tv The Civil War CSPAN August 17, 2016 5:02pm-5:56pm EDT
tv primetime, the 40th anniversary of the national air and space museum. the celebration took place in july with the current museum director, retired general jack daley and a look at exhibits on the start of aviation and into space exploration. it begins tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. next, amherst university of history barbara krauthamer talks about before and after emancipation. krauthamer discusses the legacy of emancipation and explains how freed african-americans used photography as a means of independence and self-expression. diggs, she goes over the change and depictions of african-americans through photography, and its relationship to the perception of african-americans in the post-war united states.
her talk is about 50 minutes. all right. good evening. i'm peter carmichael, professor of history at gettysburg college, and the director of the civil war institute. it's my pleasure to introduce barbara krauthamer, barbara is associate professor of history at the university of massachusetts at amherst where she teaches courses on antebellum u.s. history, slavery, emancipation and native american history. her first book, i have in front of me. her first book entitled "box slaves, indian 345masters, slavery, emancipation and citizenship in the native american south." quite a title. published by the university of north carolina press. this book details the untold story of enslavement by cocktile
and chickasaw ind januarys in the 18th and 19th centuries and barbara co-authored a photographic history of slavery, emancipation and freedom published in 2013, published by temple university press, and it is also for sale in our bookstore. tonight she will be speaking about her recent work and the talk is entitled "envisioning emancipation: black americans and the end of slavery." please welcome barbara. [ applause ] >> come on up. >> thank you! thanks. well, hello. good evening. thank you for staying this late into the night. thank you for staying awake. thank you, peter, for the invitation and the introduction. and allison, who has made sure that everything happened
seamlessly from massachusetts to gettysburg. tonight i want to talk to you about the book that i co-authored with debra willis. debra willis if you don't know who she is is the leading scholar on the history of african-american photography. mcarthur award winner. just a brilliant woman and a dear friend of mine. and she and i were colleagues for many years, and over the years had many conversations about photographs of enslaved people that we came across in the course of doing other research projects, and i would say to her, you know, you are the photography scholar, explain to me why i have never read anything about the history of the photography of slavery and emancipation, and she would say to me i don't know. you're the historian of slavery and emancipation. you tell me. so for truly a decade she and i would go out to lunch, go out to dinner, have a drink and show
each other these photographs, and one day we said there may actually be a book project here. and the book indeed turned out to be "envisioning emancipation." our question in this project and one that we are just starting to get to work on in the upcoming months was, what did freedom look like? right. we know a lot about the legal history and the political history of the debates over slavery, of the civil war and of reconstruction, but we wanted to really take this question to a visual perspective and ask sort of how was freedom, emancipation represented, and how did african-americans represent themselves? really the heart of our project was a history of african-americans through their own eyes. right? how they saw themselves and represented themselves. at the more scholarly level we were curious about using photographs and seeing them, right? reading the visual text as it
were, as both artifacts. right? as both sort of the relic of the past but also historical sources on emancipation and its legacies and obviously the most lasting and important legacy for our purpose this weekend is the history of reconstruction. so we were curious to see what we could do with these photographs to understand that history, how it was narrated and how it was preserved by african-americans and also how african-americans were represented in a visual telling of that history of emancipation and its legacies. so what i'm going to do tonight, right -- so there is an illuminated copy of the emancipation proclamation. what i will do is take you through some of the images that we discuss and write about in the book. there are some that i will show you quickly and will linger on. i should say as we were putting this book together we looked through thousands and thousands of images from archives both in the united states and abroad and early on our editor said you can
include 75 images. and we thought, well, that's just never ever going to work. we came to the editor with about 250 and they said, we can do 75. so we went back to our pile of 250 and we got it down maybe to 200, something like that, and we went back to the editor and said 75 is not going to work. and they said, okay, 100 and we said 2in, 200, and then went back and forth, and finally we didn't tell them how many we submitted and was hoping they wouldn't count and clearly no one counted too carefully because the book came out. some of the images i will show you tonight are in the book and some are not in the book. when we started and were thinking what does freedom look like we thought it was important to think what does slavery look like in the history of photography. much of the scholarship on the history of photography, especially in the u.s. context arguing that photography, when it arrived in the united states from france in the 1840s, early 1850s had a profound
democratizing effect on american culture. that the technology became relatively affordable relatively quickly and many americans great and modest could afford to have their pictures made. as we thought about it we thought this line of argument and interpretation didn't fit at all with what we were seeing in the photographs of enslaved people. so we begin the book by thinking about slavery and photography and really arguing quite strenuously that the history of photography for african-americans was not one about this democratic expansion of culture in the antebellum period. we began with some of the more famous images that you probably have seen, the daguerreotypes made in 1850, an interesting year that we'll get back to, of enslaved africans and their american-born children. the daguerreotypes that were made in south carolina under the
direction of a harvard scientist who wanted to try to document his theories of poly genesis, that there were separate orders of human beings and separate creations of separate species, and so we had a series of these daguerreotypes made. up can see -- i don't have a laser pointer, hmm. but you can see on the left-hand side of the screen there that there are these handwritten labels, this one says, jack driver, guinea, plantation of b.f. taylor from south carolina. so there are a number of pictures like that that show both african enslaved people and their american born progeny with the attempt of using photography to present visual image of human difference and human hierarchy so there are others that have women with their breasts exposed. many scholars have argued, right, that this is really part of the scientific project and wasn't intended as sort of a pornographic endeavor. and i would suggest that, in fact, the two are very closely intertwined, right, that that
forcing black women to strip and reveal their breasts for the camera was both part of this, quote/unquote, scientific endeavor, but that in and of itself was very much based in ideas about black women's hyper sexuality, lack of morality, lack of dignity and lack of respectability. this image is actually the one that really got us thinking we need to pull all of these pictures together and do a book. this is an image that's a wanted notice for a run away slave, a woman named dolly. one of the first things that caught our attention of course was that there is a photograph attached to the top of this handwritten notice which automatically raised a number of questions for us of why did this woman's master have her picture? right? what prompted him to have a photograph of this enslaved woman made? we still don't know the answer, though we have some theories. in the text of the notice he
announces that dolly has run away from the yard behind his house in augusta. it's important to note the date of dolly's escape. she escapes april 7th, 1863. right? so after the emancipation proclamation but clearly she is liberating herself, right? her master surmises -- and i do love this, right, he describes her body and in this way in both his written words and his presentation of her photograph really conveys that power to own and control and look at and proclaim who she is. so he says she's shy and she hesitates when spoken to, but that she has very nice teeth. he says that she must have been enticed away by a white man because she has never changed owners and is a stranger to the city. so of course he tells this narrative, right, where never changed owners as if that would have been her choice, right? we know of course it would not have been her choice.
but so her master, this very prominent south carolinian louis manigault creates this narrative of domestic harmony and bliss. when you delve into the papers, the overseer reports upon investigation of dolly's disappearance -- and i should note of the hundreds of slaves that louis manigault owned many of them, dozens of them escaped over the years, both men and women and of all of those who escaped dolly was the only one who was never captured. she was the only one who was never returned to his possession. when manigault's overseeing interrogated the other people in the household, they told a story of a free black man who worked at a hotel across the street who had been coming around the yard late at night to court dolly and said that the two of them had run off together.
so dolly for us was really the first image of what freedom looks like but also what those legacies of emancipation look like, right, of autonomy and self-control and self determination, but interestingly also of a certain kind of post reconstruction nostalgia on the part of former slave holders. the reason the document and the photograph survive is that louis manigault built a tremendous scrapbook, right, to the -- what in his mind were the glory days of slavery in which he pasted the bills of sale, the advertisements for auctions where he purchased people, the receipts for the money he paid to buy people and he included this, right, and he writes this sort of heartfelt lament that he never saw her again. which raised some questions about, again, why he had her photograph made in the first place. one of the things we found out that we had not known before doing this research was some
slave holders had photographs made of the enslaved people they owned to present a positive defense of slavery. to present slavery as a benign institution. to present themselves as benevolent masters who clothed and fed other human beings, if that's the mark of humanity. and then often there were images such as this one by thomas easterly where white families would pose with an enslaved woman usually. we've seen some poses with enslaved boys, not so many with men. as a way of showing off your wealth and status and prestige and presenting the enslaved person as a favorite pet or valuable object. we suspect that if the photograph of dolly was not one of perhaps a love interest for manigault, that he wanted a photograph of a woman he desired, we suspect it was a photograph more like this one, where dolly was holding a manigault baby on her lap.
and we've looked at timing of her birth and the escape and the children and there would have been an older infant in the household at that time. so it's entirely possible and that would explain, then -- excuse me while i go back. oops. come on. -- why the photograph is cropped and why you can't see the bottom two-thirds of that image if she is holding the child. we spent a fair amount of time then after sort of establishing this foundation for ways in which african-americans were represented, the way in which that history of slavery was told by other people. to looking at how both african-americans and white americans involved in the anti-slavery movement represented their appeal, made their anti-slavery cause. so we have images like this, a lapel pin that has a white hand and black hand clasping. of course, we had to spend a fair amount of time with frederick douglass who wrote extensively about photography and about the power of self-representation.
wrote about the power for african-americans to be able to present themselves as they saw themselves, right, as they experienced themselves and each other. and so for douglass then it was important for him to control his own image. he was dismayed as some of you probably know he was dismayed at the artists rendering of him that were included in those early editions because he felt that the artist had represented him as a beast and not as a dignified intellectual man. so for douglass posing for these portraits in classical style was a way of not only representing himself but making a larger political argument about african-american humanity. for african-americans being able to create their own images and for free african-americans being
able to purchase and acquire the images of prominent african-americans in the antebellum era was terrifically important both politically and personally. sojourner truth embraced the power of the photograph to not only represent herself, to present herself as a refined and dignified older woman, not as a battered former slave. right? so she curls her harnd. you can't see her hand that's been injured, but she also -- of course -- sold her photograph to support herself, and as we were doing the research for the book one of the things that we came across were letters to sojourner truth written by free black women from places like brooklyn asking to purchase a copy of her photograph and saying how tremendously important it was and how meaningful it was to be able to support the anti-slavery cause on the wages of a domestic servant by purchasing this photograph.
and in one letter a woman writes to truth and says i wish i had enough money to buy a copy of your picture for every woman in my family, but i don't so i'm going to buy one and i'm going to share it with every woman in my family so that you know and what we know that we're bound together in this fight. we thought it was very important to include photographs by african-americans so we included a series of photographs by the photographer augustus washington, an african-american man from new jersey. this, of course, is john brown. we wanted to spend some time back to this freedom question of thinking about what freedom looked like for free african-americans. you heard in the previous talk how northern states eventually stripped free african-americans of the state right to vote in their states. so freedom eroded in many instances for free african-americans and for some, like urias mcgill freedom looked
like exile. mcgill left the united states under duress, under protest, i don't think he wanted to leave necessarily, but he was part of a group, right, that moved to liberia believing he could never achieve full freedom and full humanity in the country of his birth. after the passage of the fugitive slave law, after 1850 freedom looked like exile, like another wave of dislocation. so this is another photograph by augustous washington of sarah mcgill russworm, her husband was john russworm the famous newspaper man who started the first african-american newspaper in the united states. the masthead said if we do not speak for ourselves who will speak for us? right. so, again, that sense of autonomy and self-determination. one of our favorite pictures of thinking what freedom looked like is that we know that for many people, for many african-americans freedom looked
like that self-liberation moment. so this is an image from a conference protesting the fugitive slave law from the late summer of 1850. it might be hotter in here than it was there in august. this is a photograph of an event organized by douglass and jarrett smith who is the tall man in the center standing behind douglass, they anticipated 50 people would show up, over 200 people showed up so they moved outside to the orchards. so the photograph is also historically important because it's one of the earliest examples of outdoor photography, right? where you can see the crowd in the foreground and then the panel of speakers in the background. the photograph is also important to us because it showcases two women who had attempted to escape from slavery, mary and emily edmondson had attempted to escape in 1848 from washington, d.c. they were captured, their father paul edmondson made his way from washington to brooklyn to meet
with the reverend henry ward beecher to plead with him and say if these were your daughters and the slave trading firm price and birch was bragging about taking them to north carolina to sell as concubines, right? and as fancy girls, and paul edmondson makes his way to brooklyn and said how would you feel if they were your daughters that someone was bragging about selling as sex slaves. the edmondson sisters are redeemed, they're purchased and given their freedom, which is really a concept that i think we all should stop and think about what that meant, right, to be given your freedom as opposed to simply being able to possess yourself and possess your freedom. and the accounts of this convention in upstate new york describe how beautifully and powerfully the edmondson sisters spoke to the crowd and how it was their speeches and their songs that really moved the crowd to tears in their
many instances, and we thought it was important to include them to really highlight the role of every day people and particularly every day black women in that fight against slavery. the bulk of our study looked at the civil war and that moment of emancipation and then the legacies of emancipation. so i will go quickly through some of these images which i'm sure are familiar to you. we wanted to include this one because it shows an african-american man driving the wagon of a civil war photographer. one of the things that we know is that photography boomed as an industry during the civil war and then after the civil war the number of african-american photographers proliferated as well and one of the things that we suspect happened is that many african-americans learned the trade, learned the skill and the art of photography by training on the ground quite literally with civil war photographers during the war. so we have a number of portraits that are familiar to you.
here is an image of price and birch, of that slave trading firm. one of the things we were interested in is how these photographs were received by northerners. how this idea of black freedom was represented visually and then presented to a northern viewing audience. and for the most part what we found is that freedom, the idea of emancipation, was represented as a non-event. right? that black people would remain at work on plantations. i will come back to this one in a sec. oh gsh -- these are -- we'll go with this one, then. that black men -- this is an interesting one, right? this is a picture made by a new hampshire photographer of contra bands. those runaway sleeves. he'll who liberated themselves on the u.s., vermont, in port royal, in the sea islands. when you look at this photograph thinking about it from the perspective of the formerly enslaved men and boys on this it's hard not to think about the
middle passage, about these men clustered together on the deck of a ship. right? one of the things that we know from reading the letters of african-americans who made transatlantic voyages during the antebellum period and after was that they really had this sense that these ocean voyages were steeped with history that they couldn't escape. right? the history was really embedded in them. there's a companion image to this but i don't have that shows the officers of the u.s. vermont and, you know, in that image they are all wearing their uniforms and they're standing, right, they're very dignified, there's distance between each man so it creates a very different image of who are the officers and who are the crew and laborers, and it creates a very different image, then, of what free black men represent, right, in the context of thinking about the future of the nation. this is a picture contraband yard that depicts women and children and one of the things
as we look at these photographs of contraband, which are often reproduced in history texts is we thought it was important to ask who is not pictured. who didn't make it to the camps? who was sold away? in the previous talk we saw those advertisements in the newspapers that people placed looking for lost relatives that had been sold away. and so in this moment of jubilee, in these early moments of emancipation of reconfiguring what the nation looks like at the individual level, at the family level, at the community level for african-americans that jubilee of freedom was also tinged with a sense of loss, right, of family members who were gone. i should also point out that in the foreground of this image, if you can see it, it is blurry because there are children playing. so we have a number of images that have these blurry spots because children don't stand still for the pictures. this is another image about sort
of how emancipation and the future of the nation, right, in the wake of black freedom, what it would look like. you will notice here that the african-americans on this plantation are literally anchored on a bed of cotton, right? so clearly it's a staged photograph, right? the photographer has arranged this tarp on the ground, piled it with raw cotton and then former slaves are seated in the cotton. so, again, emancipation comes across visually as a nonevent, right? black people remain on the plantation, remain anchored and tied to that plantation labor. i'm sure you are all familiar with this image, right, and the power of so many of these images. one of the things that we sought to do with our research, though, was on the one hand to really recognize and respect the history that the image tells us, but to also offer some alternative thoughts. if you look at the harpers
weekly in which this photograph is reproduced as an etching there is a companion piece. has anyone seen it? this is part of a triptych. some people are nodding so you know what the tryptic is, it's how he comes into the camp in tatters, it's this picture of the scarred back and then what's the third picture? the third picture is him in his union uniform. that is not the image that circulates today in our popular culture. it's not the image of a dignified soldier, right? it's the image of a battered body. so there's something about the currency of these battered bodies that we thought was powerful but we also thought it was worth really taking a moment and stopping to ask why are the images of battered black bodies so compelling in ways that images of beautiful refined intellectual dignified african-americans are not perceived as so compelling? so this is the image that circulates. we have a number of other
familiar pictures, portraits, of slaves -- i'm sorry, of soldiers, some of whom were formerly enslaved, again, showcasing that idea of patriotism, dignity and manhood. we wanted to showcase the role of women in that fight for freedom. this is suzy king taylor. this is one of many people's favorites because it tells a different story and it will get me then to this question about legacies, it suggests the importance of families in african-american communities. right? that soldiers are fighting not just for themselves, not just for their country, but really quite literally in many cases for their families and for their communities. it's also a picture that tells us a lot about people's perceptions of their beauty and of their dignity. likewise this is a marriage portrait of two former slaves from maryland and this is their
wedding portrait. so, again, that idea of the importance of marriage and of legalizing what could not be legal under the laws of slavery as a really critical mark, a very personal assertion of one's freedom. so thinking about the legacies of emancipation, not reconstruction politics so much but how the idea and the experience of emancipation stayed with americans, stayed with african-american communities and culture long after the moment of emancipation. one of the things that we wanted to do was move beyond the twin poles of reconstruction's promise, right, of this moment of political participation or this moment of the unfinished revolution, right, this is benjamin singleton who would lead the exodus out of the deep south to the midwest to places like kansas in the face of so much domestic violence and terrorism directed against
former slaves and free african-americans. so we wanted to think about what were some of the other legacies. in some cases the legacies were continued military service for african-american men and in that ironic fight for freedom of opening the west as it were to u.s. settlement which necessarily then pitted african-americans against native americans in those wars in the west. right? and so freedom, again, being this incredibly complicated and contested idea in the u.s. context. this is a great one from richmond. it's a photograph of an emancipation day celebration. and i think we need to pause for a second and i will say again the location and you can think about why this is such a powerful image. it's an emancipation day celebration, 1888, in richmond, virginia. right? the heart of the confederacy. it's in richmond, virginia.
it's three generations of one family. so generations that spanned those born into slavery and those born into freedom. if you look in the center towards the back there is a woman holding a baby. right? a young infant. so a child that was obviously born in 1888. right? this new generation of african-americans born into freedom. of course, you can see the banner with lincoln hanging from the center. so there's real recognition of lincoln, but also this recognition of black families, of black property ownership. they're standing in front of a store that they own. so people who had been property becoming property owners is one of the most important legacies of emancipation. this is an emancipation day celebration also in richmond, virginia. this time in 1905. in the previous talk we heard a lot about lynching and violence during and after reconstruction. so 1905, this period that's the
height of lynching, of african-americans not just men but also women, right, this height of violence and terror directed specifically at those african-americans in particular who were politically active, politically engaged, economically successful, outspoken and here is the african-american community of richmond, right, having an emancipation day celebration in richmond in 1905. claiming that public space to celebrate not just their emancipation, but their right to take public space, to celebrate the end of slavery, right, their right to assert african-american political culture and social culture with dignity and pride in public. emancipation day celebrations as you know were common across the country.
this is a picture from austin, texas, from 1900. again, i think really showcasing formerly enslaved people as beautiful and as dignified and as refined individuals. in this case also as landowners who purchased the land where the celebrations occurred. one of the things that we write about in this book and have continued to write about is thinking about how the experiences of slavery and emancipation, the experiences of reconstruction violence were really carried in people's bodies. so that as we look at these photographs as historical documents that one of the questions we kept coming back to in terms of thinking about what does freedom look like is who is not in the picture. who is not pictured? what is the loss that accompanied that moment of freedom? what was the loss of family members who were never found again? so this is a picture from 1916 of a woman named elizabeth
berkley and a woman named saidie thompson. again, that sense of graceful refinement but that doesn't tell us about the conditions that brought them together, it doesn't tell us about how they carried their memories or their experiences in their bodies, but it does tell us how they went into 1916 into a reunion of former slaves. this was an event in washington, d.c. that was designed to bring together people who had been enslaved basically to celebrate their survival, right, in 1916. and newspapers up and down the east coast wrote about this event. right? wrote about how local members in washington, d.c. donated their cars so the elderly wouldn't have to walk but could drive to the events. so, again, this sense that that moment of emancipation continued through reconstruction and well after. right.
that sense of people carrying those memories with them and wanting to really have those memories and that experience of enslavement and emancipation be part of the political culture in which they lived. so we have a number of images that, again, in the interest of time, because i know i'm standing between you and the ice cream at this point -- these are later emancipation images. you can see the american flag here on this younger couple's horse. this is an image, again, from virginia of an older woman selling ice cream at emancipation celebration. these are the fisk jubilee singers. in all of these images one of the things that's tremendously important to notice is african-americans are crafting their own visual legacies of emancipation. the emphasis is really on refinement and dignity. right? it's not on their battered bodies. right? it's not on the abuse and dehumanization that they suffered but it's on their sense of self. right? their sense of
themselves as achieving intellectuals and sophisticated individuals. this is mary mccloud bethune and the children at her school. this, of course, is booker t. washington, whose school included a photography department, right, well into the 20th century that trained people in the art of photography. so i want to end now with some reflections on how this story is told in a more modern period. this, of course, is an image by dorothy alange. and for librarians and archivists as well as historians, teachers and those of us interested in this history titles and naming are tremendously important. we know in the african-american community our names are terribly important, right? having that power to name yourself and name your children was tremendously important in marking people's freedom. this image is titled mississippi negris holding cotton. she was born a slave.
so we are not given through the title, right, from library of congress any personal information about this woman. i want to jump ahead. here we go. likewise, this image comes from the archives in missouri and the title that the archives gave this image is portrait of a well dressed woman believed to be a house servant. so i'm going to pause for a second and ask you to look at the picture carefully and ask yourselves is this a woman who defined herself as somebody's servant? no. right? it so clearly is not. here is a woman that has gone to the studio, put on her best clothing, worn her best jewelry, picked this gauzy background to stand in front of. her sense of self bears no relation to the title that her image was given when it was archived, when it was saved. and i think for all of us who do research with sources, who go
into the libraries, going into the archives that that's a question we need to ask ourselves, right? who has titled this document? who has named this person? so with that in mind i want to end with a couple of family portraits. this is a portrait from montana of a woman named emma smith. we know in montana african-american photographers, somewhat oddly, proliferated during the late 19th and early 20th century. here she is, right, a free woman posing with her own children. those are some more children. here we go. this is mrs. graves, a former slave posing with her free born grandchildren in macon, georgia, it's a studio portrait so she paid to have this picture made. i would remind you of that first picture i showed you of dolly, and that idea of having to hold someone else's child on your lap and pose for
the picture of your owner as sort of the human chair for their child and what that experience must have been like for somebody like dolly and then contrast it with what this experience of having her own portrait made, right, of mrs. graves, going to the photographer's studio with her grandchildren, her free born grandchildren. this woman who had survived slavery, right, to go to the studio and pause with her grandchildren on her lap and have that be the story that she told to her grandchildren and to her family about who she was and what freedom looked like for her, right, is a very different story than what some of those antebellum images and what some of those wartime images would tell us about what freedom and emancipation's legacies looked like. thank you. [ applause ] >> do we have time for questions?
ask the questions quickly. there will probably still be some sprinkles left. >> we're good. we're good. >> okay. so if you make your way to the microphone, i'm happy to tell you whatever i can. >> hi. >> hi. >> jim paradise, abington, pennsylvania. >> nice to meet you. >> one of the photos that you showed brings back to mind a famous pair of photos of a young escaped slave. he shows up in one picture in tattered clothes and the other one he is in a crisp uniform and a drummer boy, jackson, i think, was his name. >> yes. >> can you explain the context of this? was this taken as a public relations effort? >> that's a good question. so like that picture that i showed you of gordon with the whip-scarred back, there is a sense among many sympathetic viewers that circulating these images is good pr, right, for the union cause.
there's also a sense that it will arouse sympathy, right? that part of the thinking is this is the way of presenting former slaves as people, right, as human beings with their own histories, with their own lives and with their own identities, and i don't disagree with that. what i find troubling at a larger philosophical level -- and somebody recently said to me, right, if you think about sort of all of those, you know, red cross fundraising, it's not fair to put the red cross on the line here. all of this humanitarian fundraising photographs it's always a poor child from africa with a fly on their eye, always a picture of a baddered body. right? it's not a picture of a resilient person. i know that that pair that you're talking about and i think it's in that same vein of sort of showing the before and after of the potential. >> yes. sorry, we'll alternate here.
>> paul from cleveland, ohio. i just wonder did anyone ever discover the fate of any of these people that were pictured in your photos? >> that's a good question. we looked for dolly strenuously and could not find her. i know a couple of genealogists who continue tony sift to me they can find her and i'm willing to issue the challenge to anyone to find her. there's some people's fate that we know and we write a little about them and some who are just lost to us, as far as we know. and, in fact, that's what made the image of dolly so captivating, it really is haunting that the reason we know about her and her story of self-liberation is because her former master really couldn't let go. right? couldn't even let go of that picture. had to save it. >> hi, my name is robin, i'm from new york city. >> hi. >> i was wondering, a lot of these photos seem to reflect a portrait-style. you were talking
about refinement before and it's reflecting that sort of like the way that white people would almost take photographs before the war. so i was wondering if there was a development of a unique style among african-american photographers, and, also, was there african-american photography used as art more than a sense of refinement or like a familial portrait? >> that's a good question. thank you. certainly during that civil war era, right, the style of the photographs is very common, right, sort of ubiquitous. in part i think it represents both that sort of where ideas about art and culture and photography are in general at that time. i think there's also a very clear political undercurrent to some of that, right, as somebody like douglass would have said, right, about presenting yourself on par with the greatest leaders and the greatest thinkers. i think the period where you see a big sort of aesthetic shift doesn't come until the era of
the harlem renaissance, and people withxander g. and other photographers who are steeped in showcasing african-american culture in its all of its richness and diversity in the way that i think the political circumstances are so different in that civil war and post civil war moment. >> yes. leif -- sorry. leif fisher from oxford, ohio. the early photographs of the black ladies with white children. >> yeah. >> i think it's been pretty well documented that a lot of those ladies stayed with those families for a long time, some of them even after the war because they had no other option. are you suggesting that all of those photographs were staged and those women actually had no affection for those little kids? >> so that's a couple of different questions. let me try to pull this apart a little bit. certainly in terms of economic
options we know that many former slaves did not have a wealth of opportunity. >> right. >> and resources ahead of them. we also know that until the 1960s domestic service was the number one occupation for african-american women in this country. the photographs certainly are staged and i think the different question to ask is would those women have preferred to be in a photograph with their own family members? right? if they had the opportunity to create a photograph. >> understood. >> would it have included their family members rather than, you know -- in which case they wouldn't be presented as the servant, right, but as the member -- i think the question of affection is a different one, right, and i will say, you know, they are human beings, how could you not -- i mean -- as anybody else -- >> well, i was just looking for data to support the fact that you feel that they were all staged. >> well, the portraits are staged because you have to get into the photographer's studio, you're going to choose your
clothes, you're going to choose your backdrop, you're going to choose the composition of who is sitting where. so they're staged in that sense. >> correct. >> and by including your slave or servant, right, you're creating a particular kind of image about how you want to present yourself. right? if these are images you are going to share with family and friends, right, you put on your best clothes. right? you don't put on your work pants. even though everybody knows you have work pants. right, you put on your best clothes because you're creating a certain kind of story about yourself and your family. >> okay. >> that includes your servants. >> thank you. >> hi. >> hi. >> you mentioned with great power images from emancipation celebrations and united states c.t. troops. what are good archives to find those pictures, present, say, in classrooms or in public history
places to counter the image of the poor slave or the wretched slave? >> thank you, that's a great question. the best resource is the library of congress. the library of congress has an amazing photo archive. you can download on to your own computer for free and use them in the classroom. there's some archives that will also then ask you to pay a $10,000 fee to reproduce them. [ laughter ] that's a different story. >> my name is rebecca rosenthal. i'm from ridgewood, new jersey. as a student of high school art history class i was taught to interpret photos in their context but as a high school student modern photography is really nothing like 19th century photography. >> yeah. >> so i was just wondering if in making this book, did you develop a sort of eye for the portraits of the period? is there a difference? how does one kind of acquire that taste? it's a very esoteric question. but -- >> there is a lot of terrific
scholarships on photographic -- the culture of photography and sort of the norms and context. right? so, again, why people pose certain ways in those studio portraits in that mid 19th century moment. right? for douglass, that picture of douglass, he's looking off to the side, not directly at the camera, because he's posing as a classical statesman, you don't stare at the camera and smile like we do now. like when we pop out other phones. it's a totally different context, totally different culture, totally different meanings about what that image was supposed to do. >> okay. thank you so much. >> hi. i'm lee elder from ohio, and just to sort of support what you were saying about photographs being staged. there was an equipment limitation in those days that we don't have now. you can't move. you've got to sit straight, and nothing else is going to move. so that's, i think that kind of goes along with what you were saying? >> that's why there's all of
those blurry passes. the children, always a blur in the front of the picture, because the children don't stand still. >> my kids never stand still. >> >> last one, yeah. sprinkles are calling us. >> everybody can get to the ice cream just quickly, you talked about frederick douglass recognizing the importance of photographs and booker t. washington offering courses on photography. martin luther king also recognized the importance of getting things on film. could you just talk about quickly the importance of that developing into the 20th century as film came along. >> well, i mean, i think you answered your own question very nicely, right. i think that idea of representing yourself, right, not photography as documentation, but as self-representation was, you know, terrifically important through the civil rights movement and then the images not unlike that scarred back picture, right, those images of hoses and dogs are really powerful in a different way from the written text. thank you.
[ applause ] american history tv airs on c-span 3 every weekend telling the american story through events, interviews and visits to historic locations. this month american history tv is in prime time to introduce you to programs you could see every weekend on c-span 3. our features include lectures in history, visits to college classrooms across the country to hear lectures by top history professors, american artifacts takes a look at the treasures at u.s. historic sites, museums and archives, real america revealing the 20th century through archival films and news reels, the civil war where you hear about the people who shaped the civil war and reconstruction, and the presidency focuses on u.s. presidents and first ladies, to learn about their politics, policies and legacies. all this month in prime time and every weekend on american history tv. on c-span 3.
thursday on "american history tv" primetime, the 40th anniversary of the national air and space museum. the celebration took place in july with the current museum director retired general jack daley and a look at exhibits on the start of aviation and noon spra. it begins tomorrow night at 8:00 eastern. >> this weekend on "american history tv" on c-span3, as the national park service prepares to celebrate its 100th anniversary, we'll take a look at the development of california's national and state parks. saturday night at 10:00 eastern on reel america, the 1935 u.s. interior department film "the land of the giants," it documents the efforts of the civilian conservation corps and the daily life in the work camps. >> clearing dense juchbds growth for fire prevention and freer growth provides lumber for any
construction job which may be desirable. the conservation boys make everything from heavy bridge timbers to park signs. >> sunday morning at 8:00, scholars examine the musical "hamilton" the history depicted in the musical and the relationship between academic history and the history portrayed in popular culture. then on road to the white house rewind, incumbent president bill clinton and former kansas senator bob dole face off in their first debate of the 1996 presidential campaign. >> the bottom line is we are the strongest nation in the world. we provide the leader and we're going to have to continue to provide the leadership but it's do it when our interests are involved and not when somebody blows a whistle at the united nations. >> i believe the evidence is that our deployments have been successful in haiti in, bosnia when we moved to kuwait to repel saddam hussein's threatened invasion of kuwait. when i have sent the fleet into
the twiwan straits when we've worked hard to end the north korean nuclear threat, i believe the united states is at peace tonight in part because of the discipline, careful, effective deployment of our military resources. >> and at 6:00 p.m. eastern on american artifacts we'll take a tour of arlington house with ranger matthew penrod. built by george washington's step grandson, it was the home of robert e. lee who had married into the family. >> he declared this house a federalist house. this was to represent all the beliefs and ideals of george washington, and that included once again, the idea that this nation would exist forever and than no state had a right to leave it. so how ironic is it that that man's daughter would marry robert several lee who became the great confederate general and perhaps the man who came
closest than any other man in history to destroying the nation that was created in the american revolution. >> for our complete "american history tv" schedule, go to c-span.org. >> next on "american history tv," author and historian mark summers looks at the political battles surrounding reconstruction and how the era has been understood through history. he uses political cartoons, newspaper headlines and individual anecdotes from the period to illustrate the main topics of debate. and how many of the issues argued are still relevant today. this hour long event was part of the annual summer symposium hosted by the gettysburg college civil war institute. good evening. i'm peter carmichael, i am the director of the civil war institute at gettysburg college, i'm also a professor