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tv   Arthur Ashe Boulevard Dedication Ceremony  CSPAN  July 29, 2020 8:00pm-9:38pm EDT

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starting now on american history tv, the virginia museum of history and culture cohost a ceremony commemorating the naming of arthur arthur ashe boulevard for the late african american professional tennis player. guests include virginia officials and keynote speaker, congressman john lewis. >> ladies and gentlemen, welcome. good morning and welcome. my name is jamie basking, i have the distinct privilege of serving as president and ceo of
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the virginia virginia society -- on behalf of everyone is made today possible i'm honored to be the first to welcome you to the virginia museum of history and culture. >> (applause) i'm so thankful to see such a remarkable turnout today as we dedicate our father arthur ashe boulevard, we open our newest exhibition, together we mark the 400 anniversary of captive africans in english north america. today's gathering is one of remembrance and reflection, it is also one of celebration. we are gathered on the front lawn of a very historic institution. in fact, this is the oldest cultural organization in the commonwealth of virginia, founded in 1831. for nearly 200 years, we have been collecting materials for the purpose of telling the story of this place. some 14 million historical artifacts are housed within the walls behind me. we have much to be proud of.
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but we still have so very much we must do to be the state history museum we all deserve. the one that represents all and welcomes all. (applause) doctor carter watson, a virginian, and the man considered the founder of black history aptly wrote, those who have no record of what their forebears have accomplished lose the inspiration which comes from the teaching of history. how very true. we must do more, be more and we will. we are committed, here at the museum, to a bright future dedicated inclusion access. the exhibit that we open today is a legacy project of the commonwealth of virginia's 2019 commemoration, american evolution. which remembers key historical events that occurred in virginia in 16 19 and continue to influence america today. including of course, the arrival of enslaved africans at
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point -- virginia. i hope that you will go and learn more about all the state what activities this year, an american revolution 2019 .com. with the support of altria, bank of america, as well as generous supporters con rat and peggy hall, gill and charlotte minor, we have done something truly special that we are proud of. i hope you all will take time to see it. to see it and to learn. learn the stories of 30 virginians over for centuries. stories that people of people like arthur ashe, important stories of perseverance and also progress. stories that remind us of the work still to be done. history is so very valuable for this reason. it gives us perspective and empathy, to make us better people and together, a better community. this is why commemorations like today are so important. this is why dedications like this are so very important. we are fortunate today to have with this or rather distinguished assembly. i would like to make if you acknowledge acknowledgments as we begin. first, to the members of
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richmond city council, thank you very much, for your support and for making this happen. (applause) thank you to our mayor, stony, mister mayor, your team in this city has been a remarkable partner in making today's program possible, thank you, sir. and i will take that one step further, because i would like to commend the many dedicated city employees who contributed their talent and effort to make today possible. dozens of them, all under the leadership of chief administrative officer, so lena coffee glenn, thank you to all of them. >> i would like to acknowledge the representatives of the commonwealth, including numerous members of our general assembly, lieutenant governor fairfax, and governor northam, if you all would please wave and be recognized. (applause) i would like to acknowledge the national representatives with us including members of the congressional black caucus, including congressman bass,
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congresswoman pressley, congressman john lewis will be with us in just a moment, as well as our virginia representatives, congressman bobby scott and congressman don mckee chum. (applause) also with us this morning, our senator and fellow richmond or, tim kaine. now i would like all members of the arthur ashe extended family to give a big waves we cannot that for you. (applause) it is not my pleasure to invite forward mr. tom farrell, chairman, president and ceo of dominion energy, to extend his welcome which he does with our deep appreciation for dominion presenting its sponsorship for today's ceremony.
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tom. >> good morning everyone. today marks a bold step forward for our city. many folks here remember the hard work to build the author ash statue on monument avenue almost 25 years ago. like many things important in richmond, it was very controversial. lots of people had reasons not to build it. or to build it somewhere else. or to do something else altogether. it was not easy. but richmond is a better place today because political and civic leaders with vision took action. leaders like senator tim kaine, who then served on the city council representing the second district. (applause) he helped make that celebration possible. councilwoman tim gray --
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she helped make today's celebration possible. we should all think her for her leadership. (applause) these efforts demonstrate what can happen when good people who love our city come together and persevere, despite all the hurdles and all the naysayers. two of my friends did that it generation ago. the first was a political leader, senator benny lamberts. he served on a board of directors of dominion energy and was my boss. he dedicated his life to serving this city and this state. he led the campaign to raise the money to build a statue. to partner and that effort was a business leader, tom toonie, who is the chief financial officer of dominion energy at the time. tom had play tennis with arthur ash in the sixties and they were teenagers and because the law kept richmond was divided, they had to sneak around to do it.
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arthur ashe was not allowed to play the tennis course just a few blocks down this -- ashes father would stand guard around tennis courts to make sure nobody harassed them. those tennis ports they're long gone, they run a corner. eventually, the post office got built on that site. there is actually a lot of richmond history in that area. when it came time to honor arthur arthur ashe, a political leader and civic leader, got together and shoot a wonderful thing for city. today we honor arthur ashe in this new way, not because of tennis, or wimbledon or the fact that he lived here. we honor him because he believed in serving people. his community was the world. he taught us to call out injustice everywhere, from apartheid in south africa, to
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poverty in haiti. . you. his parents taught him that learning shapes human dignity. he believed in inclusion, despite the fact that he had grown up in a city that did not. he believed everyone deserves a job and a chance to work so they could contribute to society. he believed everyone deserves an affordable place to live. he believed in shaping a future that is different from our past. all of us here today believe those things to. he also believed that learning from the examples set from great people who come before him, like congressman john lewis. there are a lot of distinguish political leaders up here. (applause) and he is almost here. the governor has done a lot to
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make 95 work better. looks like it could use a little more help, governor. i think we should all be very proud to have such a distinguished leader like congressman lewis come to richmond to do this event. be (applause). i believe it's important to name the values that arthur ashe lived by. today is not only about honoring such a great man. it is also about ourselves. and the values that we want to shape the future of our hometown. we believe in a richmond that welcomes everyone. one that learns from our past and built a future that is better for everyone. we believe in holding ourselves accountable to each other. and we believe and looking forward, because we have a lot of work to do to shape the future that we all believe in. so today, we dedicate ourselves to the words that arthur ashe chose for his statue. they come from st. paul's
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letter to the humorous. and now, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight in the sandwich so easily in snares us. and let us run with endurance, the race that is set before us. thank you. (applause) >> thank you, tom, from dominions wonderful and lasting support of this institution and for your presenting sponsorship today, we appreciate it. ladies and gentlemen, if you are able, please now rise, for the presentation of colors by fort lease army color guard, and the singing of the national anthem, by representatives of sixth zion baptist church of richmond.
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♪ ♪ oh, say can you see, by
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the dawn's early light, what so proudly we yield, at the twilight last gleaming, whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight over the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? and the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. oh say does that star-spangled
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banner yet wave over land of the free and the home of the brave. ♪ ♪ (applause) >> ladies and
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gentlemen if you are able please remain standing it is my pleasure -- apart from being a longtime pastor, reverend powell is at friend of this museum having served on our board for many years his leadership shapes our vision for the future and his life experience continues to inspire us today reverend powell. (applause) >> what about your heads and let us pray. oh divine spirit whose presidents has been with us from one generation to another, we thank you for your kind investments in all of us. most especially we are grateful
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for the grift gift of time that has steered us to do and be good. for the acts of yes the years which is part of our history, that have lifted humankind to the making of a better world we say thank you. please forgive us for our times we have used our gifts to divide, to subjugate and to destroy. the collection and preservation of these gifts which spanned over 400 years by this organization the virginia museum of history and culture, these acts give us a clear picture of whom we have been. we pray that in reeling in observing this history we will
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vote ourselves to building that world that is most pleasing to the, on. >> please be seated. >> ladies and gentlemen governor of the commonwealth of virginia, ralph northam. >> please be seated. good morning. thank you to the virginia museum of history and culture for hosting this gathering today and thanks to all of you for being here on this important occasion. to our congressional delegation representing other states, welcome to virginia.
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this year we mark the 400th anniversary of virginia's long history of representative democracy and the arrival of enslaved africans. we must remember that our history is complex. this of virginia is rooted in the simultaneous of pursuit of both liberty and enslavement. a full accounting in demands that we confront and discuss those aspects of our history. and it demands that we look not just to point in time for hundred years in the past, but at how our commonwealth and our country evolved over the course of those four centuries. how did we live up to our ideals or failed to do so. we are examining these issues
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in various ways. this year through exits, forums and other american revolution events. we are also looking at this history through exhibits. the 400 year struggle for black equality and this virginia museum of history and. culture african american, black history is american history. (applause) and the way we teach that history is inadequate inaccurate, which makes (applause) which makes exhibits like this all the more important as we continue to rewrite the narrative.
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i hope, my intention is that virginia takes long overdue action in addressing the racial inequities that exist today. (applause) >> i am grateful for the virginia museum of history and culture to take up that important conversation. we need to continue to have that kind of dialog because when we know more, we can do more. today we also honor a man who challenged limitations on a man of his skin color and by doing so advanced the struggle for equality. by breaking racial barriers in tennis, arthur ash achieved much more than sports fame. that legacy is why we are here to honor him today.
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arthur ash was a ground breaker. i am proud to be here today as we honor his legacy. thank, you and may god bless of you. (applause) >> ladies and gentlemen the sixth mound zion food choir from richmond virginia. (applause)
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(applause) ♪ ♪ >> the commonplace, people are slipping away.
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but as for me, all i can say is thank you lord for all you've done for me (interpreter) ♪ ♪
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you've been my protection (applause) thank you lord for all you've done for me. ♪ ♪ thank you, thank you. thank you, thank you ♪ ♪
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thank you lord for all you've done for me. >> thank you lord for all you've done for me ♪ ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ thank, you thank you lord
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(applause) >> ladies and gentlemen our state senator from virginia -- >> how about another great hand from six mount zion? a beautiful congregation formed by freeze -- but slaves after the civil war.
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so good to be together with all of you richmond friends. i want to thank the museum and all the elected the thank you the congressional black caucus visit -- participating in the forum later this afternoon let's give them a big welcome thank you (applause) i am thrilled to be here with that federal colleagues. (applause) >> together we worry sponsors signed by president trump to commemorate 2019 and former commission to celebrate 400 years of african american history in this country. there was a federal commission in 2007 to commemorate 400 years of english roots of this nation, there was a federal commission in 2015 to
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commemorate 450 years of hispanic roots of this nation if english roots matter, if hispanic roots matter african roots matter. (applause) i applaud my colleagues. i'm an all-time and i don't look that old (laughs) but my goal today is old timer because 24 years ago when i was much younger, much thinner had a lot more hair and was much darker, i was a newly-elected member of the richmond city council as we engage with our community in a very, very memorable debate about whether arthur ash statute should be placed on
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monument avenue in just a few miles. some of you were particularly hopeful -- that you would be here today she was member of our counsel who played such a role given viola and all the 94 councillors a big round of applause. it was controversial, there were protests. there were discussions, there were different points of view. tom farrell said while about whether arthur ash should be recognized it all and if he should, shouldn't be on monument avenue, some said monument avenue should only be reserved for several or general, other said that monument avenue was not good enough for arthur ash. we talked all over that at the time. the debate finished the seven hour meeting until one of the morning. 100 people came and spoke. the pulitzer prize-winning washington post journalist who
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just died in the last two months came to cover this. here is what he wrote. at the time. i came expecting an angry meeting. but what i witnessed instead was a thoughtful discussion on public art, the potency of historic symbols, racial healing and formative action. that's what richmond did at the time and the decision to put the ash statue on monument avenue was a healing in a city and commonwealth and country that still needs healing to this day. (applause) >> i want to congratulate the mayor, i want to congratulate city council for this active healing. the naming of the boulevard, a principle gateway into our city to honor the great arthur ash.
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some people ask the question about whether names or naming or renaming are important. names are very important. the power to name is very important. let me prove to you. in the book of genesis, the story of the formation of the world men and women in the garden of even. what is the first power but god gives demand? the power to name. this is the story that is sacred to jews, christians and muslims. it's in the current, the story is well known. got gives a command to be fruitful and multiply he gives
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a warning don't eat from that tree or something bad will happen. and he gives a power, the first power given to man was the power to name all of the animals in the world. god could've named all the animals, god was gone. but god decided that it was very important for man. four men to be able to choose the names of those around. to choose the names that would be given to his reality. he brought them to man to see what you would call them and man show the name for each one. naming is important. this is not a minor thing that we are doing today. we have to acknowledge that so many of the names on a map of richmond, on a map of virginia on a map of this country, so many of the names were not
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chosen by a full community invested with the power to choose the name of the reality or tell the story about who they were. no, so many of the names that we live with were chosen by tiny, tiny subset of people. people who do not represent the full community of our city or state or nation today. this is an act to rectify that. arthur ash boulevard is a name chosen by an ably representing richmond's full community. that makes this team (applause) that makes this a very great day for our city and hopefully a day that will be followed by many more such days. thank you so much it's great to be with you today
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(applause) >> ladies and gentlemen, mr. david harris nephew of arthur ash. (applause) >> good morning. it seems i am using modern technology today everybody else has books. thank you for your kind words, thank you for supporting this effort. this commonwealth in this state. additionally, richmond, this is truly a spectacular, momentous day. (applause) >> one we should
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never forget. our efforts together or epic. today, we are letting the world know racism, discrimination exclusionary tactics, lack of investment in our children, education and people is bankrupt. we can longer support we can no longer support these ideals. and if you find yourself a gatekeeper to discrimination, and exclusionary tactics, give up your keys today.
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(applause) >> we've had over a year ago and at the moment you opened the door, you said yes. and i realize that was the easiest sale pitch ever had. (laughs) you've been a gracious host and you've contributed significantly. i will tell you this. there are many who avoided this building right here behind me because of what's inside. today, i want you to consider this building is fully integrated in the city of richmond. (applause) >> and as we discussed, we will bring more
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indifferent faces a peoples, ideals and thoughts into this building and be a beacon to the world. >> i do give thanks gratitude -- it's pretty hard sometimes to get to a council person to get a good open dialog and conversation. she also said yes right away. we knew it was risky, but we knew it had to be done. we chose to do the right thing at the right time. you are courageous, you are a gracious leader. and to council, thank you for joining her. (applause) >> the fight and
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struggle is real but today's a celebration. please pet yourselves on the back as you truly have let us. this last but not least, the mayor. (applause) >> from the beginning he said yes also which is amazing. because we've heard know a lot of times in this world. he's truly a man of the people, the children of the city. that is truly phenomenal you made it possible for the world to see what real leadership looks like. continue to lead with your heart and ideals of a man we need -- we named a street after we or you a depth of gratitude, thank. you
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(applause) >> good afternoon richmond, how are we doing out there! ? isn't this a beautiful day in the city of richmond (applause) will today we celebrate the true champion. a champion not only on the tennis court but on the world stage. for civil rights and for racial equality. david, thank you for the introduction and for all that you've done to make this day a reality. let's give him a round of applause everyone.
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(applause) >> not only to preserve and share an important part of your family legacy but also to literally mark in an important time and in a physical place in our city that will from this day forward be known as arthur ash boulevard. that's right! arthur ash full of art! said with me one more time! arthur ash boulevard! i would be remiss if i did not acknowledge the work and action of our richmond city council. in particular the efforts of our second district
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councilwoman kim gray. miss gray carried the legislation that council passed without opposition. making this well deserved and long overdue name change possible. thank you councilwoman gray and the city council! i want to give a shout out to all the relatives of arthur rash who are here today. would you please wave your hands and be recognized again ladies and gentlemen, this is what progress looks like. for too long, words like progress change and ambition have been considered bad words
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in the city of richmond. in richmond, folks did not know that those were arthur rashes keywords. but richmond was a different place when arthur rash was growing up here. the place that was not welcoming to people of color. a common refrain i am sure that arthur heard how do you dare for change and the black, how dare you want progress and be black! how dare you be ambitious and be black! growing up arthur ash was denied access to the all white well maintained tennis court of the south side. it's that he played tennis at brockville park a segregated playground near his home. despite the adversity he faced
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right here in his hometown, but your talent, courage, perseverance arthur ash brought change to the game of tennis. he brought change to this country and he brought change to this world. so it is only fitting on june 22nd 2019, his name and his legacy brings both symbolic and real change to the city of richmond. with this renaming today, and the renaming of the elementary school to barack obama elementary school, and erecting a new statue to the great magdalena walker and jackson warned, (applause) our city is
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transforming. it is changing its future. it is triumphing over its best. as many of you may know, arthur ash already has a statue in our city on monument avenue. and he is the only true champion on that block. who (applause) but i believe naming the boulevard after him is just as powerful and even more meaningful. ladies and gentlemen, this stretch of state group 161 will never be the same after today. today route 161 is getting an upgrade. by naming this boulevard here
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today after arthur ash, we are once again pardoned with our darker past and erasing -- embracing our dark -- embracing our bright future. we are making a pledge not street signs but in our hearts. we are reaffirming our commitment to fairness by creating opportunity for everyone. we are reaffirming our commitment to equality by protecting everyone. we are reaffirming our commitment to being inclusive, regardless of who you are, the color of your skin where you come from, how you worship or who you love. in the score keeping parlance of tennis, the game that arthur
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ash loved and exile that so well he is reaffirming our commitment to love. to love our neighbor, to lift them up. and not write them off. not divide and conquer but unify to put aside differences but focus on common ground and common understanding. i think arthur said it best. we must reach out our hand in friendship and dignity both those who would be friends of ours or those who would be our enemies. simply put, arthur ash boulevard symbolizes the city we want to be. we are becoming each and every day as we believe -- as we build richmond. what a better place to do this enrichment as we commemorate
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the 400 years of the first enslaved africans arriving on the shore of the state. so well represented by the extraordinary work of our friends at the virginia museum of history and culture in this exhibit. today we stand on the shoulders of generations and legacies with the great men and women who came before us. john look -- congressman john lewis who honors as with his presence today. (applause) he will get, here 95 is stuff we all know it! he is here okay! (laughs) still 95 is stuff! (laughs) and and the intersection of our city's past and present it is our duty to take the next step in our journey. on the right path to lead the way for future generations. we already have a map, a road
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to follow that will take us in the right direction. let's follow it together. it's called arthur ash boulevard who thank you richmond and got bless you! (applause) it is now my honor and distinct ledger to welcome my friend and myól>=
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to thank all the dignitaries and people who are with us on this solid but important occasion. today is an -- emotional day for me and i hope to be getting through this with you without getting too many tears. but when you walk into that exhibit and the first thing you see these faces figures it just grabs you. it just grabs you. do you think 400 years later 56 of their children have the honor of serving in the united states congress god is good all the time! (applause) as i stand here today do near the confederate
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chair poll i am reminded how far we've come and how far we have to go. -- we stand on the shoulders of those who've come before on shows who made many sacrifices to make a difference and improve our lives. whether it was an enslaved individual risking harsh and severe punishment to seek freedom, or even to learn to read or worship or those after the civil war who risk deaths and lynching or incremental -- for incremental improvement. those who tried to overcome jim crow, outrageous poll tax, literacy -- supposedly given to them by the constitution. those who knew in their hearts and saw their eyes that equality was fiction one more depravity to treat them less
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than human. those who refused to go to the back of the bus, and those children yes children, who risked isolation and even violence to integrate schools. and those children to recognize second class schools will never prepare them to lead. hard-earned education to fight for all of us the judicial system to break down the races systems in place. those who said yes, those who said yes to when everybody else and no. those who knew that with work and courage and effort, such as the first african american governor in the united states here in virginia in the confederate capital.
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(applause) as we all know, pete systematic racism still permeates our country. 400 years after the forced migration of africans to british north america. we have these incredible examples we had shoulders to stand on in our own time in our place. we still have hero standing up and willing to risk insult, offense in injury until all of us rise. up that's what gives me hope. it gives me inspiration. i see people brought here in worst conditions imaginable treated as less than human, people fighting until you get the same equality and fairness, ideals of this. country joining us today are several heroes who stood up who
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every day in congress fight to bigoted system. so many of these folks in the congressional black caucus. (applause) she inspires me every day her fearlessness, makes me proud to be a soldier in her army. with the california assembly elected her as speaker, making her the first african american woman to serve in this row. this rolled someone who i know needs no introduction to anyone here, my mentor my north start my big brother my congressman
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bobby scott. bobby is the dean of virginia congressional delegation and you better know that when he speaks everyone listens. i don't just mean representatives, i don't just mean african americans, not just democrats all virginians know that he speaks with wisdom, compassion and straight from the heart. congresswoman pressley who will be here later today she is here now! she has kept her promise to me to come from up north massachusetts to the real commonwealth here in virginia! she may be the newest member but as a freshman she brings experience and knowledge and inspiration. she has broken barriers her entire life. recently the first woman of
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color elected in massachusetts and previously the first woman of color elected at boston city council, 100 year is three. 100 year history. it is her belief to raise the voices of those she represents. but today today we are incredibly fortunate to have a singular hero with us, a man whose name is synonymous with courage and conviction someone who's shoulder we all stand, who is an inspiration to so many every single day in the united states congress. i have to admit as a delicate a state senator this man was an inspiration. but never someone i thought it would actually mean meets. seeing in the hall of congress listening to his words of wisdom have has been a life-changing experience for. me for those of you who can't
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imagine i can't imagine those who don't know the story the incredible john lewis let me give you some highlights. born the son of sharecroppers and alabama forced to go to segregated public schools john lewis was inspired other narrowly aged to join in the sunrise movement to make a difference for his people in his community. even as a college student at kissed university, he organized and brick dissipated and freedom rights. challenging segregation at bus terminals and elsewhere. he took great risk and was severely beaten and was beaten two within an inch of his life. in 1964 congressman lewis coordinated registration effort during the mississippi freedom effort. in 1965, a moment sealed in all our memories. unfortunately now finally hint
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-- over the and -- nonviolent protest here they were met by alabama state troopers in violent confrontation became known as bloody sunday. innocent people the attack on innocent people helped passing the civil rights act of 1965. over the next 20 years, journalist continued his dedicated leadership to help his community both in terms of bringing ryan's and bringing them out of poverty. he held diverse positions such as director of the voter education project. in 1977 he was appointed by president carter as the head of action, for an agency overseeing to hundred 50,000
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volunteers. in 1981 he was elected to the atlanta city council in 1986 elected to congress in georgia's fifth district. 's health and continues to hold numerous leadership conditions in congress congressman lewis is contribution to summarize in the country has been recognized by numerous accolades. he has received an richly deserves including over 50 honourary degrees prestigious universities and numerous awards including the medal of freedom, the highest civilian award given to him by president barack obama. in addition, he is the recipient of the only lifetime achievement profile in courage award given by the jfk library foundation. in addition he is the coauthor of the best-selling number one
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book series on the new york times list graphic novel called march. this important work is using classrooms across the country to teach the civil rights movement into league and inspire our next generation of leaders i could go on and on but you're not already here to hear me. and if i did i would still barely skim his biography. he is inspired all the way that we do will be even more inspired by his words and his joining us today. let me introduce to you, our inspiration, a truly great american, richmond, give a warm welcome to congressman john lewis. (applause) thank you.
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thank you very much. thank you for those kind words of introduction. >> i love you. >> i love you too. i love each and every one of you. it's a beautiful day here. i must tell you that it's good to be in virginia. it's good to be here in richmond. senator king, governor. thank you, mister mayor. . it's just good to be here.
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400 years later it's good to be here to see all of the honorable elected officials. you look good. you look smart. to be here with my colleagues of congress. the chair the cdc. you're congress person who i have mentioned earlier. arbery scott. to be here with your wonderful mayor. to be here with my sisters from the northeast. . congresswoman pressley. . and so much is going through my mind, i have a prepared text
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but i'm not going to use it. . i'm almost overcome with something, 400 years later. 400 years later, this young brother, young man here, i know your father. can become the lieutenant governor. (applause) the young man by the name of scott can become the congress person. and this young brother here has fallen in a great line of leaders and becoming the mayor. governor, thank you for being
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you. senator, thank you for being you. i think all the honorable elected officials for getting out there and getting in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble. i didn't grow up in a big city like richmond. i didn't grow up in a big city like washington d.c. or los angeles or boston. i grew up in rural alabama ana form. my father was a sharecroppers, a tenant farmer but back in 1944 when i was four years old and i do remember when i was for. my father had saved 300 dollars and a man sold him 110 acres of land. my family still owns this land today. . so during many, many days and
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many years. long before i was even a dream, when we came over the ocean, 400 years ago, to this land. we learned to pick cotton. we learned to work in the tobacco fields. we learned to -- mules. sometimes, we were beaten and left for did. but we never gave up. we never given, we never lost hope, we kept up faith and we kept our eyes on the prize. somebody, somewhere, should say
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thank you. and i know there's some people in america today who are saying nothing has changed. let me tell you, we live in a different america. when i was growing up and working in the heart of the civil rights movement, people had to count the number of jelly beans in a jar, people stood in an movable lines. we no longer have to count the number jelly beans under. no longer have to count the number of bars on a bar of soap. because somebody, somewhere and sometime gave a little blood. and during this season that is coming up, none of us, it doesn't matter whether we are black or white, latino, asian
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american, straighter gay, we must turn out and vote like we've never ever voted before. (applause) our democracy is in trouble. deep trouble. we must save our democracy and save our country. we can do it. we must do it. when i was growing up and had to go to the field and work, sometimes i would fall behind. my mother would say boy, you need to catch up. i said, this is hard work. she said, hard work never killed anybody. i said, well, it's about to kill me. during the heart of the civil
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rights movement, we were, from sun up to sun down working like in the fields. up there in rural arab alabama, outside of a little town called troy, 50 miles from montgomery, i saw those signs that said white men, colored men, white women, colored women. what waiting, colored waiting. when i asked my mother, my father, my grandparents and my great-grandparents, why. >> they said that's the way it is, don't get in trouble, don't get in the way. but in the words of rosa parks, and martin luther king jr., the young people in little rock and even here in the city, there was a young man from selma, alabama, some of the lawyers remember this case.
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boring ton versus greyhound. arrested, he was a student of howard university, for taking a seat in a so-called white waiting room it became a case. because of what happened here we begin to organize the freedom ride. i was 21 years old, i know my hair, and a few pounds lighter. back in 1961, black people and white people couldn't be seated on a greyhound bus together. leaving the nation's capital. so in may of 1961, 13 of us black and white men in washington d.c. under the leadership accord, and the man by the name of james -- organized the freedom rides in
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1961. along the way, we were beaten and i will never forget a little time town where we attempted to get off the bus, my seat mate was a white gentleman from connecticut, we started to enter a so-called white waiting room and we were beaten, left bloody by members of the clan. many years later the young man who had beaten us came to my office in washington d.c.. and he said, mr. lewis, i've been a member of the clan i'm, one of the people who beat you. will you forgive me? he was in his seventies, but
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his son, in his forties. the son started crying, he started crying. they hug me, i hope them back. and i cried. it is the power of the way of peace, the power of the way of love, the power and the philosophy and the discipline of non violence, we must never, ever, give up on any human being. we must have the power to forgive. we cannot remake what happened 400 years ago, we are here today, as when people, as one family, as one family living in one house, the american house. i got in trouble, what i call
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good trouble, necessary trouble. and i say to all of the young people here and my colleagues in congress, it's time for us to get in trouble again. the trouble, necessary trouble. . my philosophy is very simple. when you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, say something. do something. you cannot afford to be silent. during the sixties i was arrested and jailed 40 times. . since i've been in congress, i've been arrested another five times. and i'm probably going to get arrested again for something. how can we be silent when our government, our government, the federal government is taking little children, little babies from their mothers and their fathers, putting them in cages.
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we should say something. we should stand up and do something. so as we celebrate, as we commemorate, let's think. what are we doing? what are we saying? my colleagues know that i am not alone talker, and that i try to make it short. i try to speak direction. but i am sick and tired, just sick and tired of what is happening on so many levels and our government. (applause) i don't want to be political today, but i think
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it's time for us to get anyway. to get in trouble, if it means a sit in, just sit. if it means a sit down, sit down. can all of you see when the democratic members, two years ago, occupied the floor of the house of representatives for the first time in history for more than 26 hours, trying to do something about gun violence. we've got to stop the madness. we should have to write to be safe at school. to be safe in church. the safe at a party, a club. we must have that right. we are all human. we must be protected. by our government. we don't need all of these guns,
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we don't. we don't need all of these guns. we must stop the killing and put an end to the violence. we can do it and we must do it. now going back to another point i tried to make earlier. so many of our brothers and sisters, so many of our mothers and fathers, never had an opportunity to register to vote. to cast a vote. so when president barack obama was elected, and was declared the winner, i jumped so high, at dr. king old church in atlanta, speaking.
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i didn't think my feet were going to touch the ground. and i started crying and members of the press asked why are you crying so much mister jean lewis? i'm crying for those who never had an opportunity. never ever had an opportunity to register to vote. we lived to see a man of color elected president of the united states of america. i'm crying for my mother, my father, my grandparents and my great-grandparents. crying for the girls that were murdered in birmingham in a church. crying for dr. king and many others, and it's still and many others. rosa parks. president kennedy and robert kennedy.
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two young men that i got to know very well. and sometimes you have to cry. there's nothing anything wrong with crying. but sometimes you are just moved to tears and you get up again and again and again and keep coming. i said to each and every one of you, especially young people here. never, ever give up. never ever get lost in a sea of despair. keep the faith. get in trouble. so we're going to change things for the better, we can do it. and get a good and great education, young people. stay in school. and be prepared to fight the good fight. we are one people, one family, we all live in the same house. not just to the american house
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but the world house. and it doesn't matter whether we are black or white, latino asian american or native american, we are one people. and we must believe in the way of peace. in a way of love. in a philosophy and the discipline of non violence. had it been for the teaching of dr. king and gandhi, our mothers and our fathers, many of us who wouldn't be standing here today. so again, i am very, very hopeful, very optimistic about the future. their forces want to take us back but we are not going back. we have come too far. we are not going back. we are going forward, we are going to pray one america, we are one people, we are one family. we all live in the same house,
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the american house, the world house. never, ever give up. keep the faith. thank you very much. i'm glad to know that members of the arthur ashe family are here. arthur, glad to have changed the name of the boulevard on the street too arthur ashe. he was a good friend. in my home in atlanta, there is a picture with arthur ashe, julian barn and my wife, when he came to visit us many years ago. so think about what arthur ashe it did and the contribution he made. came out of the state, out of this city. thank you, thank you very much.
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(applause) ladies and gentlemen, the allegro folklore society ♪ ♪
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the drum, can you hear me? >> yes. >> the drum calls us, the drunken excess. the drum strengthens us. the drum encourages us. the drum affirms that we are determined. the concept of the drama evolved, congressman lewis, into the drum major, where, like our namesake elegba, he or she opens the roads.
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opens the boulevard, so that the people can come through. so we are going to the root right now. it is foundational. to the cause militia of west africa to bring forward the drum. so that we can continue to live this day as our ancestral sister ruby de would call it, as a let it be known affair. (drumming)
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(applause). ladies and gentlemen, the mayor of the city of richmond, lumbar stony. . let's give another big round of applause to the elegba folklore society.
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(drumming) (applause) (applause). look at the talent we've got in the city of richmond. all right. i want to and by extending the special thanks to jamie bask in, the entire staff at the virginia museum of history and culture, which has put on this fabulous event. let's give a round of applause.
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the age mc is boldly leading the way in advancing our commonwealth's past with this view towards the future as evidenced by the exhibit that just opened. if you have not gone, i ask that you go today. it is an appropriate way to describe not only the current exhibit but also the mission of vhmc. i would like to acknowledge the efforts of david harris as well. the net the nephew of arthur ashe. along with brown, from rand off college, helps bring in key sponsors like dominion energy and spearhead of the outreach behind the arthur ashe initiative. they helped turned a street renaming into the national weekend celebration of our city and of an american hero that
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was long overdue. thanks for also due to our regional and state government partners in the richmond metropolitan transportation authority. and the virginia department of transportation. their support for the change and the new signage that you will see on the highways and in park ways great visitors and workers to our city every day will make the right first impression on the city of richmond. and finally, i would like to thank our very own city of richmond employees. (applause) a little windy up here. led by our chief administrative officer and i also want to
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thank our parks and recreation delay director chris, i also want to thank the men and women of the department of public works led by bobby vincent. in just a moment, they will begin the process of replacing every sign that says boulevard in our city, with a sign that says arthur ash boulevard, all by the end of the weekend. i have one question left, are you excited? are you ready for the unveiling? if i could ask our choir to move into position now, but the big moment. i also would like to invite councilwoman kim grave, you can clearer path right on the middle please. for councilwoman gray.
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and also, i would like to invite david harris to join me for the unveiling. to represent the great cooperation between the city, rmta, one sign is been provided, the work will begin, express lines will fall over the weeks ahead. once we are in position, i will invite you all to join me in the countdown. are you ready? are you ready? >> yes. >> all right.
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five, four, three, two, one. (applause) ♪ ♪
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♪ ♪. at
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♪ ♪
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♪ ♪ (applause) (applause) ladies and gentlemen, thank you so much for joining us today for this important moment of remembrance, reflection and celebration. let's not forget the anniversary we mark today, and the remarkable people who forced our path. as our platform party departs, i would ask that you please stay seated for just a few more moments. i do hope that you will enjoy
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the rest of your day on tv arthur ashe boulevard, determined is officially open and the virginia museum of history and culture is free all day. please enjoy. i would like to recognize our wonderful neighbors and collaborators, the projected museum of fine arts. they invite you to visit their commemoration to thousand eyeing teen exhibit, because militias from the tree of life, art from the african american south, with 34 extraordinary works of art acquired by the museum. the museum is also free they have refreshments as well. at 2 pm, congressman will host his colleagues of the united states congressional black caucus for a town hall session on the state of black america, here at the museum, at the roberts family forum. also today, i hope you will join us at arthur ashe athletic center for a community gathering of games, food and fun. this is a remarkable game of richmond and for the commonwealth of virginia, thank you for joining me. have a wonderful day. >>
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(applause) secretary of state mike pompeo testifies thursday before the senate foreign relations committee on the department's 2021 budget request. watch that live at 8:30 am eastern, on c-span three. online at, or listen live on the free c-span radio app. american history tv continues now, with remarks from civil rights leaders fred gray and john lewis on the life of rosa parks. they highlighted her activism with organizing boycotts and non violent protests against segregation and discrimination. this event was held to celebrate the opening of the new exhibit, rosa parks, in her own words, at the library of congress. >> please welcome the librarian of congress, doctor hagan


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