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tv   American History TV  CSPAN  November 21, 2015 11:42pm-12:00am EST

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>> during george h.w. bush's presidency, barbara bush used the office of first lady to promote literacy, raise awareness about aids and homelessness. she earned her way into the history books by becoming only the second first lady besides abigail adams to be both the wife and mother of a president. barbara bush, this sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's original series "first ladies" influence an image. examining the public and private lives of those that field first lady and their influence on the presidency from martha washington to michelle obama. at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3 sundays. >> all weekend long, american history tv is joining our time warner cable partners to showcase the history of syracuse, new york. to learn more about the city's honored 15 four, visit c-span.org/citiestour. we look at the history of syracuse. >> the third national women's rights convention was held in syracuse in 1852. visited many sites exploring the
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history. learn more this weekend on american history tv. >> the third national women's rights convention was held in syracuse in 1852. matilda gage is 26 at the time and had 4 children already. she learns that the convention is going to occur. she writes a speech. she travels to syracuse, bringing her oldest daughter with her. gage hadn't contacted any of the organizers. she wasn't on the program. she hadn't written to say, may i be involved in this? she just shows up. she waits in the crowd. when there is a quiet moment, she marches up on stage and,
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trembling, takes the podium and begins to speak. she gives this incredibly moving speech. afterwards, lucretia is so impressed that she has speech published. that is the only speech from that convention that was published in the paper. and from that early speech, that signal moment of a young woman scared to go up on the podium, but overcoming that because she has something to say. from that moment, she goes on to become a leader in the women's movement. in matilda joslyn gage's home in the women's rights room of our museum.
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this was the back parlor when gage lived here. this space is where so much of the work that she did throughout her life happened. so much of that correspondence, meetings with women like susan b anthony. so much of the work of the national women's suffrage association, not just gage's, but the organization as a whole, happen in this space. this house, this room. >> welcome to the matilda joslyn gage center. this room, which we --a preferred way to learn about matilda joslyn gage. when she discovered the rights that women had in that culture, she spoke out strongly in favor of native american sovereignty. this was at a time when the u.s. government was trying to force american citizenship on native
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americans. due to matilda's charismatic nature in speaking about the rights of native americans, and indian nation elected her a member of their nation. it was certainly an honor for matilda to be honored by the mohawk nation. but now they had an outspoken leader for their interest in maintaining their own sovereignty. we call this the women's rights room in honor of what matilda worked for so passionately her whole life.
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one of her passage was editing her newspaper -- one of her passions was editing her newspaper. we have a copy from 1878. this is of interest because this is where we see her editorial on native americans and what she called indian citizenship. she spoke out in favor of native american sovereignty. when we think about that great celebration in philadelphia to mark the 100th anniversary of our declaration of independence, we find out that matilda and many other of her friends and peers in the fight for women's economy -- equality petitions the u.s. government. they actually wrote several articles of impeachment of the u.s. government for items such as "no taxation without representation." women could work, they could earn money, were asked to pay taxes, but had no vote. in 100 years of american democracy, and no votes for women. this is one of the last rooms on our tour.
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we call it the underground railroad room in honor of matilda's work and also to those that took their lives in their hands and moved from slavery up north looking for freedom. for a secret organization, the underground railroad has uncovered remarkable history. we have the names of many people that came through this county. some of those names are written around the edge of this floor covering. some of the names are in their african language. some are translations of that african language. names like "kindness" or "something suite." -- something "sweet"
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that is one concept we hope people will take with them as they leave here. the importance of freedom to matilda. freedom above her own personal and family security. >> the house itself was a stop in the underground railroad. the gage's help many freedom takers as they came through on their way to canada or trying to escape enslavement. after the fugitive slave act was passed, a petition was circulated. the fayetteville baptist church, where the gage's were members. gage was only one of 2 people in the caucasian willing to sign to openly defy the fugitive slave act. it's not that she and the other person were the only ones the congregation that believed in abolition, that wanted to help these people. they were just the only 2 brave enough to sign it.
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the penalties were steep at the time. in addition to the financial penalty, she also would have had six months in jail. just for helping one person. as a mother it simply would not have been possible. it was a huge risk. if she believed in something -- and you see this throughout her life -- if she believes in a cause, she acted on that belief no matter the cost. she is an abolitionist, therefore she is going to sign the petition. together matilda josyln gage and susan b anthony forms the triumvirate of the women's association. if we pick a date, it would be
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at the 1852 convention. anthony was in the back of the room when gage gave her speech. after gage was finished, anthony comes up and makes a motion. only people that can project their voices would be allowed to speak. for anthony, it was simple logic that if no one could hear you, why should you speak? there is no utility and that. lucretia mott is agreed that the motion does not pass. we have a convention lifting up the voices of those that society ignores. we are not going to censor each other in that space. there in that proceeding to see the different between the way these two women see the world. they work quite well together. the three of them, anthony visits this house many times. we have her signature etched in
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one of the panes of glass upstairs. stanton and age were a lot more ideologically aligned. stanton got involved with the movement and little bit before in 52. -- in 1852. together they form part of the executive council of the national women's suffrage association. gage is president for a while. stanton is president for a while. the three of them worked together for almost 40 years. so much of the work that these women did happened not just at national conventions, but through letters and newsletters and newspapers and smaller, more local gatherings. one such gathering, gage was running this meeting. it was open to the public. a police officer comes and threatens to arrest her because she did not pay a tax required to hold a gathering like this. and gage, citing no taxation without representation, refuses to pay the tax. she announces to the group, this man is here to arrest me. if you choose to do so, i will continue this meeting from my
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jail cell. together the woman with her very supportive. the policeman ends up going away. author of "the wizard of oz" is matilda gage's son-in-law. he marries her youngest daughter. and at the time gage is not happy about it. her daughter was getting an education, something gage had wanted to deal but had not been able to. frank proposes to maud in this house in the front parlor. maud rushes to the back of the house and tells her mother, frank proposes, and i said yes. matilda, although generally a soft token woman, exclaims "you
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are not marrying that man!" and maud points out that she had been raised to think for herself and she had the right to make her own decision. so faced with this logic, gage excepts them into the family. and they grow to be quite close. she encourages him to write down those stories. "the wizard of oz" starts out as stories he is telling his children. she really inspired him. some people even described the books as a feminist utopia. you can see her influence in the way female characters like dorothy are written in the way gender and power is trade. -- is portrayed. most people have not heard of gage. even the people in central new york, when they find out about using them, they are surprised.
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-- this musuem, they are pleasantly surprised we have such a historical figure. she was forgotten. in fact she was erased. in part that is because she did not support the merger of the nwsa and awsa. with that, the trajectory of the women's movement shift. essentially it the organization she wants founded no longer reflected her views. she essentially believed that even we were to give up the separation of church and state, it will not matter who votes. she wrote several speeches that western christianity is essentially the root of women's oppression in our society. her systematic analysis of the effect of the church on the way
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women were perceived in society has become the basis for radical feminist thought. although she did so many other amazing things throughout her life, this made her unpopular and unpalatable and inconvenient as the movement went in different direction. to talk about gage is to talk about that aspect of her legacy. it's important to understand the way that she viewed the issue of the vote. first of all, the women's movement was not just about getting the vote. yes, they referred to themselves as suffragettes, but it was more than that. it was about taxation, parental rights, issues like marital rape. that is still being debated in some ways. it was not just about the vote. and gage didn't agree with the
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way some of the other suffragettes were going about that campaign. essentially they were asking for the vote, please give us the vote. for gage, that went against her fundamental understanding of democracy country. all people inherently have the right to vote. and so to ask for it as if it were something to be given, no. it's something that we already have. she said to the government, please defend this right we already have. we should not be asking for it. it is a fact of our democracy. i think that interpretation is important in understanding gage and the way that she sold the
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world. -- saw the world. to pick a single contribution is difficult because there are so many. i think in many ways it is especially difficult for gage because she viewed all of these issues as interconnected. she worked in everything she did throughout her life towards liberty and freedom for all. >> throughout the weekend, american history tv is featuring syracuse, new york. our cities tour staff recently learned about it rich history. learn about syracuse and other stops on the tour at c-span.org/citiestour. american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. this week on lectures in history, emory university
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professors hank libanoff and about police talk and political violence. this class is about 90 minutes. today, what we are going to do is i am going to open up the georgia civil rights cold -- cold cases, plural, class because of a milestone occurring this week. anyone know what this is? till.is emmett in 1965, that is today. i will ask

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