tv [untitled] March 17, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
part of her custom to hand out pieces of china that had written on it votes for women. and we well tea cups and dinner plates with votes of women on it. it is one of our more popular items but she believed in this cause and attracted many, many thousands of people to his lawn overlooking the atlantic. the chinese teahouse was built as a folly by alva for fun for entertaining purposes. she actually hired two architects who went on a tour of china for a year. they came back with this design so we will see that in a minute. so alva vanderbilt, built the chinese tea house and she hired
architects and commissioned them to travel to china for more than a year and they came back with this design. it was an expression of fun she used to host parties centered around the tea house and certainly it was a great focal point standing on the terrace looking out to the sea over looking this tremendous silhouette the wonderful red color. i think a great, great addition to the property of the house. >> there's a new website for american history tv where you can find our schedules and watch video and access ahtv history tweets and history in the news.
and social media. follow american history tv all weekend every weekend online at cspan.org/history. john willis menard was elected to congress in 1868. up next we hear more about him from phillip magnus. this is about an hour from the u.s. capital historical society. >> before we begin, before i introduce the speakers, let me introduce congressman danny davis. [ applause ] >> thank you very much. and let me just say how delighted i am to be here. as a matter of fact, the last
time i was at a meeting, i was so inspired by a woman who made a presentation of a book that she has written that i have been trying to get that book into school districts all around illinois and other places throughout the country. and actually had her at my home in chicago for the kwanzaa celebration that we do each year to present to our guests. so it is always a pleasure and looks at the development and evolution of our country. and to think of how it really is when we go back to where it was when it started.
how it got started. all of the different people who have come from places throughout the world. all of the challengeths that we have had. is so many different people have made, i decided for example, this year as we celebrate in my community, african-american history that we were going to highlight individuals in the neighborhood that i call unsung heros and sh sheroes that people have never heard of. that people will get the chance to know them differently. i'm suggesting that often times that we are surrounded by giants
who are in holes and if somehow we can get the dirt from around them and uncover who they really are, rather than being grass hoppers, they become giants and there have been so many giants in the history and development of our country until it is unimaginable and i thank the society for often times uncovering and rediscovering and helping the rest of us reconnect with some of those giants who have been forgotten. so thank you and it is pleasure to be here and to be a part of this discussion. thank you. [ applause ]
>> thank you, congressman and to speak about one of those unsung heros. we have three speakers. i will speak about them now and then they will come to the podium. at the tim permitting we will have questions from the audience. our first speaker is robert wmagnus. he obtained his degree from the university of saint thomas. dr. magnus specializes in the history of taxation and trade in the united states. long a civil war buff his attention turned to the presidency of lincoln. the find marked the beginning of
a four year hunt with the beginning of his book. lincoln and the movement for black resettlement. in addition to writing, he is an d academic programs director at george mason university and has taught and lincoln university and international trade at gmu. also in his biography he is an avid scuba diver and plays under water hockey for the washington d.c. and i love this name -- belt way bottom feeders. there is probably no end of applicants for that team. after dr. magnus makes his
presentation rodney ross will come to read a poem from john wi wi willis maynard. rod is an old and dear friend a great pro ponant of history. he is very active in a number of organizations including the illinois state society which joins the capital historical society which sponsors today's event. after rod we will have our third speaker dr. matthew wasniewski. he had served as the historian and deputy chief of the office of history and preservation and directs many excellent programs in preservation of records and
the publication of historical documents and information pertaining to the house of representatives and on a personal note that prior to coming to the house of representatives he worked at the u.s. capital and historical society. so without further or due, dr. magnus. >> thank you. i'm here to talk about john willis maynard. he is somewhat of a familiar na name for some. his main claim to fame was that he was the first african-american elected to the house of representatives but was denied a seat in 1869. i'm here to talk about his life,
background and history up until this point because he was actually an accomplished individual who sat at the of a and international history. the american civil war right here in washington d.c. but shortly after the war he my greated to jamaica. the morant bay rebellion in 1865. both of these events were tied to the end of slavery and greater freedom and civil rights. so, he had a front-row seat to two intersecting events at a troubled time in u.s. history. we don't know too much about his early life other than he was be
born in illinois. there was some thought, it was always the family history that he was the descendant of pierre menard the first lieutenant governor of illinois. he had a white grand father and a white grandmother. his parents were two free blacks from probably the new orleans area when he was born in 1838. he grew up on the frontier that was set aside to be a free state when it was incorporated there. there was a fairly vibrant free black community that grew up there. he had enough of a distinction to his background through the menard family connection that he was able to afford education. his parents sent him off to an
abolitionist school. in the 1850s he shows up at an african-american -- he obtains a college education which was quite remarkable. you can tell from reading his works and speeches, he is thoroughly educated in a liberal arts background. he is a man of letters a newspaper publisher. the first record we have of him speaking is in 1859. at the age of 21 he attended an ablishist event on august 1st of 1859, that is emancipation day. the freeing of the slaves in the
british empire and he is invited to speak of this event. we have the newspaper report of what was going on and the audience wasshocked to see this young kid. he was 21 years old. the reporter makes a remark on the shock of seeing him. he said his voice was strong and impressive. he spoke on slavery. his speech to our surprise was truly the best of the day. we don't know if abraham lincoln attended the event but was probably aware of what was going on. that is the first possible instance that they may have crossed paths. that is important because he comes into connection with the administration later. this speech establishing him as
a rising star in the movement in the united states. he is invite d to take a role fr a newspaper out of boston by the newspaper the pine and palm and it was establishes by 1860 to 1861. he appears writie ining opinion pieces in 1860 that is an address to the free people in illinois. it is an attack to the fugitive slave law. he is a gifted writer and he does not compromise in his stances. he says in this article that the law has turned the whole north into one vast hunting ground for men and chased us to the shores of canada. he goes after the 2/5 clause.
he also embraces at this point what was considered a controversial proposition especially in the black community. that was the immigration movement the belief that the united states would not hold out for equal rights for african-americans for some time in the distant future and therefore he urges blacks to follow immigrant groups and this is modeled after the groups of europe. so he says we should follow in the foot paths of those who have been chased from their homeland.
again referring to the 3/5 clause. he becomes a leader in the immigrationist section that plays out some of the internal politics of that group throughout the 1860s and the early civil war. he moves to washington, d.c. around 1861 through his association with redpaths newspaper and his rising fame as a speaker within the community. what we do know at the time is that he comes to the attention of the lincoln administration. abraham lincoln was a c colonizationist. it is also very reflective of that time in history.
the movement was the belief that after emancipation that freed slaves should be settled abroad. liberia was a location where freed slaves set up their location and he investigated central america where he was hoping to obtain land. in 1862 lincoln held a meeting at the white house to pitch this proposal to them. he had obtained $600,000 in funding from congress to subsidize and support their transport and he was in the process of negotiating contracts with the government of club
governments at ti one of the the time. and later, the government of the united kingdom, and the modern day country of gyana. meynard stirred quite a bit of attention. he said that the president made himself look ridiculous as his solution to slavery. menard saw this as an opportunity. while he did not agree with the notion of separating the races on a count of civil rights and civil liberties and that it should be a white man's government.
menard did see this as an opportunity and find the location abroad that would allow them to participate in the direct of their lives to own property and vote and serve on juries. everything that was denied here. menard is hired in 1863 by the u.s. immigration office. i have pictures of three vidials here. the man in the center was abraham's commissioner. mitchell was an irish born american preacher from illinois. he brought him to administer the program and mitchell new of menard and thought of him as someone who could bridge the gap between the movement in the
white community and the movement in the black community. so mitchell hires him as a clerk in 1863 which makes him one of the first african-americans to obtain a white collar job. which caused quite a bit of controversy. and within three months had pressured them to disconcontinue his salary and urged the secretary of the interior to demote him. they couldn't work in the same office with an african-american who was probably more qualified for the job. menard none the less sticks it out with mitchell and the lincoln administration as a negotiator in these colonization
schemes and comes into contact with another abolitionist. henry highland garnet from the state of new york. and mr. garnet is a vibrant speaker who has been part of the moveme movement. after the war, he becomes one of our first ambassadors to liberia. he was an ally of menard's. and another event happens the british government establishes b belize as a colony. this is a copy of the agreement.
this was signed on june 13th, 1863 at the white house. menard was aware of the agreement. and this is given to a man by the name of john hodge and his partner. they are both in the employ of the british company. anderson is important because he has a long-standing role in the british anti slavery movement. he had been a crusader in the british empire and he travels with hodge to washington to meet with lincoln at the white house. anderson was based on the island of jamaica. this is the first time that they meet. anderson was a wealthy and very
religious philanthropist type. he devoted his cause to bettering the condition of the blacks on the island and fighting for abolition. they had a natural agreement. but after this contract of sorts was signed, the u.s. immigration office decided they needed to investigate the sight. and check it out to see what they were getting into. what kind of housing existed to settle the emancipated slaves on and they asked him to visit the sight. this is the letter that menard presented to the governor when he arrived on august 3rd, 1863. he was the leader of a four-man
party. charles babcock was based out of boston. they met with several members of the government and were quite pleased because the colonial assembly had black members at the time. they were later taken up the coast and inland to the sight of the british honduras company's land. this is a picture of the ruins of a sugar mill that was on the land of the honduras company. he toured and visited the sight and he saw the construction and
buildings underway. the sight dated to 1860. upon his return he notices some problems with the colony. he notices it is very much the frontier of the british empire and the ability of the clolonia company had not been established yet. many of the buildings were still under construction and they didn't have the facilities to take in large numbers of people. he goes straight to garn et's church and observes at the time that a few of the right stock could be suitable settling of the frontier.
but is skeptical and reports on this to lincoln and drafts what we believe is a lengthy essay on the subject. that has been lost but here is the letter that he attached to it when he delivered it to lincoln in september 1863. now the british colony shortly afterwards ran into trouble. there were problems between the british and united states government. britain wanted to sustain it's neutrality. and became skittish that the confedracy that is still active in fighting the war would interpret that, and menard himself is unsettled and comes
back to new york and learns that the riots of 1863 had occurred when several free african americans in the city were lynched. attacked on the streets including henry highland garnet who had to remove the sign on his door to prevent the mob from coming in and attacking his family. they perceive honduras as a possibility to escape to. and within six months of his return, and presentation of this project, the colonization funds are rescinded due to the opposition that came out of the senate. menard himself at the time turned next to another location.
remember anderson the philanthropist that had sponsored societies around the world, on route back he stopped in jamaica and fell in love. he met his wife, elizabeth, there. this is on the steam route back to new york city and with anderson he relocates to the island. we don't know the exact date that this occurs, but anderson is most likely the sponsorer of his trip there because he settles right next to a plantation that is owned by anderson. there are two other figures that enter his life internationally now. this is a person that had been introduced to lincoln. now he is brought over into the highest levels of the gentleman
make can government. our first figure here gordon who is considered the first hero of jamaica today. he was a black member of the parliament and a leader within colonial rights the ability to purchase land and the ability to vote and sit on juries that were major issues within the empire at the time. this other fellow was edward eyre. anderson and gordon had served together. they were business partners together and anderson