tv The Civil War CSPAN April 18, 2015 2:48pm-4:04pm EDT
>> story of this is connected to other lines, you mentioned that figure of a black military service, 50,000 of those troops were southerners, seven african americans who had fled plantations and farms and made their way to union lines and recording stations like cap nelson in kentucky. -- camp nelson in kentucky. it challenges us to think of the civil war as a war of the south versus the south in some sense. we equate the south of the confederacy, we talked about divisions within each society over the course of the day. but here you have a representative of southern unionism, the phenomenon of seven's in which some scholars, especially bill freeling, who
makes the case of the number of men from slave states that wore blue uniforms gave a decisive edge to the union in the end. he finds 450 thousand men from slave states were union blue. this is a new framework for thinking about the war. let's talk a little bit about men in the ranks and give some examples to the audience of some of these troops and their stories. prof. gannon: there are so many. one of the things people have no idea is how many medal of honor winners there were among colored troops there were 14 in one battle. christian fleetwood was one of those medal of honor winners. robert penn, there are so many others. there were also the african americans in the navy who were also awarded the medal of honor. they were so much more. so many stories. it's incredible about their sacrifice.
most people don't realize the men who fought at port hudson were officers, black officers among them. the 54th massachusetts had black officers at the end. one of the better known people was joseph wilson, who became historian and he was the one who wrote one of the seminal books in 1890 about african-american military service. a very well thought of book that chronicled it. it was keyed to people remembering the blacks had served. prof. varon: wilson a great example of someone who is intervening in memory. i recently wrote a book about appomattox which i learned something i hadn't known before, that's that ct residents were present there and help to block lee's escape route as the confederacy tried to punch through a federal trap that have been laid. the men in those u.s. cg regiments, six altogether, a
remarkable microcosm of african-american life in united states. it was southerners who had fled slavery, there were northern free blacks included in the ranks. there was a man named george washington williams, a brilliant historian. a baptist minister and educator named william j simmons was in the ranks of appomattox. he would go on to be the journalistic manner -- mentor to an antilynching crusader. there are -- the big numbers are important, but so are the individual lives. any other observations? let's segue to another theme that we touched on as we moved along and that we wanted to return to. that is the 13th amendment has come up in a number of different contexts. this think a little bit about
emancipation is a process. one of the big takeaways of this sesquicentennial is that emancipation is a process that unfolds gradually. why is the 13th amendment necessary, given that lincoln has already promulgated his emancipation proclamation two years earlier? >> it seems to me, if i could just back up a bit. the importance was primarily to ensure the nation understood that the civil war, by 1863, had become more than a war for unions, but a war for freedom as well. it was the on the ground decisions of hundreds of thousands of black people who were enslaved, their decisions
to leave slavery that would ultimately be ratified by both the emancipation proclamation, and subsequently ratified by the 13th amendment. of course, lincoln knew that this proclamation had no constitutional foundation, it was just a measure. so he worried about that. not only did he worried, but loss of americans worried. lots of black people worried lots of abolitionists worried. hundreds of thousands of northerners sent petitions to congress. they signed their names and saying we want a constitutional amendments. and congress did finally come up with an amendment. no one was quite happy with the wording, it was revised several times until we got to the point where we got the one that we do have. the getting that amendment passed was very difficult. but very important.
prof. varon: you make an important point, when we look at any of these changes, whether that's the enlistment of african-american troops or the 13th amendment, there are actions on the ground in the south, mainly this mass exodus that are driving those big decisions. they are also lobbying from northerners and free blacks in the north for these policies like enlistment. that's another source of pressure moving lincoln. prof. brundage: the ratification of the 13th amendment is part of this drawnout process of cleaning up the mess, if you will inherited in part by the civil war, but also the dred scott decision. earlier there was talk about the 14th and 15th amendment. this is all, once you've destroyed slavery, the question of what is to come after slavery for african-americans in american society has to be addressed. the border states had not left
the union, they still have slavery. there were lots of loose ends that had to be tied up. prof. varon: let's talk about freedom and how it was to be defined. there were whites who were able to accept emancipation as a military necessity, but had a narrow definition of emancipation. nothing but the freedom to work for wages. nothing beyond that. not full civil rights and full political rights. african-americans, the three people -- the freed people had a more expansion i -- expansive idea of their citizenship rights. what does that citizenship rights term connote? prof. glymph: the whole debate over citizenship points that until this moment in history, we had no national definition of
citizenship. and what enslaved people wanted formerly slaves wanted was not so different from what all americans want. the right to move, mobility, the right to one's children, the right to marry and have that marriage sanctified by the church and by law. the right to vote, for men. i think most fundamental to all the civil rights is the right to possess or own one's own body and labor power. i can sell my labor to you, just as any northern immigrant can. but you can't buy my body. that is a fundamental right, settled everything else. layering on top of that basic civil rights. like marriage and the vote and the right to testify. we have to remember that even
southerners were willing to grant, even in the really horrible black codes the right to marry, the right to earn a wage, the right to testify as long as you are not testifying against whites. you could testify in a court of law. against other black people. the question becomes what beyond those basic rights to black people have? that question is sort of answered, but not accepted. prof. varon: all the rights you mentioned are connected in the sense that the power to sell your labor is meaningful only if you have mobility and can seek the best terms, rather than being pressured to work for your former master in a world in which there is the aggressive laws and so on the coattail mobility. -- curtailed mobility. these things work together. prof. glymph: it also means that
white people who were former owners of slaves have to learn how to be business owners. how to be employers. how to manage a wage labor force instead of an enslaved one. prof. brundage: this speaks to the complexity of the situation for african-americans. i think african-americans had a range of opinions about what the concept of citizenship should be. but they still, they were close to having a general consensus about what it would be. to translate that into a practical, lived reality of citizenship was an entirely different matter. if you just take the issue of property. african-americans come out of slavery with some property. sometimes. small amounts of personal property, perhaps. they don't have the types of property that are the foundation to an independent livelihood. it's one thing to say now you
can own property. but if you start out for the point of having no property whenever, how does one exercise that right in any meaningful way? all of those questions are on the table in 1865, and have to be resolved not just in the abstract someday in the future. they knew to be resolved immediately. within the next week, three weeks, month, year. if to plant crops, you have to harvest them. the nitty-gritty of freedom and citizenship became of paramount importance, literally immediately. prof. varon: one thing we did not mention was literacy had been criminalized by antebellum southern law. that is also part of that package of citizenship rights. maybe we can talk -- we have not talked much about religion over the course, but it is an important topic in the 19th century.
let me put it this way. for african-americans, both those in the army and civilians the union victory had a providential cast. all the contending sides on the civil war, unions and confederates, both believed god bless their cause and they were fighting a godly war. we can compare and contrast that on the part of whites in the union army, confederates, and then african-american. prof. brundage: for white southerners, 1865 was a bitter pill to take because they had been telling themselves this was a slaveholder's republic that had a providential mission. white southerners pivoted particularly certain denominations. at this compel you said presbyterians went all in. -- up to aliens --
episcopalians and presbyterian when all in. they believed god was punishing them for their hubris. that was their way of making sense what had happened. if you were devoted to your faith, the only solution i can imagine you would come up with. white northerners could see this as vindication. lincoln described vindication in a way. for the one group in particular for home the providential interpretation was unambiguous was african-americans. the way in which black ministers made sense of this was that god had intervened in human affairs in 1861's. god had chosen abraham lincoln to do his work in 1862.
that god's will was to transform the status of african-americans because they were his chosen people. now god had released them from bondage at there were great they their future. we talk about the grim days of reconstruction and grammar days of the jim crow -- grimm,erer days of the jim crow south. there is an optimism that god can't be doing this to us if he will put us back in a situation like slavery. there has to be a forward-looking progress to this and that is essential as to how african-americans are interpreting what happened after the civil war. prof. varon: that is the investment in the idea that they are a redeemer race that will redeem america from the sin of slavery, but also a deep investment in the union victory in the moment where they had proven irrevocably that they had earned citizenship and that providence favored the righteous
in the war. prof. brundage: to pick up on something ed said about the global implications, you could carry this further in the idea that african-americans have this providential role to play. it was not just america. it was world history. now, african-americans were going to lift up their brothers of color in africa and outside the united states. a kind of missionary impulse that we know about. you think about the white missionary impulse of the late 19th century to china and elsewhere. african-american star going to africa, especially south africa, and have a very important influence with this civilizing mission that they are going to bring the most modern christian values to people of color around the world. prof. glymph: i would like to
mention as a counterpoint at the same time there was a very important -- religion and its import in terms of the war and emancipation, african-americans were incensed on thinking about the secular component of what all this meant. if it meant to going to africa to help christianize the africans, on the other it meant taking hold in america of their political rights. unlike religion during slavery when all you could do was to pray to god and hope something happens, not you can pray and do something to make something happen. i think that was a very important distinction between slavery and freedom. prof. varon: we have talked in the context of the lost cause in memorialization, the construction of historical memory. let's turn to that topic for
african-americans and particularly about commemorative traditions and how what the scholars called an emancipationist memory of the were taking shape. the lost cause this not go uncontested. african-americans dispute everyone of those five tenets that kerry cheney outlined for us. how do they dispute them? through what means and vehicles did african-americans offer counter argument to that lost cause mythology and to the reconciliation of impulses itself? prof. brundage: i will speak about -- prof. gannon: i will speak about what i studied, the grand army of the republic being the largest veterans organization. one of the most important things i found was the role of the african-american host. just like av -- african-american post. just like a vw post. i found meeting minutes of an
african-american post where they wrote exactly that that was their purpose, to remind people of what has happened in the civil war. they were very direct about it. what they did is they would participate in memorial day. july 4, large parades, any kind of event possible. they would name their posts after great heroes, whether they were white like robertshaw or a lesser-known person like joel bend. they would have lectures. they saw themselves of living reminders that they had fought in a war for their own freedom. it was a twofold thing. what i found surprising was that they were the center of the community idea. they had women's groups associated with them or part of
a larger organization called women's relief corps and ladies of the grand army republic. these were organizations with white and black members and they were very key to these commemorations, whether they be memorial day or a man's nation day. whether they be black or interracial. they were key players. they worked with the churches and they would have memorial day celebrations there, where the ministers would give sermons about the african-american civil war experience, which is not only about slavery, but their own actions. african-americans are really very active. prof. varon: let's talk about that concept -- go ahead. prof. glymph: i want to say that it is not only that you have congregations and member congregations in savanna that would host these commemorative
events. there were black women in arkansas who would go three miles into the wood to hold meetings. black woman all of the south were decorating union graves. it is also the content of the administration. there is a case to be made for the african-american cause . to think about it in terms of a cause linked to the union cause and how african-americans postwar remembered the cause and what was the content of that remembrance. it does not consist of just gathering to have a party, but gathering where speeches are made that say explicitly, we helped to win the war. speeches that say explicitly the struggle is connected to
struggles elsewhere, for example, in haiti. i think that was really central. we give a lot of credit to northerners like dubois and douglass in terms of perpetuating african civil war memory. i think the credit rightly belongs to former slaves, that they were the chief witnesses to the war and also the chief witnesses to commemoration. prof. varon: you mentioned emancipation day. emancipation day was not exclusively january 1. there were many emancipation days celebrated across the south, signifying that it was a process and not a moment. april might was an emancipation -- april 9 was an emancipation
day. there were a variety of emancipation days that served as occasions for printers and politicians and leaders to get up and remind people of that integral role in victory. prof. brundage: picking up on the performative tradition of african-american memory, one big difference that we can still see in the landscape of the present day is that african-americans were at an extreme disadvantage to ground their memory on the physical landscape for a variety of reasons. african-americans had many, many calls upon their pocketbooks, to fund churches, schools, etc. you can imagine that building a monument would be comparatively lower on the list of activities and many small communities. in addition to that, there were african-americans of the time that said let's not held monuments.
let our churches and schools be our monuments. what's this -- what this means is that the african-american tradition tends to be celebration with kerry -- which carry great meaning in the community. a lot of people paid attention to these, particularly in texas but they did not leave, at least a century later they did not leave anything on the landscape and say that is where the african-american community held emancipation day for 34 years. of course, we have the monuments in front of the courthouse is which are physical testaments to that lost cause memory. the point being that there is a contest and conversation between white and black memory in the south, but they are taking place in different forms almost necessarily. prof. varon: we see these commemorations in the north.
there is evidence of african-americans sobered april 9, lee's surrender as emancipation day into the 20th century. we can maybe come back to reasons for that. i wanted to come back to veterans to the point about african-american veterans and their commemorations. what about white union veterans? did they turn their back on african-american veterans? to what degree, and where were the limits of that alliance? prof. gannon: it is interesting. the limits are interesting, but some ways understandable given everything we have said. one of the things that if you want to atr meeting and there were african-americans there you would say they are our color comrades. a comrade is a special thing and they were comrades. they were colored comrades. in some ways, that is a mark of
distinction, but i think it sets a limit. the grand army of the republic was the union army veterans organization. it was an honestly powerful and large and a great honor to belong to. indy gar african-american -- in the gar, africa and americans join. when i did my research, i found that black americans also belonged to posts with white americans, which is really -- i won't even say unusual. i would say unprecedented in the 19th century, particularly in such an honored organization. so i found instances where it was in the gar they are comrades and the comrade is a central piece of their relationship. you and i suffered in the same union army. even if we did not fight in the same organization.
you know how we emphasize that. veterans understood they marched, they were cold, they were sickened, the entire experience was pretty bad. so they embrace them as part of it because they were in the group. within their organization, the commander of the massachusetts grand army of the republic for african-americans, i mentioned robert pimm was commander of his integrated post. that is not unusual. this is not unusual. i just said within the organization. to some extent, union veterans remember the war was about slavery very clearly. they remember that former slaves fought for their side.they remember they won the war in 1865 where the disconnect comes is that people expect that in 1895, to go outside of their organization and change things
and civil rights, or to continue to fight to realize full civil and political rights. that does not happen. they are very clear on freeing the slaves. they are very clear on this special status of the comrades. that does not extend to civil rights. prof. varon: all the observations about the centrality of the african-americans in the union victory, that they should be joining forces with them in the call for citizens rights and disenfranchisements and all of those of elements? prof. gannon: the word emancipation means you ended slavery. if they had a checklist, check and of slavery. that is what they thought. we have been talking about religion lately. what i found is they tied to
emancipation very central because in their minds they had redeemed the nation from the sin of slavery with their own blood. they had that redemption ideal. it was central because they were trying to deal with the fact they had lost so much in the civil war. they remembered freeing the slaves. in fact, they even said particularly in the army of the potomac, we are losing the war until the war became about freedom. god looked on our cause favorably only when we did that. they are aware of this. there is, we would like to see some connection, particularly in 1895. within the organization, they are comrades. this is what they might say. we are not going to boston unless they let our color comrades stay in the hotel. they are fully aware that
african-americans are kicked out of the hotel. the only people there going to force in our their comrades. they will not make you stand against that area is very -- up against that. this is very complicated. prof. varon: let's talk about frederick douglass. i think douglass is the person we hold up who has done the most to defend and defined the emancipationist memory of the war. what is his role n.y.c. say there was a right side -- why does he say there was a right side that we ought not to forget someone was on the moral high ground and we are forgetting it. let's talk about that. prof. brundage: i will take an initial step. i think there are two sides. we should understand that douglass was one of the great orators of the 19th century
steeped in oratory of the 19th century and one of the great vehicles for the oratory in the 19th century was to scold your audience and tell them all the things they did not do right. if they started doing things right, they could save themselves in the future would be wonderful. and i'm not trying to in any way diminish the magnitude of what douglass did. that was just the style of speech that he was particularly prone to give. he wanted to scold his audiences. you are not remembering hard enough. i think this goes back to something gary mentioned in the lost cause. white southerners at the turn of the 20th century are starting to crack the whip and say you young whippersnappers are not paying enough attention to our sacrifice. he was acutely aware of not only
what was happening with the so-called retreat from reconstruction in the late 1870's, but also the general cultural power that started to be evident of the so-called lost cause. there were so many different ways that he could have seen that beginning to emerge and certainly one of them was in the emergence of not only changing attitudes towards robert e lee but also changing attitudes towards jefferson davis. it is both how he chose to cast americans generally, but also changes on the landscape. prof. varon: do we give douglass too much centrality or does he deserve the centrality that he has as the premier spokesman for the emancipation memory? prof. glymph: i don't think we give him too much. i think he deserves credit for working really hard to first
the runaway slaves, to tell a story, and during the war working hard to convince the government, then working hard to help recruit them, then working hard to convince lincoln that colorization was not the way to go. and then working hard after the war to say there were some people, not only black people, but white people who said that treason had been committed, and it is not a word that we like to talk about in the context of the civil war. i agree with you that douglass did see on the ground in the 1870's evidence that this nation was reuniting on the basis of not treason or loyalty but as a hero.
he foresaw that when he made his famous to her, he said we are all american and we were all heroes. history books said that the most important thing is to remember that union soldiers were heroes and confederate soldiers were heroes. the story of heroism comes to occupy the central narrative as opposed to loyalty or disloyalty . it was massive when it came and it was embraced by southerners and northerners. there is nothing black people could do even if they had the resources to mount monuments. they did not have control over public space. they did not have the right to vote anymore.
african-american memory is the most displaced memory. you can talk about union memory but the most fabled memory is the african-american memory. prof. varon: is the african-american press able to play in important role in this? i would argue that it is. what is that role? prof. brundage: one further observation of frederick douglass. one thing for us to remember about douglass, but just periodically remind ourselves he occupied such a unique place. here was a man that was born a slave, runaway slave, who transformed himself into one of the great writers of the 19th century and certainly one of the great orators of the 19th century. it is not just the up from slavery story that is so remarkable about him, but that
he had mastered the craft. oratory in the 19th century. that was one of the most prestigious expressions of citizenship and of power that he mastered that and could talk to the white man in the white man's only which made him truly remarkable. -- white man's own language which made him truly remarkable. there was a profound sense that he was uniquely positioned to talk about these issues. there was no one else who could have done it the way he could. about black newspapers, black newspapers are essential, along with and we come back to black churches because they provided the spaces for black commemoration often. a safe space that african-americans controlled and in which they could talk about this robin mitchell interpretation of history appropriately.
-- providential interpretation of history, appropriately. african-american newspapers could make it public not just for the african-american community, but for some white newspaper editors who would get copies of the black newspaper and pay attention. they were intermediaries between these two memory communities. prof. varon: important newspapers, sometimes there is a direct connection between the important people and newspapers. one in philadelphia was very important. you mentioned the new york age/. prof. gannon: it was interesting because it was just new york, but they had subscribers all over the east coast. they would pick up stories and have correspondent letters. that view eb dubois -- w.e.b. dubois deliver that. they were players in civil war memory and the most remarkable
one was the 1913 gettysburg reading. they have a totally different view. prof. varon: tell us about that reading and then about the take. prof. gannon: you have the 1913 reading. president wilson was a southerner. everyone talks about he gives the speech and it seemed to be some key moment of reunion reconciliation. prof. varon: describing the heroes. prof. gannon: the blue union boys were all heroes. people said things like there were not any african-americans there and there was a tale of what the 1913 reunion was like. the newspaper covers it that way. they're all american heroes. they were all americans because that is the way americans are. they are heroes. they were trying to merge the confederates and u.s. military tradition together to prove that
we are all americans, all heroes, and sort of embrace it. they were americans. that is the way we are. that was the thought process. they had this reunion. there is sort of this party line . i read a lot of newspapers that covered it. the great heroes of this union were pickett's charge. not broke americans -- heroic americans in central pennsylvania. the new york age tried the central reunion to the current situation of african-americans jim crow and disenfranchisement. their view was about the national syndicate. they were talking about newspapers and business. they wanted business between the sections. that is why they wanted reunion. they were the ones for african-americans actions being there and the african-american veterans say a lot of the white
veterans were not pleased with things like the rebel yell and the way confederates behaved. they were at the reunion, but they really weren't on board with the idea that it was a lovefest. really, they were very -- they gave a totally different story. you would get none of this if you had read, as i read, "the washington post." "the new york age" had a different take. prof. varon: as powerful as the reconciliationist narrative was and lost cause narrative was there is a counter argument present and we shouldn't imagine it get swept away because it is never entirely swept away. we alluded to be divisions among african-americans and i'm picking up on the seams of david's book. we have been indebted to his paradigm as we talked about
this. douglass is passed as the premier exponent of the expansion is married and dubois as this -- has this relationship with booker t. washington. maybe what you would call an african-american version of reconciliationism. i know you have worked on booker t. washington. tell us how that rivalry shed light on this question of memory. prof. brundage: well, that's -- thank you for that question. [laughter] prof. varon: do you mean that sincerely? prof. brundage: yes and no. i almost don't know where to begin with that, except to say that dubois grew up in a different place, literally and metaphorically then did booker t. washington. dubois'l life as a marvelous
line where he says booker t. washington had known the crack of the whip and dubois had not. this is a fundamental difference between the two men. i think the most important thing to keep in mind is this goes back to something that gary mentioned earlier. really until the 1930's, the overwhelming majority of african-americans in the 1930's lived in the south. when booker t. washington was head of the testing he -- tusk eegee institute, he had to take into account the reality of alabama. he was running a state institution, although he had privatized it. he had to navigate in a different context then did
dubois, who was for the most part an obscure academic -- i say obscure for most americans -- until he became affiliated with the crisis and the naacp after 1909. they occupy very different positions. i think for washington, his story was one about what african-americans had done with their freedom. he wanted to emphasize african-american capacity. he did not want to emphasize obstacles or inefficiency to that. we can criticize all we want about those choices. if dubois had a phd, he had the finest education one could have had at that time. he had a much larger vision of the obstacles that he thought african-americans were facing. i really do think it is a case that they are speaking to
different audiences and speaking pass each other in some ways. i'm confident that if booker t. washington had lived as long as the view eb dubois -- debbie eb to boy -- w.e.b. dubois, maybe they would have said you are right. there was more common ground than either recognize that the time. prof. varon: that is an important point and we should think of and emancipationist and reconciliationist memory should not be thought of as opposite rate economy. washington williams tried to fuse those things and try to trumpet the important of the u.s. et but also to see that moment of union victory could a uger racial conciliation and
they look at responses to embrace those magnanimous terms. they understood that that counterargument to a long-standing anti-abolitionists argument. that was the argument you could not have emancipation because if you did, you would have been just an race war and social chaos. abolitionists have been saying for decades that you would have your first chance of harmony because slavery, not, is the source of vision. diffuse emancipation memories with peace and harmony, those are not necessarily agendas that are at odds. prof. brundage: let me offer one anecdote. i was thinking in savannah, there were a group of so-called
-- african-american men meeting. in their circle, many of them affiliated with booker t. washington. many were also founders of the local chapter of the naacp when a chapter was opened in many of them were also supporters of marquise barbie's organization, the pan africanist of the late late 19th century. we would see that as being a blue state-red state divide. these men were members sometimes of all three simultaneously. prof. varon: let's talk a little bit about, and it came up in the earlier panels, about this sesquicentennial as compared to the centennial celebrations as term as where things stand as far as our collective memory and the place of the emancipationist
memory in the national consciousness. do we feel we have made a great deal of progress? do we feel there is a long way to go? if so, what do we need to know more about and learn more about and teach more about? prof. glymph: i'm here and nobody has walked out. [laughter] [applause] none of my colleagues [inaudible] we have come quite a way since 1963. liz and uii and several other people here today, and i'm sure you have too but we have been
invited to the programs, more civil war programs and i can count on my hands in the last five years. what i have noticed, while i can't compare the two because i was not there in 1963 in person, but i do think there is a generosity of spirit. by that, i mean on all sides. more people are willing to listen and to hear facts that they can agree with an facts they can recall from, but you can recall some facts and be willing to consider it. i see an america that lincoln would have been thinking, that is when i talk about the core of
memories. you are getting there. you're not quite there yet heard what i don't see -- quite there yet. what i don't see as we go around the country, i have not seen any significant increase in the number of black people attending these events and i don't know why that is. i think it is something to think about. maybe it shows that still black people don't claim the war because what they could legitimately claim has been pushed back so far. that is my short answer to a very important question. prof. gannon: it's kind of like the centennial was so white. it was like the story of the one lakh representative who could not -- one black representative who could not stay in the hotel.
you are going to have the civil rights act passed, but memory at that time was so dominated by the cold war, so dominated by the 20th century and our constant wars and the fact that america constructed this civil war memory of her works or the -- of wrote southerners and northerners for no other purpose than part of this whole idea of what american history was. we always had american soldiers that were wrote, even when they fight each other -- that were heroic, even when they fight each other. we had wars in 20th century and you wanted a consensus. prof. glymph: if we wanted that, and we didn't want consensus and we were concerned about the international arena and the cold war, it seems to me that the better option would have been to include black people.
one of the criticisms that america got when black soldiers went to europe in world war ii and they came back, what are we coming back to? enemies communist nation, they said you have no right to say anything on the national front. look at your nation. we would have been in 1963 in a much better position to embrace you know, embrace black people in the celebration. i have heard the cold war argument. prof. gannon: i'm not saying you're not right. you would not have been wrong. we have created an all-white male space of shared heroism of the civil war and that has been built up over many decades of textbooks and historical scholarships and movies that he
would take time to break. prof. varon: you are getting into a related issue, which is how we define history and civil war history. we have a much more expansive definition goes beyond generals and politicians and rank and file soldiers, the way we have taken on the challenge of studying the home front and understanding the blurred lines between home front and battlefront is part of the story we tell about progress, wouldn't you think? prof. gannon: yeah. one of the things i think would be a way forward, what i have been struck by and it is not really my specialty, but what struck me is in the 20th century, there have been african-american civil war monuments that were a couple built. women were central to that. african-american women. i think we need to -- and i like to focus on the foot soldiers of civil war memory.
i think that there was even into the 20th century a lot of people working on that. i think sometimes we have a triumphant narrative for the lost cause that ignores -- they got their movie "gone with the wind," so they must have won. what were people thinking about? prof. varon: when you get back to things like emancipation day and putting statutes up, scholars have written about why that member to tradition fades. parts of the civil war could be a test case as to whether black citizens will get full rights. there is a sense that putting up statues and holding celebrations like emancipation day is quaint and old-fashioned. there are broader cultural shifts that factor into this. prof. brundage: i want to offer
one, picking up on something. one measure of the difference between the centennial in the sesquicentennial -- some of you may have encountered edmund wilson's patriotic war. wilson was the leading military scholar of the 20th century and he put a series of articles in "the new yorker" and they gathered together during the centennial as patriotic war. if you have a copy, look through it. who was the hero of patriotic or? -- patriotic war? we have heard a lot about asked in bragg -- braxton bragg. it is not him. it is alexander stevens, the vice president of the confederacy. why does edmund wilson? hold him up? because wilson saw him as one of the great spokespeople for an
anti-leviathan worldview. someone was shouting against big government and bureaucracy. edmund wilson rights is truly glowing portrait of alexander stevens. at no point does he print the fact that alexander stevens said that slavery was the cornerstone of the confederacy. if you look at the sesquicentennial at no point could you have gone through most of the major events associated with the sesquicentennial, certainly none in virginia as part of this commission, and not been reminded the centrality of slavery for the civil war and the centrality of experience for african-americans. that is a measure of enormous transformation in the way that we make sense of the civil war of african-americans' participation in it. i have not heard of anyone in
recent years who has held up alexander stevens as someone was answers to contemporary problems. prof. varon: people wrote about the construction of the archive. we can think about an archive or library as it to go find the truth. archives have historically have agendas and limitations and they had been constructed hundreds of years ago to make great historians sometimes kept out by segregation. one thing that has changed is we have reconstructed archives in this world of digital history. that only what we consider the stuff of history, but the access to it that will help us painted more inclusive picture have gone up exponentially. we have only a few seconds left.
any closing comments? in that case, i think you all and invite you to submit questions, please, because we will convene back your shortly for a last round of q and a. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> we will be back to the university of virginia for the wrapup of this all-day conference and q and a station in about 15 minutes. let's rejoin our c-span cities to work on the road -- cities tour on the road as we explore
the history of cities across the country. >> welcome to ponce daily on our cultural park. where the oldest park in florida. the park commemorates the 15th century landing of ponce de leon and is also be settlement of saint augustine. 40 years before jamestown and 55 years before the pilgrims landed on plymouth rock. ponce de leon was in explorer. he came over in christopher columbus' second voyage to the new world. he rose to the ranks of the spanish military on the islands of his spaniel and puerto rico. he was appointed governor of puerto rico, much to the chagrin of christopher columbus' son diego, who protested.
the king of spain really liked ponce de leon and said i would like you to be captain of a voyage of discovery, looking for land we heard about to the northwest. in march of 1513, ponce de leon sailed a fleet of three ships from puerto rico outside to the east of the bahamas, up the gulfstream, making landfall very near here on april 2, 1513. he anchored offshore for the night and came ashore the next day. we say that he landed around 30 degrees, eight minutes north latitude, which corresponds to a point almost 11 miles north of here. details are sketchy at best. we do know that ponce de leon came ashore after searching for good harbor. took on water and wood. this area represents one of the
few freshwater springs in the area around 30 degrees, eight minutes. odds are he landed here. ponce de leon may or may not have been searching for the fountain of eternal youth. a lot of people have said he was out for additional property for the king of spain and colonization attempts and gold which is very decidedly true. however, he thought enough about the legend to peel off one of his ships on the return voyage around an island to search for the fountain of youth. while it may not have been his original mission, he did have an understanding and a gut feeling about the fountain of eternal youth. the true specialness of the spring was that it had been supporting the to move what over 100 years. there was a large settlement that would have been easily visible from the water.
the water in the fountain of youth spring rolls up from the floor. this aquifer holds trillions of gallons of water and is heart mineralized. when you take a sip, you will taste sulfur and the feel of calcium carbonate. spring is the first stop in the fountain of youth part. one of the more delightful aspects is is well integrated the front of the park commemorates the legend of ponce de leon's search for the fountain of youth. the eastern portion is textbook history. we like to say come for the legend, stay for the history. we are an awful lot more than a sip of water. we are standing next to the pedro menendez 1565 first settlement field. on september 8, 1655, pedro's members -- pedro menendez and 800 people landed here,
establishing the first colony of saint augustine. what this means is that the first settlement of the nation's old the city of saint augustine -- oldest city of saint augustine, 450 years ago this it number, was built here. this map is a record of archaeological explorations through about 2006. when you look at the map, you will see color-coded structures. the white lines represent archaeological big trenches. -- dig trenches. the green circles represent structures that were given to the spanish. the rectangular structures are spanish colonial buildings. this large structure was the ca sa fuerta. this is where the spanish store the gunpowder and weaponry for the settlement.
the blue line was a defensive wall that was built on the very first day. menendez had to do business with the french about 40 miles to the north, dropped off 200 men with no tools or implements, and the built-in earthwork barrier with their bare hands. the present-day shoreline of the settlement is similar to what it was 450 years ago up to about there. the fountain of youth spring was flowing freely as a freshwater spring at that point in the spring would have been about here. that outflow of freshwater me entered in a run -- meandered in a run down to about here. this piece of land was actually a peninsula that was a perfect defensive position for menendez's military settlement.
in 1565, an unfortunate situation cropped up for the spanish and french. a french colony had been established 40 miles north of here by french huguenots seeking religious and political freedom from the restraints of catholic europe. the spanish royalty could not abide this at all for two reasons. the french were protestant and the spanish were catholic. at that point in history, those two things did not mix at all. the second reason was that spain was busily taking all the treasure that a good of the spanish main -- it could out of the spanish main. twice a year, a spanish fleet would head north from the caribbean back to spain. they would use the gulfstream, which at this point was 50 miles offshore. all that trash or -- all that treasure passing by enemy
fornication's was an untenable position. the ping of -- king of spain ordered menendez to take care of the colony using any means necessary. he headed north and there was a short rattle of ships that could be described as a draw. menendez headed south and brought his equipment ashore. menendez chose to make a forced march using 500 of his best men to go 40 miles up the quotes for caroline. while he was engaged in doing this, a hurricane struck. a french fleet was en route to the saint augustine, was caught in the hurricane, and was swept south to the day -- the current kate kennedy.
it took the better part of a month, they were stopped cold at the metansas inlet. menendez's allies notified him that shipwreck victims were trapped on the south shore of this inlet. menendez went south, negotiated a surrender by saying, and i quote, i will do what god tells me to do. he brought them across the inlet in groups of 10, bound their hands, marched them over the tall dune, and dispatch them 10 at a time. history has been unkind to menendez for his slaughter of the french shipwreck victims but the fledgling settlement of saint augustine had neither the food nor room to shelter hundreds of shipwreck victims.
after settling the colony, he ranged up the coast to north carolina, possibly as far as the chesapeake bay, dotting the land with settlements. many of these settlements did not prosper. the spanish colonists had difficulty growing food in the new climate and relations with the area native americans were iffy at best. after a mutiny in saint augustine where his people rose up for lack of food, menendez was forced to consolidate all of his colonies back to saint augustine. it lasted here for about nine months. evidently, relations with the spanish have degraded to the point where the natives were as in the most direct manner they could. the colony was moved across the river to anastasia island, where it was located for seven years.
the location proved to be exposed to the weather and after constant erosion and perhaps a pirate attack or two, the city was moved to its present location at the west end of the bridge of lyons where it sits today. >> throughout the weekend american history tv is featuring saint augustine, florida. our cities tour staff travel there to learn about its rich history. learn more about saint augustine and other stops on our tour at c-span.org/citiestour. you're watching american tv. all weekend, every weekend. >> american artifacts visits museums and historic place s. you are looking at peterson house in washington dc, where abraham lincoln passed away at 7:22 on april 15, 1855.
a tour of the boarding house located across the street from ford's theater where abraham lincoln was shot 150 years ago. >> around 10:20 p.m. the doors of ford's theater burst open. over 1000 people came rushing out those doors screaming. at first some people thought the theater was on fire and then they heard the shouts that lincoln has been shot. burn the theater. that got the attention of the residence of the boarding house. the first person to notice what happened with george francis who lived on the first floor and he came out and walked into the street. he could only get half way across. people were screaming that the president was dead. he walked up to the president's body as it was coming across the street. another border came down in her
the shouts. safford could not get to ford's theatre, so you retreated, and back to his house and went up his stairs and stood at the top of the staircase. he was watching as the soldiers pounded on the door of the house next door. they could not get in. there was lincoln in the middle of the street being carried by soldiers and they did not know where to take the president. he went inside, got a candle, and shouted bring him in here. dr. leal heard that and shouted to the officers and soldiers, take the president to that house. they crossed the street and came up the stairs. as lincoln was being carried up this staircase, he was still alive, unconscious. the site of abraham lincoln here at the top of the staircase was the last time the american people saw him alive. dr. leal came in the storedoor and
he told safford, take us to your best room. the whole way is narrow and already filled with the lincoln entourage, soldiers and doctors and there was a narrow staircase on the right. safford knew the best room was the front parlor, octopi by george and hilda francis. he reached for the door. it was locked. he went down to the second door. this door was locked. francis was inside frantically getting dressed. she had seen the president being brought to the house through the front windows and you is dressed for bed. she wanted to put on close so she did not unlock this door. all that was left was a little room at the back of the hallway, which was occupied by a civil war soldier. he was out for the evening. safford led them to this back bedroom.
there is barely enough room for soldiers to stand on each side of lincoln and carry him down this hallway. they took him into this room. they laid him on a spindle that it -- spindle bed in the corner. >> we are back live at the university of virginia in charlottesville. the wrap portion of this all-day conference about the end of the civil war. if you miss some of this, we will show the whole thing again beginning at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american history television on c-span 3. >> we are going to have a half-hour question-and-answer session. we have questions from the audience. we will talk for a half an hour and we were adjourned for meet
and greet and book signing. i will get us signing. one e-mail asked what is the value of a former slave's former perspectives? explain what wca interviews are. >> the works project administration came up with all manner of shall we say temporary occupations for unemployed americans. one of the things they try to do was provide opportunities for writers, historians. one of the tasks was to interview former slaves who were quite elderly about their experiences since slavery.
>> we have 2000 of these interviews. the reason people raise questions about their use, often times those being interviewed people who are quite elderly recalling the times before the civil war and their experience as enslaved people. sometimes they were being interviewed by people white people in the community, so these are mediated sources. on the other hand because they have 2000 plus, we can look in the responses for patterns. we see strong patterns. the fact that we can crosscheck them makes them a very rich source for recording the history
of slavery. slave resistance. responses to events like appomattox, and the slaves critique of slavery. >> you talked about the union cause and northern non-slaveholding states. what about the union cause and confederate states. how did unionists fair following appomattox? >> i was going to save the union cause of the southern states is largely a cause of african-americans in southern states who are in many cases pro union. we should call them unionists.
there were a bunch of them injured virginia who decided they were going to be in virginia anymore. they started talking about 38 counties worth of them. they rounded up to an evening -- and even 50. there is a strong union's presence in western virginia. >> along the mountain range where agriculture doesn't take root so easily. pockets of unionism. even in those places we shouldn't assume all were unionists. they were a small minority, a minority that bloomed large for the confederacy and for the union the representative, the hope that white southerners might be co-opted and brought on board. and for the confederacy they they were a thorn in the side. the represented dissent. >> east tennessee had an active grand