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tv   The Presidency  CSPAN  September 20, 2015 10:32pm-10:46pm EDT

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history writers, the presidency looking at policy and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with college professors and our new series "reel america" featuring archival and governmental films. created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local provider. like us on h.d., facebook, and follow us on twitter. >> all weekend, american history tv is featuring cincinnati, the childhood home of president ulysses s grant and william howard taft. partners, the staff visited sites exploring the city's rich history. learn more about cincinnati all weekend here on american history tv.
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>> as the president of the freedom center, i am pleased to welcome you to this treasure in our nation's life having to do with teaching and promoting and advocating for freedom. museum is tof this reveal the stories of freedom's heroes from the era of the underground railroad up to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom today. in short, our mission is to champion freedom so all people everywhere shall and will live free. 2004 ineum opened in this building. the initiative to create the museum started in 1994 as a project of the local chapter of
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the national conference of christians and jews who were celebrating the 50th anniversary. they asked themselves what they could do to memorialize cincinnati's great role in promoting the cause of the , freedom,d railroad and the abolition of slavery. they came up with this beautiful concept called the national underground railroad freedom center. the underground railroad was a network of african american women, men, boys, and girls, and sympathizers, free blacks, whites, who worked together to can best in late -- clandestinely and surreptitiously make it possible for those enslaved to escape to freedom. first perhaps the interdenominational,
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interracial, interfaith group and network of this sort in the life of our nation, trying to make good on the language of the founding fathers with respect to the ideal of freedom. cincinnati was the grand central station of the underground railroad. this building lifts but up in a way that you get a full picture of the many and various underground railroad networks that existed throughout the country. those on the east coast where harriet tubman was such a hero, and sojourner truth, frederick douglass, it goes on and on. cincinnati has a way of reminding us how to tell the stories because of the way in which the story unfolded here. gallery, we also
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have a representation of how a safe house might have functioned. moviee a wonderful narrated by oprah winfrey on real-life drama that took place of the ohio river in a place where escaping enslaved men and women were helped across the ohio river to a safe house. so you get a sense of how people helped them to come into a building like this, and then to find places to hide, such as this cubbyhole under the stairway or this cubbyhole under the cabinet or the cubbyhole under the floor. and hide out there until it was safe for them to embark upon another stage of their journey and find their way to a place where they could settle down and finally live as free men and
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women. is a majorver dividing line in this region and the nation. it is essentially the mason-dixon line. point sort of the meeting for those across the river and those on the northern side of the river to work through their struggles on this because there were times when cincinnati was very complicit in the slave trade, making money off of transporting african american men and women enslaved to the deeper south, varying the rryingts -- varying -- fe the products of slave labor to other parts of the country. then there were times cincinnati said it was not good for us to make a dollar this way, so let us to it another way. cincinnati became an interesting
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crucible for the nation to look at its soul and ask itself, how shall we bear ourselves to eternity and posterity with respect to our way of living in this nation? people standing in the great hall, in this huge building that holds our museum, looking out across the ohio river into the state of kentucky, can turn around and behind them see sleeps the only authentic in on exhibit in the nation today that was in use -- slave pen on exhibit in the nation today that was in use for many years. we have stories about the people bound in that building. that was inilding the area of maysville, kentucky,
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used to hold african american men and women, boys and girls, until they could be sold into the deep south. some of my relatives from north carolina and virginia were sold to the man who owned that building whose work it was to sell those people into the deep south, mississippi, louisiana, alabama. we have the names of the people in that building the last time it was used. we have begun to find their descendents, so people become acquainted with all aspects of engaging of freedom by these particular, specific kinds of stories through the exhibits we make available to them. we have a number of exhibits that speak to various dimensions and facets of the freedom struggle. we are standing in a gallery right now that memorializes and
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aboutates and informs us the human drive to be free. gallery, we also have an exhibit that tells the , ary of henry bucks brown man of almost six feet, who put himself in a wooden box this toe and had himself shipped philadelphia from richmond, virginia, with little food and water and without any knowledge of who would open the box when it arrived at its destination. fortunately for him, it arrived in the right place for the right people opened it, and he was able to escape to freedom. young folks are invited to get into the box and experience how cramped that is for them and to think of a man nearly six feet tall. it tells about the great passion to be free and the links to
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thsch people would go -- leng to which people would go to escape slavery. this gallery takes us through certain notions of the freedom decision-making process. what was involved in the decision to make a run for putdom knowing you might family members left behind at risk, what was involved helping somebody running to make a clean escape, knowing you might put your family at risk for doing so or your life. there are some very rich stories about that. in this building, this monument to freedom, you can become reacquainted with the story of margaret garner, the real-life character in the book "beloved." her drama took place within yards of where this building sits. we sit were so much drama took place.
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she was pursued and found in the house not far from this building. it was in that cabin she killed her child. it was a few blocks from here she was tried and eventually taken back into slavery across the river and taken further down south. the national underground railroad freedom center was created to play a leading role in facilitating, resourcing, guiding, and leading the conversation about freedom in our nation and world. living as essentially prayer, communicating with the power that created you in order to acknowledge the gift of life by god to you. when we all get to understand that, we get to understand that when it is all said and done,
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freedom is not an individual pursuit. it is a social reality. anyone can be free on a deserted island in the pacific. freedom has real, practical applications in terms of us managing the space between us and the bonds that bring us together. how we manage that space and each of user to help become our better selves is the stuff of freedom. >> throughout the weekend, american history tv is featuring cincinnati, ohio. our staff recently traveled there to learn about its rich history. learn more about cincinnati and other stops at www.c-span.org. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on cspan3.
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>> c-span has live coverage from washington, d.c., the first stop tuesday afternoon. we are live with the president and mrs. obama to greet the pontiff on his arrival. wednesday morning, the welcoming ceremony for the pope as the obamas officially welcome him to the white house. live coverage at 8:45 eastern. that afternoon, the mass and canonization at the basilica of the national shrine of the immaculate conception. thursday morning, live coverage begins from capitol hill as pope francis makes history becoming the first pontiff to address a joint meeting of congress. friday morning, live coverage from new york as the pope speaks to the united nations general assembly on cspan3, c-span radio, and www.c-span.org. 11:30, the pope will hold a religious service at the world
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trade center. follow the a store trip to the u.s. -- follow the historic trip to the u.s. on c-span and c-span.org. >> coming up next, authors david and jeanne heidler talk about their book "washington's circle." it is a look at the president's closest friends and appointees. the authors explore the roles of politicians like james madison, alexander hamilton, thomas -- in the 1780's and 1790's. they seek to understand the first president's leadership style. this hour-long program was hosted by mount vernon.

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