tv African Americans in Missouri CSPAN March 3, 2018 10:34am-12:01pm EST
october 1854, illinois, lincoln gave a three-hour speech which was the beginning of his mature political career. the speech has all the themes he would touch for the rest of his life. in that speech, he said -- our republican robe is soiled and trailed in the dust. let us wash it white in the spirit of the revolution. the founding fathers were a pure occupation of lincoln for the last dozen years of his life. this morning, i want to talk about the three were the most important to him -- george washington, thomas payne, and thomas jefferson. announcer: watch the entire program this afternoon at 2:00 p.m. eastern.
american history tv, only on c-span3. next, on american history tv, it gary kremer, executive director of the state historical society of missouri discusses his book, "race and meaning, the african american experience in missouri." the book traces the history of african americans including the transition from slavery to freedom and the movement to urban areas to seek opportunities. the kansas city public library posted this event. it is about one hour and 20 minutes. >> good evening. i am gary kremer, executive director of the state historical society of missouri. -- good evening. i am the executive director of
the state library. it is our pleasure to listen to gary kremer. this is the most significant history of african-americans in missouri. say, theo, i have to man who is about to build a $25 million research building in to become the headquarters of the missouri state historical society which i that the problem at the state of missouri, the university of missouri is about to cut its phd program in history. this is a sign, and gary is a
, of the liberal arts education. the university of missouri had both and is not doing the right things by the liberal arts and the humanities. isy's own lineage extraordinary. it relates directly to black history month, which we are in. he was a student of lorenzo green and a co-author with lorenzo writing the first edition of missouri's black heritage. of carters a student woods, the great historian and founder of lack history day which became black history month and at its highest incarnation, we would like to think is black history year all year. we try to live up to that.
in his eloquent personal essay at the beginning of his new book , gary indicates he has been asked how a white guy can write black history. he mentions lorenzo green helped him answer that question why introducing him to the work of august meier and other white historians of black history. greeno quotes lorenzo which seems even more important. lorenzo's favorite metaphor about history, which is that it is a tapestry with many colored threads and a multicolored tapestry. is finding many of the colorful threads in that tapestry and training his light on them for us to see. in this book, "race and meaning", he has stories of
faces in missouri's history which were african-american , two of them exclusively african-american communitys, won a that was originally a community that and slaved owners and became a different community by 1900. the story of these communities that we do not know enough about our extraordinary. the best parts of this book are the personal stories. two nationally important political figures, james milton turner and william thompkins. william worked with my great grandfather make sure no democratic vote when undercounted -- went undercounted. george washington carver, there
is a great essay here -- he is also published a book on george washington carver. fighting over the legacy of booker t. washington and w.e.b. dubois. track for african americans on one side versus the value of liberal arts, a fighting they goes on to this day. the women, josephine gay, her extraordinary story, with the importance of education. you may have known the whitley sisters of kansas city, a group of sisters. they were walking encyclopedias and embodied almost 100 years of kansas city history. from carter woodson to gary kremer, a remarkable tapestry of
great historians and tonight, we have terry kramer here -- gary kremer here. thank you. thank you. thank you to all of you who have been here. i was afraid nobody would show up so i brought my own cheering contingent, including my grandson. plenty showed up so that is great. tonight -- italk was asked to talk about two books. race and meaning and the carver book. we will see whether we get to the second book or not. it is gratifying to be here to help you and kansas city celebrate black history month.
as i'm sure you know, the origins of lack history month started -- black history month started with the founder of the movement. 1875, awas born in native of for genia, -- virginia. one of nine children. he did not start high school until he was 20. he spent much of his teenaged years working in the coal mines. after completing high school in a year and a half, woodson attended college in kentucky and the university of chicago. in1912, he earned a phd history from harvard. only the second african-american in the country. -- beingbois do being the first.
he's been a large part of his career teaching in high school. he taught at the famous dunbar high school. we could talk all night about that school because it produced a tremendous number of renaissance writers. he taught there for most of his career. he taught at howard. in 1950, and started a organization called the organization for the study of the growth history. in the next year, he started to publish a journal called the journal of negro league american history. , now calledxists the association for the study of african american history. i brought this picture of woodson because he looks pretty austere and demanding and all
the stories i heard indicate he was that way. woodson never married. say, iked why, he would have a mistress. she is jealous. he was all business. 1928, a guy named lorenzo came to washington, d.c. to study medicine at howard university and changed his major to history after having classes with one of the pioneers of the black history movement. in 1928, he went to work as a research assistant for dr. carter woodson.
me he feltgreen told sorry for woodson. spending his life on something that did not make sense, studying the growth history -- negro history. diary during his years onworking for woodson and monday, february 10, 1930, he penned this after attending a o historytory -- negr event. this has been a unforgettable day. makes me anvolvement confirmed associate of dr. woodson.
work shall be my license history shall be my work and that shall transcend everything else. 1933, lorenzo green came to jefferson city, missouri to teach at lincoln university. some three decades later, i became his research assistant. green tried to instill in me the same level of commitment to him and to african american that woodson had instilled in him. he wanted me to see african-american history as a cause. it was one of the great blessings of my life to be able to work with dr. green until his death in 1988. much of my up to ship consisted
of listening to his stories about woodson and the association and -- in those incredibly difficult days. i can regale you for the rest of the evening with stories. they had this relationship -- woodson was demanding -- this was a time when black leaders were being lynched. woodson believed african-american history would be eight will by which race relations could be improved. green told me more than once that woodson would not allow his research assistance to go out socially. it.lly, green had had he decided, i am going out to a movie with a girl.
fortune to walk out of the theater with his girlfriend as woodson is taking what he called his evening constitutional and confronted him on the sidewalk in downtown washington, d.c. he never called him by his first name. green was a diminutive man and woodson was pretty big. -- they confronted each other on the sidewalk, woodson towering over him. he said -- what are you doing? i wanted to tell him the 15th slavery but he
was not going to do that. h chance tong green respond, he said to him -- we do not have time for such frivolity. green said he would not speak to him for a about a month -- for about a month. dr. green did not marry until he was almost 50. this book that i'm going to talk about has a lot of essays about things i have written about over 40 years. off withto start trying to explain a little bit about why lorenzo green bothered to come to lincoln university in 1933. if you look at a book we , there is a
that is myy chapter black experience in missouri and and describesr, how he came to jefferson city. by this time, he was a graduate student at columbia university. he gets to jefferson city and he has never been much in the south except for a bookselling tour. he is not expecting what he finds. train and hehe tries to hail a cab and he is ignored. one of then until -- hes as dr. greene says cab over the nigger
there. cap owned by a african american businessman and went to the campus. i am prone to sidetracking. imagine this. the 20's, thein 30's, the 40's, and into the , there were african-american legislators elected from kansas city and st. louis starting in 1920. was sent to man jefferson city to represent his constituents, there was no place he could stay so he stayed in a dormitory room and he could not eat anywhere, including the cafeteria of the capital. he ate in the cafeteria at lincoln university.
green, where does he go? he goes to a dormitory room, not a hotel. sallied forthi for my first evening in jefferson city. he went as far as about three and he orderedfe a hamburger. -- beep prior him toldhim -- the proprietor niggers. on't serve he said -- will you sell me a pint of ice cream? he said -- yes but you cannot eat it here. he took his point and went back
to lincoln university and by that time, he was so disgusted, he sat on his bed and cried and swore the next day he would get out of jefferson city, missouri. the next day, the sun was shining and students were heiving and he told me thought this was exactly the place he needed to be. fortunately for me, he stayed more than 50 years. back to lincoln. -- in the period immediately following world war i, lincoln had been established in 1866 by former soldiers of onlyolored infantry, the college in the country established by former black soldiers.
a place toarily train teachers of black schools and to train african american craftsman in things like shoe cobbling and shoe horsing and so forth. it was a vocational school. after african men died by the thousands and answered the call to serve their country in world many saw the inconsistency of african american men being asked to defend the country in the war that is supposed to make the world safe for democracy while not being allowed to participate in the basic benefits of a democratic society. in 1920 to tryh
to get the university of missouri and the state to open up the university of missouri in columbia to african-americans. happen andt going to it did not happen for another 30 years and only because of a court case. , the first african-american legislator was elected in st. louis. he was asked to sponsor legislation that would change the name of lincoln institute to lincoln university. this was missouri's response. you want access to a university, we will give you access. we will change the name and call it lincoln university. they did add more money to the budget then previously had been
given. eight half $1 million increase that year. young, whosethan b son lived in kansas city for many years. of you may know the book the is a history of african-american community in kansas city. young comes to lincoln university in 1921 and he tries to do what he thinks needs to be done. he takes that increase in the budget and he begins to higher vy-league trained scholars. african-american scholars. wasof the first of those this man named sterling brown.
sterling brown graduated from harvard in 1921. he went to that dunbar high school in washington, d.c. he came out to lincoln to teach english and i do not know about your familiarity with african-american poets but you have most scholars who named the andfive or six top points sterling brown will be on most of those lists. sterling brown did not like lincoln or jefferson city. at that time, this is the early 20's, he is into the blues and folk tales. lincolntime, university's campus was very conservative. you could not listen to the blues. that was low class music. you had to listen to classical
music. the thing you really could not which was where some of the dives were. that was what sterling brown wanted to do. he wanted to hang out and listen if you aretales -- not familiar with sterling brown, you need to become familiar with him. he went back to washington, d.c. and spent the rest of his career ofhoward university but some his most famous poems are about jefferson city, missouri. he wrote a whole series of bonds which are about a black waiter in a hotel in jefferson city, missouri. my favorite is slim goes to hell. he falls asleep and thinks he has gone to heaven.
st. peter tells him to go down and check things out in hell. isimately, he discovers he in georgia and the devil is a cracker sheriff. it is very funny. famous is a palm called checkers about a checker game that occurred every localay night between a and the pastor of the second baptist church. you can imagine. and hisople like this good his good friend cecil blue, who also went to harvard, and a guy named green. these guys named blue and green
who were both unmarried rented a house on lafayette street. they called themselves the color noise come and they -- color boys, and they called their monastery. unfortunately, the city of jefferson just for that building down in the last few months. it is truly a shame. came to is that lorenzo lincoln university because it was a place of great excitement. last year, one of the last of the surviving professors of that era died. he was 98 years old, a playwright named thomas pauly, a
very good friend of mine. up on the campus of virginia state college in virginia. his father was a faculty member at that all-black school. he went to the university of i tok to study -- of iowa study theater. inwas the only black student the 1930's in that program. one of the requirements of the program was to write a play, and his classmates had to put it on. he wrote this play with all-black characters, and the protagonist was a black prea cher. preacher washat played by his classmates, a guy by the name of tennessee williams.
pauly wanted to become an actor. he wanted to play bigger thomas wright's native son. wright, he richard says, i want to play the lead world. having wright says i am trouble raising money to put this on. you better get yourself a summer job. blue persuaded him to come to this place in jefferson city, missouri, for one summer to teach english in the summer of 1940. he stayed for 70 years. i asked him once, why did you stay at lincoln university? you could have gone anywhere you -- youto he told me
wanted. he told me he found more black intellectuals and more black intellectual activity at lincoln university than he did anywhere else in the world. i am very grateful that he did. the next piece i want to talk about is the one we used on the cover of this book. how to introduce this? i was working on two projects simultaneously, one in the heart of the ozarks, and one in kansas city. great unknown realities of african-american life in missouri is that african-americans have lived in all 114 counties. if you ask people today where do blacks live in missouri, they say kansas city, st. louis, and ofy might say the corridor
little dixie. there were many african-americans in the ozarks. frankly, we think today of the ozarks as a place where groups like the christian identity movement and the ku klux klan hangout, and they do, but there was a time of these pockets of african-americans. one of my favorites, if you have ever driven from kansas to lebanon, about halfway there, you see a sign that says eldritch, four miles. there has not been an african-american that lived in eldritch since 1941. it is named for a black man and was once in all-black town. there were a large number of african-americans that came out of the south as part of what the historians called the great exit
this. this is kind of a political -- exodus. this is kind of a biblical metaphor of the fleeing of egypt. allowed theocrats republican hayes to become president, and the antecedent of what happened in florida a few years ago, the agreement was if your guy can become president, in exchange, you have to pull the troops out of the south that are protecting the african-americans. calledme what historians the restoration of home rule. it was a terrible time. it was the first exit this up -- exodus of african-americans out of the south. they came up to the promised
land of kansas. why was kansas they promised land? because of the association with john brown and abolitionism. what they found in the ozarks was land that had never been taken by anybody. it was still available for homesteading. why wasn't it taken? you have been to the ozarks. [laughter] gary: it was rocky and hilly, and it was land. one of the things african-american scholars agree what does it mean to be free? it means doing what you could not do when you were not free. it means having your own family, your own church, euro school, and especially your own land. people stopped in the ozarks and created communities.
one of those was in right county, 30 miles south of lebanon in a little town called parkville. you can trace this through the senses. you look at the senses, and there -- the census. thereok at the census, are only 15 african-americans living there. this is a group of people in hartville. on this in kansas city. people told me i needed to go see miss irene marcus. i am talking to her. i am asking her many questions about general hospital number two. i say, what year were you born
in kansas city? she says, i was not born in kansas city. where were you born? a little place you have never heard of, hartville. yeah, i have heard of it. i have been trying to find information about it. this is the mother and this is the father of irene marcus. she is in her late 90's now. book is an essay in this about her. prototypical,is a classical story of the great of african-americans leaving the south for the north and rural missouri for urban misery. in 1920 -- missouri.
woman0, that man and that moved to kansas city with these three little girls because her father had already left hartville and came to kansas city a few years earlier to work for the wilson packing company. this picture was taken as they were getting ready to move. they move in with their grandparents, this woman's parents. a very typical fashion of an extended family. i think i have the exact address. flora, just up446 the street from the old bethel in the church. the house is gone now. it was taken out by the freeway. these little girls come to live
with their grandparents and parents in a little bungalow on florida avenue -- flora avenue. within a few months, their mom dies of double pneumonia. troublether is having finding a job, so he moves to california, the state. these little girls are raised by their grandparents on flora avenue. somebody asked about the bethel church. finished, andas the upstairs was not. somebody heard there were these three little girls that needed to be in sunday school. somebody came and took them to sunday school, and for the rest of their lives they went to the bethel baptist church. here is a picture of the three of them in 1939.
gertrude was the oldest. she is deceased. irene was the youngest. she is in her late 90's. geneva is the middle child, and she is also in her late 90's. i think she is 99. two of the three are still living. 1990'sey are in the late , so gertrude is gone, but they ofe in incredible source inspiration and information for me over the course of two decades. they were and are remarkable women whose lives parallel the struggle. they were involved in the integration of stores like the jones store, which would allow
african-americans come in but not try on clothes for example. gertrude had one of the most , and one ofemories the ironies is in the late 1930's, there is a student at lincoln university, and she worked or lorenzo green. we had that in common. i am not going to get very far in this book. i got interested in the community of leeds in kansas city after working on a project in st. louis in the community of kenlock. wholeis exactly what the great migration was about, african-americans moving from the south to the north, from rural missouri to urban misery.
the people who lived out in leeds, and it was roughly bounded by 36th street on the north, -- 33rd street on the south 36 street on the come the blue river on the east, and roughly colorado and denver streets on the west. ,his was a self-contained two -- town, two subdivisions. this is the community where alvin brooks grew up, where senator yvonne wilson grew up. thing, butmarkable many of these people by 1917, the, the core of african-american community in
kansas city has grew up, and many of these people did not want to live in the inner city. this allowed these migrants to replicate their southern lifestyle. it is part of the city, but it is not paid attention to buy the city. there is no street paving, knows a work, no water supply -- no se wer, no water supply. in fact, the blue river was only incorporated into the city as a vehicle to carry raw sewage out of the city. they can have their milk cows, their horses, do whatever they want to do in terms of hunting and fishing. they can fish in the blue river, hunt on these hillsides. like one person said, it was like the garden of eden.
many of the houses, if you look at this house carefully, you can see it is really a shotgun house that has been added to. roomtgun house that is one more roomso or deep. as one woman said, he did not matter how many kids you had, you got to rooms. 1920's, 80% of these residents in this community own their own homes. it is white folks who own the land, entrepreneurs who take advantage of the desire of african-americans to live out here and sell the land on time, on monthly payments. there is a sign at the entrance to the community that said, "
exclusively for colored." this is a totally segregated community. it is a consequence of segregation, of the inability through restrictive covenants and downright racial segregation , the consequence of the inability of african-americans to purchase land elsewhere in the city of kansas city. kids ishese little senator elon wilson in front of their house on allen street. , you can use that picture, just don't tell them which one i am. there was a plant across the river where a lot of the african-american men worked in what was white leeds where the old chevrolet plant was.
school, dunbar elementary school, long ago torn down. i have to make the point, and i interviewed a lot of people who , andup in this community it is hard for me to describe the intensity and the warmth and the love with which they talked about this community. they may have been poor, but there was a real sense of community and support for each other. one man, i think it might have up, alvin brooks who summed maybe not him, but when i asked about the school experience, he said the thing about those black
teachers, they would not let you fail. i have never forgotten that phrase. they would not let you fail. they lived in the community. they went to the same churches. daddy camed me, my to school and whooped me in classof the whole damned because i talked back to the teacher. where did these kids go to high school? they went to lincoln because there was no place else to go. conflict a tremendous between the african-americans of leeds and the african-americans of the inner-city. thes interesting because kids would have to, basically the would walk to catch the street streetcar, and
streets of leeds were muddy. if you have mud on your shoes, that would identify you as a kid from leeds. a lot of these kids would take their shoes off and walked through the mud barefoot. they would put their shoes on when they got to school. there were a lot of fights between the graduates of dunbar and the students from the inner-city. taxicab for the whole town, the whole community. few cents, hea would take you down the hill to catch the 31st street streetcar and come pick you up. he actually did a thriving business.
there was also, at the foot of the hill, the liberty park. i'm sure you all know this was a time when african-americans could not go to the city park, but if they did, they had to go to what was called watermelon hell. does anybody know where this is? leeds been to a couple of reunions there in the last couple of years, and it is always a great party on a saturday afternoon. the space is there, and just before election time, guess who would show up with loads of coal or bread or milk? tom pendergast and hand it out. folks always said you always knew when election was coming up because pendergast would show
up with something to hand out. that moves us to the next topic, a guy named william j thompkins, and african-american doctor who went to lincoln institute, was born in 1879 in jefferson city, went to lincoln institute, and then went through eight years of school at lincoln, including high school and a couple of years of college, and then went to howard medical school, graduated from medical school, and back to kansas city in 1906 to practice medicine. he was the first african-american doctor to serve as the superintendent of general hospital number two. when general hospital number two was first established, for roughly the first decade, the superintendent's were always white. thompkins is the first one.
he is also an unusual character in this time because he is a black democrat. from this time to the early and mid-1920's, all over the country, most african-americans voted overwhelmingly republican, honoring the party of the so-called great emancipator. thompkins was different, and i would argue he is one of the key reasons nationally that african-americans switch over to the democratic party in the 1930's. iseady in the 1920's, he pendergast and a guy named felix payne. payne was the principal connection for the black community to pendergast. i interviewed this man's daughter about 10 years ago in washington, d.c. she is the last survivor of the
family. she said, pendergast was over all the time. over, and they go outside to talk. in the 1920's, there is an african-american newspaper here. of course, it is still here. it was the republican newspaper. pendergast and thompkins and moneywith pendergast's to great a democratic newspaper democrat.e kansas city i don't think there is any that he was involved. thompkins, i think this is the old hospital number two that had been a city hospital that was
abandoned and became the hospital for african-americans. this is tompkins sitting in the middle in the front row outside the old general hospital number two. his office was down at the corner of 18th and paseo in what was called the thompkins building. starting in 1928, you go back and read his editorials, and he really rips a guy named herbert hoover running for president. he was very strongly supportive of al smith dinner and his argument was that house smith was a catholic, and catholics ressed, so here's a guy i can vote for because he understands what depression is. win.usly, al smith didn't you probably did not know that.
goes all outpkins for fdr. no sooner than the election is askingat thompkins start white democrats all over the state to help them get a job in washington, d.c. he wanted to be the governor of the virgin islands. that did not happen. in 1934, fdr appointed him the recorder of deeds for the district of columbia, which was a job once held by frederick douglass. since the 1880's, african-americans had always been appointed. he moves his family to washington, d.c. his daughter was only six. she is now 90 years old. i think maybe i am going to say i am going to
skip, and i realize i can't skip that. a couple of decades later, doc tor turner took over as the superintendent of general hospital number two, and he also conducted a school for nurses. in the late 1920's, there was this great new resort area called the lake of the ozarks. he wanted to take a graduating class of nurses there to celebrate the completion of their course. i am sure it comes as no surprise to you that they were not allowed to do anything at the lake of the ozarks. the long and the short of it is that turner decides to build his own damn lake. he was a hunter and fisherman, and he discovered a small black community in morgan county near the town of her sales -- vers
ailles. this is 1932 when he buys the land. he buys a couple of acres of land and decides to rate this -- resort and lake and sell some lots off of it like the lake of the ozarks to make some money and also hunt and fish. he makes some money, but he does at have enough money to build dam. how is he going to build a dam? it is a 15 acre lake. it is a beautiful spot, still there near the town of stover. desire to build corresponds with
pendergast's desire for the black vote. over the course of the couple of years, they cut a deal with a guy who is now in washington, d.c., who is named william tonkin, who facilitates them thompkins, who facilitates them getting a wpa dam. to build a public if it isou do that going to be used privately? the stipulation was that if there is ever a drought, they will open it up to the public. we have not had that in all those years. it is a remarkable place. there are all those cabins the re. there are some world war i
french railroad cars that were hauled over and turned into cabi ns. this is mr. snell's cabin. he lived here in kansas city and went to dr. turner as a patient, and dr. turner prescribed for him as some rest out at his lake. [laughter] or 1939,about 1938 ell stayed there until may of 1973. cabin, he said he comingto see who was and going to his lake when he
died. to the whitedsend community because it provided jobs to these out of work farmers through the wpa, and secondly and most are medically, and i'm still -- most dramatically, and i am still stand by this. there was no medical care for white folks out there. all of a sudden come these black doctors to this lake. doctora sudden a black married someone in st. louis, and then teacher started coming, and then someone from topeka, and someone from des moines, and it became an area for african-americans from the entire midwest. a neighboring farm is occupied in the 1930's by a family
named wray. here is a picture i took, this is probably 10 or 15 years ago. it is a beautiful spot. here are the wray's, mother and daughter. the woman sitting down is the mother, and that is her daughter standing. wray wasthis, mrs. problems.ecological there is no doctor. the african-americans would come down from kansas city, and they there is no-- electricity, no refrigeration, so they would trade produce for services. would takeoctors care of the community in exchange for chickens and tomatoes and so forth. mrs. wray has some serious
medical issues. her husband says to her, the next time dr. turner is out here, you better have him examine you. woman,ner examines this and he says, man, you need a hysterectomy. you need to be in the hospital. he takes her in his car to general hospital number two at a time when black men are being whistling at white women, and he performs a then takesy on her, her into his own, he and his wife, for weeks while she recovers. that went so well that the next summer, the two little girls, they needed tonsillectomy's. to kansas took them city to perform tonsillectomies
on them. i tracked that woman down in the late 1990's the she lived to be 98. she has been dead for a number of years. warned by her daughters, mom is not very cogent, not very coherent. there, and i tried to talk to her, and it was pretty muddled, and anticipating this, i had taken a picture of dr. turner with me. i showed her that picture, and tears started rolling down her her cheeks, and she just started to say over and over again, what a wonderful man, what a wonderful man, what a wonderful man. an experience.of that is a kind of complicated
story. i am probably over time. do i have time for one more story? >> one more. gary: i am going to skip through. this is a man who lived in too.s city, now deceased, virtually all the people i have talked to are now dead. i hope there is no connection. this is a perfect example of the great migration. farm in saline county near the little town of slater near slater and elrock. i did a project, there was a chapter in this book called aero rock about a town that was 40% black. it is a remarkably interesting
story. got to knowams, i him pretty well and interviewed him several times, a beautiful baritone voice. after weeks of talking to him and trying to understand this community, one day we are eating our ham sandwiches on the herdwalk in arrowrock, and leans over to me and says, you know, i wasn't always a preacher. yeah? what were you? blues."to sing the for many years he would write riverboats up and down the missouri and sing the blues with the hopes of making it big as a vine, on 12 and
and as he put it living less than a godly life. me in essence what was his conversion experience. if you heard this man tell the story, you certainly believed he believed it. he could not make a living singing the blues, so he has a day job delivering coal living in one room of the tenement house down near 18th and vine. one day he came home, and he was so thickly exhausted, he said, i did not wash up or do anything. i just went to my room and climbed in bed. he is in bed five or six minutes, and he heard a noise in the hallway. so he said i got up to investigate. he opened the door and looked down the hallway, and he saw a
coffin. theit scared him because coffin started moving toward hi m, so he went back in his room, shut, climbedor under the covers, and he waited. before long, the door of the room opened. the coffin comes into the room of its own power. i am not making this up. bedcoffin came around his to the side of the bed, and all of a sudden the lid springs open, and as he said, would you think i see? why, it's me. he sees himself dead in the cof fin.
then, he said, then i grabbed me, meaning the body in the coffin reached up and grabbed him by the shirt, and is said you need to be preaching the word of the lord. guess what he did? he got him a church, and he preached the word of the lord for the rest of his life. totold that story in part make it clear that you don't take preaching up, he said, preaching takes you up. i have gone through about a 10th of what i wanted to talk about. that is because i am loquacious. i just asked the question what does this mean? what does this mean? 20 years ago, 1995, i was working on a project, trying to understand that incredibly rich history and how the community
has become what it has become. there was a recently retired african-american businessman who was helping me as a volunteer. one day we go out to eat in his red corvette, not my old pickup, and it just so happens that the o.j. simpson jury is out. well, bill this man, o.j.y's out on he says, yeah, the jury is out. i, who think oj is guilty, continue the conversation saying, only one conclusion they can come to. yeah, bill says, there is only one conclusion, and he pauses for a fact, and says he is innocent. i am stunned because i cannot
understand why he doesn't see the world the way i do. he proceeded to tell me that as a black man driving a red corvette in st. louis, he has by more cops than you can count who first of all assume he has stolen the car, and when he can finally persuade them that he has not stolen it, he owns it, they assume he is a pimp or drug dealer. what was he telling me? he was telling me that his history and my history were fundamentally different, and i would submit to you that in a very fundamental way, and this will get me in trouble, but in a very fundamental way, black people in america and white people in america see the world differently, and it is because we have different histories. if i am right, and i almost always am -- [laughter] gary: that's not true, ask my
wife. if i am right, doesn't it make sense that we should try to understand those histories? because the history is the foundation of the position we take today. that is what has driven me for nearly five decades now, and i would hope that you would be inclined to at least explore some of those different histories as a way of understanding the world in which we live. thank you very much. [applause] gary: thank you. thank you. on ridiculously long. do we still have time for a couple of questions? >> sure. make sure you come up to the
microphone so the people at home can hear you. >> gary, i don't have a question, but i spent most of my childhood in brunswick, missouri. my dad was the local general practitioner. he believed in the hippocratic oath. he cared for everyone, regardless of whether they could pay or not. intragically lost his life an automobile crash on highway 24 making a house call. first day of classes my sophomore year at mizzou. when my dad's funeral occurred on september 15 in brains were, missouri, at the united methodists church, the blacks of runswick did not enter the
methodist church. they stood outside the church under a tree. when my mother and i walked out, they came over and approached us barbara, lucinda and what are we going to do now without doc rice? no one will take care of us. my dad did not care whether you methodist, white, didn't make any difference, catholic, he cared for you. missouri, is the former tuskegee institute of mid must -- of the location vocational school. gary: there is an essay in here come a man came here to
establish the school that he called the tuskegee of the continued into the midnight and 80's. our dressmaker, her seamstress was incredible. i remember growing up in segregated brunswick, which it was, until i entered the sixth grade and school was integrated. brunswick did it a little differently. they integrated seventh through 12th grade the first year, and then elementary school and kindergarten were united the next school year. i remember well one of the great basketball players on our basketball team. his name was freddie collins. everyone loved freddie collins. outstanding athlete, brilliant.
tigers wouldnswick win a basketball game, everybody went to mosher's coffee shop to celebrate whether we play in brunswick or had been in huntsville. freddie could not come in. i grew up that way. gary: so did most missourians. >> one of the most heartbreaking things to me was when i was a sophomore studying american history, i was in a class taught all, ahard kirkend brilliant professor, and a black man sat by me, and i tried to talk with him. with me.not talk on the other side was another white women, and when this young
man would sit down between us, we had assigned seats then, by oll was taken. she would move, afraid he would touch her. it breaks my heart that we grew up this way. i diligently work not be prejudiced in this way. i am sure at times that i am, but i don't intend to be. i just want to say one more thing, one of my best friends is the late joe lewis mattox. he died last march. joe and i became friends in the 1980's. he always greeted me with a hug and a kiss on the cheek him and he always asked me about my children, my husband, and my grandchildren, a wonderful man workas done incredible
gary:. thanks very much -- work. gary: thanks for much. just one comment, you cannot live in a racist society and not in by some of the racism. you just cannot do it. racism is still with us. dubois wrote a book called teh colorline, and he said the great problem of the 20th century will be the color line, race. if he were here today, he would say we still haven't got it right. yes, sir. >> i want to commend you on your research in studying african american history. the one thing we african-americans continue to deal with is we have been economically, politically, and socially colonized and country,zed in this
and until we deal with this situation in this country, now they are attacking our homes, and our children are taken. you said in the book one of the parts of being free is having the freedom to have a family. situation with the coffin, that is talking to all of us. we are coming to the end of our lives, and how we treat each other and respect each other, one day we have to account for all that. we need to put away our differences, how we treat each other and respect each other and do what is right. i don't claim to be a minister, but i know god is dealing in my life in what he wants me to do good i was hit by a car -- to do. i was hit by a car. he is talking to all of us.
he is tired of all of this racial difference in this country and not talking to each other. we can go to church and put on a front, but god knows our hearts. what i am saying is our children are being taken in droves through these courts. african-american children are children arepoor being taken and sold into a system that is about economic greed and selling of children. coffin is rolling toward all of us. one day we are going to leave this earth. we need to go home and think about how we are treating each other. one day we're going to have to account for it. gary: thank you. [laughter] gary: there will be a lot of godle surprised to discover is a black female lesbian
muslim. [laughter] gary: go ahead, i'm sorry. >> i am a native of kenlock, missouri, and there were a lot of similarities between leeds and kenlock, except can lock was incorporated. gary: absolutely. >> something this people from kenlock were next in waters and jennifer lewis. the only thing i can say to appeal this divide is african-americans fully deserve reparations. [applause] gary: one quick comment. the second chapter in this book statement by a
in jefferson1869 city, missouri, arguing for reparations. yes, sir. >> i have a couple of comments, and then i think a positive point to make. i grew up in jefferson city that you have been bashing tonight. gary: i lived there. that is the jefferson city you said. lorenzo green went to the church. gary: the episcopal church. >> his wife was the organist. grandson my son and but could not go to all the houses, house to house, because some of them did not allow negroes in their home. i have one more comment, and then i will make my point.
my wife could not afford to go with me to columbia, missouri, for school. she went to lincoln university for three years. we got married, and she went to columbia university with me. she always told me the best education i ever got was at lincoln university. she would talk about lorenzo green and dr. pauly and others i did not know, and she said i never had any professors as good as the ones at lincoln university. impact on an jefferson city. the number one person in my high school graduating class, charlene maybury, first in her class. number two in my brother's class, t.d. pauly, dr. pauly's son. people who grew up in jeff c ciy
but may not live there anymore, it has not changed as much as we hoped, particularly during legislative session. [laughter] change on people has been profound. you are a great storyteller. i thought i would bring you up-to-date on lake university and how proud i have been to actually take high school courses at lincoln laboratory. gary: thank you for sharing that. i was a student there for six years and talk their for 15. -- taught there for 15. >> thank you so much for your presentation, your many stories. i especially appreciated your conclusion that there are fundamentally different histories even though we occupy the same time period. there are fundamentally different histories for those blackve been part of the
experience and those who have privilege. we just saw, recently, a video documentary, i am not your negro. gary: james baldwin. >> james baldwin framed very much the same kind of thing. he framed it this way, that the black experience is one characterized by rage and that the white experience has been characterized by fear. based on your study of history and these very different experiences, worldviews, perspectives that people have, win was you think bald right? and what do you think you would
say to help was all that chasm between rage on one side and fear on the other? baldwin wask james right in just about everything he said. the only thing i could think of doing is what i said, which is for us to try to understand each other's histories. i think you can do that in a personal way, but i think we need to do that institutionally as well. i think you are the last one. >> great. first of all, i want to thank you for your presentation. i enjoyed it so much. gary: thank you. >> my question pertains to my personal family history. my great-grandmother was born and raised in case will, missouri. her mother passed away, and they though theyeems as
were put on one of those farms where they work. fostered to a farm to work in return for your board. i was told she went to high school at lincoln university. they had a lab school. gary: that is right. >> i have never known anything about that. i was three is about that. gary: lincoln university had the lincoln university lab school that service much of the central missouri area. in much of rural missouri, there were no black high schools. louis had two. springfield would eventually have one. marshall would have one. have one.uld
this dalton high school served a nine county area. a lot of kids would be sent by their parents to jefferson city because some of these professors would also teach in the high school, and they knew they were getting a remarkable education. that continued into the 1970's. >> so it was called the lincoln laboratory school? gary: the lincoln university laboratory school. like every college and university has a laboratory school where people who aspire to become teachers get their training. before it was called the lab school, it was simply called the lincoln university high school. it operated out of memorial hall on lincoln campus throughout much of the 20th century. in the 1940's and 50's, they built a new building and moved
it across the street, but it was still a segregated school. >> where would i go to find more information about that? gary: there is not much written about it, but if you send me any note, i will see what i can do to help you find some stuff. >> thank you. gary: actually, i don't even have a card. if you google the state historical society of missouri, you can track me down. thank you. i think we are finished. we have one more. >> it was mentioned at the beginning that history was being removed from umkc. gary: it was proposed by the administration to remove the phd in history from the university of missouri at columbia. that is not true, it is actually under serious review. it is not one of the 27 graduate programs that is recommended for
illumination, but it will come up again in the next two or three years for review. i certainly hope it is not eliminated. >> any ideas on why that is being removed? gary: i think it is not just a problem in missouri, i think all over the country the liberal arts are not being honored in the way i think they should be. that is another topic, but you go anywhere in the country today, i think, and you will find that the stem classes, the sciences, math and so forth, that is where the money is. we even see that in education at the elementary and secondary level in missouri. kids are increasingly not getting nearly as much history as they used to. it is part of the commentary on our current society in my judgment, and i think it is a sad commentary. thanks so much.