shouldn't live in toms river and no reason that people shouldn't drink the water. >> host: here's the cover of the book, "toms river: a story of science and salvation." 2014 pulitzer prize for general nonfiction. dan fagin, associate professor of journalism at new york university, is the author. >> booktv sat down with new york university's linda gordon to talk about her biography of american photographer dorothea lange. this interview, conducted in new york city, is part of booktv's college series, and it's about a half hour. >> host: linda gordon, who is dorothea lange? >> guest: dorothea lange was a very important photographer in the period of the depression, the 1940s and the 1950s. many people don't know her name, but i can guarantee you that everyone in this country knows her photographs. one of her photographs, which is often called "my grant mother,"
has been called the most famous photograph in america. it's sort of the michael jordan of photographs. it's used in every textbook. when i ask my students what is the visual image you have of the great depression of the 1930s, they describe this photograph. >> host: where was that photograph taken? >> guest: it was actually taken in california, and it's interesting because she was really the main california in the western u.s. during the 1930s depression. and it was taken among people working in a pea-picking field. these were migrant farm workers who moved along from field to field, from one agricultural operation to another picking as the crops ripened. but this particular woman had been, and her family and many others, were stuck because there had been an unseasonal freeze.
and there wasn't work. the pea crop was destroyed, and they were sitting there with no work and hoping that they would find work at their next stop. >> host: what year was that photograph taken? >> guest: that photograph was taken in 1936. and it, somehow it just spoke to so many americans. it was published first in a local newspaper. and, in fact, it was very functional because so many people were affected by it, that they sented many contributions -- they sent many contributions. just call it spontaneous charity, to the pea pickers who were stuck in the field. >> host: has that woman ever been identified? >> guest: yes, she has. her name is florence thompson. many years later, in the 1950, she came out, so to speak, as an american indian, claiming to have been a full-blooded cherokee. at the time in the 1930s, she
did not have that identity, and dorothea lange did not know it, and it's a very interesting question because everyone assumed she was a, quote-unquote, white woman. and i often wondered how people would have responded had they thought of her as an indian. >> host: you write in your book, "dorothea lange: a life beyond limits," that the story i tell is limited not only by my areas of expeer tease, but also by the available source material. lange did not document her own life. >> guest: she was really not a woman who ever expected to be famous. and it was only really toward the end of her life -- she died in 1965 at age 70 -- it was only toward the end of her life that she began to accept herself as an artist. she originally was a studio portrait photographer. she had a thriving, very, very successful business in san francisco.
um, and then when she began doing what we today call documentary photography which is not a word that existed at time, she really didn't think of herself as an artist in any way. she thought she was a craftswoman practicing her craft, and she was an employee of the federal government. getting a very low wage with a small per diem because she had to travel around to where all these camps of farm workers were located. and partly because of that she didn't have the impulse to save every scrap of paper the way someone who, you know, who thought of themselves as an artist might have done. >> host: where was she born? >> guest: she was actually born in the eastern u.s. she was born in hoboken, new jersey, in 1895. she had a very ordinary, middle class childhood until at age 7,
in 1902, she got polio. polio was actually a new disease at that time, and she was lucky that it only crippled one of her legs. at that time there weren't even iron lungs. had she been, had the polio crept into her to torso and her lungs, she would have died. so she was actually very lucky. but she was a disabled woman. and she later would say that this was the important, formative part of her identity, her disability. ..
she got herself a job at the studio and sort it out herself. >> host: how did she make it to the west coast? >> guest: the girlfriend he made teenage team when she was 23 years old. she decided they wanted to go around the world did they would have an adventure. first they took a train and then they took a ship through the gulf of mexico, arriving in san francisco. as luck would have it, the moment they arrived, they were pick pocketed and all of their money was taken.
they probably would've gone on. she stayed forever in salmon cisco in the bay area got herself a job right away. so she could get some money together. within a couple of years, she had a thriving photographic studio. >> host: linda gordon, when a chaser with the federal government and in what capacity? >> guest: a series of wonderful for her acts and. her photographic studio was right in what was then downtown san francisco. i she would take photographs, her clientele were very wealthy people. she would look out the window and she saw people sleeping on the streets, people begging, soup kitchens.
and just for the heck of it, she decided to go out and start doing these photographs and found out a friend of hers likes them, put in exhibit of hers in an oakland, california gallery. that exhibit was seen by a manned who would become her husband, paul taylor, a very different kind of guy, of guy come a street economist, professor at university of california, berkeley. he saw the photographs, that they were sensational and he hired her first to try to help all of these agricultural migrants. and then, since he was an agricultural economist, he took her photographs to washington d.c. to the department of agriculture where they started a small photographic project. the man took one look at the photographs and hired her on the spot. he'd never seen her. really no idea what she could
actually do, but not this photographer has to work for this project. in 1936 she shifted and began to work for the federal government for a project known. >> host: how long was she with the feds? >> guest: she worked with them for very for intense years through the fall of 19 dirty nine. the project itself was killed off by republican congresspeople with all of fragrant roosevelts enterprises. killed off in 1941, 1942 it was taken away. during those years, she worked like a trooper. she was a very strong women. she was traveling through the major agriculture valleys of california without air conditioning verse 120 degrees in the shade.
she was sleeping in hotels on her very small come at $3 a day u.s. government per diem. and she discovered she was happier than ever doing this work. she liked it so much more. i think her studio portrait photography had begun but it wasn't helping her grow. she was very good at it. in fact, if we look at this, what you see is still all of her documentary work. she was always a photographer. as she did something very, very unusual. she was making photographs of people that were flattering, that sort of enhanced people's identities and respect and dignity and she turned the same i towards the poor and that was
shocking and i think that one famous photograph really mirrors that because you see in a worried, drawn, tired, raggedy way, this is a woman who was it a woman of great unity and create dignity and with her two children laying on her shoulders and tv in her arms, she feels she has the weight of the world. >> host: after 41, what did she do? >> guest: well, she actually did some very interesting things during world war ii. she photographed the first meeting of the united nations and same with cisco in 1945. she was very optimistic and hope i'll would put the united nations could do. she also photographed something that she was upset and even a
little angry about and that is when the u.s. government decided to imprison all the japanese-americans during the war. 120,000 people upon somewhere between two thirds and three fifths for u.s. citizens. they were all rounded up and shipped out to these camps. there had never been a conviction, not even an allegation of any disloyalty. so she photographed five. but as the war ended, she started having the first health problems that would ultimately kill her. one that people today don't know about so much anymore because polio luckily has pretty much been wiped out. but there's a phenomenon called postpolio since syndrome in which people as polio at a young age when they hit 40, 50, they start to get a recurrence of
symptoms. apparently the polio virus remains in a more quiet way inside the body and can be reactivated. so she went through god. ultimately she died of a cancer that she probably wouldn't have died of today because there was no treatment. >> host: was she political? >> guest: innis way. she never belong to any political organizations. she was not a petition signer. she had a more spiritual feeling, but she adored franklin roosevelt and that is really important because she not only felt for power people, that you have to understand what it must admit to her that the polo sufferer was the president of the united states. this is a very, very powerful,
emotional attachment. when she did all this work, she had no problem saying to people the way she would introduce herself to people that she was going to photograph, these farmworkers and sharecroppers in the south. she would say i work for president roosevelt. she would even say yes and make tropicana for president roosevelt. he had no -- he didn't feel that in any way diminished the importance of her photography. she believed this country needed to do some name to help these people who are paid terrible wages. many of them were people who had been driven out of their homes by the huge drought in the middle west. but another thing about her that was very unusual, one third of all photography at that. were photographs of people,
people of color. they were either mexican-americans who were the majority of the farmworkers were there african-americans in the deep south. there is a sadness about that for her. none of these photographs of people of color were published at the time. the head of the program felt that the country wasn't ready for respectful photographs for people of color. since one of the photographs to build political support for roosevelts agricultural programs felt they could only do that by showing white people. so it is only much later that people have come to recognize how important. she had a kind of anti-racist is that you really saw when he saw the photography of the japanese-americans.
she just felt in her heart this was a racist idea that japanese-americans can't be trusted. after all, we were at war with the german americans. >> host: glinda gordon, was she well known in her time? >> guest: she was sent. the reason is most of her photography was published about her name on it. most of that photography blog to the federal government and it still does. you don't even have to be an american. someone from china or kenya can go to the website of the library of congress and you could get access to her photographs and you can even buy a beautiful print of them only for the cost of making the print. there's no permission of fault. they are all in the public domain. she did do a lot of photography and an 1850s and 1960s that is her private photography and
that work is that the museum. she did some very, very wonderful stuff in her last two decades despite not being up to full strength during a long period. poster was she unique as a woman at that time being photographer? >> guest: she was then unique as his studio portrait photographer. there were many doing that because many women did it out of their own homes. see you could do this in one room late to care their children and cook your dinner. as a documentary photographer and someone who was on the road, she was absolutely unique. she was not only the only woman in this project, but the only parent. when she married paul taylor, two of them together had six children. she was extremely lucky in marrying paul taylor. i think of him as the husband from having.
he adored her. he thought she was a genius. he was so secure in his own career, which was a very major one, that he never felt the slightest resentment of her. he even traveled with her and he would work as her assistant in a way by engaging people in conversation while she photographed them because part of her technique was she would say she needed to get people to relax into their national body -- natural body language. a studio portrait the speed most people will stiffen not them a seat camera. they get nervous and it's not flattering. she had to get him to relax. she then apply that technique in the field. she loved to talk with them. paul taylor became fluent in spanish so he could speak with mexican-american farmworkers. >> host: paul taylor was also investigated by the fbi?
>> guest: she was. they never found a single thing on him. i had this fbi file. the one thing was a parking ticket, literally recorded there. you see they were suspicious of him because of his opposition to the japanese internment and i think it is because of him that she developed a consciousness that maybe this was really not a necessary way right thing to do. but she was always just a college professor for long time at berkeley and so she moved to berkeley and lived with him and their six children. >> host: you also note in your book which want to bankrupt the word by the way, you note that she wasn't the best of mothers. >> guest: you know, she would have been a really difficult woman to know. as a biographer and very proud of that. i don't think it's easy to write a good biography of someone's that you just adore and think is
the same. i like it that i have very mixed feelings about her. she got where she got by being very assertive. people call her bossy all the time. her children used to call her dictator dorothy. she was very fussy about her house. she was a good cook in an immaculate housekeeper and she once corrected one of her grandchildren who was carrying a -- there was a handcrafted ceramic dish and she said that's not the right way to hold the dish. you must hold it in a way that respects it. she was very difficult. would she have gotten where she was without being difficult? i am not so sure. it was a pretty tough world for a woman to be an. she was often asserted in a
direction of presenting very interesting ideas to her boss who felt that her job is just to take photographs and do nothing else. there is a log of correspondence between her and her federal government's who knew not only she was a photographer, but she was -- her photographs for the most popular of all the federal photographs. but he didn't like her telling him what to do. he said you should do a project about tax and he didn't want her to do that and didn't think it was her place. so that was aristocrat of her. but he was about saving her children and not being a good mother. one of the things that i just found so telling about the position of people and not. is that two of those children were her biological children. one of them is a stepchild from
her earlier marriage. three of them were paul taylor's children. no one ever criticized paul taylor for leaving the children. he was gone for huge amounts of time and put his children in foster care when his wife -- when his first wife left. so i find that really interesting. i don't want to minimize the fact that her children were very hurt and when i interviewed her children who attend in their 80s, they could still feel the pain of having been left by their mother and that was the real thing. but the government job also was a job she could not refuse. and if she had refused that we would have never heard of her. she would've lived and died a portrait photographer in her studio. >> host: when the gordon, what do you teach at new york
university? >> guest: i am not really a photographic expert. i teach a lot of different things. i teach women's history to graduate students i also teach a course on social movements, which is something i'm very interested in. even though lying was not a social movement person in any way, she lived a period of very intense social movements during the great depression were their union organizing drives and drives of the unemployed for unemployment insurance. but what you might call politics is something that happened to her just before she died. she got a letter that i quoted the book in that i have a copy of that home firm and african-american photographer working in the civil rights
movement. and they wanted to establish a collective project documenting the civil rights movement and they wanted their mentor, sponsor and teacher. and she was thrilled. she felt very honored via because she again without really a political affiliation, she felt so moved that these very downtrodden black people, who she photographed in the 1930s were now 30 years later standing up and fighting for their right. but unfortunately she was arty to say. she was dying of cancer and couldn't do much for them. she wrote back and encourage them, but she could not have traveled to the southern states, which is what they would've liked. >> host: when did she start to get known? she had misdiagnosed i guess you would call it a lemon tree canal
elements were at least four years before she died, they first thought it was a continuation of her old servers and it may have been because what she died of what is cancer of the esophagus and what i understand now medically as the acid reflux caused by ulcers can actually burn out and cause cancer of the esophagus. she suffered through awful: miserable kinds of treatments. this several times did the surgery in which they tried to ream out her esophagus so she could eat and other times they implant cobalt and her digestive tract. it is a sign that cancer was essentially not a curable disease in the 1960s, in my
lifetime. so she was very -- in a lot of pain in the last two years. she did however do something in her final year and a half. she was given a one-woman photography show at the museum of water and power. she did not live to see the show, but she did live to design it. she did that -- he did everything herself. she she dictated how they should be arranged and she wanted the photographs to speak to each other. but she died in october and it opened in january of 1966. i think it is typical of her that she didn't really care about that. what she cared about was knowing herself, what she believed she had achieved. then the end of her life, she was saying i really think i am an artist.
being able to say that was deeply, deeply gratifying for her. >> host: linda gordon, do you have a particular favorite photograph? >> guest: i have three or four. it is not the most famous one. maybe covets a little hakki because it's been seen so much. you know, hargrave sco was her ability to see into, in her mind, frame an image that she knew would be extraordinary. i think there are a couple that i like and the ones i like best are the ones that show more than 1%. they actually show people novation ship at each other. there is one towards the end of the book done in another project i haven't mentioned yet where i photographed the world war ii ship the main construction sites, which were very anonymous around the bay area.
she was looking particular at the workers and women workers with the mh in which she shows these two people, a man and a woman obviously in the relationship and obviously having a fight. and it is completely silent of course. it is a still photograph. you can almost see the electricity build back and forth between these two people. there's another one like that they really shows the mother of the brak found and a woman who might yet seven years old and the girl is unhappy about some pain. we see in the background the worried mother. again, her ability to see the emotional connection between people ,-com,-com ma whether it's a positive one in this case for an angry one, i find it more complicated than the strictly
individual photograph portrait. i kind of like those. >> host: we've been talking with linda gordon, author of "dorothea lange: a life beyond limits" and other books. thanks for your time. >> guest: thank you for having me. it's just a delay. >> host: ronald reagan, charming guy. he was a great president. he did not, i have to say his letters and diaries and documents are very well written. the book that we published by him, his autobiography on american life he regarded as something being done by others. he went over it.
he was a pleasure to be around. very good relationship. she is a great horsewoman and lover of horses and of course i would see. they both shared a great interest. at one time we had another pics of our farm and it turned out that ronald reagan has been very interested in pigs and never failed going to state fairs that the iowa state fair to visit the. he sent a lovely picture. he was a charming man. >> host: the episode in another life where he came to the simon & schuster offices, when his autobiography was finished and turned to the photographers and cameras and they said i hear is a good book. i'll have to read it sometime. >> guest: absolutely.
unfortunately it was true. he was not deeply connected. nixon was. mixing started out writing every bookends of. he's a lawyer. and he took some pride in his work. it is not essentially interested but i remember visiting his office in california and he had this magnificent -- this magnificent glass cabinet that stretched, containing every single that he had presented but during his gubernatorial and presidential career. just a wonderful row, all
beautifully and he was so proud and took one down and showed each one what it was, would you present it to. there was quite, quite extraordinary. i described i think in the book the fact that when he visited his office, what you got was a photograph of yourself with the president. as the polaroid camera signed and put it in a frame for you. when he did that, it relies because i grew up that there was a mark on the floor of his office, on the beautiful carpet there were two pieces of duck tape so that you and he would step to the right place together for the picture to be taken. i thought that is extraordinary. the governor of california and
>> booktv continues now. thomas reed, former campaign manager in the 1960s talks about president reagan's political development and argues reagan was a political grandmaster. this is about 40 minutes. >> ronald reagan experienced several beginnings in his career. brother started as a radio rochester and iowa, becoming a successful hollywood at your comest orinda spokesman for the general electric co., hosting the number one rated television program, becoming governor of california and seeking the e.u. each of these at a specific new piece to our understanding of the man and the character and we continue to learn more about hand, even as we will be today. our guest author, thomas c. reid is president at more than one of these beginnings and in today's
book, "the reagan enigma: 1964-1980" shares his personal archives for the first time having shared them with so many others in the past. mr. rees served as secretary of the air force during the ford and carter administrations, was the youngest ever direct your the blonde's covert national reconnaissance office and later sir president reagan a special assistant to the president for national security policy. his technical background includes low temperature physics,. he has advised the joint strategic planning staff on policy and intelligence matters. he has also authored three books. at the abyss, the nuclear express in the tehran triangle documenting the history of the cold war and its principal players. i am always pleased to welcome my former colleagues and we do so today. tom, it's a pleasure to have
your heritage. we look forward to your remarks. >> host: thank you very much. very good of you. i'm glad the snow storm did not come see you could all come out to play. it is good to be here. john talked about the book i've written, but a little warning it is not another iowa spare book. it is not a phony biography filled with fictional people that never really existed. it is not hero worship geography. "the reagan enigma" is a publication by a distinguished research university, university of southern california that explores the topics of what made reagan take, which many other authors have written about, but none of them got it right. so let's give it a try. let's start at the beginning 50 years ago.
50 years ago, reagan's political opponents described him as a actor. 30 years ago, clerk of her him an immutable owns. they were all wrong. reagan was not an actor. he was a master of the political stage. think winston churchill and the battle of britain to henry the fifth. ronald reagan was a master of the political stage. his mind was immense. it upgraded it 10 times the speed of us mortals. that's about those people missed. reagan was in fact the great communicator. he was known that way because of his performance on television, but the trick to his career as he was a great communicator with everybody. example, in the night in 60s six, his first campaign for governor as the northern chairman and i was taking him up to northern california to meet the editor of a small town paper
in helzberg, the host for tribune. on the way up, i briefed him on the problems of water in sonoma county, the corps of engineers wanted to reverse the flow of eagle river at all that stuff. we get to the eagles bircher bierman in my view he's ready to talk about the big issues. i like in the door and holy mackerel, blood all over the floor. to have still on the floor. this man has just got a rattlesnake on the floor of his office. reagan never missed a beat. he comes and laughing and start talking about rattlesnakes are dangerous critters. talks about the best way to talk about a rattlesnake that would spook his horse on the trail. his host at the helzberg tribune talked about the air in her all the time and so forth. we never talked about the river. we didn't talk about water.
ronald reagan established a report and when we left, reagan and the editor of the tribune were handshaking and hugging and laughing. they were friends for life and of course to take care of us in the news. that is the kind of man ronald reagan was. he was an immutable. he was fun to be with. he was fought of fun to be with. strangely enough, he had few close friends. in my years, companionship with reagan we never talk about his hopes and dreams, his kids achievements, his financial woes if any. his health. we never talked about any of these things because reagan had no close personal friends, which really seemed strange, but that is the way it was. his daughter, maureen, what about a treat in her memoirs in
talking about his relationship to his wife nancy, maureen wrote sorry, nancy, you are not his best friend. his horse is his best friend. that's the way he was. his press secretary put it more simply in his memoirs. reagan would've made a superb hermit. exactly. seems strange. reagan had no friends, but he had compartmented allies. bill clark was one. he was a fellow cowboy that in the early days helped run. he was close to a niece who is here today and was a counselor, but i'm not sure you would classify himself as a friend. reagan had pastors that he talked about higher beings. he trusted me with his political life. he was wonderful in that regard then we decided to do something i campaigned, we are going to do
ask. there was no second-guessing, no micromanaging and trust me with his political life. but i was not a friend. nancy was his lover and wife. in time, she became the keeper of the bubble. she became the surrogate for nancy's protect his mother. neither nancy nor any of the rest of us were really reagan friends. nancy confirmed that in her memoirs. she said pope, ronnie doesn't let anybody get too close. there's a wall around him. john searcy was a campaign manager during the 70s that quote, as the second run of an alcoholic, reagan crew have been a people pleaser, a loner. that is how he coped. reagan was an upbeat man. part of that was every story had to have a happy ending it in the case of the defeat, the incident had to be a raised them to be
forgotten. he simply could not mentally deal with defeats. he wanted every story to have a happy ending. example from his own memoirs. reagan will quote running for president in 1968 was the last thing on my mind. i wasn't interested. that is absolute baloney. 1968 by the summer of 68 were flying around in the 2727 jet. and obviously read miami and sweltering hot trailers with no windows, trying to break nixon's holes on the delegation chairman and basically reagan said it wasn't a campaign. i wasn't there. that is because it was a campaign, didn't work and therefore needed and that's why he wrote as a data somewhere. us forward to iran can try the same phenomenon. all the documentation and
committee reports nonetheless can break inside to the american people, i did not create arms for hostages. my heart still tells it that is so. interestingly enough, ronald reagan was devoid of political ambition. he knew what he believed in and he knew what he wanted people to follow, but he was not drunk without the power, unlike lyndon johnson, unlike richard nixon, reagan had no for power. he found the virtual office to be funny. he thought the crickets with governor might be funny. when i first traveled with nixon, he thought that goes accoutrements of power were funny. he really didn't have a driving political ambition. he listened ambitious. it was nancy that provided the driving ambition. one early report comes from breaking son michael who heard a conversation shouted down the hallway from their home in 1965.
nancy were shouting, if you don't run for governor, i wanted to worse. she didn't mean that of course, but the point is that evidence that the drive came from her. fast-forward to the inauguration run-up in 1981, johnnie carson climbed the moniker nancy to its ambitions. i agree. without nancy, ronald reagan never would've been elected anything issue was the one with the driving ambition. not wrong. another aspect of the reagan story is his conversion from new deal democrat to eisenhower republican. that was not just in tinea splash. it occurred over a decade. while fighting communist infiltration into the screen actors guild, reagan was threatened over the phone with an acid in the face attack if he
persisted in black and the communist press notation of the union. burbank police offer protection and also a concealed weapon permit. not well understood during the years reagan was head of the screen actors guilt, he was also packing heat. reagan came to wonders and the lofty ideals of communism simply could not be enforced without terror. that was the conversion. from the political movement in the early 50s, with the korean war, reagan's enthusiasm for roosevelt transferred to harry truman. as the korean war dragged on, reagan grew concerned that the invasion of the south. there was no end in sight.
the korean war had become a meat grinder, a lot like the war in vietnam a generation later. in the spring of the next year, 1952, reagan wrote to the warrior dwight eisenhower to seek the presidency. reagan campaigns in 1952. he continued in 1956 and then worked for eisenhower designated successor, richard nixon in 1960, but always as a concerned democrat. it was only in 1962, a decade after his original connection with eisenhower to reagan we registered as a republican and that was because his party had left and not the other way around. interestingly enough, as a result of that relationship, eisenhower became a reagan mentor, not well known. those men developed a solid
relationship and at the end of 64, the end of reagan's time for choosing speech, eisenhower began to pay attention because the reagan performance stood in stark contrast to the harsh goldwater defeat of 64. at year's end, reagan was seeking to rebuild the republican party. eisenhower and break and had stayed in touch through the years. they exchanged letters, then phone calls and visits. they stayed in touch through ike's last visit to the desert in spring of 1969. the concept of peace through strength was probably born during those conversations. i was not there for many conversations for sun. we know of all of these because the records, the letter is at the library at abilene, kansas.
reagan had a hero in the form of eisenhower, but he also had a villain. calendars it is the archvillain in reagan's life was robert kennedy. he became reagan's supreme nemeses. per usual reasons. 1961 unbecoming his brother's attorney general, bobby kennedy pursued corruption with a vengeance. as a sidebar, he also targeted political opponents. in february of 62, kennedy hauled reagan before a grand jury two weeks later after that, the justice department subpoenaed reagan's tax returns. the matter never resulted in an indictment, but april of that year break and lost his job as host of the general electric theater. reagan's kids got bad news over lunch one sunday. i just lost my job to future
president told his son, michael. his daughter, maureen confirmed that conversation in her memoirs, stating bobby kennedy had a hand in this cancellation. this may not be accurate. others find that the general electric was losing ratings, but that's not what counts. and reagan's mind, bobby kennedy leaned on general electric and caused the cancellation of the general electric theater and the loss of reagan's job. he thought richard duchenne in 1967 during the telstar debate with the kennedy and a bunch of students that were sitting in europe. the reagan went all that when kennedy entered the presidential campaign sweepstakes in 1968 is for reagan's got really actively involved with the campaign for the presidential nomination. it was kennedy johnson and 68
and then he relented upon kennedy's death. reagan was a very religious man. his minutes there is was one of the half-dozen people present in september of 65. the kickoff meeting and break in psalm one were against career really crystallize. my insight to that relationship comes from a conversation with the clerk in late 1881 bill clark had been serving as deputy secretary of state to become the national security adviser. in december of that year, i was having coffee in the state department conference room. we were just brainstorming. what are you going to do? what is your to-do list when you get to the white house? without missing a beat, he said i want to remove the communist oversight and no to free eastern europe from the communist
control. that was an interesting ambition that's kind of hard to do. how do you plan to do that? he pushed himself back from his table and said we have a secret weapon. really, what's that? you wish in his pocket, pulled out a crucifix and find it on the table. okay. he understood. he was a believing catholic, and five months later bill clark are arranged for reagan to that the polish war and pope to disguise pudding at peace for peace is, the components for destabilizing poland and eventually the disintegration of communist control and poland. reagan was an avid reader of the bible. his fear of armageddon was a prime force in his determination to end the cold war.
as we noted earlier, reagan was devoid of ambition, but on the other hand, once into a contest, be it for public office or survival of the free world, reagan was an absolutely uncompromising competitor. again his memoirs, reagan was the toughest competitor i have ever known. that is so cold war phased out. but outplayed self up with that spirit of not accepting second prizes ever. this all came involved in january $1982 after reagan dealt with the economy and 82 recruited bill clark and myself to come to the white house to help with national security matters. one of the first morning as i was there, i had known him very well and we were talking about silly things dictators had done in republics far away.
he peered over his glasses as he would want to do and said tom, we have a problem. yes, i said he was talking about the air-conditioning doesn't work. tell them you got a problem. yes, sir, what is that? the soviet union. yes, that is a problem. tom, why don't you get the fellas together and figure out how we are going to end the cold war. holy mackerel. okay. we talked about the pieces of all of that. i ended the conversation thinking i'm going to get this type and state and those people from defense. i was just chief clerk. i closed the conversation with mr. president, what is the endgame here? that a simple, tom. we win, they lose. that is the way he ways. so during the next few months we put together a plan that was articulated, a document called
nsd 32, which is a plan for prevailing in the cold war. the war was used on a lot of fronts, economic, technical, political. but the end of the paper, we thought through what is the objective and we wrote down what is the endgame? bob gates is a terrific secretary of defense came to write about if you get into a fight you need to think about how you would get back out. and so we thought that through. we concluded, you know, tanks and red square pulling down statues of lenin is not the objective. the decision directive 32, we wrote a definition of it very. we seek to convince the leadership of the soviet union to turn their attention and word to seek a legitimacy that comes only from the consent of the governed and us to address the hopes and dreams of their own
people. that is exactly way it turned out. reagan's immense mind understood the failings of the soviet system. he was a good enough legault chessplayer to exploit those feelings while he was connecting with the soviet leader who had no choice but to seek the consensus of his government. break-ins fast mind and ability to connect with anybody anywhere was the key to understanding the reagan and make money. thank you. [applause] >> your turn. >> 25 minutes like he said. we do have a microphone if you please raise your hand are calling you and would appreciate you giving your name and affiliation if you're so comfortable. andrew, i will start down here was a known problem.
>> tom, thank you for being here. and now hanging at the air force association and the american foreign policy council. you have written two books come at the base and nuclear express that nuclear terrorism. if i could give you a brief update from worry and it off and the lack thereof. >> we made progress with nuclear terrorism and that enlaces a long way from dna, and it is key because robert reagan read revelations. he feared armageddon on his watch and therefore that was what drove him. we've got to end the cold war. it was a driving force in the strategic defense initiative and so forth. i think we have -- we have made the progress because as the introduction to these books take you inquired about, the books are dedicated to the cold warriors and at the abyss is dedicated on both sides who
fought the cold war and a lot of local skirmishes and beliefs of their own gods and at no time was a nuclear weapon fired. that is really an achievement that we have come a great way to see that weapons are safe, under control. the problem as there is always a possibility of a getting hands on a weapon, but not likely. they may get their hands on materials are the real problem is there was one muslim state, pakistan that has nuclear weapons even in the run-up to 9/11. the al qaeda people try to make a deal with the pakistani nuclear types. they didn't succeed, but the problem of nuclear materials in a name that guy is real. the problem is not a weapon being stolen. that is not going to happen. the nations that control nuclear weapons, ask him and the soviets august serial numbers.
they are so locked up weekend having nuclear and you can't make them go off. the problem is materials in the hands of people building the low-tech weapons floated into the harbor. that's the problem and the problem that remains. yes, sir. the mac album only can. did you rather have the opportunity to talk with ronald reagan about his voice from jane wyman and looking out for the legal documents, i guess he was accused of extreme mental cruelty. but my understanding from what i have learned is he really didn't contest that whatsoever. i was wondering what you found out about that. >> well, two things i talk about. they had no friends, which they never talked about to me. on the other hand, the book "the reagan enigma" is fact-based,
published by university. introduction is written is fact-based. one of the sources for the book was stuart samper, who basically was the political genius. with the political strategist that won every election that reagan won. he did talk to jane wyman as he was getting ready to run the first campaign, that he met with jane wyman and todd about ronald reagan and she was very forthcoming. she wished him well. but she made it very clear that there is no acrimony. there was no difficulties. it was just that ron got more and more interested in politics in her career was to verging into her career, into a star to. she did crush one of her fellow stars from hollywood whose dad, quotes, don't ask ronnie what time it is.
he will tell you how the watch is made. i think that was the problem. >> thank you for your match. >> you mentioned he was a catholic. >> no, though clark was a catholic. reagan was very religious. he believed in a higher being, which was really which was relayed to contrast his government is not the higher being. there is a higher being that deals with right and wrong and higher purposes and he believed in a higher being. he didn't care what particular building went to. he didn't associate with any particular religion. ministers turn the very beginning steward bernie was there in september 65 but other ministers became close over the years. he believed in a higher being, which is what he did not believe was the answer and communism was
the type of all of that. he was not secular in any particular way. though clark was. >> down here in france. >> wait for the microphone, please. >> minus though molesky. i came back from a very long time in china. i'm curious if reagan were alive today, what do you think his approach would be to dealing with communist party in china? >> the question of what would reagan do today is i'm answerable because times are very different. you can only apply his mind that. he had an immense mind and he could connect with people. that is what you really miss. i think if reagan was alive today, he would look at the problem and assemble the right guys like ed meese and say let's put together a plan. he would at the other plan for dealing with it. he would not do it ad hoc, whether it's china further
confrontations. ronald reagan would say here is the problem. you guys put together a plan. he would say yes, yes, no and then pursue it. that was his strength. >> tom coming you mentioned in the discussion has another briefly. and then you mentioned in the book his father. do you want to at least share a little thinking about the fact of course we know his father had an alcohol problem and in some ways what the president did was either withdrew into knowledge and books and learning or escapism, somewhat argue, with a radio personality, the television and all that. what do you think about the upbringing quick >> that moves from what i know to what i believe. i have tried in the book to be meticulous about what i know. two of the researchers for the book as we plowed through this, why was ron always wanting to
please people? why did you not want angst around him? why did he not connect with friends? two of my researchers said tom, that is because his father was an alcoholic. we are adult children about politics. but me tell you how it works. these folks gave me a couple of books. one by a fellow named dr. chris burke about how children of alcoholics react. i have to come to believe that the fact that reagan was the child of an alcoholic lead in to really not connect through other people and to want happy endings to every story. i can't prove it, but i have had people, once i wrote the book, similarly senior people have come to me and said yeah, you got it exactly right. my father was an alcoholic and i don't trust people.
so i think his father was a happy alcohol it. he couldn't keep her job. he didn't beat the dog and so forth to ron talked about pulling them off the porch and getting him into bed. but he also talked about his mother who is actually the patron saint who dealt with -- they were essentially homeless in illinois. nell was a mother that dealt with all of this and kept the family together. i think that upbringing had a lot to do with his inability and non-willingness to connect. >> ed meese got to know him longer than i did. i knew had earlier so i have seniority, but only by a few weeks. >> over to the far left. >> to praise your -- emi are the surviving colleagues. ed's titleist counselor and that was really important because ed meese was there to brainstorm for what we are going to do and
reagan and he then met with him. i was i was there. we went to the eisenhower range. eisenhower began to give advice about politics among both but they also talked about national security of a lot of times. they talked often about vietnam. there in mind, this was 65, 66, 67. they six, 67. they talked about vietnam and that eisenhower's observations were that it was a bad idea. he was really disdainful of the johnson approach to a slice at a time. if you 25 give me a division and i will take it without
any casualties. eisenhower's message to reagan was, if you are going to get involved, think through why and don't do it without an endgame, but if you do get involved full force. i believe that the concept of piece through strength came from that relationship. >> the far back for just a minute. >> the center for public policy research. the ronald reagan you knew, did he have a sense of his place in history? if he did, how did he see his place in history? >> i'm sorry, did he what? >> his place in history. >> did reagan have a sense of his place in history? absolutely. he understood the big picture. he had an immense mind. it was fast, ten times
faster. that is what all the opponents never understood. he understood. he has this huge, cataloging mind to understand everything. when he was going to have a confrontation with bobby kennedy, his antipathy for candidates and the politics of 1967, the great idea of let's have kennedy and reagan talking to television studios in europe. and so reagan agreed to do that. now, getting ready for that the history of vietnam, ho chi minh and for side, the history of the war, what was the north doing to the south? he spent a week studying that. and then in the last day he practiced in the studio, just as you do for a
presidential debate. others in the staff or abrasive. he really prepared and thought it through. he understood the sweep of history, and that is why he understood that the cold war cannot go on forever. fortunate to have met or known a lot of former presidents, and in talking to them i ask, how did you envision the cold war ending? welcome all of these gentlemen said, you no, once i got their the threat of nuclear annihilation was so terrible became focused on not letting that happen. how did you envision the cold war ending? the soviet system is broken. but none of those presidents really had a thought as to how the cold war would end. reagan had a respect for history and knew it had to
end and determined to make it happen his way. >> may have been asking a second aspect. i agree with you, he did understand history and had a sense of it, but he did not have an egotistical sense of where he was. >> absolutely not. he was devoid of political ambition. you can't believe that in a presidents, but i but i believe he was devoid of political ambition. he knew he knew what he believed, and that was not negotiable. he would negotiate with legislators, but he knew what he believed, and he pounded that. if the people want to follow, that's just fine. if not, i'm going to get on my horse. he was not an egomaniac. he was not a lyndon johnson,
i want my place in history. history. he thought all of that was kind of funny, i think. >> another question. >> anybody else? we will do one more. >> what is your understanding of his connection with astrology? obviously nancy seemed very involved and influential in that regard. how do you see him in connection with that? >> i think it was essentially zero. nancy was his lover and wife, but she became the protector. and therefore, all all of the things that she talked about he was very thoughtful love, but love, but when it came involved with her involvement in affairs of state he absolutely tuned her out. example, sue spencer tells
me of having lunch dinner upstairs in the white house after he had just given the evil empire speech. nancy was on his case. we have to get along with the soviets. and ron was eating dinner. sue spencer was there. what do you think? and spencer said approximately, well, mr. pres., mr. president, you know, you are going to scare a lot of people. it is an evil empire, but you're going to scare a lot of people. without missing a beat he says, well, as do, it is an evil empire. we are going to push him of it backwards. what's for dessert? he was not impacted at all. >> one moreover your. >> pres. reagan's sense of humor play into his role as an enigma. >> hounded his sense of humor? he had an enormous sense of humor.
how did it play? well, i think it was the escape route for not talking about the serious stuff. he regularly talked about movies, and movies, and that drove his wife nuts. we understood that. that was the history that he thought about. we were talking about some issue, and issue, and suddenly he's talking about gary cooper in high noon. that's not a diversion. he's saying, let's do what's right. he's not talking about some lady from monaco. he is admiring a woman who sticks with her husband no matter what. so when faced with places he did not want to go conversationally he used the movies to make the.overtime to humor because it was an escape route i think for not
going into the dark corners. >> how do you think his age affected his presidency? >> i really don't no the answer to that. you will have to ask others. i was there to do particular things. special assistant for national security policy. we put together the plan for ending the cold war, but i left in 1983. certainly hardy, and what happens during the second administration, administration, i just have no firsthand knowledge. i am pleased that i wrote about facts, not what i believe. >> in the first administration he gained muscle mass after he went into training. in your 70s, that is no small accomplishment. we do thank you for this
special look. it is a very fact-based, interesting focus on the president's life that we don't often see is clearly. we we thank you for coming to join us. >> thank you for having me. [applauding] >> book tv is on twitter. follow us to get publishing news, news, scheduling updates, author information, and to talk directly with authors. [inaudible conversations] >> how are you? >> good. >> doing good? >> feel pretty good. >> visitors discount. the neighbor discount.
>> we are working on it. thank you. >> of fireside chat. [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> thank you, sir. >> let's. >> let's head out. >> thanks, guys. happy thanksgiving. merry christmas. >> here is a look at the current top ten best-selling nonfiction books according to the new york times. topping the list former president george w. bush will files his father.
week's list of nonfiction bestsellers according to the new york times. >> gerald horne, author of "the counter revolution of 1776" and kate ten -- race to revolution is next. >> it is great to be back in my former home in southern california, los angeles, good to see old friends and all faces, thank you for helping to bring you all out here this evening, and i am am going to speak about these two books, but i also feel compelled to make an apology to begin with. when the former west german leader went to poland about four decades ago he was just so overcome with grief about what the germans had done to poland in world war ii so he fell down on his knees and apologized. i feel compelled to
apologize to the indigenous people who formerly occupied southern california and were ousted and subjected to genocide, i feel compelled compelled to apologize to the people of african descent who were murdered and enslaved and all of the people who were subjected to atrocities and degradation. at the end of the day their are those that still believe the process which led to this genocide and enslavement was a a step forward for humanity because it created the united states of america. and it is not surprising that given that so many people feel that it was justifiable and worthwhile to have a genocide and enslavement to create this alleged free country, it is not surprising that therefore we have a great
deal of reactionary sentiment in the body politic which was just expressed this past tuesday. on behalf of black scholars who i think could have written a book like this years or decades ago, radical scholars who should have done this sort of work, and i hope you accept my apology on behalf of the many thousands gone, the many millions gone who have suffered not least because of the atrocities of the united states of america. having said that, let me move on to, first of all, talk about this book. this is a book that seeks to tell a new story about the origins of the united states of america. it america. it seeks to puncture the creation myth about the united states of america and its creation, to argue that
the creation of the united states of america was not i greatly forward for humanity, certainly for white supremacy, no doubt about that. i cannot deny that their were countless europeans in particular who benefited from the creation of the united states of america, but given the fact that after the creation in 1776 you have the united states moving into the of the slave system which theretofore had been leading the african slave trade, britain is ousted and move towards abolition, whereas the united states, the supposed paragon of liberty and democracy moves into the lead. as i suggest, one of the reasons you have so many people is because of the manic energy. about the african slave
trade, one of the many reasons that you have so many people of african descent in brazil more than any other country outside of nigeria is because of the manic energy of these us slave traders from the 1830s and 40s in particular that descended upon africa and manacled every african insight. now, the short thesis of this book is that the rubble who form the united states of america leading to the declaration of independence on july 4, 1776, they rebelled against british rule because they felt and suspected that britain was moving towards abolition of slavery which would have jeopardized the fortunes of the murderers row of
founding fathers, including george washington, washington, thomas jefferson, patrick henry, james madison. after the formation a disproportionate percentage of the us presidents were slave owners. [laughter] thank you. the short thesis of this book is that june 1772u had the case in london, england, which involved an effort to enslave african men back to north america after he escaped freedom. and the judge ruled which is represented, of course, in the movie. >> a good movie. >> okay. the judge ruled that slavery was not obtained in england.
the way the law works of courses that even though the case did not speak specifically and pointedly to the colony, it did not take an oracle or a seer to suspect that that case would form precedent that then would be applied to the north american colonies thereby jeopardizing any fortunes. as i will suggest momentarily and explained at length in his book, there was good reason for the so-called rebels to believe that somerset's somerset's case would be used as a precedent in north america thereby jeopardizing many fortunes. and rather than wait for the other shoe to fall, they revolted against british rule. now that is the short thesis of this book. a longer explanation would go back to another, the
so-called glorious revolution in 1688. that is to say that in 1688 the rising merchant class rose up against the monarchy and clip the wings. among other things what this led to was the erosion of the monopoly of the african company which theretofore had been charged with the african slave trade. what ensues what ensues as i talk about in the early chapters of this book is what i call the free trade and africans. and deregulation of the african slave trade, that is to say that merchants were allowed to enter the african slave trade, which they do in profusion. and they descend upon west africa in particular with
the manic energy of crazed bees manic going and handcuffing every african insight, dragging them across the atlantic, particularly to the caribbean. as you may know, up until the middle of the 18th century london felt that the caribbean was more valuable than the north american mainland, not least because the caribbean, of course, had many sugar plantations and sugar was not only used to sweeten tea but it was seen as something of a miracle drug believe it or not. jamaica, antigua, barbados in particular, the major sites of profitability at that particular time. now, the deregulation of the african slave trade and the onset of the era of free trade in africa leads to predictable results.
one result is immense profitability. you may no that the african slave trade was one of the most profitable enterprises in the history of humankind which is one of the reasons why it lasted hundreds of years and has been so difficult to erase the aftermath that still haunts us. that is to say, some of the profits could amount to 1700%. 1700 percent. you invest $1 get 1700 back. i'm sure many of you have lived in the united states long enough to no that their are those who would sell there firstborn child for a 1700 percent profit, let alone some africans they knew nothing about and did not no.
so with the onset of free trade in africans and deregulation of the african slave trade you had a tremendous increase in the number of african spot across the atlantic, the late 16 hundreds and early 17 hundreds. this also leads to work that kirby and historians, walter rodney, diana talk about in terms of the origins or the takeoff of the system we now know as capitalism. that that is to say, the african slave trade formed the spine and the backbone for the takeoff of the system we now know as capitalism. when you have brought all of the africans across the atlantic to work for free, tremendous wealth was created. tremendous wealth not only in terms of the direct sale of the africans, but it led to the growth of allied
industries such as shipbuilding, for shipbuilding, for example, to transport the africans, insurance. the africans often times revolted and you need insurance policies to compensate the slave traders for their losses such as bankers. even after the africans arrived, particularly in the carolinas, south carolina, which was an epicenter for black life, which it is to this day, the authorities found that they had to build infrastructure, roads and bridges so that the africans revolted, they could get the militia there to crush the revolt. but of course when you build roads and bridges it is not only useful for repressing slave revolts but the takeoff of commerce. so the african slave trade forms the foundation for the system we now know as capitalism. and as a footnote, the reparations act in this
room, obviously what i am talking about in this book provides further rationale for the movement to garner reparations for these decades and centuries of labor. the only question we should be devising is whether the reparations should go and what they should be used for because the rationale is ironclad. so to recapitulate, 1688, the glorious, the glorious revolution which leads to the era of free trade. but it has another consequence, and that is slave revolt. as you may no, and as you may readily infer, people don't like being manacled and handcuffed and dragged across the ocean to work for free under the lash of some white supremacist racist. so they so they are rebelling like crazy, particularly in the caribbean where the numbers
and the ratio are to their favor. that is to say that often times the africans are outnumbering the europeans something like 20 to one, this creating a favorable condition for revolt particularly with regard to antigua which had many slave revolts which often times leave the slave masters to make a great the great trek from the caribbean to the north american mainland. but it also leads -- thank you. it also leads to a phenomenon in jamaica,, that is to say the maroon phenomenon whereby the africans are escaping the jurisdiction of the british and setting up there own systems of administration and rule. and there is a fear in the 1730s that jamaica would
escape the administration of london, just as we no from 1791 to 1804 in hispaniola the haitian revolution occurred with the africans escape the jurisdiction shall we say of the french and set up there own system of administration. and as many of you may no, they've been liquidated a a good deal of the slaveowning class. ..
>> there's a parallel between the d perhaps you can ask me to elucidate in question and answer. but in any case, even after making the great trek to the north american mainland, this did not save the slavemasters and slave owners from the possibility of liquidation, preceded by revolt. you may know that approximately 1739 you have perhaps the bloodiest revolt in north american mainland history where the africans rose up, killed a few dozen europeans. and it was thought were marching to spanish florida. because as you probably know, florida had been controlled by the spanish from the early 1500s up until about 1820 when
the united states takes over and turns it into the sunshine state, which is what it remains today. but bringing up the question of spain brings up a very important part of the story. because the spanish had had begun to arm africans as early as the 1500s that diverged from that of the british. but when the spanish began to arm africans, and, of course, you may ask yourself why would the spanish arm the africans. well, i'll just tell you what london believed. i don't necessarily subscribe to this thesis, because it has some questionable religious overtones, but i'll repeat it in any case, but i repeat it in the book. london felt the spanish had to arm the africans because of religious reasons; that is to say, a religious cold war that's
taking place between protestant london and catholic madrid. and to a degree, catholic paris. and londoners felt that because the spanish were admitting so many men into the priesthood and thereby removing them from the possibility of wielding arms, that they had no choice but to arm africans. but arm africans, they did. and this was putting competitive pressure on britain to do the same. particularly when britain began to fight the spanish over control of native americans' land on the northern coast of south america in the city now known today as cartagena where approximately 1740, 1741 the british were administered a stinging defeat, not least because the spanish had armed africans and chased the red coats from the shores of the northern coast of south america at a time when the settlers in north america -- those who would
go on to find the united states of america -- were very reluctant to fight on behalf of the british in south america because they had to engage in the nasty business of liquidating the native americans and ousting them from their land. and they felt their time was better spent doing that than fighting for more colonial conquests for london. obviously, this was enflaming the ire of london that these colonists were not necessarily reliable politically. i should also mention another point as well l with regard to this rivalry between spain and britain which helps to lead to the foundation of the united states of america, and that is that that as you probably know, the country known as ireland was a british possession. it could fairly be called one of the earliest colonial conquests. but many of the irish were
perceived as not being politically reliable because they had a bone to pick with london as well. and some of the leaders, in fact, of the spanish military were irish because they had defected to the other side because they would rather fight the english than to fight the spanish. you may have heard about the referendum in scotland just a few weeks ago where the scottish were threatening to bolt from the united kingdom. scotland only became part of the united kingdom on a formal bay mis1707 -- basis in 1707, right in the midst of our story, and the scottish, too, were perceived as being politically unreliable by london. all of this is helping to put more pressure on london to arm africans not only because of the perceived political unreliability of the irish and the scottish, but also because
spain is putting so much competitive pressure on britain to do the same so that the british can then fight the spanish more competitively. but arming the africans isn't, obviously, something that these rebels, these north american settlers are hotly opposed to. i mean, the very thought to them was considered to be insanity. that is to say they felt that africans should not be armed, that they should be marched at gunpoint into the fields to pick tobacco to create wealth for the slave holders. so you begin to see the deepening rift and fissure between the settler class on the north american mainland and london, and the londoners and the elite in britain on the other hand. what happens, of course, is what i consider to be one of the turning points in the history of people of african descent, a
conflict that led to the increase of the african slave trade and led to more of our ancestors being exploited and subjected to atrocities. i'm speaking of what's referred to as the so-called seven years' war, 1756-1763, where britain decides to try to eliminate the competitive pressure that had been placed on britain from spanish florida, reference now my discussion about stoner's rebellion and the africans who were trying to overthrow slavery and march to spanish florida. and i should have mentioned in that context that there's ed to suggest -- there's evidence to suggest that armed africans from spanish florida had come across the border to stir up the africans in south carolina to get them to revolt. you should also know that the armed africans and the africans in south carolina, many of them were of an golden descent, a
country that has been enmeshed in warfare for decades, if not centuries including in the 20th century. you know that the so-called civil war in angola only concluded in the early 1990s. i say "so-called" because, actually, it was the united states backing a terrorist clique in angola against the regime. and so there was a certain kind of commonality between the africans coming across the border from spanish florida and the africans in the carolinas. so in the seven years' war of 1756-1763, britain is going to try to eliminate the spanish threat in florida, and they're also going to try to eliminate the french threat in canada because there had also been a number of slave revolts in new york city, 1712, 1741.
and the fingerprints of spanish- cuban africans were on both of those revolts, and evidence to suggest that africans in new york city were collaborating with the french in quebec against the british in new york. so it was the seven years' war, the british were largely successful in eroding if not eliminating the at least from spanish florida because britain takes over spanish florida in 1763, and in a turning point in canadian history, the british oust the french from quebec. although, of course; we all know there still remains in quebec a sizable friend-speaking population that remains restive, and there's a history yet to be written about the collaboration between the africans and what is now in the united states of america and the french-speaking folks in question we can. --
quebec. but by eliminating these dual threats in canada and in florida, britain only creates more problems for itself. how so, you ask. well, this is where the familiar narrative, the creation myth, i think, has a certain validity. that is to say the british then go to the settlers and say we eliminated these threats on your behalf, so you need to pay more taxes. and as you know, the defendants of many of these so-called patriots -- descendants think paying taxes, the tax money is going to the 1%, their 1%, not london's 1%, is something that is akin to the mark of the devil. so they did not want to pay more taxes. that deepens the fissure, it deepens the rift between the crown and london and the settlers. and in the run-up to 1776, july
4th, many of the settlers feel that because of the growth of abolition, the movement to abolish slavery, the growth of abolition in london that the british might decide to cut a deal with the africans to squash the settlers. that's what they believe, and that's what they thought. because you have to ask yourself that when people decide to revolt against constituted authority, say you wanted to revolt against constituted authority in north america. well, that's considered to be against the law, and people who do that know they can be jailed, if not worse. so you have to ask yourself what would make these slave owners, many of them are filthy rich, what would make them revolt against constituted authority? and become traitors to the crown? it has to be something tremendous, something extraordinary. and, in fact, it was. it was the prospect of, a,
slavery being abolished, thereby jeopardizing fortunes, or worst case scenario, b, london cutting a deal with the africans to squash the settlers. and, certainly, if you look at the case of colonial virginia, virginia was the california of the 13 colonies; that is to say it was the richest, for example. and the colonial governor, lord dunmore, who was under threat by the settlers, in fact, talked about and tried to do what abraham lincoln did circa 1863. recall that during the u.s. civil war when the descendants of the slave owners rose up against washington, d.c -- that is to say, the united states of america -- and tried to overthrow that government, that lincoln felt that in order to preserve the united states of
america, he had to free the slaves to save the union. not necessarily out of any kind of benevolence, although some would like us to believe that. [laughter] but out of pragmatism, so to speak. and likewise, lord dunmore circa 1775, who was under threat by the settlers, was also moved towards practicalism, that is to say, threatening to arm and unleash the africans against the settlers which enflamed the settlers, moving many to revolt against constituted authority, to break the law, to become traitors to the crown and to rise up as one and overthrow british rule and establish the united states of america. now, i see that on the shelf is my book "new york comrades of the crown" which is in many ways the sequel for this book because in that book i talk about how after the establishment of the
united states of america, the africans then ally with the british against the united states of america. particularly during the war of 1812. it's very curious that august 1814, which means we just had the 200th anniversary, you had britain sack washington, d.c., set washington, d.c. afire and in league with africans who, sorry to say, got an early form of rerp rations, plundered the -- rep prayingses, plundered the white house sending president madison and his wife, dolly, fleeing into the street one step ahead of the posse, one step ahead of the africans and the red coats who were pursuing them. and it's very curious that that event in united states history
went curiously unremarked with regard to the 200th anniversary. it found it very curious -- [laughter] why that didn't get much more discussion. but on a more sober note, you might also reflect upon the fact that 1807-1808 you had the 200th anniversary of the official abolition of the african slave trade. it was marked in done done. -- london. tony blair, then-prime minister, and the queen spoke. but here in the united states of america where you have all these people of african descent, you would have thought there would be some sort of official ceremony involving high level authorities marking the official end of the african slave trade. should we infer that people were not happy about the official end of the -- [laughter] i don't know. but in any case, in that second book i tell the story about how in terms of trying to understand how and why slavery was abolished in the united states
of america -- and this is part of the takeaway for this evening, i should add -- that in order to understand how slavery was abolished and in order to understand, in fact, how jim crow was abolished and, in fact, in order to understand and comprehend how perhaps we might make progress in the future, you have to understand international events, what's happening in the world. that is to say that there was a de facto alliance in the run-up to the abolition of slavery in 1865 in the united states, de facto alliance between then-abolitionist britain and the enslaved population of north america. now, of course, it's fair to say that britain wanted to reclaim its territory in north america. it's fair to say that the africans did not want to be enslaved. but they both had a common antagonist which was in washington, and that led to this de facto alliance. part of the takeaway is that if you want to understand how jim crow, the system of apartheid
that followed slavery, calm to be weakened during the -- came to be weakened during the lifetimes of any of us, that is to say brown v. board of education where the supreme court says, oh, you know, jim crow is unconstitutional even though the supreme court in the 1890s had said it was fairly constitutional. but what happened, the situation had changed. the united states was under pressure, competitive pressure once again from the then-socialist camps, that is to say charge lt the united states with human rights violations when people of color were treated so horribly and atrociously. this created a dynamic that led to the erosion of jim crow. if you want to understand how we might be able to surpass, survive the circumstances and consequences that we now face, particularly in light of these rather unfortunate elections
that took place in this past tuesday, i think that we not only have to pay attention to the internal context, what's happening within the four corners of the united states of america, we try to, we should also try to understand what's going on in the world and how we can gain leverage in the international community in order to pressure the u.s. authorities. and in that light, i should mention just one factoid, that in surveying the press on wednesday after these elections, what caught my eye was that the parents of michael brown, the slain teenager in ferguson, missouri, left in the streets like a dog or a hog for four hours after being shot down brutally and callously by the police authorities, that the parents of michael brown are on their way to geneva to raise up this question of police killings with the united nations -- [applause]
and i'm from st. louis, but i don't know who's briefing the parents, but obviously they have very good briefers, because that was a very wise move on their part. it was consistent with our history which has been a history not only of struggling here in the four corners of the united states, but trying to gain leverage in the international community to bring to heel these white supremacists and these reactionaries who too often rule in washington d.c. now, i'm going to move from this book to this book. this is a book that deals with the relationship between cuba and the united states in the context of slavery and jim crow
from the middle of the 18th century up until the onset of cuban revolution january 1, 1959 part of the thesis is that if you want to understand the cuban revolution, the -- well, just let me back up for a second. spain ruled cuba from the early 1500s up until 1898 when they were defeated by the united states, and the united states moved into cuba and tried to implant the kind of ferocious and militant jim crow that obtained on the north american mainland. however to, the system of, quote, race relations, unquote that had obtained on the island of cuba was not altogether akin to the system in north america. i've already made reference to the arming of africans, for example, the fact that a
so-called free negro population was much more of the social structure of cuba. but when the u.s. authorities moved in, they tried to make cuba along the lines of the north american mainland like florida, for example, which they had taken over from spain circa 1820. and to make a long story short, part of the argument of this book is that in order to understand the cuban revolution and why the u.s. authorities were kicked out of cuba, you have to understand the revulsion towards the militant, ferocious form of jim crow that the u.s. authorities had attempted to implant upon the island of cuba which did not go down very well. it would be like you all trying to eat lawn grass, and your system is not able to digest it adequately and sort of throws it out, for example. well, the cubans threw out the yankees because they did not digest very well that kind of ferocious jim crow that had been
implanted. but in any case, this book starts in the middle of the 18th century. i'd already made reference to the fact that as part of the competitive competition between catholic spain and protestant britain that the spanish had been trying to stir up the africans on madrid's behalf. and that's one of the explanations for the massive slave revolt in new york circa 1741. but you should also know that spain and france collaborated with the rebels against british rule that helped to establish the united states of america. i mean, you cannot begin to understand how the rebels defeated one of the most powerful militaries on the planet in 1776 without understanding the external assistance that the rebels received from spain and france. which makes it very curious all
of this blather in the 20th century. for example, i'm sure you recall during the cold war period the united states saying that the cubans under castro should not be receiving assistance from moscow or that the angolans were fighting these u.s.-backed terrorists in the 1980s, shouldn't be receiving assistance from the cubans. but if they had had that principle in the 18th century, the united states should not have been receiving assistance from the spanish and the french which was decisive in terms of the establishment of the united states of america. but as was their tendency and habit, these successful rebels against british rule repaid the spanish by then beginning to denude them of their colony. that is to say that a lot of historians have made a good living by telling a very sentimental story about how the u.s. helped to aid mexico circa
1810 and succeeding years oust the spanish from mexico. that was supposed to exemplify this anti-colonial trend, progressive trend in the united states of america. but basically what was happening was the united states wanted to help spain from mexico so they could descend on mexico, which they did, ripping off california where we are now sitting -- [laughter] from mexico. and you could say the rest of latin america because of this supposed assistance of the u.s. government to the rebels in mexico and a good deal of latin america. but what's interesting about u.s. relations with cuba, in my opinion, when i talk about a great lift is the fact that after the establishment of the united states of america, the u.s. slave traders in many ways replaced the spanish in terms of
supplying africans to cuba. not only that, but many of the u.s. diplomats, what we would call ambassadors, are seemingly more involved in slave trading than they are in doing the nation's business. give particular anticipation to a close relative -- attention to a close relative to the supposedly sainted thomas jefferson who was a one-man show with regard to dragging and manacling africans and dragging them across the atlantic to the island of cuba. so in the 1820s, 1830s, 1840s, the u.s. slave traders are in the forefront, in the vanguard of the african slave trade to cuba. but not only that, to return to the previous threat -- thread, you know that texas was an independent country. it seceded from mexico in 1836 not least because mexico had moved to abolition. mexico had a president of african descent 180 years before
the election of barack obama. mexico had moved towards abolition. this was not pleasing to many of the so-called patriots in texas, so they seceded. in many ways it was a precursor to the creation of the so-called confederate states of america which seceded, as you know, from the united states circa 1861 in order to perpetuate slavery. they served as an independent republic, the lone star republic, 1836-1845. the hallmark of independent texas was slave trading, particularly from the port city of galveston which is, as you may know, is the home not only of jack johnson, the heavyweight champion of the world circa 1910, etc., who i'll be talking about tomorrow, about his relationship to the mexican revolution, but also barry white. [laughter] of course, lived in los angeles for quite a while, i'm sure he's known to many of you. matter of fact, i think i see
glodine back there. [laughter] but texas is a slave-trading republic. the lone star flag can be found off the coast of brazil, it can be found off the coast of africa during this period. but what happens is that texas is under so much pressure not only by our folk here in north america, but also by the british that they decide to join the united states of america because they don't feel they can survive as an independent slave-trading republic, so they decide they have to join the united states in order to protect themselves from abolitionist london and from our fury and anger. in any case, with regard to cuba you should know that with regard to our folk poem like frederick douglass -- people like frederick douglass are on the fore front of objecting to u.s. involvement in the slave trade to cuba, objecting to the fact that in terms of the
plantations, the coffee plantations, the sugar plantations and tobacco plantations on the island of cuba, they're dis proportionately controlled by u.s. citizens. martin delaney, one of our greatest intellectual leaders, wrote what i consider to be perhaps still the leading novel and the canon of african-american literature, "blake," which has at the center of story not only of black american abolitionists collaborating with their counterparts in cuba against slavery in cuba, but also puts forward a prescient story about how cuba would be the hope of the americas. and for those of you who are following what's going on with regard to west africa and ebola and the fact that cuban authorities have outstripped many larger nations in terms of sending scores if not hundreds
of epidemiologists, physicians and nurses and medics to be on the front lines in terms of combating the ebola epidemic, outshining and outstripping many larger nations, not least the western european nations who are largely responsible for the weakness of the public health system in west africa because of their cruel and brutal exploitation for decades, if not centuries. and so in many ways if you look at west africa or if you look at angola where in the 1970s and the 1980s there were cuban troops who came to angola to fight the apartheid authorities, defeating them decisively in 1988 -- [applause] >> yes, yes. which sets the stage not only for ousting the apartheid
authorities for southern angola which created favorable conditions for the liberation and independence in 1990 of namibia, one of the most modern nations on the african continent even though it's the size of california, texas combined and only has a population of about three million but has a very sophisticated infrastructure. i recommend namibia highly as a place to either visit or even repatriate, for that matter. but also because of the assistance of the cuban military, it made the apartheid authorities in south africa more susceptible to listening to sweet reason and negotiating more credibly with the forces led by nelson mandela and the african national congress because there was a story floating in the ether that if the apartheid authorities did not negotiate reasonably and credibly, then the cuban authorities might -- and the
cuban military -- might have to march to pretoria and oust forcibly the apartheid ruler. and, of course, the prospect of that happening made them much more susceptible to sweet reason and led to the first democratic elections in south africa, as you know, in the spring of 1994, the election of nelson mandela, which is why in december 2013 when nelson mandela had his funeral in south africa, one of the few heads of state who was asked the speak amongst all of the heads of state present was president raul castro of cuba. [applause] in any case, you should also know that during the civil war spanish cuba, or the spanish who ruled cuba, were in a quandary. on the one hand, they suspected that