tv Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse CSPAN January 4, 2018 11:36pm-12:38am EST
watergate and the rise of partisanship. commemorating civil war reconstruction in national parks, and the new birmingham civil rights national monument. live coverage of the american historical association annual meeting saturday on "american history tv" on c-span3. >> for nearly 20 years, in-depth on book tv featured the nation's best known nonfiction writers for live conversations about their works. this year, as a special prong, we're featuring best selling fiction writers for our program. in-depth fiction edition. join us for our first program sunday at noon eastern with david ignatius, the author of several national security thrillers including "agents of innocence," "body of lies," "blood money," and the quantum spy. our special series in-depth fiction edition with author david ignatius sunday live from
noon to 3:00 p.m. eastern on book tv on c-span2. >> hi, i'm john farrell, a producer on our cities tour team. this year we visited 24 cities exploring their unique history and literary life. right now we're going to show you several stops from our visit to that coma, washington, a city chosen as the western terminus of the northern pacific railroad. >> the area we're standing in right now is in the southern section of puget sound which is the sort of washington state and the pacific northwest. it's kind of great inland water. when the transcontinental railroad aim, there was talk of one day being able to span puget sound but it really wasn't an undertaking anybody was prepared to do. during the depression, northeasterly policemans like the building of the grand cooley dam and stuff, there were big job creating public works projects happening in the
pacific northwest. and in the mid-1930s, there began to be talk about creating a bridge over puget sound to reach from tacoma to the kitsap peninsula. >> tacoma narrows bryn was open on the 1st of july in 1940. after two years of construction. the tacoma narrows is also a bit i've wind tunnel. and people working on the deck began to notice movement. and almost like airplane wing lift in the bridge. so unlike just kind of horizontal movement, they began to feel a vertical lift in the bridge especially in the center span. you know, there was no suspension bridge, anything like this anywhere in our part of the world anywhere in the pacific
northwest. so there was an unfamiliarity with just how a big thing like this was supposed to babe. so people excited about it, there is a certain musical kind of gracefulness about a bridge like this. so people i guess just wanted to think it wasn't anything wrong that it was normal and once they would get all the concrete down on the deck and everything, the additional weight was added that that would all go away. then as we went out of summer and began to get into fall and the winds picked up a little bit, our prevailing wind out of the southwest which blows almost directly on to -- across the bridge deck, they began to notice that the, that, there was an undulation in the deck. and by fall, soldiers were coming out from the military base for the novelty of riding bridge. so they would go out and kick their feet over the railing and stand on the outside of the bridge and lean out as far as
they could and that center deck of the bridge would be rising not just inches but feet. to a point where the undulation was so severe, that two automobiles or a truck and an automobile coming in opposite directions, the headlights of the vehicle coming at you would disappear under the rolling kind of hill of this of the deck. so for conservative people, something was horribly wrong from the very beginning. for a community that was proud of their new bridge, for the many people that participated in building the bridge, it was unthinkable that this was wrong. but the engineers began to work on the idea of some stiffening of the brick. they thought that the railings on the side could be converted into sort of deep i beams and that that would add some rigidity to the bridge. and so some of those minor
structural additions, modifications were implemented or were about to be implemented as we got through october of 1940, and by early november of 1940, really only four months, four and a half months after the bridge had been completed, the weather began to shift into its winter patterns. and that have really was the bellwether of what was about to happen. on the morning of november 7th, the winds kicked up to about 40 miles an hour and they were fiercely directed right at the side of the bridge as if the way wind comes over the wing on an airplane. and instead of the normal undulation of the bridge, the deck began to twist began to turn, and everybody noticed immediately that had been watching the bridge that that
was a behavior people had not noticed before. and so early in the morning of the 7th, there were hundreds if not thousands of people that had come out on both sides of the bridge to be able to start of to watch what was happening to start to watch this behavior. the bridge keepers it was a toll bridge. so the bridge keepers had decided that they would close the bridge. this just was wrong. it just was not safe anymore. and indeed, it was -- it was just not a -- not a action that should happen with an inanimate object of this size. one last car was coming across the bridge even though the access to the bridge had been shutoff. there was one last car coming across the bridge. a man with lis coming from his summer home over on kitsap peninsula headed towards tacoma. had a cocker spaniel with him in the car and by the time he got
to the most severely moving part of the bridge deck, he couldn't control the automobile. so the car swung just screeched around and sort of ended up kind of diagonally across both lanes on the bridge and he jumped out and ran and got off the bridge. and then for the next 30 or 40 minutes, the bridge went into just a violent just movement that no one had seen before. and all of the crowds on both sides all sort of you know, closed in to just watch. so there was i think everyone started to suspect that the impossible was about to happen, that the bridge was going to give it up, was going to fail. with no one really on the bridge strangely enough, a university professor who had worked on trying to solve the puzzle,
there was enough time for people to be able to get out there and here's a university of washington professor far quarson ran out onto the bridge trying to get the dog out of the car. and there's great foot and of him. it looks like a steven spielberg movie. today you watch that footage and you cannot even imagine that somebody would run out onto the bridge and you know with this tearing sort of deck. he got out there, the dog was too terrified to get out of the car so he gave up and kind of strolled back. was knocked down a couple times by the movement of the bridge. finally got off the bridge and then in the few moments that followed, the deck tore away from the hangers and they witnesses talk about it being like listening to gunshots because the julys they're called, these big bolts that are the cable kols down, goes
through the deck and then there's a big bolt on the bottom to keep it from pulling out, those julys begin to pop and the cables begin to snap under the force. the light standards on the bridge are just cutting, swirling across rapidly and catching on the cables. and in just a moment, the connection between two sections of the bridge deck fail and there's a violent twist and tear of the deck. and in the moments ha followed that, huge sections all begin to fail. and most of the center span of the bridge underneath the big suspension cables falls away, drops away from the bridge and then just plunge into puget sound. no one is killed in the incident. no one's even hurt. so had he demolish as much as they can this in november of
1940 and then as they begin to think about really having to reengineer the whole thing, the cloud of war close in the second world war, and by that time, they realize there's no way during the war effort they're going to be able to get the bridge rebuilt and then pearl harbor happens. the bremerton shipyards become a critical strategic thing and the focus shifts away from public works projects and in fact, the towers and the steel on the bridge is actually removed and brought into the war effort recycled and turned into bullets and thanks and whatever. actually, sections of the bridge of the steel are actually used on the alaska highway to build a highway up to alaska during the second world war because of the land lease program antis with
the northwest and alaska. so it really, the remnants of galloping gertie set in the channel through the war and then it's only after the war that they beagain to reconstruct another suspension bridge and then in 1950, the second tacoma narrow bring is complete. that's the bridge we see in the distance here. the steel bridge that's standing, the steel towers in the distance. i doubt that there's a textbook or a reference book written about bridge engineering that doesn't include tacoma in the index because of the tacoma narrows bridge. and it's impossible for me to imagine that engineering students all over the world have seen the film of a galloping gertie's collapse. it is one of those absolutely
spell binding moments in engineering history, one of those disasters, those utter failures of design that is completely captured on film. and it is amazing. it still is jaw dropping to see a huge endeavor like this, a physical object move with of this much just dance almost with this much movement that are out of the parameters of the original design. >> now more of c pan's visit to that coma washington. andrew gomez shares the story of how tacoma's chinese population was driven out of the city in 1885. i think that this is a perfect setting to tell this type of story because too often i think
this type of public face is just about the aesthetic, it's just about enjoying the natural beauty that's all around the sound. but i think it's important to point out to people the history of this place. and the complicated history of this place and what went into founding this beautiful place. these are all part of the same story. the fact you're able to enjoy this, you have to understand this piece of history to understand why you're enjoying this park and this part of tacoma. so beginning in the early 1880s, there started to be a growing sense of anti-chinese sentiment. in the 1870s, they were able to get by essentially. the conflict wasn't as obvious. but at the beginning of the 180s, there were a series of can't chinese incidents that happened in other parts of the united states and there was a sense this was coming up here part driven by officials and residents that the chinese exclusion act wasn't being upheld that there were undocumented chinese coming
through canada. and so far you started to get the sense that there was something brewing here in tacoma. in february of 1885, a group of tacoma leaders including the mayor. >> reporter: jacob wise back, a german immigrant had a meeting at wise bach's grocery and they started to come up with ideas how to deal with the chinese population in the city. something just happened in california. in northern california, they had just expelled their chinese population and there were a couple tacoma residents there when it happened. they're copping into the meeting saying maybe there's a way we could also expel our community. it started with the initial meetings here in february in ta coax ma. in the following months, there was this anti-chinese congress that was primarily led by leaders in seattle and that coma led by wise back pril earl that would meet here in catomyma, occasionally in seattle. they would come up with the plans. everything really went into
motion starting in september. because in september of 1885, the rock springs massacre happened in rock springs, wyoming where at least 28 chinese miners were murdered by white miners in the area setting off a chain of events happening here in the washington territory. there were isolated incidents of attacks on chinese in squawk valley in what is now isiqwa, in new castle, black diamond, growing and taggism against the chinese community here. that congress met at the end of september led by jacob wise back and put this plan into motion. what you start to see are plans beak saying the chinese population of western washington needs to be out of here by november 1st. they set a deadline. so what's happened. in terms of what happened on the day off, the november 1st deadline actually passed. by then the majority of the chinese population left the city in fear.
there were 500 to 700 chinese people in tacoma. by the day of the expulsion there were only about 200 left. november 3 the expulsion happened. the mob xop poses of 200 people and swelled to 500 white ta kommiaens went house by house expelling them. any chinese person essentially that tried to fight back or question what was happening, there were instances where it became vi leapt. they were forcefully expelled. had you that mob going through the city, lining up all the chinese and once they had them all, chinese residents were forced to march to lake view train station which is several miles south of tacoma to get on a train to go to port lap. after the expulsion happened, there was a legal case to be made. what are you going to do to the people that led this act that was clearly illegal. they rounded up 27 of the leaders of the expulsion who were known as the ta kom na 27.
it was a strange who had podge of people, people like judge james wicker sham, like the mayor and others who were just working class residents of the city. they were rounded up but they were never brought to trial. so a series of legal technicalities happened and they were never brought to justice. as a result, they were all free to go back to that coma and there was no lee consequence for what happened. the united states government later issued a one-time lump sum payment of a little over a quart quartermyon dollars to chinese government for a series of anti-chinese incidents including the tacoma expulsion but there was very little in the way of justice in terms of what happened afterwards. the chinese community in tacoma following the expulsion was nonexistent for decades. it became known as an area inherently inhospitable to chinese immigrants. it's not till the mid 20th century where you start to see concerted numbers of chinese
americans moving into tacoma again. the chinese exclusion act was held into place till pretty much during world war ii. that's why you don't see a chinese community here and that's why there was very little in terms of remembrance of the events up till the 1990s. it was well over a century of time that passed without any real public acknowledgement from the city that this happened. so the plans to build chinese reconciliation park were announced in the 1990s essentially through a series of agreements which included a formal apology by the city council of tacoma for the expulsion. the park broke ground in 2005 and the first phase of the park was completed in 2010. there are two more phases of the park that are still yet to be built. but when visitors come to the park now, what they see, first of all it, overlooks this beautiful part of tacoma, commencement bay. you are walking through essentially this walkway and a bridge which leads to this chinese pavilion down there
which is sort of the center fees of the park. that was constructed in in china in one of our sister cities and put together here. that's what visitors can do, walk through the park and see different plaques that explain where the chinese community used to live and what happened during the expulsion. so i think when people come into the park, they walk away with aupding that this is a city with a complex history. it's not just a pretty little town next to the water but it has a complicated immigrant history like a lot of other towns in the american west and when you look at a city like tacoma, overwhelmingly white, it's not that way by accident. whether we're docking about displacement of natives, whether we're talking about the chinese, red lining of african-american communities where they can only live in certain parts of the city, there's a reason the city looks the way it does. this story is an important part
of that. i think that's what visitors take a small part of when they walk away from it. >> washington's importance in the national sufage effort comes by the fact that we were the first state in the 20th century and followed almost a 20-year lag between states adopting their own suffrage amendment and it takes a certain number of states to pass a national amendment to the constitution. and we were the fifth state and all of the first states, the first about six, were located here in the west. and washington became a pivotal state making that leap into the 20th century and after we passed it in 1910, there was a dop know effect across the country. immediately oregon passed it in 1911 followed by california, and then moved to the dakotas,
nebraska, montana, and then progressed across to in 1919 and then of course, the national amendment passes in 1920. so you could call us a big turning point in the effort to gain suffrage for women in the united states. in 1848, the big event that began the suffrage movement however, did happen in new york. that was the women's convention in in senecafalls led by susan b. anthony among other leaders. interestingly enough right after that she began, susan b. anthony began a whirlwind trip to territorial areas of the united states and states tols advocate for women's rights. and to vote. and one of the early leaders in the 20th century in washington state saw her in 1848 as an
8-year-old. barnstorming through illinois and that is emma smith davos who ends up becoming a leader of the washington state suffrage movement and lived and worked right here in tacoma near our history museum. she saw susan b. anthony in central illinois when she was years old. and susan b. anthony asked, who in the audience believes women should have the right to vote and as an 8-year-old, she stood up. and that was a memorable experience that definitely has a connection to our state from 1848 right through to 1910. right about the same time as the women's convention seneca falls, women and men of course, families who are traveling west, these were hardy people and at that time, about 1850, congress passed the oregon donation land claim laws.
anybody who came to the oregon territory before 1849 got outright 640 acres of land. after 1850, they cut that in half to 320 acres but the interesting thing is that that amount of land half of it was in the woman's name. 320 acres were given to a couple. if you were a single man, you got half of that, if you were a single woman, you got half of that. but half of that acreage was always in the woman's name. so right away, women have land claim ownership. and that was an important part of the oregon trail era. by 1853, washington becomes a separate territory from oregon and in the first territorial legislative meeting which was in olympia which, of course becomes our capital city eventually, the early parties, early delegates
wanted to pass women's suffrage in washington. that was part of the platform for the first legislative session in that territorial congress for washington and it got voted down. ashington and it got voted down but it was got voted down but it was brought up right away captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 legislature who advocated for women's suffrage. well, fast forward to the 1880s and washington is working very hard at the effort to become a state, which is achieved in 1889. but in the 1880s women in the territory win the right to vote. in 1883. now immediately they start to vote for a more progressive agenda in the territorial legislature and they also unseat some of the more corrupt leaders in communities like it seattle
mayor who was known to have influence in -- with the saloons, prostitution and gambling. they vote him out of office. so you can imagine that suffrage is not proving that popular with a lot of people and while the legislature, the legislature in those days, before we were a state could vote yea or nay and pass suffsuffrage. and women argue that the first territorial constitution said he or male in a lot of places and it should be he or she or women or men and they voted for it in 1883. it passed. but who got it rescinded in 1888? the territorial supreme court
who was opposed to women voting and one particular justice really, really opposed it and opposition came because men did not want women serving on jurys and that is where the division came up and the territorial supreme court short version is they voted to -- they passed a decision that removed women's rights to vote. so by 1906 emma smith, that little girl who stood up for susan b. anthony in 1848 has relocated here with her husband. she has in the interim years been a paid staffer working on behalf of suffererage and temperance throughout the midwest. and by paid, she was paid i think $100 a month by the national american women's suffrage association. so she comes out here to become
the leader of it washington state suffrage movement. by 1906 her husband works for the great northern railroad so she has a salary and he gets her rail roetd passes. so she can travel are had over on a free railroad ticket. so they move to tacoma and she, along with others, establishes the washington equal suffrage association which she's president of. and i thought it was interesting that her message becomes the most powerful. to counteract this view that washington women don't want suffrage. they really work hard organizing through 1905, '06, '07, '08. and we know we want this suffrage bill passed.
and so we want to get an amendment out to the voters and has to be passed by a 2/3 of male voters in the state of washington to pass. so we have a combination of important women coming together. emma smith deveaux our tacoma based leader of the washington state suffrage group joins up with this very colorful woman named may arkwright hutten. she was a camp cook in the mines in the idaho. in the coeur d'alene district. they buy an interest in the hercules mine. well, the hercules mine becomes the most profitable silver mine of that era in idaho.
they become millionaires overnight. so you have emma who's kind of comes out of the temperance abolitionest suffrage movement and may who comes to this from a colorful past and together they descend on olympia and the legislature, that is all men of course. and they work together in different ways to get the legislature to approve an amendment for the ballot. so in january of 1909 the house votes for the amendment and it passes by i think 10 to 20 votes and then in february the senate votes, the washington state senate passes by a bigger majority and on february 25th, 1909, the governor signs a bill
to create the opportunity for washingtonians to vote for suffrage for women in washington state. and so that vote is going to come up before washington men in november of 1910. and so the suffrage amendment passes on november 8th, 1910. and washington becomes the fifth state in the union to pass suffrage. the people coming west were people who were probably risk takers, were looking to break out of some conventional life that they might have experienced in the east and a lot of suffragets came out here and worked from the east and worked hard because they saw the opportunity.
i guess when you get my age and you're still fairly active. i'm still an advisor to the black collectives, political strategy committee. and you're telling people things that have happened to you in your life and they invarably will say man, i wish you would write that down. aren't you working on a book, doc. aren't you doing this? that sort of thing. and so in my writing of course which i've done a lot of essays and that sort of thing, it made sense. the name of my book is fighting for dreams that mattered and i
wanted people to know what it was like in such a way that it doesn't kind of try to bring out all of the bad things and bad people in such a way that it's destructive in your life. and there were so many people who have been great to me. and part of the movement. they're still out there and they're fighting as hard as i for equality, justice, a good life, acceptance and valuing yourself. without mad all it time. just all the time. and so those were great incentives for me. because i've come through some
storms. born in gilmer, texas and that's a speck of a town in east texas. my child hood was really good. because i had a mother and father who were ideal. i can remember the songs that my mother would sing for us as we would get up in the morning. ♪ good morning captain rooster i wish i had your wings ♪ and something like that. fortunately we started in detroit in 1935 i think when my father and his friend came that 1156 miles. i did a google on that and found out exactly 11 -- but the roads were so bad you could only do about 50 mile as day. in detroit, at that time you had had the polish community.
michigan was all polish. mayor and sits in the middle of detroit like highland park sits in the middle of detroit. so ethnically you had separation. killed in detroit. and the various races separated and so china town, for instance, those were hard and fast lines and where it black community lived. were hard and fast lines. and in high school, for instance, that's when i hit my first real hit in the gut. i've always had good
hand/eye/dexterity etc. so shop was where i really wanted to be and i if joyed it. not recognizing that in detroit ethe work force came right out of high school. so the detroit shops were fantastic. high school shops. and i got in with a good teacher and i grew in that. i became a foreman of our shop for two years, the last two year ochz our shop and detroit used to have an apprenticeship program. you would come out of shop recommended by your shop and principal and you'd compete like a football game for who can operate a shop milling machine or laids and how well can you do
it? and they'd judge your stock. well, i would submitting mine. that was five or six guys from my school that had had been reached as apprenticesh. and you were king pens when you got an apprenticeship with dodge, ford, and packered, believe it or not. but my stock came back marked unacceptable. and my shop teacher and my principal had to call me in because i wanted to know what the hell was going on. and i got in the room and here these people they paid decision that they would submit my work
and that they would verify that i was a good technician and really should be adjudicated with the rest. it was the shops and the unions that made the decision that no black person would be admitted to an apprenticeship program at that time. now this was probably mid-40s. about '46/'47. and you just didn't get in. and they wouldn't accept you. and so when that happened, it really was a kick in the gut. i remember not wanting to do anything else and so they let me hang around the shop all the time. so that was my first real experience in discrim discrimin situation. after that experience, the next
was well, now that you've graduated from high school, what are you going to do? so i tried business college for a while. the old man felt i could get into business that way. so one day he said i think i found something for you. and he took me to a dental laboratory where two black guys who just got out of service decided they would open a school. the g.i. bill, you can do are had kinds of things and they were going to open this dental laboratory school and for whatever reason it didn't go but they were agreeable to taking on me and when i walked in there and could smell that burning wax and carving and you had forms that you poured for your molds, all of that, it was just me. and so i really spent it next
two years as an apprentice. and back then you paid your way. 300 bucks down, $15 a month. and one day i calculated that for today's dollars but it was college education. and so once i did that, completed that, my sisters had graduated from high school. they sent me aught to meet relatives to get us out of the house and no sooner than i got on the train almost war in korea broke out and i had had had become -- what do you call it? a national guardsman? 1279th combat engineer.
and if we ga utto california and had had to almost turn around and come right back because they had had called up my unit. and in that time we still had black units and this was one of the last of them. they declared segregation of the military units undesirable. i won't say they laid the law but they started trying to integrate us. and so we got to tacoma, washington that way. when they told us we were going to washington to fort lewis, we didn't have a clue of where that was. but here it was all detroiters, all young black men coming from detroit to washington and by the time we cross montana, we had the feeling we weren't going near d.c. so now we started trying to figure out what was in
washington stated and we got here. so that's the beginning of how i found tacoma, washington. the first issue for me was i was still in uniform just from detroit. one of the things i did in detroit every saturday was roller skate. and roller skating was big. we had, in detroit like i say, you had had the paradise bowl, black. i don't know what they call the other one but it was white. we roller skated to down home blues. they roller skated to i don't know what they did. but we played our music and they played an organ. just that difference. i was on my way downtown just to see the city, get out and before i got married and i saw skating rink. man, i got off the bus in
uniform and hot footed over to the window and i wanted a ticket and the young lady said just a moment. i said oh, god. here comes the gentleman who said we worked something out with your preachers and the colored will roller skate and they're just welcome on wednesdays. and i said you mean i can't just buy a ticket? no, no, no, we don't mix it up here. and i said -- so you leave. and just what? so i left there and later as i became more involved in civil rights, really through the naacp, these were the kinds of things i wanted to knock out of the park. i wanted to stop discrimination in housing.
it ain't fair. like young people coming up it's not fair. well, it wasn't fair. but it was accepted. discrimination is a strange animal. it was accepted by white people and accepted by black people. well, you can't go over there. you just can't do that. that didn't go over with me. restaurants that did not serve black people, signs that i hadn't seen before. we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. they meant that. and then underneath that they'd have other signs no indians period. they treated the indians like dirt. and all of those kind of things started getting at me and as you get working with the naacp and you start hearing your own elders at that time talking
about the techniques we're going to have to use to move people's hearts at that time. we would boycott companies, mrmr. mr. epps and johnny epps and jimmy patterson became -- we three became the naacp's job core. and we'd go to places and literally talk with folks like sears and penny's and you have no black people working here? well, we haven't anybody that's qualified. we would hire you but -- and at sears we went there several times. the guy was really cordial purspurs pers person. but as i say if you accept
discrimination, it becomes natural. so the next thing they would do is try to justify -- we haven't found anybody that's qualified, etc. sw so when mr. patterson and epps and i found sears at least reasonable to talk with, we had had the job then of finding somebody for emtthem and by the time we got to the sixth or seventh person we sent in, well qualified people, entry level, we decided easter is coming up and we're going to make some signs and so we got ourselves somebody with a mimeograph machine and we made signs that said easter is coming. shop where you can work. sears & robuck will not hire
black people. naacp. we went back down there and we were talking with this fellow again and as he was saying we hire young white girls and start them off in the glove and hosiery department and i remember mr. epps saying why don't you hire some dumb black girls and put them in the same position? he got hostility. so when we walked in with our flyers and said we're hit the parking lots, putting a flyer on every wind shield we can find and every church and we're going to mail them to portland naacp and seattle naacp and ask them to join us in sending it to chicago. and i'll be dammed if things didn't break. all the sudden if you would just
hold off, they were able to find ella -- oh, i can't think of her name right now but she was hired. and all the sudden they were letting everybody know sears does hire. they hired her and put her right in front of the credit area. you used to have to sit in the chair and let them people ask you all kinds of questions about your job, about how much do you pay for laundry, how much is your house rent, everything you can imagine to get credit and you'd be out there on that bench. well, everybody could see ella. and sometimes you would go just to see her work, just to see her there. we started at grocery stores.
there was a king grocery store. safeway hurried up and hired a couple of box boys. and so we were really, really successful at that. and then we moved on to public accompidation. the restaurants. and by that time the state of washington listed public accomdition, employment and public housing but there was no teeth to it but they passed it. so we would start to move the use it. and all of a sudden we had places like the top of the ocean. we had to fight but we got in there. and we had a big naacp dance there. well, black people not being
allowed accommodation there before, just blew it out. i mean everybody and his brother suited up. and we a wonderful time. they made money and the naacp made money and so we kept on moving and go from one to the other and so we began to be pretty successful. but we weren't getting the ac m accommodation we really wanted from a city counsel. that's how i got involved. and so it gets right down to as some people have told me. you got to stop going up screaming at the counsel because we're not going to get anywhere with you doing that. no, you want to get on the other side of that bench, you're going to have to calm down and i got that from whites and blacks and so i had to change my attitude
because i really realized that you on the other side of the bench makes the law, you can bring up the issues that are germane and pertinent and very important to are of us but you got to cut it out. you got to calm down, you got to reach this phase where you can take a blow and realize it ain't your death blow. it isn't a death ploy. you keep right on pushing. by the time i was 67 or 68, we had a little riot in the hilltop area, that was '68, i think. i decided to run and got whacked. '68 and '69, the council got so
bad the city of tacoma recalled a majority of them in a vote. it wasn't a squeaker. they had to withdraw. of that group, so now we've got five openings and i'm going to be one of them. i had no question in my mind, i am not here to play. i've done all i can to be a good council representative. so i got appointed in 1970. me and jerry and i, so that we would have a quorum. the governor appointed somebody, an attorney, who would not run but after we got a quorum, we could start doing business. that's when it really realized for me, now that you have some
measure of authority, you still can't do it alone. you have got to be able to bring an issue that at least four other people can join you in. so then we began to work again on housing, but they had teeth now. we were very successful. i found that was the way we needed to grow. i think the most important to me was that there were a surprising number of white people who knew wrong as wrong and would stand up. then, we got a lot of help from white ministers as well as blacks, that saw civil rights as a way of bettering our lives without destroying our community. we didn't burn ours down, we didn't.
it was because we started working collaboratively with the powers that be, city manager, city council. we had more people speaking up for our rights than we had for following lawless and all them clowns down in the south. you would think that once you got appointed to the council things would change. the first year i had to run for my position. i ran and i won. then, here comes the people i was working for. there's a whole business aspect of it, because when i left the army, eventually, i opened my own dental laboratory here in tacoma. people were just -- what in the world -- you're going to open a dental laboratory. we ain't got no black dentist here's. you will have to go to seattle. i said, i didn't open a
clinic -- or i didn't open a dental laboratory to serve black dentists, i opened it to serve dentists. i make a product. i do crown and bridgework. that is not black or white. either i make the thing that fits and the shade gradations are right, was a good product or you go out of business. well, after several fights, i decided then to go into politics very seriously. it was after the urban league, national league pulled me off of a $25 a week position on the city council, and because i couldn't live off $25 a week, so i stayed with the urban league until i left the league, and
really then began to go after my life's work, and that has been in politics. so i became a council member as well as working until about '81, and so i really decided to go back into business. i stayed there for a while. then the '80s, i went to work for the department of transportation in the civil rights division and then got that notion to go after it. i put myself up for mayor, let's put it this way, deputy mayor to
mayor hyde, he and i were really close buddies, i mean, we consumed a lot of alcohol together. and that is the oil of politics. and then the guy up and died after two weeks of election of the mayor and the city and the council then elected me to serve as the mayor and i served as the mayor for the next two years. then, after that it really got exciting because i ran for the county council's position in which i had, you know, like 150,000 people that were in the district, and you had -- you had a lot more responsibility, and it was full time. i served as the chair of the
pears county council for three consecutive years. it had never been done. that is the members of that council. that was party thing, democrats and republicans had to appoint you. i did that for the last three years, and was the president of the state association of county officials for a year, when i had been on that board for 10 years. so it was good. i thoroughly enjoyed the work that we did then. the part that i liked about me is it didn't beat me down. i'm not a bitter and angry old man running around talking about, they didn't let me do this and they didn't let me do that, i've been discriminated against this. yeah, i was kicking pretty high at that time. i tell you, when it comes to how
me and my family are treated, you're going to treat me with respect. i'm going to respect you but i'm not going to take any crap off of you, you know. i think that helped me not only maintain balance but it gave me a beautiful outlook on people. i would just say that respect is what i bring to life. i just feel good about the people i meet and i give the best counsel in the world to try and keep you balanced and recognizing that you've got a right to do this, so pursue it. fight for it. it's worth it. this weekend, c-span cities tour takes you to springfield,
missouri. while in springfield working with media con to explore the history of the birthplace of route 66 in southwestern mayor, saturday at noon eastern on book tv, author jeremy talks about the conflict of slavery and in his book "the border between them. >> john brown, having left kansas, comes back to the territory and begins a series of raids in western missouri in which his team performs raids and helps them escape. a number of slave holders. the notoriety of john brown really grows as part of this struggle that people locally understand is really the beginning of the civil war. >> sunday, at 2:00 p.m., on american history tv, we visit
the nra national sporting arms museum. theodore roosevelt was our shootingist president, a very avid hunter. the first thing he did when he left office was organize and go on a very large hunting safari in africa. this particular hunting rival was prepared specifically for roosevelt. it has the presidential seal engraved on the breach. roosevelt was famous for the bull moose party. there is a bull moose engraved on the side plate of this gun. >> watch c-span cities tour of springfield, missouri, saturday at noon eastern on book tv, sunday at 2 p.m. on american history tv working with our cable affiliates, as we explore america. on friday, live coverage of the annual meeting of the
american historical association, starting at 8:30 a.m. eastern time about free speech on college campuses. watch our live coverage on c-span3 or c-span.org or with the c-span radio app. c-span's "washington journal," live everyday with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up friday morning, we talk about the prospects for entitlement reform which includes medicare, medicaid and welfare programs, political reporter sun ming kim will join us and then entitlement reform with james from the american enterprise institute and from the