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tv   National Historic Preservation Act  CSPAN  May 8, 2016 11:52pm-12:02am EDT

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historic preservation act. max page talks about the origins in the future of historic preservation in america. paige at this mr. year's annual meeting of the organization of american his tory and in providence, rhode island. it's about nine minutes. >> when was the national historic preservation act passed? >> october 15, 1966. >> what was the purpose of the act? >> it was the culmination of years of urban renewal and destruction of a lot of american heritage. it's a national law designed to theect and celebrate american buildings and landscapes. >> president -- does it primarily applied to buildings?
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focusing on ad up great works of architecture. >> has evolved since to protect other areas of our heritage? >> that is one of the interesting things, the national historic preservation act is gone from being focused on things like where george to encompassept thing a much broader range of american history and cultures. that for the most exciting things that has gone on. there are over 100,000 listings on the national register of .istoric places the register was created by the national historic preservation and it's going to worker housing and native american site and dance halls that were important to latinos in new york . a wide range of places.
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>> tell me a little bit about back in 1966. what do you grow out of? was their realization that finally the young country had enough history that was time to start looking at how to reserve it for the future? grexit was not instant canis, it was -- it was not instantaneous. the federal antiquities act, some would think it would protect archaeological remains a national lands. the national historic preservation act of 1966 was a further development of what had happened before. was massivelopment urban renewal into the 1960's. huge public housing complexes, they tore down old neighborhoods
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and there's a feeling that things had gone too far, that we needed a federal response. frankly, of a federal response , sort ofederal actions a counter to the destruction caused by a lot of federal programs. >> were there any particular leaders who met the effort back in 1966? in a 1961 book said it's not -- it was a widely read book about all we needed to preserve our traditional neighborhoods. she became an advocate for saving pennsylvania station, the new york railroad station that was demolished, leading to the preservation act. a lot of writers were starting to question the urban renewal of the 1950's and 1960's. >> lyndon johnson was president in 1966. was he a supporter of the
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society? >> he was part of the great society program which usually think of around welfare and other things like that. but it was in fact part of building the great society is well. it i do you see it fitting into the great society? at whatu look broadly the program was meant to be, you would say we need to lift up through a broad range of social reference programs but we also need to unify the country and maintain our heritage. kind of a broad look at what was supposed to happen. this is one of the most complicated and controversial parts of the national historic preservation act. there are four criteria that if you want to have a building placed on the national registry, you have to justify it. it's important for an individual
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and the broad contours of american history. there are different ways you can justify why something is significant. but there has been an argument going on for over 50 years and will continue about what is significant. i think what is exciting is that lots of groups that are seeking their place in the american these sitesying need to be saved. xd have any particular opinions yourself at what areas of our heritage deserve the most attention at this moment? think one of the areas that is a real focus of the work in preservation is identifying and saving and interpreting sites of our most painful memories. places of great conflict and violence, oppression of
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immigrants, we have to confront those in our past, and we are starting to. but it is remarkable how young that movement is and just in the past few decades we and willing awfule places where events happened. that is the most exciting part of preservation, if we can bring people to those difficult sites and have real conversations about the past and eventually a kind of reconciliation. >> is there anything in category that you think deserve special recognition? nowne place i'm working on is in richmond, virginia. a place that a lot of people know because they drive over it 90 in5, but underneath i the center of richmond was the second-largest slave market in the united states in the 19th century.
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we know about charleston, south carolina, we know about your, but people forget that richmond had this math slave market. so right now there's an effort to uncover what was there and tell the story of the men and women who were forced to be imprisoned and sold there and many who died right in the shadow of the confederate white house, in the shadow of i-95. >> you have two books you are working on. tell me a little bit about them. >> i have two books coming out, designed not necessarily to celebrate the national historic preservation act but to use the anniversary to chart the next 50 years. one is called bending the future , it brings together some of the most thoughtful people about preservation today who offer their suggestions for the future.
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another is a book called why preservation matters. it's my own take on the that the national preservation act and movement more generally should go. >> or the director of the historic preservation initiative at the university of massachusetts at amherst where you teach. do you have any particular projects going on at this moment customer x we have two, one is what theto life american community would like to see that this former slave market site. the other is working at holyoke, one of the great industrial cities of the early 20th century. trying to bring the latino community there into the story of what holyoke has been but also planned for more economically just future. >> thank you very much.
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>> are watching american history tv, all we can, every weekend, on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. the 60thear marks anniversary of john f. kennedy's courage."files in the 1957 pulitzer prize for biography. next, a panel of former kennedy administration officials marked a milestone by meeting at the historic decatur house in washington, d.c., to recount their white house experience. the program was hosted by an international auction house and is about an hour. >> this is an event that has been birthed from a number of sources and we are thrilled to have this distinctive panel joining us.

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