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tv   Discussion on African Americans and Anti-colonialism in Africa  CSPAN  April 26, 2015 1:20pm-2:46pm EDT

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g what really works. so we are working on novel partnerships, marrying the two off. >> monday night on the communicators on c-span2. >> american history tv, author carol anderson examines afghan american support for anti-colonialism in after during the early cold war. she looks specifically at the politics of south africa and the role of the ncaa pp or the naacp and the struggle 1941-1960. the wilson center, and the national history center cohosted this 80 minute event. >> a few years ago, my brother sent me a youtube clip from the macarthur award winning author chamamanda adichie.
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she explains as a young girl has used to write these stories about girls who are blind eating apples in the snow, and then there were more blondes, and more. and her mother said, child, do you know you're in nigeria? and she said well yes, but all of the book that she read had blondes eating apples and playing in the snow. given everything that she had read, that appeared to be the story worth telling. with all great parables, there is an underlying message in that story. that underlying message is that there are these stories that we hear over and over and over again. we hear them so much, that they go by without interrogation. without question. and they begin to frame our worldview.
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they begin to frame the way we see the world. so for instance, she says, africa is poor. immigrants are mexicans. and legal. the poor -- and illegal. the poor do not work. when you begin to interrogate those stories, you had a very different understanding of how the world works. i also grew up with the same story. it was the story told over and over again. about what authentic black leadership looked like. what is said, how it said it and it was of course, militants. defiant. and it had swagger. and of course, it wore leather. but like mbta -- adichie, i grew up. but somehow those stories did not. this is erased from major history text decades of effective anti-colonial mobilization among black liberals.
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and through the power of these narratives, scholars have created what i call a very seductive radical art that runs the gamut from marcus garvey to w e b du bois, to paul robison to malcolm x.. and to the panthers. in doing so, historians have elevated not just excavated -- because that work needed to be excavated -- but not -- now they have elevated the role of rap radicals of the home and abroad. in the process of that excavation and elevation they have been varying the work of black liveries -- liberals in the struggle for anti-colonialism. there are a few descriptors such as the aplomb of the african revolution or you need a handkerchief. with that, just in explaining how the cold war caused these liberals to abandon colonial
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freedom struggles, so historians implied that only lacked radicals were in this -- black radicals were in this struggles, that they were the only ones left. but it -- this lens of interpretation is much too narrow. and i would argue, implicitly dangerous. what it does is it has funneled the very definition of real black leadership into a straitjacket of thought and action. it has cast militancy and resistance, which hold iconic value in the black immunity, as the only attribute of leadership. while depicting a sellout, and tom's. those who have an abiding faith in the idea of american democracy. and who have worked assiduously
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to turn that potential of freedom into reality. both domestically and globally. while the story that i'm going to tell is another story. it is a story where militancy for the sake of militancy is not enough. for the naacp. the naacp waited until this anti-colonial struggle with the vision of what it was going to take to turn attribute -- atrophied colonies into vibrant democratic nations. and that game plan included indigenous control of natural resources, the creation of an extensive, high-quality educational system, believing
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that the indigenous people had to have the wherewithal to be able to run their own nation. that you had to have the development of a high quality health care system, because when people are ill, when they are staggering under the weight of disease, they cannot participate fully in a vibrant democracy. they also believe that you had to have land reforms. so that they can have the economic wherewithal for a quality standard of living. you also had cap labor standards and the elimination of exploitation. without this full complement of human rights, the association contended, asian, errands, and effort -- arabs, and africans would be unable to find justice in society.
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political extremism would take root and the result would be endless violence, deprivation, and war. this however, was not just the naacp talking theoretically. this is how the naacp then moved to the international realm to take on the anticolonial struggles. i am going to illustrate just one of those. that was the issue of southwest africa. current state namibia.
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southwest africa was a league of nations mandate that had been pulled from the germans after the end of the first world war. under german rule, southwest africa had undergone a horrific genocide. 80% of the caro's -- and 50% of another tribe were killed. when it became a league of nations mandate, which was supposed to make this area, what they called a secret trust of
quote
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civilization, the league of nations placed the sacred trust in the hands of south africa. south africa -- this is before apartheid, but it had already been built on white supremacy. but after the second world war the international system created under the united nations, the trustee system to replace the mandate system. south africa, when it saw this system coming into being, it began to send young christians to the prime minister.
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saying, we are thinking about annexing. now, the u.s. -- u.n. said, you are going to annex international territory? what he did is he got the radiation on board. -- the british on board. by basically bullying and blackmailing. saying we have to come outside of the commonwealth if we don't get your backing on this. you know you have us -- those british protectorate sitting in the middle of south africa and
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you might have to take those over. and the british were like, yes we know.
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let's stop for a minute. if there are two people in the room it is hard to get 100% agreement on an item with two people. when you are talking about 35,000 people, a 100% becomes a touch carrier. even more than that, 85% of the africans also wanted to be annexed, he said. that looked you have on your face right now, that skepticism? [laughter] you also were at the u.n. because that was the look they had. he said, i know you are skeptical, but let me explain. we have provided millions of acres of land. the best land for the africans. we have created a world-class educational system for the africans. we have done everything to ensure that they have the best and understand, he said, that all of this is being borne by the small european taxpaying base that is willingly providing all of this for the africans. so you can rest assured that this annexation means africans will continue to enjoy a
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wonderful and strong, fruitful life under our domain. the u.n. is skeptical. really skeptical, but it doesn't have any counter proof. it doesn't have any evidence to the contrary about what is happening in south west africa. that proof would come, though, from a man named reverend michael scott. the reverend michael scott was
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in anglican minister. he had lived in south west africa for years. he had fought against racial discrimination in south africa for years. he was in fact jailed, for as they say, refusing to act like a european, because he moved into the african shantytown on the outskirts of johannesburg. when he emerged out of jail, the paramount chief of the tribe summoned michael scott to the land where he had been exiled and said, something wicked this way comes. i can't get there to get the evidence. but you, as a white man, with south african citizenship and a clerical collar, can get into southwest africa and find out what is going on. and reverend michael scott said, ok.
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and he went, he gathered the information, he met with the chief and the africans, he pulled all of this data together. it becomes clear very quickly how much jan christian had lied to the u.n.. now the question is, what is he going to do with this information? he told the tribe, i'm going to go and tell the world. which meant i am going to go to the u.n. there are a couple of problems. one, he is broke. he refuses to act like a
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european so he was straight of his possessions. in his work in south africa in the 1930's, he worked with the only organized group opposed to racial discrimination as he was -- the communist party. by the time we are into 1946 in the united states, have any kind of communist affiliation, you are going to be banned via immigration laws. there is also generating a beginning of a wonderful entrance national network of allies. douglas buchanan in cape town, he contacts chanting tobias of the naacp and says, we need your help.
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the naacp, working with the india league, and the naacp is on the board at the end -- india league. a begin to strategize on how to get the reverend michael scott into the u.s., because the state department and justice department have denied him a visa. they start pressing. they start pressing, one of those was -- let me see if i get this right. he is a god-fearing godless communist, is that correct?
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and the state department said, yeah. so let we tell the press is you just let a god-fearing godless communist, and you see how this will put us in a bad light? ok, we are going to let him in but we are going to have so many restrictions on his visa that he is going to be basically tethered to a few square blocks in midtown manhattan. and he can't give speeches, he can't even preach in the cathedral. we are going to try to keep them as muzzled as possible. the only place he can really talk is in the u.n. he gets into the united states as a member of the indian delegation, working through the indian leak -- league. he comes in and he has the
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documentation. that documentation was searing. it was damning. it was to the point where they u.n. now has the evidence to begin to ask south africa the questions. so, they said to the south african delegation, you say that you have spent millions in terms of buying land. but could you explain why 90% of the population is on 42% of the land? the least arable land? that is the i think i just got caught in a lie look. the next question. you say that you have built these incredible schools.
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but in fact, the documentation proves that there are no publicly funded schools for africans. that any schools in south west africa at the moment are funded and run by missionaries. so, exactly where are your public expenditures for education? ok, you say that. can you explain why 90% of your population only is allocated 10% of the budget? at that moment, south africa and
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new it was on the road. -- ropes. and they u.n. made it clear that they were not going to sanction this annexation. what that moment did for south africa, however, was jan christian is now on the ropes politically. because as they say, he has exposed south africa to
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international criticism. and this is 1948. he loses the election to the nationalist party. the nationalists, led by daniel malan, a member of the dutch reformed church, institutes apartheid.
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when apartheid comes to south africa, there is this enormous fear among michael scott, the naacp, that putting a group of not feeling on top of africans -- putting a group of not seat levers on top of africans is an unmitigated disaster. michael scott runs to the british and they say there is nothing we can do. they begin to mobilize again. in that mobilization, it is the have to get back to the u.n. to explain what the difference in regime means. the u.s. again denies michael scott a visa. this time, the british and the americans go to the indian
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delegation and say, you really really don't want to set this president. you do not want to put a disaffected individual as an official member of your delegation. think about it. what would happen with the pakistan -- if it pakistan delegation put a disaffected indian on? so india backs off. again, the international league
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for the rights of man on whose board the p6 -- naacp since has official status with the u.n. so the international league designates the reverend michael scott as their official delegate to the u.n. with that headquarters agreement, he is able to get into the united states. once again, the u.s. with all of these restrictions on his visa. the naacp is angry but undeterred. it begins to mount a campaign for the reverend michael scott. part of this campaign is to get to eleanor roosevelt. she is on the board of directors of the naacp and who is chair of the u.n. commission on human
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rights, because they understand that this anti-colonial issue is a human rights issue. reverend michael scott calls eleanor roosevelt's office, and the archival documentation is very funny because you see the handwriting that says, he is a commie. he has been bothering and besieging everyone at the u.n. and mrs. roosevelt's secretary says, yes but he called from the naacp's office. why don't we check with them to see what this man is all about?
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the naacp says, this is a man of god and amanda courage -- a man of courage. this is a man fighting one of the greatest evils the world has ever known. because he had that courage, that is why he is being slandered the way he is by the south african government. she meets with him. she says, he is a little intense, and he is. but the fourth committee of the u.n. is deciding, because south africa has had in so much. the fourth committee is deciding to do something absolutely unprecedented. that is to have the reverend michael scott in fact provide direct testimony to the u.n. about the condition and southwest africa, because south africa has refused to submit reports even though it is required at least by the mandate system. the reverend michael scott provides that testimony. that testimony is chilling. he talks about the creation in the manufacturing -- and then manufacturing of criminals at the end blackness, by vagrancy laws, poverty laws.
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the whole series of laws that are designed create exploitable labor pool that can be dragooned into working in mind -- mines. thousands are being dragged year after year as he talks about the work that is being done on basically slave labor on the white owned farms. as he tells this tale -- and understand, the british and south africans are saying, how can you do this? it means you have someone who does not have official status with a nation, talking about the conditions in the colonies. and this is a dangerous precedent for the british. but he tells the tale. and he tells the tale because he had an incredible array of support that allowed him to do the work that needed to be done. that support included office
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space at the naacp. and secretarial support at the naacp. remember, the u.n. operates on a range of papers, memoranda reports, documents and petitions. being able to have that kind of support, the naacp in the midst of fighting jim crow -- because they are fighting to get the brown decision through. that legal cases already moving. the naacp is providing support. the second level is that it realizes that the man is basically tethered him in 10 men -- in midtown manhattan.
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that was an absolute crime. walter white, the head of the naacp, his apartment happened to be within the confines of that restricted area. so he began to hold a series of teas and cocktail parties at his apartment with an invited a list of guest, senators, mayors journalists, has of organized labor. the people who can begin to shape opinion and the narratives about what south africa is or isn't in the american body of politics. that kind of support including fund writers -- fundraisers. these meetings became fundraisers, where they are beginning to generate thousands of dollars to support the work of michael scott. and because he was ill. he had crohn's disease. he is doubled over in pain most of the time. they are then providing -- they are paying for hospital bills. they said they have to do what other they can to make sure south africa does not steal this man's voice. with that kind of support, he is able to provide testimony before the fourth committee of the u.n. with that testimony, the u.n. decides to do something that it had been thinking about for a while. that was to seek an opinion from the international court of justice, the icj on exactly what is the status of southwest africa. that status, the icj came back with, was, you cannot make south africa under the trustee ship system. however, the mandate is still in effect. which means that south africa
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must submit annual reports on the condition and southwest africa to the only recognized international body that is designed to handle those reports. that is the united nations. south africa said, i like one part of that decision and not the other so i will pay attention to the part i like.
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we don't have to put this under the trustee ship system. and no, the u.n. will not get an annual report here it the u.s. is sitting there thinking, don't make this so hard. we are fighting the cold war. the racism underneath south africa is making it very hard for us to talk to nations emerging out of asia and africa that we are the leader of the free world, when we are in fact tied to a regime of not cease -- nazis. if you would just give a bit on this one, it will make it a lot easier for the work we want to do in waging the cold war. south africa said, here is what we are willing to do. we are not going to send a report to the u.n. we will send a report to our trusted allies, the british, the french, and the americans. those are the only nations that will receive a report. the u.s. is going, that is not going to work.
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south africa said, stop. that is a major compromise for us. because some of these western nations have this devilish notion that there is something wrong with racial discrimination. and they have this obsession with human rights. the fact that we are willing to go that far is it really major compromise for us. the u.s. said, that is not quite what we had in mind. what happened after that was that the u.n. created this ad hoc committee on southwest africa. in order to try to get the information in. south africa refused to submit information. so, you are going to get what i call one of the major showdowns at the u.n. meeting in 19 d1. -- in 1951. in that meaning, -- meeting, channing tobias, a member of the u.s. delegation to the u.n., had said to his state department handlers, you can count on me to be a team player and play the team game. but there are some areas where my conscience will take over. the state department had a mantra that they said to folks going into south africa. that was, hank your conscience on a peg. that is the way you can really enjoy south africa. tobias refused to hang his conscience on aipac -- a peg. the fourth committee was beside itself and decided to really break precedents this time. it was not about michael scott giving testimony. it was asking the leadership of the hereros, namas, and other tribes to give direct testimony about what is happening in south west africa. south africa and the british they stand up and begin to go, this is unprecedented and unheralded. as the south african said, one day you all will get hung on the gallows that you have built for south africa. the british turned to the americans because they had scripted how this meeting would
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work. the south africans would take the lead and then the british would come in. then the americans would write in and stop this -- ride in and stop this thing cold. the south africans do their thing and the british do their thing, and then you hear nothing and the americans sit there. because channing tobias is the chair of the u.s. delegation in the fourth committee. as his members tried to stand up, first benjamin garrett, who has worked with the british. they even worked out the statement. this is the statement he is getting ready to give. then tobias says, sit down. and garrett said -- and then tobias said, i said sit down. and channing tobias is a minister. so he has that authority to really say, sit down. gary sits down. -- garrett sits down. so then another stands up. garrett also tells him to sit down. sit now. the british are dumbfounded.
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i'm going to break this piece off right now to tell you how i began to find this story. as a historian, we love the hunt. i am in the naacp papers at the library of congress. there is this moment when walter white, the head of the naacp says to tobias, how did it go? and tobias says something to the effect, sometimes a man got to do what a man got to do. and i thought, what did you do? and the naacp papers are beautiful. they document when somebody sneezes. i'm going through and i can't find anything accept -- accept and then got a do what a man got
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it do. so i went to the channing tobias papers at the university of minnesota. and i'm hunting and looking, and they are rich. you know when you are getting to that point when you know that moment in time when this meeting happened? and i get there, and there is nothing there. document, document, document blank. you knew that you saw a purge. i said, you don't know who i am. i will stop you. so i then went to the national archives and got into the voluminous state department papers. all of those locked files. as i am hunting, i find this document that says, this is probably the only existing copy. the british are furious. sir anthony eaton will be
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contacting secretary of state atchison, just thought you said no. i thought, this is big. i still don't know what he did. but this is big. so i hopped on a plane and went to britain. if the british are furious, then maybe they have to amended -- documents sitting in their national archives. sitting there is what i call the tobias file. and it is, we had this worked out and that he forbade and then he said, and then he did. he was talking about, he thought that colonialism was an old tired thing and he is glad that it is dead.
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can you believe he said that? the file is rich. i am in the british national archives and i'm trying not to do the dance of joy. [laughter] that is how i began to piece together what happened at this meeting. when the british are saying, this is awful, what you see on the state department's side -- because there was a quick vacation within state about the u.s. alliance within south africa. on the one hand, you get the this is a valued ally that has a wonderful strategic minerals that we need and is staunchly anti-communist. then you have those going, their policies are absolutely odious.
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they are utter nonsense. harder for you begin to see happening here is the naacp working to shift and change the narrative of what south africa is. how you begin to turn a valued ally of the west into an political ball and chain. after this meeting, the naacp has provided funding for the tribes to come to the u.n. meeting to testify. this is the kind of support coming in from the naacp. the south african government refuses to issue passports to allow the african leadership to leave.
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reverend michael scott is then invited up to talk again, to testify again. channing tobias talks about that moment when south africa says, no. he turns to water and says i witnessed the brushoff. he signaled to the rest of the delegation that the united states would love to hear from michael scott did find out -- to find out about these conditions. the reverend michael scott says mine is not the place you need to hear.he says mine is not the voice you need to hear. you need to hear from the africans who are having to deal with the oppression of white supremacy. that is the voice that you need to hear. from that meeting the united nations formed to committees. one committee looks at southwest africa.
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the other committee begins to investigate apartheid. so, here you have the u.n. moving into national sovereignty to infect investigate the internal policies of a nation saying that these internal policies are in fact affecting international peace. that is landmark. it comes from the work of black liberals working with other organizations. how do we understand this incredible moment in time in the scholarship? we begin to understand it -- let me get to that. radical contemporaries, like w.e.b. dubois, who had been kicked out of the naacp, he complained bitterly that the naacp was useless in the fight to free africa from colonialism
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because, he said, the association was just a bourgeois set up, afraid to do anything not respectable," and communist william paterson who had tried to submit a petition to the u.n. charging the united states with committing genocide against african-americans but was blocked by the naacp fumed that "the very same americans interceded in order that the reverend michael scott white speak, they were also the ones who refused to intercede when the petition dealing with genocide in the united states was submitted. similarly, historians decades later tell us that the naacp was so infused with liberal ideology that all that it could think of was to try to get more african-americans in the foreign policy bureaucracy.
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as if that was going to make any difference. timidity and collusion with the u.s. government led to a faustian bargain whereby the association received a pittance of civil rights concessions at home in exchange for silence on foreign-policy issues and acquiescence un-american and west european control of the world's colored peoples. what the association did was not silent. it was not abandonment. it was another way of fighting. this is another story, a rich, complicated story that we won't know until we write the african-american center back into the history of liberation. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you very much stimulating, provocative talk. i'm going to guess that we will have a lot to stay -- a lot to say during discussion. we ask that you wait for the microphone to reach you before you start to speak, then you identify yourself. write a appear. the very front. >> thank you so much, professor anderson. thank you particularly for sharing your hot moment with us. that resonated with a lot of people around this table. i wonder whether you found anything in the naacp papers that indicated disputes within the organization, unease among some people about what were very limited resources going into this issue rather than african-american equality.
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>> absolutely. there was a big meeting in 1946. the gist of it was -- can we really afford this? we are trying to take on jim crow. we are trying to take on lynching. we are trying to take on disenfranchisement and unequal health care. we are trying to take on unequal education and housing. and this is an organization in with 75% of its funding comes from african-americans. african-americans did not have a lot of disposable income to even pay the dues, so this was an organization whose agenda consistently outstripped its budget. so, trying to figure out what its priorities were, you had two camps, at least. there was the -- we need to focus on the issues at home -- that camp was led to primarily
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by -- his last name is lewis, i just blanked. >> alexander lewis? >> thank you. alfred baker lewis? . and also by the president of the naacp. it was just -- it was just -- one of the things he said was -- why are you traipsing all over the world when negroes are more concerned about jobs and security? the pushback was that white supremacy was global and that through trying to take on white supremacy only in the united states it was not going to solve the problem. this thing had to be eradicated root and branch globally because that was the only way that real human rights and real dignity would come about. walter white said -- it makes no more sense to think of this as only an american issue than it does to pay attention to what is
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happening to negroes in mississippi, as if that does not matter to negroes in massachusetts. it was that frame, that white supremacy is global, so it must be attacked globally. one of the things they did to try to balance out the resource issue was that the naacp worked hand-in-hand with a lot of other groups. what you saw was this coalition for each would take on a piece that they did best, where they had the resources. so they are smartly leveraging each other. for instance, the international league for the rights of man did not have a big staff. did not have a staff at all. the naacp had staff but the international league for the rights of man had the confrontational status to get reverend michael scott in. so, they did their part. seminaries provided housing.
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the naacp provided secretarial support. and office space. there were consistent discussions, battles, every time something would jump up you would see it in the board minutes again. >> your presentation whetted my appetite for another story 10 years prior to that of the united nations story, the invasion of italy, the first conquest by the one league of nations member over another. i am wondering what role the naacp played in the protest against the conquest. >> let me find the page number. [laughter] one of the chapters that i deal with in this book is what they
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call the italian colonies issue. it starts with the italian invasion of ethiopia. this is where you see this kind of incredible mobilization in the black community writ large on this international scale. the naacp protested. it went to the white house. it was asking the white house to intervene. roosevelt is not going to intervene, as you know. it is backing ethiopia with everything that it can. it's issuing protests to the soviet union [indiscernible] because was in fact chairing the league of nations at the time and he was manipulating the league so that the ethiopian protests would not come through because this was part of the soviet scheme to try to get mussolini away from hitler. yeah.
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the soviets are also selling oil. lots of oil. to italy to help fuel the invasion of ethiopia. so, the naacp says -- oh, does your anti-imperialism stop at black nations? is that how this works? the naacp is on this early. they do everything they can for ethiopia. even when ethiopia becomes liberated they are at the white house talking about -- you have got to include ethiopia in the economic development plans, the postwar economic development plans. i see that consistently. i have to say, though, in the battle for the italian colonies which is absolutely intriguing -- it reads like peyton place meets dallas meets dynasty.
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it's a hot mess. you have this moment where ethiopia is angling to become the colonial power over era tray and somalia. while you have italy angling to regain control over libyan territory and somalia with egypt trying to get a chunk, the british trying to get a chunk. all of this is going on. well ethiopia, the ethiopian delegation meets with the naacp because the italian-americans by the time we get to 1948 the italian-americans are putting incredible pressure on harry truman two, in fact, get italy back in control of these colonies. ethiopia goes to the naacp saying -- you really need to back us up the way that the italian-americans are backing italy and we are just not seeing
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that kind of support from you. the naacp says -- we find black imperialism to be as abhorrent as white imperialism. easy up you says -- we are most dissatisfied with that answer. [laughter] there is a level of trueness in terms of the naacp's anti-colonial vision during this time. that it is not wedded to whether this power gets this or this power gets that. it's actually married to self-determination, the right to independence and the right to human rights. >> there are many original and untold stories in this book.
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i think that's one of the most powerful. don? >> i am actually retired from the foreign policy bureaucracy. i teach a gw. you say that they colluded with the truman administrations support for the european empire and received in return a few pieces of civil rights tokens. how did that fit in -- was it 1948 when truman desegregated the armed forces? how does that relate? ok. >> please note i did not say that that was a token. that is what the literature base said. in exchange for the military desegregation orders, as well as several amicus curie ib's -- briefs it meant that the naacp
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had hopped on the truman bandwagon. and that in exchange for hopping on the bandwagon they were putting the organization with 400,000 dues paying members behind this truman foreign policy that again, as the literature says, is so fully backing the european powers in terms of their imperial conquests. one, i found that narrative to be too flat. i found it to be erroneous. it did not withstand evidentiary scrutiny. again, how i came to this -- i'm finishing up my first book. you know when you are finishing off that first book, you go back into the archives just to make sure you got every document you are supposed to get. as i'm really sitting there --
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as i said, i'm finishing up and i'm finally really looking broadly at the naacp and i realize that there are boxes marked -- africa, africa africa , asia, asia asia, indonesia -- what? indonesia -- what? i said -- what is going on here? i said -- these all cannot be rejection letters, you know? so, i peaked in one of the boxes. historians are naturally nosy. i peaked in one of the boxes and there was this letter from the head of the somali youth league dated 1949. so, two years after this naacp supposedly had turned its back. it says -- thank you so much for all of your help in the u.n. in keeping the italians off of us. i went -- there's something here.
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that is what i mean by -- it cannot withstand the evidence. that narrative -- i track how that narrative came to be. it started off with an article written before the naacp papers were published and it relied heavily on to boys -- doo-wop -- dubois. he was kind of angry. what he writes reflects a man who is really angry. that does not get taken into account. after that article is published, another work comes in that is more focused on the black left. it relies upon the original article saying that the naacp turned its back. and then the next one sites that one in that one, the next one sites that one and that one, you get a footnote that thick but no
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one has gone to the naacp papers. >> carol, can you perhaps tell us a little bit about what south africans found in the united nations? i imagine the french, the portuguese, even the british were wary of a precedent that would lead to interference in their own colonial territories. professor anderson: oh, absolutely. this is why they fought so hard against these precedents. for instance, having michael scott testify and then have others testified. there is this one meeting where they are verifying the credentials of michael scott on whether he really can testify for the herrero's. the meeting drags on for hours and hours and hours. and hours. finally -- you can feel the weariness. finally, the mexican delegate says -- look.
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you know? jesus had problems because he could not prove that he was the king of the jews. but that's no reason for us to play pontius pilate. [laughter] so and then the american delegate stands up and says -- yeah, you are right, you are right. so, it looks like it's going to go through. and then it descends again into more and more hours. but the support was coming from cuba. from the dominican republic. and from -- again, you are seeing support from new zealand who is having difficulty wrapping its head around what south africa is trying to do. and the canadians are sitting there, they are trying to play honest broker. they are trying to go to the south africans and say -- look
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can you just try to josh no, no. it's like -- i do not understand why you are trying to play the villain. i do not understand why you keep burning bridges. you know? there are some moves that you can make that could take some of the acrimony out of these discussions. this, i see this as part of the moment when you begin to see the allies of south africa really beginning to question the costs of maintaining that alliance. it's going to take a while, it's going to take a long while, but i look at this as the trips on the rock it just to push it away until it crumbles. >> in the back, than the wall in the side. >> thank you for that fascinating account. i'm with the wilson center.
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i am very intrigued by the politics of the committee and the incident that was very dramatic in which the chair refused to go along with the script. i'm wondering what the repercussions were. as far as the ambassador, the secretary of state, did this reach the white house at all? were there no u.n. records of this meeting? professor anderson: there were u.n. records of the meeting, but no records of the chairman telling folks to sit down. that was the peas were i had to go on the hunt. the repercussions? it's hard to describe. it's like -- when i'm in the state department i asked the same question. what you saw in the state department was almost this relief that, as i say, getting someone else to shoot your shot
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at the state department there was such an ease about south africa and the policy of apartheid that to have one of their delegates who is not an official member of the state department and foreign policy bureaucracy -- because part of what the state department did was they had this high profile people on its official delegation as a way to continue to build the kind of public support for u.s. foreign-policy. so, having someone like tobias actually do and say what many members in the state department wanted to do and say? i look at that meeting where they are just like -- yes, the british are ticked. yes. and there were not repercussions. so, that is also part of the signal to me, that channing
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tobias actually -- although he violated his orders, he did what so many members of the state department wanted to be able to do but just could not because of their official ties to the state department because they are employees. >> i am with the united africa 2017 project. what this has meant for me is that you have outlined the impending competition here in africa. as you mentioned. some of it in africa, too. we are also concerned about racial discrimination in america. in fact, i put the u.s. embassy several times on the seat as agitators of summoning things against that.
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you see that we are trying to resolve the civil rights of our people. on this project it may be interesting for you to know that 60% of the people pushing for the project are african-americans and it is going to happen. >> i'm going to get a question in here, if i can. you're talking your book have reminded us that there is a spectrum of a pretty -- spectrum of opinion in the black activist community during this time. there was then, there is now, we should not need reminding of this, but you need to remind us of this. you cited patterson and to block -- to boy -- two boys -- dubiois.
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can you sketch out the ideological differences between the council and african affairs that absorbed the tension where robeson was involved? and their critique of the naacp on the one side and then the naacp's critique of them going the other way? >> that really is in the italian colonies chapter. that was a teaser. the council on african affairs was created in 1936. it saw as its mission the liberation of africa. that sounds beautiful. it sounds wonderful. but the devil is in the details. the details for the council on african affairs is that it believed that the soviet union held the holy grail deliberation.
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and that the soviet union and how to -- knew how to lead folks out of the hell of colonialism. that they had the prescription for doing that. i'm going to tell another tale that will lead me into the second part of your question. on the italian colonies issue, in 1945 the soviet union went to the u.s. and said -- we have decided that a part of the reparations that italy owes us is to get a nice, sweet chunk of libya. that sweet chunk of libya is the area near tripoli. the u.s. of course says that because the war with japan was not over yet, the u.s. did not want to quite take off the soviets because you really wanted to have the red army on that fight. by the time of the first council
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on foreign ministers meeting the piece was over, but when the soviets said they wanted to try you saw in the black press and naacp they went -- what? but you saw paul robison on the council of african-american affairs say -- we think that's a great idea. we think it's a great idea because the soviets have demonstrated that they know how to move people up to the level of independence. they have done what no one else has done. it -- it -- i -- the next time when you see this is 1948 because there are all kinds of maneuvers going on. in 1948 you have the election in italy. in the 1946 midterm elections
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the communist party of italy gained 40% of the vote. so by 48 what the soviets are looking at is that they could possibly have a duly elected communist government sitting in western europe in 1948. what the soviets therefore decide is that they are not going to try politicking at. the u.s. has blocks and big-time time in the council of foreign ministers. the soviets did come out and say -- we believe that italy should regain control over all of its colonies. libya, eritrea, and somalia. so, now you have this anti-colonial power basically saying -- italy should regain control of its colonies and its colonies, meanwhile, have made it very clear, abundantly clear
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that if italy steps a toenail back, it will be war. it is going to be war until the end. now, the naacp says -- russia's role in this sorry -- robison and the council of african-american affairs go silent. simon. i need to put in asterix decide that. -- besides that. as best i can tell, they went silent. i went through the robison papers the dubois papers, i went to the council on african affairs newsletters during this time, i went through the fbi file on robison and i went to the mi five file, hunting, looking for something that he
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said that said -- my gosh, you can't do this, our anti-colonialism is so strong that to somehow think it is ok to put italy on just because of the soviets? i saw nothing. nothing. the naacp goes ballistic, in fact. they in fact hold a huge multi-organization meeting of folks who represent about 6 million african-americans where they issue a manifesto that is just -- this is unconscionable this is unheard of, you will pay for this in the polls. you will pay for this, you don't want to do this. walter white comes out swinging because he's part of the u.s. delegation. he comes out swinging on this and he just trashes a plan that the u.s. has. they are just like -- no. meanwhile, robison is silent.
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then the italian communists lose the election. at the next council on foreign ministers meeting the soviets you know, the u.s. is saying -- ok, ok, this has been a contentious issue but i think we are all in agreement that it their minimum italy should at least get somalia. the soviets say yet. the u.s. says -- what? because now that the italian communists have lost the election, there is no need to back italy's control over north africa and the horn. so, instead the soviets say -- we believe that there ought to be an international administration of the colonies. basically that the u.n. should become the trustee power over these colonies. that's what the naacp has been arguing for all along.
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three days after that meeting robison issues a press release. the council on african affairs believes that africa belongs to the africans and that there ought to be an administration over these colonies. i went -- wow. although robison is an incredible man but he's human, part of what we have to do as scholars is not find these heroes and recognized that they make decisions that are flawed at times, that gives us insight. robison just believed from all that was in him that the soviets had the answer. we see this when he went to the soviet union i think it was an 49 or so.
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it was right around the time of the jewish doctor plot where they were gearing up for another series of purges. as robison is going into the union, his jewish pianist is the -- denied access. because they had started killing jews in the ussr. he finally finds someone that he used to hang out with in 1936 because all of his friends are gone. so, his friend basically signals that the room is bugged and that when the meeting is over he will be killed. robison does not say a word. it tells you that in these moments where you have these conflicting values -- that is part of what the italian colonies issue does for me, it
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allows me to look incisively when there are these conflicting values about what you prioritize. most scholars when they are writing on robison focus on south africa. south africa becomes easy because the soviet union is in south africa, it makes it easy for robison to be against south africa, but on the italian colonies issue when you move north you start seeing what the priorities look like. meanwhile, the naacp in fact takes on the u.s. state department. on this issue. there had been a plan to do some carving up where britain would get this chunk where there was a base and a communications facility. france would get this chunk. italy would get this piece. they were just carving as if there were not people anymore. as if this was 1884 all over
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again. when walter white went -- no, no no to the point where chester williams -- who was in the state department -- said -- you know, that document you wrote, you are going to have to destroy it and burn it it has confidential information. that briefing was off the record. walter pushed back. -- i'm not destroying anything. what you are doing is wrong, you are leaving the u.s. down the road to perdition. colonialism is dead, it's not dying. you need to get a divorce. i'm going to help you do that. so, there is this moment where there is this -- it's called the forza agreement where finally the british and the italians have worked out an agreement
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because they had been at loggerheads with each other to carve up north africa and the horn amongst themselves and some allies. the agreement was that -- was just -- it violated every principle of adhering to the wishes of the inhabitants. but it looked like it was going to get through the u.n.. the u.s. had done a lot of arm-twisting, a lot of -- you will get development aid if you will directly out -- correctly on this one. it was trying to get this cold war issue off the table. the naacp did what it does in the u.s.. it started counting heads for the vote. it started saying -- ok, these folks are already going to vote for it. it does not making sense to lobby them. these folks are already voting against it. let's get to these folks here on the fence that have been abstaining and do some lobbying. so they started lobbying these
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groups so that the vote starts coming down. the americans are very comfortable. they know they've done their groundwork. they built the strong development dollars. and then india votes no. you see this kind of -- what just happened there? they are like -- ok, we still have our two thirds. and then haiti -- haiti votes no. and the two thirds needed for the agreement just began to crumble. from that you see an incredible incisive postmortem about what went wrong with that vote and what went wrong, they say, is that we paid attention to everything except the wishes of the inhabitants. we paid attention to national security issues.
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we paid attention to where military bases were. we paid attention to what our allies wanted. but we did not pay attention to the wishes of the inhabitants and we got a bad brush back in the u.n.. so, anything that we develop now is going to have to take into account the wishes of the inhabitants. again, this is a major step and major piece that the naacp played in trying to help shape u.s. foreign-policy to help understand that these were not empty areas. that in fact you had people living there who have the desire for freedom and that you had to honor that. >> right here in the middle? >> hello, professor. my name is sarah, i'm from brazil. in your opinion, what is the importance of the normal life
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movement started in five with the conference where the asians -- the asian people and the african people said -- we don't agree to what you are doing with this -- let's, like you just said, bear in mind your opinion of the inhabitants. professor anderson: part of what i begin to outline in the book the naacp is an massive transition by the time the conference happens. part of that transition -- walter white was in fact planning on going to the conference. he died in march of 1955. remember, this is april of 1955. with the brown decision you also
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had in 1954 the south rising up trying to destroy the naacp. you have legislation that says that if you are an naacp member you cannot hold public employment. you have the state of georgia charging the naacp would back taxes that automatically somehow emerge that they never knew about that they merged in 1954 or 1955. tens of thousands of dollars. out in the state of alabama they ban the naacp from operating because the naacp will not turn over its membership list. the attorney general of the state wanted the membership list so that they could figure out who to apply economic extortion to. if you are a member of the naacp you are suddenly getting your mortgage called in. you have the organization fighting tooth and nail just to
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survive right when the nonaligned movement is coming to the four and also dealing with the leadership transition, from walter white -- who was much more cosmopolitan and international oriented than roy wilkins. there were a couple of issues, as i describe here, even roy got it -- that south africa and the italian colonies -- there were other pieces where if roy was out of his element, you take a leadership change, a priority change trying to just keep the organization alive right at the moment when the nonaligned movement is coming. so you don't see the naacp has engaged in that. >> we have time for one last question.
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amanda: i'm from the national history center. let become back to the question of the naacp having limited resources and other priorities. i'm curious about the conversation between officials and members about its foreign agenda. who was leaving whom? what was the conversation like? >> fascinating. it's fascinating. part of what i'm seeing is that the branches are on fire and there are times when the branches are pushing the national office to do more, do more, weigh in on this. i'm also seeing where the national office, for instance with the struggle over indonesia, when the dutch are trying to regain control over indonesia and the naacp is
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yelling -- cut off the marshall plan dollars to the dutch, cut them off, you see the branches going -- yes, yes, yes. so, even though the branches are right there at ground zero in their communities i am seeing engagement from the branches that letters are coming into the national office supporting what the national office is doing or in fact saying -- you are not taking the strike of being deeper or harder. i'm seeing it with those branches all along. >> unfortunately i have to draw this to a close. i will remind you that there is a reception afterwards in which we can continue the conversation. the new book is available for purchase outside. i would invite you all back next week, when our session by keeter
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-- peter kornblum is on back channels to cuba, the hidden history of negotiations between washington and havana. thank you very much, carol anderson. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> you are watching american history tv, all weekend every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> in 2003 judith miller wrote several stories on the lead up to the invasion of iraq and weapons of mass to structure and . in an effort to reveal her source, scooter libby, she was found in contempt of course -- contempt of court and imprisoned for 85 days. tonight she talks about her time
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in jail as well as her new book, the story. >> i was in jail because i refused to reveal the identity of the source whom i thought did not want his identity revealed. in our business, as you know brian, protecting sources is the life but of independent journalism. i really felt that unless the people i routinely spoke to -- you had access to classified information -- unless they could trust me to protect them, my sources would dry up and eventually i would just be writing the book they wanted me to write. so, i felt that this was a question of principle, that i did not really have much choice. >> tonight, at 8 p.m. eastern and pacific. >> next, a discussion on religious freedom in early
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america hosted by the national museum of american history. speakers explore how christians, native americans, and mormons clashed over religious practices in the colonial time and how principles shaped the constitution and political landscape. this session of an all-day symposium is about one hour. >> thank you, thank you john, thank you for your support for this religion initiative. thank you to the panelists who are all here smiling in the front row. thank you to all of you in the room. for those of you out there on the wide web world, thank you all for joining us as well. in the middle of the 1820's, robert dale of when immigrated from scotland to the united states to establish with his father utopian community in new harmony, indiana. based on enlightenment principles of reason and

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