Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    June 23, 2012 4:00pm-4:30pm EDT

4:00 pm
they get mad at him, so they organize a campaign against him. one of the parts of the organization was a campaign by henry heavenson who was running for state representative in 1906 against lamazny and his organization. this is a flier they put together. this is calling a notice of a meeting in a local synagogue on russell street. think about the environment in which this is taking place, the jewish synagogue, in a campaign against the czar of ward 8, lomazny's district, and his nickname was the czar. most historians think of this as an affectionate nickname for lomazny. it is not. what a jew going to think about the nickname czar dictator, not only that, what else is going on? they kicked them out. the persecution, the czar was villain number one for jewish voters, so calling someone a czar in the west end of boston in 1906 wasn't a compliment, you
4:01 pm
know. and he goes on to be -- you see lots of political cartoons. he's labeled a czar, you see historians writing about him as a czar. they don't really notice the fact that that was a real dig at him. it was not a complimentary reference, so this is a way -- they are trying to get jews charged up to vote against lomazny by calling him a czar. they're organizing this meeting in a synagogue. and look at the bottom of the flyer. you have the english account and down here you have hebrew. i can't tell you what it says but i'm guessing it says about the same thing that it says up here. so this is about, again, mobilizing russian or eastern european jews, most of the jews in the west end were from russia. mobilizing them in their own native tongue, meeting in a synagogue, voting for a jewish candidate, so you're both jewish and an active citizen at the same time, once again. this is very similar to what you
4:02 pm
saw with the irish in the 19th century, this effort to be both a citizen and member of an ethnic community at the same time without any -- any apparent contradiction in all of this. so you have this whole group, these are basically the leading figures of the jewish community, including, i want to make quick note of horace and callen exkwir, who is a professor of philosophy at harvard. the reason i'm making note of his name is he's going to come up again in a minute in this little story that we're sketching out here. this is, you know, this is quite common. another thing in this same set of files where i found the flyer, close to it, in fact, was a typewritten ledger from a vote from the year before in which it broke down by precinct how many voters, how many jewish voters, what percentage of the jewish voters voted so lomazny was keeping a very, very close eye on the number of jews voting and was working to make sure that
4:03 pm
he, you know, mobilized enough, but not too many with us. it became harder and harder for lomazny to keep a lid on these things and very gradually over the course of about 30 years, his grip on the district slipped away. it took until about 1930 for it to really come to an end. he was very powerful. only very gradual did they mobilize. it was not a process where they discard their old world identity and become american citizens. it's different where they're jewish and american at the same time. you see this is another newspaper that is actually in lomazny's district again. good italians become good americans. i'll read you an editorial. it says a person of italian nativity in order to become a good american must necessarily be a good italian. again, italian and american is not controversial. now what starts to happen at the
4:04 pm
beginning of the 20th century, or not -- you know, maybe a few years into the 20th century, as we've read about, you know, particularly in jacobson, na nativism kicks in again. there's this massive wave of immigrants into the united states. there's a growth of darwinian thinking about racial groups, all of which feeds nativist concerns. the campaign for restrictions is picking up steam over the first couple decades of the 20th century. it will become much more significant in the period around world war i, the first real immigration restriction, a literacy test is passed in 1917. right as the united states enters world war i and the campaign to mobilize for world war i was one that insisted upon 100% loyalty. one of the popular phrases was 100% americanism. the idea you could have a
4:05 pm
hyphenated identity was a tact. thee-roosevelt, no longer president but still a prominent public figure, gave a speech in which he proclaimed that there was no room for hyphenated americans. now he went on to qualify that in various ways and so forth, but the main here was that you couldn't be irish and american. you couldn't be polish and american, italian and american, half it might be. you could only be 100% american. there's this very intense pressure that is put on immigrants, not just after the u.s. enters the war, but even in 1914, '15, '16, as the idea of the participation in the war grows. >> i was just reminded that the native americans were considered to be american -- >> that's right, yeah. >> -- would be able to join troops? >> yeah. it was a very strict definition, and the same thing happens with immigrants. again, to counter this argument, they organize italian brigades.
4:06 pm
they organize at home relief organizations. they have liberty loan drives where they're raising money to fight the war, to support the war. italian leaders organizing an italian liberty loan drive where they can deliver one big check from the italian community that is a financial demonstration of their commitment as americans. and other ethnic groups do that, as well. this is this battle, this tug-of-war over can you be italian and american or are all hyphens gone? can you not have all this be part of who you are in the united states? it gets another little boost with another sort of twist on the fear of radicals we talked about a few minutes ago. this time it's not anarchists. it's bolsheviks. the russian revolution that follows immediately at the end of world war i ratchets up the concern over the possibility that immigrants coming to the united states are bringing dangerous political ideas. if they can overthrow the russian government, they can
4:07 pm
possibly do it over here as well. so you see in the immediate aftermath of world war i, a red scare that intensifies nativism, hostility toward immigrants a little bit more in this process, and, of course, this is something that was laid out for you in the chapter you read for today, the immigrants fight back. they're fighting back all through the '20s and certainly the fight back, the resistance to these arguments about 100% americanism and no hyphens intensifies as those concepts are asserted, so you start to see campaigns by groups like the ancient order of hibernans and the german-american alliance against immigration restriction. you start to see other, these liberty loan drives in ethnic communities that really assert the idea that you can be ethnic and be a good american simultaneously in all of this. the church speaks out against immigration restriction and some of the other nativistic expressions of this period. so the immigrants are fighting
4:08 pm
back. the biggest way they fight back is they start to articulate a pluralist argument. up till now it's been sort of their lived experience. there aren't people writing long essays, analyzing their identities so much. i mean, you do see it from place to place. you see expressions like good italians or good americans. you see that from time to time, but there isn't a real effort to spell this all out. to ortic kate it in sort of a formal way. the first person who really begins to do this is horace taylor, the same member of the committee that was supporting levenson's candidacy. horace was a polish-born jew who came over to the united states as a child, was able to get into and attend harvard, which was no mean feat for a jew in this era, received a phd in philosophy and became a professor, became an academic.
4:09 pm
in 1915, he wrote an article in "the nation" that was entitled "democracy versus the melting pot," and notice both terms in the title, what does melting pot mean? where have we seen melting pot before? it's one of the models that you can imagine immigrants joining in with american life. in with american life. does anyone remember where the phrase melting pot comes from in this period? it's in the reading for today. which is why i should have given a quiz, perhaps. it's a play, a jewish writer writes a play in 1906 called "the melting pot" which is about the experience of jews coming to the united states. it's a runaway success, an enormous hit, and in the play they tell the story of immigrants coming in and adapting to american life and being accepted into american society, and the idea is that
4:10 pm
this will create a new kind of america, one that is a blend, a fusing of the native and the immigra immigrant. all these different groups and cultures come in, and they create something new, but it's a single group that's fused together. there's a single new american identity. that's the model of the melting pot literally. fusing together, an analogy to the way you make steel, something stronger and more powerful than any of its other constituent metals. kallen doesn't like that. it doesn't make sense. his experience in the west end of boston, in observing american life, his experience is something a little bit different. his is an experience in which you have both your ethnic identity and your american identity side by side, but there isn't this fusing. you don't become just like the italians down the road or god forbid the yankees out in the suburbs. are you still a member of a particular group, but you're also an american.
4:11 pm
so he developed this idea, which he will continue to elaborate on over the next 20 years or so, of this idea of the united states as a culturally plural society. i mean, you see this is the most famous passage from the article here, and he's comparing american civilization to a multiplicity in a unity, an orchestration of mankind. the metaphor here is a symphony in which you have different parts, different instruments playing different melodies, different sounds coming out and each sort of different element of thecism my would be a different cultural group, a different ethnic group, and individually they have a particular character, but you put them together and without blending them all into one thing, you become something bigger and better and developing. does this make sense? so we talk about all kinds of metaphors which is the melting pot, the salad bowl and these kinds of things.
4:12 pm
this is kallen's metaphor, that the american society, american civilization is a symphony with lots of constituents parts remaining separate yet working together to create something bigger, better, more beautiful than exists in any individual part. it's not melting together into one new identity. nor is it a one-way street model of americanization in which immigrants shed their old world ways and become just like the wasps up the road, just like the native-born families whose ancestors came over on the may flower. the other thing that kallen argues is that this is a process. this is an ongoing process that's evolving. it's not a fixed thing where you've got the symphony down on paper, and it stays the same forever. it's constantly evolving. as new groups come in, they rewrite the symphony. there's a dynamic character to this that will persist through american life. does this make sense to you
4:13 pm
guys? now, what this means in the short run is not that much. you see in the immediate aftermath of 1915, america enters world war i, the campaign for 100% americanism kicks in, that push against hyphens kicks in. anger against immigrants escalates during and after the war. immigrant restriction, which has sort of been on the back burner of american public life since the 1890s, becomes much more significant, much more powerful, and in 1921, a more substantial immigration restriction law is passed, and in 1924, that law is revised further to make it stricter and more draconian. in 1928, you get the first real representative of ethnic america as a candidate for president, al smith from new york city. he's a member of tameny hall, an irish catholic. he is very much the embodiment of urban america. he speaks with a new york city
4:14 pm
accent. this matters now because radio is the medium of communication in politics as well as newspapers. when he starts talking about hospitals and speaking with this new york accent, people listening in south dakota, you know, are like what is this? he's seen in many parts of the united states as this horrifically ail len figure, but for others he's seen as a representative of urban immigrant, culturally plural america. his advisers know what is going on and are like, al, drop the accent. he wears a brown derby which is an urban style. get rid of the hat, make yourself more bland, white bred, midwesternish. he refuses because he thinks it would be a betrayal of his roots and his communities. it's something for which he's admired and also something that makes certain any chance he has of winning the election goes away. he's defeated badly. democrats who usually carry the
4:15 pm
south failed to carry the old confederacy this time because there's the catholic immigrant representative on the ballot. so in the short run, kallen's vision, a vision of a plural society, doesn't prevail. you have immigration restriction. al smith fails in this, but in the long run, as many of the voters who get excited about al smith start to register and vote, you see an uptick nim grant voting and particularly the children of immigrants are voting now in the 1930s. they will flock to the new deal and the democrats, and they will form the core of really the dominant voting block in the united states in the middle part of the 20th century. when you get to world war ii and after, this idea of a plural american society which you can be both ethnic and american at the same time, gained a lot of attraction. it may never fully dominate as the single and only idea of what it is to be an american, but it
4:16 pm
becomes a very powerful, very well received argument that gets a lot more traction. so in the short run this idea of pluralism doesn't really do that well, but over time, as we'll see, as we move forward into the middle part of the 20th century, that is going to change, and that argument is going to be renewed in new ways a bill lite later on. so, does this make sense to everyone? this is all i have for today. do you have any questions before we go? last chance to step up to the mike. okay. tuesday we'll talk about world war i and then thursday and even the following week we'll look more closely at this move towards immigration restriction, and really this is a major change in the immigrant history of the united states, you know. after 1924 immigration really comes to an end for several decades so that's a whole new epic in american history in many ways. so, thanks for your time.
4:17 pm
thanks for your patient. thanks for the hike. i will see you guys next week. so, thank you. coming up, a program on african-american work and life in washington, d.c., especially in the area around the white house known as president's park. we'll hear from alexandra lane, rights and reproduction coordinator about the gadsby family and slave trading in d.c. we'll also hear from elizabeth dowling taylor, author of request at slave in the white house," paul jennings and the madisons this. hour-long event took place at st. common's church on the edge of president's park.
4:18 pm
>> thank you. we have just learned about -- perfect. thank you. we have just learned about an important space in the history of decatur house in the nation's capital in our last presentation. now we'll hear about one of the many owners of the house, john gadsby, along with his business interests in washington and how he associated with the slave trade. as katherine mentioned this morning, we do know the names of those enslaved men, women, and children who were living in the decatur house corridors. at gadsby's death, whether the corridors played a role in the slave trade remains elusive. the early results of alexandra lane's research show an enterprise that pre-dates gadsby's residence on the
4:19 pm
square, but it koss raise questions and seek resolution as her work goes forward in the future. alexandra came to the house historical association by way of a national trust internship that she served while concluding the graduate program in public history at american university. now on our staff, she has an opportunity to continue this exciting research. please welcome alexandra lane. good morning and thank you, john, for that wonderful introduction. i'd like to thank the white house historical association for giving me the opportunity to present my research here to you today. and thank you, everyone, for coming out. john gadsby is a controversial figure in decatur house's long history. the main questions that arise are whether he was a slave trader or involved in the trade. while it is unlikely he sold
4:20 pm
people out of decatur house, his hotel business was deeply intertwined with human trafficking. he and his son william gadsby's being fortunes in part rested on speculation of slave trafficking in the upper south. historian a.k. sandoval strauss tells us whatever hotel size, class, and drawing power, it played the essential urbanistic role of tying its community into the expanding networks of commerce, politics, and association. gadsby's tavern, the indian queen, and the national hotel function as a microcosm of the upper south society and culture. displaying the best the area had to offer, but also reveals one of its worst aspects, the slave trade. john gadsby's wealth depended on lively patronage, but also on the pain and suffering of enslaved people he bought and sold. like other masters throughout
4:21 pm
the upper south, john gadsby excused human trafficking to make money. gadsby was by no means operating on the level of alexandria's franklin and armfeld, who sold hundreds of people throughout the 1830s and '40s. he only sold a few people at a time, particularly where he could make a handsome profit. his son william gadsby also cast a shadow on his reputation. he followed his father into the hotel business. unlike his father, he was publicly named as a traitor by abolitionists. williams' participation in human trafficking, coupled with new evidence from newspapers and anti-slavery tracts, helps illuminate gadsby's own involvement. john gadsby's illustrious career as a hotel owner is storied, whereas william gadsby's story and career were much more murkier. john gadsby was born in england around 1776, emigrated to america after the revolution and arrived in alexandria in 1795.
4:22 pm
he then leased a tavern from john wise around 1800 and demonstrated his aptitude for business turning into gadsby's tavern where he entertained george washington and other netables like thomas jefferson and john adams. he later put the tavern and farm up for lease and left for baltimore in 1808 where he became the proprietor of the plush hotel the indian queen, which he later sells to david barnum in 1819. around 1822 he moved to washington, d.c. and opened the franklin hotel in 1823 and later at the pinnacle of his career builds the national hotel where he entertained presidents such as andrew jackson, hosted congressmen and welcomed various foreign dignitaries. the national was host to a flurry of balls, galas, and meetings of washington's elite. john gadsby moved into the upper echelons of society by announcing his retirement from
4:23 pm
the hotel business and acquiring decatur house in 1836. he then continued the entertaining he was well known for as a hotelier. he died in 1844 and bequeathed 17 enslaved people to his wife, proby gadsby. his son, on the other hand, leaves little in the historical record. williams gadsby was born in 1810, presumably in baltimore. it is possible he opened a cigar and fine goods shop when he was 19 in 1829, and later when his father retired in 1836 he took over the national hotel. in 1844, soon after his father's death, he sells the national hotel and moves to a hotel named gadsby's, a smaller hotel a few blocks away. around 1856 he ends up selling this hotel due to problems with debt and becomes a government clerk. the common thread between the two is again they're both in the
4:24 pm
hotel business, and as i show in my paper, they're both small time slave traders. while john gadsby's various hotels appear to be the site of slave trading, accusations against him do not arise until he moves into the famed decatur house. one of the most cited accusations comes from a private letter of a french diplomat to a friend. in 1840 adolf writes some days ago i went to an evening party at gadsby's, the proprietor of the hotel where i stayed on my arrival here, which he has relinquished to his son. he's an old retch who made his fortune in the slave trade which does in the prevent washington society from rushing to his house. i should make my government unhappy if i refuse to associate with these kind of people. marie beale who bequeathed decatur house to the national trust for historic preservation in 1956 and also wrote a history of lafayette square, she states that john gadsby's stay there was an unfortunate chapter in
4:25 pm
the house's long history. he turned the house into an auction block. you could hear the wails and cries of unfortunate people being sold down south as you walked past eighth street. however, this is regarded in part as hearsay. there has been much dispute among scholars about how much john gadsby could have been involved in the slave trade, if at all. sarah fanny who worked as a research fellow for the national trust did exhaustive work on john gadsby. she argued that gadsby was a victim of anti-americanism from adolf and snobbery from people like marie beale, who may have viewed someone like john godsby, a self-made man, as an intrusion upon the square. conversely, carla jones argues in his master's thee tis t hidden history of lafayette square, given the veiled but deeply intertwined nature of slavery in the square, gadsby's association with the slave trade is a great possibility.
4:26 pm
determining if john gadsby participated in the slave trade is more difficult to pinpoint since it's likely he was involved in private sales. in an 1842 article in the anti-slavery publication "the watchman" an article appeared called "manhunters in washington, d.c." the oughtor discusses the vile practice of slave kidnapping and the levels of slave trading within the city. one involved hoteliers and speculated the time was right for selling enslaved people. they accused the unfortunate people of wrongdoing to justify their sell and to cover up their misdeeds. historian christopher philips notes it was popular to sell men whose slave trade was valued greatly, most likely due to their ability to serve in a variety of roles from domestics to field hands. an example is the case of charles henry wood, a young man who gadsby intended to sell in 1836 a few months before he
4:27 pm
moved to decatur house. gadsby purchased him april 1st, 1834. he attempted to sell charles to a man in richmond for 24 years rather than the 20 he had left in servitude. charles wood was a term slave, meaning he would be emancipated after a period of enslavement rather than his entire life. when the man realized the discrepancy, he returned charles wood to john gadsby. gadsby then tried to sell him again, but charles wood was able to sue him in court for attempting to add time to his servitude. in response to the complaint, john dpadsby argued he had the right to sell him because charles was a thief and not fit to work in a public hotel. furthermore, the problem with the discrepancy was just a misunderstanding on the part of his auctioneer, charles dyer. when he realized his mistake he would sell charles for the appropriate 20-year period. however, unfortunately for gadsby, charles -- the court
4:28 pm
ruled and good for charles woods, they ruled in his favor and decreed that john gadsby cannot sell him. the case does demonstrate the callous disregard and even chicanery on john gadsby's parts to make a sale. sales like these were not uncommon. adding a few years to charles's servitude would have made him more valuable. however, does this make him a slave trade or heavily involved in the slave trade? it is time to turn to john gadsby's hotels in three growing cities, baltimore, washington, d.c. and alexandria which were all hubs for slave trading. from the 1790s to the 1810s, 40,000 to 50,000 enslaved people were sent from the upper to the lower south, either through the slave trade or plan to migration. historians attribute approximately 30% to 50% of these movements were due to the domestic slave trade. during the years of 1820 to 1860 approximately 875,000 enslaved people were forced to migrate from the upper to the lower south.
4:29 pm
it is estimated the slave trade accounted for at least 60 to 70 of those movements. sorry about that. alexandria during john gadsby's time from the 1700s to the 1810s teamed with slave trading businesses, particularly because it was a port city and it allowed for easy shipping. slave traders operated in taverns and hotels in places like king and duke street. african-americans had few protections whether they were free or enslaved, and free people were in danger of being sold if they denied free passes or not registered in accordance with the laws. however, there was a substantial population of african-americans allowing them to form a strong community. nonetheless, between restrictive codes and slave trading, life for free and enslaved black alexandrians was a difficult one. how did john gadsby figure into the slave trade?


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on