tv Confederate Flag Slavery and Modern Racism CSPAN November 27, 2016 8:00am-9:56am EST
minutes. >> welcome, everyone and thank for being here tonight. i'm randy hollerith and i'm the washington national cathedral. it is an honor to have you here ath us and to begin the first series of conversations that we hope will be a blessing to many. the goal is to create a space in to have some egin conversation about the ee-jackson windows in the cathedral and larger issues of slavery in acy of our nation. if you do not know the recent the ry of wants regarding - of events regarding the windo windows it is in the information within the program for tonight's conversation. please know is the first of n ongoing series conversations over the next two
to foster ded conversation and deeper understanding. the the leadership of cathedral made the decision to remove the confederate battle the windows, the larger question of whether the in the should day sanctuary or be moved to a different location was open for a y left period of two years so that we engage in conversation and ducation around the difficult issues of race in our history and in our present life together. as i said in the letter as part windows rogram these are about our history but also about our future. move forward together? how will we learn from one another? we use the windows to of our new narrative history together?
conversation we are having tonight and ones we will have partthe next two years are of a much larger conversation nationally,ng place an important conversation around race and legacy of slavery. as the cathedral community we are hoping to create a place this sacred space where learn from onend another with open hearts and minds. we help to model the love of our that seeks hrist always to reconcile all that is ourselves, in our community, and in our culture. these conversations may well be times.rtable at they involve difficult subjects. but they are important conversations and it is our hope
that over the course of the next several years with god's help we can create something that is and uplifting for us all. so grateful for your presence and we invite your this ipation not only in program but in future conversations. your would like to share ideas about the nature of some of those future conversations to share would like with us in this journey i invite you to look at the back page of there is a where link where you can go and sign the journey of together. so, welcome. here.e glad that you are if you will permit me i would like to start with a prayer this evening. the lord be with you. >> and also with you. us pray. rant oh god that your holy and life giving spirit may so move
very human heart that the barriers which divide us may crumb suspicions disappear and hatred cease. healed divisions being we may live in justice and peace christ our lord. amen. now let's begin. repeat their bios because you have them but it is our easure to welcome participants. reverend oski, dr. kelly brown-douglas, dr. rex moderator ray suarez. please join me in welcoming them. [applause] thanks, dean. welcome to monuments speak. panel and thanks for being willing both audience with some o wrestle of the questions that arise in a
people, any people, when they own past and heir what the past terlls them today. we are here because symbols spe speak. by them.rrounded red and green traffic lights. donkeys. and gothic towers. the cross. lamb. saints are all around this building. they stand mutely and mostly un lab in statues, paint or stained glass and identify a language hrough understood by the artist and viewer. with an arm full of storpbs. saint peter with the crossed kaoels. through with arrows. ucia with a platter and two eyeballs. hey work as a language in part because of widely shared
understanding, a consensus about they mean. he red hexagon of a stop sign doesn't have parties chiming in to register their objections or it doesn't mean stop at all but it means speed up. symbols have meaning. symbols speak. their power from common understanding except when they don't. can they change over time? over ey be repurposed time? can they have layers of meaning ?hat come from context who displays them. who witnesses their display? understandings use?r some symbols hard to n the passage of time add meanings that leave us clear on the fact that symbols speak some of us wish they would just shut up.
oday we come together in this cathedral church to discuss the display of windows dedicated church was still under construction to memorialize lee and robert e. thomas stonewall jackson. in e are gathered here not front of the member morals which are over by president wilson let tell you whether lee's indescriptii glory of good the all righteous and undying wilt of o the life and robert edward lee servant of general er of men and in chief of the african-americans of the onfederate states whose compelling sense of duty serene favorite and unfailing courtesy him for all ages as a hristian soldier without fear and without reapproach. him as a seeing,
educator and engineer and shown ll jackson is kneeling prayer fully in camp bugler plays and he reads the bible. windowown in an adjacent s an armored crusader, arms uplifted while heavenly trumpets play going to glory his reads in part like a stone wall in his steadfastness swift as lightning and mighty in battle he walked umbly before his creator whose word was his guide. this bay is erected by the the d daughters of confederacy and his admirers from south and north. for the moment the confederate battle flags have been removed two wind dose and replaced with rectangular pieces of colored glass. they ys, the windows, remain. can their meanings change over
time? appropriate or acceptable change over time? shaped americans' understanding of the civil war life flesh and blood men, the actual raobt e. lee and sto jackson, do they belong in a church? in the windows throughout this find prophets,ll apositivelies, martyrs, saints and modern. and political leaders. front door. abraham lincoln and george washington. mean for them to be depicted in a house of prayer for all people? the designer of the city called a great church for purposes. joining me in this conversation dr. john to right american orian at civil war museum and author of
onfederate battle flag america's most embattled emblem. kelly brown-douglas thraoepbeologien. ellis t to me dr. rex associate director at national african-american history and culture recently opened here in washington. dr. coski i want you to take us period when the windows were being imagined, designed and installed. was a time when americans look back as to civil war ial of the approached. we were experiencing the candidacy of strom 1948, the departure of the final and oldest
confederate veteran so there firsthand witnesses to the war. they were leaving the stage. it was sort of a secondary through ssed down people rather than an experience spoken of firsthand. we as a -- where were we as a country and in our civil war and f that period when we got to the windows 0's when these were being contemplated? >> i will stand so i can see everyone. can everyone hear me? you have asked me to digest my entire book but a little bit the 1950's. before dixiecrats 1948 which was an important year in the history of the confederate in particular. let me start with the immediate aftermath of the civil war. there is the adage the winners
write the history but as most of the american civil war an exception to the rule. the losers in the american civil war had quite the role in zhang understanding of the history. after a brief period in which it a good idea to go trotting out the symbols of confederacy during reconstruction, after that period the white south was more by the federal government to erect statues to dead first in cemeteries, monuments to the dead, to their their heroes on spaces and public spaces and to teach history of the war from the d southern perspective which was nationwide. it influenced the shaping of the history of the american civil
war. for this long period from the 1880's beyond world war i the in ederate monument arlington cemetery erected in in richmondmple and on monday. avenue 1929. extended well into the 20th century the last in 1932 and last veteran died in 1949. all the while in that long battle he confederate flag was part of the ritual of white southern life in memorial ceremonies and ritual of the confederate memorial in dedication of monuments it was a familiar part white southern life. restricted very much to those rituals that many of us rew up with since 1950's where every business that had dixie in
ts name almost certainly had a confedera confederate flag. that was foreign before world war ii. started to change just before world war ii as the flag don't know took on a meaning as a logo for the south and more specifically the white south. t meant not just the confederate army and states of white south and american service men from the outh fighting overseas, american southern boys and football teams when going to ight the northern football teams, adopted the flag as their symbol. to be a f what it was southerner. through that instrument and in and justd roughly 1948 before it did start before 1948 nag started to have -- the flag started to have a more currency on the southern landscape. a lot of people were using it people much against it including the united
daughters of confederate si who it was not necessarily good to use it outside the context. in 1948 they didn't adopt it but from young supports college campuses accustomed to way it in a casual associated it with the dixiecrat protest who began to the democratic party embrace of a stronger civil rights platform in 1948 so it took on a meaning f protest against the civil routes -- rights movement. n the aftermath what the headline writers dubbed the flag fat broke out. the north opular in and people were asking why. was it somehow part of the iction succeed accurate movement against dark dixiecrat coonskin cats and other fads. aside from the african-american press concluded the latter, just a fad.
african-american press were warning against the flag as a ymbol not only of racism but disunion in the context of the cold war. united d to present a front and this flag suggested disunity. hat was the context of the early 1950's this interesting period in which the flag went the very restricted symbol owners the he federal heritage groups essentially owned it. essentially pandora's box open. 1960's,ho grew up in the 1970's, 1980's the culture began 1940's and 1950's with the flag fad. daughters and others fought very much against this nd persuaded many state legislatures to pass laws that many of us grew up
beach towel with confederate punished by law as desecration of a sacred symbol. miss uzbekistan of battle -- miss use. protectors of the flag and keepers of the flame initially reacted against it to sure it was used only as a revered mortal symbol and not became by the some time of the centennial. that is the context of the early 1950's for the use of the flag. kelly brown-douglas, would we windows like of that today? it, how would it be different? easy question. [ [laughter] as i contemplate that
question, i ask a prior question is, would we have even installed the windows let's say or beyond? because of course they were 1953.lled in , in response to the brown versus the board of decision, confederate symbols began to gather new meanings -- urpb different meanings as dr. coski -- book. in his back these became clear that symbols were symbols of white upremacy or at least segregati segregationist symbols and symbols that stood against the the ion of brown versus board of education and stood against integration. think to myself my, in my, the cathedral got right under the gun in
installing them in 1953 because certainly changed in 1954. perhaps a nk that series of questions would have to be asked that maybe weren't in 1953 when those windows much installed -- were installed. what does it mean to be the national cathedral? to ask the question who are we? more driven by the maso masons' civil religion and its sense of itself? compelled by who e are as a church and the theology of a church whose god slaves from egyptian bondage and whose god is both manifest in jesus who said i have come to captors free. i think that we would find
having to ask the question of what does it be washington national cathedral. to be amean that we lap -- happen to be a social institution that happens to be and so we service the civil religion of the nation? church which is called to show forth a glimpse the world and perhaps these were questions that were in 1953. i don't know. ut to be sure it seems as though the lee-jackson windows the question all in terms of civil religion that represent and it is the civil religion of the united acy as even the daughters of the confederacy spoke of this civil religion in many respects sanctifies
raises lee acy and and jackson as not simply heroes war but that rate they are also saints. have to ask those questions, which would cause us contemplate and ask the wider question of what it means to be cathedral. >> dr. ellis, dr. coski was he ful to point out when talks of the south and talks of a logo for the south he is particularly of the white south and in his book he black edges that americans simply were not asked. in that no voice conversation as we came up with symbols. yet black americans were speaki heard is not being different from not having
anything to say. about those years rom the mid 1940's to the mid 1950's. what was going on in black merica and was there a very conscious sense that this the native narrative of past was gaining legitimacy and gaining force and sort of harden ing in the public consensus american black counter-narrative being given space? back to world war of black experience fought in en they french commands, and you look at the experience most of them, being one where
ate in the same restaurants on the rench, they rode ame buses and same transportation. they fought and trained in the same units. hey were treated differently the they remember in america of that time. .hey fought in the war then they returned home with this new training, with this new expectation that if this appened in france and if i was allowed to feel differently and feelel more like a man, to more empowered, to feel like i a white man, then that is omething possible in america. come back to america,
1919.t was the summer of they came it the red summer of of the number of riots that took place during that period. a continuing to environment of lynching that back in the 1890's but going on. they come back to a reminder that the equality that they felt d in france they france or to leave in they would have to fight even for that environment to exist in america. adam clayton powell and others coined the phrase the new negro negro. and that new negro began to all kinds of agencies and all kinds of organizations that way supported this idea
of equality within the community. but even as the naacp and urban national council of women and all of these other exist, ations began to here also was the necessity of ida b. wells barnett who was in and trying to in some way speak out about injustices tennessee,oing on in she had to leave because they burned down her house. go north. leave and somewhere around six million the southericans left and headed to the north to the the north using paper to give them information about where they philadelphia -- might settle in philadelphia or boston.k or they left the south because for
confederacy that we was about, this confederacy ot for them a cultural icon that was positive. it equaled lynching. be trying my best to objective about what we are discussing and talking about, just remember all of this pain when you talk about pride. i just remember all of this violence when you talk about justice.nd just remember all of these -- i have a young white boy. i lived in williamsburg, irginia, and williamsburg was -- they called it the restoration at that point. nd everybody came to williamsburg to see the town that rockefeller built. i lived there and we lived on the east side of the town and
road from me he was a white community. have to have a wall up. we knew that we stayed on one ide and the white community stayed on the other side. day, i'm riding my bike down this road that was integrated road that we never used, the whites drove on the and blacking drove on it but i was riding my bike on the road. had a balloon and blew it up whenied it on my wheel and i went down it made noise and i could swear i was on a motorcycle. so i was doing it and there was age asite young man same me and there he was on his bike well. balloon as and so i rode and he rode and he trying to go faster than me apnd making the noise.
and when same thing we got to the end of the road he looked at me and i looked at him as curious about me as i was about him and then he him. to me and i spoke to and all of a sudden he asked me him a ion and i asked questi question. we rode a little more. knew it we had been three to gether for four hours. all that afternoon. e was the only one i had to play with and i was the only one he had it play with so away played together. end of the day he goes to his home on the other side of he street and i go to my home on my side of the street. the end of the week never saw of the more but the end would go to ies he local rich's market to buy groceries. nd we are in our car and i sat
in the middle, my brother was on the right and my sister on the left. older than me. i'm driving down the road and in over and there is a car the left lane and i look over in that car and there he is. there is that white boy that i played with. and so we get to the red light and when we get to the red light my car and i'm looking at him and i look hoping he he looks at me because was on the edge, he was in the not seat but on the edge, in the middle like i was. as we go to the stoplight i said to the stoplight i i have a at him and white friend. stoplight and he swerves over and he looks at me doeshen he looked at me he th this.
i tried to wave at him he avoid the fact that he recognized me. that is what i remember about the confederacy. what i remember about that flag. because i found out that his ran a barber shop and the flag that was a a confederate flag. he did not want his family , he had hat he had a found somebody that might be his became nd we never friends. we never saw each other after day. we never spoke after that day. think often about what ould have happened if he and i had not embraced a symbol and a
and a philosophy that prevented us from ever knowing each other before we ever gave a chance. [applause] defender, ioned the which circulated on the rail ands throughout the country told the story and kept the running tally of the number of lynchings. very important institution in merican life for black americans. attempt to ongoing make ithe civil war, to less creepy, less scary, to make sectional consciousness of less untry that prevailed
frightening to all americans out as much cial interest as anything else? when i look at something like south, song of the uncle remus, when i look at like the ole miss mascot running on the field with an enormous flag dressed up as a cavalry officer, the the old south and campuses.land grant here was a nostalgia about the an antebellum world that declawed it. based on chatle slavery and suffering. was based on glorified it was like into which black people will no
input. moment s no yeah, but where you can add that other stuff to the story. john coski, an attempt to legitimize that story making it less threatening, problematic for americans from all parts of the country? nd are these windows part of that project? >> yes, on several levels the cultural levels rebels and yankees being like cowboys indians. but on a more significant intellectual level in the half after the war many of you are familiar with the book in which the on author tracks the memory of the subtitle. even 65 to 1915 essentially really before the turn of the 20th century but in the years right after the spanish war and agreeing to
disagree. ther historians a book on remembering the civil war makes lear that there was a lot of dissension but southerners and ortherners very much alive and to the current day agreeing to , to praise causes vam -- valor. on what the war was about. n fact they fought at the drop of a hat in reunions in but sburg in 1913 and 1938 avoid talking about the causes and talking instead about the itself. and about the valor of both sides. kind of consensus among white americans to shove the to the side and essentially forget what david emancipationist vision
of the civil war something very important. emancipation of four million came out. make will ization i be an exaggeration to some extent. the merica reunited on basis of admiring each other's battlefield and that continued into the period e are talking about especially world war ii and cold war con tepbgt. context.ore -- con tepbtex it was more essential to talk about how the war made us and one nation and we could not face the threat of weiet union and red china if were divided but thank goodness we are now one people made that er in this crucible was the civil war. many did remember emancipation. take w.e.b. dubois to write about it. generally the nation heal ed at the expense o racial justice. world war i g
dr. ellis mentioned it reading day from a e other confederate veteran who had been militia companies in south carolina immediately after he war and he wrote a pamphlet after world war i saying how it was that the south was for victory in france. thesis was by precipitating cessation in civil war painful he was a colonel in a regiment it was for the etter because it made this nation one. it exploded the doctrine of sure thishts and made nation was unified because it as not unified as a result of fighting and losing the civil war it would not have been repared to rescue the world in 1918. kind of an interesting thesis but that is the sort of thing prevalent for most of the early 20th century. e are a stronger nation and as much as we may disapprove of
slave ry slavery we made it important to he southern charge against the north we were victims of your invasion but we'll overlook that you people down south were guilty of human slavely but we and admire what you did on the battlefield. hat was the basis of reunification at the expense of the l justice well into 20th century. >> i would say in response to that and in response to what you that clearly the nati foughtal was a healing and clearly the nation ad not healed and had not united. we can see that today. so we can only suggest that the the nation nited or was healed from the perspective of white america. right? so several not from the perspective of those who were
the perspective of blo black america. of that continues today as we see and which brings nation not oment of united because it has not been looked at and talked legacy of ry or its which these confederate symbols are a part. is much to say about that. i also think when we talk about about the i think question of what the church would do today, we also have to there was a church against speaking out these confederate symbols just s the african-american community has been ignored and so the history about the symbols.ate it was the black church. the black church was always a witness against racial
injustice. obviously as it phaoerpblged as an in visibvisi time of on during the slavery. what the church would say or even if we look at by which some churches incorporated confederate symbols within their institutions you the black occur that was very -- black church that was about that and in terms of what it month to be christian and the black church hold up the theology of a god that was a liberator of the oppressed and for justice and so it was he black church who gave birth to harriett turn were and nat david walker and ida b. wells. at the same ave time that you had this cathedral perhaps a wider
white faith community that was confederate symbols and embracing the lost cause you had another christian witness which was the black church witness that was that to embrace that is to compromise the faith. >> you could not come into public spaces and cast a vote on whether or not stone wa stonewall jackson with be crusade iing knight fromtrumpets pointing down heaven as he looks skyward. heard. couldn't be they were there. they couldn't be heard in a way change the debate. debate. we had a >> it is this driveness, i in -- that is the legacy ivisiveness that is the legacy in many ways of the confederacy and the flag.
and nk about world war i w.e.b. dubois sort of dvertising and sort of advocating for blacks to fight in the war. andink of frederick douglas that same notion of blacks fighting in the civil war. whether it was the tuskegee the united states color troops in world war ii or 93rd or 92nd regiment in world war i, whether it was the troops in the civil war, it was this give me an to prove to you that to be a citizen. ive me this opportunity to fight and to die so that i might way convince you that
i'm not a coward, that i'm worthy. not what that symbol says. hat i'm not what that symbol purports me to be. i'm something different. ex-civil war e block soldiers who -- black oldiers who said we need a building, we need something that reminds the nation what we have done. that we have fought and that we have died and that we have been of this t a part country but we have given everything for this country. valiantly.ght until ld that dream september 24, when we opened museum. we opened that museum because of 1915 that at began in was deferred, deferred, deferred deferred, and finally came to fruition. need, that desire
america o be a part of and wanting to be a part of the what made america reat was a dream that was deferr deferred. and for me, that has a great the power, the of inence and the presence the confederacy. until we are able to begin do what we are doing now, about it and lk begin to heal as a result of it, maintain itself. i worry so much about what is our country and our nation now. spiritedness that is here. i worry about it, because that's need.at we what we need is another kind of
formula. now, if you could convince me definition or a new redefinition of the and the confederate lag that led us to a better nderstanding and a pwbetter realization of what we are and americans, id be as would fly the flag, too. [applause] pretty nk context is important in these matters. fly a flag on o your ront lawn and it is front lawn, well, that is up to you, isn't it? is a staterent if it park in the state of mississippi a general or a leader
f a state government that was avowedly segregationist? s it different if it is a calhoun hall, a university named after john c. calhoun? is it different if it is a church? it is ore different when a church that in its founding documents says it is a church and for national purposes? is it obliged somehow to present a consensus version of american a way that just any old church maybe isn't? difference with the stain glass window? that?y is >> two things. this takes us back to the we are. of who 's cathedral and whose stories are we trying to tell? whose stories are here in
this cathedral? so, let's say a part of who we re, because there's a lot of icon iconography that in other perhaps telling the nation's story. if that is the case, then we to tell a broader story. and so that we have to tell the nation's story, which means that the story of not just people have to be jackson told, but the paoeeople who wer institution that they fought to preserve also has to be told. has to be er story told. ed glasstalk about stain windows the history of them in hurches first of all they entered into churches in one respect because they provided, the medieval period, they
provided an opportunity for afford ho couldn't bibles or were not literate to story.he biblical so, in many respects the stained windows are religious symbols and as religious symbols they say something not only culture from which they emerged but they are saying whom ing about the god to they point. o what are we saying about god and the stained glass windows reflections of lee and jackson? that is a different question. ones different if they were of monuments as is lincoln, et cetera. stained glass windows. and so that takes on a different religious symbolism. >> so to you they speak in a different way from a statue or some other bas-relief. >> it would be different if they
were in a museum. church and in a they are stained glass windows, john part of the problem coski once something is installed getting it -- the around getting it uninstalled as we are seeing in new orleans and we have seen richmond and saw at the confederate state house, different from the argument over whether to install it or not in the first place? it is. i also want to speak to a point ll of you are making about the context of the windows in 1953 precisely because it was to be nation's church. you say observing that it fwas o incorporate all americans. i haven't read all the documents ut read some relating to the history of the windows that explains why they are here and the point a year later when confederate flag was being used in the decade after that very widely as a ore
symbol of opposition and violent pposition, defense of segregation and opposition to integration. palatable for ss the cathedral after 1954 is a good point. but what it tells us is that the white south was still, in 1953, it had been i can tell you the previous 50 years, since the war, fighting n for legitimacy and trying to rove to the nation as a whole its patriotism. yes, we were on the other side much the civil war but we are now and the white south tried during the world war as african-americans were trying to un, this is dr. dubois to close k americans ranks with the nation despite what was happening to them at home. earn theopportunity to respect. the white south was fighting for and the window here hero of the nsus confederacy the man who embodies
that americanh so submarines were named for him and army bases much named for -- were named for him. a consensus of a man at the time at the time of his centennial birthday famous northerners were giving speeches a great man he was. so to have him represented here a lot of people wanted lee and others represented in the hall of university fame. it was important to get respect -- for the h to white south to get respect it many years after the war. to do with why they were here because it was a nati and a gesture to earn our respect and prove won't part of the united nation especially in the cold what was t of threatening the nation. but the point about taking things down that is where we have. we have a commemorative
landsca that one partt up of at least testifies to the relationships. a monument to a confederate on a says among other things that the time this erected the voice of black people didn't count. around it. way there are other reasons it might have been put there but it power, the unequal power relationships at the time. but they take on a life of their over time. people get used to them. you mentioned richmond and monument avenue. is part of the marketing of the city. it is one of the post visited places. is good for business. it is about green and it is good for the city's image because people come to see. it. people get used to it is part of what they grew up with. we were mentioning earlier you talking privately about
high schools that were named for 1940'srate heroes in the and people become invested in he names not because of the names but their personal heritage in attending that from and remembering their youth and the glory years school. part of that so, taking things down is an on a perceived world. most of us do not stop and think that the commemorative landscape we inhurt had to come from somewhere. those things didn't grow out of the ground. od department place them there -- didn't place them there. conscious decisions to place monuments, to raise the money to build them and design them as they are and to write inscriptions that ray read, they were conscious acts are back stories that speak to who had power and who didn't. they tell us more about the who erected them than
they do about the historical that are being commemorated. they are documents much the which they were erected. most people don't think about that. this commemorative landscape as a given and there tendency to react negatively when you are saying ale as you were lot of people have very good reason not to be comfortable landscape because they do know the back stories. but when you are comfortable an attack on it is a disruption of the life you knew the world that you received is what you are getting at. to your l be going questions in a moment. before we do, i want to ask you, the point that dr. coski made about how they values, they are physical things, stone mountain is stone mountain. is very hard to unstone
mountain it. windows are part of this building. that plaque commemorating robert lee that says that he was beyond reproach is a part of building. can you un-build that? that?d you un-build -- i thinkthat if we your question was can we un-build the concrete and the we e and the symbols that have created. we can. t takes a great deal of effort to do that. the easier thing to do is to let and then create new should ons for why it stay there. call it culture. else.it something don't call it violence.
on't call it -- don't talk about what it does or has done to a community. me, what makes it even more that we not only grapple with this but we resolve it will always e like a scab, a sore, that won't heal. makes it evenouse terms of its ability ability to ts destroy. in god's house the people that i as a child who were the not allow o did oppression to overcome them, who allow their anger to men and womenwere
of god. house was always a sanctuary. always a place ones self. nnew god's house was a place to go to inspired so you can leave od's house and fight the good fig fight. to have in god's house something questions your sense of what you can do, what you can , is to you can achieve anathema to who god is and to his example. >> i affirm that. takingant to add that if them down is an attack upon a we also have to recognize that keeping up
certain symbols is also an upon a people. >> dr. coski, is it different in church, as we just heard dr. ellis suggest, from fort hill, from a major square in new orleans where a general stands? is a church a different place nd different context which demands a different kinds of conversation and response? more about theen difference between private and public as you were alluding to won't digest a hole chapter and there is a huge difference between what the naacp referred to as a overeignty context of state flags and flags on public private versus on roperty which really the customs of free speech rule.
aurches, it seems to me it is matter for the church itself, that is the people of the church of i know of any number churches primarily episcopal omes to my knowledge into have wrestled with this issue. but as someone who didn't belong o a church i will defer to those who do. and is it different? yes, clearly. and i think the decision belongs to the congregation, to the church.of that >> let's go to questions and let not -- i'm sure deeply felt opinions and there windows are interesting insights about them but i would ask you not to speech. you can give us an idea of what a on your mind and please ask fine on of one of our
panelists. aisle a mike in center and a gentleman's honda -- hand up.t >> i'm riley >> my name is riley temple. i'm a former member of the episcopal cathedral, the board of trustees. first, i want to salute the church for doing this. it is a wonderful and absolutely essential thing to do. secondly, i grew up in richmond, virginia, born and bred, and i grew up in a house that sat on the very ground of largest confederate hospital. a block away from where i grew up, the confederate soldiers
sailors monument. those confederate doubles were symbols never been nine. -- benign. we always considered them an attack. they may have been benign with white people, but not in the black community. secondly, with respect to monument avenue, i weighed in on monument avenue, a public thoroughfare. i don't leave those symbols should come down because they can be taught about, but in this church, my question is about framing the question. in a church that honors two people in windows, people who fought to preserve the way of life of slavery, dehumanization,
i think the question should be framed differently to talk about the burden of proof, and it seems to me that the burden of proof should be -- how can you justify having those windows in a house of god, not how do we set aside the burden of proof that -- not how do we satisfy the burden of proof that they should come out. but how do you justify it? mr. juarez: responses, panel? reverend douglas: i think again that that is the question. it begs a hard question, and questions that were not asked when they were put in. we now have to begin because we are at hopefully -- and we are it seems to me by virtue of the fact that we are having this discussion, that we are at a
different place and have new questions and different questions and should be hearing different voices and recognizing that a history has been negated and that voices have been silenced so that it indeed this is a place, a church for all people, then those voices have to be heard. i think that the question is right, and that's what we are grappling with, and i think that it requires these kind of discussions in which people can indeed begin to hear the voices that have been left out of not simply the conversation but out of the history, and the stories that are not told in those windows. mr. juarez: does the fact that they were put in, that the cathedral took the donation of the united daughters of the confederacy, that the
inscriptions in the days are worded the way that they are signaled to us that in the washington of 1953, this really was not even an argument? dr. coski: very much so, and that's one of the major points that i hope that has come through in a number of discussions so far. clearly among the african-american community nationwide and in the south, lots of reservations, lots of perceptions of them as attacks, but among the white our brokers, those who were making the decisions, lee was a hero. there was almost no question. a submarine was named after him in this time. bases. lee and jackson to a lesser degree. for one thing, he was a presbyterian, not episcopalian.
at the very least, the presence of these windows do testify to the zeitgeist of the time, that they were, among white america, heroes, a legacy of 75 years by that point, 80 years. four score and thing -- something years in which the white south's interpretation of the civil war had become kind of a consensus one. also, let's face it, the confederates are more fun. they are the underdogs. this has been an issue with reenactors, as many of you know. they had to get some of the guys to show up as confederate to galvanize and become yankees so the odds are at least fairly even instead of having 10 confederates for every union soldier. as a romance about the confederacy that began at the turn-of-the-century. you talked earlier about the defending -- defining -- defanging of the civil war. that is the crucial context.
>> thank you. i think we had a discussion. i'm impressed with the panel. you really dealt with some issues, and as we go through this question period, i hope we will raise more questions about the windows, we have the emancipation window, which is a very emasculating window to look at. i have been picketing the cathedral the last few months -- mr. juarez: tell people who you are. >> robert hunter. retired priest. they came into with a moved the flags -- they came and told me they moved the flags out of the windows. i know those folks. they are not going to move the windows. and that's ok. i will just keep picketing as
the weather permits and my health permits. one general came and said to me, "i appreciate what you're doing. i'm trying to make a film about reconstruction, how we can reconstruct some healing in this nation." i said you cannot reconstruct this nation because it began wrong. you can construct this nation, build it a new. that's what they say about a cathedral. it is never finished with construction. you will find stones that need to be thrown away, windows that need to be put out. always, we are constructing a new cathedral for a new age. mr. juarez: dr. ellis just helped open a museum that has to speak to all the people about this highly fraught, highly
contentious history of hours -- of ours. how do you do that? dr. ellis: i would like to respond to the gentleman in a way that is probably surprising. the young man who was talking about richmond and talking about the monuments in richmond and talking about -- did you get that? and not wanting to take it down because of a story to be told. i want to say a little bit more about that. stonewall jackson and robert e. lee are iconic figures -- the confederacy and stonewall jackson and robert e. lee. we about four years ago put together an exhibit called "the paradox of liberty" where we talk about thomas jefferson, but
the title was "thomas jefferson and the slaves of monticello" because during his lifetime, he owned over 700 slaves. we had thomas jefferson, a statue of him, and behind him, we had the names because they did excellent research, and they know the names of all the enslaved that he owned, so we put this huge series of tiles behind him that had the names of those in slaved. our suggestion was that in order for you to know who thomas jefferson was, you had to see him not just as an inventor, not just as a statesman, not just as an author, that he also was an owner of slaves, and in order to
see him, you had to see him through that prism as well. i suggest that there are things that can be learned about robert e. lee and about stonewall jackson that we do not know because they have a come iconic symbols of a value system as opposed to individual men who had parts of them that were good, that were bad, and were ugly. mr. juarez: you started with the memorial boulevard in richmond. does that mean augmenting that part of the church, adding material, adding something for the visitor to go on, or does it mean taking out those windows? dr. ellis: i am suggesting that a conversation is valuable in terms of asking what we really
know about the iconic men as opposed to the human beings they represent. i am simply saying that it's possible if we find out more about the good, the bad, and the ugly of who they were, it might not be necessary to take it down. it just might be expanding and enhancing a story that allows us to know more about who they were. reverend douglas: i want to add to that in a different way. even as we talk about the cathedrals -- the windows injuring the cathedral in 1950 three, there's another story we also are not telling, and that is the story of the piscopo -- the piscopo -- the scoble -- the episcopal church and its complicity in slavery.
it was not until 1958 the general convention -- if i'm not mistaken, it was the 1958 general convention -- where the episcopal church spoke out for the first time about racial injustice. up to that point, during the antebellum period, while other churches were splitting over the issue, they were not. the church was more concerned about unity at the time that it was about slavery, so they were concerned about unity. in a sense, that same concern is expressed by the fact that those windows injured the cathedral in 1950 three because there was that concern about unity and not racial justice, so when we tell
the story, i think the windows also signify the complicated story of the piscopo church, and episcopal church and we need to be honest about that -- the complicated story of the episcopal church, and we need to be honest about that. mr. juarez: to put it that way, it may be even more difficult to get them out because we in these latter days seek validation through the maintenance of symbol and the way symbols speak to us today. they may feel the loss more keenly from here than they would a public park or the courthouse square. yes, ma'am. i have come here from boston today to be here this week and i'm thrilled to be here. i think i will have to come back the next two years to represent the north, which i'm happy to
do. growing up, i was the only yankee of 75 people, and i went to savannah, georgia, every summer, and i was not allowed to sit on the back of the bus, much to my sadness, but i think -- i have a suggestion going forward tonight. i think it will be a huge mistake to erase history, a mistake our country cannot afford to make. i would suggest the stone of this building not limit the stained glass windows that are allowed to be here and going forward, a lot has happened since 1953. we have had the civil rights movement, a complete increase in the number of hispanic people now in this country. we have a muslim presence in this country and i think about the norman rockwell picture that shows all those different aspect of the world and perhaps there could be a window or windows
built to bring our national cathedral up to the current constituency we have here with the history of all those different ribbons. i'm not in any way meaning to minimize african-american pain over the confederacy. i affirm that so much, but i think also that we need to have another presence. mr. juarez: you are saying keep the windows but tell more complete story? >> hang up more windows and shine a more complete spotlight on them. >> i think what i found more offending was the words written on the plaques. to keep the windows, we would still have history, but to remove the plaques and sort of incorporate what i think were dr. brown past interests, that
we show perhaps an evolving episcopal church, but we could keep the windows but again modify the plaque somewhat. mr. juarez: should i read those plaque inscriptions again? >> no. [laughter] mr. juarez: yes, sir. >> my name is george albert. for better or worse -- i'm not going to talk about the windows -- i lived in fairfax county, and for the last 18 months, we have been wrestling with another confederate senate, jeff stewart. i've been leading a coalition of students, alumni, community members, organizations including the naacp to change the name of jeff stewart high school, and i have been very impressed with this conversation. it is a conversation i wish we could have somehow in our community. right now, most of our
conversations are very divisive, full of rancor, full of discord, full of refighting the civil war and whatever for everybody has with each other. mr. juarez: in the case of some of these high schools across the south, when people go to the barricades to keep the name, it's not necessarily out of a particular love or reverence for in this case jeff stewart himself, but because they went to and graduated from jeff stewart high school, who has a mascot. there is a nickname for the team. it is wrapped up in who they were and how they grew up. do you buy that? >> no, i don't buy it, but i understand it. for me now, there's nothing new under the sun.
we have to find a way to preserve the history and legacy of what is good about the school, but we should not be commemorating and the liberating confederate values. i'm really looking for advice, how to get this kind of a conversation going. we highly got the school board to agree to move forward with a working group to consider over the next eight or nine months if they ever started, to consider all these types of issues, but i fear that it will continue to be very discordant. we have some of our opponents taking the side of traditional lost cause history, if you will. some taking other points of view
of what the war was really about. the school was named in 1959. never really presented a plan that was approved until about 1961, so it was named in that context. so i am looking for advice, how we would get this kind of discussion going on. >> i suggest to you that the conversations that you are having in fairfax are very, very valuable. if this were easy to turn on a dime, it would be done by now. you will ever do, to try to change hearts, the hardest thing. when i think of the fact that we
now have a building that was dreamed before i was even born, and that it will stand until -- it took 100 years for it to happen. i hope it does not take 100 years in fairfax, but what i'm saying is that the seeds that you are creating now -- i know it's frustrating. i can hear it in your voice, but my suggestion to you is to continue that fight and to continue the discussion and to continue to talk about it. the fact that it is difficult for me means that you are having the right conversation. how many times do we have conversations that we want you to feel good about what you are saying and at the end, we have solved nothing? you are obviously doing the
fighting the good fight and fighting the hard fight. the only suggestion i have or use use this as a way to motivate you to continue the fight. mr. juarez: passing histories gallstones, you might think of it. >> how are you this evening? i'm a little bit different because i'm jewish. i'm a little upset because i have gone to a lot of anniversary battles and stoneware jackson marched, and i've also done the march on selma, the 50th anniversary when obama spoke. i was there. i did it. unfortunately, i was not alive during those battles.
being jewish, i had family held in auschwitz. jackson and lee were men of god. 150 years ago, if i showed my ankle, you could be lynched, as a woman. the representation of women in that era, you follow me? we have come a long way. i want unity. i'm not happy about anybody being in slave. the irish indentured servants. the native americans that were slaughtered in american history. it's all pathetic and sad. i want us to move on in 2016. thank you for all that you are saying. i want an open, fair dialogue on american history, and i want us
all to love each other. my question is -- are you happy with the way the millennials for the younger generation are handling a lot of the racial crises that have been perpetuated since dylan roof -- dylann roof and the whole thing that happened a year ago? mr. juarez: interesting question. reverend douglas: yes, and i'm not sure which millennials you are speaking up, but what i am happy about is that we are in this place, meaning not simply this place, but this place in our history where the question has been called and, hopefully, we will lean into it. because if we don't -- you know,
as i often say and people have heard me say, there is a pit that divides us in this country. there are several ways we can get around that pit. we can walk around it. we can jump over it. in theological terms, that is cheap grace. we will find ourselves continually having that hit between us -- that pit between us because we have not done the hard work of climbing down into it and all of the mess and the hurt where it is uncomfortable and we all get soiled, but the truth is down there, and we live in the truth and we deal with it. as uncomfortable as it is, and then we come back up the other side. that is a just reconciliation, not just reconciliation.
we are in this moment, and we had a decision to make, and that decision is if we are going to tell the truth about who we are as a nation, and if we do not tell that truth, then we are going to continue to be in these moments of division. so yes, whomever these millennials are that you're talking about, i'm glad we are in this moment, and the question is to us, what are we going to do about that? it is a time so pregnant with the presence of god and it is disruptive and chaotic, and it has to be disrupted and chaotic because god is trying to lead us into a new direction, so tearing down things as they are so we can get somewhere else is uncomfortable, but it is our
path as a church community to live in it. we can miss it or grasp it. mr. juarez: i'm glad our questioner brought up dylann roof because one of the more peculiar representations of this long-standing argument is that a mass murderer walks into a church, killed nine people, and i'm how, circuitously, this ends with ace olives ceremony -- a solemn ceremony with an honor guard of state troopers in full dress uniform taking down the confederate flag to be put in a nearby museum, for which they are building a multimillion dollar additional wing to house this object like it is a piece of the true cross or a relic of the head of a state -- saint, and it is just a weird set of
outcomes that begins with a heavily armed man walking into a church and killing a bunch of people, and it's almost like throwing a boomerang. you in-depth hitting some target you may be never even intended. what did you see going on with that? >> a lot going on, obviously, just the way you framed it. the charleston murders galvanized opposition to the confederate symbols. as you know, this has been going on for decades. the undoing of the symbolic landscape has been going on really since the middle of the 20th century, that removal of flags from public places. there have been some peaks and valleys in that, and it kind of reached a point of stasis after the change in the georgia state flag in 2000 four, but i think everyone realized it was just an
armistice awaiting something. the taking down is one part of what you are saying. i think to some degree, it came at a time when there's political movement to do that anyway. for one thing, an election year was coming up and the confederate flag has been a divisive issue in south carolina politics for a long time, so it was an opportunity to get it off the table. the treatment in a reverential way a piece of cloth that presumably was made some plays in america -- maybe not -- that has nothing to do with the flag, the real flags carried by confederate soldiers in battle that are revered as pieces of the true cross because of their association --
mr. juarez: they had to get their pound of flesh in order for that land to come down. the people who wanted it to remain had to be made whole in some publicly perceived way in order for this to end well. >> i think it's called compromise, that the bringing down at that flag, which had been demanded and resisted, and you read in the legislative history, those who did not want the flag to come down at all, what they insisted on as a precondition for it coming down was that it be treated with respect, that a statement the company it saying that this act does not in any way reflect any dishonor upon the men who fought under this flag. that was one of the conditions that senator mcconnell and others fought for it to remain on the statehouse. it was simply what happened last year was an extension of this 30-something year old fight in south carolina to reach the
point where we are now. honoring those who fought for the confederacy, the confederate soldiers and that heritage was part and parcel to any compromise even in the wake of those murders in 2015, but your point about doing this with a piece of cloth that is maybe a year old, as if it were a holy relic is spot on. it is on and underscores the difference between the actual flag, the relics of war, versus the symbol, the representation with modern pieces of fabric. just as there is a fundamental distinction between public and private display, i think there should be a fundamental distinction between historical flags used by confederate soldiers.
mr. suarez: does that example say -- is it a happy ending for some that is tinged with dissatisfaction? because the state is still unable to speak and say, this was not a great cause. this was to defend a breakaway white supremacist republic. this was our purposes we do not revere in 2016. is this need to strike a balance something that leads you still dissatisfied, even though coming down from the dome might be a good thing, it must also come with other goodies in the other direction to make it happen. mr. ellis: it could be my evil twin, but i think it is the old-fashioned bait and switch. i leave it here or i put it down
here, but i put it back up over here. i am going to lose anything, except the geography. it is possible it is my evil twin, but it is also possible that the change of heart that i was talking about earlier, has not taken place. and in the need for that symbol is greater than the need for healing. mr. suarez: yes. in the back. >> i am episcopalian i love this house of god. it is like the great cathedrals of europe filled with memorials, kneeling at the altar,
stained-glass windows to the ancestors. our history in america is a history of oppression. from the very beginning, the oppression of native peoples, of enslaved peoples, the oppression of immigrants. if we erase every trace of that terrible history, what do we have left? let's be like the europeans, just move on. [applause] mr. suarez: yes, in that way back. there is a hand. no -- there we go. hold up your hand. stand up. >> good evening, my name is joy rutherford and i am a member of the cathedral. i have a comment and a question.
it is uncomfortable for me to come into this space that is a sacred space, a place for me to come and pray and be at one with god when there is representation of the injustice that has occurred to people, particularly black people. my question, for you, why is it not enough, the data you have given in regards to stained-glass windows and there are a richer nation -- origination, why is that not enough to remove the flag and place it in the crypt? mr. suarez: for those who are not up to speed with the state of play, the windows are there, but the confederate flags in the windows, they have been removed
and replaced with colored glass. so they simply cease to exist in the window, isn't that enough? >> yes, thank you for answering that. rev. douglas: i think what is important is that we engage in these conversations and i do think it is important. there is a part of me that very much says that it would be easy, though it is obviously not very easy. but it would be easy to take the windows down and place them somewhere else with the confederate flag in south carolina, and move on with business as usual. just as it would be easy to leave -- to nothing.
i think part of the work is to engage in these kinds of conversations and confront the multiple meanings of those windows and when i talk about the multiple meanings, i made the things we have talked about here. and to compel the community. and who we are as a community, to confront the complicity of the church, the church in general, the cathedral community, etc. and the legacy of slavery. and then make determinations about what that means and what we are going to do. i guess for me i do not want to take the easy route out. i really want to do the hard work of becoming a different kind of community and pointing a way to how we can become that. [applause]
mr. suarez: yes? >> i have a question. did you particularly mean to leave out the rivaled brutality, the sexual abuse of african americans, the murder, the selling of children? this is what these people fought for and robert e. lee and his compatriots were traders. i have not heard you mention these words and why the flag sets in a national cathedral. you pointed out that dr., but i would like to hear from the other two. rev. douglas: i think i am clear on all of that and with they stood for and i think that that is the honesty and truth of our history that that must be told. no pun intended, it cannot be whitewashed. i think it brings us into real
conflict, we must ask what we stand for and who we are. and if those are discordant with who we claim to be. dr. coski: this is a core part of the argument. i am trying to answer sufficiently. jackson and lee gave their services to a nation that fought to preserve slavery. that its purpose for being was to protect slavery from the interference of the federal government. can everyone hear me?
there is a that inevitable stain of having fought for, using their military expertise to fight effectively in fact, whether it is celebrated, for that very noble cause. so to talk about the brutality and those two men, you need to separate them by a couple of degrees because they did not do it personally. there were accusations about lee whipping his slaves. but it is, i can see other people getting up and the direct charges of these men being responsible for that and i do not think it is helpful to talk about robert e. lee and stonewall jackson and brutality, but i can hear people talk about how jackson talks his slaves --
taught his slaves to read. there is a book about stonewall jackson, the black man's friend. you can read it and see if you find it persuasive. but there is this other -- [indiscernible] dr. coski: i am losing my concentration so i will plow through. and i will continue on that. whether or not they are traitors is open to debate. i will accept that as they did violate their oath at west point and lee himself, you should find in the book, lee the man, talking about things that we can learn about him and his slavery and african americans and race. the author learned things about lee and how he valued his own family.
lee was, according to those that revered him, he did not like slavery. he professed not to like it because of the effect of it on the white man. but yes, he clearly wanted to preserve his own fortune and his family's fortune, by keeping the slaves that his father law -- in law had freed in his will. he wanted to keep working those people, so he would not impoverish his family. so jefferson and of those before him, regardless of hating slavery, whatever gesture they had made, they were part of a system that clearly valued white fortunes over the freedom and liberties of african-americans. and property. and the fundamental problem of slavery, people tend to overlook it, because we think about django unchained kind of
brutality, but it was treating people as property and that this was the most profoundly immoral parts of slavery. [applause] >> there is a conversation we had in the museum back in 2008. mobley called the director of the museum and she said they are disrespecting and disfiguring the cast of my son, emmett till. i would like you to consider bringing him to the museum. we have never thought about it caskets as an item that we would collect.
but the more we talked about it and considered it, the more we realized that it was an iconic object that was important, and the story about emmett till was important. for those that do not know his story, august my 1955, he was in mississippi. he was 14 years old and he was from chicago, but he was visiting relatives in mississippi. and one day he and his cousin went to a local store and he was accused of whistling at a white woman who was the clerk at the store. that night, her husband and his brother went to the home where emmett till was sleeping, dragged him out of the house and took him away from the house with his cousin laying in the
bed and his uncle downstairs sleeping. they took him away into the never saw him again until his body was floating in the tallahatchie river, with a fan tied around his neck to drag him down so his body would not come back up. his mother was so destroyed about what they had done, she said, his face was unrecognizable. and it looked horrible. she said, i want the world to see what they did to my boy. and jet magazine displayed it, it was something that shocked the nation. rosa parks and if so many others said that is the reason they went into the civil rights movement, because of that event.
we decided that it was important for us to tell that story. even though we put up signs and let people know, this is history at its most wrong, we decided it needed to be a part of the story we tell at the museum. that is what i mean by examining and talking about the good, the bad and the ugly. you have to see it all. you have to argue with it all in order to have some healing. you cannot overlook the violence, because that was a part of the story as well. and healing cannot take place until the truth is there for all to see. rev. douglas: that is what i mean when i talk about going down into the pit.
you have to tell the truth and all of the brutal facts. >> i think we have one more. mr. suarez: thank you. you will not give it to me? you think i will steal it? >> i will hold onto it. >> anyway, i did want to thank you all for this interesting presentation. i have been involved with this wonderful cathedral for about 50 years. you see, i am now 87, older than you. [laughter] i think we need to celebrate also while we are talking about difficulties with racial injustice, we need to celebrate the fact we have made significant progress, racially
in our nation and in this cathedral. in our nation, we happen to have a black president that i voted for a couple of times. we have not recognized it at all tonight. the great progress. also in this cathedral, we had a black dean, with whom i worked for decades. so we have made very good substantial progress, indeed. i think while we have this window that offense some people, it is part of history. and we cannot just go around throwing away parts of history that we feel offends us. if we did that, i would be very busy, because there is a lot of history that offends me.
i am concerned that once we get through with this window, the next person is going to go into the memorial chapel and take a look at the windows where we are blowing up people and blowing up tanks and everything else and say, we cannot have that kind of thing in the cathedral. so, i believe we have to give thanks for what we have and we have to accept the history of this place as we accept the history of our nation. because this place represents the history of our nation. thank you very much for being here, it was an interesting program. mr. suarez: that gives us an excellent opportunity to get final thoughts from the panelists and say good night to you all.
you will take us out, the three of you, with your response to what you heard. mr. ellis: i think the gentleman is right. we are not where we were 30 years ago, but there is still a good deal of work to do. i congratulate the cathedral it all of those that planned this event. i hope it is not the last event. i hope the conversation continues, because the work must continue if we are going to realize the dream that this young lady talked about when she said she wants us all to get along and be better together. i think we can do that. but it will take work. i congratulate you and all of you that put this together. and thank you for inviting me to be part of the conversation. rev. douglas: first, i think
everybody for being a part of this conversation and i echo his comments and my responses that we are not where we were and we are not where we are supposed be. so i hope that we continue this hard work together and this is indeed the first of many conversations. dr. coski: thank you for inviting me. it has been a privilege to be part of this and on this stage, a very profound experience. and very profound what my co-panelists said as well. from my college days and before that, starting at the turn of the 20th century, woodrow wilson, an integral part of this cathedral, talk about complex history. the two presidents and the difficulties they present.
we think of the civil war as the messiest and most diverse -- divisive part of our history, but you look at theodore roosevelt and woodrow wilson, and their histories are difficult and they were divisive chapters. just to go through the gentleman's point, the pits we are talking about, it is all messy. the way to confront it is not to debate, not through some sort of jerry springer show adversarial panels, because all you get is argument, very much like the election. but the way to counsel it is through discussion like this. we are in it together, whether we like it or not. we are all trying to figure out how we can live with our history and the only way to do that effectively is by always getting
together and realizing that we need to work together for the sake of understanding. we will never agree, we simply need to understand as best we can. we may agree to disagree on the fine points, but the effort to understand our past, that is the direction for all of us to go. mr. suarez: excellent points. thank you. please thank everyone. [applause] mr. suarez: and let me remind you this conversation will be posted and streaming on the cathedral website and also c-span was here tonight, so watch c-span and find out when this is scheduled and tell your friends. we will be having first discussions in this series and can watch the cathedral website
for those as well. thank you very much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] on the morning of december 7, 19 41, japanese planes attacked the u.s. fleet at pearl harbor. almost 2400 americans were killed. american history tv marks the 75th anniversary of the surprise attack on saturday, december 10 beginning at 8 a.m. eastern show archival films, first-person accounts from veterans and civilians, and the 75th anniversary ceremonies at pearl harbor and at the world war ii memorial in washington. and we'll take your calls.
that is saturday, december 10, beginning at 8 a.m. eastern here on american history tv, only on c-span 3. with donald trump elected as the next u.s. president, melania trump becomes our second foreign-born later since louisa adams. learn more about the influence of america's presidential spouses from c-span's book first ladies. a look into the influence of every presidential spouse in american history. it is a companion to c-span's biography tv series and features interviews with 54 of the nation's leading first ladies of 45ians, biographies first ladies, and archival photos from each of their lives. first ladies published by public affairs is available wherever you buy books and now available in paperback. >> c-span, where history unfolds daily. , c-span was created as a
public service by america's cable television companies and is brought to you today by your cable or satellite provider. >> next on history bookshelf, author gay talese talks about his book, "the bridge: the building of the verrazano-narrows bridge," recounting the design of the longest suspension bridge in the u.s.. it was originally published in 1964. his talk was in new york city to mark the 50th anniversary of the building of the bridge. it is a little over an hour. gabrielle: let me introduce two writers that have been influential. sam roberts is the urban affairs correspondent from the new york