CNN’s Blackwell Frets Students ‘Robbed of’ Learning Black History

On Friday morning, CNN This Morning was again fearmongering about Republican changes to school curricula as the liberal news network gave attention to the 60th anniversary of the 1963 civil rights march in Washington, D.C. After a pre-recorded piece by reporter Jason Carroll, fill-in anchor Victor Blackwell declared that some are trying to “rob” American students of being taught about the Civil Rights Movement and black history.

Carroll’s piece focused on veteran civil rights activists Courtland Cox and Edward Flanagan, both of whom took part in the historic 1963 march. Toward the end of the report, the CNN reporter cautioned: “Both agree while much was accomplished that day, the work is not over.”

This episode of CNN This Morning was sponsored in part by Plexaderm. Their contact information is linked.

CNN This Morning
August 25, 2023
7:43 a.m. Eastern

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VICTOR BLACKWELL: Monday will mark the 60th anniversary of the historic civil rights march on Washington — 250,000 people from across the country flooded the streets, flooded the mall in Washington to fight for jobs and freedom and help lead to new laws and including the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which outlawed overt racial discrimination. Yet, of course, the fight for equality is never over. CNN’s Jason Carroll joins us now. I’m glad we are doing this.


BLACKWELL: I’m glad that you have done this.

CARROLL: Thank you.

BLACKWELL: You spoke with some people who were there 60 years ago. Tell us about those conversations.

CARROLL: Well, first of all, let me just explain. The theme this year — and it says so much of the march this year — is, “A commemoration, not a continuation.” So it’s a continuation to push for civil rights. And, as you said, I did speak to two men who were there 60 years ago — spoke to them about the march. Also spoke to them about where they saw the country then versus where it is now.

CARROLL (pre-recorded) It was a call for economic and racial equality, a call to action that brought more than 200,000 people to the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on August 28, 60 years ago, a day best remembered for Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech.

Dr. MARTIN LUTHER KING Jr.: Now, is the time to make real the promises of democracy.

CARROLL: Among the hundreds of thousands, two young activists were filled with hope.

COURTLAND COX, SNCC LEGACY PROJECT: I was all the way in the top.

CARROLL: All the way in the top over to the left.

COX: Yeah, over to the left.

CARROLL: Courtland Cox is now 82, but, 60 years ago, he was a 22-year-old working for the civil rights organization SNCC – -the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.

COX: And what I remember is the platform is there 

CARROLL: Edward Flanagan was there, too. Where were you? Do you know?

EDWARD FLANAGAN, ATTENDED THE 1963 CIVIL RIGHTS MARCH IN WASHINGTON: I was sitting — there was a wall up there by the top there by the entertainers.

CARROLL: Flanagan is 80 now, but on the day of the march, he was a 20-year-old who had just finished his shift as a waiter. Like scores of others, he wanted to take a stand for civil rights.

FLANAGAN: I was very close to Joan Baez who I was able to notice was barefoot, and I had a new pair of shoes —

CARROLL: She was barefoot?

FLANAGAN: She was barefoot.

CARROLL: A march six decades ago now seen through the eyes of two different men who shared the same goal many did that day.

FLANAGAN: It was, in fact, a march for jobs and freedom.

COX: Our thoughts of today are that we succeeded in changing this country.

CARROLL: As a young organizer, Cox was responsible for arranging safe transportation — people making a trek from the South to Washington, D.C. He says there were challenges from top to bottom — much had to be done in very little time.

COX: The challenge from the bottom was the logistics of getting people here. … I’m trying to get Trailways buses — I’m trying to get Greyhound buses — and the drivers are saying, “Look, it’s dangerous bringing people to the South.” The challenge from the top was the Kennedy administration was opposed to John Lewis’s speech.

CARROLL: Cox worked alongside then-23-year-old civil rights activist John Lewis, who was the chairman of SNCC. This picture shows the two men as they rewrote the speech to tone it down — to make it less critical of the Kennedy administration’s civil rights bill, which they felt didn’t go far enough to protect people from police brutality.

COX: John Lewis, Jim ‘Foreman and myself were at the back of the Lincoln Memorial changing John Lewis’s speech to make sure that, while it was critical, it was not negative.

CARROLL: That had to have been an incredible moment.

COX: Well, yeah, but which was more incredible to me is that John got up after all of that controversy and delivered a fantastic speech.

JOHN LEWIS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: It is true that we support the administration’s civil rights bill. We support it with great reservation, however.

CARROLL: This week, Flanagan brought his daughters back to the place where history was made. He’ll be back again Saturday. Cox prefers to stay away this time, saying his marching days are behind him. Both agree while much was accomplished that day, the work is not over.

FLANAGAN: We are still while in a much better place than we were in ’63, not in the place where one would expect 60 years on.

COX: We have succeeded in doing a number of things with what we did in the past, but we also know that we have to do much more for the future.

CARROLL (live): Of great concern to Mr. Cox and Mr. Flanagan is when they see the push to change how African American Studies are taught in the United States. These are people who lived through lynchings — they lived through not having access to jobs or education. Again, a reminder that this is a fight for them that is not over.

BLACKWELL: These men are national treasures, I mean, I can only imagine the conversations you were afforded with them. And when we look, as they said, at these school districts now are trying to rob students of learning not only about what these men fought against, but also in some cases these actual events.

CARROLL: And that’s why there is this great concern not only about concerns about getting jobs in this current day and age, but also that much of what they went through is going to be erased, and they want to make sure that this is something that has not happened.

HARLOW: Told in the beautiful way you always do, Jason. Really, truly, thank you for doing that. We really appreciate it.

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