tv University of Virginia Slavery Legacies CSPAN December 23, 2017 1:00pm-2:51pm EST
brookhiser in our museum store. so, thank you. mr. brookhiser: thank you. [applause] you're watching american history tv, all they can every weekend. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. >> a panel of university of virginia professors talk about the legacy of slavery at the school and the current projects underway to reveal and acknowledge the institutions historic relationship with enslaved people. the university of virginia's and other school officials make introductory remarks.
this was part of the symposium held at the university of virginia in charlottesville. >> good morning. in celebration of the bison telling -- bicentennial, we welcome you to the symposium. universities, slavery, and the public built landscape, presented by the university of virginia commission on slavery and the university, in partnership with the slave dwelling projects fourth annual projects. on vice president and chief officer for diversity and equity, the professor and i cochair the present's -- cochair the commission on slavery. the slave dwelling project led mr. joe mug gill and board of directors --
the slave dwelling project brings attention to sites, people, history, and ways in which the slave contributed to building and sustaining this country. i say 70 to 80 because the temperature dropped about 39 last night. i'm not totally sure. they said they had experienced. humility and a better appreciation for those who live their daily lives is one intent of such an experience. there were very thankful for the slave going partnership.
montpelier.n's thomas jefferson's monticello. the virginia foundation for the humanities. the institute in the humanities. now center for civil war studies. about 40 sessions were scheduled during the four-day symposium. the overnight slave drilling experience. multiple sessions. 34 breakout panels schedule tonight at 7:30. and i feel trip to monticello
and montpelier, presidential homes exploring the legacy scheduled for saturday. work will be presented covering the civil war. contemporary issues of race, racism and equality, segregation, white supremacy and the complicated legacies of slavery and modern society. the human experience, public memory, community members, students, to experiences, voices of descendents. restoration, roots, remembrance.
elements of success, new knowledge and new solutions. they cannot accommodate the 250 on the weightless -- on the weightless to wanted to register. 17 museums and historic sites as institute foundations services, film makers and other organizations. national and local advisory boards were established. and many are here today and we thank you. charged with exploring the university's historic relationship with slavery,
initiatives have included development of a research structure, educational courses, materials and exhibits, and a consortium of 31 institutions addressing the issues of slavery. and gaining approval from the board of visitors for the design of slave laborers to be situated within a bustling area of the as a highlyage site remind that highly visible reminder. you hear more about these initiatives during the symposium. the kickoff celebration is 200th anniversary included a commemoration of the october 6, 1818 cornerstone laying, which
occurred in the practice of three. resilient despite involuntary servitude. families, disparity of power and privilege, being gifted and not being free to express their own giftedness. the enslaved were cornerstones, for which this institutions future depended. keystones, the heart. centerpiece. mainstay, the trust. contributions have been hidden for much too long.
bringing together individuals from academia and the community. we are thankful for the support of the symposium by president teresa sullivan. we appreciate your support. assistant dean and history of college and sciences. >> and thank you dr. martin, it has been a pleasure meeting this commission with you for the past four years.
i can't put into words how effectively they have devoted to their work over the next four years. if we needed clear evidence of the importance of work here and your work across the nation i doubt we could find it. brought intove sharp believe just how important this work is. nationalo engender a conversation about our own path, one that moves beyond campuses and changes general public understandings. commission's work is regularly greeted on social media with statements such as slavery is bad, can the uav -- va's -- uva quit dwelling on slavery echo or studying and the acknowledging straight -- acknowledging slavery is not a priority.
i know a lot of us have a lot of work to do. i'm reminded how far we have come from the initial charge. commission is not a south african style truth and reconciliation issue. we have been deeply reformed by the restorative justice mop. this meant sustained community engagement for the past three years. meetings in schools, meetings and churches. all framed around bringing the community to table as partners in our work. -- even theake memorial for your slave labor speaks to the many that share with us their perspectives. it's all the more powerful. our work is strengthening relationships with their many community partners.
these are the historic sites and local preservation groups. we continue to stand on their shoulders. acknowledgment and a dynamic process. re-inscribing this previous invisibletory, making in multiple formats, and moving forward with a plan from a war --orialization and ritual of ritual remembrance. acknowledging a fuller passed and those who visit the spaces. we have created an entire curriculum around the theme of slavery that can access students to the past and to the professors of dozens of different disciplines who teach relevant courses. this includes a survey and seminar.
it also includes a popular summer camp for high school students. they use uva, charlottesville and -- as the case study. we think it is important. the last model suggested to us the commission's work is not complete until two processes get underway. the first encouraging everyone to engage in similar processes to confront their own path. createdthat end we universities studying slavery. and we have learned a lot from the schools doing this work.
from the united states, canada and scotland. is one thatrocess involves some sort of reconciliation or repair. and watching closely what schools have been watching. this symposium captures the evolution of our thought and pratt. hope you will seek out people, panels, and ideas that come from outside your traditional national associations. our experience confirms just that, we learn far more by listening to supporters in the contemporary university then we have amongst talking ourselves. we hope we collectively will begin the hard work of talking about actual concrete programs
and repair. together, we can do this. welcome to the university of virginia. i like to welcome the cochair of the university of virginia bicentennial commission. >> good morning everybody. given a lot of talks, i'm in medicine and never had a response like that. we need more of that in our country today. andome to charlottesville our university, particularly those who come from far away. we started this with dr. sullivan. about a year ago.
this is going to be one of the core tenets of our bicentennial, exactly what we are talking about here today. we have been working on it ever since. toyou don't know how pronounce his last name just go with kurt. start working on this as a partnership. i was born here over university hospital 1956. the little league baseball teams were segregated. nobody talked about it. that's just wasn't around in those days. the people responding with this kind of queries are just part of the problem.
i was seven years old when martin luther king came here and spoke. he made more sense than anyone with the power of speech. i learned through sport we are all equal. they were walking back that they and 250 west.own they have allowed that have allowed bank. he didn't really react because it was a car backfiring.
went to shield dr. king because he thought it was a gunshot. that metaphorically speaks volumes. you don't experience that it easy to be ignorant of it. that was a subtle form of domestic terrorism in 1963. here we had an even more profound example of it. we've got a lot of work to do because our current administration is more likely to promote it been prevented. thankgain i would like to everyone for coming. we have to teach our children that are, because that's when it all starts. we candoing everything and hopefully in the century we can get some place we all want to be. now my great honor to introduce eighth president of the
united states -- [laughter] [applause] that's what i call wishful thinking. the president of the university of virginia. she's our first female president and has been a great leader. it is my honor to introduce dr. teresa sullivan. >> thank you all for gathering. i particularly want to thank those of you who come from the university's other communities. we are eager to tell you what we have learned.
i want to thank marcus martin. they and the commission and their staff hope to plan the symposium. i also want to thank bobby battle. event -- itsecond was intentional that very close to the beginning of the bicentennial celebration. four years ago i formed the presidents commission on slavery in the university. and advice about appropriate commemoration.
they have achieved a lot in four years. among other things they discovered there were systematic efforts to hide the history they were trying to uncover. that is a detective story. as one of the tangible products, we soon will build uva memorial to enslave labors. will see a video that tells us more about the memorial. it's important as part of our bicentennial. we don't want to tell a partial story of that past, practicing selective memory in recalling only the parts of our history we would like to recall. as a celebrate the achievements, we can't let those achievements blindness.
we cannot let our shortcomings blindness to our achievements. it began as a regional school for a young man. one of the great universities and passed to greatness. . including women and people of color. the challenge is holding in balance and be conscious of our history that includes the abomination of slavery and at the same time be conscious of our university's achievement. i think one of the best outcomes of the president's commission on slavery is that students will begin to learn the life stories
of many of the people who are essential characters. certainly they have the opportunity to learn that in a lot of our classroom. about 200 of our students live in -- house. tot buildings public spaces display photos and interpretive panels who works displays -- whose work displays at the university and for whom the residence hall is named. they became a prominent religious leader. became- isabella gibbons the first person to teach at the jefferson school. a school in short was the lip became part of the public school
system. she taught there for more than 20 years. others that come and go without live their life stories. we see their names, see their faces and we come to respect and appreciate how much they achieved. that is why we are gathered here at the symposium, to remember, to learn, and to share our stories. to engage fully and opening in these days of reflection and discussion. and with deep respect for the brave human spirit of the people upon whom we reflect the symposium -- i hope you will enjoy this following video.
what we memorialize is important. oure are some things children and grandchildren remember. is gone through various periods and phases of what it held in memory and what it forgot. i thought it was important to look at the hidden history of uva. thet is to commemorate history but recognize the slave labor contributions. that story was
not told. we try to cover new knowledge and pass that knowledge on to our students. >> one of the charges was to go into the records and learn some of the names of the enslaved. >> who was bought and sold, who is rented, who laid the cornerstone? >>'s history is hidden in plain sight. the entire university was at site of enslavement. and it's our goal to put the lives of the enslaved back on >> creatinge information in the rotunda visitor center. classes that teach the story at the university.
>> we have uncovered much of the history of slave families. >> we are about to fund raise that will be placed on the footprint of the unesco world heritage site. to echo thet diameter of the rotunda. memorial is meant to acknowledge. >> there is more work to be done here. tos commission would be able look at other parts for the university history.
we are going to use it as a teaching tool. it is our only hope. it isching our students, an opportunity to heal, opportunity to learn, opportunity to know what we need to do next. >> i'm waiting for the light to come on so i can see. glasses do not help anymore. let's get rolling. this includes history professor elizabeth faron. provost, lewis nelson.
the challenges of unearthing the past, connecting the past to the present, and marshaling all the knowledge and goodwill in a space like this to shape the future. we feel a keener stronger sense than ever in light of recent events in our city. a stronger sense of moral urgency in this work and the high stakes of this work and the need for people who share this commitment to make common cause and help each other. dialogue to start our by posing some questions to my distinguished panel about past present and future and after 45 minutes we will collect and take your questions. we heard in the introduction about this theme of a history that is hidden in plain sight. uva,ry was pervasive at
pervasive in charlottesville and central virginia. the documentary record is complex and fragmentary in some respects. i would like to hear about this challenge of doing research. what does the documentary record tell us what kind of uses can we make of it? >> the documentary record in the special collections library talks about two basic things for whatever cancans, americans did and what was done to african-americans here at this university. places, it's a bit quirky. there's no one central place we can go and sell it to look at all the slave records. people like me and my colleagues who have a
great deal of working knowledge about what's available and what isn't available. possibilities are endless for research. the records consist of letters, diaries, letters. university records, financial records, faculty and things of this nature. usually these are people talking about african-americans. it's not african americans talking about what is happening to them. white interpretation of what blacks are doing. some of want to mention my favorite groups of people to pre-brights. they often get lost in the shuffle. -- this placeon is not going to leap right out. sometimes you will find something you're not looking
for. the records are there, it's a matter of being patient enough to go through them. and i've been on the plantation for 40 years. i still find myself appalled and saddened by some of the things that happen. that's something we academics need to remember. these are not abstract beings. they have dignity and they have interest. i would like to think that the records that we have here would reflect that. >> thank you so much. so often it is obscured.
owners do get work and work gets done. we have to read carefully with knowledgees who is doing the work. we have no substitute. and holding these documents in them hand and working from directly. and growing databases online. tell us a little bit about that. >> i think this is exciting and lewis will chime in with me. before the commission was even created a group and faculty came together and said we have all need to beds, they
digitized and publicly available and connected in a relational database. i know nothing about anything digital. what if we re-created the 19th 3-dury university as a digital model that you can zoom in and understand how the landscape and the buildings tell the story about slavery. and how that shaped the's that shaped the enslaved. -- shaped the enslaved. they gave us a whole bunch of money to do this work. what we have been creating is exactly this. the faculty minutes, the blb minutes.
and now are getting into diaries. lurking in letter after letter, if any of you have done 19th-century letter work with a lot of lamenting about how you have arrington -- have written is the moment there and if you don't know what you're are looking for you will completely miss it. this database has allowed us to do this. it's called jeffersons university. it's working on doing two things, one digitizing all those records and you can track people. there is a long list of enslaved people there. and then there's this digital re-creation nearing completion in the 1850's. with the gardens largely becoming work yards for the
allow this to rebuild narratives of individuals. to test to carefully reconstruct how this landscape functions. see these harrowing tales of student violence perpetrated on slaves. you can cease -- a c free stories of slave and resistance. you can read resistance. there is so much there. let us shift a little bit into thinking about this broader theme of changing the volt -- changing the culture.
the student's from the outset was to change the culture. and on this -- and a student perspective on what that means. what it would mean and what it would take to change university culture. >> they were clear, and it's not only what we do not know and what we have not been talked -- not been taught. schools and schooling mirror society. who becomes the change agent? look at anyf we time for social change in history it comes from outside of traditional structures.
students were very intent to date groupial -- and called the memorial for enslaved laborers began as a student group for that and became the seat of what led to many things, including the commission. it has to be constant, current, and culturally -- culturally responsive. what slaverylking now when we have issues like black lives matter and sony things in society echo it's not an either/or. what we are seeing today reflects the historical and social elements of the past. i think it's the responsibility for educators to go beyond the textbooks.
we have to look at those documents and the material culture we have much deeper. making sure students are doing the work and using inquiry models. i have the opportunity to guest lecture in the past. and yet i must pause -- it is our responsibility to present the information to teach them how to reason and learn how to use evidence.
and it's very important because the slave labor's committee -- it's honoring the legacy. it's understanding that even today the 13,000 plus workers who walked this university, they are the human engines that drive this university. part of what we are trying to do is not only honor the past, but make sure our students have much more respect for it. the people who do all the things that make learning possible before beginning to pick up a book. having that type of mutual respect for what people are doing is important to connecting them to why this is importance. and why mcgillis be vigilant in teaching this of survey do not forget.
>> i would like to echo sentiments about the university where itg society finds itself on building future leaders. it is really something that is foundational to most of our institutions. i think most of our students go understanding how foundational slavery was an understanding the experiences these people went through. this symposium is amazing research being done. beyondould we do to go what is so selecting, a lot of classes. students who have and in slavery will sign up for those. i think we need to think that whether that's orientation or sometime of mandatory classes, how students will learn to grapple this history, how students who would normally --
who wouldn't normally be interested in slavery will learn , because the students interested in slavery don't know. he was speaking in a similar conference. it is the rope. i think they are entertaining this. changing the culture and doing .ight >> and the theme of changing the culture and initiatives we may undertake includes the theme of how students are socialized and socialize each other.
at's say -- let's share little bit more about the kinds of initiatives that are underway. i know patrice has worked with the guys some and working with the cornerstone. >> i think this speaks to what wes was talking about. the commission has thought all along this story needs to be something that students have internalized hopefully before they get here. one small gesture. we run a summer camp called the cornerstone institute. we bring in students, we connect them to the community, we connect them to the local historic sites.
to link the distant past to the more recent past. when asked, now that you have come here and i learned this history, how does it make you feel about the university of virginia. any school that would openly talk and use this as a teaching tool, they seem to come here. i think we need to think about how do we educate before we get here and how they get here. we have a whole curriculum that people on this panel have helped to create. it starts with an introductory course in the fall of every year. it's taught by faculty across the disciplines.
dotsoal is to connect the and follow these professors into their classrooms with other classes. not only a project of historians. medical school, law school, sociologist. it runs the gamut of disciplines. we want students to follow into those classes. spring tothis coming return to a deeper reflective analytics on any topic of their interest related to this story. i don't know if anyone wants to chime in here, the commission is starting to think about ritual. we can do renaming buildings. thel we make it part of lived experience of every generation of students, that's what we wrestle with.
students are only here three or four years. we now have march sure. and court square over the slave auction block. this was the segregated high school down main street and will ultimately end at the memorial. working on fundraising for the rotunda. we have even run some classes where he asked students to think about this. really fantastic ideas about how we might do this. >> the creation of the memorial is going to be part of a broader
project of seeing the landscape in new ways. start talking about the environment as a source. >> be happy to. i think we have learned so much from a deeper dive into african-american history about the significance of storytelling and oral history. falling into the critical narrative is essential. what i'm saying is not in any way contrary to that. i'm really committed to the power of the physical landscape. so do the places we inhabit. the monuments we build, the buildings we build, the
landscapes we construct or the landscapes we destroy. they are both identity forming in the present an aspirational in the future. i think it's absolutely critical that we play -- we pay close attention to the materiality of our environments and landscapes. they tell our students and community members and those who have less and less voice who they should be also. memorial is ane incredible move forward. the physicality of our rounds -- we are no longer that. critical they remind us for
who we are now. it's important that this new memorial is the exact same diameter as the rotunda. it's really big. it really communicates the monumentality of this event. i'm really pleased it is a space, and outdoor room. the landscape architect, the historian, and the community engagement specialist. and the collective space that integrated a great deal of listening. i think it's important after being 10 to these kinds of memorials. i'm struck with the present this of our aspirations to build one memorial and the takedown others
here in charlottesville. what do these monuments tell us about who we think we are now? one could easily imagine the memorials downtown, the monuments could remind us of the 1920's. it's important for us to think about what history do we care to tell? we make choices on an annual basis. just conclude by suggesting i think there is one great problem. there was one challenge with the
memorial to enslave labors. the construction of the memorial -- it needs to be understood that this is the beginning of a conversation. slavery has deep echoes that come through the 20th century. and our commitment to building this memorial and launching the material -- it has to continue through our investment as a segregated institution through the 20th century. andinvolvement in eugenics our participation in redlining. there is a much longer legacy. this is the beginning of a conversation and not the end. my biggest fear in building this monument is that message that we
are done. >> the memorial has the capacity to signal that continued commitment. names on the memorial, names will be added. the total number of slaves who worked at uva in the slavery how manywe estimate names we will recover? how can we build new commemorative rituals around that? have a lot of imo exchanges about how many slaves probably worked at the university. estimate is doing the first 50 years of the 19th century.
based on the records i have examined in the 40 years i have been here. this gives an opportunity to say about slaves. slaves were heroes. anyone describe slaves as heroes. we don't want to attach and labor -- that is exactly what they were. slavery was an abomination for anything in a -- in history. and this get back to lewis's point about walking away. glad.ll due respect, i'm we have had a lot of recent
experience and talking about monuments. the only people who pay attention to monuments are pigeons. so what are we going to do after we erect the monument? that's what we need to focus on also. >> i think we very much under estimate the capacity and willingness of young people to tackle these issues. we are the ones who may not exactly know where we stand. the facilitating we need to do to help young people learn. i'm so glad irvin mentioned his point. the one thing we mention in every lecture is the agency.
we must recognize and identify the tremendous humility, thatity and survival enslave -- enslaved people have. that is so important so when you go to different sites it is encouraging to see the stories being told. we so often talk about town and -- education is one way we can break down one of those barriers. i teach a course on how people want to teach -- every semester we take a field trip. they can really do that first hand knowledge. the charlotte bill school system has gone even further.
funding every student in that particular school system goes to monticello. with activities that are related before and afterwards. grade is notfourth too young to begin, with students to engage in these .oncepts when we look at the literature that exists now and the many many times of things that types clearly they are in a society where they have many messages, many places. they will think this dominant narrative really is the primary narrative. landscapes --nd in the 1920's and 1910s that
white supremacists over to these confederate statues, that was the finishing point on top of structures and policies. includesudes -- that making sure we're doing right by uva. do what you can do to make sure we are addressing the university of virginia and other institutions and state of virginia on african-american. they had different concerns. sure we areake addressing the whole picture as well.
>> one of the best ways of dealing with erecting monuments is to erect new monuments. the university of virginia has gibbons house,-- facility. an institution after a white saber guest. instead of the jordan building -- no relation to me. the university has taken concrete steps and i think that illuminates a lot of problems as far as dealing with conservative elements. why are you badmouthing people who are on a roll -- who are honorable. buildings, i think that is
the way to go. the research and work they are working on yields up new stories of heroes that can civil war and are now center has been doing some research on african-american men who fought for the union army. and this sort of traditional -- the union army wasn't a presence until the very end of the war and wasn't able to recruit african-american men here. and was not able to recruit african-american men here. we found over 2040 men served in the union army. they were dispersed by migration. they were in 80 different regiments.
they died in great numbers in the war, mostly from disease. and again, many stories of are just now starting to uncover and that create so many possibilities for new ways of building memorials. to this theme of community engagement that has been a hallmark of the pcs you su from a start. i said what is our goal? or do said to be good listeners, basically. let's talk about that. maybe you can start with that, what has the bcs you done and what can it do and what should it do?
>> i'm not a community activist. i'm not a community organizer. i have zero experience. in has been an education for me and every one of these meetings has been incredibly valuable. it's very easy to sit at a university -- they become echo chambers. we think we know everything. we think we have a great idea. we take it to the community and it isook at us like insanity. i love it, jordan, but you called this the plantation and in the community, the phrase i heard over and over again is this is a big plantation, this is a plantation. what we knew we had to do was -- listen, go out in the community and i do not think she is with the idea fund, the
alumni fund -- i'm going to get this right. i'm going to blow their name -- she is one of the people who has been the driving force. workshops, meetings. i was dragged kicking and strength -- kicking and screaming into this. that experience was incredible. and that summer camp, we were at a meeting with local ministers. and a lively debate ensued. it started with you need to have scholarships for local african-american students and the conversation quickly shifted to, no, no you don't. the student locally who go to
uva. you need to come up with programs that start much earlier. every one of these meetings can .e eye-opening those stories that we listen to again, it was my education. i did not know the history of many of the neighborhoods in charlottesville. they wanted to talk about a neighborhood called gospel hill. it is gone. in the 1980's,
basically where the new university hospital sits. that speaks to bad university-neighborhood relations and we had to listen to that. this is a story that brings you right back to the present, to inequality, a very segregated city. it has steep economic inequality. and it is no accident it is this way. there have been collaborative project between the university and the african-american community. when i first came here, and we know how our black elders believed they could speak their mind about anything. i have elderly black women saying, does your mother know you work your? [laughter] why aren't you at virginia state university? what you are you giving them your talents? anyway, i digress. [laughter] very positive a
collaboration. it is one of the proudest moments of my career here at uva. this is a project over five years that invited members of the black community to describe their experiences and provide a nurturing environment and i'm extremely leased to be project --with that please to be affiliated with that project. there was a lady and every time we see each other she rushes up and hugs me. she has been able to tell her story project. i wanted to share that with you as well. >> i bought a copy of the book as well. storyis an excellent about filling the gaps. we have the history of black lives matter. he specifically documents the history of laborers, the first
black students, the first black faculty. st isn't outstanding -- it i an outstanding contribution. i wanted to make sure we got that on record. to finish up.nt i have been here for a long time. i am somewhat renowned as a university clinic. but when the university of wrong thing, the yeah, i'm going to criticize it. and i have criticized it, sometimes at the jeopardy of my career. but when it does the right thing, it deserves praise. and it deserves praise. >> i would like to recommend to our audience another insightful piece of work and that is an op from the washington post in
september in titled "this is us," charlottesville representing distinctly american white supremacy. this is a wonderful example of describing how research on the jim crow south provided him with events, buto recent he also, in that piece, expresses hope for the future, for the university. tell us a little bit about what motivated you to write that piece and the work that you do upon. thank you. i am currently researching the thibodeau massacre. there was a strike of sugar workers. this was broken up by the state militia.
members of the town, and this district judgehe formed a committee that slaughtered african-americans. they murdered the families as well. thatished my research from and i talked to community members and they expressed the sentiment that the people in the wereof thibodeau which -- much more passive. lingering vestments of white supremacy. and this can betray's to this master. they heard things from their family members, but they didn't exactly know what happened or
exactly what to talk about it until recently. my thesis in this piece is throughout american history, we violence, tulsa, colfax, and they are all serving to defend or establish white supremacy. whether that is economic forms of white supremacy. or political supremacy. .ou can think of redemption and again, there is the thibodeau massacre. having been there and seen what happens, it felt to me very familiar about what i saw. charlottesville did vote to
remove the statutes -- the statues. and they voted for an equity package that acknowledged the andn renewal for the cities this is sort of white supremacy tolying in response movements of progress forward. cannot be here is we thibodeau. we have to proceed forward and make more positive change even , even aseive push back there is more of the intimidation. ande's all of this research community collaboration.
and i hope to see more in terms of pedagogy, in terms of policies. andink that charlottesville eva will be better placed if we can make progress out of this moment. [applause] wes, as you noted, words matter. masters of the past were noted race riots and not terrorism, which is important. brief ask one more question and we will turn to your questions. kurtt did not want to ask specifically. we have so many here.
>> a note on this. we decided that we needed to call in a handful of universities. and includes jim campbell terry meyer at william and mary. so we brought them in, formed this national advisory board, and one of our thoughts was, where do we go from here. i think the 31 schools -- everyone considers this the gold standard for how you do this. it's 13 years later. we need to move in a new direction. the takeaways very early was, let's reach out to other
schools. let's make this a conversation. it starts small and it finally works its way to the present's office or the provost office, but no one really talks to other schools. we started in 2014. we had a couple great conversations. and then georgetown university had a series of protests and said, wethe moment we really need to move. this needs to be much bigger. georgetownd university. i am struck i this. and i am this work, listening to you, and our students, they recharge my batteries every day.
hope,the optimism and the and when you sit in the office as an administrator you are forced with the realities of budgets, diffuse power. you feel him then and the answer is always we can't. it is talking to other universities, realizing i'm not seeing the whole picture here. every university has a very different context they are operating from. that conversation and has been really enriching and renewing for uva, that we have come back from every one of these meetings going, oh, there is a lot we can do. it needs to be collective. i have been encouraged to watch other universities.
we were talking last night about 2014. our commission was really just getting underway with our work at that point. she came and visited and was leaving what was really her own project. and now we sit here today and clemson is on board as a member of this. we all talk regularly. the same thing. we are all on social media, sharing what we are doing and connecting. it has been incredibly valuable. it is a form of community engagement, rights? ?- right we have to keep tearing down the university. as soon as you start talking university,y at the you have people who came to the university from miles away.
>> i have had the fortune to be on more than one commission like this throughout my career. i think what met me this different is a group of people -- sat in a room and instead of saying what, said why not? -- what were no object would we do? i don't think any of us in that room would be sitting where we are today having so many of our colleagues here, having the approval for the memorial with the designated site at the university of virginia. i would encourage all of you. particularly the way that we are
getting the information, we have to move up and above and beyond. we cannot be limited to just what we can see and touch and feel. we can never forget it is a group of committed citizens who can change the world. indeed, it's the only thing that has. impact the pedagogy. there are opportunities and not limitations. archivist,add as an one way to continue is at least to the bicentennial, this is the 17th university committee i have served on since i have in here. what happensl you
to recommendations and reports and things like that. they go in the archives. they get buried, and no one cares. i would like the work of this commission to avoid that fate. so i can say as an archivist, .een there, done that >> so much of the work has been done by students. it is the class learning. the students are not only building this remarkable database, getting into the archive, learning how to use a library and primary sources. they are developing career credentials and it is beneficial
to them in so many ways and i think for so many reasons, but for me, that one looms large. student,ollaborative faculty, staff collaboration is so important. i want to use that to segue to questions from you all. one that is very apropos of what we should be talking about, former students. we have the question from the audience about alums. .any are unaware of uva's role what is been done to educate a vast network that is sometimes aware and sometimes resistant. what can we do in that respect? >> some things are already being done. alumni association and
uva lifetime learning regularly invites many of us to give talks. for three years i have been atng out and giving talks the university and what i am surprised by, i think this speaks to we really have a wonderful climate here that alumni go, oh, i did not know. that's fascinating. it even includes ringing jefferson back into this and talking about his really complex legacy and the white supremacist views he held. and alumni are open to hearing the story as a general rule. good that's really the response has been good. i think the students at the people ask me -- are you finding resistance? on resistance, we get a lot of cranky resistance. as far as here, no.
is students have gone, that great, but it isn't enough. i have found they are pushing us to do more, which i think has been really beneficial. and i feel similarly about the bulk of our alumni network. will jump in here. a plug for the alumni association. they have really partnered with us in helping to disseminate the new framework to understand the university of virginia. i love to engage with alumni event's and talk about my own research, but increasingly, my own research is hailing to the critical requests from alumni groups to speak to them about village., the
this is the topic our alumni want me to talk about. i get really, really good, hard questions. you know what? the data, the evidence, the intellectual rigor is on the side of honesty, right? and if we are a research university grounded in honesty and rigor, that's a pretty easy story to tell. you have to do hard work to avoid the truth. >> yeah, well put. [laughter] [applause] >> want to add anything, anyone, on alumni? i have had these same experience, finding alumni very eager for knowledge and receptive to it. let me pivot to a second very good question. genealogists and the way they can help us in our work as
historians and scholars, there are local networks of genealogists who are just so skilled and knowledgeable. that is key. do you want to say a few words about that? >> i don't know we fully connected to every local group, names ofstruck by the the community groups. this is an african-american cemetery from the late 19th century. i think burials continued until 1990. completely overgrown and neglected and this community to restore it and i think now it is actually city property? i'm not positive about that. but they continue to do the work
to clean this up and its hundreds of burials. i've been fascinated. we have not had the time. some point, we have to leave. we have to work backwards in populationsnect to from before the war. i have learned in the past about someone at uva named berkeley bullet -- i think he what -- berkeley bullet -- bullock. he took his wife and children and ran to ohio to escape enslavement and after the war returned and became a leading citizen in the african-american community in charlottesville. this is someone i had never come across his name in the university records. i think the work going on is really, really valuable is a way
to capture some of these lives and experiences. >> i will say one more quick thing. a shout out to much jell-o, which is done fantastic work in gauging with their community and i was so proud of the university of virginia. it was really highlighted well a few days ago, weeks ago -- it has been a long summer. this is been so important for due work of doing diligence. >> we have questions about descendents. she's engaging the community.
what more can we say about that? .> i have a comment on the subject of reparations, reparations in my opinion are governmental institutional policies and monetary restitution's with -- restitutions. puts it bluntly. reparations are like saying patriotism while waving the confederate flag. one thing to consider is admission for the descendents of slaves are used to work your. or at least free tuition or reduced tuition. there were a lot of lacked people who have -- black people who have been near as long as
the university and one thing i encounter as an archivist, when i go out in the black community, not admit mywould sister even though she was a straight a student. there are memories out there. if the university of virginia , ensuremake reparations african-americans can secure a solid education from this great university. [applause] >> we have wonderful questions. there are questions about the placement and the physicality of the memorial. they went into the decisions of the design and the placement of the memorial and the inclusion of names and so on.
what more might we say about >> i made a mistake. initially i opposed putting the memorial names. i thought the memorial would not be big enough. i was wrong. i was wrong in that. i proposed that we put the occupations that the slaves engaged in while they were here at the university, but other colleagues convinced me it was more important to list every as we cane as much find, so i am glad we have done that. >> as part of the design committee in getting the memorial, it's one of the most fascinating collaborative projects i have ever had an opportunity to work on. the firm came in specifically
saying we need to listen and are before one sketch was ever drawn. the community quickly let us know we were not going the right direction. we were able to quickly listen and learn and make those changes. there were three sites proposed. initially, i think we are of one site.oh, site a is one it had to be a link to the community. when you look at the site on university avenue, it is there and it literally links the university.th the there were other people who wanted much more bricks and , so to speak.y
you could tell that committee designed this program. some people were interested in the aesthetic. and yet, for every decision made , it was represented for the collective. and when people see the various elements, i think the university and other people will be pleased. it was a process. it was a long, iterative process. it was a fluid process involving many, many people. it was work. it was hard work. sometimes we heard things we did we heard things we did not want to hear. in the end, i think all of us felt closer and in gauged. and we saw it was a way to build those bridges with people who felt that their voices had not
been heard. >> frank dukes, one of the faculty members here at the university of virginia, really spearheaded from the team's side and the only way he was able to do that was he had long-standing relationships with the community. that team was successful. they had teams who had social capital with the community. that was part of the success of memorial. that was because of the work of frank dukes. >> thank you for mentioning frank reviews extremely instrumental. they engaged community and they were welcomed in the course.
that was a couple years before this came to play. it will be very difficult to engage in an honest way in the time we had. it was from fall to spring. fall of 2017, to get the depth that we got. there's no way we could've gotten that if those relationships had not been forged. a key thing for anyone in this, start at home. be authentic. no it is going to take time. it's much more than a fiscal year. it's work that is really important. and even what we are doing now, thinking how we will work in a structured way forward.
>> i have a series of historical questions about students' roles in sustaining slavery at uva and whether students of personal slaves. the degree we know about student interaction. to kurt and irvine first. in slavery, what do we know? >> holy cow. this is a lot. we start with jefferson explicitly wanted, and i think this is one of those -- i never understood this. , where we arety seated, throughout the 19th century, up to the civil war, over half of the population is enslaved here. every four adult males owned at least one slave in the county.
significantnter of slaveholding. jefferson creates a university where he thinks if he just does not allow people to bring slaves with them, they won't be corrupted by slavery. it is impossible. students come from those counties -- you had that great historical map and you can see the great line. thee is all the moral to east. and those are the concentrated areas of significant slaveholders. it's very expensive to come to uva. it was the first institution of public -- of higher education, of any public education -- in virginia.
this is been one of the ghosts -- this is really hard to track. there's definitely evidence that some students bring them and rent them out locally. they are not living on grounds. there are repeated instances where it is clear the students attention to their every whim and need to be insufficient, so they privately anuped together and lend enslaved person to cater to those whims. idea is a failure from the get-go. aey are committed to proslavery vision of america. they are dedicated white supremacists.
seven of 16 jefferson davis alone. members are university graduates move west into the cotton south, that take their enslaved laborers with them. how theystory of become lawyers, doctors, professors, and legislators in the cotton south. but that connects to the story that they are often in slaved with them. professors with bledsoe, one of the great proslavery defenses. it is seen everywhere. it is the lead up to the civil
war where the university of virginia students are committed .o secession students of a very different view. system at the university of virginia was pervasive. it made a lot of people comfortable. it made a lot of people happy. i do not use profanity, so i will do a euphemism. s-work at uva. slaves did the s-work. they were not owned, these were rent-a-slaves. they had two black and shoes and have them rate ago in new moving. -- have them rate ago in the
morning. the university had to keep the students from bringing slaves onto the grounds because slavery gave people power over other people and these students who came from the south and elsewhere who owned slaves, the slaves were there to serve them. the students would -- there was a gate there. thats could not go past gate. students also treated slaves extremely cruelly. there are many accounts and university records of students beating slaves who did not serve them their meals fast enough. one tried to chastise a slave chasing pigeons. she said, you are not my master.
he beat her nearly to death. not a lot of research necessarily, but i would like to echoes thet this importance of pedagogy. as the students are upholding the importance of education and , butre and white supremacy it's something they wanted to push forward. learn at uva is very important. the sitting council in this room and students were saying all kinds of freaky things. i think it's really important that we have a responsibility to try to change the culture of students while they are here because they are the ones upholding, you know, they uphold
slavery and they are going to carry that out after the new year. absolutely. again this underscores the of students having access to the documentary records so they understand facts and data and the truth and the difference between sound arguments and unsound arguments. it's part of this work. we have a good question -- this is about the memorial, but also whether visitors working through the spiral will get to hear the voices of the enslaved, whether there will be an oral component, but also how we tune in the voices of the enslaved and all of the work we are doing? >> that is still up in the air. there are design and logistical now that the basic design but that wasoved,
something that came out in community discussions. it would really be something to hear. be it through music, drums, poetry, some sort of way, but to activate that in a sense, as well as the site for the memorial. say one of the intriguing responses was actually to fund programming that was really about morality and funded classes with student , that that narrative and those voices would be heard through ritual and classes and pedagogy. rather than speakers. a question.solutely i was intrigued by that proposal. >> we have a question on the
outreach to museums. what are the possibilities? i don't know the extent to which we explored that? good -- these questions -- taking it can generate a text to be used in local regional schools. >> rosa atkins came and spoke to the cornerstone institute andents this past summer said why are we doing this for the school system? that is a way to do this actually.
melanie weiskopf, she was one of this year.unselors she will be working with me and some other people on the camp , and we will be literally walking into schools and talking to students and teachers about the program and using this opportunity to attract more local students to the camp, but also as an opportunity to get in front of teachers and let them know we can help them use this material in their own classroom experience. and that answers the question, how can we start telling the story a lot sooner? faculty,r one of our he's o'reilly has led to substantial -- lisa o'reilly, has lent a substantial content. supported bydia
the virginia foundation for the humanities has been in folding a lot of new content as well into the encyclopedia, which is online. >> i have to put a plug in here for professional the -- development. we can have all the curriculum in the world. but as a former middle school teacher, we can have the difference between the resources and what they look like in the classroom. there are opportunities for teachers so they not only have the material, but they are teaching it in a culturally responsive way. and sometimes when i say that this is kind of invisible, sometimes we think that we are certain teacher
-- this is everyone's history. as teaching engages has the benefit of high-quality caliber instruction when we do this. >> thank you. i think this is a wonderful note to end on. we thank you for your attention and are excellent comments and suggestions. we look forward to the rest of the conference. thank you, everyone. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] this weekend on american history tv on c-span3 -- tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on "lectures in history," professor aaron bel
l talks about surveillance of civil rights leaders. >> cure is william sullivan shortly after the march on washington. mark king now is the most dangerous me grow in the nation. p.m. eastern,:30 former members of congress and vietnam war veterans reflect on lessons learned and ignored during the war. >> we learn to the limits of military power. we learned that you can't kill an idea with a bullet. >> american history tv, this weekend, only on c-span3. war,"ight on "the civil historian john hennessy talks about union general joseph
walker, describing him as ambitious the title field, -- joseph hooker, describing him as ambitious. here is a preview. >> understanding the war requires understanding it changed genetically from the beginning in 1960 one until its end. and it is an arc of change that practice, butary also military policy. the armies will become a dominant tool for implementing policy for social institutions -- the institution of slavery -- -- southerne, seven civilians and these policies would be a major point of debate within the union war effort. and within the armies themselves.
because the army is such an important tool and george inlellan was so avid purchase in the debates over what those policies should be, of officers came to matter a great deal. earlyoker realized this on. and though he was a conservative who opposed to using the army for the jewel of emancipation -- although he does not seem to have been as pool of -- feature emancipation, although he does not seem to have and as complicit as southern civilians, and to this day, many who write about joseph hooker do not have a clear view of his policies,
and that was intentional on his part. he made himself disappear on those subjects that could do him the most harm and perhaps inhibit his advancement through the army. >> you can watch the entire program on the civil war tonight at 6 p.m. eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> next, a panel of college and heads of historic sites talk about how their institutions are researching and highlighting the contributions of the enslaved in their communities. historians from james madison's montpelier and thomas jefferson's monticello. this is just over now are. >>