tv Book Discussion on First Class CSPAN September 5, 2015 4:00pm-5:12pm EDT
1526, first landing of stolen africans on u.s. soil in south carolina by the spanish, but they rebelled, joined the indians. 1619, the first official group of enslaved africans reached at jamestown, virginia. legal abolishment of chattel slavery. shortly thereafter, an estimated , to show thechools premium that stolen africans placed on education. 1870, the preparatory high school for colored youth, now called dunbar high school, was formed. 1890, the first mohawk a
conference on the negro question . how to educate these now free stolen africans. russert --ted by rutherford b. hayes. having deprived them of their , we have noty excuse for neglecting them. stolenight the premium africans placed on education before enslavement and afterwards, as well as the struggles we faced to get quality education in the face of insurmountable odds. to ensure high-quality education that reflected us, in the book you will read the names of great race men and women of their time.
prominent other figures of stolen african history to come to the halls of dunbar high school. written with an intimate knowledge of the material, from first-hand accounts by gathering oral history as well as documented research, and most importantly written in narrative format were the people struggles and triumphs of this historic directly into the reader's hearts. declare thatad and allison stewart has done the alumni and her parents proud with the telling of this important story. attention asght my a vj on mtv. she was on abc world news tonight, i'll be at 12:00 to
6:00 in the morning. she must be a night owl like myself, i guess. radio one npr, pbs, and now she is right here. i now bring to the podium, the former vj, the news journalist, the wife, the mother, the could have been model and down author, allison stewart and her book, first class: the legacy of dunbar, america's first black public high school. [applause] alison: thank you for that lovely introduction. my name is allison stewart.
my mom was in the dunbar class of 1947. my dad was in the dunbar class of 1946. my grandfather was in the m street high school of -- if you are from washington, d.c. , then you have heard about dunbar high school. if you're not from washington, d.c., the story might be unfamiliar to you. i do want to introduce it to folks. what is so important about it? the story goes something like this. dunbar high school was a place where highly educated and engaged teachers who had the highest expectations for their theynts, and as a result went on to college. 80% of dunbar graduates went to college in the 1950's. they excelled in a wide range of fields from business to education to the sciences and arts. i could be talking about and or any of these
schools, but one of the reasons that dunbar high school was so spectacular and the story is spectacular is because dunbar high school was a segregated high school. it produced some of the greatest african-americans and americans. so many firsts came from dunbar high school. long, i have to stretch out. i will give you a few. the first black graduate of the naval academy. the first black army general. the first black federal judge. the first black presidential cabinet member. you see where i am going with this. billy taylor, just musician. even more important, but as important, all these boldfaced names where the hundreds of teachers who came out of dunbar high school who spanned out into
washington, d.c. and into the south uncovered school systems with the fantastic basis of an education. how many people have dunbar high school graduates who are parents nties i.was looking for people to interview for the book and i was looking to talk to some people. i realize valerie jarrett father went to dunbar. this is one of the story she told me. this sums it up for people. about the first time she heard about dunbar high school from her father. she said, i was a very young child. dunbar high school was critical in my father's path in life. he gives it full credit for having been educated with his colleagues at a world-class level. any time i would ever say anything that was greta and --
was grammatically incorrect, he would say, as dunbar high school has taught me, and then would correct me. in not big believer being lazy and grammar or how you speak. i think that as a young child, remember him telling me stories about dunbar high school and just get it in an honest amount of credit for the shaping of his life. great benefits of working on this book i'm writing this book, the reason i wanted to write this book initially is that i would grow the story for my parents and for my uncle, cousins, who all went to dunbar high school and i thought it was an incredible story. i was fascinated with the idea we had angrily educated african-americans still living in a segregated city, that you could's beak french fluently, but some person in a store would not let you come in and buy a coat. i just thought that was a bizarre contradiction.
. one of the great benefits i thought was that i could actually talk to people who had experienced this first hand. i realized i was in a bit of a race against time because the people who could there witness to what happened at dunbar high their 70's,all in 80's, 90's. so, i told the story before if you heard it, if not, it's funny. decided i was going to do it. i started writing query letters to get interviews, and i really did not have myself together, so i sent out a few and i got one back corrected from a dunbar graduate. [laughter] so that was a clue about what i was doing. i was very lucky to have that happen early. very happy. i was working at msnbc.
i came back and checked my voicemail and it was senator ed brooks. he said i would be happy to talk to you about dunbar high school. that is kind of the challenge in the easy part. the difficult part about writing a book like this is my protagonist is a building, the school, the thing. how do you bring that to life? as i talk to graduates and read from research, i realized that itnbar high school had a spir and the soul. -- a soul. i wanted to see what the school was like. 2006,the first time was there must be history at the school, yearbooks, so i was working in washington, d.c. and said i'm going over to dunbar high school to check it out. somebody said dunbar high school
has an awesome football team. and i said, yeah, but what about all the great act of them ask -- great academics. ? ? when i got to the school, i understood why he didn't know. i went to the school that was with that brutal architecture. nobody started me. journalism says walk like you know you belong and keep going, so i did that. i noticed there were picture cheap,up on the wall in plastic frames tilted and cracked with ed brooks picture and it was really very sad. there was a cabinet that had , oneold, faded photographs
was dr. charles a true he was a kid holding a basketball. they were fêted and not behind protective glass. it struck me, oh, my god, this might actually be lost if somebody does not write this down, something, someone needs to record the history. for a while i thought well should i contact michael lewis or one of these fantastic writers. i said, no, i am going to do it, why not? that is how i started my journey. one of the things that is interesting, which i learned a lot and researching this. i spent -- they know me at the how her library like you wouldn't believe. one of the things i found so interesting about washington, d.c., which i had no idea, maybe you folks do, is washington had good schools for colored children in the 19th century. i say this in the introduction
of the book that i use the colored, the era, negro, black, african-american, and this is interesting, one of the editors of my publishers of this is making me really uncomfortable. i said, good, that is the point. it shouldn't make you feel a certain way. very decenton had schools. they were small, private, weren't churches, word homes, because unlike in the south as marshall mentioned in the south where it was something illegal to teach someone a colored person to read, it was -- a went down ton -- i south carolina to read the slave transcripts and a woman don't getting caught with a pencil or pen, because that was as bad as killing your master. there were going to be public schools provided for colored children, they were going to stop them from
learning. amazing, amazing thing, and i really feel like it is one of the cornerstones of why the school was able to be established. you had learning going on in the district. war, thethe civil local leaders realize that we have to do something with all these free colored children, and there were -- i don't give you too many details, but there were a group of three black men is other opportunity. they said if were going to get past the grammar school level, this is the time to do it. so they were able to establish a high school, a preparatory high school for colored youth, and they weren't given to a building, so they went to the basement of a church with four students on november 4, 1870, and that was the first day of class. here is something interesting that we started realizing that dunbar high school was about a spirit and the soul.
there wasn't a physical building. the school traveled from building to building in and out of grammar schools, and in the course of that, the people who were the teachers and the began very early on establishing it as a place of academic rigor. among the first three principles was the first black graduate of harvard and the first black woman in the country to get her four-year degree, mary j patterson. she was very instrumental and started a strict academic curriculum. the teachers at dunbar high of -- ther the course old dunbar high school, as people caught -- were extranet intellects, the first blacks to go to competitive schools, , and when they graduated they could not get jobs. they cannot teach and universities.
if they got masters or phd's they connected because of the jim crow laws. so many came back and taught at dunbar. i'm sure many of you heard stories about people having a high school teacher with a phd , atath and the languages the competition story, the first two earn all her credits for a phd at radcliffe. she graduated at dunbar high school and got her phd at radcliffe, even in the process when she went to the south you can knock it in a certain libraries. they were not n. she still managed to complete it. that was the kind of teaching course that was at dunbar high school. it also attracted people who had degrees in law. there were the medical doctors. one of the principles was a lawyer. when someone asked him why he was teaching he said it he like the paycheck. [laughter] alison: the reputation of the .chool really grew
it became a way of life to be at dunbar high school, and there was a certain code of behavior and certain things were expected of you, and one of the things that i love to reading more than anything in my research with the handbooks. instructions on how to behave. i'm going to read a little bit from the handbooks. i'm going to lead up to it. being a dunbar student was a way of life. the program was a given. it was the reason why they went to dunbar high school and would excel. motto.ool had a latin around a formed a halo woman and a rope with a book in her lap and it was embossed on every yearbook. new students were informed that to be at dunbar high school they had to have a serious purpose to succeed. ends,hieve those
students were canceled on how to behave. they were given a handbook and asked to read and consulted regularly. the handbook might make a libertarian uncomfortable. the student handbook instructed students not to gossip and i have good manners, sleeping eight hours a day with the windows open. there were even guidelines on how to pick friends. girls and boys who fail and lessons who are unsatisfactory and lessons who are unsatisfactory in department or careless in their habits should not be chosen as companions. [laughter] alison: the way the administration sought, when a student chose to comment to dunbar and stay there, he or she was a representative of dunbar wherever that student went. two pages of the student handbook were devoted to how to act in public. i'm walking down the street, avoid loud talking, boisterous laughter were familiar actions. if you desire to converse with a friend, don't loiter.
leave the street corners for traffic. for conduct that social affairs, students were told always greet her host and hostess is upon entering the halls. if the function is a dance, remember the fall suggestions, boys as girls. thank your partner and escort her back to her seat. do not leave her in the middle of the floor. girls, remove wraps before dancing. to not accept an invitation with anyone with whom you are not inclined to hear it come chewing is in bad taste. avoid it. [laughter] alison: they meant business. every victory for the school is hard-fought, from getting the buildings to maintaining the curriculum. the school was under constant fire to roll back.
at one point it was suggested that they exchanged robinson caruso for shakespeare so it would be easier for the negro children to understand. roll ins an effort to some of the technical aspects, business aspects, but the principles, students, and community fought hard to continue to keep dunbar primarily a academic school. this was to protect the students. this was to prepare the students for an inhospitable world that they knew they would be going into. read a little bit more father.erie jarrett's i got to go to an event at martha's vineyard that celebrated dunbar graduates. they had five graduates from the 19 servers -- from the 1930's on
stage, including valerie jarrett's dad. sporting his bowtie and sue told the audience, we were told that you can do it, and when you leave here, you can compete. that is the most important thing, and we believed it. when you get out, you can compete with anybody. king and harold nelson spoke of their families involvement in the school. then there was the school unity rector. all the people i knew went to dunbar. that is what it was, a community. big laughson got a from the audience when he added my mother kept saying that you are going to be somebody. the other part of being somebody is that you will never embarrass me. [laughter] alison: this was something that was -- really struck me as
something that i take for granted in my life, and i'm sure most people my age take for granted in our lives. the gift ofll said dunbar was, the teachers put their faith and hope on the intelligent students, students who came from simple homes. a lot of parents and modest jobs, regular jobs, government jobs. it created a stability, but allow people to plan. i thought what a simple idea to be able to plan your life. you have been given this education, can think about what it is that you want to do, dreams, hopes, aspirations, and have a very basic stable middle-class. we talk about that now still. the ability to plan. it always struck me. that a lot of the students, and the teachers were not shy about this, letting them
know that when they got out into the world outside the cocoon, the bubble, that they had been so protected from anybody telling them that they were lesser. butle in the outside world negroes were intellectually and socially inferior good that is what segregation was about, right? a lot of men felt that when they becausee armed forces, it was not until 1948 the truman integrated the armed services. i mention the first black graduate of the naval academy was commander brown. i got to spend a lot of time with him and his wife. he has since passed away. he told me -- one of the questions i ask all of the graduates was when was the time in your life that you knew that dunbar had served you well? and you give me an instance. he was at the academy. he chose not to room with anybody at the academy because he knew it would be nothing but trouble.
several had been gone and then hazed out. so this was interesting. brown was not that concerned about the academics he felt confident in his training, especially after witnessing some of his classmates. when i went to the academy, i noticed there were a lot of guys with straight a's in high school who were not doing so well. i concluded that a lot of them were not challenged because the schools were not competitive. he observed that a lot of the cadets had poor time management skills. what dunbar did for me was taught me how to study. i learned to get to the meat of the assignment. brownigh school student, worked afterschool until midnight as a male clerk to support the family. his father was a truck driver. didn't have any money or political drag. i had a very limited time to study.
i was working nights and participating in sports. in addition to running track and working in the mailroom, he was the cadet colonel of the dunbar high school to that core. corps.ol cadet was important to many of the young men and women. it was interesting. one of the things i found when i was interviewing dunbar graduates. they would say that i don't have anything to tell you and then they would tell me some fantastic story. brown had one of those. i was sort of talking about his bravery. what i find to be the bravery of people who went to dunbar high school and went out into the world and said, i can do this. i got this. i am as good as anybody else. they are the people who pave the way for my generation.
quite literally. let me find this great thing he says. all right, so he is in the naval academy and he is getting demerits right and left, but he is still at the top half of this class. we all know why he is getting demerits. let me describe this very funny moment. at the time of our interview the then 79-year-old brown was quick to say that some cadets were cordial or decent or had the decency to ignore him. in an office full of files, clippings, and history books, he did not want to dwell on the negative parts of his experience. he looks back with a curiosity of a scientist investigating why some cadets were bigoted. he said, someone somewhere has a question why. brown posed the question to himself. i don't know. i have to look at somebody and say is ha and natural born racist? is he doing it because his parents taught him that way? this does not make any sense at
all. is he afraid that the upper class will punish him because he will be friendly to make her the one guy who helped me was jimmy carter. [laughter] alison: yeah, that jimmy carter. carter remembered wesley brown quite well. he spoke very highly of him. had a nice phone conversation with president carter about him. he did use the word brave. he said that he thought he was an outstanding person. timid, lacked courage, arrogant, so forth, he would not have been successful. this was before jackie robinson played baseball. this was a very early time. he was brave, intelligent, well behaved, responded to hazing and quite persecution with equilibrium. as i'm reading the stories and hearing these -- i don't have anything to tell you honey
stories -- it was a very exciting to write down the history of old dunbar. then it was very frustrating to write down the recent history of dunbar. 2000s, that up until there was always a part that was there, preengineering program, family went to dunbar, even though they all made their way into dunbar in the 1960's, 1970's, 1980's, and the violence of the 1990's. there we people who protected the legacy of dunbar. i saw some kids trying to study, some teachers who were trying, some teachers who should not have been there at all. another sort of sense of
energy about writing this book because it was about the time that all the school reform was happening in washington, d.c. and michelle reed took over and there was a discussion about what is our plan. the you know you have an amazing blueprint three blocks away. why isn't anybody looking at dunbar and the lessons of dunbar if you're thinking about going forward? think about all the social and legal obstacles that the folks face went to dunbar. dunbars a brand-new which opened, $122 million school, and i spent a lot of last week there. there was such great energy around the school. people have a real sense of hope. things,e some sweet the new dunbar is back on the original footprint of the bar.
the new dunbar. likepeople thinks it looks a dunbar -- parking lot or prison. one of the things i really love is they built the history into the school. there are plaques all over the floor with the names of the graduate so the kids can see that every single day. they left many of them blank with the idea that that could be you, which is a very aspirational. there are two things that i want to say about the new school, and they are tough because i don't know if you know this, computers were stolen, windows broken yesterday. one of the architects said a building can only do so much. to itught me right back is about the teachers, which is why i in the book focused on three people that i met at
modern dunbar who give you hope, because it is about the teachers. one is the girls track coach and dean of students, and he had aen at a christian school in cushy job and was asked to come and coach at dunbar, and he said he was up for a challenge and he is the kind of guy -- he sent a list home about the kids. this isn't his first reaction to when he came to dunbar and all the talk about dunbar could he said, after being around these girls, they are intelligent young ladies, but the repetition iswashington, d.c. schools they are dumb and have no clue. some of these girls are straight brilliant. when he asked why they were trying, the answer was to pressure. a falsee trying to keep
image. -- when he asked why they weren't trying, the answer was eerr pressure -- p pressure. he hadn't realized the depth of their inspirational desperation until he took them on tours of colleges. tech, met virginia with the director preengineering, took the girls around, dorm rooms, you should've seen the faces. i could've just cried. the girls had no idea that it could be like that. i never have to win another championship, but my girls have got to go to college. is very serious about the way he believes adults should talk to kids. we need to tell the truth about these sayings, break the cycle, break the chains, having babies, section a, never leaving the hood. into, he teacher i ran
,ut it so dutifully and simply young white guy, only white .eacher at the school his name is matthew stewart. no relation. the teach for america wave and wanted to be a teacher. this wasn't something he was doing to enhance his resume or anything like that. he put it very plainly. about what it means and how are going to help kids at dunbar. he said, you stay, that's the biggest thing. the first year as much as anything is getting tested out, and the students want to know what your reputation is. they have known that i was a 12 grade teachers in the 10th grade. i come to work every day, there is always a lesson, and i've been here for a wild. if you care, that's all they
need. thank you. [applause] alison: i'm happy to take any questions. >> i want to speak to the audience. allison has written a book that is so important that i think anybody involved in education in america needs to read it. that is number one. allison is a thief. if she wants to address that later. accurately a dunbar that disproved the racist theory that african-americans can't learn, not only can they learn, they can learn equally or better in the right conditions.
then we get to the fall of dunbar and so the you didn't mention in the book because it wasn't appropriate for your -- a dunbardunbar student is someone who brought crack cocaine to washington dc. and now you have -- everyone should visit dunbar high school and see what a building can be in do. building --een a i've been in education for 30 plus years -- i've never seen a building that brought the past, present, and future together. sunday night, the day before students, so it is this ping-pong thing. alison: i think that is a good reminder. we can all get caught up and how romantic this new building is. we have to stay on top of it. >> that is a segue to my question. i happen to know judge parker,
mr. stewart, but having said recommend?would you as well as anyone, you now know dunbar high school. do you have any recommendations of what it should do, and in turn, what america should do. if dunbar can get back to even anywhere new those heights, we have an answer for something that we have not had an answer for f years. for years. a lot o alison: they want to bring kids from all over the city into the school. that could be great. i just don't want to see the kids underserved and discarded. i applaud the twilight academies that they're doing whether pulling the kids out who have not passed in getting them up to speed.
or else you would just see a repeat of what happened in the 1930's and 1940's when the elementary schools became overrun, the black ones, and the e kids were only going to school three hours a day. thing that you really have to do. you have to make sure you take care of that population while you bring the other in, this other -- whoever these other 500 slots -- are people who will move into the neighborhood. my pollyanna hoped for dunbar is that you can't go back and there are many reasons you should not go back to that, is the original founders, those three men, they wanted an integrated school. so i have a help that dunbar high school could be organically integrated in 15 years. if that neighborhood, people come in, black families stay, white families come in, or you
have people come in from all over the city, white and black, i know it is a little pollyanna, but wouldn't that be great? i think the key going forward is to make sure there is mediation for the students, because you cannot discard them. >> thank you. you've written a brilliant book. alison: thank you. i tried hard. i got one bad review that said it was a little chatty and ambling. [laughter] >> my name is duane. do you see a strong pta developing their? ptaon: the head of the spoke friday and said to the parents that you have gotten a $122 million lottery ticket. claim the school. claim the school. it's so hard when you see a lot
of these kids, foster care, parents aren't around, extended the school day, amazing to see how breakfast is full when they offer free breakfast. i think that is a huge challenge. i think that was another piece of the dunbar puzzle, parental involvement. the woman from the pga was on fire. i think they have a good leader there. if anyone will follow, that is the issue. >> they can set the tone. thank you. alison: yeah. thank you for writing a great book. alison: thank you. quote, the209 you 1960's and 1970's, the democratization of education reduced everything to mediocrity across the board. can you talk a moment about academic rigor and how schools
in washington dc are or are not allowed to hold a standard? alison: that is a hard one. matthew stewart addressed it in his class. he said i have a class where a senior does not have put a t and h together. yet another student who was bright -- it wasn't worth it for her to sit in that class. it was such different levels, you know? 1960's, they were tracking kids right after 1954, and because of what i mentioned earlier, some of the skids being so underserved, that almost all the black kids were being thrown into the basic track. they did away with that. a lot of teachers talk about how you have to meet people and teach people at their levels.
i'm not sure what the right answer is. my kids going to go to public school in the fall. you don't know what to do. answer.really have an i really don't. i think one of the reasons that dunbar high school was successful because in essence it was a magnet school and all the kids knew they were going to go to college. i'm strong and cardoza, you got a good education but also learn to trade, and maybe your family couldn't afford to go to school, but you got a job afterwards. to take theeed stigma off of technical vocation schools. you know? i don't know if that answers your question. >> thank you. johnson,e is campbell third-generation washingtonian.
comment about the tracking and all of that is kind of interesting. my parents and grandparents all went to dunbar. my grandfather went to m street high school. he came over from alexandria to go to m street high school daily. you had to walk halfway across town to the school. he told me that he didn't have an overcoat, so he had a sport coat with sweaters on underneath. being the highest ranking black in the military, a bird colonel and ended up integrating the armed forces, which is what i mentioned to you. what i was going to say is that i went to mckinley, which was a track school. alison: so you can speak to it. took the same classes as the best western wilson high
school students took, and we scored as well or better on the exams. we had dedicated teachers. the old story about if you messed up, the story would get home before you did and you would be in a difficulty, but now mckinley technical high school is mckinley technology high school. it has changed. you don't see so many folk who look like me in that school. i do raise a question about what and thening in dunbar fact that i've been working for manyast i don't know how years to fight the displacement of low and moderate income folks from pc. this is the kind of thing that our civic leadership has been doing to us. we elect them and they betray
us. this is life. alison: it is important to bring it up. i think it's important to talk about it. >> if anybody is interested, we have organization that has been challenging for 10 years on a variety of fronts from small landlord, small business persons, to folks just trying to keep their homes without the taxes going out the window. we are very effective in doing this kind of thing. i want to thank you very much for this book. menow that it has helped along the way on some research that i've got to do. alison: good. i'm glad i could help. difficultne of the things. there were so many stories to tell. i had to stay focused. that was really hard, because i would just go down rabbit holes and lose focus. there were so many great dunbar stories, and i've been getting a
lot from people e-mailing me and i put them on my website. maybe there will be another whole section of letters. >> you may have a whole section of a bookstore, where acknowledgment will be paid to you for one thing and another in terms of getting other books published, but i wanted thank , tellingry much stories that need to be told, and we are just people who passed the washington, d.c., folks like my grandfather and all who started the sullivan houses and whatnot, the 12th street ymca, these folks made washington dc. thank you. alison: thank you. [applause] >> my name is margaret webster. i'm a 1950 graduate of dunbar high school. alison: do you know arnold graham, my uncle. he was the class of 1950. he is a rascal, probably better. >> question in terms of the
vision of dunbar and where it is going. i understand you interviewed the mayor of washington, d.c. so did you get a reaction from him in terms of what he sees in terms of the new dunbar and overall education of students in washington, d.c. he appoints the chancellor and he should be in touch with what her vision is, and does it match what he thinks should be going degree did you get an insight into what he was thinking. alison: there are a few things i got. theas very concerned that dunbar students in the late 1990's and 2000's did not have a
connection to the dunbar alumni. there seemed to not be enough of a back-and-forth. -- i could tell in his voice that he felt that he and others needed to do more to sort of -- especially the , when dunbar failed no child left behind five years in a row. i recorded the whole thing. go to the classes, 1930, 1940, by the time they get to do thousand, one or two claps who came to this reunion. he said that really bothered him. that something he wanted to work on, to bring the past into the present. the other thing he said, he said it was very important, and this is an policy, that it is very important to teach the kids to do for themselves, not to give them everything. he cited an example of some kids who came to him and said we
needed speed bumps on the street. you how toan teach write a letter and explain how it is to be done. i will not do it for you. he felt that that was something that needed to be in the school, how to do for yourself, that it is not just going to all happen. to iis about far as we got was really talking to him about his personal expense of dunbar. >> in terms of what kind of leadership he could provide and what he thought -- alison: we didn't talk policy at all. we talked his personal story. >> i'm sure you ran across some concerns about the leadership. alison: yeah. you can't write about washington, d.c. -- you can. going to the meetings about the closings of schools and stuff not really in the book is eye-opening. i just went to hear people and their concerns. not really for the book.
>> i brought the question up because he may quite an issue of michelle as part of his campaign against the past mayor. .o that is the reason i was wondering if he addressed what he saw? alison: he did say that he felt she did not understand middle-class black people and did not this is a really have an understanding of what a teacher mentor middle-class black people. the way she talked about teachers and the firing of teachers, that he really felt that she was tone deaf on that issue. >> and that is still going on. alison: thank you. hello. >> [inaudible]
alison: let me just introduce you. >> you right at me out to say that i was not available. thank you very much for this wonderful book. thank you. alison: thank you. [applause] >> miss stewart, thank you for writing this book. i really wanted to share, my father was a graduate and can temper he grandfather a dunbar. graduated howard mckeon prizes, -- 10 the
n all the prizes. he received a letter from the army that they appreciated his interest, but they had their fill of colored doctors. d me off. pisse i have the letter framed. he and his brother, the first counsel for dunbar high school, the stories of the civil rights , thatnt, being attacked also upset me. , most ofn the family his brothers and sisters -- it was always about decorum and how you conducted yourself. i was listening to your litany of the handbook. i did not know there was a handbook. alison: that was just one page of the handbook.
that sticks with me to this day. the piece about you will not embarrass me almost every day. [laughter] alison: thank you for sharing. hello, sir. >> how are you today? alison: i am very good. >> you are indeed. [laughter] >> i didn't go to dunbar. , sweet, sweet potato potato. [laughter] tomy wife's parents went dunbar high school. i'm an immigrant. i was the son of a sharecropper. i didn't go to school until i was 10 years old. when i got the measles as a child, when i was four years old , i was in bed for four days and
the houses were papered with newspaper and i knew the alphabet. my brother taught it to me. so i would spell words and my mother would tell me what the words were, and that is how i learned to read. was memphis.d i read every paper on that wall. that is how i learned to read. i mention that because we were talking about education. we were talking specifically about a problem with blacks, collards, near gross, or whoever i am -- blacks, collards, negroes, or whoever i am. blind. is i read a chapter every night. i read the newspaper in the morning and the chapter of a
book every night. we read everything. impressed with what you have done with the beginning of teaching and learning in the city of washington, d.c. one thing is missing i notice, because i helped set up what was called the citywide social adjustment for children who had been put out of schools all over the city. my children. call myself daddy or public to every black child in the world. because he is related to me. as you see me, that's how they see them. they are my children, so i went to the schools and talk to the teachers and i noticed a van school.or, came to the i went to the homes to see why
they get put out of the school. i noticed one thing generally that was unanimously agreed upon. there was no reading material in the home, not even a newspaper. not a comic book. not a bible. down south, we all had sunday school books. we had to have our sunday school book. you read your sunday school lesson. didn't make sense some time, but you did. [laughter] >> nowhere in the world could i believe that it rained 40 days and 40 nights, no, no, no, i would be swimming. [laughter] >> anyway, not to digress too much. alison: i am enjoying it. >> i noticed that was a problem among those people and it is still a problem. we don't have any teaching materials in the homes where those children came from. we worry about why they are out
there killing each other. they don't have anything else to think about. it begins with thinking. you have to have a mind to do some thinking. it doesn't work that way. alison: that is one of the things i like about extending the school days. it gives the kids who may not have anything to go to at home, they can stay at the school longer. >> right. alison: i think that is a good thing they are starting to do it dunbar, longer school days. >> i would take the class to my house for lunch, and sweet potato would be there to welcome them in. she raised my four children and me too. [applause] >> that's another thing about blacks. black men have a problem becoming men in our generation. would you agree with me on that?
we have a problem becoming men because we did not want to patronize to the men that we saw. i didn't want to be anything i saw in the movies, and i did not see anybody else. alison: that was the one thing about dunbar, incredible role models. people toto bring in speak to the students all the and about careers, options, it was really something. >thank you. >> one more thing. a socialn my wife was worker, i used to social call with her. and we noticed in those homes where there were no bibles and , not only that, but they did not have anything to read. my childrenthat
have dr. susan the crib with him. seuss in the crib with him. i just want to call that to the attention of those listening, that we need to put books and reading materials and the homes of those children. thank you very much. alison: thank you very much. [applause] good evening. i had the great fortune this morning to tune into the joe madison show and heard you on the air and also heard mr. king. i said, i heard the story and i said, i sat straight up, i was preparing for a college class. i am an educator. i am not in the washington, d.c. public schools. i work in a local jurisdiction nearby. one of the things, i worked very closely for several years with no child left behind.
on the montgomery county site, ok? so we all know the poverty is different on that site, ok? one of the things i'm very concerned about when i heard you this morning is the question i have for you, do the students at dunbar know their history? do they know the history of the school? one of the things i'm finding that has been very upsetting to me, after attending the march on saturday and seeing the numbers of young students and college students who marched. we had that group from how it on the front page of of the washington post yesterday. children, don't know their history. and because of that, they have nothing to really aspire to. greatness cames
before them and pay the way. have you had the opportunity to present your book to the ?tudents of the school alison: not yet, and it's interesting, i had an offer to put my book in the schools. i found it is so upsetting, too, when i went and checked out schools, and they kind of knew the history, sort of. that was another reason i wanted to write the book. likelly like -- i feel it's a pretty vicious lie that education is a different part of lack history. >> they opened a state-of-the-art building. you should have been there today
. they addressed the student body with this book along with the .arents you can have pta and all of that, but if the parents do not know the story -- we have babies raising babies -- and if the parents do not have some idea of the history, the richness of the building and the people who came before, we're going to lose them. we're going to lose them. the school is going to not be for those students who are most at risk. that is something i hope everyone here will keep in mind as we move forward. i wish you well in your book. i'm taking it to the college where i teach as an adjunct. it's going to be a book that my students are going to be this semester. alison: oh, thank you. >> thank you. that's great. [applause]
good evening, everyone. i had an opportunity to meet you briefly friday. i'm looking forward to reading your book. 1994.om the class of after your statement about what mayor gray had to say, i had to speak. and be -- i had to represent my year, my decade. that i'm disappointed in our lack of support. what i've tried to do is leverage the excitement of the new building to reach out to the alum that i'm in connection with from the 1990's and 2000 cost to get them reengaged, help them see that they play a role in the legacy of detecting the brand. alison: you had dr. russo, one of the great last principals of dunbar. >> that's right.
i pretty much grew up in and a j cooper's home -- in anna j. cooper's home. my friends were descendents of ms. cooper, so i was there all the time. that's what i'm really looking forward to to get that extra history that i did not get, but i just wanted to let you know that we are here. the 1990's are here. [applause] >> [inaudible] >> i will. i will. you will he seeing more of me, looking to find ways to reengage. alison: great. >> high. -- hi. .'m eleanor smith yearwood i graduated in 1950. i knew arnold.
your mother was in the class .ith my brother and sister as i sit here and listen to tales about dunbar, i feel sad. because i don't feel that it can .e what it was the past cannot be what the future is. that than occur high school has taken a lot of .he cream of the crop as i looked at that wall with the pictures of the previous graduates, i felt, you know, will that be possible for this school? what does the new
dunbar offer in terms of compared to what it was? i'm buying into the idea that dunbar's past will help fuel the future. coach parker will said something -- helain to me one time said these kids will not go to columbia and you pen, but they are going to get to the next step. we are going to get all these kids in college. it may not be a kid you think is an ivy league school, but it's going to be a good school, and they will get educated. his focus is getting his girls and a college -- in a college. it's hard to think it has been that long that things have been tough, but i think it took 30 years to get there, and it's
going to take 30 years to get back the other way. today.oing to go buy it i hope you enjoy it. good evening, everyone. this is one of my interviewees. >> i learned a long time ago because of slavery times that it is most important for you to remember who you are and to say all of your name. there's so much that i would like to have told you when you .nterviewed us one thing i forgot to tell you was that my paternal grandmother graduated from dunbar in 1878 -- 98. 98.
, who was aaves coordinator for all of the classes, found the program of my grandmother from that graduation, and she was in the school of business, which did not last very long, but i'm so happy that you have written this .ook there are so many memories. as you know, my husband floyd and i and some others who are here were in the class with joseph -- with jojo. alison: yes, my father. >> my brother was in the class with your mother. my husband and i have many memories about dunbar. i know there's a saying that you can never go home again. theannot go back, but
memories are very, very strong for us who are 85 years old now. were many things our class did upon graduation. we did try to act as mentors to .lasses we had a scholarship fund, and the federation is doing that now. we can only go forward. i know we are sorry about the things that happened, but we have to go forward with the things that we can really do now , and perhaps, even though we cannot go back, we can go forward with the things that we know and the things that we've done and with the persons who are still alive and have remembered all of the good things that happened at dunbar. and i just want to thank you. alison: you are welcome. i'm glad you mentioned scholarships because dunbar alumni federation has done a fantastic job with scholarships.
give money to them, but you cannot give money to people you write about. that's wrong. it's called paying off. i took the advanced from this book and started a scholarship for the united negro scholarship fund. it's not big. it's not a lot of money. but if it helps some kid not .ave to work through school you can contribute to it as well. haver everyone who might missed it, the express and the post did a writeup of dunbar and did an interview with ms. stewart on wednesday. you might have to go to the archives to check it out. what i would like to do is make sure we sell out of this book. for everyone who i could not let you get your questions, please get a book and come and talk with ms. stewart. fold up your chairs, pick up
your trash. [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] >> on history bookshelf, here from the country's best-known american history writers of the past decade every saturday at 4:00 p.m. eastern. to watch these programs any time, visit our website, www.c-span.org/history. you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend, .n c-span3 >> next, university of california berkeley history professor brian delay examines the intersection of guns, capitalism, and revolutions in the americas. he discusses the history of gun how theon in europe and americans could not create their own large-scale gun production system in the 1700s.
he focuses on the american revolution and how arms trading contributed to an american victory. abouto talked capitalism's role in the haitian revolution of 1791 to 1804. this program was part of the society for historians of american were in relations annual meeting. it's about 50 minutes. >> it's my great pleasure to introduce our featured speaker for today's lunch. you are in for a treat. this is a good choice. you made a smart decision to be in this room right now. that's not in here. professor bryan delay is a native of colorado springs. he grew up in of the springs -- i am a former resident of the springs. he obtained his bachelors at the university of colorado and his doctorate at harvard. he has been serving as an associate professor of history at the university of california