tv 2018 Mississippi Book Festival CSPAN August 18, 2018 10:34am-2:00pm EDT
[inaudible conversations] good morning everyone. welcome to the fourth annual mississippi book festival. this is the race and identity one year after charlottesville panel. the spots is virginia. is visiting professor of english and professor. and the author of the house at the end of the road. the story of three generations of it interracial family in the american south. thank you chris.
i want to welcome you all to our panel. one year after charlottesville. and i want to extend my thanks and gratitude to jenny monger for sponsorship of this panel. last year right after charlottesville. they posted the photo. the names have changed but the racism remains the same. it was the minute seeing light.
made available by culture and society. we do make choices but we do not determine the options among which we choose. of course race is an absurdity. it have long ago been discredited as a valid category. that does not mean that race has lost its power as a means of defining people. that power cannot simply be undone by pretending that race does not exist. the big lesson that i see from charlottesville is that it shows what happens when the power of a race has an idea as well as the existence of racism is ignored rather than confronted directly. our panelists today will be talking about this issue of race and identity one year after
for ten years he served as executive director. in six books for children. his also the author of the n-word. so how we are going to proceed this morning. and then we will enter into a discussion after that. i will start with dr. perry. thank you so much for having me it's wonderful to be a part of this penal.
one of my initial thoughts was in discussing this. we could have framed the panel with the incidents that has been horrified racial they remind us of the consistency in the struggle that you gets against racial inequality. the part of the importance of writing the story is that song that became known as the national anthem. it is to give a sense of how black americans created institutions in a the culture cannot simply withstand the history of racial violence but actually to build the kind of
robust with the kind that could produce the young people who would leave -- lead to civil rights movement. and so, what i write about. what they have referred to as the race relations. the time in which they had established that. and it being written in the 19 hundreds. and in the thick of it and not simply that. all kinds of black institution. they're being born in that time. it was really extraordinary. and with the song which tells the story of black lives on the shore.
with a dignity. in the face of a society that was consistently robbing them of dignity and also claimed black people have no history it was a refusal of the light. it became a touch point for organization. and they began to sing and graduations. a weekly assembly. at political programs. they are telling themselves of the story of who they were. a belief system that was about the struggle against racial inequality. and the importance of their history. and enabled the building of a narrative that was contrary to the larger system of racial exclusion.
i think it is incredibly important. i spent a lot of time in the book writing about the children. and it's really important as part of the socialization. the black formal culture. it's a kind of ritual practices. serious ritual practices that were part of the political association. in particular and what that enabled. in this moment in which we are feeling the stream of our history. part of what we have. is an argument that we need to restore.
and the practices that gay people the kind of resilience that was necessary. to withstand an entire society. but to strive for something. more just and more equitable inhumane. that was lovely to listen to. hello jackson. it's wonderful that they are here. the organizing principle for that tiki torch guys was white nationalism. it is about the 400 year history of constructing or trying to construct a fictional likeness. what is odd and a lot of people don't realize. white is a concept did not even
exist in colonial times. in the first half of the 17th century back -- black and white minded people. working together. and most pointedly. for those who oppress them. they would rise up in revolt together. in the main message of my book is that it was created to solve a class contact. it have a political function and his dog was this dog was late to divide and conquer people who
might collectively demand something of rich people continues to this day. that we have an assertion or reassertion of whiteness. there is a political economic story of them the train the very people in this book i'm attracted to subversive. that cross color lines. for activism. i am a child of a civil-rights family. my father god bless him founded the alabama equivalent of the democratic party. i featured throughout the book.
for his common white law. they were on the underground railroad together. when you think about charlottesville last year in particular white nationalists are people who openly declare that they fear and don't like demographic change. what they really need to fear. as is a growing class of what i call dexterous whites.
60% of white millenials goes under 30. the older demonstration of whites. they also should fear their grandchildren. their grandchildren live in a world that they cannot imagine. and most young white people have a friend and all of the social science. this is a last third of my book. a white person that has a friend of a different race is more apt to understand and appreciate
particularly what a black person lives with. an experience anger at what their friend or loved one or adopted child or lover experiences and then also predicts in turn that they are more likely to engage in collective activism to fight for the value of equality. the one thing that was heartening to me about the tragedy as charlottesville. they looked at who was fighting the men man with the tiki torches. i speculate in the final chapter. not predict. i speculate about a future america where we reached a tipping point where ascendant coalition the people of color and the fastest growing conversations in this country. and the white people of critical mass who have accepted the loss of them. they are coming together.
and california gives me some hope. california which gave birth to the mean spirited anti- immigrant policy which gave birth to three strikes and you're out. that was california two decades ago and today it is a very different state that is retreating. got rid of gerrymandering. why did it change the people who comprise the majority in the state changed. on the silver lining i ic with demonstrations like charlottesville is that it is an accelerating the scene and naming of racism and a lot of people are waking up and saying this is not the country that i want to live in.
and fighting for what is right. [applause]. good morning. i will immediately distinguish myself as not being a native the county that my grandparents came from. i met them once from mississippi. i did not realize i was mingling at. i'm working on it. my mother-in-law who lives with me. from robinson villa mississippi.
i'm a journalist by experience and training and so i was particularly struck by that in the fictional whiteness. i tend to focus on what i call narrative combat. the clash of competing narratives about what it means to be an american. and what it means to milan belong here in the united states. lucas tell the story how to the story did the story function in the implementation of power. these are things that i look at. with my forthcoming book we can bury.
that black people were unfit for freedom. the narrative was adapted to argue that it was unfit for citizenship. it strikes me that that book was published in 2007 and right now one of the defining debates of the country if we look at mass incarceration. as who is fit for freedom. if we look at the separation of children from their parents at the border. we are still having these debates even today. i continue to be interested in that framing of the narrative of white supremacy. and the way it has adapted and sustained itself over the centuries. and i look at it just not in terms of the language of the white premises itself. in what ways are we complicit in assisting and sustaining that narrative ourselves.
looking at why they politely refer to in my do that headlines for example it's very interesting to follow that. and when we look at footage of police beatings. often that coverage. the alleged beating. we are looking at the meeting. that is one of the ways that the narrative continues to be set by competing stories. it's often". are we really at a point in our country where were not clear what on what a racist act is. his other kind of clashing
values in body. that i like to look at in my work. that idea of narrative is a real thinking one. [applause]. i would like to segue from your discussion in the narrative that we see one year after charlottesville. what i told people was is not a passive act. how do they kind of deconstruct that narrative. closing that one year anniversary. maybe there might be there to narrative.
how do narratives and how do you see that narrative shifting going forward. and how do we keep that narrative going in a positive way. how do we change that perception of that narrative. we have a combined vigilance of white supremacist and what they're doing but also turn the gate back. at that people that were actively combating. the cartoonist it shows a mass of anti- racism post testers. on the other side of the panel there were like six white supremacist. and then surrounding that. were all of the media. a kind of messes with a description.
a year ago at charlottesville it was accompanied with the righteous -- racist demonstration. the lot of user-friendly media. meet the new white supremacist. there was all of the attempt to reduce the toxicity of it. at the risk of sounding not pessimistic but maybe a little pessimistic. i do think with the narrative that we currently had at charlottesville. the kind of inequality that most people of color experience.
with an entire society that is complicit in that. in the employment all of these areas. i do want to think that there is something exceptionally bad about that. and the fervor of the white nationalist. the fact that we have this. it was really about how racial narratives play into these mechanisms of inequality that are present everywhere and i think relatedly to the way in which we use charlottesville as a signature of this kind of horror of the moment. i do think similarly they continue to bear the brunt of the narrative of where racism is. and similarly to the fact that these individuals should not be
created exceptional. the sound should know no longer be treated as their repository of racial inequality. we have to be a more sophisticated about how it functions. i did we often forget that those protesters came from 35 different states. and as the other thing that i think there are little things of the narrative that don't get there. and they're not part of it. also, as a former resident of charlottesville i know that in a lot of ways they wanted to pay itself as happiest town in america. and that's not really realizing that there is something underneath it all. and i think that's what was really kind of gyrating to a lot of people. i was felt that my entire time there.
there is this idea of demographic change. do you believe that we may not be changed by our virtues but we may be changed by her demographics? >> i think it is a confluence of forces but one of the benefits of demographic change is that it increases opportunity for whites to get to know people who are different from them. it's hard to become truly anti- racist if you don't get practice at it. it's hard to be a pluralist country if you don't had contexts in which you have. what is happening with demographic change is each new cohort of human beings in this country is more diverse than the one before. part of the reason why millenials tend to be much more accepting.
>> i'm not saying they're all great but they tend to be much more accepting of diversity than older generations is because they experience it. even in the context of a highly segregated society if nothing else to experience and culture. you would know a lot more about this. american culture is very diverse. and increasingly people of covert color. .. ..
i'm depressed too, but the caveats to what i said in my opening statement is this change, the potential for reaching a tipping point where you have a dominant majority that accepts different and wants to adopt policies to help everyone to flourish require activism to help bring folks together. >> one thing you were talk about idea of cultural demographic change yet there's a term that we often hear and i hear it with some regularity here in
mississippi, it is color blindness. myth of color blindness, how do we change the myth? i dent see color, the first thing that we notice about someone is how they are different from us, whether it's color, skin tone, how do we shift from the myth of color blindness for us to kind of embrace that idea of different? how do we shift that narrative? >> well, on one part of that i would differ and want to hear from panelists, legal manifestations of legal blind, i hear that from the bench, cultural blindness, people say i don't see color, but then there's the judicial effect or
legislative effect or alleged color blindness policies, i guess we would have to push back culturally as well as on the other fronts maybe. >> yeah, i teach this in my race law class. on the right, on the supreme court which is a majority imposed to become a dominant majority the equal protection clause, their juries prudence, they argue, heavily associated with justice scalia, they argue that all the equal protection clause requires is color blindness and the state must be color blind and must be color conscious in any context, well, what was the 14th amendment for,
we fought a civil war, designed to overrule scott and make former slaves citizens, right, the radical republicans who drafted that document where as conscious as you could be about the violent racism, right? there's nothing inevitable in the word equal protection of the law that requires color blindness, so, you know, the supreme court i hate to say it but it's a political institution, it's been highly politicized, you know, people on the right decided that, right? it will take a very, very long time to get the juries prudence of the equal protection clause to reflect something different
and that it is about politics, meanwhile i think that anybody who is intellectually honest cannot honest i will say i don't see color, everybody sees it. [laughter] >> your thoughts imani on that? >> i absolutely agree, i think it is the claim to color blind tons certain extent are an effort -- they become an effort to avoid discussions of race and notion that race is impolite and makes people uncomfortable actually impedes discussing how racial inequality functions and it becomes effectively and avoidance or some kind of repair of racial inequality but addressing it all. i want to go back to the point sort of the prospects that come from interracial connection and
intimacy and to issue some warning because if we think, for example, the case of latin america where there is a much more history of interracial intimacy and crossing borders of race and in many way more racially unequal order than the united states or gender frankly, we love people across gender but that doesn't done away but the intimacy and the connection are important but also requires to embrace of set of values, set of values where you say you really do believe that human beings are fundamentally equal and given that when you see such huge disparities you have to ask the question, what is going on in our society to produce these disparities, if the only explanation, if you believe that people are equal, if you don't belief there's thing that make
accident of who you are born to mean you're going to be x, y and z, when you look at a society that has such vast differences then you know something is off and that it does require repair if you want to have a just human society. >> i agree and i want to make it clear, my book is not saying that interracial intimacy is going to solve all our problems, what i do say that the accident of having, for example, a brown grandchild hoisted upon you or, you know, a child who plays football with black kids and suddenly the black kids are coming to your house, right, the accident increasingly because of rapidly changing demographics and changing attitudes, social barriers to mixing have come
down, that more and more people are -- had the possibility of coming into contact with a person of a different race or ethnicity in a way that humanizes that person and loving someone who is different is one of the few inducements in this country to doing the hard work of really seeing the structures of disparity and what causes it and there are very few other things that i think might propel someone to say, you know, i want to be a part of the coalition that does something different. it's a very modest point that i am making and i'm working on a new book, it's really about the structures particularly northern structures that entrench disadvantaged along with racing class lines. >> well, i had an experience in
my own family where i was talking with -- was trying to get in touch with my white relatives and i started talking to one of my relatives during 2008 election, he said, well, i'm voting for obama but i'm voting for the white side of it. [laughter] >> and it made me realize that even -- having this conversation that sometimes even in those interracial moments we are -- we are third cousins, race is thicker than blood. >> yeah, you know, i'm not suggesting that every individual interracial intimate encounter transforms the consciousness of individuals, i'm really talking macro level the stuff that's happening and it's part of that in addition to, you know, in addition to the fact that an older generation of whites that grew up in an america where they
were dominant is dying off in addition to the fact that the fastest-growing populations in this country are getting much more engaged with politics, most latinos in this country are citizens, a lot of them under 18, they have a lot more motivation to vote and run for office, things that give us the possibility of a different america. a possibility. >> your thoughts about that jabari? >> racial minorities have always had to be culturally in order to survive, one of the ways in which the equation is going to shift is if there's no clear majority culture then all cultures, all sub populations will bear the responsibility of being culturally, we see the tension manifesting itself right now with all of the new debates
about culture appropriation and so we have these overlapping fears of influence of cultural development when it is appropriate to embrace some kind of cultural practice we normally associate with a group different from our own. don't necessarily know the answers and i don't know if they are easy answers but that's a necessary consequence, those discussions are necessary consequence of this so in some ways we will be refining what cultural dexterity is. >> yes, it's very true so often that how do we get people to see that that culture dexterity, how do we get that to be narrative, inject in narrative? >> we are just now really begin to go introduce the mass culture of the ideas of switching and how much code switches racial
minorities in order to be able to operate in spheres outside of immediate communities. >> yes, i'm someone who really code switches all of the time. >> many of us do. >> i lived in the east many years, came south, i change the way the way that i speak and act and sometimes i forget what place i'm in. [laughter] >> that's kind of this idea of identity. how do we get people to see that we do make ourselves up from a tool kit of options and when they look at one thing they see one part of a person, how do you get them to see all of it and how do we get that to be part of the narrative? i mean, for me one of the great things that kind of deconstructed the whole idea of race is seeing my dna. but how do we -- that changed for me. how do we do in a culture
overall that doesn't really embrace the idea of science? that's where science kind of deconstructs the idea of race when for many years science used to create the idea of race, how do we -- how do we do that? what are the ways to shift that narrative? thoughts? >> i wanted -- if it's okay with you, i was curious when you were speaking of code switching and cultural dexterity, you've written a provocative book about the n word and who can use it and you talked about the appropriation of culture, well, there's a lot of particularly young kids their culture is black culture, right, you know, hip-hop is full of things that you might not feel comfortable having white people say or having the president of the united states say.
[laughter] >> i'm curious what you think about code switching and the n word is subject of your book. >> yeah. >> we can go there. >> it's a long book. [laughter] >> i will try to compress this into two or three sentences. i -- i think there are certain fears of expression which require n word, you can't critic racism without engaging with the language. for example, newspaper article when someone called someone else a racial, i want to be informed, i have the right to know, i don't want you to dance around it. history, art, scholarship and all of the areas you have to engage the n word, if we -- once upon a time ncaap supposed that no song use the n word in lyrics be eligible for grammy, we have
to take living for the city by stevie wonder and magnificent artists, do we want to be absolute. there's also insightful use. f by police is police brutality, i wouldn't suggest that we edit that in some way and also generationally i'm very hesitant to tell young people what they should and not do because i can remember when i was a young person i absolutely hated that, i absolutely hated that. all i can do is make suggestions, i do suggest that we really deconstruct this idea that african americans own the word, i argue that all of words of english language, this is the one that we should like or least desire to own because so embodies the worst aspects, most volatile aspects of white supremacy. >> can i just add to that
briefly which is my first book was on hip-hop and one of the things that quoted robin kelly, there's a history, all the layers of meaning embedded combined with the fact that hip-hop was the most popular form of music and primary audience isn't young black people, the popular audience is white young men so there's a fascination, a really kind of desire, imagine life in the ghetto that artists are feeding into because it's part of what makes them popular and we also have to think claims or authenticity of american public as opposed to being necessarily true to where the musicians themselves come from. and at that, i mean, thinking through we have -- it's very hard for us in the public note
tore talk through all of those layers but i think it actually is essential in order to sort of get to those -- i love this question because we have to have the indications all of the time. >> i think we are at a point where we want to take questions from our audience and there is a microphone up here, correct, chris? >> podium. >> microphones on the podium, if you do have a question, if if you would come up to podium and grab a microphone. questions from the audience. [inaudible]
>> yeah. [inaudible] >> you want to take that? i actually didn't see the statement myself so i don't want -- >> i think one thing lebron said seemed that the president was trying to use sports to divide the country when they've often been employed in opposite direction, right? [inaudible] >> he grew up playing with black people -- [inaudible] >> well, you know, like the u.s. military it is a rare context for, you know, coming together. there's social science that when
you put people that could be very diverse in a new group whether it's, you know, a biracial gospel choir or church group or sports team, people's sense of identity tends to expand to the collective, to this new group in ways that reduce prejudice, so that is real, it's demonstrated by social science and this is part of my -- the argument i make that it's possible now, as bad as it seems, it's possible now to enter or create utopia where you are creating new norms of inclusion and dare i say love, right? you know, as a southerner it's one of the things i understand about the south. the south is to complicated.
as bad as the rap is of the south, there's so many contexts where i feel this warmth intimacy, politeness, whatever, that i don't feel in other contexts. i do think sports, you know, it's unfortunate that the president is using context to divide people, very unfortunate. >> i think it's a very important point, my younger son is athlete and often times with their soccer they go to rural pennsylvania and a lot of racial hostility and those experiences actually provide occasions for the team to connect, right, where they know that there are a couple of kids on the team being in some of the places feel unsafe, i think that echos the point of the wednesday of who is your we changes, the team is
your we as opposed that that actually has possibility. >> a question right there, sir? >> salam, people, what's popping, mississippi? [laughter] >> something i've been thinking about as i'm trying to grapple with moment we are in is what comedian bill mahr said, the denial of racism is the new racism, also i've been hearing a lot about white in new book, yes, we need to have conversations but it's going to require really confronting some really difficult issues and we can't fall into these traps of, you know, we are all the same, i don't see such and such and my grandchildren are multiracial or what have you, i'm also -- i'm surrounded by white millennials
and i also see that they are open-minded but in other ways i wish they would get out of their gadgets a little bit more so we can have the face to face conversations because assuming this posture is not going to do it, thank you. >> well, he said a lot. [laughter] >> again, i don't want to seem like -- you know, i totally, totally recognize that we are in very difficult times. my next book is probably going to feel more dystopian, but, you know, that's right, you're absolutely right. hope is a choice, right, and the forces of darkness in this country want a lot of people to be depressed and feel like, you
know, it's not worth going to vote, it's not worth collectively joining up in arms to fight for something different, so, you have to have a vision for where you want to be in order to get there, so i -- i allowed myself to dream about the america that i would like to see for my twin 11-year-old black boys. >> other questions? yes. thank you, thank you all for speaking this morning. i was hoping you could talk about the potential to weapon -- weponized foreign governments, can be used instrument to divide our people and many people concerned right now that we may be in the midst of that situation, do you think that is the case that democracy itself is at risk from exploitation of
freedom of speech and weponizing racism? >> well, i think democracy is a really good idea but i don't think we've -- i think we flatter ourselves when we assume that the model we are living under is a democracy, that's aspirational idea, i think, first off. but yeah, many ways in which racism is weponized. i think dirty water in flint is weponized racism. i think mass incarceration is weponized racism, i think police brutality is weponized racism, i think that in tradition is idea of democratic principles. >> sheryll, imani. >> when i wrote loving obama was president and i did not see coming the willingness of the
current occupant of the white house to stoke division almost daily that was a new thing. you know, i was actually stunned when he announced his run for the presidency, casting mexicans as rapists, i thought we were done with that kind of rhetoric, right, i did not see russia and cambridge analytics coming, you know, i think that the majority of people in this country believe in the idea of the same multiracial democracy and public policies that bring people along but with finally tuned
gerrymandering with finely tuned strategies of voter suppression and almost inviting russians to hack our election system, you know, the forces against democracy are abundant. it is so much easier to stoke people's fears than to engage in collective actions for the common good, right? and the only thing -- [applause] >> only thing that's going save us is individuals like the people in this room to stand up, register to vote and demand something different. [applause] >> that's all we have. [laughter] >> no, i think that's absolutely right and i would add that one
of the greatest impediment to practicing democracy is america's addiction to conception of being innocent, that we, not me who is creating this scenario, i think if we acknowledge that all of us who are not living in those -- those not living poverty, some degree in inequality that we live with whether it is the fact that we don't think we have to have political accountable, the way we decide where we will send kids to school, where we are going live because we want them to be away from those types, all the decision that is we make, i think, if we begin with the assumption that we are all complicit and are not -- don't cling to our idea of innocence but instead embrace sense of
responsibility to create the society that we think we ought to have, truly democratic society, i mean, fundamental piece too. >> well, we are going to close it but i would like to close by thinking about the idea of democracy and responsibility and our kind of embracing the idea that we are not innocent and it's something that happened in this state when we opened our civil rights museum. there was discussion from the governor today let all our transgressions be past but they are not all past and if he read would know it's not past, i just like to urge all of you and thank you all for coming but go forward and try to work through our transgressions rather than saying that they are all passed, thank you all very much.
[applause] >> thank you for coming. to the panel, reminder that authors, panelists an moderator will all be available, times where they will be signing, you can pick up brochure that has schedule listed in that, this has been the race identity one year after charlottesville panel, 11:45 american history panel, thank you. [inaudible conversations] [laughter] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you.
right now and focuses on sort of the political strategies of how -- that were used to sort of propel george bush in a position where he could run for governor and when in a race that was determined to be not winnable, but, of course, they proved that wrong and then after that the political strategy in moving him from the governor's office in texas to a candidate for eventually, of course, becoming president of the united states. it starts out with a description of karl rove's personal life and how he became involved in politics and some of his ups and downs and beginning of his career, i find that very fascinating. i like to read books that are
factual so i'm not a fiction reader. i love to read about history and read about real people and real events. >> so you have read a couple of books on some of your favorite presidents, you care to talk a little about those? >> i'm an abe lincoln fan and like to bring the idea of those not friendly to your cause around you and mr. lincoln is famous for bringing some of his enemies into his cabinet and fascinating story about how he was unable to run the country and church to it took to move through the civil war and then also also another favorite of mine is teddy roosevelt and this one is special because i happened to visit with teddy
roosevelt the fourth, he was in my office and he autographed this book of his ancestor for me and so he like his ancestor roosevelt is very interested in environment and also as i met him and the passion he had for environment is real interesting to see how that's passed down from generation to generation so it was a pleasure to meet with teddy roosevelt the fourth. >> now, you've authored a book and the proceeds go to charity. >> yeah, so i -- i think this book came out in 2004 in homicide and become lead detective in murder case, over a 19-year span this, i'm going to
call them the devil, monster of human being took the lives of somewhere between 60 and 70 people, he pled guilty when we finally caught him through dna and microscopic paint evidence, he pled guilty to 49 murders, we closed 51 cases, there were a couple of case that is we didn't have all the evidence we needed to have to charge him but renew he had committed those too but we closed 51 murder cases, this book describes in the beginning a little bit of my childhood, a little bit of my early life and struggles that i had growing up, run away and so some of those struggles are described in the book but mostly focused on the investigation of murders and the day-to-day activity at the task force, the team that was
involved in this over the years, tremendous, tremendously talented committed people from detectives to volunteers, scientists, civilian employees who entered data, this is before the era of computers, so i am very proud to say too that this book, all the proceeds go to the pediatric intern center in kent and they're known for their ability to take in drug-addicted babies and -- and put them through treatment, withdrawal from those drugs and -- and get them in foster homes or adopted homes or back with their biological parents. two of my grandchildren are from
the pediatric intern healthcare center, they were adopted by my daughter tabatha and her husband ken, they were adopted, a year apart, 3 month's old each and they are now 14 and 15 and they are doing awesome. all the proceeds from the book go and special acknowledgment to the families of the victims who lost their daughters and also special thanks and recognition to all those detectives and entire team that stayed with this case for so long to catch the monster that did this. >> book tv wants to know what you're reading, send us your summer reading list at book tv on twitter, instagram or on facebook. book tv on c-span2, television for serious readers.
>> a look at authors recently featured, best-selling nonfiction books and guest interviewers, former white house press secretary sean spicer reflected on his time in the trump administration, former military intelligence officer malcolm examined cyber warfare and other tactics used by russia to interfere with the 2016 election. and comedian and actor looked at race in america. in the coming weeks on after words, economist will weigh in on why democracies around the world are fail to go produce economic growth, former education secretary arnie duncan will discuss successes an failures in schools in america and this weekend retired marine corps lieutenant colonel kate offers her thoughts on gender bias in the military. >> so i saw this firsthand, what i was seeing, i'm recruiting to duty the first time that real hands approach that the male recruiters did not want to
engage with the female because of the negative perception that they felt could come out of it, there would be some sort of inappropriate relationship. i changed that, i made it clear that i had the same expectations from female recruits as i had for men and i expected them to perform and we were able to achieve the lowest rate in marine corps for having high standards for men and women. but the problem is that because marine corps doesn't want to change what happened at that foundational level and because everything is so segregated, those stereotypes persist and the stereotypes as i mentioned earlier, they sort of feed into the perception that women can't because they are women and then they're not respected and the lack of respect between men and women in the marine corps is legendary, it's the stuff that male recruits all of the time, you are heard male recruits that are slower that they are women and the p word and sent to
fourth battalion, it becomes normal to say derogatory things about women and so that's sort of the dilemma when they graduate from boot camp, that's the culture that they are then brought to. >> all previous after words are available to watch online at booktv.org. >> so much of it is about how women persevere differently than men. we -- we sort of hang onto each other and gut it out together. how do we turn that into a strategic advantage? how do we make that badassness than burden? >> i hadn't thought about it -- i hadn't thought about it at a meta level.
i have certainly experience, women having each other's back in a way that's remarkable, you know, people used to say women -- [laughter] >> what are you going to do? >> evidently it is. nicole has been a good friend to me. when president obama had to go back into into iraq because of isis, nicole reached out and said, hey, let me explain to you, here is who you have to call every day so somebody doesn't say crazy on the hallway, so and so doesn't say something crazy in the hallway, when they check with them, you know, like nicole could have said, oh, really, wow, barack obama just didn't take care of iraq, that's weird because you sure talked about it a lot. he was in the same situation i was in and let me reach out and help you. that's what i love about women
and, you know, what i find now in my experience with this book, receiver single women, can you help me, yes, what can we do, we are excited but you see wendy davis who ran for senate, ran for governor in texas, she's like i'm doing this, can you help me, yes, you should be connected with this person or that person and started something and recruiting millennials to run for office and had successes, amanda is doing that, i just find that women are like all in it in a way and there's no my project -- this is mine and don't touch it, it's just people like what can we do to support each other and what can we do to fight back and it's like remarkably and you had the sense that the workplace can be competitive maybe because it's always been dominated by men and women are more
collaborative in a world that we are in today but globally connected and collaboration is in corporation more and more important. i feel like it's different, i feel like it's happening with women. >> it does seem that men are on board too and you don't exclude them from part of your story of success -- >> yeah. >> a place that's elevated more women than any news organization in the country. >> yeah, that's true. probably true. >> i think they are more afraid of us because we are, well, we are women. [laughter] >> yes. >> do you feel -- what we can hang onto. >> i did feel that i have had, in my own life i had amazing male bosses and male mentors and male friends and particularly in the clinton white house which i was younger and the guys that were in charge were older than me and really helped me a lot
but i just feel that in this -- i thought i we had equality, i thought we were good, i thought, you know, so i'm disappointed to see we have more work to do but it's so inspiring to see it can be not just what we had hoped but actually something more interesting because we are doing it in a different way and doing it our way so that means, you know, politics is going to be different and i think -- and how we engage with the community is different and it's not anything i had seen or expected and so it might take a little longer but it's going to be ultimately for men and women both it's going to be more fulfilling. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. [inaudible conversations]
>> good morning, everyone, i'm chris with the mississippi department of archives and history, welcome to fourth annual mississippi book festival. this is our american history panel, it is sponsored by the mississippi library commission. we will get started with that in a moment. i just wanted to note to everyone that we are live on c-span and we will be on c-span, good opportunity to silence your phones if you haven't done that already. in about 40 minutes we will take questions in the audience we will ask to cue up at the podium >> thank you for joining us. please help me welcome the new executive director halyn who will say a few words.
in our society so thank you very much for attendance and for your participation and i would like to represent in a distinguished way todd and function -- >> good morning, everybody, i'm todd dowdy and thanks for authors for joining us here, i want to introduce your three panelists today, these are three excellent pieces of narrative nonfiction in history that everyone should go out to attend and buy after the session, these are slices, i'm a publicist.
[laughter] >> one for you and a friend. these are slices of american history that you may not know about that you may not have heard about or you may think you know about and trust me you don't so i i want to introduce everyone here today, jack davis is professor of history and sustainability studies at the university of florida and popular speaker on environmental topics, the latest book the gulf was "the new york times" notable book, washington post best book of the year and won both kirkis prize and pulitzer prize. he has written for new york times esquire, the washington post book world and many others, he's the author of the best-selling empire of sin which is his nonfiction about new orleans, nonfiction of chicago and white cascade, nonfiction of one of the worst real disasters in history.
finally andrew lauler, contributing writer for science an contributing editor for arqueology and new book published by double day is secret token, please give a welcome to our authors today. [applause] >> okay, the subject the books of are american history, how did each of you find your topics and how did you know that they could become a book. >> life-long relationship and
has been news lately for unfortunate readings and i was searching around for another book and i really we wanted to write a biography, what we have all done here because marjorie stoneman douglas was a biography book both individual and place in everglades and when i looked at the gulf of mexico i realized nobody had written history and seemed like a natural fit for me. >> for me i really see this book as the third book in a trilogy of history, the other being about new orleans and chicago and i'm fascinated with how these cities deal with growing pains from going minor regional places to major world cities and in the los angeles case there was just no real reason why a major city should be in los
angeles, the physical plant was terrible, far from everything and how did that come about and i wanted to explore that question and i decided that i wanted to put a human face on this so i chose three characters who i thought would enable to me to get at that history but in a more human way. >> can you tell who those three characters are? >> william, who is the one who built aquadduct and griffin and gave los angeles an industry that it needed and the third character is a woman who is not very well known now but in her days she was probably more famous than the other two, amy pearson who was evangelist, faith healer and she, i think, represents this kind of attraction to the west coast as place of spiritual seeking and
finding salvation under god's sunshine. >> i grew up in virginia and in the summers we would go down in outer banks of north carolina and day before cable and the thing to do was to play bingo or see 3-hour drama called lost colony. maybe 3 and a half hours, it was endless and with a million mosquitoes outdoors and i thought i knew everything i wanted to know about lost colony of ron oak and a few years ago i was in england at arquealogy conference and i asked where he was digging, outer banks, yes, that was one of the places assumed to have gone and then that launched me into an online
to national geographic and turn intoed a story and kept getting bigger until my editor said you've got a book, we are always the last to know or at least i am. [laughter] >> a three books are beautifully detailed and epic in both their scope and scale and they cover three decades in the case of los angeles, 400 years in the story of ron oak and in the gulf thousands of years, so i'm curious as to how you convince that much time into one sort of narrative and what's the starting point? >> so when i first started this book which is right around the time of the bp oil spill i had concede the idea before the spill -- i believe the spill robbed the gulf of its identity and i wanted my readers to know that the gulf of mexico was more than just this oil swamp more
than hurricane ally or more than sunny beach and had rich and wonderful history and i wanted to restore its identity with this book and to do that i decided, well, in trying to do that i was intimidated initially, i wasn't sure how to organize this book and, again, as buyer you have to go to geological formation to the present so to -- i'd finally figure out the way to organize the book was to do it around a natural characteristic of the gulf of mexico and to organize each of the chapters around, birds, fish, beaches, rivers, barrier islands, oil, i didn't want oil to dominate the story but oil is certainly part of the gulf nature and so in
approaching each chapter around the natural characteristics and using human subjects to bring their narrative alive and not to totally alienate readers and those from mississippi know who walter anderson is and he's really chapter 12 and the chapter of what natural characteristic barrier island, that's exactly right. i knew of walter before i wrote this book and he was -- he's the first chapter i wrote for the book and he's the one that showed me the way and so as i was tackling each of the natural characteristics the chronology presented itself to me. >> well, i would say probably the most formative book for me as nonfiction writer was actually a novel. i read decades ago i read rag time and the interweaving of
various stories intrigued me and i remember thinking why can't nonfiction read like this, and so all of my books nonfiction books i attempted to do this kind of weaving together of narrative to create a meta narrative and i think it's an interesting way because it makes the reader experience the development of a city in my case the way he or she would have experienced it in real life reading the newspapers, going out on the streets every day. so, you know, if i had done the water story that's been done many times before, if i had done the early hollywood story, that's been done many times before, but all of these things were happening at the same time and i think it's really the essence of the urban experience. you know, those 8 million stories in the naked city that you hear about. and i'm just intrigued by that fact that, you know, it's not all about water if you're living in los angeles in 1915, it's not
all about hollywood. all of the things are happening simultaneously. >> right. >> well, i think i was under an allusion that i was writing about the search for lost colonies and that meant i was writing about what happened in colonies and i had my structure and weave it altogether and as i was doing researching a realized to my horror that i was leaving out everything in between and that period in between from particularly the 19th century turned out to be the key answer to why this colony became so fascinating to so many americans and so then i had to kind of scramble and the whole last third of the book is really the -- the story of how the lost colony became the lost colony and started from asking the first simple question, who first used the term and it wasn't until 1830's, the launch went
to a whole other direction and helped me piece it together and it's not just the past and today it actually embraces all those four centuries. >> so water is, of course, one of the central characters in all three of these books, so how does water shape or tell the stories of la, america's sea as you call the gulf and ron oak? .. ..
los angeles would not exist without water, and ultimately he had to come up with this seemingly ridiculous idea of bringing water from 250 miles across the state, to l.a., in order to have a major city there, and of course, there were people living at the source of the water who had their own plans for the water. so there was a lot of -- you've probably all seen the movie "china intown." it is wonderful as cinema, it's
horrible as history but basically was a lot of deception going on for l.a. to get that water, but there was also a lot of creative engineering that had to go into. >> and never -- nefarious deeds. >> right. >> of course the atlantic ocean is a major character in the story because -- i had to go back and kind of fill in the gaps in my knowledge that it wasn't a matter of the europeans sailing across the atlantic and, oh, we discovered a new continent. it was a very slow process that reached first the asoressores and other islands and then the caribbean and moved up. i was really about the vagueries of the orbit currents and the fact the gulf stream brought the spanish ships that were bringing gold and silver and what have you, up the eastern north america and the coast, which made it the jugular vein of spain and that is why the
english chose that area in order to build what was essentially pirate base. so i got the fuller picture of the fact that the english settled north america was based on the flow of the gulf stream and the spanish need to use this area in order to get back to spain successfully. >> so, water is everything really. it's essential to human life and probably no other natural -- what some people call natural resource, i term i don't care for as an environmentalist historian because that convert nature into a commodity but no other natural endowment on earth has been asked to do more than water has. it produces, quenches, transtransports, it can destroy, it can also, of course,
inspiring as walter anderson was quite familiar with, and i see as an environmental historian, i see nature as a historical agent as an mating force in shaping the course of human history. so it was important for me to bring water and other resources -- also what is in the water such as the fish, the marine environment to show how water and everything associated with water and in this case the gulf of mexico and the rivers that run to the gulf of mexico, have had this major impact on american history and the american historical experience. >> so, history has its fair share of villains, as we all learned from "hamilton."
who are the villains in under book? i'm thinking the rosens and developmental project florida, what happened to mulholland and the bombing of the st. francis, and thinking of fred willard and the story of the dare stones. so, who are these folks, what is it like to create someone who did bad things and possibly got away with it or not? >> i could start. so, actually, the villain in my story, traditional by been the person who was considered the one who destroyed the colony through sabotage, his name was fernandez, portuguese pilot who brought the colonialists back and forth and was very successful and he was long tarred as the one wholand them on roanoke and consigned them to death. always thought it sounds good and he is a natural -- it seems like main man the was the villain but when i dug into it
and went to the asoars and spain and went into the archives, i realized no, he was not the villain. in fact he was probably the one who came up with the idea for an english jouet post in north america and convinced senior walter raleigh to do it. so i completely turned around the old narrative, which was to take this foreigner, this dark spaniard, who was actually portuguese, and turn him into somebody who actually was the person who made the story in the first place. >> i think that in a way, my heroes are also my villains. mulholland, as i said, like creative engineer, but he was also responsible for taking this water from the owen valley against the people's will and under false pretenses. d.w. griffin, produced a film
that created movies as a big business. is was called "the birth of a nation," horribly racist piece of work. amy simple mcpherson did so much for the spiritual community in los angeles, but she also faked her own kidnapping. this is i think maybe the most interesting story in my book. in 1926 short-differ appeared for six weeks, stumbled into a small town in mexico with this wild story she had been kidnapped, and held in the desert and she made some james bond-like escape overnight. and basically nobody really believed it except her most loyal followers, and she was tried for fraud, eventually the case was dropped. but i think that's one of the reason is chose these three characters, because they had -- were so complex and morally
ambiguous, moral ambiguities is one of the most fascinate things in any kind of writing, a novel or nonfiction. >> i think that my book is -- my -- the stir tell in the book is book-ended by villains if we want to use that term. early on there are the spanish conquistadors, many people called them explorer. they weren't explorers. these folks were after gold and silver and slaves, and one of the most evil, if you will, if we can use that term, or villain -- let's say villainous -- was hernando desoto, who tracked across the southeast for four years, cutting off the hand of those native peoples he didn't care for spreading european diseases, which he was not aware of but they spanish were late are aware of how profitable the spread of the diseases were for. the. it might be easy to say, a little pat to say that anybody
who destroyed the environment in the gulf history is evil, but the early oil hunters in the early 20th century and texas and louisiana, they did tremendous amount of damage, but in those days people, not even scientist, were aware of how much damage could be caused. we're not fully aware of the life and vitality of the virals being destroyed not simply by oil fields but by gushers, people would celebrate and a gusher would flow for a couple of days which we would today call an oil spill, and which wasn't in the vocabulary. it was gusher! and only people got mad were those who didn't strike -- their neighbors who didn't strike black gold. put-- then in later days, in the
late 20th century, post world war ii and the 21st 21st centers, 0 those who destroyed the damage and were aware and continued to do so because of selfish reasons. but there are a lot of heros in the book, too. >> so, in an e-mail before we came down here, andrew, you mentioned that each book explores how and why we invent our history, making it up, creating myths and building mirages to suit the moment. how do we use american history to manufacture dreams, express your anxieties or make sense of the environment? >> well in my case, it became pretty clear when i started to delve into the social history, this creation of the lost colony in the 19th century, that i was dealing with something that had never been spoken about, and that is that the lost colony --
the lost colonists were never lost. we lost them. because in the 19th century the idea of assimilation of whites, good english colonist assimilating with native americans war horrific. something that many white people didn't want to contemplate. when i started to understand that, reading the stories about virginia dare, the first english child born in the new world, today is her birthday, 431st 431st birthday, i believe. she became this figure for women and for white supremacists as a symbol of the found of the country by the english who came to the new world. realize it was all tied up with the 19th century ideas about separation immigration and american debates and a civil war over that. then it became much deeper, more interesting story, than trying
to fine what happened to some dead elizabethans. >> she only lived two years. >> we only know that she was born and that she was baptized and a week later, her grandfather, john white, the governor, left for england, end of story. she became this perfect rorschach test youch could create her into whatever you wanted to be, which tended to be a blond, blue-haired woman in the wood n a white doe skin, could use an arrow who the indians were crazy about but remained virginal. so fully a made up legend in part because there were so few characters who were women in early american history. can anyone name an american woman prior to to revolution? hard to do. so so women war looking to create a character and then did
and then pulled into in the white supremacist movement in the 19th century, and the 20th and 21 inch. >> one thing you learn early is that the historical record is full of noise, full of contradictions, you'll read x in one source and read not x in the next source. so, really, history is a selective process, and i think you have this myriad number of dots out there, and you as an historian have to connect it into coherent story. so that lends itself to mythmake can. history as a myth because we don't not what life was like 100 years ago. we have good guesses and can extrapolate but it's all a guess, and i think that the historians' job is to try get as objectively and without agenda
as possible, but certainly there are historians out there who have agendas and who choose the dots to connect and create any kind of myths they want to, and that's one thing that make it such a dangerous occupation. >> does that drive you nuts when you see that happens? >> it does. it's like -- my footnote, i always have a conversation going on with the reader as i don't believe this source, i am taking this source with a grain of salt. i believe much more in this other source, which is -- i think -- so my end notes are kind of like a running conversation on how i use the historical record to couple with the story in the main text. >> let me just said as someone who read all three books, the notes are very serious as are their indexes. >> i agree with what gary just said, and the historical record is full of distortions, and omissions, and outright lie is,
fabrications, and when i come across those, if i'm in doubt, or if i recognize a myth or a lie or distortion, i like to write about and tell my audience this exists in the record, or there's this omission, for instance issue spent the long e time trying to find the real first name of this woman in the book rather than referring to her as mrs. george t. stag of his ask -- kentucky whiskey fame and could never find her first name and i searched everywhere. so i mention that's in the narrative also interested in truth and narrative combined and how truth, historical, distorted and brave shapes the narrative and i think some of the narrative -- the more manufactured narratives in my history were manufactured by hollywood, by the way.
there's the great -- well, -- one of his lesser movies -- jimmy stewart movie -- how many of you heard of the film "thunder by a." i didn't think so. three of you. and-- because you read the book, michelle. and-- but it's about the first out of sight of land offshore oil well and there's a documentary made about louisiana oil. that was funds by the oil industry. the whole dine know -- the dinosaur -- happenoff you remember sin player and dino and the yesterday that oil comes from dinosaur foss ills -- fossils. always a myth promoted by the oil industry. so much fun. fun to write about lies. >> could you guys talk aboutor research process? i know some nonfiction writers tend to dive in for a year of
research and then write or do you research as you white? -- as you write? what is your press. >> i usually spend at least a year on the book proposal so that's mostly research. i have to find out if there really is a book here. but i am doing research until the moment i turn in the manuscript. it is research-heavy in the early years because these things take years, and it's writing heavy in the later years but there's definite overlap there, and i have made wonderful discoveries very late in the game that have caused me to go back and rewrite chapters because it's like, why didn't you tell me about this source before? how come i didn't know about this? but that's how it goes. >> again, gary and i are in the same page. i imagine andrew is, too.
i am doing research as i'm writing. you can't help it. i think that you have to allow that and understand that, and -- but that also makes the work more stimulating, i think, because it opens itself up to surprises that on -- the unexpected surprises. >> i drove my poor editor crazy because i was calling him, like, the last week when i -- he's give me an extra look at the finals and i was like, a few more thing is just found out. just want to get them in there. he's like, really? and-- so, yeah. i don't see a distinction between research and writing. doing both at the same time because my draft is what is in a sense what my research informs and gets better as die more research -- as i do more research and it's a messy process. >> how many of you remember nash
roberts? the tv, weather forecaster in new orleans. not as many as i thought. i started writing my chapter on hurricanes and i didn't know about nash roberts. hollywood could not come up with a better name for a tv weather forecaster than nash roberts and the premier hurricane -- nobody could outforecast him when it cames to hurricanes and didn't know about him until i started writing the chapter and then start diving into his life, and it was well worth it. >> i think that there's certain energy that you can sense in a book where you don't get the sense that the author has done the research and now it's just sort of spewing research out. if there's the sense that -- discovery is going on as the writing is going on. i think there's that kind of energy that makes the book more exciting. >> andrew, you are actually in the narrative of the secret token as well from beginning to end, sort of your research.
>> yeah, in part because i have such long, personal connection to the story. i felt it was not fair to the reader for know act as if i was some third person. so i did put myself in there really so that the read core come along with me and follow my journey as i'm going through this search, and that made a big difference. as i was writing it, charlottesville happened a year ago and i remember -- i was actually writing the chapter on virginia despair unworldly to be working on that as events were unfolding but really made a difference to keep that first person in, in towards bring the reader along and keep myself honest so that i was not trying to push some theory in a third-person way which might make me sound smarter than i am. >> can i offer a nod to the archivists and librarians in the room. >> god, yeah. >> we could not do what we do without you guys. these have to be the most
selfless people there are, and including those right here. i've spent years researches the mississippi archives and you're invaluable what we do. thank you. [applause] >> hear, hear. >> i'll ask one more question before we kick it over to the audience. i'm interested to know who originally inspired you write narrative nonfiction and history? personal, professional, reading life. i. >> i know around our dinner table we talk but mr. jefferson he was present at the din are fable you better know your history. it was beaten into the as a child because all we did on summer vacations if we weren't on the outer banks watching the
three and a half hour historical drama, we are visiting civil war sites. there's no time that it imagined that i wouldn't be what i would enjoy reading, if not writing. >> i would have to go back to e e.l. doctorow. my first five books were fiction. and i said, well, why canes do is in in nonfiction, and so my first nonfiction book was perhaps a little over footnote because i just wanted to make sure, yes, way was a novelist and now i'm writing nonfiction. i really admire a lot of the guys like nathaniel philbrick and people who can turn their
research into something that fascinate me, even if i'm not all that interested in the topic. >> this will sound flippant but it's true. those who inspired me to write narrative nonfiction for a larger audience, other academics who write books that are cure for insomnia. and i knew i didn't want to be one of those academics writing a book that will sit on the cold steel shelf of a library that ten years after it's been out you look in the book and see who check its out and it depresses you. and i can remember -- distinctly remember being here when i was a graduate student doing research, at the archives here, and running into drew fouts, retiring president of harvard, and bertram, wonderful historians and boldly went up to them and invited them out to dinner, and we're -- i'm in the back seat as we're driving down
capital street and i just suddenly blurted out, i can't stand the academic history narrative. i want to fizzle with it. they both turned around and said, fizzle with it. do it. -- fizzle diddle with it. do it. >> there's a podium with a microphone. >> i have a comment and a question. the comment is, i found virginia dare -- [laughter] -- he likes it -- my mother is virginia dare.
virginia dare burt weatherly but named for -- it was very pop layer name back in the early 20h century. >> she was born in 1914. also, i'd like to -- at the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, i'd like to suggest that the mythology and the ethos that derive from early north american exploration by people who are not natives to the continent, is a source of spirit and determination and the american mindset, which has created arguably the greatest nation ever -- that ever existed. i can't think of one that's
better. so i just wanted to dish guess there's a question there the question is, instead of reducing it to, oh, exploitation of the native peoples and then bringing in more people to exploit them, which i abhor, of course. there's the other side of the coin, which is imminently, i think, laudable so wouldn't you agree that there is that aspect of these characters such as virginia dare, the lost colony, the very early nonnate native sedlers. >> this an important question, which has a lot of bearing on the debates going on today, and i think that there are -- one thing i ran across which was fascinating was i thought that the roanoke voyages were english, about the english arriving and creating something. but actually when you look at it, it was the portuguese who
got dough english thrashings jewish metal annualist who tested for the metals, a variety of irish who their mercenaries so it was multinational mission and then of course without the native americans there's no way that the english could have survived on that coast. so i think you can make a bigger picture of all of these peoples who were involved, not just the english. the english certainly were key players but they weren't the only players, and when i was raised i wasn't taught that and by looking more closelity history you can see a fuller and much more interesting picture how we create what we call the united states today. >> thank you. >> we need you on the microphone for c-span viewers. thank you.
>> this is particularly for jack davis because i'm sorry, he's the only one whose book i have raid so far but now that i've been here, game to -- >> the other two are signed and available outside. >> yes. yes. when you mentioned that history is wonderful but so many of the books put you to sleep, and when i read your book, as well as others of the same type, i was really fascinated with your description of the early survey ors of the gulf because i never read about them before and they
sound fascinating. there are any other books that would be informative about them but that you think i'd stay awake for? >> no. >> sorry. they are fascinating, and again, i loved writing about those guys and the challenges they faced in charting the gulf coast. challenges not only trying to find a clear separation between water and land around the gulf, particularfully louisiana, but the mosquito, the storms, the whole gamut, but no, there is a book on alexander bach who was head of the u.s. survey, and grandson or great grandson of ben franklin. might be acceptable.
>> thank you. >> particularly -- >> mr. krist and mr. lawler, any that you would recommend that were sort of the small pieces that you couldn't expand on? >> i think that there are some wonderful biographies of the characters that i touch on, particularly -- one thing that amazed me in researching this book was how much wonderful writing there has been about early hollywood. there are wonderful biographs -- auto biography of gloria swanson, sound -- it is actually extremely well-written, stromly informative, and hard to put down. i think it's called "my life," and also, hollywood historians who are just fascinating and i never really expected that to be the case. maybe that was condescend offering me, but i was very
pleasantly surprised by that. >> i'm kind of nerdy about american history, but -- his set fair for roanoke is a wonderful book. there really are not a lot of narrative nonfictions i read recently about early -- the early settlement of the americas i can recommend off the top of my head. there's one about the forgottenh century. get back to me and i'll remind you the name of the author. >> thank you. >> mr. davis, i'd like to thank you for writing "the gulf." it was entertaining. >> can you repeat that? [laughter] >> make sure these folks out -- my daughter, my 13-year-old might be watching.
thank you. >> you describe yourself as an environmental historian. i'd like for you to talk just a little bit about the last year and a half in this country and whether you think the 50 or 60-year-old narrative, environmental protection, is being changed and if so, how, and what we can do about it. >> that is -- obviously it's been depressing for me and a lot of people. i constantly get e-mails with news articles that, did you see this or that and it ruin mist day if i have not seep -- seen it but i hope this is not the -- these events -- what is going on now will not change the narrative of environmental protection as you said. i hope it's just maybe a blip
because there are lot of -- the heroes in any book are the people out there who work very hard on the ground, many of them volunteers, many of them working for miserable salaries with nonprofit organizations who work very hard to protect the gulf and gulf waters, and you know, there have been times, perhaps not as extreme as this, but similar to this in which there has been tremendous backlash from the ground up and i think that's very -- something very positive, for instance, just recently in florida, florida residents stood out on the beaches holding hand because they're sick and tired of the state and army corps of engineers sending this cow crap -- it's not red tied. it's cow crap down from lake okeechobee, toilet for the florida cattle industry, down
the rivers and destroying the marine environment that are so important to tourism, so important to the commercial fisheries, and -- but not only that, but to the good human health of the people that live down there. this has been going on for years, and it's ridiculous, but there is this ground swell that is emerging now that it think will finally fix the problem. [applause] >> of all, i can't wait to read y'all's books. they sound trick. the session i went to before was about racial do identity and rea forms how poorly the white culture understands or is sensitive to minority perspectives, and it shapes the way you perceive something, and
here we are three white men, telling stories -- just wonder, how do you -- you're trying to put these pieces together and pick which ones to write about, how do you deal with your own inherent bias to make sure it's a story that everyone would recognize and not just one perspective. its sounds like you have all worked hard on it if want know how you private. >> it's something you have to constantly think about. particularly since so much of the existing secondary material is really written from a white male perspective. even though there has been a large movement to move away from that, it's still the preponderance of the books about american history have been written by white males so you have to think about that and dig harder into some things. interestingly, when i compare,
like, city like chicago, which had a very diverse population in the era i write about, and los angeles, which did not. which was amazing when you think but what los angeles is now, but it was actually advertised as an aryan par dies -- paradise because there were very few mexicans and african-americans. so, it's like the essence of the city is all of these perspectives, coming into close proximity. that's one thing that really attracts me about urban history, and my contention is that while this can create a lot of strife and violence and a lot of what i write brought in the book is strife and violence, i also think that it serves as a catalyst. when you have all of these different people with different agendas, sharing the same space
and trying to get their interests out in front of the people in power, i think you -- this is why cities are founts of innovation and new thought, and so that's been, i think, a theme in my work over the last three or four books and it is something that i -- you know, i actively look for perspectives that might have been underrepresented in the past. >> we have time for one last question. >> so my question is in a sense of followup to that question, not about the perspective of who the writer is but a in mississippi we have a lot of fiction and i would argue we have a got of great fiction because we have a lot of great material. so the stories are not true in the details but it rings true. it's true in the essence of what is being said. history by contrast is true in
the details, but as one of you observed earlier, there are a lot of things omitted from history, a lot of stories skewed, that are nor recorded or recorded a particular way for one reason or another. how do you capture the essence of the truth while capturing the details? because it is elusive, right? >> i have to say that as somebody who has been a journalist for 30-odd years i don't believe in objective truth, because i believe that you always bring your point of view to the story, and the best you can do is be aware of what you're bringing to the story, what your prejudice is what your assumptions are as you're writing and if you can let the reader know you're think but yourself as you're writing about the story. goes a long way to being truthful. otherwise just the hard work of reading all the source material you can get interviewing as many people as possible and leg that
filter through and feeling what feels right and that doesn't -- that may not be proper. i'm not a proper historian, i'm not an academic historian so i have a lose are view of it but i think a lot of it is taking in a lot of information and producing a story that is true and the details as well as the larger picture. >> i also think there's a constant reasonableness standard that you have to apply to what you are reading and your sense of just how things happen and how hey don't happen in the world. there are just so many ways of mythologists things that they tend to follow into certain pattern and i was something i'm reading seems a little too good to be true, or a little bit too high concept to be true, i treat it with a certain amount of skepticism. it is just -- historical record is just so full of everything that it is a task to decide,
well, what parts of it are more reliable than others and it's just -- you just have to consult your own sense of how things have happened in your own life and what kind of things are -- when people are telling you stories about their life, and you don't really believe. the because that's not how things happen in real life. >> i think if you -- the way i tend to approach material and the idea of truth is, an are exploration and i try to convey that to the reader, try bring them on my expedition and then let them make up their own -- make their own decisions but the material you presented to them: the more honest you are with them, the more honest they will see your work, i think, and see you as legitimate and perhaps maybe slightly -- a bit of an authority on the material, too.
[applause] >> final note, just a reminder, all three books for sale outside. go read them. they're fascinating, full of twists and turns and surprises and reflection. my thanks to the festival for hosting us. thanks to jack, gary, and andrew today, and for y'all for coming. thank you. >> thank you, todd. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
[inaudible conversations] >> that wraps up a conversation on american history tv, live from the mississippi book festival. we will be black a few minutes from the state capitol build withing the next author program. this hit of the civil rights movement in mississippi. [inaudible conversations] [music] [music]
[music] >> book tv visits capitol hill ask members of congress what they're reading this summer. >> reading a few books. with my staff, i -- everyone that comes to join our team i give. the and force them to read three book tries to read once a area. the first do is the work, which is just a cool book about getting things done and conquering theforce offers resistance and friction that try to show you down. marine corps publication one, par fighting, a distillation of the marine corps philosophy how to fight and win wars and i find it applicable to things beyond the realm of war fighting. a lot of timeless wisdom and the final thing which i often carry with me and enforce a rigid system of discipline any offers,
book on writing, which is worth reading as least once a year. there's some other books on writing i try to read, simple and direct, and this is -- in term's something that can go with you, the best thing ever. just finished recently reading a great back, not a new book but the journalist and me murderer and this case where this army doctor, jeffrey mcdonald, was accuse another killing his wife and three children and can he was not convicted in military court and later put on trial as a civilian and fame news journalist, joe mcginnis, signed a contract with him to write his story and became imbedded in the defense team, became friend with the guy, and the guy, the murderer thought he was going write a very positive story, book about basically saying he was innocent, and indeed the opposite happened. wrote a book saying this guy is a psychopath so it is a
fascinating exploration of journalistic ethics and to what extend you're always deceiving a source and how many liberties you can take when you're telling someone else's story and it's just bizarrely compelling and the writing by janet malcolm who was sued by someone who wrote a book about -- dish don't enough definition of character but misrepresenting something. er write is incredible. i try to mix it up and do fun books at the same time, so for those who, like i, are taked to "game of thrones" and are eager hely awaiting the final installment and recognize that george martin will never finish writing the novels. he stumbled on "the blade" and it's awesome. looking for summer read, fun, even if like epic fantasy is not
your thing and you make fun of people that read such books, you'll like this book. the characters are incredibly well drawn and it's funny, and so this is like a beach read, summer read i would highly recommend. you have to space out fiction and nonfiction and have some fun. the two kind of big projects that i'm halfway through this one right now, written by michael green, a professor at georgetown, particularly at a time when we're considering -- seems all of the national security strategy, the national defense strategy nuke prepare for long-term competition with china. this book, more than providence" takes an history yakal look at american ing extra in the asia-pacific and digs into thenars thinks and geopolitics, and it is comprehensive, not an easy read but fascinating to see the extent of our involvement in that area of the world, precisely at the time we're trying to figure out what should
our presence in the pacific be and this is a book i refer to almost every day on the armed services committee when i think houston bow do we do with work with allies and express american power. the final one which i have not started yet, about i am -- the core of miss office will suggest i'm a huge eisenhower fan. so everyday a new eisenhower boom comes out i eagerly await it. this is about icen hour and this downfrom -- eisenhower from soldier to statesman, and this has gotten great review, a uva professor and i haven't read itout so can't give a review but i'm excite evidence to anything and to eisenhower is fascinating and look at the arc of eisenhower, at the time of this presidencies, despite being a war hero, the man who won world war ii, at the time as the president he was perceived as
their fig add executive. played golf owl the time and dulles want the country and world. that revisionist wave which shows that the opposite was true. ing this started with a book by greensteen called the hidden hand presidency which says that eisenhower, through very subtle and devious missions and people didn't appreciate him as much and always been drawn to be period between 1946 do 1961, which end end the eisenhower presidency and i think we're going threw similar period of transformation in the international environment and thinking about how we handle that transformation, modernize our -- what is the american role and the foundation for a bipartisan foreign poll and we manage to do it next 507s under eisenhower.
that period offers enduring lesson. >> what resource does you use to figure out what to read next. >> my primary resource is my friends who are constantly recommending books and i sort of -- i have -- my system is -- if i get a recommendation or read something that suggests that a book that's worth reading, and then in this job, people send you books all the time, which is crazy but i welcome it. i'll put it in a bucket on my amazon list and save it for late and are i'm not allowed to buy new books nil finish the ones i'm read and if i revisit it a month later and it no longer interests me i'll not buy it. a friend wrote a great book called conspiracy but a the gawker case, which i highly recommend. a lawsuit between hulk hogan and gawker. a rule i hadn't known beforor, take your age and subfree throw. 100 so i'm 34, the number is
66. always dangerous do math in public on c-span. and if the book hasn't captivated your interest by that page, then put it away because the author has an obligation to you, even if you're reading nonfiction to keep you interested and engaged and if you're there, and you have done the work of buying the book, if you're not engages by in my case, 66, then you can put it away. i guess if you're 99 you earned the right to discard it after page one. >> congressman i'm going to put you on the spot. give me a two of your favorite books all-time. >> great question. i'll do one fiction and i'll do one nonfiction. >> fair. >> there's a -- when you ask this question, which i ask people a lot, you're not allowed to say the bible or something. those answer are a copout. so my favorite book is a bike called the long goodbye by raymond chandler, the
prototypical interior and -- noir and if i'm in milwaukee, i have to buy a copy of a raymond chandler book, the iconic detective, fillil marlow, and the long goodbye this best of all hit books. on the nonfiction side the best book written about the -- both the founding and a really interesting book but leadership is a book called "washington's crossing" by a david hackett fisher and takes washington's crossing of the delware was really a jumping off point for a broader book not only beaut that event but going into detail about what the different armies lookedded like. at the british army, the rag tag american army, and what you leave that book with is an appreciation for contingency. so many things could have gone
wrong, both that night but throughout that campaign, and washington was losing the war at that point and had it gone a different way this, country may not have even exist expelled it is remarkable the way it turned around. always recommend that book as good one to give you an appreciation for how club we for be americans and also to learn some lessons from washington's early mistakes but also what made him great as a leader. >> book t. wants to know what you're reading, end it your summer reading list on twitter, instagram for facebook. book tv on c-span2. television for serious readers. >> book dvr is on twitter and facebook and we want to hear from you. tweet us, or post a comment on our facebook page. facebook.com/booktv. >> here's a look at the current best-selling nonfiction books according to publishers weekly.
topping the list, the russia hoax by greg jarrett of fox news. in the book he argues against the investigation into russian interference in the 2016 president election. then event planner rachel hollis offers self-help advice in i "girl, wash your face now and then jeanine pirro defends president trump. in fourth, a cookbook followed by a collection of monologues from greg gutfeld the look at books continues with the donald j. trump presidential twitter library by trevor noah, and then in death of a nation, conservative political commentator provides a critical history of the democratic party. in eighth is christian calling psychologist jordan peterson's 12 rules for life, followed by educated, a memoir of westover's
childhood in the idaho mountain and her introduction to formal education at 17. wrapping up the look at the bestseller list is lynn vincent and the rousant of the sink of the uss indianapolis. one of the worst dares in u.s. naval history. some of these authors have appeared on booktv. watch them on our ones, book tv doral doral. >> quads for my first anymore 2010, i believe. i-- i qualified for my first anymore 2010, i believe. i graduate from duke in gout hard hart time finding a job and was still port of the westburg foundation so i was training, and i somehow or another convinced my parents to help me pay for a world cup, and i remember taking like a good look
at the team u.s.a., the u.s.a. fencing team it and wasn't diverse enough and i didn't see shawn looked like me. and even with the woman's sabre team, never been a woman of color on the team before. so, i was going against what everyone around me was telling me. i was 23 when i went to my first international competition. i had no world ranking. i had no national ranking. i had never had a senior competition before i graduated from college so a lot eye naysayers telling me what was impossible. an olympic team was never any future but a i has never been on a junior team that it don't have the tactical train organize skillfuls to ever make a national team or qualify for an olympic team. so a lot of i feel like my journey as an athlete is kind of about challenging what the
people around me think about me and i feel like society tries to put you in a box. even within the fencing community there's an idea that people who excel as kids are thought of as olympic hopefuls and people who don't have a spot on the cadet and junior teams, they're the ones that won't make it. they'll fall off because the don't have the skill set to make it. there's also that layer of i don't know what to call it but to be different in a sport that is predominantly white is very difficult. there's lot of pushback in wanting you to occupy that space. so, on the national team, there was a lot of commentary around the team that never included me, even while i was on the team. i was seen more as a placeholder than i was anything else, and there is almost this like hopeful rhetoric that somehow i would not qualify the next year.
so imagine having to carry that baggage every single competition, every single year, and compete. i think that a lot of athletes of color nor similar situations as i was, experience that, where you feel that pressure to be exceptional in order to be accept. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at the books being published this week. ann coulter about the left resistance to trump president? i resistance is futile in the chosen wars, former "new york times" correspondent provides histories of judaism in america. a three-quarter life of arthur ashe. also being published is godless citizen citizen a godly republic. the history of atheism in
america. another cornell professor, lewis, lookses a changes the american work force of the past 70 years in this book "temp". the recount of the life of vice president and 1968 democratic presidential candidate, hubert humphrey. in eraising america, the thoughts on the relationship between the political left and american history. >> a recollection of her life in syria and her families attempts to escape in "the boy on the beach." watch for the authors in the near future on booktv, on c-span2. [inaudible conversations]
mississippi book festival. this is our civil rights panel. sponsored by the mississippi humanities council. at about the 40 minute mark or maybe a little before we will open the floor for questions from the audience. if you make your way to the podium in the center and ask your questions from their we will get to everyone who has one we are decided that mac delighted to have emily dc junior. the smith robinson center. and as the founding director of our civil rights museum. thank you. [applause]. >> i'm very excited to be here thank you for coming out i would
like to introduce our phenomenal panel who has the most amazing books that you truly want to read. our first panelist is james hunt. images of the civil rights movement in mississippi. photographed by jim lucas. they had archived these images for a touring expedition. and then served for many years on the board of trustees where they work to preserve and restore the correction. she found it in management the art colony which received a chair award from the humanities council in 2001 [applause]. our next amazing young lady
mississippi exiled daughter how my civil rights baptism civil-rights baptism shaped my life brenda travis is the founder of the historical education foundation the mission is to teach civil rights history to today's youth. she speaks widely to schools and civic groups about her experience as a 1960s civil rights advocate. glenda travis. stephanie voss. resisting a quality the citizens council 1954 and 1989 she's an associate professor in the history department in jackson mississippi and she earned her phd in history. in addition to her work as a phenomenal teacher she is the
academic director for the shepherd higher education consortium on poverty. this guy on the end the porches of the 1961 mississippi freedom writers. eric is the author and photographer. mississippi freedom writers. it contains the mug mugshots of all 329 writers arrested in 1961 as well as contemporary portraits and poor profiles of more than 90 writers. i'm going to allow each one of the authors to talk about their
books for about five minutes and then we will go into some questions we will start with jane hearn. tell us about this book. >> thank you. it's so nice to be here. i appreciate everyone who has come to see this. jim lucas took pictures has a very young man he really started taking pictures when he was about 13 he started working for the jackson daily news and shooting photographs when his 14 he kept all of his negatives and they were meticulously organized and stored and he was in millsaps college when he was taking these pictures starting with the freedom summer. the book covers events that were iconic mississippi events during the civil rights movement to include the search for schwerner
government. during of the freedom summer 1964. they also include the meredith march in 1966. they also include the murder and funeral of worthless jackson in mississippi. we go on to 1967 when the u.s. senate hearings on poverty were held here in jackson and four senators came to cover that including robert kennedy. marion edelman white at that time as did fannie lou hamer. they were trying to and the discussion was around the funding for the headstart program.
and who should control that funding. marion white convinced robert kennedy to go into the mississippi delta the next day and see the poverty firsthand there are pictures of what he found and they are very compelling pictures on that visit. also there are some other images around jackson mississippi. including the bombing of the synagogue. there are essays for each chapter i have wonderful contributors that are scholars in their field that introduce each chapter and give historical and artistic context. they provide the verbal stories to jim's visual wants.
i think you. i usually start off attempting to sing but i won't. those who believe in freedom and not rest until it comes. and that's what my book is about. that's i'm here today i want to think my amazing co-author and john obi. john, please stand up i met john in 2013. and we worked on the book for five years but it is about me as a young girl here in the state of mississippi who had that restless spirit it didn't rest
then and it won't rest now. you are here to continue the struggle and the fight to make sure that it comes. my mother and my dad were sharecroppers. my mother was pregnant with me and the owner of the crop wanted my dad to bring my mother to the fields to work and he refused to come out. he refused to go get her. the man left the field to go get a gun. he went to my mother they were running as fugitives and every white person and mississippi was in mississippi was a lot at that time. because you were allowed to kill people especially black people
without penalty. so he left anyone to get my mother and he ran back to call where they went to live. instead of being born in the delta and lord have mercy it was called the bombing capital of the world. there was just so much hatred and vitriol it was a terrible place to live. after a while if that was sick and tired of being sick and tired. i knew i have to do something about it. now the way, i became energized and all of us have an emma tilt
story. when emma tilt was killed i was like ten years old. and i recall seeing his battered body body that did not look human in a coffin. i remember how that affected me and traumatized me. and then a few weeks later the police busted through my grandmother's home where we were all living. snatched my brother and my grandmother ask what do you want with him. they took my brother way i thought sure, if and when i ever saw my brother he was going to resemble emma tilt in that
coffin. it was at that point that i made a conscious decision as young people do make decisions. when i grow up i meant to do this. i did not grow into adulthood to do anything about it. i took action as a child a number of people from voter registration. i was the president of the naacp at the time. and i began to work with a number of other people. in the voter registration was going very poorly.
with the young people. to hold their interest. they decided on direct action. they were arrested sitting in at the greyhound bus station. a mass meeting was held at the masonic temple. they ask the people volunteer to go to jail and not what they arrest be in vain. for youth and adults. i will go if i have to go.
we were the three and the only females who raised her hands. we left the meeting in as i went home i now i just cannot share this with my mother. she would not have allowed me to go. i did not want to be disobedient to her. i'll not go if i have to go. i made the preparation back. the next day i went to jail i did kiss my mother before i left.
and held close to her because i did not know when or if i would see her again. they were purchasing a ticket at the greyhound bus station i forgot to mention that. we were taken to jail. i was in jail for 20 days. and upon my release from the pride county jail in magnolia mississippi. five days later i went to register and roll in my high school which was then called the berglund high school and i was told requested why. because of my civil rights activities. mind you, my civil rights activities have nothing to do
with the school district or a school at all because these activities took place during the summer months. so after spending 20 days. it so happened that the day i went to the school was the day they held assembly. ask plain to plane to them that i we went into the the word circle. and the students at that point decided that they're going to
walk. if i was going to be allowed to enroll and enroll in school. they were going to walk with me. that's what they did. the majority of the school. we went to the masonic temple. we plan to walk to magnolia which was a county seat. it was too far and too dangerous. so we walked to city hall. and we ascended up the steps. to pray. about the fourth person or so. the chief of police they have no better recollection of what happened.
for all of us beautiful black people we were arrested. >> i will stop you right there. i have some questions here good. i have some questions in regard to that after i get to everybody. and to reclean it -- reclean it back. and this is the amazing book again. talk about resisting equality. i will happily take my time. as one of the best shots i've head. the civil rights museum in mississippi.
good afternoon. my specialty is the guy who caused so much trouble. so the first that they're talking about. it helped calibrate these arrests. and help supervise. it dominated the states. after the active parts of the civil rights movement. one of the things i think historians struggle is so much. is making sure that we are not using that past tense too liberally. it's very easy to talk about the past. especially in the space where
white supremacy is for so long. two just be conscious of the space that we occupy today. across our country has included when i started this project in graduate school why would you study the activists. who are so brave and achieve so much. what i am seen now in 200018 is that nobody is asking me that question anymore. and i don't need to elaborate on that it sounds like. i'm very disappointed that my book is relevant in 2018. as we move past this and what
happened in charlottesville we are painfully aware. that white supremacy doesn't exist in the shadows. we really do have to contend with a different formation. and to help us understand the way they are making their connection. for that reason there is a lot in my book about not just the local terrorism. that the council committed in place of the county. in hinds county and the mississippi delta especially. but i move out of that space a little bit. and i asked questions about who was finding these guys. where is the money coming from. what space bar they occupied. and the question that first open that up for me. was what happened to them after.
and that was probably the most provocative part of the story for me. they found a lot of comfortable spaces to occupy outside mississippi. and outside of the united states. where did the council go after 64 and 65. why were would they still in existence. and what sort of network where the able to help forge that ultimately transformed the way the political landscape looked. that is just a little bit of insight into what motivated me to get into this and to kind of think about not endpoints. i encourage my students to not think about this. and the citizens council.
it did not end with a. i will turn it over. to stephanie's point where it is the money come from. my book is really possible because of the work of the sovereignty commission saving all the mugshots in 1961. in one of the other things they did. they funded the public money in the private operation of the white citizens council. there will be no historical reenactments today of any money. this is a second edition of my book. the first edition came out ten years ago. and in putting together this new
addition which has even more freedom writers than the first book did. the regular press announcer looked on and read. i found a woman named shauna who had reviewed my book. it's like a gateway drug. and that has really been that for me personally. i came to this project as a former magazine editor. and i was looking for some photographic a project to do. i've seen some projects like that. one day in about 2004. i kind of remembered about the sovereignty mission files.
they discovered the mugshots. and realize they found the project. they are examples of the state. they want to go into the train stations. it was not being enforced. so they really weren't breaking the law. with the help of the sovereignty commission not only had they saved the mugshots by other data from the police department that have everybody's full name, and middle name included.
i have a city where they were living in 1961. that plus the internet took me a pretty long way. in locating about hundred 20 or so of the 300 people that were here and we set out to sort of go and see them. i realize very quickly it really became a joy for me. about her growing up in mississippi and what was her experience like. i have that pleasure with people from the south from the north from the west and people who had escaped europe in germany before the war. peoples whose families have come from all over the world to live
in mississippi and then really to assam ask them why did you come to mississippi in 1961. the ability to tell the stories in this book has a been a real meaningful experience and i've learned so much more about my story as mississippians and i just want to share quickly the story of one freedom writer who is from jackson. before i do that. dolores seen that. i'm not sure i can't really see very well.
hezekiah watkins. did fred make it? they will beat with me in signing books if you want to come and talk to them later. but one of their buddies was a guy named jesse davis. in 2016 and unfortunately he died last year. here in jackson. he just graduated from linear the summer of the freedom rain. i remember when i first heard about it.
when can something like that come to jackson. there was no a sit in in jackson. i was fearful for my mother that if i acted independently without support our end up like in the till. it's a great possibility that that would happen. he have a make the decision like miss travis is talking about. i'm ago get arrested he did that in new orleans. and then breast -- bus rides into jackson. if you were a freedom writer from jackson.
i was a pretty hard decision to make. and this is what jesse told me about the night he got arrested. i went to down to blair methodist church. i heard james bevil speak. they were saying things like you know guys if you want to change things in mississippi you've got to take an active role. their other actions that we are and a half to take. this is the initial one. our citizens and want to want to be involved in this. they like the way they are living. now back to jesse. i heard that from barnett before. he said look we have to go.
yes we have to go but i want to think about it. we got in the car with fred. and we drove down to the railway station. i felt like the chains had fallen off. about the chains falling off. [applause]. before we open it up for questions from the audience. i do want to ask myself starting with eugene in regards to who was jim lucas. because we need to know who was and the passion that he have when taking a photograph.
the emotion that exudes from the photograph. talk a little bit about it. as i told you. he was a millsap student. he was very much a perfectionist and need the technical side of photography very well. because as he was shooting he was also processing. he was a lab man. when he was at millsap that summer he have access to be able to take these photographs because he was able to get hired as a runner for the cbs news group that was in town. by doing that they were shooting
film. they did not mind for him to be shooting the still cameras at the same time. in all of his negatives these types of photographs were peppered in among college life because he was in school and he was taking sports and photographs and all other kinds of photographs. mid during the search for goodman schwimmer in training. when they found the bodies. he was at the market when they were waiting for the bodies to be delivered. and one of his photographs was used in the life magazine spread. covering them. he found himself as a stringer for life magazine.
they have several photographs accepted there. and also he shot for ubi. he was a professional photojournalist while he was still in college. next access put him very aware of what was happening in mississippi and every time he knew something was going on. he was there to cover it. he wanted to make a difference. he wanted to be where everything was happening. his work was very professional. the photograph showed. and natural lighting.
they have beautiful quality. he could connect with the subject. because many of the photographs or groups with long perspective. and then some the others have intimacy and the dignity in the humanity of his subjects. >> and even when you were looking through the photographs what emotions did come up as far as going through them when you are curating the actual show. >> they told the story. they were so explicit in telling a story. i began to do the research to understand what the history was there. and they have to research.
it was not one that was well known in this part of the state. the composition and the beauty of the photograph i'm a designer my background and they just spoke to me in the context of the story as i said was flushed out. by the wonderful scholars that did the essay for each chapter. mister travis. you talked about direct action. explain to the audience what direct action must end what actually happened when you went in and you said okay this will be an okay action. the photos told stories as
activists we lived the stories we were out there on the front line taking the beatings and that is what direct actions means. it means going into the war because that is exactly what it was. and every claim my past. is something i want to say further. i'm sitting here. i'm looking out over the audience and its piercing my heart every empty seat in here is pursing -- piercing my heart. is there a lot of in mississippi all over the country today.
they failed. that direct action. the action that we take with a direct action. especially if it's affecting lives. especially if it is upsetting attempting to change the status quo. that's a direct action. thank you. stephanie when i first opened your book. either we will stay white together. we will integrate we will be integrated county by county and state by state. and talk about the community of the people. who are they. and why did they go.
pam did not give me this question have a time. it's a really good question. the idea of white unity really pervades the entire manuscript. the idea that there was no room for him billy guillen's. any kind of that issue was a death sentence. as i navigated my way through the sources. and i looked at what historians have said about the council in the past. the thing that really struck me the most was the way in which the citizens council was there. it's where i adore. the cover of the book is a white-collar shirt.
sort of trading and the white robe for the suit. that's what people know about the citizens council. the citizen council citizen counsel repeatedly said it was not the clan. the genius of this movement was that these are bankers and teachers and attorneys. sheriffs, who are leaders in their community and who not only have the economic power but have the well to survey their local communities. and use the lead of power. to exact fear and people who were not only inclined to be active for a quality they also
have the well to intimidate whites one of the campaigns that this counsel did early on was they conducted neighborhood surveys where they have ward leaders who were members of the jackson citizens council. it would go house to house in their own neighborhood with the survey and it is so dimly it's comical. if you answer know enough times the natural solution from the person taking the survey is you need to join the citizens council. probably the best example who preceded ross burnett who through close segregation.
if they did not join the organization they were under suspicion. we are right in the middle of the cold war. so any sort of not being damaged. you could put your children in danger. it could do all sorts of things. that is not to take away from the local terror that black citizens in mississippi experienced. i think one of the under told stories is that they have to shift towards this organization. they were not willing to put themselves out there and one of the lessons that that raises for me as i think we need to be incredibly conscious of those that pervade the environment today. they are deadly. [applause]. thank you stephanie.
>> thank you very much. he talked about how this project came into fruition what do you hope to gain from it. and what do you hope they will actually get out of it. they really afford this incredibly unique perspective on the movement. we talk about the freedom summer. or the albany campaigns. various campaigns throughout the south. during the 60s. the mugshots really allow us to know i know what we had tried to do in shaping of the book and the inspiration included in it.
you can see the strains of the movement and the conflicts of the movement and self in the story of the movement played out in individual people's lives. there was a great debate in the movement in the early 60s about direct action versus lawsuit. it was very pro- litigation. and that yielded victories. but young people like the freedom writers they wanted to act. you can see that being played out. a tactic that may work. you see people struggling with that themselves. burks brooks was on the cover of the new addition was in school
in tennessee. and the veteran of the city did -- seated campaign in the 60s. the campaign there. she had been schooled in nonviolence by reverend james lawson. he is not as well-known as he should be. she wanted to be nonviolent. she was also a time of liberation for african countries she was drawn to that liberation. what i want people to get out of it is to see they can see in these individuals lives. when coming in through the mug shot.
it's very good. one thing i tell people is that if you go through the civil rights museum you get to gallery aid. how do we get this through. his can be doing the work. the travis a story about how to deal with her mother. is a story i heard over and over again from different writers. there is a guy from washington dc that told me if i ask my parents and they said i couldn't do it i would've gone. i just went anyway. his father got a call a couple of days after he had been arrested. he did not know where his son was. he said it where is your son right now. he said he's down at virginia union. he's in summer school. i may have to come and talk to you. other people even grown-ups who
were married. he was an adult. he was married he had kids. either they didn't tell his mother or her mother. they come to jackson to get arrested. other people have arguments with their parents. there is a guy name alex white. he got out with his family. he saw the photographs of what was happening in birmingham he was just amazed i'm get a decent thing about this. this is just like what you went through. and they said you know what. as us. i'm not going to stand by and let this happen. i know from history that's a good thing. so off he went to mississippi.
we will open it up for question. we have a whole lot of questions with a little time. i was curious mostly for brenda. how do you look at then and how do you look now. for some of the white involvement that activist. how did you look then at them and how do you look them now at the involvement. i looked in at them as brave people and i look at them now because anybody in their right mind would not be there.
they would not had been in mississippi. especially for black people. i applaud them thank you. with my former colleague on the board of trustees. i look forward to your book. my question is for ms. roth. i realize that realized that was it exceptional act of courage not only because of the way in which you pulled the cover back on the council but also when you made the connection and the current conservative movement my question to you is how much pushback if you've had any from individuals found it difficult
to agree with your position. another great question. thank you for the compliment. i'm humbled by that. the response i think i have seen over the past maybe the past year a little bit of an uptick on people asking me in very polite ways to clarify what i'm saying. just explain to them what the whole an argument might be. what are the advantages that i have. if there is this initial you must not be from around here i'm able to counter it with that. i think probably more of the pushback has come from the argument that people became
conservative republicans for all kinds of reasons. it was not just racing driven. my response to that is why not earlier. one of the things that i think has clarified that. as the new phase of this project. i'm looking at white republicans in california and their connection to the citizens council. so far they have seen that as racial innocence. i am seen them flee seeing them flee into the arms of the citizens council and that has really got my attention. to be continued on that. i think there is some resistance from just being honest about the weight white supremacy has controlled our political systems.
thank you for the question. >> i mark lafrance us. the site where jackson was murdered. the naacp where his friend the maa -- naacp leader was nearly murdered. i will make a statement and then a request from each of you. we spent the last three years producing another civil rights justice story. the untold story of documentary, the abuse and humiliation and the maximum-security and humiliation and the maximum-security from 1965. 150 young men and women were taken there illegally. in the documentary has done well. we have a book coming out in november. from the history press. were very excited about the
reception they have received those who produce with the partnership in the humanities council to ask the question. we have the next film. facing fear in the civil rights era. i would like to talk to each of you about helping and supporting. and we want to thank you for the work. in and appreciate it. and maybe afterwards i can address each of you about that. i would like to just thank you for your book and your work on civil rights. i like to think you for the great books.
and the warning to see up and speak very clearly. as a slide. it is a time to be speaking out. i was curious about the white citizens council. did you ever find some of the whites that were there came around and change their mind. and spoke out against racism. >> a lot of this history has been an institutional kind of intellectual history. look at the ideas and that sort of thing. they made some movement. and that was earl johnston who is the former director of the missions mississippi state direction. they were somewhat apologetic
for the way in which resistance was conducted. i don't think he ever flipped. but i think he was apologetic for the sort of things that the organizational power was able to exact on a number of individuals. there are a lot of people who come up to me now who were children of members of the citizens council who plead the case for their parents. my dad was forced into the citizens council. he didn't have a choice. those narratives are pretty common from just one on one interaction. i can't think of anyone out right who was publicly apologetic for that. that may be a product of my ignorance. the last question. he got the second question i was going to ask.
and that goes for there is a lot of information about what you have done for your hometown in mississippi. and in the movement. have you been to the museum and if you have what are your thoughts on the civil rights museum in jackson right now. this has been an amazing panel of phenomenal authors. [applause]. they will be at the book signing table in a few minutes they will
be going outside to the book signing table so we will be able to buy the book and get the book signed. [inaudible conversations] that the author discussion. we head about half an hour until the next live author program from mississippi book festival here at the state capitol building in jackson. there will be a look at race, economics in the judicial system in the south from the 19th century to today. we will be back shortly.
[inaudible conversations] according to publishers weekly. the russia hoax he argues against the investigation into russian interference on the 2016 presidential election. girl, wash your face. after that it is liars, leakers and liberals. they defend president trump against many of his detractors. and forth its magnolia table. a cookbook hd tv.