Skip to main content

tv   BookTV Visits Memphis TN  CSPAN  November 17, 2018 7:01pm-8:41pm EST

7:01 pm
. >> he will not take questions but he's happy to sign books and to chat. >> thank you for coming.
7:02 pm
. >> memphis, tennessee is one of the most important music cities in the united states. >> it was never a white city until the black people came. >> it was the last free market, and of an era it introduces the slogan of black power but also the environment of african-americans. >> memphis along the banks of the mississippi in southwestern tennessee city plays a central role in the musical history to provide window into the country we will about the city's history to the local authors to begin with those who share the narrative march. . >> so the last great march to see the civil rights organizations come together
7:03 pm
that attracts national attention the end of an era look at the march on washington and selma and to introduce the slogan of black power to the nation, it ignites a controversy but also a tool of environment for african-americans but in terms of black consciousness, community, that is part of the fabric. so that is the story of the civil rights march that took place so freely. and dealing with a one-man
7:04 pm
over the course of three weeks but the story that is filled with tales of african-american people white supremacy, staking claims to freedom and also political debate. and martin luther king represents one tactic but it is most famous for black power. and then to go on the civil rights movement. and that is the story. >> you decide the movement. and use black power.
7:05 pm
>> that brings by people together. . >> by summer 66 you could argue african-americans had seen more political progress than any generation since reconstruction the civil rights act, voting rights act, uptick with voter registration and the way that is unprecedented. and a period of profound frustration part of that is through violent outbreaks and also a time of political frustration to have the slow
7:06 pm
pace of federal reform but doesn't have shape on the ground. and so to brave expectations that have not been met. >> and those that change that narrative is one of the most fascinating characters and born in central mississippi is father is independent black landowner who shields his children from the worst aspects of segregation and raises his children to be very proud and independent and to spend time in the air force as a military veteran spending time in japan but he wants to come back to mississippi and
7:07 pm
he enrolls at jackson state but it is his dream and ambition to go to the university of mississippi that will allow him to progress the most. so he applies after back and forth court case the naacp lawsuit he wins the right to attend. so with the first african-american to attend but only after widespread battle on the cap this will - - campus and with the national guard violent white supremacist but then he graduates 1953 so then in 1966 there was to stated ambitions and one is to encourage black mississippi presidents to register to vote and then
7:08 pm
believes this is when they can get more plaques to vote this is the lowest rate in the country because of the racial tenets. but then about highway 51 go 221 miles they will show other african-americans. and then for political reasons. and then raise awareness with the political base so he steps out and marches to the state line and then to face some harassment as they leave the city yelling racial epithets
7:09 pm
but but on the second day it is relatively uneventful which is the first town in north mississippi but then gets the tries to say they support them but then the town's white people are looking on angrily and they are disturbed so they keep marching gently in the area just south of hernando there is a a few reporters and law enforcement officials but
7:10 pm
then the white man emerges and then people start to scatter in different directions he shoots him a third time. and on highway 51 so that those were determined to carry on to follow up and not stick up to the culture of intimidation so the urban league and martin luther king
7:11 pm
and stokely carmichael and becoming activists from around the country. and to decide what they will buy a part of the civil rights movement so that it turns into a three-week civil-rights extravaganza with activist from all over the country debating political strategy to hash out the march to tell the story of the future of civil rights. so we are here which is built in the sixties the only really nice establishment because of segregation. so with every black entertainer and in 1966 and
7:12 pm
then to become the center of what it would look like. and they are all crowded basically debating the future of the march what does that mean for the civil rights movement? so then right here in the lorraine motel than stokely carmichael essentially drive out to the naacp with the establishment figures with the alliance of the federal government. and that leaves the key moderating force and that
7:13 pm
stokely carmichael kicked the march as a vehicle to introduce the notion of black power. he devoted - - diverted from that. and then going straight down highway 51 to jackson mississippi. and then to go to the mississippi delta it is the agricultural region that is most notorious for racial oppression but also the highest black populations and then to get more african-americans to register to vote. in the midst of the second week of the march they come to the town of greenwood that is a small city in the delta where there was a long history of sncc that was the center of
7:14 pm
organizing so stokely carmichael was a key figure at that time and had relationships with all figures and greenwood. that was the site selected to introduce the slogan of black power. then said we were going to drop the slogan of black power reporting back to carmichael and others. and then to go back to chicago the march was congregated and maybe a thousand people they are. and it was already in progress and then to speak to the crowd about the international
7:15 pm
situation of vietnam for the need of black unity in the political mobilization and what we know as black power what we want? black power. the response back is thunderous. and the reasons are twofold because white power is expressing the frustration it also the aspirations. it deals with federal reform the slow pace and it hasn't changed materially over the course of the civil rights movement it is a frustration and that is to be on a higher moral plane. with the white liberals in
7:16 pm
particular that is the frustration that aspirational part as well that the notion that black people should control their own communities , state pride in black history, black beauty plaque, black history, to stay with the black fabric but that has been magnified with the internal dynamic with stokely carmichael they have a good personal family relationship and ideological differences and they both recognize that but they also deal with the fabric of what that will look like. and that while people will
7:17 pm
chant black power is also urging the leaders not to use it in their own public speeches and to defuse the controversy of national media. that's one element. but the other one is external last week of the march the strategy started to change they bend over backwards and that when they try to register to vote because they did not want and then to pass through. but then they realize the federal government doesn't want anything to do with it.
7:18 pm
that linda johnson used as a vehicle to pass the voting rights act so he doesn't get any political benefit. put the last major stop before you hit jackson they decide they want to camp on the ground of the black elementary school after the rally they marched through the streets and they arrive at the elementary school there isn't a lot of law enforcement officials so they take the field and set up their tents and then the next thing that happens all of a sudden these police cars, car after car after car police officers and troopers and they shoot tear gas not to crowd control but
7:19 pm
to punish the marchers they are attacking people literally with the canisters it is a gruesome scene that you can imagine. then the police come into start beating people in the federal government's response is nothing. so these are heightened tensions leading into the rally now 15000 people participate through the streets of jackson the largest in the history of mississippi. and with the rally at the state capital and james mad - - meredith and the march has an interesting legacy over 4000 people registered to vote moreover just as they intended from the beginning black
7:20 pm
mississippi residents defied that culture of intimidation and black people are waiting and watching and the whites are convinced those black people don't want to be part of the march they are hacking the situation and again and again they walk alongside martin luther king and they want to be part of the civil rights movement. in so many of the towns they come through they we either reignite in that town or start it it is an extraordinary story not just at the top level but those on the ground so to speak of the teachers and farmers and all of those who participate to empower
7:21 pm
them in ways that our unique and stokely carmichael those are not mutually exclusive on the ground. but one important lesson it continues if people are interested how to build coalitions with those more negative trends today that people of different political orientations can work together. there is a myth that everyone shared the same goals and ideas. contrary. it is filled with debating strategy or the ideas are coming at the movement from different angles. that's a set one - - successful social movement isn't just on one tactic but those who have different
7:22 pm
ideologies finding a way to work together and that is something for those of us who engage in direct activism. they can work together. >> a major recording label putting out such as otis redding here at the museum we spoke to learn more about the role that race relations played in the sixties and seventies. >> memphis, tennessee's is on the most important music cities in the united states and the history of the music is in many ways a roadmap of what happened in the 20th century and then this begins
7:23 pm
and then at sun studios with the important records and it is associated very early on with the memphis blues. . >> it has defined the city for a long time to have that incalculable effect on the world. . >> it is about this pivotal moment that memphis along with alabama that in the recording industry because of the two musical genres of country music and soul music with that
7:24 pm
combination not only did they have a wealth of classic recordings with the critically acclaimed rate legendary records. and then to become associated and in the. isn't just the overlap of country and soul music but the working relationships between black and white musicians. and then at places like stack and that they are working together at that very moment. and so to trace that relationship how is it at this moment of such deep overlap
7:25 pm
with music and musicians, also the increasing separation as markers of political difference and racial difference as markers of political difference and racial difference. ♪ in the sixties and seventies that was pivotal and complicated and racial politics in the united states. by power, and the white reaction was defining not just racial politics of the relationship between blacks and whites but also the entire political landscape there was no more central question in that. they had what the political and social relationships would be between black and white. richard nixon is very much elected in part on racial backlash.
7:26 pm
the governor of alabama and separating the presidential campaign where he wins the democratic primary in northern states. so he is trying to reckon with the moment of black assertion and black celebration of african-american history and identity while at the same time leading up with significant resistance not just standing in the streets but also the most prominent white politicians in the country. the role of music during this period of racial upheaval was absolutely central and multifaceted this reflected the conversations going on people were understanding the civil rights movement it expresses the discontent to the second-class citizenship.
7:27 pm
it also comes to reflect to think and feel through the tumultuous moment. >> on the other hand, it would also shave that conversation country music and soul music in particular are symbols of the change people are thinking about soul music as the celebratory voice like the soundtrack of the black power movement and many musicians very much our understanding themselves not just express the moment but speak into the moment to call out those activists but on the other
7:28 pm
side of course, you have the rise of recordings in the believe certain artists are reflective of white resistance and it is more complicated than is understood. whether merle haggard or welfare cadillac or the broader use of politicians like wallace or nixon. it is part of a conversation of civil rights revolution. and that white backlash of what nixon famously called the silent majority. the other element which i explore in the book in some detail is the musicians themselves are becoming symbols of these changes whether the integrated bands
7:29 pm
are those others that people think about the music as a potential symbol and and they are writing articles what's going on in this building for example, to understand the memphis, tennessee in the fifties and then to go right down the street how do black and white musicians be in the space together producing this music that sounds a revolutionary. also those that our central figure not just in the music of the moment but the political moment as well like merle haggard and also those
7:30 pm
figures. and they are trying to work through this moment with the way they are making it is absolutely a part of the cultural struggle. but it is complicated we shouldn't assume just because black and white musicians are working together that automatically means everything was great or this is the sign of racial progress. they had worked together before but there are examples of racial tensions are conflict even in the remarkable places where such great work is going on. it did occur in southern study - - studios relatively infrequently from what we know
7:31 pm
and have documented but it did occur. there is also racial slurs about african-american musicians and when aretha franklin comes to town to make her debut single with atlantic records, the single that helps to define her as the queen of soul, that is successful in the end but it falls apart in the moment with the fight between husband and manager and the white horn player so it's hard to get at the truth of what happened but everybody who talks about the story they have all these conflicting versions everybody pretty much agrees it got racially ugly.
7:32 pm
it is really talented professionals they could play country song then moved to a soul session and a pop session so that means could play with conservative politics and liberal politics and what the musicians talked about is that this was their job and what they wanted to do was make music with the people who were talented. that allow them the opportunity to cross racial lines. if nothing else it is a workplace.
7:33 pm
so that has the opportunity for the racial crossover and also reminds us so that must be that this is a space that just symbolizes good things but it is much more complicated. . >> in the early seventies the those recording for the record were thought of of the movement they are signed to represent the gospel politics
7:34 pm
and the blend of music that they understood to be central how that could remain relevant and be more successful and are out of that gospel tradition and said ultimately where they make these incredibly powerful examples of key gospel influence soul music like respect yourself, go with me. these legendary hits to justifiably be the anthem. but what is ironic is the rhythm section and they understood even if you want to make these records that were
7:35 pm
almost intrinsically connected but also work with a really good rhythm section that is a bunch of white guys from alabama and that indicates the possibility of crossover to where paul simon had just gone solo and wanted to make his first solo album and said who are those jamaican musicians? . >> of course, they are all white guys. the addendum is that throughout the seventies muscle shoals worked with white artists who wanted a black sound weather the osmonds, paul simon, rod
7:36 pm
stewar stewart, any number of other folks and by the end of the seventies arguably more associated with white artists than black artist that black artist understood to be a problem. just to realize how they raise racial boundaries and how they are reinforced also the examples not necessarily momentary blowups that causes them to fall apart but the longer term discontent and they become one of the most popular groups in the united states in the symbol for the integration going on and for good reason they are an integrated band that we
7:37 pm
continue to think of to be the classic lineup is perfectly integrated of two black members and two white members. initially they played for the first two years of their existence including there first major hit so steinberg not only defined the memphis soul sound but also book or g career but then is ultimately replaced with an incredible bass player. but steinberg put that up in part two he was black and that was among the larger belief
7:38 pm
that ultimately when given the opportunity white folks would support other white folks that is what you hear more black politicians talking about not having access to the same as black musicians or to country the start of the way they did with success with r&b. the way studio shifted clientele from mostly black artist to white artists. and that given that full complexity memphis is best known for music and food and the methods were perfected and rock 'n roll was invented and soul still defines.
7:39 pm
memphis is roughly 60 percent african-american during the civil war the heart of the confederacy. and the slave trade was very active in part to the mississippi river that was mostly driven by slave labor and it allowed them to vote in the early 19 hundreds but we were not a city of brotherly love it was a racist culture and we struggled with that and still do but in the fifties and sixties and the leadership
7:40 pm
was strong and integrated we are much more integrated city than me were we have a long way to go but i will give you an example davis is on the first african-americans on the city council and told me 25 years ago that if you add up all the business like the grocery store or insurance with all that business transacted in the city, 1 percent is african-american owned businesses. that was 25 years ago. one or two years ago it is still 1 percent in a city 65 percent african-americans it's not white also not sustainable that's not good for the future of the city. we have to change the number
7:41 pm
and obviously one of the factors for that load number is racism we are working on that one particular issue talking about contracting with of african owned businesses roughly 12 percent went to minority and women owned businesses now we've double that 24 percent we have a lot of national recognition and we need to do more but that is just one example educational achievement is much higher with white young people as opposed to blacks and poverty is much higher in black communities than white we do have a long way to go we have made tremendous strides in this city and i am very proud of that fact i'm proud to be from memphis but because i have such pride i want us to do even better.
7:42 pm
>> overlooking the mississippi river learning about the city mary's literary scene we will take you to the public library archives to speak with the author and the hidden history of memphis. >> we are in the benjamin hook central library and the collection that we have was created in 1971 really there was not place people could come and learn about their city or community or their history. the library began collecting materials from individual donors and city government to build a collection which contains over 300 processed manuscript collections government reports and other items and also photographs and
7:43 pm
maps and to try to tell the story of memphis it is named for doctor hook with the local civil rights pioneer the first african-american appointed to the fcc the head of the national naacp and was chosen because he was very important to build up after the civil rights movement when equality was the goal for the first time to be the perfect representation in the 21st century. a little more interesting items in the collection is a map from 1940 at first glance
7:44 pm
it looks like any other map from the time. but if you look more closely you see it chose very specifically where residents lived in particular african-american so you get an idea what parts were populated by african-americans which can tell us a lot to be specific parts of town meant other parts or other businesses or schools were cut off and transportation may not exis exist, businesses that are not located in those neighborhoods so we can get a better idea of looking at this map and how difficult it could be in specific parts of town. yes there are heavy concentrations of african-americans but they are spread out throughout the city
7:45 pm
to be domestics or yard men who worked outside living in close proximity to the white people that they work for. this item is a print from harper's weekly in the late 18 sixties and it shows memphis skyline of course, which is so different from today. it shows us how goods were transported to and from memphis. for cotton and other industry but we see how crude it was in the 18 sixties. so you have to have a way to
7:46 pm
do that so you see how this was cut and maintained so goods could flow from the river to the city and vice versa it is a powerful look at how the city operated. it's one thing to say a transportation hub that how did that happen? also in this photograph which was taken in 1849, the universal life insurance company headquarters. you see a group of african-american secretaries and this is one of the favorite photographs because it shows about the african-american middle class that was ignored when we talk about history sharecroppers or that sort of thing or laborers and that it is true but there were professional
7:47 pm
african-americans as well restricted because of segregation but yet these women very strong and powerful standing there very proudly tells us about the african-american community and beyond that in the united states. next to this we have got a letter from another powerful strong african-american woman and mrs. brown was the president of the city federation of colors and that important aspect is african-americans vote in large numbers the state of tennessee granted african-americans the right to vote even before they take
7:48 pm
effect and that only impediment that was created after the fact was the southern states that were more restrictive measures to prevent african-americans from voting but in tennessee, not as much so to have powerful strong african-americans determined to vote, they registered fellow americans in large numbers and this is from mrs. brown who was the political boss of memphis in the 1927 the slate of candidates is running for mayor. so mrs. brown says she is endorsing the club ticket implanting too - - planning to vote for him and the other candidates cosponsors.
7:49 pm
but he writes mrs. brown to say i know you are in a position to do a lot of good, make sure your members register to vote and pay the poll tax. this is 1927 most african-americans cannot vote certainly not in the south but in memphis you have a white political boss corresponding with the african-american woman about voting that is very unique in the south for that time period of jim crow segregation. memphis is very well known is the 68 sanitation strike doctor martin luther king murder here april 4th 1968. we have in our collection the police record of man named frank and some of the more
7:50 pm
interesting items we have. first, a handbill from the organization of citizens on the move for a quality which was the umbrella organization of civil rights groups including the labor union the naacp the fellow christian leadership conference and others to court protest during the strike and that took place in february because the men worked in unsafe working conditions because those that were killed when a garbage truck malfunctioned. and the men were paid such a low wage that when they were killed they had enough.
7:51 pm
and they would strike for better wages and working conditions. it isn't just the labor strike and the local civil rights leadership joining forces with the union and the striking workers to create this organization. march 1968 doctor king was invited to go to memphis to give a speech and he was so impressed by the unity of the movement and memphis. keep in mind in 1968 doctor king was widely criticized to be irrelevant his philosophy of nonviolence no longer worked and black power movement was gaining steam so the civil rights movement across the united states was fractured but he comes to
7:52 pm
memphis to see a unified civil rights coalition and is so impressed and said i will come back to lead a march so they quickly organize a march march h 1968 and this handbill gives us or tells people who will participate where to gather, where to start, what to do, it just provides the civil rights movements position on the march what they try to accomplish and how they try to organize the march. so many people showed up for the march after doctor king arrived it turned violent there were young people black power militants and other students involved but doctor king was quickly sent to the
7:53 pm
rivermont hotel the closest upscale white hotel not the lorraine where he was at later and then why the criticize the police this one - - a police department took him there that is closest to where he was at the time. the next day he meets with the group of the black power militants and the police department receives a report that says receive information from local fbi that charles and calvin met with martin luther king at 329 in his living room at the rivermont hotel for about 30 minutes. king advise them to keep it tell cool and they were not giving enough action and then
7:54 pm
martin asked to speak with the three invaders they did not go to him. were you this information come from? but then when did they have the time to do that? they didn't know ahead of time he would stay there because that happen very quickly. they had an informant is more likely but we don't know who. but it gives a fascinating look not only of what was taking place in the room with doctor king and also how that information is gathered. there is another from march the detective read it to us as
7:55 pm
an african-american police officer says while talking to people he learned the person seen wearing the small black hats were supposed to be deacons from los angeles and they are supposed to be karate experts with rifles. so of course, they have to run with whatever information they have and they gather as much as they can but it gives an idea of the police department's response to the sanitation strike to doctor king. so a collection like this can provide more detail about our history and we hope that people will understand that and want to learn about this. and we hope anyone else that
7:56 pm
wants to learn the history of this community will come and use these primary sources to understand the complexity of our path. but the physicians will always work together so there was a
7:57 pm
strong sense of brotherhood no matter what color you were. . >> thank you for agreeing to show us around memphis today. grammy award winner and producer and a lifelong resident of memphis? . >> yes. i have been here all my life and i had a crazy childhood growing up with the doobie brothers and al green and all these cool people would come by for snacks with the civil rights museum shall we go? to make sure but that has been in the development.
7:58 pm
>> may be 60 percent but the race relations today are cooler and to be. but the restaurants. >> so we are driving right now it is known as the main thorough way for memphis? . >> they call it home of the blue because this is where bb king and with that holiday made so this is where and to
7:59 pm
do all the things. >> it was said today a lot of clubs and restaurants and seven days a week it is vibrant entertainment district that is one of the top tourist spots for tennessee. . >> the national civil rights museum what is noteworthy about what happened here for those who don't know? .
8:00 pm
>> that is the site where doctor king was assassinated. this is an extraordinary famous musicians and others to get on the radio and say, let's stop the riot, stop the destruction, we're all hurt, but now it's time to coming to and figure out how we can heal and fix these problems. >> the thing but memphis is that most of the popular music, most influential american music, came from memphis. blues, rock 'n' roll, soul.
8:01 pm
this is soulsville, u.s.a., because it's the area where soul music started, and just -- i mean, in a three-mile radius you have two legendary studios, ariot right -- aright practice franklin's berg home, booker t and the mgs, isaac hayes. so we have stacks, music academies, the soulsville charter school, the stacks museum. >> that's like -- nope for being an integrated workplace in the 1960s when there weren't many integrated workplaces in the south. >> exactly. after dr. king was assassinated, that's when the great al bell started doing even more stuff, so under al bell's rule, stacks became the second largest employer of african-americans in
8:02 pm
the country. next to jet magazine. >> give me some examples of maybe the music that was coming out during that civil rights era. >> otis redding was one of the huge successes out of that time period. booker t. and the mgs, the stuff my dad was doing, the willy mitchell combo, a lot of groups that were completely integrated. that spirit kind of went on into the '70s. then there was a lot of stuff going on, the vietnam war was going on, in the early '7s so, and a lot of the music was -- people were making songs about the war, and al green comes along, singing this song, let's staying to, what bow love, what about happiness and i think that
8:03 pm
started a change in the climate in the country. >> al green still here, still kind of preaching a message of love. >> yes, still preaching, still singing. we are going on carroll road to see the foul gospel tabernacle, known as the church of reverend bishop al grown. one of the fist black artists to sell millions of albums, maybe the last great american soul singer. >> stepped airplane 0 from recording pop music -- stepped away from recording pop musician and now a bishop in a church here. >> yes. >> still singing in the church. ♪ ♪ >> i think he struggled with making soul music, and then
8:04 pm
finally came to terms that, hey, there's nothing wrong with singing about love. >> right now, we're coming upon graceland. >> ways, graceland, this is elvis world. on the right we have the lisa marie, his plane the used to fly around. on the left, graceland itself. speaking of racism and stuff, people wanted to ban elvis when he first came out because he was -- they say he was dancing like a black person, and they didn't want his records played. there were certain neighborhoods in memphis he couldn't move into. elvis was a real pioneer in -- he went through a lot of stuff, to get his music out and his music heard. >> we have been all over the city, we've seen stacks records, the national civil rights museum, al green's church.
8:05 pm
er is there something people you want to know about, somebody lives across the country, never been here, not heard of it. how would you want your city to be represent. >> the city just has a vibe to it that people still come to experience, and the memphis vibe is just -- there's a spirit in memphis that just lives here and you feel different here than you do anywhere else. >> we're over e overlooking jounce memphis and c-span is learn bought the literary scene. we speak about one of the most famous tourist attractions, biehl street. >> biehl street was what was going on in the african-american
8:06 pm
community, into the 40s and 50s while the cotton carnival was take playing in the white community, with the queens and all of this and the kings, and the carnival it's. to celebrate cotton. from the mid-1930s you had what starts as the cottonmaker's fiesta and then becomes the jubilee, for the african-american community. so in a sense, that's how the two over the issue of cotton is celebrating, how is it coming together, but on a personal level, what this meant was that for my entire growing up period, i knew beale street as the place you went for things like the cottonmakers jubilee, the carnival side of it, or where you went for parades, and they -- the white parades are were usually on main street so very seldom had an african-american parade on main street because it was going on
8:07 pm
beale street, the main street of black america so in order to focus on memphis as it is now, you have to keep in mind that this -- it's always been a black and white city. it was never a white city into which black people came. it's always had these populations, trying to figure out how do they coexist in the city. it's always been part of it. and beale street, if you step back into history, it's an example of what it was leak, who was on beale street, who owned the stories, who had the businesses. and white people did come to beale street when i was the black capital of, the black main street, they came to shop for the season reason that payment people came to shop at schwabs, they met, the two races were
8:08 pm
there shopping at the same time. no big deal. it pops up, i'd say, in -- almost as soon as the city does, 1820s, 1830s, because that is where you have a dock for the boats, and in the early part of the book, we talk about that earliest development and organization where beale street was part of what was called south memphis, created by -- developed by man by the name of robertson top. the area roz closest to the areas where are primarily related to river travel. the docks, the -- where cotton would be loaded on to the river boats. even the boarding houses were places that river boat workers in the earliest period might be able to find somewhere to stay for the brief time they would be here. then as you get up the street a
8:09 pm
little bit further you start to see the understanding area, so you go from housing and cafes and just places to unload, to dock and unload and load cargo or whatever, to places where people come to buy goods. then further down you start to have residential housing, some of the wealthiest people in memphis had huge house on beale street or lyndon in this area around beale street and that was it. different, distinct areas what changes in the 20th century is that there is less of the residential. people begin to move further east or to move further south or north, and create residential housing, because the whole area
8:10 pm
of the city is expanding. beale street becomes more of merchandizing, more of place where people locate their offices, where you have cafes, and by the 1930s and '40sor, can have the stores on the first level but then above them you would have, like the offices of professionals-usually black professionals, but it could be in some case white professionals. you have entertainment areas. beale street what a red-light district for a long time. it's the blues, the music clubs and everything, but just weren't places that nice girls hung out. >> i had an uncle on my father's side who owned a cab company, and then eventually had a little cafe, and these were in that beale street area, if not on
8:11 pm
beale street so when we went to the cottonmaker's jubilee we would go by and check out what is uncle boyd doing today and just hang out at his cafe, but that was as close as we got beale street. a pretty wild area. in 1967, the city has -- goes through this major strike, the sanitation strike, at that point, a lot of the organizing of black workers was taking place at clayburn temple in the beale street area. so people were in and out, as part of the demonstration so he that's one thing that is happening. the other thing that's happening is memphis as a whole is moving further out. so the merchandizing centered along main street andbowle street, has in some cases --
8:12 pm
hey have other stores and part of the city, and that is pulling a lot of the traffic from balee street. people who would have only focused on going downto balee street or main street to do their shopping, now they're doing the shopping in other places. it starts to decline. businesses closing. there's some things that remain even today that kind of go through this period of decline and eventual decisions by the city to undertake urban renewal projects which essentially meant shoveling under the whole area. it looked at some point like a combat zone. literally shoveled under. with all kind of plans of this new place that would develop, this new entertainment area that would be beale street. the only thing is, people are not necessarily coming back.
8:13 pm
they do eventually but they're not coming back in the ' ' 70. what they see long beale street and this section that was once a great entertainment district with movies, mostly african-american movie houses like the daisy and the new daisy and then after that, they redeveloped beale street as an entertainment district. that's what you see today. and there are all kind of plans as to, okay, we know that these clubs will be part of the entertainment district but what do we do with the places right along the river? so they're still thinking through that. beale street is a way of attracting people back to that area. i think it's important so that people see the historic street and don't come away with this idea that it's just an
8:14 pm
entertainment district, it's just where we go to enjoy the clubs and buy souvenirs but see it as a part of community life, african-american community life in memphis, and to see it in a lot of ways like people see bourbon street and the french quarter in new orleans. you know it's an entertainment district but you also know that you could kind of walk into some very historic places right along the street, so you get an appreciation of what one part of new orleans life and new orleans history was. i think it's important that you are still able to do this with a place like beale street, even if you -- because a lot of it isn't there anymore. even if you do it through the images in the book.
8:15 pm
>> in 1878, memphis faced a yellow fever epidemic which resulted in 60% of the population evacuating. here on the banks of the mississippi river, martyr's park was placed in order to commemorate the live'ses offed? s who stayed to help the 17,000 sick and helped bury the dead. here that we spoke with author sharon stanley to learn more about racial integration in the united states. >> part of the motivation behind the book was to think through what we actually mean when we say racial integration. because we use the term a lot and i think lot of people think we have already done it. people are aware that we used to have a system of legal racial segregation in this country called jim crow, and that system fell, right? it was first defeated by the supreme court in 1954 win background vs. the board of education and it was then deantively defeated in the 1960s with the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights
8:16 pm
act of 1965, the hair nowsing act. -- fair housing act. this legislation beings the end of legal segregation in united states and people assume it was also the beginning of racial integration in the united states. within activist circles and academic circled, there's long been a sense that we never really integrated. we got read of legal segregation but the landscape of de facto segregation is still very much with us. so i'm shoe you have been near herself and if you drive through the city, it's obvious when you're in other black part of town and a white part of town and parts of the city that are relatively more mixed or segregated but you look at a census map of memphis you see a strip of white in the middle of the city ask then north and south, heavily black parts of town and those demographics are present in most cities in the united states and we have very high rates of segregation
8:17 pm
according to every measure that is used measure it but not legally imposed. it's de facto. the book was an attempt to and ask what integration means, whether we should pursue it but in the book i try to theorize and think what integration means to black americans specifically inch the past i think people have thought of integration, happen distinguished desegregation from integration so they've associationed integration with the end of legal segregation, you take the laws off the book that require the separation of black people from white people, and that at the very least a first step of desegregation, and then a absolutely more robust definition would be to say, it's more than just getting rid of the laws you need actual racial mixing. silly to say a school that was 100% white was integrates or
8:18 pm
desegregateed because it would no long he legally prohibited. so you get a more robust definition, we have to papp black people and white people sharing the simple spaces, going to the same schools, living in the same neighborhoods, sort of pursuing wreck racing in the same spot -- recreation in the same spot, genuinely enter acting. that's a more robust understanding of bow see segregation and integration. if you ask some members of the black community what integration means they'll tell you it's essentially program of compulsory assimilation, it forces them to abandon which arished black spaces, black churches, black schools, black community spots where they -- have control of that space, where they can tell their own stories in their own terms, comfortably be themselves, interact with people who they feel like are really part of a community, who have shared values, shared history, and they will tell you that integration forces them to abandon those things, and to remake themselves
8:19 pm
in a way that is considered respectable by hedge nonnic white values values and this ist necessary lay model of justice or desirable project. and so what i try do in the book is i try to take that criticism very seriously and to say, okay, does that mean we have to abandon integration as an ideal or there is a way to rethink integration as an ideal so we can combine the idea of racial mixing and black and emand white people sharing spaces with an idea of a genuine transfor aation of pour and southwesterly transformation, particularly on the part of white people. they're willing to real helping quiche their superiority citizenship and genuinely share power if black people. integration is not just mick tour, it's also sharing of power and it's also a genuine internal transformation on the part of citizens so they truly recognize the equal citizenship of people of other racial backgrounds.
8:20 pm
if you think about the regime i'm jim crow segregation, it wasn't just -- it was obviously a legal regime that said, particular spaces are reserve no for white people and other spaces for black people. but it was also a psychological regime that essentially required to the extent that black people and white people did interact, it's not like you could have absolute barriers that prevented any and all interaction. black beam were constantly expected to show their defer residence and so i said this had a psychic effect whereby white people constantly wanted and demand and needed sort of signs of their own racial superiority, and they took i think pleasure and comfort and relief in those signs and balance enraged whenever there were signs of blacks from their perspective insubordination or insew lens, and so my claim is that sort of
8:21 pm
psychic dynamic doesn't necessarily go away just because you have desegregation you could have a classroom full of black and white students and the white students expect its the black student to sackett in a served way north say thing that made the white students uncomfortable, et cetera. so, for me, in order to truly overcome jim crow segregation, you need not only to dismantle to the laws but need also to dismantle the psychic structure whereby whites expect that blacks will act in a way that reaffirms their civic superiority. mean by internal transformation for conversion it's genuine acceptance by white people of the equal citizenship of black people. now, a lot of white people, when i say this to them, say, we do accept that. that was the civil rights movement, that was what we got with the civil rights act of
8:22 pm
1964, that's what we got with the voting rights act of 1965 and if you interview people, white or black, clearly racial attitudes have changed. white people -- most white people say they believe in racial equality, they'll say they believe in racial fairness, believe black people should have access to ballet and be able to taped school with white people, they believe black people should have a fair shot at employment, et cetera, et cetera. so, a lot of white people say we have already ungrandthe psychic transformation and my claim in the book is that there's a sort of deeper level on which there's plenty of evidence that's not the case and i'll -- a really recent example is the outrage amongst a lot of white people to the fact that colin kaepernick started the protest during the national anthem against police brewe tallity at nfl games. the protests are so offensive to
8:23 pm
white people not because they think people are protesting the anthem or the flag or disrespecting veterans but because for them it's a display of black insub bored nation and there's a long history particularly of whites wanting black athletes to perform a kind of gratefulness that they even have this opportunity to participate at this level in professional sports and also the white response to "black lives matter," all lives matter or just outrage at the protests that "black lives matter" block put on or still putting on. all of this indicates that despite explicit claims of commitment to racial equality, that white people are still -- many white people are still outraged by displays of black demands for genuine equality. there's a couple of different ways that power manifests in this country. there's the power that comes with political power. so, who literally has the
8:24 pm
ability to determine the content of policies and laws and administrative procedures, and historically and the present, although this shifting, political power has largely been held by white men i. there's a massive wealth game-racial wealth gap. it can be traced to historical patterns of racial discrimination, particularly housing and lending discrimination,-the aftermath of the great depression the federal housing administration in insuring mortgages that made it possible for middle class americans to purchase homes, the sort of underwriting rules that the federal government used to determine which mortgages should be insured were explicitly racist. made it extremely difficult for black people to access wealth in the form of home ownership and made it easier for white people access wealth in the form of home ownership. in the book i talk tut
8:25 pm
reparations, an extraordinarily unpopular posse proposal, eastern bernie sanders said i don't thing we need racial reparations, just need a program of economic uplift that reaches everybody. but i think there is a case to be made for racial reparations, black reparations specifically. wouldn't tie it just to slavery which is often how reparations are talked about. but i would also tie it to this more recent history of housing and lehning discrimination where you can trace the economic impact, and so i think you can sort of make a fairly convincing claim that black communities were deprived of resources and of material wealth because of explicit federal government programs that confined them to spaces that we call ghettos today that were trained of resources and had no access to opportunities. and so on that basis, you can
8:26 pm
argue that governments via tax dollars should have programs that infuse wealth back into those communities. die think this particular vision of integration is possible? this is of course the question of the book, why the book is called "an impossible dream" with a question mark and don't want to say no because who knows what is possible. i can't see into the future. and so is it possible? sure. i assume that under feudalism people could not have imagined there we woo be a different economic system and in 1820, people never imagined abolition, that we would would not have slavery. it's possible. but when i look at the conditions of the ground that have to exist in order for this to be a viable program in my life, i don't see those conditions existing. i hope i'm wrong, of course.
8:27 pm
but the country just elected donald trump as president. i think he ran on a platform of explicit white racial resentment and he has high levels of support from white people across the board. white men, white women. white people of all different incomes, all this talk after the was elected of the white working class but donald trump was supported by rich white peel, middle class white people and working class white people and i think that is indicative of the extent to which the psychic conversion or internal tsa transformation i'm calling for doesn't exist. hasn't happened. of course which are individual white people who are exceptions, but there's a basis there for coalition politics, there is support amongst some segments of the commit houston for "black lives matter" and other black communities and that's important and that need to be built on but in general, there just isn't sufficient support in the white community for the kinds of policies and programs we need in order to advance a worthwhile
8:28 pm
kind of racial integration. so, i think part of the reason why it's important to maintain what might seem like kind of utopian ideals is because otherwise we are essentially resigning ourselves to the world we inlab right now and if that world is unjust, that mean wed accept the endless continuation of injustice. but i think we have to berealistic what it means to reshape the imaginers and create new visions of the world, which is that is just a tiny first step in a very uncertain process. >> the pea body memphis hotel was built in 1869 at the corner of main and mon prostreets -- monroe streets. the current hotel was constructed a blackway in 1923 after the city demolishes the
8:29 pm
original building this peabody is known for the pea bodies boyd ducks who live in on the roof and make their way into the lobby every day. >> up next we speak with author ben jordan, who explores the origins of the boy scouts of america. >> the boy scouts of america, they like to describe themselves in in the early decades as a movement, as much as they were an organization, and day were concerned with what was it like to be a teenager and adolescent boy, and to grow up without the kind of normal markers of transitioning to adulthood. less children were working with child labor laws, compulsory schooling was in effect and people were working to get kid off the street but the weren't
8:30 pm
interacting with the public and how do you learn to be an adult if you're isolated so the boy scouts tried to step in and create a bridge program forss a lessens -- adolescents to taped them back to u-urban society. the bit scouts of america started in 1910. but it's actually an adaptation of british boy scouting which was the original boy scouting program, 1907 to 1908, and then it was transplanted to different countries around the world. some folks might wonder why the local downtown ymca is a good play to film about the boy scouts of america. the first boy scout troop in memphis was sponsored and started by this downtown ymca here in memphis. the building phoned 1909, and 1910 they sponsor one of the -- the first known boy scout troop
8:31 pm
in memphis and so the notion of institutional sponsors before there was even a local council round. that would take another five or six years, was vital. the ymca was probably the main partner of the boy scouts the first couple of years, eventually the strong tie, as its spread out to other institutions, the boy scouts started their own councils and offices and local areas that real close knit tie wasn't as essential and vatted out and kind of ran their own show but ymca continues to sponsor boy scout troop ford decade. the boy scouts were particularly concerned with adolescents which was a word that ms. more or less invented in same time period, before then it was 13-year-old is usually a working person and 1880 or 1840 that person was probably working a full-time job so when we got to the point in the teens and 20s, when they were adding middle schools, adding high schools and more people were going to them, not just the rare exception but the
8:32 pm
majority, they were rematching themselves from the adult community, the political word, the kind of pulled children out of the spheres and programs like the boy scouts and girl scout us wanted to try to kind of -- >> corporation identity places like downtown memphis in the early 1900s, not as concerned with rural farm boys because they thought they were most of them were working on their family farm and kind of at least for the body growing up under their father's tutelage and said they didn't feel like there was a problem there. so they would have generally regular weekly troop meetings at a place like the ymca here and other country troop sponsors, or a church or a chamber of commerce or all these places sponsored boy scout troops and they pretty much ran their own
8:33 pm
troops so this was the sponsors thinking, this is what our boys and our church are -- in our school or that we're doing this for the broader community, something like the rotary club or the chamber of commerce or civic organization soso thy would manage weekly troops and on the weekend would try to take a hike, the summer they would do more kind of camping type stuff. >> community engage. so especially in he teens and 20s this: the scouts were everywhere, wherever there was a big event the scouts would be there in force, learning to contribute back to the community, learning to serve the public, be civic leaders as 12 or 13 years, run the first aid booths, chaperoning and guiding the president of the united states would show up and the boy scouts would be the honor guard, in away that it nose at
8:34 pm
pervasive today but through were in thick of things. in the time period they were remarkable for reach taught a diverse crowd of town and urban and suburban youth. the time parade of the klu klux klan, and the klan was concerned bows -- so that was one end of the spectrum. eugene gists, wanted to kick out minorities or prevent them from getting rights or access to the good life, but the boy scouts were actively recruited and sought achieved alliances with immigrant groups the polish boycotts of america, the catholic scouts, the mormon scouts, had their own independent scout organization, brought them on board. met with labor union leaders, the american federation of labor, worked out a compromise with samuel gompers so those
8:35 pm
folkses said scouting is okay with us. which is pretty remarkable and then also had the kind of captains of industry, the rockefeller family, the vanderbilts were sponsores, too, so it's interesting to see a wide religious and economic and ethnic and immigrant outreach and membership for the time was really remarkably inclusive, i would say. here's a memphis aspect of the nashville boy scout story was that the first memphis boy scout council president was a man named bolton smith, white banker and a prominent man around town, he donated the first boy scout camp to the local council. but he became at one point a vice president of the national council of the boy scouts of america and he, along with a white boy scout professional from chattanooga named stanley harris and then joined by the
8:36 pm
first paid african-american professional national boy scout staff person, like paid professional, named bow champ and he came to work here in memphis to work with memphis african-american scouting but a big move in the mid-1920s. african-american scouts in the north and west but few in the south. the local council excluded them. so bolton smith and stanley harris convinces the he national council to ask the rockefeller family for what is a million dollar grant in today's terms to start encouraging local southern council 0, the atlanta council, the new orleans council, the memphis council, the nashville council, jackville, florida to start african-american troops to tone up scouting to african-americans and that was a major shift in the mid-01920s so where scouting could reach into segments of society that had the least opportunity and access and rights and they were teaching in mid-20s, teaching
8:37 pm
african-american boys to stand up and be full citizens and how to vote and helping with voter registration in the 1920s is ahead of its time. the boy scouts of america did nod allow what we now call cubs, cub scouts, the seven, eight, nine, ten, 11-year-olds, they specifically held firm against including those groups because they didn't want the program to be childish. they wanted the program to be about adolescent or teenage boys and transition to adult manhood, so for me the title being, modern manhood and these urban town and, industrial, corporate, not rural farm, and they're very much concerned with turning teenagersed boys into proper, responsible, civically involved young men, that was their target and framework and didn't went the eight, nine, ten-year-olds at all.
8:38 pm
the most dramatic change, 1929, when the cubs come online, got an official approved program. created new handbooks for them and the whole series, reaching down to the eight, nine, ten, 11 years was a major change for the organization in the 1930s, by the time-out get 1950s and 60s, the number of cubs equaled the number off scouts ss and is actually larger now. they're a counselinger oriented organization than they started out. currently the boy scouts here in america are in a transition. they've decided over the last several years to kind of open some doors that had had been cleared couple of decades. in the teens and 20s, there wasn't an exclusion of home sexual or transgender scouts. that was a conservative turn of the 70s and 8s so. the front battle lines of inclusiveness in the teens and 20s were about religion and immigration and race, not so
8:39 pm
much transgender and homosexuality. so that has been a big shift, but i think they have kind of moved themselves back towards the center ground, to be inclusive but you can run your own troops so you get a different variety of scouting, depending on who the troop sponsor is and who the membership and leadership of the particular troop so. so i have become that that more middle of the wide, that a wide spectrum of people can interpret and adopt scout budget be part of the boy scouts of america and that's going to be successful in terms of membership and success. initially some grouches who didn't like that change, i think, about i income over the long haul i think that will do them well. >> twice a month c-span cities tour take book tv and american history tv on the road to explore the literary life and history of a selected city. we visit various literary and historic sites and interview
8:40 pm
local historians, authors and civic leaders. you can watch our past interviews and tours online by going to collect c-span cities tour from the series dropped down at the top of the page. or by visiting you can follow the c-span cities tour on twit ore for behind the scenes images and video. the haynes,@chops cities. >> you're watching book tv on c-span 2 >> so, larry elder, how is president trump doing? >> so far so good. still too early to tell. it's the bottom of the second inning. if it were a baseball game. done better than i thought he would


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on