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tv   African Americans in the Workforce  CSPAN  August 13, 2016 10:30am-12:21pm EDT

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a three-day conference called "the future of the african american past." it was cohosted by the smithsonian and the american historical association. >> good late afternoon. my name is steven hahn. i teach at the university of pennsylvania, but soon new york university. i would like to welcome you to our session on capitalism and the making and unmaking of black america. let me begin as my predecessors have in thinking not only the organizers but especially lonnie and jim grossman. foruld like to thank them not only enabling me to be part of what has turned into a extraordinary conference, but also for the vision they have
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brought to the tasks. they are truly visionaries. it is unfortunately don't have the opportunity of having this conference in the new museum space. but when you look over at the national museum of african american history and recognize that a few short years ago, there was nothing there, and what lonnie has accomplished is mind-boggling. the idea that lonnie and jim have had about making this engagementand an with the past as a central aspect of opening the museum to the american public is really quite terrific. i must say i feel uneasy standing up here at this moment. this is the last session of a long conference day.
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and as stimulating as the conference has been thus far, from my own experience, i know what happens at this point -- [laughter] >> everyone is sort of flagging. you're thinking about fresh air. you are thinking about a drink. and are probably exhausted at having all sorts of people appear chattering away. the good news is i think you will find the presentations in this session very interesting and provocative, and that it will seem well worth the extra time you have been asked to devote. this is an especially interesting moment to reflect on the question of african americans and their relationship to capitalism. it is not incidental that
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capitalism has been an important part of our discussions from the first sessions at this conference. it will necessarily hover over all of our doings. on the one hand, the past duty years have seen -- few years have seen growing a literature on capitalism in the united states. this, after several decades of relative inattention. on the other hand, capitalism itself has been subjected to a searching political criticism, the likes of which we have not witnessed since the 1960's or perhaps since the 1930's. what to make of this? there can be little doubt american capitalism in its has fed offl arcs of the bodies of african americans in a variety of well-known and often devastating ways. later hyper exploited the of enslaved and free men, women, and children, driving the
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country's economic growth at crucial historical moments. it has disrupted black families and communities through forced relocation, seasonal employment, and underemployment, and a variety of legal devices. american capitalism has confined black workers to regional and local labor markets where they long received the lowest of wages and suffered the greatest of vulnerabilities. it has benefited from the use of black convict labor in some of the most dynamic, modernizing sectors of the economy, especially the post-civil war southern economy. american capitalism has contributed to the construction of the edifice we know as jim crow. it has created a large black underclass whose prospects for escape are extremely limited.
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and it has helped turn criminality and mass incarceration into sources of profit as well as social control. now the papers and presentations this afternoon certainly make this perspective abundantly clear. but they also suggest the howlex and dynamic -- complex and dynamic the black relationship with capitalism has been. indeed, they remind us capitalism's developmental arcs have themselves been shaped by black struggles for freedom that would be meaningful, for opportunities that could be rewarding culturally as well as economically, for empowerment at their places of work, and for political access that might influence public policy. the papers also remind us that african americans both seized
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occasions to turn the instruments and logics of capitalism to their own advantage and charted out alternatives to those logics and instruments either to contest or evade capitalism's full embrace. , itcan american history seems to me, offers a distinct and compelling vantage point from which to understand how american capitalism emerged, how it came into crisis eventually, how it was transformed in a corporate direction, how it was required in moments of crisis to move along some social democratic paths, and how its relationship to the state at all levels was almost perpetually rearranged. let me offer a few examples.
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african american history as no other shows that american capitalism is only part of a global system of social and economic relations. there is no such thing as american capitalism without the global context and set of interconnections that make possible the accumulation of labor and other vital resources. is inn american history economic and other terms by definition transnational history. and it demands that we think in very expensive ways -- expansive ways in whatever work we do. african american history almost gives an eye into
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how the market operates. mythologies that depict the market as a trance historical institution in which all parties seem to behave according to sets of transnational rules. the african american transition out of slavery is him o-matic in diplomatic in with various products of struggle among actors who want very different things. former slaves wanted land and independence. for slave owners wanted submission and near absolute control, something is close to slavery as possible. neither wished to barkett in market terms -- bargain in market terms. neither got what they wanted. in some sense of a labor market, when it did emerge, was the
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outcome of intense and often violent battles. african american history demonstrates as well that nature,sm, by its very generates formidable opposition and even if the opposition does createsy succeed, it new fields of force and requires new diversion. african americans failed to win land reform in the civil war era. but they struggled in many ways to loosen the grip's of the labor market, to acquire land, to reconstitute their families and communities, and to disentangle themselves from the tentacles of capitalist instruments and exploiters. and created their own towns immigration societies. eventually, they built national and international political movements organized around the goal of defeating european
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imperial powers in africa, the caribbean, and elsewhere around the globe, and of advancing the cause of social justice everywhere. at the same time, african american history shows that capitalism, like any social system, makes for hierarchies and contradictions within the population it feeds upon. we are all well aware of the important forms of social differentiation that developed among african americans, beginning with their enslavement that continue to structure their communities, at times in politically consequential if not convulsive ways. that we tend to pay less attention to the actors and institutions that defy the representation of those committees. those who make their peace with the capitalist order and seek to benefit from it, who themselves
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exploit members of their communities and who effectively build underground economies of goods and services, many of them that are simultaneously valuable to african americans and often essential to the running of the larger capitalist order. finally, african american history deepens our understanding of the intersections of race and class and of the discourses of protest that the development of capitalism has produced and reproduce. african americans have composed of the american working class as both slaves and free people for longer than any other social or ethnic group in the country. in american working class and american labor history cannot be understood apart from either african americans or the racial
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s to shins -- racialization which their struggles have given rise. their critiques of slavery and the slave trade, their aspirations for a different sort of freedom than either their owners or the federal state intended. their demands for self-governance and for power as workers, and their ideas of how social justice might be inactive through -- enacted through the mechanisms of the state have been central to how the problems of capitalism have been framed and how major reforms have been pursued. programs thathave give you detailed biographies of our many participants, i will only briefly introduce the presenters in the order they will be presenting. the first will be adrienne petty, who holds a phd from
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columbia university and is currently on the faculty at the city college of new york. she is a historian of the south and of rural people in the united states and is the author most recently of "standing their ground: small farmers in south carolina since the civil war." and she will be talking to us about african americans and the enduring quest for land. she will be followed by shane white, who is at the end of the table, who holds a phd from the university of sydney where he is also on the faculty. he has written widely on the history of african americans in the united states and is the author most recently of "prince of darkness: the untold starting of jeremiah hamilton, wall street's first black leaner." -- millionaire." he will be speaking about the masonic grocery association and other stories of black business.
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by ericbe followed arnesen, who holds a phd from yale university and is on the faculty of george washington university. he has written important books on african american and southern labor history and is currently completing a biography of a philip randolph and will be talking about pursuing economic emancipation, black workers, and the labor question in the 20th century. and finally, william julius wilson is a distinguished sociologist and social critic who is currently university professor at harvard and at the kennedy school. author of many important studies on african american life, race, and class in modern america. 's most recent book is "more than just race: being black and poor in the inner-city." and he will be talking about inner-city blackmails the left
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black -- black males engagement with urban capitalism. let me add that there are two bloggers. one from cornell university and elizabeth clark lewis from howard university. i thank them very much for offering to do this. i should add, and it is sort of for me to do this because i don't understand blogging or tweeting, but the fact of the matter is for those of you who you will get posts immediately, you will not unless and theye tweeting have nothing to do with this organization. the bloggers will be posting comments about the session, and they should be up within the next couple of days. and they can be accessed at that point. i thank you and welcome, adrienne petty. [applause]
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adrienne petty: good afternoon. i want to thank james grossman and lonnie bunch, steven hahn, everybody. i am so honored and humbled to be here today, especially with my amazing co-panel. this is a homecoming for me in many ways because i am from the washington area. 15 years ago, i was a fellow the nationaluseum, museum of american history, where i worked with pete daniels. 30 years ago, i remember visiting the "field to factory" exhibit. that was curated i believe by spencer crew. when the professor was talking earlier about these different trajectories we think of when we
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think about african market history from slavery to freedom -- african american history from slavery to freedom, from wherever to wherever, "feel to factory" is another one. i think we are going in "field to factory" order in our presentations. it was an exhibit that traced the history of the great migration from the current the less -- southern countryside to northern cities. while i remember finding the exhibit incredibly moving, what jumped out to me was the lack of focus on people like my grandparents who were farm owners. the exhibit was not alone in overlooking these farmers. most scholars have dismissed black farmers when they do talk asut them as an anomaly and the success story of a privileged few. the late armistead robinson called for more study of landowning farmers.
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people did not immediately answer his call. now of course, i would be remiss if i did not mention carter woodson, debbie beatty boy -- debbie b du bois, and many other early scholars that did not receive the credit due to them who wrote about black farmers and owners excessively. but more recent scholars have not. over the last 15 years, this has changed. there is much more attention to black landowners. i think it is as a result of the 1999 settlement of the pig glickman the new research reveals way land ownership was much more widespread than we have acknowledged and much more important to the black freedom struggle then we have ever imagined. it reveals most black farm owners were struggling for land to resist, engage, and confront
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the advance of american capitalism. so they were embracing property relations of capitalism in order to escape the social relations of capitalism. for the former slaves, land ownership was essential. many people have referred to this. they gained control of land to be integral to their lives as emancipated people and to their children's future. the government swiftly betrayed the free peoples aspirations for land, but also gave white farmers opportunities to become landowners through various homestead acts and other instruments. despite federal betrayal and violent resistance, african americans' quest for land did not end. a significant number of afghan americans managed to buy land by pouncing on slim opportunities. one example of this was in north carolina ready migration of
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turpentine production to georgia during the late 19th century cleared the way for some sharecroppers, both black and white, to buy land for the first time. and that is part of the story i tell in my book "standing their ground." we are also beginning to appreciate how central black women were to land acquisition. women and children often ran the farm while men held jobs in other places, on other farms, in other lines of work. in addition to playing a managerial role, many black women took the lead in purchasing farms. they were the ones scouting out auction sales. they were often illiterate ones who were reading the ads and finding out what was going on -- they were often the illiterate ones who were reading the ads and finding out what was going on. women's house of production and sales of surplus farm products also played a crucial role in making land ownership possible.
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there is a woman who one of the students in my project interviewed who kept a garden. she was featured in a newspaper article for keeping a garden for over 40 years of her adult life. but she credited her grandmother with showing her that way of subsistence garden we of living everybody is talking about now that black women, white women, in the rural south -- they have been living like that for years. you also have to think about the countless other black women in the south who never did attain land, but nevertheless also drew on these strategies of keeping gardens in order to make a living and have a decent life. the savings women created by keeping gardens, taking in
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laundry, sewing their own close, all of those contributed to the remarkable growth in the number of farm owners. in 1865, the number of black farm owners in the southern states was negligible. in 1920, there were 220,000 farms in the country owned by 1/4 of thericans or farms operated by black people. failede census numbers to capture the extent of land ownership because the census only counted farms considered commercially viable. black farm owners ranged from those who "were living like havingolks" sharecroppers of their own, having people they paid to run the farms, to people who owned less than an acre of land. so it was a broad swath of people, but most of them owned much less than 30 or 40 acres. for these farmers, owning land represented the promise, if not
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always the substance, a sanctuary from economic dependence and violence during the jim crow era. it also was often part of a mix of several types of labor they relied on to make a living. very few african american farm owners were economically secure enough to rely on farming alone to support their families. livingtched together a from a variety of sources. construction,oad selling farm products, and even often having their children work on the farms of other landowners. often, other black people. that is something we don't hear enough you about. this high point of land ownership in 1920 is where historians usually abandon the story of african americans, and they just focus on the decline. we move on to the great migration. we move on to the new negro
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renaissance and all of the sexier topics than farming. but we are now appreciating the ways african americans continued their quest for land, even during the depression era. some black farmers gained land through the new deal settlement -- resettlement administration. another way they managed to buy land was through what is known as dual tenure. and this is one of the most important contributions scholars have made in the last 15 or 20 years about african american farm owning and farmers in general. farm families worked as sharecroppers or renters while also working their own land. ed four of her grown in buying several tracts of land near the mississippi river. her grandson, samuel lee, was a teenager when his family bought land. in an interview that is part of
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the oral history collection, he remembered how owning land changed his grandmother, parents, and extended family. it really caused them to get more energy from somewhere because just about all their spare time when they were not working on a farm we rented, they would be up there cutting down trees, moving trees, and trying to get more for themselves. get more of their own land, you see. to me, she said, it was a beautiful thing because they felt there was going to be some great benefits from it. they said when we get this done, we are going to have our own land. it just means something to own land, you know. have a piece of land that you can call your own and nobody can put you off of it. you don't have to worry about a man being able to tell you "i don't need you anymore." while samuel lee and his grandmother irene were becoming landowners for the first time,
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they also were confronted a capitalist transformation of agriculture that replaced human labor with machinery and relied more heavily on chemicals with devastating consequences for the environment and human health. mostly the human health of african americans. fewer and fewer people were growing more and more on larger, for mechanized farms. of course, this transformation of farming was a worldwide phenomenon. in this country, african americans were far from being the only victims of this capitalist change in agriculture. for the changes fell disproportionately harder on them because they tended to run farms that were significantly smaller than those of white farmers and they tended to earn less than white farmers. they also were not fully armed as citizens because of different -- disenfranchisement and other forms of racism that stripped
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them of means to protect their interests in the realm of politics. steep decline in the number of black farm owners prompted a new, underrecognized part of the black freedom struggle to emerge. a new, smaller group of farm owners began calling attention to what they called black land loss. brown made aert lot of attention to this, but historians still have not looked as much into the problem of black land loss as economists and other social scientists have. they pointed out the contradiction, that even those civil rights legislation was expected to bring greater freedom, the plight of platform owners was getting only worse. beginning in the 1960's, there organizing a protest culminated in the pickford decision meant black farmers for income lost because of discriminatory lending practices and other violations by the usda.
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recent bookortant on this activism is daniel,ession," by pete minotaur here at the national museum of american history and a former curator here. he reveals how discrimination about the brush against black owners became more extreme during the 1960's as the u.s. department of agriculture punished farmers who took part in the civil rights movement by denying them access to federal farm loans. the number of farms owned by black people during the 1960's to aboutl from 74,000 45,000. he exposes the contradictions that black farm owners experienced heightened racism at the hands of this government agency at the very moment when the legal achievements of the civil rights movement should have ended such discrimination. by research has focused on
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understanding not so much why people left the field or were forced off of the field, but why people continued to farm in the midst of this well-documented discrimination toward african americans in agriculture. and on the flipside of that, the domination of agribusiness. we must see this quest for land and the enduring struggles of these land owners as a crucial part of the struggle for economic justice. it is part of the unfinished business of the civil rights movement. african american farm owners, along with sharecroppers, farm workers, and other women and men who never left the field, were at the vanguard of the fight for economic justice in the south. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> g'day. that is australian for "hi." as far as i'm concerned, i speak perfect english and you speak strange. that is probably a minority view. who is employed by a university. civilization perhaps? even though i live 10,000 miles i revel in the smell of steel. historians are divided into splittersancers or splitters being those who want to people who want
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to synthesizing. i am a splitter. i am more invested in american history and making sense to the board public. i love the texture, the feel of everyday life. as soon as you start synthesizing it means you leave out the people i am interested in and that is ordinate -- ordinary everyday americans. even though i have a kid who is about to enter university, there is no way you'll find me writing a text. , i amly work in new york increasingly interested in business history. business history is an interesting thing. i have a low tolerance for things that bore me. -- boringess history
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is that ship. a you are interested there is long devotion of this on the web . i'm going to summarize it. every now and again and i am , i am curious about the extent to which asked assumptions about how african-americans make their living. the businesses and industries that historians have left out of the story perhaps in an unthinking fashion we of uncovered the view lack business life, one that has encourage , to be sure the vast
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majority of african new yorkers struggle to make their livelihood from menial occupations. this was not true of all of them. a question remains. if a new york lack in the 1930's or 1940's made a million dollars for himself as a wall street rocher, later in the 1920's as a banker will we be able to discern what will place us in the historical record or in some postscript will we look straight through what to us was an invisible man? example, the anti-masonic -- , it has never been written about by anyone. yorkersof african new got together, issued 450 shares, they were full five dollars for
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the first and opened up a grocery store for the mutual benefit of numbers. the new york stock exchange was just taking off. about how much a person's respectability was enhanced by being stockholder. taking the leap from wall street these african-americans created their own market in 1941, they were buying and selling shares holding stockholder meetings where there were using proxies. one section even offered to redeem shares at face value plus 15% interest. they were buying back shares in order to gain control of the anti-masonic nursery association with the intent of breaking it all. -- breaking it up.
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standing off to one side the american economy started to take off these african-americans were striving to profit from financial capitalism. their striking behavior was at odds with the more familiar depiction of african american depiction, as economic victims. there other examples in the paper. brothels and to uses the money. the traditional way to make money in new york. and one guy buys three blocks of land which in the 1930's he gets an offer of $10,000 for them. land on 7th avenue and broadway. he turns -- he owns the bottom -- of timess where
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square. given the history of times he would have fit in nicely. -- my foray into new york newspapers have convinced me that there was more than the way it is usually depicted. everyone now thinks that slavery
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happened and they were waiting for something interesting to happen. there's a long nothingness out there. i came across african new yorkers who speculated on land and shares. colleagues have probably read in the vicinity of 100,000 court cases. pagesably read 200,000 and just corrected material and stories about blacks. far from being crushed by economic transformation they saw the changes occurring around them as an opportunity. they did not always thrive, but they did try. succeededionally they
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beyond expectation. main example left out of the story of new york history is jeremiah hamilton. who coincidently i have just published press of darkness -- this black entrepreneur mentioned in prints for time since 1900 and three of the four mentions are inaccurate. slashed his way through the lily white world of wall street in the 19th century. -- he firms turns up running counterfeit crimes to new york merchants. they get caught. through the 1830's he specializes in over and sharing ships by sinking them and claiming the money. the insurance industry in new
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york begins to form an association and part to stop him , they added 36, they have an that no ship that jeremiah hamilton was involved with. he gets around it by some fancy legal maneuvering area -- maneuvering. and onred in real state $10 million worth of land and buildings. and a hawk of the story as well. -- heght and sold shares ran up but was called a pool, like a modern hedge fund for crime. he he went wall-to-wall with vanderbilt, he admitted there was only person that he
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respected and it was this black guy. he just gives his name, doesn't tell you he is black. they never mention this black guy. he just doesn't register. the civil war, there were white new yorkers waffling before hamilton, in order to as to whether or not they should buyer so railroad stocks. he is recommending buying or selling railroad stocks, that he could not ride on their trains. some weird and wonderful ironies. the second new york stock anyone whofered jeremiahares from
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hamilton would be kicked out of the exchange. late 1840's were a few years hamilton left in your, he had a rural retreat in new jersey. the image of this lack millionaire strolling through the garden in front of the 10 bedroom mansion surveying the does not of his estate accord that world without a usual understanding of the way african-americans lived. how such a figure could be so ignored still baffles me. i would suggest is more than just accident. historians have gone into the archives and found it did in doing so they have looked past examples of black achievement.
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it seems to me at least my invisible man still has relevance. we depict these people as falling through the crack's is a bloody big crate -- crack to be pulled through it. i remain confident that if people do archival work resources will yield more stories of similar black enterprises. that was my first point is that the work of recovery of the history of black business, even they are nowhere near , to go out and recover
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something of his history. a little point is that bit more thought about what , in my viewbusiness historians would benefit from using a more realistic definition of business achievement. thatugh they will admit they are faced discrimination, much of it specifically designed to prevent blacks getting ahead economically, a remained -- directing and 12 the channels. african-american entrepreneurs succeeded when they moved into areas where they would not be in direct competition with firms. sometimes they deem those areas to be illegal. -- andt is true
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african-american did and then -- gambling. personally i'm little worried about what they achieved was legal or not. here i think historians can benefit from interesting work on -- going into contemporary years,n in the last 10 doing a lot of work. how struck reading those little a sense of history they had. on the one hand, many businesses story -- historians are boring. some have no idea that the things they were looking at in 2001 have a history. if you are aware of the
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historical record in the parallels,u can find examples of these things all over the place. you can find what they're the archives in the 1920's and 1930's. my main example there is numbers , which i think -- numbers is the most important thing in the first half of the 20th century. my colleagues and i wrote a book trying to illustrate that point. thank you very much. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is a pleasure to be here among so many peoples whose books and articles i have been
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reading over the past three decades and his work i hope to continue to learn from in the years ahead. i would ask you to think back half a century or so, 1963 when a quarter of a million purely -- people gathered on the mall for the march on washington. there were tens of thousands of trade unionists whose numbers and logistical assistance and more help to make this gathering a historic success. philipanizers were the randolph and his assistants and friends. randolph was at the time the most important prominent trade unionist in the country, the man who is considered to be the dean of the civil rights movement. captured aswas title, the march on washington for jobs and freedom. the demonstration was not about civil rights and straight, it also had a pronounced economic
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by mention. the ethnic the demands were called for a fair practice act a higher minimum wage, a program designed to aid the very many unemployed black americans. the job demand rested on the understanding of all american work or's -- workers needed access to unemployment -- implement. jump ahead a few years to 1968 the sanitation workers strike. the revolution brought about by civil rights may have one floating rights and desegregation -- voting rights and it rested upon upon exploitation. that same year sanitation workers affiliated went out on strike and a city that deprive and denied them
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union representation. the support of trade unionist across the country as well as martin luther junior. at that moment the labor movement was a civil rights movement. the sanitation's rights movement fought for better working conditions and civil and human rights as well the labor rights were intertwined. what were once called the race question of the labor question were connected. but that had always been the case. even when the relationship looked very different. 1940's declared the quote the labor is just another myth as far as the history of american label is concerned. discriminatory white unions were ubiquitous in the pre-world war ii nation. free work construction into the
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50's and 60's and beyond unions excluded blacks from key sectors of the labor market. that's sorry record accounted for blacks antipathy for rise labor. the records of employers was no different. in higher section of the labor markets were closed to block workers. this was a refrain that was wasated countless times and found in newspaper after newspaper and speech after speech from an emancipation onward. a century after during the civil
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war employment opportunities were restricted up minorities in the united states. removing that became a goal of the portion of the civil rights movement. charles payne -- thomas paine ande "they defined appreciated campaigns engaged in black america. the process of writing a biography of randolph who story a comment on. i come against the daily basis of a character of the labor and raise questions. randolph was a socialist, a black socialists, a rare breed in 20th-century america. he advocated for interracial unit or -- unionism. when most white trade unionists had no interest is -- interest
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in admitting black laborers. black ministers and editors and businessmen preached an anti-union gospel and cautioned workers to not bite the hand that fed them. the employers that help -- hired them into these menial jobs. 1925 the conversation was changed in black america. the movement to organize homelands porters and mates was an economic for the race. see that theing to new negro is seeking economic a path -- emancipation and he dictates the condition of his employment. calvin was no stranger to randolph or black socialism having briefly worked on randall's journal, the messenger. he was no socialists. he recognize novelty and potential for organized pullman
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porters. stage hes the center told the younger reporters, until we get down to worker conditions and hours and rangers we will never get rid of our racial ills. some day randolph admitted, i hope to see an economic organization directing and controlling various crowds. they will be taught how to strengthen themselves out of cooperation. the late 20's, the brotherhood was engaged in a fight for economic patients. the unfinished half of the master -- emancipation. and the unfinished revolution that randolph and his allies use. whatever the precise wording it spoke of the civil rights struggle in the long history that predated randolph. on the past generation,
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have written about traditions of of black trade unionism that took root despite white labor's racial actresses and believes through the late and mid-20th century. black sub enters found unionization and needed to pursue the same goals as white workers, raising wages and shortening the working day and improving job conditions area there it reflected workplace dignity and respect or a lessening of brutal treatment from white managers. one should not exaggerate the numbers are impact that's black labor tradition. the vast majority of black atican-american workers least until the great
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depression. 20'sanged greatly in the and 1930's towards the labor question and the relationship of black workers to the labor movement. it fostered a new openness between black communities and to spare her our stash bearded and new protests. drawing on recently passed new deal labor laws the labor and -- prevailed and one a government supervised union. two years later they negotiated a path to making a contract with the pullman company. the success inspired groups and other black workers to organize, direct cap's, the gospel of trade unionism's red. the importance was the emergence of the mid-30's of the congress -- industrial organization which
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was committed to industrial organization, unionization of lack work is. sheltered in world history, this movement achieved spectacular including the cio more black trade unionists in ,937 through an amazing series the cio changed from one of segregate -- segregation to one swayed by the principle of them -- democracy. that is an exaggerated assessment that workers did not flood into the ranks nor did the discrimination vanished. one section ofat the labor movement had values and welcomed black participation, and black workers responded appropriately.
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in much of basic industry automobile manufacturers, electrical meatpacking the cio exceeded winning elections and tracking lacked support. african-american workers joined the labor movement. i discussed fair employment during and after the second world war spearheaded by the march on washington represented by an executive order. did was nottruggles create a permanent fair least put the at issue of discrimination of industry and trade union and the issue of fair representation and fair employment on the political agenda where it would remain
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allowing organizers to conduct campaigns over the next few decades. of thenomic dimension various movement of civil rights did not perish after the second world war. we -- they were not sacrificed .uring the cold war area -- era true the communist oriented to the movement, national negro congress and other front organization groups this was repression. repression by the silence the voices of the broader highlighted economic issues. black trade unionists had demonstrated and retained influence in local movements for economic justice and racial equality in the postwar era. until he ended his life
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tradeph, like other unesco maintained that the quality of black americans required civil and economic rights, that the progress for americans require not only the enforcement of civil rights and antidiscrimination laws but economic policies designed to ensure the economic health of america. in the 60's we focused on employment discrimination and the challenge of automation. it was becoming clear, randolph argued, that no lasting political freedom or social inequality is conceivable without the integration of the negro into the economic life into the nation. black unemployment was substantially higher. fair practices can in themselves --.
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programe job retraining , more ambitious than anything envisioned along with public s, will get jobs for many negroes as well as the and touchable's of our economy. that agenda was embodied in the march on washington in white -- and 1963. in the end, the procedures got some things and not others. certainly not the jobs program and the minimum wage that randolph called for. 64's civil rights act and voting rights act work achievements. to getting long way formal equality before the law and trance hoarding that it extra daily life and the larger remainverty agenda
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unfilled. the 64 randolph concluded would not make a dent in the problem of jobs among new -- negroes. league's whitney young called for marshall plan to rebuild america's cities, randolph and reston call for freedom budget in 1966, proposing the expenditure and it pmd poverty in the u.s.. liberalism was divided, social democratic proposals to rebuild cities to end poverty's recent -- received attention from the johnson administration. a back lash ensued to make sure they would be only dreams.
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but randolph at his allies hammered away at the crisis of jobs and poverty afflicting black and white america, but continued violence in cities. i have walked up and down the streets of harlem for 60 years, randolph testified before a senate committee back in 1966. i do not recall the time when i attempted to talk about their future of their hopes and aspirations and they view you with cynicism and disgust and contempt and sometimes abuse. a great deal has changed over the last half-century. the race riots and urban rebellions of the 60's did not prove to be pertinent developments in life. they felt -- fell short of their goals through title vii
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affirmative-action change the demographic and change the composition of job categories. the labor movement has become more inclusive. the black middle class grew substantially. civil rights and labor rights remain in twine. even though the nature of the relationship is different today. despite the changes in american society it was imagine that randolph and his allies would conclude that the next emancipation it to be accomplished is the unfinished revolution is still unfinished and that the pursuit of justicetion or economic remains as urgent as ever. thank you. plause]
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>> it's really nice to follow eric. really excellent presentation. one is your book coming out? . nasa question. -- don't ask that question. it's great to address this august body. the title of my presentation is malesr-city black experience with american capitalism. " noticer is late, i people in the front row are nodding it i will take no more than 10 minutes, i promise.
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of disproportionate number african-american males in this legaciess one of the of historic segregation and discrimination. however, aside from the effects of current segregation and discrimination, including those caused by employer bias that i a number talk about, of impersonal economic forces have contributed to the incredibly high rate of joblessness among low skilled blackmails and the correspondingly low incomes. include changes in the relative demand for low skilled labor caused by the computer revolution, the globalization of economic activity, the declining manufacturing sector for black
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males in particular the growth of service industries, where most of the new job for workers with limited skills and education are concentrated. brief presentation, i would like to focus on this last factor. but associated with the relatively high jobless rate of low skilled black men. the gradual shift for manufacturing to service industries. ship has created a new set of problems for low skilled blackmails because both industry feature jobs that require workers to serve and relate to consumers. this study we conducted in chicago in the early 1990's,
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whose findings are still relevant, many employers favored women and recent immigrants of come toders who have populate the labor pool in the low-wage service sector over black men for service jobs. study, employers of entry-level workers in the service industry felt that consumers perceive inner-city blackmails to be dangerous, or threatening, in part because of their high incarceration rates. in the past, african-american men simply had to demonstrate our strong back and muscles to be hired for physical labor in a factory at a construction site, or on an assembly line. and interacted with peers
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foreman, not with consumers. today, they have to increasingly search for work in the service sector where employers are as unlikely to hire them because they are seen as unable to sustain positive contact with the public. maintain that black the skill -- lacked the jobs require, the tendency to maintain eye contact with the ability to carry on a friendly conversation with consumers. to smile and be responsive to consumers, requests, demanding or unreasonable that may seem. malequently, black
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jobseekers face rejection because employers feel they lack these soft skills. attitudesence of such combined with the physical and social isolation of people of areasliving in inner-city of concentrated poverty severely limit the access to poor black men -- that poor black man to informal job networks, the casual networks of people or acquaintances who can pass along information about employment prospects. this is a notable problem. especially considering that many low skilled employees first learned about their jobs through an acquaintance or were by
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someone associated with the company. suggests that only a small percentage of low skilled employees are hard to advertise job openings or cold calls. the importance of knowing boss iswho knows the illustrated by this employer's comments to one of our interviewers. the employer stated that oliver sorg 10, take a look at a guy unless he has an in, the reason i kind of this black at the last time is because my neighbor said to me i used him for a day and he is good. and i said, you know what? i'm going to take a chance. but it was a recommendation. that, i've got a walk in and who knows? , think that for the most part
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a guy sees a black man, he is a bit hesitant. are classices examples of what social sciences call statistical discrimination. employers make generalizations about and are sitting black male theses and base assumptions without reviewing the qualifications of an individual applicant. the effect is that many inner-city black male applicants are never given the opportunity to prove themselves. although some of these men score an entry-level job because of the poor working conditions, many others would readily accept such employment. statistical discrimination contains some elements of class eyes against poor inner-city workers, it is a racially motivated practice.
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a number of other studies have documented employer bias against lack males, research by a harvard colleague reveals that withite middle applicants a felony conviction was more likely to receive a call back or a job offer than a black male applicant with a clean record. basically, employers believe that women and recent immigrants of both genders are better suited than black males, especially those with prison records for entry level service jobs. image has been partly created by cultural shifts and national attitudes that reflect concerns about the growth of violence in the ghettos. in the eyes of many americans, black males symbolizes files.
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--ist for law and order get afor law and order dramatic increase in blackmail -- black male incarceration. of high incarceration rate low skilled black males are connected to their high jobless rate. cycle. vicious being without a job, encourage illegal money making activities which increase the risk of incarceration. upon release, a prison record carries a stigma. in the eyes of employers and decreases the probability that an offender will be hired resulting in a greater likelihood of even more intractable joblessness. low wage turn to the
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service sector for employment inner-city black males including -- significant number of offenders have to compete unsuccessfully with a growing number of female and immigrant workers. if these men complain or otherwise manifest dissatisfaction, they seem even more unattractive to an -- employers. because of the feeling many inner-city black males express about their jobs and job prospects reflect their plummeting position in a changing economy, it is important to link these attitudes with the opportunity structure, the spectrum of life chances available to them in society at large. let me in the by saying to address this problem, i would
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first focus on the chronic joblessness in neighborhoods where these men are concentrated. in terms of public policy, a strong case could be made to introduce a bill in congress designed to specifically target unemployment areas with the highest rates of joblessness. like inner-city ghetto areas. that would include the creation of public sector jobs for people who cannot find employment in the private sector. when i talk about public sector jobs i mean the type of jobs provided by the work progress administration during the great depression. once it would help improve the infrastructure in our community. parkding state and local history that suffer from lack of -- hours, limited our
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cleaning playgrounds, beaches and other recreational areas. cleaning streets twice, not once a day. sectorling for public job programs i am thinking especially about those black use who have been stigmatized by stig -- prison records and who find it impossible to find jobs. thank you. [applause] >> we have time for questions. you know where the microphones are. to go to them. >> george mcdaniel from
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charleston, s.c.. the house of a black landowner from maryland on exhibit in the museum. how would you recommend that the house be interpreted? it's not the sugar land project, is it? one of the things i learned -- that i want to emphasize this contradicts what i said earlier but the focus is not just on the land owner but to focus on it as a community and the part that they played in the community.
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i don't think we understand enough about how different classes of working americans were working with each other, were worshiping with each other. the different pecking orders in schools. all of the various intragroup dynamics that were going on in the african-american community. there should definitely be a focus on it. and to focus on a two day life and how helpful production because that was framed portrait during that period. that would bring in the role of women more. my name is nathan connolly. i was curious about whether the role of an apprentices fits into your various treatments of
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intersections between racism and capitalism. the manifesto on the march of washington in 1963 included for line that integration in the field of the -- education and public accommodation would be of limited duration as long as economic equality persists. part of that is the equality will be targeted. we take a look at predatory practices. the discussion about employment sector in particular and the of underworld activity in driving up the on high mobility are often is no correlation between arrest rates . about what is the place of labor in trying to stay off predatory approach is to black people under capitalism and is a disconnect between
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understanding of black politics and a wider understanding of the nexus between racism and capitalism? and professor wilson, is there a way where we could use the problem of unemployment and underemployment to highlight about the concern of black males and more concerned about the predatory nature of american capitalism itself? thank you very much. african-american trade unionists were not a one mind agenda. they were a diverse group approaching issues from a variety of perspectives. the main demands of the march on washington movement, the negro , scores of black trade unions were first and
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foremost centered on trade union demands about breaking down ,acial barriers in trade unions which were still firmly placed in many unions in the 1950's and 1960's. of the energyulk at the grass roots level. the larger issue is a minimum wage it was the same life, that would provide livable, the unified wages. the issue of the larger jobs program that the march organizers call for, those were central demands with less energy on a practical basis on the way to getting them. i don't believe that framing the issue either in terms of capitalism and its equity and speeches -- specific predatory practices on the other is what
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is front and center on this agenda. there may be a disconnect. >> people like philip randolph and brian rustin over and over again is that the fate of african-americans is inextricably woven into the structure and function of the modern american economy. giveny were living today, at predatory practices that we talked about it would be concerning an addressing these issues. whether or not they were addressing them within the of labor union and labor actresses, i cannot say.
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but, they would be addressed at the point. i don't know. do think it would -- if they were living today, in the discussion of labor and what should labor be doing? i don't think so. >> i'm bob harris professor emeritus. attitudes ofthe employers toward black males as they come in, there are certain assumptions that are made about lack males. there was a session this morning, who is black america? if your workg if has looked at any differences
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males, african american males if you well, those born in the united states who go back several generations, and recent immigrants from the caribbean from africa. are they caught in the same web? we do know and there are studies that have recently shown -- i think this is right -- over 50% of the black males at our highly selected institutions are either recent immigrants from the theirean and africa or parents are immigrants from the same place. have they been caught in this web as well? correct to say based on our research that some of them are caught in this web. many others are identified first as immigrants and as black
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people as second. in fact, some of the findings that we came up with suggests that blacks from the caribbean islands, are far more likely to positive judgments from than nativeborn african-american males. it would be a blanket statement to suggest that some of these -- in myigrants experience, many of the same problems that have plagued black males, but it is true that employers are more likely to favor them. indigenous black males.
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>> i am either jones. --ida jones. i was hoping to piggyback on utopian ideals, reintroducing the wpa. there is such great in the private sector in terms of what they want and everything for nothing. venezuelappening in and greece has affected a certain generation of people will. , how do weto america in regard totion set a different mindset and what is a job and what is making money? you have to look at what you
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like to do. in terms of service industries, even technology there is tgif friday's, what have you read as the world is becoming more local opportunities for certain people are becoming much more shrunken. even the academy in terms of the movement. the world will be shifting economically. all that being said how do we look at reimagining education, equipment both the latino and -- can-american at understand this world they are living in? i think we are going to have to make them the way we look at the american educational system. view that weneral
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should be training all students to enter college. many of them don't get there. andschools are work transition problem in america is terrible. kids graduate from high school and several months later, or took the kids in the inner-city, a substantial majority are hanging out on the streets to yet, there is growing calltunity for what they middle wage jobs developing in america for people who get vocational training. i would like to see us place and more emphasis on preparing youngsters in schools not just arecollege but those who able to go on to college and will be able to compete. adequate vocational training takes advantage of the new jobs that are becoming available,
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some that you are talking about. we need to re-examine the way we think about it. >> annette gordon reed. capitalism is a making and unmaking of america. should black americans be hostile to capitalism? academia willhat have a different answer to that then black people in are not in academia? >> out take a crack at it. puzzledeen a little bit by black people not supporting bernie sanders more. sanders calling for this way thatnge in the capitalism functions.
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oft's why he uses a sort democratic socialist model to educate americans on what can be done to enhance the opportunities in the segments of america. andas a powerful message somehow it has not resonated as much with black americans. resonatedrisen -- with the younger black americans. i just wanted to make that point. >> what i was trying to suggest is i think there are untold stories of their about african-americans who succeeded in the capitalist system much better than we came to thank and
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theymystified as to why have seem to have dropped off the radar. it is interesting the number of people who have been discovered. a lot of these people move between different cities. before that, someone with ian cleveland and have no idea what happened in detroit. now you can trace their names. that is revolutionizing the way can trace ands work through records. the legal records as well. the guy that i was talking about 65t i found him in over court cases, he was a serial litigator, suing and being sued. , it isables historians difficult to get inside of their minds, but you do get material
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about people who are being left out. i am surprised, there are not huge numbers of these people in new york. that have successes been dropped off of the radar. historians,hat most if they were not already critical of capitalism, their faith was shaken by what happened in 2008. they have picked up a new critique of capitalism. judging from the students that i people that i encounter, i do not think the vast majority of african-americans have a critique of capitalism in the same way that people once did. people keep bringing up mass incarceration in different sessions, and it is applicable here in the relationship with
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what dr. wilson was talking .bout another problem is a lot of the labor that you are speaking about was picking up trash and cleaning parks. they use inmates for that. we have massive goblins of jobs where people should be getting paid a living wage that are being done by prisoners. i would just add a few things. i think that there is a disconnect between the academy and much of the country. a few brackets in the sanders' campaign it makes my argument was strong. in the last 10 to 15 years, i do not use the word capitalism. way, theat is the history of capitalism, surpassing business history, enrollments are up in courses
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that have the word "capitalism" and it. the encounter the word in work that i do in african-american history and political history, it is to abstract of a concept. it becomes an agent that is responsible for those things. those things are all negative. is thethat equation tremendous growth of the american economy. exploitation and imperialism, i know, but it has generated a standard of living that would have been unthinkable 75 years or 100 years ago. when we think about capitalism's sins, many things, even in sandra's telling, there are things that can be in part correct did i things that they would call social democratic
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alterations. it is not that we will replace capitalism with a something that we do not know what it looks like yet, but they are talking about reforms to the capitalist system that will fundamentally keep the larger system intact. it is not a term that i use in my writing. i do not see it as an agent performing activity. individual employers, large numbers, who are engaged in discriminatory practices. you could envision a world where those practices are addressed. think that might explain -- a tremendous amount has happened in the last half-hour. this is not 1964. the kinds of latent massive discrimination on the basis of race and gender looks
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different today. it is by and large better, even if tremendous inequality still persists. it is a combination of lobbying and a struggle of grassroots activists to make that a reality that transformed the american work place and the demographics of the american working class and middle class today, i would argue. >> african-americans, i'm sorry, go ahead. please, go ahead. african-americans are hardly a monolithic social economic group . what you are talking about, a lot of the changes that have occurred in the last several decades, positive changes, have accrued to more educated, highly trained blacks. one example, if you use the gini index to measure inequality
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within a group, would you believe that within group variations, the gini index is higher among blacks today than whites? there is still incredible interracial disparity, but the gap between a four lakhs and poor-- affluent blacks and blacks is growing. in 1970 african americans had the lowest rate of income segregation, the separation of families by income in residential areas among all ethnic and racial groups in metropolitan areas of 500,000 people. have the highest income segregation. i am talking about racial segregation, segregation between blacks and whites, but the
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separation within blacks. one reason you see the separation is because higher blacksd, better trained have benefited from the changes you are talking about. matter --not a listen, one thing i'm concerned about is we are not paying enough attention to the black po o i would like to see us address that issue morer. . my name is alicia and i am a graduate student at history at the city college of new york. i wanted to ask about the role of veterans in the march on washington, the activity and trade unions, and the push for jobs upon leaving the military and returning home. veterans in the civil rights movement of the early 1960's. i do not do work specifically on
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this, but i benefited from reading the work of scholars, including my colleague who has been investigating. world war ii is a tremendous turning point of sorts both in generating grassroots multiplicity of grassroots organizations, and at the end of the war, returning veterans. any number of scholars have been documenting a world where whites wanted it to look as much like the pre-war world as possible. they come home determined not to take it anymore. veterans in the late 1940's and 1950's and undoubtably in the 1960's flood into local voting and civil rights organizations to play a key part. that is true in the aftermath of the first world war. as some scholars have amply demonstrated.
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>> we have time for two more questions. white.uestion is for mr. i'm from washington university of st. louis. talked aboutat you interest me a great deal. i was thinking where you might find the biggest impact would be in popular culture if you're talking about the numbers. most of the negro league baseball teams were owned by numbers guys. those who managed joe lewis were numbers guys. a lot of them went into the music industry. that kind of mentality. you get with guys like he who peacock records. that is where you would get the biggest impact among african-americans with that kind
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entrepreneurial/capitalism would be in areas like that where they actually in an ironic way, the negro league or the joe louis project or popular music companies doing innovative exploitation to build the community and get money from it -- i was wondering what you thought of that. >> i agree entirely about the role of numbers in popular culture. the negro leagues are often 'eferred to as the bankers leagues because they are owned by bankers. is pro-order, the importance of numbers. i am crying into the wind whatever the metaphor is, i ran out of time, but the new york
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times reporter labeled numbers in harlem before 1931 as a brilliant harlem success story. in 1920, 20thing bylion in 1926, 90 million 1929. that is a staggering sum of money. that is when the gangsters take over and take numbers 12 of new york. 1935, the figure is $350 million. dewey disputes that figure but will concede it is over $200 million. we are talking about a staggering amount of money in the depression. it permeates everything, as far as the fashion columns and newspapers who finds negro women are losing their beauty in the
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1920's because they are not sleeping properly at night, they wake up they are writing down their dreams to convert it into a number. there looks are going to helena handbasket as a result. it saturates everything in harlem in the 1920's. it takes off unbelievably. thanks. >> last question. i just really have three comments. going back to the question about whether african-americans should be biased against capitalism cents our ancestors were the capital on which u.s. capitalism was built, i'm inclined to say yes. walter johnson mentioned earlier the idea of racial capitalism is very important.
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we cannot separate an understanding of slavery and white supremacy from the emergence of american capitalism . have individuals done well? of course. the majority haven't. the point about distant progress, i live in a world, and my grandmother a sharecropper could not have imagined it. a lot of people i politically organize with live in very difficult circumstances with tens of thousands of people incarcerated who do not appear in unemployment statistics anymore. people who are homeless, indoor enormousarities -- disparities within the african-american community with some doing well and some barely surviving. it is only when we ignore those not in statistics when we can mark the uncritical progress. it is dangerous to do that. the other thing, the implied question is whether it is only
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academics critical of capitalism and ideas that regular folk art. they may not call it capitalism, but black women are on the .orefront of the fight for 15 the black lives matter movement is mostly led not only by black queer women, but those that have been immersed in labor organizing. thate do have a critique the economy is breaking their backs and compromising their lives. whatever they call it a understand that capitalism is working for some people, and not for them. i'm not an economist, but i'm trying to understand. capitalism is changing. my father worked in the auto industry in the 1960's and 1970's. left talkingo the about the changing nature of capitalism, on the airplane reading a piece in time magazine about all of the new emerging
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economies, emergent wealth that is creating no jobs. the hedge fund folks and finance are producing enormous wealth, jobless wealth. the people that are the most vulnerable are not only african-americans, that african-americans are vulnerable. we cannot carve out the issue of racial progress or may serious critique of capitalism. [applause] >> i do not think anyone would disagree. no one is putting forward and uncritical assessment of progress. the phrase that i use from the 1960's that i concluded with is "on the next revolution." the next and -- unfinished revolution." the next emancipation.
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no one would disagree that there are tremendous inequities. inis possible the gap positions is less why then you are saying none the economy is perfect or progress has been unparalleled and is perfect in any way. the criticisms are there and wait knowledge this. -- and we acknowledge this. >> her comments can reinforce rather than contradict us. >> i agree. [laughter] >> i am told we are out of time. let me thank my panel members and to you. we will see you tomorrow. [applause]
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>> coming up this weekend on american history tv on c-span3, at 6:00 eastern on the civil war, a history professor at the university of massachusetts amherst talked about how photography can try the history of american slavery before and after the emancipation. >> we had to spend time with frederick douglass, who wrote extensively about photography. about the power of soap for the power of -- self representation. for african-americans to present themselves as they saw themselves. as they experienced themselves and each other. >> sunday morning at 10:00 on wrote the white house rewind, the first of the three 2000 presidential debates between al gore and george w. bush. sure thate is to make we reform the system. you have the system in place that leaves no child behind.
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stop the business of asking how old are you? if you're 10 will put you here, 12 here. ask the question what do you know? if you don't know what you are supposed to know we will make sure you do before it is too late. >> parents should have more choices with charter and public school choices. have their children always go to a safe school. we need to make education a number one priority and treat teachers like the professionals they are. yesterday,p.m. c-span series "the contenders." key figures that ran for the presidency and last but changed presidential history. the 1972 nominee, george mcgovern. >> i believe it is possible that we will come to admire this country not simply because we are born here, but because of the kind of brave and good land that you and i want it to be. that together, we have made it.
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that is my hope, that is my reason for seeking the presidency of the united states. is thisy, former texas man ross perot, who ran as an independent presidential nominee in 1992 and 1996. set the highest ethical and moral standards for those who serve in government. that has to be changed or moles to laws in the next four years. we have to stand at the gate and keep the pressure off. we will. >> for complete american history schedule, go to the c-span radio app makes it easy to follow the 2016 election wherever you are. it is free to download from the apple app store or group will play. get audio coverage and up-to-the-minute schedule information for c-span radio and television. plus, podcast times for public affairs, books, and history
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programs. stay up-to-date on election coverage. that youradio app is always have c-span on the go. a panel of historians talk about world war ii as a turning point in american foreign affairs. moreuestion is the influence on america's international policy. the society for historians of american foreign relations hosted this hour and 45 minute event. >> i am going to be commenting on this round table. welcome to the roundtable on world war ii as a turning point. i'm going to introduce our chair , julie erwin. an associate professor of history at the university of south florida. her research focuses on foreign aidism and in 21st-century foreign relations. she is the author of the acclaimed "making the world safe : the american red cross


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