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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  May 27, 2012 1:00pm-1:40pm EDT

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vigils and someone and publicly praying for their loved ones in prison. it would be an awfully good thing i think the norwegian community give a prize, but i wouldn't wake up at night. >> host: we are out of time. >> guest: that was a negative note to end on. >> host: do it throughout any last-minute? >> guest: i think not. maybe i'm not a touch of gloom. what a bright david b. if we could follow through on that. they give it to a chinese reconfiguring 2010 after six years of passing them over, they gave it to chicago who sits and assaulted in a hope it's doing him in his movements of good. >> host: jay nordlinger, thank you for the great discussion. the book is "peace, they say." her discussion.
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>> guest: like ways.
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>> the book we are discussing today is by maurie mcinnis. the book is called "slaves waiting for sale". >> the book is about a young artist who saw many events that he was unprepared for. he wandered down to richmond virginia and the slave auctions, and their be held an auction of humans for the first time. he became captivated by the subject. and he painted a number of images and published a number of drawings in the illustrated london news in order to help raise awareness about american slavery. >> was the anti-slavery or an abolitionist? >> i suspect when he first came to america he was aware of the
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antislavery movement and what would describe themselves as being opposed to slavery. after coming today and witnessing the slave auction, he was not a politically active abolitionist. he was not a member of these many organizations that existed in britain even after the end of british slavery, but he was writing and publishing in ways that were as important as the activism of those who are politically involved. >> why did he come to the united states in the first place? >> it is one of the stories that is not well known. it was a german who was on a six-month speaking tour.
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he invited his best friend's son to come along and be his companion. eyre crowe at that time is already a very highly trained artist, although he was only in his 20s. he went around the eastern seaboard, he made reservations and he traveled and made sure that all the lodgings were taking care of but he also sketched the whole way that he was traveling. he differed quite significantly on their impression of slavery in america he decided that he was not going to speak publicly on the topic because 10 years earlier, charles dickens had come to america and famously excoriated americans about slavery. in his book and notes on america, he had a whole chapter
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against slavery and it hurt his sales in america after that. so he remained mum on the topic. >> for commercial reasons? >> for commercial reasons. in his letter, you also his patrician views. and definitely not something that a british author should find about. >> what is the painting on the front of your book? >> this painting is the culminating statement that eyre crowe made against american slavery. it is called slaves waiting for sale in richmond, virginia. it was exhibited at the royal academy in 1861. the royal academy, the premier institution for exhibiting works of art in the 19th century english became world. it wasn't protect untempered.
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most works were expected not to be too extreme. don't do too much as far as a social statement is concerned, don't be too particularly innovative. there were pictures painted that were featured at the royal academy that had african-americans. but not many at all. this was not just a picture featuring somebody of african descent, but it was a clearly political statement opposed to american slavery. in one of those amazing coincidences of history, the exhibition opened may 7, 1861, and the first shots had just been fired on fort sumter.
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all of london was a twitter about the war in the u.s. and of course, all of one than was also talking about what role should the united kingdom take in the american war. there were many in britain very much in favor of supporting the confederate states of america because of the amount of money that britain made from american cotton. many were opposed to that as well. ultimately, britain remains neutral. but at that point, no one really knew what was going to happen. >> were their sleeves and great britain at that time? >> no, slavery had been abolished in britain and its colonies officially in 1838. it had been a long time since britain had been directly involved with slavery, but britain was really the place where anti-slavery movements began and they remain quite
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involved in trying to end world slavery. u.s. slavery was not the end of world slavery either. it continued in brazil and cuba until long after american slavery ended. >> professor maurie mcinnis come up markets through the painting on the front of your book. >> when i tried to do in the book is to walk viewers through the painting, exactly that. to reconstruct the material world of the slave trade that eyre crowe would've seen on march 3, 1853. it depicts african-americans that were caught up in the trade. from 1860 and -- between 1820 to 1860, it is estimated at
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350,000 slaves were sold from the upper south, take away from their families and those they loved and sent hundreds if not thousands of miles away to the booming cotton south and much of the states of alabama, mississippi, alabama. this book tells the story about the experience of those individuals. what i was able to do and what was kind of fun about the book is that readers can go on a journey starting at the hotel where he stayed in richmond, where he woke up that morning, picked up the richmond newspapers and was astonished to see advertise their in the upper corner, people for sale. it was something he had never experienced before. richmond was the first southern city he visited. >> is that what got him to walk to the slave market? >> he was pulling for that. when he was in new york city, he had bought a copy of harriet beecher stowe's uncle tom's
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cabin that had just been released at the end of 1852. he read this novel and he was heralded by the contents. it horrified him. the story of american slavery, and he was particularly attracted to the slave trade. the commercial aspect of slavery. the selling of humans from one to another. and he was determined when he got to a southern city to witness this himself. he opens a newspaper at his hotel and he sees several advertisements for the slaves. and he asks them on working there, who is probably an enslaved man himself, or the sails were located, and they were just a few blocks away from his hotel. just a few blocks away from thomas jefferson, and virginia's state capitol building. this great symbolic image of democracy and three blocks away, people were being sold.
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day in and day out from every day, six days a weekweek, 52 weeks a year career. the reader can go on that same journey with eyre crowe it. they can walk by businesses he would've walked past, to understand where to place them where was in relation to the cities businesses and its industries and its retail establishments, and it's civics institutions. the slave trade was tucked away in richmond. it was not a district he would go to unless you had reason to go there. >> why is that? >> it was not -- they were ashamed, but they were not particularly proud.
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virginia's slave economy was not a growing economy. it was a stagnating economy. virginia's agricultural economy was not a growing economy. but a stagnated one. the reason why so many slaves are sold out of the upper south to the lower south is because in many ways, there weren't new slaves needed in virginia and maryland and north carolina where they were needed, they were in the new caltrans of the southwest. an owner, quite often, might have what he considered excess capacity. he would sell off one or two slaves here, almost always, breaking up families because what sold and dropped money in the marketplace where people age 15 to 30 years. husbands wives, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers and their children. they would be sent to richmond, which was a bit of a gathering place. most of the slaves purchased
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there were not by slave owners, but by other slave traders. they would march from overland, where the men would be chained together to buy two, and the women not change, marching at the back of the group. they would walk as far as from richmond to new orleans. as the railroad system grew more complete, it was more common for slaves to be sent by railroad. then they would be sold again in new orleans and to slave owners at that point and then put to work in the cotton and sugar filled. >> what was the going price? the going price varied and continued to increase. one of the things that we know was that there was a market that divided people into categories. a member number of dealers had things called price sheets. these price sheets listed number
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one boys and men, similar categories of women, based on high. prices were based on what was most prime. mostly male field hands. older or younger slaves going for less. but you could imagine a going rate on average of $8000 or less in most of the 1850s. >> eyre crowe. how did he do his work? did he stay in place for this? >> there is a great story that was one of the painting that we both know that we know from two sorts of accounts of the event, eyre crowe and a young new yorker who happened to be in the same room. eyre crowe tells the story of walking into the auction room of being stunned by what he saw. his senses were assailed. besides the smells, and he stood
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there silent and move to the third auction room. there he sees a group of slaves awaiting their fates and not knowing what their fates were. as he writes, he was moved by this group of individuals. he began to take out a pen and paper and began to sketch. everyone was interested in what he was doing. they crowded around him. at that time come in the sails was supposed to commence. the audience is much more interested in eyre crowe and what he's doing. the sale did not proceed. the auctioneer comes down and
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asks eyre crowe, what are you about, and he says, i am sketching. the auctioneer returns to his block and tries again, and is not able to attract the attention of the audience. another question and snappy remark in the auctioneer returns. by the third time come the auctioneer is so angry that eyre crowe realizes you better get out of there. he leaves the auction room and hides away in another room. hoping that they will forget about him. when he leaves that room, he sees the entire audience, the auctioneer, and all the people in the slaves auction room coming to get him. as he reports, he knew that he was an abolitionist. it was accounted in the new york paper about a week later. writing about an artist, at first everybody interested until they realize what he is sketching. you would not sketch a slave
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auction unless you are opposed to slavery, unless you were an abolitionist. he, too, was surprised that i was able to get away without harm. >> what other slave markets did eyre crowe went to? >> the only other cities he went to work charleston and savanna. in charleston, the slave auction in the slave trade occupied a very different place. it was a much more public thing. south carolina was certainly one of the most proslavery states in the union. that was really heavy in charleston. many pro- southern -- proslavery authors coming from south carolina and charleston were very public about their slave trade. it took place in one of the largest open squares in the city, right in the center of their commercial district. >> is it considered an activity for families? >> it was a daily spectacle. every day at 11:00 a.m., near
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what we today would call the colonial exchange building in charleston, right at the foot of broad street on east bay street, what would be the post office, every day at 11:00 a.m., all the auction took place. slave traders would bring their slaves there for auction before taking them back to billings in which they were held they were held outside of charleston until 1856, when they were moved indoors, but because it was blocking traffic and interfering with commercial enterprise. >> the eyre crowe become a well-known painter within the states, particularly this original painting and other paintings? >> actually, not at all. his work was known in britain did his painting is exhibited in the royal academy. his publication and publications of imaging's and drawings were published in the london news,
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which was widely read by the elites and intellectuals. but it would not have been broadly known. this was a topic that could not have been exhibited in an american exhibition hall. there is still a very strong pro- southern fragment in new york, because of the amount of money that new york is making from the u.s. cotton trade. there are many other southern supervisors in the city of new york. maybe in boston, maybe you could have exhibited something to that bear. but it would have been a very difficult thing. an artist i'd worry about his market. american artists did not paint a subject as difficult as this. they rarely even touched upon the subject of slavery prior to the civil war because they did not wish to offend what they
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would have described as their southern customers. >> to their become a genre of abolitionist art? >> there is. there is an enormous amount of abolitionist imagery. what my book tries to trace is a particular story of talking about how an abolitionist imagery -- how we get to the slave auction. by the 1850s, it was the new subject in anti-slavery imagery. the most famous early anti-slavery image, and in fact, the earliest is one that shows the international slave trade. it was an image produced in britain in 1797 that shows the plans and sections of a slave ship, with hundreds of african american bodies next to each other, it was time trying to demonstrate the horrors of the international slave trade. that remained an iconic image
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for decades. it still is today. i tried to trace the path. there were hundreds of bodies and manship, but by the time we get to eyre crowe, we have a focus on people who have emotions and who are part of families that are being broken apart. there is a long evolution of imagery in between, which is the movement of treating slaves as anonymous individuals to be thinking about the impact on people. what is radical about eyre crowe's image and why it attracted the attention of critics even though he was a young and unknown artist was because it was a new image. they didn't show the auction, but had become quite common, it was not the auctioneer -- who had a double in his hand and
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going, going, gone, which became well known and the hearst, because was so well known unrehearsed, it lost a lot of its meaning. what eyre crowe does is shift that moment before the auction, where people are pondering their faith and what awaits them. it is the emotional impact that he is able to put forth in that painting, which brought it to the attention of critics. >> professor maurie mcinnis, where was this painting was located? >> it was sold to an american collector in the 1950s. we don't know what happened to him between. it was obviously in multiple peoples collections, passing through hands, but not something that was terribly well known. it was definitely a picture of
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the moment, and that is true of a lot of slavery imagery. one slavery ended, it was a diminished interest in the subject. >> who was insulted in the 1950s, and who owns it today? >> it is owned by teresa heinz kerry. her former husband, senator heinz, was a major collector of american art. the family has a very important collection, including a picture. >> you know who bought it in the 1950s? >> it was the senator heinz family. >> would you teach at university of virginia? >> i teach a range of many things in art history, everything from the renaissance to the present. and also american art and material karcher. >> we have been talking about slavery. what can we learn from the study? >> what we can learn from the study of art are multiple things. this tries to tell the stories. one of those stories is the world in which images are
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received. to understand the background that informs those images, to also understand the impact that those images had on others. throughout the anti-slavery movement, images play a major role in shaping the way that people understood anti-slavery sentiment. templates can be published, books can be written, sometimes it is that singular image that makes an abstract concept a very personal one and a very individual one. we find that the history of abolitionism that images often help to move the conversation in very important ways. uncle tom's cabin had an enormous impact on the anti-slavery movement, in the way that decades of writing pamphlets about the horrors of american slavery had not yet reached a wide audience, but with the combination of uncle
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tom's cabin, which is of course from illustrated, it is that combination of telling stories in doing so through pictures that helped spread anti-slavery sentiment to a much wider audience. >> wended photography become an issue, especially given the topic that we are talking about, slavery and abolitionism? >> it really only begins to play a role in the u.s. civil war. as federal troops began to occupy southern cities, it was not at all uncommon for them to photograph sites of slave auctions. these buildings were mostly lost to us and what we know. and photographing other things related to the history of slavery. they more often were photographing things rated specifically to the war. >> if people are interested in seeing some of the abolitionist art that is available, where
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would you recommend that they go >> there is an enormous amount online. the vast majority of anti-slavery imagery was produced for publications. it was produced for anti-slavery and books published by former slaves, written over the civil war, almost all of those works are illustrated works. whether it is in google books or in a variety of libraries that are digitizing the 19th century collections from a lot of that work is available online. if you do a simple google search of abolitionist imagery, hundreds of images will come up to would somehow see the real piece? 's this is still in private hands. it is not in you. i am working on an expedition to be held at the library of virginia in 2014.
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we are hopeful that we will have that painting by eyre crowe, as well as the other surviving paintings on american slavery both at the exhibition. that will be in print at the library of virginia in 2014. that is a long way off. the other surviving it eyre crowe painting is owned by the chicago's history museum. that collected rather broadly in materials related to the civil war, because of their interest in abraham lincoln and in part because the period after the civil war in chicago, there was an exhibition, there was a u.s. civil war museum that exhibited dozens, hundreds of artifacts collected throughout the american south at the end of the war to tell the story of the civil war, obviously, one of the most important chapters of that story is telling the story of u.s. slavery to first of all, to surviving eyre crowe paintings?
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>> there are dozens of eyre crowe paintings in britain. but other than this brief period from his trip in 1853 to 1861 when he painted his last picture on u.s. slavery, in that span, he painted a number of works, most of which are lost. after that he returned to his bread and butter of literary historical scenes, scenes of shakespeare and people like that as well as british genre paintings. >> have you seen either of those to two surviving paintings? >> yes, i've spent time with both of them. you begin to ask details of the paintings, such as what they were wearing, and with more documentary research, slaves
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were dressed for sale, dressed very well for sale, in order to wipe away the harshness and brutality of their life history and to make them seem more appealing to potential buyers. if you're looking closely at the painting, you notice things like the green ribbon that the young boy in the painting is grasping in his hands. there is no real explanation for the green ribbon in the painting. there is no woman in that image wearing a green ribbon. i speculate that it might be the green ribbon that he took from his mother or his sister is a memory of that individual. of course, now being wrapped up in american slave trade, it is likely she will never see that person again. is a close examination of the picture, asking questions, and turning to others to see what you can do to answer those questions. >> were used in the actual painting that we don't see here in the reproduction on the cover
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of the book? >> the cover of the book leaves out a significant portion of the painting. there are two sides that extend beyond. the book is tall and the painting is why. it doesn't all fit on the cover. on the right-hand side is a male slave ceded all alone. what is so remarkable about the image of that male slave is he is not depicted as decades of men of african descent have been depicted. he is not happy. he is not sitting there with christian residues and mission awaiting his fate, as uncle tom did throughout the story of uncle tom's cabin. his fists are clenched. his arms are wrapped. the look on his face is clearly insolent, someone, and angry. the critics noticed that come in there had never been before and angry man of african descent on
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the walls of the royal academy. that was eyre crowe's political radical ms. -- that little bit of true abolitionism coming out. because he was a slave who could at any moment rebel, runaway and resist with force if necessary. that is very important to tell. unfortunately, it did not fit on the cover of the book. on the left-hand side, there are white men entering into the room of the slave auction. and they are potential buyers. they are of different types. they probably represent to slave traders and maybe some slave owner purchasing is for themselves. they complete that story that eyre crowe is trying to tell of the uncertain fate that awaits not only these individuals seated in the sales room, on
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this one day in richmond, but the thousands who passed through there annually and the hundreds of thousands who passed through the slave trade over the decades in the american south. in its own way, by not answering that question, by not giving us resolution, we don't know what think these people will face at that moment in 1861, when it was being exhibited in london. nobody knew the fate of that war, either, and nobody knew the fate of britain and their involvement in that war. it was a picture that perfectly captured this moment of uncertainty for everybody involved. >> who were some of the other abolitionist artists that people should beware of? >> there are very few. most artists stayed away from such political topics. "slaves waiting for sale" was famously exhibited a painting about the slave ships in 1840,
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and it is the work that today i think most captures the english and pain of the international slave trade. it shows a very small ship on a storm tossed sea in the leg of one slave sticking up with a shackle go on it. and lots of fish swimming around. it is clear that the slave has been thrown overboard in the slave is being consumed by the fish and/or sharks in the sea. it strikes a very modern town because it is not didactic and its contents. it allows the emotion of paintbrush, brushwork and color to tell its story, instead of the more narrative approach that somebody like eyre crowe to upgrade one which was very much in accordance with 19th century, victorian storytelling.
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very different from the more modern sensibility of turner come and why we know turning the painting was told. >> there was a painting about dogs attacking slaves who had escaped? >> that was by richard m. stale. he mostly painted animals. dogs, horses, etc. this is really the only one that he painted that touches on the topic of slavery. they are being chased by very large dogs. swamp the swamp is made swampy by the obvious inclusion of a snake in the foreground. it was exhibited in 1861 at the
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exhibition, you have this great moment where you can compare the response of critics to these two paintings. and they talked about both of them, giving the timing and opening of the u.s. civil war. they very much preferred eyre crowe's painting. they described "slaves waiting for sale" is painting in a different way. he was published as a journalist, they knew that it was a small world. they knew he had been in america. they sought in his work truth. amsdale had never been to the united states. one was owned by the liverpool museum. liverpool played such an
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important role in international slave trade. but they have a museum about slavery in liverpool. that painting is there. the second version also made by amsdale was recently purchased by the new smithsonian museum of african-american history and culture. i assume when that museum the museum is built and opened, that painting will be in washington. >> when did you get interested in this topic? >> i have long written about the history of the american south in the 18th and 19th century. my teacher at the university of virginia. were that history is all around us. and i have long been teaching about subjects that relate to slavery. i have been teaching this painting by eyre crowe for years, and have always been intrigued by it, thinking that there is a story there waiting for us to rediscover it.
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it is a project i've been working on in 2006 and the book recently came out. >> is there a nonfiction author or book you'd like to see featured on booktv? send us an e-mail apple tv at c-span.org. or tweaked us at twitter.com/booktv. >> the republican primary has caused romney to move too moved so far to the right that he has gone off the board. you have candidates appearing with a question. anybody in the civilized world will know -- maybe that excludes those candidates -- which of course, i will give you 1 dollar
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in texas for $10 to of pay, but nobody can win out. not huntsmen or anyone. it was a well-kept secret, but i ran for the republican nomination in the 1996 cycle. you can't abolish the department of education. here you have herman cain and michele bachmann and one after another pushing romney so far to the right. and senator santorum prodigious worker covered all the counties, played right into his strength with the evangelical right is
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but as soon as the people of america found out about them, like the people of pennsylvania, there he went. romney has changed positions so many times, gilmore had a regular night when he said romney has changed positions more often than a pointer -- tran-one movie queen. [laughter] [laughter] >> i'm not happy with him exactly. this policy with health care is absurd. this policy with afghanistan is absurd. there is no al qaeda or fight with the t

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