tv American History TV CSPAN October 10, 2015 1:33pm-2:01pm EDT
>> i think it is good, in a world where there is quite a number to divide people, we should have a language and emotion that unites all. >> jacqueline kennedy's days as first lady were marked as a fashion icon and woman for the arts. jacqueline kennedy, the sunday onht at 8:00 eastern c-span's original series, from marthad image, obama.ton to michelle >> recently american history tv was at the society for
historians in arlington, virginia. professors, authors, and graduate students about the research. this interview is about 20 minutes. steve: as it history professor, you focus on chinese american before and after world war ii. take us back to this. brooks: you lived under the shadow of the chinese exclusion act, which is a law passed in 1882 that actually surveyed all chinese immigration to the united states. people forget that today the chinese were once looked upon as undesirable, just because of their race.
chinese-americans growing up at were born in they the united states, they could be amounts, and the tiny allowed in could not naturalize, they could not become citizens. in many ways, you are marginal, you are not a real citizen. when they went out into the world, they could not get a job. they were treated as third class citizens, if their citizenship was actually taken seriously at all. it was a really difficult time. course, it was made worse. about,ple i'm writing their children, came to the united states because they did not feel the need to stay. laborers came often unlawfully
to send money home. those who had children, there were not that many women. they were not that many chinese american kids. they were citizens based on american law. they grew up in american society. and, it was a chinese american society that was often at odds with the units growing up in american schools and the american atmosphere educationally, and trying to find a life, very isolated from the rest of american society. steve: let me go back to earlier point. what was it like? you have the great depression, the start of world war ii, and certainly a transformation in this country internally. you have these chinese immigrants coming to the u.s., trying to assimilate, as best as they could. prof. brooks: the chinese immigrants have been coming since the 1840's.
they were not allowed in. it is really their children that i am focusing on. they grub in a time when there was growing hatred for china. china had been an empire until 1911, and then had fallen apart. been gradually, it had reunited, mostly, under the innese nationalist party china. a lot of chinese-americans were really proud of this. and yet, they were marginalized in america. they are often ambivalent about their status as american citizens. they increasingly had opportunities. think recently thought about, maybe we should go to china, where our race will not be an issue. that is really what i talk about in my paper today. thousands, i think probably -- it is hard to get the number totally cracked -- i would say
one in five chinese-americans immigrated from the united states and returned to china. they had never been there, but chinaall it returning to to make a life and their parents and grandparents homeland. steve: can you talk about some of the stories the learned about? prof. brooks: sure. what amazes me is this is thousands of people going back. there was a great deal of hatred against the japanese. the japanese invaded china. there were some people who went back hoping to anticipate in the struggle against japan. u.s. togration from the china had gone on for decades. what i found in my research is these people, who came from the u.s., they were really a cross-section of society. they were engineers, doctors, lawyers. there was a thriving chinese-american community of lawyers, doctors, stockbrokers, professional musicians, pro
wrestlers, of all things. clubs,unded their social churches. they often sent their children to american schools, but people in the u.s. sent their children to college and china, but also western colleges. you have universities where the whole team is often made up of hawaiians. he also have the society of chinese-americans the you would not necessarily know about, or expect. steve: another dark period is when we had japanese-americans interned during world war ii. is there any spillover, or effects that gives you sense of the prejudice that we have towards chinese, certainly the chinese. can you talk about that? prof. brooks: for chinese-americans, those who ended up in china -- you know, you think about internment of
aliens. we talk about in carson rating, something you do to illegal aliens. chinese americans in china did not face that because they were seen as less threatening than white americans. what is adjusting, if you look at what was happening in the night is, in places like san francisco -- and i have done a little research on this in the past -- there was animosity between chinese americans and japanese-americans because there was a sense that japanese-americans supported japan's invasion of china, and chinese-americans presented that. when japanese-americans were incarcerated in 1942, there were a number of chinese-americans who celebrated, took over the businesses. other places, where the relationships were better, that did not happen.
what happened in asia did have an impact in terms of the feelings that different ethnic groups have. steve: where do you go for your research? i have gone, for this book, a lot of places. i actually started in china. i taught history last year at a hong kong.essio there were chinese schools, set up particularly for people of setting inestry china. lately, i have been at the national archives, looking at records. i have a lot more miles to go for doing this research. steve: based on your research,
and the time you spent in china, we sat down with the ambassador to china and asked him how he would assess our relationship with china. he said complex and vitally important. how would you assess that? prof. brooks: i'm a historian of a little earlier period. obviously i pay attention to news on china. i think he has it right. there are people who want to simplify it and make it very black and white. he saidfunny about what is that has been the case for a very long time. i look at in my research is the wartime. , and before. the united states had a very complex relationship with china then. the relationship between the u.s. and china is
extraordinarily muddy. we were allies, but at the same time, there was a lot of mistrust. it is like the history of western environment -- involvement in china. at the same time the chinese needed american support. a lot of the chinese-americans that i've looked at during the war stayed in china. they lives in this great and murky area, where their loyalties could get them and trouble, or could be unclear. i think that is right, it is very complicated. steve: you spent some time in china, so you talked to the people of china. can you assess how you think the relationship, people to people, has changed, to where we are today? not government to government, but people to people? one of the things,
we talk about the chinese people -- an extremely diverse that relation. chinese americans were more likely to interact with people of either the lower end of the social scale, or the upper ,egions of the social system people who had gone to college and graduate school in the united states. i think americans got a very distorted picture of china by not having a very good understanding of these two groups. time, i think today, we tend to -- in the last 20 years, i went to china 20 years ago for the first time -- what i see is a growing sense of confidence, but also growing sense of nationalism.
sometimes, a little aggressive nationalism. we have that in our country, certainly, as well. one of the encouraging things is there is a wider range of people interacting with americans today, then there was 70 years ago. that is definitely a change. steve: from your research in this paper to this book, dealing with the cold war. first of all, explain who is on the cover, and why these individuals work selected. prof. brooks: i chose this particular picture because it is a political rally at a very important time in our history. is governor pat brown of california, who was running against an actor, who later became president, ronald reagan. that was reagan's first political victory. other people on the cover, next to the word is so burton, a conn from california, who owed his
initial political fortunes to a assembly.ry in state next to him is the person who later became mayor of san francisco, and was later assassinated. next to him are two chinese-americans who were very politically active in san francisco. it is sort of the forgotten history of the californian and san francisco politics encapsulated in one photo. steve: this book, focusing on the cold war period. what did you learn? prof. brooks: well i looked at is the way that chinese american politics developed in the shadow cold war, in which the people's republic of china was considered a major american enemy, and the united states was , and the wayaiwan that those two countries interfered in chinese american
politics, and the way the chinese americans, especially in san francisco, were able to carve out a separate american politics and power, as opposed to new york, where they were unable to exercise that same sort of political influence. today.all the way to if you look at where chinese-americans today have little power, it is not in new york. it is the west coast, but especially san francisco. chinese-americans were crucial for some of the biggest political fortunes. steve: where will your research take you next? prof. brooks: the paper is linked to this book on chinese-americans and china. i'm looking at about 1900-1949, when the civil war ended in communist victory. hopefully next summer i will go to tie want to do some research about the chinese nationalist government, and its encouragement of
chinese-americans in the 1920's and 1930's to come to china. , i haveat, gosh sewing places i have to do research. i will have to think about it. where specifically in taiwan do you want to go? who do you want to talk to? what do you want to ask? prof. brooks: there are various , especially one with the papers of the taiwan government. i want to look at the records of the overseas chinese offices that encourage chinese-americans, and when they came to china, try to manage them and pretty much control them, and suppressed their political deviance. i would like to see how chinese-americans, coming from a very racially on equal and discriminatory society, b how
they fared when they came to china. they end up in a place where political control is much more obvious and violent. steve: i want to follow-up on that point. how was the communist control of china able to maintain such a firm grip in this time period? prof. brooks: in the 1930's, what is interesting, and we often forget, the communist were 1935.ir last leg in th the nationalists may have been able beat them. it was the japanese invasion that gave the communist some breathing room. they emerged after world war ii as a much stronger force. were not much of an influence on these chinese-americans that i'm looking at. theas more the idea of nationals government tried to make sure that the communist were not an influence on anybody. you have incredible political violence and suppression.
steve: has anything surprised you? prof. brooks: so much has surprised me. steve: such as? prof. brooks: just tell little is known about the fact that chinese-americans were in china, helping build the young republic, and contributing in ways that we don't think about, to the new institution. i found that the son of one of the most infamous leaders in new york city, he became a christian convert, a minister, went to china, and became one of the ofst diplomatic officials china. from who learned to fly rose to becomen chief of staff of the chinese air force. a guy who was a state senator in , he ended -- hawaii
inbecoming a city planner 1936. there are so many of these stories. it is kind of amazing to me. everywhere i look, i find these chinese-americans participating in various parts of chinese society. i had to idea when i started this project. in.has really pulled me i'm fascinated by the number of stories. the one i'm talking about is a less savory character in my paper. he was born in new york city, left for china in 1932, kicked for a while, and found his niche in radio. in 1940, he was a fairly well-known english broadcaster in shanghai. he was hired by the nazi
government to be their big-name broadcaster in shanghai, broadcasting propaganda to the far east. when the u.s. went to war with germany, this guy stayed on, and became one of the more infamous traders, whom we don't remember at all anymore. at the same time, his brother fled to the national chinese capital. his brother's wife stayed in shanghai, pretty much abandoned, and made her house a safe house for american intelligence agents. one of the brothers went back to the united states to fight in world war ii. unique of atally story. steve: what happened to him, do you know? prof. brooks: one of the more
deaths. in 1945, he either committed suicide, or jumped -- was pushed out of a window, theered, supposedly by japanese as a farewell party guests. he was found with his throat slashed, which he either did himself. he died. he was found in the guards of the german embassy, the day after the war ended. steve: do you have a title yet? prof. brooks: it is tentatively :alled "immigrants of america the chinese-americans second-generation in china." steve: charlotte brooks, thank you very much. we look forward to the book and appreciate your time on c-span 3's american history tv. prof. brooks: a pleasure. this monday, on c-span's new
series, "landmark cases," in to0, dred scott was enslaved emerson. emerson was assigned to duties in several free states, during harrieted scott married robinson. when emerson died, dred scott wife's freedom. we are joined by our special guest, george washington university professor christopher jones, and martha history professor from the mercy of michigan law school. cases," live on monday at 9:00 eastern. be sure to join the conversation, as we will be take calls, tweets, and
facebook comments. for background on the cases, while you watch, order your copy of the companion book, "landmark cases," available for eight dollars 95 -- eight dollars $.95.fiv , american artifacts visits historic places. the national gallery of art was a gift to the american people .rom andrew mellon up next, in the second of a two-part program, we visit the museum to learn about early american portrait paintings. in this program, we feature the work of gilbert stuart, whose unfinished portrait of george washington is the image on the one dollar bill. to studyt stuart went with benjamin west early in his
career. he was a very well established painter in london. proficient. he could have stayed in london painting, but he accumulated debt. he made a good living, but he could not keep up with it. he left london, and went to dublin, trying to get rid of its creditors. the same thing happened in dublin. he decided he would come to america, and he would paint washington, and would make his fortune painting washington. in 1793, he came to america. he did not go to paint washington immediately. he's adopted new york city, and painted their -- he stopped in new york city, and painted there for about a year and a half.
stuart did a portrait, and immediately had about 33 patrons who wanted copies of the portrait. maybe 12-13 copies, and they got tired of doing that. by that time -- and we have a vo nn portrait, not on view, but a replica -- for a while, we saw been an may have original, but it is probably a very early copy. he wrote in his writings that he that one out. in the midst of making replicas, he got another commission from martha washington for a portrait, which he began. it was never finished, but is the one that was used on the dollar bill. it is the one that this is modeled after. replica,was a commissioned by a man named gibbs.
gives commission a set of portraits of the first five presidents. this is the portrait of washington by stewart for the gives commission. they arehe replicas -- not all exactly the same, depending on how stuart felt, when he was doing the replica. stewart said that washington was difficult to paint because he was so taciturn. stewart was known for his ability to chat people up when painting them, that way they had a lively expression, and it was better. washington was not one to suffer that sort of glib conversation that stewart like to partake in. it was difficult to get washington -- they say that washington, when he was not engaged in an idea, are talking about something, his features flat.er went he had no expression.
portrait.very elegant >> you can view this and all other american history tv programs on our website, c-span.org/history. this sunday night on "q and ,," gary hart on his new book comparing our current government to the republic that he says our founders intended. our founders use the language of the ancient republic, greece and rome, and warned against corruption. the definition of corruption was not bribery or quid pro quo money under the table, it was putting special interests ahead of the common good. by that definition, washington today is a massively corrupt place. sunday night at 8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a."
>> coming up next on american history tv, author edward o'donnell talks about the growing economic inequality of the late 19th century, also age. as the gilded .e discusses henry george the gotham center for the new york host: thank you suzanne, and to the gotham center. i know some of you are saying republican debate or henry george, republican debate, henry george. i'm gratified you chose henry george. hopefully will be glad that you did. it is a great thrill to come back to new york and come back to the gotham center, a place that i have done other talks with people i have worked with, it's a really wonderful events and particularly wonderful because i finally get