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Rev. Dr. Otis Moss III: Otis’ Dream

2020-11-01 | 🔗

Pastor and author, Reverend Dr. Otis Moss III shares his short film, Otis’ Dream, which details the legacy of his grandfather, Otis Moss, Sr. The beautifully crafted film retells the story of Otis Moss, Sr., a black man who was denied the right to vote in 1946. He died before he could ever cast a vote. His story is both heartbreaking and inspirational at the same time. Oprah shares her personal, full-circle moment about Otis’ story. Dr. Moss also opens up about his grandfather’s lasting impact, the process of creating the film and how exercising our right to vote honors our ancestors.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Hi, everybody watching and listening and super saw Sunday with the election just a couple of days away. I know that so many of you, maybe at this point, tired of politics or the negative, add campaigns and the constant new cycle about our divided country, I like to think of super soul as a space where we can take a breath and where we can slow down center ourselves and focus on what really matters now. What's most important to me is that as american citizens, we exercise.
Are sacred privilege our right to vote, because there are millions of people who came before us and who are living now around the world. Who didn't and don't have that same right. It is my fervent desire that we, we do not take the vote for granted, and I want to show you a clip from the opera show back in one thousand nine hundred and eighty eight, I think we're I explained over thirty two years ago. The reason why I always vote I've been telling the story for years. If you haven't heard it here, it is with normal. In me, I am today I'm trying to remain totally unbiased during this show, but I will start with you all because as black people in this country, I just find it difficult to believe that you're not going to vote for somebody since so many
people died for the right to vote. So you have to address that issue for me first well, I guess. Basically I feel that the who am I being true to first myself or my country, I don't want to be a hypocrite in there and not vote for you know somebody that might do the job right. I I don't know. I just feel that. Let me tell you the story. Ok, there's a Reverend Otis MOSS in Cleveland, hoo, hoo hoo told this story in an assertion that he gave he was born in
little town, I think in Georgia. I can't remember the name of the town I'll try to make the story brief. He says he remembers the day his father as a black man was first given the right to vote. His father walked six miles to the voting poll. He got there and the people told him there you're in the wrong place boy. He walked another eight miles to the voting poll and they said you're in the wrong place. You should be seven miles up. He walked another seven miles up and got there, and it was too late to vote after his father walked all those miles back home. The children are waiting to see daddy. What did it feel like as a black man to vote for the first time and he had to tell them his father had to tell them that he didn't have a chance to vote, because he went to the wrong place and was was denied the right to vote and revenue to small says that now, because when four years later came around, his father had died and was not able to vote as a black man. That now, where we Tommy goes into the two to go to the polls and pulls the livery pulls out, leave her for his father, a black man who was denied the right to vote and died.
He could just remember that story on election day and now, I'm having what I have always called a fool Circle moment, because Otis Boss's remarkable story has now been made into a beautiful short film title, Otis's dream now for me: it's it's. It's both heartbreaking and also oh inspiring at the same time, so I urge you to watch this film and then share it with the french or with a family member, because here's the fundamental question: do you want your voice to be heard and think about the price that has been paid for your
voice to be heard. So after we watch Otis his dream, I'll be joined by Reverend. Otis must the third. He is the original Otis Mosses grandson for a conversation about his grandfather story and the legacy that he's left so stay tuned. We'll be right. Back with my interview, and now here is: oh- is dream. Let me tell you a story: a story about my Father, Otis MOSS Senior, it's the story of my father, determination
exercise his right to vote one morning in the fall of nineteen. Forty six. He got up determined. Asked is valid My father was Obama a share cropper. In the south He said in a military base world war. Always Madame dignity, quiet courage and determination? mother is devoted to wife. Had died at an early age and my father struggle has a single parent by children
I'm going to vote today we were amazed excited about. Do something really significant. Oh all from the house. Well dressed. Well, six miles of the town center now marriage things have been introduced. He saving people from both specially like people
We knew that racism hatred, the injustice represented in Eugene, some of the need for both, if I'm me, o governor, say it as folk and I'll pay in the next four or he was well aware all of the dangerous toys snares road blocks to keep him vote. But he was willing to face all that an exercise its right to vote did not know what the experience would be for him on that day but he was well aware what
taken place all over the south. At that very moment. Okay,. Sir I'm Otis MOSS and I'm here to vote. What did you say? Your name was Otis MOSS, Honest it looks like you, ve, come to the wrong Poland place. You need to go over to the Mount Veil School. I have learned,
hear from the county stating that I vote here. People from your side of town, a vote in Mount Ville, you're supposed to get a letter, but the mail sins, slow Last few weeks did he come to see. I think he came me up. I may I have my letter back. Let me tell you a story about my grandfather. It already walk six miles to the first Poland place now,
he's been told you ve come to the place a clear and blatant live now. Go to the Montville School school is in a different city imagine, as my grandfather walk, the sounds of the world crept into. Here you are in class citizen. You are three fifths of You are nothing but a negro, but in a spirit he heard his fate The song say: ain't going Let nobody turn me around, not just walking but marching to the next polling place. Steps through the doors of the Monfils school, unsure of what he will face.
Yes, I'm here to vote, I was from the Grange Courthouse, you are in the wrong place. Use First of all, the world was not school books. Look from the courthouse! There was to come here. I don't know about that, but I know you supposed to Voteth Rosemont School now. Let me tell you the story of my great grandfather. The color of his skin. He was held back from voting voting. A basic right of is one of his feet. And because it away
it was allowed to, despite the next polling place six more miles, despite the disappointment in anger and frustration, His determination, strong will and dreamed of Wait any disappointment across his mind boy. I sure, am sorry, but the poem place closed now. If you would have been here five minutes earlier, we will let you in
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and thereby setting an example and a memory for generations unborn on just a few years after that Father was killed in an automobile accident fast forward. I became a participant in the civil rights movement and the voting rights of movement and joy and document The king Jr the sound March witnessed the signing of the voting rights deal. Nineteen sixty five. That was a great moment
it was a great victory in the civil rights struggle. It was a great accomplishment. However, No one could dig up our fathers bow and foot ballot in his hand, some things are beyond repair
your next time. Next time promise me if you get a chance, you a vote, one of the remarkable moments in my life.
And in my memory, is taken. My son out just a third to vote I paused on my side of the curtain interact silence and listen protests. The third punch his ballot became musing freedom. Music Liberation Muse so my father's. What steps
FR. I cast his boat, you know often wondered how Otis Boss felt when he got to that last pulling place and told it was closed. What must have been going through his mind and how tired he would have been and how had the day would have been in his mind on that long
a com. What was on his mind? What was he thinking about? Well now I want to welcome the man responsible may have some answers to those questions. The man responsible for the powerful film you just saw Odysseus, grandson, Reverend Otis, was the third hello web ran how're? You it's a delight to be with you today at such a pleasure. So I just want to say When is the first time you know. I just saw a clip of Bee I was telling stories in the eighties, so it must have been them. Early eighties. When I first heard the story, I have been telling the story of your grandfather for long, as I can remember, actually, since of Baltimore, and that was three I think Tell me when you first heard the story. What will the story of grandfather has become like lore in my family.
Other would not only tell the story to to us, but he also told it to the to the church, my father has. One of those voices there's James Earl Jones is Morgan Freeman than theirs. My dad. And he will share the story with the congregation and became mythical and magical at the same time, these people of dignity in true county. So I was probably about ten when I remembered the story, but it was in eighty eight. You had already become a purveyor of that story when you shared it again, and I had the opportunity to cast my vote for the first time for Reverend Jesse Jackson in the primary in Ohio. My father took me tat. I was eighty alimentary I was the eighty eight wow. So when you know you, you grew up hearing it. I heard your father Reverend Otis, most junior tell the story at a prayer breakfast in for the black caucus so that
had to be in the early eighties or late Seventys. When I first first hurry it- and you know it impacted me as I've said often impact it be for life. That story and I want to know when you became aware of what it really meant, because one thing, you're young boy, your hearing, the story and oh yeah. That's your grandfather, but winded impact You and when you went into the voting both yourself did you carry the image of your grandfather with you, as I have done since I heard this morning, it was really at that moment when I have the opportunity to go in the bony Bruce I was I was with my father had been sharing the story, and my grandfather was was with me the Spirit of my grandfather and when I come out of the vote,
both. My father has tears in his eyes because new at that moment something was being fulfilled that what his father couldn't do. I was able to do, but I was casting my ballot for someone who looks. Like my grandfather, and it really just just struck a chord with him, and it was just a beautiful moment that will never forget and then fastball when my son had the opportunity to vote for the first time he voted for a black woman, the Mare of Atlantis and called his grandfather and said I voted. And do you think great grandpa would be excited that I voted, and so both of us got an opportunity to vote for someone who looked like us. When we had the opportunity to vote, Wow, you know No, I love that it is sort of us
sacred right of passage in your home. It feels like that's what it has become and I I was just sharing some thoughts. I've been working. All this past week doing have the swing states talking to thought leader. And social thought. Leaders about the importance voting and trying to rally people around this idea of voting. Occurred to me after watching this beautiful film that you all just constructed it to me that to not vote feels like. Shaming your ancestors. It is a dishonor to your ace, is a dishonor you are dishonoring. Those people, like your grandfather, who got up in got themselves in in in the best state, did they could and new that they were risking so much because it can for a moment tell us
what Georgia in nineteen forty six, which some people still alive and no no, what them Georgia Nineteen forty six, what he was risking he would he knew he might not even get back home. That's right! That's right! So nineteen, forty six, smart, my grandfather is a sharecropper. He puts on his Sunday best because he was gonna go to the polls. He's gonna go as a person of dignity. He was a single father. Raising five kids and governor talmage was running for real, who was an about racist who said there are three problems in Georgia and he gave the inward three times in his stump speech. And if you elect me, you will never see. Another negro
oh vote in the primary. He was saying to the people of Georgia, and this is not. I probably I'm gonna make Georgia great again in the process and then he says to all of the domestic terrorists. That no one is going to arrest you. If, in fact, you see someone of african descent trying to vote so when he went out that day, he wasn't sure if he was going to come back when he went out that day, he went out also an honor of his wife who died because of medical apartheid because they wouldn't treat her at a white hospital. He understood the connection between policy and casting his vote and he walked eighteen miles in honor of woman he deeply loved and a family. He cared about and wasn't sure if you will make a on, don't go anywhere more to come. After this short break, he's episode is supported by shipped its delivery done differently, their experts
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in spite of being raised by a single father having all the difficulties of you know, putting your life other or being able to keep your life together. Once your father has passed those with it. is where the community came together and said we will take care of this children. Not. Is that what happened? Yeah? That's right when my grandfather died in a car accident head on drunk- I killed him. The community came around my father and his siblings, and one person down the road said I'll take care of you. Another person said I've got you. It was a village situation. And it was a beautiful thing to see, and so my father then goes away. The children split up where the children split up. They were split up they worse, but a different family members and extended family took care of different family members, so the youngest uncle my uncle Mitchell, I was taken care of by by family member because he was so small and then you know my father was taken in bye, bye,
neighbours who says you have a home with us from now on, his sisters were taken in by different people and they cared for them, raise them and all of them had that ethic of we are going to vote from now horn in reference to the memory of their father. How do you think here dad Otis must Junior, who we see in the film as a young boy. How do you think he was shaped by his father that that's a thought about their question, because my father is he's a gentle giant he's a person
of conviction and compassion. His his idea of manhood is not volume and violence are some toxic masculinity. It is just the simplicity of loving, carrying and being committed to the people. You love, and he saw that in his father, a father who was a sheer cropper but said I'm gonna take care of my children. He saw them his father in the simple dignity of making sure that his clothes looked a certain way when he walked out the leaved that he was be a person committed to that small troop county area. We ve got to take care of everybody around here and he has an end to this day. There's there is, I know nobody unknown, there's an if
could be the tenth of the man he is. I would be all right. Well, I know of what you speak because he's one of the people I'm admire most in the world. I think I is his is integrity in pack, a ball and doesn't just none is not just a fine preacher, but such a fine human being and lives. The word that that has been my experience with your father so when and how to job decide the job we're going to turn this into the elbows. Talking about it and gonna actually turn it into a film and let the world know about it, what it's been colonel, ruminating an hour in our minds for quite some time is we ve been bugging my father. You have to write your memoirs because he's got more stories and experiences and me too seems too
with everyone, but really this summer is really when it moved this pandemic helped us pushed us. There was a wonderful woman in Columbus, Ohio who wrote a song. She heard you speak about as my grandfather, and so she just wrote a song talking about us, walking, Odus walking from holding to place to line lace and shared it with my parents and, as we talked together as a family, said it's about time that we put something together and so this summer I started writing the script. I'd
Since any church people is and what people say all baby, that's real good! I want to send it to some people were actually do fail in our country to take it from me, so I sent it to some individuals who would give honest feedback who were in the film industry, and they said you know you you this is. This is okay. This is this is our right and it's. It was sacred serendipity that brought together all of the necessary filmmakers. In order to put this production today, The Spirit of God was really working at that moment. Well, I want to give a shot out to Keith Walker, who was the cinematograph over this Keith. Is yours with me for years. He's my favorite photographer and I can see his hand Camera hand his eye all through this, so bless you for that I know so many people will see the film and will be moved by the film. What you're in
pension for what it achieves. Well, what we're doing we're deploring the found two five hundred and minimal five minute churches are cross in combination, especially in swing states, and that a five and churches played the film. We know that we can reach a hundred thousand people there focus on voter suppression and getting out to vote, and so we have a hash vote. The dream- and we want to share your story, maybe the first time voting or who is the person that you are voting in honor of who is the ancestor in your community? Who is the person in your family who has denied the right to vote? Hashtag vote? The dream I vote honour when I vote of Otis more senior, who is it in your family? If it's not the person that maybe in your family, maybe you say I vote in honor of Harry Tony. You know I vote in honor of Frederick whoever it may be. We want people to understand. There is a legacy that we anally
holders of other people? Well yeah, as I've been saying for years, I vote in honor of Otis MOSS, so I'm so glad you all have made a film I want to know. You know one of the reasons why I like the film. So much is because nothing in it speaks about our division except, did cast some very nice mean white people in there is some very nice. Very nice mean white people when the woman says. I know that you're not supposed to go here. I mean this very good casting very acting, so I want to know what is your personal prayer for swear. We are now and where were we
are headed in the next two days. My prayer is that we would reclaim the jazz of democracy and when I say jazz, it means that in a jazz band, everybody is allowed to solo to bring their unique perspective to the table and it's my part. We will learn the jazz of democracy that, even though the piano and the saxophone aren't supposed to play together, they do and they make beautiful music, and I think jazz teaches us what democracy is all about, and I hope on Tuesday that people will bring their solo they'll bring their song to build. Some They knew in this nation, and we literally in the words of John Coal TRAIN. We can create a love supreme, even though we ve seen strange for sound like you, daddy
here this morning Okay, I want to tell all of our super soul audience that tomorrow night Monday night, Eight p m eastern seven central I'm asking leaders across many different faiths together together in a one hour programme in prayer for our country, agree we're in a battle for the soul of our nation, and my hope is that Monday night we can be another or have another chance to dinner ourselves, focus on what really matters and come together in a prayer for peace and unity, and I hope you join us. You go to w w you zoom with Oprah dot com to watch. It live and be a part of our big prayer service. All you have to do is register and you can watch it for free. That's at eight p m M Eastern tomorrow night believe so strongly in your grandfather story and in
film that I want everybody. I know to watch it, and so what we're going to do is have it up on Oprah dot com Any time for anybody who wants to see it. Where else can people see the film, they can go to Otis's dream dot com and we also have resources. If you want to join the fight against voter suppression, are you can learn about the NAACP Legal Defense fund? You can learn about fair fight that was started by Stacy Abrams are you can learn about Iraq, the vote or the Brennan LAW Centre that tracks voter suppression? We want people to be educated because this isn't just about November. Third, this is about generations that are yet to be born. We have to make America now make a great again. We just have to make America the yet to be United States LAO. Thank you so much. Thank you everyone.
Reverend Otis the said. Thank you for bringing your grandfather's story delight in such a such a poignant manner. Now. Generations and generations to come will be able to do exactly what you said will be. Two no history, Where can you met? I wonder of obviously you I've thought about what he would think about this. What did you tell me this? What did your dad say when you first saw the foam ah system Winfrey, we showed him just The rough cut, my father, you know my father squat you, you know my father he's he's quietly laid by is one of the cruellest brothers you ever will meet You know, you're, not only you know, I was gonna, say a man of Dignan he's not a man of degrees, men of dignity, where did you get it? You get you gotta. You got
but when he saw the rough cut, he got quiet and he he tiered up. He took his hands and he went like this and he says that no father would be proud and it was we re all his ground show them around him, and it was. It was a moment that I will never forget,
well done well done, Sir well done and to everyone in watching and listening. Do we need to say it again if you haven't already, please vote bye, everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you! I'm Oprah, Winfrey and you've been listening to super soul conversations the podcast you can follow super soul on Instagram, twitter and Facebook. If you haven't yet go to apple podcast and subscribe rate and review. This podcast join me next week for another super soul. Conversation. Thank you for listening.
Transcript generated on 2020-11-18.