tv Jonathan Pliska The White House Easter Egg Roll CSPAN April 1, 2018 8:00am-8:31am EDT
>> at the decatur house. the home of the white house historical association which published the book. this is about 30 minutes. you for to the white house historical association to write a young readers book about the white house easter egg role. tell me about it today. how large is it? isit would be larger than it except the popularity is so high and everybody wants to be a part of it. >> where is it held today? >> the south lawn white house. the relatively president's
backyard. >> are the eggs real eggs? >> sometimes. they use wooden eggs. >> they are collectibles. traditionally some real eggs used in the past it was all real. >> who gets to go? >> anybody can go but you need to some it to request online in lotteryand then a lucky winner get to go over and you need to see -- you need to have a small child with you otherwise -- it's an event for the kids and otherwise you would have a lot of adults like me wanting to go. >> your book deals the desk detail the interesting history. you suggest the very earliest known connection goes back as far as dolly madison. there is a long-standing oral history that goes back to the 19th century the dolly madison
was involved in the first easter egg role in washington, d.c. around 1810 on the u.s. capitol grounds. idea.said it was her eggroll know where an tradition came from and some place in our culture? >> it comes from older traditions in england and also the european. its first number of years was on capitol grounds. . >> beginning in about 1810 it was held on the capitol grounds -- 1876 itrough 17 stayed there and grew more and more popular. messy. got more after the 1876 event, congress passed a bill outlawing easter egg rolling on the capitol grounds. >> little kids will like this
but you said the byproduct could have been some really stinky time. >> absolutely. once the white house took over in 1878, there was an interlude of one year where there was no eggroll. it was raining cats and dogs and nobody wanted. in 1877. once it moved to the white house rounds, you could smell the white house easter egg roll before he can see it. >> if they did not find some of the eggs and hard-boiled eggs were left, that created a problem. >> that was the problem. it was something that happened in the 20th century. the nixon administration decided to use a lot more real eggs and a few got misplaced shall we say for it while and that was the last time he did that. hayes and president his family decide they wanted to take over this tradition? >> the president was out on his
daily walk and some schoolchildren covered him and he said that is odd. why don't you just come back with me and you can roll eggs on the white house grounds. a couple hundred children did that first year in 1878. >> as time goes by coming to tell in the story. who did the illustrations? >> john hutton. >> what were you elaborately trying to achieve? >> what we were trying to do is have a book that was both educational and fun. varietyssible to a wide of readers as we could. we'd like to be a book that children can read. also especially for younger children that hopefully the parents will read to the children. it will be interesting for the parents. >> one of your specialties is
garden history and landscape history. you write in the book of the south lawn is perfect for eggrolls. what about it makes it perfect? >> there are artificial hills known as the mountains -- mountains -- mounds. they are for rolling eggs -- the kids generally tumbledown. >> it is not a steep hill. of fun very it's pretty good for sledding in the winter. as presidents went along, virtually ever president cap the tradition. one of the first things to be added was the marine van band. >> -- and. >> it was a secret unveiling.
the children were showing up and going what is this all about. what's going on. president harrison and his young and the walked out marine band struck up a number and all the children cheered. part ofs been integral the easter egg role ever since and the marine band is still involved. john philip sousa. what was his role. >> to be the leader. including his own composition from time to time. sars and strikes forever being the most well-known as well as a variety of popular music. >> as you were describing to harrison's walking out, i can envision or per -- current president walking out with grandchildren. history and tradition really continues. >> absolutely and that is the beauty of the easter egg role.
it's one of the oldest and most deeply loved traditions. not just at the white house, but all of washington. the more things change, the more they stay the same. >> president who have had children, you tell a number of stories along the way of children being involved. what are some of your favorite stories? storyery much love this of president carter and his children and grandchildren being there when they brought in animals for the easter egg role. bunnies, -- there were but it was also they brought in other things. and that wasphere a big wow moment that there was this animal in the white house grounds. it was a petting zoo really. >> there are other stories about animals being involved. i remember what about the
just the, but president did not show up their dog did. andhat was the harding's theng one of the years president and first lady were not in attendance and that does happen. stead, he presided over the day and had his own special throne made and the dog handler who was known as the master of had aunds at the time very high profile role in that as well. picture in wonderful the book. >> we have learned representative history that was really the first dog celebrity in the white house. the harding's really understood the connection between pat and the public. what you learn about that. -- what did you learn about that? >> he was arguably more famous of the desk and the president of
the time. him for instance. the next president, the coolidge is, they had a raccoon named rebecca and she was originally supposed to be thanksgiving dinner for the white house. he was sent to be made to food, and mrs. coolidge fell in love with her and she was very much involved in the easter egg roles. >> the president would bring the pats and the password mingle with the children and the whole thing continued to gel. --e the newspapers more info always with this? it helped with the president's image. and later on there was the first radio broadcast. >> the first radio broadcast was done by the hoovers.
neither the president nor first lady actually spoke. the marine band played their music. radio broadcast really be like? band was mostly the marine with music. edison's early videos actually is of the easter egg role and it's available from the library of congress and it is online. i would tear -- i would encourage everybody. >> where did you do most of your research? >> the library of congress, the to good archives come folks of the national park service and white historical association. although online newspapers are wonderful, especially for summing like the easter egg role. it is very easy to find the news coverage.
>> do you know the earliest photographs were? >> the earliest would be from around the 1870's and they show children's of all ages -- children of all ages in period attire that looks more like sunday finery's than what we would expect current children to be wearing. everybody was very formal going to the white house. >> yes, but only in their attire. it was a big deal but it was also a time to have fun. hills in rolling down the cleveland administration in addition to the easter egg role and the races, there was egg croquet, egg baseball and all manner of mass was happening on the grounds. story of egg on the
carpet, upholstery. >> i wonder where all those egg boils were going on. we are talking about thousands of eggs at any given time. where they prepare for the white house kitchen? >> they were. they would have been died -- dyed. there was an extra's shipment of 10,000 eggs brought in from kansas of last minute because the president was concerned. what happened during world war i? >> the easter egg role was suspended for the first time in its history. the very first your america was involved in the conflict it was relocated to the washington monument grounds.
there weren't any admirals that it wasause important to conserve food and shouldn'tand that we -- we should be thinking of the soldiers overseas. it got restarted simply because after the end of the war there was continued rationing afterwards. the easter egg role is very much a good time. it continues to reach president until world war ii. what happened then? >> pretty much the same thing. it just needed to be stopped because of the security concerns over world war ii and to save food and resources. that continued for a few years after world war ii as well while america was still working. trumanhat, president
renovated the white house. the entire grounds begin one mass construction site. they were in office for such a long time. the longest number of years for the easter egg role. what were those particular things, they had lots of kids. >> it was a good time. fdr was not known to make too he of an appearance because was concealing his disability. shenor roosevelt was there, was very much the leader of the easter egg role during that time. or is the first lady president to speak live directly from the easter egg role on the radio. it was very good. there was one year where was not so good, it was unnaturally very cold and only about 5000 kids showed up which is really tiny for something like this. and she more or less discouraged
every -- encourage everyone to run around, have fun and stay warm. presidents andt war, what happened during the bush administration when the iraq war was going on? and first ladyt had a great idea that in order remind our active-duty destiny satirize our active-duty members are making great they had yellow for the iraq war. >> the yellow ribbon concept. >> support our troops. then the second bush administration did something similar. they closed the grounds down one you for the easter egg role and barred the general public and made a special event for active-duty and reserve military members. then it went back to being open to the general public the year after. it was a really big gesture of
support. >> the white house was completely torn apart from renovations. how many years was it suspended and in the do anything for children at this time? >> they suspended for all eight years of truman's presidency and there were other easter egg roles. smaller, less formal affairs. held at the capital. there was one year it was temporarily recoup that relocated to the capitol grounds. >> and they messed up the lawn again. >> how much damage is there to the south lawn of the white house? serviceational park which they charge the care and management of the grounds it is one of the major folks that are involved with the easter egg role. they do an amazing job. there is an incredible amount of set up and take down and clean
up afterward. with in a day or last, you never know. >> we were talking a presidents that brought animals. the kennedys did that. what was their story? >> the kennedys were never actually in attendance at the white house easter egg roll and neither were the jacksons were nixon's. kidshat did not stop the in the kennedy years from wanting to see the kennedy family pony, wanting to play on the candy kid swingset and really want to meet the kennedy kids. the policeman or providing security explained that caroline and john john were not there to meet them but they send their regrets and the pony. you told us the petting zoo from the carters.
the reagan administration, there's some wonderful connection between nancy reagan and the white house easter egg role. >> she attended the easter egg role as a small child. >> she must've been very keen. >> the reagans were the family that introduce the commemorative eggs. which is not the of death which is now the official white house keepsake. rolebrought the easter egg into a modern era by introducing all matter of games and bringing in cost and superheroes and cartoon characters. it became a full day event. >> what are the hours? >> the hours are from 9:00 a.m. until dark. >> it lasts all day. >> there are ticketed times. so you're only allowed time of the grounds for a limited time.
that's to accommodate as many people as possible. tickets were added in the 20th century and were needed because otherwise it was just a too big of an event. 1905 there was a story about a child who by this point you need an adult to bring you on the ground and an adult companion could not come out to the grounds about a child. so kids being smarter than adult a lot of the times started essentially buying out, buying other way from the grounds with them. administration child made a diamond time doing that. we were talking about media progression. when did the white house easter egg role get live streamed? >> that was in the clinton
administration in the 1990's. >> how is social media changed it? i'm sure people are on the internet. >> there are some he things going on. reading activities of the socialn and with the media, you can see that in real time instead of having to wait. for anst a few hours article to come up. it's instantaneous. >> i wonder if any countries around the world and their leaders have also reprobated these direct role since it worked so well the united states. >> i don't know, but i know there are some presidential sites that host their own easter egg role every year. i was in ohio for a family birthday and the national historic site is hosting. we will probably have some snow. >> let's talk about the most
recent president. two terms of the obama administration. they had young children. host thehe obamas white house easter egg hunt? >> the president plays basketball, he is a huge fan of basketball. plays on the white house passable court. michelle obama really throw her time was interested in promoting active, healthy lifestyle through good nutrition and exercise. she started something called the lift move campaign. that in the easter egg role during their years during the obstacle course and other fun activities. president, current the trump family, they have one easter egg role so far. what if you observed? >> a little bit of a smaller sample size but they have taken a act -- an active involvement
in the activities. the president and first lady started the first easter egg roll by blowing on whistles. to greet there winners of that particular race. activeve also been very in childhood literacy by using a special book where authors will come in and read and enjoy time with the children. >> when you worked on this book together, we have worked her way to the presidents. what did you a for and how did you work with mr. hutton on the illustrations? what was the feel you are trying to get? the readership we hope is literally everyone. we would like it to appeal to younger readers obviously but we would also like it to appeal to parents and adults in general.
especially for young children we are hoping parents will read the book with their children and even the youngest children can enjoy the illustrations. as far as how john hutton and i worked together, he is the artistic genius. i can't even draw stick figures. administrational , i kind of put some storyboards together and i think we can look like this. it was always very basic and he turned it into this amazing book. >> each illustration is a small work of art. so as we close on this, what do you think people learn about american presidents, american culture. history can and should be
.omething what a definite matter what you think of any current president, there is always a good time to be had. >> presidents and children have gone together since the beginning of our republic. >> and animals. >> thank you very telling is the long history of americans of the white house. >> it has been my pleasure. >> this week is the 50th anniversary of martin luther king junior's assassination. join us with coverage from memphis at american history tv on c-span3, on c-span tuesday at 1:00 p.m. eastern. we are alive from the university memphis holiday inn. sydney 4:30 -- and wednesday at 4:30. with remarks by religious and
civil rights leaders including jesse jackson and on american history tv on c-span3 tuesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern. includingne of events walter cronkite announcing dr. king's assassination and a portion of his funeral in atlanta. and wednesday at 8:00 p.m. eastern, live coverage with civil rights leaders including georgia congressman john lewis. bellefonte anda tamika mallory. the 50th a la bursary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king junior. american history tv is on featuringery weekend archival films and programs on the presidency. here is a clip from a recent program.
>> i'm asked what is your andrite item in a museum with 3100 exhibits and inventory of almost 100,000 that we curate, it is hard to say what that is. there is one and it is this one right here. -- wrote a poem at 2:00 the morning at the hotel and that she says in her own words, she to the stub of a pencil by the candlelight that was available to her and she wrote down what she says god gave her to write down. she showed it to her daughter the next morning and was all scripture she had written down, but it formed a poem. her daughter said mom you should have this public.
just published. they took it to a publisher and he published it. she created what we call today the battle hymn of the republic. that one piece of paper that she , that is now considered mns in the most sung hy the united states ever, we own. what you're are looking at here is the original letter that she wrote. in this area we of music that deals with amazing grace and the battle hymn of the republic. music thatieces of represent the struggle going on. this is one of my favorites because it is a very unique story. the words themselves are all taken from a biblical text. she says she was given to write
down. if now when you sing that song, you will recognize and listen to the words and you will hear the bible being quoted in her song. >> you can watch this and other american history programs on a website, where all our video is archived. that is c-span.org/history. wednesday morning, we were in helena, montana for the next up on the c-span bus 50 capitals tour. montana lieutenant governor mike cooney will be our guest during washington journal starting in 9:30 a.m. eastern. >> monday on landmark cases. griswold v connecticut where planned parenthood challenged
the law of prescription used birth control. they ruled the statute to be unconstitutional and in the process established a right to privacy still evolving today. our guests are law professor at george mason university's antonin scalia a law school and the associate dean for research into law professor at kaplan university. watch landmark cases monday and join the conversation. our #is landmark cases. resources on our website for backgrounds on each case. , a link toon book the national constitution center's interactive constitution and the landmark cases podcast at c-span.org/landmark cases. >> now, live, we continue our dose series "1968 -- america and
at race" with a look relations, including martin luther king, jr.'s assassination in memphis, and the kerner commission report. cleaver, our kathleen former black party communication secretary, and historian peniel joseph of the lbj school of public affairs. first, here is walter cronkite on april 4, 1968, announcing that martin luther king, jr. has been shot and killed. ♪ walter: good evening. king, the luther apostle of the civil rights movement has been shot to death in memphis, tennessee. present issued a bulletin for an arrest scene running from the scene. officers reportedly chased and fired on a car containing two white men.