tv Tacoma Narrows Bridge Collapse CSPAN January 5, 2018 3:03am-4:05am EST
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 fict
hi, i'm john feral. this year we visited 24 cities expleering the unique history and literary life. we're going to show you several stops to our visit of tacoma, washington. the western terms of the northern pacific railroad. the area is in the southern section of puget sound, which is sort of washington state and the pacific northwest's great inland water. and when the transcontinental railway came, there was talk of one day being able to expand puget sound. but really wasn't an undertaking anybody was prepared to do. during the depression federal programmed like the building of the grand coolly dam and stuff, there were big job creating works projects happening in the pacific northwest. and in the mid1930s there began be to talk of creating a bridge
over puget sound to reach from tacoma to the kitsap peninsula. tacoma narrows bridge was open in 1940 after two years of construction. the tacoma narrows is a bit of a 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 anywhere in our part of the world, in the pacific northwest, so there was an unfamiliarity of how a big thing like this was supposed to
behave. so there's a certain musical 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 got all the concrete down, the additional weight was added, that would all go away and as we went out of summer and began to get into fall and the winds picked up, our prevailing wind out of the southwest which blows almost directly across the bridge deck, they began to notice that there was an unulation in the deck and by fall soldiers were coming out from the military base for the novelty of riding the bridge. so they'd go out and kick their feet over the railing and stand on it outside of the bridge and lean out as far as they could and that center deck of of the bridge would be rising, not just inches but feet.
to a point where the ungulation was so severe that two automobiles or a truck and an automobile in opposite directions, the headlights of the vehicle coming at you would disappear under the rolling hill of this deck. so for conservative people something would go horribly wrong. for a people it was unthinkable that this was wrong. but the engineers began to work on the idea of some stiffening of the bridge. they thought the railings on the side could be converted to deep i beams and that would add some rigidity to the bridge. and some of those minor structural editions, modifications are implemented or were about to be implemented as
we got to october of 1940 and by early november of 1940, really only 4 1/2 months after the bridge had been completed the weather began to shift to its winter patterns and that really was the bell weather of what was about to happen. on the morning of november 7th, the winds kicked up to 40 miles per hour and they were fiercely directed right at the wing of the airplane. and the deck began to twist, began to turn and everybody noticed that had been watching the bridge, that was a behavior they had not noticed before and so early in the morning of the
7th, there were unhadhundreds, t thousands who started to watch what was happening. started to watch this behavior. it was a tole bridge. so the bridge keepers had decided they would close the bridge. this just was wrong. it was not safe anymore. and indeed it was just not a action that should happen with an inanimate object of this size. one last car was coming across the bridge, even though access had had been shut off. there was one last car coming across the bridge. man coming from his summer home on kitsap peninsula heading to tacoma. had his cocker spaniel in the car and by the time he got to the most severely moving part of
the bridge deck, he couldn't maneuver and he jumped out and ran and got off the bridge. and 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 closed in to just watch. i think everyone started to suspect that impossible was about to happen, 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 -- it was enough time for people to get out there and heres rar university of washington
professor actually ran on to the bridge trying to get the dog out of the car and there's great footage of him. it looks like steven spielberg movie and you watch that footage and cannot imagine it was tearing deck. he got out there the dog was too terrified so he strolled back, was knocked down a couple times by the movement of the bridge. fine a ally got off the bridge in the few moments that followed, the deck tore away from the hangers and they the jewels, they're called, these big bolts -- the cable whiches down and goes through the deck. they begin to pop and the cables
begin to snap under the force. they were 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 that followed that, huge sections all began to fail and most of the center span of the bridge underneath big suspension cables, falls away, drops away from the bridge and plunge into puget sound. no one is killed in the incident. no one's even hurt. so they demolish as much as they can in november of 1940. and as they begin to think about having to reengineer the whole
thing, the clouds of war close in, the second world war and by that time they realized there's no way, during the war effort they're going to be able to get there bridge rebuilt and pearl harbor happens, the bremerton shipyards become a strategic thing and chips away from public works projects and in fact the towers and the steel on the bridge is actually removed and brought if had to the war effort recycle recycles and tanks and sectios s are used to build a highway to alaska in the second world war because of the ties with the northwest and alaska. so it really -- the remnants of
galloping gerdy sit in the channel through the war and it's only after the war that they begin to reconstruct another suspension bridge and in 1950 the second tacoma narrows bridge is complete and 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 bri s bridge and it's impossible to imagine that engineering students all over it world have seen the film of galloping gerdy's collapse. it's one of those spell binding moments in engineering history, one of 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 this much just dance almost with this much movement that are out of the puramteres of the original design. >> now more of c span's visit to tacoma, washington. shares the story of how tacoma's chinese population was driven out of the city in 1985. >> i think this is a perfect setting to tell this story because too often i think this is just about the aesthetic. it's just about enjoying the natural beauty all around the
puget sound. but i think it's important to point out to people the history of the this place and the complicated history and what went if to founding this beautiful place. the fact you're able to if joy this, you have to understand why you're enjoying this park in this part of tacoma. so beginning in the early 1880s there started to be a growing anti-chinese sentiment. they were able to get by, essential essentially. but at it beginning of the 1880s there were a series of incidents that happened and part of it was driven by complaints by officials and other residents in washington territory that chinese exclusion act wasn't being upheld, that there were undocumented chinese coming through british columbia canada. and you started to get the sense there was something brewing in
tacoma. in february 1885, a group of tacoma leaders, including the leader had had a meeting and they started to come up with ideas of how to deal with the chinese population in the city. it's important to note in urekau, california they had just expelled their chinese population. and they're coming in basically saying maybe there's a way we could also expel our community. that's how it started in the initial meetings in tacoma. and in the following months there was this anti-chinese congress that would meet here in tacoma, occasionally in seattle and they would come up with these plans that became increasing lae crystalized further into 1885. everything went into motion in september. because in september of 1885 the rock springs massacre happened
where at least 28 chinese minors were murdered by white minors in the area. and that set off a chain of events. there were isolated incidents of attacks on chinese in what is now issaquah, black diamond, new castle. growing an taginism against the chinese community here. that antichinese collegeress met at the it end of september and what you start to see are concrete plans saying the chinese population of western waur washington needs to be out by november 1st. the november 1st deadline actually past, by then the majority of the chinese population left in fear. by the day of the actual expulsion there were only about
300 left what happened was a mob originally composed of 2 hnch 00 and swelled to estimates say 500 went up and down, house by house expelling them and any chinese person essentially who tried to fight back or question what was happening, for were occasions where they were forcefully expelled and it became violent. you had had that mob going through the city and eventually once they had them all, they were forced to march to the lake view train station, which is several miles south of tacoma to get on a train to go to california. after the expulsion, there was a legal case to be made. what are you going to do for this act that is clearly legal? the tacoma 27. it was a strange hodgepodge of people where you had some of the most prominent members of tacoma. and others who were just working
class residents of the city. they were rounded up but they were never brought to trial. so series of legal technicalities happened and they were never brought to justice, they were hailed as heroes in the city and there's no legal consequence for what happened. the united states government later issued a one-time lump sum payment for a series of antichinese incidents, including the tacoma expulsion. but there was very little in the way of justice in terms of what happened afterwards. it was largely nonexistent for decades. it became known as this area increasingly inhospitability. it's not until the mid20th century you see chinese americans moving into tacoma again. the exclusion act was held into
place until really after world war ii and that's why there was very little in terms of remembrance of the events until the 1990s. a century past without any real acknowledgment. so the efforts to build chinese reconciliation agreements which included a formal apology for the expulsion. the park broke ground in 2005 and it first phase of the park was completed in 2010. there are two more phases of the park yet to be built. but when visitors come now, first of all it over looks this really beautiful part of tacoma, commencement bay. you're walking through a walkway and a bridge which leads to this chinese pavilion down there. that was constructed in china in one of our sister cities and put
together here. and 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 an understanding that it's not just this pretty little town next to the water. it has a complicated immigrant history like a lot of other towns in the american west. when you look at a city like tacoma, which is overwhelmingly white, it's not that way by accident. whether we're talking about indigenous from the puyallup, the expulsion of the chinese, redlining 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 and this story is a important part of that.
washington's importance in the national suffrage 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 it it 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 to the 20th century and after we passed it in 1910 there was a domino effect across the country. immediately oregon passed it in 1911 followed by california and moved to the dakotas, nebraska t montana and progressesed to new york in 1919 and 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 seneca falls led by susan b. anthony among other leaders. and interestingly enough right after that she began, susan b. anthony, began a whirlwind trip to territorial areas in the united states and states to 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 barn storming through illinois and that is emma smith devoe 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 with she was 8 years old and susan b. anthony asked who in the audience believes women should have it right to vote and as an 8-year-old she stood up and that was a memorable experience that definitely has the connection to our state from 1848 right through to 1910. right about the same time as the women's convention in seneca falls, women and men -- of course, families traveling west, these were hearty 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 out
right 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 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 in olympia awhich becomes our capitol city eventually, the 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 but it was brought up right away and there were very early men in the 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