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tv   African American History Conference  CSPAN  May 23, 2016 2:00am-4:01am EDT

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through 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. my specific and limited charge when hired was to continue forever organizing family-oriented homecoming
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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 african-american history, without even slightly changing the tour. in 1988.ill in focus,
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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. [laughter] durant puther will an addict of integration. le."nt to see things who
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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 knew that reconstructing permanent representative homes and other relevant structures in the former slave community was the only logical strategy to
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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] 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.
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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 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,
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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 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
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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 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
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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. it has been a remarkable couple of days. i have learned a great deal. shapes of called "the time." outside the doors of history
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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 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
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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 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
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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 discrimination. forging the priorities preservation and commemoration is not simply a matter of acknowledging the losses from from clearance andrification,
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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 approach to civilization. it crosses boundaries of class, gender, and age. ad prod itinerary of urban --
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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. i was inspired at the time by such asistory projects,
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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 remains untapped for most working people. to capture the power of place requires claiming the urban
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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 at that time? mid-1980's, 98% of the official landmark celebrated anglo american history, and 96%
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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 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.
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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. some of you may have seen the wall on spring street. our next project involves three organizers. they came from russia,
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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 to do and some we could not. also tried to show some of the efforts and remembrance of the groups who follow this.
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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. another group i admire, the los angeles urban rangers, includes
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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. 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.
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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 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.
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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 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. 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
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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 that you felt only happened to you. you discover that happened 100 years ago to dostoevsky. this is a great liberation for a
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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. 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.
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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. 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.
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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 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.
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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. another quick story. lois horton was there. i don't ever who else. this was about 1999. we are all consultants on the
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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 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
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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 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
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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. the quick descriptive part. then i will and with douglas. ago, on theears
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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 lonnie's largess. every summer we bring about 16 public historians to all corners of the country -- doing with
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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 alums of this institute. we have evolved no less than 13 different institutions. in the first two years, institutions had to apply.
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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. 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 1868. [laughter] the democrat white supremacist party employed rhetoric and that election in ways that still shocked people. miscegenation was coined and used.
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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 -- i thought of this this morning.
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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 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
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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 she had come 60 miles to see her family. she had nine children. she always followed his career. arm in arm with his
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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. everybody knew that story then. he went to the oldest rebirth d, the flood, to
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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] >> thank you. i am embarrassed -- i am mesmerized by this conference. and thankspolitician
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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 emmanuel. i invite you all to come to south carolina. you andet us hear from
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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 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.
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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 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]
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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 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
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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 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.
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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 available with museums in addition to education and historical research and interpretation. >> good evening. i am just so proud and happy to be here.
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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 of you and the museum? well, in addition to having the buildings reconstructed, we
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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. 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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
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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 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.
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[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 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
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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 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
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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. 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
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, 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 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.
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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 charleston. and i hesitate to say this because i don't mean any srespect at all or any questioning, certainly of people in charleston including those who read in the annual miami and
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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 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
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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 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.
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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. if there are elements -- i was just in charleston, in reply to e-mail you will ame, etc., etc., etc.
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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 carolina. routeof somerset place on 45 in hartford county, next-door to where your parents grew up,
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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 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
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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 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
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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. 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
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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? 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
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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? 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?
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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 responsiblegoing to ma. we may get there. framinghink about the of the very beginning and going back more than three decades ago to talk about the state of african-american history and you
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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, end of the last panel and talked about the creation of museums
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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. this point and we are reminded in a powerful way of
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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. for most of us who came of that age, we all knew. the politics of intellectual inquiry.
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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 e 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 concluded with, invoking frederick douglass.
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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 -- darling come board of trustees professor at northwestern university.
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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 for this wonderful reunion.
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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. i am listed first because i have some images to show you, which i
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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 thinking about the past -- and i
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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 permanent. science gives you a permanent truth. the test of representativeness, even though i didn't think about
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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 be feeding if you talked about that. or you might not want to talk
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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 body, whichblack
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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 these artist books that the act of making an image focused me
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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 one of the great freedoms of making your own art about your own self, you don't have to
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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. on the left side is west africa
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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 history of white people."
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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. yes. [laughter] this is one of the pages in
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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 american missionary in the congo in the late 19th century who had
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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 this image takes off.
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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. honorst two pieces are in of climate price -- climate
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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. was nell irvin painter.
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[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 for. thank you. >> just to emphasize how more
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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, how do we consider if we look to the future, african-american
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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 assistance of mr. wooden. and people have gone to the
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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. certainly at the beginning of our career or in the middle of our career.
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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. take stock of where we have come and see where we move from
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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. in some ways, the direct bearing betweenarlier conflict
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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 franklin was there giving his blessings but we were all working on different kinds of projects and topics and we were
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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? that excited all of us. , this wasconference
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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 up a public servant historian working at purdue and make a request that i changed the
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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. 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?
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[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 she did that taxpayer thing, -- citizenship thing and i didn't have a response. she said had the thank you got
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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 about history. what questions are we not answering, what kind of sources do we need to collect and put into these institutions to levy
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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. one of his friends and colleagues, senior vice column there -- columnist.
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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 raised. i want to acknowledge leslie harris because what i'm about to throw out here as a result of
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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, because i believe in democracy and and sometimes too much of an
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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 something called american history is. obviously, african-american visitors to the new museum will also expect to see themselves,
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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. >> i know there will be questions.
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i think every american will find -- to answer your question, i duly give would be appropriate for us to honor darlene, who in 1983 gathered a conference on the future of the african-american past.
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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 over the last few days. such a wide array of perspectives, themes, topics,
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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. and we also said as a
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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 receptive audience in the academy because we were writing good history.
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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. sometimes, it's too expensive,
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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 outsideo an audience the academy through biography.
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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 the university of texas.
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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' education, but the private foundations that seek to influence the way history is taught and understood at the university level.
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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 to pull it up as avatars of political correctness and put pressure on us to change.
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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. but these are actual textbooks, this is what is happening.
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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 history, there is a fascination. in family history, genealogy, with all segments of the population, suggesting there
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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. that mindset of course is very dangerous for us as historians.


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