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tv   Panel Discussion on Mississippi History  CSPAN  August 29, 2016 6:00am-7:01am EDT

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from jackson in just a few minutes on booktv. >> welcome, everyone. i'm chris goodwin with the mississippi department of archives and history. please silence your cell phones. c-span is recording these sessions. this is the mississippi history panel. sponsored by beard and ricer architects architects architects and nautilus publishing we thank the legislature for letting us use the beautiful mississippi state capitol this year for the book festival. we could not ask for a lovelier spot to be. all of our authors, all of our panelis are authors. all of their books are available for sale outside today, and they will all be signing copies of
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their works. you can find the schedule for a when they'll be available to sign in your program. and i encourage you al all to visit with him. thank you for doing this. this is wonderful and we're excited about it. our moderator for the panel today is jerry healthridge, the distinguished author of "theodore roosevelt and the assassin and the campaign of 1912" and the fantastic book "high cotton. ." >> thank you, chris. thank you for choosing to come to the mississippi history panel this afternoon. we're fortunate we have authors of four really interesting becomes that cover the range, the spire range of mississippi history, from the earliest historic epic to the late 20 them century, so we can't ask for a better panel of authors and a wider range of mississippi
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history to talk about today. i would like to introduce the authors before we start. to my far left, is jim barnett. he is retired director of historic properties, division of the mississippi department of archives and history. he is the author of two books publish bid the university press of mississippi. the first its "mississippi's american indians" published in 201. the second is "a history to 1735 which is what he will be discussing today." his third poock, "beyond control" the mississippi rivers now channel to the gulf of mexico, will be published by the university press next year. jim lives in naches. next to jim is jim woodrick. since 1997 he has worked for the mississippi department of archives and history, is direct
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you or the historic preservation division and was a sites historian and as a lifelong student of civil war, also a member of the jackson civil war roundtable and historians of the western theater. his book, which is published by history press, its called "the civil war siege of jackson, mississippi." next to jim is anne webster, who retired two years ago from mdah. there's a pattern here. where she had assisted researchers for 35 years. her first poock for the university press of mississippi -- there's another pattern, i guess -- with co-author kathleen hutchinson was tracing your mississippi ancestors which received the author oses award for nontexas from the mississippi library association in 1995. and today anne will be discussing her second book for the university press, which is"
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mississippians and the great war: selected letters." and finally to my immediate left, is lee annis, a native of maryland, a long-time professor of hoyt at montgomery college. he is the author of "biography: howard baker, con sillator in the age of crisis" and with senator william frist, co-awe or of the "tess this senators" his new book is" the godfather of miss "published last month by the university press of mississippi. so, i have a couple of questions for our panelists to get things started. but i'm hoping the audience will also have questions. so, if you have a question, please stand at the lectern here in the center of the rom, and
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form a line behind and that will be our signal you have a question, and we'll break away at the earliest possible opportunity and you can ask your question. so, my first question for the panel -- i thought we could good in chronological order -- not by author's age but with the period covered by the' history of the books -- is would you please briefly describe your book and tell us how you came to write the book and what drew you to the subject of the book. so startling with jim, blows. >> i think my age qualifies me as chronologically the oldest anyway. my book, the history of the naches indians, to 1735, covers the history of what i think is one of the most important american indian groups in north america, and if you look at the history really from the
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beginning of the lasalleed and digs, it's only about 35 years e period we had major events that take place that shaped the lower mississippi valley and mississippi and louisiana until today, and on into the future. we have had the establishment of french louisiana, the french colony, based on the gulf coast. there was the rise and fall of the indian slave trade, something not many people are very familiar with. i covered them in my book and there are other books that cover it in much more detail. a third thing is the coming to the lower mississippi valley of john law's company of the indies which brought thousands of people over here from france to settle in the lower mississippi valley.
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and finally, the french establishment of fort rose in naches in august of 1716. 300 years ago this month. and in naches we just had a big celebration to commemorate that. these were huge events, and just a 50-year time period. the naches indians were flight the middle of it. they were key players mainly because of their location on the mississippi river. there had been a number of articles written about the naches, mainly concerned with their ceremonial culture, things about them that today really make them distinguished from other american indian groups in this area. but the only history that had been written before i did my book was wherein in -- written in 1911 by an excellent
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historian, john swan, and that was a long time ago and a lot of things changed since he wrote his history, especially ideas how we look at the american indian societies that were here when europeans came to colonize. to the ideas have changed and mature quite a bit and i hope what i have -- the way i said it in my book is an up to date and modern look at this very important indian group. you ask how i came to write this book. i've been interested in naches indians for a long time. i was fortunate enough to have my office at the grand village of the naches indians for 33 years. so i really had a chance to study the naches culture, just by chance i wrote an article for
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the journal of mississippi history on the african slave trade, the domestic slave trade in north america, which is not something i am an expert in by any means but i wrote the article, and craig gill from the university press, contacted me and said, would you like to write a book about the slave trade? and i said i'd rather write a book about indians-something i know about. so that kind of how that came about. and as to my interest in history, i credit that to dinosaurs and davey crockett. when i was a kid i found out through those sources and walt disney what a wonderful place the past is, and how you get to it through books and the way you get to visit that place, and so i'm proud to be participating in this. >> thank you, jim.
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so, jim woodrick would you tell us about the civil war siege of jackson, mississippi. >> i'd be able to first i want to echo what chris said. an or to be here in this beautiful place and so glad you're here and participating in the book festival, it's a wonderful event. i guess i'll start with how the book came about. it managed somewhat locational as well. had worked in downtown jackson for 30 years or so, and have the privilege of working next door to our old capitol museum, and i've been a student of the civil war, particularly in mississippi, for most of my life, and as all of you are, well acquainted with the vicksburg campaign. i had realized that there was part of that story that had not been told, and that is what occurred directly after the siege of vicksburg, which ended on july 4, 1863. and that's the jackson campaign,
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and the siege of jackson. and as i looked around, i remember one day i was reading a diary entry and there was a union soldier who was writing his wife and he was sitting on the south stoop of the state capitol building at that time. wasn't the whole capitol yet. and he said he was -- he couldn't go inside to tour it because they had guards posted. so i thought, that's a shame. but then i thought, well, i'm looking out the window as i'm reading this at the spot where that soldier sat. so, i decided at that point that i needed to do something about that. and a dear friend approached me years before about redoing an earlier book on the battle and seem -- siege of jackson. he had he audacity to die before we got the project done but the idea stayed witch in and the result this seeming of jackson book.
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very briefly, the seeming of -- siege of jackson took place in 1863 and follows the surrender of the arm idea a vicksburg, grant send sherman back toward jackson to deal with an army under the -- confederate army under the commend of joseph johnston. johnson has been dallying around and hides in madison county throughout may and june with about 33,000 men under an army called the army of relief. the object of the army was to relieve vicksburg but never made an attempt to do that. but he was a skilled commander, and grant could not leave that army in his rear and then abandon vicksburg back to the confederates. so the siege took place for a week's time in jackson -- i'm not going to give you too many details because i want you buy
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the book but i will say that for a week, there were 70,000 men, blue and gray, right here in downtown jackson. in fact the spot where we now was at the time the state penitentiary. there's no connection between the capitol and the penitentiary, but the fighting took place all around us and i hope from this book people will be able to appreciate that history took place right rear amongst us. >> thank you. anne webster, tell us about "mississippians and the great war." i'm a research librarian, not a historian, and i was in that capacity at the state archives for a very long time, and i assisted researchers from all over the world coming to do research in our facility. and we used to have a collection development meetings and we would come up with -- we have gaps in the lex are collection and i world world war i, the
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great depression, other gaps we had, and so i started plunging in the collection and i happened upon -- this is years ago -- works progress administration papers, the wpa in mississippi compiled county histories, and one of the topics was war. block...
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they were. >> that meant there was a lot more out there. in addition to looking at private collection at world war ii started reading county newspapers from all around the state. i did want to try to cover all areas of the state. i have succeeded to some degree but actually not as much as i'd like to because some towns where i thought there would be letters to the editor about publication from the boys overseas were not any. there could be just to the addition of the paper to get a microfilm that was not the addition that had the letters. the different additions used to be. i do not know if early on if
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there are two or three editions of the paper. i did the best i could. i found some wonderful letters. i tried to have men who served, i found a lot of letters of women who went over as red cross nurses or army nurses. surprisingly i found some letters of some pastors who resigned their church position and went over to work for the ymca. i thought that was an interesting slant that i had not thought about or expected to find. i really had a wide array of individuals to include in the book. i think the reason i continued as i am compiling information, i am finding more and more and thinking this might be a book and why, i said because no one has really -- when i had been researching the archives the main topics of research are civil wars of rights.
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i said, i'm sorry it's time to tell a little bit more of the history of the state because in the thousands of boxes, at the archives there is an untold story that people are not delving into. they are using the internet, i love the internet, however there are so many vast collections untouched out there for researchers to discover. i am still plugging for the archives, you need to come down and see what is there because it is incredible holdings that are waiting for you to discover them. >> thank you and. leanne would you -- lee anise would you please tell us about yours. >> i was working on a book about senator baker about 2006 and i
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was thinking will as i drove across mississippi when i had a little time to kill i was thinking about who would be my next project. there are a number of southern senators who were in the 1950s and 60s and 70s, really powerful souls who had not yet had a good biography written. let me suggest to you there is not a full biography of john stennis or john mcclellan, or john sparkman. i would encourage anyone who is out there to take a triad it. there is also jim eastland and as i read more about political history in 2006 and 2007 i started to see tales of conservative senators like jesse helms and orrin hatch. i was really surprised.
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i was surprised when i saw that people like ted kennedy and joe biden, and nelson, forgotten senator also went to jim eastland for advice or a quick pro quote from time to time. if i have the chance i pursued it. again, this is a story i got to know mississippi of great people, great food, great music. it is worth coming down here. i have not had a dull moment since i started this project. >> thank thank you. i will ask my follow-up question now and if you like we will open the floor to questions from the audience. the question is, as a both a reader and author of history books, one of the thing i think about is the relevance to the subject. even though it is said in the past what does it have to say it to today?
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what do i expect today's reader to take away from the subject that is going to be meaningful? so my question for you to the panelist in your particular subject, what is it that you would like the reader to take away from your book that would speak directly to today's world? >> there are number of things to take away from any number book from the history with the natchez indians there is story of people, group of people, and ethnic group that happened to be where they were when colonization came to the lower mississippi valley. after 1735 the natchez had to leave their homeland in archaeology we could say that they were about for about 1000 years before that time. they left their hometown in 1735
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and went toward the east because they have been fighting a war with the french which made them allies with the english. the english were in carolina so that is where they headed. that was in 1735. in the 1930s, the first time that anthropologists were loosed upon the world to harass the native people and begin gathering information about lots of cultures, there was natchez people in oklahoma who still spoke the natchez language. that was 200 years after there is any need for there to be a natchez language. but there are people speaking the natchez language in eastern oklahoma in the 1930s. those speakers have passed on, there are no active speakers of
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the natchez language, although that natchez people living in eastern oklahoma are trying to bring that language back to life. there are sound recorders at michigan state university and lots of information about what the natchez language was like. so there tried to bring the language back as a living language. their language is just one aspect of their total society. these people are still here, they are not recognized by the federal government but they are still here. in my career with the department of archives and history i have been fortunate enough to get to know some of these people. the take away is that society that we think maybe are gone, they have a way of staying alive.
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>> i think a couple of things and i have alluded to the first one already and that is that the siege of jackson took place right here, even though there are no evident signs that any military action took place. this jackson does not look like the vicksburg national military park. but if you know what you are looking for and i tried to paint a picture in the book of what was here at the time and what little remains. i think we need to remember what took place there, market in some way, it may be a take away will be that there'll be some sort of interpretive effort down the road. i think also for any civil war book that i read i always look for the human stories. i tried to focus on the stories of the individuals who served on this campaign from the private
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to the major general. i think what i really hoped people would get from that is that they were not cartoon figures. these are very complicated individuals with the same fears and desires that we have today. i think we tend to sometimes make history to black-and-white, too simple, they were for this, they were for that, this is the way they ate. it is not always that easy. one good example of that is the commander of the union expedition, william t sherman who every person seems to have an opinion on sherman whether good or bad. in jackson he exhibited both good and bad traits. that is just like we are today. my take away would be these are
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just people. >> how many of you remember studying world war i in your u.s. history course? that is more than i thought. my course, we never got to world war i because we spent so much time of the american revolution and civil war. i know that i got to world war i when i set the w because i saw my textbooks and i took it out for this and i saw that i underlined things. people i talk to consider world war i to be the forgotten war. we just do not talk about it. we do not study it. the world that changed with world war i. we became a recognized world leader after world war i. even though these individuals and their individual stories and
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letters, these were farm fit boys for the most part. people who had never left mississippi or their hometown in many instances. they were going overseas to fight for a cause. they were really behind it of the most part all of the ones that i found were willing to go and serve and in some cases people wonder why we had not been there before. i had one letter from an individual who fought with the canadian expeditionary forces. he went early went early because he thought it was a just cause. we always read about people saying, what if the south had won the civil war? what my question is, what if we had not entered that war? the world would be a vastly different place. as for its relevance today i would not have know this if i'd not been researching this book,
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again i was not aware of the consequences. all of this trouble in the middle east that we are having right now, so so many of those countries involved, involved after world war i. promises were made after world war i and we do not look up to them. conflict is still resulting today because of that. so if it is any more relevant i do not know how you could be more relevant to the wars we are fighting right now. go back and read the result of world war i and you will some promises were made and were not kept, but also because world war i technological advances were made, military advances, tanks, artillery, the bad things, but the field of psychology and psychiatry, treating shellshocked victims, the plastic surgeon feel came into a great boon after all of these individuals faced these terrible injuries.
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so the world changed and we made a difference but i do not think we appreciated the fact that these men and women served. >> for james weaseling for many ways he was the public face of a way of life which i hope, for which i hope that time has passed. on the other hand, if you look at eastland you can explore a man of the contradictions. a man who did work across party lines easily with members of both parties. he literally did see the supporting of people vastly different philosophies and in his own party seem to support members of the other party we worked with rather strongly, whether closely and measures which did not affect civil rights. maybe that is something that needs to come back into our
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politics. we see in air of that act, all was was probably complained one party more than another or what candidate more than another. i think most everybody is pretty guilty of it these days unfortunately. i think that should come back. there is also one other think that if you look at this book you are going to find a number of changes in james eastland attitude is going to develop between his 40s and 70s. during the time and many of them are produced by something he opposed rather strongly called the bony rights act of 1965. it may be one that you can trace his relationship with a very different man named aaron henry. aaron henry -- was head of the naacp and one of the first black legislators in the state of mississippi.
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these guys are very close friends. by 1978 the aaron henry literally was in the back office when eastland announced his retirement. maybe aaron henry may have recognized that henry put his power to work for the black community as he never had been before. they had developed a close relationship eastland had hired named ed cole who was an african-american who ran charles evers campaign for governor in 1971. he had became friends with a man many of us remember named walter payton, one of the better running mates i've ever seen. by 1985, james eastland was dying. one of the last thing he did was send a $500 check to the state naacp in the name of aaron henry who he said had made it possible for him to see the other side.
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so here it is the change that develops. i hope the change in that sense continues to develop in our society. >> thank you. has anything the panel have said so far prompted any questions? if so please feel free to step right up. >> i do not know if this man is leaving her coming to the podium. laughmac. he's leaving. okay if you do have a question feel free to step up. this lady has a question. >> i did not plan on me being the only want to ask a question. >> hopefully you won't be. >> james eastland was a skilled politician who probably love his wife, his family, and his dog but he was also a segregationist and a racist. why is it that southerners, many
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many southerners have so much difficulty accepting his role on the role of many southern politicians and basically destroy the lives of so many generations of black people? there was value in those lives. as good as eastland were stennis, whoever was, they still destroyed people's lives through racism, oppression, and terrorism. why is that. why is that so hard for many southerners to accept? >> that is a good question. if you look at what james eastland red, there is a great book on man named his hero by the name of jason moore and it
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was something that jim eastland was born into. there is 11 that we follow the lynching of a man named james o eastland who is the brother of james eastland's father. but after that 11 people died. as a result of the first to james o being killed. as for southerners accepting the, i think people reflect their constituencies. james eastland reflected the white constituency. he reflected the people who elected him, as far as white people today have not learned, eastland was learning. some of the others did learn by the 70s and 80s if they did not learn it for psychological reasons they certainly learned of for political reasons. especially if you're a democrat you need to recognize that the democratic party is no longer a monolithic white agency. you're going to need
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african-american votes to get reelected. as far southerners and southern whites not accepting it, i think that is something that most of the folks that i've run across share those prejudices in a people my age or older. a lot of times i guess the case was not if you're looking at in the case of james eastland in 1961 and he did kind of deal for the freedom writers to be protected, many were still kept in jail but that was the same with bobby kennedy. but southerners do not, what i think is still a learning process, it is still learning
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process it may take another hundred years, god help us if it does. >> we do not have that much time, i hope not. >> it is said to say, you are right. >> okay. thank you for the question. did you have a questions or question okay. >> most of these will be for lee. did you ever find that picture and perhaps included in your book of aaron henry hugging and kissing senator eastland? >> i did not see that picture. i guess aaron henry came down here in 1978 to old miss and ted kennedy was also there and it would the great story is that he kissed, that aaron henry kissed jim eastland. there are two things i want to see, one is that picture of
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aaron henry kissing jim eastland and eastland's reaction when you saw the reaction of henry kissing. but no, i no, i did not see it. >> the previous panel in here and i apologize for not remembering the nice lady's name, she made a very compelling and strong argument that senator stennis was actually more damaging to the african-american people then eastland was. i wondered if you had any comparison you would want to make specifically as to silva rights between eastland and stennis? >> they both voted a straight segregation allis line. they voted together, 97% they voted together and talked about not only how they're going to vote but what arguments they're going to use to defend their votes. in on the rare occasion if they disagree they would let each
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other know why they were going to disagree. this was a very strong working relationship although they were different as night and day. some say that stennis came around earlier and obviously the previous panelist disagrees. >> over a period of time, according to her and it was very convincing, stennis was was more damaging maybe because he was more subtle and did it in the back room more than in the open committee or senate hearing. it was very interesting. it was was the best book on stennis? >> there has just been a couple. there is a book on stennis and vietnam, again that is not one i consulted much and there is a new one which was a very celebratory biography. i do not think there has been a full, complete balanced
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biography of john stennis. again i would encourage people, here's a great man to study. >> thank you, sir. >> siege jackson, we know jackson's nickname and in the destruction, i assume your book goes into that. i would like to know what buildings, i know we have the old capital, the governor's mansion and's mansion and home behind here that apparently survived, or did they? were they destroyed it had to be rebuilt? what lived after that siege of jackson? >> absolutely. i have to confess that i went into looking into this book with the assumption as i had, as i regret to say told many people brought the years that jackson had not been destroyed to as great of an extent as had been advertised by that nickname. when i got into the research i realized that it had been.
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so i had to back up and take another look at it. my conclusion is, i hope i've made the case, is that both armies contributed to the destruction of jackson. not only during the july siege but also during the may battle of jackson. of course to the largest extent, the damage was done by the union army. jackson rebuilt, fairly quickly, and based on newspaper ads, or builders coming back and comparing the city directories. i hadn't opportunity to to see that change to take place after the war. what has tripped people up through the years is there was a wonderful panoramic photograph taken from the kubla of the state capital by a local
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photographer and that shows a city that is fairly robust for its time. so a lot of people, including me assumed that the damage really was not that good. so what so what i hope i have proved is the city, we are not looking at a photograph of a city that was not destroyed, we're looking at a photograph of photograph of a city that was rebuilt. as far as what remains, i understand there are about 12 structures that are considered nonoaud, of course you have named their primary once, city, city hall, the old capital, the governor's mansion and a few other buildings here and there. many of the other ones around the turn-of-the-century, right before your for because they're
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updating houses it is simply that. i think jackson earned the name jimmy ville. >> thank you. >> i have a two-part question. can you explain the mechanics of how the letters worked? did they mail letters back to the newspaper? you mention that and also did you find any letters from african-american newspapers or african-american clergy are soldiers or any of the other people you mentioned? >> the letters for the most part were actually sent to the editor of the paper because he was saying, the soldier was saying i
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cannot write my mother, my daddy, my sweetheart, my friends. they might write their mama but then he would write dear editor, would you see that my friends in the county so if you publish this i won't have to write everybody because i don't have time to write everybody. so a lot of the editors were very accommodating. mr. moore wrote down at the seacoast echo in st. louis, he published a lot. and the gentleman in natchez were very willing to publish the letters. a few others appeared but those were the big three that publish the letters from home. i did find some african-american letters, there are some included, regretfully the newspapers on microfilm on the archives or african-american newspapers don't start until after the war. so we have some from the 1930s and 40s but we did not have any from the mid century there. i did not have any from african-american newspapers. i actually wanted to see if i could find native american soldiers as well.
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i tried the community news, the shall be democrat, whatever but i but i was not able to find any neighborhood american letters as well. >> could you speak little bit about the experience of african-american soldiers in world war one because i thought those in interesting component of the book. >> the ones that i fountain i did find this to be true, of course they were not able to serve quotas fighting soldiers, but they were in the service of supply. they were right behind the lines helping the engineer building roads, getting the food to the front, making sure the wounded had care in the back of the lines. as well as it, i found some african-americans who were stephen doors -- they were
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unloading for the trucks when ammunition was sent over there helping to unload the ships with the cargo. it's interesting, one of the passengers, philip davidson who had been a passenger at the st. james episcopal church, he worked for the ymca and he explained that it he was about 10 miles behind the front line. he had four camps, ymca camp that he service. two were were african-american and two were white. he would do the same service at each one. we have music, we have games for them, we try to provide writing material. of course i offer religious services to both. >> thank you. yes, sir. >> regarding the natchez indians, could could you give a
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historical context as far as ethnically and culturally for them compared to the choctaw's and chickasaw's and mississippi. >> i will try to. the natchez indians were not a single ethnic group. they were confederacy. the choctaw's were also a confederacy, the chickasaw's' were confederacy. these were groups of people who, because of the european invasion of north america, they were clumping together for protection. so the natchez group had at least three ethnic groups that made up their so-called the natchez tribe. the natchez people, the natchez people had been there where the city of natchez is back into prehistoric times, and then these other groups that were
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more or less refugee groups that had attach themselves to the natchez. the greengrocer. [inaudible] they -- when they left their homeland and went to the east and were settling with other indian groups, they took some african-americans with them. the natchez people became sort of fused with the creeks, cherokees, and these groups over towards the east. so their ethnicity kind have got spread out some. as i said earlier, their language miraculously held on
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for 200 years after there is a need for it to exist. >> thank you. >> i have researched and written for books of history in my experience has been when you're doing research there there's something to expect to find in some things, and you find them, or somethings you expect when you don't don't find them and then there are the things that you find that take you by surprise. that it's been my experience. for instance, when i wrote theater roosevelt and the assassin i was really struck by how the political situation in 1912 was so similar to the situation today. concern between the growing divide between rich and poor, widespread feeling that government wasn't working and needed to be fixed, split split in the republican party. my question for the panelist is it what was there in doing your research that really taken by
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surprise? what did you find that came out of the blue? who ever would like to tackle that you are welcome. >> for me, me, i was fortunate when i was writing my book that the french national library in paris at that time was scanning a posting online there on believable collection of the maps from the french colonial period from around the world. a friend of mine in natchez named smokey joe frank contacted me one day and told me where to look on the website. at this this amazing map by a french mapmaker, and ancient named butane. i had seen some of his maps but never saw this on before. it was a manuscript was
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a manuscript map which means it was never published. the deadly attack website, doesn't have it anymore, they took it down or something. it used to have this zoom feature where you could zoom in on this amazing map. his map was not just pneumatic like others. you could actually go down roads and see houses. one thing that he did was he wrote down the names of the french colonists living in natchez in 1723. you could actually go and look at where these people live. some people who who had later become quite well-known. so the opportunity to see this wonderful map, now i have got a good color copy of it thanks to the university of north carolina chapel hill chapel hill. and there's a full-size copy of
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this map, these colonial maps being put on line that allow people like me to see them. otherwise they would have been rolled up and kept in the french archives and who knows who would have gotten a chance to look at them. >> that was example of a good surprise. >> i have read hundreds of letters from all over the state. what struck me is that i actually knew some of the families represented there. i was blown away. i had four individuals that i've found that i knew families today that were related to these people. samuel corey was an architect and help preserve a lot of buildings around the state. his his grandfather was one of the first aviators.
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earl waters was from columbus, a good friend of mine from the w. his last time have to be waters and i just said, that is an unusual name, you don't see that mississippi every day. would day. would you happen to have a relative who is in world war i and she said uncle earl was. and i was like yes. doctor james percy wall was a jackson position. he lived up the street from my family and belhaven. i was a child but i remembered my parents talking about doctor wall. and the final one that i happened upon was, anything, now it's gone. oh, church member. the cavett family are still active members of galloway church. and i found a ought a letter.
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how small can this world be that you actually run across letters from relatives. >> i think i had are ready alluded to the biggest surprise and that is that i had been wrong so many years and had to change my mind. kind of related to what jim said earlier, i think that i was surprised most that i have to give credit to archivist out there already country who are doing terrific work digitizing records. this is a fantastic time to be a researcher. >> it it will never all be digitized, you still need to go to the archives. [laughter] >> that's right, and i did. but i was surprised by the amount of information that is available out there now. the jackson campaign simply had not been covered to any great
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extent. in almost no personal accounts. when i began really did gain i found more that i could handle. but it's always nice. i was always surprised by the amount of material that is out there. i have been. >> i been pleasantly surprised by that too. i'm not sure if you're familiar with the online database downstairs called chronicling america, they have hundreds of thousands of newspapers for more than 100 years in american history online, available to anybody. you can search by keyword. if you not familiar with that and you love history, it is a fabulous resource. >> one of the things about senator eastland is that he is looked at as a segregationist but i was surprised how easy it was to get to his colleagues.
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they they are not always easy to get to. or it's easy to get to his colleagues as it was to those of senator howard baker who is one of the more popular senators of the party and people did want to tell a story on all sides. i surprise that some of them were more liberal senators were some of those that had the best stories because they differed so much. just one story that may be we historians don't like, one of the great tales that i found was in attorney generals memoir about when president kennedy spoke to the nation the night of the battle of oxford. that was in 1962, supposedly eastland was at home and they were on the plantation watching president kennedy speak and his guest worked walked up to the tv and kicked in the tube.
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that is a great tale, isn't it? the one little problem, eastland was in washington. so i cannot have. they were holed up and the office and they tried to get a hold of ross barnett for three hours. think about about it the state, could a senator get a hold of a governor like that just with the speed the, but three hours people cannot get hold of their governor. with the whole tale of the kicked in tbi just recognized that they use ghostwriters. laughmac. >> i think we have five minutes or less left. let's consider this consider this the last call of their questions from the audience. going once, okay. jim barnett address this a little bit and his opening comments about where his love for history came from. i have a very specific place
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where my love of history came from. i was five years old and the older friend of my parents would take me and tell me stories about the american revolution. for me that was the beginning of a lifelong love of history. i'm just wondering whether any of the other panelist, and already has one, has a similar epiphany as a child or another point in your life and he felt like you had fallen in love with history? >> you remember when we said mississippi history required in the seventh grade. in junior high school i was given an assignment to write a paper on somebody, think it was welty that i once read a paper on a my mother said, well, well you want something different let's go to the archives. my mother took me to the memorial building where the archives were in a little, the
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public part was not any bigger than the front part of the room here. there are little blue haired ladies looking at microfilm on the old machines. we still have one of those in the old reading room for you to look at. again, i'm in this little beauty room and i asked to say do you have anything on welton, and here i was a seventh grader and they said probably a subject said probably a subject file would be good for you. they brought out all these files of information and of course i wrote this wonderful paper and i was so thrilled. what got my eye was, again these little ladies were pulling these little gray boxes, having someone go downstairs in the basement of the war memorial building and they were coming out the boxes of who knows what. i wanted to know what. so that was it. >> i guess my love of history goes back to some of my earliest readings. i was a fan of going to the meridian public library and sitting in the floor and mostly
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looking at pictures i have to admit. but as i got got a little bit older i began reading things like bruce catton and his wonderful book, this hollow ground and it captured my imagination. also a personal connection for me i had always been interested in that other war, that other great work. part of that is because of people like my grandmother who was from the pia county who knew someone who had been injured at the battle of shiloh. that really brought home to me that this was something i was interested in and i was so glad to have the opportunity to do it now for a living, it is great. >> what about you? did it come earlier to the comely? >> perhaps real early i developed an interest in
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political history .. for this particular project oe other inspiring feature was a man named doctor tony edmonds at paul state university who marinate may not of had a terribly unsuccessful date with one of senator eastland's daughters. at any rate, he he may have mentioned that to his students. they laughed at it now we determined that that may not have taken place. but a historian who told the story of a bad day based upon a misguided prank. >> good afternoon. i have a a question to anyone on the >> i have a question to anyone on the piano and it is a pressing question that i've always wondered about. i also have familiar sunk mysele but the archives and basically
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the main reason why i have gone to the archive was to try to stem wife finds some type of lineage, learn about my lineage. i went to no less historian comment those of you on the panel, what research have you outdone in terms of trying to find the direct lineage of african-americans with the history of everyone being mixed and been dispersed, this place in that place in terms of where african-americans were enslaved, where they are from and terms o africa when you were speaking about records and things like


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