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tv   Mary Church Terrell and Racial Justice  CSPAN  April 2, 2016 2:15pm-3:46pm EDT

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representing all americans no matter what their backgrounds and to making this country a more respectful place where people are welcomed to give their opinions. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span's "q&a." >> up next, on american history tv, author joan quigl, ye discusses mary church material who worked on behalf of african americans and women. we'll hear about a u.s. supreme court case that was a catalyst for desegregated washington, d.c. s. quigley is the author "just another town." it's an hour and a half. >> it's a great pleasure to introduce joan quigley. she is both an attorney and a journalist. she's the author of two books,
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church town" and " mary material." "the day the earth caved in," and "american mining tragedy" published in 2007. and in 2005 she received the distributed by the colombia journalism foundation. she is a graduate of princeton. william & mary law school and the columbia journalism school. "theriting has appeared in washington post," "time" magazine, national geographic and the daily beast. some of the books she's enjoyed
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pulpit" by"the bully doris kearns. and "the strange career of james crow" by van woodward. [applause] joan: thank you, roger. i need to thank all of you for coming out today. thank you for the wilson center, has h.a., the center who shown an interest in this project. i'm thrilled to be here. i'm happy to be here especially during women's history month and am hoping we can have a great conversation about mary church material and the strug -- mary church terrell and the struggle in washington, d.c. i hope you can all hear me. if not, let me know. a few years ago i wanted to write a book about the civil
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rights movement. i had been to birmingham. i had been to selma. i'd seen the pettis bridge. i thought it was an important movement as one of the battles that took place after "brown vs. the board of education," that desegregated schools nationwide and really studied the civil rights movement in college and a history course and i watched eyes on the prize and originally when i went to law school i was hoping to be a civil rights lawyer. so my framework for thinking about writing a book about the civil rights movement was very much keyed to those incredibly important struggles that took place in the deep south in particular after "brown vs. board of education." the black and white photographs and the footage i'd seen and
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"eyes on the prize." at the same time i wondered if there had been a civil rights movement in washington. and i didn't know. i had worked here as a lawyer for five years, not far away at the securities and exchange commission. but i didn't know the answer really to my own question. so i did a google search. and one of the references that popped up was to a woman named mary church terrell and to something called the thompson restaurant case. and i hadn't heard of her and i hadn't heard of the case even though, of course, i had read brown vs. board of education" in lawsuit. and i had lived in and around and outside of the washington area on and off since high school. so i kept looking and digging into it. and what i learned fairly quickly the broad outlines of what had happened. and some of you may have -- may
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be far ahead of where i was right now you may have already known about her in the case and what hand. but on january 27th, 1950, not far from here, she went to a cafeteria called thompson's restaurant. t was actually on 14th street. 700 block, 705 14th street just up from the willow hotel commercial area. there were streetcar tracks in the middle of the street. and tompson's was part of a hain a national chain, kind of falling on hard times. the washington outpost at 14th street. so it was an art decko canopy. appear it was the kind of place where people would go inside, grab a tray, wait in line, help themselves to their food. and then pay and go to a
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separate area to sit down and eat. and when she went in she brought three people with her, three colleagues who were activists long time tivel rights forces in washington and they were african-american and she brought one white person with her, a man named david skull. and they got in line and didn't make it to the end. the manager stopped them and said using the language of 1950, using the language of the era that they could not eat of the cafeteria because they were colored. now, washington at this time was regated. eg there were segregated
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businesses, segregated hotels. and there were a few exceptions. union station was a place where blacks and whites could eat together. federal government calf -- calf tier ass had been integrated during the presidency of franklin dela know roos vell. but other than that this pattern of southern style segregation had been in effect and been in place in washington for decades. but 1950 was also as i'm sure that you already appreciate the period when the washington -- when washington was the center of global democracy. the country had emerged from world war ii and washington was not just symbolic as the nation's capital, it had also
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emerged as the super power capital. and that had become a liability in world affairs because the capital was seg grated. -- segregated. there were diplomatic envoys from countries like india and after ca and because they were -- africa and because they were dark skinned off they weren't served. they were treated as if they were american blacks. and mary church terrell who was 86 years old in 1950 had been a lifelong activist. she was someone who graff stated towards activism in the v ferguson" "plesi that upheld railway seating. that was her entrance point into
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activism. and so 54 years later she is in essence walking into this cafeteria knowing that in the heart of washington, d.c. that she will get turned away. but she also knew that she could use this. the segregated capital. the height of the coal war to her advantage. -- cold war to her advantage. she brought the matter into court seeking to revise some rules on the books that banned washington restaurants from discriminating by raise. that was the whole reason that was what brought her into the restaurant that day. she was setting up the test with the idea that it would place segregated washington in court and that ultimately, hopefully maybe even supreme court would weigh in. it turned out while i was
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turn the -- trying to supreme court did take the case. validated segregated washington, and i wanted to know more. i knew that it was written by justice william o. douglas. he was liberal. he was controversial. it was unusual, i think in 1950 for him to be writing a majority opinion. and he was in some ways like mary church terrehl an outsider to the washington culture. he was not a southern white male. he was from the west coast. he had come teast go to school at chum bia. and on the court he had a certain restlessness. he was writing booksings
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traveling around the world. he gave the impression that he would rather be doing just about anything than sitting on the bench. he would rather be out fishing and hunting during all of the things that he did when he was out on the court. so it was interesting, even at a preliminary level just to see these two people who are lifelong activists with woman who graduated from oberland college, lived in washington for 60 years and brought this test case and then william douglas this supreme court, prominent brilliant but as i said controversial justice. and what made sense on one level was that they were both outsiders. they were both ahead of their time. but i still didn't quite not stand why the case was
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better known. why it seemed to have -- and she in some respects seemed to have disappeared. and then there was one other little piece that i thought was interesting about thompson. >> that's the formal name of the case, i should mention. district of columbia vs. tom r. thompson company. it was known as the toverpson case. the court decided that on june 8th, 1953 which is the same date that the same justices put brown vs. board of education for a second round of oral arguments. so on the -- this precise moment in history when they're dealing with mary church material's case that had come out of thompson's cafeteria, they're unable to come to a resolution. so it seemed to me like there was more there. like maybe this was the missing
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lunk in the build toup brown. maybe it was some how related. that the case came out first. but there was just -- those little pieces were basically all i could make out and the rest for whatever reason still remain somewhat invisibility, somewhat of a mystery. she as i independence capetted had -- indicated had a very interesting background. she was born in memphis in 1863 e year of the emancipation proclamation. her father was quite wealthy. he had made quite a bit of money in real estate speculation. he owned brothels. billiard halls. they divorced. she wound up at overland
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college. the same day that she garage wayed from there, her future husband graduated from harvard college. his path was quite different than hearse. his family moved in. he went to washington schools. and as a teenager he went to boston waiting tables at harvard. they called memorial hall and it was built as a mon youerment. maybe some of you know it's a tribute to the harvard men who had fought in the civil war. and so he was working as a waret and apparently the students there encouraged him to continue his a studies. a few years later he enrolled in harvard in 1980. he had been elected to serve to speak a commencement. he was in the opposite end of memorial hall in sanders
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theater. and even before the they're moan ni. the national noose was picking upen it. as i said the vrming-born negro who had gone from waiting tables at harvard to speaking out at its commencement. the two of them were both teachers after they graduated from college and they became teachers here in washington. at the preparatory high school which is a secondary school for maried in 1891, a big ceremony. and the wearp post pothe the wesing in the front page the headlines we thought it was one of the most prom innocent evens in black circles for years. >> he was a lawyer. he had gone to how we are university law school. president, the
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president lobbied with him. it was a presidential amount that lasted for four years. but every four years he needed to be reapointed and reconfirmed by the senate. she meanwhile had been restless as a married woman whom society expected to be basically just confined to the domestic spear. she was educated. gravitated to activism the game the first session. they came into being two months after plesi was decided. one of the first acts they did
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and i regret that this photograph is small but it was small as an individual. a group of the women who had just formed this new association went to harper's pery. and they posted this photograph in front of the brick building where john brown had staged -- where he was captured actually. so they went to harper's pery front of john. in terlellater mary church gave her speech of the national association of colored women. she said that african-american had organized because i want to make sure i got the quote wright because they ended to be partners in progress and reform. she also went out on the lecture circuit. she was known as the female beerk t. washington.
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she came up to great prominence while she and her husband were a power couple in washington. they knew beerk t washington,. she also -- her profile stretched in the ng level. in 1904 she smonte smoke at a conference -- an international comminches of women tafpblet washington post said in an an editorial she had emerged tints she publiced an argument about lynching. she told her husband that she's the greatest twhoom we have. though, even on an international that, she had come to a
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quite level of prominence had did her husband in the national acclaim. but he also was one who knew she labored under what she called the double burden of race and sex. and even with her education with all of the advantage that she had, she experienced frustrations especially in this country and the early parts of the 20th century as racism surged in the south and in washington. she was for example a charter member of the national association of colored people in 1909. but she never quite achieved a leadership role or prominence within the organization. and about a decade, 15 years
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later she wrote in a let tore her brother. and i'm paraphrasing. she said "duboy, obviously one naacp. ounders of the doesn't hate me but she doesn't love me. she had also wanted for decades to write our memoires. it had been something that she had written about in paris where she studied for a short time after college. .er father financed her germany and italy. she spent two years in europe overall why she was able to speak in german at the effort in berlin. >> so so for decades really while she was at home and raising children and out on the
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speaker trail she would write with some frequency in her journals about how frustrated she was that she couldn't write. and after her husband died she started working on her auto buy yol fi. she worked on it off and off. 25 to 19 ho 40. she struggled in the earn i draft. trying to come to twerms how much to really write about. how much to write about. when she had in her harment what would people think about if she disagreed some of the things she had gone through as an african-american woman. and she also wrow again in the defendant, she was going focus on the opportunities she had. the things she'd be able to do to showcase our that len. not so much on things that were
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barriers or obstacles. and her memoir, she later self-published them in 1940. most of them many big commercial prublishers rejected this and he still managed to convince h.g. wells. he spertained her at 4izz house. she convinced him to write an introduction. and she did. appear sent it to her. and it was not a reave review. he said he liked her. he obviously had great respect for us. them rang lingnd and heartless. but he pointed to i think what she had. he said they had a discrete lack
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of explicitness. and he said he wouldn't change them. he wouldn't rearrange them. he's going find a cop pee as she -- copy as she arranged them. she took out some of the more negative criticisms. included at the top of the book. in the late 1940, through a publisher here, a printer here. she paid to have them released. and wan few months she reoriented back into activism. this was was a a time when there was a new generation of grassroots activists and labor leaders and civil right activists who were targeting washington. it was a. phillip randolph. charles hamilton, houston who was very prominent national
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attorney graduated harvard law school. . actually the act text of the legal strategy that he later turned over to thurd good marshall. and just a brilliant man of the first african-american of harper law review. and also someone who believed in economic justice. ouple his incourt litigation with protest on the street. shs something he believed in doing in washington. he was a. he came back to washington to practice the for rathes book. before so this emerging new generation leader who was making headway in washington was mayor dresdon.don --
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e blacketted students friend segregated restaurants. and mary church terrell with her wrige. e had ear dream -- she she upported these two students. . this where the military was. and as she also knew later with er challenge of thompkins they watched to bring frankly to bear . and for the right to act in discrimination to do away with discrimination. to ultimatery. they were bringing pressure on
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integrating the military. after the build-up of in the aftermath otcht world war 2. she made herself available to the press. she gave an interview with the local paper in 12947. and this was after some citizen pro-. three have been kicked out of and they were thrown out and told they would be arrested. in the afternoon math of that she gave this interview. and she said that she too had been turned away recently from a pharmacy. but she'd been served in the past. bubu at this point they shounled posed forplay and she
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a photograph. she's almostle's years old am i getting it wrong? he's obviously so much bet ethan i ssm he posed ifer -- for a photograph. and she was wearing speck kls and looking at boofpblgt and she was just an emergency of her as an elderly stateswoman in washington and it carried a certain moral authority and gravitas that she was speaking to the condition under which african-americans were living in . >> she fought other bat unless washington as well one big one was against the american
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association of university women which at first i didn't quite understand why i kept seeing it so much in her papers? it didn't quite resonate with me but then i realize this is a club of colors educated by women. her best friend from overland belonged and a clib joined dinner. she wanted to joy. and here elect chures. netty had joined the aaau in 1989 but netie was white. when mary churming terrell arrived. he sat the only to the aauw. she had graduated from overland bund. but the graverage reyecked her. so for the next three years, drack and now the organization
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said you have to let in everyone railroad ress of race. the local base didn't and it ent up to the d.c. circuit. not. but the d.c. circuit in june of 1949 sided with the d.c. branch and said it was ok to ex-complete members. for her that was the final straw. a couple of days after that she gave a speech in new york at the hotel teresa in harlem. and she basically embraced the tradition of gtation going back to fredic. the progress have been made. because there were people called agitators. and she says it's any duty to to eands message to the country and the world that we are no longer being patient.
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we're being pushed around. that was june 22nd 1949. seven months later she twarped o thompson's straufpbletnd that was the beginning of the case that went up to the supreme court. was e court at this time nine justices. each of whom had been appointed by either by franklin roosevelt or harry truman. -- ll demically democratically the same. they were dealing with incredibly difficult issues. things like the subversive list and whether it was constitutional. the steel case.
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en they seize control of the mills. they were dealing with the dennis case the communist party defendants. and time after time in dealing with these very difficult issues, these all democratically opponented justices were very divided. they brought very different backgrounds to the bear especially the franklin appointees. justice douglas, robert. they were big personalities. he choirm appointee probably not so much. he appointed his former secretary. to 4izz chief justice. he apointed tom clark who is from texas.
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he apointed someone who had been a friend of this. and then there was one other justice harold burrton who also had been a senator in ohio. he was supported by truman. he was fully a republican some of he's only a republican on the court. but he turned time-out mr.during this time period -- > important. as the court was starting to struggle with segregation cases starting in 1950 and in 1952, the first time it heart the oral argument and brown and the related cases. those three really were pretty solid -- solid voters. they're somewhat predictable in terms of where they would show up in civil rights. the justices of course, work in
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washington just across the street from. an a number who was on the court also had personal issues with segregation. that they -- it happened in the years in washington. burton, the one i mentioned had . en the cleveland mayor has that hen't support and that included a bill that would reared segregated playgrounds in washington. he just -- he had made a decision that he would not vote for any measures like that. felix frankfurter was a former professor at law school. and when houston came back to washington to practice law,er anymore 1925. houston had amazele incredibly
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impressive record at harvard law. . the equivalent of the p.h.l.. when he came back to washington he wrote to frankfurter and he said that the they wouldn't let them use the law library in 19840's. . almost t. coleman jr. and as fank further you know, there's schedule outing. mr. coleman was clicking for justice. the coker called ahead were scheduled to go to the main flow l.a. and who was
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richardson. called ahead to the may floor and realized they wouldn't serve the fwims. and he fained an excuse. she said hey, i'm busy. let's go to union station while the other folks went to the may flower hoe del. stanley reid who lived at the may flower. and he was are from kentucky and he and his wife didn't cook. and so they ate out in restaurants including the may serve which wouldn't justice's african-american law sclurks. this is. in the court when -- when her case eventually after wanting to stwoich the lower courts and fix it up there. the wourt decide fod take her case in 193 43 >> they were dealing with the
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rosenbergs. they were just stuck and brown and the school cases they had eard the oral. but two months before her case and in the newly elected his speech to tepid applause, he promised, he vowed to desegregate washington. so a couple of weeks later, her ase came in front of the acourt. why did it that take it. . well, it was compared to the school cases which were brown and four others, five jurisdictions including washington, d.c. her case only dealt with washington, d.c. unlike brown and the school places it didn't directly
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confront plus su ferguson it ust relied on the local. and as they crafted the prick of justice douglas it didn't reach plesi. i was cob feinted to these statues and the neck any cal level issue which the court ruled that they're not valid. so completely the opposite of what they were strugging with in front it was a narrow case. they could decide it on narrow ground. but it had big impact. within zas washington restaurants started integrating and severing people regardless of race. she went back to thompson's restaurant. the manager she had >> as. -- they were watching her as she
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sate. there was no violence. restaurants just started serving peep. a year late we are a new supreme court chief justice, the -- she lived to see it and died two months afterward. when she died her cough fen lay in state at the headquarters or the building is a national association of colored women. and people filed past her open coffin. but her funeral service which was held in july, 100 degrees according to some of the account. there was the church was filled. trrp people outside in the step and the basement listening on loud speakers. t within not much time brown had eclipsed her. the focus shifted to the south.
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the struggles there and even though her case came first, even though her case, i believe was critical in getting the court to the point of being able to resolve brown, it really -- she and the case really became over ime a historical footnote. [laughter] joan: i think that's 40. i think that's my time. [applause] >> what is it? >> i was reminded that this was not a international but nanl movement after the fall of singapore in the 15th of february, 19 42, the distinguished scholar said that the british empire would have to rebuilt. but it be be on the abs salute
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parallel economy. could i ask people to wait for the microphone and state your affiliation or whatever connection you might have in life. we'll begin with our distinguished. historian professor shore. > actually i'm not a historian professionally. -- essure the con flifpblgt conflict. he wanted a meal that would serve him. it was the house at union station that was the facility and the methodist headquarters near the supreme court. there may have been a third. those are the only two praises in d.c. that were integrated prior to that decision. i think it was was on the usual january 20th of 1953. >> i think that's right.
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i didn't know that about mr. franklin. >> yes, please. >> don wolfenburger. you keep referring to her case. chi was she snot the playoff in the case. that's a good question. the answer is that these reinstruction have banned rights distcrim nation. we're criminalle misdemeanor sta choose sosms she couldn't bring the case on her own. she had to enlist the help of the local prosecutors and the corporation council's office. but k a little while but the first time she went there was in january 27th, 1950 and then a few days later she and her colleagues were in the cooperation office saying we want you to bring this case on our behalf.
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>> two questions. >> could you sbruste. >> steve from vanderbilt. >> there's another prominent african-american activist are. but they didn't get along. and from my experience in 19 -- when she -- they even get along. and -- if you knew why that was and what did anna djokovic have any thoughts on the 12-case. it enhand. the naacp had a specifically. and things would be coming too soon. so what role did the naacp have in the case or did they support
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it or prove it? what did they think? >> that's a great question. anna julia cooper was her classmate. they graduated in 1848. and there were three african-american women who graduated that year. when e was also a teacher she came here. i didn't see a lot about her in mary church trrell's paper. i can't speak to whether or not there was something there. i worneded about it myself because mary churchhill had a very close friend netty smith from the. but, i basically don't know the story. do you know there is a photograph that it was the three graduates? advanced.very it appeared in the washington
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post. she was a charter member but she was very much working as her own free agent in this case. the warriors were national members of the. nd had been december ignate. in 1944. she worked primarily with them and not within thurgood marshall did file when the case was in the supreme court after they granted it, she he did ask to be a part of the gol. but the court denied his ." it was an interesting pape tore find because i have piece of paper because he said in essence this is a really important cates because it deals with discrimination and segregation in washington, d.c. and a ditcation and washington fall in washington drmplet. so i was happy to read that as a
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researcher. but he didn't play a role. and actually while her case was making its way up through the courts, the naacp dopped two the first one in 1950 embrace the idea of litigating to stop segregation in washington, mentions the test case, but did not mention her by name. resolution the naacp adopted said no one who is -- noer can do anything one can do anything to fight jim crow. that is what we do.
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the board has two -- has the authority to discipline the noncompliance. it sends a pretty clear message about how they felt. keeps poppinglege up. is this a coincidence? joan: it is a hugely and portland institution for african-americans -- important institution for african-americans and it was the vanguard and accepting african-american students. she was influenced by the time she spent there, both by the -- she the town itself was living in oberlin a decade after john brown's raid. john brown's father was in oberlin college trustee.
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there was this john brown-oberlin connection, it very much shaped her shapedsive, liberal -- an incredible legacy. it is very much part of the story. can you explain why restaurants in washington adopted quickly? seems like almost a self-congratulatory manner. joan: they lost. [laughter] years.ought for 3.5 the restaurant association, their lawyers, they fought and said, we will not integrate. -- the theory
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behind the case, this is the culture of washington. 19th-century culture of social inequality. they were writing that as long riding that as long as is far as they could. said he wanted to -- an unsigned decision like this is such a slamdunk. -- i really do think they did not have a choice. decidedeme court has
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segregation is illegal and start serving. >> [inaudible] about these historical legacy? i think the writing was on the wall. the supreme court, it was the opposite of brown. the supreme court really strong it out in brown. even when they came down with a decision in 1954, they had another oral argument and another decision a year later, there was this detrimental south resisting the court's decision. washington and it applied, like, now.
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the commissioners took to the public airwaves. very soon after the supreme court decision and said, time to start enforcing the law. wasmetropolitan police enforcing it within a few days. just wasn'tt, there resistance. >> a quick question, i enjoyed -- i am a multimedia producer currently producing a story about the u street corridor when it was known as black broadway. i was really curious. i read your january article in "the washington post."
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d.c. is left out of the narrative and the impact it had in changing. what are your thoughts about why d.c. is left out of the narrative as far as changing or laying the groundwork for the civil rights movement? i find that very interesting. was it because it was the nation's capital? that is a good and complicated question. had -- was such an important decision overturning plessy and leading to what we all think of as the civil rights movement. the collective weight of the avement it started was
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redemptive narrative. to -- i think there is something about those struggles that resonate because the country likes to believe we had gotten better. that is what brown and the .ovement represented why -- what happened in washington, you are right, is incredibly important. that is why charles hamilton washingtongeted specifically. of havinghe hypocrisy segregation at the core of the democracy. there were other times when
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washington would come to the forefront. there was the marian anderson concert in 1939, somewhat of a national reckoning. washington was a segregated community and the dar would not let her perform from the stage. the washington schools compounded the harm. she cannot perform in a segregated system, she cannot perform from a stage of a white school. i do not think that answers your question. i agree with you. it is frustrating, but it is important. there is a great book that deals with washington and reconstruction, great historical analysis of that time period. >> [inaudible]
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i am sarah, a local historian doing a lot of work on john hamilton houston. many legal battles that took place in the bloomingdale neighborhood culminating in two cases that went to the supreme court in 1948. is there a mythology around mary and robert carol having been the first -- marion having been the first african-american moving in into the neighborhoods? many local historians have wondered who was the first have you ever come across that or other discussions in her papers? i believe she bought at least one or two more houses through a
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white straw buyer? was she ever inclined to get involved in that issue? i think i mentioned them in the book. i did not see anything that suggested at the time that she was involved. i also do not know why that is the case. interview ing an 1947 and she was obviously in sync with what houston and randolph and reston were doing. what she wrote in her memoirs about buying homes and i think i saw a letter in her papers about trying to set up a straw transaction. she did write about having trouble buying homes and even in
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the 1920's, the naacp was starting to fight restrictive covenants. she was not involved in that litigation either. i do not have a good answer as to why. >> [inaudible] i am wondering if you would speak to woodrow wilson's role in segregating washington. he was not -- the first southern president, first democrat after the civil war came with a lot of very similar people to himself manyis administration, with academic backgrounds.
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i know we changed tremendously. there were blacks working in the government -- it changed everything. joan: i am glad you brought it up. woodrow wilson, the beginning of his administration in 1913, members of his cabinet were southerners. they started segregating the federal workforce. it was devastating. there was a terrific op-ed piece in the new york times recently. it was the grandson o and his grandfather had lost his job. i recommend that peace to you. you.ece to there is a conversation at princeton about his role. i was not aware of the aspect of
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woodrow wilson's record until i suited working on this book. -- i started working on this book. maybe i was not paying attention during my history courses, but -- pardon me? >> [inaudible] joan: it is not a part of history. i was a history major and as an adult -- as a former federal employee, i was really blown away by reading what it happened . that was 1913. hebring it back to the book, managed to hold onto his judgeship during the administration. there were very few african-americans who had federal appointments and his was considered a federal appointment, even though he was not a federal judge. he was one of very few who
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managed to hold on. it was a devastating time. . one of the things that came along after wilson was warren harding. him mary church campaigned.rell r whom mary church terrell campaigned. even though he promised, as a candidate, his administration introduced more segregation in washington. his administration took east potomac golf course and said that african-americans could only play there one day a week. at the dedication of the lincoln memorial ceremony, justice william
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howard taft production, harding wasthere and there segregated seating. another thing i did not know when still i started writing this book. -- until i started writing this book. some very prominent local washington african-americans went to the ceremony with their tickets and several of them were friends with robert and mary terrell, and when they realized what was happening, they walked out. again, civil rights in washington, not widely known, but it is up to a little part of the reaction of the wilson administration into what was going on in washington. in theimportant symbol
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movement. that was the lincoln memorial, after all. 17 years later, marian anderson was there for a different kind of civil rights experience. i was interested in things related to -- brown was unanimous. sense that -- did all of the adjusted his -- did all of the justices feel like it was a slamdunk case? did the caseicity have in the south? joan: i do not remember seeing in my research reaction.
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it does not mean it did not exist. it was a big deal, the kind of message that resonates. again, because it was washington. the justices, they do not always leave a lot of traces. in the thompson case, that was true. , fun to read,te with each justice in varying ways saying yes, i agree. -- justice jackson was ill and did not participate.
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the oral argument was fascinating. almost a there was moment in the courtroom where him lose hisl case. it was justice burton who asked him a question. technically, the question went to the d.c. circuit's opinion. like a very important moment. it felt like he was asking something bigger. the real question in the courtroom was about line drawing. about this whole notion of having jim crow and having exclusions and distinguishing between where blacks to go and where whites could go.
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in context, it felt like, unlike the other cases the court was dealing with at the time, they took this case and decided it in two months. they took it in april and they decided it in june. june 8 and it was done. --t suggests that it was not and also the fact that it was unanimous when they were not able to coalesce on school segregation. it does suggest that the small setting, that it was not a tough case for them. mentioned the embarrassment of having this kind of situation in washington with diplomats and foreigners, when the decision came down, and implemented, was
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was there any international news about it or was it just released? did mary church terrell have any foreign connections supports or any networks that women in washington were relying on? it is interesting you asked that. president eisenhower gave a speech and he was at mount credit ford he took his administration -- he said this is a great accomplishment of our administration. we have argued in the supreme court and successfully argued for integration of washington restaurants. mary church terrell did not like
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that at all because she was the one who had been taking the case up to the courts and when it was not in the court, she was out on the sidewalks picketing. she was segregating at -- she was picketing at segregated dime stores. she worked with a committee of people. targeted department stores because it had a segregated lunch counter in the basement. she was not just waiting for court to decide. there was this grassroots protest they were very effectively waging to integrate dimestore lunch counters. because the president made these remarks and made the speech and because he had made a point in his first state of the union speech of saying he was going to d.c., itte washington,
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had a global dimension. know voicenot -- i of america did pick up on the decision and was translating it into different languages. i did not see anything in my research that suggested that happened with the thompson case. for ita big enough deal to make it into a state of the union and into the speech he was giving not long after. thank you. i have two questions. in terms of segregation, have
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about yellow people like me? that is the first question. after thecase -- --mpson and brown cases
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>> i was a child in the public schools in georgia in the 1950's and i can remember being taught how to discriminate because if ,ou saw people with dark skin they may not be negroes -- what have been the polite word. ore clothes that were different. because they were foreigners and not negroes, you did not need to discriminate against them in the same way you already knew how to discriminate against american
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black people. these are the public schools in atlanta in the 1950's. joan: i am not sure i can top that. >> my name is laura. this is a follow-up question. to the extent the same -- supreme court justices thought the limited reach of the thompson case was an advantage and made it easier for them to take it and to deal with it, was part of that the fact that it was washington, d.c. -- in other words, if a comparable case about a local ordinance or state law about restaurants had come up to them from someplace not washington, what it have been more complicated for them to decide the case so quickly and
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so unanimously? find theannot reasoning. like every supreme court case, they're just have to be for votes. -- four votes. it definitely helps. it had to have helped. i have to draw some inferences from the record that does exist. the fact they decided it so quickly when they had all of these other difficult questions -- cases already on the docket -- i am just saying it suggests they thought it was important. ,here is also some indications since they were also dealing
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with segregated schools in , they could not separate out, they were packaged together. they were going to proceed in lockstep. it is interesting to note they had two cases in front of them at the same time that squarely addressed and put in front of them this cold war problem of having a segregated capital. there is a very external legal reason which did not directly come up in thompson, but it is safe to assume the justices were aware. a nonbinding comment, but it was part of the rationale of the majority opinion in plessis. congress has was
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decided that there are segregated schools in washington, d.c., so if there is no constitutional limitation and having -- congress can decide there will be segregated school in the nation's capital. surely, louisiana can segregate passengers on trains. that little reasoning was there in plessy. i did not see that mention in briefs. it is possible i missed it, but it is hard to imagine these justices, especially douglas and -- it has to remain out there as a possibility.
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it is part of the history and the culture and the rationale of segregation comes back to washington -- and it comes back to washington. >> university of maryland, baltimore county, historian. they could attend white schools. they could also live outside of chinatown, but it was hard. my question is about the two major fields. d.c. history, civil rights history. i got the implication on the way in there was a major intervention in those two fields. it seems like the interventions i thought were going to be there did not happen.
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this case did influence brown. it is a slamdunk case, right? --is also a simple eisenhower wants to put down a marker. i am curious how it changes the story we are already telling about the city and civil rights. the city remains pretty well segregated. in all the ways that matter. housing, jobs, and how the city is run through the 1970's. i do not see what the change is you are making into the narrative. thank you for the information. i was thanking him for the
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information he provided initially about the chinese population in washington. rights of the civil movement starts with brown. one of the things that was so interesting about her life is she died right after that decision was made. she was born in the year of the emancipation proclamation and she died in the year of brown. that is for natural storyline. bracketed by those events. what became clear in going through her life was -- and this was new to me. movement was of a in place before brown. there were struggles, including struggles here in washington, the photograph i have saying in 1896, we will be partners in
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progress and reform, she grew out of that transition. naacp -- she lived through and graduated from college right after the end of reconstruction and lived through the retrenchment, lived through segregation in washington, saw it getting worse. her life and the buildup to the thompson case were evidence of how much was missing. brown was ato struggle she was part of. she knew frederick douglas, she knew charles hamilton houston. there were four generations of men who are known to in part of
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the narrative. she was part of the story, too. and she is a woman. another that added level of discrimination. as a woman, i found that fascinating to see her coming out of oberlin as a suffragette and moving it forward to seeing women get the vote in 1920, but it is still 33 more years until victory from the supreme court that tells her what she had been feeling as a washington, d.c., resident.
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it is especially wrong in the nations capital. -- nations capital. life as an african-american woman, as an activist and ending the story with brown left it with an appreciation of how long it takes, even thompson did not happen in three years. it is a long process. >> the end of the seminar is now inside. we want to make sure everyone has a chance to ask a question or make a statement. can we collect those and what you respond at the end? let me encourage everyone to speak up.
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>> tony travis, george mason university, political science. going back to the question of the status of people of asian descent in this country, fascinated book -- fascinating book on the mississippi chinese. she wanted to enter high school, but they said, you are not white. they did not say she was black. they said she could go to the black school. white in one state and something else in another from india andle the middle east, they did not know what to do with them. judges in one part of the country said, you are white.
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in other parts, they said, you are not. -- plessyrguson versus ferguson, that is how they justified because the schools in josten work -- in boston were segregated so they are saying, they go from schools to transportation, which is a stretch in my mind, but they do it to justify it. joan: it makes sense they would have that comment about d.c. that is interesting. off theis totally subject. going back to her papers from 1940, did it mention what they -- what happened with their only child? does she have any descendents?
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>> i have a comment. >> will you introduce yourself? >> you may have addressed this before i came in, there is a book about the life of mary woman terrell, women -- in a white world. that will give you a lot of good information about her life. another comment related to what beingid about atlanta, taught to discriminate. i lived in atlanta for a short while after i left new york. there are things that go on in the united states that you do not know about. unless you live in that area. they were still having separate junior-senior proms in some schools in georgia. i learned that from the atlanta constitution.
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american-born people are still cities,nated and in big you may not know what is going on. i recall talking to someone here in washington recently, talking about racial issues and when you refer to being taught to discriminate against people because of the way they dress, this person -- and this is a person we could speak honestly with each other. there are white people, people who consider themselves white, who feel that foreign-born have the baggage about the history of america. therefore, they are more comfortable with them. many people will not admit that.
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there is still this feeling among some people who classify themselves as white, who will gravitate to someone from the caribbean or africa because they feel they do not have the so-called baggage. they do not teach a lot in schools about slavery and race. from my experience in some public schools here in the washington, d.c., area, the only thing they teach is about martin luther king about -- and rosa parks. problems go back further. now.reading a book right it came out the share, the untold stories about african-american slaves in the white house. this book is so informative about slavery and what went on with the president's back then that you do not learn in school. those are just my comments.
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>> my name is cindy. aboutde several comments not being a particular fan of hers and booker t. washington recommending her. there was a big difference in the approach to race relations between two boys and booker t -- duboise and booker t. washington. she later came to believe that agitation was necessary. did she even all? -- evolve? why the difference?
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>> a good place for you to begin to respond. joan: it is a very important question. she evolved a lot over time and job, hisnd owed his professional livelihood to booker t. washington and was loyal to him. mindful of that. and gavetraveled a lot lectures all around the country and in the very early part of the 20th century, all of a sudden, conductors are saying, you need to move to the jim crow car. boise,k she is aware of du
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pre-naacp. her idea of protest resonated with her. resonateda of protest with her. the idea of protest and assertiveness resonated with her. given her roleme and what she was doing on the sidewalks in 1950, that she did not think you have to be a man to protest. i think it is safe to think she deviated there. also interesting to see that i think she really did want a higher role, a more prominent role in the naacp. drawing inferences, i think the
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is that there was not really leadership available to her. some of that may have been personality -- i do not know. that is one of those leaps i could not make. smart and she was had tove and i think she find a role for herself. i think that is what thompson was, she found the people who the lawyers, the activists, the people who served on your committee, she found the people, wherever they were, who believed as she did, that this was something to take on. >> we help everyone will join us
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for a glass of wine to continue the discussion. we want to thank joan for a very stimulating [inaudible] thank you, this was really great. >> american history tv on c-span 3. tonight at 10:00 -- >> all such farm jobs are referred to as this is the only area in which the american farm labor supply falls short and is supplemented by mexican citizens, sometimes called nationals or mexican nationals.
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in spanish, this means a man who works with his arms and hands. the big question, why? thehis film promoted from 1942 until 1964. sunday morning at 10:00 eastern -- aggressive,ts are they have bitten off more than they should be allowed to digest and i think the best answer to it is for them to know the united states will keep its commitment. >> where people want to be free from soviet or cuban domination, the united states should be willing to provide


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