BILL MOYERS: Good evening. I'm Bill Moyers. ["This Week"]

HUBERT H. HUMPHREY: Democracy is the most difficult task of all. I doesn't take any brains to be a totalitarian.

1st GIRL: They always spit on us like we some dogs. Ain't nothing going to change.

COWBOY: In the city, if they don't run over you on purpose, they'll do it accidentally.

HENRY STEELE COMMAGER: Public servants have forgotten that they were servants. They think they're masters.

BILL MOYERS: What would you say to the people of East Rogers Park?

1st WOMAN: Fight like hell.

["Bill Moyers' Journal"]

HAROLD BLACK:The idea came to me in a flash.

MAYA ANGELOU: Study. Put it in the brain. This machine will do anything for you. Anything.

JOHN HUSTON: Wait around until the idea comes. The right idea. And when it does, you recognize it.

BILL MOYERS: If you want to learn something about creativity, think garbage.

["Creativity With Bill Moyers"]

2nd WOMAN: Coal miners lived the hard life. A very hard life.

WYATT MOORE: The good, old days may have toughened me up to make me last to where I am now or even longer. I hope.

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: What's our campaign slogan, do you think?

2nd GIRL: Happy days are here again.

FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT: Good. That's right.

FRANK CAPRA: Here, I've got the greatest heroes, the greatest villains on the world stage. Real, not actors. Real.

["A Walk Through the 20th Century With Bill Moyers"]

BILL MOYERS: I'm Bill Moyers. What does this have to do with the Supreme Court?

JUSTICE SANDRA DAY O'CONNOR: The cases that we get here are decided sometimes on such fine lines, you'd think they're dancing on the head of a pin.

JUSTICE WILLIAM BRENNAN: Bill of Rights. My God, they call them technicalities. They are the warp and woof of our whole system. ["In Search of the Constitution"]

REV. W.A. CRISWELL [preaching] I think if you don't believe the Bible, you ought to quit the ministry.

GEORGE BALDWIN: As far as the Bible is concerned, you cannot serve both money and God. ["God and Politics"]

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive.

["Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth"]

LUCILLE CLIFTON: These hips have never been enslaved. They go where they want to go. They do what they want to do.

ROBERT BLY: In poetry, you try to tell the truth. That's not what we do in daily life.

["The Power of the Word"]

ISAAC ASIMOV: You make a misstep in science and you're through. Really through.

ANN WORTHAM: Racism is evil in whatever form it takes. However, it is not something that whites have a monopoly on.

PETER SELLARS: Giving people what they want is a very bad idea most of the time.

["A World of Ideas"]

["Listening to America – 20 Years With Bill Moyers"]

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] I'm Bill Moyers. It's been 20 years since public television first took a chance on me. I remember clearly even now how it came about. William Morris of Harper’s magazine had sent me on a journey of 13,000 miles around the country to write a book called Listening to America. They read that book here at NET in New York, National Educational Television, and one day I answered the phone to hear a fellow say, "Moyers, don't unpack." Well, I didn't and that was a lot of stories ago, a lot of frequent-flyer miles, and so many memorable people, places and events that trying to pick my favorite is like having to choose among the flavors at the ice cream parlor. Some people, I'll never forget from this journey. Some stories, I wish had never happened. The trip's taken almost a third of my life and here are just a few moments from along the way.

["Living Free in the Rockies," 1974]

BILL MOYERS: I'm Bill Moyers, believe it or not. This is my oldest son, Cope. The ride we've just taken down from the high Rockies is part of this week's journal.

["The Oregon Attitude," 1973]

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to Oregon. Welcome, I should say if you're not planning to stay very long.

["Garbage," 1982]

BILL MOYERS: I'm standing on the side of the largest garbage dump in the world.

["The World of David Rockefeller," 1980]

BILL MOYERS: Hello, David.

DAVID ROCKEFELLER: Glad to see you.

BILL MOYERS: Glad to see you.


BILL MOYERS: You ready to take this journey?

DAVID ROCKEFELLER: All set to go. Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] One journey took me with the banker David Rockefeller through the power centers of Europe.

1st MAN: It's too early in the morning.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] We were delayed leaving the US when his car stalled and blocked the runway.

2nd MAN: Let's roll it.

DAVID ROCKEFELLER: Oh, we can push it.

BILL MOYERS: This trip is beginning very ominously.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] The poet and writer Maya Angelou took me with her to the little town of Stamps, Arkansas, where she grew up, a journey both homeward and inward.

["Maya Angelou," 1982, interviewing] There really were two Stamps?

MAYA ANGELOU: Oh, yes. It started – the black part of Stamps started right there at that bridge.

BILL MOYERS: Where that fellow's fishing?

MAYA ANGELOU: Yes. Well, there and behind us at the railroad track. This was more or less no man's land here, it seems, because if you were black, you never felt really safe when you simply crossed the railroad tracks. You still had to go all this way. It was like an international tarmac where anybody could get you. You were really in the black part of town when you crossed that little bridge and the pond. Then, you were safe. Then, if you didn't know everybody, at least everybody knew who you were, you know, and as a child, it was a chance to have some protection and I used to have to walk over here. Oh, gosh, I hated it. I had no protection at all over there. I had an idea of protection on this side. I had my grandmother on this side, I had the church, my uncle and all my people were on this side, so I had an idea of protection, but there, I would be all alone and I loathed it, crossing those railroad tracks. Bill, I tell you, to show you how much things don't change, I'm not even going to cross it with you now. I don't really – I really don't – I'm not doing this for any reason other than I really do not want to go across there. I really don't.

BILL MOYERS: I understand. So, what are you thinking right now?

MAYA ANGELOU: You stay on my side. We'll both be safe.

BILL MOYERS: ["Marshall, Texas," 1984, interviewing] And what was this?

[voice-over] I returned to my own hometown of Marshall, Texas, and called on Selma and Emma Mae Brotze, retired now after years of teaching.

[interviewing] Someone told me that people in this town live by the whistle of the train. Was that true?

EMMA MAE BROTZE: It is. Should I tell him the story?

SELMA BROTZE: Tell him, but – wait a minute, not all the – [crosstalk]

BILL MOYERS: What's the story?

EMMA MAE BROTZE: Do you hereby swear that you will not use it because this is a lovely lady.

BILL MOYERS: I vow that I won't use it unless it's a good enough story that I need to use it.

SELMA BROTZE: You will need to use it and you do not have to use the name. I'm not going to give you the name, though. This is a woman –

EMMA MAE BROTZE: Is she dead now? She's dead.

SELMA BROTZE: Yes, she's dead, but that doesn't mean you have to have the name. She lived on East Austin and she taught in the East End School. You would know her.

BILL MOYERS: I went to that school.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: Yes, you would have known her, but don't give the name.

SELMA BROTZE: I will tell you later.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: You may figure it out.

SELMA BROTZE: She lived on East Austin Street, and for some reason, she had – probably she had important home chores which she had to perform before going to school, so her alarm clock was the 5:00 whistle from the T&P Shops. Everybody set there – you knew when 5:00 in the evening came because the whistle blew. You knew when noon came because of the whistle. You knew that it was time to get up if you were an early riser because of the whistle. Her first morning after she retired, the whistle blew and she jumped out of bed and started to get dressed and, all of a sudden, she realized that the whistle no longer meant anything to her, so in her nightgown, she opened the front door and stood on the porch and thumbed her nose at the whistle –

BILL MOYERS: At the T&P train?

SELMA BROTZE: - the T&P whistle and that's all there is to the story.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: Nobody would think that this – no one would suspect that this lady would do anything like that, you know, Bill.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: I would suspect it.

BILL MOYERS: You knew her.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: She was very prominent in the Baptist Church. She had charge of many things up there and she really and truly was a very lovely person.

BILL MOYERS: Was that Miss Bessie Bryant?

SELMA BROTZE: You guessed it.

EMMA MAE BROTZE: Bill, don't put it in the story, please.

BILL MOYERS: I think Bessie would be charmed. She was a good lady.

SELMA BROTZE: She really got it going well.

BILL MOYERS: You can go home again. You just can't keep its secrets. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of laughter in the early '70s, not in our public affairs at least. The '60s had ended bitterly, poisoning the times to come. Families, communities, generations, the races turned on one another and the government turned on its own people. America was still at war in Vietnam, and just as that war abroad was real, but never declared, so was the civil war that grew at home.

["Essay on Watergate," 1973, voice-over] For diehard segregationists, this meant dogs in the street and defiance in the doorways, for a fanatic, it meant a gun in the crowd to settle his personal score with the world, for political extremists, it meant a bomb in a public building to make the world safe for idealism, and for the government, it became exorbitant means to accomplish limited ends. The war President Nixon inherited untied dark and brutal forces and gave them official legitimacy. "This is not a conventional war," said the colonel who served as foreman of one of the My Lai juries. "We have to forget propriety." And we did. At first, the aims of the war seemed to a lot of us worthy and intelligible, but an army major standing in ruins and ashes finally summed up what had gone wrong. "It became necessary to destroy this town," he told a reporter, "to save it." No longer were the means proportioned to the ends.

[on camera] Like a headless horseman, the war raced on and the pattern was set. Excess abroad provoked excess at home. Rage met rage, until the whole nation seemed to have abandoned the protocol of law.

[voice-over] Wall Street, May 8th, 1970, angry construction workers attack a group of anti-war demonstrators. Three weeks later, the leaders of the New York Construction Workers were invited to the White House to be personally thanked by the president for their support of his Vietnam policies. If any of the young men on his staff needed a sign that tough measures against the president's opponents were OK, this was it.

JOHN DEAN: [testifying] I was made aware of the president's strong feelings about even the smallest of demonstrations during the late winter of 1971 when the president happened to look out the window of the residence of the White House and saw a lone man with a large 10-foot sign stretched out in front of Lafayette Park. Mr. Higby called me to his office to tell me of the president's displeasure with the sign in the park and told me that Mr. Haldeman had said that the sign had to come down. When I came out of Mr. Higby's office, I ran into Dwight Chapin who said he was going to get some thugs to remove the man from Lafayette Park. He said it would take him a few hours to get them, but they could do the job.

BILL MOYERS: I spent four and a half years in the White House and can testify as to how tempting it is to put the president's interest above all others. You begin to confuse the office with the man and the man with the country. Life inside those iron gates takes on an existential quality. I think with the president's mind; therefore, I am.

JOHN CAULFIELD: [testifying] I felt very strongly about the president, extremely strongly about the president. I was very loyal to his people that I worked for. I place a high value upon loyalty.

BERNARD BARKER: [testifying] Sure, I am not – I wasn't there to think. I was there to follow orders, not to think.

JOHN MITCHELL: [testifying] – and I was not about to countenance anything that would stand in the way of that reelection.

SEN. HERMAN TALMADGE: If the president could authorize a covert break-in and you don't know exactly where that power would be limited, you don't think it could include murder or other crimes beyond covert break-ins, do you?

JOHN EHRLICHMAN: Oh, I don't know where the line is, Senator.

HENRY STEELE COMMAGER: What has happened, in a sense, especially in recent years, and it's more the last two presidents, perhaps three, a sense that the president is a kind of royal figure, that he should not live like other people. It has often been noted, for example, that when Jefferson took the oath of office, he walked back to his boardinghouse – no limousines then – and there was no room for him at his table, so he waited until there was room at the boardinghouse table. The notion that the president is a special kind of person, who is like a monarch or like a god and, therefore, everything must be done for him is a relatively new notion.

BILL MOYERS: What did the authors of our liberty most fear in regard to the growth of the executive power?

HENRY STEELE COMMAGER: They feared the corruption of power. They're all students of history, especially of ancient history and of the classics, and history had one inescapable lesson, namely that power corrupts.

BILL MOYERS: ["The Americans," 1973, voice-over] Nineteen-seventy-two was the year in which the White House cried, "Peace. Peace." But there was no peace. I think the cruel paradox of the war's effects on the country is clearest in separate conversations I recently had with two fathers. One is the Reverend Raymond Pontier, a congregational minister in Clifton, New Jersey. His son, Glen, is in the federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, for refusing to be inducted.

REV. RAYMOND PONTIER: He did not do this for kicks. He did not do this because he was turned off. He did this because he believed it was the honest thing to do.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] The second man is James Davis, a retired druggist who lives in Livingston, Tennessee. His son, Tom, died in Vietnam on December 22nd, 1961, the first American boy to be killed in combat with the Vietcong.

[interviewing] Did people know about Vietnam then, know where it was, what was at stake?

JAMES DAVIS: No, uh-uh. I didn't know where it was. I've been quoted as saying, "Where in the hell's Vietnam?" Well, I didn't know where Vietnam was. I knew where Indochina was, but I didn't know anything about Vietnam.

REV. RAYMOND PONTIER: I'm angry that American boys, 50,000 or so American boys, were killed. I'm very angry at that. I think Glen is as much – Glen and others, because I don't exclude so many others who have suffered, the guys who have gone to Canada, because they have been alienated by the monstrosity which has taken place in Indochina. So, yeah, I'm mad in that sense, I'm angry, I'm disturbed because it has been necessary for a guy to stand up for what he believes in, as a Christian, as a moral person, as an ethical person, that to stand up for these ideals and to say that because he really believes this way that he has to spend a year in prison.

BILL MOYERS: How did you get the word that he had been killed?

JAMES DAVIS: Telegram. Telegram. Cabdriver brought me a telegram.

BILL MOYERS: A cabdriver?

JAMES DAVIS: Uh-huh, yeah, we don't have a Western Union office here.

BILL MOYERS: Twenty-some-odd years of a boy's life wrapped up in a telegram?

JAMES DAVIS: Yeah, yeah and, you know, what it is when you go to the door and there stands a man and he knew what it was too, see. He was as tore up about it as I was. It's pretty rough when your wife's in the kitchen and you're at the front door and the man hands you a telegram and you know what's in the telegram before you open it because, normally, in the service, no news is good news. When you get news, well, you don't get telegrams hardly ever and his wife's up at her mother's and you've got to tell all these people about it. Pretty tough. My son was just one of the 50,000 that got killed in Vietnam. They all did their duty. They did their duty, just like he did and like people did in World War I, World War II, Spanish-American War, Civil War. We owe those fellows somethin'.


JAMES DAVIS: Well, in the first place, we owe 'em this country. If it wasn't for those fellows, we wouldn't have a country, would we? You and I wouldn't be sitting here maybe. At least we wouldn't be saying what we think maybe. I like this country. I say what I cotton-picking please about who I please, and if the shoe fits, wear it.

BILL MOYERS: And you don't think it was in vain?

JAMES DAVIS: No, I don't think so.

BILL MOYERS: Does the way it comes out have something important to say to you about the value of his death?


WOMAN NARRATOR: ["Kent State: Struggle for Justice," 1974, voice-over] From the poem "The Quarry" by W.H. Auden: "Oh, what is that sound which so thrills the ear down in the valley, drumming, drumming?"

MAN NARRATOR: "Only the soldiers, dear, the soldiers coming"

WOMAN NARRATOR: "Oh, what is that light I see flashing so clear over the distance, brightly, brightly?"

MAN NARRATOR: "Only the sun on their weapons, dear, as they step lightly"

WOMAN NARRATOR: "Oh, what are they doing with all that gear / What are they doing this morning, this morning?"

MAN NARRATOR: "Only their usual maneuvers, my dear, or perhaps a warning"

WOMAN NARRATOR: "Oh, why have they left the road down there / Why are they suddenly wheeling, wheeling?"

MAN NARRATOR: "Perhaps a change in their orders, dear / Why are you kneeling?" [Film, Kent State, 1970]

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] Thirteen seconds of gunfire on a spring day four years ago at a place called Kent State in Ohio, 13 seconds containing violence enough to kill four young people, to injure nine others and to severely scar this nation's belief in due process. For these young people, those 13 seconds were the end of time itself. For the rest of us, they were an ugly reminder in an unpleasant year of how we were warring with each other.

BILL MOYERS: ["Rosedale: The Way It Is," 1976, voice-over] We were warring with ourselves in other ways too. Out in Queens, New York, in a neighborhood known as Rosedale, things had been quiet until a black family bought a home and moved in.

3rd WOMAN: We are here to stay as a race and right now as a people. We are right here. We're going to stay here. Nobody's going to change that.

3rd MAN: I look at it this way. When the house was up for sale, it was open to anybody. There was no notices anywhere saying that no blacks allowed or no Spanish allowed or no Haitians or no Jews or no Italians. Therefore, since I was able to buy the house, I have a right to it. I have a right to live in it and I have a right to do what I like in this house because it's my home. It's as simple as that. No one else has any form of – or any reason to tell us what we should do, that we can't live here or we shouldn't live here or we've got to move. No one else. We decide that.

BILL MOYERS: What harm could they do? What's wrong with them?

4th MAN: They're black. That's what's wrong with them, and the way I feel, black and white don't mix and it's never going to mix. They've been here in this country 200 years and it seems that any – you show me one neighborhood where integration worked. I don't think there's a neighborhood where integration ever worked, where it didn't go totally black, and we don't want that to happen here and we're going to do everything within our power, through legal means, to make sure that this neighborhood stays white.

1st BOY: People know that white and black people are never going to get along, so they should just stay apart, you know. Common sense. They just shouldn't try and get together because they just don't like each other and they never will. It's the truth.

BILL MOYERS: What do you think of black people?

1st BOY: I don't like them. I really don't.


1st BOY: Because I just think that they're always looking out to make trouble. They never want to be friends. It's the truth, man. They never want to be friends. If they see you on the block – if they see you walking down the block, they won't turn around and say, "Hey," you know, "How are you?" and stuff. They turn around – "Hey, honky, what's the matter with you, man? You've got an ugly head."

2nd BOY: If they lived in Rosedale, you're only going to find them all over the streets and everywhere. They're going to be starting up with everybody because if one starts to live in Rosedale, the whole pack is coming.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] As we filmed in Rosedale, blacks from nearby were demonstrating in support of the Spencers. Tensions mounted and then spilled over into neighboring streets.

3rd BOY: Nigger! Nigger! You'd just better turn around, you all, and don't come back.

2nd GIRL: We were riding down the block and these white people started saying, "Get out of here, niggers." You know, "Get out of my neighborhood. Don't come to this neighborhood." Then they started punch-hitting on her.

3rd GIRL: Throwing rocks and everything else.

1st GIRL: They were throwing rocks because we were in their neighborhood.

2nd GIRL: We went on a bike hike to McDonald's. We didn't mean to bother anybody.

3rd GIRL: We saw a parade. We saw a gathering, so we went down there to see what was happening. All right. I mean, we didn't bother anybody! We weren't looking for trouble. I didn't even know people around here were like that. I've never experienced anything like this in my life.

BILL MOYERS: What happened to you?

2nd GIRL: Nothing happened to me, but this little short boy about my size or a little shorter picked up a rock and he was in the front of all these tall hankies, right, and he threw the rock. He tried to hit me – my sister, but he almost hit me, about that much away from me, and I sure wish he had hit me with that rock. I would pick up the rock right next to me and hit him right dead in his face.

1st GIRL: They always saying niggers are doing everything. We – they always say we're doing everything, right. We don't – we didn't – every time the white people come down the block, we don't push them out of their neighborhood and throw rocks and start hitting them.

2nd GIRL: We don't bother the white people around our neighborhood, but when we get in a white neighborhood, they just push us out.

3rd GIRL: Everybody – we're nothing, you know, that we're a piece of dirt, dogs. I mean, that's the way you treat an animal. I mean, God, we're human beings. You don't treat other people like that. It's just wrong! Black, white, I don't care. A person is a person. Skin should have no bearing on how you treat a person. That's just wrong.

2nd GIRL: I hate their goddamn guts!

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] I've said about journalists that we are beachcombers on the shores of other people's experience and sometimes that takes us to violent places where human beings suffer, but it also leads us toward those creative souls whose gifts increase our own understanding and pleasure. I've interviewed my share of these people - writers, artists, performers. I've done so from admiration of their work and occasionally because getting close to them rekindled my own boyhood dreams, including the long-abandoned dream of Grit Iron Glory.

["Joe Namath," 1973, interviewing]

BILL MOYERS: Do you every fancy yourself as a vicarious president?

JOE NAMATH: Well, yeah, I've thought about what the problems would be, what kind of job, you know, it actually is, what responsibilities or what little I could relate to it. You see, I really don't actually know. How do I know how much is on this man's mind? He's talking about a world problem and a country problem and we have problems with a 40 man football team that sometimes seem colossal to us.

BILL MOYERS: What if the president called you and suggested, as he did to Don Shula one year, that a certain play might work next Sunday?

JOE NAMATH: We'd consider it. We're always open for suggestions.

BILL MOYERS: That sounds awfully diplomatic.

JOE NAMATH: And if it's a good play, we'll sure use it. You catch pretty good.

BILL MOYERS: I'm going to go out for a long one. I'm going to try a long one.

JOE NAMATH: I misjudged your speed. You're a little slower than I thought.

BILL MOYERS: ["Lillian Hellman," 1974] Tell me about the fig tree.

LILLIAN HELLMAN: Well, I think you mean the fig tree I wrote about in Unfinished Woman where I spent a great deal of my New Orleans childhood when the weather would allow it. It was a – my aunt had a boardinghouse and the boardinghouse had a fair amount of grounds and there was a quite large, exceptionally large, fig tree and I rigged up – it was sufficiently removed from the house and heavy in limb and leaf, that you couldn't be seen. So, I rigged up a seat for myself and baskets that I used to put on pulleys and books that I kept up there and food that I took up there. I lived many a day and sometimes part of a night in that fig tree. I would skip school. Since I partly went to school in New York and partly went to school in New Orleans, I was behind my class in New York and way ahead of my class in New Orleans, so in New Orleans, they really didn't care whether I showed up or not. Nobody minded. If I showed up two, three times a week, nobody said anything. So, I would frequently take all my schoolbooks and go around the block and get on the streetcar and get off, come right back to the fig tree.

BILL MOYERS: This is the way you describe the fig tree in "Unfinished Woman." "The fig tree was heavy, solid, comfortable and I had, through time, convinced myself that it wanted me, missed me when I was absent and approved all the rigging I had done for the happy days I spent in its arms." And the question becomes, has Lillian Hellman spent the rest of her life looking for another fig tree?

LILLIAN HELLMAN: Yes, of course, all of us, whatever that fig tree has been in everybody's life. I'm not sure one finds it after childhood and one is very lucky to find it in childhood, isn't one? Most children don't find it. I was at one with that tree.

BILL MOYERS: ["Huw Wheldon," 1975, interviewing] What do you do now? Do you say, "This is what is good and this is what the people ought to see?"

HUW WHELDON: Oh, no, my dear chap. Oh, no.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] In a London pub, I talked with Sir Huw Wheldon, a reigning genius of the BBC.

HUW WHELDON: There is a question, the answer to which in broadcasting, in this country, is taboo and it's not less than taboo – I mean, it's not more taboo than incest. It really is taboo. The question is this: Do you give them what they want or do you give them what they ought to have? Now it's a taboo question because there is no answer to that question. Under no circumstances did Shakespeare say to himself writing Twelfth Night, "Now, then, is this what they want or, now, is this what they ought to have?" Not at all. What he did was to write as good a play as he possibly could which he thought he'd also make a living by, make enough to keep himself going and allow him to write another one. That's what he did and what was good enough for him is good enough for us.

BILL MOYERS: ["John Huston," 1982, interviewing] Leonardo Da Vinci said that an artist should paint as if he were in the presence of God. What should an actor, as an artist, do?

JOHN HUSTON: Well, the actor is in the presence of God, of his – the audience is God to the actor, and he gets immediate approval or sometimes disapproval. He knows pretty much where he stands with God in the course of his performance and that's why actors prefer the theater.

BILL MOYERS: The live theater.

JOHN HUSTON: The live theater, because God murmurs and clucks and applauds and laughs and gives him a running account of his opinion of the actor.

BILL MOYERS: In film –

JOHN HUSTON: In film, the director has to take the place of the audience. Well, he's a surrogate God, several steps down from the audience.

BILL MOYERS: Well, a little humility remains.

AARON COPLAND: ["Aaron Copland," 1976, conducting] Watch the stick! More pizzicato, please, in the cellos. [to Bill Moyers] We don't deal in messages. Music isn't that specific. Music is a world of the emotions, feelings, reactions. It can be very strong, it can be very heroic. It can reflect deep religious feeling, but it can't write out programs for the future. It's one of the great beauties of the world which those lucky people who react to it and enjoy it – well, they are the privileged people. I wish everybody were that privileged. Life seems so transitory that it seems very attractive to be able to set down in either words or tones or paint or some way some sort of permanent statement about the way it feels to live now, today, so that when it's all gone, people will be able to go to the artwork of the time and get some sense of what it felt like to be alive in this year, 1975.

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] Somewhere along this journey, someone told me of a man who tapped into his computer the question, "Will you ever think like a human?" The computer whirred and hummed and clicked and out came a slip of paper that read, "That reminds me of a story." Telling stories is one of the most human things we do and I've heard a lot of stories over these 20 years and I've come to cherish the teller and the tale alike. People who speak in ways that others can hear own the power to change a mind and a life. As Oliver Wendell Holmes put it, "A word is the skin of living thought. Words lead to things."

BILL MOYERS: ["Maya Angelou," 1982, interviewing] So many people here who touched you.

MAYA ANGELOU: Yes, there was one woman in particular. There was one woman, Mrs. Flowers. Mrs. Flowers was the lady of Stamps, well-to-do. She was very, very black and very, very beautiful. I thought she was pretty. Now, that was a pretty woman and she seemed to me always to wear voile which is an old cloth, old material. It's like a cotton chiffon which waves and she'd wear talcum powder and there'd always be a little of the talcum on this pretty black skin and she spoke as softly as my grandmother. She'd walk up the road and pass going to her house. She had a summer house here. One day, she stopped and she talked a few minutes with my grandmother. My grandmother would come off the porch. Now that was a big step for my grandmother because Mama used to stand on the porch to talk to people, but when Mrs. Flowers came, Mama would come out the door and step down and they would stand together and talk. So, this day, Mrs. Flowers said she wanted to invite me to her home. It was during the time when I couldn't talk and wouldn't talk.

BILL MOYERS: How old were you?

MAYA ANGELOU: I guess I was about 8 and Mama said, "Sister, Mrs. Flowers is inviting you to her home." Well, the beauty of the town, the most wonderful person in town, to invite me? I couldn't believe it. It was just – it was if someone said, "Here's a million dollars. Do anything you want with it." I followed her to her house and all the shades were drawn. It was very cool in there, just like her, dark and cool. She raised the shades and she had already made these big tea cookies that we make in the South. I – anyway, in Arkansas, huge flat ones and the smell of vanilla and the house smelled of vanilla and she served me, which was very unusual because children usually served the older. She served me. I couldn't speak all the way up to her house which must be a half a mile and she gave me iced lemonade and then she sat down and she said, "Now, Marguerite, I'm going to read a book to you. It's called 'A Tale of Two Cities.'" This is the very way she talked. "It was the best of times. It was the worst of times." I thought – I had already seen that in my house. I'd had that book, but I didn't know it sounded like that. So, she read to me and then she told me that poetry was music written for the human voice. She must have told me that 50 times. Then, she said, "Now, what I want you to do is I want you to try by yourself to say a poem." So, I'd get under my grandmother's bed. She has a high bed. You know, the mattress was up high on – and I would get under the bed and try saying some of the poems out loud. I could hear them in my head, but to say them out loud – I finally – it was through her and poetry that I began to talk.

BILL MOYERS: You said you would not talk.


BILL MOYERS: Why? What was it?

MAYA ANGELOU: Well, I had had a difficulty in St. Louis when I was 7-1/2 and I had been raped and the person who had raped me was killed. I said he – I called his name and he was killed and I thought at the time that it was my voice that caused the man to be dead and so I just refused to put my voice out and put anybody else in danger.

BILL MOYERS: And Mrs. Flowers –

MAYA ANGELOU: Mrs. Flowers gave me back my voice.

SAMSON RAPHAELSON: ["Samson Raphaelson," 1982] Oh, God, you know, here I was a kid on the East Side, totally different culture, entirely different language. Therefore, my education came on the streets and from my reading. My imagination was fed from that, never occurring to me that I was a writer.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] Samson Raphaelson went on to write the play that became America's first talking picture, The Jazz Singer.

SAMSON RAPHAELSON: I got a job right after I got out of high school because I flunked American History. I had to wait six months to take a special exam and my father said, ''You – if that's how good you are, I'm not going to sacrifice money to send you to college." And I thought he was perfectly right.

BILL MOYERS: Were you a failure?


BILL MOYERS: Were you a failure?

SAMSON RAPHAELSON: I didn't think of myself as a failure. That's the strange thing. I just thought the American History teacher was kind of stupid, but I understood my father's attitude, you see. So, I got a job at Sears, Roebuck. I sat on a desk at $10 a week and I answered complaint letters. During that year, not one person came up to me and said, "That's a bright kid. That kid is superior. That kid's going to get somewhere." Not one single human being. And I thought, in that case, what's going to happen to my life, and when I knew there was no way in which I could get out of that hopeless atmosphere, I rented a typewriter. Something happened and I knew I could do it. I put it on the dining room table and I bought white paper and I put it in and I started to think of something. I didn't plan it out and I finally wrote me a little story. I sent it out and every day waited the mail. I got that rejection slip, that terrible thing, you know. At the end of the year, I got my first letter from John M. Siddall, S-I-D-D-A-double L. I'll never forget it. I don't know where that letter is. I carried it in my pocket for years. "Dear Mr. Raphaelson: Although we are returning these stories, I cannot let them go without a word of appreciation. Your work has interested us and we would like to see more of it. Yours truly, John M. Siddall." I became a person.

MAXINE HONG KINGSTON: [''Maxine Hong Kingston," 1990] I still believe we can change the world. Oh, I want to – yeah, and we do it word by word, just one word at a time. An example is, I wrote "China Man" about 10 years ago and then I traveled around the country promoting my book and giving interviews and people would introduce me to an audience and say, "This is Maxine Hong Kingston, the writer of 'Chinaman.'" and I'd think, you know, then I'm in a dilemma. Do I rudely interrupt and say, "Don't say 'Chinaman.' That's a slur. I need to educate you people and it's "China Man." It's two words. It replicates the way the Chinese language is, one word, one, you know, spondee." And – but, now, as I go around and have – people say, "China Man." And yeah, I changed the language. During these 10 years, I've changed people's mouths. They no longer slur that word. They say it the way I wrote it and they don't slur the word and they don't slur me and they say it right and they read better and so I've changed the world, well, in this case two words at a time.

QUINCY TROUPE: ["Quincy Troupe," 1989] Language is a living thing. It's like a body. It's like a body. It's like a body. It gets old. It gets young. You renew it. You try to make it better. You – it's like this. It changes. It's a living being. That's the way I look at it.

BILL MOYERS: Language changes you and you change the language. That's why language is life.

QUINCY TROUPE: That's exactly right. You're alive. Language is living. You're living. You change it at the moment. You change it right then. You know, right at that moment.

BILL MOYERS: That's why I get so much more pleasure out of hearing a Quincy Troupe than I do reading the poem. It's-you are resurrecting that language or you are turning that language around right at the moment of creation and sending it into a whole new direction. QUINCY TROUPE: That's what I want to become a force. It's – you know, at that point of impact, of creation, you see. When you're creating, you become a force and you become a conduit for the spirit to flow through which might sound mystical, but that's what it is, you know. You are the conduit for the spirit of language to flow through.

[to audience] Take it to the hoop, Magic Johnson

Take the ball dazzling down the open lane

Herk and jerk and raise your six-feet, nine-inch frame into air sweating screams of your neon name, Magic Johnson

You cartwheel the crowd toward frenzy

Wearing now your electric smile

Neon as your name

In victory, we suddenly sense your glorious uplift, your urgent need to be champion

And so we cheer, rejoicing with you for this quicksilver quicksilver quicksilver quicksilver moment of fame

So, put the ball on the floor again, Magic Juke and dazzle, shake and bake down the lane

Take the sucker to the hoop, Magic Johnson

Recreate, reverse, hoodoo, gems off the spin deal alley-oop-dunk-a-thon magician passes now

Double pump

Scissor Jam through space and hang in place and put it all up in the sucker's face, Magic Johnson, and deal the round ball like the juju man that you am, like the sho-nuff shaman man that you am

Magic, like the sho-nuff space man you am

BILL MOYERS: ["James Dickey," 1976, interviewing] Why did you choose to stay here? You could have lived anywhere in the world.

JAMES DICKEY: Because of the virtues of the place.

BILL MOYERS: The vultures?

JAMES DICKEY: No, not the vultures. We have plenty of them. The virtues. The virtues of the place. You know, there are a lot of things about it I don't like, but one of the things I do like about the – being a Southerner is the tale-telling ability of most Southern people and the jokes. I love Southern jokes, don't you?


JAMES DICKEY: They have a flavor to them that you just don't find anywhere else. I'll tell you one. There was this old boy that worked in Ball Ground, Georgia. Ball Ground, you know?

BILL MOYERS: Oh, yeah.

JAMES DICKEY: - who loved clothes and he saved up all his money every year working in this filling station to go to Atlanta to Robert Hall's to buy a suit, you know, a new suit every year. So, he went up there and he went to Robert Hall's and he found this green suit that he really liked that really looked good on him. So, he put it on. He went back down to Ball Ground and walking down the street in his suit hoping somebody would notice him. So, a friend of his came up and said, "Jack, boy, that is some kind of good-looking stack of threads you got, boy. That really looks good. Brings out the color of them strange eyes. It really looks good, but the left sleeve is too long. I must tell you the left sleeve is too long." So, he goes back to the Robert Hall's and says, "Alright. Look, you sold me this suit, $75, but the left sleeve is too damn long." He says, "All right. Don't worry about it. We don't have to alter it. It's too long. Why don't you take your hand and kinda' shoot it out like that and then nobody else will notice the difference? It will be all right." So, he goes back down to Ball Ground and he's walking down the street, his arms like this, and another friend stops him in front of the drugstore and says, "Jack, I like your suit. I think it's great. It really is – everybody is talking about it, but the right sleeve is too short." So, he says, "Oh, my Lord, God Almighty, $75, my whole year's salary. The damn thing don't fit. I'm going to get that damn – you know, get that suit altered. It's going to come out all right because the color's good." So, he goes back up to the Robert Hall's, bare racks and no overhead and all that, and he says, "Look, the right sleeve is too short, so what am I going to do about it?" He says, "All right. Well, you just take that sleeve and you bring it in like that. You shoot this one out like that. You bring this one in like that and it's going to be all right. Just go on and wear your suit, enjoy it and everything." So, he goes back down to Ball Ground. He's walking down the street. Another friend stops him, says, "Look, that's a great suit, Jack. It really does look good, but the pants are too long." He goes back to Robert Hall's one last time. He says, "All right. Now, what – you've got this – " The salesman says, ''You've got a sog on this side. You've got a sog on this side. What you do, is you take this hand and pull up the pants like that and you hold this sleeve like this, and nobody's going to know that the damn thing's out of proportion." So, he's walking down on Sunday morning, walking down the main street of Ball Ground and he meets a man and his wife and they say, "Hello." Pass the time of day, and after they get out of earshot, they say – the man's wife says, "Did you see poor Jack Simpson? You went to high school with him. Did you see poor Jack Simpson? He's staggering down the Main Street of Ball Ground, Georgia, all crippled up with arthritis like that." And the husband turned to her and says, ''Yeah, but don't that suit fit him good?"

BILL MOYERS: I don't know whether the story is Southern, but the telling of it will do.

JAMES DICKEY: It's all the same.

MOYERS: [on camera] That's an example of what we call in this work losing control of the interview. It's happened to me more often than I care to admit and it happens often because, well, listening to America puts you right in the middle of an argument. In fact, you could say that America is the longest-running argument in the world. What stirred the Garden of Eden now roils the Supreme Court, inspires television commercials and sermons, enlivens the local bar and about every think tank in Washington. America's argument is the pursuit of happiness and everyone gets into the act. I think you'll see what I mean if we start with someone who never failed to fill the mailbags with your letters, Mortimer Adler.

MORTIMER ADLER: {''Mortimer Adler," 1976] Most Americans, I suppose most Europeans, think that happiness consists in getting what you as an individual wants for yourself. You have certain interests, certain desires. If you get it – if you get what you want, what you want – I use the word "want" very carefully, what you want for yourself, then you'll be contented and you feel happy. Most people use the word happiness for something they feel, as if it were a psychological state. "Today, I felt happy. Tomorrow, I may not feel happy. Last summer, I was very happy." That's all wrong. If that's what the word happiness meant, then the phrase in the Declaration of Independence is meaningless and misleading. Happiness consists in that quality of a whole human life being a whole successive in time, minute after minute, you never experience happiness at any moment when you're alive. The only time that anyone can really say that anyone's happy is after he's dead because you look at the life as a whole and say, "Well, he's done it. He's achieved it." But until he's dead, you have nothing to judge. Happiness is a quality of that whole life.

BILL MOYERS: [interviewing] But if the pursuit of more were my definition of happiness –

MORTIMER ADLER: Yeah, but it's not about – sorry, I've got stop you. You have no right. You can't say your definition of happiness. You haven't got any right to have a definition of happiness. Happiness is as objective as gravity.

BILL MOYERS: But I – do you mean I have to accept your definition of objective happiness?

MORTIMER ADLER: I'm saying unless you approach the problem of happiness with the same objectivity you approach the problem of gravity, there's no point even discussing it. If you think happiness is what you define it to be, what I define it to be, then we have nothing to discuss at all. It's only if happiness is objective in the sense it's the same for everybody and you look at it, find out what it is by looking at human nature, seeing what goods a human being needs.

BILL MOYERS: But the man on the hill in that big, expensive, quarter-of-a-million-dollar house, he has –

MORTIMER ADLER: Probably totally deluded. Subject to all kinds of illusions.

BILL MOYERS: You're making judgments about him and you don't even know him.

MORTIMER ADLER: Absolutely. What do you want to know? I'll tell you how to make the judgment and I'll make you make the same judgment. Let's take a miser, the old fashioned, classical miser, sitting in that dark, damp cellar. He says to himself, he has a right to say, "All I want is mo – more gold and, look, here in this cellar of mine, I've got piles of gold. I see it glitter. I can touch it." What he doesn't want are friends, what he doesn't want is political participation, what he doesn't want is health, what he doesn't want is knowledge, all the things he needs to be a decent human being. I say he's – that miser, in plain words, that miser is miserable. I don't care what he thinks about himself. He may say, "I've got everything I want and I'm the happiest man." Why, he's a fool. He's an incredibly misled fool because he doesn't know what happiness is. I know what happiness is objectively. He thinks happiness is getting what he wants. I say happiness is getting what he needs and he's not gotten – he's been deprived of what he needs.

BILL MOYERS: ["Ronald Reagan," 1979, interviewing] Do you think materialism is the source of our strength and greatness of the country?

RONALD REAGAN: Sure, because it's the kind of materialism that is based on individuals wanting better things, more comfort and their being people with ideas who are free to say, "Hey, I'll bet the people would like this. I'm going to make it." Just recently, I saw an example of one. There's a fellow that has invented an aluminum stein handle. Now, you know, if you open a can, a soft drink, hold it in your hand, it gets warm very fast while you're drinking. You punch the holes in the top and drink it. Well, this fellow's made a very economical stein handle. You can buy a dozen of them and have them like you have your silverware. You're serving people cold drinks in the can. You just clamp the – snap the handle onto it and people hold it by the handle and the drink doesn't warm up and he's going to make a million dollars. That's the dream of America. The problem isn't being poor. The problem is – the answer is to get over being poor and people want more and want better and –

BILL MOYERS: How do you think people get over being poor? What's the way?

RONALD REAGAN: By this – well, by the same way of the ability and the freedom to rise as far as you can.

BILL MOYERS: But what about the people –

RONALD REAGAN: How did I get over being poor? I got a job as a sports announcer that led to everything else.

GEORGE BALDWIN: ["The Kingdom Divided," 1987] God was not calling me to do something, not even in the guise of servanthood. He was calling me to be something. God has anointed me to be poor.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over} Three years ago, George Baldwin, a Methodist minister and professor of theology, renounced his ordination, gave away all his goods and moved to Nicaragua to work with the poor.

GEORGE BALDWIN: As you read the Bible and you read it from this base position, it's real easy to see in the Bible that God takes sides in the struggle between the rich and the poor and God takes the side of the poor. That's expressed in the struggle between Pharaoh and the slaves in Egypt and their liberation, and for those who see this perspective of liberation in the Bible, as they read it, it's expressed in Jesus' life.

BILL MOYERS: But isn't this what scares a lot of people back in the United States, that this liberation theology threatens their way of life, it threatens the traditions, it threatens the system, the complacency, the comfort?

GEORGE BALDWIN: Yes, it does that – it will do that and, in fact, the danger of what's going on south of the US border is not communism. The threat is, in fact, that God takes sides and the point is inside the United States, there's also poverty and those who are poor need to hear the word that they can begin to raise up and claim their human dignity in their human world.

BILL MOYERS: You think that God takes sides, that God is on the side of the poor, against the rich?

GEORGE BALDWIN: I believe that God is on the side of the oppressed against the oppressor and that generally cuts down to the rich and the poor.

REV. BAILY SMITH: ["The New Right," 1980, preaching] I'm sick and tired of hearing about all of the radicals and the perverts and the liberals and the leftists and the communists coming out of the closet. It's time for God's people to come out of the closets, out of the churches and change America. We must do it.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] In the fall of 1980, more than 15,000 fundamentalist Christians gathered in Dallas, Texas. Most of them were ministers, there to form an alliance with Ronald Reagan that was to change our political landscape.

5th MAN: I can't stand these people that are middle-of-the-roaders. You know what a middle-of-the-roader is? That's that yellow streak that runs right down the highway that's covered with dead cats and dogs. And that's what we're faced with in this country today, and unless we get these middle-of-the-roaders out of the way and get them to the right and turn them to Jesus Christ as our Savior, then we're going to have more problems than we're ever going to able to survive.

4th WOMAN: The Bible has all the answers. All we have to do is turn to it.

BILL MOYERS: [interviewing] So, what are you going to do when you leave here?

4th WOMAN: I'm going to go back and try to inspire other Christians to get involved.

BILL MOYERS: How do you feel about the ERA?

4th WOMAN: It's against everything that Christianity is. It's against God's word.

BILL MOYERS: In what way?

4th WOMAN: The ERA itself?


4th WOMAN: Because God didn't make woman to have – God made man to be superior and to protect the woman. He didn't make woman to go out and fight. He made the man to go out and fight to protect the woman.

REV. BAILY SMITH: [preaching] If America is going to know revival, there must be the preaching of the supremacy of Christ.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] The Reverend Baily Smith from Oklahoma is the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. It has over 13 million members, making it as large as the AFL-CIO.

REV. BAILY SMITH: [preaching] I'm telling you all other gods besides Jehovah and His Son, Jesus Christ, are strange gods. It's interesting to me at great political rallies how you have a Protestant to pray and a Catholic to pray and then you have a Jew to pray. With all due respect for those dear people, my friend, God Almighty, does not hear the prayer of a Jew, for how in the world can God hear the prayer of a man who says Jesus Christ is not the true Messiah? It is blasphemous. The cross ascends everything and every idea and every nation and every philosophy and every effort and every goal. My friend, it is not God and country. It's God!

BILL MOYERS: {"For the People," 1987, interviewing] Have you read these? Have you ever read that before? Let me give you one of these and look at it for me. Look at each of them. What are those? Do you recognize them?

6th MAN: Yeah, it's from the Constitution.

BILL MOYERS: What part of the Constitution?

6th MAN: I don't know about that.

BILL MOYERS: Can you read this?

5th WOMAN: "Congress shall make no law respecting our establishment of religion.

6th WOMAN: " – or prohibiting the free exercise thereof – "

7th MAN: " – or bridging the freedom of speech or of the press."

MOYERS: Do you know what those are from?

7th MAN: The Bill of Rights.

8th MAN: These are the Bill of Rights.

BILL MOYERS: Good for you.

9th MAN: A lot of people think they're in the Constitution, but they're not. They're the Bill of Rights.

BILL MOYERS: This is the Bill of Rights. Do you know they do?

7th WOMAN: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I know. I was going to say it.

BILL MOYERS: What are the Bill of Rights? Do you know?

10th MAN: Certainly it's not the Ten Commandments.

BILL MOYERS: What – have you heard of the Bill of Rights before? What does it do?

4th BOY: It gives peoples their rights of America.

BILL MOYERS: What do they use the Bill of Rights for?

4th GIRL: They use it to buy things in stores. They use it to be allowed to live in certain places and to be able to walk around in the United States.

BILL MOYERS: To be free?

4th GIRL: Yes.

11th MAN: They establish the rights of freedoms that you have as a citizen of the United States. •

BILL MOYERS: So the Bill of Rights protects us from –

12th MAN: Well, it protects us from – well, from oppression, from a dictatorship. That's the main clause of the Bill of Rights.

BILL MOYERS: Who's it for, the Bill of Rights?

12th MAN: It's for the people.

MICHAEL HARDWICK: I've been heterosexual and am now currently homosexual.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] Michael Hardwick had been charged with sodomy by the State of Georgia. He appealed to the Supreme Court and lost.

MICHAEL HARDWICK: I mean, if I'm in the privacy of my own bedroom with a consenting adult, which is what the case was, and we choose to like physically relate to each other, even if it's just touching, it doesn't matter what we're doing. It's nobody else's business, and as far as the morality goes, my morality says it's fine.

BILL MOYERS: [interviewing] But the majority, you see, was saying not that "We're telling you what you can or cannot do. We're only saying that we cannot find in the Constitution the right to sodomy and, therefore, the state has the right to regulate or not to regulate it depending on each state." They weren't saying, "You can't do this," only that "We can't find a right to it in the Constitution." In fact, one of the things the court said was, "We're not in the business of creating rights not found in the Constitution."

MICHAEL HARDWICK: I disagree. I… 100 percent believe that this government, this system, the Constitution, the Federal courts, the Supreme Court, are all here to protect my rights as an individual and I believe that the Constitution does protect my rights as an individual and the right to be left alone.

BILL MOYERS: So, when the Preamble of the Constitution says, "We the people," it includes Michael Hardwick?


BILL MOYERS: Even though the court just said –

MICHAEL HARDWICK: It still does. I am the people.

BHARATI MUKHERJEE: {"Bharati Mukherjee," 1990] We have come not to passively accommodate ourselves to someone else's dream of what we should be. We've come to America in a way to take over, to help build a new culture, so we're pioneers with the same guts and energy and feistiness that the original American pilgrims had.

RICHARD RODRIGUEZ: ["Richard Rodriguez," 1990] What I would ask Americans to be is to be brave. I mean, what I fear is that Americans are afraid of themselves and are afraid of each other and that we are really going to retrench in the next few years and we are going to use ethnicity for exactly – not the celebration of the mosaic, which it never was, but rather the old xenophobic assertion that we are separate, that we are each discreet entities in this country. We are not discreet entities. I am your brother. I remember once I was on a speakers' bureau when I studying in England at the American Embassy, The American Embassy had a speakers bureau and they would get requests from different groups – or they wanted a Yank to come out and so forth. So, I'd always go out to one of these rotary societies in one of these small towns in England and we would sit around in the pub beforehand and they would always be waiting for the Yank to arrive. I was there, but they always imagined that somehow the Yank was some astronaut, you know, that he was going to come in and he was crew cut and he was blond and so forth and so on. I am the Yank. I am the American and a lot of people are going to – it's going to take some time to get used to that idea, that Americans look like me.

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] Many of the people I've listened to have been witnesses to history. Some were present at great events of the century. Some may even have given history a little push. Some were notables and others unsung, quiet voices testifying to times that are passing.

COWBOY: ["Cowboys," 1976] There's people my age, a little older and a little bit younger, that I know of. There's nobody around that will know the life we led. There's no way. I don't know as we're any better off for having lived that type of life. We just have knowledge of our own time. That's all that you people won't have. You'll have knowledge of a different time.

WYATT MOORE: {"Marshall, Texas; Marshall, Texas," 1984] We called it Pa's lake, so when he died, I figured it belonged to me. And it might. There's been some wondering about who owns Caddo Lake. There's been a person or two accused me of owning it and I guess I have as much or more claim on it as anybody.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] Wyatt Moore is almost as old as the century. There's not much he can't tell you about Caddo Lake. He's been poking through these mossy waterways so long, he's a legend himself. There's not a fish in these parts that he hasn't caught twice or a ghost he doesn't know by its first name or a tale he's left untold. [interviewing] Born in year one of this century, you've spent your whole life in these bayous and among these Cyprus trees.

WYATT MOORE: Well, up till now. I'm not through yet. I'm waiting for Halley's Comet and then I hear tell they saw it coming the other day just a billion miles away.

BILL MOYERS: Well, you've got some time then, waiting for that.

WYATT MOORE: I promised my grandchildren that I'm going to show them Halley's Comet. I saw it when it passed before. Yeah, don't many people get to see it go by twice.

BILL MOYERS: You've lived through the whole century. How do you account for it?

WYATT MOORE: Well, back when I was younger, I noticed people that died home in the bed. Didn't have hospitals and much those days. They died at home in the bed, so I stayed away from home and out of the bed just as much as possible. Then, on up in years, when I begun to get ready to retire, I got to reading the actuaries of the insurance companies and you die at 67 after you retire. Well, I watched that year when I was 67 and I was real careful all that year, and after that was over I went to getting reckless again.

BILL MOYERS: ["Edward Bernays," 1984} Do you remember what they talked about when Edison and Ford got together for dinner?

EDWARD BERNAYS: Oh, I'll never forget that.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over} Edward Bernays practically invented public relations in America. He was present once at a lunch with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

EDWARD BERNAYS: And soon after the lunch began, Mr. Ford cupped his hands this way up to his lips, and in a rather loud voice, because Edison was slightly deaf, said, "Tom, what makes you look so good?" And Tom answered, "My wife gives me Carter's Little Liver Pills." And Mr. Ford cupped his hands again and said, "Tom, how many of them does she give you?" And Mr. Edison said, "She gives me five a day." Well, the fascinating thing to me of that entire luncheon was that here I was wanting to bask in the reflected glory of two international heroes. The whole conversation revolved around Carter's Little Liver Pills and I heard no other subject of any kind discussed and I decided that maybe when I wanted the wisdom, the revolutionary wisdom of the ages, I had better go to a public library.

DR. KENNETH CLARK: ["The Second American Revolution," 1984] We put them on a table, two white and two brown dolls exactly the same in every respect, except color.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over} Drs. Kenneth and Mamie Clark did prodigious research among children that became evidence in the Supreme Court's landmark decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional.

DR. CLARK: We asked the children a number of very simple questions starting out with, "Show me the white doll. Show me the colored doll. Show me the Negro doll." And after getting the answer to those questions, which would tell us whether they perceived the difference in these dolls, we then asked them preference questions, such as, "Show me the doll you'd like to play with. Show me or give me the doll that's a nice doll. Show me the doll that's a bad doll." These were questions designed to determine whether the children had some differentiating responses and attitudes to these dolls which were identical in every respect, except color, and we found that the majority of black children at that time did in fact ascribe the positive characteristics to the white doll and the negative characteristics to the brown doll and I'll never forget – because Mamie had to be home with our first child, so I did the fieldwork on that – the last disturbing question after they had indicated their preferences, which were in a sense a rejection of the brown doll. I then asked the question, "Now, show me the doll that's like you." Some of those children looked at me as if I were the devil himself for putting them in that predicament. I remember – in the North, this happened, not in the South, interestingly enough. Northern black children – some of them would run out of the room when I asked them that last question. The difference in the South was that I remember that the black children in the South for the most part would look up at me and some of them would smile and I remember one young boy about 6 or 7 years old, when I asked him after he had indicated that the white doll had all the good characteristics and the brown doll had all the bad characteristics, and I said to him, "Now, show me the one like you." he looked up at me and he put a curious smile that broke into a laugh and he says, "That's a nigger. I'm a nigger."

BILL MOYERS: ["I.I. Rabi," 1984, interviewing] You were in the New Mexico desert early on the morning of July 16th, 1945, when the first nuclear explosion in human history went off. What were you thinking as the last 10 seconds were counting down?

I.I. RABI: I remember asking the man behind me who'd been working there, "Are you excited?" He said, "No.'' and then this thing came.

BILL MOYERS: What came?

I.I. RABI: Well, what came was something that can hardly be imagined, certainly by somebody who is not a poet. It was a tremendous burst of light, much brighter than sunlight and it lasted and lasted. One didn't dare to look the direction of where the explosion was, but then you could see all these tremendous fireballs with colors, very menacing, so big, it seemed to be near you, but it was about 10 miles away and then I asked him, "Are you excited?" He said, ''Yes."

BILL MOYERS: What went through your mind?

I.I. RABI: At first, the success of it, pleased, and then the horror of it.

BILL MOYERS: ["Richard Strout," 1984} There was another episode in your life you write very movingly about and that's watching the invasion of Normandy in 1944.

RICHARD STROUT: D-Day, yes, that was out of the normal track of the Washington reporter and I was aligned to the USS Quincy, one of the most magnificent cruisers in the world, and I was the only reporter on board and the captain took me up to the forward lookout and there I was to watch the battle of D-Day and every time they let go a salvo of guns, something would fall off the walls, a shaving brush, a bolt or something came down. The whole boat would quiver. That evening, we didn't know who'd won the battle. Our hearts were in our mouths, and then over from England came a line of airplanes. Every airplane had a glider behind it, it was towing. We could see the airplane and along a little wafer, a zephyr and then a glider and it just came from England. It didn't stop coming. They kept coming, more and more of them. By the time they had reached, done whatever they had done, the airplanes began coming back again, but without the gliders. The gliders had been let off and they had landed on Normandy and they were behind the lines and I still had a feeling of – well, it was no other word to use than religious. I had a religious feeling of prayer. This was the – it lifted me out of myself. We can phrase it in any way we want, but there it was. This was America.

BILL MOYERS: ["From D-Day to the Rhine," 1990, voice-over] Sergeant Jose Lopez of San Antonio, Texas, landed that day on Omaha Beach and went on to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Forty-five years later, I returned with him for his first visit back to those once bloody beaches.

SERGEANT JOSE LOPEZ: I was very, very afraid. I want to scream. I want to cry. We see all these people was laying wounded and screaming and everything and it's nothing you could do. We could see them floating in the water and we just keep walking.

BILL MOYERS: [interviewing] How old were you?

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: I was over 30, 30 years old.

BILL MOYERS: Weren't you too old to be here?

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: Oh, I didn't feel too old in those days because I knew we'd have to do something.

BILL MOYERS: Did you have to lie about your age to get in?

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: Yeah, I did it.

BILL MOYERS: You lied about your –

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: Yeah, I did.

BILL MOYERS: You told them you were younger than you were?

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: Two years younger.

BILL MOYERS: Why did you do that?

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: Because I wanted to go in the paratroopers.


SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: So, we can meet the enemy as soon as possible and get this thing over.

BILL MOYERS: Get it over?


BILL MOYERS: So, you had two children at home. You had a 2-year-old and –

SGT. JOSE LOPEZ: That's the reason they didn't take me in the airborne. They found out I was married and had two kids. So, they – he said, "Don't worry." They put me right in the infantry.

BILL MOYERS: They wouldn't put you in the airborne because it was too dangerous, so they put you on Omaha Beach.

1st MINER: ["Out of the Depths: The Miners' Story," 1984] The 1913-14 strike was in effect a battle. It was a war. Twenty thousand rifles were sent – Winchester Rifles were sent to Colorado by friends of the miners in Colorado to protect themselves against gun thugs, company guards, state militia. They had actual war in Southern Colorado.

2nd MINER: Well, I heard it was going to happen by that railroad man. He told me – he said, "There's going to be trouble in Ludlow in the morning." I said, "What do you mean, trouble?" He said, "I seen them planting machine guns," – it was a moonlit night, see – "along the railroad track." Well, the railroad track – if you noticed it right here, well, that tent colony was right here, see. Right in here and the railroad track here. He said they was planting machine guns along here.

BILL MOYERS: [voice-over] Suddenly, firing started. It was 10:01 a.m. exactly.

3rd MINER: Bullet hit the rail, glanced from the rail, and come back and hit me in the heel.

4th MINER: And while the men was up along the railroad track and all that shooting, shooting it out with them – well, some of these guards sneaked in with brooms and things flaming and they set the tent colony on fire.

5th MINER: When they burnt the tent colony, why, these kids, the whole families of them went down in this one place. It was a pretty big cellar, you know. When they come there, started pourin' this gas and stuff on these tents, why, these kids and women tried to come up out of there and they just shoved them back down in there.

6th MINER: Then the fluid started to burn and the smoke went down there, so we're forced to come out. When they come out of there, there was women with children. There was one woman and with her 3- or 4-month baby. Those God-darn guys – that want that woman to come out. It was dehuman. They wanted to kill them all and one of them babies, they hit him with the dowel and they hold him up in the air with it and that was this place.

4th MINER: We went down the next day. There was nothing but smoke and ruins and old coal stoves, bed frames, bedsteads and washtubs and things like that, meager things that they had. It was a miserable, terrible sight. It looked like a graveyard.

BILL MOYERS: ["Barbara Tuchman," 1988, interviewing] Does it help in confronting a steady procession of images to read history? I mean, one could say the past is past, let the dead bury the dead, history is behind us. Is there a value to reading history?

BARBARA TUCHMAN: Well, for one thing, it's frightfully interesting, I think. You know, when people say, "What's the use of reading history?" I say, "Well, what's the use of a Beethoven sonata?" I mean, you don't have to have a use, a tangible use. You have to have something that makes life more valuable and, to me, reading history does. Even though it only shows what has past – Coleridge, I think it was, said this wonderful line, said, "History is only a lantern on the stern. It tells you where you've been." Well, that's worth knowing, where you've been.

BILL MOYERS: [on camera] One person who thought a lot about where we've been and where we long to be was Joseph Campbell. Joseph Campbell was several of the wisest people I ever knew: teacher, writer, student of the world's mythology, a combination of preacher, rabbi, priest and uncle. For Campbell, life was a continuing course in adult education, his and ours. Around this electronic campfire, he retold some of humanity's extraordinary stories and made millions of us think about how to make sense of mystery. ["Joseph Campbell," 1988, interviewing] Why myths? Why should we care about myths? What do they have to do with my life?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: People say that what we're all seeking is a meaning for life. I don't think that's what we're really seeking. I think what we're seeking is an experience of being alive, so that the life experiences that we have on the purely physical plane will have resonances within that are those of our own inner most being and reality and so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive. That's what it's all finally about and that's what these clues help us to find within ourselves.

BILL MOYERS: Myths are clues?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Myths are clues to the spiritual potentialities of the human life.

BILL MOYERS: Well, how would you advise somebody to tap that spring of eternal life, that joy that is right there?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: Well, we're having experiences all the time which may on occasion render some sense of this, a little intuition of where your joy is. Grab it. No one can tell you what it's going to be. I mean, you've got to learn to recognize your own depths.

BILL MOYERS: Do you ever have this sense when you're following your bliss, as I have at moments, of being helped by hidden hands?

JOSEPH CAMPBELL: All the time. It's miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as the result of invisible hands coming all the time, namely that if you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you and the life that you ought to be living is the one you're living, somehow, and when you can see it, you begin to deal with people who are in the field of your bliss and they open the doors to you. I say follow your bliss and don't be afraid and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be. There's a wonderful old man - I think he's still alive in Germany - Karlfried Graf Durckheim, and he says, "When you're on a journey and the end keeps getting further and further away, then you realize that the real end is the journey." It's not bad. We have not even to risk the adventure alone for the heroes of all time have gone before us. The labyrinth is thoroughly known. We have only to follow the thread of the hero path and where we had thought to find an abomination, we shall find a god and where we had thought to slay another, we shall slay ourselves and where we had thought to travel outward, we shall come to the center of our own existence and where we had thought to be alone, we shall be with all the world.

BILL MOYERS: It's been quite a trip and all the more so because I was never alone. Broadcast journalism is one of the most collaborative efforts I know. You can't see them, but every program bears the fingerprints of talented men and women. They are the camera people, sound people, editors, the researchers, technicians and staff who collectively have been the hidden hands of these broadcasts. There isn't time to name them all, but here are some, the producers who were part of the journey.

20 Years of Listening to America

October 4, 1991

This 20-year compilation feature a wide range of guests, from average Americans to lauded scholars, artists, heroes and leaders, including David Rockefeller, Maya Angelou, Joe Namath, Lillian Hellman, John Huston, Aaron Copland, Maxine Hong Kingston, James Dickey, Mortimer Adler, Ronald Reagan, George Baldwin, Richard Rodriguez, Edward Bernays, I.I. Rabi, Barbara Tuchman and Joseph Campbell.

Bill Moyers explains 20 Years of Listening to America:

“It’s been 20 years since public television first took a chance on me. I remember clearly even now how it came about. William Morris of Harper’s magazine had sent me on a journey of 13,000 miles around the country to write a book called Listening to America. They read that book here at NET in New York, National Educational Television, and one day I answered the phone to hear a fellow say, “Moyers, don’t unpack.” Well, I didn’t and that was a lot of stories ago, a lot of frequent-flyer miles and so many memorable people, places and events that trying to pick my favorite is like having to choose among the flavors at the ice cream parlor. Some people, I’ll never forget from this journey. Some stories, I wish had never happened. The trip’s taken almost a third of my life and here are just a few moments from along the way.”


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