Dr. Bernard LaFayette, chairman of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is a giant of the civil rights movement. In 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King appointed LaFayette to be National Coordinator of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign, King’s final grassroots mobilization. Dr. LaFayette worked closely with King and was with him just hours before his assassination in Memphis in 1968. LaFayette has carried on King’s mission ever since.
Dr. LaFayette visited Vermont in June 2018 as part of the 50th anniversary of the Poor People’s Campaign, which is being marked by a new poster display about the campaign at the Ben & Jerry’s factory in Waterbury. The display is from Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture. LaFayette talks about who Martin Luther King was, his relevance today, and why King expanded his efforts from civil rights to fighting for all poor people. (July 11, 2018 broadcast)
Dr. Bernard LaFayette, civil rights leader, aide to Dr. Martin Luther King
Gov. Phil Hoff, the first Democrat elected governor in Vermont in over a century, permanently changed the politics of the Green Mountain state during his tenure, 1963-1969. Hoff — who pursued sweeping initiatives in civil rights, education, and was the first Democratic governor to break with LBJ and oppose the Vietnam War — is widely recognized as the founder of progressive politics in Vermont. Hoff celebrated his 90th birthday in June 2014. He talks about his victories and defeats, his relationship with Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, his struggle with alcoholism, his views on universal health care and education, his legacy, and he offers advice to today’s leaders.
On the fiftieth anniversary of Freedom Summer, Vermonter Gail Falk recounts her work as a civil rights volunteer in Mississippi in 1964 teaching in Freedom Schools, registering African American voters, dealing with violence, being jailed, and the historic legacy of that summer.