Home | Search | About | Fidelio | Economy | Strategy | Justice | Conferences | Join
Highlights
| Calendar | Music | Books | Concerts | Links | Education | Health
What's New | LaRouche | Spanish Pages | PoetryMaps
Dialogue of Cultures

DIALOGUE OF CULTURES

Iranian National TV Interviews
Amelia Boynton Robinson

American Civil Rights Heroine
and Schiller Institute Leader
Teheran, Iran
June 22, 2002

July 1, 2002 —Mrs. AMELIA BOYNTON ROBINSON and Mrs. MURIEL MIRAK-WEISSBACH visited Teheran and Isfashan during June 20 to June 26, 2002, as part of the Schiller Institute's international mobilization for a Dialogue of Cultures, as the alternative to war and the Clash of Civilizations policies. They were the guests on a a popular Iranian Talk Show on English-language Iranian national TV (Channel 4), on June 22, 2002.

Amelia Boynton Robinson is the 91 year old civil rights leader and associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, who is currently Vice President of the international Schiller Institute. Mrs. Weissbach represents the EIR Bureau in Europe, and has written extensively on Middle East policies. She is also a scholar who has published material on poetry, lanugage, the Arab and Italian Reniassiances, Dante, Shakespeare, Ramon Lull, and many other topics.

After the introductions in Farsi by the talk-show host, Ali Dorostkar, the following discussion unfolded:

Host: Mrs. Robinson: black, white, red, yellow — which have the priority, which are the first?

MRS. ROBINSON:: Well, when it comes down to priorities, and I'm sure you're referring to race, is that it?—In my estimation, I am blind to the social color when it is referred to human beings. And whenever, almost all of my life, in having to refer, in making an application out, when asked, are you a Negro, or a white, or this and that? I always put "Human," because I am blind to color. When it comes down to a person's race or to a person's color, I am a member of the human race, and I don't think about color.

Host: Mrs. Weissbach, you, a white, why are you accompanying a black woman?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: Well, I'm also color-blind, and I think Amelia Boynton Robinson is a very rare human being, who happens to be black, and I am accompanying here, I have the honor to accompany her, because she was invited here for a tour of discussions and interviews in order to present to an Iranian audience the other side of the reality of the United States, the political and social context, and also to learn about Iran, to be able to go back to the United States to tell people what the reality of this country is as opposed to the reports.

Host: Why are working with her generally, not only on this trip?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: We are part of the same political movement, the Schiller Institute.

Host: Why so? It may seem strange thing for Iranian people and in the West, to see a black next to a white.

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: Well, I don't think that's true. And MRS.. Robinson could give you some good examples of the fight for civil rights of African Americans in the United States, going back to the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s and particularly the 1960s, where it was NOT just black Americans, but emphatically also white Americans, students from the north, who were part of that fight. isn't that true?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Yes, that is true. Since 1965 and in fact during the struggle, the struggle was not because of blacks, it was because of justice. The struggle was not only black people who WERE struggling, they were whites, there were people of all nationalities and that was because they no doubt had a change of heart themselves, realizing that ... they didn't just wake up and say I am a racist,, they had been taught, so just like a person who has a clear conscience of evil, and realizes he has to do good, they had to clear their conscience of what they had been taught, and what they saw around them, and they realized, as Dr King has said, you cannot judge people because of the color of their skin, but because of the contents of their character.

Host: I have a dream, the first big, and never forgotten phrase of that last speech of the great Dr. Martin Luther King. When I recall that speech, tears come to my eyes. Why so?

MRS. ROBINBSON: because he was a man who did not just speak, you could see, and I was there, but I was there as an editor— he was a man who spoke from the heart. Seemingly it excelled even the ministers or anyone lese that spoke of religion. You could see that he was a man who was endowed by a greater Being than human beings. When he spoke, they could see, they could understand, and they felt a part of what they were saying. That's why the speech that he made was so great and why so many people took it, and the last that he made, which was in Memphis, Tennessee, he told the audience, or the people throughout the world, because he was speaking, and there were many people of the news media there, I have been to the mountain top, and you could see, it was not a person just saying words, you could see in your mind, that this man has gone beyond the reach of human beings, that he ahs communicated with God.

Host: Regarding the great Martin Luther King, and regarding your staying with him in the 1960s, do you remember the last days of his life? He was going to present some plans for his future. Could you speak about this plan?

MRS. ROBINBSON. Dr. King was not thinking about planning a future for himself, he was embracing the entire world, human beings throughout the whole world...

Host: The blacks..

MRS. ROBINBSON: Oh, no, he never felt that way. That is why when we marched and demonstrated we had thousands of [whites] and many were murdered, because of the fact that they knew that Dr. King had a program that would change the world, and it could not be changed, until the hearts were changed in people.

Host: Is it possible to change the hearts?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Yes.

Host: How?

MRS. ROBINBSON: That's why you have people who are members of certain denominations or certain religions that they embrace, because they realize that this is a guidelines, the Bible is a guideline, and according to the Bible, I can have a heaven right here on earth. Because if you can clear your conscience of the evils that one perhaps might think of, and the hate that they have had, you won't do yourself any good, because even money will not cure your conscience, and that was the thing that Dr. King was trying to tell the world. That there such a thing as love, and that it comes from above, and that if you embrace love,, you embrace God, and if embrace God, you can have a heaven right here on earth.

Host: You have stepped in a hard road, by joining this struggle. Why?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: I think the struggle we're engaged in now, which I think is also what Dr. King had in mind, is the struggle for justice throughout the world, not only for African Americans of other minorities that were discriminated against, but justice for all people in all countries of the world. That means economic justice, social justice, the right of nations to determine their own future. I joined this political movement thirty years ago, with the perspective that a great moment was awaiting us, in the sense that a great economic crisis was on the horizon, and that this would offer the opportunity to change the structures currently governing injustice, and to create new structures, for a new, just world economic order. I asked myself relatively early in life, what I should do with my life. Should I seek a career, should I seek money, should I seek a position of prestige, and for various reasons, related to my childhood and education, I decided to dedicate my life to the fight for justice, and I found a political movement that made that possible.

Host: And now, I see that you love your way, your activity. Is that right?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: Yes, absolutely.

Host: Yet the road you both have taken, the way of love, is dangerous; one could get killed.

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: Well, the question I think everybody has to ask at one point in his or her life is: what do you do? You are born, you live, and you die. And you have to ask yourself, when you die, what are you going to look back on, what are you going to be able to consider as your contribution, as the meaning of your life? And you can find meaning in your life many ways, by great discoveries, by finding new inventions that will aid technology, contribute to human progress, but you can also contribute to the fight for justice and freedom, and if I, in my own small way, can do that, then I will be able to say at the end of my life that it has been meaningful. That's essentially why I am part of the this movement.

Host: Mrs. Robinson, why do all human beings love freedom?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Because freedom is something that is in the mind, more so than in any other part of the body, and if you don't have freedom, you find yourself being saddled with fear, you find yourself getting to the point that you get lazy mentally, because you say. "well I can go along to get along," even though it may hurt somebody else. But regarding struggling for freedom, it's so beautiful, because when you struggle for freedom, you put behind you all the things that cause you to have sleepless nights — the hate the disgust, what John did to me, what I'm going to do back to him, and finally it becomes a ...

Host: But you may also lose material life, you may lose your possessions, your money.

MRS. ROBINBSON: But these are material things. I remember when we were targetted so, and we were told, "get out of town, your house is going to be burned, you better not be caught on the street." My husband was targetted, and of all those things, when they told him, "you better get out of town," he said, "I bought this house and I bought it to live in. Nobody runs me out of my own house." I felt differently. I said, "yes let's go somewhere else where I would feel free." He said, "Freedom is not free. It is very expensive." But at the end, you can look around and say, I feel free. I feel free to help somebody else. I feel free to give. I feel free to love. And God is love, and it draws you closer and closer to our heavenly father. So it's beautiful, it's beautiful to make sacrifices, because in those days, I didn't really lose everything; you said, if I lost everything, I will feel as though I have given something. And then, Jim Clark, who destroyed so many people and caused so many people to be killed in 1965, and though the things that he did to my family and to me I couldn't hate him, because he's sick. When you see people who have greed, that's what we have now, those who have destroyed Enron, AT&T and others, they're sick, because they have permitted money and prestige to be their God. I know they lose sleep at night, I know they're not happy. In freedom, there's happiness.

Host: Mrs. Weissbach, what do you think regarding globalization, and the different effects of it, positive or negative, especially regarding culture, foreign cultures.

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: What's called globalization I think is a very evil phenomenon. Despite the fact that people have said it is positive, because of communications among different nations, cultures and so on, I think one has to be honest and see that globalization is just a fancy word for internationalization of exploitation. What it is, is the extension of the IMF (International Monetary Fund) system to a global scale, whereby a relatively tiny group of financial oligarchs, located in particular in Washington, New York and London, have extended their political control over the world through their control of financial instruments and economic policies of nation states. They have outsourced — in other words, they have overseen a process whereby industrial capacities in the so-called advanced sector—the US, Europe etc.— have been outsourced, or relocated into developing sector nations, simply because it is a way of exploiting cheap labor, and in that way, they've also created unemployment in the advanced sector. And it is all part of a scheme to try to maintain a monetary and financial system which is bankrupt. The IMF is bankrupt.

The person who founded the movement that we are associated with, Lyndon LaRouche, who is an American economist and political figure, forecast many decades ago that this economic breakdown crisis currently gripping the world, would break out more or less in the form in which it has broken out, for very lawful reasons. And he has identified the way out of the crisis, through a global monetary reform, worldwide, and a series of great infrastructure projects on a regional level through cooperative arrangements among nations. What LaRouche has said, and what we are now seeing come into being through so-called globalization, is the breakdown of an entire system. We see in Africa, entire nations are being wiped out by AIDS, and other epidemic diseases, Latin America is in a terminal crisis, Brazil is on the verge of total financial chaos.

So these are the symptoms of a crisis of the system, and the question is: what is going to happen if the system is not changed, if the system is allowed to disintegrate in this form? What's going to happen is, the powers that be, who have seen the financial basis of their power disintegrate, will move to try to maintain their political power through military means.

This is what we have seen since September 11, we have seen an attempt on the part of this financial oligarchy, and military layers associated with it, to impose their dwindling power through purely military means, by launching the so-called Clash of Civilizations, a permanent war against Islam, the new enemy; and if this is not stopped, this attempt to build a new Roman Empire-style totalitarian order, it's going to lead to the destruction of humanity.

We are committed to stopping it. We're committed to imposing economic reform, monetary reform, and introducing, finally, a system whereby nations have the sovereign right — including Iran — to determine their economic, political and social future, and their relations to other countries...

Host: And culture?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: And culture, emphatically including culture. It's the right of every nation to decide what its future should be, and that includes its cultural life.

Host: Let's return to Mrs. Robinson and the great Martin Luther King. Will you talk about his late thoughts?

MRS. ROBINBSON: I met Dr. King a few months after he came into Alabama. I had an opportunity to converse with his wife, who at that time, had just borne a child, and I was able to get that conversation quickly, because my sister-in-law was a member of his church in Montgomery, Alabama.

Host: Before that, had you heard of him?

MRS. ROBINBSON: No, not at all, I didn't know anything about him. The church that he pastored was a church where the dignitaries were, the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers,... Nobody knew anything, he had just gotten out of school. His father pastored a church in Atlanta, that was founded by his grandfather, so consequently he was a little — what you call protected, sheltered; he was not a guy who was great in the southern schools, because he went to the northern schools.

As soon as he finished [school] he had three offers to pastor churches: one in New York, one in Chicago, and one in Montgomery, Alabama. Now his wife lived only 30 miles from where I was, and he said, "I don't know which one of these churches I want to pastor," and she said to him, "You know what? We want to go where we can do the most good." She said, "I'd like to go back to Alabama." They were in Ohio, I think.

Host: Had he started organizing before?

MRS. ROBINBSON: No, no. He was just a minister. Like most of the churches, he had been asked because this church did not have a minister, so they decided they would come to Alabama. In 1955, Rosa Parks, who, at that time, was working at one of the stores, sat on the bus and it wasn't in the front of the bus, it was about in the middle. And when the bus driver came up to her, as the bus got full of people, black and white, with one white man standing, he came up to her and said, "Get up and go to the back, and give this white man a seat." She was tired, she wouldn't move. He said, "I said, 'Get up.'" And she said nothing to him. So he went outside and brought the officers in, and the officers put her in jail.

Well, the thing about it is, nobody knew that much about Dr. King, but there was a man there — whenever African-Americans had problems in Montgomery, they would go to E.D. Nixon, in Selma, Alabama, they would come to S.W. Boynton, and Clark City, they'd go to another guy — who were outstanding in fighting for the rights of people. So Mr. Nixon got her out of jail and he immediately called ministers from all over the city and they went to a church, and he said, "We've got to organize to do something. We cannot let them arrest our people and put them in jail for nothing, and we're going to start an organization." And, as they made preparations for this organization, somebody said, "I nominate Mr. E.D. Nixon for president," and he said, "Gentlemen, I have been fighting for you over 50 years, it is time for me to get somebody else. We have a young man who has just come into Montgomery, and I believe if you think seriously about getting somebody, because I will not accept it — I decline in favor of this young man, whose name is Martin Luther King." Well, that was the first time that anyone heard, in that section, of Martin Luther King, because that church had had any number of ministers, but they were all dignitary ministers who passed on. And Dr. King accepted it. They had a meeting in Montgomery, they called it the Montgomery Improvement Association. But other people having heard him, other people realized that he had a message, a message that not only Montgomery needed, that the whole state and people throughout the world, needed. And after there were a few meetings, my husband and I went to Montgomery and asked him to come to Selma. And of course my husband died before he got there....

(Break)

Host: We were talking about leadership, Martin Luther King, with Mrs. Robinson, and about globalization with MRS.. Weissbach. MRS.. Robinson, how did Martin Luther King become a leader? How did you become his associate?

MRS. ROBINBSON: It dated back to the time that we were struggling, my husband and I, for 35 years, to get people registered and vote. Then, the organization which started off being the Montgomery Improvement Association, when it went beyond Montgomery, just a few months afterwards, my husband and I went to him and told him we would like him to come down to Selma. We told him how we had worked so hard, and about the pressure that had been put on us, through the 1950s, and he said, "Well, I'll try to do that." My husband died, because of the pressure, before Dr. King had a chance to come into Selma, and he sent a young man, who was at the university, who worked with the young people in marching and demonstrating and teaching their parents how to fill out applications for registering to vote.

On January 2, 1965, Dr. King came to Selma, Alabama. before he came in, the people heard that he was a "communist,"— this is dividing and conquering, this is what the system has been doing all the time: they divided the Indians, they divided the black people, now they're dividing the world. They told them, he was a "communist," he would get them into trouble, "don't have anything to do with him," and when Dr. King came in on the 2nd of January, we had prepared for him to speak at a church, but he came one morning, instead of the afternoon, and said, "I would like to go around the restaurants and talk with the people." My office was right on the street where the masses of African-Americans had their businesses. Not one said, "How do you do, Dr. King?" Not one would offer him a drink of water. Nobody would say, "Come to my house." And King, knew we were working with the young people. When he brought his staff, I said, "Well, I'll tell you what, I'll give you half of my office." The office was for the staff. And being the only person living alone, since my husband had passed, I said, "I'll turn the house over to you," to those associates who had come in, but instead of just the associates, the office and the house, later, were filled with dignitaries who came all the time, from all over, not only the country, the world, because he was there — whatever chance he had when they came in, to speak in the churches.

So, naturally, there was a very close relationship. What he was doing was the same thing, in a bigger way, that we were doing. We were lifting up people, getting them to realize that you are somebody, that you have to think. We want you to get your rights and you can get them, become first-class citizens, only if you register and vote. We were getting people off of the farm, where they knew nothing about how much they made, because the plantation owner would not accept it, even if they said, "I want you to accept the truth," they wouldn't do it.

So what Dr. King was doing was more than what we did, we had just a county; Dr. King began to work all over the south at that time, and that of course drew us closer.

Many times, things would happen. For example, when he was in jail, and 50 Congressmen came down to see about what we were doing, and I had to lead them to the jail. Then I got him out of jail, because this was already planned, that you'd go up and get him out of jail. And of course they spirited him out through the back so that the Congressmen would not see them let him out.

There was also an occasion when I was given the merit award from Tuskegee University, and he delivered the commencement address, and, coming back we were in the car together because he was going down to Selma, and when we got to Montgomery, he admired the improvement in the roads. A man drove up beside him when we stopped for the light and he looked very suspicious. Then he rolled the window down. At that time the light changed, and we went to the next light, and when he had rolled the window down, he had made an attempt to pick up something, and of course, we said, "Just go on through this light." And while talking, he said, "No one man would kill me." We were asking him, "Weren't you afraid that the guy would shoot in the car?" He said, "No one man would kill me. Now if there were two, I'd feel as though they would kill me." It was said one man killed him, but it was a conspiracy, and it was from Washington, D.C. on down.

The reason why he was killed: he was killed because, as long as we were marching and demonstrating for our rights, okay, but when white people throughout the country and throughout the world came in, they said to my husband, — this is the racists — "Why do you bring Dr. King in here? Haven't we voted for you people all the time? We don't want them to come in here and disturb our way of life." That was the big thing: "our way of life." And the way of life was, that we keep you down because you are inferior. Even the books would not say anything about the 3500 inventions the black Americans — and I don't like these labels, I don't like any of them — gave to America, and that is because they want to say, "well, you're a nobody," talking about the race, "You came from nowhere and you're going nowhere. So you ought to be glad that we use you." So, consequently, they didn't like white people coming in because they wanted to keep them with that type of attitude. Consequently, they began to target these white people and they killed some of them, and, and one woman who was killed, when we completed the 50-mile march — [name] — she was killed by a guy who was employed by the federal government as an informant — the FBI. So that was the system, and a lot of white people woke up because they knew it was wrong.

And though Dr. King is dead, his sermons that he preached, his objectives, are still living. And Lyndon LaRouche, who has picked up the broken pieces of Dr. King's movement, is carrying it forward, in an international way, with political as well as economic aims.

Host: Now to Mrs. Weissbach. We talked about globalization. What's your point of view about globalization, and the identity crisis? many people say globalization equals Americanization.

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: Well, there is certainly the attempt on the part of many American circles, to export Coca Cola, McDonalds, rock and roll, satanic music, the drug subculture and other things, as "American culture," and try to present this to the rest of the world as a universal culture. I don't think it's going to work. I don't think it's going to function, because the entire system is, as I mentioned before, entering a terminal crisis, and that means, even the cultural veneer is going to be shattered by the effects of the crisis. And I think that even now, due to the fact that there's been a growing opposition to what is called globalization — actually I would call it a neo-imperial system, a kind of global Roman Empire system — there is growing opposition to it not only in the developing sector, but also across Eastern and Western Europe, such that there is also a rejection of this attempt to export what is misnamed as "American culture."

As part of the reaction to this, there is a new awakening of one's own cultural roots. I see this in the revival of Islam over the last several years, I see it in the proposal of President Khatami for a Dialogue of Civilizations, and it is something that our movement has been working for a long time. That is, we of the Schiller Institute, are proposing not only economic and monetary reform, as a way of overcoming the crisis, but also, that foreign policy among nations be redefined, not from the standpoint of power politics, not from the standpoint of divide and conquer, but rather from the standpoint of the highest cultural level that each nation ahs reached, reviving that culture for practice. In the United States, that means reviving our culture of the American Revolution, the revolution against the British oligarchy, which has become a dead letter for most Americans, they don't know what it was all about; we have to revive an understanding of the Civil War, which was, again, a fight of American interests against British oligarchism; revive also in real terms the fight of the civil rights movement, which was the greatest political movement of the 20th century in America.

So we think that these processes are indeed moving, and they're moving in the direction of a very interesting, very important political process, which can, particularly in the United States, completely change policy, both economic and foreign policy.

Host: I didn't get your point about the identity of different nations. Can globalization change the identity of different nations?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: I don't think so, because I think nations and peoples are revolting against this globalization and, in the process, rediscovering their own identities, in the Classical heritage that every nation has. You see this, for example, in the revival of Confucianism in China, you see it in certain currents of Islam, where many philosophical achievements of Islam are being discussed among intellectuals, you see it in the efforts of our association and others, in Germany, France, and Italy, to revive the Classical culture of those nations. You see it in a revival of interest in Classical Greek culture, with the recent excavations that have been made known. For example, in Germany, where I live, there was an exhibit of Troy, the excavations done there recently. They had to extend the exhibit for months, because there were so many people who wanted to go and see it. Persian art: there was an exhibit in Germany on 7000 years of Persian art. It had to be extended, extended, extended, time and again, because there were so many people who wanted to see it.

So these things, in my view, indicate that there is an awakening on the part of many populations, to the fact that what is called "culture" today, which is rock-drug-satanic music, video games, the culture of death, that this culture cannot be accepted, and that we have to go back to the culture of life. We have to revive the Classical culture that exists in every nation, rebuild it, and develop it further, and on that basis, enter into dialogue with other nations and other cultures.

Globalization is dead. It's condemned, it's doomed, and the sooner it ceases to exist, the better.

Host: Mrs. Robinson, are Dr. King's ideas alive today?

MRS. ROBINBSON: I think they are still alive, all over the world, because in practicing what he said, they have found that they have a new feeling within. I went to East Germany, and I found in a hotel, a room named after Martin Luther King. There are many places all over the world, where they feel that he was a man that had been sent there to do a job, that he was ordained by God, — not to be a preacher — but to give a spiritual uplifting to people allover the world and he has done that, and it is still living.

Host: I see today, I myself, as Muslim student inside Iran, I studied in an Islamic University in Iran. In our English language classes, we studied Martin Luther King's last speech. You're right about him. You have in your almost 9 decades of life, dedicated 7 and a half to political work. What type of thing have you seen change, in relations between blacks and whites in America?

MRS. ROBINBSON: I have seen a great change.

Host: really?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Oh yes. People are beginning now — they don't mind expressing what caused the change. It changed, because they realized, many of them, that what was told them by their parents, what they saw, the way their parents acted towards people of color, that it was wrong. They have gotten a new insight into human beings as human beings. It ahs changed the younger people and, as I have said so often, if the older people let the younger people alone, there would be more love among people.

However, you find that when it comes down to segregation, discrimination, it has not died. George Wallace said, what he later carried out: "Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Now we have it in the Congress, we have it in the Senate. we have it, because a whole lot of them can't wash it out of their minds, and see that human beings are human beings. But the masses of young people are different.

Host: What about young blacks, what are their social and political needs?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Well, you find many of them feel as though, "Well, we've got it made, we fought for civil rights. We got them, we can ride anywhere we want on the trains, on the buses, we can go into any restaurant, any hotel, we can vote..."

Host: What are the main problems they face nowadays in America?

MRS. ROBINBSON: That segregation that Wallace spoke of, in a way, it's gone underground. They don't tell a black guy, "Nigger, you get back," they don't do that, but they will put their feet up, to keep him from sitting down. That's just an analogy of the way they are. But the older ones are carrying on. And it takes generations to wash that out of America's people.

Host: Mrs. Weissbach, what lessons have you learned from Mrs. Robinson?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: I think there are many. I hope you're take the opportunity to read her book, Bridge Across Jordan, a very inspiring book. I think the most important think I've learned from my association with Mrs. Robinson is the power of love— the idea that she has not only described but also communicated, that no matter how difficult a situation you may be in, no matter how evil your adversary may seem, and actually be, that the only way you can change this adversary relationship is through the power of love. You do have to love your enemy, as we understand it in our religious tradition, love your enemy, because love is the only emotion, the only quality of human activity which is able to overcome and destroy hate. That's the secret of the non-violent movement.

The movement led by Mrs. Robinson, Dr. King and many others, was a movement based on the idea that every human being is equal, created equal by the Creator, endowed with the same capabilities, and that therefore, every human being, whether wretched, poor, or rich, has a certain human dignity; and that when the human being is made aware of that human dignity, he or she is capable of overcoming any adversary situation, any conflict. But that individual has to understand his own dignity, and that of others, as a human being, and express it through love. This is what the King movement did. They did not go out and start shooting policemen, they did not do what the Ku Klux Klan did to the blacks: they did not kill whites who were their oppressors. They went out, with children, and with adults, older people, they stood up under any circumstances. She, Mrs. Robinson, was knocked down, beaten and left for dead, but she did not pull out a shotgun and shoot her oppressors. And it was the power of that kind of resistance, that moral superiority, that was ultimately responsible, in my view for the victory of the movement. And that is something one can learn from her, personally.

Host: What else?

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: That you fight for the truth, no matter what. And that you don't give up. She didn't mention this, but you know, she and her husband organized for years, and succeeded in registering, how many African-Americans?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Eight.

MRS. MIRAK-WEISSBACH:: There were years when they had small meetings, few people came, then, when the time was ripe, it was thousands who marched. So, you don't give up, if you know you're right.

Host: Is Mrs. Weissbach a good student?

MRS. ROBINBSON: In working with her, I've relearned a whole lot also. She may get something from me because of my age, I have also learned quite a bit from her, her intelligence, her education, her determination and her wisdom. I also get that from her.

Host: Of all the lessons of your life, political or personal, which is most important?

MRS. ROBINBSON: That's a whole life, that's 90 years worth! I am proud and I would like to inject every person, particularly the young people with the sense to be proud of who you are. Don't try to be like somebody else, because when God made each and every individual, and blew the breath of life into that person, he didn't make any mistakes. He gave us a mind and a brain, and I tell the young people, "It's up to you to use it to your advantage." And consequently, I try to be an example, because I am proud of me. When I get up in the morning, I always thank God for me — not selfishly — but knowing that this is the body, which is the house that houses the soul, and the soul if the part of God that he has given me as a part of Him. These messages I give to young people and I feel that if they take them (and many of them do), it is perhaps as good as the preacher in the pulpit, who tells people to come on over and be a member. I'm proud of my family, because they gave me a moral foundation, and I'm proud of the church, which was a small church, but they told us to be honest. So consequently, when it comes down to me, I knew, with this background I had, I could follow my parents, by giving. The more you give, the more you get, that was their philosophy.

Host: And the same as you give, the same you get?

MRS. ROBINBSON: Well, I don't know about that. Because you will give, but you may not get it back. Like what we did in Selma, Alabama: oh, we got our heads cracked and what not, and we would not give it back to those folks. We just felt sorry for them, because they were racists and they were taught to hate.

Host: I'm sorry we have to end. Thank you, Mrs. Robinson and Mrs.Weissbach.


Related Articles

Meet Amelia Boynton Robinson (Photos and history)

Dialogue of Cultures - links to other pages

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, January 2002

About The Schiller Institute

Call for Dialogue of Cultures Among Children

1997- We Must Rebuild Bosnia to Save Ourselves

Moses Mendelssohn and The Bach Tradition

Ecumenical Unity of East and West: Confucian and Christian Renaissances


schiller@schillerinstitute.org

The Schiller Institute
PO BOX 20244
Washington, DC 20041-0244
703-771-8390 or 888-347-3258

Thank you for supporting the Schiller Institute. Your membership and contributions enable us to publish FIDELIO Magazine, and to sponsor concerts, conferences, and other activities which represent critical interventions into the policy making and cultural life of the nation and the world.

Contributions and memberships are not tax-deductible.

VISIT THESE OTHER PAGES:

Home | Search | About | Fidelio | Economy | Strategy | Justice | Conferences | Join
Highlights
| Calendar | Music | Books | Concerts | Links | Education | Health
What's New | LaRouche | Spanish Pages | PoetryMaps
Dialogue of Cultures

© Copyright Schiller Institute, Inc. 2002. All Rights Reserved.