Return to Transcripts main page
Interview With "The Daughter Of Auschwitz" Co-Author And Holocaust Survivor Tova Friedman; Interview With "The Daughter of Auschwitz" Co- Author Malcolm Brabant; Interview With Grandson Of Tova Friedman, Aron Goodman; Interview With "The Rebellious Life Of Mrs. Rosa Parks" Co- Director Johanna Hamilton; Interview With "The Rebellious Life Of Mrs. Rosa Parks" Co-Director Yoruba Richen; Interview With "Rise of the Rest" Author And AOL Co-Founder Steve Case. Aired 1-2p ET
Aired January 02, 2023 - 13:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, CNN CHIEF INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Hello everyone. And welcome to AMANPOUR. Here is what's coming up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TOVA FRIEDMAN, CO- AUTHOR, "THE DAUGHTER OF AUSCHWITZ" AND HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: And you know the saying, you first burn books and then you burn people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A warning from "The Daughter of Auschwitz". Tova Friedman survived the holocaust as a little girl. Now, she joins me to share her extraordinary tale, along with co-author Malcolm Brabant. Also, ahead.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSA PARKS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I felt that I had a message but people did not choose to listen to what I was saying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: A warning from the past by a woman at the heart of Americas struggle for civil rights. A long overdue look at the life and work of the rebellious Mrs. Rosa Parks. I'm joined by the documentary's co-directors, Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen. Plus.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEVE CASE, AUTHOR, "RISE OF THE REST" AND AOL CO-FOUNDER: We're trying to level the playing field, not just in terms of place but also in terms of people.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: AOL co-founder Steve Case tells Walter Isaacson about his mission to bring entrepreneurship back to America's heartland.
Welcome to the program, everyone. I'm Christiane Amanpour in London.
From Bosnia to Syria to Ukraine, war crimes, the ugliest side of war are an all too common reality wherever conflict rises. The failed promise of never again after the holocaust bringing hollowed time and time again. And with fewer survivors living to tell the tale with every passing year, testimonies like my first guest become more vital than ever.
Tova Friedman was just five years old when she was shipped to Auschwitz, where several members of her family were killed. Somehow, Tova survived. And at 84, she's one of the youngest survivors of the Nazi extermination camp. Now, she is sharing it all in a new memoir called "The Daughter of Auschwitz", which went straight to number two in the "New York Times" best- seller list. And Tova joined me this week, along with co-author, the veteran journalist, Malcolm Brabant, about what compelled them to tell her story now with all its painful details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Tova Friedman and Malcolm Brabant, welcome to the program. Tova, can I just start by asking you -- I mean, this is just monumental. The story, the history, and the way you have the right to tell it. But what made you, after all these years, decide to put it down in a book?
TOVA FRIEDMAN, CO- AUTHOR, "THE DAUGHTER OF AUSCHWITZ" AND HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR: I want to let people know what prejudice and the fear of the other can cause in -- humanity. That humanity has to be careful, of how they behave towards each other. Because, you know, the holocaust did not happen in one day. It had time to get worse and worse. And you know the saying, you first burn books and then you burn people.
AMANPOUR: Oh, that's so powerful.
FRIEDMAN: So, it's a warning. It's a type of a warning.
AMANPOUR: It is indeed a warning, and a timely one. So, Malcolm, that is so profound. And what Tova says is it didn't happen overnight. It took many years of planning this, of writing -- Hitler's writings. As a journalist, as a historian, Malcolm, what's brought you into this project?
MALCOLM BRABANT, CO- AUTHOR, "THE DAUGHTER OF AUSCHWITZ": Well, Tova said that she wanted to write a book for her grandchildren. And I said, actually we can do better than. We can write a book for the world's children. Because I -- when I talked to the first publisher that we dealt with, she said, you know, what you're talking about here is somebody who's -- we know about Anne Frank, for example. But Tova is taking on that story. And I think that Tova is a very historical figure.
And when I met her two years ago at the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, I realized that I was in the presence of a historical figure. And I hoped that we have managed to show people why she is that figure. And what we try to do in the book is to make it almost like a sensory experience. So that you're walking in Tova's shoes all the way through the holocaust, not just an Auschwitz. And so, you see the buildup in the deterioration of the conditions that the people in her town of Tomaszow Mazowiecki in central Poland faced.
FRIEDMAN: One of the reasons for meeting and having a commemoration of 75th anniversary of Auschwitz liberation is to remember. Not only is this book a warning to what may happen if we are not careful.
But also, to remember those that were innocent victims of a terrible, terrible period. Not to forget them. The children and, you know, six million and million and a half of innocent children who were murdered. So, there was another impetus for my writing is to remember those that are not here to tell their story.
AMANPOUR: So, remember and memory are fundamental to not just this project, but to the idea of history. And I want to read a little extract from the book --
AMANPOUR: -- in which you talked about, your town that Malcolm has just mentioned. Out of the 13,000 Jews resident in 1939, just 200 were still breathing at the end of the war in 1945. Only five were children. And you were one of those children.
So, Tova, I want to ask you something. Because some of the most painful stuff to read, and some of the stuff that I've never really read before, in all the examination of the holocaust and what I have seen of genocide since, is the child's eye view. And when you say that when you went there you thought a Swastika was just what every non-Jew would wear. You thought that the site of corpses and the smell of burning corpses was normal. Just tell me about how the horror was actually normalized for you.
FRIEDMAN: You see that is what is so terrible about the whole thing. That you get born into a certain situation. And I knew nothing else. I didn't know freedom. I never went to school. I didn't know what it means not to be hungry, not to be scared. And all of the sudden, your mind says, oh, that's the way it's supposed to be.
I used to think at one point, I -- you know, when I was a hidden in that room, I think you may have read about it in the labor camp. I thought to myself, I'd better survive. I think I'm the only Jewish child left on Earth. And I thought that being Jewish, being a child, is synonymous with death. I mean, I didn't know what death was but it was like a combination. So, I just went through this motion of living every hour. Every single hour was a trial to make it to the next hour.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask Malcolm, because Malcolm, you and I, we covered the Bosnia war together. That was the first adjudicated genocide in Europe since the holocaust. And we couldn't believe what we were seeing. When you hear and when you heard all Tova's stories, what did it bring up for you and what were you determined to do with this book?
BRABANT: Well, what I was trying to do when I -- I had to basically put myself into Tova's head. And obviously be able to tell -- to help her write her story which was really quite a feat because she was six years old. So, the voice you hear, in a way, throughout this book, is the voice of a child but also Tova with her adult experience, but also it is the eye of a war reporter.
And so, it's the sounds and the smells that I, you know, I recognize in Bosnia, for example. Seeing the 6,000 -- the army, the survivors, coming out of Srebrenica in 1995. If I dig into my memory bank, I can still smell the sweat and the fear as they came out, you know, in the hot summer. And see those, sort of, terrified faces after what they've been through. I remember seeing people being bussed from the Serb occupied territories into Srebrenica (ph). It's those faces in all of those things.
But the war that we went through was nothing like the, sort of, the war that Tova went through. We had armored cars. We had the United Nations as a form of protection in a way. We had food. But Tova as a child had absolutely nothing. And that's something that I find almost impossible to believe. And how she managed to survive is really quite miraculous.
AMANPOUR: So, yes, Tova. And Malcolm, on your behalf, was getting furious all these years later. How -- what do you remember about going to Auschwitz and how you survived?
FRIEDMAN: I remember, you know, people ask me why -- how come I remember this because I had this fabulous mother who verified what I saw. And I remember the trip to Auschwitz, which was utterly horrendous, 36 hours without food, without drink, and without going to the bathroom. I remember the little girl, it who was so difficult for me. And then, of course, arriving there and then having my hair shaven -- my braids.
And I remember how I was standing on a bench and I saw my braids falling to the floor and then my hair gone. And I was standing later on the floor. It was so memorable. And the tattooing. These are moments that every child, probably, of every -- you can't help but remember that.
And that -- and I was always worried, by the way, that all my story and the story of all that happened would disappear because I am the last generation. I am the last witness, in a sense, my generation is the last witness. And then people like Malcolm helped write that book, and that means other people will know about it. And then my grandson, who by the way is with me, he is 17, and he is spreading the word to his age group --
FRIEDMAN: -- all around. He -- maybe you read about the TikTok. I was --
AMANPOUR: I did.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Woah. That's a lot of books. What's going on?
AMANPOUR: What made him put all of this now on TikTok?
FRIEDMAN: He's been so involved in teaching his -- it started for his class in high school. And it just spread. He answers questions and he's got -- oh, millions of people being interested. And that makes me feel that we will not be lost. Not only will those that were murdered, will be remembered. But people like myself, who are the witnesses, the last witnesses, will also be remembered.
AMANPOUR: You have 450,000 TikTok followers. And that's just a remarkable thing. Hi there. You've done amazing thing for your grandmother and for your history. Tova, ask him for me how his classmates react.
FRIEDMAN: She wants to know how do your classmates react?
ARON GOODMAN, GRANDSON OF TOVA FRIEDMAN: Yes, so, they're honestly surprised to see such a large reaction because even I did not expect so many people to be interested in the holocaust and the studies. And it really makes me happy to see so many people in my generation are interested in seeing the history. So, her story won't be forgotten.
AMANPOUR: Well, that's really -- it's a wonderful service. And I'm just going to go back to Malcolm for a second. I mean, when you see that, the mission is accomplished, or accomplishing. I mean, you really are getting the word out, the -- you know, the story out.
BRABANT: Tova's grandson, Aron, is doing a tremendous job because he's bringing it to a younger audience, as he says. And there are millions of people who are listening in. And Tova is answering everybody's questions. And I think that it is great that she's embraced new technology.
And the thing is that -- just going back to the book what I will say about it is that this is an eternal story. And what -- it really has very -- some great relevance right now because we are witnessing Nazism and fascism which is taking place in the world right now. And what this book does and what Tova's story does is to show what real Nazism is about. Not what some people called Nazism. But Tova has experience what real Nazism is.
AMANPOUR: And let's just be quite clear, a survey of young Americans commissioned by the conference on Jewish material claims against Germany, this was in September of 2020, two thirds of the people interviewed had no idea how many Jews died in the holocaust. Almost half could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto. 23 percent believed the holocaust was a myth or had been exaggerated. And 17 percent said it was acceptable to hold neo-Nazi views. This is a young Americans in 2020.
Tova, I want to ask you something. You, like every inmate of these horrible camps, were forcibly tattooed, and you just said that. And yet when you came out, a well-meaning doctor offered to remove your tattoo. What did you say. What was your answer?
FRIEDMAN: I said to the doctor, you know -- and I was only 12, by the way. I said, had it been tattooed on my brow, where everybody would see it and I couldn't cover it up, I would not take it off because I didn't do anything.
Even at 12, I wanted the world to know what happened but nobody was interested. You know, in the '50s, no one wanted to talk about it. My teacher said to me, cover it up. Don't show it to anybody. We don't need to know. This is America. Continue with your life as if nothing happened. And that's what I try to do, although it was very difficult.
AMANPOUR: I know that you became a therapist. And I don't know how that helped you, yourself --
AMANPOUR: -- process all of this. But I know that you talk about guilt, and particularly your beloved mother. You say that she had guilt because of a terrible choice she had to make or that she made on the spot while in Auschwitz. Tell us about that.
FRIEDMAN: Yes. We were on line somewhere. And we were -- and there was this SS person, this -- he was a guard SS, which was one of the higher uniformed German guard. And he putting left or right. People with the papers went to the right, it means life. People who didn't have papers or they were not that well, went to the left to death.
And my mother told me that story and I remember certain parts of it because I remember seeing the SS person. Her sister went to the left, she didn't have any working papers. My father did. So, she pushed her two little children, little girls to my mother. She hoped that my mother will save them. They were, like, four or five. They were little kids. And they held on to her skirt. They held on to her.
And my mother was so scared because a family in front of us who lied about how many people they had in their group were sent immediately to the left. So, at the spur of the moment, she pushed away her little nieces and they were taken to the left to death. Together with her sister and other members of her family. She never got over it for her entire life. And to the very end of her life, she said, I killed my nieces.
No matter what we try to tell her that you probably could not have saved him, she barely could save me, she felt that -- she lived with such guilt that -- to the very -- she at the age of 45. She lived with that. And she talked about it daily.
AMANPOUR: Tova, these are unbearable stories and it is remarkable. It was your mother who said to you, remember when you came out.
FRIEDMAN: Exactly. And then when she came back and she saw that nobody came from her family, nobody, not one person. 150 people were just -- were murdered, were gassed, were starved to death. All her brothers, all her sisters, all the nephews, all the nieces, everybody, that's when she really fell apart. She held on until we wear liberated and I was safe. And after that, she had a very, very hard time. And her terrible guilt that she survived.
AMANPOUR: Let me ask you a final question. You were mercifully very young. Does that mean you have been able to have a life with some joy and happiness? Have you been able to -- I mean, you know --
FRIEDMAN: Oh, absolutely. I was very lucky. I met my husband, Maier, who just died two and a half years ago, when I was only 12. And I knew I'd marry him because he had all the qualities that I wanted in a person. And when I told my mother, she laughed. She said, really? I said, really.
Well, at 21, we were married. We had four children. I have eight grandchildren. And they are all the joy of my life. And I'm just sorry that Maier is not here to, sort of, participate in my success. And he would have loved that the book is so -- doing so well. But yes, I had a lot of joy. And my grandchildren and children are just fabulous, absolutely fabulous. So, I'm very, very grateful.
AMANPOUR: Well, I bet Maier is looking down on you --
FRIEDMAN: And grateful to people like you.
AMANPOUR: And we're grateful for people like you who force us to remember and keep your stories in the public. And your grandson, who's doing it, too. Malcolm, thank you so much.
BRABANT: Thank you.
AMANPOUR: Malcolm Brabant, Tova Friedman thank you so much for everything that you are.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And indeed, we are grateful for Tova's testimony, for her warnings, and for her indomitable spirit.
Next, we turn to memory and the struggle for hard won civil rights in the United States. The state of Georgia recently made it more difficult to vote through the mail. And that's just one of the latest efforts disproportionately targeting people of color in the upcoming midterm elections. But this week, there were record numbers of early in person voters.
So, we want to focus on what Rosa Parks brought to this struggle in her act of civil disobedience back in 1955. She refused to move to the back of a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. An act of peaceful protest that eventually led to the desegregation of public transportation and changed the course of history. Now, her incredible legacy is the focus of the new documentary, "The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ROSA PARKS, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST: I felt that I had message but people did not choose to listen to what I was saying.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We all understand that she sat down on the bus.
PARKS: The policeman, he said, why don't you stand up? I said, I don't think I should have to stand up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The narrow narrative of her, just on one day did something, it could not be further from the truth.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Often out, the man is out front. And you'd never hear about the wife. You have to reverse this truth.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And I spoke to the film's co-directors, Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen about new discoveries of a very well-known woman.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Johanna Hamilton, Yoruba Richen, welcome to the program. Johanna, let me start with you. How did you come up with this? What was the idea? And it's a long overdue recognition of Rosa Parks in his form.
JOHANNA HAMILTON, CO-DIRECTOR, "THE REBELLIOUS LIFE OF MRS. ROSA PARKS: Right. It actually -- it started back in February 2019. I was having my
morning coffee, looking at Twitter. And I follow Jeanne Theoharis who's the historian whose book we ultimately optioned to make the film. And as I was scrolling through, it was Mrs. Park's birthday, February 4th. And she had put out a Twitter thread with a whole slew of facts that I did not know.
And so, I sort of, you know, it woke me out of my morning days. You know, I'm wondering -- you know, I'm -- I consider myself pretty well-informed, who loved history. I didn't know any of these things.
AMANPOUR: What fact? Give me one fact before I turn to Yoruba.
HAMILTON: The fact that when she was six years old, she was sitting on the stoop of her grandparents' home with her grandfather who had a rifle, who was protecting his home against the possible Ku Klux Klan invasion. Six years old, that's where it all started for her.
AMANPOUR: OK. That's fascinating. Yoruba Richen, you have done a lot of documentary work in this whole community in civil rights. What was your connection to this project? And what did you not know about Rosa Parks?
YORUBA RICHEN, CO-DIRECTOR, "THE REBELLIOUS LIFE OF MRS. ROSA PARKS: Yes, well, when Johanna contacted me about collaborating this -- about collaborating with her, I was immediately intrigued. I read the book. And I -- like, Johanna, was shocked that, A, there had never been a full-length documentary about Rosa Parks. And how much I didn't know about the full story.
You know, for example, how she got to Detroit. The backlash that occurred when she -- after the bus boycott. I had no idea. I knew she spent, you know, most of her life in Detroit. But I did not know why. How she got there. What were the ramifications and the consequences for her act on the Montgomery, you know, her stand on the bus.
AMANPOUR: So, we're going to talk about that as we go through the story. But it is an extraordinary thing that she did. There were ramifications, negative ramifications. Do you think it's because she was a woman that she didn't get the same kind of hagiography and correct biography in public that all the others have had?
HAMILTON: I do think so. I think unequivocally. We have this wonderful quote in the film from Reverend JoAnn Watson who was a Detroit city council member who says -- you know, if you look through history, you get the, you know, directors, the presidents, the grand (INAUDIBLE) who are inevitably men. However, if you look, you know, a millimeter behind, you'll see an army of women. And I think that is what happened here.
AMANPOUR: So, to that end, I'm going to play this first clip that we have about women in this movement, and particularly around the bus boycott. Let's listen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. King ends up getting the accolades. He is invited everywhere to speak. Gets honorarium, makes money, survives. He -- he's a hero.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The civil rights groups would have her go out and speak at events and raise money, but it never occurred to anybody that they ought to find some way for them to be supported. I think that part of the way she was treated was because she was a woman. Therefore, taking advantage.
AMANPOUR: So, there you have. Yoruba, do you feel that she felt that? Could -- did she feel the sexism in her life and during the struggle?
RICHEN: Yes, I just want to add one more thing. Let's, remember too, that there are so many other women besides Mrs. Parks who also did not get the accolades. So, we know that it was sexism was a huge part of the reason. And you know, it is hard for me -- she knew that she wasn't, you know, for example, given a spot -- a place to speak at the March on Washington, and that she was sidelined.
We're able to look back and to see it. And see, you know, very clearly how the civil rights movement was patriarchal and was sexist. But, you know, at the time I would imagine, you know, it may be hard to use those terms when you are fighting literally for your life and for your race. And that has, you know, been the priority in our community. So, I hesitate to say that she, you know, saw it that. But we do know that she felt sidelined at times.
AMANPOUR: It is really interesting to hear you say that you do not want to go back using a lens of today to judge the situation then. But how about then, Rosa Parks the fighter? Her great nephew says she was a soldier since birth. Bryan Stevenson says, she ran at a faster pace than a lot of her contemporaries. We knew how much she admired Malcolm X. That's also a reveal, Johanna.
HAMILTON: The fact that she was really closer to Malcolm X than Martin Luther King. Now, she adored Martin Luther King and was incredibly proud of what he, you know, the role that he stepped into during the boycott because that was his coming out party. Super proud of him. But -- and then what he became. But yes, ultimately, I think you came to admire Malcolm X enormously.
AMANPOUR: I really do find that fascinating. Yoruba, how much does that resonate with you? Did you know that about Rosa Parks, how radical she was?
RICHEN: I did not know that about Rosa Parks. But what I did not is that self-defense has always been part of the black freedom struggle. People want to minimize it. They want to say, you know, in the history books look back, it's all about nonviolence and Dr. King's approach. But that was -- that's not the way we're -- we survived in this country and fought for our rights.
So, the -- you know, the -- we've always had multiple strategies for fighting for our rights and for fighting to stay alive. I mean, that -- you know, the fact that she was with her grandfather as he defended his house against the KKK when she was six years old.
PARKS: My grandfather was going to defend his home, whatever happened. I wanted to see him shoot that gun.
RICHEN: That -- you know, that stance of self-defense was throughout her life. That is why she supported the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, the Republic of New Africa. These were radical groups, or considered radical. I say, "Radical", who really were about defending themselves.
AMANPOUR: I mean, just to highlight that, you know, obviously, you focused on many, many women did in the movement, violence against black women, police brutality, the wrongful convictions of black Americans at the time. And obviously that still happens.
But I think one of the most important evidences that you put in this film about her, you know, her own strength, her steadiness (ph) in this regard. She told -- she tells a story in the film about a near sexual assault. She is working as a maid --
AMANPOUR: -- a housekeeper in a public institution. And a white man who she is working for put his hands on her, and she said, "I never yield to this white man's bestiality. I was ready and willing to die. If you want to kill me and rape a dead body, he was welcome. But he'd have to kill me first." I honestly -- I mean, that is so powerful.
HAMILTON: And she was in her late teens when that happened to her. She wrote about it subsequently. People would inevitably, always, only ask her about the moment on the bus. Interviewers would very rarely follow-up to know what else had happened in her life.
When she moved to Detroit after the boycott, she worked -- she helped get John Conyers elected. She worked for him for 25 years. But nobody asked her about her work, the legislative work and her -- the agenda that they were trying to bring about, ever.
AMANPOUR: Just remind us, Yoruba, what made her have to go to Detroit? And then I want to play the clip from there.
RICHEN: Yes, well, after the boycott, which -- you know, was a little bit more than a year, she -- well, she lost her job immediately. And her husband lost his job.
And then with the success of the boycott, there was a backlash. There were threats against her life and her family's life. There was no money. They couldn't get a job. And they had to get her out of there. And so, her family members in Detroit -- her brother had gone to Detroit seven years before, and they said, you know, they said come here where we can help you and will -- where you have family.
AMANPOUR: So, I'm going to play the clip because all of that still wasn't, you know, it wasn't nirvana, she found out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All sorts of rumors snaked through Montgomery's white community about Rosa Parks. That she's an NAACP plan, that she's communist plan, she has a car, she's Mexican. That's she's not even from Montgomery.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We don't often want to talk about the reprisals. We do not want to talk about the consequences. And how people make personal sacrifices in order to advance a broader movement.
PARKS: After the incident, I worked five weeks through the month of December and was discharged from my job after the first week in January.
AMANPOUR: It's so sad to see, Yoruba and Johanna, this unbelievable giant of a woman, who then had to put up with this sidelining. And not just that, practically on a bread line at one piece of documentary you show us that one year she and her husband were only meant -- were only able to make $700. And nobody there really pitched in or gathered around to help them. How did she and Mr. Park survive, Yoruba?
RICHEN: Well, they relied on family members. They -- she had -- she did eventually get a job. There was an article about her that came out in "Jet Magazine". It had said, you know, the lost forgotten woman. And after that, you know, she did obtain a job in kind of a factory, like a sweatshop is what Jeanne says, the author of the book.
And then she finally gets a job working with John Conyers. She helps him get elected and then he hires her. And that is her first job with health insurance, which is very important because they also had health problems, both of them. And that's her first secure -- political job, you know, this is many years after the boycott, with health insurance, with some security.
AMANPOUR: And of course, John Conyers is the congressman from Michigan. And I was fascinated by one of your interviewees, Johanna, activist Ashley Henderson (ph), who said, the Montgomery bus boycott is the most successful boycott in U.S. history. People had been trying to replicate it forever. I think if social movements could understand the bus boycott, we would win everything.
That is crucial testimony and crucial statement for today's struggle. Yoruba, from United States' Black Lives Matter, before, beyond, from the Palestinians, from the South Africans, from whoever you might say who were struggling for their rights, none has created such a dramatic progress as the bus boycott. This peaceful economic boycott. Do you ever ask yourself, either in the United States or elsewhere? It just seems like it's not brain surgery anymore. The template is there.
RICHEN: I do not really know why not. You know, what's interesting is that in the bus boycott, the community, the Montgomery community really came to gather. And they had -- you know, they organized car pools, taxi dispatches. Women led it, maybe that's it.
Women were at the forefront because it was the women who were getting on the bus and going to work as maids and domestics. And they were the ones who were leading the boycott. So, maybe we need to have women-led boycotts, and we'd be just as successful.
AMANPOUR: Well, I remember very, very well, as you say, we must not give it short shrift. But obviously in Liberia, the women-led boycott of the men, and of sexual and household activity during the struggle against the dictator Charles Taylor was remarkably successful. And, of course, made into a film, "Pray the Devil Back to Hell".
So, that is a point we should hand on to. Women-led struggles --
AMANPOUR: -- because they are the peacemakers.
HAMILTON: Absolutely, I will say the other thing that Mrs. Parks said, which was really wonderful but, ultimately, we had to cut it from the film. That she gave a speech in Cleveland where she says, the Ph.Ds and the know Ds came together in Montgomery. So, in other words, it was really, you know, a cross class boundaries which we, you know, we don't talk about very much.
AMANPOUR: And I guess, finally, Yoruba, you know, her funeral in 2005 was almost like a state event. The number of people and dignitaries who went to pay correct tribute to her was pretty amazing. And I think brought her back into everybody's minds in that way, that they may have forgotten. And President Obama once said about Rosa Parks in 2013, the following.
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT: Rosa Parks singular act of disobedience launched a movement. The tired feet of those who walked the dusty roads of Montgomery helped a nation see that to which it had once been blind. It was because of these men and women that I stand here today.
AMANPOUR: And, of course, the iconic picture of Obama in Rosa Parks' seat on that bus, you know, as a commemoration. But again, Rosa Parks said, and I think this still resonates, frankly, there was a popular phrase then. Stay in your place. But when you stayed in your place, you were still mistreated. And that's still going on in the United States today. All the names of Black Lives Matter and beyond and before, it just -- is reality. What do you hope this film will do?
RICHEN: We hope the film actually breaks what President Obama said, that it wasn't a singular act. That it wasn't tired feet. That this was a woman who dedicated her life to the black freedom struggle and did work, incredible work, she took incredible risks both before and after the bus boycott.
So, we hope this film takes, you know -- obviously the bus boycott is incredibly significant and important. But really, the totality of her work and her life is what we want the viewers to understand about the remarkable Rosa Parks.
AMANPOUR: And you?
HAMILTON: Absolutely. And riffing off of what Yoruba was just saying. We hope that it's inspiring. You know, we often hear and she's been placed on this, sort of, pedestal. In making the film, our challenge, we wanted to feel urgent and present. For people to be able to see the courage that it took to show up to do the work day after day after day. And you know, we --
AMANPOUR: And it still needs that work.
HAMILTON: -- we stand at the -- exactly -- precipitous times. So, we hope for people who needs that.
AMANPOUR: Johanna Hamilton, thank you very much. Yoruba Richen, thank you very much indeed.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And the documentary is now streaming on the Peacock platform.
It is such an important reminder for courage and determination needed to effect change. And our next guest is also devoted to creating a more equal America. In his case, though business innovation. Entrepreneur Steve Case has traveled across the country to promote start-ups away from traditional investor cities. It's all in his new book, "Rise of the Rest" based on the nationwide tour of the same name. And he tells Walter Isaacson why he is optimistic about America's future.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALTER ISAACSON, CNN HOST: Thank you, Christiane. And Steve Case, welcome back to the show.
STEVE CASE, AUTHOR, "RISE OF THE REST" AND AOL CO-FOUNDER: Always great to be with you, Walter.
ISAACSON: You are here talking, I think, in 2018 about "The Rise of the Rest" bus tour you were doing. You even came down here to New Orleans, put on a Mardi Gras costume. And you heard pitch contests from entrepreneurs around the country. Trying to make sure there were startups that weren't just in Silicon Valley.
Tell me what has changed since then now that we have had the pandemic and all the different things that have happened.
CASE: Well, it is -- we're doing this work for about a decade now. Trying to really understand what's happening all across the country. Celebrate entrepreneurship all across the country. Try to get more venture capital investing in start-ups all across the country.
And the reason that's important is that most of the new jobs in this country were created by new companies, not by small business, not by big business, but by new businesses companies under five years. So, we need to be backing new businesses everywhere, that means backing entrepreneurs everywhere.
And that led us to starting to hit the road and -- with our "The Rise of the Rest" tour. The first one was eight years ago. You mentioned we were in New Orleans, I guess, five or six years ago. And we've now done dozens of these city visits. We have investments now in over 100 different U.S. cities.
And it's really remarkable. The momentum that was building around start-ups and the development of dozens of start-ups cities. There's too much attention focused, I think, on Silicon Valley, not enough on the rest of the country.
And in terms of that, what's happened recently, the pandemic has been a tipping point. It clearly has led to a dispersion of talent. Some people leaving the coast to go to other parts of the country which is helpful to these rise -- rest cities. It has led to a dispersion of venture capital. Those coastal investors are starting to look at some of these other opportunities.
So, it really bodes well for this next chapter of American innovation. I think it will be less about a few places like Silicon Valley, and much more dispersed which I think will be great for those entrepreneurs, great for those cities, and really great for the country as well.
ISAACSON: What competitive advantage do heartland cities have sometimes over coastal cities?
CASE: Well, there are some basic ones, cost of living or cost of operating a company. In most of these cities, it's quite a bit less than some of the big superstar cities like San Francisco or New York. So, the answer is raising money. Often that money goes two or three times further in terms of their ability to hire people and investing growing the company. So, there are some aspects like that.
There are also some considerations people have around lifestyle issue, there's family issues. There are reasons people want to be in another city. But perhaps the most important -- and this is what is starting to really develop and why I profile so many companies in the book. There are cities that really advantage those companies in terms of their location.
I will just give you a couple of examples. There's a company in Chattanooga, Tennessee called FreightWaves that developed a platform. Kind of like a Bloomberg data platform for the trucking and logistics industry. I didn't know they still were there with our "Rise of the Rest" bus but most of the big trucking companies in America are headquartered in Chattanooga. So, if you're building a platform for the trucking industry, that's the best place in the country to be. Not Silicon Valley, Chattanooga.
Another example is there's an entrepreneur, Carter Malloy, who was actually in San Francisco working for a hedge fund when he came up with the idea for a company called AcreTrader which is kind of a platform to invest in farmland. And he said, were -- if I'm going to get farmers to put their farms on our platform, I need to build up trust. And a better way to do that is to not be in San Francisco. So, he moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas -- Northwest Arkansas. Launched that company and it is scaling quite significantly. It was better for him to be an Arkansas, not California for that company.
There are more and more examples of that that I profile in the book which I think bodes well for this next 10 or 20 years. As capital starts flowing, as talents starts dispersing, and you're building on the industry expertise. So, the domain expertise, it's so important in some of these industries of the future, that's going to advantage the "Rise of the Rest" cities. More companies will start and scale. More jobs will be created. More economic growth will be move -- driven forward. And that will help those communities. And as I said before, it really helped the country.
ISAACSON: I was struck by the fact that less than one percent of venture capital goes to black start-ups. What can you do to take on that really a shocking number?
CASE: Yes, it's very troubling and sobering. I talked a lot about the 75 percent going to three States in, sort of, place base. But if you look at the people, it's even more troubling. As you say, black Americans are 13 percent of our population. Black founders get less than one percent of venture capital. Latino, over 18 percent of our population. A Latino founder get less than two percent of venture capital. Women are 50 percent of our population. Female founders get less than 10 percent of venture capital.
So, if you look at the data, it does matter where you live and it does matter what you look like. If you have an idea, if you have a shot at building a company, a shot at raising that venture capital. Really, a shot of the American dream.
And so, we're trying to level the playing field, not just in terms of place, but also in terms of people. I have a whole chapter in the book on diversity and partitive (ph). How do we make sure we're reaching out. We're being more inclusive as we think about innovation. And that's one of the things that we do as you saw when we were in New Orleans with our "Rise of the Rest" bus tour.
We're very intentional about making sure that the people pitching on stage are reflective of the diversity of the community that we are in. As a result, more than 40 percent of our investments now are diverse founders. So, we're making some progress, but there is still little auto work to be done.
ISAACSON: One of the major changes happening in the economy now is a feeling that globalization, and the outsourcing of everything, and putting
supply chains all the way from Malaysia to Indonesia to Vietnam to the United States turned out to be very problematic. Relying on China and
Taiwan for our batteries and our chips turned out to be problematic.
And now, there is a sense with the CHIPS Act and other things that we should onshore some of these things. We should bring manufacturing back to
America. Do you think as you go around that even manufacturing and things like that could return to the United States?
CASE: Absolutely, it's already happening. It's been building over the last decade. And -- I think it will accelerate because of the pandemic for the
exactly reasons that you mentioned. That -- in a more difficult global world where our relationships with countries like China is hard to predict.
We can't be reliant on others to produce some of the basic goods. We saw that in the early days of the pandemic when there was such a challenge in
terms of where we're getting some of the basic medical supplies that we needed. That was a wake-up call that lead out more people to say, we need
to have supply chains that are closer to where we are.
And we've also seen the importance of semiconductors. We're way too reliant on Taiwan, and everybody knows the situation there in terms of the
relationship with -- between China and Taiwan which is why we need to bring semiconductors back here.
We need to control our destiny, and that means having more things built in America. It helps because we're creating more jobs in more parts of
America. And in some ways, it's kind of an odd dynamic. But some of the automation that's happening, including robotic technology, has made it
easier to manufacture in this country, it's more cost effectively. Yes, it doesn't have the same number of jobs but it does allow you to do things
that you couldn't do maybe 10 or 20 years ago.
I just was touring last month, the Rivian Plant in Normal, Illinois, highly automated. But they have, I think, it's 5,000 employees there. And they
didn't have that level of employment in that Normal, Illinois area until Rivian came.
So, yes, there's a lot of animation. Yes, the way cars are now being built, or in their case, the structure is different than the way cars were being
built a half century ago. But Rivian launching in that area of Illinois has really been a catalyst in terms of job creation there. And we're seeing
that now all across the country.
ISAACSON: A lot of the move you have been encouraging and talking about away from just focusing on Silicon Valley in the San Francisco Bay Area,
focusing on the Northeast Atlantic Coast means that companies are moving to places like Texas, Florida, and other red states. And suddenly that is
getting wrapped up into politics with abortion and everything else. Do you think either founders or heads of company are going to have to look at the
politics of states, or is that something they can ignore?
CASE: No, I -- different people have different views on that. I think a lot of launchers (ph) will take that into consideration. As they're
deciding where to scale the company, some of it will be looking for the domain expertise that nearly made power that innovation in a particular
industry or partnerships and health care sectors or the food and agriculture sector that may really accelerate, you know, their growth. That
will be one factor.
Some will look at the -- some cost of living, cost of operations, benefits. Some will look at some of the lifestyle amenities, some will look at some
of the tax rates. But I do think a lot of people will look at some of these social issues including abortion. That may be a factor that both
entrepreneurs deciding where to start and scale, take into account as well as people who are thinking of moving to states that might give them a paw
(ph) depending on what their policies are.
So, hopefully the policy makers in states who are trying to fight this out recognize there is that aspect to it. There could be some unintended
consequences to some of the policies that are being considered.
ISAACSON: I've known you for 40 years, I've never known your politics. You've worked for Democrats. You've work for Republicans. You have been
involved as an adviser in almost every administration for the past 30, 40 years, it seems. But tell me, you just said early that this could help knit
this together. Help get rid of some of the poison in our divisive politics. Explain how.
CASE: Yes, I don't want to overplay this, because obviously our politics are complicated and multi-faceted, and there's many, many things swirling
around. But one piece of it is this idea that I mentioned before. That there are lots of people in the country that do feel left out and left
The innovation economy has left them behind. The things that we celebrate in Silicon Valley, they feel disconnected from it. They don't see any
benefits to their family, to their community of those companies scaling. And part of that is because of this notion that entrepreneurs are just on
the coast of this -- that investors are only backing entrepreneurs on the coast. And if we can launch and scale more new companies that are creating
more new jobs in more communities all across the country, I think it does create more of a sense of hope and possibility.
A great example, last week I was in Detroit. It was actually the first stop of our first bus tour eight years ago. At the time, Detroit was struggling,
the year before we were there, actually the city of Detroit went bankrupt. But now, it's happening in downtown Detroit. It is vibrant. There's --
dozens of start-ups that are scaling there. The buildings that are empty are now, you know, full. And there's a sense of hope and possibility in a
city that has struggled for half a century. It is because of the start-ups, because of the entrepreneurs, and it's because of the investors backing
those entrepreneurs in places like Detroit.
So, we just need to get more of those investors who are sitting in New York City and sitting in San Francisco to be looking at opportunities all across
the country. I think they will find the investment returns are comparable to what they could get on backing entrepreneurs in places like Silicon
Valley. But we also can have this positive catalytic impact on these communities and hopefully on the country.
ISAACSON: One of the people who ran your fan -- one of your fans in Ohio was J.D. Vance. Now, he's gotten very much into politics. Tell me, in some
ways you knew him pretty well how has it changed, and is getting into politics a good thing when you're trying to do stuff like this?
CASE: Well, it's a good thing for me. As you know, I've tried to stay out of politics for several decades and focus on policy and work on a
bipartisan way on policy, particularly related innovation and entrepreneurship, job creation. 10 years ago, I worked on the jobs act,
more recently I'm co-chairing the national advisory council and innovation end entrepreneurship.
And so, for me, I think I can be more effective staying in my line focusing on something I know a little bit about an I'm passionate about, and doing
it in a very bipartisan, you know, kind of way. J.D. Vance did work with us when he was in D.C. for a little over a year and then move to Ohio and
continued to work for another six months or so. And then decided to leave and launched his own venture fund in Ohio three or four years ago.
So, I have not talked to him since the announcement of his candidacy. I have been surprised by some of the things he said which, by his own
admission, are quite different than the things he had said a few years ago. And I guess that's part of the game of politics.
ISAACSON: You worked very closely with Ron Klain, who -- at Revolution media (ph), your company. Now, he's chief of staff to President Biden. To
what extent do you think the Biden administration is close enough and gets business, especially entrepreneurial business. And what advice, if you
could pull Ron Klain aside again, what do you say to him?
CASE: Yes, Ron is a great guy. He was a co-founder of my investment firm Revolution when we started in 2005. Obviously, he is now serving the
country working for President Biden as the chief of staff. I think when the first administration started, they were focused on a lot of things.
Obviously, the pandemic was front and center. Probably didn't focus as much on business, didn't engage as much in business as some would have liked.
That's changed, I think, in the last three to six months. And even some of the legislation that's passed Congress has been helpful in terms of driving
innovation, including the Inflation Reduction Act, which has a significant investment in climate technologies which will help boost that whole sector.
And also, what was in the CHIPS and Science Act, they authorized about $10 billion to fund regional hubs. You know, that would be helpful to this rise
of the rest effort.
If people don't fully appreciate it, but as you know, places like Silicon Valley didn't happen by accident. Some of that was government funding of
semiconductor research half a century ago. Similarly, in Austin, that was driven in part by government funding. So, having the government boost the
innovation that's happening in different cities build on the great research universities in so many cities and invest in establishing these regional
hubs is helpful.
So, I think the recent evidence in terms of the administration, there is more focus on business, and particularly focused on innovation,
entrepreneurship, start-ups. The -- President Biden was just in Columbus, Ohio a few weeks ago to talk about what's happening there with the intel
which helped launch Silicon Valley, if not trying to launch what they call the Silicon Heartland in the -- in Ohio. So, I think we're making progress.
ISAACSON: One of the things from your book that gives me optimism is same thing that happens when I travel around. You get worried about the national
discourse in politics, and you see in Chattanooga, or you see at Columbus, or you see places that are enlivened again. Tell me what gives you optimism
about America in the future.
CASE: It's building right now. It's these iron entrepreneurs who are dreaming big dreams about better ways to, you know, help us live our lives.
Better ways to, you know, reimagine some of the most important aspects of our lives. How we stay healthy, how we learn, what we eat, how we move
around, how we invest. These are all, you know, playing out now. And it's not just happening on the coast, it's happening all across the, you know,
And I've had the privilege of the -- over the last decade traveling to dozens and dozens of cities, backing entrepreneurs in over 100 cities. And
I'm really struck by what's happening there. Every city I go to, I'm amazed by what's going on. And that story is not being told. People in the
communities I visit often don't know what is happening. Certainly, people around the country don't know what's happening. And that's why I wrote the
This is a story that needed to be told. I felt -- it felt to me, like, this is a book that needed to be written, so people understood what's happening.
And if we continue to back these entrepreneurs, we invest more of that venture capital in these entrepreneurs, in these different cities. I think
it really will unleash wave of innovation, a wave of job creation that really will strengthen these communities and also strengthen our nation.
So, I feel great about the progress we've made over the last decade. I think the next decade is when the rest really will rise and innovation
really will disperse. And that's the best way, I think, to make sure America remains the most innovative entrepreneurial nation in the world. We
need more shots on goal which is backing more people in more places, not just some people in some places.
ISAACSON: Steve Case, thank you so much for joining us.
CASE: Thank you, Walter.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: And finally, we have tried to highlight the importance of remembering throughout tonight's program. Both the worst of humanity and
the very best. Those who paved the way for progress. And so, to a new American quarter that features the 1920s movie star Anna May Wang. She will
become the first Asian American to appear on U.S. currency, a century after she secured her first leading role.
May Wong, became a Hollywood star during the silent film era where shed face discrimination and racism throughout her career. The new coins will be
in circulation from Monday. As the fifth design from the American Women Quarter Program which celebrates pioneering women in American culture.
And that's it for now. Remember, you can always catch us online, on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and of course on our podcast. Thank you
for watching and goodbye from London.