This morning, “NewsOne Now” mourned the death of the late Nelson Mandela. Join Roland Martin as we reflect on the revolutionary and outstanding history that Mandela encompassed in his 95 years. Guests include John Legend, Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson, actor Hill Harper and more, all sharing personal stories and condolences to celebrate the life and memory of a true hero.
If you were not able to listen to the full audio, take a look at the entire transcript from this morning’s episode.
Today the world mourns but also celebrates the life and legacy of nelson Mandela. He was a symbol of life and triumph. We talk with friends of those touched. “NewsOne Now” begins now.
This morning the flags are flying at half staff in honor of the man who spent the lion’s share of his life fighting for freedom of brothers and sisters in South Africa. Welcome to “news one now’s” coverage of the passing of Nelson Mandela. We have a number of guests, a number of folks joining me here on the set. First we want to share with you what president Obama had to say yesterday after the news was confirmed that nelson Mandela had passed away.
He achieved more than could be expected of any man. And today he has gone home. We have lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that anyone will share time with here on earth.
Later in the show we will be hearing from Dr. West and Andrew young and also from john legend. Congresswoman Lee and fudge, Charles Ogletree, a number of folks. Right now we are joined by a distinguished panel. To my right is Armstrong Williams. To my left we have the former president of Howard university. Also, former congressman Ron dellms. And George Curry. All four of them have over the years been to South Africa. They have met Nelson Mandela and will certainly share their insights. First of all, thank you so very much for being with us. What really jumps out to me and is amazing as i look at the coverage and talking about how graceful Nelson Mandela was and how iconic he was, at his heart he was a radical revolutionary.
If you go to the farm outside of where he was really†– they were plotting to overthrow the government you will see all kinds of symbols. First they tried nonviolence and he was determined that he could go beyond that and become the unifier that he was is remarkable.
Well, the thing that as an attorney when he was tried his trial he spoke words that are reminiscent to us as Americans. Namely he said i will give my life for my cause. Not only did he mean it but he lived it. He was committed. He was not a radical. He was an intellect. And he viewed the struggle with an intellectual context. He took lessons from all sources to bring an intellectual basis.
I have someone on the phone lines, Dr. Cornell west. Your impressions of Nelson Mandela and what should the world most remember about this courageous man?
Caller: he was a spiritual giant, a moral titan. He was a christian who was also a political revolutionary who understood when the cia collaborated with the apartheid regime. He could still stand tall and embrace and rooted in a fundamental commitment to justice.
Entertainers played a critical role in apartheid. One of the folks from the next generation who understands the importance of activism in entertainment is actor hill harper. Share your thoughts.
There are a few things i think all of us should remember, the fact he was a revolutionary. He was a freedom fighter. At the end of the day he was someone deemed by his government as a terrorist, him along with other leaders. He sacrificed so much and willing to sacrifice his life and being away from his family for the greater good. Someone like that who is able to negotiate with his enemy and take that pain and the history of that pain and put it aside and negotiate and go from being an enemy of the state to head of state. Go from a freedom fighter to a statesman is someone that is to me amazing. We got to see him live his life out. Other leaders didn’t get to see past their 40s. So many of us can live like him and take his values and ideals and athem to my life.
The united states certainly was not always loving of nelson mandela.
United states was on the wrong side of history. Not just reagan but many democrats from kennedy who refused to see that white supremacy was just as evil as nazism. Nelson mandela reminds us that love cuts through it all.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on tv one and “news one now.”
When we come back armstrong williams spent thanksgiving with many of nelson mandela’s relatives. We will talk about that family’s connection. And we will talk about the sanctions against south africa and the direction the black caucus led that and what it was like to be in those meetings fighting that fight for more than two decades. Seven minutes after the hour. You are watching a special edition of “news one now” here on tv one.
Don’t forget to chime in to the “news one now” discussion. You can visit us on our facebook page. Listen to us 24/7 on the web at newsone.com. Stay tuned because we have more topics you care about and more folks you want to see. As always information is power right here on “news one now.”
Our beloved nelson mandela has departed. He passed on peacefully in the company of his family.
That was south african president announcing the passing of nelson mandela yesterday at the age of 95. We continue our extensive coverage on tv one. We are going to turn to armstrong williams and former congressman ron dellhams. Armstrong, you hosted members of the family for thanksgiving. I guess around 3:00 p.m. yesterday you got a call from the family saying he had passed and a couple hours later the president announced that to the rest of the world that he had passed away. Tell us about what transpired yesterday.
The family were here. His daughter is the ambassador from south africa. In conjunction with the movie’s premiere we hosted them for thanksgiving and all of the mandela grandchildren on thanksgiving evening. And even from the conversations of her you can tell her father was gravely ill. I want to share this. I had lunch with mr. Mandela five days after his release. I think what is important and what professor west said is important. Mandela said i was a sinner. I did a lot i had to do to transform my people. I learned to love my enemies. They brought me books. I was like a father to those guys. He also said it is almost like biblical, like moses and abraham how god used the worst of sinners to do his greatest work. A lot wanted him to bring about violence. He said no, he is forgiveness. We must work together as a nation.
Armstrong talked about allies. He had few allies in congress. So the strongest congressional black caucus. You guys had to go through a bitter fight over a two decade period when it came to sanctions. Take us through what that was like.
First of all, a little known piece of history is that a group of, quote, militant workers from new england came down to washington, d.c. in 1971. The congressional black caucus. Remember the pass books that blacks had to show†–
It looked like a passport. They say show me your papers.
The picture was taken by polaroid cameras so the polaroid workers feeling uncomfortable that they were working for an employer that was complicitt in support of the apartheid regime wanted the black caucus to introduce a piece of legislation dealing with divestment. The caucus had an ambitious agenda. They said would you meet with the polaroid workers. I said of course i would. John conniers said i will go with him. That started the bill that took 15 to 17 years of work. It was a group of polaroid workers who had the dignity and integrity to challenge the congressional black caucus.
Ken williams was one of the williams and caroline hunter. I stayed at her house in martha’s vineyard. I am in new york and seeing the story and i’m going i stayed at her house. I text her daughter saying i did not realize that is who your mom was. We are going to have her on the show talking about that.
I want to go to the phones. Congress woman norton from d.c. your thoughts about the passing of nelson mandela.
I have to tell you while they were trying to get the administration to support sanctions i was on the outside of the congress. When i heard he had passed i remembered when four of us went into the embassy to try to get unionists who were being held who were really the free south africa movement inside of south africa to get them released. And that is when the arrests began. People came from all over united states, people who were well known and who nobody knew. And the free south africa movement grew and the movement for divestment grew and the united states agreed to sanctions and the end of apartheid was then in the wind. I happened to be in cape town on the day he was released. I was a professor at georgetown and a member of the rockefeller foundation board. Last thing i expected was the announcement that mandela would be released. His journey from the time he was released at 71 years old until this year in the congress when we celebrated bringing democrats and republicans together the entire leadership of the congress celebrated the 95th birthday of nelson mandela. That is the full journey that i have seen during my lifetime of nelson mandela, a man who grew to great prominence. Nobody knew him but when he became the symbol of freedom in the world. There has never been a political figure like him in my lifetime. When they say father of his country i really think of george washington who served one term and refused to serve another. So did nelson mandela. When is the last time you saw a government official give up power like that?
Absolutely. We appreciate you sharing your reflections regarding nelson mandela. Thank you very much. We are going to take a break. When we come back we talk with former ambassador andrew young about the connection beteen the civil rights here in the united states and will share with us the link between dr. King and anti-apartheid in south africa. Stay tuned. We have more coverage on the life and legacy of nelson mandela on this special edition of tv one’s “news one now.”
So that we form against racism. That day comes now. Then we will all be entitled.
Welcome back to tv one’s live coverage of the passing of former south african president nelson mandela. We have had a number of folks sharing their thoughts about him, this iconic figure. Joining us on the phone lines is the former ambassador to the united nations for the united states and former mayor of atlanta, andrew young. Welcome to “news one now.”
How are you doing?
Glad to talk to you. Through was a clear connection between leaders in south africa and the civil rights movement here in the united states.
It went all the way back to chief albert, the†– it was founded and i knew about albert and anc from sunday school. Nelson mandela went to one of the colleges that the methodist and churches founded. We share a common legacy of both oppression and also kind of biblical hope. And when albert got the nobel prize dr. King was one of the first to congratulate him. When martin won in 1964 they collaborated on a general human rights proclamation that went around the world. But it was even more subtle than that. When the freedom rides were going on here and it hit television the sharpville riots, really police turning on people of sharpville and killing them. Every time we had a movement here it was a parallel explosion of some sort in south africa. It was as though we were connected at the hip.
We thank you for joining us about your thoughts of nelson mandela. We will continue our coverage letting people know about who this man was, a 360 degree view of him and not just a narrow view.
You wanted to pick up on a point something armstrong said earlier.
You showed a clip of nelson mandela speaking to a joint session of congress. I had the honor of escorting him to the floor of congress. After that speech he told a story at a luncheon that i think speaks to the point that armstrong made. He said that when he was arrested in the context of south africa the races were so polarized that they could not develop a relationship. He goes to prison and to his shock and amazement an extraordinary debate begins to occur among white jailers. One group says continue to oppress them and treat them harshly so when they get out they will never want to come back and never fight against apartheid again. A second group of people said we may reap what we sow and someday blacks will become the leaders of south africa and if we want us to be treated with dignity and respect we must treat them with digity and respect. The point is in prison blacks and whites began to sense each other’s humanity and he thus came out of robben island as transformed human being.
He also spoke about when you have hate it eats at you and doesn’t affect the other person. That is why we talked about he left it behind him. That is an amazing lesson for all of us.
You know, we talk about mr. Mandela. I think context is so important. And i’m happy that ambassador young referenced the founders of anc and their shared intellectual and cultural relationship of one another as graduates of historically black colleges and particularly happy to hear that ambassador young, graduate of howard university. When you visit south africa you really can appreciate the sense of both the africana community and majority community. Here is someone who in south african context is george washington, abraham lincoln and dr. Martin luther king jr. We don’t have that and we are not going to have that in my view anytime soon, unfortunately, a personality who when i first met him you think of iconic figures and therefore you think you are visiting a statue, someone frozen in time. I’m so happy that our colleagues on this panel have humanized him. When i met him what occurred to me was what am i going to say after hello. And thank you for greeting me. And what i found as armstrong found with his family in hosting his family, what i found was a very, very warm human being which was almost a disappointment. I wanted a mountain top. And we talked and i was fortunate enough, i was schedulealed to visit with him for five minutes, a stop and go. I visited with him for an hour. One aside in terms of his humanity, we met him, i met him my last day in south africa. I didn’t know what to bring him. I had run out of gifts. The only thing i had left was a howard baseball cap. I gave him the baseball cap. And then he took the cap and said i have always wanted a howard baseball cap. Of course, he was pulling my leg.
That is a smooth politician for you.
We will talk with congressman marsha. I want to hear from her about nelson mandela understanding why women should play a leadership role in the movement which a lot of civil rights leaders didn’t necessarily embrace in this country. Hit us up on twitter as well as on facebook. We’ll take your comments. This is “news one now” with roland martin and our special coverage on the life and legacy of nelson mandela.
Picture you are seeing, interesting when you talk about nelson mandela dying. But in many ways they are celebrating his passing. It should be very interesting to see them singing and chanting and showing their love and affection for a huge, huge figure. Social media, there was a tremendous outpouring yesterday and continues as it relates to nelson mandela. Shannon cross joining us now with what is happening in the social media world. Lots of high profile people weighing in and lots of ordinary folks, as well.
You have politicians, entertainers and journalists all weighing in. We have singer rihanna with this tweet. Nelson mandela, you made your people proud. We will always love you for it. And russell simmons with this quote from mandela. Whoopee goldberg tweeted this. I want to give the world a hug. I was told mandiba just passed. And kevin hart the definition of strength is nelson mandela. And god bless your resting soul. And espn’s steven smith with this tweet. Thank you, my lord, for giving us nelson mandela. Rest in eternal peace. And actor who plays nelson mandela in “a long walk to freedom” simply tweeted merci which in french means thank you.
Before the announcement yesterday it was interesting seeing folks there talking about folks showing up at the home and the police presence. That is why i think social media has played such a critical role. Opposed to waiting on a news agency to let you know what was happening folks in real time sharing the thoughts and a lot of folks posting photos they took with nelson mandela. Over the coming days we’ll be sharing those photos.
On the phone is chair of the congressional black caucus. Congress woman fudge we talk about nelson mandela and anc. One of the things people often forget and that is the role that women leaders played in carrying forth that torch as well as the young folks in south africa, children vital of winning apartheid.
Winnie mandela was the face [†inaudible†] when you talk about ron dellham on one of the most influential people. We had maxeen waters, the face of the anc in this country and became a member of the anc kwh it was considered a terrorist organization. People like barbara lee who travelled to other countries who meet with people that were helping to tear down the apartheid regime because she couldn’t do it in this country. Women and young people really carried the banner when other people were afraid or did not find that they have the position or the strength to do some of the things that were done while he was in prison. And so women really were the face of the movement for many years.
We certainly thank you for sharing your thoughts with regards to nelson mandela. Thank you very much.
Armstrong, nelson mandela was not one to not speak to what was happening here at the united states.
I have to give credit to the man who educated his children and took care of his children while he was in prison. He made transitions quickly and said gospel music sustained him. He said i love calling your name. And then he loved boxing. He loved boxing. And i was stunned how much american culture influenced him and how much he loved gospel music.
He also had a tremendous sense of humor. You have a photo where he is laughing.
Well, i have a photo, i don’t know whether you can pick it up. But i just told him about my ill fated career in athletics and he threw his head back and laughed. He was quick to say he was not laughing at my failure to be an athlete but thinking about all of the athletes that he knew who wanted to be what he wanted to be, namely a real athlete. I wanted to talk about law. Of course, he was a lawyer. He wanted to come back to my athletic.
One of his fantasies†– he said to me i want to be a heavy weight champion of the world.
When he was boxing he was 245. That was big back then.
I would like to offer this one observation. Martin luther king said once that longevity has its place. I would love to live a long life, but he didn’t live a long life. He gave us a picture of the power of peace and the power of nonviolence. Nelson mandela was given the gift of longevity and he not only shows the vision of it but showed us how to do it. That was the difference in my opinion between nelson mandela and martin luther king.
After the break we speak with congress woman barbara lee. It is 16 before the top of the hour. You are looking at a live picture outside the home of nelson mandela. This is “news one now” with roland martin. Back in a moment.
Was so vicious. At the time i did not blame any of those.
That was an interview i conducted with winnie mandela a couple of years when she came to the united states and spoke at a church in birmingham, alabama. Joining us on the phone is congresswoman barbara lee. Welcome to “news one now.”
Happy to be with you today.
What is the one memory that stands out to you as it relates to nelson mandela, the man.
When he came to washington, d.c. to say thank you. He has humility and ability to demonstrate to all of us that as a freedom fighter and one who fought the justice and for freedom that one should remain humble and one should move forward. In the development of society do it in a way that would allow for healing. His presence i think many people would say he was larger than life and you felt that sense of serenity, peace and calm. He had strength and knew you were with a magnificent human being.
I called randal robinson yesterday. He was traveling and couldn’t join us. He said one person i want you to call is harvard professorer charlesogetree because it was his efforts. He said we called and said we need you to line the lawyers up and have them ready because when folks start protesting at south african embassies across the country we will need lawyers to bail them out of jail. Talk about how important it was to have black politicians, black lawyers, black activists and others all united when it came to helping nelson mandela and the anc bring down the racist apartheid government in south africa.
It was critical. I started supporting mandela before i knew he was mandela. I was a student at stanford and had a protest against apartheid. I held a sign up that said let my people go. And that continued. Randal said ogletree is going to lead this movement. We had a lot of folks, we were all getting together to march in 1984 for nelson mandela’s freedom. We had to make sure people understood that we were there to stay. I visited south africa several times. He is a man of courage, of incredible will and he will be remembered. I hope this group here should write a book called “i am nelson mandela”. People may remember the movie about malcolm x. Nelson mandela did a video saying i am malcolm x. We have to be him, his commitment and courage. That is what i hope we do in the 21st century. We will forever remember this man not just as a global figure but someone who should have a national and global holiday to recognize his birth and years of service to a great country.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts about nelson mandela here with us on tv one at “news one now.” i want to go back to our panel. Got to be a tough act to follow if you had to be the president after nelson mandela served.
I want to try to do that. You had†– he had problems acknowledging that hiv existed there. And then you got zuma after that. And then you have so much high expectations. It is disenchantment to the point. People expected so much. When you go back so little has changed economically.
We award an honorary degree to mr. Mandela. At the time there was a plaque presented to howard to acknowledge the colleges and universities that had been engaged in anti-apartheid movement. He had a very difficult task ahead of him. His task was not simply eto succeed a personality but somebody who embodied an ideal south africa that has not been fully realized. I’m not sure anyone could have fulfilled the aspirations that were triggered by mr. Mandela’s triumph. I think we sometimes overlook the task, the difficulty of the task in front of you but i think we need to acknowledge what he did, as well.
Armstrong we will get your comment when we come back. We want to thank congress woman lee for calling and professor ogletree. This is “news one now” with roland martin and our continuing coverage of south african president nelson mandela.
Some of us have to continue as long as we have in us to fulfill the dreams that everyone of us fought for.
That was my interview with winnie mandela. Joining me on the phone is former congressman from maryland. Welcome to “news one now.”
Thank you very much.
What did nelson mandela mean to you?
Well, nelson mandela treated me like a son and i admired him as you would a father. But more than anything what he has meant to me in the world is that in his passing we have witnessed one of the greatest figures of human history leaving the stage of life who through the simple eloquence of his example inspired presidents, popes and the common man to a legacy and a belief that good would always overcome evil. And so much has been said and so much will continue to be said. I hope we personally hold him in our hearts and remember we are whole and the nation is better because he lived.
Thank you for joining us here.
Final thoughts. We start to my right Armstrong Williams.
Mandela is a powerful symbol. The person that holds south africa together is winnie mandela. She is a general. She is a warrior and tough. She has the respect and trust of the people. As long as she lives you won’t see the chaos that could ensue at the possibility of mr. Mandela dying.
I look at him as a giant of both intellect and humanity which is a combination that is rare to find anywhere at any time. I think the ideal of mr. Mandela is so powerful that it will continue to thrive.
I think his life challenges us to be courageous and find something we believe in and want to die for.
I want to share a personal moment. Mandela meets with anc. That morning i’m going to meet nelson mandela after i have been saying free mandela, free my people, free south africa. Bill gray says mr. Mandela i want you to meet congressman dellham and he said you kept hope alive. He hugged me. If i live to be 1,000 i will never forget the power of that moment.
I want to thank all of you for being with us and everyone who called in and shared their thoughts about nelson mandela. Next ten days is a mourning period. Funeral will be held on december 15. We will continue to have coverage as it relates to the passing of nelson mandela. Of course you can check me out at twitter. Be sure to watch tv one. We have various coverage this weekend, various documentaries on nelson mandela. We will see you next week. Thank you for watching this special edition focusing on the life and legacy of the iconic and the great.