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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  August 27, 2011 1:00pm-1:30pm EDT

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good night, everybody. [applause] >> that was michael brown liberal former director of the federal emergency management agency. visit his website at >> we're back with more from frankfurt, kentucky. brad asher recounts cecilia, a former slave who crossed into canada accompanying ms. ballard on a trip to niagara falls. this is 20 minutes. ..
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younger sister and younger brother and a younger sister was very young and so most likely mary who was the mother was purchased as a kind of made for the infant, and so that's when they would meet and the household kind of came together in that fashion. >> so they kind of grew up together? >> the did grow up together. and in fact, the younger children, fanny's number brother and sister died quite young in the mid 1830's, one right after the other. so, you know, you can imagine this big family of four and it goes -- a big family of six goes to a family of four and all of a sudden fanny is no longer the
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big sister, she's little girl again and of a person nearest to her age in the house is cecilia, so they do grow up as companions and probably something close to friends when they were younger because at that point the fanny wouldn't have had a lot of slave mistress expectations on her, not yet. and cecilia would have had chores and tasks to do but she would have been a kind of i guess mom essentials personnel in terms of running the household. so it was a long list relationship really cecilia's whole life began with fanny coming and most of fanny's life was tied up with cecilia. >> when did the rule change? >> welcome the started to change probably when fanny came of age. i mean, she was known as the
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queen of may which was the kind of celebration of mayday here in town and the crown and the queen. it wasn't a public celebration, it was kind of a big coming out for prominent daughters, and she would have been viewed as a desirable of marriage prospect, and it was about that time fanny's father gave as cecilia en directly to fanny a kind of coming of age gift and was a kind of signal your future is as a slave holding a woman and you need to learn how to manage slave property. so it would have been about that time you kind of move from the what i think of is the bottom of companionship to a kind of more vertical relationship of a mistress and sleeve. estimate what affect would that
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have on their relationship? >> it's hard to tell from the archive, but i think from other sources and other things we know, you know that that would attenuate that relationship and make it change the tone of it. for one thing it would separate cecilia more and more from her mother who was still in the household, but as a household slave, she would have still been kind of under the control somewhat of her mother but once she becomes fanny's personal made it moves her away from her mother and into fanny's realm and it is going to drive home the contradiction of slavery to cecilia a lot more. fanny is free to court who she wants and cecilia is not that she is probably going to have a role in getting the fanny dressed and passing messages back-and-forth from different households about who's
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interested in who she likes, and she doesn't like and what such and such as wearing in all this stuff and it's going to drive home the difference really profoundly between what a slave's life is like and a free person's life is like and i think that is going to drive a wedge between any two people, and then there's always cecilia's on certainty that if fanny gets married and moves out of the house and takes cecilia with her that changes her life entirely, separates her from her mother who knows what the husband will be like or maybe if he already has domestic servants and is going to sell her off and so a lot of uncertainty and distrust in to their relationship. >> when the family take their trip to the niagara falls? >> it's 1846. fanny had spent the summer -- i'm sorry, the winter with relatives in washington, d.c. and since there was a wedding
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involved, a cousin of hers was getting married so there was a budding involved and was the chance to again kind of be seen in washington society. so most likely cecilia would have gone with her over the winter and then in april her father, fanny's author, charles, comes through d.c. and they take a trip up the coast to niagara. so sometimes in late april, late made a year in niagara falls and that is where cecilia makes her bid for freedom. >> how does she do that? >> we don't really know because it's not in the record exactly. fanny's passan says one fine morning they woke up and found that cecilia was gone and what he blames it on is dillinger intentioned abolitionists and negros living along the border who had no purpose in life but the property of visiting sutphen
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nurse. but we have to think that cecilia made the decision and knew where she was. and it is a short ride across the river its eight minutes by travel logs we have at that time, eight minutes for a ferryman to get across the niagara river. we know there was an active african-american community in niagara falls that took an interest when the bus leaves came to visit that often helped them make their way to canada. so most likely she got in touch with some of the black leaders from the black staff at the hotels and the guided her to the proper ferryman and she just got on the boat and crossed the river and that was set. somehow according to fanny's son, the kind of pulled out how
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they could contact her, and they tried to send her clothes and some money. so it doesn't appear they made a strenuous efforts to get her back, though rogers clark said they wanted to see cecilia and they were kind of shut down by the people that helped her because they didn't want them to grab or persuade her to come back. so, she was immediately across the border sometime in may probably. >> do we know what her reaction was to cecilia leaving? >> rogers clark who was fanny's son wrote about it years later and said that she was upset. and that's up the extent of it. it seemed to me what i argue in the book is that the father was more upset than fanny. fanny is 20 push and personal property five or six years they've been companions it's not
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like a real sleaze owning relationship where we know her father had several slaves, several escapes, and did everything in his power to get the sleeves back. but i think most likely they just didn't understand, they didn't understand why this girl that they have taken in that they felt had been very humane towards them and had been a part of the family would have left them and that is a very common sentiment among slave holders when the slaves escapes they don't get it, they don't understand why they would leave the situation, why they would leave the family. >> do you know when cecilia and fanny made contact again? >> we do. we know it's sometime in -- we don't know exactly. the first letter they have here in the archives is dated 1850 -- ghosh, now i'm not going to
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remember. 1855i think. and it refers to several letters that had come before. so early 1850's fanny is writing or cecilia is writing from canada. she settled in toronto after she went on niagara she went almost to toronto directly within the year, and so she's writing back to fanny from toronto sending those letters. some 1850's. so it took awhile to several years for her to feel secure enough that she could write to fanny and me to let her know where she was because it's a big risk. you know, if you let them know where you are they might send someone after you. >> [inaudible] >> she was writing about freely the subtext of all of the letters is my mother's sewing her household and how is she?
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she wants to establish contact with her mother and fanny is the vehicle she has to do that. it's interesting because fanny has replied in to see 15's letters say you can get the gist of the letters from fanny. you ask about your mother and she tells her,about the differen her life and how they are doing and all this stuff and then she says your mother is still in our house considered, etc. and she longs to see you and all this stuff. so she gets the information and you get the gist of the letters from fanny that fanny treats it more like a regular correspondence where there is a sense of urgency or desperation from her side. she wants to -- when she skate she had to leave her mother and her brother actually behind. and so she loses that family connection and that tears at her
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and so she is trying to use those letters and correspondence and that friendship if you will to move through her. >> what was her life like in toronto? >> it seems to be pretty good. i mean, she moved pretty quickly through the kind of conventional milestones that we associate with slaves who have gained their freedom. she adopts a name for herself and keeps them cecilia but of office the last name which she had not had before. she gets legally married to a man she knows in toronto. they buy property, she goes to work for herself earning her own money and she has a child in freedom who will never know the bonds of slavery. so in that way, her life in canada is pretty good. in a kind of, you know, is she
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rich, no, she works hard. they never i think feel entirely secure. we have mortgage documents on the house, so you know they are kind of borrowing money for various purposes. so, by all normal measures, she's better off but there's still a hint of instability in their lives. and she seems there are hints and i wouldn't push this too far but there's hints that she might have been active in the antislavery cause. she has some contact with abolitionist people over the border. she's living on the center street in toronto which is kind of the heart of the african-american community, said it would seem odd if they were not aware of the debates going on in the slavery. >> what happened to fanny? >> fanny went back home to louisville with her father. she married in 1848.
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really her life doesn't change much. she does not come her data doesn't give her another slave to replace her but by that time her mother has died and she is the leading white female in the household anyway so she's already kind of managing the household and then in 1848 she married a man named andrew ballard who is a lawyer in louisville and mallard has a few slaves. he's kind of on the struggling lawyer end of the bar, and so he is ambitious. he owned a few properties but is not anywhere near the social class of them and her family is largely opposed so there's just some great material about the courtship and about the problems they have and professing his undying love and questioning whether she might be after her money or after her family
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connection and say no it's just really dramatic and romantic and kind of cool all this stuff was preserved, and so but she eventually married to him and in a kind of unusual move he moves into their house and so it's fanny and andrew and charles william, her father all living in a big house on walnut street, which may have been a bone thrown to the old man to kind of, you know, she's not losing his daughter he is gaining a son-in-law. then she does write the 19th century business she starts having kids, they have five kids. one guy is in infancy so she has four sons and daughter, and between 1848t1858 she's busy and it just becomes a kind of
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established stable member of the elite liberal society. >> how long did fanny and cecilia write to each other? >> about five years from the mid 1850's to about 1859. and through the course of that correspondence, fanny's ideas, you can see her ideas about slavery kind of change. in the first letter, she says she kind of says your mom is still with us, she longs to see you if you never get to see her again maybe you will see each other in heaven. but then towards the middle of the correspondence she starts to say, you don't have anything to fear from me if you want to come back and see your mom i would never try to ricans leave you. i've always viewed slavery as a diabolical one destitution and it's natural for the slaves to be free. that doesn't mean we are going to free your mother but i
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understand your situation. and then by the last few letters, she has kind of worked a deal where she will have free cecilia's mother of cecilia can raise the money to compensate them for the purchase and knock 100 dollars of each year, so it's $600 it would expire sometime after the civil war actually starts, 1862i think, so 1856 is when that letter comes and says if you can raise $600 we will free your mom and mock $100 off each year until 1862 and then we will free her. cecilia is never able to raise the money. one of the mortgages i talked about is taken out during that period. so you wonder if maybe they mortgaged the house to raise a little bit of money, but $600 when you are making a monthly
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salary of maybe 50 is a lot of money. and so they were never able to raise the money and towards the end of cecilia's stay in canada which she leaves 1860, her husband has died so she is a widow. she loses that income and has pretty much given up hope and the last letter that we have is cecilia -- fanny saying you speak of raising money to buy your mother's freedom. tell us how much you have and maybe we can advance it a few years but it doesn't seem -- there's no record. i kept wishing for some kind of happy ending where her mother and cecilia would be reunited somewhere but there's no record she was a very emancipated or no record of river finding cecilia again or of them ever reuniting. so we don't really know what happened. >> you said that fanny, the tone of her letters changed.
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what do you think made her change her view on slavery? >> i don't know it's one of the puzzles of the book. she -- it could be several factors. one is you've got in an increasingly variable debate in kentucky and the nation about slavery. it's possible she was just persuaded by the kind of especially the religious arguments because her reservations about slavery seemed to be somewhat religious, so maybe she was touched by the kind of evangelical sealed the abolitionists appeal that is a violation of god's small. certainly what she's hearing from the pulpit where she worships does not support that at all but the guide is the director of the church is very strong pretty much proslavery coming and so she's not going to give her that religious message.
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the other thing is she suffered a lot. she suffered a lot of loss through her life and when she lost her mom and her daughters or she loses her brother and sister in the 1850's her brother was struck by lightning and killed in a kind of freak accident. so i think there might be kind of she may be some but losing with cecilia. she's losing her family and cecilia is separating from hers, so it may be a personal connection to explain the change. but in the end, i speculate on a few reasons but i don't really know. >> how did you come across the letters? >> luck. i was at the fells in club in louisville working at the fells and historical society in louisville working on a different project and i had asked an archivist to retrieve some other materials, totally unrelated, and while they were back in the stacks i was just browsing through the catalog and
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i happened to see the had this collection of letters from fanny ballard to her escapes leave living in canada, and from that moment i thought well, when i finish this first project will come back and look at those letters. i never finished the first project but i wanted to come back and look at those letters and that set me off on the kind of chase to map out both their lives. >> how long did it take you to put the book together? >> wait too long. i started when my son was in preschool, and he will be entering eighth grade. is probably eight or nine years. now there was another book in between, so i took a two year break, but it was eight or nine years of plugging away at it. >> and the book is out now? >> it's not out yet. it comes out in october, but you can pre-order now so it is available for order but it is not published yet. >> thank you very much.
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>> thank you. i enjoyed it. >> book tv was in frankfurt kentucky as part of the city tour where we visit several southeastern cities over the next few months. to bring you a taste of their literary history and culture, our partner and friend for kentucky was locally at frankfurt. for more information on this and even from other cities, visit from frankfurt kentucky now read the foreword to the social history of burba and discusses the impact it had on american history. >> the early distiller would have been like anywhere else they would have been former distillers with a facility from
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20 gallons to 200 gallons of size, and they were making their whiskey in the fall, in the winter after their crops were in and after the corn had reached a good percentage of dryness so that they could grind it and make whiskey out of it. these distillers' made their whiskey for their own consumption, and they also made their whiskey to sell, and they would sell that to grocers basically who would then turn around and sell it to bars and whatever. all through the 19th century it was an extremely profitable business. there was a lot of it being made. there was a lot of it being sold, and they were making good money off of it. there were problems through the
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19th century. i remember the 19th century the main package for selling bourbon wasn't the ball to the coke bottle. the bottling of the bourbon wasn't something of standard until the 1890's. the mean package was in the barrel and back to the question of frankfurt this is where h. jr. becomes a very important figure in a the bourbon industry. he started off in the banking industry in the 1850's and then migrated into the bourbon industry. he was accompanying an that bought the old brand and the first thing they did send him to europe to look at the distilling practices and ireland and scotland and england and france
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and germany and he came back to the united states and apply this knowledge that he learned about the practices to design a the most modern and perfect distillery that they could in kentucky for the old crow. then he takes that knowledge and goes independent in 1870 and creates this discovery that was the old-fashioned copper discovery which later becomes buffalo of today. so what she would do is to show his genius at the time he took of the discovery which was a small former distillery type of operation and he built it into a modern discovery as nice as he could because he realized the importance of having a really nice distillery fall salesmen and other people who came to see how was made it was really nice
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perk. so that's the first thing he did. the second thing he did is he realized that it was the main package so he designed a really fancy trademark to put on the barrelhead. you do realize the time the brand name comes from the distilling industries with their brand on the head of the bear also he designed to relieve an ice o.f.c. for the barrel head plus she made it using brass instead of odierno or would like most of them were doing at that time. so he sent a barrel to a customer and he would shine of and everything and make it real fancy and nine so when you walked into that saloon and saw six or eight beryls across the back, they're really fancy brand name and those shiny brass shoots. and he was really realizing how
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important the packaging was during a so when you came in with your flask or your jugs and wanted to buy a pint or quart of whiskey or whenever, you know, you would look up there and say i want that one. kentucky is very fortunate in that they have a lot of people that knew how to make good whiskey. and it also has a very nice and geographical balance. you've got the limestone water which is why iran freed and it's very bad for making whiskey. due to a male and dropping to a glass of bourbon and come back and the bourbon is going to be black with color and taste nasty. so, with the iran free water in kentucky, plus you have a very nice balance in the cold winter which allows the whiskey to work into the barrel and out and bring out these - barrell
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flavors. so they had a nice balance and people that knew how to take it vantage of all of this and they just made good whiskey and built their reputation. >> how was the bourbon industry doing now? >> it's doing quite well now. it wasn't that long ago that you couldn't see that. in the late 60's and the early 70's, the bourbon industry went through a huge decline. you had a generation of people that were saying don't trust anybody over 30 and we aren't going to drink what our parents drink and most of what their parents drink or bourbon, rye, scotch or whiskey. they start experimenting with other new products such as vodka and tequila. to products the government didn't bother to keep track of until 1970. because there were few sales of it. so, the industry was in a huge decline until the 1980's and it really is the single most scotch
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industry that helps bring bourbon back because one of the things people were drinking or whine, and they were having wine tastings and dinners and they had magazines devoted to wind and people writing books about wine and things like that. well the scotch whisky industry decided to show people that the single whiskey's which were fairly uncommon in the united states before the 1970's, the late 70's and early 80's. they started having whiskey vendors and tastings and started encouraging books and magazine articles and things and doing the same things the wine industry would do to grow the product. the industry called on to that and started creating products which are single


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