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tv   Book Discussion on Turning the Tide  CSPAN  May 15, 2016 5:40pm-6:01pm EDT

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went to clinton township middle school in new jersey to celebrate a second prize-winning video the next big problem, with over 250 students and elected officials in the ceremony. thank you to comcast for helping us coordinate these visits. as you view all of the winning documentaries at student cam.org. >> this year, c-span is touring countries -- cities around the country. now we look at tuscaloosa alabama. you are watching "american history tv" all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. earl tilford: the name of my book is "turning the tide: the university of alabama in the 1960's." i wrote this book because i was a student at the university of alabama in the 1960's, and quite frankly i , missed a lot of it because i was studying. i wanted to take the story of beyond desegregation which occurred in 1963.
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though i do cover that in the first chapter. i want to take it through the rest of the 1960's. while we desegregated in 1963, we did not integrate. that took a long time, going even beyond 1970. but it is in this period that the university went in a new direction. once segregation was out of the way, once all that energy that had gone to trying to maintain and actually illegal and certainly immoral way of doing things, after all that energy could be sent in another direction, the university of alabama began to turn itself away from a regional football party school and warning itself -- and turning itself toward becoming a major national academic institution. that is what it has become, but it was a long journey in the 1960's that sent us that -- in that direction. there were a lot of changes going on at the beginning of the 1960's. but really, it stems from 1956. at the first effort of desegregation, which failed
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horribly, accompanied by riots. this girl was a student for three days, but desegregation is desegregation. we were under the same court weer in 1963, so officially had been desegregated although she was expelled. not for anything she did but because the university expelled her to calm the mob that had been raging on the campus. the mob in ended the presidency 1963 of oliver carmichael. they were looking for a new president. they approached frank rose, who was a minister in the church of christ and president of pennsylvania college. he was from meridian, mississippi. he was not anxious to come here in part because the university had this bad reputation. but they approached him, and they finally said, dr. rose, we need you because we are facing desegregation, and we need a southerner who can lead it.
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so he accepted it. he came in 1958. his first challenge was, how do we do this peacefully? and he went to the governor of alabama james fulsome, and big surprisingly, and big jim agreed, he said i agree, it is time we desegregated the university of alabama. he called his friend rockefeller and said, don't be surprised, i have a friend down there. we serve on the tuskegee institute board. he is a judge who is progressive and very liberal. you need to talk to george wallace. so he called judge wallace in 1958, and judge wallace said, yeah, i agree. it's about time we desegregated the university of alabama. then came the election of 1958 , and wallace was against john patterson. patterson was a staunch segregationist. he became governor, and wallace swore that he would never let
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the race issue keep him out of office again. so patterson was not about to desegregate the university of alabama. so frank rose, in his first four 1958 to 1962om spent that time building , buildings, building infrastructure, building the alumni association. he put an alumni association in every county in the state and established 15 new ones across the nation. he upped alumni giving from $1.3 million to $70 million by 1965. today it is over $300 million. he got us moving that direction and then george wallace became , governor of the state. wallace had promised segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever. in fact, that is, that quote is taken from the ku klux klan oath. when they say the ku klux klan yesterday, the ku klux klan today, the ku klux klan forever. that was just part of the man who wrote the speech was a
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klansman in fact. wallace was using the race issue to his own end. he knew the university was going to be desegregated. it was just a matter of time. frank rose, the president, made it happen peacefully. he did that first by going to the students. he went to every student leader, and he didn't say, please help me. he said, this is how you are going to help me. he got them on board. inn he went to the faculty november 1962 and said it was imperative to keep the university of alabama open and we would need to do this peacefully. what they were afraid of is what happened at ole miss in when october 1962 james meredith registered, and 26 marshals were shot. what happened here. and no one wanted that. certainly not the town fathers, and that is where frank rose went next. he got the town leaders behind peaceful desegregation. and then they began working for , it. they worked very hard, knowing that it was coming through the winter
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of 1963 into the spring, they did things like make sure there were no loose objects on campus that could be used as missiles. they were building an extension to the law school. they moved the bricks out of here. wallace wanted a peaceful desegregation. he didn't want desegregation, but he wanted it to be peaceful. so he planned to bring in every member of law enforcement across the state that he could. the tuscaloosa police department could maybe muster 35 officers, the university, maybe a dozen. he brought in hundreds of state troopers, prison guards, forest rangers to make sure that we had 800 people around the campus when desegregation happened on june 11, 1963. but all that was planned. if you look at the student groups and look at the culture of the university of alabama in the early 1960's, this was a football party school. most students were interested in football, parties, dating and
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making at least a "c" and getting by. the student government association was a bastion of the greek system. it is called the machine. the top fraternity's, along with some of the top sororities and the other greeks, but mostly the top four or five fraternities, run the student government association. and it was peopled with young men who wanted to become businessmen. those who wanted to become lawyers were going to go to the alabama school of law. they would shape the future of the university. and many of them in the mid-1960's were what you would call liberal, progressive. and john blackburn, the dean immediately recognized that. these men would change the university of alabama. men like ralph knowles, don siegelman, the former governor -- who was a governor of alabama.
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zach higgs. and he formed an alliance with them and showed them how to do this within the system. they formed an alliance with a very small cadre of student radicals, very small. i mean, they could have met in a seminar room and had plenty of chairs left over. but they were extremely intelligent and they wanted change. together, they began to send the student body in a new direction, in terms of the kinds of issues that they would bring before them. for instance, having a forum where you could discuss things like civil rights, coming down on the right side of civil rights issues. endorsing the establishment of an african american student association. those kinds of things. and then academic freedom was a , big issue, on campus, and also in the state. when george wallace and some in the montgomery legislature realized what was going on here, they decided they needed to take
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control of the university in terms of who comes here to speak. clayton powell came here to speak in 1964. dick groat gregory -- dick gregory came here to speak. the students had invited people like that to come down here. and then, some of the more radical students decided they didn't want any kind of impediments to bringing in speakers. and they made an issue out of it this by inviting eldridge cleaver, jerry rubin, and abbie hoffman, and tom hayden, that founder of saying yes. the president said, we can't do that. had they come here to speak, the university would have gone on to the legislature very drastically. the thing about frank rose, was, he knew what battles were worth fighting and what battles were not. for instance, we had a program here called emphasis. it started in 1966. bobby kennedy was the first
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keynote speaker for emphasis when he was senator. he kicked it off. you would bring in people to discuss issues from various sides. emphasis 67 was called revolution. and it involved revolutions, and it was the 50th anniversary of the bolshevik revolution in russia. there was a magazine that accompanied it that had articles in it. one of them was about the 2.5 sector. this is about black students from berkeley. her father was a member of the american communist party. she wrote an article condemning the american position. on the other side, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the army chief of staff of staff, i think it was, general wheeler, wrote an article defending american policy in vietnam. so this magazine came out, and it caused a real stir in the legislature. actually, it was being used. look at this, we have this andunist patina out decker,
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roy wilkins had an article that opposed black power articles. it was opposed but they made an , issue out of it, and they raised up something called a speaker ban bill. had that happened the , legislature would of had jurisdiction over any speaker brought in and would have killed academic freedom and probably would have caused the university to lose its accreditation. frank rose realized that. he refused to go along with it. the real issue was that judge frank johnson, a federal judge in this area, had finally gotten tired of the wallace administration, and mrs. wallace, and said desegregate your schools now, in 1967. now. 1% of our public schools were -- had been desegregated at that point. marine wallace wanted to put the state school systems under the state superintendent of education, one man.
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who was a staunch segregationist. she called in the presidents of all the historically white alabama colleges and universities and junior colleges and asked them to sign a document endorsing that point of view, and they all did, except frank rose. he refused to sign it. and his refusal meant more than all the others' acquiescence is s together because he was so powerful politically. that really got the legislature after rose. he had to be very careful. he sent his vice president david matthews to montgomery to stop l. speaker ban bil we had enough alumni to stop it, but they passed a nonbinding but unanimous resolution requiring that all home football games, and at the game between alabama and auburn in november in birmingham, that the confederate battle flag be raised along with the american flag and the state
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flag, and that in addition to playing the national anthem and the state song, they would play dixie. the sga, then under don siegelman, who would go on to become governor of alabama, and the auburn sga passed a bill saying, no, we are not going to raise the confederate flag and "dixie"ot going to play after the national anthem. frank rose vito that. -- vetoed that. he knew that battle wasn't worth fighting at that point. so for a year, all home football games, they would march of the confederate flag right after the state flag and the u.s. flag. they would raise them, the band would play "dixie." the black students would sit down. many other students would. some would stand, some would sit down. it stopped after one year. the flagpoles were removed. we had our own confederate battle flag issues here in 1967 and 1968, so we are way ahead of the country. you have got to understand the role of football at the university of alabama. it goes back a long way.
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when coach bryant was at texas a&m in the fall of 1957, frank rose, even before frank rose was on the payroll here, called coach bryant and offered him a job at his alma mater. coach bryant was reluctant to accept it at first, because you he said he wanted to finish his football season. when rose said he would talk to budit will consent, -- wilkinson bryant accepted , immediately. he came here and it took him two years to turn around the football program. in the 1960's, the role that football played was to keep the attention of that mass of alabama fans who really don't know anything about the university, but all they know is football, keep their attention focused on football. as long as we were winning championships frank rose could , turn the university and most of the people did not care about
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the people of alabama didn't care what we did. he used it as cover. what he was trying to do above all is to get the university of alabama away from the party school focus football school , focus and get it headed in a new direction to become a viable academic institution, first in the south, and then nationally. and it took a while to do that. first thing he had to do was to hire faculty. when he became president, one third of the faculty had terminal contracts. by 1965, two thirds. that made us competitive. today we have our share of the finest faculty in the country. we are attracting students today that could go to harvard, yale, places like that. in fact, we lead the country in the number of national merit scholars that come here. we are ahead of harvard and all the ivy league schools. we are number one in national merit scholars coming to
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alabama. and that was where rose wanted to get us. he had to grow the student population, but he also wanted to raise the intellectual level of the student population. my books i have written on vietnam and turning the tide a written about institutions under stress, and how they handle change. during the vietnam war, military services did not do that very well. they fought the last war. at the university of alabama, tradition is important here. history is important here, but we learn from that history. and we learn from the history of a region that has had a very sad history. god has not blessed the south with a joyful history. we are the only part of the country that knows total defeat in warfare, occupation. we have known racial strife in a very real way down here. i would also submit to you that we have learned from that, and
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we have appreciated what the past can teach us. and i think the university of alabama can stand as a symbol of how you can change amid turmoil, and be something greater than you even anticipated you could be. it is neat to do that in a place that is beautiful, in a place that is genteel and traditional, and maintain the best of that while you are also moving in a new direction. and with that, roll tide. >> our cities tour traveled to tuscaloosa, alabama to learn about its rich history. learn more about tuscaloosa and other stops on our tour on www.c-span.org/citiestour. you are watching "american history tv". all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. communicators,e we speak to fred upton from
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michigan and bill shuster from pennsylvania. we also interview innovators from ford motor company about new technology, issues, and the upcoming auction. of communication and jobs creation, we are working on legislation that we have already passed. more spectrum, which will enable these devices to be built and used. we are on the run. putting an legislation and encouraging those states to take a look at how do you build a road and dealing with the autonomous vehicles. what you need for your technology to be working better? >> from the very first generation that we launched a decade ago, our focus has been is usefulthe device
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as possible, in a way that lets you keep your eyes on the road. it has always been about voice technology. >> ford understands there is great demand for more spectrum. we are working with colleagues to come up with a sharing solution. we are working with colleagues in the department of transportation and most importantly, the federal communications administration. >> what's the communicators on c-span2 -- watch the communicators on c-span2. >> the bus continues to travel and honor winners from the student competition. it made a stop in new jersey to recognize a student for her prize video on how to become a home. honored before getting a chance to visit the bus. and then went to west scranton elementary school to honor eighth graders for their second
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prize-winning video, national immigration issues. during the ceremony, they donated $500 of their winnings to a local charity. following this event, the bus drove to clinton township to celebrate the second prize winning video, the next big problem. over 250 classmates and elected officials, including the congressman, joint and the celebration for zachary. a special thanks to comcast for coordinating these visits. you can view the winning documentaries on c-span.org. artifactsek, american takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts reveal about american history. next, we tour the innovation wing of the national museum of american history. john gray shows us his favorite object, including a bicycle that is embellished with

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