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tv   African American History Conference  CSPAN  May 21, 2016 1:30pm-5:31pm EDT

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personal accounts from any family members of eisenhower and reagan that illuminated the relationship? i am wondering if behind closed doors they talked to their relations about their specific ambitions regarding one another. >> i had hoped to interview nancy reagan, but even a few years ago, she was too ill and was no longer accepting interviews. the staff, both during the gubernatorial years as well as a few people from this credential years have had no idea of the eisenhower reagan relationship, never been alluded to before, never have been discussed before. what inspired you to begin
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this research? >> it was because i feel at the time of ronald reagan, accomplished so much. i mentioned restoring pride in america, creating a booming economy. and bringing freedom to millions in eastern europe and the phoenix communism, which in my opinion is the most important historical event of the second half of the 20th century. we do not have thousands of nuclear missiles aimed at us, at least from russia anymore. life in the late 1940's, 1950's, 1960's, was involved in fighting communism. but the cold war. proxy wars here and there, korea, vietnam, many other examples.
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it wasn't present like that in the 1960's. that communist -- and at the berlin wall, communism and i will end with this, many people think that the first time ronald called for the berlin war to be torn down, when he yelled, mr. gorbachev, tear down this wall. that's not when it happened. it was 1967 during a televised kennedy, itrobert was a question that ronald reagan answered and on may 15, 1967 call to tear down the lane -- the berlin wall. he did that several times during the campaign for the presidency. thank you. [applause] thank you. i have one more most important question.
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anddo our guests and beauty -- viewing audiences get a copy it's on amazon> and i hope you will purchase it. shipkes about two weeks to . thank you very much. if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to e-mail me. i would love to chat after you read it. >> thank you for being here. if you are interested in more information about discovery institute, you can go to our website. we will have a link to the event on the site as well. thank you. >> thank you. [applause. ] >> you're watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3.
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to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. long, american history tv is joining our comcast cable partners to show kate they history of hattiesburg, mississippi. to learn more about the cities on our tour visit tour. we continue now with our look at the history of hattiesburg. st. paul united methodist becauseit is important very often during the civil rights days it was home of freedom school during 1964. we are going downstairs to our fellowship hall. where we were -- we were
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all here, and our teachers were. we spread out into small groups around the room. class, where one of our teachers was working with us. me with my head turn. , 20 or 30 children were here at this location. there were six locations in 1964. here at st. paul's, some of the original chairs that we sat in our here. for church, during the summer we would have vacation bible school , but this is different. we were not focusing on just church activities. freedom school lasted in the summer of 1964. it was a plan to get african-americans to register to vote.
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part of the previous summer of the component was to establish a school where children would be involved in this initiative as well. that is how freedom school evolved. in 1964, it was a time of change. there were students here, white who --s from the north it were meetings in various churches, preparing the residence and informing them of their political rights and getting ready to register to vote. there was also a time where the students and children were recruited in this. childrenirst time, were interacting with white, young people, who had attended all-black schools prior to this time, and didn't have the opportunity to enter act in -- interact with weight students.
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know what tonot expect. my mother, who was a domestic, was very adamant that i was going to attend this school. i did not know what to expect. once i was here, i did enjoy it. it was a time where we were exposed to subjects, not just the basics, but we were taught black history. we were shown books where we were in the books. in our schools, we didn't have books. we had a book with george washington carver, we had books that taught us black history. we were taught literature and poetry. we were taught how to play the time,, some sons of the and for me probably the most
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significant thing was being exposed to the oratorical content from other churches and brought here. we would have oratorical contest. we were taught the skills of debate and speech. worldned our eyes to a beyond hattiesburg, mississippi and what we were getting at school and exposed to other things. it was also a time where during school that there is some danger that you could be up exposed to during that time. they advise us on what to say and what to do if you were approached by other people. if to react and what to say someone comes to your house. we knew there was a danger element as well. that was the summer of 1964. most of the volunteers left, but
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the ideas in the subjects and activities that we were involved desire to become involved and to make sure that the ideas were around in the future. future andshaped my how i thought about mississippi, the nation and the world as a whole and us as african-american people. >> our cities to her staff recently traveled to hattiesburg, mississippi to learn about its rich history. learn more about hattiesburg and other stops on the tour at tour. you're watching american history tv.
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all weekend every weekend on c-span3. today is to welcome you to this is the american history -- african-american history conference. >> this panel will grapple with issues and challenges that flow from working at the intersection of history and memory. or put another way, this panel will look at what happens when the past meets the present. public history is one of those amazing fields that wasn't around -- wasn't discussed in 1983. it had not been visible nor valued. yet now, almost everybody here would not deny the need for historians to help to shape the multiple platforms such as museums and historic sites and films and televisions where
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millions of people learned or unlearned their history. history isblic really something that is in my mind wondrous. old enough to remember being told by my faculty advisor but if i went to work in museums, i was ruining a promising career. i guess they were right. history is not for the faint of heart. the need to navigate the minefields of confronting public perceptions of beliefs, from that comes from the glare of media scrutiny, it comes from the impact of finding the money to do the work you want to do or even the fact that public history by definition is clear to -- collaborative. sometimes that can work to make the rough edges of history smooth. unless one is vigilant, politically aware, nimble, and
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candidly fix scanned. that what ise important is well this panel will talk a lot about public accessibility and the like, the one thing i want to put out there not to forget is what is keen about museums and why historians need to be engaged is that everything a museum does is free. exhibits,s, books, except the collection. what is crucial is that it is the museum that really preserves .ur culture to make sure that historians are helping to shape what museums collect. it is important. illustrate the joys and challenges of public history with two moments from of creation of the national african-american history. i get a lot of e-mails and
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letters. i received an e-mail several years ago, a letter -- that began dear left-wing historian. clearly it wasn't a fan letter. but it began to say, what happened to the smithsonian that i loved. it used to be a place that celebrated america and looked at the achievements at our history in a positive way. now, your museum will raise issues that are better not remembered. wrote, he said after all, don't you know that america's greatest strength is its ability to forget. . lot of us are out of a job he went on to talk about how it the museume to build and historians like me i be fired from the smithsonian. . must admit it threw me off
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he did sign it best wishes for your continued success. in many ways the letter raises so many issues about whose memories, whose history is privileged and how can museums, historic sites change the sort of long-held historical frameworks and imaginations and memories held by her public's. i was struck even more by something that happened back in february of 2012. we had just had president obama's the for the groundbreaking, and i was walking to the museum the next elderly in african-american woman, but you is probably my age, someone mature but useful came up to me and said -- and hugged me. and to said thank you. she said whatever you do, don't
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talk about slavery. in some ways during the first two years of trying to create this museum we spent a lot of focus groups and interviewing people and looking assessedterature that with the public knew or didn't know about african history. ,e gathered historians together gather people who have no connection to museums. help us understand what they wanted and didn't want. what was revealed was that the number one issue that the public wanted us to engage -- that they wanted to understand was slavery. but the number one subject that they did not want the museum to talk about was also slavery. clearly, it seems to me this woman hugging me and reminding me she did not want to talk about slavery type -- tells us the challenges. the challenge is to give the public not what it wants but what it needs. in many ways, i think our
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challenge is to figure out just what are the limits of public history. how can we create a body of literature, critical literature, that helps future historians understand how to wrestle with what we now call public history. doubt thatre is no there have been important mormons and transformations that you will hear about today. an amazing array of exhibitions that of change our notion of african-american history. there are challenges that i think the profession faces. i trust that this panel will help us explore some of these. let me stand out a few. findo you help the public a useful and usable past then instructs and inspires and
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conceptualizes and gives the public historical and cultural tools that help them live their lives. to help them live their lives through better understanding of the past. how can we do that? can his storage sites and museums help the public? help the public embrace the ambiguity of the past. museums often provide simple answers to complex questions. museums ben is, can places outside of the academy, outside of classrooms that provide complexity and learning that comes from embracing ambiguity. can in many ways public historians create the kind of spaces that allow visitors to explore and give voice to the with what we spoke of yesterday. what does it take to do that,
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and can be spaces really provide opportunities for reconciliation, healing or is it just reckoning with the past. faces us is,that how do you do the work if it faces media scrutiny in face of real challenges of finding the funds to do the work you do. how do you do the work to ensure that despite it all have the , scholarship, research. but also you have a way to make it accessible to the public. in some ways, we are fortunate to have an amazing pal today to help us wrestle with all of these issues. in some ways, what is really crucial is that these are all people in many ways help to transform the profession. well i will not read all their biographies, the fact that george mcdaniel, dorothy redford, david white have all -- david blight, i
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rested with the challenges and opportunities of public history, i think that like so many, i learned so much from them and the work of the historians who labor in the few in the fields of public history have been made better by their efforts. but me get out of the way and ask george mcdaniel to come up and speak. [applause] >> thank you for being here. i appreciate it. thank you for the staff for putting this together. i want to thank the volunteers. this symposium one of the words that came up is struggle.
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those of us in this field we know this is an ongoing challenge. we don't have a definitive answers. it is an ongoing struggle. as you can tell, accent, i am not from brooklyn. jersey, right. i'm very much a southerner. traditionthis, in the of southerners, black and white i begin with the story. in the african peace corps. this is not just a humorous story, this is a story that is personal. back in time i taught public school and i was trying to teach history in 1972. this was available through a book.
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it was that thing. for those who are slower readers it was about like that. but history the book was a gateway to history. artifacts, music and other things to try to make history accessible. phd of history at duke, to use material culture as a way of teaching about african-american history. but tenant house was removed from maryland and placed on exhibit. is theyy opportunities hired me to come back and research it for the reinterpretation of it. back to locate people who had lived in that house, it came from prince george's county.
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house, backted that .o 1885 were 1890 the work residents were transient sharecroppers but are rooted in family and community. ,hroughout the whole time surrounded by extended family networks. the former residence told us that they put up a house backwards. they had taken the front of the house and put it against the --l in front of the house also the rooms are backwards. we found the former residence, in old history workshops with
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them. ofwent back to the director the cultural history department at the smithsonian in 1978, and asked them if we could recur to the house. let's bring in former residence. them like what kind of chairs go in here and what kind of quilts? how do we refurbish the house, what about the kinship patterns? the director looked me and said, george, we suck enough money into that rathole. so that was it for me. fortunately, that house was exhibited, you may have seen that. that became the centerpiece. to museum decided to not
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feature the stories of the families who live there. but the lord has a way, so i went up to montgomery county and documented black landowning committees there. one of the houses i documented with the jones sent house, student story log house in -- built in 1874. that's the house that will be in the new museum will meet transition from slavery. [applause] so, what i hope we do by this work is that if you keep on pushing and pushing, it is a struggle. i hope we can find ways to bring people back to the people. the title decision is history
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preservation. the good news is that this positivemonstrates a reckoning of history. it shows that change. we have that museum rising up. that is a remarkable step and a great opportunity for us as historians to connect with the public and to find ways to engage the public. it -- and answer those questions. no one's, ambiguity, complexity, tragedy. how do we get people engage. i think we do that by finding ways to not just remember the past but tell the stories. ,o not just omit the bad things
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but by remembering them and combining those things with the good and create experiences that enhance life. in the museums and in our lives. looking back over these years of saidng, william falconer he wrote and i pair frame, in order to uplift our hearts. that's a simple phrase. he is not referring to just my heart or his heart, but our hearts. we uplift our hearts by telling the truth. warts and all about our past. if we just look at one side of history, only the good or the , we don't uplift our hearts. we are in this life together. the people of the past were no different. oureny the evil aspects of history is to defraud our past.
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i will told story is often the way to do this. the person must be prompted to care about the person of the story and to feel connected to them. that story may be told by text or book, artifacts, for the rest, video. if it stories well told, the public will respond and we'll see that history preserved. in museumsndeavors like this, we can change the perception so that history is seen is not something peripheral fewick -- or to a select but central to the understanding -- of who we are as a community, nation and human beings. iswas martin luther king center of declared quote "he who controls my mind controls my body."
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he who controls history controls mine. if you look at schools and higher education, the history of phd's in contemporary culture, think we will agree we have our job cut out for us. how can history museums including this one and african-american history you -- bridges so that people care about our history. one way now and in the future of places thats is matter, places where people feel safe, challenged to be sure but respected. and to become places where the history of people of diverse background are preserved and exhibitsnd engaging and programs on-site and online. places were different components ethnicpublic, different groups and religious backgrounds, sexual orientation,
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recent arrival. they are to be respected and not shut down. safe places, citizens, community activists with different points of view come together to discuss issues and get to know one another. historic sites, for example, can become places or public dialogue , places for people whose ancestors were once in trapped by prejudice and locked in conflict with one another and come together to discuss their , and hopeat different to build on the past to create a bright future. i -- descendents of drayton hall, anderson of slaveowners to attend. rebecca campbell, catherine
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nelson, and drayton whose father was a less onerous drayton hall and her cousin -- we do have with us threes descendents, and i would like them to stand. esther, rebecca, and catherine. braxton.e [applause] rebecca campbell. [applause] and i hope you get the opportunity to talk during this symposium. according to their family's oral history, their ancestors came over enslaved from the barbados in the 1670's. these individuals represent over three centuries of american history. their ancestors arrived and remained that drayton after
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emancipation, then moved to charleston in the late 1800s. we have videotaped oral histories with them and other white,ents, black and produced public programs with them and other members of the families at local, state, and national levels,. other scholars participated in programs at drayton hall with them. surveys have told us frequently they want to learn more about the people, not just of the past, but of the present. to make for a more personal, complex, and nuanced story. in addition to learning from one another, both cognitively and experientially, they get to know one another as persons. we do expect respect for one another, and respect for differing points of view. the ticket for participation in our public programs has not been forgiveness or reconciliation,
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as that is a long and deeply personal process. -- wheno appreciate they are together, when we do have these programs, and we go out to lunch together or dinner together, it is important that descendents no drayton hall would genuinely -- know drayton hall would genuinely support their participation, and that it would not lead to an embarrassing "gotcha" moment. i hope you all have a chance to talk to the descendents who are here, and i hope you become encouraged to go out in your own community and locate people connected to your own work and bring them to the front, bring them to your schools or colleges, bring them to your museums,, to create all the more support for the history. process.from that the collaboration of different history organizations in charleston, after the horrendous is acre at emmanuel ame, recent example of how
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collaboration can bridge divides and enhance the public reckoning of history. just three days after the shooting, this collaboration began,. people down to emmanuel, bringing scores of artifacts and memorabilia to the front of the church, testifying to the deep grievances and sympathies and wishing to support members of emmanuel. i called my friend elizabeth, a long-standing member and former member of drayton hall's board, a civil rights leader and educator. and i asked her what might be done. she candidly said, george, the church is so busy grieving that we have not thought about saving artifacts. yton, elizabethra has flown up for this occasion. would you please stand? [applause]
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encourage you to talk to her also. get to know her. because they are deeply engaged in historic preservation. she and i decided to call for a meeting of different historical preservation organizations to see what might be done with the hundreds of artifacts that were left out in front. i am a vietnam vet, and i'm touched by all the artifacts left in front of the vietnam memorial. we talked about that. we formed a committee of, and memorabilia subcommittee, and devised a strategy for the preservation of the church. the artifacts were removed and stored in a room the city of charleston gave to us. ellis, this -- a valued member of that committee. there is an online tribute to emmanuel ame.
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you can see it. i encourage you to go to emmanuel ame's website to see an online tribute. we saved tweets and facebook and news programs and so forth. it is a different way of preserving digital media. you will see that. a, not also have celebration, commemoration of the first anniversary. there will be a day of ringing of bells and a day of kindness. you will learn more about that, people engaging in random acts of kindness. the church also wanted an exhibition, so this committee has worked with others. we will be using a selection of those artifacts for that purpose. we will hang up 15 quilts, nine quilts in memory of the nine victims, and five for the survivors, and one for the church. 15 quilts out of a total of over 400 that were received from around the world.
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the theme of this exhibit will be healing, not forgiveness, because i have said that is a long process, deeply personal. healing is something we are all in need of. the sickness and health in all of us. that will be the theme. a private viewing will be held for the families. asked towill be reflect on their own situation and identify one thing that they can do to help seal their community -- heal their community upon returning home. they will write that down on a card and deposited -- deposit it in a box, and it is for them to carry through on their pledge. we hope to honor the victims and survivors, not only by visiting the museum, but by going back to their own communities across the nation and doing something for their own lives to help heal the community and themselves. we hope to turn the museum experience into action. another question that deals with
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the public reckoning of history is how to mend -- improve the relationship between the history museums and communities, that are sources of support for the history. research,they do identify and remove historical resources, buildings, photographs, oral histories from the community, and preserve it in collections or archives, use it in an exhibit or book, and return little back to the community. the community hardly benefits. the appreciation of local history is not lifted up more for people to respect. that includes political leaders, local historical societies, decision-makers regarding funding for local history and education. as a result, the public reckoning of history is hardly enhanced. , in the future we need to see this pattern change. our question is, how will we,
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how will you help do so? as we strive to enhance the public reckoning of history, we must always be appreciative of one thing. surprise. all of us, young and old, african american, caucasian, hispanic, whatever, need to be open to surprise. we need to be prepared for surprise, not afraid. if history teaches us anything, it is that the future will bring us surprise. what is the one ingredient for that to happen? courage. if we are to maintain the mainstream, appreciation of history and historic preservation in the public reckoning, we need to build bridges. for that to occur, we need courage, and we need to not give into cynicism, a call thats all too easy to heed. -- thinking that by not trying we are being "realistic." a bridge, to be effective,
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cannot serve just one side of a divide. it cannot serve just one segment of the public. communities have their first publics that connect, and those publics may not agree. there is a need for us as individuals and organizations to have courage and to put cynicism aside. to be effective bridge builders, we need to work together and ameliorate our memory. we need to push one another beyond our comfort zones, whatever our station in the profession or in the public, and create expanded circles that engage people in the preservation and interpretation of history, including its tragic moments. in order to, as william falconer said,- william faulkner "uplift our hearts." if we find ways to do that, the public reckoning will take care of itself. thank you. [applause]
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>> and now we will hear from ms. redford, whose work on somerset plantation has been so influential on all of us. dorothy? dorothy: hello. i'm going to tell a personal story tonight about the complexities and rewards of moving a historic site to the point that it has historical legitimacy. "roots,"by alex haley in 1977i began a journey to identify my own slave ancestors. by 1983, research led me to somerset place plantation, a former antebellum plantation that had become a tax-supported, racially segregated recreation
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-themed state park in 1939, and a de facto segregated north carolina segregated historical site in 1969. ir arrived on one of the hottest days of the year, clutching in sale naming bill of and transferring my ancestors, collinsem, to josiah the first, one of the wealthiest planters in north carolina. i felt when iow, got there that i would see something that i recognize of my ancestors, other than the bill of sale. planter's1830's
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home was welcome to the public. i was offered the standard elitist white male interpretive tour. "he cleared the land and cultivated fields." [laughter] he built the mansion house. sons andd and had six provided them a very posh lifestyle. he was devastated by the outcome of the civil war. [laughter] brokenhearted.nd he rose again on the third day. [laughter] [applause] end of story. [laughter]
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teenaged toure guide never uttered the word "slave, broadlyhat matter that accepted euphemism, "servant." there was a small space that she described as "where the hired girls slept." five 19th century domestic dependencies which had not been opened. they would have been the domain of the slave community, and you could easily have included something. field, thereant was an eight by 12 sign that quarters." of slave despite extensive published
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biographies, including booker t. washington, frederick douglass,, and the proliferation of scholarship by historians, including john franklin, g kenneth stamp, and many others documenting plantation life of enslaved families, their still existed an institutional unwillingness to recognize the importance of african-americans to the history of the united states. by the time i left that day, holding still that bill of sale naming my ancestors, i had fully internalized the line from ralph ellison's invisible man -- "i am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. "
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i am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see my ancestors. when unfettered options exist in shaping representation of the nation's history of human chattel slavery, we often choose, or for that matter, manufacture,, a storyline that uminate our personal bias. at somerset place and plantations across the south, an industrywide option had been exercised to render invisible slavery's ugly stain and slavery's victims to all generations. 1986, i had documented the lineage of every slave family place.merset the record-keeping was phenomenal, so the record was there.
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inad published those "somerset, an antebellum genealogical study." with proof of lineage in hand, the state of north carolina gave me permission to have a little family reunion on the grounds, bringing all the families together. came.were around 2500 who [laughter] from as far away as sierra leone. included were descendents of the enslaved families, descendents of former slaves, and others who wanted to be a part of such a historic event, including alex haley, who came. on that day, one elderly hisleman who wore time on face, walked all through 14
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collins family home and stopped only to inspect the impressive craftsmanship. he stood proudly, and announced, when he had finished his "we did write good, good, -- we did right didn't we?" he claimed ownership of the building, claimed history, and fully embraced the history of his ancestors and claimed somerset as his own. the homecoming garnered international front page press . all four of the major television station sent camera crews, and the broad media coverage gave previously ignored visibility to the enslaved men, women, and
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children who lived, worked, and throughsomerset place, the proud and engaging faces of their progeny. one descendent, clarence w. blunt, majority leader of the maryland state senate, later wrote, "i have always been proud of who i am, but now i have found a new appreciation of from whence i have come, and a new vision of where i and we as a people must go. but now i know why." offer8, i accepted a job for employment at somerset place made by the north carolina department of cultural resources. the department's objective was to tap into the african-american tourism market.
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my specific and limited charge when hired was to continue forever organizing family-oriented homecoming events, warm and fuzzy, highly entertaining,, song and dance, one day festivals, period. isn't it funny how when you want to do african-american history, ?e can do a one-day festival not caucasian history? the department had a long-range plan. they were going to build a visiting center one day, that was going to be state-of-the-art, and there would be some exhibits in their exclusively -- in there, exclusively dedicated to telling the story of slavery. includeld
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african-american history, without even slightly changing the tour. in 1988.ill in focus, what they didn't understand was that lessons learned during the civil rights movement should have conveyed to policymakers that expected automatic deference and acceptance of the status quo representations of african-american history and culture, like slavery itself, had passed irrevocably into history. thatd passed the point african-americans would say, if you think that's the best thing, that's what we are going to do. please.
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[laughter] durant puther will an addict of integration. le."nt to see things who my obligation to the past and the present generations was to eliminate the state's option of ignoring the existence of over 800 men, women, and children who lived and died on somerset place, hundreds of whose bodies are still in on the ground -- interrred on the grounds. ,espite implementation delays accompanying the doggedly uncompromising administrative resistance to the very concept of mainstreaming and painting the history of slaveowners and enslaved people on one canvas, i
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knew that reconstructing permanent representative homes and other relevant structures in the former slave community was the only logical strategy to eliminate permanently the options of symbolic annihilation, and that would 15-year- thus began a journey, guided by my personal affirmation. when your purpose is noble, when your goals benefit mankind, all that you need to achieve them will be available to you. what you said? [laughter] that doesn't mean -- [inaudible]
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among the resources available to me, first of all were legislators. you cultivate relationships with the legislators who sign on the dotted line for the money to do whatever you want to do. carolinauded the north black legislative caucus. also available where a stunning of who id be afraid would leave out -- a stunning array of historians and archaeologists and volunteers from a nonprofit. the first thing i had to do was to form a nonprofit, because if i had to go to the state to ask for any penny, we would be broke and doing nothing right now. the other thing i advise anybody to do is, first get some money. former nonprofit, so you don't have to -- form a nonprofit, so
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you don't have to, depend upon the state or taxpayers for everything you do. today, after many seasons of -- ok, i'msearch almost through. [laughter] after funding and research, andrset place has integrity intelligence and historical legitimacy. people embrace humanity of people they once only knew as slaves. in the reconstructed home of sookie davis, they are reintroduced to and enslaved grandmother. they learn how she struggled with all of life's challenges. they are lewis's home, introduced to an african woman brought to that plantation along with 79 others, directly from
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africa in 1786. at the hospital, they learn about the economic aspects of plantation life. we will skip that. we will get there. i have to say, adding to the of somersetrtrait place are the stocks and the jails. visitors now tour the once off-limits domestic dependencies, and at the plantar's home they are no longer -- planter's home they are no longer exposed to the elitist white male tour. instead, they learn how he balanced all his privileges. as peter would has said -- peter wood has said, somerset place has changed the interpretive paradigm. one of the largest plantations in north carolina is a educatele site used to
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citizens about the social history of african-americans. at somerset, a paradigm shift has moved to the interpretive history from exclusivity to inclusivity, from invisibility to visibility, from the anemic tour of the community narrative to the historically integrated t our. [applause] >> and now, dolores hayden will help us understand why looking at the challenge of place -- with a lot of her work. dolores, if you would? lonnie. thank you, i am honored to be here.
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it has been a remarkable couple of days. i have learned a great deal. shapes of called "the time." outside the doors of history it reveals the shape of political and economic life to those who can decode the landscapes. preservation has been a field dominated by architects and architectural historians, who favor places owned by the wealthy and designed by celebrated architects. but urban vernacular buildings offer the possibility of interpreting everyday life and labor in american cities. decades,past four neglect of social history and preservation has generated some protest. people have asked, where are the sites of native american or
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african-american or latino or asian american history? people have asked, where are the workers landmarks? where is women's history? why are the few women honored almost never women of color? i think one could ask, where are the slave markets, kitchenette buildings, and alley dwellings to show future generations how space was divided to enforce white supremacy? we could also ask, where are the rare neighborhoods whose diverse residents challenged the stereotypes of racial and economic segregation? the politics of identity, however they are defined run race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or neighborhood, are inescapable, when dealing with urban environments. architectural scholars have not, have often not given enough weight to political issues. while historians have sometimes
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ignored space, yet it is the volatile competition of politics and space that makes urban environments a rich source that can eliminate many of the questions raised by other panelists in the last two days. sometimes special history can fill silences in the archive. to study race and capitalism, for example, look at how bulldozers battered american urban landscapes in the 1950's and 1960's, when people of color were the most frequent victims, losing businesses, homes, and communities to highways and urban renewal. lookplore race and power, at how affluent white buyers displaced longtime residents of color from older buildings and neighborhoods, amplifying the damage from demolitions and amplifying the damage from
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discrimination. forging the priorities preservation and commemoration is not simply a matter of acknowledging the losses from from clearance andrification, gentrification. fews not enough to add a african-american, latino american, or native american projects. or a few women's projects. the intersections of multiple identities need to be addressed. in 1983, i founded a nonprofit in los angeles called "the power of place." it would define a new urban
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approach to civilization. it crosses boundaries of class, gender, and age. ad prod itinerary of urban -- broad itinerary of urban neighborhoods can revealed -- urban growth. i proposed such an itinerary in downtown l.a. to represent the work of children, native american men, african-american, latino, white. it included commercial flower fields, fabrication factories, as well as sites for midwives and firefighters.
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i was inspired at the time by such asistory projects, a project on chinese laundry workers. i was in search for a way to represent cultural citizenship. an identity formed not from legal membership but cultural belonging. landscape historian, i proposed such a itinerary as a more inclusive way of understanding history. later, i would say that the tower of place, the power of ordinary urban landscapes to hold citizen's memory, to hold shared territory
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remains untapped for most working people. to capture the power of place requires claiming the urban landscape as an expression of material history. in finding ways to interpret older patterns of matter in the city life. students,cla grad many of whom are active in the , we ran public history workshops where we discussed the remembrance with retirees.d i would say, how can we fail to nudge the numbers in los angeles
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at that time? mid-1980's, 98% of the official landmark celebrated anglo american history, and 96% men's history. ethnicnered with ucla's study centers as well as community institutions. that is when i met lonnie, the head of the california afro-american museum. the power of place created a walking tour of downtown neighborhoods. existingrpreted landmarks to cover after the, women's, and labor history. we proposed new landmarks and wrote the designations for various locations and we added public art. mason, and efrin i commit -- an
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african-american midwife and former slave was the subject of one of the first public art projects. she was a pioneer, a single parent head of family. recognizable. come fromdeed mississippi, walking behind the wagon train of her mormon master with her three children. to earn freedom for a group of slaves in los angeles. an artist helped recover the memory of her life as a midwife who delivered hundreds of babies and one is with the -- and was one of the founders of the first african-american episcopal church.
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some of you may have seen the wall on spring street. our next project involves three organizers. they came from russia, guatemala, and mexico to los angeles. as immigrants, their stories were familiar. as working women they made the story of community building far more complex and contentious. details from that decade can be found in my book. the archival research took a few years. there were projects we were able
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to do and some we could not. also tried to show some of the efforts and remembrance of the groups who follow this. 30 years later i can report there are many new activist groups in l.a.. there are many new landmarks available. many projects of labor history have succeeded. presenting the urban context has become much easier because today tose places can be marked restore public meeting through digital maps and technologies that reconstructed the spatial history on portable devices. now that ifforts admire, there is a people's guide to los angeles.
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another group i admire, the los angeles urban rangers, includes environmental historians jenny price and kathy, and their colleagues. they appear in costume similar to national park rangers performing in art museums and the urban landscape. 2016 is a 50th anniversary of the historic preservation act.
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as well as dozens of proposals to make the process of preservation more inclusive. recent textbooks on preservation include very little besides the discussion of architectural styles. it takes political, historical, and spatial imagination to locate where urban livelihood can be preserved and interpreted to project their most enduring meanings for the city as a whole. thank you. [applause] >> let me turn to david white. >> thank you lonnie. we have all expressed our
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gratitude. i will add to that that i am humbled to have any place on any one of these panels. i didn't drive anybody. ody. didn't bribe anyb [laughter] anyway. i used to write a lot about memory, and every conference i was a last speaker, and i was supposed to say, how is it remembered? but thankfully there is another panel taking up that fast question. god i'm not on that one. practicala very descriptive thing in the middle of my brief remarks, and then frame it with a thing i usually do. baldwin was a public historian. we know him as a great other -- many other things. a great intellectual.
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the written voice of the civil rights movement in so many ways. but he was a public historian. his subject so often was the nature of history. in 1961, interview zillions of interviews as you know. you can pull a lot of them up on youtube. he was one of the great interviewers ever but having a tough time handling baldwin who as we know is not an easy interview. baldwin was shooting from the hip, angry as the dickens. he said americans have no sense of history. he answered every question before it was asked. settle, mr.t him to baldwin, what do you mean by "sense of history"? in the interview, baldwin doesn't brief, quiet moment and says, well, you read something
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that you felt only happened to you. you discover that happened 100 years ago to dostoevsky. this is a great liberation for a suffering, struggling person who always thinks he is alone. i have always loved that definition. it means you are not alone. it is especially important for young people. speaker got him settled and said, what you mean by "sense of tragedy"? baldwin was quiet for five seconds and then said, george, i'm had -- glad you used the word tragedy. it is not a word americans like. answer, people think tragedy is a sense of embroidery, something irrelevant that you can take or leave. in fact, it is a necessity.
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that is what the spirituals are all about. the ability to look on things as they are and survive your losses. or even not survive him. to know that your losses are coming. to know they are coming is the only possible insurance that you have, i think insurance that you will survive them. a sense of history and a sense of tragedy is not always plentiful in america. it is in this room, god knows. i will get my practical descriptive part. the talk about what public history is in front of this guy.
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it's always somehow where history and memory meet. research andhere mythology -- return to that word that came up the first night, that troublesome word. it is where research and collide. allied -- here that conference i am certain some of you were at. there was a conference at the atman historical institute least 15 years ago. which in memory means it was 20. [laughter] ago, thatmet 15 years means it was 1996. panel was three
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brilliant people examining in great detail how race is fiction that biologically it does not mean anything. it is a social instruction. this went on for an hour and a half with brilliant people mailing this. mintz was the commentator. he taught us so much about how our cultures transformed across the atlantic -- she got up and i don't remember what he said but i never forgot the moment. said, these papers are terrific and brilliant. building has a beautiful building with these wide-open windows and sid pointed out the windows and said, but the trouble is nobody walking around out there believes any of this. i've always member that as the definition of public history. what we are doing in here is very important, but they don't believe that. we have to get to them.
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another quick story. lois horton was there. i don't ever who else. this was about 1999. we are all consultants on the new museum of cincinnati. we to go out and create and to dream and imagine and then they turned it over to a design team and they did what they wanted. but that's all right. our job that weekend on a saturday, each of us, jim horton organized us as usual. our job was to sit at a big with members of the board of this museum for two hours and run a discussion. entirelywas african-american. i had the architect of the
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museum, i school superintendent and a famous civil rights lawyer. it was one of the toughest teaching moments of my life. said what should this be and why do you want to tell the story of the underground railroad and slavery -- to a person, they all talked about in one way or another how they wanted their children to walk out of the museum feeling better. they wanted a progressive vision. they didn't want the story of shame, they wanted progress. they wanted people to walk out and feel good. there was one person at my table who had not said a word and it was fred shuttlesworth. everybody knows who he was. he was living in cincinnati and was retired. he had not said a word and i think two hours. so i did my teacher really
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thing. reverend, what do you think? and he gave a one sentence answer and forgive me those of you who heard me use this before. he given one sentence answer and i've only used this twice. it like it wasll it can never be as it ought to momentt was a poignant because everyone at the table kind of -- you know. gee whiz. i asked him to repeat it and he did. and thankfully we were saved by lunch. he was telling us a lot and from -- ixperience progress never really got to ask you much about that moment except i'm sure what was going on inside of tell it like it was.
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the quick descriptive part. then i will and with douglas. ago, on theears back of an envelope and starbucks, bonnie and i conceived together along with a provost at you and with richard rabinowitz who directs it for us to the public history institute. lonnie was more than hehusiastic to support this, still finds more than half of it. >> somebody in your office knows -- still funds more than half of it.\ yeah, you do. [laughter] somebody in your office knows about this. no one in the profession knows
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lonnie's largess. every summer we bring about 16 public historians to all corners of the country -- doing with anything in that african-american community they can be local interpreters or museum directors and between the national park service or etc.. we bring them to yell for a week. it's like a boot camp for public historians. we are up to 86 different individuals who participated in it and i'm proud to say that some of our alums are here. i'm sure there are more than i am even aware of. but aaron bryant was here who was with the institute in 2013. others who areed
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alums of this institute. we have evolved no less than 13 different institutions. in the first two years, institutions had to apply. effect eight in halls and three people from your staff. the second two years we changed that. as public historians you to calm and be treated like an intellectual for a week which most of these people never get to do. they get to read books they are assigned to read and they attend lectures. probably forgetting someone from outside. leslie harris there's been a lecture every year we done it. kristi kaufmann who runs the richmond civil war museum. rexx alice came one year.
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each year we done it with at least three staff. who come and participate in the full week. i will say one other quick thing about it. what we do now as a curricular approach we select the institutions bring their projects and they workshop their projects and that was great. every comes as an individual and we divide them into three groups we give them all an assignment but they get three days and we given this fictional tule and dollar budget and they have to invent an exhibition. bes year's topics will landon carter's plantation records which are very plentiful with the names of real slaves mentioned. the second topic is the colfax massacre. in the to the cruickshank supreme court case in the life
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and career in chicago. it's amazing what people can create with laptops and imaginations and three days sitting in seminar rooms if they are told they have millions of dollars to do whatever they wanted to. at the end they all have to come up with these presentations and it's amazing what they create. it's been one of the things i'm proudest of that we do. whether he remembers or not is committed to continue to support. it's really been an absolute wonderful thing. and graduate students. six or eight graduate students. two from male and others from outside and some of those alums are here today as well. for graduate students it is a chance to engage in this world of public history. ,o learn what it is all about
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to learn how hard it is to tell it quickly on the wall. to end by reminding know,t maybe all of us that this history has always been public history. it has always been public. for african americans and their allies, this has always been a public problem. first, but itd at is the immediate reaction by frederick douglas and his community to the reelection of abraham lincoln in 1864. the 19 sick -- the 1864 election was probably the most single most racist, white supremacist election and all of american history until the next one in
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1868. [laughter] the democrat white supremacist party employed rhetoric and that election in ways that still shocked people. miscegenation was coined and used. i don't want to go into it all. they had crafted it and wanted one house of -- it passed one house of congress and not the other. there were under such attack from the democrats for being the party of emancipation. they would not let douglas quote and stump. the told him to stay home. which he likened to being the deformed child sent out of the room when company comes. lincoln was indeed reelected by 55% of the vote. on the sunday after the election
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-- i thought of this this morning. it is what is arguably one of the oldest stories and all douglas got up to start his lecture or speech and immediately invoked genesis 8,ght, no was arc -- genesis noah's ark. to see ife dove out there was land and when it came back, in his beak there was an olive bench -- olive branch. then he sent it up a second time and it did not come back. tarp anded the
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looked and the land was green. .here was life and hope where does douglas go for a moment of the hope and transformation that emancipation may become real? less than one week later, he went back to maryland for the first time in his life since he 20. at age where he spoke at the bethel ame church, the church where he probably first formally >> at the front of the church when he arrived was his older sister. cooley had not seen in 28 years. -- who he had not seen in 28 1836. since
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she had come 60 miles to see her family. she had nine children. she always followed his career. arm in arm with his sister up the aisle to the front , got up to speak, what does he do? reading the text. back and he says, today, i am the dove. that i am here, that you can see me. i am the dove. what is amazing is that we are always trying to figure out what is public history? until versus going to reach people.
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everybody knew that story then. he went to the oldest rebirth d, the flood, to find meaning for emancipation. thank you. [applause] >> i would like to open this to questions right away. if you have questions or comments, please lineup. i gather you are ready. >> is that better? [indiscernible]
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>> thank you. i am embarrassed -- i am mesmerized by this conference. and thankspolitician to george mcdaniels, i am glad to be here. i have from charleston, s.c.. i just rise to tell all of you in the entire world for coming --our door and over the past since thehe 237 day june 17 massacre. everybody has been coming to the --mmanuel --e
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emmanuel. i invite you all to come to south carolina. you andet us hear from if you are ever in charleston at 9:30 in the morning, on behalf of the bishop and our new female pastor, we took 33 men to get it right. thank you. it has been a wonderful conference. in not have any questions. once, i am not a questioner. i will be attending more of these conferences. i have had 11 jobs into
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districts but i am back home. thank you, god bless. thank you. [applause] think that is a tough one to follow. i am a louisiana native. i ingest here as a public citizen. i'm a graduate of georgetown university. be bestion and may suited for the direct it appeared when i think about -- all the distinguished analysts -- storytellers matter, right you go i wonder not that black folks should seek to replicate the bad behavior that is the lack of diversity but i think the nisi and an opportunity to turn it on its head. you see twitter, i follow twitter, many a white folk saying, can i apply for a job? i wonder about the pipeline of traders for museums and what the mightonian and new museum
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see to do with that diversity of hiring and ensuring there are more people of color curating museum exhibits? >> could question. i am proud to say that i have the most diverse staff of any museum in america. [applause] it was really important for us hasrame the museum --ican-american history such, quintessentially, number of americans should help shape and so what we have done is that we because this is the first job i have ever had where i've gotten to hire everybody instead of going to a place in saying, trust me, trust me, that we were able to really look at the variety of pipelines whether it is to cooperstown graduate program in what we really wanted to do is make sure that we put in place a strong series of internet and fellow and pre-doctorate and post doctorate
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to nature that not only do we continue to higher but more importantly, we are the places so many people call and say i am looking for a good curator, so we want to make sure that we don't of pipeline so we can encourage people to do that and i think i am very optimistic because places like the mellon foundation could really help support us when thinking about how do you sort of in doubt curators and get creative post-doctorates in? the golfer russes to not, not to be the only place -- but to really do what the smithsonian used to do, the smithsonian used to be the place that would bring people in, they would build their expertise, then they would go forth and servants and part of our goal is to make sure that we continue to not just keep all of the could people -- although nobody is getting out of your until we open -- but to encourage people to be able to take our police, our attitudes, our sense of how do you do history and why it is so
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important and shared around the country -- i think so many things -- i just wanted to add to that, it really is crucial that we diversify our staff. you have students looking at different careers in the field of public history, it is not just being a curator or a historian. i have more people on my staff in marketing, pr, fundraising, , business shop administration, although these other jobs where you are still doing history. no historic site can survive with all of the support. it is critical that we have people around the leadership table making these decisions in marketing, pr, development, from the african-american community. as you are working, please think jobs that are
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available with museums in addition to education and historical research and interpretation. >> good evening. i am just so proud and happy to be here. i have continuity conferences and symposiums but this was an awesome conference. i really have enjoyed it. african-americans -- i'm interested in the future of the young people of the united states. what is going to happen to our sitesen with the historic and the museum? interested anything to work with -- we have all this technology, satellites, internet, what have you, what is the future plan for our children from the historical site point
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of you and the museum? well, in addition to having the buildings reconstructed, we have left the archaeological evidence of another nine buildings there. we have regular education programs. to have are encouraged lessons of history, they can do hands-on things. they can tour the safe community first because the building predated the owners -- and it does buildings there are some things that they can touch and do hands-on. we do isain thing provide a good experience, a good education program for one group as the word spreads.
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you can invite them, the next group. >> what is crucially important for the museum was to realize that it is an educational institution and part of the howlenge was to think about do you build a museum for the 21st-century atco we all knew how to build a museum when it was, if you build it, they will come, but rather, what we really did is we spent a lot of time with -- i have a group of gifted educators and we spent a lot of time looking at, first of all, the reality is, that most people come to history late, so how is it that you craft opportunities for children in a variety of ages and we have experts who work just with the judge and so we actually have an array of programs for kids three-for-5-6 to really begin to doubt that we have a lot of surveys -- what we
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found was that for a lot of teenagers in millennials, the goal was that they had lived their life virtually and not seeing the authentic and what we would be a nice is there was a great opportunity to use technology as the way in, to bring them to the authentic and so we really have looked at integrating technology in a variety of ways. i mean, obviously, hands-on, interactive, taking advantage of the fact that everybody has their own handheld device, how to make those programs work. we have taken a lot of attempt with social media so that in essence the challenge for us is to basically recognize that the goal of embracing new generations is to be nimble because the technology is changing and needs are changing, so that is why we have hired an array of people who really can help us anticipate what we should be doing as he moved toward the future. >> maybe just and just quickly
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to that -- and i think we have an amazing challenge in front of us. raised a question about textbooks in what we see there. i put up the challenge to all of you in the field of history in whatever way you may be to get involved in your own community or state, what you can do to improve education especially history so it is no longer -- teachers who are grounded in history. teacher workshops or certainly moving in the right direction and there are lots of ways i andk we can get students teachers better-engaged in history through site visits as dorothy was describing and also through intergenerational programs as well so children learn from the parents, historyents, and make -- it becomes more personal, it is not something -- history
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didn't happen to somebody else, history -- to me. and i think we can find ways to make that personal connection by using technology in these other ways we can move him on in those directions also, in the public memory of history, we see memorials, especially in the south, to the confederates -- as we talked about earlier -- i think about it, also, provides an opportunity for us as historians to get engaged in to create an alternative narrative what the lawrence talked about, who are the local heroes? in communities and states who but not in contention -- this these people not to create a counter narrative and i think that would do a lot to address what rebecca campbell was asking. i am a student at the
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university of maryland in preservation. i would like to say that we have gotten a long way, but what i have also seen is that it becomes a selective narrative for african-americans who can select to go on the slave narrative, to go on that tour. how do we as professionals integrate that into other places? into the mainstream narrative, so you do not skip it or self-selected? it?elf select my follow-up question is on the opposite scale of hers, what is being done for preservation of public history professionals that are african-american who want to study other things that are not just african-american because when i walk up to people it isutomatically think the one african-american place
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that is important, and i love that, but what if i want to study latinos yet because we are all together. >> i will take up the second one. if you want to apply -- [indiscernible] >> fine, you are in. [laughter] >> if you want to study the election of 1864, that is fine, just come. yalet saw you wearing a cap? where the hell did you get that? singular.that it is american history through the lens of many lenses of the african-american experience, so, not to worry. >> good afternoon. that baldwin says everything he face cannot be changed but nothing can be .hanged until it is faced
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on this question of remembrance in public reckoning, my question is primarily to mr. mcdaniels. will your work in south carolina in any way intersect with the work that has been done by brian stevenson of the equal justices hisiative where organization has attempted to place landmarks on places where there were known lynchings throughout the south. i am just curious in terms of monuments,oning and will your work potentially ryansect with the work cap is doing yet coherent historian, he is a criminal defense lawyer. and i hope that it would. it goes back to my earlier point. that was too narrow a term. as to those moments of tragedy
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and violence that i think we need to recognize, certainly across the south more than we have done so before, not only by way of historical markers but also in a -- in our school systems in other ways, to change just the dominant narrative of searching the southern history and american history, so that is something i wouldn't -- someone i would look forward to working with to find out how we can work with him and in others and going back earlier -- i was talking about bringing people of different points of view -- and so we have museums that are safe places where he can present his plaintive view. he can speak. i don't know where in the hell it would -- we -- [indiscernible] know, but you get people together to talk about these issues that we are hearing one another and until we start hearing one another in this design is going to continue -- it is going to get deeper.
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so, it is what i have talked about, experiential learning, that is how we learn. and so, i would look forward to hearing more from him in the doing some programs with him. i am retiring at the end of june , so i cannot do something with -- but maybe something else that we can do. adam green from the university of chicago, a question for the panel inspired by the opening remarks from bonnie. when you mention you are a critical letter and the fact that the person said that one of the great strength of america is that he knows how to forget something along those lines -- there were some members of the audience were people are saying, that is right, that is actually a good analysis of the united states and i think in some ways that is something that we -- asy fight in academic academic historians, public historians, participants and people that where two or more of those ads -- but i guess i want
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to ask a question about something that is a little bit more difficult to admit which is that we distance ourselves from that act of forgetting without acknowledging how much of the work of academic scholarship in public history is in part founded on forgetting. what wechoices about put into exhibits and holdings but we make choices about how we sort of sequence events between the choices about when we sort of start and stop chronologies purely make choices about what we understand to matter -- maybe in one generation and not in so, i don't mean this as a criticism -- i mean this as a question and needy even a plea for guidance. how do we think about the ways in which we ought to forget as well as the ways in which we ought to remember? and let me give two examples where i think we can see they need and the urgency for trying to figure this out another more clearly. one which i think has to do with thinking about the ways in which we might remember or forget the future, actually goes to
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charleston. and i hesitate to say this because i don't mean any disrespect at all or any questioning, certainly of people in charleston including those who read in the annual miami and in the city -- emmanuel ame who are recovering, even, reckoning with the loss of a experience but i think in the spirit of was prone of the day ago, while in silence that i think we would be the operably remiss in going over is that there was a larger and remains a larger argument about whether coming to heal, finding ways finding ways to reconcile is something that people are actually prepared to do in relation to that moment yet come i heard a lot of questions, a lot of expressions of frustration in relation to the specific imperative of christian forgiveness in relation to that moment and the ways in which that wasn't sort of positioned to serve a number of different
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agendas in relation to with a community needs to go -- again, not intended as a criticism that if we might think for instance about the debates that have gone on a ranch with an reconciliation in south africa, for example, you can see the connection. and in a second example actually has to do with the subject that read was talking about, which is this question if they can about what's has to make the arguments in relation to names on buildings, the memorial lesson of different kinds of memories, and i think we as academic historians may have skated a little too quickly over to the idea that we have to treat these occasions as teachable moments. i hear the student saying that i see people forgetting in the united states all the time, i would like to have the same i would like to have the same capacity to designate what i remember and what i forget. so, to sum this up as a question, we are all going to forget it -- >> why bother -- >> we're all going to forget in order to remember. how do we do it, barely had we
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do it with another sense of ethical imagination? had we do in a way that is responsible and accountable? >> i will not give an answer is look, ithe question, is a terrible important point. forgetting is always the flipside of remembering. as aion was once defined site of people who have decided to forget. nietzsche warned us that there could be no collective community without some degree of forgetting. forgetting is what we do every day. we do it in our family histories, personal histories, we live sometimes because we forget that we are talking here really about structures of remembering and forgetting, structures of choice. i do not think the function of and easy in the city each people how to forget, but it is helping people process what they are remembering.
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if there are elements -- i was just in charleston, in reply to e-mail you will ame, etc., etc., etc. and i had lunch with some of the survivors and they are not parents somealing of them can talk about christian forgiveness and some of them don't even want to hear it. range of howndous people respond to that kind of trauma and nobody should ever impose a kind of remembering on anybody who has experienced trauma. they have to find their own way. forgetting is always the other side are remembering. it simply is. that is reality. good afternoon. i am marvin jones. my organization documents, researches, preserves and presents the history of my community in northeastern north
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carolina. routeof somerset place on 45 in hartford county, next-door to where your parents grew up, in northampton county? right. so, we are neighbors, in a way. museum and for your larger museums and that is in to alsong your work encourage your audience to pay more attention to local sites, to local museums that are -- that were difficult to set up, many times closed unless you to pay more attention
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to the efforts that public historians have made across the to put a presence of local history within your audience that gets on buses and comes into washington, spends a few hours at a, spends more time traveling to the new museum then they will in their local museums, the local sites. excuse me? question really is in what way does the national museum help the local community tell their stories, drive people to attend these places? that was at the heart of our notion of being collaborative. we recognize at the smithsonian is like a beacon. both actually and virtually to push them back to local museums. so that you would come in cnn's addition on the migration from
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african-americans from the south to the north and we might say, see how that has played at the destroyed historical society, see how the california african-american museum does that, also to look virtually to be able to do things online because, basically, the great joy of this museum is it is worth a great educational opportunities in america. you are going to have 5 million people walking in every year and probably 80 million people online ever year. therefore, the goal is to use that online audience to say that you don't have to come here, that in your local communities, there are stories that you can engage with address or with, so that, in essence, the notion for it is not enough for things to work in washington, but they've got to work in other places, as well. that is what we are try to do. much.nk you very >>-cent. i brought that up in a paper but we have to find ways to people -- from the visit museums.
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also the local commodity for which that a history came benefits -- local historical societies and so forth been an easy and is going to be working on that and i hope other museums will be doing more of that, as well. more time wish we had that i'm kidding this wrap up. i tell you what, that last question -- jocelyn i of howardan alumni university and a park ranger. in my time as a public historian, i have noticed that who chooseore phds to go into public history as opposed to stopping at a masters . there seems to be a gap between public history as a field and scholars who want to continue with the research arm. are you guys noticing more phd is in your application pool?
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phds are running history because there are no jobs and academic which means they are not necessarily prepared for public history, what the graduate students as well as professors in academia due to train themselves as want to be public history practitioners? >> i will defer to david and others but the reality is that we believe very strongly that working as a public historian is not a second-class citizen. in essence, the kind of training that we expect, first and -- it seemsstorians to me that we can let air on top of that is some of the skills that you need to the above historian. -- smithsonian is strange -- we do not care what other institutions, with the chicago historical society gets or that all of my curators are phd's, right?
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said that basically for ross it is really about bringing the best scholarship as i said on thursday night -- that is the engine of the smithsonian, bringing in the best scholarships, working with him to understand, one of the challenges yucca one of the opportunities of public history? in and basically let them do the work. well, guys, thank you very much, please join me in thanking the smithsonian. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit]
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[indiscernible conversations] now and our break coverage here on american history tv on c-span3. we will come back to the smithsonian national museum of american history for more of this african-american history conference in a few minutes -- about 20 minutes. the next panel is scheduled for 3:45 eastern, titled african-american history as american history. until then, we join the city store on the road as they explore the history of hattiesburg, mississippi. >> now, i get up early every morning. i go to bed around 10:00-11:00.
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just working and trying to make a living. we love to work, our whole family. i worked when i was able to do it i worked all the time. night and day. i just worked in saved my money and put it in the bank every month. i didn't know anybody. wonderful. she was a short lady, about five feet. she probably weighed about 90 pounds. if i had to sum her up in a nutshell, she was amazing, she was an amazing person who gave been she went to school and only made it six grade. however, she was smart enough to start doing laundry.
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she washed and ironed clothes for some of the people who lived in hattiesburg. and she made a fortune. she started out by boiling cloaks in a big tub at her house and on the back of her house was a long porch, very long porch. that is where she would hang the clothes. she would wash them, hang them, and when she ironed them, she would put them out. she started out by charging a dime. i guess she went up to a quarter and then maybe $.50 and then maybe one dollar. she was amazing about her, put her many up and she never spent it and she kept it in a little doll's buggy.
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at one point, her mother said you need to get rid of this money so she took it to the bank and that's how she started learning to put money in the bank. that money grew and grew. then one morning, she went to the bank and the banker told her that she had $280,000 in terms of estate. andtook hundred $50,000 gave it to the university of southern mississippi so african-american students could go to school. >> the story of what we call the gift begin when she went to paul laughlin and what paul did was he laid out 10 dimes which represented 10% of her savings, which amounted to about $250,000. she wanted to give 10% to a church, three other dimes to
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relatives and cousins, and the remainder to the university. [applause] >> miss mccarty gave 100 $50,000 to the university in 1995 in designated it with a preference for african-americans didn't and people not of financial means couldn't attend the university otherwise. the first award was given in the mid-90's to a harrisburg resident and that continues on today. she made her donation in 1995 and almost instantly became a national celebrity of sorts, was a little confusing to her. she didn't understand that she had done anything special. she was a woman of rate faith. work was important to her. she was really just living out
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the values of her faith in making this gift. when people started giving her attention for it, there was a little bit she didn't understand. everyone else understood that this is not how most people live their lives. most people don't do things, save every penny they've earned and give it away so other people can thrive. >> it ended up with people calling from washington, all over the country for her to come . the amazing thing for me was miss mccarty wanted to go but dr.did not want to fly and lucas came to me and asked me if i mind being her companion to go with her to these different places. andent on oprah winfrey they came in the dressing room. they were applying her makeup. opera came in and i've never
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anything.mbled by oprah got down on her knees and said "miss mccarty, i'm oprah winfrey." she said "how are you doing? " and i spoke with her for a few minutes and she went out and miss mccarty said iwatch her on television." and i said i know you do. >> yet never nominate a plane and was traveling all parts of the country -- he had never been on an airplane and was traveling all parts of the country. this woman would never seen the university a couple miles away was no sitting on the couch with oprah. clicks we have a store here called hudson's. we went there to get a coat. people started together in one "why did sheo me
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give all that money to the university of southern mississippi and didn't give it to jackson state or another school?" i said i think you need to ask her because she is right over there. the lady asked her the same question. she said "well, god told me who to give it to. their black student at the university of southern mississippi and i want to give it to the students but god is the one who told me who to give it to." >> we are here in mccain library in this is where the mccarty collection goes. miss mccarty received a number of honors and one of the most significant was the residential citizens medal from president clinton, the second highest honor given to private citizens
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of the united states. >> at this country had more people like you, we would have very few problems and i'm very proud of you and i thank you so much for what you've done and for the example you set for people all across america. >> she was in love with president clinton. i think only because he was the first president that invited her to the oval office and treated her as though she was great. the outfit she wore in the oval , when she died, she had the same outfit. >> she was honored by carrying the olympic torch on its way to atlanta in 1996. that was the first time she ever wore shorts in her life. at the university of southern mississippi, we presented her with an honorary doctorate, the
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first honorary degree ever awarded at this institution. she was also honored with an honorary degree from harvard. here are some of the tools of her trade, her washboard and taught she washed close in -- clothes in. she would place it over a wood burning stove and wash the water. this first one year and the second one would be free delicate items. >> i was with her from 1995 through her death. when they called and took her thingo hospice, one good i remember, i was on my way to work and something said go by and see miss mccarty and i went and she said "what are you doing here?" i said i've come to see about
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you. if i've ever done anything to you or said anything to you in any way that was not pleasing to you or to the lord, will you forgive me? -- i said i'm just saying that. will you forgive me? she said yes. and if i did anything with that anything to you, will you forgive me? i said yes. and that was one of the last times i spoke to her and what i found it a blessing for me because of her, i give. whatever i got, i give. >> she said are you miss mccarty and i said i am. she said we should quit spending our money and go to saving our money.
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>> inspired you. >> i said thank you. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to hattiesburg, mississippi to learn about its rich history. learn more about hattiesburg and other stops on the tour at you're watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. throughout the month of may, we are marking the 40th anniversary of the 1976 release of the church committee's final report with extended portions of that investigated cia, fbi, nsa intelligence activities. here's a preview from this weekend's program. bill america is looking into the church committee which set a broad examination of the work of fbi, cia.of the
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we will be looking at the testimony of two fbi informants. we are going to show you a clip of a ku klux klan informant. he described how he participated in beatings of civil rights activist during the freedom riders movement in birmingham 10, -- birmingham, alabama. >> did you inform the fbi about planned violence try or to that? informatione fbi approximately three weeks before. i stated to them that i have been contacted by a birmingham city detective who in turn wanted me to meet with a high-ranking officer of the birmingham police department to set a reception for the freedom riders. >> the birmingham policemen set
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up the beating of the freedom riders and you told the fbi that? >> correct. >> and where they beat in? >> very badly, yes. >> did the police give you the time they promise to give you? 15we were promised with -- minutes with no intervention from a police officer whatsoever. the information was passed on to the bureau. approximately 15 minutes after werereedom riders attacked, a police officer ran over to me and stated "get them added here, your 15 minutes are up." have you underscore for the public exactly what it is that we are hearing here. i'm trying to understand, we just heard testimony that the fbi and birmingham police colluded to allow people to come in and beat the freedom riders unaffected for 15 minutes before the authorities moved in, is
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that correct? >> that is what you just heard and that is what happened. that day, we had two witnesses, gary thomas roe who testified with a hood over his head and a young woman who was in the vietnam veterans in the war and she was an informer for the fbi. "you, are pointless not should not have any informers." informers are a legitimate law enforcement tool. however, there was absolutely no and whofor deciding how we would pick as an informer and as that story about knowing beatings of the freedom riders shows, the informer sometimes do some very bad things in order to maintain their credibility.
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public come out into the . he testified in a murder trial against three ku klux klan people who have murdered a civil rights worker who was on a march in the south. by the three ku klux klan people and killed because she was riding in a car with two black young men. and gonecome public public and testified at the murder trial against his three confederates in the ku klux klan. with about half an hour to go before the hearing, he said to me "i cannot appear on television." we really wanted him on television because it was such a dramatic story. under the rules of the senate, a witness who didn't want to
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on television didn't have to appear on television so i came up with the idea of putting a bag over his head and slits over his eyes and maybe for his mouth so he could see and talk. one of the assistance for senator tower presiding that day said "you did that in order to embarrass senator tower." the center never said any such thing like that to me but i think it was a great idea. it got this guy did testify and perhaps added a bit of drama for having this person with a bag over his head giving not very dramatic testimony you just played. >> i quit very shortly after working for the bureau because of this incident. why wasn't something done?
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more of the church committee's investigation into government intelligence activities saturday night at 10:00 p.m. and sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern here on american history tv on c-span3. >> now live at the smithsonian national museum of american history for more of the african-american history conference. the final panel of the day just getting underway. take i were to be given to that forward and to say how when i think about one word to describe where we aren't this say wow. would [laughter] i'm not going to make you do it. we may get there. framinghink about the of the very beginning and going back more than three decades ago
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to talk about the state of african-american history and you and think the years about what that means and where we are, the questions on the table, the ways and the approaches of that have been developed and redeveloped. then you think about the institutions that have been created and developed and enhanced in those decades. that to is important to consider. remembering who was in the 1983 and who have entered the academy and the number of students and scholars who have contributed to the base of our knowledge. if you think through all the effort over the last two days, because west wow,
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end of the last panel and talked about the creation of museums and their role and place in society and whose memory is how did they forget. how do they think about the power of one group of our co-citizens who has struck a whole generation about what is america's history by their control of a textbook. therstanding control of textbooks in texas translates to the united states because the market is the texas market. those states have influence the ways in which the publishing industry organizes textbooks for several decades. thehinking about that and range of things that we have encountered. several of the words come to mind.
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this point and we are reminded in a powerful way of intellectual inquiry. and the politics of intellectual inquiry. the words about how were actually mean some ink. our ability to insist that certain questions should be considered. the politics of intellectual inuiry means you sit professional organizations and argue over what is included and what's exquisite. it means you engage in academics and reviews to try to shape. books thatand the existed in african-american history.
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for most of us who came of that age, we all knew. the politics of intellectual inquiry. when darling created her series and others came along to create series, we did something more than open up, we created space. in the process of creating space, we allow new ideas to emerge and to find a way to gain traction. in those intervening three decades, if we look at all the work and talk about the future of the african-american past, it's important to think about the past and how much has changed and how much work there was that went into place to get to today.83 and recalling also the the politics of intellectual inquiry is never done because it too is part of the struggle. that david like
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concluded with, invoking frederick douglass. anyway, he was embodying the notion that ideas matter. we are reminding that the power of words and images actually come together to give us some sense. my colleagues are going to talk in a certain way about these politics of intellectual inquiry as we think about african-american history as american history. to say you know them all is probably to state the obvious but they are listed and i won't go through a full biography but neil is the professor of american history at princeton brent -- princeton university. to my immediate left is the darlene come board of trustees
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-- darling come board of trustees professor at northwestern university. and the director executive of the american historical association. and jackie jones, a professor of southern history at the university of texas at austin. by the associate professor of history and african-american history on george town and stephanie schopp, professor of history at ohio state university. let me start. given what we have heard over the last two days and what we know as part of our experience over the last three decades, what is the best way to think about the question of african american history as american history? all.ank you
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for this wonderful reunion. it's a great pleasure. my one word would have been "everything." -- doe in the words everything. we have been doing everything. the fantastic papers you have heard, they don't fall under one rubric. they don't take one set of methodologies. they don't examine one set of questions or one group of people. they do everything. i think that's the beauty of what we have accomplished in the last 30 years.
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i am listed first because i have some images to show you, which i thought would wake you up. have the first thematic question. let me start you off with the images and i will set them up givehen my colleagues will you a full answer to your question in historical terms. as some of you know, after i retired from princeton, i went asked to school. i got a bachelor of fine arts in and a master of fine arts in painting at the rhode island school of design. this fundamentally changed the way i think about things and what i do. i'm going to show you the things changed mye way it
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thinking about the past -- and i don't know if this is going to hold for people in the future because i don't know how many people are going to turn from their phd's in history -- [laughter] years,storian for many one of the underlying questions i faced, and i think many of us face in our discussions today, is the question of representatives. how does this case study, how does this individual, how does this story, how does this event represent african-american people? for all time. after all, history is a social science and science is
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permanent. science gives you a permanent truth. the test of representativeness, even though i didn't think about it, was very important for me as a historian. also something came up for me in an earlier panel was shadow narrative of white supremacy of progress. that stopping us from asking some of the questions and supplying some of the answers that might seem to give comfort or to recessive tate that -- resuscitate that kind of narrative. the question was did in the enslaved people tell jokes? of course it but you didn't want to focus on that because of the shadow narrative that never went away and that you might seem to
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be feeding if you talked about that. or you might not want to talk about a wealthy african-american because that might say that that is the quintessential story. is -- an art school, i away from that. myselfschool, i found moving away from the representative truth or the enduring truth and much more interested in individual specificity. in there my keywords now way i face history. i'm going to show you about 12 images of my own work in chronological order to show you how i moved away from that question of representativeness
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body, whichblack happened to be mine. medley ofd of history. now i make artist books. this is my second one. this is the staples addition where i start. i have them printed at staples. [laughter] i also have them really printed and i'm glad that the , volume 27,of this will soon be in the collection of the national museum of american history and culture. not the staples version. so i also discovered as i made
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these artist books that the act of making an image focused me much more on the details of the event or of the person so i could see history more clearly as i made images. i will show you some of those images and i should add that it really gave me an additional appreciation of the role of museums in presenting historical material visually. this is one of my first self portraits. this is from 2010. this is another self-portrait and you will see they don't really look alike and that is
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one of the great freedoms of making your own art about your own self, you don't have to worry about looking like yourself or looking like a certain sort of african-american. this was one of the first pieces i made after i graduated from art school because in art school, they kept trying to beat the historian out of me. [laughter] there are two worst things you can be as an artist and i am them both. the one is academic and the other is old. [laughter] this is one of a series of composite maps.
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on the left side is west africa turned around with from it yet and it and georgia and the goinges and ukraine and around to russia, to thailand, and newmerican south orleans and around the bottom, it goes into georgia and alabama there areurkey and the islands of the sea. what holds all of this together is subject matter which is the thepolice can -- odalisque, sexually available slave girl. this figure i concentrated on my book -- on in my book "the
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history of white people." but allabout slavery the many places slavery exists. this map could only exist in art, in imagination. this is the cover of art history volume 27. darlene, i know you are saying "iou a copy of art history ."lume xxvii there is no volume 20. >> i have got to get a copy of this one. >> you own the staples addition copy. i already gave it to you. how memorable is my work? [laughter] that we cameng with joe.
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yes. [laughter] this is one of the pages in and this is when the pages in volume 27. mouth are the keywords about the ancestral art. because the subject matter of volume 27 is african art and the harlem renaissance. he is telling you in a very bossy way that african art needs to be the ancestral art for the negro artist. not going to show you all that book but part of the rest of it is the negro artist who did not agree. is a man named william shepherd who was an african
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american missionary in the congo in the late 19th century who had a collection of african art that now reside at hampton. but his collection of african art did not go into the new negro because he was not a rich man. which tells you something about art. it was one of the paintings he made and behind him is william harmon who gave money for the harmon foundation. of art historyer volume 28. fromis one of the pages the first page. this is another of the pages in
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this image takes off. this is a drawing i did in provincetown. for me as an artist, robert motherwell was important because he was a painter who both painted and wrote. i defied it enough. this is a digital image that is inspired by the drawing you just saw.
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honorst two pieces are in of climate price -- climate price. this will be in the collection of our museum and finally a small installation. piecesre six separate but i put them together as an installation. this is the kind of work i do now, which is idiosyncratic. i don't expect you to relate this to larger themes of african-american history and i don't expect you to relate what i did in my life to larger themes of african-american history. [laughter] >> they are reading and teaching your book.
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was nell irvin painter. [laughter] nell: the complexity of what i did in what we just did and what we are doing when we talk about everything, answer some of the questions that came up the first night. art can give you complexity but also doing everything can give you complexity and biographies that focused on individual subjectivity, place them in historical context yes but concentrate on one life. that also supplies the complexity that we are looking
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for. thank you. >> just to emphasize how more relevant you are then you think, the back of my business card says "everything has a history so there you go. [applause] of the premier books of our generation. you can't walk away from your past. >> what was the question again? how do we think about that,
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how do we consider if we look to the future, african-american history and its relationship to american history. >> i have to confess to that senior moment. the conference organized by darlene. i think we should note the
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assistance of mr. wooden. and people have gone to the website. i won't rehearse the paper per se. progress. ,hat building across the street you can see it in the flesh. it's a representation in concrete of where we have come from.
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certainly at the beginning of our career or in the middle of our career. and my own take on the word .rogress is a little different progress has always been in to fromreating a plot which the next stage of struggle proceeds. the progress that has been made is not to be put down. i think that is as important today.
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take stock of where we have come and see where we move from here. basically it was what use are you historians? i think as historians, we have an obligation to give a fair and critical arm where we have come from because it is necessary for the next steps that we might take.
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and there's another point i hope also go back. i talk about it in the paper on the website. gave the keynote at that conference but 14 years been at the university of chicago where he was chair of the history department and a proponent of black studies. in that moment, he said in a dress in which he endorsed the politics and intellectual inquiry.
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in some ways, the direct bearing betweenarlier conflict not just franklin by his generation and the younger generation emerging because their experience was to integrate american history. our project was to write a history of african-americans separate from the american history. they are not mutually exclusive but what we felt was needed was to understand the experience, the aspirations and so forth of the history of africans -- african-americans not separate from the relationship of oppression, struggle.
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some of them not ratified by the establishment. >> new topics as well and new people who had been excluded from the histories of the past one of theor so and things that i most recently remember about that conference was that we were so exuberant at our newness that we were having this conference and john
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franklin was there giving his blessings but we were all working on different kinds of projects and topics and we were just going to turn this thing upside down and inside out and round and around weekend. we were want to rewrite slavery, ofrite our understanding emancipation and what it really meant. talking about institutions like education. what are black schools? do they teach just a black stuff? what do black people need separate schools for and should we always be fighting for integration when we need our own and separate institutions that will also empower us and prepare for greater struggle? ande was still that nationalism was still very strong. what kind of history are we going to write?
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that excited all of us. , this wasconference unexpected as far as i was i was challenged by a group of people who let not been at that conference and who had the audacity to critique what this generation may or may was thend that fifth-grade schoolteacher from idianapolis suggesting that write a history of black women in indiana. i'm going to do like nell -- what? [laughter] i told story many times before. that aretty shocked would calltaxpayer
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up a public servant historian working at purdue and make a request that i changed the history, you know? we were talking to each other. we are not really focused at that particular moment on whether people in the community have an opinion about how we should be doing our work. that was a big dilemma. she was more than then i is because she told me after i told her you can't call up a historian and order a book. [laughter] to aay he would drive up wendy's and order a hamburger. [laughter] we do not work that way. to at that point, she said me let me get this straight, you are a historian or you? i said yes.
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she said you're a black woman and i said yes. she said you mean you can't put those things together and write a history? [laughter] of black women in indiana? i was outdone. i said i suppose i could. untrained, i guess so but first of all, i don't know anything about black women, which was a lie. aboutdidn't know anything black women indiana, which was the truth. i told her the only black woman i know something about, harriet tubman, sojourner truth, phyllis wheatley. to the rest of my knowledge, not one of them lives in indiana. but she won the argument because
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she did that taxpayer thing, -- citizenship thing and i didn't have a response. she said had the thank you got to purdue? i told her i want to graduate school. she said you got there because the women i want you to write about march to in the street. we protested, went to jail. we made a difference and we changed things and you are going to write this book. and i agreed to do it. that was the beginning of my entire emphasis on black women in american history but first, i had to do black women and african-american history and shattered some of those silences. is on myublic consciousness when we think
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about history. what questions are we not answering, what kind of sources do we need to collect and put into these institutions to levy next generation write even more inclusive and better american history and african-american history simultaneously? [applause] >> you want me to follow that? on, i would like to pick up before i get to that, the story about the purdue conference. john franklin never taught african-american history and when his successor tried to teach african-american history -- >> you? >> yeah. [laughter] i was trying to anonymize.
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one of his friends and colleagues, senior vice column there -- columnist. suggesting that this should not be done. a lot of this conference -- a lot of us at this conference are people who have trouble following rules but the person who was the most supportive was a john hope. he said he tossed southern history and history every's relations. and he said it needs to beat out of it i wasn't the right one to teach it. it was that same generational thing, that he felt that wasn't his purpose. so i think this whole issue of african-american history as american history, part of it is making about purpose, which gets me to the public issue darlene
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raised. i want to acknowledge leslie harris because what i'm about to throw out here as a result of the conversation leslie and i -- beforehis russian this session. we are in the national museum of american history. in september, the national museum of african american history and culture will open. one of the issues is this question of what does that mean when you have the two museums? one of the ways to get at this what do the public's expect when they walk into these two museums? when people walk into this they are american, it doesn't matter whether they are african-american or jewish or italian-american, they expect to find themselves. every american expects to find themselves and i would argue,
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because i believe in democracy and and sometimes too much of an optimist, every american should be able to find themselves in this museum. this is the museum of american history. that's a reasonable expectation. but what are people going to when they walk into a museum of african american history? if they are not african-american, will they that iso see something other? i'm going there because i want , because i'mt them being a good citizen, because this is what i should do. that is the best of all possible worlds and the worst is to gaze on the other. i'm curious as to how the public will be seeing this difference between what something is called african-american history and
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something called american history is. obviously, african-american visitors to the new museum will also expect to see themselves, their history. but once you have international visitors, that changes everything. i spent a lot of time walking and there are a lot of international visitors. i think that will be even more curious when people from other museumss see these two and they haven't yet heard lonnie bunch say african-american history is american history and the sign outside i don't think we'll say that. what will they expect in terms of these museums being side-by-side? that is where i would start.
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>> i know there will be questions. i think every american will find -- to answer your question, i duly give would be appropriate for us to honor darlene, who in 1983
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gathered a conference on the future of the african-american past. darlene, your vision, your organizational skills. you are running around one morning where there was a glitch. i cannot remember what it was but i thought at the time, i don't want to ever organize a conference because it's really hard as the organizers know. you had that vision but you also have the organizational skills and the editorial skills to bring it together and we owe you so much. i began to think of myself as a member of the community as a result of that conference and it was really an important part of my life and career. to step back for a moment and marvel at this papers and comments that we have heard
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over the last few days. such a wide array of perspectives, themes, topics, methodology. such energy, such promise. back to ae conversation i had with darlene and i think this one was with and the three of us got together. we were around 1992 and congratulating ourselves because even in that 10 year span and , we felt byarlier the early 90's that our work was being taken seriously, that we were represented.
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and we also said as a discipline, history seems to be more generous than some of the other disciplines where people or whater methodology is the proper way to approach a problem or what are the appropriate topics to study, what themes should we study. regardless of our perspectives, we all seemed to be able to recognize the history when we see it. that to me was a very hopeful that just because it meant the history of african-americans, of women, of workers would always find a
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receptive audience in the academy because we were writing good history. in that sense, the last couple days have confirmed that about the vitality, the imagination, the work in the archives, everything that went into these wonderful papers from many different perspectives. all of them great. looking back to that conversation, i think we were a bit too self-congratulatory and i just wanted to say a couple words about this wonderful scholarship that we have appreciated, bringing it to a larger audience and the challenge for those of us in the academy, those of us not necessarily in public history because a lot of the scholarship we produce does not get distributed to a wide audience.
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sometimes, it's too expensive, i wrote a book about racial labor divisions, and maybe 35 people read it. but out of that book am i realize there are very powerful stories to tell. of the stories i encountered and expanded it into biography. americans,tion that all of us, love stories. we love the beginning, middle, and end. biography is a powerful way to tell a story, obviously. view, i am point of thinking now in terms of bringing larger, complicated
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outsideo an audience the academy through biography. on lucyking on one parsons, a slave woman born in 1851 in virginia, became a labor agitator. she was famous at her time. goodieve i could tell a story about that and about radical politics. appetites for biographies of the founding fathers seems to be endless. appetite forc's military history, the story of battles. into theenge is to tap great interest in history that and inform a larger public of all of the wonderful things we're finding out about the past. have beenf my friends project atan op-ed
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the university of texas. kelly, on the subject of incarcerated women of color, and dina, on african-american history and slavery. placeave been able to powerful outlets online and in print in a way that brings really good history to a larger audience. that is something to think about. wordtainly have to say one about the assault on history and public education in general and the state of texas. whatmes not only through are called the texas essential , theedge and skills standards imposed on kids'
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education, but the private foundations that seek to influence the way history is taught and understood at the university level. a couple years ago, one of these foundations went up -- after the syllabi of one of my colleagues at ut. looking at the assignments, and then categorizing them, and discovering there was too much political correctness at work. let me give you an example. when we assigned frederick douglass' narrative, that work was pigeonholed as a work that has something to do with race or black people, no acknowledgment that this is a powerful work exposing antebellum economics and politics, not to mention, it is a powerful piece of literature. us whole idea was to shame
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to pull it up as avatars of political correctness and put pressure on us to change. failed,, that effort for a variety of reasons. for one, the alumni of the university wrote us and pushed back against this private foundation. the state board of education standards glorified free enterprise systems. i remember reviewing a book by a famous publisher where george wallace was described as representative of those americans in the 1950's and 1960's who were concerned about social change. [laughter] and the activists of the 1950's and 1960's were described as those who thought to challenge american values of loyalty, authority, and the military.
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but these are actual textbooks, this is what is happening. when we talk about the future of african-american history, i fear these assaults on the truth, on --uracy, for idiotic ideological ends. it is too soon to congratulate ourselves. there is the attention i see today. on one hand, the opening of the new museum, which is an historic and monumental event, indicative of an interest in history. online, websites have a wealth of scholarship in
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history, there is a fascination. in family history, genealogy, with all segments of the population, suggesting there is a profound and untapped demand for more history from the general american public. and that is all great because that is what we respond to. i have to sayme, i feel there is an assault on the humanities in general. that, why be a history major, what kind of job will it get you? efforts to steer undergraduates into other fields, science, technology, engineering, math, away from the humanities, with a dismissive notion that we have nothing to learn from any of the humanities, and the only purpose of an education is to get a job and a well-paying job, at that.
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that mindset of course is very dangerous for us as historians. and i will and with one note. group oflaining to a students at texas, a small group, i was saying, i see so many inaccuracies out there, there incorporated into textbooks, and it is very difficult for me, as a historian, to see this misinformation gain traction, and a whole new narrative of american history replacing the truth. me, what isasked your responsibility for correcting all the mistakes that are floated out there about american history? , no, i don't feel responsible, because if i did that, i could not do my own work.
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i would not have the time and energy, and in that sense, i made a choice, that i would focus on my own work. but that does not mean i don't feel that there are negatives there. i still feel that i'm in the trenches. , i am forced to be concise. a foundation, the national association of scholars, the project in texas. it was not a foundation. let me intervene, there is a private foundation in texas and i went online to check it out. they were supportive of this effort, and they had commentary that equates the black rights matter movement with white supremacists' groups. >> it was the national association of scholars. and i will be very self-promoting here, shamelessly. the issue jackie raised at the , i have an op-ed in the los
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angeles times on wednesday. >> let's open this up. i am recognizing we have a commitment to this audience to open it up to them at 5:00. we end at 5:30. now, i will be merciless and cut everyone off if they are going to be long. short answers, please. we talked about the individual, going from the academic scholar to the artist, and how we focus on the individual. tom went back and picked up the notion of the early generations , andrican-american history he threaded that with his teaching of race relations. saying, we did not do that, we did african-american history.
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want theirn't even books to be nominated for race relations, because that is not what we do. at least two of you, or all three of you, have written larger narratives about african-american history. how do you tell the story? ghetto, thatons a theme of progress? it is problematic, and needs to be tested. if you are writing it now, how would you frame your work? >> it is called creating black from the early 1900s until the present. parts to it, one was xtual, aand one was te
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synthetic narrative imagery. i chose that strategy because i wanted to get into the scientific text. a history,ng it as and as a scientist, someone who wanted her readers to be able to trust what i said, whether or not you agreed with me politically. which meant, keeping the passion out of the writing. the passion is in the images, because black artists felt free and beautifully, abundantly, made our work relating to african-american history. my second impetus to going back to art school. i learned that there was an abundant african-american art history. i had only known the art history
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. grew up with, modernist art the sort of the new deal type of art. has something like 150 images. sometimes one figure will appear several times, like frederick douglass, because for me, there is not one frederick douglass. and this was an earlier version of the neoclassical turn. it is about the science and the narrative. case, the book, which came out in 2010, it was ironically contracted as a book.ement to another
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at first, i felt a struggle with sense, it was a textbook. all the stuff that needs to be -- and after a couple years, i finally organized that book, in terms of generations. african-americans, which gets away from the tendency of organizedxts that are according to other theories of american history, often presidential administration. thent to tell the people story from the people's perspective, and think about my father's life. my father was born in 1917, grew up in jim crow south in virginia on a farm, went to fight in the
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pacific in world war ii, and died in 2000. the book at been contracted to three years earlier, and i had not made much progress. i began to rethink it in terms , for my father, how would it be written? father was of the notion that we had to make progress. the first half of his life was a daily insult in terms of just living. movement made a dramatic rupture in change in his life, as you can see. not that everything is all hunky-dory, but there has been change. i can look at his life, look
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across different periods of development that might be , buted up in a textbook you lived before the first world war, and lived to see the civil rights movement. with that imagination, i try to apply that to earlier moments as best i could, and to tell the story from ordinary people, like my father, and that was the organizing rubric. which means you don't tell everything. every instance does not get in there, or else it is an encyclopedia and not a story. and i want to tell a story. >> i have to tell you first of all, it was not my plan to write a textbook. because in our profession,
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textbooks are not given a lot of credit, right? write and concentrate on monographs, they give you promotions. was 1992, i was teaching a freshman course at michigan state university, there were 99 students in the class. i go into class one day, and there is a mini revolt of the students. one student said, why do we have a textbook in this class? and i said, because i am your textbook. said, well ifent we are absent, you're not going to repeat your lecture. and i said, you shouldn't be absent. [laughter]
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at the back of the room, one just male student said, loud enough for me to hear way and not beront intimidating or disrespectful or anything, he said, if this was a real history course, we would have a textbook, like they have in the other american history courses. and that was like, drop the mic, huh? the next year, i could not get over that. i could not get that out of my mind, that my students were thinking that somehow this african-american history was not
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because there was no textbook textbook, as there was in all these other american history courses, but in the department of history. so i decided to write a real textbook. thatst so happens, charlie's jones owens from pearson education contacted me and said, let's put together a textbook. i stopped everything, and for the next three or four years concentrated on writing. it theet -- i call african-american odyssey, because i did not want my students to think that we started off its slaves. as slaves. [applause] and that was the reasoning behind it, the first three
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chapters were about africa, and then into the middle passage, and focusing on community development and individual achievement, and resistance, resistance, resistance. is an odyssey, a journey, and we will get to freedom one of these days. i have not written in african-american history textbook, but in my labor of and otherion in 2010, books, i had a epilogue's where i tried to talk about this very recent past. i found the challenge and not to to get a look at the structural legacy of discrimination. itself it has embedded on american society today. the peculiar vulnerability of
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many african-americans to changes in the economy, peoplesure, the rates of suffering from predatory love. african-americans were hit by the great recession harder than any other group. so to make that vulnerability clear, and to make clear how those structural legacies time,ue, and at the same to look at larger themes in the economy and show that a lot of different groups have been affected by changes in the economy over the last 30 or 40 years or so. when the lights go out in the factory, all the workers of the same color. in a way, he is right. these larger themes have really affected other populations, as well. the industrialization of global economy.
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those things have had devastating effects on workers in rural areas and urban areas, regardless of ethnicity. city balance on the one hand, the unique and historic liabilities of black people in this country, to balance that with these larger forces that have affected many other groups, as well. >> darlene is made the crucial point here, that there are lots of people in this audience who have taught a course in african-american history. in the challenge is the same as writing any textbook. it seems to me that you start with a single question, which i never used to start with. which is, what is the purpose of this course? and i think that is what gets you to the answer to your question. what is the purpose of this course?
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i am going to signal 30 minutes, but i have 10 minutes, too. we need to raise certain questions. over the last couple of days we have had an array of themes that have pumped through everything that we have heard. the conversation about mental and mental illness, we have heard a little more about illness and health. art ande issues about music, education, about the body. we have heard a little bit about trauma and its relationship to sexuality,er and mobilization, and politics, both high and low. in thee less about color overall there did. but if we think about this narrative and the odyssey, the
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journey, the making in creating, and the challenges of. if i go back to a comment made on the opening night, this book, one black america, and 40 million black americans, it means the lacing of a theme. in what place and in what way you create another narrative. in some ways, i think it is stephanie's invocation of mythology. when do you want to insert myth? what we mean by truth? what is the relationship of the historian to myth and truth? in my family, people made up all kinds of stories. and they made these up for all types of reasons. sometimes for psychological healing, and getting from day one to the next day.
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and it also brings hope, that indeed, tomorrow won't be like yesterday. in this way, myths become its humanizingprocess of and being human and struggling against what it means to always find yourself in this place and struggle over power. i leave those questions there, you can pick them up, because now there are people on the line. [laughter] i begin by saying, i am very proud that three of my former students of the first class i ever taught at the university of some of the stars of our three day, so i to see him up there during the show. i wanted to make a brief comment, and i hope there is a question in there. i was the blogger for the opening session.
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i think it has been posted now. i began the blog and ended the blog with references to john mill franklin. i knew there was a certain ambiguity there, that although hope was involved in the planning of the museum, he did not live to see it. i hold the john hope franklin professorship, and part of the reason is because we became close friends. would spend the month of february in st. petersburg, florida. in february,to be but mainly, he was hiding out from black history month. he had no internet account, could not turn down all these invitations, so he hid. when we talked about the
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professorship, it was his decision to call it the scholarship of southern history, and not african-american history. i had the conversations with him, he had an ambivalence about african-american studies, african-american history. he did move and evolve, so i think it is so fitting that we have had this commentary about john hope. i think his spirit is in the room. i wondered if you have any thoughts about his continuing about the connection between american history in african-american history? comment a bit, maybe someone else can follow up. i am much more sympathetic toward his decisions than i would have been in the 1960's, 1970's. in doing a bit of study that i oldwrite on one day, as the
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folks say, if i live, he came out of a generation of scholars 1930's, -- to say that they were integrationist does not quite get it. he tries to put it in a separate thee, or even going into library of congress, and not being able to have lunch on capitol hill. that was the era of those folks were dealing with. an insurgentwas act, a political act. and that defined the coming-of-age. to call himself an african-american, you are the
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textbook at that point, of african-american history. to call himself in african-american history was to concede that separation. nest,l himself a southern he belonged there. he belonged in that area of study and history, and he brought with him, his african-americanism to that study. and that was important. to our discredit, some of those in my generation, looking askance at that decision, was a lack of imagination about where his generation was coming from, and the different issues they were taking. >> i said what i have to say, but quickly, i think it points to the imperatives of a good scholar, which is to learn and change her mind. one of the best short essays any istorian can and should read
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in the newsmagazine perspectives on history, short piece on why every senior scholar should change his or her mind at least once. where franklin changed his mind was in the 1980's, when he became very angry. during the reagan administration, he decided he had been wrong about some things. that the types of accomplishments he was referring to, he began to question what the meanings of those compliments were, in part because of how quickly the discursive environment changed, by just having a president who could say certain things and legitimate certain things. >> a quote from franklin, if you rob the people of their sense of history, you take away their hope. john hope, franklin responded by
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saying, i think knowing one's in ary leads one to act more enlightened fashion. i can't imagine how knowing one's history does not urge one to be an activist. i know the more i learned about my history, the more i wanted to change things towards what i thought our place ought to be in this history. that was 1994. commentw others want to -- both an educator and a student. history inh school utah, and i am also a graduate student at utah state university. i'm trying to show my students that learning is lifelong. fresh air, iath of often don't get this discussion in utah. [laughter]
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this whole conference, i want my students with me, how great would that be for them to be here? with regards what professor jones was saying, how do we reach a wider audience? gety classrooms i do resistance when i teach african-american history, i often get raised eyebrows. martin luther king, march of progress, we are done. for example, i had a student that said to me that when she went home, your mother told me i had made it up. very seriously. by the end of the year she conceded to me, and i brought her along with me, but i cannot say i brought her parents,
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though. and also, note label liberal, with the way i teach. but i would like to leave my classroom feeling good, positive, like they learned something and can be positive about american history. but had we reach that wider audience? andthat i have learned heard this weekend is great, but had we get that in the public schools in the midwest, the west, outside of these urban centers. because without that, it seems difficult. >> i will turn to the panelists. one of the things we have not really spoken about is the power of digital tools to move us beyond space and time. 1983 wasnot true in everything from the phones in your pockets to the ipads to the computers. there is a new dissemination
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device that can be mobilized and be part of a solution strategy. >> i would say the challenging thing is to get your students to understand that the real joy comes not from the content of the story itself, which can be difficult at times to absorb, but the joy comes from learning history, learning to think critically, learning to analyze primary documents in their context. learning to read and write better. there are parts of learning history they can be very and nobly, in terms of one's own self-realization. are you going to walk out of a feelingout selma mankind is great and wonderful? no, probably not.
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but that is not what we should be aiming for in the classroom, i think. is -- did spielberg's youroln," film come to stay? did anyone write a review for the newspaper? us and ouray colleagues can have access to popular culture, because history is all around. "roots" could be popular more real day weekend, but anyone that is a historian teaching in the united states has a reasonable shot at a short piece in the local newspaper. there are lots of these opportunities. but earlier, someone made a comment about how we don't respect local culture in academics. and this is a serious problem.
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we need to be willing to not be public intellectuals that only publish in "the new yorker." we need to engage in public culture whenever we have the opportunity. historian, but i do read a little history. d.c., and myfrom wife and i live in maryland now. i have a quick question, but i think it is important. andt peeve that follows me, that is hard for me to leave it, is that the term slave is so casually used. to pick onying anyone, but jackie said it correctly a little while ago, when she was speaking. she talked about people being insulated. i think when we move toward this new museum, i think that is
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historian, it would be wonderful if you could equate the term reference ofe people being slaves in the african-american history of experience here within the same connotation as the n-word. when you say someone is a slave, you're taking away the responsibility of the enslaved. done is in some great work around the economy about the enslavement of people, and it was the single most economically viable business in america at the time of its abolition. aswhat i would ask you historians, especially with the opening of the new museum, can , such thatmovement the reference to people who are
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slaves, is not something that we accept. thank you. [applause] >> if i understand you correctly, your objecting to the word slave, but not enslaved persons? >> exactly. >> that is done, not to worry about that. wouldere is something i like to put on the table here in terms of next steps for our writing history. i would love people who are trained in african-american history to take those terms of engagement, those themes of discussion, that theory of seeing the society and then take those
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from african-american history and into other areas of history, so that it would not be simply that we use our expertise in african-american history, but in wider societies. others we see things don't, necessarily. i was recently with a group of biographers, and a woman who was writing a biography of ernest hemingway said that as a woman writer, she could see things in hemingway's writing that his billions of other biographers had not seen. forsame can be said historians of african-americans. >> good afternoon, i am a graduate student studying cultural sustainability. first, let me say that i am in awe of the depth of knowledge and scholarship and passion and professionalism that i have
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heard over the past several days of this conference. i am hoping to going to go into public history in some way, shape, or form in terms of sustaining culture. i think that for the most part, on inwas a great dialogue the african-american past throughout these several days. a lot of questions and answers came up to give some really insightful dialogue. this is not a criticism, but a point of reference may be for future conversation. what i did not hear in the thread was the future. i am so impressed with the level of diversity in the room, race and ethnicity, but also generationally. what i did not necessarily see in the panels was representation from a younger generation, who are going to be stepping up to the plate to be the public historians of future history. and i say that in two
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perspectives because first of all, there is a certain level of pedagogy that one generation is now bringing the next generation through, so we can continue to archive and preserve the history of the past. to makethat in order the museum relevant, if you want people to come, they have to find themselves in what they are seeing represented in the museum. so therefore, if there is a way to create the museum, if it is slave history, it is contextualized so a person can come in and see the economic infrastructure of slavery. how does that correlate with mass incarceration today? how do they recognize that they can see themselves in the history of the past because it is still going on today? any other question i have, is there a way to include the voices of younger historians, or
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those experiencing history right now, because we're at a point in history where our world is changing rapidly. there is a photography in baltimore at the uprising, a young man on the streets of baltimore, but he had a camera them. and he documented photographs in the moment, and this photographs and up in "time" magazine. had we also encourage a younger generation to become cognizant of their value in history taking place right now, and how to we capture those voices now, set of waiting until the future? just a thought for consideration. >> thank you for your questions. challenge, the museum as it is being created, also will have a programming aspect going forward that will include additional conferences and opportunities. one point of clarification on behalf of our hosts, but in
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part, this is public history. history, also academic and the ways the academy has changed, the generations of scholars that come into it have added new perspectives and new questions. sometimes their place in the may be affected by their chronological age. >> the age range on this panel was supposed to be very different, but i am replacing somebody who is much younger than i am, and you had to pull out at the last minute for family reasons. i am from the gibbons collection of african american literature at the university of minnesota, and i researched
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african-american history. i would love to hear a little aboutre from all of you the tension you feel between the proposition of african-american history as american history, and the declaration, the statement ist african-american history american history, which still seems to be, when i hear it, it seems a political act in enough of itself, in the face of so many distortions we are still navigating. you've talked about how you work, but where those points of tension, terms of you feel about it? it, everythink about
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major event, every major turning point and development in the american experience is either involved -- has involved african-americans as actors, or as an issue. sense, you cannot write american history without writing about african-american history. but the point was trying to make earlier, there is also another side to that. while all american history is african-american history, the reverse is not true. aspects of the african-american experience that have to be recovered, are not simply in relationship to the american project, or to white
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americans or other americans, but have to do with the african-american community. that was the project of those coming out of the 1960's and 1970's, trying to pursue. it is much more diverse since then, but think that is still part of the project. part of the reason for that tension. it is been there since beginning and i think it will always be there, between american history, of which we are all a part, and african american history, which is also because we are from america. also, a separate track. it is also simply the question of what is general history, and what is specialized history? one of the things we have created in the last generation of american scholarship
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is a specialized field of african-american history in retreat go into great deal in a circumscribed places, and with a small cast of characters. that is the case in any of history. this is, you are going to hold this up for me? my 1975 issue of "life" magazine. the bicentennial edition. is reason i have this because they had a list of 100 essentially that transformed america and made america a great place.
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they divided up into art, the mind, inventions, politics, and what have you. events, or points, where black people are included or discussed, the first was not turner -- nat turner. the second was the emancipation proclamation. plessy v. ferguson , and the last were louis and theg and the blues, final was jackie robinson. discussions --
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this was what we celebrated as american history in 1975. i brought this not only to give it to you, but the people could see how far we really have come. movement,ack history we have transformed american history. they could not get away with this now. satisfied that we have done our job, we have some more work to do. the next generation will be heavily responsible for rewriting all of african-american history and all of american history. [applause] also, there is the issue of specialization and over specialization. my second job interview that i ever had for a history professor
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position, interviewer said to me, it was a position that was advertised in the southern history, and labor history. he said, so what are you? that itied to explain is all. he said, no, to find a job, you have to say you are one. shaken, out of there thinking i had lost that one. my very next interview was with the university of north carolina. i told the interviewer that this had just happened. the interviewer said to me, you give the right answer. nell, she does not read member this, but i do. >> did you get the job? --that is besides the point beside the point.
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but it has to do with the way we see what history is. what we've seen in the last two days, people talking about the diversity of african american history within the field. as opposed to people seeing african american history as being the things that diversify american history. a lot of that has to do with the way in which you integrate different ways of thinking about different people. >> [indiscernible]
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>> i'm thinking about the mixing paint, what happens to african-american history as a subjugated knowledge when it becomes american history? what happens when someone becomes an example of american exceptionalism? what happens when asked american history becomes an affirmation of american greatness? is that what i'm trying to ask you. what i'm trying to figure out, -- there is the claim that african-american history is american history. what does that look like, especially when we have a museum? is, of what i'm asking here what we find ourselves in this moment -- monday say it
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differently. will we find our journey to this moment conflicted into a narrative about american exceptionalism? >> yes. >> is that troublesome? >> of course it is. [laughter] when i said everything, and i talked about that shadow, should we do it because we know it will be constricted to the white supremacy or the paternalist, or the darkie narrative, those things are going to happen in this country. we should not stop because those things are going to happen. we keep going. african-american history is american history because african-americans are americans, whether we have roots three or our generations deep, or parents or ourselves are immigrants, that is a given. what other people do with it, some of it will be awful. so, somet will be so
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of it will be nice, some will be lucrative, some will be visual. all those things will happen, everything. i am a professor emeritus at cornell university. i want to say this has been a wonderful conversation and discussion. again, thank you to darlene for the program in 1983, which was how many years ago? 33 years ago. how time flies when you're enjoying yourself. you mentioned john hope franklin, and a comment in the question. john hope franklin really missed the meeting of the association of studying african-american history. he was there. and, i don't think i am betraying anything here, he took out a life association and the
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membership each year, that was his financial support of the association for the study of african-american life and history. but thinking of john hope franklin, if you look at the subtitle to his book, "from slavery to freedom," and this is the question i want you to reflect on. was "fromedition slavery to freedom, a history of american negroes." what did that mean, when he said "american megroes." then, he added, a history of americans. how does that help us as we look to conceptualize the african-american past?
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>> it definitely shows that he was progressing. he was engaging in some kind of a dialogue with -- the bookneration -- 56?t 60 years old 1947, so it is way over 60, then. argue that the last one is probably obvious. but i would love to have a transcript of that meeting where they make that first change. i am fascinated by that, that first change. >> do you have anything to say about that? [laughter]
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>> i just want to say as the i would say he wrote the book in 1947, so you know that he knew he was talking about being a slave and then getting free. because there was too much andory between emancipation 1947. the other thing i want to say, john hope franklin, one of the things in his new version, the ninth addition, is that he brought himself into the book. so what was he doing in 1947? andas using his knowledge,
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in 1949, his knowledge to work gethe case of the naacp to a man into the university of kentucky. he made an argument to the naacp and the courts to say, we understand that separate is not equal. his knowledge was used for civil rights. there was the understanding of him not being able to go to because he was there, we know a lot of what we know. i will give you another example,
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when he was on capitol hill, working at the library of theress, this was in 1940's. his friends were saying to him, let's go out on capitol hill to eat. i don't know if you've ever been to the library of congress, but i really enjoy going along the avenue, being in those restaurants. but john hope franklin could not do it. one of his friends said, i don't know how you can be a historian, i don't know how you can do this. because you can't even go out there. he did that because he was not discouraged, and because he was still fighting that struggle with his scholarship. he was making history at the same time he was writing history. so i am biased about john hope franklin.
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[applause] >> thanks, evelyn. we are being given the signal to wrap up. questionsto take some , and that is it. >> thank you so much for this great panel. i will be teaching african-american history at winston-salem in the fall. [applause] thank you. , i quote,n reflecting black students believe that black studies concern them and why people alone, but that is a mistake. black studies means intervention in an area of studies essential
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to the understanding of aged in modern societies. it will require the complete reorganization of intellectual life and outlook of the united states and our civilization as a whole. so i see my role this provocation to which writing and teaching history is central. historians, what strategies impact it? especially in this historical moment we are in. political,ypes of economic, and social crises we are facing, how do we make history relevant for our ideologicalget them clarity of the day-to-day realities they encounter, of the contradictions they experience, and help them develop their own interpretive framework for new political and cultural imaginations to emerge? >> thank you. yes? >>


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