out and diane carroll describes her in the last thing she says, "no shoes."
it strikes me that was the detail she caught. amy: let's go to maya angelou. >> my angelou1 >> i talk some friends of mine to going to this little club and what i remember is maya making her entrance. shoes.ll, very grand, no >> ♪ original.was an an understatement. >> she was exact and refined with her movement. beautiful sculpture. >> at the time, that was the trend in music, from caribbean, calypso, and maya was known as
miss calypso. >> ♪ always busy in the marketplace ♪ ♪ the flower girl has the innocent face the most well read in the marketplace just for fun ♪ >> the voice was no great voice, but she knew how to use it. >> ♪ all that happens in the marketplace ♪ she was dancing and singing and she was not wearing shoes, rita. this, i think this was alert, even if you look at the liner notes, and in the liner notes, they say that she came from some caribbean country. because they wanted to just promote her as this dancer at this time.
and that was important. and it moved her to another place. the statered with department -- and this was useful step many people had not been out of the country. it to be in a group of african-americans that then tour -- she was not only in france where she met james baldwin for the first time, that she was also in -- toured in egypt and the mideast. and times, americans would not normally have gone to. it was in interesting expense for her and she picked up languages and picked up the culture and broaden her horizons tremendously. amy: bob hercules and rita coburn whack, codirectors of the new film, "maya angelo and still i rise." i spoke to them at the sundance film festival along with my angelou's grandson colin johnson
amy: "run, joe" by maya angelou. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. as we continue our look at a new documentary that debuted last month at the sundance film festival in park city, utah, "maya angelo and still i rise." it's the first feature-length documentary to focus on the writer and poet. maya angelou was a close friend
and colleague of dr. martin luther king, jr., and his wife karen scott king. dr. king was assassinated on angelou's birthday, april 4. in 2006, maya angelou spoke at coretta scott king's funeral in georgia. ta on those late nights coret and i would talk, i would make her laugh and she said that martin king used to tell her, you don't laugh enough, and there's a recent book out about sisters in which she spoke about her blood sister, but at the end of her essay, she said, i do have chosen sister, maya angelou , who makes me laugh, even when i don't want to. and it is true. i told her some jokes, for no mixed company. [laughter] many times on those late
evenings, she would say to me, sister, it shouldn't be an either/or, should it? peas and justice should be known to all people everywhere all the time, isn't that right? and i said then and i say now, coretta scott king, you are right. i do believe that peace and justice should be known to every person everywhere all the time. and those of us who gather here, principality, presidents, senators, those of us who run great companies, who know something about being parents, who know something about being preachers and teachers, those of us, we owe something from this minute on so that this gathering is not just another footnote on the pages of history. [applause] we owe something.
i pledge to you, my sister, i will never cease. i mean to say, i want to see a better world. i mean to say, i want to see some peace somewhere. i mean i want to say, i want to see some honesty, some fairplay. i want to see kindness and justice. this is what it want to see, and i want to see it through my eyes and through your eyes, coretta scott king. ♪ i open my mouth to the lord and i won't turned back, no i will see what the end is going to be ♪ thank you. amy: that was maya angelo speaking in 2006 at coretta scott king's funeral. last month at sundance, i sat down rita coburn whack and bob hercules, the producers and co-directors of the documentary, "maya angelo, and still i rise,"
as well as angelo's grandson, colin johnson. talk about when she first met dr. martin luther king and was she first met malcolm x. who had such a profound effect on her life. theuston had been with southern christian leadership conference and he was leaving. and he had been -- my angelou had become known because in the decided,0's, she had what she heard him speak at riverside church, she had decided that she would get together with a group of artists and they would put on a play to raise money for the southern christian leadership conference, so she did that and it was called "cabaret for freedom." i believe it played at the village gate. >> is something she did with godfrey cambridge. >> and a number of actors at that time would get together for
martin luther king and one of her lines about that is, when she heard that he was talking about nonviolence and she herself has suffered so much violence in herself been violated, it was like pouring water on a parched desert. she was ready for it. and so she became the coordinator for the southern christian leadership, the northern coordinator, which was really fundraising. and she was now an executive with that organization, and was raising funds. and he also reminded her of her brother bailey who was very instrumental in her life. and so they formed a friendship. amy: she also was deeply affected by the assassination of patrice lumumba, the first of a credit we let it doesn't elected leader of the congo. what's we found a clip of the
protest in new york shortly after patrice was assassinated and many people suspected it was cia meddling that led to this assassination. and other activists at the time went down to the united nations until this protest and they somehow got into the united nations and we have this amazing newsreel clip showing that actual event. amy: it is astounding. it was adlai stevenson. .he u.n. ambassador ric >> and rosa guys who was with the harlem writers workshop, her sister at some point screamed, "murderers!" and when that happened, there ensued a fight and a riot of sort in the u.n. when she told us that in winston-salem, we looked for the u.n. tapes and we were able to find that. amy: the footage is amazing.
it is pandemonium that breaks out. and then she goes outside and there's a protest in the streets. >> so there was a protest -- the one we show is not linked to record to that united nations protest, but guy johnson talks about it is a protest about the freedom fighters who had been down in the south and had been abused, murdered in some cases -- amy: the freedom riders. >> yes. so guy johnson tells the story of a protest that he and his mother were a part of. the police came in on horseback. it was very intimidating, as you can imagine. the crowds parted and they slowly were getting people away, but maya angelou and her son guy held ground with about five other people. amy: guy is a little afraid, looking to his mother and saying, "ma, we got to go." >> maya held her ground and then she finally thought of something
spontaneously. she took the hairpin and stuck it into one of the horses, the main horse, and the horses -- it was masked and ammonium. it diffused the situation. amy: the horse rears up and you have the sergeant. >> and the people come back into the situation and finished the march. i think one of the things that you see, and colin have i talked about this, is the fearlessness and her term there which comes from grandmother henderson is, "god and i are a majority." and that is where she got the no fear from, that we have to do what is right. and protests were a part of her life for a very long time. we could not document all of the protests, but she protested against apartheid. she protested for black men have rights. she protested and she would always say, don't complain.
protest, but don't complain. she held that to her days. she held that you should protest. , rita, can you talk about her meeting with malcolm x and how he changed her life? ultimately, it is the reason she came back to the united states. >> when maya angelou the 1960's, all in to say 1961 or so, went hergypt, went to cairo with then husband, and it was a kind of common-law husbandry, they were in cairo. the relationship ended and she went to ghana. when she went to ghana, it was exciting. debbie be the voice was there. there's a woman in the film, alice windham, who is a sociologist now but was her roommate in ghana. they got together and they found out that malcolm x. was coming.
and malcolm x. wanted to get an african country to bring a charge of genocide against the united states. and all of the people from america who were there, the blacks from america, got together and supported him and talked with him and protested and went into the united nations and went into the embassies to discuss this. so it was during that time that they met and talked about the ideologies that he had and became close. and they really became close. thy johnson also had some time with malcolm x. for that amount of time, they spent that together and she was, as she says, coming back to the united states to work with them. amy: where did she hear that he was assassinated? >> i believe she had a conversation, when she came back to the united states, from the airport. and then by the time they were to get together to actually get
together, he had been assassinated and someone told her to stay in her apartment. had she seen the news? came overno, and they to deliver that information to her because they knew that it would be devastating. and so she never got to work with him when she came back to the united states. years later, dr. king would be assassinated as well. dr. king was assassinated on maya angelou's birthday, april 4. >> that's right. dr. king was assassinated on her birthday. she was going to go back to work for dr. king. she had run into him at some kind of a rally or something, and he came up to her afterwards and said, i want you to come back to work for me, i have an important position for you, basically, going around the country for operation -- it was there
poor people's movement he was starting up. so she agreed to do that, but she said, i just need a little bit of time. i'm going to celebrate my birthday. i'm going to reconnect with some people, and then april 4 happened and he was assassinated. just before she was going to go back to work for him. it was absolutely devastating. she briefly went mute again. a devastated her. but it did lead to something very possible. amy: and it was james baldwin? >> james baldwin was her mentor. amy: slamming on her door saying, "open the store right now." she was not coming out. >> shippen home for about four or five days. notttedly unkempt and speaking and he came and he said, you know, some choice words about opening the door. and she let him in and he said, shower, get ready, i'm going to take you out of here. when he did that, he took her to of jewels feiffer
was there. i believe philip roth was in this group. and there were all talking. she began to tell stories of her childhood. it was there that though stories were heard and judy feiffer, jules then wife, called bob loomis at random house and said, storesht to hear thie this woman has. i think one of my favorite stories, she said there were such racism in stamps, arkansas, that black people could not eat vanilla ice cream. so everybody laughed. she begins to tell the stories. they are stories that she lived. we have often heard this that so much as happened her, and i feel like, well, welcome to the world of blacks born in 1928, jim crow south and so on, but she has done -- she did an amazing job of not only living through that
ing that document history, participating in the history, and being so well documented. one of the things you have in this documentary is you have history from a black woman's perspective, which is beyond phyllis weekly. it is not what is written down. we don't have that. of whiche trajectory were life path was on -- her life path was on is something we had to dig and to follow and to try and embrace. amy: she writes, "i know why the caged bird sings" in 1969. lutherter, dr. martin king dies. she didn't want to write it. >> is open issue was, these were areas you did not know. as bob loomis points out, today, everybody writes a book. back at that time, people that were relatively unknown did not write books. about their lives.
so she had to be convinced. as bob said, which he found out it would be difficult, that is when she thought, maybe i can do this. amy: let's go to a clip from "maya angelou and still i rise." >> the writer has to take these most known things and put them together in such a way that a reader says, i never thought of it that way before. that is a challenge. and i know many writers and one said, are you sure you want me to do this? amy: that is from, "maya angelou and still i rise." this is one of many autobiographies, but it was her first. >> it was her first and there are seven. amy: and the response to this, the root -- the claimed she received, was she surprised? >> i think over time she was, but remember, when this book was first done, she talked about
sexual abuse. we talk about that now, seriously, but more casually. when she talked about it, it was taboo. people did not tell that something like this happen, so that book came out in 1969 and it was banned in many schools. now it is of course adoption and colleges and high schools all over the country. 1969,the time period, that was not the case. amy: she talked about rape and prostitution. >> exactly. amy: what was her philosophy and talking about all of this? >> so she talked about rape and sexual abuse in "i know why the caged bird sings," and that took her to 16 and being pregnant. and gathered together my name, a second one takes you from 17 to 19 in which prostitution occurs. and we felt it was very important to put that into the film because she wanted to make
sure that people, she said, could gather together in her name and not have this idea that they had never done anything wrong. that she may have expected that she would be ostracized, but she talked to her family about it, talked to guy about it said, i have to tell this because i lived it. >> i think her point was, that others would learn from this and others could hear her voice and read these books and learn from that and be able to go on with their lives and not be stigmatized by some of the things that happen. it was a powerful lesson. amy: coretta? >> if you ask me, the philosophy, and it kind of goes down and she has an amazing way to boil the situations down, but as, i am human, nothing human can before and to me. as -- can be foreign to me. she also gave of her own life and understood that people were
going to be able to resonate and it would be attainable to people because they come from the same place, which is humankind. amy: maya angelou's grandson colin johnson along with bob hercules and rita coburn whack, codirectors of the new film, "maya angelou and still i rise." i spoke to them last month at sundance film festival in park city, utah. we continue with the conversation in a moment. ♪ [music break]
amy: "human family" from "caged bird songs," maya angelou's final album, which blended her words with contemporary hip-hop. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. with this black history month special, back in 1993, dr. maya angelou recited her poem, "on the pulse of morning," at bill clinton's first inauguration. she was the first poet to make an inaugural recitation since robert frost did so at john f. kennedy's inauguration in 1961. >> mr. president and mrs. president andice mrs. gore, and americans
a rock, a river, a tree hosts to species long sinc departed, marked the mastodon. the dinosaur, who left dry tokens of their sojourn here on our planet floor, any broad alarm of their hastening doom is lost in the gloom of dust and ages. but today, the rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully, come, you may stand upon my back and face your distant destiny, but seek no haven in my shadow. i will give you no more hiding place down here. you, created only a little lower than the angels, have crouched too
long in the bruising darkness, have lain too long face down in ignorance. your mouths spilling words armed for slaughter. the rock cries out today, you may stand on me, but do not hide your face. across the wall of the world, a river sings a beautiful song, it says come rest here by my , side. each of you a bordered country, delicate and strangely made proud, yet thrusting perpetually under siege. your armed struggles for profit have left collars of waste upon my shore, currents of debris upon my breast. yet, today i call you to my riverside, if you will study war no more. come, clad in peace and i will sing the songs
the creator gave to me when i and the tree and the rock were one. before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow and when you yet knew you still knew nothing. the river sang and sings on. there is a true yearning to respond to the singing river and the wise rock. so say the asian, the hispanic, the jew the african and native american, the sioux, the catholic, the muslim, the french, the greek the irish, the rabbi, the priest, the sheikh, the gay, the straight, the preacher, the privileged, the homeless, the teacher. they all here the speaking of the tree. they for the and last of every first tree speak to humankind today. come to me, here beside the river. plant yourself beside me, here beside the river. each of you, descendant of some
past on traveler has been paid for. you, who gave me my first name, you pawnee, apache and seneca, you cherokee nation, who rested with me, then forced on bloody feet, left me to the employment of other seekers -- desperate for gain, starving for gold. you, the turk, the swede, the german, the eskimo, the scot you the ashanti, the yoruba, the you the ashanti, the yoruba, the kru, bought sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare praying for a dream. here, root yourselves beside me. i am that tree planted by the river, which will not be moved. i, the rock, i the river, i the tree i am yours -- your passages have been paid. lift up your faces, you have a piercing need for this bright morning dawning for you.
history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be a lived. but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. lift up your eyes upon the day breaking for you. give birth again to the dream. women, children, men, take it into the palms of your hands. mold it into the shape of your most private need. sculpt it into the image of your most public self. lift up your hearts each new hour holds new chances for new beginnings. do not be wedded forever to fear, yoked eternally to brutishness. the horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change. here, on the pulse of this fine day you may have the courage to look up and out upon me, the rock, the river, the tree, your country.
no less to midas than the mendicant. no less to you now than the mastodon then. here on the pulse of this new day you may have the grace to look up and out and into your sister's eyes, and into your brother's face, your country and say simply very simply with hope good morning. , amy: maya angelou reciting her poem at president clinton's 1993 inauguration. the store komen is chronicled in the new documentary, "maya angelou and still i rise." theebuted last month at sundance film festival in park city, utah, where i sat down film's directors rita coburn whack and bob hercules, the producers and co-directors of the documentary, as well as angelo's grandson, colin johnson.
amy: were you at the clinton inauguration? >> i was. amy: where were you sitting? >> at the top. amy: this is 23 years ago this month. >> yes. wow. amy: and this is when maya angelou recites the poem, "on the pulse of morning." >> yes. considerif i would writing a poem for president clinton's inauguration and i said, yes. then i started to pray and ask everybody, what do you think? history, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be on lived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again. >> that column is a kind of like an eternal gift to america. and it will read well 100 years from now. amy: as she read this, colin, that is grandma up there, she is
the poet of the nation. what were your feelings? alreadyn, she it surpassed pride years before that. amy: how old were you? >> i was in high school, i was 17. i think it is an interesting come to think about because i think it only really realized who she was at like 14. we have been traveling. we were in london or something screamed and a woman and i'm like, we're in a totally different country and she is amazed to be my grandmother. of rawally kind different circle. we just come back from ghana. i had gone with her during that time. which was my first trip back to ghana. and, i mean, the amount of pride that you have in somebody that is your grandmother that has been selected by the leader of the free world to come and be
part of this ceremony that brings them into an amazing presidential term. it is hard -- it is hard to imagine, hard to even put into words how big my heart is and how full my heart was at that moment just to stand there, just to see her do that. and in the words that came out of her mouth, i mean, it is just transformative. that is honest the only way to describe it. and the message and the feelings behind it, she did not speak without purpose. she did not write without purpose. so when she stood up there, she had a message to deliverables. and for those -- she had a message to deliver. and for those that were able to listen and attain it, i think that they were changed. amy: as we wrap up, you have a very unusual approach in this film as having dr. maya angelou
complete her own sentences in different time spans. she will go from a conversation that you have with her to a speech that she is giving, and it is all in one sentence, continuous sentence. piecedout how you together this documentary about this remarkable woman's life, but also what you were most amazed by. >> you are right, we had a wealth of archival material. one of my favorite scenes that illustrates what you're talking about, she is talking about "porgy and bess" and the director of the show said he wanted her to sing an aria but she did not know an aira. and he said, surely, you must know a gospel, something from the church will stop so she performs it. and the rest of the cast is jealous because it is such an amazing performance. we cut back and forth of her singing it from a 1982 clip that bill moyer had done in arkansas
at a church that she attend or was there a 1982, and then we cut from her singing this piece to our present-day interview, and she is in key. it is an amazing moment for me that, at this age, she can come right back to that. you are right, we were able to constantly go back and forth between the archival pieces we had to the present day. we were lucky enough to interview her about three times, three different settings, before she passed. we had a lot of material to work with. body of work.rge i remember when i first asked her, which you do a documentary, she gave me a look up, do you know what you are asking? and i did not quite know. but once she agreed to it, she was very helpful. i remember, once, she called us up and said, how's it coming? you know, i'm not getting any
younger. she was very aware. we also had to be aware that we were taking her back. she had done the box and she could now just live her life. and we were asking her to come back and relive it again for us. extent did that to the that she relived every scene. i think it was cathartic. i think was good for her. amy: and what do you think dr. maya angelou's life tells us about history, race, and racism? >> she would often quote james baldwin, we in these yet to be united states. and that is still a fact, we are in these yet to be united states. .acism is alive and well we must not be defead by it, but we must protest and we must be a part of getting rid of it to the extent that we can, so i think that she would be happy with the fact that we pulled this together in her honor, but
we're still saying the same things, you must not be defeated by this, but you must fight it. amy: finally, colin, what you learned from this woman who you shared with the world? >> i'm not going to spend an hour telling you everything i've learned. what i will say is she brought me to this moment. she would tell me that i am the hand of the smalley for your back, i may let your stomach, but it wl never let you fall. she has played a third parent role in my life my entire life, know, the sense of pride and ability to walk out the door knowing that i have this woman in my corner has allowed me to do many things. i'm just so appreciative of bob and rita to have put such heart into this project and to really care about it and to really nurture it to its full -- to its completion.
i am proud to be sitting next to them and i'm proud of this documentary. it is the first in my grandmother's life. it is just an amazing step four for people to learn about her. amy: colin johnson, the grandson of dr. maya angelou, along with bob hercules and rita coburn whack, codirectors of the new film, "maya angelou and still i rise." i spoke to them at the sundance film festival in park city, utah. if you would like a copy of today's show, you can go to democracynow.org. happy birthday to our archivist, brendan allen. democracy now! is hiring a broadcast engineer, a director of finance and operations and a director of development. visit democracynow.org for more information. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013. [captioning made possible by democracy now!]
(music playing) if you think that beef looks delicious, i wish you could be with me here and taste all the different layers of flavors. when i travel, i pick up influences from all the different cities i'm traveling to, and here is one from st. louis, missouri known for its beer, and the secret? it's actually braised for hours in a rich dark beer. what i like to do also at fleur is serve it with a great macaroni and cheese. on today's show, i'm making this braised flat iron steak along with a wonderful white mushroom mac and cheese. the combination is just perfect. i'll also show you a unique and refreshing salad made with grilled asparagus, radishes, and shiitake mushrooms. stay with me for some unbeatable recipes. come with me in the kitchen, and let's get cooking! ♪