tv Capital News Today CSPAN August 9, 2011 11:00pm-2:00am EDT
levels of violence in school, sometimes children homes and communities. this is by far the toughest challenge i face in chicago public schools. we were able to make schools themselves much safer. what children experience and communities with a particular basically having one student shot and killed every to eke out a staggering rates of violence. i can't tell you the total that took personally to talk to classmates about their brand they lost in trying to make sense of it, trying to go to homes and talk to parents of children are on a real parents who are doing nothing wrong, who are playing basketball by literally sitting in the living room and got shot or written of violence. you had the set of issues every single day. they are facing not physical bullying, but cyberbullying that are unprecedented levels.
drugs and alcohol at younger and younger ages 10 and 11 tallgrass tagamet temptations and pressures they are facing. and the two sides that some people don't live in neighborhoods where you have both obesity and real hunger and often on the same block in the same community. the challenges they're facing with all these horrendous areas to students fulfilling their potential are huge. at a time those challenges, students cannot education, that path, that mission unimpaired it has been more important. we know the international competition. we know it's a nation from first in the world tonight call is graduate. other countries passing us by. we know where 25% drop off for in our country. that the million point to young people with no chance for that to get a job in the legal
economy. as i look across the globe and competition were facing, places like spout korea, president obama asked what is the biggest educational challenge for the very high achieving nation. even my poorest parents demand a world-class education. we wish we had those kinds of challenges here. south korea is going from print books to all digital. 2015, nowhere prayerbooks. that's the competition is these days. not in the district or the state or even in the country. it's across the globe, so we have to think how to better prepare students for that. so anytime you face immense challenges in our nation to people, the time has never been more important. the sad reality is we've never had less resources to use, to utilize. but we are far too many leaders
of the local level, the state level, folks in congress to a fundamentally tackled education you don't believe in it and don't get investment. collectively we have to continue to challenge that mentality. we have to educate our way to better economy. anyone who thinks we should cut back with k-12 education or access to higher education are part of the problem, and a part of solution. i know these are tough budget times, but the effect her priorities and values where we feel to invest and make a commitment to young people we do our children and our country a grave, grave disservice. [applause] we have to continue to cite that title again and districts and communities in cities and states of the national level every single day. it's been amazing quite frankly
to see so many elected officials who fundamentally want to dismantle public education in this country. i don't know what planet they live on about their valleys are, but those beliefs will not help lead our country where we go we need to push back and demonstrate our success. [applause] demonstrate our success and commitment to what our children can achieve if we give them real opportunities every single chance we have. so what do we do at a time of huge needs and hooch issues for resources? we can't stop. our children get one chance for a great education. we have to keep moving forward to mathews each other and relationships can get outside our and decent things differently in order to make sure children who desperately need a quality education and a chance to be successful have those opportunities. we're trying to partner with other agencies across the administration to work in different ways. and i know for far too long
different departments at the federal level have been silos, haven't spoken with each other. and so pleasantly pleased and surprised to senate colleagues who lead other places, like a veto to my willingness to and partner and we can demonstrate him a bad example here we will see similar start to emerge in the state at the local level. just a couple quick examples. my good friend, eric holder the attorney general working together to think about how we have much more positive school discipline practices across the country. i'm immensely concerned we are expelling students unfortunate our children are going from the classroom to incarceration. that has to stop. and this is a really personal one for me. when i ran the chicago public schools, i became very learned with young people being arrested and so i know what the police chief incentive got to do something better. you guys have to help us here. you guys are resting far too
many people. he looked mean and said you're the problem. i said what he talking about? he said you're the problem. the men looked at the data and it was an absolute eye-opener for me. in fact we have chicago public schools for a big part of the problem. the vast majority were typing at 6:00 in the evening, one to 2:00 in the morning. they are happening from 9:00 to 3:00 when children were in school. others are dug into the data it was fascinating but we found was 7% of our schools, 7% are leading 55% of the arrests. massively disproportionate number. there were schools for five blocks of the same socioeconomic challenges. some schools for their arresting hundreds of children each year in summer there is zero. we have to really look ourselves in the eye and think about how we train administrators administrators and school staff.
the first response can be to pick up the phone to call 9-1-1. it has to be how do we help this child, reach and do things differently? are able to dramatically drive down the number of arrests. it took some hard soul-searching on our part to do that. what we have to do is work across the country. many of you saw the data out of texas. i commend texas for having the courage to put that data out. that data is absolutely staggering. to see over at the young people in texas get suspended or expelled at some point during the educational career. the fact that half -- not pass, 15% of young students are suspended or expelled 11 times while they're in school. the fact that 75% of african-american children are suspended or expelled in texas. 75% of national education children are expended versus valid. we have to challenge ourselves in every community to figure out how to be much better and
positive prices that don't push students on the streets or in jail and given support and and resources they need to be successful in class and other strategies we know work. restorative justice that to become the norm rather than the exception. the attorney general and i will work hard to make it happen. kathleen sebelius at hhs has been a fantastic partner. we put together a website comes up lame duck of which we hope you guys to look at. a comprehensive set of resources are out there. folks are using data-driven work to help reduce bullying. please access that if you haven't. we're also working closely with her to create school-based health care clinics that we know if our children are healthy, if their emotional needs are being met, they won't be successful in school. we are pleased recently to have $95 million in grants to create a couple hundred more school-based health care clinics at schools across the country.
[applause] those clinics are going to help a million young people stay in school, get the support they need. this is the first half of funding. we have another half in fy 13. we'll continue to push hard they are moana chicago two dozen health care clinics. if i went and visited them it was amazing to your stories of young people, horrific things they were dealing with at home in the community. because they have access to mental and physical health or to stay in school and not drop out. kathleen has been a fantastic or there. we're working hard with her now about better access to high-quality early childhood education. there's no better investment to make together three and four euros off to a great start. are going to invest $500 million together to dramatically increase access, particularly disadvantaged communities for children struggling to make sure
it's high-quality so children can enter kindergarten ready to learn and ready to read and stop playing catch-up in education and start to level the playing field and close the achievement gap spirit were also working -- [applause] we're also working across agencies with hud and hhs and treasury to make sure we have strong communities and are trying to push very, very hard on our promise neighborhoods initiative. the harlem children's zone. i don't think we can have a strong neighborhood or strong community anywhere in this country, urban, rural suburban if we don't have great schools at the heart. these are inextricably linked mckeith and cycles of poverty if we don't have great, great schools. we'll continue to work very hard across agencies to help revitalize the most distressed communities and make sure great educational options are available for young people in those neighborhoods and it can
be safe not just in school but walking to and from school and their families had support services and reference services they need to help them be successful. these are actually tough economic times hitting us at every single level. i wish it was much easier. vicious reality and honesty will not change tomorrow. we can't let that stop our work and stop our collaboration. we can't stop doing everything in our power collectively together nations and people a chance to be successful. one final thing that i corrupt working as part of the southside of chicago and i don't know if there is one children who had apparently gone to college and demonstrating levels of violence. because they had a safe place to go in there during the school day and after school is so young people going to do extraordinary things. despite the immense challenges we face, despite what i call great here in washington and actually very hopeful. i'm hopeful because i know when we give our children the
opportunities for members supporting creative work together and partner they can do amazing, amazing things. we have to continue to work together in good times are tough times to make sure children have those opportunities. thank you so much. i'll stop there and take any questions you may have. [applause] i think they're a couple microphones. they see one here and one here. fire away. >> i want to applaud you for all the things you listed that you are overseen in your department. i am hoping you can add one more thing. the school districts, such as the one i come from that are trying to compete with the rest of the world by not making, but
encouraging and pressuring kids to take ap classes, geometry before their brain development has reached a place for they can understand those concepts, algebra in eighth grade. i know there are prodigies who can handle that, but i think the majority of arcade cannot and they will sign up for these classes by their own pressure, but parents pressure and they don't really learn, comprehend and retain. they study for the test, move on. they're really not learning and therefore not being prepared in the world. they are also sharing their adhd prescription stimulants so they can stay up and study. not for the high, but for academic reasons. i am hoping you will oversee
some pain in your department to stop those kinds of competition because it is so different as the number on the kid self-esteem when they feel because they can't do something that their brain won't be ready for a couple years down the road. >> so i hear the concern we don't want children sharing prescription medicine. that's not something i support her. mama challenge you a little bit. one of the things i worry about in this country or the lack of access to high-quality opportunities. one of the things i saw in chicago was a huge disconnect between the number of white students taking ap classes in a number of latino and african-americans taking ap classes. he pushed her to increase access not in a competitive way but equalize opportunity. in a couple years we're able to double the number of students not just taking, but passing ap
classes. one of my big concerns is if we did that in four years, are african-american and latino students were twice as smart over the course of those for years. we simply created opportunity that didn't exist before. i worry many places, but the low expectations, to take college-level classes a great hindrance to our young people. there's a balancing act here. i absolutely want college in paris ready opportunity to take college-level classes to take a class on a college campus and take a class at a committee college they can be part of that environment so many of our students a first-generation college goers had to feel intellectually okay to be comfortable at the higher education learning environment. i absolutely think far too many young people in our country don't have access to rigorous curriculum is something we have to work on. [applause]
>> when their brain is at the proper level of development to observe that education. >> look at the three or four girls ready for kindergarten. >> thank you secretary duncan. i'm a professor at the university of southern california. i have a two-part question. i'll keep it shorter. the one is there has been dramatic reductions overall in school violence issues and the mid-1990s and many of us attribute that to the policy efforts done in title iv. as you know recently the funding behind not have been eliminated in many states such as california use to help the kids surveyed to collect the school climate data don't have it anymore. will that be put into the reauthorization of the school climate issues as my first
question. [applause] we hope so. the second question has to do with the fact we are at war for 10 years and there's 2 million kids who's had their parents serve in iraq and afghanistan. we know the kids are suffering based on studies coming and we know the schools are also seeing the effects in academics and social climate. are there plans to actually include support for those kids and families in public schools? >> two great questions. let me take the second one first. i try to spend a disproportionate amount of my time in school is on military bases around military bases where you have family members who have been deployed, not once but four, five, six, seven, eight times. i can imagine a chocolate that flight. a china to be gone for more than one or two nights. we have two young children at
home. she was sure when he was coming back in ibc shivers every night is coming back. whatever we can do to be helpful for these children is the least we can do for our troops. it's amazing i talked to folks who have deployed on what can i do to be helpful? fails to help take care of my kids. don't do anything for me. help take care of my children. this is one where collectively there's a level of trauma, a level of fear, a level of worry that we haven't seen in a long, long time in this country. whatever we do in terms of mental health services, school of these communities to keep these young people focus we know port guys have been deployed and are being raised by it a grandparent or enter your uncle. whatever we do collectively i can imagine going as a child to give men's tools to be successful. we have to put resources behind
that were trying to work very closely with military families. on your first point, so i fire suddenly took a huge hit as you know which i was very happy about. we have a significant budget request around students and schools for fy 12. if you read the papers like i do, it's a tough budget, never pushing congress to cut to do the right thing. i can't promise will get a significant increase. i hope we do. baruch's ordinary helpful having real data come asking students are you safe come asking teachers what do you think? test scores are called lagging indicators. for those >> translator: in the right way about 40 students. so be very, very successful. as >> translator: saturday of worry. our blueprint for reauthorization fantasizing of the acclaimed survey of this piece of that.
yes for $265 million. i don't know whether we'll get that or not. we're going to push kerry hired pre-but it fundamentally changed is that children are safe they can't learn. if they can't see the black point they can't learn. there are fundamental building blocks of physical and psychological health with dependent pace. if we don't do those things, we'll never get them to where we need to go academically. so this will continue despite at times to be huge emphasis friday or here to california a budget situation is devastating that were trying to do what we can deal. please keep up the fight. >> thank you. [applause] >> thank you for the opportunity to ask questions. and shelley manlove, healthy students coordinator and i appreciate all the things you're saying about the importance of learning conditions in the work
were doing. state schools can healthy students is an incredibly successful partnership and i heard you talk about the new partnerships that you are looking at linkages. i have heard rumors that there are concerns that healthy students will not be continuing and i'm interested in hearing about the department of education's community that program. [applause] >> we want to continue everything making a difference in student flats. the more you demonstrate increasing discipline rates and increasing attendance rates all of us have to be driven by the evidence, things working to need to take the scale and do more of her worry make the difference is we have to not just try and maintain a commitment. we have to increase commitments where we can. [applause] i'll take one last one then i need to go. >> hi, tina meier and i rented macon meyer foundation.
my question to you as i travel across the country and speak to schools and rural communities in a very affluent communities. overall the same question comes as how are they dealing with the situations from top to bottom regarding bullying and cyberbullying? they are such gray areas. talking from the legal system, then filters into the schools is not the time superintendents don't know what's going on and we expect our schools to start taking care situations and very hard. so i signed one school district doing something amazing, but then a different community doesn't even know what to do and i find that very hard. >> so i don't have one easy answer. that's one of the huge challenges and opportunities. for all the problems we face, there's examples of extraordinary success, but we don't do a good job collectively taken as things to scale and
replicating. the website i talk about where we consolidate all the best practices in evidence-based work to admit that transparent. we want to get the word out. we try to put a very clear guidance from the office of civil rights. the office of civil rights has been much more active frankly been in a long, long time. cleared and guidance is leading to better policies and states around the country. those policies have to translate enterprise is that the district and school level and continue to push very, very hard they are and we will do that. we've posted a number of holding summits. with the first ever at the white house recently. we're trying to do everything we can to draw attention. again i fundamentally think our children are safe if they're worried about two and from school, cyberbullying they can be successful academically. please push as hard to do things for not doing, please let us know but were trying to do
everything we can to get the word out and make sure children are growing up in a climate free of fear so they can concentrate academically. >> thank you. >> thanks for the hard work and the difference are making around the country. thanks and have a great day. [applause] >> thank you. let's give a round of applause. [applause] >> now more from this conference hosted by the education department office of safe and drug-free schools. the panel discussed how the 9/11 attacks and other terrorist events affect schoolchildren. this is an hour 10 minutes. >> i'm not going to go into long bias. what's a couple interesting things about each of them. first of all, brian who is going to go first. i do know how many had the
opportunity to be in here last night. wait a couple hundred people who started to flood and after the movie started. it was phenomenal. it was absolutely phenomenal. [applause] you know, looking that all of the background here, you know, i said let's do it we can dig up on these guys and i shouldn't say to you before i know extremely well. we didn't have to do too much digging to get stuff on them. i didn't know brian knoblauch to be googled brian. first of all discovered there that i am mass-producing this world. one is an independent calamity. so i don't know whether he won the election or not. the other interesting thing -- and more interesting things about brian is he is the one panel member who has a financial
background come a long financial background. most of the others and social sciences. brian is in the nongovernmental private sector financial site. so a completely new and unique experience in the field. that would also say that brian is -- he has his roots back here because he is a graduate not in faculty, but on the disney board at georgetown university and he is a world-class cyclist. so he goes uphill flight that. wonderful, wonderful athlete. sitting next to him as a friend and colleague many years, gregory thomas. gregory is also a cyclist. by the way, both are from brooklyn. i know gregory cycles and prospect part. this morning i said that the guy that passed in three times around that google was brian, although i don't know whether he knew that are not.
gregory and i met before 9/11 because gregory was the head of the school safety for the new york city public schools at the time of 9/11 and provided wonderful leadership at that point in time. i often say gregory knows a great deal about the issues of school safety and violence in this country and everything that he learned he learned from his wife. write, gregory clicks the go. true story. next to craig is marlene law. you know, i call marleen wong arcos bester because every time you have an emergency to be going to call? we are going to call
transcendent. she is burdened working with myself ever since the bombing of the office building. the first time is in oklahoma city and since that point in time we worked together on the red lake columbine 9/11, rita, katrina, almost every disaster. marleen has worked on school district seat never heard of to provide your understanding and expertise in areas of behavior or health. and lastly, the newest member of the team here is somebody that i got to meet about a year ago, dan sutherland. dan, raise your hand. dn is an attorney, civil rights attorney. a long background and experience experience -- an outcome i checked his bio. in his bio says he was a civil
rights attorney at department of justice and homeland security and for some reason he leaves out of his formal bio that he was also an attorney at the department of education so we'll have to make that correction. but he was also a department of education civil rights at a time when we didn't have much of a civil rights office. maybe that's why he doesn't perceive that. the interesting store parser -- story about dns with the department of education were asked to join what is called interagency policy committee and combating gun extremism at the white house. so it's a meaning i've attended quite often sitting there like a fish out of water because if you look around the table there were two or three agencies that were non-law-enforcement or not intelligence related. ..
every once in awhile i get that moment where i say he loved that shirt. >> i can't explain it but my heart hurts right here, and i think about my mom and it hurts. >> every morning when i leave the house to talk took the girls and i think of michael talking in his goals because he missed out on that. >> i say to myself it could be worse. and get very frustrated.
[inaudible] i want to cope with everything i have. i'm here with survivor's guilt, and its -- ♪ i can't believe i've learned to live without her. i still miss her every day and think about her every day but i have learned to live without her. ♪ >> i still am committed to the thing i said the day i got there, i was going to find my
[applause] thanks for watching that and again to bill and his team for inviting me. it's an honor to be on this panel with a bunch of professionals. i was relieved when you mentioned me giving of a community perspective because it's intimidating to be in a group of people who know what they're doing to try to address their profession not knowing much about it. however, i will tell you a little bit about my journey getting involved with project rebirths and what i've found over the seven years i've been involved might be of interest to people in the educational field and particularly in the area of preparation for psychological trauma and grief.
i met the filmmaker, jim whiteaker, the director, from seven years ago, when he was in the earlier stages of making the film that you see and what is a quick aside involved in the filmmaking process 14 time lapse cameras the dirty 5-millimeter cameras positioned around the site the have been there since six months after the attack and are still filming today and interviewing the nine people that you saw in the four minute clip over the course of eight years basically following their progression from the attack. they were affected in very different ways. the first thing that appealed to me being a parent and somebody involved in the community and schools and rebuilding our town library was to find a way that young girl generations could engage in this important event
in the nation's history that they would be able to remember and learn and some very hopeful fashion figure out how to make something good out of a horrific event. so my first instinct in terms of getting involved in project rebirth was about teaching and passing our knowledge on to younger generations. as i became more deeply involved in may be applied my business instincts to what we had which is quite obviously a film and film content, i would show piece is similar to the one you saw, the three minute piece, and as bill mentioned involved in georgetown university, and shows the content to a wide range of people, first responders, family members, to tell them what we are doing as a way to get feedback by was also showing it to any number of educators
across the spectrum from teachers in the community and my wife was the head for many years, so it shows what we have and what do you think and the response across-the-board from all the people but particularly educators as well as people teaching at the elementary level from people who even charlie became our partners at georgetown and columbia university is what we had was in the film was the word gold mine and of course for me this was interesting. why were they reacting this way and the reason was, and i open the room you have the same reaction and particularly those of you that watched the film last night and think you for those of you know watched the film was that apparently in a sort of confirmed there is no record in the film how resilient
people can be and you saw from the faces of the end of the clich is a diverse group of people from diverse backgrounds that have diverse relationships to the attacks each one of them, those were the only nine people we interviewed. each of them goes through a trajectory where they have dramatic ups and downs but ultimately figure out how to cope and move on and the message from the educator is we could use this in a variety of fashions to help in our job. so from my perspective there were two things. one was the original intention which was complete to pass on the story in half an accessible and easily transferable narrative that will allow younger generation's to engage in 9/11 and carry forward how they may learn from it and make sure things like that didn't
happen anymore and the second party emerged the film and film content could be used in a more active fashion to help first responders, educators, medical professionals and communities in particular learn how to be better prepared for the psychological trauma and grief that is inevitably part of all of our lives but particularly associated with disasters with the baby manmade or natural. so, that started me on the journey of getting more deeply involved in the project. and then, we started to take the pieces of the film that you saw and engage in programming. i should recognize to of my colleagues are here to read the executive director of project rebirth and frank has been valuable to us and to me is the head of the columbia center for new media teaching and learning, and he took the underlining a film that we had and hundreds of
hours of interviews and put them in a digital accessible formula that allows teachers to pull clips out so why won't go into the weeds. i want to tell you why all that information might be important to you. what you see on the screen, what you saw last night on the film and what is encapsulated in the archives of hundreds of hours of the films and interviews that's why we needed. we made it so that anybody who could find good use for its in a good way should have access to it. and what does that mean to you in the room? it means screening in the community, using it in the classroom, it means using it in the school, using parts of it in the school. so at the end, you can see it's out there now. if you watch the clip, if anything that i am saying is of interest if you were kind enough to watch the film last night
please be in touch with us to come to us with ideas of how you can use our content to read that's the simplest and the most powerful hopefully message i can put forward to you today. it turns out fortunately whatever we do, screenings or even slyke this people come forward and bring new ideas. the last thing i will talk about all the educational concept because i am conscious of time it's that it's fairly straightforward for you to get the film from us and the vv. it will be shown on showtime on september 11th. it will be in theaters, the film is fairly straightforward. our long-term sort of tin year vision is that the wave that you as professionals and educators would use our content to help your schools and communities they better prepared for
disaster's cause psychological trauma and grief. our ultimate aim is through the good offices of our partners at georgetown and columbia in particular to find a way that that knowledge can be shared. and this is the last thing i will say that let me on to this journey of basically giving this as my full-time job for free and giving money is under interesting career path. the cash flow goes the other direction. what i found was after each one of these episodes, whether it's 9/11, columbine, katrina, other countries, there is an astonishing amount learned in the community among the professionals come first responders, educators, healthcare workers. it's learned the most amazing cost because the cost is lives destroyed in the deaths and people figured out how to cope. the figure out how to come back and be resilient but what amazed
me was the knowledge wasn't stored in a way that was accessible to other professionals. it was not made available and shared some of the wheel didn't need to be reinvented any time and that if you are interested in what we are doing and in using our content in your own professional of objectives ultimately where we hope to get to is people learn not just with our film with people who learn how to do these things under very difficult circumstances are able to store and transfer that to similar professionals so the next time things can be a little quicker in terms of recovery in the little bit easier in terms of recovery. i think that's all i'm going to say. should i pass on? [applause]
triet >> ten years we have evil about the chairs we're sitting on. >> thank you, to continue a part of the conversation, a conversation of planning, the conversation of learning to ensure that we have learned across the country and in new york city and not listed in the history of new york city daughter of the country we can assure everybody understands what happens on that day it's been ten years i stood in this
position and gave a keynote speech on what happened on 9/11 and how i look back now to see how the federal government in particular and others around the country have taken heat on the message we learned that day and plan accordingly. so, i want to go back a little bit more and talk about what i can call the untold story if i can as it relates to what happened on that day. as i press the button. okay, great. what you will see is an overhead map that looks like lower manhattan on the timber ten, 2011, ansar, 2001 as opposed to 9/11 itself and in that you will see the grid and around the former towers and exactly where we have eight schools in the former world trade center towers in fact we had one school located in a residential building which was a day care center so of the nine schools
there were there from paprika eight to 12 and they were located as you can see on the mat but you also see that two of the schools were approximately 80 yards or so south of the towers of the stories i've told over the years have become what i labeled the untold story because not knowing that, you get the city and think many schools look like the little red schoolhouse is with flags on them but in this case because they are in lower manhattan we have to occupy buildings that were for its simple from nyu or other locations in the lower manhattan aerie and the wall street area where a lot of the business goes on a regular basis. so as you heard the stories of those unfortunately killed in a disaster but those who were rescued the story hasn't been told often we have schools that effectively in the lower manhattan area. so to going little further, what i will call a day like no other let's talk about that day and i
mention nine schools in the grades pre-k-12 in close proximity to the world trade center towers and they were located less than 100 yards south one of the high schools was a high school in a 13 story building. it was property in lower manhattan. we also need to let you know that the approximate total student and staff population of the schools was 9,000 students and staff and that the disaster itself stroock on the fourth day of schools and you can imagine what the fourth day of school means no matter where you are in the country if you are looking to skirt this in a weird way you'd want this to happen on april 9, june 13th, but not on the fourth day of school because it forced teachers and administrators to deal with others and their stuff and children and parents whom they hardly knew and they hardly knew the school environment.
but to add to that was the fact that communication between the schools and myself and my other colleague at the board of education was difficult because of increased cellphone traffic and the two-way radio traffic and as the first tower collapses on fortunately it also pierced a cable along manhattan's 08 to doubt the ability to use land mines and talk to the principles in the schools sometimes you feel as if you are on an island by yourself in this case they were literally on an island by themselves to read the foot transportation in and out was at a standstill and because of the immediate suspension of the subway service, it was tough to get to the schools. we couldn't send staff to be down there on the school buses and there was gridlock as you saw in video and people were trying to get there and also the bridges and to lower manhattan whether emergency vehicles or others so parents who wanted to
pick up their children couldn't get their, some were stuck up their jobs just focused on what they could do to get to their children but that they became a challenge for all of us the good news is in a little focus on this we were successful in rescuing all 9,000 students and staff from those buildings with nobody missing, killed or injured. [applause] that applause should be detailed to yourselves as educators because on that day my staff and i were miles away doing what we should be giving and doing a command response miles away but the principles and stuff in the building did exactly what they were trained to do witches' respond to a disaster whether it be in the cafeteria or five-year
that breaks out we were able to rescue the stuff at children because of fire drills, not because of a drill in place because of this potential disaster work in place now because the disaster that might occur like that. what i chronicle to you after i left the city schools i went to the national center for disaster preparedness and conducted a study called common sense, common coverage ehud google that under the columbia and university there would be a pd f version and it is history where we interviewed hundreds of people from different walks of life with their it be teachers, parents, administrators and others, custodians, others involved in that day to ask exactly what they did, was their mindset when they do certain things and i'm sure we can have this chronicled because as i mentioned when you have these disasters the best way to learn is to keep it fresh and have a person keep the implementation you are learning and if it does
happen again others can learn from it so again go to the report on common sense and uncommon courage and you can google where to find it on the web. moving forward to what i call that was then and this is now what have we learned from the disaster, what happened since then? he mentioned in opening remarks because this event under his leadership and the staff they convened a meeting in the spring of 2002 brought together about 40 people from different walks of life all stakeholders into a room and we were on a lockdown where he said we have a problem, a new paradigm about disasters. we need to move for it being a response to signs because we know that hurricanes have in certain parts of the country and surgeon are more vulnerable than other disasters and or man-made disasters soldier we doing to ensure they are not just going to do a knee-jerk reaction about what they heard my work about
things that in fact work so with that in the emergency management put together the schools and the preparedness response recovery and as bill mentioned the documents like that you can get to help when your guiding has to prepare for disasters and once did i will refer to that on this well with mike herman whammo is here from the state of tennessee i travel there often to see how it's throughout the state they have different challenges and one part there can be tornadoes or earthquakes in jackson the the question is how you respond in the way others to or are you responding as you should so the issues that happen in your area or what may happen in your area. again moving on we have through online and on site training schools have become familiar with the system known as nims so that somebody is in charge by virtue of their background as opposed to the principal millman
de odim who think they are fire chief for would love to be a police chief that when the disaster strikes they should step back and allow the people who are trained in certain areas to handle that and then when it's finished the will transfer control back to the principle when the disaster is over. we've also had responses that have happened over the years since 9/11 have tested the precious metal as a college facilities for example, after hurricane katrina in august 2005 many schools were destroyed and thousands of classrooms flooded so many students were forced to be evacuated to other parts of the countries of that response is an ability to receive other students as well as transferring records and devotee to make sure they are in a proper way to ensure they don't receive students they don't know about. and what happened in the planning to thousand six if schools focus more on the planning on the operations plans
to ensure the function and even schools are closed many schools are now in some cases billion dollar operations so you are in operation and it needs to function in the business of learning. we also moved to unfortunate even slick virginia tech where there was a shooting on the higher education site in 2006 and that forced educators around the country with our high end ortiz ralf to test their ability to contact. if you know it's happening on campus were told the students to have them go on lockdown or some cases evacuate their taken last week when there was the rumor of an armed gunman on the same campus and worked well so i'm told. but also more recently in their jobs and misery we have the unfortunate events, we had a tornado there in may of this year killed over 100 people and destroyed homes and several schools so that is an opportunity for schools to test their ability to respond to this
disaster but also important recovery as i mentioned earlier we doing to ensure the family's going through trauma know how to deal with that and learning from past experiences. as i close i want to make sure we focus on learning from lessons learned and i found this quote that says chinese the word crisis is of two characters one represents danger and the other, opportunity to read the person who said that was president john fitzgerald kennedy. as i look at that as an opportunity shock about what we are learning and can we learn as a group when it comes to responding to disasters is first of all you have to make sure you don't plan for the motive, you plan for the consequences and the motive is one you can't plan for the tax consequences similar to read things happen during earthquakes where many of those you can trickle in your mind happened during an earthquake or
nine nell irvin. we also know that you need to use what i've been told for the proper planning prevents poor performance. on that day most principles of the school's planned before hand coming years before him and actually months before and for fire drills and the ability to organize to have them respond to your call to begin to evacuate was based on planning and disaster strikes and we need to continue to end our educators such as yourselves to do what you do best which is handling emergencies every day because no matter the scale you do it every day and the need to keep entrusting you will do the right thing because of the end of the day you will and the school that was down is a very important lesson on that day we can only run as fast as our slowest child.
[applause] >> thank you so much for inviting me to be here today. when i was doing the work in new york city, i was on the superintendent's level and at that time governor roy romer and we were in the midst of writing letters to the parents because parents were calling frightened about whether or not they should let their children go to school so even 3,000 miles away we were all -- i am sure all of you were
trying to figure out what we should do in los angeles and whether or not there was going to be a subsequent attack. bill talked about the last 20 years and in the last 20 years these are the defense that change the culture of education. in 1990 in earnest, the school shootings began and i wonder if you can remember back when you opened of your newspaper or turn on your television and wandered is this going to stop? can there be another shooting like this? think about the generational sense that if to were born before 1985 you may not have gone to school ever thinking that such a thing could happen. children and our families born after 1985 were born with the reality of all of these events
that there could indeed be a school shooting. .. >> because there is a preschool and nursery in the basement of the building. they wanted to cause maximum damage. then we have the terrorists attacks in new york city. and on that day in the superintendent's office, somehow, you know, if the feds want to find you, they will track you down. and on that morning, i got a
phone call in my cell. and it was from the organization of great city schools. followed by bill mozeleski, followed by the office of the chancellor of the new york board of education schools asking if i would please come to new york and help to look at the situation and see what needed to be done next. let me just jump to the case. that time i was director of mental health and in charge of the crisis teams. in los angeles, we have about 2,500 to 3,000 incidents per year of crises. we have about 250 members of the crisis team. i had never confronted a situation like this. the most complex, diverse, urban school district, probably in the world.
one the thingies first recommended, i remember gregory and bill sitting there at the table. i said strong, strong, i recommend that you have an assessment of the impact. think about it, 1,100 schools, over a million children, how is this affecting them? and columbia university followed up with a study that shows six months after the impact of 9/11 that over 26% of the children had some sort of anxiety disorder. many of them had ptsd, as you can imagine. 10% had a phobia. you can call it a gore phobia if you want to, the fear of leaving your house. if in the city on alert and watching for the next event, there are many children who just did not want to leave their families or leave their homes. the second important thing was coordination of community partnerships. and what we have learned and we
always knew but was under scored by our spirits in new york city was that those schools had existing partnerships did much better than the schools that did not. those schools were starting -- that did not have partnerships were starting at step one. who are you? do you know about our school? and those schools who had partnerships were just ready to get those programs off of the ground. the third is that the organization had to be centralized for the disaster. if it too disbursed, and of course there are five boroughs and all of the politic that is go to five boroughs, you don't have a centralized system of response, you don't have a centralized system of training, and you don't have a systemized way of disbursing funding. so that you have some kind of flexibility to for surge capacity for those schools that might be more affected than
others. now surprisingly, the thing that i did that i had never done in any other situation was i worked for several weeks with the chief financial officer of the new york board of education schools. because they had not received fema funding or federal funding, state, or even private funding for services that were going to be rendered at the school sites. the whole idea was what would be the funding formula? how many do you charge for an individual session for your social workers, for your counselors, you are going to be providing this. that formula had to be in place before they could draw down any kind of funding. i want to also mention that bill and the team of us trained faith-based schools. in new york city, the catholic archdiocese has a fairly large school district of 200,000 children in the five boroughs. and it really underscored for me
the way that it disaster that an act of terrorism that in a situation with loss of life there's not only a crisis psychologically, mentally, and emotionally, but often there is a crisis of faith. and the question that the children asked us as we were working with them was why would god allow this to happen? that was the question that many people had. and that's where our faith readers come in and really are a part of our crisis teams. at this conference, there was a session that was provided by my colleague, mona johnson. what we've learned that school staff, educators, administrators, education aides, became the emotional rescue workers for children impacted by crisis. as a result, they become part of the most susceptible list for
secondary trauma. if you think that secondary smoke can affect you, there's such a thing also as secondary trauma. now the most susceptible lists are those who are affected by trauma are children, parents of young children, educators, and administrators, and all of those who response to the children and their families. this was provided in a meta analysis of over 400 large, well math scale, disasters. so the more that you care about what you do, the more likely it becomes that you will experience what's called compassion, fatigue, or secondary trauma. now it's very much a part of crisis team training. not only what we do in the immediate response period and during the long recovery period, but also care for those who care for the children.
here's a quote from the leading expert in compassion fatigue, charles. he's written a great deal about it. there's a cost to caring. we professionals who are paid to listen to the stories of fear, pain, and the suffering of others may feel ourselves similar fear, pain, and suffering because we care. compassion fatigue is the emotional rescue of exposure to working with the suffering. particularly those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events. and i leave you with this one thought, i've discovered that every single person in the school plays an important role in the support, care, and psychological first aid of children. from one of my colleagues at columbine, she put this on the end of every one of her e-mails. to the world you maybe just one person, but to one person, you just maybe the world.
thank you so much for all that you do every day. [applause] [applause] >> daniel? >> i think i'll speak from here, if that's all right. >> yeah, that's fine. >> bill and i first met about two years ago at a meeting in "the situation room" we were at the meeting talking about trying to come up with some strategies to under cut al qaeda's efforts to recruit americans to join their cause. and it was an unusual setting for us to be in the same room as certainly in the situation room and talking about those topics. we decided we needed to put our heads together and we've ended up working on a number of projects that i'm going to talk to you just a little bit about. first, i'll give you a quick over view of where i come from.
i work for a government agency called the national counterterrorism center. as bill said after 9/11, there were a lot of new accra accra a- acronyms and letters. counterterrorism is a cross cutting issue. counterterrorism doesn't belong to any one department or agency. and so congress decided to create a place where small, less than 1,000 people who's job is to coordinate all of the different governments departments as they work on counterterrorism issues. in this respect, it's issue particular to poverty or health care, an issue that cuts across all departments and agencies, congress has decided to create the one small center, who's job it is to try to coordinate work with regard to counterterrorism. we do a lot of intelligencable sis, that's a lot of what our organization is are people who
write intelligence products on counterterrorism issues. and then there are a group of us who do policy and planning. we pull together strategic plans for people across the government to focus on counterterrorism issues. and in that job, my boss, the director of national counterterrorism center, reports to the president. we are really in a support to the national security staff as they work through a lot of these issues. well, my particular job within the national counterterrorism center is to lead the countering violence extremism group. what does that actually mean? we've -- i'll define it just for a bit. our job is to try to look at ways to under cut al qaeda's efforts to try to recruit and radicalize people to join their cause. or how do we prevent people from being interested in joining international terrorism, or being drawn to a recruited by
that narrative. we look at the preventive side of of counterterrorism. as bill mentioned in the introduction, i'm a civil rights lawyer by training. it's a cross cultural experience being at the international counterterrorism center. but the reason why they ask the civil rights lawyer to come and lead this work is because it is what we call hole of government work. trying to under cut al qaeda's ability to to -- al qaeda or thr affiliates and people of like mind ability to recruit and radicalize really is a whole government project. it's not arresting our way to the problem, or shooting our way to the problem, it's trying to win the hearts and minds of people both here and around the world to deal with the issues. this means that traditional law enforcement and security agencies are very intercally involved. it's also true we must include
what we call in our world, nontraditional partners. nontraditional partnerses certainly include the department of education, commerce, and number of others that we work with. mayors around the country and things like that. we try to look at domestic air ya, we try to look at how can civil rights enforcement programs, how can anti-bullying education, how can immigrant integration programs all play a secondary role of helping us in terms of the mission that we have as well. so i hope that you begin to see some of the connections that we have to the school context. my boss is a three star lieutenant general, an army ranger, one the most decorated and successful military leaders our country has had. he has this phrase, you'll get the military flavor of the discussion. he says who has the most time on target with the people who were concerned about? young people in our country and around the world?
and that's in the school setting. so i'll just you just a cupful examples to show how our work is interconnected. bill and i after the first meeting in the situation room, i went over to his office and we started to talk about some of the issues that we see in the counterterrorism world. and the one issue that we talked about that day just one of many. but one that we talked about is the issue of somali, the somali al qaeda called al shabaab and how they were trying to recruit from a variety of diaspora community in united states and europe to come back and fight for them. you could see the lightbulbs go awe in bill's mind. he's a brilliant guy. he began to see the connections. he brought us to a conference that he did in minneapolis with five different school districts that have a lot of somali refugee kids in the school district. the purpose was to talk about what the integration challenges of refugee children, particularly somali refugee.
how do we make them more successful in the educational setting? he allowed me to take one small section of the time to talk about this issue in particular. before we ever got to my session, the very first thing that has happened was a school district from burlington, vermont, made a presentation about issues they see with somali kids. what are the issues that those kids encounter and how do we make them more effective. and they played a video from a school psychologist who had done a really in-depth look at the issues affecting somali kids. she said there were three issues that most impacted the ability of somali children to effectively integrate into the country. i only heard the first one, as soon as she said the first one, we were off and running. she said the first issue that affects somali kids and the ability to integrate is bullying and harassment in schools. i don't know if bill stopped
looking, but i turned and looked at him. we knew where to go on the critical issue. we needed to begin talking about bullying and helping kids, school districts around the country who were dealing with somali kids to really get a handle on that issue. because that's a critical issue as far as those kids. after that presentation, there was a -- an educator from a particular school district who wasn't completely sure she figured out that i was on track with some of the things that i was talking about about how al-shabaab was recruiting. she went back and school a round table of 10-12 somali american kids. 6th graders, 11-12 years old. we talked to her a couple of months later. she was really blown away by the discussion amongst the children in the school library. they told her they knew about the recruiting efforts. one of them told her he got
there in three clicks on his computer to see the recruiting efforts. she wasn't sure she understand. let's go to the computer and you show me. well, of course, the school library had a filtering system, you couldn't get to those pages. so they went down the street to a community center. and the kids turned on the computer, click, click, click there was the al shabaab recruiting effort. she was very struck by an issue that was impacting children in her school district she had no idea about. one last example i give, after the round table, one of the participates there went back to his school district and really had had no understanding of the issues impacting muslim kids and families in his school, in his community. and he told us later that he went around and realized that there were three fairly large mosques right next door to a variety of schools. and he went into the mosque and
introduced himself. he found there were issues. he found that all of these mosques told their children that they could not play on the school playgrounds with they were there for services. that, you know, how the kids always find something to do. they told them they could not go to the school grounds to play on the playgrounds while they were there for services or other events over the weekend at the mosque, because they felt that the school district did not want the children there. they needed to stay on their own property and not go into the school district. he just realized, he told us, the level of communication or lack thereof and trust and confidence between school institutions and religious institutions, particularly the mosque. he began building lines of communication and trust. last example, we're talking about the 10th commemoration of 9/11. it's really important from us from a counterterrorism perspective that the dialogue in our country be one that under cuts al qaeda's us versus them
narrative. that's what they are all about. us versus them. you can't trust them. they are at war with us. step away from them. join us. it's all us versus them. the more that we promote a narrative in our country and around the world and around 9/11 that emphasizes community resilience and the kinds of things you've been hearing and people talking about all of the panelist, the better off we are going to be as we promote that it's all about us. and not us versus them, bill immediately got that and begin working with some school districts around to country to talk -- some organizations around the country to talk about how do we put curriculum in the week of 9/11 that emphasizes character, and other things. it's old hats to you. to us, it's a great development and makes us feel better about the likelihood the narrative
will be one that's positive and constructive. i'll just say this, we were in the situation room that day. i've been there other days in which senior national security officials in the country have been talking about the role that you play in the counterterrorism field. they get it intrinsically and with passion, they feel it. it makes that connection. i think people recognize and understand how important your role is in all of this in trying to make the connections. one thing that's a new paradigm. >> thank you. that was great. give him a round of applause. [applause] [applause] >> i'm going to take the prerogative of asking a few questions. there are mics out there. i appreciate the comments on
9/11. is rita here? rita is a person on our staff that has done the work on our 9/11 activities. we hope to have something posted within a couple of weeks for everybody to go on and we'll send a message out to link on and have quite a few resources so that as you are preparing to go back to the school, we are careful about not calling it curricula, but there are activities out there that schools can engage in in all ages from k-12 to commemorate the event of 9/11. thank you very much. it's hard for me to see out there. let me ask one question, and that is -- there you go. thank you. one the questions that i have is that we are in a tough time. and it's not only us, it's all of the agencies are in a tough time economically. we are in a position of where
funds are decreasing, not increasing, the school districts that we wanted to come to this conference couldn't because they couldn't afford to fly, they couldn't afford to get here. school districts were cutting programs left and right that don't pertain directly to teaching and learning. let me go down and start with you, brian, and go on down. one thing that you think schools could do to make schools safer to deal with the disparities that exist in schools that cost little or no money? >> i'm not sure i'm qualified to answer that question specifically. but wasn't things that you mentioned, i have a financial background. one the things that has very much encouraged me with regard to some of the new media teaching and learning capabilities that are available in the connectivity of our society is the way that information can be gathered and transferred at a relatively low
cost. also the emerging power of narrative and multimedia in school. none of which i know anything about. but i've had the privilege of being with people who do understand that. so i think i would go back to my key message which is things like our film that are viewed and seen as a tool that can be used to teach or discuss events of importance or issues of importance. it's really not a very expensive thing to do. my personal experience, just to, is actually the resistance and indeed the sort of bureaucratic difficulty of bringing new ideas and relatively inexpensive ideas in our school. i live in suburban new york. obviously, we lost people in our community, amazingingly, there's been nothing in the school. not local high school that commemorates the event with the exception of a moment of
silence. one the things that drove me again to get more involved in this was actually having kids and parents come to me whennism talk about how i was involved to say we need something. we need something. my message is we have a film. and go on too long. we have a number of educational experts who were figures out how to use our content. in some ways, it's sort of simpler. and some of the powerful common sense ideas that i've heard. it's a little bit in my mind, just do it. there isn't a huge amount of money involved in viewing narrative and having discussions towards goals that we can all agree are very important for a wide variety of reasons. >> thank you, gregory? >> well, another lesson that i've learned from 9/11, when disaster strikes in the effects of school or school district, here comes the calvary. we had a lot of volunteers that
volunteered to help us out with the one particular issue. i would say that schools need to raise their hand before something happens and reach out to the first responders, who, by the way, may have -- the money mayor come your way for this on the education side, but it maybe going somewhere else. the hounds on deck approach that daniel mentioned how the federal government is more involved now. if you have a challenge that you need to address, you feel you can't do it keeping in mind that schools are build for teaching and learning with that you need to reach out to the local emergency management, police and fire officials to help as you develop a plan whether it be a response, but also things like that more localized. the money may not come your way, but the money is out there somewhere. you have to go back to the people that are initially charged with function every day and ask them for your help. simply raise your hand. you'll be surprised to get
response that to. >> one the things i'm concerned is about the knowledge to response and recovery is here. if you think about your entire school district. i was responsible for an entire school district around crisis response. it's not just the people on the team. it's every teacher, the math teacher in the corner of the building, people in the computer rooms, educational aides, secretary in the office, custodian, what are their roles in the event of a crisis? and, you know, there was a study that was done, i believe, by the cdc. they went to the superintendent and they said do you have a safe school plan? of the 9,000 superintendents they asked, every one of them said yes, we do. then they went down to the principal and say, yes, we do. then they went to the teachers. and the teachers said what?
do you know what that plan is? what? that's my concern. if, in fact, there is something around the corner, there are so many things in our communities we can't control. the important thing is right now at this very minute, does everyone in your school district understand what their role is to preserve the lives of children? that doesn't take any money. >> daniel? >> al qaeda's narrative is us versus them. our country's motto is out of many one. and one of many one is the key narrative. it under cuts everything that the terrorists movement is trying to send around the world. who's better to affectively drive that discussion than local schools? you do that every day for many
years generations and, bill, your question is what do i think schools should do to continue to drive an understanding of out of many is one is the central issue. you are the right people to do it, you've been doing it, and you'll continue to do it successfully. the more you can do it, the better off we'll be. >> thank you. i have one challenge for everybody before we leave. that challenge is not to let that week that begins with 9/11 and ends in constitution day, that week, don't let it pass without doing anything. you sometime during that week is an opportunity to have a discussion within your school about a variety of issues and there's a whole lot of issues out there that relate to governance. so. >> jack? >> are you open for questions
still? >> let me see. >> do you have time for one? yes, jack, we have time for one. >> jack calhoun, by the way. >> terrific panel. wonderful panel. i would like the panelist to comment a bit, i didn't hear it, all of the protection, therapy, legitimate external and internal caring, what about the involvement of youth themselves? because to me, one the biggest anecdotes to fear is saying look you've got a part in this healing. so i would like the panelist to comment on the role of youth as positive actors in this country. >> if i can go first, one thing i didn't mention was that we also had a success in that we had zero hate crimes in the days after the event. and we were concerned about having certain pockets of our
schools where we knew there was a lot of muslim americans attending. we were concerned about them being unfairly argumented by other students because they what they saw on tv and heard in the media or elsewhere. but again to the credit of students who basically just stepped to the plate and didn't let that happen on their turf and their territory, we had again zero hate crimes in the days after 9/11. i know the personal value of educating students before the event, as daniel mentioned, you can't wait until the event occurs. if they give in and just beat the ground before things happen. when things happen, and they will happen, you can just push the button and you know it's going to work. >> you know, i think it's a point well taken. i worked in japan after the earthquake there. and went back every year for about ten days to do some training and also to be -- to go around japan and meet with children and educators at schools. they did a lot more with their
kids than we do. i saw high schools where they were training kids. they literally split them up into teams. we had one team of kids that were cooking for the school, and one team of kids that were shown how to lift children who might have been trapped in buildings, of course, the supervision of an adult. we had one group that helped with first aid and were taught how to do cpr. they did a lot more in -- because they live -- you know, it's the ring of fire, volcanos that still erupt and cause earthquakes. but i don't think we've addressed that issue sufficiently here. and i think they also just spoke more directly with the kids. you know, i maybe -- i don't know. in some school districts, not to be named, if a crisis happens, you have kids jumping over the fence. and running off into the community or going home or whatever. especially in high schools where they have more autonomy.
in japan, they sat those kids down and said you are responsible for your own life. these adults are here to care for you. it was part of the training that they had in terms of earthquake response. i just don't know that we cover all of those areas as well as the japanese have done. >> i would just make two observations, one is that in our local community, the resistance to engage in sensitive issues around 9/11 and the associated questions of terrorism, it comes from the older people, not from the kids. it comes from the principal, it comes from people who are afraid of taking a misstep. it's the kids that say can we show this in the school? second of all, as gregory knows, we've been working for some time with the n.y.p.d. executive training unit. i'm proud to say for the first time this fall, they are going to put in the police academy an emotional resilience training
curriculum. i was meeting with a mutual friend of ours, and some of his colleagues at the police department. i've been work, them for six years. i said how have things changed here in the department and at the academy in the time that we've been working together? and he said, you know, the older generation has extremely resistance to some of the things that we're talking about, particularly as far as emotional resilience, stress management, et cetera. but the younger cadets are actually asking us for. they see that as something we should be provides to them as part of our professional and life skills. as an outsider, my observation is how can youngsters be involved? i think there's tremendous opportunity as outsider watching the younger generation that's much more receptive to these kids of discussions and dealing with some of these very important issues of emotional
resiliency and stress management training. >> in our world, i think the projects involving young people are absolutely critical. we have have have have -- we die with a mayor of a large city in this country. he realized or he decided i'm going to get the young people in my community interethnic, interreligion involved in a major humanitarian effort. they've been working for the past year, they are involved in trying to deal with the famine. it's coming from the young people. in london there's a grouping of people who the embassy pulled together there. young people are going to go online to counter the nonsense that you see. in pakistan, there's a movement -- an emerging movement monday university to try to deal with the ideology that's caught and spread in certain places. movements are critical. i thank you for asking the question. i think that's particularly in our perspective counterterrorism
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thomas, who ran for six elections straight. as she explains, he often worked in the tenement houses. his experience may have been similar had his focus been the lower east side. norman thomas dreamed of creating an integrated harmonious new york not broken down by race and nationality. i imagine he would have been heartened by the family across the street. who remembers as a girl she lived next to the lithuanian family. they would call for young girl to turn the light on. it is entirely probable that families living in our tenement discussed or admired norman
thomas. we're pleased and honored to discuss his life with louisa thomas. when you buy a copy of the featuring book, you are supporting the author, publickers, and museum. if you choose to become a museum member, we'll give you a complimentary copy of "con science" and the interview is led by mr. meacham. after their conversation, you'll have the opportunity to ask questions. since we're recording tonight. you'll have to ask your questions from the microphone right here. we won't be able to accept questions from your seat. please join me in welcoming your guest. [applause] [applause]
>> i love it. thank you. thank you all very much. thank you to the tenement museum which has in a relatively short time become such an important part of the fabric of the city. you heard a lot about it even in the american south, where i come from. they are struck that not everything is a tenement. but -- so they can come look and see what it used to be like. thank you for your hospitality. and congratulations to louisa who has written, i think, a wonderful book, a deeply researched and engagingly written account of her own family which is not always an easy thing to do. and i want to start with some specific questions and then we're going to read a couple of things. then there will be a socialist jeopardy to keep her going.
but we'll start with why this book now? >> this book is, as you mention, a family story. but it's also a story about an american family. and it's a time at war, and a time when the country was going through some major cultural, political, economic and social upheaval. you know, the country was very different than it looked 100 years ago than it does today. it looks more like it does today than world war i than at the beginning. during the war, -- when world war i began, most americans -- most americans contact with federal government was going to the post office. four years -- that's the beginning of 1914. you know, 1917 happens, united states enters the war, suddenly millions of men are being
drafted, millions of men see their government working in a much different light. and they were forced to reckon with questions about what a citizens obligation to the country, what a brother's obligation was to another brother, what sons and daughters obligations in a way they just hadn't, you know, 20 years before. of course the questions didn't just arise, you know, on a day. there were planted in the few decades that had come before. you know, i think it's hard for us to realize just how striking were the changes in the beginning of the 20th century. but at the same time, you know, we face these questions all the time. we are also a country at war. we are also debating these questions of, you know, to what extent should we be committing our resources and our citizens
lives and our money and our time and our faith? not only to the government, but to our fellow citizens, and, you know, i think this is a perennial question. and the way -- because the change is so extreme and the kind of transition was so violent, literally and figtively, they had to reckon with the questions in a way that i think really brought them to the floor. and in looking at the way they did that, i think that we can see, you know, how these questions still live in our own lives. >> so when you think about the era, really from tr through wilson, let's start at the turn of the century. ever more rapid industrialization, progressive movement that gives the social
legislation that is ratify and increased by the new deal and endures in some form until this hour. you have, as you say, selective service system that engaged the broader population when conflict came up. would you say that that might be the most striking difference in terms of the issue that got all of -- all four of these brothers involved? it was not as though today we get to choose whether or not we are interested in serving. then it was not so much a choice. and you are confronted much more directly with conscious decision. do you fight? not fight, do you find alternative ways to serve? is the cause just? do you think the brothers given some other choice, they've been out of the context would have dealt with the same issues?
>> i think that, you know, that's an excellent question. i think the fact that the draft did exist in that time was certainly something that forced the brothers to reckon with the conflict in a way that most young people simply do not have to. >> today. >> yeah, today. i've never onced wondered if i was going to have to go to war for my country. i was born for vietnam. it's just not something that has ever crossed my mind. i think they saw that war was very real and it required a kind of engagement and commitment that surpassed even, you know, what they had to do or didn't have to do. roman thomas didn't have to fight. he was older than the draft age, he was a clergymen, which made
him exempt, he had a large family that was dependent on him. he didn't have to engage in some sort of process that tests, you know, whether or not, you know, this country should be doing what it was doing. he chose to. and -- but he chose to because so many people didn't have the choice. and he thought that there was something -- something odd about that. even the phrase selective service is actually an interesting story behind the decision to call it the selective service. when the united states went to war, there was some debate over whether or not there was the draft. it was actually some debate over whether or not they would send soldiers to europe. it's the amazing story. even after the war declaration when a congressman is, you know, some military officer testifying before congress on, you know, what resources they are going to have to command. and then, you know, because the courts will need soldiers and
the congressman goes my god. they are not going to send soldiers are you? as late as april, weeks after the war, the armed services committee was passing -- 1817, i'm sorry, was talking about -- was rejecting the draft as a measure. there was a man named george creole was a journalist, he was one the first people that wilson called at -- after his decision to go to war. and he set up an organization called the committee on public information. and it was basically a propaganda arm. he was brilliant. you know, he was that. >> doesn't sound like one. [laughter] >> you know, one the things he suggested doing was calling it selective service. because selective, you know, appeals to the kind of sense of
the league, it's a suggestive choice. suggest sacrifice. you know, they didn't want to call it conscription. >> right. >> and wilson actually gave a speech early on when he announced the draft. he said in no way, this is a conscription of the unwilling, it is rather -- i think i don't know the exact phase, but it is rather the decision of people who have volunteered at mass. besides us, the british had conscription. when they decided to implement the draft, they put up posters, three choices, enlist, join a group which will be called up later, or you will be deemed to have -- you will be deemed to have enlisted. >> there will always be an england. [laughter] >> let's talk about the brothers and put them in context at the beginning of your story.
who are they? where are they? what's going on? >> there's four thomas brothers. norman thomas is the oldest. he -- all of the brothers went to princeton. they lived actually had the same background. they were the son of a presbyterian minister that was conservative in his ways, although very much the widespread progressive ethos that held that times were getting better. and norman went to princeton where he loved debate. he knew woodrow wilson there as his college president and professor. took every class he could with woodrow. after wards, he came a minister and went to work in the tenements on spring street, right across the island where he was exposed to some pretty extreme degradation. although that's not really was radicalized him. it was the movement at the time called the social gospel
movement which held basically the point of christianity was not just into heaven, but to establish a kingdom of god on earth. this is very much main line protestant thinking. so tons of young men coming out of, you know, -- you know, the kind of middle class. and streamed into the tenements and sort of thought they were obligated to try to make the world a better place. he then went to the seminary, which was a pretty liberal seminary that's crashing it's father. and then he goes to work at a very fancy church on 5th avenue. marries the socialite, look like he's headed towards living a very comfortable life. and he and his life decide to move to east harlem and work in the tenements for with mostly italians and hundred --
hungarians. those are the two largest. new york at that time, the country is just coming off of its, you know, explosion of immigrants that have come into the country. i think xiii of -- i think xiii- 1/3 of the 92 million people were second generation americans. that's when he really started to see the way was country was organized was not sustainable or just and things need to change. that was -- he started down that path and then the war was what pushed him over. ralph, the second brother, also went to princeton. then became an engineer, quite conservative, very happy to, you know, live a good life. and be fair to others and, you know, he was also very obsessed with duty as the most victorian
young man. when the war began, he enlisted right away and became a captain. evan thomas, the third brother was much more tortured. he saw that there was some -- he lived around and all the kind of efforts that liberal christians tended to make where, you know, we are not doing anything. there was a lot of hypocritical self-satisfaction involved. he actually when the war broke out, went to study in scotland and exposed to controversial movement, and became back over when the united states entered the war and, you know, constantly had to push the boundaries of what was acceptable in order to show he was being true to himself and principals and nighting -- fighting for freedom and keeping
the light of liberty alive. the youngest, arthur, was less sure. struggled at princeton, didn't know what he wanted to do. thank you thought about being a farmer, missionary. >> there can't be three mighty oaks in front of you. >> yeah, he called himself the loom. [laughter] >> i think his mother once sent him a letter saying why do you think there's no place in princeton for a boy such as you. [laughter] >> he was not so sure the war was such a good idea. he was also not ready to go to prison. so that's it. he's a lot more like, i think, most of us. >> and there must have been a momma. >> there was. and she was pretty extraordinary. she had her own path. she had grown up as a daughter of missionaries, and then her father had been the president
first in one the all black colleges in the reconstruction of the south. she had gone on to marry a minister and had a conventional life in oklahoma with a big brute of kids and involved in sort of church causes. but she was actually one -- part of the -- she was maybe the most interesting person to me in some ways. because she really struggled to negotiate between her children even as her views were being challenged by them. >> so talk about norman in -- and walk us through the real crises that the brothers faced as the question of service was engageed. >> norman became a pacifist. he became involved in some organizations, anti-war organizations. the anti-union against the
militarism were the most common ones. that was sort of the very decent structure that would become aclu after the war. and the legislation which christian pats the group. he sort of started working. they went through political channels and also through the grass root organizations. and evan didn't believe in politics. his brother was metal headed. and he just wanted to -- i mean he had a kind of martyr streak in him. and he -- he decided to come back to the united states to take a stand. ralph really believed he was doing the calls for freedom. arthur kind of went back and forth over whether to do this, or whether to become an officer. you know, ended up joining the -- he wanted to become a fighter pilot. very adventurous. he wanted to prove himself too.
metro part of that, he says. >> arthur was my favorite. i identify the most with him. [laughter] >> i don't know if you can do -- i want you to read this paragraph. >> okay. conscience can be problematic. it can be self-righteous, used to justify any action, even heinous. conscience, it can encourage egotism, moaning of hamlet, or assume the speech, to thy known self be true. it can encourage, or conflict with responsibility, doing what's possible even if it's not perfectly right. >> how did that wonderful
definition of conscience play out for norman? >> brown, it's funny. after norman had established himself as the leader of the socialist party and run for president a bunch of times, a socialist named daniel bell wrote an essay about him, or wrote a book which he included in the discussion, norman. it was the distinction between ethics of responsibility and ethics of conscience. the problem with norman thomas is that he lived in -- really fair. i think he was much more alert to the kind of compromises that a government is supposed to make. and i think that the story of the brothers does ill straight -- illustrate the limits and dangers of thinking too much,
you know, about what -- ho do we treat yourself? instead of what obligations do you have to other people? that was something that norman was in tune to at the time. right after evan went on a hunger strike to protest the draft. you know, no man listens to the goal of himself. the real challenge is to live among other people. to fight for might and mane, you know, to make sure they have the kind of opportunities that you have so they too can, you know, be true to themselves. and he basically had -- i mean he was coming out of the, you know, protestant background in which, you know, the sermon was sort of the ultimate statement of ethics. so it's always a balancing act, you know, how do you locate your consequence. the way they talked about was they talked about freedom of
conscience. the idea of freedom of conscience, everybody can have a freedoms act. you know, you can't enforce or be a nazi, basically, you know? but it was something that they never were cannelon able to define. you can't. they couldn't ever solve some of the problems that they faced. they thought you had to engage in them. >> so with norman thomas' legacy be the persistence of a culture of freedom of conscience? or is it more specifically one toward what we would think of as nonviolence and making gentle the life of this world is really avoiding violence at all costs. >> i'm -- >> at all costs. i'm going to come back to that. >> norman did not remain a
pacifist his whole life. but i don't think why you also have to make -- i don't think that's an either/or statement. i think that people believe that freedom of conscience penalty in part of repudiation of violence. what is force is not imposing your will on the other person? >> well, there's defense. >> there's defense too. but, you know,. >> it'ses whole world war ii thing. >> it is the world war ii thing. i also think that -- yeah, i mean he -- he was involved in the civil rights movement, he was involved in a number -- you know, nuclear disarmament, a number of causes that i would hope speak to both sides of the issue. >> and he became a -- his pacifism was suspended after
pearl harbor? >> yeah. he thought it was a moot point at that point. he had seen too much of -- you know, some kind of ugly leaders. nazi, fascism in this country. he worried in light of the great depression, in light of some of the egregious abuses of civil re, that war would lead to fascism here. we hear that and can't believe it. this is the greatest generation. they would not -- fascism would never occur here. he worried about that. >> no, it was a live fear. : knowing about norman thomas is probably apocryphal, but you want to tell the story? >> sure.
>> you knew this was coming. >> i knew this was coming. so, one of the causes in the 1930's was he was working on behalf of the sharecroppers in the south who were being murdered and cliched and just unbelievable things were happening to them. there were drive-by shootings and unbelievable situations. when they tried to unionize they got much worse and got it under a thousand. he'd been out of town by men carrying shotguns and was written letter after letter saying you've got to do something. you've got to do something. he goes to roosevelt and says you've got to deutsch of the. it is unconscionable, and roosevelt goes you know what,
norman ayman a better politician than you are. i know these people and we have to wait. it's just going to take them time to read and he said you can't wait. this is the response would say you can't let this go on. this is what is happening in the south. ultimately they came and it takes a lot of time, but you can say may be in the 1930's they wouldn't allow the economic climate for roosevelt to, and the national guard to change things. maybe you have to wait 30 years. a lot of bad things happened in the south and 30 years when it came to racial violence. >> well, one of the things that
fdr said of the conscience was awakened when eleanor brought him to this part of new york and a insofar as he was able to protect the values. how do you -- where do you come out on the issue of the limit of politics but the demand of justice? no one would argue now that because of the failure of reconstruction and the institution of jim crow and the robber barons of the north and the economic oppression that many social reforms should have had an earlier, many social reforms that should happen right now will not because another man in the white house also believed is a better politician than anyone who wonders and and it tends to be an occupational hazard for people behind that
desk. where do you come out? is it the tragedy or are there moments where individuals do make this difference? >> she likes to say if she were not married she would have run for norman thomas. i think she's one of those individuals who made a difference actually and fdr was, too. .. but i do think that it's not ring to make painful compromises all the time you know, nothing works according to plan, and i
think that the projector gotav into a fight about politics. i don't understand the politicat rulemakings. don't you understand that the state has to respond respond? the president in a democracy of responsibility to come to you know, what the proper adtran majority. we're all sorts of things. you know, do i think that norman was in effect if socialized? on effective politician is a socialist? he was a better politician than norman. too i think the place where norman in the american political
system? yes, absolutely. do i think there should be maybe more of those? i think so. i mean, i think that the house of a democracy, you know, requires open exchange of ideas and the kind of battles that he and norman and his friend base about do you reform from the inside or outside? to get a seat at the table? what is the best way to get your point across our message across to do justice? we just maybe aren't as noisy about them as people once were. >> well, that is a question i want to ask you about, generational responsibility. do you think that your great-grandfather's generation did the media and political landscape give him a bigger
voice as a socialist candidate, as they figure almost always of dissent than we currently are able, whatever reason, just voices outside the mainstream? or, does your generation, who has created this thing called the inter-web, and is that going to open this up? >> well, i think it's -- the internet is opening it up and also drying it out. it's hard to say for sure. i think that, you know, the american political system doesn't allow for their party very easily. socialism was a viable idea actually in 1912, using 6% of
the vote. now anyone put a socialist, dave b. camino, construed evil actually. >> or the recipient of a wall street bailout? >> or the recipient a wall street yell out. so yeah, i think there is a little more generational complacent the then there was in his generation. maybe because we don't have to go toward. maybe because it was just our world or do you know, you could get access to the president. i mean, it was just an easier -- it's a mac it was mahler, but we now know -- we now know the things you don't one-out certainly have a tendency to get
out. why isn't there in this highly educated, highly affluent generation of which i remember a higher level of social engagement in a way that we would recognize as they attend the unlawful from the early part of this century? >> i think some people say there is more then, you know, more than meets the eye. i think we can make the argument that people are involved in kindness community projects. you know, to a degree -- i mean, it might not be interesting in politics, but interest in it and starting renewable and that of
social lines. i think that one of your early questions is probably the answer. there's not a a kind of demand upon my generation that there once was. there's no draft. there's not very much with it. in a way resort of revert back to your own interaction with federal government, you know, the dmv. your federal government, your passport. so, i don't think -- i don't think we should have a draft again. >> i think we should. >> that's a different debate. that's actually an interesting debate anything. there are compelling arguments that we ask a lot of our -- of our servicemen and i think that
the recruitment process is kind of gnarly. you know, i think there should be more equitable sacrifice. >> the reason i'm bringing this up is reading the book, i kept coming back to here are these brothers thoroughly engaged, electrified political time, projection of force, a president who had trouble with congress, but you manage to suspend civil liberties and sound somewhat familiar, but one difference that kept coming back to my mind was because there is not a draft, because there is not the possibility that the upper-middle-class in harms way,
then it all becomes slightly academic. i submit that if we approach the vietnam era draft we conserve nationally, military all that, if that happens is that when one implausibly believes it would have been iraq as 2004 or would we still be in afghanistan? >> i mean, that's what i just said here this is a debate we can actually have because you could make an argument. at the same time, it is just a kind of academic question. i don't think we're going to have it. >> your great-grandfather would say we should have these academic arguments. don't go plainest trna -- fdr on
me. >> yeah, one of the things to remember about these brothers and one of the reasons looking at the stories is valuable as they were really working out how to answer some of these questions and there is this urgency because there were no questions and we felt them. and these are questions that we just don't feel, you know, the kind of tension between your responsibilities as an individual company or responsibility of the citizens, at six versus morality. these all sound academic terms. when it came down to it, thick are you going to die for your country? are you going to change society in such a way that it is not as sunny quote, not -- i mean, we have these huge structural problems and you've got a poverty rate in children of lake 22% back in new mexico. there were some really, really big things going on and they're
not questions most of us wake up and think about. i certainly don't. i'm lucky. you know, i am lucky that i got to live my life and pursue my opportunities and, you know, do what i want to do. it's not for everyone, so -- >> well, i bring this up because i find the book a compelling -- a sort of raises these issues in a compelling and implicit way, which is a very difficult thing to do and i think anyone reading it now will find quite resonant everything that's going on and unfolding around the news now and forever more. i'm going to ask you to read this and then take some questions from you all.
we've got a quotation of the letter. >> right or wrong, he loved his family. in 1941, he was publicly speaking out against the united chief entry into world war ii, his son had been dwelling house a second volunteer to drive and lenses for the british peer just before he shipped out in november 1941, norman to have a letter. and a cruel and ugly road you make choices -- you've chosen what is for you ensure the best possible route. more than i can tell you, will be missing your loving you and wishing you the external good fortune and still more hope which may sustain you. despite our follies are made for better things than constant exploitation of recurring more. it will be great happiness always to carry a watch until he returned to claim it. he was my grandfather and i have
that watch now. it's a reminder of more than my father's love for his teammate. it's more than again his desire for freedom. it's reminder that conscienceless machination he learned long before. >> a look at should have been, louisa thomas. thank you. [applause] now we have instructions which you must follow conscientious leave. >> so people have questions, they can come might appear for them. >> disarmament has been taking notes. that's never a good sign. >> could you talk about gorman's inspiration by the work of john reid. >> share, while john reid -- a
socialist in 1989 -- 1917 and john reid, like many across the world was hugely inspired by this. so walter lippman and so were woodrow wilson. woodrow wilson's war address he says basically how we treat russia will be the test for democracy. i gave norman became -- inspired by the utopia project as john reid was. when he applies the socialist party he wrote a long letter explaining why he was really kind of not totally for the
socialist party. he said he and the midwest. the nonpartisan mike and i fear the social party is not respected for the liberties and i'm not a marxist and i really fear any state, whether it's capitalistic or socialistic, and that claims to have any control over the minds and work of men. and his altercation was returned to him because he had not felt out the other side of the confirmation. so i think that he -- if you knew john reid, i don't know. at this point in time, generally you knew people, other socialists or scott nearing, you
know, other will who are kind of part of that circle. i mean, it's tragic in its own way. and they were following different paths, but -- >> to what extent that this father had been going on in europe for the past three years, especially for adding who'd been in scotland. what did he environment tank as opposed to what ralph and arthur? >> i mean, at least huge. i mean, world war i was just unbelievable. i mean, 1.8 million germans, 1.7 million russians, 1.4 million frenchmen. i mean, even in the u.s. you ask
about 50,000, but really the fighting on the lasted for six months. there were something like 820 minute day. that's just unbelievable. you know, and then was over in scotland, but also in london a little bit. and you now, he saw what it was like to come home without friends and things like that and also what it was like to be in london when bombs are flying, but everyone responds to violence in every culture response to violence in different ways. he was actually wounded, but he remained proud of what he did and thought it was the right thing until the end of the word.
so you know, think that they were well aware of how devastating the violence was, but i don't think it predictably, you know, turn them one way or the other. the extremity of the violence is one of the reasons why they thought they had to be fighting for something greater. it was one of the reasons that had to be -- it would only be a just war and the lives of what would be justified by something so great could emerge. and that's also one of the reasons why it's so hard to give it up, you know, it's just appalling. >> anything else? >> k., li said. actually, just to jump right out for each aside, the civil war in
the imagination of these brothers, especially given the fact their mother as he said was in the south as i'm assuming whether or not her own parents were abolitionists or not, but i think of these brothers and if this had been 18 teams, northern elites involved with understand and morality within that protestant churches, they would've banned the radical judge, sort of fumbles leading the brigades in certain ways. and so, your point that it this much violence is only worth some higher moral cause and say like the main syndication, obviously they don't see that in world war ii and. do they talk about world war i in conscious miss at all? >> feature really heavily on the example of the abolitionist and they are trying to eradicate war in the same way that slavery had once been eradicated.
and they said that that would be impossible, whatever. they said no, that have been. war two can be eradicated. and where is the kind of slavery in some way. and they absolutely saw themselves as inheriting that tradition. you know, it's interesting because the civil war was only really a generation or two away in this time and there is congressman isaac sharewood who sat out during the debate on whether or not to go to war, i have seen -- he was in the civil war and he said i've seen were. we cannot go to war, but i think there are certain historians don't say every generation site so were.
ten minutes. >> i want to start my talk with two quotes both from the prologue of my book, and i will give a little explanation for them, but the introduce why i decided to write the book. so the first is in my own from the prolonged we still holdl certain truths about n-t africa african-americans to be self-evident that the freeze 19th century black americans cea refers to in sleaved people, thatnslaved people, that new york state before the civil word denotes a place of freedom, that? in new york city designates heartland, that the black community positive a classic and unify society that a black elite did not exist until well into the 20th century. lives in a new york forbears polite such assumptions. they were born free at a time
when slavery was still legal in new york city. they lived in racially mixed neighborhood, first in lower manhattan after the civil war in brooklyn at a time when harlem is a mere village. they were part of new york's small but significant communities and specifically its elite class. so the first impulse for my writing the book was my desire to overturn these assumptions, assumptions that we live with almost on a daily basis and therefore to point to the significance of the black elite in new york city. so was a professional and post if you appear the second quote is from the epigraph of the prologue and it is from toni morrison's beloved. denver with the unit now and feeling it through beloved and the more fine points she made, the more details she provided, the more beloved like 10. so she anticipated the questions by giving blood to describes her
mother and grandmother told her in a heartbeat. denver spoke to love that listened in the two took the best they could to create what really happened, how it really was something only staff the new because she alone had the mind for it and the time afterward to shape it. so the second quote points to one of my great concerns in writing the book, the ati to recover my family's past, not my mother, but my great, great grandparents, great grandparents and so forth and realizing they were at their memories and not memories. so how could i tell the story of memories that were not my own and that it just come down to me and scraps? and how could i then give blood and heart he to the scraps? so that was my second much more personal motivation for writing the book. and indeed, i have a hard time
trying to give blood in a heartbeat to the scraps they found because they started with almost nothing, which was a wonderful story. the full story would be a poly false story. basically i was told they had a great grandfather that had been born in haiti, whose name is phoebe the goose by anne at the time of the haitian revolution he left haiti, went to paris, became a farmer says them and then to new york and anglicized his name to fill up the. the story of his half-truth. there was no haiti in the background, no trip to paris. he was born actually in new jersey and hoboken, moved very quickly to new york city and did become a farmer says. so i was faced with a real problem they are. and as i started my research to find family stories, what i
discovered is there and actually been a real will to commemorate among 19th century black new yorkers that forget name was not her way of life. they started first of all in commemorations, for example, the important events like the abolition of the slave trade, january 11808 and commemorated every year after on the same day and ceremonies and parades. they commemorated the abolition of slavery in the state of fear, which which was july 41827. they have newspapers are colored american freedom struggle where they read about themselves and the desire to commemorate. they try to erect statues, for example, henry helen kurnit win might mention a little later is really not essential to this talk, but he would've been a very important black leader. they wanted to create a memorial in his honor.
they manage to create, but by and large did not manage to preserve. so the problem of preservation became a tremendous fun. when you are an under source community comunidad tests on and resources, how do you preserve? is so much, last by the wayside. of course the best example i can give that all of you are familiar with this burial ground in downtown new york, how it was the black cemetery all the way through it the 18th century got destroyed in 1795 because of real estate speculation, would also new york. so the cemetery was taken over to playground for new lots to be sold, houses to be built, better outcome et cetera appeared and then there was the problem of the archives.
the earliest new york archive was established by john penn tired, a very well-known white elite men. in 1804 the new york historical society. black new yorkers had to wait until the 1920s for arturo schomburg to establish the schomburg center. and yet, basically the archives were ultimately my only resource. the only place i had to go to since my family had given me so little. so what i do in the book and i do want to point this out is the book unfolds on two levels. on one level it's the story of my search, however to the archives looking for materials, finding how i put them together in the second level of courses the story itself. so i started out in the schomburg and i was really lucky to find very early on to scrap
the pages in an archival connection. and then then i found the obituary in a scrapbook of my great-grandfather and then my great, great grandfather. so this is the first scrap book page. it is my great-grandfather and of course her name was philip augustus brey. i recognized him immediately. to give you a quick thumbnail sketch, was born in 1823, died in 1891. he was from a fairly poor family. his father died when he was young. he went to one of the public schools. they called them a colored school. he afterwards went to train with james mcewen smith who is whenever early doctors and pharmacists and was an apprentice in smith's pharmacy years. that's been enabled him to mentor the college of pharmacy at the city of new york and he got a degree in 1844, black man
from the college of pharmacy. then he established a pharmacy -- a drugstore and downtown new york. it is on the corner but was frankfurt and gold street and part of pace university as they are now. she made quite a bit of money through his drugstore. the money he had he gave back to two causes. one, education of black children and the other is church. when he moved to brooklyn in 1878, he settled there. in 1883, set low who has been mayor of oakland appointed him to the berkeley board of education. yet the first black seat on the brooklyn board of education. so that is my great-grandfather. this is his father-in-law, my great, great grandfather. you can check your family tree. philip white marries elizabeth king -- guignon.
his parents were haitian. he was born in new york in 1813, died in the early 1880s, went to school that i will come back and talk about later, did a variety of odd jobs come and married my great, great grandmother died very young. i know nothing about her. in his second marriage he married into the race family. they were prominent family and cornelia spread fire, peter williams granik was a doctor and had as find a seat come a drugstore. said he was batting to the trickster is a pharmacist. he had no training, but it could become a pharmacist. he too was very devoted to saint phillips. as the other treasure trove that i found at the schomburg, with
the kerry williamson papers and if you look down on the family tree, you will see him there. i won't go into any detail and maybe that doesn't show up too well, but in doing the family research, the women on the right is mary joseph lyons and she is the sister of my great, great grandmother, rebecca marshall. and she married this man, albert lyons. and i bring them that because i'm not going to talk about them much in this talk tonight. i bring them that he cares albro lyons said to his daughter, marie chef, she's on the family tree, that he wanted to write the story, the history of this generation, but he never got further than the title. and the title he picked was the gentleman in black. so we said to his daughter, i am not going to be able to do it. i want you to do it.
so in the same collection of papers, we have a type manuscript of about 85 pages, pretty much in draft form that organizationally attract foreign. and what the riches that they spend a vast output she was going to try and return a more and she titled it, memories of yesterday, all of which i sought an part of i was, and not a biography. so she wrote the 85 pages, but didn't get it published. so i consider my book, "black gotham" to be the final event, the final publication of this idea of writing the history of the gentleman in black, which goes well back into the 19th century. and i just hope they are looking now listening, watching reading, that they approve of what i did. but what i want to say is that the words really stuck with me. the scrapbook pages that i found
and then saying that she wrote her memoir from the vast output of fugitive scraps. so i see matt furyk very much as a scrapbook. i choose an event or a story, and tell it. it's a chronological story, but they are at i can't possibly fill in and i don't try to. so i think of my book is a scrapbook. they also talk about it as a partial history, meaning i'm not going to give an entire history. i'm not even trained to give an objective history. my history is partial because it's about my family and it's because it's only a part of blackbeard history and because i am partial to it. it's also a chronological history, but very much a cyclical one because what it is his traces the ups and downs of black new yorkers. every time they feel they've
made social political economic progress, something happens to slap them in the face and bring them down again. lastly though, i also think of it is a spatial history and that's why he titled the book, "black gotham," to show the way in which -- the degree to which so much of their life was formed by where they lived, does video got some in the neighborhood event. so i'm going to name the five spaces. i think of the spaces as concentric circles and i'm going to name the five of them now and then i'm going to come back and talk about a couple of them. if i try to do the whole thing will be here all night. the first one that is what alexander crummell, one of the members of the black elite called the leading citizens of new york and vicinity, basically the black elite. the second is the black community and i'm sure that if they turn you off your lap, the
black community, this, that and the other. so just give you a sense of members for those of you who like numbers, in 1840, the number of black inhabitants was about 16,400 out of 330,000. and decline to about 12,500 added 5,014,000 in 1860. so just some kind of ballpark numbers. the third which i'm going to come back as the city itself, gotham, where they lived in racially mixed neighborhoods and had a variety of contact with whites and blacks. so that is sent and it will definitely come back to. and beyond gotham, the contacts that they had with blacks and other cities like philadelphia, boston, so for. and last week to one of my audiences audiences there is a man from philly and we cannot do
both go to get the difference in black philadelphia boston went very different than new york and we can talk about the q&a if you want to. finally not the least important as a sense of being a citizen of the world, that they are cosmopolitan, that they belong to the entire world and were part of the entire world. so let me start by talking a little bit about the elite in this idea of the wide circle of the leading citizens of new york and vicinity. so the first thing i want to point out is the way in which education was really absolutely foundational to disbelieved. if nothing else i could say, this is a book about education. education, education, education. what you hear now is not new at all. turn on new york wanting you hear about the school system, et cetera, et cetera. same issues that then.
this is the most famous school of the african preschooler named albertson preschool where my great, great grandfather, peter guignon went to school with a bunch of young men who turn out to be real leaders of the black community, both the new york and beyond. i'll just than the ones that want to come and talk about later. there was george downing, charles woodson from his brother and genes mccuen smith. so the valleys there were very much the values of a liberal arts education, the solid foundation of a liberal or education. in addition to that commentary development through education and other areas. character was one, respectability and other. the acquisition of wealth. this is new york.
physically work hard, become very skilled in your tree during your profession and make money in the process. but then give money back to the community. and finally, this idea cosmopolitanism can read shakespeare, read wordsworth and have a sense of the entire world. so what i think is really important to think here is the way in which we say black american or african american, and image immediately comes to mind. what i want to point out is they are very dynamic process of making identity in this period. people have been kidnapped and brought inflated to the new world to the united states to new york and they didn't become black americans are african-americans overnight, but it's a process of struggle and of trying to forge identity and that's what the schooling was all about. good to pass on circle number
one come to pass on circle number two is the black community itself with all the institutions literary society, political societies and so forth. and i'm not going to spend much time talking about these. we can come back during the q&a. they were mainly male organizations. women are not members. they are definitely not officers. they are invited as companions to a talk like now. but they would never be a member of the greenwich village society for historic preservation, but they could accompany their spouse to it. and that was an incredible research problem for me, which i can talk about later. the other thing -- so that basically is the black community and i'm going to pass on. so education schools were one in churches the other and my family's church of saint philip's episcopal church is
down here in lower manhattan now and heart-lung. and this is i'm going to than the rest of my time talking. and i have a section of a book titled distance and proximity because what i want to point out is some matter how distant lack new yorkers were from their white counterparts from either poor natives born irish immigrants or even wealthier ways, they were another -- there is still proximity because they lived downtown in racially mixed neighborhood. in words five, word six, wordy. they were always close to others, people who are not like them. not necessarily in the same house with the same tenement, but maybe 10 tenement on the street or at lease talked about.
what this led to were some really surprising -- to be surprising into them also, i predict it will contacts with waves. and i'm just going to mention a couple of things that i talk about and i think make this point. the first is all new yorkers experienced the same indignity of living in new york, the same filth, the same pigs who are running around, eating garbage and knocking people over inviting you in the leg. the same disease like smallpox, like cholera, yellow fever unless you are wealthy escape town. but the other thing may be more important is this idea of what i call wednesday, that there's no real set protocol for race relations. he would think that in the 1840s, 50s, 60s but the city in which racial discrimination, hostility is so
intense that every boundary would be tightly drawn and you would really know what to do. and yet they encountered what i called wednesday night at the are rich a pair but see if i can switch back my new toy. in her memoir, says rating for colored folks depended upon the whims of respect in state drivers. and she goes on to talk about going to school, how at times she was free to get on the railroad car, no problem. at other times she was like now, you have to wait for the colored car. that would be one example. another would be going to crystal palace, which was agreed that they put on in the 1850s model after london's crystal palace at this great exhibit of and newspapers of black new yorkers have been casting the horoscope as to whether colored people would be admitted. so one day you could be
admitted, and other not. then there were high cultural events. and anyway, the, the black coleco that class would trump race. but if they had education understood kind of high culture that they would be free to go. and that was true a lot of times they went to the opera, the plays, valier's bookstore, the appeals are gallery, but in one instance, they were forbidden to enter. and this is when one of their round, an opera singer named elizabeth taylor greenfield came up from philadelphia, black singer, to sing in the hall in which she was to sing did not have a segregated section. so the black elite were turned away and told they couldn't enter commiserated basie brouhaha and were finally allowed to get in. so that is to show the
confusion, there will wednesday that operated in new york for the black elite and for all black new yorkers. so for the remainder -- for my next half of the talk, i'm going to focus on this area, something that dana asked me to do and i'm going to focus specifically on three sites. one is broadway, another is lawrence street, which was parallel to thompson street north of houston and the third is a lawrence street school. the third is the african growth theaters located on mercer street. and what to show two things. one is the way in which distant and proximity philip teemed in this area and the other is the u.k. see a way to also point out one talking about what happened in certain places to point out some of the moral values underlying the happenings.
some going to talk a little bit about the weight lead. the white elite started downtown like everybody did and gradually start to move up, try to flee the very thing they were creating, commercialization, brouhaha in the city. so they came up to the village to st. johns park end up broadway and at a certain point of course we moved north of bleecker street. and there is that phase above bleecker st. and that is where the upper 10 minutes they called lived and they were also in the bunk st. lafayette place area. the a.i. to read now a little passage from my book in which i talk about george foster and the way in which he captures broadway and not. so going on the way out broadway, sturdy maybe a little
at below houston and going out. i talk about the way in which the bond street lafayette area is very nice and quiet. but was not quiet was broadway, an avenue march by contrast, writer george foster well captured its flavor in his most recent book in the new york incisive. there is the contrast of morning and afternoon. at daybreak, broadway was touched in solitary. if you were about could amuse themselves watching the flying gallop furiously to have the first cut at the new garbage. later in the day however enough for people would search through the street. a human river in a fresh air and filming toward the sea. then there were the contrast of building. among some of the truly fine structures, others have sprung up haphazardly, a brick schoolhouse or copper burn here, penitentiary or pounding. send the copyright depended on where you lived, down a rotten
cellar door, straight ahead a plate glass window stuffed with gaudy cashmere's mlb must. held together by wire clothes lines. but foster failed to mention was the contrast between day and night because come nightfall the area around houston street would be overrun with people. customers in search of good food, good drink, good entertainment and yes, good sex. the area had become a center of the sex trade or everywhere in hotels in the private sufferings of restaurants and absurd streaky rooms in the that line the streets and streets were they handed out cards. walt whitman was certain that in no other place codifies show itself so it can be terribly. so, that is broadway. then i want to move on to my
second place, which is the lawrence street school for colored children located a few blocks north of houston. and i do not -- unfortunately i don't have an image of it. and this is where my great-grandfather -- migrate to my great grandfather goes to the mulberry street school in my great, great grandfather goes to the lawrence street school. and i know a lot about my great-grandfather because of the very linked to you that she that this man, george downing wrote and published in the brooklyn to the senate the time of my great-grandfather's death. so my great-grandfather was named thomas wait, that he was a white man from northern england. he says absolutely nothing about philip's mother, but from looking at philips death
certificate, says that she comes from jamaica. her name was elizabeth steele. she was undoubtedly black. she's the one who because of her, make great grandfather is labeled as colored or mulatto. i don't know what they matter whether she was flavor for you. i don't know whether they married. i don't know how they ended up in the united states, the thomas dies in 1835 in an attempt to elizabeth steele white to get her children and education and she gets -- philip goes to the lawrence street school. and in one of these serendipitous moments of research, i was at the new york historical society than looking through the public school records. some 90 volumes that handwriting and i come across this note that says that the public school society twice paid my great-grandfather in january 25
and then on 281840, $3 for making fires and african public school number two for a period of months. so the building was cold and he was paid to keep the building war by making fires. i also found on on june 111841 public schools with adp does it this way $15 for cleaning them whitewashing primary school number seven. so you see in what hard times they were and how they really had to scramble. so philip went to this school and the boys principal was charles reason and he was the one who it gone to school with my great-grandfather at the mulberry school -- street school in the 1820s. so what i think is so significant tears at the
mulberry street school, weight teachers have taught these young black men, peter guignon, charles reason, better another lawrence street school, black teachers are teaching black youth. so this active mentorship was so incredibly important for the elite. many different kinds of courses. he studied latin and history, both ancient many different kinds of courses. he studied latin in history, both ancient and modern. and then 25 years later as charles reason is a teacher, the same teacher. and this is what she says about 10. cultured, refined, claimed to be a little supercilious was quite intolerant of mediocrity. he instinctively shunned the ordinary and commonplace and kept himself aloof from all that was awkward and unseemly. he could and would teach, but only if alaska's right choice in
the selection of his pupils. those willing and able to submit to prophecies found compensation far in excess of exaction. attack of the study, developed the study for steady-state to those mentally alert, aspiring intelligent he disclosed in shares. satisfaction in wonder, whoever could be trained to enjoy what he enjoyed in the way please tend have measureless content as complete as exception. so i don't know whether you'd like to have a master teacher, but that's what he was. so philip was according to george downing a very good student, worked very hard and did very well at the lawrence street school. so i'm graduation he needed to learn a trade. so his mother, elizabeth, with the help of george downing placed him first with patrick reason. so patrick is charles older
brother i think and he had become an engraver. he had worked. he did practice with the engraver from britain, stephen kimber i think have become quite a well-known engraver and he took philip into a shop as an apprentice. it didn't work out. so downing says that three months probation satisfied parent and mastered the apprentice had not the slightest aptitude for the work. so then philip came forward with his own idea and pronounced that he wanted to be a pharmacist. so that is when he was sent to a printed with james mcewan smith in his pharmacy on west broadway and because he had a two-year apprenticeship he was able to go to the college of pharmacy and you know the rest of the story. so what i want to point out not only that these amendments are so up, but also they were
businessmen in their own right. i want to emphasize the degree to which entrepreneurship was so important in the black community as the hardware show that you are working hard, the satisfaction of doing really well, becoming really skilled in your trade or your profession and finally as i said, making money in order to buy property, become a property owner, be able to vote because there is a two and $50 minimum to vote and in order to give back to the community. said george downing had a store on broadway north of bleecker -- right above leaker. he placed ads in the new york daily tribune that posters of such specialties of pickled oysters in both turkey and was appealing into both white white and black customers.
patrick reason engraving spot was on bond street and was patient dies by the families on bond street, the white elite with last names like word, schermerhorn, and in turn, low, et cetera. so these men were doing very well. wealth was not the only important thing for the black elite as they said e4. one was respect -- another was respect ability. you have to behave in a respectable way as well as kerry terry. so characters the formation -- the moral formation of the south and respectability is the outward manifestation. if you're not brave moral person, if you work hard, go to church, treat your family well and so forth, then it would automatically show on the outside improperb