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tv   Author Discussion on Desegregation  CSPAN  August 25, 2019 8:16am-9:31am EDT

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>> i'm happy we got to talk to you, i'm mad it was only for 30 minutes because we're already 45 seconds over. join me in thanking our panel. [applause] >> and now on cspan2's book tv, more television for serious readers. >> welcome to the fifth annual mississippi book festival, welcome to everyone
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viewing on c-span which has been a supporter from the first year. we appreciate them very much, i'm with goodwin with the mississippi department of archives, if you've not already done so please silence your cell phones. our panel this morning isa spotlight on mississippi civil rights . we thank bradley both cummings from sponsoring it, they've also been withthe w book festival since the beginning, where grateful for that early support and for their sticking with us . we are in this room today, thanks to foreman watkins law efirm. we appreciate their support. our panelists are natalie adams, michelle purdy and hezekiah watkins. purchase copies of their books from vendors outside and you can find the times our authors will be signing in your programs. we will hear from our panelists forabout 40 minutes, and open the floor to questions . please come to the podium in
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the center of the room to ask your questions. be carefulof the ramp, don't trip . now let me welcome our moderator, pamela said dc junior, director of mississippi ishistory and mississippi civil rights museum. [applause] >> good morning, good morning. this is the first time this panel has been in the morning so thank you so much for coming out. i'm going to do a small little introduction of all of our panelists. we have natalie adams who is the director of new college and professor of social and cultural studies in education at the university of alabama. he is co-author of cheerleader, an american icon and co-editor of geographics of girlhood: identities in between and give her a hand please. [applause] doctor favors received his amp from state
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university and his phd in history from the ohio state university . he is assistant professor of history at clayton state university, give him a hand. [applause] michelle purdy is assistant professor of education and faculty member of the interdisciplinary program in urban studies and center on urban research and public policy at washington university in st. louis. she is coeditor of using past is prologue: contemporary perspectives on african-american educational history. give her a hand please. [applause] and last but truly not least, hezekiah watkins. in 1969 she was arrested at
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the greyhound bus station in jackson mississippi at the h siage of 13 where he was sent in a paddy wagon to mississippi state penitentiary known as parchment penitentiary and placed on death row. please give him a hand. >> i want the panelists to now give a small five-minute overview of their books. give the name of their books 1st and talk a little bit about it. we'll startwith miss adams . >> thank you and on behalf of my husband who's here and my better half on the and the co-author of our book, just trying to struggle for desegregation in mississippi. i want to tell you how appreciative we are of that being part of this book festival and thank you for inviting us. to talk about our book , i wanted to take us back to october 29, 1969 and to a
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supreme court decision that isn't that well-known. it was a case that originated out of mississippi. it was called alexander versus holmes, board of education and it was on this day that the court ordered 30 of the 33 school districts named in the case to operate as fully unitary desegregated school systems in january. they also gave a very clear about school and some implementation. all deliberate speed meant now. so on the eve of massive court enforced desegregation in his state in january 1970, governor john bell williams to a radio audience and i want to read this a little bit, a clip of what he said. he said i you in the fateful hour in the life of our state, the moment we've resisted for 15 years, that we thought hopefully to avoid or at least delay is finally at hand so let us accept the inevitable fact that we are going to suffer one way or the other , both white and
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black cause of the decrees of the court and with god's help, he says, let us make the best of a bad situation. now, left to deal with hundreds of decisions that had to be made during this time where the teachers, principals, superintendents, the school custodian, the cafeteria workers, coaches, other people employed by their school system . they didn't have any training in effective school desegregation processes. they had little help from the state department and were often working in hostile local contexts and they were really very ordinary folks thrown into extraordinary circumstances. so how did they work through school desegregation once the judges, politicians, lawmakers, the legislators, the representatives, that was the genesis of our research, that question is what originally drove us so we were very early on inspired by a quote from barbara
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kingsolver in her novel animal dreams and she has this great quote that says wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. the daily work that goes on, it adds up so we set out to interview local mississippians who were the boots in the field and one of the most significant social and cultural changes in this country. while we started out, we were going to interview teachers and principals, we assumed that was not going to be enough, that we had to guest are not much more widely and we then began focusing on interviewing teachers, students, parents, superintendents, school board members, community leaders and over a seven-year period we interviewed hundred and we spent a lot of time in libraries and newspapers going through reams of paper because we were interested in knowing not only how desegregation played out differently in the state but
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how it was being chronicled differently in local newspapers and we focused on the years 1965 to 1971 because those were the years in which that was finally when the ac w and doj did in forcing desegregation. what we hope, we focused on the stories of our hundred world historians and in doing that what we're hoping to do is to connect the macro to the micro, national to the local and by telling the stories of very ordinary folks who were in fact involved in the civil rights movement,some of them willingly, some of them not . we hope to demonstrate how the daily minutia matters. local politics mattered. local leadership mattered. the decision that individuals made matters and individual and community strategizing mattered during this time in determining how school districts transitioned into the unitary school system. we end the book by coming back to the present and we talk about what are the
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lessons learned by studying history because we certainly believe there'svaluable lessons . we revisit some of the communities that we featured historically earlier in the book to see how they're faring today and we also connect educational history to current educational debate . we hear a lot about choice today. we hear about charter cschool legislation, tuition vouchers, tuition tax credit, public funding for private schools and all of these have an origin in school desegregation so we should understand while there are so many communities that are rightly suspicious of those measures today, because of the ways in which they were used during school desegregation so thank you. [applause] >> good morning. again, my name is doctor jelani favors, professor of history.
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black colleges and first of all i want to thank the organizers of the mississippi book festival, i want to thank the panelists, special thanks to miss hezekiah watkins, it's always great to be in the midst of true patriots so thank you for your sacrifice . [applause] black colleges are one of the most important cornerstones of the black freedom movement and for too long, those gaps have not been filled in terms of our understanding of their t contribution to that freedom movement. as was mentioned i went to graduate school at ohio state university. they require us to say that, by the way and one of the things that immediately stood out, i was being introduced to all the fascinating books on the civil rights movement and the research was outstanding and it discussed all the student activists that were merging throughout the movement but it was very little attention into their origins. there was never a true origin
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story and in my research here in mississippi i came across the findings and the words of an alumni who had gone to chicago for a conference in the early 20th century and she talked about the struggles that she was encountering in mississippi and she said that as a teacher in mississippi that she was simply trying to fill in the small cracks. and i think that's so crucial and important to understand, our understanding of what black alumni were attempting to do because as historians, that's what we try to do. fill in these small cracks so one of the things i knew i wanted to do is tell a more complete or comprehensive story of the role of hbcus, so the name of my book is how black colleges foster generations of leadership and activism and i talk about seven different institutions that engage in a longitudinal study of historically black
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colleges,start off with the institute for color youth which is now cheney state university . actually founded in philadelphia but now it's located outside philadelphia, after that i talk about the title black and 10 academia, 1869 to 1900. i talk about in this college in greensboro north carolina, one of two single-sex ofinstitutions dedicated to teaching african-american woman, the other one being stedman college, alabama state university, i talk aboutjackson state university located here in jackson mississippi . i talk about southern university located in baton rouge and north carolina a and then it university and i end with an epilogue talking about the current struggles confronting historical lack colleges that these are beds of the movement and one of the theories that i advance in this research is
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discussing something that i refer to as second curriculum. outside of science, outside of history and all these other topics, black teachers and administrators engage in something that i identify as a set curriculum comprised of three basic components. race consciousness, idealism and cultural nationalism. and race consciousness was so important for black youth being bombarded with messages of white supremacy. very much trying to teach them that they had no culture, hadno heritage . black colleges provided a shelter where there was a powerful counter message provided and then of course i discussed this notion and idea of idealism, two of the major concepts that were being driven into the students time and again was it tdemocracy and citizenship, democracy and citizenship, the teachers talk to them about these concepts which seems odd because these are two of the most important
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things black people were basically being read up during this period. they were not allowed democracy of citizenship but you look at their scholarship and their being bombarded with these messages and the last one is cultural nationalism, black students were being taught the importance of black institutions, black businesses. one of the alumni came back to speak at two glue and told them we need three things. we need power, education and we need to own black property and this was long before booker t. washington and the black power movement. those were the messages circulating through black colleges and these play critical roles in shaping the movements and providing a critical space for black youth to thrive and ultimately those seeds gave rise to the modern civil rights movement in the 1960s so i'm happy to talk more about that and fill in these
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gaps about the importance of black colleges and the role they played in the freedom struggle in this country. [applause] >> good morning, my name again is michelle purdy. it's an honor and a humbling experience to be in the state capital of my home state. i was born and raised in jackson mississippi and i attended saint andrews of this couple school growing up so i think those in the cloud from saint andrews, i see some spaces and i think those who are tuning in, i think the book festival forinviting me to be part of this and i think this great panel that i'm a part of today . my first book, solo author book is entitled transforming the elite, black students and the desegregation of private schools and while it is not set here in mississippi, there are pieces of mississippi civil rights history that are important to understanding how and why elite private schools, schools such as saint andrews eg in jackson, why they decided
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to desegregate in the 1960s when they were not legally obligated to do so. the 1954 brown decision did not apply to private schools. >> .. as to why these elite private schools decided to desegregate. i focused my work on the westminster school in atlanta, georgia, but within the context of the civil rights movement but also what was happening nationally with independent schools whether in the south or s the north as they can did was race. there were a few i the north tht had admit a black students prior to the 1950s and '60s, but in general there was an awakening because of the civil rights movement in the '60s that
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pulled on the moral tug of the white leaders of the elite private schools. they give you a sense of the what i mean elite, today westminster which was founded in 1951 about ten years ago westminster endowment was $208 million, making it the 14th most wealthy independent school in the nation and the second most wealthy independent school in the south. today tuition hovers between 25,000-$30,000 a day for daytime students. if your to go to an elite boarding school such as andover, looking at probably about 60, $75,000 in tuition and room and board. 1% of our children in the nation go to these schools that also belong to the national association of independent schools. they were contending just as school desegregation was an issue, as the civil rights issue
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was more broadly galvanizing in the '50s and 60s, these goals are kind to figure out where are we going to position ourselves in this debate. are we going to be like the segregationist academy that were established after the brown decision? there are schools in jackson that were established after the brown decision as a result of not wanting to desegregate schools. or b how are you going to stand, stand on us as those visitations starting to desegregate? i make an argument in the book white private school leaders blur notions of public and private. they have threec incentives that pulled on them. one of the moral incentives of the civil rights movement. you couldn't go anywhere in the united states and that no something about the civil rights movement because of the television in the 1960s. it made the civil rights movement come alive. secondly, there was also a public relations incentive. we want to be like the segregationist academies? o we wo
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be like the segregation academies. will our students be accepted as the most elite colleges and universities if we remain segregated. third there is a financial incentive and that's where mississippi comes into play. after alexander versus home decision and 69 black mississippians are continuing to fight, they are continuing to resist and they are resisting the fact that private schools here in mississippi that have discriminatory admission policies are still allowed to have tax exemption from the irs. so it's in the 1970 in a case called greene versus kennedy that if schools had discriminatory admission policy they could no longer receive tax exemption status. again that is part of the larger context of the book. in the second argument is a courageous navigation. that's how the black students courageously navigated a contradictory and complex school culture where on one hand you had option fundraisers and celebrations of the south and
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the other hand and white students even before black students asking questions about how will westminster handle school desegregation. just to close. seven black students entered westminster in 1967. i focused on the first five years of school desegregation in westminster in 1972 on the founding principal doctor william presley retired. there were mixed experiences. this research was done through archival work at westminster and various archives in atlanta and throughout the south as well as oral history interviews. just to give you a glimpse of what day one was like for one of my most reluctant interviewees, michael, they took his younger brother to convince him to talk to me. this was michael's description of his first day at westminster. during the first year -- no one
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could prepare me for the hypo logical story i was about to receive. the very first day of class eighth grade i walked in and the dominant white males about eight of them, many on the football team immediately surrounded me and how naïvely i thought, their welcoming me too class. then they proceeded to humiliate, hit, push, shove, and he's me into hysteric so iran to the bathroom to hide and cried. so we know what happened in public schools but this also let you know that things are not a whole lot different for some black students, also for some of our most elite private schools. i'm happy to talk more about the book and want to give a shout out to north carolina press enter mutual editor brandon for supporting our work. [applause] >> good morning. i am mr. watkins and it is an
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honor to be sitting here on this panelist with these great individuals. i'm somewhat lost for words because they have been here much longer than i. and they have done books, but i am thrilled to be here and it is an honor. i would like to start by praising my wife for putting up with me all these years. and just to get in and said in on me. things that have happened to me over the years, just to get into it, she is still with me and she endured my pain, my happiness and everything that goes with that. i would also like to think my
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cowriter, ms. andrea will you stand please. [applause] there is a story behind that but we will not get into that because were short on time. but i would like to tell you how i got started as a freedom writer. jackson and my high school -- my middle school principal at the school got on the telecom and told the kids the freedom riders are coming. and once they get here it is best that you don't get involved. you can hear things and you move on. then my minister said, you know
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the freedom writers are going to be coming to jackson and want to get here is going to be bad frustrated so you need to stay away. i heard that but it was not until my mother told me, and i asked her why. and she said well baby, if you got involved i could lose my life. your brothers could lose their life. the house could be burned, all kinds of things could happen. now that stayed with me. because my mom said she could lose her life. no one wants that to happen. so i said yes, ma'am. but i was very curious of what
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was happening in alabama. we would get the evening news at 530 and it was showing the public what was going on in alabama, how freedom writers was being beaten, kicked, bitten by dogs, all kinds of things was happening to them. and the more i saw the more i became more curious. so we heard about the freedom writers going to be at the greyhound bus station. which was not far from a house because they lived on the march straight from here. which was walking distance to the greyhound bus station.
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so we had grow gone to a rally e or less, my close friend at the time and i but when we arrived the leader was about over basking individuals, locals is there anyone here that wants to draw on the freedom writers and if so meet at the greyhound bus station. we did not have a but we had bicycles. so we rode the bicycles from the temple to the greyhound bus station. when we arrived at the greyhound bus station the freedom writer was taken away. so we sat on so where the high school was, we were in the area out of sight. we were out of sight because we did not want to be seen and
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arrested. but we wanted to see a freedom writer. i wanted to see what a freedom writer look like. [laughter] maybe even the way they sit. and if i got the opportunity i might be able to reach out and touch one. and if i could touch a freedom writer, i could go back to my community and say i touched a freedom writer, i don't know how big, that would've been huge. but the freedom writer is arrested and taken away and what we should have done, we should've went back home.
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but then in 1961, it was a privilege for blacks to be on the sidewalk downtown jacksonville. there was also on the sidewalk so my friend and i we decided to play around. and playing around we decided to do a little skipping. so we skipped and we skipped and we skipped and for some reason my friend pushed me inside and the first thing that i saw was a sign that read whites only. . . .
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the name and my birthplace. i was born in milwaukee wisconsin. and just by being born in milwaukee wisconsin led me to parchman prison. they thought i was a freedom rider based on my birthplace. at the age of 13 i was taken to person in prison and put on death row. i have to tell you that i was 13, very nacve, from the ãb had not been exposed to anything, didn't know anything, didn't know anything about death row is going to happen. but i was put in a cell with two other convicts and you probably have heard this old
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saying that you are educated in prison. that's true. but the type of education you get in prison you can't use it out here. it was a horrible feeling. it was a horrible time being in prison with two convicts that were there for murder. some of the things i had to endure i will share one with you. just one. that was my food being taken. three days before i was able to eat. and the reason i did not eat because when my food was brought i told the guard that my food was taken and he looked
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at me and said, what you want me to do? if they took your food, go back and take it from them. that wasn't going to happen. so let's move on, we had a governor here in the state of mississippi was probably the most racist person that ever lived. his name was ross barnett, some of you may or may not, but i remember him well. burnett hated all blacks and he hated all poor whites. but for some reason while i was in parchman he chose to set me free. and i'm very grateful, based on his leadership here in the state of mississippi.
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all of the things that he did, all the things he must not have done but was accused of doing i forgive him. and the reason i forgive him is because i'm able to be here today. if it had not been for the governor i would have lost my life in parchman prison. thank you.[applause] just a couple questions before we go to the audience. i remember january 1970 i was 11 years old talk about the climate of the faculty members talk about the climate for the faculty members. >> often often mississippi and
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the rest of the south was trying to resist school decentralization with all kind of measures. they would use faculty in integration to comply with school desegregation. i remembered school desegregation without the titans of federal funding. school systems use all kind of creative ways to try to assign teachers often. one of the most often used option was they would try to take the most experienced african-american teacher and put them in the white schools and take the least effective white teacher or newly hired white teacher and put them in the segregated african american school finally the courts would like you cannot do that. that's not the intent of
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brown. jackson came up with a really interesting way for an entire semester they used a lottery system. in order to assign teachers. there was literally a bingo machine brought and you were assigned that way. we talk about in the book it's really teachers were the ones that were the adults who had the biggest charge to actually try to navigate through this very new time. you have to remember at this time african-americans and whites lived totally separate lives. suddenly they are thrown together and they were certainly many many teachers who did a poor job of doing that. there were many teachers who did a wonderful job we try to document the stories but one of those things and a lot of people know this it's worth mentioning that for many
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african-american students and teachers in communities it was a huge loss because when you talk about the second curriculum that second curriculum was not in place and desegregated schools. also loss was particularly at the high school level the typical pattern throughout the south was that the african-american segregated school which often had been the center of the community was closed or converted to junior high or elementary school and all african american students were transferred to the white schools and expected to accommodate and assimilate and we have a whole chapter on sports and extracurricular activities because this is often where you saw that the most. we try to capture both there are some really very good stories of teachers who did a great job but it's also teachers also were thrown into this tumultuous time.
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very little training. if you look at from the alexander october 29 i'm a former middle school teacher i can imagine what that had to of been like as a teacher to get this ruling, actually november 5 when the fifth circuit ruled when the schools had open but you basically have six weeks to open as a completely different school system. >> very good. doctor favors, i'm fascinated by the pattern, we talked about that, shelter in the time of storm has this big: ãb biblical connotation. talk to us about african americans and hbc you in 20th century versus compared to how it is today in the 21st century. >> i'm an old preacher's kid. so that's where a lot of the title came from. i was searching for language to really describe essentially
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what were enclaves. enclaves for black folks to hire from the very worst of white supremacy the very worst of white bryant. on my chapter on ãthere's a conversation about all these race riots and racial programs going on throughout the state particularly in the late 19th century. so much so the rate for logan coined as the nady lowest point for race relations. it was vital for black folks to find some sort of space they could send their children their youth to on to educate them to train them to provide them some sort of vision of leadership. the vision of hope. and really in bed with them the second curriculum of race consciousness and cultural nationalism and idealism. if you look at when black youth are being exposed to in the 19th and 20th centuries. what really stands out they were very much in a deliberate fashion being told constantly
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being instructed in and many of them use that ultimately. think about what mr. walk dunes was discussing with the freedom riders, we look at the freedom riders that second these are some of the issues i'm trying to fill in on my research. those students like diane nash and others had been exposed to the second curriculum for years and ultimately responding to it. fast forward until now i think
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the critical question is how have we essentially taken this message of you must help perform democracy. you must make sure the citizenship can experience by all. or are they being exposed to that message. i think higher education in general has become corporate breeding ground in many ways particularly with the push system and this is not to dn a great science technology engineering and math but used to be that education particularly liberal arts training provided a critical role in shaping students understanding of what their role should be in society in terms of reform society in terms of transforming society. to the betterment of all human beings. that's the central message going back to the 19th and when it century. drilled in by the faculty. and even also being very much the message being generated by students themselves.
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one of the primary sources i go to time and time again are the black college newspapers. you look at hbc newspapers in the early 20th century the mid 20th century it's a gold mine in terms of illustrating how students politicized. how students thought about the surroundings about how students were generating the courage to ultimately speak out the challenge white supremacy as they saw it. as you fast-forward to this post segregated society to the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s. i think a lot of the cultures of institutions transform the change. there was a black brain drain that occurred on the black ãb john did meyer, longtime professor at two college i ran across an interview from him going back to the 1970s he talked about how we couldn't get the best and the brightest of black educators to come teach anymore.
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many of them were going to these open doors they were being provided to them by predominantly white institutions. that severed and corrupted the relationship. you look at the 21st-century and hbc you now. they play a critical and vital role in training and educating black youth but i think it's important to raise the question not just for hbc you for predominantly white institutions but college in general. making sure youth are being fully engaged in society.
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he talked about some of the first students and reading your book i'm really curious to know where they are now. >> part to understand where they are now is understand where they came. they are a part of this first desegregation generation. the parents are in hbcu educated or even educators themselves. some of them are atlanta public school teachers. they are coming out of a community of educators in atlanta. they are coming out of family against the odds actually attain some level of education. they bring that with them to westminster. whether they are conscious of it or not. malcolm riders father was instrumental in developing the music program at norfolk state university. it's interesting the connections i'm seeing between among the books here and they
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are obviously aware of what's happening as young people in the civil rights movement. where are they today? want toward the first black woman to graduate from westminster 1972 and one of the first black woman to attend princeton university is a special assistant to the chancellor of university of illinois she had a long career she's been there about a year she had a very long career in dc and the national science foundation. malcolm ryder is in san francisco area in oakland doing a lot of it work and tech work. he too attended princeton university. michael mcveigh is a medical doctor living in los angeles to run mcveigh his younger brother whom i met in person for the first time this spring ron did not want to be interviewed by phone or in person when i did my oral history interviews but
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he was one of my most informative interviews via email. he also worked in technology in the atlanta area. ãbhas just retired from a long career in the anderson in houston texas. they are all over the country. a couple are in atlanta the ones featured in the book. gerard wade is a longtime insurance salesman in the atlanta area and one of his daughters unattended westminster. that's bad michelle. that's what happens herman j russell was one of the first black minority contractors to own his own business in the atlanta area. for the most part the ones i
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interviewed had all throughout the united states. >> mr. watkins. we honor you truly for the work that you are still doing now. but when you are thrown into pushed into the greyhound bus station when did you realize that this thing was bigger than you? that you were a part of now the civil rights movement in mississippi. it really did not dawn on me until i made it to ãband the other two inmates was trying to come up with a reason why i was there. they kept giving me statements about you probably raped a white woman or you killed a white man based on you not having a trial.
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i'm saying, none of that i was arrested at the bus station and they all are saying they are not going to put you on death row for going into a bus station. that was the mindset for several days but i'm thinking as they told me about death row i'm thinking i'm going to die just because i went into the bus station. that was probably the most fearful time i was arrested, they say, 109 times throughout the state of mississippi as a freedom writer. i've been beaten several times a lot of other things that have happened to me but my most
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fearful was when i was in some things you can forget, some things you can't. after leaving parchman my mother thought i was dead. from the police department here in jackson called her to come to the jail to pick me up. she thought she was going to identify my remains. and what a shock it was to her to walk in and see me. i must say that we both was glad to see each other but after arriving home, she beat the hell out of me. [laughter] i spoke earlier about trauma. i really believe that the
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beating that was given to me whatever was there my mother beat it out of me. seriously. now 58 years later all the things that should have happened to me during that time, didn't. but now it's coming back on me, falling out of the bed, i'm hearing things, i'm fighting and thinking that i'm hanging from a tree. these things are happening as we speak. i'm an old man it's kind of hard to deal with this at my age. but i'm doing the best i can to deal with it.
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i'm not sure if i answered your question. >> it's okay. [applause] now if we have any questions for the audience, the podium is in the middle there. please any questions? >>. >> comment first. i was a student here and 64 as a freshman and i was invited to go to to below in by my classmate to see joan baez. and when they are i had an interview with a south asian indian professor who said, here i am in mississippi teaching, teaching american democracy to
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kids who have never experienced it right here in mississippi. i wonder if that's in your book. if the visit with joan biaz is in your book. >> she's not in the book but the role that hbcu played in terms of inviting people like that to campus, this is what the fluid nature of this, i refer to it as commuter ties, a term that was borrowed talked about youth being exposed and dedicated space. when you look at the role the black colleges played going back to 1837 all the way even to now there was just dedicated space even the racialized space. black youth were exposed to. part of that development stage was not just to educators and administrators but the litany of entertainers and scholars and people who visited the campuses and very much challenge students conceptions of themselves.
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the idea that carter g woodson, constantly stayed on the ãbw eb the boys. one of my favorite stories is ã ãhim one of the students i interviewed talked about nina simone coming to campus. nina simone tells them, i've been hearing about what you guys been doing down here. it wasn't a bubble. joan baez and all these are the folks who attended, ditka gregory so many folks coming down to togo lou and other black colleges very much playing a critical role in shaping and molding the young folks they engage in. it was a very important enclave but in that enclave they were being exposed to these messages freedom of democracy of justice whether from entertainers, educators, or even the college
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professors. >> after the event my uncle told me, you better be careful. you are on a list. [laughter] >> thank you. we have another question. >> ãbmost of my life in mississippi to a great deal of it also in memphis. while at mississippi state first african american was enrolled there became a friend of him. he worked in a race relations division in memphis tennessee shortly after the team was killed when they created multiracial office to address multiple problems that were there. i was the only white on the staff. this is been a subject always been near and dear to me. i have a lot of theological roots that are not there that ought to be there.
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my question that i bring today has to do that when i first went to civil rights museum i was with a group and we walked around and looked in crowds and i saw this and that happened to see a plaque on the wall which i would didn't want to see because the man's name that was there were two men who were lynched that i had a family connection to that caused the tragedy in the 20s. i kept saying to myself as i came back the second time that time i sat down and let it soak into my mind in so many ways. it's history. let's let you talk about perhaps today and i missed some of it. it's history. i can't help but say and i don't want to get political today because i don't want to do that. but nonetheless, this is a very
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pivotal time in the state of mississippi and the election of the next governor. i believe that there are enough open-minded why people in some african america people who would willingly join hands and not look back to the civil rights era but to look to today. because they brought the opportunity to vote now is the time to see if we will vote. because we can change this by changing one person perhaps at a time but there are some key positions that are here now and will be shortly thereafter and if we could make a definite impact on these positions, it would change the state and if you change mississippi, you are beginning to change even outside the city. i thank you for this opportunity to express this.
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thank you for your book. thank you for what you've done in your writing and how it will continue to drift into the minds of many people. but even so i hope that it will be the spur that many need in order to vote and make the difference. thank you very much. [applause] works he only had time for one more question. one more question. >>. >> i was going to do to but. >> just one. [laughter] >> miss purdy, this is for you, i've had the pleasure of having you as an educator when i was in eighth grade, seventh grade 8th grade, now you are here. could you explain your journey from being a school administrator and an independent school here in mississippi to a writer? >> two minutes.
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>> thank you john. that's john sand who now works at the mississippi civil rights museum, we are very proud of him and the work he's doing. . thank you for that question. don is correct. as i mentioned i grew up attending st. andrew's episcopal school graduated there what they call alpha omega graduate. i went there from kindergarten and 12th grade. after college and masters at washington university in st. louis i came back i was associate head of the middle school. it was at st. andrews i was trying to figure out whether or not i wanted to do phd in education or phd in history. i realize my questions are largely about education they are about who gets access, who gets opportunity under what conditions did they get the access and opportunity? i wanted to focus, i wanted to blend black ãbeverything i read talked about the segregation of the academy. i wanted to see where we were. i wanted to see where black students were in the story who did not in the 21st century at
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segregation former segregation academy but what was happening at schools like st. andrews that were founded before 1954. saint andrews was a little too close to home to study when i went to graduate school at emory in atlanta and westminster can become in some ways a perfect case study. the and because it was also a day and boarding school at the time. this book began as my dissertation this is the basis, this is a significant revision of my dissertation. as an assistant professor now newly 10 year associate professor. one of things you have to do. [applause] most of us who are in history tend to draw on our dissertations as our first books. >> again, trying to have schools struggle for desegregation in mississippi
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with natalie g adams, james h adams, shelter in the time of storm. how black colleges foster generations of leadership and activism. doctor giuliani tabor, transforming the elite black students and segregation in private schools. michelle purdy, pushing forward. mr. hezekiah watkins, thank you so much. [applause] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations] >> you are watching booktv on c-span2 with top nonfiction books and authors every weekend. booktv, television for serious readers. >> here's some programs to watch out for this weekend.
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all that and more this weekend on booktv on c-span2. c-span2. check your cable guide or visit for a complete schedule. >> now joining us on booktv is alan crawford. here's his book, how not to get rich, the financial misadventures of mark twain. mr. crawford, what you want people to learn if they pick up
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your book and read it? >> abode in part as a spoof of books about successful people, and how if you just do what they did, then you, too, can be a great success in life. because having read a lot of these books, i found all woefully useless. there's even one you might've heard of called the art of the deal era terrible book. pt barnum wrote a book called the art of money getting. he made a great fortune at this point but like mark twain, went broke. he wrote the art of money getting while he was broke and the sales of that book enables them to rebuild his fortune to go on to be pt barnum 2.0.
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i think it's fascinating mark twain who are so good at so many things, was the best-selling author of this time who made more money on the lecture circuit than you did even as an author thought he could do anything. so from childhood on his great obsession in life was to make a great fortune. as a teenager before it's even mark twain when you still sammy clements, he had a scheme for going to the amazon and cornering the world cocaine market. nothing came of it. be hag is a a term, i can't remember the originator of the term but it's big hairy audacious goals, right? we are all supposed a big hairy audacious goals. and if you just try to succeed incrementally, you won't get
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anywhere. which is by the way exactly the opposite of what early rich get books and advice books recommended. this genre goes back decades, generations. there was a time when a book about how to get rich told you you could be a small town storekeeper but if you just saved a little bit, a little bit, a little bit at a time can overcome you would be a great success. >> host: allah bin franklin. >> guest: that's right. those kinds of books, there's always been a market for them. and everything mark twain does turns out wrong. >> so as they know clemens, he goes to corner the cocaine market in his time. >> guest: he tried to. >> host: what was cocaine use for? >> guest: what you learn from a book on journey to the amazon by an early explorer, was that the mine workers down there could work endless hours and not
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get tired. they were in terrible condition, freezing temperatures in water. they were down there with the silver and mercury and whatever come awful things they were knee-deep in, they never complained. they never got tired. they could go for daylight to sundown and were fine because they were getting this plan. mark twain thought fast by setting. that's the answer to the rising factories in america. if we can just get that substance here, people can work for ever and they would be cheerful and happy, uncomplaining workers. office morale will not be a problem. corporate culture will not be a problem. they will be happy all the time. he went to new orleans, with going to get a boat to the amazon and found it there was no such book going and it wouldn't
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be one for years. so he went back and gave that dream up, but it was quickly, an energetic man so quickly he was out in the mines in nevada and he was writing a little bit. he was always had some enterprise going. in fact, it can be argued that writing for mark twain was a mere means to an end. it was his site council. it was his side gig. because what you really want to do was make a lot of money. he found out he was good at this. people thought his articles were funny and he wrote a letter to his brother and he said i'm not really proud of this. this might be the best card i got to play. and, in fact, he published a book on at some of his early sketches and he wrote a letter to his mother and he said, don't expect anything out of this. i didn't write it to make money.
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i wrote it to advertise myself. he was always a great self promoter. not in a cheesy, gross way that offended people. people found him charming. so teenage years on all who want to be was a great plutocrats, and the gilded age when there were great fortunes made, technological developments were booming and he thought i can do this. that guy did it, why can't i? >> host: how well did he you do on tom sawyer and huckleberry finn? >> guest: tom sawyer did pretty well. huckleberry finn, i think, it's hard sort of do no because his books have really never been out of print. when he started his own publishing company he was convinced that his publishers were ripping them off, so knowing about book publishing
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having been micromanagement you involved in the publication of his own books, he start his own book publishing company. the first two books that come off, out of that imprint, one was the memoirs of general grant. that was the biggest publishing success of its day. >> host: that was mark twain is publishing company? >> guest: that's right. he talked grant who was dying of cancer at this time to let him publish the memoirs instead of some other publishing house that grant grant had sort of a gentleman agreement with. twain just outbid him. he said argued all this money upfront, blah, blah, blah. he published the book and it was the biggest publishing success in american history to that time. and grandes widow made the equivalent of 6.0 off of it and twain himself made about 4 million. turn substantial. >> guest: yes.
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using the equipment today of what those figures would be. but it was a huge success. i think he wrote, the first check you wrote to grants widow was $200,000 and that was in the currency of the day. but then he published a series of books that did not do so well. one was called one headways to cook eggs. one was called the speech of monkeys in two parts. these books didn't do so well. so eventually that business went broke. >> host: in the sense he lost that money he made off grants book? >> guest: yes. he was a genius of managing to lose money. >> host: did he live well? >> guest: he lived extraordinarily well. even when he thought he was 40 0 was living in the best hotels in europe. he went to europe, took assumed to europe because it was
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cheaper. they could travel all over europe, live in great hotels in the wind and kind by ground princes and british, aristocracy, and even when he is for he was doing better off than most people. >> host: was he being chased by creditors? >> guest: yes. a number of them sued him at one point, and he managed to endure himself to a wall street tycoon, a notorious robber baron named hh rogers. rogers -- hh critics said stood for hell hound, that he was just a rotations man. but -- in his business. but with twain he had a very, took him under his arm financially. managed his money. help him arrange his bankruptcy.
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and in doing that, he pulled off what some say was a pretty questionable deal, which was they transferred assets to all of mark twain books and his future books to his wife, olivia clemens. and so the creditors, twain technically had no assets. so he could kind of start fresh. rogers reputation was so terrible that one of twain's literary friends said you shouldn't deal with this man. his money is tainted. and twain said it's twice tainted. it taint might edit taint yours. >> host: how many times did he chase this goal? >> guest: many, many times. they they were taken we have lid time today. if you want to make an entire
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netflix series out of this, we could probably cover them all. he would invest in things he knew nothing about. when he was living in europe he found out about a food additive called plasma, which he said would cure the world sick and feed the world's hungry. and he said the scientific testimonials were strong enough to float gibraltar. so he installed himself as president of the american plasma company. i think he lost -- i wish i could member all of these figures, hundreds of thousands of dollars. he got infatuated with a new method of weaving carpets, which he knew nothing about. he invested a lot of money in
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this and was going to do this in the united states, and the expert said, well, there's a market for this. he lost all his money, lost immense amounts of money on that. the areas he didn't know about, for example, book publishing, as i said, and newspaper printing, he invested in a very elaborate machine for study newspaper type. he took the inventor on the payroll. he kept pouring more and more into this. and, in fact, the was a tremendous demand for this. you needed a faster, more aconite ways to set the time when twain was setting type by hand. things have changed a lot since gutenberg. twain said we can mechanize this whole thing. well, unfortunately, the
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inventor was a kind of perfectionist and kept keeping the process going so long that eventually another company came in and had a more efficient machine and cornered the american newspaper publishing printing business, that market, and twain lost millions on that. >> host: the people invest in his ideas because of his name and reputation as a writer? >> guest: no. remarkably enough, he doesn't seem to have been very successful at getting other people to come in on these deals. he went to carnegie, andrew carnegie, and he tried to get into invest, i think, i can remember exactly but i think it was -- met with carnegie and connie was like no, i don't want to.
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so twain wrote a letter to carnegie is the real daughter and said you got to talk to your father about this, give him some scotch, and still carnegie wouldn't bite but he was less offended than charmed by this ruse. no, he doesn't seem to be the successful at getting people at all to come in with him. >> host: where you come up with a concept to write "how not to get rich"? when did this occur to you and how? >> guest: it took me only about a year to write the book. >> host: you've always been a mark twain fan transit as a child but i wandered away, and managed to pick up a second copy of his 1926 autobiography. the more i read into it i thought i everybody knows the story of the successes, but i had no idea he was such a disaster with money. and so i was fascinated.
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look, as a writer you find stories that have not been told, and this one had not been told, until now. >> host: only in retrospect, ui, disappearance of twain's first writing seem like a horror for storage location. he never viewed them as such because he is not aware then or five years to, of any great literary calling. twain's bastion wasn't a work in a print shop, pilot riverboats, ripe newspapers or even as you do in his 20s, prospect at west for gold and silver. his goal was to make money and then make even more money writing books was just a means to an end. ..
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and i only realized the books i did before this one, one of them was calledtwilight at monticello, the final years of thomas jefferson which was such a tragic , we kind of story. and i wanted to write like a comedy after writing this tragedy but one of the things i realized is maybe my specialty is great americans who lost all their money because jefferson, twain. i've got aniche . if you've got any recommendation , i'll take it underenvironment . >> alan crawford, how not to get rich. the financial misadventures of mark twain is the name of the book. thanks for being with us. >> you're watching book tv on cspan2. for a television schedule,


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