Video: USA becoming Third World country, activist Lawrence Hamm warns at Morristown talk

Activist Lawrence Hamm with former Morristown High School Principal Linda Murphy, at 2013 Black History Month celebration in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Activist Lawrence Hamm with former Morristown High School Principal Linda Murphy, at 2013 Black History Month celebration in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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The United States is teetering perilously close to becoming an “advanced Third World country,” according to Lawrence Hamm, a Newark activist with roots in the Civil Rights movement.

Activist Lawrence Hamm with former Morristown High School Principal Linda Murphy, at 2013 Black History Month celebration in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Activist Lawrence Hamm with former Morristown High School Principal Linda Murphy, at 2013 Black History Month celebration in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

That movement did not end with President Barack Obama’s election; the next chapter must be the war on poverty that Martin Luther King died for, Larry said last week, at a Black History Month celebration hosted by the Morristown Neighborhood House.

“The real issue is this: It’s not enough to simply change the complexion of the people that are in office. The whole object is to change the quality of life, to make people’s lives better. That’s what the object is. Electing people is just the tool to achieve that,” Larry says in this clip.

It’s an excerpt from our extended video interview, A Conversation with Lawrence Hamm, a discussion that ranges from chattel slavery to Rosa Parks, Black Power, Princeton, Cory Booker, and the nation’s widening economic divide. (Links below.)

As a boy in Newark during the 1960s, Larry had a front-row seat to the riots that nearly tore the city apart.  At 17, he was the youngest member appointed to Newark’s school board. He led protests against apartheid as a Princeton student, and went on to chair the People’s Organization for Progress and lead the state chapter of the Million Man March.

The rest of the interview is in three segments. Here is the video playlist:

PART ONE: Barack Obama, Cory Booker, Newark, and student activism at Princeton in the 1970s.

00:09:26 Long way from Emancipation Proclamation 150 years ago…
00:50:23 Still long way to go…
1:21: Symbol of hope, Barack Obama…
1:36: Proud of President…
2:00: Obama must focus on poverty…
2:35: Newark better than in ’70s…
3:13: Significant problems remain…
3:52: Newark’s problems are same as other cities…
4:01: US needs urban policy…
4:13: On Cory Booker…
4:57: A black student at Princeton
5:46: Princeton a tough school…
6:37: ‘Others took an interest in me…’
6:46: Advice to black students…
7:30: Expose high schoolers to college early
7:57: Study hard
8:26: Students should be politically aware
8:39: Eighteen-year-olds could turn around country
8:47: College should be free

PART TWO: Meeting Rosa Parks; Malcolm X; Martin Luther King’s inner circle; why MLK ‘had to go’

00:09:21: Meeting Rosa Parks
00:38:08: Meeting Coretta Scott King, Abernathy, Young, Jackson
1:54:00: Underestimating Rosa
4:09:14: Miracle Rosa wasn’t killed
4:19:24: What MLK’s inner circle was really like
5:27:24: The lure of Malcolm X and Black Power
6:12:25: Comparing Malcolm X and MLK
8:00:00: MLK Public Enemy No. 1 after opposing Vietnam
8:27:03: ‘We all love MLK now; not so in ’68!’
8:54:01: The pot had to be stirred
9:12:00:  Jesus, MLK, and the ultimate sacrifice
10:13:04: Appreciating MLK’s circle
11:13:08: Only human…they didn’t ‘walk around giving speeches’

PART THREE: The back of the train, Newark riots, the seeds of our destruction

00:20:12: ‘Move to the back of the train’
01:51:23: Newark riots focus attention on race
02:32:13: Grandfather ‘tails’ of WWII discrimination
03:22:27: First visit with white person
04:32:09: Messages of hope from Newark riots
05:47:05: After Jim Crow, political power was the struggle
06:50:13: Ken Gibson’s election: Dancing in Newark streets
07:13:17: ‘Naivete of an honest heart’
07:46:29: Roots of poverty, racism, economic inequality too deep
07:55:17: Civil Rights movement removed veneer of race
08:18:29: Real roots are economic..today’s challenge
09:03:12: Picking up where MLK left off
09:57:05: Economic Bill of Rights radical idea…MLK ‘had to go’
10:53:00: MLK sought coalition to change society…it got him killed
11:16:09: Without fundamental change, US will be ‘advanced Third World country’
11:31:22: Bottom of industrialized countries…Americans work longer, harder, for less pay
11:54:00: Bottom of list producing doctors
12:06:13: Sewing seeds of our destruction
12:27:28: Must put country back on rational course
12:40:00: Middle class will disappear…
12:54:00: We can do better
12:59:15: Lose focus, and bad guys win
13:11:26: This is like 1968
13:25:28: Real issue not complexion, it’s making lives better

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 COMMENTS

  1. He’s like a walking encyclopedia of the Civil Rights movement. But his focus is the future. A really interesting guy.

  2. Listening to Mr. Hamm at the Black History Month Celebration was fascinating. What a dynamic person. This interview captures him exactly.

  3. Thank you for this interview. Chairman Hamm was more than informative with his deliverance on stage. Your interview captivated the man, his civil rights attributes, as well past & present thoughts on topics that affect our country.

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