tv 2016 Savannah Book Festival CSPAN February 14, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EST
going away. other countries are watching us. >> if someone picks up the presidency in black and white will they hear stories -- something you want to share? >> when the person picks of the presidency black and white, three presidents in america, does get very confused. the record from barack obama, bill clinton, laura bush, colin powell, condoleezza rice, a host of other people, what they will find out, some of the things that happen in the white house when it comes to race or thoughts on certain issues about race. one of the most packaged stories of my life going to to the inert galleria few feet from the white house, laura bush in the
exhibit, descendants of slaves, in alabama may be close and i am giving you a synopsis of a synopsis, ultimately the first lady, at the end of the tour, these black women, five black women who i do not believe were republicans, they were so happy, they embraced the first lady in a huddle, thank you jesus and started to climb and a descendant of a slave, fifth generation removed from a slave. mayor are a lot of human stories people can relate to in this book and it is about you and me, not just black but white and all of us coming together. >> people go to booktv and type in april ryan, they will see this big panel, an author panel,
what was that? >> panel discussion on race. he talked about criminal justice. wheat had julie reid, an author as well. and we had michael eric dyson, author himself. i was a moderator. we had a serious discussion, serious civil discussion on issues of race, and my authors have written about it and researched it. we had a panel discussion, people from all walks of life, very diverse in the audience and asked about it as questions and the beginning of the discussion that needs to happen in this nation and i love booktv and politics and prose and we are going to do this again in february. our hope booktv will be there. we had a discussion and we will
keep the discussion going. >> host: april ryan, the white house and the presidency in black and white. >> booktv isn't twitter, follow us to get booktv, author information and to talk directly with doctors during our live programs, twitter.com/booktv. >> this weekend booktv is live in savannah, george's landmark district for the savannah book festival. now let's take a look at doctors who found savannah home. born in 1889, conrad 8 and published his first collection of poetry, birth triumphant in 1914. his many awards include the pulitzer prize for poetry in 1930 and the national book award for his collected poems in 1954. konrad aitken was poetry consultant of the library of congress from 1950 to 1952,
which was the precursor for the u.s. poet laureate. he died in his hometown of savannah in 1973. critically acclaimed short story writer flannery o'connor was born in savannah in 1925. by the age of 20 she had published several stories including a good man is hard to find, which was a finalist for the national book award for fiction. flannery o'connor, battle lupus for ten years before her death at the age of 39. you was awarded the national book award in 1972 for the complete stories of flannery o'connor. 1978 pulitzer prize winner for fiction, james alan mcpherson was born in savannah in 1943. mr. mcpherson earned degrees from morris brown college, harvard law school and university of iowa. his pulitzer prize was awarded for a collection of short
stories entitled elbowroom. mr. mcpherson has written essays and nonfiction book about his life and culture identity such as 1998's crabcakes, he is professor emeritus at the university of iowa's college of liberal arts and sciences. bruce vaughan island is the author of six consecutive new york times bestsellers including walking the bible and abraham which looks at a role of religion in contemporary life. he also writes a weekly column about families for the sunday edition of the new york times. that wraps up our look at some of savannah's native authors. >> we are joined by a gene th h theohar theoharis, author of the rebellious life of mrs. rosa parks. prior to december 1st, 1955, was rosa parks rebellious? >> guest: absolutely. her rebellious spirit starts as a young person come as a kid.
for instance she grows up in a home with her grandparents and her mother, her grandmother after world war ii this uptake of klan violence, her grandfather would sit out at night with his shotgun and a young 6-year-old girl would sit with him. another time a white lead pushes her and she pushes back, she believes she shouldn't have to be pushed. her political life starts when she describes the first real activist she ever met, they will get married in 1932 and she will join him organizing, in 1932 and for the next 20 years she will be active. she will join the naacp in 1943 for the next ten years. and become a more activist chapter which nixon doing voter registration, working on legal cases, legal lynching cases for black women who were victims of
sexual violence. by december 1st, up rows of parked as a seasoned rebel. >> december 1st, 1955, was the bus sitdown, with that plan? >> guest: it was not planned but it was in terms of her life, a culmination of many acts of rebellion. certainly montgomery's black community is thinking of filing a suit, a year after brown vs. board of education. they have been talking about the need to challenge bus segregation. this is not the -- she is not the first person arrested on the bus. indeed decade after world war ii you see a trickle of people refusing to give up their seats, getting arrested in 1944, a woman refused to get our fair see, was arrested, pursued her
legal case, police raided her daughter. there are a series of cases, 1954, a new opportunity, in march of 1954, claude that coleman refuses to give up her seat on a bus, scenes like this will be the case and the community begins to galvanize. and throws out the segregation card and the community doesn't stand behind and too young or feisty, rosa parks is not a freedom riders, does not get on a bus, two mega stands but it is not spontaneous and does not come out of nowhere. rosa parks made stands on the bus before december 1st, 1955. one of the things that galled her was many bus drivers would make black people pay in the front end get off the bus and
board in the back. she refused to do that, was thrown off the bus by this bus driver who will have her arrest and other bus drivers who considered her up eddie for not being willing to do that. this is not her perspective. december 1st, 1955, she is coming home from work at 6:00 at night, left the bus outside because it is too crowded, buys a few things, boards the bus, in the middle section, the middle section is the no man's land in that black people, over and over makes clear she is not sitting in the white section. there are a lot of myths that she sat in the white section, she is in the middle section, the middle section, black people would sit there but if she put it on the whim of the driver could be asked to give up their seat. the first stop, the bus fills up and one white man is left
standing. the bus driver notices this, james blake, he tells the people in rosa parks's row, this one white man to sit down all four people will have to get up and ask them to get up, no one moved. asks again more forcefully, the other three people reluctantly according to rosa parks get up and as she puts it pushed as far as she could be pushed, if she got up she would be consenting to this treatment and she did not consent, she thinks about and it still in in this moment, who had been lynched in mississippi, thinks about her grandfather and refuses so she actually -- she slides over to the window and refuses, the bus driver says i will have you
arrested and you may do that. on the cellphone, up think about what is happening in that moment, those of us who were on the bus, people are grumbling, people are getting off the bus, many of us think about rosa parks being quiet. a shy, reserved person but rosa parks is not quiet in key moments. when police officers get under the bus and asked her why she didn't move, she says back, why do you push us around? i do think rosa parks challenges in her body and with her voice the systems of inequality in this country. >> host: the teaching of history. as children we learn rosa parks sat on the bus in the white
section, this is when you write in your book the rebellious life of mrs. rosa parks, turn of the century reconstruction history, good black people, so does the celebration of rosa parks's quiet and not a angry. >> we learned about her, she has on the one hand he's incredibly celebrated and honored. on the other hand we hear one day when rosa parks had a lifetime of activism in montgomerie, they have to leave montgomerie in 1957 and she will spend the second half of her life as an activist in detroit fighting the racism of the jim crow no.. she will continue to do that. she will call malcolm x her personal euro, she will be active against the war in vietnam, active against south african apartheid, showing a picture of my favorite and the book about an older rosa parks
protesting outside the south african embassy, she will continue to the end of her life saying the struggle is not over, there is much injustice in this country and she will be in kind of resolved to keep fighting and yet i think the way rosa parks is taught is as a problem we salt in the past when the actual rosa parks says there's more work to be done. >> host: how did you do your research on this book? where were the peppers begin >> guest: ahead to do a lot of digging. i went to all sorts of archives and did all sorts of oral history interviews, in part because it was caught up in that dispute, had gotten the papers to sell, with all her effects, they languished, and howard buffett made an incredible
donation, bought them, the library of congress is open to anyone who wants to see them. you can read letters between rosa parks and her husband and her mother a you conceive her political writing, you can hear her voice talking about why she did what she did. i very much recommend that. >> host: you are spending more time in the library of congress. the rebellious life of rosa parks is the name of the book. [inaudible conversations]
>> you are looking at a live picture of trinity united methodist church, 168 years old and it is one of the sites of the ninth annual savannah book festival. we will be back on booktv with more live coverage in a few minutes. >> we are standing in the basement of the second half of the african baptist church. place freedom is what i like to say. and reverend cunningham, second
african over his history, and baptist church in america. it is important to our city of savannah, in 1865 on february 4th, it was the site of 40 acres speech, delivered here by general saxon in this room. behind me the pulpit that was here in 1865, and here in this room are the -- would have been seated on that day. they were made in 1810 by members of second african baptist church and they serve a dual purpose. the minister at the pulpit, would be facing that but for a politician for example that may not be able to go into the pulpit the benches face the back so you have to wonder where the pulpit was in 1865. but today they are reversible.
they are very similar to the railroad but who knows what happened to the patent in those days? second african again rings true for freedom. they talked about shouting up the phrase of the 300 blacks who would come your to find out order number 15 had to say. the water written after a general sherman in savannah, he asked those ministers, the answer was we want land. the land that was designated was the 340 mile track of coastland that had been the same plantation a lot of enslaved people now free would have worked on. and the question was 3,000 people listening, did they leave
here and some of them went and lived there for a year. and enslaved minister worked over in market square, tester butcher shop, the third african baptist church, he was one of those ministers who met with sherman, he had also been enslaved and was able to hire out this time, would pay his master $50 a month so he could hire out his time and be a butcher. reverend houseman, after freedom and after this experience dealing with 40 acres, he was state legislator. we read a lot about the africans once they were free to get into politics but that didn't last very long, after reconstruction
a lot of this disappeared. we are in a historic structure. 1860 -- 1865 to 1963. in 1963, martin luther king came to the senate is looking for one of those famous mass meetings and had been driving around two hours and found a meeting and said dr. king practiced his end to the famous i have a dream speech right here in savannah. >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 and next up from the savannah book festival live coverage of retired new york police department lt. steve osborn talking about his book the job, true tales in the life of a new york city cop. ♪
>> good morning. my name is anne gardner, i would like to thank trinity united methodist church for having us this morning, this has been made possible by the generosity of bob and jean, special thanks to our literate members and individual donors who makes saturday's pre festival events possible. if you would like to make a donation to support the festival we welcome your donation and have provided yellow bucks for books which will be at the doors
and as you exit the halt. before we get started please turn your cellphones off. we had one ringing during the last speaker's talk and all so no flash photography please. during the question and answer period which i suspect will be fairly popular this morning because we had a speaker with a fascinating background, there is a microphone in the middle of the aisle. please come up because you are on c-span, they can't hear you if you talk from the back of the hall. they need you in front of the microphone. immediately following the presentation, steve osborn will be signing some books, and if you would like to join him they are festival purchased books
only. gail lumet buckley -- steve osborne joins us today, takes a special kind of personality to serve as a police officer. an adrenaline junkie to serve as an officer for the new york city police. home in uniform or in plain clothes, steve osborne makes thousands of arrests that never filed is done once. this book offers true tales and often profane, hilarious and moving ways, he captures the absurdity and bravery of those who choose this line of work. please welcome steve osborne. >> thank you.
how are you doing? my name is steve osborne and i was a new york city, for 20 years and the accent is a real. the funny thing is i didn't know i had an accident and the light came to savannah. i was a cop for 20 years and became a writer. how the you go from being a cop to a writer? at a book festival without the writers they want to strangle me. by accident. after retiring from the police department my wife went from the fast lane to the slow lane and i had this time on my hands. when you are a cop and living that life you have no life. i am working around-the-clock, working nights, weekends, holidays, never home, then all of a sudden i am retired and i am staring at the walls. first thing i did was move the so far from there to their.
my wife says to me what are you doing? she goes you haven't been home in ten years. put that so far back where it was. so i did. so now i am sitting kind of bored and i don't know why. everybody had that voice in the back of their head that whispers what to do, the same voice that kept me save all those years, watch out for this or that guy, the same little voice that was whispering in my ear to write. so i grabbed a pad and pen and wrote a short story, 12 pages about something that happens to me on the job. as i wrote this thing, what now? what do i do with this now? i handed it to family and friends, i just wrote this, the mind telling me what you think?
they read it and they were like we didn't know you could write. we didn't know you were is that smart. but they loved it. i was surprised, taken aback so i wrote another one and handed it out and everybody read it and they loved it. so i wrote another one and the first pet them crying, the second had them laughing so i wrote a third one and had them crying again. i had these stories and i was doing it to kill time. what do i do now? am i wasting my time? it felt good to write. hard to explain but the actual act of writing and putting those stories and my thoughts and feelings on paper stirred something in my soul. at 3:00 in the morning i would be out on patrol. this was where i was supposed to
be. i was not supposed to be in bed sleeping, watching a movie with the wife, i was supposed to be out on control at 3:00 in the morning chasing bad guys. it scared something in my soul. i had these stories and everyone told me they liked it that being a cop you are skeptical so there were families and friends telling me what i want to hear. i had a friend who was a writer, a real writer, she wrote a best seller, television show, movie, she knew when she was talking about so i called her up and said read this stuff and tell me if it is any good. it is no good, throw the computer out the window and start a garden, i don't know what. she read it, gets back to me, this is pretty good, a little rough around the edges, a polished but this is pretty good. i kept writing, wrote another
story. she tells me she is doing this show called the morph. anyone heard of that? [applause] >> what a great organization. for those the don't know, it is a group where you get on stage and regular people tell a real story about their life. i had this show and the night before they had a cop that was scheduled to appear and had to bailout so they are stuck. do you know anybody -- beard maybe. sure enough she calls me. the universe works in some mysterious ways, she calls me up and tells me about this. next night i am at the players club. i thought this was going to be in the basesement of the churcha couple people sitting around
going like this for applause. i show up at the players club and there are 300 people. i was never so scared in my whole life. i was involved in thousands of arrests. this is the scariest thing i ever had to do. i wanted to run out the door. and down the dark alley getting up on stage. not for nothing, blue the roof off the joint, everybody liked it and i was a little nervous because the theme of the show is crimes and misdemeanors and speakers before me had these stories. one guy says he did 20 years for murder he didn't commit another guy was a defense attorney talking about how screwed up the criminal justice system was and my friend gets up talking about how she got arrested at the republican national convention
by a less than friendly right at top and how you could use a bologna sandwich as a pillow, so i figured i was did meet. i got up there and told the story and they loved it. i thought that was the end of it. they said we are going on a nationwide tour, next thing you know i am at ucla in front 2400 people. that is was i said. i am not doing that. but i did and we went to seattle, san francisco, denver, it encouraged me to keep writing so i wrote more stories and i go on in pr radio ended those of to 200 radio stations. i get a call from an editor and he says i saw your stuff, it is imperative you write a book, i think you are right.
so before i got up and told these stories i would write them out, it helps me flush the stories out in my head so i told them maybe i have a half of one, first draft of, send it to me. first draft stuff, i was still kind of i had never written anything before, i didn't know if it was really worthy. i sent it to him and he calls me up and says you got an agent? so happened that i did. and agent had heard me on npr radio a couple weeks before and said i would like to wrap you. and i told him i like writing short stories. i enjoy that the jayhawk's life is the series of short stories. when you go out on patrol i may handle 10, 15, 20 jobs in a night and every job is the story, it has a beginning, it has a middle, it has an end, it has different characters,
different dialogue and different consequences helicopter's life is the series of short stories and that is what i felt comfortable writing but my agent told me that is not the way to go. people don't go for that. he wanted me to write a memoir and i thought about it, the little voice wasn't working. i did not want to do that so my agent and i didn't do that for a couple months and all of a sudden the editor from doubleday calls me up offers a contract, i called up my agent and go check your e-mail, we had to finish the the book which wasn't that tough so i kept writing and writing and finished a book. it wasn't as hard, but i did enjoy it. every cop out there has great stories. it is good nature of the job. every night you are involved in people's lives, during crisis.
after doing that for 20 years you got a million stories, not everybody can write it and put it on paper. so i wrote the book and as i was writing at through some of the stories i was afraid, nobody is going to believe this, they are going to think i am making this stuff up. i wrote one story about a busy night i had, a four our period, four our period i had a 17-year-old kid shot. i had two women stabbed in a family dispute that went crazy and i had a 24-year-old kid fall out a fourth floor window at a party, before he hit the ground eclipse the back of his head on the fire hydrant. i was on my hands and knees and talked to him while he died and after that i looked at my watch
and i am like that happened in four hours. noaa is going to believe this but it is true, that is the cop's life. the next night was a quiet night, nothing memorable, but every night when you go to work you do not know what is going to happen from one minute to the next. as i got to the end of the book, one story had to be written. i didn't want to write about it. i didn't feel indeed to write about it. and it is a blur to me.
high have no recollection. they can't remember, if all of us those first couple days it is kind of a blur. after that i was working 12 hours on 12 hours off for the next two months. my unit was in the detective bureau, we got assigned to the morgue, we had to identify the remains coming in and to write about what we saw and did, those are family members and i couldn't write about it but i think i wrote about my feelings and how i dealt with a g get a pretty good picture of what happened. you might find it hard to believe but it was one funny story about 9/11. you might find it hard to believe, but i was assigned to the morgue. my friend's 80-year-old mother calls my house, no one had seen or heard from me in weeks, i was
down there every day, my friend at 80-year-old mother called my wife and said halas' even doing, she said steven is in the more. [laughter] >> he is a little hard of hearing too but she got that much. she is like i am so sorry, my wife is like it is okay, a lot of wives don't know where their husbands are. at least i know where he is. from there the story gets a little blurry. we don't know how it spread but it spread. there was this boy at jersey shore, i knew all the guys there, they heard that i was in the morgue. none of them knew my wife, nobody felt comfortable calling my house to find out what the arrangements were going to be.
they figured they would hear about it sooner or later so this goes on. finally after two months i got a couple days off and i need of beer. i walked into the front door of the bar and it was like they saw a ghost. before doing this i never wrote anything. i hated writing. the police department use to have to write reports, he did riding and which get them to a minimum. lot of guys used to really address their reports up with a lot of big words. i kept mine very basic, simple, i just didn't like it. even when i was a kid i wasn't a good student in school. solid see students on my best day. and i don't know if anyone went to catholic school but sister kathleen used to beat the crap
out of me on a regular basis and remind me that i wasn't going to amount to nothing. i wish she could see me now. so writing was never on my radar. when i was writing i found it funny. i kind of enjoyed looking at some of the stupid things i did like the dumb things you do as a rookie like chasing a guy down a subway tunnel after a robbery. why i didn't think the train might be coming? at the time the adrenalin is pumping candor and i don't know, didn't really think of the likely event that train was going to come but i am still here to talk about it. when i was a kid my father was a cop, that is where i learned about the job from the inside out. i saw it through him. he worked in a prison not far
from my house and sometimes my mother would make dinner and say bring this up to your father and i would drive up there and bring in dinner and i wouldn't leave. i would stay in the station house, sitting behind a desk with the desk sergeant, people telling their sad stories and a 12-year-old kid sitting--glistening to every word and i am thinking this is the life for me. this is what i really want to do and when his buddies would come around the house, they were the coolest guys in the world, they were real men and wanted to be just like them. from a kid, and never wanted to be a doctor or lawyer or astronaut, i wanted to be the guy standing over the dead guy in the middle of the street trying to configure out who killed the. so i had no choice, took me by surprise. 20 years of police work, gives
you plenty to write about. sometimes writers get mad at me, this will writing thing happened by accident but i paid my dues, 20 years on the street, you pay your dues and i didn't know it at the time, that is where i was doing my research. things that i saw and all the things i did and it gave me plenty of stuff to write about. i feel lucky, and i feel lucky because when you write like that its tears something in your soul, it gives you once you leave the police department my life was empty and writing film that floyd. you forget all the things you did. worked in a lot of busy places. i remember being the desk
sergeant, the neighborhood was insane. sitting on the desk and looking around, the building was a dump, it was falling down, it was cracked walls and peeling paint and i am sitting there and the front door flies open and this guy comes running through the front door covered in blood and another guy chasing him with a bike, here i am jumping over the desk, wrestling, two homeless guys chipped in for a beer and one guy took a bigger city than the other guy. two hours later sitting on the desk again, just looking at this big piece of peeling paint wind it -- waiting for default down in the front door burst open again and some guy with bagpipes comes bursting at 3:00 in the morning with bagpipes comes bursting into the front door of the station house, does a couple
laps, plays a song out of braveheart. i'm looking at him and he marches out the door, down the block, you hear the bagpipes fading away and i am like i love this job. [laughter] >> i really do. i love this job. this is the greatest job in the world. i am sure a lot of people have questions. i could take a few questions from you. >> can you come up to the microphone? nobody -- you have to step to the microphone. >> i am from new york. where's the ninth precinct?
>> lower east side, fourteenth street to broadway to the east river. i was there during that 80s and 90s one new york city was the wild west. i go there now and don't recognize the place. keep going. >> how did the neighborhood changed while you were there? and if you could tell us, the writing was therapeutic for you, if any of these stories, helping me work through one thing that happens at one time and the funniest one. >> new york changed like you can't imagine, the lower east side. when i was down there, streets i used to walk down with the gun in my hand because it was so
dangerous, and now we have those cafes out there, people sipping their lost as. moms going in to the park that were -- they were war zones and now they're pushing baby carriages. writing was therapeutic and there are a lot of funny stories and a lot of sad stories and you would think the book would be filled with all this action ended venture and there are a couple stories in there where guy's full guns on me. i had a gun in my face and fighting for my life and those are good stories. i enjoyed them. [laughter] >> it is the stories about people, being in people's lives, that interaction between two human beings, you would think the first story that i wrote would be something -- car chase with shots fired or homicide or something like that but it
wasn't. i don't know why, but the first story i wrote was the first time i had to tell a parent that their child was dead. their child was in the other room. and her body was badly decomposed and mom wanted to go into that room. she does not going to believe her child was dead until she saw the body and i couldn't let that happen. i was a rookie at the time, 25 years old. this is not my job. somebody else, detective, sergeant, it was sunday morning, it had to be done now and it fell upon me. when you are young cop you are confronted with difficult situations and you got to rise to be the occasion. you are in these people's lives
in the most difficult time in their lives and you have to rise to the occasion, and i sat mom down on the steps and didn't know what to say. i kind of stopped thinking about what to say, and knelt down in front and took her hands in mind and like i was proposing marriage, took her hands in mind and convinced her it was best to remember her daughter the way she was and not the way she is and it worked and when i walked into that building that morning i was young, 25 years old, a rookie, a couple hours later when i walked out i felt i had grown, matured, become more the cop i wanted to be. [applause]
>> do you miss it? the actual work? does writing about it give you a chance to do it again? >> we always say missed the guys. you go to these incredible adventures. and my partner's life depends on me. there is a bond, i meet guys that i know from for 30 years ago and we are still friends. we still have that bond because we went from something most people don't. my life depended on him and being there when the world turned to crack and his wife depended on mine. you develop friendships, bonds but last forever.
i still have one of my first partners, we hang out together all the time. i miss the guys, the adventure, n.y. city cop, my life of adventure and i do miss that. you can ride their crazy is roller-coaster in the world and you won't get that adrenaline rush. kind of like being a fighter pilot and work for united airlines. you still fly but it is just not the same. i do miss that part. i am not a yankee fan. >> i was there in the guiliani years. what was your opinion on stop and frisk? did it work? should we keep doing it? >> i knew somebody was going to ask me that question.
i knew it. the one thing i will say is stop and frisk works. guns in their waistbands, somebody should step on somebody else's shoes, and walk down a block you don't walk down. and shooting the place up. what happened with stop and frisk, we would stop a lot of people, throwing up on the wall, and right away, all the guys in the street know you can't walk around with a gun in your waistband because there's a good chance you get stopped tonight. now if somebody looks at you the wrong way, wait right there. half the time by the time you get back, the other guy was gone
or the whole situation is confused but stop and frisk -- we went from being in the 80s a reactive police department, we would respond to crimes, take reports and make an arrest and we went from reactive to proactive where we were trying to prevent crimes and i tell you the truth if you were to ask me in thes, 90s, if murder could be reduced by 85% and major crimes by 80% i would say you were nuts. i never would have believed it in a million years. i would not think it was possible but it was done and it was done because of a more pro-active approach to policing. [applause] house >> i worked in new york city for six years and came down here and i sought this watch. it is beard be of the first cop
killed in new york city. in 1909 yankees said this. >> i didn't know that. >> rudy guiliani is given credit for cleaning up the city. your knowledge of it, your thoughts on it. was the contributing to keep new york city safer than it was. >> with a you like guiliani or not give credit where credit is due. before that we took freeport's and watched crime go up and it took somebody saying we could do something about this. it doesn't have to be like this. you couldn't leave a brown paper bag in your car without somebody breaking into it to see what was in there. back then we had 40,000 cops, we
had an army and they always knew we could do something about it but somebody had lead the charge. with the you like him or don't like him you have to give credit where credit is due and he showed something could be done and after that, mayors and police commissioners after that followed suit and they said new york city, some of the neighborhoods i used to working were war zones. was insane. one time my wife calls me up. i and my office working in the bronx and i am talking to her on the phone and she is complaining to me about the bill's, credit card bills and outside my office window bam bam bam, there's a drive-by shooting and the station house blocks, gunshots echoing through my office window. i am covering the phone, don't know if she will go nuts worrying, and i tell her i got to go and she is telling me you
don't understand, the bills are killing us this month and i want to tell writing something else just got killed down the block. but i couldn't tell her that. i made up an excuse and next thing i know i am running down the street gun in hand into knows what's. back then, we went from 2200 homicides to around 300. it is incredible the reduction in crime. i am proud to say i was there, all the other cops, i watched it happen. it was incredible to watch. i was at a christmas party. and i was talking to these young cops. and how many robberies are you doing a month these days, and the street robberies, very
seriously, she says to me about 12, i said 12? are you kidding me? when i was there we were doing an absolute minimum of 120 a month and that is only the ones that got reported. capt. times people got robbed and figure what is the use and they never made a report. 12 was an astounding number. i remember one night during a blizzard we had eight. new york city is such a different place i kick myself. some of these neighborhoods, there was a lot of vanderbilts and nt lots. i would be a millionaire right now and i didn't think the city would never turn around like it has. it is a complete different city.
>> thanks for cleaning it up. >> you are welcome. >> obvious question, you love the business, why did you retire after 20 years? the other question is how often did you meet at cat's silly? >> i h f-cat's jelly. why did i retire? you get to retire after 20 years and there's a reason. police work burns you out. it eats you overtime. the other day i bumped into a cop, walking my dog, he's walking his dog, the dogs are talking so we started talking and it turned out he was the retired detective and we started talking and he tells me why he retired, he was burned out. he said it took him a full year
to get healthy again. working around the clock, you don't eat right. you don't eat right. you don't sleep right. for years i hardly went to bed or woke up at the same time every day. it is a very unhealthy lifestyle and you can't do it forever. everybody says that they know when it is time to retire and i knew the exact date, i knew the exact second when i decided to retire. i was a lieutenant, a commanding officer at a manhattan gang squad i thought i had seen everything and done everything, i was burned out and didn't have it in me anymore. a couple months before, we
caught a homicide, a gain related homicide. a guy had killed another guy in front of his pregnant wife. she is standing there six months pregnant and watched her husband died. there is not much more -- what is sadder than that? i always loved the job. i wasn't any smarter than anybody else, not more clever in anybody else but i was always tenacious. when i was after a guy i never gave up. one of my detectives, the guy who did this, was a gained member, mexican gained member. he was an illegal immigrant, had no roots, no way to track and down, no house, no mother, no father. he picked up and left. we had a tip from an informant that we might find him in
yonkers hanging out in a corner in the morning looking for day work. one of my detectives comes in and tells me this. he says how about we go up there the next couple days, see if we can find him. normally this gets my juices flowing, there is nothing better than grabbing a guy on a crime like that. i was sitting in my office with my feet up on my desk. only four hours sleep the night before. i am eating cold pizza and nothing happened. i was dead inside. i was numb. i was dead. i couldn't -- i couldn't get the juices flowing anymore and at that second i said it is time to pull the plug. i wasn't the type of guy to go get myself a shot at headquarters wearing a suit, carrying a clipboard and tell war stories from the old days. that is when i decided it was time for me to go. and i did. ..
we spent in brooklyn, i think it was, where deblast, you're the current mayor, had a difficult time with his relationship with the police force after -- at the services and that type of thing. i guess my question is, is he doing anything to improve his relationship with the police force? has he made any progress? >> you know i wrote a book, right? >> that's what i was --
[laughter] >> yeah. back when those two officers were killed a lot was meat -- i wrote an op-ed for the "new york times." in the emergency room the cops turned their back on the mayor when he went into the emergency room to see the officers. and people were upset about it. but i don't think -- it wasn't a well-calculated plan. to turn their backs on the mayor. everybody knew he had no use for cops. that's what he campaigned on, the tale of two cities, the oppressive police department. everybody knew, and all the cops felt that he had no use for cops. and that night when it happened and he is walking into that room where there are two dead beloved brothers are in the other room, think they just felt -- i within there but i think they just felt wi he was there because he had
to and that why they turned their backs on him. he's gotten better with the police. this is just my opinion. i think he's gotten better with he police because he knows he has. to new york city would -- you can just imagine what it would be like without the cops. it's so much bert than the old days, and he knows that, and i think just because of politics hey has to be better with the police. at notice it would be bad politics to beat up the police because everybody knows that what improvements were made. so i think he is doing it because he has to. and then that's just my opinion. >> the commissioner, bill bratton and rail kelly? >> i don't know either one of them personally but it's difficult to say.
bill bratton now is -- i feel like he's the right guy for the job. with all the anticop sentiment around the country and and in new york, he just -- when i see him on television i feel like he's the right guy for the job at this time. when he was commissioner the first time, that's when the whole broken window think start, and then ray kelly became the pc, and then they ran with it and just kept going and going, and crime kept going down. who is better? i wouldn't say who is better, but i would say that ray kelly did a great job, and as a cop, when i would see him on the news, we had some police commissioners in the past that i wasn't crazy about but when i would see you, it made you proud. the represented the police department well. now that bratton there is, i think he has very difficult job with a mayor that -- i don't know what his relationship is
with the mayor, but i'm sure he has a very difficult job, and i just think that he's the right guy for the job right now. >> back to your book. >> thank you. >> i know you did your research with your life, but i'm wondering, memory does -- plays tricks on you and stuff. i'm imagining that you then had to go back to your police reports and whatever you did in order to get the details a little bit correct and that kind of thing. and what was out like to do that to revisit those reports and to revisit those stories? how was that for you? >> yeah. before writing the book, my only training was writing police reports so that's what i knew, and i real where made an effort to make sure that the facts were as best i could remember them. sometimes i went back to the scene of where niece things
happened and went back and went through the statement footsteps i did and making sure of my distances and everything, and everything was accurate. but i really tried to be as accurate as possible. sometimes i even called my old partners, remember this? and after i wrote a come of stories i give it to my old partners said do you remember this the same way i do? and they did. so i was used to testifying in court, and you have to have all your paperwork today you have to have your testimony together. so that was the way i approached it you're always -- but if you and i see a car accident or if you and i see a homicide, we view it slightly different. i guess over thize didn't realize it, but when i saw these things i was always looking at the story behind that, and so always be slightly different views. like sometimes we would get involved in some crazy caper, five or six of news a chase,
somebody gets shot, and the next day it's funny, you have slightly different views of what happened because you approached it from different angles. but i did do my homework and went back and tried to make it as accurate as possible. >> hi. i noticed that you were going to be writing for some tv episodes. >> hopefully. >> i'm a great fan of "blue blood. "i wonder if you might comment about the authenticity of the show, particularly talking about cases over the dinner table. >> my mom loves by blue blood pow because of tom sell electric. -- selleck. the take current cases and talk about current events. yeah, they talk about current events, but you got to remember, it's television. what i wanted to do is -- i've
always wanted to take my book and turn it into a script. i think is works well. when you have -- like network television, you can't always say what you said and you can't always show what you really saw. so it gets watered down a little bit but it's pretty good. my mother will agree with you, she loves it. >> 9/11 and the aftermath, a lot of stories about the lingering effects of that on first responders, emotionally and maybe particularly physically. just wonder if you or some of your partners are still living with that. >> yeah. and guys are getting sick. it is true. i was one of the lucky ones. when didn't on the morning of 9/11 i woke up and getting ready to go to work, and i turned on the news and i see smoke coming out of the upper floors, and then as i'm watching with my
wife, the second plane hits. she starts crying. she starts screaming. and i'm holding her and watching this, and i'm like, i got to get to work. everybody else that had a normal hulls with a normal job, they were racing home to be with their family, to be with their wives. i'm hugging my wife. she's crying into my chest. my shirt is wet with tears and boogers and -- [laughter] >> and i'm holding on to her and all i could think of is, i got to go to work. and i remember her looking up at me and saying -- she was used to me leaving her. i get a phone call at night, got to go to work, get up, i'm gone, don't come back until the next day. it wasn't often -- often times i'd be working 4:00 to 12:00, i'd call her at 11:00 and say i'd be home in a little while,
and then we'd getting a shooting and wouldn't get until the next day, she was used to being alone. i remember her looking at me, tears running down her face, and she said, please don't leave me, not this time. i said, you understand, i have to good. right? she knew i was just going. she was just trying to -- she was just venting. she was going to be left alone to have to deal with this by herself. and i left her there. i left her standing at the door, crying, while i jumped in the car doing 90-miles-an-hour with the red light on the dashboard, listening to the radio, and i'm racing down there. at the time i was lieutenant in the gang squad and i had 50 sergeants and detectives working for me, and i knew once we went down there, it was going to be a madhouse. we had to stick together as a unit. if we didn't, if we got separated, we weren't going to find each other for days.
so, one of my sergeants, my right-hand-man. i freely odd mitt it, administratively, i'm a moron. it's not what i like to do. one of my sergeants, the energizer bunny, on top of everything. so i had him on the phone and i'm like, come on, when are you going to be at the office? i says i'm not leaving without you. i'm calling the guys in the office, get all the equipment we need. as soon as i get there we're jumping in the cars and going down. so i got to the office, got everybody together, we all jumped in the cars, and he was a few minutes late. his girlfriend was a nurse or something and he had to drop her off at the hospital. so he was about 15-20 minutes late and i wasn't going to lead without him. i needed him. i wanted my whole unit together. he gets there, jumps in the car, and off we go. the second building came down right before we got there. so he wasn't late, we probably would have ran in there like everybody else.
and i guess it's hard to explain how you feel down there. i think more than anything, i felt helpless, because as a cop, when you see something really bad, the way you find closure is you find a person that did it, you arrest them, they go away, and that how you find closure. and right away we found out that wasn't going to happen. the individual that did this were all dead. and the individuals that were responsible for it were in a cave overseas. as new york city cops there was nothing we would do about it, and i felt kind of helpless those days. all we could do was dig through rubble and pick up remains and process remains. so, that was the overwhelming feeling.
i also felt privileged, because i know that everybody in the country wanted to be down there helping, and i was able to do it. i had the ability to go down there and help my city, my country, and i think that's the way mentally i got through it. i felt privileged to be there. [applause] >> i'm from philadelphia, and -- the home of frank rizzo, who went from beat cop to the mayor of philadelphia, and kind of have a public service announcement for savannah. in appreciation of police force. my wife and our daughter, 26-year-old daughter, took the 13-week civilian police academy
training here, and each week there would be two different departments that would tell you what they do, and on the 12th 12th week, we did ride-alongs with several different officers, and as you know, there's two of the most dangerous situations, domestic violence call and a car stop, which i did the messy call. my wife did a car stop. we actually got out of the cars, stood a safe distance away, but we really now understand and appreciate what police do so that this really should be a civic duty for all citizens, and i know you know that. but a rookie starts at $37,000 a year. to put his life on the line.
>> do you have a question? >> oh, sorry. you mentioned all the police get a bad rap for what little might happen negatively, but the thousands of cases that aren't appreciated. >> back to the 37,000. your don't take this job for the money. that's not -- i mean, as you go up in the ranks you do better, you have better benefits, good pension, but you don't take this job for the money. you take it because it's a calling. there'sing? your heart that tells you, this is what you want to do, and that's why you take it. [applause] >> in the introduction ann said you'd never shot yourgun, and we
haven't found out why and how that came about. >> i always worked in busy places, busy squads, busy neighborhoods, and people always ask, did you ever shoot anybody? and when i tell them, no, they seem disappointed. like what were you doing for 20 years? but the fact is, it's like -- i forget what the figure figure is -- 98% of cops never fire their weapon in the line of duty, but i can tell you there's at least a half dozen guys that are still walking around where i was actually pulling the trigger. it got to the point where they were going, and at the last possible second they dropped their gun, or had a situation -- several situations where i went to go stop a guy, like a stop and frisk, and when i put the guy on the car, he reaches into
this waistband so i reach into his waistband, and he's got a gun and he ross got it first. he's got the gun in his expand the guy was big. -- in his hand and he guy was big. his shoulders were over my head. another guy with him who had a knife. and all of a sudden i'm in the fight for my life. i couldn't shoot him. i couldn't coo not let go of this gun. him and i are fighting for it, and i picked him up and i'm swinging him back and forth. i briefly thought about letting him go and going for my gun but there's no way. never would have got it out in time himself would have killed my. so i'm fighting with this guy and the only thing i could think about was, if you can't breathe, you can't fight. that the first rule of fighting. can't breathe, can't fight. so i started yanking on his fists. they were right here dish was giving him this crazy heimlich maneuver, and i'm yanking and pulling and lifting him off his feet, and as i'm doing that, the
other guy with the knife is trying to work around and wanters to stab me in the back, but he is not 100% committed to this because he knows where this thing is going elm he is not sure he wants to kill a cop. so that worked to my advantage. i'm swinging this guy back and forth and i'm yanking and pulling and he's yelping and can't breathe. finally he loosens up on the gun, i get it out of his hands and i cracked him right in the temple with hit. stunned him. at that point could i have shot him. i could have shot the both of them. they would have given in medal, but at this point i didn't feel it was necessary. i had the gun, had 'em down, and another time i went to go lock up this wimpy little stockbroker. i thought he would answer the door with a pocket protect expert pencils in there he answers the door with a vest on and a .380 in his hands and coming one with a gun and the only thing i could do is jump him. we went falling down to the floor. i had two cops with mement we're
all rolling around on the floor and we managed to get the gun off him. you only shoot somebody if it's absolutely necessary, and i think harv has that line in the sand where, when somebody crosses that, you're going too do it. and i knew where my line was, and i got very close. i'd say at least a half dozen or more times. but each time i always felt like i didn't have to do it, and i didn't. and that includes several thousand arrests i was involved in. [applause] [applause] >> all right, thank you very much and thanks for having in the savannah.
[inaudible conversations] >> you're watching live coverage of the satisfy van na book festival on book tv on c-span 2. the festival is taking a break for an hour and a half but we'll be back this afternoon with more live coverage. white house press secretary dana perino. you'll hear from her as well as travis mills, retired u.s. army staff sergeant and quadrupling amputee. he'll talk about his experiences and recovery. while we wait during this break we want to show you a few more programs for booktv's sift to savannah in 2011.
>> welcome to the childhood home here in savannah georgia. it's our pleasure to have your here today. talking and sharing a few of the stories about this very unique and creative writer we had here in savannah. one of the first stories we always like to share here is that since mary flanker are was born 86 years ago we still get visitors here from time to time that knew her, and in 2009 i had the chance to be visited by lady that was born here and grew up across the street. she came and visited the house, and when i asked her to give me an impression of mary flankery, she shared, well, mary flannery was just different, and so we loved to tell all those differences about mary that happened here in her childhood.
here's a picture of her. things were about to change significantly. the best we can figure is somewhere between four and six she decided she was an adult. we start off at age four because we have photographs of her, with dolls up to age 4, after age four the dolls are gone. we end at age six because of three events. the year her classmates told us she had begun calling her personses edward and regina. they're okay with that. they're not only okay with that go ahead and invite her to join them over at the adult mass, at the cathedral here in satisfy van nark just across the jay, st. john the baptist. that ratessed a few eyebrows
near savannah but not as many eyebrows she would raise when she would attend the school runnel by the sisters on mercy. they insisted she go to their children's mass instead of the adult mass. her response was, the catholic church will not dictate to our family the time i attend service. she was known as being dish very different indict from that day on. interestingly enough her mother was very precocious as a young girl growing up in milledgeville in georgia. so two very similar personalities looking at us from that photograph there in fact the story we like to share down here -- the did have their differences of continue with two strong permits, but -- strong personalities and regina always wanted her tour be a lady. mary flannery wasn't sure about that but when she was around her mother, she behaved herself. but allowed to visit a classmate
here and she could relax her standard as great deal inch fact what is great about this house is that, while back, the house was presented with this picture of mary flannery around eight or nine years of age, visiting her friend here, bete jean mcgwire and it's interesting, betty jean is not around, and mary flannery is relaxed and i've never seen more mischief coming out of a person's eyes as there. the o'connors, her parents, edward and regina, would marry in 1923 and move into an apartment that was apparently unaccept well-by a cousin by marriage, cousin katie, and we have her photograph on the old style radio there. cousin katey, who is name was
mary cath christian flannery sims, and when she heard her cousins had move into her apartment, the said, no, you must move into this house. she opened several pieces of property, this just being one, and so they moved in and then of course in 1925, they would have mary flanery. the house has been historically restored for the most part thanks to the general -- in 2006 and 2007, and thanks to a student who needed a masters thesis project for her degree in historical restoration, she did the paint analysis in this room. this is the color grown that was actually on the wall when o'cob cop nors we are here -- o'connors we're here and those were gilded because of cousin katie. the barrister in the corner belongs to the o'connors, and then down on the other side of
this double parlor, we have a few more items that belong to the o'connors. this chair, settee and lamp were the o'connor's, and this was mary flanery's program. we know this was a gift from cousin katie to the o'connors and unfortunately has suffered from being in storage, but one thing is good about it, is true to cousin katie residents taste and everying everything gilded we have the monogram on the side. and let's go back to the library. which was the o'connors' dining room, of course. and then this room we have four of her first editions, starting off with her first novel, wise blood in 1952.
above it we have a '59 edition of i would wise blood "in french, so she was being transplant latest early on. last year, 2010. we received visitors from 20 foreign countries that know about mary flanery and her work and wanted to come over here and visit the house. now, this book case belonged to the o'connors and in it we're very fortunate to have two of mary flanery's childhood books. we don't have the books open but she was allowed to write in her books but she wrote in pencil so we didn't want that to fade. so we made photocopies of crucial pains because she would critique the childhood books she was given as a young girl. so left no doubt in anyone's mind exactly what she thought of fairy babies and she was bold enough to sign off on that. the other childrens books we
have here in the house were generously given to us by her cousins, and we have a photograph or mary flanery with them, when mary flanery was ten in 1935. they were raised in the boston area but would come down to georgia in the summer and they would gather and have times together. but mary flanery was not allowed to write in their books so year not sure how she felt about them. and over here we have a photocopy of mary flanery's last report card. she started at st. vincent's here in satisfy van but was transferred to sacred heart farther south in the city. they felt she would receive a better education, which she very well may have, but by this time mary flanery made up her mimed. that the only way for a word to be spelled correctly is to be spelled the way it sounded to her and if that differed from the dictionary, the dictionary
was wrong so her grade suffered accordingly. so go into the kitchen. flanery. , the only item from the poconos is a gift from a dough sent and the other items are of the era and are purchased or donated but we had feedback from chat mid-s and they let restorers know where to place the sink and their stove. so those items are accurately placed. what we like to talk about most in this room, because you seek into the garden, that's where in 1931 a very famous news reel took place and was filmed. agency giant na used to -- regina used to raise chickens
and it was discovered that mary flannery preferred the company of chickens rather than dogs or cats. and the named the chickens and taught them a trick, and the trick was to walk backwards and she was successful. cousin katie has contact with a news reel corporation. they soaps down a cameramap and on the property shot a news reel called, do your reverse, story mary o'northern and her backward walking hen. the rooster wouldn't cooperate when the cameraman was here, you can go to british pass say online and look up do your reverse and it's there. it is walking backwards, and evidently that was quite -- that had quite an impact on mary
flannery's life because in a letter in 1955 she would write to a friend and say, that was the most exciting that ever happened to me. it's all been downhill from there. zuo always like to show that to our guests. this modest house which was a mirror two houses standing side-by-side with the same exact floor plan. only 20 feet wide, and something had to give and it's our hallways up here, they're only two feet ten inches wide. and we'll go ahead and go into mary flannery's bedroom. now, what nice about the bedrooms we have here at the childhood museum is that all the pieces long to the o'connors,
regina held on to it for a long time and had it in storage, and once a renter moved out in the early 2000's the board decided it was time to restore the bedrooms so they brought the bedroom furniture down. may seen odd to find twin pine cots in a child's bedroom because this set was the o'connor's original set. this is what they could afford so we're appreciative of the generosity of cousin katie, otherwise they wouldn't have been able to live in a four bedroom house. the bed close toast the window is a point of con contention between mother and daughter. in those days there wart no air conditioning in the house, and summertime, mary flannery always wanted to roll the bed over the window to sleep at night. that made sense. if you come over here and look at and see where the -- how close the roof is to the bottom of the window, you understand why regina would say, absolutely not. she didn't want her daughter crawling out there and possibly getting into trouble.
however, someone had made up her mind so when they looked in the morning the bed would be up against the window. over here on the mantle, on the right side, my favorite photograph of mary flannery at any age, and she -- it's the expression on herfy's that gets me -- on her face that gets me. she is about two in that photograph. she would write something that reminds me of this expression. i i was a pigeon toed only child with a receding chin and a you leave me acor i -- alone or i'll bite you complex. she was serious about that. she was an adult at six and touched herself surrounded by a sea of children show, didn't want them to pester here. over here in the corner, one of my favorite pieces to show is a table and chair set that was craft bid her uncle lewis on her
mother's side for the playhouse we had back here. he did an excellent job crafting the chairs so they would fit underneath that circular table. and they would indeed have tea parties back there. now, regina allowed her daughter to call her by her first nail, allowed her to attend the adult malls but still. ad her daughter to socialize with children her own age so she would set play dates, and just -- if they didn't have a tea party back in those days and there was no tea, mary flannery would supply the sound effects. so that everybody could know when she was pouring the tea indeed. so come on into the parents' bedroom. on the bed here we have a night gown from regina and we're fairly sure that cousin katie provided the furniture on the
parents' side, drug 1925 she would have bee stowed to the o'connors this kiddykoop. i was a manufactured piece of furniture and was designed to prevent mosquitoes carrying yellow fever from infecting children. we have it set up at the crib level. that can be lowered to the bottom of the frame and double as a play pen, which is how mary flannery would put it to use once chev was too old for it, because she wanted her pets in the house with her, and the pets are the chickens, and the only way that regina would allow the chickens in the house was for merry flapper to it toe put them in here. if you look out the windows we have the 1856 panes of glass. but it is -- look outside and see how the spires of the cathedral still dominate the view, just also it did back in
the days of the o'connors. all right. let's go this way. now, we are on the second floor bathroom. the third floor has not been restored but up there some interesting things used to take place from time to time when the o'connors lived here. sometimes when regina would set a play date, mary flannery would decide to entertain her guests in the bathroom upstairs. just like this one. had all the fixtures this one did, but before her guests would arrive she would go out in the back and pick some flowers, get some grainry off the shrubbery. take it to the bathroom upstairs and then go ahead and stand over the tub and she would pluck some of the petals off the flowers and let them fall to the bottom of the tub.
she would turn around, lift the lids of the toilet and array the bowl with the rest of the flowers and the greenery, and then put the lid down to hold the arrange independent place. i haven't been able to find out exactly where the inspiration for that decoration took place, but i think it was an incredibly important thing to do for emotional well-being of her guests because early on these were the only fairy tales she would allow to be read upstairs. so, a good thing she had decorated -- brightened up the bathroom upstairs the way she did. i still have a feel something of her guests went home traumatized after reading the grimms brothers. this lets us know this what her taste in lit tumor these are the kind of stories she liked. ready to back downstairs. another that that used to happen in the bathroom, she was writing stories even here in savannah. usually bat family of traveling
ducks and they would go around the world. she would annoy the guests as they were reading her stories back to hem her because she flood qualms saying, stop, stop, read that again. when they read something she had written that she was really fond of. there are her ears again just like with spelling and as an adult writer, just like here in savannah, she would always read her stories out loud to herself as she was edit can them and rewriting them. the stories had to pass her ears along with her eyes because she felt her ears were just as important to a reader as her eyes would. her father would stop advertising his businesses in 1933 and then try to find a job, which he finally did in 1938 but not here in savannah, up in atlanta an an appraiser for at the federal housing authority. just before her 13th birthday the o'connors would leave in march of 1938 and move up there. not long after they moved up there, unfortunately, he would be diagnosed with lupus. the same disease that would take
her life in 1964. at age 39. but as she would wright -- write in one of her letters, there was nothing left for her but the undertaker. so he sum culped by 1941. but 1941 regina had already moved herself and mary plan 'er to regina's childhood home in milledgeville and then edward would join them because the lupus was debilitating him and taking away his strength, and he would practices away in february of 1941. so just before her 16th 16th birthday, she has lost her father, and she had very close ties with her father, not only as daughter but she said in another one of her letters when she sat down to write, she felt like she was writing for the two of them. so they had a literary connection. so a very big blow for her, and so was leaving this house evidently because in another letter she would right -- just
at poignant to be torn away from a house as a person. so this house meant a great deal to her. she seemed to be well received, though she never expected to be well-received. she knew that her story were nonconventional she had something to say usual with about the grace being visited upon somebody who came to sear her but grotesque characters, larger than life characters and the violence often in her stories that she felt that she really had to impress upon the readers to get their attention, and literary community seemed to -- especially up in the northeast section of the country, seemed to attach themselves to her stories quickly. but her friends and relatives here in georgia just could not believe -- they didn't understand where she got her characters from. how did she know the people that
were in those stories. and i think a lot of that had to do with that, even as a young girl here in savannah, she wales always watching and listening so over the years she had some rich characters to watch and listen, not only near savannah but also milledgeville. [inaudible conversations] >> on your screen is a live picture of the trinity unite methodist church in downtown savannah. it's one of the venues that is used for this event of book festival. still an hour to go before our live coverage begins again. for schedule updates follow us on twitter, facebook, and instagram.
>> press -- preston is man of many parties, physician, painter, historian, and writer. even finds time to play golf. since preston retired from medicine after 30 years at memorial hospital, his paintings have appeared in regional art shows and in homes throughout the united states and europe. as well as here at the telefair and at the morris museum in augusta. his book, the low country from savannah to charleston, contains 85 of his paintings which capture the mystique of the region. preston russell, along with his wife, barbara heinz, who is hire today -- she can stand up -- [applause]
-- doe co-authored savannah, a history of her people, since 1733. and his most recent book is, lights of madness, in search of joan of ark. his pending work -- this means you're working on -- now deals with francis involvement in the american -- france's involvement in the american revolution and the father and son relationship between george washington and the young marquee delafayette. dr. russell has been an enthuseasic patron of the book festival since its beginning and was an author speaker in 2008. ladies and gentlemen, a true renaissance man, preston russell. [applause]
>> give me your tired, your poor, your teems masses. send these. the temp -- tossed to me. that's could easily apply in our country of immigrants to the founding of satisfy van na but it applies to the statue of liberty 150 years later, a gift from france to -- in our first centennial in 1876. savannah was founded in 1733 and is 50 years older than before america even was recognized as a country in 1783. so, a story of immigrants. and i guess we're pred pretty proud in these parts of being a rather old and traditional.
charlestonnans up the road are little older than us and a little uppitiy or whatever about how much older and and heartier they are than perhaps us. and it's been shrined the charleston unions are described as the chines in that they both eat a lot of rice and worship their ancestors, but with a little making up to do after nearly 300 years of marrying your first cousin and all the right families, six or eight right families over this time. matter of fact i think my home state of tennessee is like four million people but only seven last names. the motto tv tennessee. with this going on it has been said that you're not considered to be from an established savannah family until your first and last name are the same. we might take that as literal evidence from -- a proud
revolutionary war patriot who lived here in the 18th 18th century. there is an old saying that many of us know, that the jews own it, the irish run it, and the crackers enjoy it, or their rednecks like me have a good time at this sort of thing. the third oldest jewish congregation was founded in 1733 in savannah. anybody want to take a guess on the two old center in the audience? that was really the snapper there. right. it was newport, rhode island, but that was a good in. and new york was the other one. concerning the irish running it, even to this day we have the second largest st. patrick's day parade in all the world, and a couple of years ago two irishmen came from dublin and had a great time, and then said, we have leonard a lot over the weekend
about this, that we've learned that savannah has the second largest st. patrick's day parade in the whole world, and new york has the second best. georgia founded in 1733 was the last and indeed the poorest 13th colony which was admitted to the not union because there was no union but showed up as an english colony. and out of good p.r. and gamesmanship it was named after the king george ii, and it's always remains the largest state in the union, east of the mississippi river, and it was originally put here as sort of a spoiler buffer territory between the established english colony in south carolina and the spanish colony down in florida.
since this whole area from, say, south carolina down to the florida line was completely up in the air -- as long as you're grabbing territory that is going to be contested, why not go all the way? the original drawings of georgia, which was spliced out, went all the way from the atlantic ocean to the pacific ocean. cutting through god knows what. mississippi, texas, wherever that would go to if you keep going. so you might as well go big for it. initially this was a haven for all sorts of people, particularly religious haven. 16 languages, ranging from welch to gailic to arabic war spoken in georgia. the young eadvantage lest, john wetley, who came over to eadvantagize, the creak indians could speak find languages before he stormed back to to new england to establish the methodist religion.
and he rote about being in satisfy van anyway. shook off the dust on my feet and left georgia after having preached the gospel there, not also i ought but as i was able. unquote. he left rather disgruntled and his pie bog photograph as auld strange fires. a few problem with the young women here in the colony of georgia. i mention a religious haven. the jews came here in 1733 from portugal. soon after -- germans and -- they tended to settle outside of savannah up in ebenezer and founded their church, which is 20 miles up the road at returnon, because theey. ans want to preserve their language and religion and customs a little more than the rest of us here in savannah. christ church is a manifestation
of this being an english colony, founded in 1733, and sits on johnson square. anglican church at that time and you had people like john and charles westley, and george whitfield, claimed the most universally acclaimed evangelist in the world at that time who was win he was here founded the first orphanage which was bethesda. the were followed by scottish presence -- presence -- presence tareans and then a generation lated your have the founding of the oldest black church in america which is -- first african baptist church and located not that far from her on franklin square and always open to a very vibrant visitation of peek when joy their colorful and beautiful service.
central to the founding of georgia was a mysterious person name james ogle forth. we don't know that much about him except maybe for the worst. he had a speckled -- or spotted youth he actually killed some young man in a bar brawl, was not sent to prison for reasons not understood. so he emerges over in georgia appointed by the trustees to come over and sort of be the head of this first colonization of anglican settlers, and english historian named kenneth dover in our book wrote something that is rather interesting about the background of ogle thorpe. quote. a friend of onlilethorpe's laden with debt which he could not pay was thrown into the fleet prison and died there of smallpox under
horrifying conditions. few among us comprehend suffering and injustice until they are thrust under our eyes by the experience of someone we know. and we like to be judged by what we do then, without too close a scrutiny of what we failed to do before. his reaction to the death of his friend, robert castel, was to ask parliament to appoint a committee which would visit the london prison and make recommendations for reform. some, not enough, of the guilty were punished and some, not enoughing we regulations were made to stop abuse nets the future. at the rate the fate of this desperate knock the eyes of the secure and prosperous war torn and would never again be patched up.
certainly the curtain was torn forever for james and it was the emotional epiphany that gave the rest of his long life iron willed commitment. what we have on our squares, they originally were up to 24 at one time, i think we might be bask at 23. i keep losing count who gets put back and who hasn't been replaced yet. and the squares were laid out sort of like form and function in this sense. the squares were -- could be used as defensive units in case the spanish came up and attacked savannah. also, 40 families would be put around each square in identical little lot which was 60-by-90 feet, and a church would be put on each square, and those families would have the equivalent of a block ward won
was responsible for -- warden who was responsible for good discipline in the squares and a practical matters of raising between militia men to possibly fight the spanish if they came up from st. augustine. the trustees garden was laid out to the east of us, by sweat equity of a new colonialist, and one thing was to raise vegetables to eat, et cetera, and to raise mulberry trees which in turn would be foot for civic worms worms and we -- sils and we were going into thesel can business instead of having to pay such high prices to people like france and italy. so, it became -- savannah was a private business venture, a private business venture. some n which one of the quotations in the various journals: england will grow rich by sending her poor abroad.
and it was estimated by close studies of a family in london earned perhaps ten pounds, which doesn't sound like very much, does it? and would otherwise consume 20-pounds so you have a net loss of 10-pounds and the transport of the new colony of georgia they might generate with silk and sweat equity up to 600-pounds a year so a win-win situation. on founder's day, february 12th, 1733, 114 of the appearing lick colonists arrived on the queen anne, the wonderful georgia day, which people like lisa white has been part of in terms of having children parading at colonialists. itself has been school children remembering the heritage and
founding. however, of those 114, over half of those were dead by the second year from -- fill in the blanks. snake bites, fevers, everything under the sun. so it was a horrible time here for the first five or ten years physically. and yet we raised such provocative literature trying attract colonialists as this. this is oglethorpe's account written in 1733 which were descriptions of a swampy, stampy, steamy wilderness he never laid eyes on: quote, the hair is healthy. falls. being always serene, pleasant, and temp president, did to, never subject to excessive heat. rank lie. or cold. nor to sudden changes, except of course for the annual hurricanes we all have. the soil is impregnated with
such a fertile mixture that they use no manure, they have oranges, lemons, apples apples d pears besides the peach and apricot. they are so delicious that whoever tastes them will despise the insipid watery taste of those which we have in england, and yet such is the plenty of them that they are given to the hog in great quantities. so we got 0 little slip between the cup and the lip between boosterism and reality. concerning the crackers which is my gene pool. i group up in tennessee so was a hillbilly and when some indian property was opened up in the
1770s, they really came in droves, and these were people that didn't smell so good most of the time. and probably most of them couldn't read or write. i imagine they were good presbyterians, though. and one of the trustees, the english trustees, described them thus: disorderly vagrants, great villains, hort -- horse steals, et cetera. by no means the right sort which should settle our lands, which was accurate. however, after a span of ten to 20 years, the idealism of a perfect utopian colony based on private industry and silk growth collapsed. the beginning motto was, lattin -- latin, not for self but for others, very noble sounding. but after 20 years it much could have been like, what's in it for
me? standard started if a idealistic and then turned dysfunctional. with the loss of the silk industry, thus they switched to the rice industry, and, say, 20 or 30 or 40 years into the cotton industry in 1793, requiring vast amounts of raw manpower and the ban on slavery, which has been reasonably effective, at least 20230 years, disappeared in the 1750s and so by that time the colony of georgia was bankrupt, it was given back to the british government, dumped back, you might say, and slavery began in earnest. one point, one settler here described, it has become proverbial down here to say,
poor as a georgian. during the revolutionary period next second largest most bloody battle of the american revolution took place between the french and the americans as allies against the british and only rivals bunker hill as far as the most manpower lost. and as a large hit in which french and americans were thrown together in what is now the battlefield park that is sacred ground as maybe 600-700 unmarked graves all together in a pit which is flight the midful of the preserved battle park site. ...
>> he brought 60,000 guest, the union army. sherman had previously been to savannah and lost savannah. there was no burning, looting or destruction. savannah was spared. sherman just left savannah about four months later with those 60,000 troops. a significant amount of marriages occurred between savannah women and northern officers. so we come up past the american civil war through the reconstruction period ending in 1876. by the 1920's cotton had failed
because of overgrowth and lack of fertlization and in gave the weevil and savannah was back to being poor. lady aster said savannah was a beautiful lady with a dirty face. by the '40s and '50s the old houses in downtown savannah were worth more dead than alive just to get the bricks to build new houses. one city planner said savannah was so poor she was not able to destroy herself unquote. progress did make some hideous inroads in putting highways through one part of the old town and a street through three of the pressures squares. at one point they were going to extend lincoln street through colonial c