tv Mississippis Old State Capitol CSPAN August 25, 2017 10:24pm-10:39pm EDT
it's something dark that should be suppressed. my own feeling is it's part of history. and there it is. and we accept it for what it is. despite the long drawn out construction, and the changes in technology and social values. that have taken place over that time, it seems to me that the real lesson is that our government is resilient. our society is resilient. that we are able to incorporate and imbody change, and tension. and find a resolution. and forme, the state house and its grounds represents the stability of the american experience. here in south carolina.
>> welcome to the old capitol museum. we are standing on the first floor in this national historic landmark. built in 1839. which makes under the circumstances 175 years old this year. this is the oldest surviving building in jackson. and a place where mississippi history happened over the 175 years many things occurred in this building within these halls that affected mississippi history. and made us what we are today. from 1839 to 1903 this building served as mississippi state house. which was the witness of many important laws passed. visits by important statesmen across the south. a lot of important events toolk took place here. mississippi su seeded from the union in in building in 1861. passed the last two state constitutions. even the one that is in
existence today passed in 1890. laws that granted rights to many of the citizens and later on laws that took away many of the rights. so it's easy to say that within the walls mississippi is where it is today due to the empchts that took place here. we discuss a number of issues, for instance greek resooifl architecture that was the style the building was building was built in. beautiful columns a great rotunda and dome. we also discuss nickels the architect of the building. a native of england. had done a lot of work in other capitols as much as alabama and north carolina. he was the second hired the state of mississippi had to fire the first architect because they didn't like his work. they kind of had to start over after the first floor.
beginnings of the building had difficult history. but nickels was able to complete the project and move on. he later went onto desun or governors mansion and old miss. a renowned architect. in a 175 years the building has had a history in regards to structure. the foundation here that we sit on is very difficult. clay has caused a lot of foundation changes over the years. there's been storms, hurricanes have ravaged this city believe it or not. 19 ot a hurricane ripped off the roof. and in 2005 of course the hurricane came through and ripped off the roof as well. which led us to the new restoration here. where we think we created the most accurate representation to date of what the building looked like back in 1839. one of the most interesting exhibits we have in the room is what we call a rebel structure. during the last restoration, the contractors and builders pulled stuff out that we put in a main
rubble structure to be a visual representation of the buildings rise and fall. so in this structure we have 1840 bricks. 1961 lighting. we have the kitchen sink that was in the lounge during the years. the dome is the distinction that most people look at as soon as you walk in. and we greet you at the front desk. we ask visitors to look up and stare at the dome rising 94 feet to the top. some of the ornamentation is original. a lot of questions we get in the building is what is original and what is 175 years old. depending on where you are you get a different answer. inside the interior dome the is about 175 years old. it's our awe moment. whether you are adult or kids who come into the building. kids love to stare up and twirl into circles. we enjoy giving them the feeling of awe. now we're standing in the
governors office here at the old capitol room. we restored it had to the best of our ability. to what is would have looked like. many descriptions of the room throughout the years. one of the most interesting comes in 1861. a correspondent was here in jackson probably coffering the su session. he wrote about the out look of the building. describes the governor office as one being of republican simplicity. which is interesting the governors office was very nice. he coming from great britain was used to covering the queens and kings. the governor office didn't impress the british correspondent very much. john jay one of the governors who served mississippi throughout the years. shefshed during the civil war. a fire eater. he was of course important to mississippi because he was of course instrumental in leading mississippi out of the union. becoming the second state to do so following south carolina. and joining the rest of the
other southern states. of course jefferson davis, mississippi's own became the president of the confederacy. the governors office had a interesting role. the building was captured several time during the war. first time was in may of 1863. when union army and soldiers first came into the buildings one of the first to come in with fred grant. the son of union general. and according to to legend and story fred grants own autobiography. when he came in there a still lit pipe from governor john jay that he took for his own use. another governor is aims. he was a governor during reconstruction. he was a union general who came down and lived in mississippi and eventually became governor. he had to deal with the violence of reconstruction. a very difficult time in mississippi. mississippi is trying to go through the years of trying to deal with the former freedman and dealing with whites who were not happy about the situation
and where mississippi was going. ames was forced to get out of the office and move out. another governor. the last governor to serve in this building. was the first to serve in the current state capitol. we call it the new capitol even though it was built in 1903. it is the new capitol to us. he had to deal with the issues of trying to maneuver himself out and relocate government to a different structure. we are now standing in the most historic room in the state of mississippi. this is the house of representatives chamber where which was a witness to many of the most important events in our states history. for instance our january 9th of 1861. delegates voted 84 to 15 to pull mississippi out of the union. and the reasons were clear. they didn't leave much doubt in regards to their documentation. the journals that were passed in the statements that were made. they were doing it to defend the institution of slavery.
there was a tremendous concern on what would happen with a new republican government and national office in the institution of slavery would be attacked and would be tried to be abolished. that's a common question we get at the museum. why did mississippi secede from the union. it's clear to defend the constitution of slavery. that i think is a different question than why did soldiers fight in the civil war. of the young man who lives in mississippi who doesn't own slaves is probably fighting and enduring the hardships due to other issues besides slavery. for home, he's doing it for his state. he's probably not doing it to protect vaifly. an institution he doesn't take part in. so i think it's a fine line that we today in mississippi and across the country struggle with trying to determine the causes of war, the reasons people fight and why this country erupted entood four years of bloody civil war. besides the passage of important legislation this room witnessed
many important statesmen who have been here in the building. one of the most famous was andrew jackson. in 1840. basically a year after the building has been built and was asked to speak here in his name sake city. jackson of course is named after our seventh president of the united states. andrew had been asked to go to new orleans to take part in the 25th anniversary of his victory at the battle of new orleans in the british during the war of 1812. when city leaders learned he was going to be there, they asked him to come here. and so he did at age 73. came to jackson it was a huge event in the young city. many of the towns residents had been asked to come to the capitol and help decorate to make it festive for the appearance. jackson was supposed to speak in this room. age 73 his voice was so frail, he was unable to do it. so his nephew actually read his speech from the front port
instead. jefferson davis came to boost sagging moral during the civil war. accompanied by his main general. many mississippiens remember quotes when jackson fell in the summer of 1863. after the civil war one of the more interesting stories in the room deals with a man named john roy lynch. he was a former slave who earned his freedom during the war. and rose dramatically throughout the ranks becoming a member of the mississippi house of representatives and eventually becoming the first black speaker of the house of representatives. spoke in this very room. he went onto become a u.s. representative. one of the biggest rags to riches stories is john roy lynch. this room is has seen a dramatic change in looks throughout the years. from the beginnings in 1839 through the epd of the civil war. this would have been dominated by white men.
serving as representatives for mississippi. after the civil war and during reconstruction, african americans had the opportunity to take part in the political process. and did that for ten, 15 years. unfortunately mississippi went through what is known as the redemption. where the white democrat party took control. for the next hundred years almost, whites again redominated the legislature and the political process. that was not over turned until the civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. a traumatic event in the history of the capitol. august of 2005 when the hurricane came through mississippi. devastating the gulf coast and making its way to jackson. where it removed our roof. prior to hurricane this building served as the history museum. native americans to the present day. the hurricane changed all that.
made us shut down as a state history museum and closed us down. until a decision to restore the building and durn it into a new museum with a new purpose. we are convinced we have done the most accurate restoration to date. with limited money and funds and time. we're convinced when you walk the halls, you're walking in the building as close as it could be to 1839. a devastating effect. and we look at it as a good thing. without the hurricane we wouldn't have got the bond built to restore the building and do the exciting interactive exhibits that really tell the history of this important place. this is a national historic landmark. the most important building in mississippi. and now when visitors come they can walk the halls, see exhibits and leave this building with a feeling of this is where history happened. history happened here is our motto. we hope people walk away with that idea.
>> coming up this weekend on american history tv on c-span 3. saturday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on real america. 1947 u.s. war department film, don't be a sucker about hate filled speech. >> i'm an average american. i'm an american american chl some of the things i see make my blood boil. i see people with foreign accents making all the money. i see negros holding jobs that belong to me and you. if we allow this to go on, what's going become of us real americans. >> sunday. we'll tour the presidential vehicles collection at the henry ford museum in michigan. then at 8:00 p.m. eastern on the presidency, hoover scholar talk abouts the relationship between the 31st president and coolage.
>> four days before the election. ever the party regular, finally gave hoover an extraordinarily e fusive public endorsement. in a prearranged telegram that evoked headlines. hoover he declared showed his fitness to be president. saying he was able, experienced. trustworthy and safe. >> american history tv. all weekend, every weekend. only on c-span 3. >> the c-span city tour together with our cable partners travels the country to learn about american history. we select a particular city to feature. tonight we're showcasing state capitols. for more information visit www.cnn.com/city tour. >> welcome to the main state