June 21, 2013
Guests: Melissa Harris-Perry, E.J. Dionne, Martin Luther King III, Mark
Geragos, Faith Jenkins Marsha Clark Marshall Hennington
REVEREND AL SHARPTON, MSNBC ANCHOR: Also on this day the murders of three
civil rights workers in the case that shocked the nation and came to be
known as Mississippi burning. I`ll talk about it all with my special guest
Martin Luther King III.
But, we start with tonight`s leap. Major developments in the George
Zimmerman second-degree murder trial. From the very last day in court
before opening arguments. Today, the judge made an important ruling on
what prosecutors are allowed to say in their opening statement.
Prosecutors can say the phrases profiled, vigilante, want to be cop and
they can say that Mr. Zimmerman confronted Trayvon Martin.
The defense had hoped to block all those words from being used by the
prosecution. We`re still waiting for a ruling on what could be the key
evidence in this trial. The state`s expert analysis of a 911 call made by
witness the night that Trayvon Martin was killed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they`re yelling help but I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does he look hurt to you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t see him. I don`t want to go out there. I
don`t know what`s going on. They`re sending.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You think he`s yelling help?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is your phone number?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There`s gunshots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The state`s expert says those screams came from Trayvon Martin.
The defense is raising questions about the expert`s methodology and says
his testimony should not be admitted at the trial opening. Statements
begin on Monday at 9:00 a.m. The jury will decide whether Mr. Zimmerman is
guilty or not guilty in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.
Joining me now is former prosecutor Marsha Clark and author of "Killer
Ambition" and former criminal prosecutor Faith Jenkins and criminal defense
attorney, Mark Gegaros.
Thank you all for joining me.
FAITH JENKINS, FORMER CRIMINAL PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
MARK GERAGOS, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Thank you.
MARSHA CLARK, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Thank you.
SHARPTON: Marsha, let me start with you. What`s your reaction to today`s
ruling that prosecutors can use words like profiled and vigilante in their
opening statements? Will that have real bearing on the case?
CLARK: Well, I mean, it was a ruling that had to happen, frankly. And
there is no way that the judge can stop the prosecution what saying what it
is theory of the case is. And the prosecution theory is that Zimmerman
profiled Trayvon Martin and pursued him because he was black. And that is
the theory and that he took justice into his own hands and he was a
vigilante and that`s their theory. Whether they can prove it or not is
another matter. But, the judge can`t prevent them from saying what they
intend to prove. And if they don`t prove then, that would be for the jury
to factor in.
SHARPTON: Mark, your reaction. What does this mean to you in terms of the
fact the defense fought to keep it out. The judge put it in. Is this a
big defeat for the defense or is this something the defense would try to
get out and it`s no big deal?
GERAGOS: I don`t think it`s a big deal at all.
Look. The major battle was yesterday with the jury selection. The defense
won at the jury selection battle or war, if you will overwhelmingly. This
kind of stuff, I think, is what was going to be expected. I mean, clearly,
he`s a want to be cop. Clearly, there is going -- there is always going to
be this kid of threaten by the prosecution that he is a vigilante. So, I
don`t think it`s any surprise to me at all. I think they have to object to
protect the record.
But ultimately, after yesterday`s resounding victory by the defense in
terms of getting this racial makeup of the jury, all of this is, to me, a
SHARPTON: Now, Faith, do you agree that the defense won the jury
selection? Do you think they overwhelmingly as mark said won in terms of
JENKINS: In terms of racial diversity, yes. Because both sides realize
with the underlying issues of racial profiling in this case which I think
will be the inference even though the state may not use the word racial.
When they use profiling, that is going to be the inference.
I think that they realize that had the African-American jurors on the jury
most of them would be particularly outraged that this initial confrontation
that all of this case to place because George Zimmerman looked at Trayvon
Martin and assumed he was up to no good and assumed he was about to commit
a crime based on the way he looked and how he was dressed. The defense
wanted to avoid having a lot of African-American jurors. They in a sense
won that battle.
SHARPTON: Let me go to you, Marsha. You seem to disagree this was a
defeat for the prosecution, the jury selection.
CLARK: Well, not a complete defeat. I think that it is true absolutely
getting a white jury is a coupe for the defense, no question. But that
was bound to happen given the neighborhood, where they are, that location.
It`s very largely a white population. So, they were bound to have a jury
pool that was largely white.
On the other hand, you do have women on the jury and most of the women have
son -- I`m sorry, have children and they are married. I think that helps
the prosecution. I don`t think it`s a slam dunk for the prosecution but
there`s some hope that the feeling that a mother has for her son will have
them identified a little bit with Trayvon as a possible that could be my
son. That kind of feeling. So, there is that possibility in favor of the
prosecution. It`s not a, to me, a complete slam dunk for the defense.
It`s good for them though.
SHARPTON: Well Mark, wouldn`t the fact that 12 percent of the county is
African-American, wouldn`t y assume that you could -- yes you have a
majority white county but you certainly could have had a diversity of some
kind on the jury. And we are told that one of the six is Hispanic or
African-American. It is not clear from the prosecution which one that is.
I don`t know that because the majority of the county is white that that
would in many ways satisfy a lot of people that were looking for diverse
GERAGOS: I`ve always said since day one of this case, look, if you were
anywhere else and you shoot and kill somebody, unless you`re a cop you get
arrested immediately and they ask questions later. Here you shoot a kill
somebody, they ask question, there`s an investigation. A lot later you get
a filing in this case and a lot later after that we`re now at trial. And
I`ve always thought if they tried it in this county that there`s no way the
prosecution wins. I mean, this county is a very conservative area.
And this racial makeup, you know, I don`t have to tell you the great
secret, maybe not so secret criminal justice system is that it`s all about
race. And this case is all about race. And it`s going to be decided by a
jury which frankly is not very diverse in the least.
SHARPTON: Now Faith, isn`t that now, a lot of point, certainly, I and a
lot of people were raising, is why there wasn`t an immediate arrest? It is
this why a lot of people around the country are looking now saying whether
guilty or innocent, we don`t know, but the process is something that smacks
some things that are alarming.
JENKINS: Right. And that`s why when you heard a lot of the jurors talk
about the media and the initial reporting on the case and how they were
skeptical about it which we have to understand that those media reports and
all of those reports is what led to George Zimmerman being arrested.
Because otherwise, this entire ordeal probably would have fallen under the
And in addition to this, I just want to say about the women being on the
jury; that does help the prosecution here because the state is going to
argue George Zimmerman is a parent`s worth nightmare. As a mother, you
expect to be able to seeing your child to the store and they come home OK.
You expect your child to be able to walk to school and they come home OK.
And you are worried about bullies and people who focus on them for unfair
reasons. That`s why I think the prosecution won in terms of gender.
GERAGOS: That`s the interesting thing --
SHARPTON: We still don`t have -- I`ll come back to you, Mark.
But, Marsha, let me ask you. We still have a ruling on whether the expert
will be allowed to testify but we do know the tape will be played. We
heard the tape. The prosecutor`s audio expert said it was able to identify
a phrase in the screaming as he described as quote "Trayvon Martin`s loud
high pitched distressed and saying I`m begging you."
The audio expert says what he refers to as the final cry before the gunshot
in Trayvon Martin`s voice. Quote, "the word appears to be stop. I
conclude tentatively that the word was produced by the younger of the two
male speakers, Trayvon Martin."
Could this testimony that`s allowed in hurt Zimmerman`s self-defense claim
in a very serious way?
CLARK: Absolutely. I think it thrashes the defense because if that is --
the jury does believe the expert, first of all, if the expert is allowed to
testify which is still in it, but if that expert is allowed to testify and
the jury believe that testimony, that`s the end of the self-defense for
George Zimmerman. That claim goes down the drain because it is clear that
could Trayvon Martin is begging for his life. And a man begging for his
life is not the aggressor as George Zimmerman is claiming.
SHARPTON: Marsha Clark, Faith Jenkins and Mark, we`ll be back. Stay with
us. I have lots more to talk about this jury.
Coming up, we`re learning more about the jury tonight and how more how a
sequestered jury could have an impact on this trial.
And I love hearing from you. Send me your e-mails. "Reply Al" is coming.
Stay with us.
SHARPTON: Who are the jurors in the George Zimmerman trial and how will
their life experiences inform their decision? That`s next.
SHARPTON: We`re back with our continuing coverage of the George Zimmerman
The six jury members who will decide Mr. Zimmerman`s faith are enjoying
their final weekend before being sequestered for the entire trial. And
today, we`re learning more about these six women and the six women panel,
of course, five of the jurors are married, five are mothers and two have
teenager children. So, how might this play into decision making? What
else do we know about their backgrounds and how well sequestration impact
on the group dynamic?
Back with me now are Marsha Clark, Mark Geragos and Faith Jenkins. Joining
me also is Dr. Marshall Hennington, a nationally recognized trial and jury
Marsha, let me go to you first. What are your thoughts on the jury that
CLARK: Well, I do believe there are aspects of them that are very helpful
to the prosecution and then there are aspects that are extremely and
unquestionably helpful to the defense. The fact that many in this jury
have guns or guns in the family is very helpful to the defense. It means
that they are much less likely to be disproving of Zimmerman`s possession
of a gun that day. The fact that they are, you know, the racial makeup
that we have, also is in Zimmerman`s favor. To the degree that they are
mothers of children, as I have said, I think that can be helpful to the
prosecution. How helpful is the big debate. The fact that most of them
are married and live in the community gives them a sense of involvement in
the case and an investment in the protection of their community as well.
That might tend to favor -- that actually could go either way. It just
depends on the other factors.
SHARPTON: Let me ask you, Doctor Hennington. You`re a consultant on
jurors. You pick it up from there. What do you see in this?
MARSHALL HENNINGTON, JURY CONSULTANT: Well, Marsha brings up great point.
And all of those are absolutely correct because the fact that you have
primarily a female jury panel. The fact of the matter is that we know that
the defense is going to t to switch this around and say in the opening
statements that it was Mr. Martin who was the aggressor. It was Mr. Martin
who didn`t follow the instructions. And what they`re also going to show is
they are going to show the photos that Mr. Zimmerman was victimized, the
bruises, the scrapes so on and so forth that he sustained as a result of
Mr. Martin being the aggressor in hurting him and attacking him and
therefore he had no other option other than to use the gun and kill this
SHARPTON: But Mark, if the defense certainly goes with that strategy,
wouldn`t that make it even more important to the prosecution that this tape
in experts come in because this tape and the experts saying that that was
in fact Trayvon that was yelling for help would dispel in many ways them
being able to use that effectively as a defense.
GERAGOS: I`m not so sure this judge is going to let that tape come in,
number one. I think number two, I think that when you get into a battle of
the experts here, clearly, the defense has got the better experts than the
prosecution does. I mean, remember the defense is able to put up FBI
experts who say that this is basically junk science. So, I`m not so sure
that the prosecution is going to want to get what they`re wishing for here
because I think ultimately if it comes in, I think the defense is going to
eviscerate them on this. I will also tell you as far --
SHARPTON: Well, Faith, no, but the tape is -- the tape is coming in, Mark.
I think the expert --
GERAGOS: Right. What they`re doing is what they call a Kelly hearing or
fry hearing where they will decide, the judge is the gate keeper, whether
or not the experts get to come in and opine. Obviously, the tape would
come in because the tape, the jury can listen to it. they can make their
own decisions. They can try and determine whether or not whose voice it
is. Are you younger or are you older?
But, that ultimately, I don`t think is going to matter a whole lot because
when you get back, I hate to be like a dog with a bone, but it`s the jury
that is going to decide this and two of those jurors, if you believe the
reports yesterday, I wasn`t in that courtroom. They were challenged by the
prosecution, they were, at least, preliminarily excused. The defense then
went up to the judge and made what`s called a Batson challenge and said
judge, they are excusing these people because of race. The prosecution did
not overcome that and the jurors were then reseated. That`s one-third of
the sitting six jurors. I think that`s devastating because remember, the
defense does not have to get a unanimous jury here. They hang it and
that`s as good as a win. So, I don`t see any way possible that the defense
loses this case.
SHARPTON: But Mark, you also on the other side, you have one person that
was seated that said that they think Zimmerman may have done something
wrong. So Faith, wouldn`t that go either way that if you get a hung jury
and I`m not saying you would, wouldn`t given the impact of this case the
prosecution go forward and try this again. I don`t know that would be an
outright victory for anybody.
JENKINS: Right. And that, I think, given the nature of this case that is
exactly what will happen. But we will see in opening statements and when
the judge rules probably today on whether these experts will come , we`ll
see how the state will play this. If they put these experts in, I think
Mark is right, the defense is going to have their own experts. But these
jury, these jurors are going to hear this tape for themselves. They are
going to hear the screams for themselves and they are going to try to make
a determination on their own.
I still think that this tape is so powerful. It favors in prosecution in
their arguments when it`s corroborated by this other witness, this other
young lady who is going to come forward and testify saying she was on the
phone with Trayvon Martin at the time. If the jurors believe that young
lady, they may also are probably going to believe it was Trayvon very
welling on that 911 tape.
SHARPTON: Marsha Clark, don`t we also have the problem if we`re the
defense that Mr. Zimmerman was interviewed by police and they played the
tape and the transcript of the interview said he said to police that
doesn`t sound like me screaming when they said that`s you. He said that
doesn`t sound like me screaming and never even followed up saying but I was
screaming that night. Don`t we have a problem if we`re the defense, if we
are confronted with Zimmerman himself said, as well as the fact the
screaming stopped after the gunshots went off.
CLARK: Yes, absolutely you do. I mean, you have Zimmerman`s own statement
that is in conflict with the claim it was himself on the tape. That is
going to be, of course, featured prominently by the prosecution. And you
have -- you do have and I agree with Faith here, even if you don`t have an
expert come in, you are going to have these jurors listening to the tape
and deciding for themselves whether that sounds like Trayvon or Zimmerman.
And don`t forget, too, they are going to hear Zimmerman testify. I don`t
know how he can sell self-defense claim in this case without taking the
stand. They are going to hear his voice. So, they are going to have the
ability to judge for themselves and they will one way or another. Don`t
forget too, you have somebody on that jury who worked for call center.
She`s going to assert some level, I would imagine, of expertise in
listening to and deciphering these calls.
On top of that, I think we should remember, this is only a six person jury
and they are sequestered. When it comes to talk about a hung jury, the
likelihood of that under these circumstances is very, very slim because
sequestered jury is, number one, have a tendency to (INAUDIBLE) to become a
homogeneous group together and be more like each other as time goes by.
It`s a short trial so that`s less so here. But still, it happens. And
then you only have six. It`s much easier to convince six beyond a
reasonable doubt than 12.
GERAGOS: You think six women will homologize in the sequester jury.
That`s a lot of issue.
CLARK: Yes, I do.
SHARPTON: Hold it. Members of the jury. I`m the judge on this show.
Doctor Hennington, tell me about sequestration. What is that -- what is
the effect will that have on the case?
HENNINGTON: I agree you that may have in the very beginning individuals
that have different opinions and then at some point they may actually have
similar opinions. But the fact of the matter is all these individuals that
are a part of the jury panel are independent thinkers, OK? And the
research does not show that in terms of this group think mentality that the
outcome is always conclusive so that there is anonymous jury involve with
this, all think the same way and that all vote the same way. So, the
research doesn`t always conclude that.
But the fact is, is that my belief is you have independent thinkers. It
doesn`t necessarily bode well for either side at this point. The
sequestration issue to me has been something that`s kind of iffy. The fact
of the matter is that jurors get information from various sources, OK?
Don`t think just because they are sequestered that they`re not going to,
you know, be able to find out certain things about this case. That`s not
the case at all. In fact, we know that jurors can be resourceful. A lot
of times they don`t listen to what the judge instructs them to do. So,
that is another issue that both sides have to be aware of.
SHARPTON: I`m going to have to hold it there.
Marsha, Mark, Faith and Marshall, great discussion. Thank you for your
time this evening.
JENKINS: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And we will have special coverage of the opening statements in
the George Zimmerman trial next Monday at 6:00 p.m. eastern right here on
We will be right back.
SHARPTON: Fifty years ago this weekend the original "I have a dream"
speech. Weeks before the march on Washington, Reverend Martin Luther King
Jr. came here to Detroit for what was then the largest civil rights march
in American history. More than 100,000 marched in peace to hear Dr. King
unveil the words that would make history.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DOCTOR MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., ACTIVIST: I have a dream this afternoon
that one day, one day little white children and little Negro children will
be able to join hands as brothers and sisters.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Today we also remember a tragedy. The brutal murder of three
civil rights activists by the KKK, an atrocity that shocked the nation. I
will talk about all that history and the work still to be done with Martin
Luther King III.
Stay with us.
AL SHARPTON, MSNBC HOST, "POLITICS NATION": President Obama is
vowing to fight for change. He`s focusing on immigration reform, climate
change and the middle class. But he`s telling progressives at a convention
that hard work is ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: We`ve got more work to do
because for all the progress we`ve made too many middle class families
still aren`t seeing their hard work rewarded. That`s why our goal has to
be rebuilding the true engine of America`s economic growth. A rising,
thriving middle class. We need to help businesses create more jobs and put
more people back to work.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: And the President says, he needs the base to get the job
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
OBAMA: On all these issues I`ll do everything in my power to keep
making progress but I can`t do it alone. I need you to put pressure on
members of Congress and make your voices heard just like you`ve always
done. We won`t always agree on everything and I know you`ll tell me when
we don`t but if we work together then I`m confident we`ll keep moving this
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: We will keep moving this country forward but if you want
change, you have to work for it. Joining me now our Melissa Harris-Perry
and E.J. Dionne. Thank you both for being here.
MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST, "MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY":
E.J. DIONNE, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Good to be with you.
SHARPTON: Melissa, let me start with you. The president knows his
base doesn`t agree with him on everything.
SHARPTON: .but he says he needs them. How will the base respond?
PERRY: Well, look, I hope the base responds very differently as we
move towards the 2014 elections that happened in 2010. We are currently
still reaping the whirl wind from the refusal of so many in the Democratic
Party coalition that elected President Obama in 2008 to show up in those
2010 midterms. The impact that that had on state houses across the country
as well as on the Republicans in Congress and the ways in which they then
were able to gerrymander and redraw the districts is so much of why we have
seen gridlock now in Washington.
So, we again saw the return of that Obama coalition in 2012. The
issue is whether or not without President Obama at the top of the ticket,
they will show up at all of those local races. And we learned in the last
midterm that that is the key. Unless the base can give President Obama a
democratic house of representatives and Nancy Pelosi back as leader in that
House, it is going to be tough for this president to enact the agenda that
they sent him to do in 2012.
SHARPTON: E.J., do you think that any on the progressive side are
having some second thoughts about some of the things that led to a lower
turn out in 2010 including some that were very critical of the president
and paid for it by helping the far right take the Congress?
DIONNE: Well, I think Melissa is right absolutely right about
differential turn out. I mean, the turnout in 2010 was so different than
the turn out in 2008. So, the danger she describes is exactly correct.
But this is a challenging time for the president with progressives.
There`s a lot of progressives who are unhappy with the NSA surveillance
program. There are some that are worried about what we`re going to do with
DIONNE: Keystone pipeline there, where the President is going to go,
I saw a tweet that kind of spoke for this. Someone tweeted I`m not wearing
my environmentalist for Obama t-shirt to the network`s convention. But I
think it`s perfectly possible for people on the progressive side to
disagree with the President on some issues and even find him and still give
him critical support on the issues they agree with him on like the proper
implementation of health care like tax fairness, like we need to create
more middle class jobs.
And I think the Left has done this before, the Left was capable of
being critical of FDR at times but giving him important support. They did
the same with John F. Kennedy. So, I don`t think these two thing have to
be inconsistent. The key thing is not so to demobilize and forget about
the next election or assume that one disagreement means disagreement on
SHARPTON: Melissa, isn`t that basically what a lot of progressives
including you and I from time to time have said. Because when you look at
the fact that if you in any way affect turn out next year, you will only
help the right wing, far right maintain the Congress and then even looking
down the road, I don`t know that anyone that we`re looking at as a
perspective democratic candidate in 16 is even as progressive as President
Obama. I mean, it seems a little, I mean, you`re the professor. Help the
preacher out. Are we really going to say that Hillary is going to be more
progressive than President Obama, so how do progressives say we`re with her
but we`ll going to question Obama?
PERRY: Well, this is look, this is exactly the kind of forgetfulness
that occurs in these off election years. So, one, when you don`t have a
real enemy, a real villain, you know, a real opponent, then what happens
off and particularly in the Left, is we turn and start gnawing off on our
own foot, right? And so, you know, sometime what an election year gives us
is the opportunity to recognize and make clear again what those
distinctions are. You know, one thing that might help potentially even as
it harms the country in certain ways it`s possible that next week as the
Supreme Court starts handing down some of these decisions to the extent
that any of them don`t go the way the progressives are hoping.
They may remember sort of what the alternatives are, they may also
come to remember on the progressive side or we may come to remember on the
progressive side just how important a president is because ultimately their
greatest legacy is on that federal bench from the Supreme Court all the way
down. The other thing is that, you know, I appreciate your point about,
you know, about Secretary of State Clinton, former Secretary of State
Clinton and that`s just that, you know, again the kind of fantasy land that
gets created about any potential candidate is rarely the reality of who
that candidate is even in the case of President Obama the ways in which
people, you know, create things about him that aren`t really who he is as a
candidate and now as president.
SHARPTON: Now, E.J., the fact is that if the Supreme Court comes down
with anyone about three major cases that we`re waiting on, if they come
down on anyone of those cases in a way that would certainly ignite a
response from progressives, it will also show the importance of Congress
because in terms of voting rights and in terms of a lot of this, the only
route would be to go back to Congress to try and shake other legislation.
If you do not have a Congress that is even inclined to seriously look at
that you`re going to have even more of a problem if the Supreme Court gives
you the first major problem.
DIONNE: Well, that`s right. I mean, first of all, if we didn`t take
the court seriously after Bush V Gore or Citizens United, then we`ve got a
problem. But if they actually weaken the voting rights acts, the only
place you can go to fix whatever damage they might do is the Congress. And
if anybody needed a reminder of some of the dangers out there, this
agriculture bill that fortunately failed that uncanny and outrageous, I
think immoral food stamp cuts in there should tell us that there`s some
real dangers out there that we need to be aware of and fight against.
And I think that`s something that Obama has going for him which is
his enemies. And that he may not be able to rally his folks, they may
disagree with them on some issues. But when they look at the other side
they say, my word, we can`t -- we really don`t want those folks to take
PERRY: And Reverend Sharpton, can I say one -- there`s one other
place if anybody is looking for just how bad this could be, take a look at
what`s going on in North Carolina right now. Where Art Pope has basically
bought himself a state.
PERRY: Bought himself a state legislature where they are passing
laws day by day that are some of the most appalling things. And if the
progressives need sort of a model, for how you pulled together, LGBT folks,
African-American folks, Latino on fundamental question of fairness in civil
right. Take a look at North Carolina. It is one of the most important --
going on right now.
SHARPTON: Well, they`re going to be able to take a look at it this
weekend as well as all the way into the summer all over the country.
Melissa Harris-Perry and E.J. Dionne, thanks and have great weekend.
PERRY: Thank you.
SHARPTON: And catch Melissa Harris-Perry weekends at 10:00 a.m.
Eastern right here on MSNBC.
Still ahead, TV star Paula Deen apologizes for using racial slurs and
our Facebook community has a lot to say about it. And 50 years ago this
weekend, the original I have a dream speech took place in Detroit. I`ll
talk about it with my special guest. Martin Luther King III.
SHARPTON: The food network has dropped Paula Deen. The network is
ending their contract with the celebrity chef after she admitted to using
the n-word. The news came shortly after she released a video statement
apologizing and asking for forgiveness.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PAULA DEEN, COOKING SHOW HOST: Your color of your skin, your
religion, your sexual preference does not matter to me but it`s what in the
heart and my family and I try to live by that. And I am here to say I am
so sorry. I was wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: Paula Deen`s video apology prompted a lot of comments from
our Facebook family. Patsy says, "You may be forgiven but what you said
will never be forgotten and you have just lost many, many fans."
Hagatha says, "She is a product of her time and place. It doesn`t
excuse what she has said or done. I`m glad she`s apologizing."
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SHARPTON: I`m here in Detroit tonight to mark a pivotal moment in
the civil rights movement that took place in this city 50 years ago. On
June 23rd, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led some 125,000 people in
what was been the largest civil rights demonstration in American history.
The great march to freedom, walk to freedom called for an end to
segregation and equality for all Americans. No matter the color of their
skin. But today also marks the tragic day of sacrifice in the civil rights
It was on this day 49 years ago that three young civil rights workers
were brutally murdered in what became known as the Mississippi burning
case. James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. They were
registering black voters when police arrested them on tramped up speeding
charges in rural Philadelphia, Mississippi. The three men were released
from jail straight into the hands of men from the KKK who tortured and
murdered them. It was a case that electrified the country. And TV
networks cancelled their regular broadcast to cover the latest news on the
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is Bogue Chitto, one of the biggest deadliest
of the swamp. One hundred men are picking their way through it today
looking for Cheney, Goodman and Schwerner. But the plain fact is that
1,000 men might not disclose whatever secrets lie under the green slime of
Bogue Chitto. This is Backwoods Mississippi. Silent and suspicious.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: The brutal murders shocked the nation and helped Americans
understand what was really happening in the south.
Joining me now is Martin Luther King III. Certainly Martin, first of
all, thank you for being here to help us on your father`s legacy and to
continue it. I want to start by talking about these three men who gave
their lives on this day for the movement. James Earl Chaney, Andrew
Goodman and Michael Schwerner. What did their sacrifice mean to the cause
of civil rights?
MARTIN LUTHER KING III, PRESIDENT, KING CENTER: Well, number one, I
think first of all what it shows America is that there were three young men
to happened be white, who would totally committed to the freedom struggle
of our movement. And that`s very significant, the fact that it`s also was
a trio, and a greeted group, we can never forget about the contribution of
the young people who joined the freedom movement and so, we should honor
always honor threes three gentlemen for the sacrifices, they lost their
lives unnecessarily just in the struggle for freedom.
SHARPTON: You know, what was interesting is, a lot of younger people
don`t know that blacks and whites, whites died in the struggle and they
were registered voters in Philadelphia and Mississippi as we wait to hear
the Supreme Court rule on the voting rights act. It`s also interesting
that Ronald Reagan announcing he`s running for president in Philadelphia
and Mississippi and other than this killing. I don`t know what
Philadelphia, Mississippi was known for.
KING: You know, that is very interesting that the first point that
you made that Ronald Reagan announced his candidacy and so, obviously
Philadelphia was a very segregated community. And obviously, today, as
many other community spar much more different. But you know, I think what
we have to look at is, as we set on the -- of a decision, when people
cannot vote just because of restrictions that have been put in place. I
certainly hope and pray Rev that the Supreme Court`s decision will not
remove section five of the voting rights act.
SHARPTON: Now, your father gave a rousing speech here 50 years ago.
It`s the first time he used the phrase publicly I have a dream. Listen to
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., (JANUARY, 1929 -APRIL, 1968): I have a
dream this afternoon that my four little children, that my four little
children will not come up in the same young days that I came up within but
they will be judged on the basis of the content of their character and not
the color of their skin. I have a dream this evening that one day we will
recognize the words of Jefferson that all men are created equal, that they
are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that are among
these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I have a dream this
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: He also spoke about the meaning of the movement and the
march here in Detroit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR: This social revolution taking place can be
summarized in three little words. They are not big words, one does not
need an extensive vocabulary to understand them. They are the words we`re
hearing now. We want all of our rights. We want them here and we want
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHARPTON: So, he made the speech here. I have a dream. He talked
about his four little children. You`re the oldest remaining child. Are we
there yet? Have we achieved the dream?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Absolutely not. It doesn`t mean we`ve not made great progress
and strive in some areas. But I think dad would certainly be on the one
hand proud but he`d be very concerned about the fact that we have nearly 60
million people living in poverty. That we don`t have a decent immigration
bill. That we are having folks who strung out on drugs. He would be very
concerned and say that we as a nation can and must do better. We`re a
better nation than the behavior that is being exhibited even at this time
specifically as it relates to how our Congress is acting.
SHARPTON: Now, as your father led the march here and went on into the
march on Washington and on Monday we`ll be announcing the anniversary march
but as a continuation. He put pressure on Congress for a bill that led to
64 civil rights act, 65 voting rights act. What do you hope the gathering
among all people of all races in August commemorating and continuing the
march on Washington over 50 years ago would do in terms of tangible
KING: Well, I certainly hope number one that I know number one --
we`ll going to have to repetition Congress and that again and tells us,
restoring various rights for voting. For example, people who are felons,
after they`ve served their time, their right are not restored to vote.
That`s taxation without representation. The first thing we have to do is
to make sure that everyone can participate in the process. Then we got to
get the right people elected. And then we got to petition Congress for the
issues that we want to see occur whether it`s new job creation and new job
training. Whether it`s policies about sensitive on certain drug issues.
We`ve got a big challenge ahead of us.
SHARPTON: Well, we`re going to be trying to meet that challenge.
Martin Luther King III. Thank you for your time tonight.
KING: Thank you. Thank you.
SHARPTON: And we`d like to announce that on Saturday, August 24th,
we`ll be in D.C. for the national action to realize the dream 50th march on
Washington. A historic day. We hope to see you there. As Martin Luther
King III has grabbed the vision and many of us will stand with him, we hope
that everyone will walk in this generation the way our fathers and mothers
did in the generation before.
SHARPTON: Now it`s time for reply Al and your emails are rolling in.
It`s great to hear from so many of you.
Denise writes, "Reverend Al, did you ask Governor Jindal to volunteer
to the upcoming clinic. It will be interesting to see if he is concerned
about the health care needs of those without coverage and is willing to
show his concern personally."
But I`ve not invited him but I`ll tell you what, it`s a great
question. She`s talking about our partnership with the National
Association of Free Clinics on July 3rd. POLITICS NATION will be live from
our free clinics in New Orleans. And we know Governor Jindal is turning
down Medicaid expansion that would bring $15.8 billion over in ten years.
So, Denise, I love your Governor Jindal. Open invitation to you
Governor, come join us at the clinic. It would be a good thing for you and
Sandra writes, "Reverend Al, how do you keep positive when so much
injustice happens in the country daily? You`ve been a leader for so many,
many years. Do you ever get tired?"
Now, I think the key to life is to fulfill a purpose. I believe in
what I`m doing. Frankly, I get bored and tired when I`m not standing up
doing the things that I believe in and feeling that what we`re doing is
important. Discover your purpose in life and make sure it means to
something to more than just you. And that is why I work with people like
Martin Luther King III and others who believe in a life to fight for
something that`s a higher principle.
I`m going to have to leave on that. Have great weekend. Thanks for
watching. I`m Al Sharpton. Again, have a great and productive weekend.
"HARDBALL" starts now.
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