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tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  October 11, 2015 1:30pm-2:01pm EDT

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struggle, the u.n. and some people saying the united states should not be the keeper of the final vestiges of a contract, and we should have a multi-stakeholder approach. community has gathered support for that, as we started talking about this transition, these questions about who is this multi-stakeholder group, and who are members, and what are they going to decide? the tech community says there are good questions here. so we move a bill this congress that says keep the contract, the u.s. contract viable so we can do an evaluation, and then hopefully, trust but verify. >> monday night at 8:00 eastern on the communicators on c-span2. >> each week, american history archives,iewers and
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museums, and historic sites from around the country. , a mexican-american cultural center in los angeles, open to the public and april of 2011. american history tv visited to learn about the history of mexicans and southern california. >> i am the president and ceo. this is really a cultural center that is meant to tell the story of the influence and evolving nature of influence of mexicans and mexican-americans throughout the history of los angeles to celebrate the culture and educate people. it is a brand-new institution in los angeles and we're hoping many people will come and visit and discover something new every time.
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we do not collect objects, we collect stories. people will see different objects and listen to different stories or tell their own stories as well. los angeles is a city always looking forward, always looking to the future. sometimes we forget the origins of the city and how it came about. native americans were here and they had been seen from afar from the boats and ships the spanish were sailing up and down the coast. in 1780 one, the spanish government decided they needed to settle in view of the various areas around the coast and they went to mexico to look for some volunteers to track 1000 miles to come here to los angeles. they came to a mission, originally they were quarantined
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to make sure they did not have smallpox and then, finally, on september 4, 1781, they came to the los angeles river and that is the reason why the city of los angeles is called los angeles. cosi spanish explorer, a few years back, had named the river. -- because a spanish explorer i feel years back, had named the river -- because a spanish explorer, a few years back, had named it. of the original settlers, only two were spanish. the rest were native american or mixed breed. a mixture of spanish with african or native american, so from the very beginning los
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angeles has been a diverse city made up of various ethnicities. first of all, on the ground floor is an exhibition of the history of los angeles from 1781 present time. it is seen basically through the eyes of the mexican and mexican-american influence and experience because that is one way of telling the story. it has been a very important story. we also have another invocation of main street los angeles in the 1920's. with commerce that existed 100 years ago. this is one way of seeing how much downtown los angeles has
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evolved. we also have a cup and of the cramming that has music and dance and films -- we also have a component of public programming that has music and dance and films. >> i am a curator. is helping put the stories together in a way and which we can tell them to a broad general audience. this is a general history exhibition. this is not the history of los angeles. it is a history of los angeles. among the most critical because it goes back to the founding as a municipality and city. it was founded as an outpost of the spanish empire. there were looking to convert the indigenous population to subjects of the king. some decided the two institutions were not enough and they decided to start problem is, several settlements.
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they tried to recruit a lot, but got only 44 terminal 2, on this arduous journey to found that becomes los angeles. this was like siberia back then. imagine if you were a farmer, a government functionary tries to recruit you will, says are going to wrap hundreds and hundreds of miles through the desert hostile territory, you're going to be in the middle of no where. there will be missions and a few soldiers. job will be to build a mission and show little girls, who outnumber you genetically, that spanish is like. the mixture of -- and showk the
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locals, who outnumber yhou dramatically, how great it is. it launches a precipitous decline of the indigenous culture. this is the first known pictorial representation of southern california. this is from the early 1830 past. a time when the missions are starting to be closed down. you see in here the people who are creating the new society. you see the indigenous populations. you see soldiers, functionaries, in the background the san gabriel mission including the housing and labor in place. in there is not a lot of records from back then, this is the earliest. people living site-by-side. a new culture being created.
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not necessarily easy or positive by any means, but nonetheless, that was the context these people were living. this shows the handcrafted us of many things. the emissions had large-scale labor force, primarily indigenous californians working there. a lot of handicrafts coming out of there. ships were not coming up. very expensive and treacherous to send them. the overland route was essentially closed off by the new spanish government. they were in the middle of nowhere carving out a life for themselves. we are getting into the birth with the subsequent generations of people here of a distinct culture that calls itself california.
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sons of the country. second or third generation. descendents of the original, particularly the soldiers that served at the presidio's and missions in the region. in 1821, mexico is born as in -- as an independent nation. mexico achieves independence from spain in 1821. it becomes part of mexico. folks are self-reliant. they have been here for several generations. they look around and say, we are very proud to be freemen. they have great pride and dignity in that. yet, this place is different. we are independent. we are tremendous force men. we have tens of thousands of herds of cattle. this is stance of dignity and independence and forms a notion of california.
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what i find fascinating is decades later it is used mythically to build pastoral fantasies of what life was like. but it is a very regional identity. californians to this day still consider it a place apart. i love this rifle. in the stock is carved, long live the republic. there are a lot of adaptations and things that happened. this was at some point manufactured, but this was not manufactured by a major armament firm. this was manufactured in a town or village. someone put this together during the war of independence to achieve independence from spain. despite the fact this is probably not quite from southern
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california, that notion this is no longer new spain, they are free man up here is a powerful and critical notion. these are california-style. tremendous detail work on the metal and on the leather. this is indicative of a population getting wealthier, that spends a lot of time on horseback. some of the earliest people who show up here tended to be un-american and frenchman. they arrived here and one of the first comments is sheer wonder at the horsemanship of the people, including the women. it is not unknown for a californian to ride on horseback and overtake a tornado. they used those sorts of phrases.
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when the conflict breaks out between the united states and mexico and the intervention of the united states, we think of that as being in texas. a lot happened in mainland mexico. but there is also conflict in southern california. californians mount a passionate resistance that lasts for several months. they use their horsemanship to all ride to the troops. eventually, they capitulate and it ends the conflict in southern california. we talked about the ruggedness and self -- self-reliance. there are tens of thousands of head of cattle running through california. fresh beef has no value at that time. there are no refrigerators. it's pretty striking. how they make their money at this time is it is a barter economy. you knew everyone, you produced
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enough to get by. there wasn't a lot of surplus. but there was a surplus of cattle. they were the first wave of the intense animal husbandry. the teller a you could mount down and make candles and other things had value. the beginnings of this place opening up to outside trade actually happened prior to becoming mexico. during mexican time, they opened it up to trade. provided with citizenship. i point this out because of the contrast. the spurs and this type of clothing takes money. you need money to purchase this. nobody is making these dresses, they are being traded for. they are showing up on ships from asia. they traded these dresses most likely for hide and tallow. the reason californians can
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afford these luxury items is they got rich. how did they get rich? they had tens of thousands of heads of cattle and the gold rush happened. suddenly, there is a regional market. californians get rich overnight, those who hold onto their cattle. three different maps super imposed on top of each other. the geography has not changed, in some cases it has with the river changing course, but on the left we have another map. from 1851. if you glance, it looks like a map, but closer there is a rigid grid. on the lower half there are crop fields that are much better.
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-- much bigger. lower half of this map is really the heritage of the spanish and mexican era. these are the fields. you can trace them back to 1871. when los angeles becomes part of the united states and when california becomes a state, the municipality of los angeles has to give up access. -- they have to pay taxes. they never had to do that before. this was pretty much a barter economy. how does a municipality raise money for tax? they plot out the land and they sell it. that was not the land system in spain and mexico. in america, it was. they had a very different way of looking at the land. the map is simple when you look at it but what you have is to cultural ways of looking at the land. you also have the moment at which los angeles becomes a city
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that looks like an american city, and not a mexican pueblo. this is a fascinating man. if anyone watching this has visited los angeles, you will see his name all over. pico boulevard, various neighborhoods. he is symbolic in many ways because he transitioned with it from being a spanish public to being a city in part of the united states. he was born the son of a soldier in mission san gabriel north of here. he was raised, as a child, when it was part of new spain. it became part of mexico in 1821. he is becoming more active. he has a store. he was getting to know people. his father was a soldier.
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he was the last mexican governor of territorial california. when the war breaks out, his brother takes command. he goes to baja, california, to try and get into mainland mexico and do a petition for aid. the war is completed, california is ceded to the united states. pico returns. like many californians, he attempted to navigate the new culture. to work with newcomers. he seeks to maintain his property and influence and dignity, really. he does maintain many of those things. he struggles greatly with property. he defends his land. very expensive to do so. he loses land because of drought, because he ever expanded as many did. a terrible drought in the 1860's basically wiped up the cattle
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economy and a person invested in cattle economy, it was a devastating blow for rancheros. he built a fantastic hotel called the pico house. by the time he was older, he fell upon hard times. he retires and passes away nearly penniless. that he is very much associated with southern california. earlier on we talked about the california horsemanship, and they had their own apparel. this is loosely based upon the popular notion of an outfit. loosely based on the idea of spanish dons and spanish gentry. this was worn by a member of a family renowned for hats. this was a parade suit. in the later 19th century,
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earlier 20th century in los angeles there was a series of , fiestas and they were intended to celebrate the heritage and history of this place as based in spain and mexico. reading those with current eyes, they do not look like a celebration. there was other motivation. it was a big party. they dressed up fancy. the new gentry of this place, anglos dressed themselves up in a way they thought was symbolic of the prior gentry they had displaced. this collection of tools is fascinating. it comes to us from a historical monument across the street. this was compiled by an academic who was very interested in the labor force.
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that labor force was predominantly mexican. the city was built by those laborers. there were joined by labor is from italy, france, and a large asian workforce in agriculture. people come in and remember these tools. there are obscure things like mold traps and corn planters. people say things like, i remember my grandfather or dad using that or we had that thing around the house and mom to let us, never touch that because it is too sharp and things like that. they are personalized stories that are invested in these workaday objects. they evoke a time and place and contribution of people to the building of los angeles as we know it now. we're standing in front of a case dedicated to the father of chicano music. the majority of pieces were loaned to us by his family and the university of santa barbara archives. he was a fascinating man. he recorded just about everything you could. children's records, fantastic
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ballads, one of his balance is an unofficial anthem of mexico in mexico. as far as i know, any mariachi worth his tips know that song. he presented himself on stage in this contemporary way. he also did parodies in the 1950 u.s. he would make appearances on english-language tv in a stereotypical mexican outfit. some people viewed it as controversial, he did not like that he was making fun and embracing stereotypes for the commercial aspect. other people said, he is helping
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us build fun at ourselves or people who think we are that and we're winking and saying, you have it all wrong. so, the serape means a lot of different things. and lalo guerrero left us a great legacy. and here are some zoot suits. specifically, the play of the same name that was mounted in the late 1970's. this became the first chicano play on broadway. that hat was worn in 1978 by edward james olmos. that was a star-making turn for him. here is an interpretation of events that happened in the 1940's. it becomes a movie and continues to be mounted it year after year after year.
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we could not find an original zoot suit. there are not many out there. it meant a stance of good times, getting out there. for some, it meant delinquency. this is fascinating because this is a drawing by one of the younger man who was rounded up in what was known as the sleepy lagoon trial. children of mexican decent. teenagers pretending to be zoot suiters. they were rounded up and tried on scant evidence. this was eventually overturned, but it was known as a very -- a turning point for the mexican heritage community itself. a powerful symbolic moment. shortly after that, the suit suit riots happened here. a military servicemen and young
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teenagers here in the city that it is, whether or not they were in a suit suit became targets of this whitehaven scale anger and violence. a very destabilizing moment in a way history. it was on the front page of the new york times, times magazine, saying, what is happening here? what was happening was not much of a surprise for those living here. we can look back at that and the interpretation of that is fascinating. it is a fascinating piece of history and merits investigation. whether or not there are parallels to the present or not. have we improved? where they different? what we are looking he had here is a short handled hoe. this was our own and use by the father of cesar chavez. they were small-scale farmers.
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lost that property and became migrant farmworkers. traveling field to field town to town for harvest. very simple-looking. it looks beaten, looks like it was worked with, as it was. the short handle is the important thing to recognize. i heard a story from someone the other day who said, -- in a practical matter, for someone who worked in the field, making the hoe handle meant they would not risk being crippled for life, hunched over. the growers like the short handled hoe, in their perspective because california , was dominated by crops that tended to be very light and fragile, lettuces and things, the short-handle hope meant the
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-- hoe meant the crops were less damaged. they liked them because they could see them hunched over and were working. the constant stooping over, called stoop labor, left out a lot of workers with detrimental health effects. the struggle to stop using the short hoe continued for decades. eventually, in the 1970's, it was outlawed in california. the ufw story is very critical here. cesar chavez realizes, we have to go into the cities to get our support. farmworkers don't have much money, much opportunity. we can go to a city where there is a permanent population where we can invest in our mission.
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fund raise. get them to boycott stores. they actively organize. ufw became an organization. -- an urban campaign that has an impact in the field. kids in theg chicano era, these kids are looking, they are seeing cesar chavez and farmworkers standing for dignity, rights, equality. we are going to stand for rights and equality. in the city in our schools. we are going to stand up for the draft. not everybody does. not everybody is radicalized in this way. not everybody who calls themselves is a chicano is radicalized. but it is a powerful, mobilizing identity. it's another one of these that helps us tell the story of the city and particularly of paper -- people of mexican heritage which helps make the city what it is today. one final section has two
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different men from different times and different sports but significant none the less. poncho gonzales arguably the , greatest tennis player in the world, for over a decade. it is 40's was beating champions half his age. he was born here in los angeles. pancho was not his birth name, to,s a name he is referred used in very diminutive ways at that time. a tremendous tennis player. whether or not they are of mexican heritage or not, would be surprised to know he was a champion tennis player of mexican heritage. for over 10 years, he was the best in the world and tennis? that surprises people. and you cannot talk about the story of los angeles without talking about valenzuela.
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he played in the 1980's a little bit. but he really becomes known in 1981. he had a magical impact. not just as a baseball player and his accomplishments, which were very striking. you see a great quote here from a spanish spanish-language i announce her. when fernando pitched, it wasn't a sporting event, it was a social event. all of a sudden, people wanted to learn about spanish and mexico. you can read into that, prior to him showing up, that was not something going on on a mass level. baseball, the dodgers, did not necessarily feel like they were a part of a single city. fernando came in and bridge that -- bridges that. he is a powerful figure in that regard. in the charisma and he brought
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to the mound and continues to bring to the city is very significant. people love to see the jersey, the material, and remember what it was like to see fernando. if you can't travel here, keep an eye on our website. over the next several months and years, we will post more and more content. at this time, we are just getting going. it's really just basic information to invite you to come here and give you directions to come here. any time, by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. >> coming up next, offer edward larson talking about george washington's role in the constitutional convention of 1787. the founding fathers crafted a new document to replace the articles of confederation, which was unsuccessful blueprint for the government. washington agreed to take part as the virginia delegat

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