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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

John Lewis: In addition to Martin Luther King, Jr., there was a young Methodist student at seminary. A young man by the name of Jim Lawson, James Lawson. He was part of something called the Methodist Student Movement. He was also active in an organization called A Fellowship for Reconciliation. He started conducting these nonviolence workshops, and I started attending these workshops. I was one of the first students to attend, and he started talking about the great religions of the world, certain elements that ran through all of the great religions of the world. And he started talking about nonviolence and passive resistance, Thoreau and civil disobedience, what Ghandi attempted to do in India, what they attempted to do in South Africa, what they accomplished in India. And he talked about Martin Luther King, Jr., and the nonviolent effort in Montgomery. And for an entire school year every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. a group of us -- students -- would go and study with this young guy studying the philosophy and the discipline of nonviolence. We had what we called "role playing," "social drama." Black and white college students, and some high school students. And I became imbued with this idea of what we called the "Beloved Community," a community at peace with itself -- that if you want to create the Beloved Community, a good society or a truly interracial democracy, if that is the goal, if that is the end, then the way, the means, must be one of peace and one of love, one of nonviolence. He taught us that means and end are inseparable.
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John Lewis

Champion of Civil Rights

I'll tell you, I grew up overnight. By the fall of 1959 we had what we called "test sit-ins" in Nashville. We went through a period of role playing and social drama, and then it came time for a group of black and white college students to go to downtown Nashville and just sit at a lunch counter, to establish the fact that people were denied service. It was in November and December of 1959. And then from a sit-in started in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February the 1st, 1960, we started sitting in on a regular basis. And it was there that, by sitting down, I think we were really standing up. I saw many of us, and I know in my own case I grew up while I was sitting on a lunch counter stool. I became a different person. I became a different human being.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I really sometimes question students who have chosen to go into like an architecture school from day one, because I think they're missing out on the English courses, the science courses, the math courses. If you can afford the time to do graduate and undergraduate, I would broaden your mind in undergrad and then specialize. Because I think for both art and architecture, you have your whole life ahead of you. Don't think that at age 18 you want to like just focus in on your own personal world. It's like, open it up for a while. I think it's invaluable.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I had spent my junior year abroad in Denmark and in an architecture studies program, different school. Yale doesn't have a junior year abroad. In fact, you have to tell them that you're going abroad to study something they don't teach which is, they didn't teach Danish, so I could--because I love going into a culture, if I like the architecture. And I love Scandinavian design. So, boom, I went to Denmark. And one of the very first projects, we were all given different segments of Copenhagen to study. I was given this area called Norbrow, which included this enormous park, probably half the size of Central Park, that was also a cemetery. Because in Europe spaces are so tight that you, you have multiple uses. So your cemeteries are habitable, I mean, they're parks. They're--people are walking through, people are strolling through. And I think it was very interesting. And then as I went through Europe that summer I went to Père Lachaise in France. And it was just one of those things. So when I came back to Yale -- I don't know how this conversation came up, but we all -- there were a few of us that thought a course as our senior seminar that focused on the architecture of death essentially would be really interesting. And what does that mean? It's like, God, at the time the reporters had a heyday with it. It's like morbid curiosity. It's more like how humanity deals with mortality in the built form.
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Maya Lin

Artist and Architect

I try to think of a work as an idea without a shape. If I find the shape too soon -- especially for the memorials, which have a function -- then I might be predetermining a form and then stuffing the function into the form. Instead, what I try to do is -- for two to three months -- read, research, understand anything about the site. And I don't just mean the physical site. I mean the cultural site, the historical site, who's coming, what the needs are, what I think needs to be done.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

George Lucas: Learning to make films is very easy. Learning what to make films about is very hard. What you've really got to do is focus on learning as much about life, and about various aspects of it first. Then learn just the techniques of making a movie because that stuff you can pick up pretty quickly. But having a really good understanding of history, literature, psychology, sciences -- are very, very important to actually being able to make movies.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

George Lucas: I came from a very avant-garde documentary kind of film making world. I like cinema verité, documentaries. I liked non-story, non-character tone poems that were being done in San Francisco at that time. And that's the film making that I was interested in. Francis Coppola, who was my mentor, sort of -- he's a writer and works with actors -- stage director -- and he said, "You've gotta learn how to do this." And so I took him up on the challenge and wrote my own screenplays, learned to write and work with actors.
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George Lucas

Creator of "Star Wars"

I don't ever see movies by myself. I always see them with other people because I want to know what works. I want to know where they laugh. I want to know where they don't laugh. I want to know what they think about it afterwards because in the end that's what the art that I'm working with is. You know? Trying to communicate in a way that is effective and people react to. So I can't ignore the people I'm telling the story to.
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