Skip to main content

tv   Strong Inside and Making the Unequal Metropolis  CSPAN  October 16, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT

1:00 pm
>> and welcome to book tv's live coverage of day two of the southern festival of books in downtown nashville. several authors ahead for you today. kelly oliver's examination of welcome are represented in the media and joseph beck's memoir, my father and atticus finch. first, here are two authorities talking about race and equality. perry wallace the first american babble player in the sec and ansley erickson has written about racial inequalities in education. this is book tv's live coverage of the southern festival of books in nashville. good afternoon, and welcome to our session this afternoon
1:01 pm
about integration of two different various stories of the integration process in nashville. its triumph and its failures and to all of you at home watching us on c-span, welcome as well. and i know you'll enjoy our author's talks and we'll have questions we'll save until end of the presentations. both of these deal with integration and education. and we in nashville take a lot of of pride in our history and we see ourselves as a moderate progressive southern city and we also like to present the story of integration as almost a triumphant story with the success of the sit-ins. we didn't have the violence of other southern cities. and unfortunately, we've chosen to craft that narrative and
1:02 pm
forget some of the painful parts of our story. and today, we're going to hear some of the painful parts as well as some of the successes. our presenters today are andrew maraniss who lives in nashville now and went to vanderbilt. he has written a book about the integration of athletics at vanderbilt and the book has a tremendous amount of national and local lift in -- history in it as well. i know you'll enjoy his book, "strong inside" about abouterry wallace, another nashvillion who crossed from pearl high to vanderbilt to be the first african-american on the vanderbilt basketball team. followed by ansley erickson, a fine book called "making the unequal metropolis." this is the history of metro
1:03 pm
public schools, but it's much more than that, just like andrew's book which covered a lot of different aspects, in her book, you see the story of nashville pursuing urban renewal money after world war ii, the model cities program and how ultimately this ties together into our educational stimen systems. andrew is going first and he'll tell you about the perry wallace story and vanderbilt. >> thank you, carol, and thank you for coming. it's wonderful to be on the panel with ansley who wrote a wonderful book. a lot of people like to celebrate the success of integration without talking about the pain it took to get there. the perry wallace, the fishing african-american athlete in the sou southeastern conference, not just vanderbilt. his phrase reconciliation without the truth is just acting.
1:04 pm
and that people often once they get to the reconciliation part, without doing the hard work it takes to get there. this year at vanderbilt and nashville, my book is being read by the freshmen at vanderbilt the entire class, engineering scholarship has been endowed in perry's name and courage award in the athletic department. if you took a snapshot of what's happening today you would think it was a happy feel-good story that worked out how everyone planned. that's not how it happened. learning the truth how it happened is what i try and i'm happy to be on a panel that's about civil rights and not just sports. that was very important to me to tell this story in the context of the place and times in which perry wallace operated and that's the deep south during the late 1960's, a tumultuous period in the 1960's, it's not about scores
1:05 pm
of games and statistics. it's about what it takes to be a pioneer. and perry's story is a legitimate civil rights story. he began in 1954, he was around emmitt till's age when he was murdered in mississippi and perry was profoundly impacted by that. and in 1960's, the lunch town, and see what the college students were doing with his own eyes. he entered pearl high school 1963 a week after martin luther king's "i have a dream" speech and in high school for the passage of the civil rights act and voting rights act. what perry will say, he could feel the country changing, that there was a sense of momentum and opportunities coming along for him and members of his graduating class that hadn't been there for their older brothers and sisters and parents and he needed to be prepared to take advantage of these opportunities. he was. he wasn't just a great
1:06 pm
basketball playerment he was a great basketball player, he was starting center on a team that won three titles 1966. more importantly than that, he was a great student. valedictorian at pearl high school, into math and science, played the trumpet, sings opera, all four of his older soldiers went to college, and this is on the incomes of a mom was a cleaning lady and dad was a bricklayer. education was very important in the wallace home. what perry said, he saw basketball as a means to an end, as a ticket out of the segregated city, a ticket out of jim crowe south. so his goal was a get to scholarship to a big ten school in the midwest. he went to wisconsin, michigan, northwestern, iowa and recruited by john wooden at ucla and this is what his whole dream was get out of nashville through a basketball
1:07 pm
scholarship to the north. unfortunately, he saw the underbillionly, the ugly underside of college supports that still exists. on a lot of the recruiting trips, here is your car and when you come to school here, you don't need to worry about going to class, we'll find the easiest classes for you, and for a serious student like perry, that's not what he wanted to hear. he's an engineer, and i consider perry a poet at heart. he said he wasn't going to trade one plantation for another. he wasn't going to leave the deep south only to be exploited for his athletic ability at one of these other supposedly better campuses. he begins to take vanderbilt seriously. it's unusual, even though he grew up a mile from the campus, this is a school that was segregated. he would have been excluded. he didn't grow up thinking he would go to vanderbilt or follow the team. the reason that vanderbilt was
1:08 pm
interested in perry went back to the 1960's, sit-ins. it was reverend james lofton. and when the university learned it was one of their students that was doing this, they didn't thank him. they expelled him from the ute. vanderbilt was looking to become more of a strong national university rather than a southern school. the media attention that came from expelling reverend lawton was embarrassing moment for the university on a national stage. a new chancellor was brought in. a progressive new south type of figure at the time. he spoke about race and the central issue facing the country at that point in the 60's and his daughter connie, a music professor at vanderbilt now, was a sports fan. he understood for better or worse the role that sports made in the culture.
1:09 pm
he knew if he made a move in the sports sphere people would pay attention. so he called the basketball coach, roy, we've integrated the school two years ago and can recruit a black player and i'd like you to. across the town, perry wallace, valedictorian, and he was the player to choose. but was perry going to be the first african-american in the entire league and face the road trips to alabama, mississippi, louisiana, georgia. a couple years after the famous civil rights encounters. so i spent eight years working on this book. the first four on research and interviews and the second four on writing. during that initial four-year stretch, perry, who is now a professor in washington d.c., flew down to nashville and we spent the day looking at the schools he went to and house he grew up in and parks.
1:10 pm
and we were over near the tennessee titans practice facility and i appreciate you all being here instead of the titans-browns game right now. he said pull the car over here and look at the rocks and trees. and that's all it was, i didn't see anything significant about it. he said that's the rock that i sat on and prayed over my decision whether i was going to come to vanderbilt or not. so that's the kind of research, that was pretty cool to see the actual rock that he sat on. so he makes a decision to come to vanderbilt and today perry has a phrase he uses that any one of us can treat each other in three wells, you can be treated well, treated poorly or not be treated at all and i've never heard that before, but i think that's a profound way to look at life. in the beginning he experienced all three types of treatment. he was treated well by some people including the chancellor and chaplin at the university and a small group of black students who formed the first black association. and the other treatments from
1:11 pm
the beginning. he arrived on campus about a month early just to move into his dorm and get acclimated and meet some people. he knew this was going to be a stressful year and i wanted to get a little bit of a head start. on one of his recruiting trips, clyde lee who had been a star of a time, showed him around campus. here is the church of cries, clyde was white and grew up in the white church of christ, and growing up in nashville, he never would have thought walking through the doors of the white church, but apparently this is what being a pioneer was all about. he was going to give it a shot. for three sundays in august he walks in the church and sits in the back and left alone or ignored. and the fourth sunday he was pulled aside by older church members, perry, you can't keep coming to the church. there are members who will
1:12 pm
write the church out of their wills, you have to leave right now. before he's taken his first class in vanderbilt he's expelled from the church. his friend, walter, followed perry to vanderbilt. the first day of english class, and so, i see they let the n-words in and that's the way he's greeted in school. >> on the basketball court he wasn't treated well either. freshman year university of mississippi, ole miss canceled both games against vanderbilt rather than play against an integrated team. not until the sophomore year he becomes the first african-american player to play a game in oxford, mississippi in ole miss. the first half of the game he's hit in the nose intentionally he tells me, bleeding out of the nose, can't see out of one eye, the refs don't call foul, and it's not until the next dead ball. and as they walked him, the
1:13 pm
crowd rises and cheers that he's injured and spit on as he walked back to the locker room. at halftime, the managers and trainers assist him, as the halftime clock runs out the west of the vanderbilt coaches and players, walk out for the warm-up. they leave him in the locker room and he knows he'll have to walk back through the tunnel where the fans harassing him are waiting on him. what would have been an ordinary walk back was a long hellish trauma for him. and i asked him about his approach to road trips in general and said as he looked at the team's schedule each year and knew he was travelling to auburn and lsu and mississippi and mississippi state and looked at it with dread. what's the worst thing that could happen to me on one of the trips. on his mind, it was shot and killed. around one of the small southern towns or on the court during the game and he still had the courage to persevere
1:14 pm
and try to play a basketball game like anybody else. he said the three types of treatment, being treated well, treated poorly or not treated at all. it was the third way, not treated at all that was the most difficult for him. it wasn't the physical and verbal abuse he took, it was the sense of isolation that he felt on the vanderbilt campus. it was the most difficult for him. this is at a time when the greek system dominated the social scene on campus completely, but the frats and sororities were all white. there weren't black fraternities and sororities as an alternative to those. no student center. you'd walk, an african-american classmate would notice as she would sit around there were no other black students-- white students wouldn't sit next to her in that row or in the row behind her. you'd walk into biology lab and whoever sat next to you became your lab partner, what if no one sat next to you. there was incredible isolation
1:15 pm
and it denied him and his friends their humanity and that's the most difficult parts of the experience. during college and trying to come to terms after it. perry didn't quit. he had been a student of sports history and read about jackie robinson, what would jackie robinson do in this situation and that was not quit. his mom, very church-going person, told perry to put on the full armor of god and that's going to protect you. and his mom, have he close, dedicates the last game of his career to his mom. and he plays the game of his life. he has 28 points and 29 rebounds. which is about as many rebounds as a team might get in an entire game. and he saves the best for last. the last basket of his career was a slam-dunk in the last minute of this game and that doesn't sound too noteworthy
1:16 pm
exception a dunk was outlawed in college basketball at the time and i have a chapter in the book about the undertone of that rule change. and he saved that for the last game. growing in segregated nashville, there were unjust laws. in playing college hoops, there was no dunks, and that's an unjust rule and that's his form of protest with a slam-dunk. he gets a standing ovation, the team wins the game against mississippi state and a lot of significance for perry. at that moment he's more popular in this town than he ever had been and if there's ever a movie made about this book, i hope there will be, that would probably be the triumphant scene, the last drunk in his last game. the protest. perry didn't let it stop there. he had an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach that the nashville community was eager to wrap up this integration
1:17 pm
story and say we did it, we had perry and this is over. even though there was no other african-american player along perry and only played against one black player in his entire career in the sec and the other schools weren't jumping on. he had a moral obligation to the people to come behind him to tell the truth about the experience he'd liked. even though he'd been a valedictorian and he set up for a bright career in his hometown. if he gave this interview he was writing his ticket out of town, all over in nashville. unfortunately, he was right. i interviewed mr. john sigenfelder, and others who wrote about perry. the phones rang off the hook the day it ran on the front of the tennessean, and telling
1:18 pm
about how he was kicked out of the church and they treated his best friend and callers were canceling subscriptions to the newspaper saying perry wallace was ungrateful for what vanderbilt had done for him. he graduates, drafted by the philadelphia 76ers and he flies up there, left nashville never lived here again. he goes on a very successful career and columbia law school. he served six years in the national guard, giving back to his country after the country had given him to that point. he's an attorney for the justice department for about seven years and he's now been a professor of law at american university in washington d.c. for the last 20 years. and when this book came out, the first event that we did together was nbc, politics and pros. the great bookstore there. and my family lived in washington, perry's family is there, colleagues from american
1:19 pm
university were there, a very warm, welcoming crowd at the bookstore, but the next day we were flying down to nashville. and we won't from warm to what perry said i think we're headed into a hot environment in nashville. he didn't mean hot in a good sense of the world. and not having lived there 30 years, we hoped there would be a new nashville. we had our if i think -- fingers crossed. and afterward a handful wanted my ougautograph and others want perry's on the book. and i had a chance to see the interaction between perry and people who wanted him to sign the book. it was touching and emotional and people came up crying with bloodshot eyes as if they had been crying and heard perry speak and saying things like i wish i had been paying attention to what you were going through at the time. i wish i had been there for you, you're a hero, please
1:20 pm
forgive me. and for me to see that, was very rewarding and what you've seen over the last year or so, since the book has come out, is that that sentiment has been relayed to perry more and more often. it sparked a real honest conversation about race at vanderbilt this year, which is pretty cool to see. i asked perry about it, the difference between how he was perceived in 1970 when he gave that interview and now. back then, he suspected people didn't want to hear what he had to say, wouldn't be ready to hear or or didn't want to hear it. the way that people changed and times changed he had this hope that some day, if he just continued to tell the truth and live his life the right way, that people would understand. and so, that's-- now, when people hear about the book or they read the book, i feel like where are are the people that perry has been waiting for the last 50 years. thank you very much.
1:21 pm
[applause] >> thank you, andrew. it's-- good afternoon. a real pleasure to be here and i'm really grateful to the southern festival of books for inviting me and andrew and cheryl for joining in this conversation and grateful for you choosing to spend your saturday here with us. sunday. [laughter] >> you've been on the road. >> i've been on the road. so, perry wallace's story is incredibly powerful and it's powerful in the way that individual narratives often are, right? they help us think about the kind of interactions with students in the past, and with adults in nashville today, that capture a lot of feelings of justice or injustice, really, really visibly. so what i want to do in talking with nashville school desegregation story is to pick up on some of those stories and look more broadly and think about not only interactions, but the policy choices and politics that condition a lot
1:22 pm
of those individual interactions. nashville desegregation story offers many powerful stories. for example, six-year-old la wanna streets in 1967 held her father's hand as she walked to school for the first time in september, as a first grader, and she walked to school as a young black girl going to a historically segregated white school and through a crowd of white protesters. she described not being afraid because she had her father's hand. at a different school, grace mckinley led her daughter linda and her friend rita buchanan through a similar crowd. and at another school, led her son errol for the first time after the night before pressing and laying out his clothes carefully. we should as perry wallace
1:23 pm
recognize and applaud the courage these individuals demonstrating ed in challenging an american regime of segregation. they took an important step in moving beyond. if we start only with those stories of those children and those walks, we're going to miss a lot about what created the conditions that they confronted. in nash, as in most of the country, segregation resulted from a very, varied, powerful and robustly created regime of segregation. that regime included extensive discriminatory housing policies. who got mortgages to live in what place, with what kind of federal subsidy. it was in a lot of ways, as another historian described, a centrifuge, pulling white americans out of the cities and into the suburbs and easing
1:24 pm
their movement in that respect. he had subsidized mortgages, and tax policy, and the centrifuge moved to concentrate black residents in central neighborhoods not only because they were denied for that foreign policy, but because public housing focused on concentrating them in segmented neighborhoods or newly segregated ones. these are policy choices that reinforce private discrimination and other aspects of the real estate market, but we have to recognize them as policy choices that were tremendously confidential. and schools weren't separate for the making of this segregated housing. we can see this in nashville. part of the ways of making a segregated metropolis. a city defined around the existence of a school and thought about segregation in relation to each other, so it's not just that segregated
1:25 pm
schools that they were trying to challenge resulting from housing policies that schools followed. instead schools had been part of making that segregated space. additionally there were ample ways in which schools in the 1950's and into the 1960's and 1970's were deciding to actively segregate children and busing is actually one of the first examples of that act of segregation. if you were a black student living in many parts of nashville in the 1950's, were you likely to ride a bus for the purpose of segregation, beyond, closer to segregated white schools to a segregated black school that the city or county was assigning you. other decisions like what the shape of school zones were like, amply reinforced that as well. so the names of children that
1:26 pm
we need to keep in mind and we need to recognize their children in doing this work. but what they were up against was not just the angry protesters that lined their walk to school. what they were up against was this broad and powerfully interconnected web of int integration. so, although we're talking now about the 1950's, we're actually talking about a lot of the policy structures that still shape american inequality today. discriminatory mortgage policy is, for example, one important part of the story of how it comes to be that the average american white family has family wealth of more than $100,000, whereas the average american african-american family has family wealth of less than $10,000.
1:27 pm
choices that we made have present i am fact to this day and when you think about the shape of nashville cities, we're the highway runs, where public housing sits, you can see other decisions that shape the landscape that very much matter today. so there's nothing distant about this past and i would assert there's nothing natural or quote, unquote, defacto about school segregation, either in its historic form or present form. we can identify the causes of this segregation, both historically and in the present day. shifting a little bit to a later phase of nashville's desegregation story. it was 1954, of course, when the supreme court ruled in brown versus board of education. finding segregation unconstitutional. and the efforts that lawanda
1:28 pm
and errol and others took as part of a consequential move toward desegregation. it turned out to be very gradual and very token. more than a dozen years after nashville began to desegregate, the vast majority of students attended schools in the 1960's in schools that were almost all black and vast majority of schools that were almost all white. desegregation on that initial form proved to have very limited impact for most children. nashville moved into its next stage of desegregation via a court order that began in 1971, requiring busing desegregation across busing lines. since nashville was a metropolitan city school district and one under the pressure of a court order. nashville schools became some of the most statistically desegregated schools in the country from 1971 to roughly 1998. we can see this experience
1:29 pm
through the eyes of one-- other student who is named hubert dixon iii. in 1971 hubert was a second grader and rode buses from his neighborhood to brook mead in west nashville. he, like lawanda and errol and had a going to school story. he remember being on the bus and seeing people at the school when he arrived. he remembered in his 7 or 8-year-old way, thinking it's a parade. they're welcoming moo me to school. once he read the sign he realized it was a protest against his presence rather than a parade. over the course of the next ten years as hubert moved to various schools and parts of nashville via busing for desegregation, he felt he had a combination of both positive and really challenging and sometimes negative experiences.
1:30 pm
he made friendships that he recognized taught him a huge amount that he would not otherwise have learned or had and he also saw white teachers persistently placing him in lower reading groups and having to work out of those with his abilities. and teachers responded to him that his parents needed to come to school and challenge. he was, in the end, convinced that desegregation was worth it for him. and educators made powerful choices that in some ways helped desegregation become a large positive experience for other students because we have perry wallace's story. pa
1:31 pm
some of the promise of desegregation. i want to recognize those accomplishments. it's also the case of nationals approached contained two core inequalities. one of them was in deciding where kids go to school and when. so it was very consistent with the broad pattern that dixon would write. in 1971 via local and federal influence in the shaping of national desegregation plan, several central city elementary schools were closed and several central city or junior high
1:32 pm
schools were convert today lower tbreadz and historic relationship between neighborhood and school was broken. not just bia busing but via closing schools. why suburban were never asked to make that move. they stayed closer to home. so these create inconveniences that are unequal but more crucially what does desegregation plan teach nashvilleans about what gets what and why.
1:33 pm
another part of desegregation was thinking about curriculum. in the same year that nashville began to bus students for desegregation, the city and states invested at the high school level. this is from when those of you in nashville, you're familiar, the high schools get really big and all comprehensive and predominantly in suburban locations. that decision is another part of desegregation. the idea that schools should be thinking about kids chiefly as future workers and in practice that process opened up a lot of opportunities for desegregated schools to segregate again inside between vocation all classes and academic classes or in some cases between different
1:34 pm
types of classes. desegregation isn't just one thing. it's actually the consolidated result of tons of seemingly small and sometimes seemingly disconnected decisions that shape what the experience of schooling is going to be for children and often in nashville's desegregation story even as the city became one of the most statistically desegregated places in the country, the process conveyed a lot of these unfair and often racist messages about how different communities in the city would be treated. that doesn't negate the fact that human -- hubert dixon but we have to think about inequalities and how people
1:35 pm
responded to busing tended neither to focus on the inequalities nor to focus on what it was that students like hubert were learning. so it's taken a lot of years to try to pull away the layers of focus only on white people resistance to desegregation to ask really basic questions about what kids learned in the process and whether the process committed to fairness and justice. i want to point out difficulties with the stories right now specially because we are in an interesting moment. there is now more than there was in 1970's more knowledge and possibly public attention to how segregation is a problem and how desegregation might be an important policy approach. we have social science research that it makes very clear that in
1:36 pm
terms of variety educational outcomes most celebrated amongst test scores but also social learning, the way that children come to understand who they are in the world and how they understand their community. desegregation can have strongly positive benefits. but it would be a shame if we were to return to that approach of desegregation without recognizing the complications and difficulties of previous cases like nashville's. i hope that nashville's story officers us -- offer needs and benefits but to do so in ways that are informed of the complications of the earlier era, so thanks very much. [applause] >> now, we have about 15 minutes from questions and answers from the audience and the one request that i would make is that if you come to this microphone over
1:37 pm
here to your left and my right, the one that's standing there, so that everyone can hear your question, just please line up here with your questions and our guests will be deleted to answer questions. i would like to ask ansley to say a few words of the relationship of all of this with housing policies and i ask this question because those of you who live here in nashville know that our mayor megan berry has made affordable housing a major priority because so many of these formerly african-american neighborhoods have been sort of regentrified, and they are pushing african americans, our labor force, place where is we don't have transportation to help them get into the city where they work.
1:38 pm
could you say a few words about housing in urban development and the impact on -- on that -- on the schools. >> sure. i hope that in a moment like this nashville growing tremendously and experiencing incredibly economic boom, the resource that is that brings creates opportunity think hard of affordable housing would be. it would be a great shame to have this opportunity go missing. there are many ways in which schools need to actively desegregate even if they are operating separately from policy, but if you have a chance, it's a great opportunity to do so. thanks. >> thank you. barbara, i have the luxury of knowing about half of the crowd here. so barbara clinton and i have have worked on a project and barbara knows she knows cuamy, very active here in town.
1:39 pm
>> thank you, carroll, i wanted to ask about a question that we have been doing with some of the former freedom writers that are now in a position where they are reflecting back geniusly for the rest on their experience and one of the things that's come out and i was wonder if you have comments about the impact, whether this happened to perry is that when the freedom writers would do things that were extremely courageous in our views, risk their lives, risk their safety, stand up for what we all theoretically believe based on training as children, they often got punished were imprisoned, et cetera, when they came back to nashville, after that was all over, many of them are starting to talk at least to me, a white woman, maybe they have been talking amongst themselves more about how they
1:40 pm
were not really warmly welcomed either by the white community and in some case it is african-american community because they really stirred things up and at least in the short run made things more difficult. i wondered if you had similar reactions from perry. >> similarly that he wasn't widely welcomed by either whites or blacks. period he was from 66 to 70, there really sort of two choices as he and his classmates describe today -- described to me. you sort of had to decide am i going to go the other way or martin luther king violent way and perry chose the martin luther king path.
1:41 pm
a lot thought that he was too conservative and he was just being used acetone. -- a tone. he describes this experience as four days in hell. the game itself is the most obvious day but the day before the team traveled down the oxford, he knew it was going to be a difficult experience. he went back and visited pearl high school to gain strength and be around friends and feel warm environment before he goes off to cold oxford mississippi. as he's walking down the hall welcome to fbn:am, first look at morning markets, breaking news and what to expect for the day ahead in school, the administrator comes out, they're just using you. the warmth and support that he was hoping for heading off on difficult trip he didn't receive. one of the days he comes back to nashville, goes to church back in home neighborhood and some of the african american tell him
1:42 pm
they made a joke of it. certainly those cases don't represent the entire feeling that he was -- that he was receiving from the african-american community in nashville but wasn't 100% positive as you might have assumed previously. >> other questions from audience, please? now, i don't want to treat you like my students and have to start calling you by name. here is a question. >> my name is robert, i'm an adjunct professor and i've read your article. i did get in late here but i have read both articles. i was wonder if any of you could touch on the politics of nashville in the 50's and 60's. last mayor of the old city of nashville although he was allied with the banner which was anything but and richard fulton,
1:43 pm
one of only four who voted for all three major civil rights bills in the 60's, i wonder if you have any comments on the situation? >> sure. local leadership matters tremendously and one of the things that distinguishes nashville and the way they experiencing the beginning of desegregation from other places like charlotte that created a municipal broader support for busing for desegregation was the difference between the leadership both elected and judicial leadership there. so nashville began busing for desegregation with a major that opposed it. you need to desegregate and the product of that is very, very material without enough buses and requirement for
1:44 pm
desegregation you end up with kids having to start school and in school on a very wide schedule that's difficult for families. so in riley's case there was resistance to desegregation and proves to be consequential in shaping the experience of busing. the other thing that he did essentially called for recusal of the federal judge supervising desegregation in nashville and he got it. in that move unlike in charlotte where a judge proved for consequential and super vising details, a lot of -- there was relatively weaker judicial super vision and it allowed a lot of inequalities which the plaintiffs' attorneys knew and were trying to contest to go unaltered and so in that way i think nashville suffered in the 70's specially from weak leadership on the question. >> the thing that i would say
1:45 pm
that relates to school and your book, a moderate city at the time, but it wasn't so moderate that -- that there was a lack of job opportunities for african americans that were highly educated. perry will talk about his experience in high school and incredible caliber of the teachers there. there had gone and studied and most highly educated people in african-american community but in nashville, not that there's anything wrong with being a teachers. certainly teachers were heros, the only jobs that were available were to be a teacher. the teacher were incredible and perry loved his experience there and it was, i think, specially those when perry graduates and says that he should have been grateful for the opportunity that they provided him, he came from a highly academic high
1:46 pm
school where he had a wonderful experience and goes from that warmth to the cold experience. so the politics of nashville in terms of job opportunities had played a large role in perry's life and created excellence that there was at the segregated pearl high school in irony segregation. >> other questions, please? [inaudible] >> so i had no history with nashville, but i heard from the people who were african american that they were really in a
1:47 pm
dilemma. their best teachers in white schools and they didn't want to send the worst teachers to white schools. they were in between two and there was no preparations for the kids at fifth grade to move into these environments where they were meeting students from wildly divergant cultures, i would say. as a young teacher out of school that was so difficult to manage. the administration kept changing. they kept being faulted but i didn't see what the answer was to not having any background. >> so on two points, right, the first on faculty desegregation
1:48 pm
which actually started in nashville a year before desegregation. i think there was a tremendous amount of shifting between schools and i'm not -- it's actually not clear to me exactly how decisions were made so i think there was influence at the school level about what would move but chiefly the court requirement was to sort of create a constant ratio of black and white teachers across the city and that created a lot of disruption specially in historically black schools where the faculty had been majority african american. in terms of students -- the core question, i think, you're asking is what does it mean to take a desegregated population and make it a place that's just and fair for all kids, that's a different question than what it takes to get the numbers. one of the things that prompted the inquiry was talking to hubert dioxon.
1:49 pm
i think i went to se -- desegregated schools but i never noticed a difference. both black and white, i should be clear, and and into the same place and allowing the numbers to signal compliance with court order versus asking what does it mean to make sure that everybody is getting what they need in school. >> and i think in your back you made a good point that we achieve statistical representation but african americans were always the minority of the statistical end and so eventually african americans realized what a high prize was being asked of them and they wanted to -- to change the ratios to some degree. >> right. part of national desegregation story is the really intensive period from '79 from '28 in contesting desegregation order
1:50 pm
and trying modify it in ways that didn't make the existences of majority black schools impossible which is one way to describe what the order was doing and that process didn't end up changing nashville's plan, but what it did was surface the really core questions about what the cost and trade-offs were in seeking statistical desegregation. >> you mentioned segregation through housing and how inner cities related to the sa bushes, , saburbs, how did that work? >> i think all featureses were part of the story.
1:51 pm
there are programs that provide support for families to purchase homes in suburban areas and you might be familiar with red-lining maps product of late 1930's and 1940's. in some way those are examples of vivid one of the decision of credit would flow and who would enjoy it and who would not have access to credit and so there's both a decision to support suburban paces as places to put mortgage credit and a decision on the part of typically local bankers, choosing who they thought of credit worthy and who they thought of as not to encourage white buyers and to -- often to deny black buyers. it's a story that continues into the early 70's. you asked about contracts and i think one part of this -- one of the -- one of the national school administrators who was involved in shaping
1:52 pm
desegregation also became himself a plaintiff in a real estate suit in 1974 when he tried to buy a home close to high school as a black man and was told by the real estate agent representing the family that there was a quote, unquote color clause on the house, invalidated by the supreme court in 1947 but was not unusual to still linger in these attached to housing well beyond that. so, yes, mortgages, yes, contracts, yes, banking decisions but we should also think about, you know, where public house asking being built, interstate highways as choices that make getting to the suburbs
1:53 pm
possible. and in some way that tells you about the forces of segregation and suburbanization. >> and last question, please. >> hi, my name is sean. first of all, i would like to thank mr. perry because without him i wouldn't have gotten there in the first place. i remember reading a while back that nashville was going to try to run a bus system, a larger bus system through -- through town to make it easier for people. i think it ran through north nashville to help with transportation. there was a lot of pushback through that and i also read an article of they are trying to build a train system through middle of tennessee now. not all of it but like the
1:54 pm
metropolitan area and davidson. i wanted to get your comments about the pushback from the bus system that's going to expand through nashville and if you think there's going to be sort of pushback, sort of racial pushback toward the train system as well. >> andrew, since you live here you might as well take that question on. >> yeah, i think you have seen pubback in -- pushback about equity in the routes selected for public transportation. the justification that's taking place and people moving in different parts of the region where there may not be any transportation, i think this is the key issue that the city is facing right now. you look at a booming, what could be the fall,
1:55 pm
i think transportation is at the heart and an interesting conversation to watch, for sure. >> thank you again to our presenters. [applause] >> and thank you to all of you in our own audience. i hope that you will read these two books. i think they should be required reading for anybody who has anything to do with public policy here in middle tennessee. thank you and have a nice afternoon. >> thank you, carol. [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching book tv on c-span2, live coverage of the southern festival of books that. was authors andrew and anne erikson. now in about ten minutes kelly oliver will be out here to talk about the representation of the women in the media. we will be back with more life
1:56 pm
coverage from nashville in just a few minutes. [inaudible conversations] >> executive director of humanities tennessee. >> humanities tennessee is a profit,-nonprofit, we have been around 40 years and we do humanity's education base programs open all over to the state of tennessee and one of the programs is the southern festival of books and you have here for the 26th annual. >> how does the southern festival begin? >> 28 years ago. it began in a homecoming festival for writers and regional writers to gather at the same time in down town
1:57 pm
nashville and folks really came to rally around that cause that we sort of made it an annual event and has been going strong ever since and been in nashville in downtown every year but two of couple of years that we were doing it in downtown memphis but other than that we have been in nashville every year. >> how many authors do you invite and what does this cost to put on a book festival? >> well, first of all, we line up some where in the neighborhood with 250, depending on the size of the event that year, 250 to 300 authors who come over the three-day weekend. it's an expensive event to put on but we thankfully have a lot of support from individual contributors, foundation sponsors and of course, the national endowment of humanities which supports all of our program, major sponsors there, somewhere in the neighborhood of
1:58 pm
half a million dollars for the weekend to put on. we are memorial plaza outside. sessions are taking place in the auditorium. we expect some where around 20 to 25,000 people over the course of a three-day weekend. >> we do get great support, supportive of the programming and certainly southern festival. >> that's a great question. the authors who are participating, any of -- many of them are regional but really the scope of the program over the course of the weekend over the
1:59 pm
years has expanded. we have authors coming from all over the country and some years coming all over the world to present here. while they have changed a bit, original flavor to the event in that we have local food truck that is are here serving people all weekend, regional exhibitors and folks that come from all over the south to set up exhibit for the weekend but the programming itself we think has become specially diverse, not necessarily regional. >> now, as you well know, la, miami -- [inaudible] >> we do, we communicate with them to get ideas. the southern festival is one of the oldest book festivals that's
2:00 pm
still going nonthe -- in the country. it's not uncommon for us to get calls for people who are looking to establish book festivals, just to talk about how we got started.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on