Skip to main content

tv   American Artifacts  CSPAN  November 25, 2016 9:47pm-10:10pm EST

9:47 pm
and will help americans and people from other parts of the world too. to examine that -- examine their own believes and see what they can make of it moving into the future. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our website at >> each week american artifacts takes you to museums and historic places to learn what artifacts reveal about american history. next we visit arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial in arlington national cemetery to hear from descendents of one of the enslaved families on this 19th century plantation. in about ten minutes we'll hear from craig that describes his work to tell the story of
9:48 pm
community established on the plantation grounds to transition slaves into independent lives but first steven hammond talks about his research on the family. >> my name is steve hammond. i'm a retired department of interior employee. i work for the u.s. geological survey. it is sister agency to the national park service. i actually was the deputy associate director for national hazards that death with earthquakes, volcanoes and landslides and a variety of hazards that effect the united states. and my connection is an interesting one. by third great grandmother was a slave at decatur house in washington defendant c. and her brother is charles that actually was a slave here on arlington national cemetery.
9:49 pm
and go way back in materials of their connection to mt. vernon in the local area here. and martha washington's estate at mt. vernon. he basically became a support and he was living on the estate with his grandparents and inherited arlington estate once martha died in 1802. 1802 we believed that he actually had relations with a slave. another slave at mt. vernon. and together they had a daughter that ultimately married charles here at the arlington estate in
9:50 pm
1821. it's interesting that they both grew up here. charles i think as a young man had an affinity to wash her grow up that probably worked here at the house once she became of e. they were married in 1821, shortly after that they began to have children, first child in 1823 and second one in 1825. shortly after the second child was born, george washington park decided to sell mariah. they have always suggested he simply free mariah and her children. he gave her 17 acres of
9:51 pm
property. the last several months we found documents in the alexandria circuit courthouse that suggest that george washington actually sold mariah and her two children to a quaker. quakers, as you may recall, were really abolitionist in terms of war and slavery, it was their goal to try to help free slaves in the area. from the deed that we have here, in 1845 from william stapler, we know that they actually freed mariah and all of her children. but this deed dates back to a previous deed that her -- his father, edward, who was the carry shop owner in alexandria and george struck in 1825 to actually free them. it's interesting because in the laws in the state at that time were such that if you were fleed and you couldn't support
9:52 pm
yourself you needed to leave the state, in terms of being, you know, a freed slave. but george washington park wanted mariah to be close by. so if you follow my story here, her husband, charles, was not freed. he continued to be a slave. but mariah and her two children were free but were given 17 acres of property at the south end of arlington estate, where they lived free for the rest of their lives. as a result of having follow on children, all of them were born freed as well. there are a couple of children that are very prominent in this family. very interestingly enough, once these children are free, they had an opportunity for education. one of the prominent older children, we know that he was probably educated in alexandria arlington area, as well as georgetown. he ultimately went to work for
9:53 pm
the department of interior in the 1850s. he worked for a number of secretary of the interior and actually became head messenger for the department of the interior and went on to become the first president of colored trustees of colored schools in washington, d.c. there are a number of ancestors and descendants of these folks that have made a prominent impact on our country. one example would be glee what was actually a tuskegee airmen. we had probably about 30 that we know that attended howard university, several of which turned around and became teachers at howard university. we have a well-known surgeon, mickey syfax who died just a
9:54 pm
couple of years ago, near the age of 100 who was a prominent surgeon, professor, teacher at howard university. we had julian dixon who was a congressman from california who passed away in 2000 but served in the u.s. congress for close to just over a decade. they have a long legacy here at arlington state. in the 1860s, after when the civil war began, they left the property. robert e. lee left, departed became general in the virginia army and his wife also left fearing that there would be problems with the federal government. arlington estate was taken over by the u.s. army. it was considered a strong hold, a way to protect the washington, d.c. and so it was over run by a number of u.s. army soldiers.
9:55 pm
the lees, when they left this property, asked the slaves to tend it, believing they would return here after the war, had no idea how long the war would last, they felt they would return. as a result of that, several years later, the u.s. government modified the tax code stating that owners of property needed to pay their taxes in person, well, mrs. lee could not pay her taxes in person and as a result the property was taken by the u.s. government as a result of taxes not being paid. in addition to that property being taken, the syfax property at the southern end of the estate was taken because there was no proof that they owned that property. some years later about 1866, their oldest son working in the department of interior actually had the opportunity to work with congress to make a plea to have
9:56 pm
the property returned. by the late mid 1866, the bill was taken up by the congress and to this day we know that a bill was approved and signed by the president andrew johnson, i believe in june of 1866 which returned 17 acres to mariah to live there in perpetuity. that's a really big deal for the family in terms of knowing they had this compound but they couldn't prove they owned it. now, we had congress here to prove that this was their property. i've been doing family history for close to 40 years. it's really something that's been a passion of mine. it's been something that my ancestors passed down to me in materials of understanding a little bit more about our history. it's been really important to me and to my cousins to basically pull together with the park service. with the research staff at mount
9:57 pm
vernon. with the leadership of the white house historical association, as well as with the new african-american history museum in washington, d.c., being opened by the smithsonian to work together to try to help tell a more clear fully laid out story about the african-americans, in particular the family here in arlington. i believe that while the -- there is so much in terms of the enslaved peep that lived here and our goal is to really try to help, you know, inform the public about what actually occurred there. one of the things we would like to do as a result of the land being taken away is to really recognize the lives and the efforts that people put into this. one of the goals that i have for
9:58 pm
this this area over here. enslaved americans who now are free and have done things for our country. . the robert e. lee memorial in national cemetery. next we'll hear from a descendant from one of the even slaved families on this 19th century plantation, he discusses friedman's village which was built on the grounds of original 1,100 acre estate. >> i am craig syfax, descendant of arlington and president of the museum of arlington. the black heritage museum has a web site and we are a virge yule museum and our main -- one of our focuses is to enrich the story of freed man village, in doing that we had worked with the park service. we have worked with mary mount
9:59 pm
university, we have worked with smithsonian and getting research and understanding the friedman's village story. it's an entity that was formed in 1863 to combat there was an out break of smallpox because of the emancipation. everyone migrated to the washington, d.c. area and with them created an out break of smallpox. during this out break, the army contacted the american military association, which was a group of women who were nurses that cared for, injured soldiers and they asked them what was the best way to contain the smallpox and they came up with an idea to put them all in one area the residents were emancipated slaves who came this way because
10:00 pm
there were jobs in the washington, d.c. area, they were building the capitol. they were building the monument, washington monument. they were building federal buildings and things of that sort. so washington, d.c. was building up so there were construction jobs in this area and they migrated to this area. we know that the park service told us that it's located where friedman village is. it's a military base that is on fort meyer today and that is where they told us the 17 acres of freed man village was. there is a marker across the street, because you can't put a marker on a military installation and have people come see it. across the street. there is a marker, a plaque card telling the information of friedman's village. when they established it, they put in it a school, post office.
10:01 pm
they -- citizens erected their own churches. they had homes for senior citizens. they had their own little marketplace and everything. most of the people went outside of friedman village to work on neighboring farms and blaugt ro the money back and the main plan was to how to survive on their own, how to work, how to create a family and just live the american way out the american dream. in 1898 or '99, they had to disban the village because it was on arlington cemetery. at the time they started building graves from the south end of friedman's village and were bringing them in the direction of the house, arlington house. so freed man's village were in between where they started the
10:02 pm
grave all the way to the house, it was in between. they said, you all have to disban and go somewhere else while we use this property to put graves on them. when friedman's village disbanded in 1898 and 1899, the citizens created the african-american communities of arlington. these neighborhoods were created out of the landowners, people that owned these farms, neighboring farms outside of friedman's village allowed these people parcels of land to bring their church. they built houses around the church to create a community. section 27 section 27 and right inside the wall, outside of the memorial is where section 27 is
10:03 pm
and that's where the slaves that were here during arlington house days before friedman village and friedman village exspirees are peechl that died will there as well. the graves were marked. it was after emancipation, your gravestone said citizen, before emancipation, it said resident, or some of them said slaves, some didn't. the story of friedman's village is a very impactful one and one that's american history, of course, tells about slavery and the friedman's village model that was here on this site at arlington cemetery was the first model for the rest of the country. this was the first design, the actual first one they had and then they improved on it from the south as time went on. so the story of friedman's village is one that tells how they -- the american government tried to help the slaves, they
10:04 pm
freed -- newly freed slaves build a life and stay over here. they didn't deport anyone, they just had to worge with these people because they realized they still needed a workload. they still needed people to work and farm things so they already had a system in place for people here. they just wanted them to blend in together and everyone work together. in the slave quarters, there is a model of the original friedman's village that howard university architectural students did for the plaque heritage museum of arlington. we had it commissioned to be done and our chairman, at the time, was dr. williams who was the leader in making that happen. truth we found out was a resident for like possibly two years. when she was here, she told stories of the under grouchbd
10:05 pm
railroad and time during slavery and how people were empowered to get out of slavery and go north where they could be free. she was abolitionist and someone who had teach how to read nd write. she would teach other slaves how to read and write. she was a stop on the way, pushing people through the under ground railroad. i'm a direct descendant through charles and mariah's son. ennis had a son as well name shelter, which is my grandfather, and he had kids and one of his kids was archy d., who was my father. when i walk the grounds of this estate, i sometimes feel like i'm in the shoes of those that feel before me. i feel empowered sometimes and i feel a new strength to want to carry on with the work that i'm
10:06 pm
doing. >> you can watch this and other american artifacts programs by visiting our web site at c >> on real america, the 1953 "american frontier."
10:07 pm
the film promoted the financial benefits for farmers of leasing land for oil exploration and was funded by the american petroleum institute, send morning at 11:00. panelists discussed the legacy of social activists jack london and how his novel, the call of the wild influenced generations of western novemberists and writers. >> we always look back to the nags ral land and elsewhere in the south pacific, to center himself and release, relief from the riggers and the degradations of city. >> on american artifacts we visit the military aviation
10:08 pm
among a couple of other types. basically it told all the investigationers. many of you guys never saw an airplane coming from the farms and anyone you can think of the first airplane you saw was the boeing. >> for our complete sed yule, go to for fp. when donald trump elected, malania becomes our second born. name more about the influence of america's financial first ladies. it's a look into the personal lives and influence of every presidential spouse in american history. it's a companion to cpsan and features interviews with 54 of the nation's leading historian,
10:09 pm
45 first ladies and the photos from each of their lives. first ladies publiced gi public affairs is available wherever you buy books and now available in paper back. to mark the 1 hundredth anniversary, the national archives, followed by a discussion on to would you saying as of healing an expression. participants discussed topics such as the national mall. bah listens between conservation and increasing the use of parks and dealing with ptsd by visiting parks. this program is about two hours. good aften.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on