tv American History TV CSPAN August 16, 2015 4:54pm-6:01pm EDT
♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] >> tonight on "q&a," institute for policy studies fellow ends and tight -- and antiwar activist phyllis bennis. what are their origins, what do they believe? why are they so violent? all of those questions are important and that got them all in this book. but more important in some ways because it is something we can do something about, what is the u.s. policy regarding isis? why is it working? are we doing the war wrong, or is it wrong to say there should be a war against terrorism at all? i think those are the questions that in some ways are the most important and will be the most useful.
8:00 eastern and pacific on c-span's "q&a." look backcontinue our at the 1965 watts riots in los angeles. at our guest is gerald anden -- horne, professor author of "fire this time." he joined us earlier on washington journal to field questions from viewers. this is about 45 minutes. host: this month marks the 50th anniversary of the riots outside of los angeles known as the watts riots. $40 million in damage at the time. more than three dozen deaths. cbs put together a documentary that focused on the riots. it was released in december of 1965. in a moment, gerald horne is going to be joining us to talk about the significance of the events 50 years later. but first, this from cbs news.
[video clip] >> [yelling] >> it was the most widespread racial violence in american history. white people driving through the area were considered fair game whether young, old, or women. their cars were battered and burned. the mobs might grow in disappointment when a white got away and sheer like a football -- and then cheer like a football crowd when a car went up in flames. [cheering] reporter: the burning and looting, the shooting and beating, went on for nearly a week.
34 persons were killed. all but five negroes. more than 1000 persons injured or wounded. more than 200 business places destroyed by fire. 700 more smashed, looted, and damaged. negro merchants sought to protect themselves with hurriedly scrawled appeals. the cost in dollars even now is hard to estimate. perhaps $50 million, $60 million, or more. nearly 4000 persons arrested. >> get out of the car with your hands up. all of you. in the backseat, too. get your hands up, i said. drop that purse and get your hands up. get them up. get your hands up. host: that was a cbs news documentary which first aired
december 7, 1965. you will have a chance to watch that documentary this afternoon on cspan3 at 4:00. 1:00 to those of you on the west coast. it will re-air tomorrow night on cspan3's american history tv. we would like to thank cbs news for allowing c-span carry that documentary and give you a sense of what happened 50 years ago. gerald horne is joining us from raleigh, north carolina. he is a professor at the university of houston. good sunday morning. thank you for being with us. guest: thank you for inviting me. host: let's take a step back. the riots began august 11, 1955. -- 1965. just outside of los angeles. what happened? guest: in the early evening of august 11, 1965, marquette frye, a young black man, was stopped by the law enforcement authorities. the predictable happened in the
sense that there was this rumor floated that the authorities were not only manhandling mr. frye, but supposedly although falsely mishandling a young, pregnant black woman. that ignited the severe fracas that lasted for a week or so and has been bequeathed to us as the watts revolt of 1965. host: let's put into context the timing. president johnson had just signed into law the civil rights act. voting rights act was coming into play as well. that was part of the backdrop of the issue of race relations that was front and center in this country during that time. guest: you are correct. there was this perception that significant progress was being made on the race relations front. but in the neighborhoods of south los angeles, it was difficult to perceive progress was taking place. keep in mind police brutality
and misconduct, which is with us today, was no stranger to south los angeles in august, 1955. not only that, but unemployment was spectacularly rising. at the same time, you have this housing crisis still with us today in southern california whereby wages were stagnating. yet the rental costs were escalating. all of this created this nasty brew that exploded spectacularly in august of 1955. -- august 1965. i should also mention the international context. president johnson was also in the midst of escalating the war in vietnam. there was a lot of pressure to recruit young black men. of course, there was opposition to going into the military to fight for rights abroad they did not enjoy at home. all of this helped to create a toxic mixture that exploded.
host: watts is just outside of downtown los angeles. geographically, where is it located and what was this community like in the 1960's? who lived there? guest: it is interesting that today, watts is about 70% latino. back then, it was a heavily black community. keep in mind the beginnings of a sprawling and large black community in southern california and the west coast begins circa 1941-1942 when you have the population of japanese descent that is largely interned ranging , from seattle to san diego and including los angeles. in los angeles, the communities that have been known as the -- little tokyo almost overnight become bronzeville. at the same time, you have ultraconservative politics reigning in los angeles, as
exemplified by the mayor and his police chief. that did not necessarily agree with the black population that existed at that time. host: 34 deaths as a result of the riots in watts 50 years ago and more than $40 million in damage. the film courtesy of cbs news. another portion of that documentary includes a familiar face, a veteran of the johnson and later nixon administration, senator daniel patrick moynihan went on to serve in the senate in new york. at that time, he was the assistant secretary of labor talking about society and a sociological study about african americans, especially in southern california. here is more from cbs news. [video clip] >> the first study of negroes and how they live this country -- live in this country was completed only a few months ago. our government, which conducts surveys of everything from sugar
beets to social habits in cambodia, has never before taken a close look at the 21 million negroes in america. daniel moynihan was in charge of the study and staggered by it. daniel moynihan: we have had 35 years of disastrous unemployment for the negro male. he has never gotten over the depression. he has had four years in the second world war and in the korean war getting better recently. by a large, it has been going on beyond the imagination of the white world. in rates of unemployment, teenage unemployment in the white and negro world is almost 25%. can you imagine that? that is a social crime. that is an outrage. there is no society the world that would let 25% of teenagers go unemployed. about one quarter of negro families are headed by women. the divorce rate is 2.5 times what it is. the number of fatherless
children keeps growing. all these things getting worse, not better over recent years. host: daniel patrick moynihan 50 years ago. gerald horne, the problem continues today. guest: unemployment remains the staggering problem. it is probably underestimated with regard to the african american community. but i do think moynahan may have misjudged some of what he was looking at. i think it would have been more appropriate to look at the black community is akin to a canary in the mine. that is to say, the black community's an early indicator of what was to fall the country at large. for example, take divorce rates which have grown spectacularly in the last 50 years. if you look at the phenomenon of single mothers, it seemed in 1955 that was unique and peculiar to the black community.
-- it seemed in 1965, that was unique and peculiar to the black community. but we see in 2015 that is not the case. host: one of our viewers saying i have much respect for daniel patrick moynihan. he told it like it was. you can share your tweets. gerald horne is our guest. he a professor at the university of houston. he teaches history and african american studies. he joins us from north carolina. the cbs news documentary reairs on cspan3's american history tv today and tomorrow. from vallejo california, good morning. caller: i am wondering how far back in our black history you go. do you go back to when we were persecuted and pushed out of israel as we are today? do you teach students blacks, hispanics, and native americans in america today are the original jews of the holy bible?
did you even know that, number one? as far as oppression and all of that we are going through, those are just curses from the lord. the lord is cursing us for turning against him. host: we will get a response. professor horne. guest: i'm glad that question was asked because it provides me the opportunity to mention a book i published last year on the founding of the united states where i argued the founding was based in no small part on the desire by the southerners to evade abolitionism in london. the african population in the 18th century was largely opposed to slavery. therefore, that set up a dynamic where the black population was oftentimes viewed as an enemy of the state which continued during the jim crow regime and arguably continues today and help to shed light on this enormous rise in police killings that has taken place in baltimore, north
charleston, cleveland, ferguson, staten island, and elsewhere. i daresay until that is grasped, we will have difficulty understanding what is going on with regard to the black population in the united states of america. host: our phone lines are open for republicans, democrats, and independents. professor horne, how did we get to that point? guest: what point are you referring to? post: to that point in terms of improved race relations? you talked about the disparity between black and white neighborhoods and the issues in ferguson and baltimore with white officers killing unarmed black men. guest: i think some of the things being discussed now in terms of reforms, police training, body cameras on officers, need to be limited.
i do think it would be wise if the united states were to emulate south africa after apartheid which had a truce and reconciliation commission to investigate the ravages of apartheid and try to come up with remedies. the united states as real from -- has reeled from slavery to jim crow today without any -- to jim crow to what we have today without any official investigative bodies examining the consequences of the previous epics. congressman john conyers from detroit has introduced h.r. 40 which would involve what i am suggesting as we speak. host: kentucky on the democrats line, good morning. caller: thank you, c-span. you do great work. i would love to hear professor horne address the current situation where we find many white folks wanting to blame
barack obama for our current racial strife which seems a complete misreading of history. i cannot frame in my mind how folks want to blame barack obama for ferguson. i think he made a comment my son would be trayvon martin. white people have said, see that? if you could talk about that, i would appreciate it. thanks again, c-span. host: thank you, ray. is striking the caller suggests are of those that feel barack obama is responsible for the deteriorating racial relations situation in the united states of america. there are others who feel he has not been sufficiently aggressive in addressing this question. in any case, i think it would be one-sided to suggest the president inaugurated in january of 2009 somehow is responsible for the ravages of slavery and jim crow that stretches back
centuries. it seems that is scapegoating in the purest sense of the term. host: professor horne, this is from one of our viewers. bottom line, for the advancement of the civil rights movement -- did the watts riots help or harm the cause? guest: i think it was a mixed report. there were some attempts at affirmative action that came after august of 1965. you found that the los angeles times the major newspaper of that region, decided it would be worthwhile to have black, minority reporters covering sensitive racial matters. they began a program of hiring. you saw a certain kind of affirmative action within the university of california system, within the state university system. but it is also fair to say there was a white backlash, what might be called the counterrevolution, against the idea of racial equality. this was represented in november
of 1966 when ronald wilson reagan was elected governor of california defeating pat brown on the premise there would be no watts 1965 or berkeley 1964. referring to the student revolt at the university of california system. there would be no such happenings on his watch. that helped to catapult him into the white house in 1980 and helped to inaugurate a backlash against civil rights progress, represented most recently by the u.s. supreme court eviscerating the voting rights act of 1965 two years ago. that is to say, the crown jewel of the civil rights movement. host: let's bring it to today. a tweet from jane. have race relations improved under president obama? yes: it depends on what metrics you are using, certainly if you
look at newspaper headlines coming out of ferguson, baltimore, cleveland, and staten island, and given the fact the so-called oath keepers, these armed american men were patrolling the streets of ferguson a few days ago without any apparent interference from the police authorities. given such a scenario, it would be difficult to say things are moving forward. but i understand the impetus of the listener's response because if you look over the last half-century, there are more professors at university of houston today in 2015 than there were in 1965. the same could be said for campuses from the atlantic to the pacific. host: our guest, professor gerald horne. he is a graduate of columbia university and earned his law degree from the university of california, his undergraduate from princeton university, and he is currently the chair of
history and african american studies at the university of houston. he's joining us from raleigh, north carolina. turner is on the phone from california on our line for independents. good morning to you. caller: good morning. i would like to thank the professor for nailing it on the head and observing the condition of black lives is like the canary in the coal mine. the academic blackout of black history has prevented students, black and white, from learning about the real history of slavery and racism in this country. i am quite sure he is aware in 1939, dr. carter woodson formed black history week due to the lack of information about the
contributions of the african americans to this country. when people are complaining about the situation with black people, academically they have no knowledge of it because it was not taught. host: we will get a response. thank you, turner. guest: i think the caller makes a sound point, as a member of the editorial board of the "journal of african american history" started by carter woodson. we are marking our centennial next month in atlanta. certainly, the need for our organization and journal remains pressing because i do think there needs to be more progress in terms of the understanding and comprehension of the
travails and contributions of black americans. host: this shows the damage to businesses and homes in the watts area of los angeles. 34 individuals were killed. who is responsible for those deaths? guest: the law enforcement authorities. part of the problems in los angeles during that tumultuous week was the politicians decided to invite the national guard in to patrol the streets because it was felt the los angeles police department was not up to the task. the problem was the national guard was not trained in terms of dealing with protesting civilians. many of these men who came into south los angeles were not accustomed to dealing with black people, were not accustomed to
dealing with street protests. they had itchy trigger fingers. that led to these killings that you are now describing. host: lidia is joining us from indianapolis on the democrats line. good morning. caller: i'm calling from the -- minneapolis, minnesota. my perspective is a little odd because i'm almost 60. i spent the first 30 years of my life in texas, including your guest's town houston. now i have spent almost 30 years in minnesota. i have been a person -- i am white, but i have been antiracism since the late 1970's. i think the comments about the truth and reconciliation in south africa was raised. i think it is really important. i have searched out black history since i was a high school student because i felt like, under segregation, how could i understand these people
i had no exposure to? my feeling is america has only begun to deal with the impacts of slavery, jim crow, and it -- endemic racism in the last 50 years. posted the big civil rights laws that have been passed. as has been noted, we have had this huge white backlash. i want to suggest we think bigger. i know nobody wants to talk about reparations, but i feel there is a way to deal with some of the structural inequality if we were willing to have a small business administration agency dedicated to investments in black-owned businesses. if we were willing to have a department of education willing to deliberately invest in historically black colleges and universities as well as scholarships for black students.
but finally, i think we also have to look at the fact that our schools are more segregated now than they have been since 1968. post: you put a lot on the table. we will get a response. guest: i would like to echo the caller's intelligent comments about the bill introduced by john conyers of michigan with regards to reparations. the journal i mentioned has devoted many pages to the question of reparations. i would direct the caller to that publication. i should also say given the conservative tilt in the united states today, it seems to me if there is going to be meaningful steps towards equality and reparations it will require an international movement. if you look at the history of black people in north america, you will find international movements were necessary to destroy slavery. british abolitionism was probably more important than u.s. abolitionism in the
destruction of slavery. if you look at the retreat of jim crow beginning in the 1950's, if you look at the supreme court decision and brief submitted by the state department on that case, you will find the state department suggesting the united states has to retreat from jim crow because it can better charge the soviet union with human rights violations if it gets its own house in order with regards to human rights. one of the problems today is the inability or unwillingness to draw such global connections, particularly on the part of some of our leadership. host: we are talking about the watts riots 50 years later. a reminder the cbs documentary that aired in 1965 is airing on cspan3. every weekend on cspan3, we focus on american history tv. our guest is gerald horne. this is a tweet from a viewer saying, have you been personally affected by racism? guest: absolutely.
i grew up in jim crow st. louis. one of the reasons i began to study history and eventually go to law's and become a civil rights and labor lawyer before i became a history professor was because i was trying to understand how and why it was a could not go into certain restaurants, stores, or why i was followed when i went to certain stores. this was happening from an early age and has continued to this day, even though i have a head full of gray hair. you would think i was a teenager -- that is to say in the age cohort that is more likely to commit street crimes when one considers how i have been treated by the police, even in houston, texas, in recent months and years. host: steve is joining us from south carolina. good morning, steve. caller: good morning and thank you for c-span. dr. horne, you mentioned earlier
you have a new book coming out and quickly went through the ideas of the book. i frankly missed your point. i would like you to tell us more about your upcoming book and elaborate on its themes in more detail. please include the title and publisher of your upcoming book. host: thank you, steve. guest: the book was published last year by new york university press. i think he is referring to it. "the counterrevolution of 17th 1776." the thesis is one of the motive forces for the revolt against british rule in 1776 was the desire by an influential group of southerners to evade british abolitionism in england after a case which seemed to suggest the decision which applied to england would migrate across the atlantic, which in my estimation makes the creation of the united states more akin to the
unilateral declaration of independence in southern rhodesia of 1985 where there was an attempt to a white minority regime to evade african majority rule. in fact, ian smith, the leader of the outlaw regime said as much, comparing his regime to 1776. what i'm arguing in this book is the persecution we have witnessed of black people in north america since the late 18th century stems from the fact that black people opposed the creation of the slaveholders republic, opposed the jim crow regime that followed the defeat of the confederacy in the civil war, and therefore has been treated as an outlaw population. and therefore has been treated as an enemy of the state which is reflected in the police killings that have pockmarked the landscape in recent months and years. host: from new mexico, chuck is next on the republican line. good morning. caller: i have been listening.
i guess i should tell you i am asian-american. my mother came from hawaii. we moved to new jersey, so i was raised in a hostile environment for me. however, what i experienced though -- and i am upset no one has expressed -- there is a fellow, thea professor knows this. he was the first president of kenya. his presidential saying was [speaking another language] which the professor knows, means freedom and self-reliance in swahili. what i don't understand, the professor keeps saying the state or entity has to solve the problem. he was talking about freedom from colonialism.
i extrapolated that to the people. i don't know why it is the individual that has to rise above this. i was disappointed in barack obama that he did not try to raise the individual up. but instead he put blame on folks. the individual, to me, is the key to the whole situation for things to get better. unless the individual has confidence in himself, it is not going to work. i was beat up and everything when i was a kid. but i was very fortunate i had a mother that pushed me to say i could do the best i can. i went beyond seeing all of this strife and other things. i thought the individual was the big deal. i never hear anybody say that. that is my comment. i was wondering what the professor thinks about that,
that the individual should look to himself to be self-reliant. that is all. host: chuck, thank you from new mexico. professor horne? guest: the point is well taken. but let me remind the caller when japanese-americans were interned from seattle to san diego in 1941-1942, the individual merit of a particular japanese-american was not relevant. they were all interned because of this sweeping, racial categorization into which they were placed. i should also say the same holds true for black people. irrespective of our individual merit, the broad brush of racism afflicts us all. i should also mention the plight
of black people is different than other minorities, including asian-americans, because we were property in one of the largest uncompensated appropriations of property. during the civil war, billions of dollars in slave property were taken from slave owners without compensation. that left the slave owners and their families embittered and helps to underscore the kind of persecution that continues to afflict black people today, who are not only victims of racism but also targeted because they represent in human form lost fortunes. host: our guest is professor gerald horne who teaches at the university of houston. you probably heard overnight of the passing of julian bond, 75 years old. he had been battling an illness. he died in florida. this is a story from "the wall street journal."
he marched with dr. martin luther king. his name was placed in nomination to be a vice presidential running mate. he has a long legacy with regard to black issues. he stepped down from the naacp in 2010. what is his legacy? guest: it is an enormous legacy. it will be difficult to fill his shoes. julian bond was the son of a college president who spent many of his early years in nashville, tennessee, and where his father was president of the historically black school. lincoln university. he was a founder of the student nonviolent in committee founded in raleigh, north carolina, more than 55 years ago. he was an antiwar activist. he was an elected representative in the georgia state legislature. they tried to keep him from taking his seat. he prevailed by arguing his case all the way to the supreme court. he was a founder of the southern poverty law center which is still one of our most important
organizations monitoring white supremacist organizations. it will be difficult to fill the shoes of julian bond. host: from florida, lewis is next. good morning. caller: good morning, c-span. host: good morning. caller: good morning. hello? this is virginia. good morning, c-span. i would like to say as far as unemployment among black people, i went in the military at 17. i had just turned 17. i got injured and came out at 19. i have always worked. there is always some kind of job you can get. in st. petersburg, in the morning when the weather is decent, you see a lot of black
kids with brown bags, colt 45's, with cigarettes of marijuana. on the other corner you see young black girls with babies, i mean, teenagers like 13 and 14 years old. that is not the white man's fault. that is their fault. you have a lot of black people counted as unemployed that have never worked and never intend to work. but yet they are counted as unemployed. then again, i have worked since i was 17. i am 81 now, raised four children. and host: you are old enough to remember the coverage of the watts riots 50 years ago. caller: definitely. i remember a lot of things. i lived through segregation.
i lived through integration. i had four brothers. in 1952, all of us were in the military at the same time. they were in korea. all of us were in the military at the same time. they were in korea. i was in morocco. i had another brother [indiscernible] in for thestayed vietnam war. he came out a paraplegic. i just want to say one more thing. my great-grandfather was [indiscernible] my great-grandmother for less -- was from new york. her tribe was brought to north carolina during the indian wars. on the other side of my family, they were slaves. my great-grandmother and great-grandfather were slaves.
but they survived it. in this country, you may not make top dollar, but you can always survive. host: thanks for adding your voice to the conversation. gerald horne, your response? guest: i appreciate the sentiment the caller has expressed, but i would like to remind the caller that what he was describing on the street corners of his town, those are effects. they are not necessarily causes. to solve the problem he is underscoring, we have to look at causes. i don't think you'll find the causes necessarily on the street corners. you will find the causes quite frankly in the halls of power in washington and on wall street. it seems to me that is where we need to be focused. host: one tweet with regard to julian bond. one viewer saying, rest in peace. i had the pleasure of having lunch with him many years ago,
describing him a giant -- as a giant among men. julian bond passed away this weekend. he was 75 years old. john, from vancouver, good morning. turn the volume down on your set. go ahead with your question. caller: i am similar to the 81-year-old person who just called. i am an asian-american, 80 years old. i was interned for four years during the second world war. my mother never got over it. she died two weeks before i graduated from high school. experienceed by that . for 40 years of my life, i could not speak of it, so i understand what it is to have deprivation of civil rights.
we overcame it. without anyit protests, but by example of our achievements when we were given a chance. i would like to ask the professor if he would join with those of us in other minority groups who have achieved by and large our civil rights to see if there are lessons to be learned as to how we could help the black people in this country to achieve their rights as well. host: john, thank you for the call. guest: well, i would like to congratulate the caller for that proposal. let me also say in washington, d.c., there are civil rights black that bring together
americans, latinos, and asian-americans. i would point the caller to those groups. i would also say the previous caller to this one that had a similar sort of issue raised the question of asian-americans. in a book i wrote about hawaii published a couple of years ago about the joint struggle in that link together black americans and asian-americans, including some of the people friendly with the family of barack obama, i'm speaking of frank marshall davis. i would like to point the caller to some of the work i have done in this area. host: next is sharon joining us from kingston, illinois. good morning. caller: to see something positive come out of protests is always good, especially if you have a plan as to where your protest is going. i want to say i think it is common knowledge among white people that all the jerky cops hassle everybody just as much,
equally, you know. it is the same for white people. we go through the same struggle of the lady who did not put out her cigarette. i can see that happening to me. skinned, it iser common knowledge among white people that we get talked to jerky by the cops. you know they are doing worse things. i have spanish friends that get pushed around. my african american friends say they always get pulled over. my white friends heart the ever get pulled over. my spanish-speaking friends say we get pulled over, watched, and beat up more than other groups. i just want to say as a white person, is common knowledge. i know other white people have friends they have heard stories from. i want to say as a white person i have been hassled by cops a lot. they write down whatever they want in their reports. cost me $10,000.
luckily, i won in court. hassling happens. you have nice police who would never do that. but you know there are other percentages. host: thank you. i appreciate the call. we will get a response. guest: i appreciate the sentiment. i would like to echo the sentiment. i tell my students on a regular basis racism and bigotry is not like a localized anesthetic that can only be directed at the black population exclusively. inevitably, there is a spillover effect. louisiana, you had a number of italian americans lynched. you had thery ago, lynching of a jewish-american. that went directly to more
jewish-american interest in civil rights including the naacp. that alliance was very important in terms of the overthrow of legalized jim crow. i think it is important for your callers to recognize inevitably there will be a spillover affect. you cannot allow police misconduct and brutality to be targeted to black people and assume only black people will be targeted. inevitably, other communities will be targeted. host: what is the lesson of the watts riots? guest: part of the lesson of what happened in los angeles is the question of organization. 1955 was august of mccarthyism and the red scare which led to the evisceration and destruction of many racially integrated organizations of the left. this meant in august of 1965 when people took to the streets, there was not the organizational infrastructure to make sure
their sacrifice would be rewarded sufficiently. even though as noted, there was a kind of affirmative action that did emerge from the ashes of august of 1965. but that was followed by a white backlash or counterrevolution which arguably we are still enmeshed in. host: gerald horne, who is a professor at the university of >> you are watching american history tv. like us on facebook and c-span -- @c-span history. now a look at highlights of the c-span cities tour where we learn about the history of cities and towns across america in cooperation with our cable partners. to learn more about the stops on her 2015 tour, visit c-span.or ? cities tour
woody: the population there is one third indian, when heard negro, one third negro, one third white people, i actually picked up a lot of songs. ♪ this land is your land this land is my land from california to the new york island from the redwood forests to the gulf stream waters this land was made for you and me ♪ deana: woody was born in 1912
in oklahoma, and that we are very proud have his work back in oklahoma, where we think it belongs. he was an advocate for people who were disenfranchised, for those people were migrant workers, from oklahoma, kansas, and texas during the testable bowl era who found themselves in california literally starving, and he saw this vast difference between those who were in the haves and the have-nots, through his music. the woody guthrie exhibit, the plan was to have this research facility in tulsa, and as the concept grew into the idea of opening up these archives to a new generation and teaching people about woody's important part in american history, this museum came to me, and we really
consider it a place to inspire people. investigating what would he did with his talents, and then inspiring people to go and do something of their own. ♪ >> when the sun come shining and i was strolling ? deana: many of the people who were displaced were looking for a better life. some have lost their arms for closure. others had lost their farms -- some had lost the farms due to two -- the farms due to the dustbowl. plenty of work, come to california, and we will have plenty of work for you. it is a wonderful place. it was a marketing way by large landowners who were trying to
get very cheap labor, because they knew if they had an overabundance of labor, they did not have to pay them that much. the workers had no right, so when woody arrived and saw that, it did not seem right, so in the land of plenty to allow families to struggle so horrifically and to degrade them in a way that makes them feel less than human was not acceptable. this area of the center focuses on the dustbowl in experience and the dustbowl era, and since it was such an important part of who woody was and started his work, it is significant to mention. also, it is an important part of our history as oklahomans. we want people to know the resilient people they came from,
and the way they persevered in the face of this natural disaster that was actually man-made. had the plains not the over farmed like they were. and there was woody's writing, items about the dustbowl, migrants and what we were dealing with, and a sketch of him going to california, and then one of the scrapbooks, it is one of my favorite pages. it is just a short, little notation in answer to some questions that were posted about him, and he just says, "oh, yeah, i will do what i can to help the folks of oklahoma. don't worry." that speaks to who he was and what he was attending to do.
also, we have books that woody wrote. there was a nod to john steinbeck and the family. ♪ >> and he said goodbye to the mother that he loved everybody might be just one big soul it looks that way to me everywhere you look in the day or the night that is where i'm going to be, soul that is where i am going to be wherever little kids are hungry wherever people are wanting to be free that is where i am going to be,
that is where i am going to be ♪ deana: then "if you aint got the do ra me," and they were told if they did not have the money, they would not get into california, and the very young and very old died of dust pneumonia. we have 46 songs in his own voice. most of the time when people hear woody guthrie songs, it is not him singing. it is other people singing. he spent his times -- type in
migrant worker camps and at rallies, so he did not spend a great deal of time in the recording studios. that is what makes the recordings he did so significant and so important to us. ♪ >> the rain come down ♪ deana: woody definitely had themes to his writing. woody wanted to make sure his people were well represented in his artwork and his lyrics. there are some sketches here. the city of los angeles, no children wanted, and you have the shining city in the
background. i do like that he said there is one consolation left to children who are raised in the sun. they will always be the brightest. he was always with the migrant, displaced workers. he felt the one way that they could actually make a difference, that they could create workers right was to unionize, and at this time, that was a pretty dangerous concept. today, it is, yes, i will join a union, and that is not so much of an option without facing some kind of violence, so in these lyrics, the 1913 massacre, he talks about the party where where the union members were joining during christmas, and they created a panic by saying
there was a fire and then locked the doors. and that was in calumet, michigan. ♪ >> he screams, and he says, there is a fire a lady, she hollers, saying there is no such a thing there is no such a thing ? ♪ deana: i think woody would go back into history and research items that were still pertinent to what workers were facing, and in the first line, he says, just he says, "take a trip back to me to -- with me to 1913." so he is pointing out that this fight that they are facing for
workers, for the displaced oklahomans, or problems that they are facing are still alive today, and these people who face this disaster should not be forgotten. again, woody was an artist, and he used his artwork sometimes in a playful way. other times, for social commentary. oftentimes a combination of both, so he has almost a little story that he tells about the hand, the worker. the hand thinks it over, and the hand cuts the boss out. the boss yells. law and order comes, and hand is charged with trying to overthrow the u.s. government.
so if you have these troubles, join the movement. well, currently, in the area of the center dedicated to "this land is your land, quote -- land," we have the original handwritten lyrics on display, and while most people recognize the song as a sing-along from our elementary school days, the song as a sing-along from usually, that did not involve singing the fourth and sixth verses come which were much more a social commentary about how things could be improved in our society. and yes, we have a beautiful land, and he paints this as he
traveled from coast to coast, but he wants to point things out about people and how we are treating the people and how we should be treating people better. ♪ there was a high wall there that tried to stop me. ♪the sign was painted private property on the backside it did not say nothing this land was made for you and ne me ♪ deana: the people starving outside this beautiful land, and saying, no, you have to keep out of this private property. it did not go along with what would he thought this demonstrated our beautiful country and what we have to offer citizens. ♪ this land was made for you and
me ♪ deana: he was the person who gave a voice to them. ♪ >> this land was made for you and me ♪ weekend,hout the american history tv as featuring highlights from c-span's cities tour, when we go on the road to learn about american history. learn more about the cities that c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. you are watching american history tv, all weekend, every weekend on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook @c-span history. tv'sweek, american history
follow the c-span cities tour as we travel outside the washington beltway to communities across america. >> the idea is to take the programming for htv, american history television, and book tv beyond the beltway. to produce pieces that are more visual and provide a window into the cities that viewers would not normally go to that have really rich histories and a rich literary scene as well. >> a lot of people have heard the history of the big cities like new york, l.a., chicago, but what about albany, new york? >> we have been to over 75 cities.
we will have hit 95 cities in april 2016. >> most of our programming on c-span is event coverage. coverage not event pieces. they are shorter. they take you someplace. they take you to a home, a historic site. with our cable series to explore the history and literary culture of various cities. citye key entry into the is the cable operator who contacts the city. in essence, the cable industry brings us there. >> we're really looking for great characters. you really want your viewers to be able to identify with these people that we're talking about. experienced type of programming. where we are taking people on the road to places where they can touch things, see things, and learn about -- it is not just the local history because a lot of the local history plays into the national story. >> if somebody is watching this, it should be enticing enough that they can get the idea of the story but also feel this is just in our backyard.
let's go see it. >> we want viewers to get a sense that, yeah, i know that place from watching one of our place -- pieces. >> the c-span mission as we do with all our coverage believes in what we do on the road. >> you have to be able to communicate the message about this network in order to do this job. we it has done the one thing wanted it to do -- which is build relationships with the city and our cable partners and gather some great programming for american history tv and book tv. >> watch the cities tour on the c-span networks to see where we are going next, see our schedule at c-span.org/ cities tour. tv'sweek, american history american artifacts takes viewers behind the scenes at archives, museums and historic sites.