Walter Mondale and Josie Johnson on civil rights in America

Walter Mondale (left), Josie Johnson and Gary Eichten.
Walter Mondale (left), Josie Johnson and Gary Eichten at Westminster Presbyterian Church Sept. 9, 2018.
Courtesy of Westminster Presbyterian Church

Longtime civil rights activist Josie Johnson, now 87, and former Vice President Walter Mondale, now 90, met together at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis to discuss voting rights, fair housing, and civil rights... in American history and in the current day.

Mondale said it is not at all clear "whether this nation is any longer dedicated to the cause of civil rights."

Josie Johnson said, "the election of 2016 was one that, for me, definitely proved how deeply etched in the fabric of America supremacy and the actions of racism are. We as a nation actually allowed all those things that have not been discussed, that are deeply etched in the fabric, to surface."

Walter Mondale said, "if we were meeting here 25 years ago, we'd be talking about the federal law enforcement officers and about the Department of Justice, about the US Attorney here, about state officers that picked up the cause. And about the progress we were making all across the board where racial discrimination has haunted us. We weren't perfect yet. But every year, we were moving in the right direction. What's stunning, and unsettling, about this meeting today, is that none of that's true today. It all stopped. We elected a President who's never been for civil rights."

Former Minnesota Public Radio host Gary Eichten moderated the discussion September 9, 2018 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis.

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