Skip to main content

tv   Book Discussion on The Slaves Cause  CSPAN  May 14, 2016 12:30pm-1:31pm EDT

12:30 pm
on schools because the case involved two elementary school girls. because schools are educating the young for citizenship, they must -- to teach youth to discount important principles of government as near plat tattoos -- mere platitudes. >> you-wam this and other programs online. >> i'm pleased to introduce man nisha sinha. the author of the counterrevolution of slavery, politics and ideology in antebellum, says, and the author of the history of the slave trade. in 2011 she was awarded a chan lore's medal and is the
12:31 pm
recipient of numerous fellowships including the national endowment for humidityities. "boston globe" calls the slave clause a powerful look at the struggle to end slavery in the united states. it's as multifacetted as the movement it chronicles. sinha -- we are so very delighted to have her joining us. please join me in welcoming manisha sinha. [applause] >> thank you for that generous introduction, so as you can probably tell from the size of this book. i have said almost everything wanted to about abolition in it. so today i will just briefly
12:32 pm
outline the book. the slave's cause is a comprehensive history of abolition that re-evaluates it as a radical, interavailable, social -- interracial, social movement. from far nature rowing the boundaries of freedom as self-ownership and legitimatizing new forms of servitude and modern forms such as slavianor, abolition gave birth to other political passions. not restricted to wartime emancipation, the american abolitionist movement unfolded in 100-year drama, in law, politics, literature, and on the ground activism. the book also extendonnologial program pers and rejects historical gigses between slave
12:33 pm
resistance and antislavery activism. only by writing african-americans, free and enslaved, out of its history, can we view abolition as a middle-class white movement, bird by facial paternalism and economic conservatism. slave resistance, i argue, rather than bourgeois liberalism, lay at the heart of the movement. slave rebellion parallel criticism of slavery in colonial america. the enslaved inspired the formation of the first quake of dominated societies as well as the first landmark cases that inaugurated emancipation in the western world. one could argue behind every singant anglo-american antislavery judicial decision
12:34 pm
lay in slaved litigants from the famous somerset case in britain in 1772 which established the freedom principle there but now louing slaveholders to forcibly transport slaves back back to te colony from print to the cases that apolished slavery right here in massachusetts. my students are always amazed when i tell them that slavery was abolished in the commonwealth because two slaves chose to sue for their freedom. right down to the dred scott case which inspired abraham lincoln to issue one of his most memorable indictments of slavery. the actions of slave rebels and runaways, freedom pret televisioner ins and claimants, did not lie outside but shaped abolition and its goals. i found the british quaker's call for immediate abolition in
12:35 pm
1824, which motor -- most historians or aware of. she called for immediate abolition with a strong defense of the slave rebellion that had taken place just a year prior. so, as most abolitionists understood, the story of abolition must begin with the struggles of the enslaved, and this is particularly true, something like they haitian revolution, whose impact on the movement to abolish slavery has not really been appreciated. we have many histories of the haitian revolution, and we are aware of the tragic history of the islands that are made worse by the policies of former colonializers, but we're really not aware of now profound its
12:36 pm
immigrant pact was on the movement to abolish slavery. how in fact it was the first instance if immediate uncompensate, that is to slaveholders, abolition. so the connection between slave resistance and abolition in the united states was proximate and continuous. it gave abolition its most enduring issue. the fugitive slave controversy, and provide the movement with its most dynamic -- we are all aware of frederick douglass cut -- but there were many men and women who wrote their narratives and the narratives constituted the literature of the abolition movement, and they also became very effective critics of proslavery ideology, slave holders found it difficult to dismiss former slaves as northern abolitionists who knew
12:37 pm
nothing about slavery and were simply armchair philosophers. in fact fumingsive slaves through their experiences -- fugitive slaves could present a very alternative picture of slavery for a much broader audience than that slaveholdes wanted to propagate. that they were ben never lint and took care of their slaves -- benevolent and took care of their slaves. so even after bitter divisions, nothing brought all abolitionists together more readily than the fugitive slave's desperate bid for freedom. they also head some abolitionists to justify revolutionary resistance to slavery. some historians have declared black resistance to enslavement but it was central to to the abolition mom. to leave the enslaved out of abolition is to profoundly miss the part that african-americans
12:38 pm
have played in shaping the protest traditions of american democracy. slave resistance revolutionized abolitionist discourse and practice and moved abolition into northern states and courthouses. liberty laws and attempts to grant fugitives trial by injury and prevent the kidnapping of free blacks into slavery, challenged the territoriality of slave code manned by the federal fugitive slave laws. freedom seekers contributed to the breakdown of comity between the south and north, in the civil war they helped initiate they process by flocking the union army lines and here's one instance you can see how emancipation during the war had in fact abolitionists roots.
12:39 pm
this movement to free slaves. the history of abolition is an integrated story. even though it is not usually told in that manner. the insidious divide between white and black activism that pervades and books is racist and inaccurate there was no such racial division of political labor in the abolition movement. early literature, black abolitionist response -- and debates over citizenship and immigration perform the work of political protests. the sophistication of black abolitionist thought should finally put to rest the influential and glib view of imitative and mired in the
12:40 pm
strictures of middle class reform and elitism and divorced from the plight of southern slaves and northern masses. black and white abolitionists went upon a simple appeal to the american run and traditions. they south to simply include african-americans in its promise. they critiqued the slave-holding public and constructed a counternarrative that high lighted origins in the slave trade and slavery. so most historians except that white abolitionists -- at lease now they do -- that white abolitionist got their anticolonyization program from african-americans. this was a program to colonialize all free blacks back to africa and found favor with the founding fathers, thomas jefferson, james madison, and with prominent politicians,
12:41 pm
right down to the civil war. but i found that black abolitionists' influence to be ongoing in the movement, beyond shrimp the rejection of colonization. so one of my biggs awe -- all how moments was to discovered that william lloyd garrison got his famous condemnation of the u.s. constitution as, quote, covenant with death and an agreement with hell from the black abolitionist minister, pennington. it made sense to me because garrison was not much of a scholar of the bible, and pennington was a theologian. that he would actually articulate this critique made sense. ironically, pennington side with the political and evan gel cal abolitionist that faction of the movement against garrison, as did many ministers, but garrison extend is his condemnation of
12:42 pm
the fugitive slave clause of the constitution to the constitution itself. the alternative nature of abolitionist is showcased be diverse membership which gave rise to corporation and to create a conflict across lines of race, class, and gender, that characterizes early american society. abolition movement was driven by passionate outers in which the disfranchised, including women, played a seminole role. women were abolition food soldiers and its leaders and orators. in the first women's rights movement, abolitionism reveal its face. and women speaking out in public or acquiring office in antislavery societies let to a division in the movement among the garrisonons who found
12:43 pm
women's rights were part of human rights and their relatively more conservative opponents who opposed women's rights can both for ideological reasons and also pragmatic reasons. they decide not want to saddle abolition with another unpopular cause. and during reconstruction, of course, the abolitionist feminist alliance that the garrisonnians had constructed. women -- but it also lost the abolitionist's commitment to racial equality. as i write in the book, some things were gained but a lot was lost. never the so-called mono maniacs they were lampooned eases, they recognized that the oppression
12:44 pm
of the slave was linked to other wrongs in their world. more than a few abolitionists joined such international radical movements such as feminism, utopian socialism, and pacifism, and championed native americans, immigrant and working men's rights. garrison issued indictment of finance capitalism and wall street in 1814. i quote him because he sounds like bernie sanders. and i quote, i am writing in wall street where the money changers congregate and where affluence and beggary are seen side-by-side and rightly named wall street because those who occupy it in quest of riches at the expense of mankind are walled in from the sympathies of human nature and they're hearts are as fleshless and hard as the
12:45 pm
paving stones on which they tread or the granite and marble builtle which they erectorred and dead it's indicated to their idle gains. unquote. only garrison could write like that. garrison formed an alliance with the british working class movement, supported journeymen printer strikes, and after the civil war supported the movement. some abolitionists, even contemplated contemporary american scourges, criticizing the criminalization of blackness and the use of capital punishment enforced by the state. garrison once quipped that onamerican institutions shut their doors to black people except what the called, quote, the prison houses. abolitionists, the book argues, was radical democratic movement that questioned the enslavement of labor as radical agitators.
12:46 pm
they were not so much purists of liberal democracy as many have argued but critics of it. in prioritizing the abolitionist slavery they did noting snore did not defend other forms of oppression in the modern world. abolitionists, i contend, were the intellectual and political precursors of 20th century anticolonial and civil rights activists. debating the nature of society and politics, the relationship between racial inequality, and democracy, nation and empire, labor and capital, gender and citizenship. the use of vehicle of antislavery to criticize the democratic pretentions of western societies and expose their senior side. abolitionists were opponents of, rather than stalking horses of imperialism. i have to confess, as an indian woman writing about american
12:47 pm
abolition i was delighted to read condemnation of british imperialism in india in the liberator, and uncover personal connections between early indian nationalists, and anglo and american abolitionists who were interested in the cause of india. in fact, i discovered that just as abolitionists had circulated locks of hair from the british abolitionists -- famous british abolition nist, thomas clarkson and william wilberforth. they sent locks of hair to be sold in boston. that was quite an amazing find. abolitionists were original and critical thinkers on democracy, not simply remoon take reformers who confined themselves to appeal to the heart.
12:48 pm
the movement against slavery made a signal contribution to the discourse of human rights rt humanitarianism. the pictures of slave narratives to abolition newspapers and pamphlet, has appeared to many scholars as bourgeois sent mentality, voyeuristic pornography, and racist object objectivation of slaves. this -- on the real history of black dunk under the political economy of a harsh slave regime leads people astray and it weeds out the black presence it in completely. its roots lie in slaveholders' defensive response to abolitionists criticism and fundamentally misreads
12:49 pm
abolitionist criticism. the intend to provoke empathy from an audience whose very comforts were dependent on the exploitation of those deemed inferior and expendable. those lessons remain useful today. confronted by reactionary expansion expansionist slave-holing class that dreamed of an empire based on slavery, the real slave power, rather than the figment of a paranoid imagination, abolitionists developed an uncompromising response to its aggressions at home and abroad. as the movement matured in the teeth of strong slave-holding opposition and state power in the united states, the cause of the american slave became enter twined with that of democracy, and civil rights. it's no consequence that the brief and incomplete triumph of the abolitionist vision resulted
12:50 pm
in the greatest expansion of american democracy, abolition's demise its greatest contraction. as eb due boys argued, lay the slaves struggle for freedom and human dignity. abolitionists' political project, the slower throw of the slavery-based policy of the 19th century meshing public was at the vanguard of antislavery. some abolitionist became disenchant it with their government and others sought to harness the power of the state against slavery. the history of abolition is an test case our a radical movement generates engines of political
12:51 pm
change, as they do in all social movements, questions of principle verse expedience si permeated abolitionism, gave rise to division of tactics. the culpability of the church, state, and society as well as ameanablity to change. whether society could be transformed through political action and whether the state was an arena of conflict or a tool of the, quote, slave power. it's a mistake, however to equate slave holders' political power with motte modern state formations. for good reason. the conservative political tradition of american slave-holdsers who dominated the federal and state governments from the inception of the american republic, and used all the power, all the prepresssive powers of the state to further the slavery was strongly antistatists and ruling states
12:52 pm
use negative power of the state to police people. i tell a very different story of state development and democratic political change than the more pessimistic view of the state. a look at how abolitionists and antislavery radicals use the power of the states to implement their vision of an interracial democracy, this is of course especially true after the antislavery republican party came into power with lincoln's election in 1860, and i do want to add a caveat here that everything you know about the republican and democratic party today, you should just simply flip for the 19th century. i think it is a useful corrective for modern day activists who fight against the vairsous forms of economic injustice to look at the ways in which abolitionists sought to
12:53 pm
affect political change. perhaps no one understood this better than the fugitive slave abolitionist frederick douglass who broke with garrison over precisely this issue. the issue of political action. the origins of progressive constitutionalism lie in the abolitionist debate of the nature of the u.s. constitution, and particularly with doug douglass who viewed the constitution as a living, breathing document, that each generation made anew. it was certainly that abolitionist vision that inspired radical reconstruction the reconstruction amendments to the constitution after the civil war. a new historical narrative of abolition, the slave challenges long-standing interpretive binaries. for too long stories of abolition told the story in a
12:54 pm
fragmented fashion and coin to do so long lines of race and gender. older historical debates, over the relative importance of garrisonnians versus evangelicals and political abolitionists, eastern versus western, revisit and rehash abolition questions. at types uncritically adopting the position of their subjects. i have found them to be far less important than the attention lavished on them. suggests in highly conducive to the perpetuation of stereotypes that defy the historical record. recent sympathies and abolition provide global history of slavery and emancipation. by contrast my into narrates a movement history of abolition in the united states, in a transnational context. it stresses continuity rather than rupture in the abolition tradition, which from its inception, was an interracial one ask tied to the development
12:55 pm
of american democracy. from the early quaker and black protests against slavery, to the rise of the anglo-american movement against the slave trade in the late 18th century, to the golden age of abolitionism in the years before the civil war, abolitionists were united by their devotion to the slave scores. the abolitionist project of perfecting american, indeed global, democracy, remains to be fulfilled. in that sense, its legacy is an ongoing one. thank you for listening so patiently. [applause] i should add that much of what i said is from the introduction of the book, so i you like what you heard today, the book is available at the book store. i've been told i should say that. but i welcome questions.
12:56 pm
>> hello. since you mentioned the haitian revolution i wanted to ask about a slightly more global -- what did the american abolitions take from the haitian revolution and emancipation in the caribbean and south mrs., particularly from the british example. >> very good question. abolitionists were rather cosmopolitan in their approach. they recognized slavery as a hemisphere-wide resolution to lauded the haitian revolution of the only example of immediate abolition without compensation to slaveholders. so abolitionists, especially they garrisonnians were very critical of emancipation because of the period of a prepares
12:57 pm
tisship and compensation to slaveholdded. garrison said if finch deserved compensation it was the slaves themselves, and even more than they garrisonnians, i found me american abolitionists were really aware of the latin american wars of independence, debate over citizenship rights for free blacks versus enslaved people, and they reproduced writings of revolutionaries, and this continues right down to the 1830s and the 1848 european revolution. of course, many of the the refugees from the revolution, especially germans, joined the abolition movement, so it was kind of a direct connection there. but what fascinated me to tell you the truth, the most, was the fact that someone like garrison, who is a pacifist, in fact an extreme pacifist, nonresistant,
12:58 pm
he doesn't believe in the use of force in any circumstances. lauds the haitian revolution and doesn't see it as a contradiction. so eventually when abolitionist come to support something like john brown's raid, they have had a long history of looking at transnational movements, of instances of slave rebellion, and actually defending them. >> you mentioned items that were for sale in the slave -- antislavery fairs. can you say something about the fairs fairs and were they integrated effort and what would you see at them? what would they like? >> the antislavery fairs were really something that were managed by women abolitionists, and many times they were in fact integrated affairs so the first
12:59 pm
antislavery bazaar, that's put it, was organized in boston by chapman, and included sometimes african-american abolitionist women, like susan paul. what was interesting about the fairs is how abolitionists created kind of a modern movement. their fundraising tactics were really interesting. they would -- women would produce needlework, a -- farmers would bring putter -- bring butr and other produce. more fancy items were donated in england and protect over, including these locks of hair i mentioned. black women sometimes held their own bazaars to support particularly black newspapers like the colder american or fred rick -- fred rick douglass'
1:00 pm
paper, and black wimp in the female antislavery society. so you had fairs coming up that were coopings among women. ... how women contributed to the
1:01 pm
no positive law allowing for slavery and the two cases were only after the constitution was adopted. so it was almost like they couldn't sue on principle for abolition because there wasn't any loss to them. was this true in other states, northern states?
1:02 pm
>> interestingly enough in massachusetts, 1641 body of liberty allowed the enslavement of, quote, strangers but at the same time we had an array of puritan traditions that allowed them to sue for their freedom on various grounds. one of the most common was man stealing which is condemned by the bible. there were instances of africans in boston in the 17th century who sued for their freedom saying they had been kidnapped into slavery. those puritans set them free. you had this tradition of suing for freedom but it quickened during the revolution era with many more instances of enslaved people suing for their freedom or petitioning to their freedom, some were the spanish law which allowed them to work for one day and accumulate money to buy themselves to various avenues to
1:03 pm
escape slavery. what is interesting was it goes right up to the supreme judicial court of massachusetts and in fact the judge ruled slavery violates not the old body of liberties but the new constitution that had just been promulgated and the rights for the citizens of the commonwealth and that leads to the end of slavery here. in other northern states you had emancipation laws that freed children of slaves after a long period of apprenticeship. >> garrison saying it was the slaves, each one to ask, what about the subject of
1:04 pm
accumulation of wealth by slaves and what about focus, how much do you focus on? is it possible to quantify? >> it is. i would hesitate to say slaves accumulate wealth. they accumulated a few private belongings. sometimes they sold produce from gardens they cultivated over the weekend. we know about this because during the civil war when the union army marched and there was devastation of property in the south there were actually slaves, the southern claims commission said we lost this amount of property, this amount of livestock that was valued so you had those instances and some exceptions to the rules where
1:05 pm
you had african-american slaveholders but we know that slaves did not exactly accumulate wealth the way slavers did based on centuries of unpaid labor. >> it is clear you are immersed in this subject and i'm curious how it started with this direction of study. >> great question. my first book on southern slaveholders and the rise of proslavery ideology and states rights, i decided i wanted to write about people i actually liked. and so i decided to write a book about abolitionists who were there opponents and in a way i already had a sense of the way slaveholders receive the abolition movement and abolitionists, and it peaked my interest and i spent the next
1:06 pm
ten years, didn't know what i was getting into because whatever abolitionists lack in part, they made up in out producing, mighty opponents, and it is a huge archive to master. >> you spoke in a general way of a continuity between later movements, women's movements, civil rights and so on with the earlier movements. are you saying that the later movements follow the same track or reinvented the same wheel or are you saying the later movements actually went back and drew on the same the same writings. and recapitulate what
1:07 pm
abolitionists were doing. and different activists have different faith at different points in history. i wouldn't say they were simply doing the same things abolitionists were doing. they confronted new problems and even though after the fall of reconstruction there was an attempt to push black people as much as possible the fact remains slavery was no longer -- there was a different struggle. i do see when i write this in the epilogue that most american radicals beginning with the early labor movement, to the populist, to american socialists etc. to the civil rights activists who call themselves the new abolitionists and call their movements the second reconstruction of american democracy, actually quite aware of the abolitionist antecedent
1:08 pm
and they did it at times to legitimize their own struggle but also sometimes use some of their ideas and tactics like having lecturing agents, or the international workers immediately adopted the fight for free speech. of course put into play for very particular problems with those movements faced at that time. if you read the epilogue of the book, elaborates on that because i think if i did this book would be thicker than it is already, told by my editor not to make it any longer but i wanted to explore the connections.
1:09 pm
>> can you tell us about the abolition proposal for immigration in a number of ways? >> that is a great question. and of course a good one for the story of immigration, the abolitionists try to recruit immigrants to their cause especially in boston. gaston was very aware of the lost irish immigration coming in and look at and early editorial condemning nativism and the rise of political nativism and then he thought he could actually use irish nationalists like daniel o'connell who was an abolitionist to issue the appeal to irish immigrants known as the irish appeal to join the abolition movement. for various reasons that did not
1:10 pm
work. part of it was irish immigrants into southern leaving democratic party, influence of the catholic church at the time. when the irish appeal was issued, bishop john hughes ironically condemned it as foreign interference in american affairs and in the end, the abolitionist fails to recruit large number of irish immigrants into their cause but not for lack of trying. there were others who rejected irish leaders, political leaders who rejected this connection with the abolition movement and elected robert tyler who was the son of slaveholding john tyler as president of the irish association and the american abolitionists, o'connell was brilliant, part of it of course
1:11 pm
is hypernationalism, demonstrating loyalty to your adopted country, not criticizing its institutions, and challenge the constitution in the view of many but daniel o'connell issued a wonderful letter before his death, it was not in ireland, this cruelty, this project of recruiting immigrants among the irish, with the germans they were a little more successful because a lot of them were 3 thinking refugees from the 1848 revolution. they brought that commitment to liberal democracy, human rights, general idea which they put into the service of the abolition
1:12 pm
movement. these gymnastic clubs they had were really important in defending abolitionists and african-americans from attacks by anti-abolition, the irish story does not end on a bad note. the land leagues formed real connections with irish radicals and the dream anti-slavery activists had of having a connection with immigrants does come through after the war. patrick ford who was an apprentice to garrison in his newspaper the liberator joined henry george -- after the civil war and the newspaper, the new liberator, these connections eventually bear fruit but it was a troubled relationship before the civil war. great question. >> this question about abolition, you mentioned veterans of 1848 and europe, to
1:13 pm
what extent did american abolitionists travel to other parts of the world themselves, were they present for emancipation? were they talking about this, substantially depending whether they were black or white, men or women? >> they did in fact, not just white abolitionists but black abolitionists traveled all over the world, you find black abolitionists like william brown or pennington, find them in the paris peace congress, very much part of the pacifist movement, the rise of the world peace conventions, anti-slavery conventions, women like maria chapman who is in paris and forms a connection or with the russian movement against serfdom, tremendous contact with the garrison as you might know, alexander humbled was an idol
1:14 pm
for many abolitionists, they did their lecturing tours in britain and a little later on in europe. they meet at a point to talk to the sort of liberals in europe who are fighting against absolute monarchy to connect to their causes. they sought an ideological connection and so do the europeans. it was the cause of all nations. and i think that is, in fact, a correct understanding of exactly what happened in terms of personal relationships too. >> you mentioned the status of citizenship or citizenship status. i am interested to know if citizenship in and of itself was used in various ways in other
1:15 pm
places or any discussions or discussions about the kind of responsibilities, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. slaves, ex-slaves and in between. >> another great question. the ideal republican citizenship includes not just rights but duties of citizenship. this is one way in which african-american abolitionists really did influence the agenda of the abolition movement. free african-americans in the north made sure the abolition movement was not complete fighting to destroy southern slavery, but may reach an equality in black citizenship, an essential part of its agenda including fighting jim crow and segregation in schools in the north. this was the single contribution to the abolition movement. they rejected africa, insisted they were entitled to
1:16 pm
citizenship and the idea precisely according to what you mentioned which is we have performed the duty of citizenship. many of us served in the revolutionary war, some of them, it was literally a veteran of the revolutionary war. as a young teenager, refused to announce the patriot cause and imprisoned in a british man-of-war. some font in the war of 1812 and during the civil war particularly when large numbers of african-americans fight in the union army, 180,000 of the union army, 20,000 in the union navy, they really do link the duties of citizenship, good enough to bleed for the country but not good enough to cast a vote, good enough for bullets but not the ballot.
1:17 pm
any other questions from the audience? yes? >> i am so very pleased to hear that you are communicating the connection between the two groups. it is probably the first time i heard it put this way. i am also struck by the quote which was suggested that slaves were owed something. in the context today, to have discussions about reparations are african-americans, it is a no no. it is interesting these were happening then, and in many
1:18 pm
circles today. can you talk a little bit about that? >> absolutely. when you had indentured servitude in the colonial era which -- for a number of years when they became free they got freedom, sometimes a plot of land, that became increasingly bad. it included two sometimes livestock just to give them a start in leading a life of freedom so when african-americans were emancipated during the civil war, when they asked for freedom they were going back to an old and venerable tradition but of course no one viewed it as that. there demand for land and compensation was ignored except for wartime grants, 40 acres, sherman's field order number 15, settling former slaves in plots
1:19 pm
of land and immune from the union army and those were revoked when andrew johnson became president. he was one of those who thought if you give black people rights you somehow took away rights from whites, he was completely against the idea of distributing abandoned lands abandoned by slaveholders, these slave people, there was an ongoing discussion about this at that time and abolitionists and radical republicans insisted that in fact slaves were owed something. they called it compensation. we call it reparation today. everyone thinks that is a pie in the sky idea. even radicals sometimes -- that this was possible or feasible. at that time period many abolitionists, most
1:20 pm
abolitionists, this was something owed to free people and certainly african-americans themselves, free people themselves raised that demand for compensation for generations. >> the question back there was related to this. is there a way to put a number figure on the value of the christmas labor through the years? that is what you were asking. >> i completely misunderstood your question. >> i didn't ask well. >> we know that there were 4 million enslaved people according to the 1860 census and they were valued at $3 million at that time. in terms of trying to put value on their labor, that would be a
1:21 pm
fascinating task. as far as i know, no economic historian has actually done that. damon right, a very prominent economic historian of slavery from stanford university argued if a southern farmer owned one slave, not a big slaveholder, was richer than any northern white man because the value of the slave was so high. most northern white men, farmers, etc. much richer than average weight northern property holders. if you owned one slave, slaves were considered such valuable property as capital. the value of their labor must've been immense because -- the value of slave world cotton, the
1:22 pm
main item of export from the united states in the antebellum era, its value exceeded all other items of export from the united states. a tremendous economic asset, putting a number on the value of slave labor, and enormous thing. thank you for clarifying that. >> one place to start, certain buildings were built by slaves, certain buildings in washington dc. that is a place to start. >> certainly. there is something rather moving i said yesterday, in dc,
1:23 pm
something enormously moving to see the obamas in the white house that was built with slave labor and indeed, many official buildings that belong to the state that use slave labor because washington dc had legal slavery right up to 1862, the middle of the civil war, you had emancipation in the capital of the nation itself. any other questions or comments? or have i silenced you all with my long answers? >> are there descendents of the abolition movement, can you identify descendents of the movement? >> i had a very interesting experience after publishing this book. there are activists within black lives matter, within occupy wall
1:24 pm
street, who are fascinated by the history of abolition. i received emails and messages from a contemporary activist, looking to the movement who read the book and are surprised sometimes to find precedents for what they are fighting for. on the other hand i have received emails from direct descendents of the abolitionists themselves, the great-granddaughter of william lloyd garrison, the great great-granddaughter of a black abolitionist right here in boston, the great-great-grandson, a distinguished professor emeritus from cornell university, eliza right, up prominent political abolitionists wrote to me. i have been getting messages literally from the direct descendents of abolitionists. what is interesting to me about many of these people is they are
1:25 pm
still fairly active. they are active in various causes. some of them beholding a vigil against capital punishment, death penalty today, right here in boston commons and i should mention that today is the international day of remembrance for victims of slavery and the slave trade. so there are people who are still involved and active in some of these causes and that is the enduring legacy of the abolition movement. we are getting a signal, i know c-span is strict with its time limit so perhaps we should call it an evening, as far as this part of the program is concerned. if you're interested in autograph i will sign them for you.
1:26 pm
[applause] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> this weekend on afterwards, einar and fellow don watkins discusses income inequality with diana -- former that's for freedom ceo talks about teddy roosevelt's citizenship and how
1:27 pm
it applies to today. former publisher aaron mccue recounts political missteps in american history. her book is political suicide. former us assistant system secretary of state kim holmes argues liberals abandoned their core principles. former fda commissioner david kessler on the history of mental suffering. historian gerald horne talks about life and politics of entertainer paul robeson. harvard university's daniel schapiro discusses how to resolve emotionally charged conflict. for a complete television schedule visit booktv.org. booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction books and authors. television for serious readers. >> men and women being equal in the workplace and you are dealing with a very real physical difference between men and women, what does equality
1:28 pm
look like? does it mean treating men and women exactly the same? women exactly the same, as in pregnancy in the picture or does it mean taking account of pregnancy? at one point, it has a lingering effects but that caused a serious rift in the feminist community that is covered in chapter 5. in the early years after title vii was an accident, the courts and the eeoc did not know what to do about pregnancy, they were so confused. finally in 1972 they issued guidance, the law was enacted in 64, issued a guidance and 72 saying firing someone because she is pregnant is illegal. he racing her seniority when she is on leave having a baby is illegal. the supreme court had a decision about that. those kinds of punitive measures, another case was a woman who was a teacher, her
1:29 pm
school district and acted a rule that after the third or fourth month of pregnancy the teacher had to be out of the classroom because she had to be on leave, couldn't be anywhere near the kids. those restrictions were struck down but where the court got gummed up was when it came to things like should pregnant women be able to participate equally in paid disability program, the guy who was out for a while getting cancer treatment, the woman out having a baby, he was getting a paycheck and she wasn't. that was at general electric. the supreme court found in general electric's favor. they found pregnancy discrimination wasn't automatically sex discrimination because there were plenty of women who never got pregnant. a distinction between men and women, this was a distinction between pregnant and non-pregnant persons.
1:30 pm
[laughter] >> so the backlash was swift and congress enacted the pregnancy discrimination act in 1978. the general electric decision was 76. the pda definitely cleared things up to an extent but two cases that are in the book about pregnancy, three cases in the book about pregnancy are after the pda. it did not clear everything up. >> you can watch this and other programs online@booktv.org. >> good morning, everyone. hoping you are well. i am delighted to welcome you all, also those of you in the twittersphere, this event is being webcast, we will be taking

11 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on