tv The Civil War Confederate Heritage Preservation CSPAN August 3, 2018 12:28pm-12:46pm EDT
a lot of senators who sort of cheered on that house member. >> alexander hamilton was shot by the sitting house of the united states. that's pretty dramatic. we've had terrible political times. >> there was one brawl in 1978 before the civil war that had 80 members rolling around on the floor fighting one another. one of the members who had a wig, his name was kite, one of the members pulled his wig off during the fight, and someone else yelled, he scalped him! and that was enough levity to stop the fight. >> congressional historians richard baker, donald richie and ray smock on c-span's q & a. up next, shenandoah battlefield foundation's ceo kevin walker talks about the commitment of his organization for preserving the story of the
sif civil war. he also recites his foundation's history. this is just over 10 minutes. >> thank you, all, once again for coming and spending the day talking about such a controversial issue, spending the day together learning from one another. i am thrilled by the speaking panel that we had today. dr. robertson opened us up in true style. we could not have the body of knowledge about the american civil war that we do today if it wasn't for dr. robertson. i am absolutely thrilled to have caroline janey back here in the valley and back here in virginia. we were so graced and blessed to have you with us on the panel today. christy coleman's remarks were remarkable and the work she's been doing in richmond on behalf of the monuments commission
there has been daunting, and it was very, very interesting to have her come and talk to us about all of that that she's been doing. and john coski is a wealth of knowledge on many topics. if you ever have a chance to go have lunch with him, i'm sure he would wow you. if there is anybody that knows anything more about the confederate battle flag, i don't know who it would be, and john, thank you so much for being with us today. it's been a wonderful day, and it begs the question once again, why would the shenandoah battlefield foundation host this event? there are other battlefield preservation organizations, national organizations, local organizations that are doing everything that they possibly can to run away from this issue. and if they're not running away from the issue, they're at least doing everything they possibly can to keep their heads down and keep themselves out of view lest they become part of the public
fury. you know, a good friend of mine, bill brown, who is with us today, came up to me before the event and he gave me a little gift. i think i'm going to share that with you now because i think it's very appropos. you have to bear with me, i'm not going to belabor this, but i'm going to take you back to march 5th of 1836. march 5th of 1836. march 5th, 1836 and a little mission in southern texas, the alamo. and a man by the name of colonel william travis. on that moment, apparently colonel travis knew that his position was dire, that there was going to be very little that they were going to be able to do to win the day, if anything, against the overwhelming forces that santa ana had brought against that small force defending the alamo.
against certain death, against all odds, colonel william travis assembled his small party together. and when he did that, he began a speech to them, recounting for them the importance of what they were doing, and with a flourish, he drew his sword and he etched a line in the sand. he etched a line in the sand. my friend bill brown handed to me this morning some of the soil from the spot where colonel travis etched that line in the sand. the shenandoah valley battlefield's foundation drew a line in the sand. we drew a line in the sand and said that we are not going to back away from this issue, it's too important to our future. and when we drew that line in
the sand, we asked, just like colonel travis did, we asked those around us, our closest compatriots in this fight for preservation, to step over the line with us and to stand with us shoulder and shoulder to say to the worldpreservation is important, that our history is important, that we will not stand for anyone who is not inclusive in this conversation, and that we want to foster a broader conversation, we want to foster an open-minded look at these issues, and we want to foster discussion that will lead to commonalities and hopefully more commonalities than differences of opinion as we move into the future. i heard it said by a politician from vermont when he came to
cedar creek to dedicate a vermont marker there something that i'll never forget and i'll use it today. he said, we do not meet here as the descendants of enemies. we meet here today as the ancestors of friends. those of you who decided to cross this line with us and stand beside the shenandoah battlefield's foundation and have tough discussions and dig into these tough issues have decided to make the world a better place tomorrow in our own small way. you've stood up for history, you've stood beside historic preservation, and you've stood beside your neighbors in trying to foster an open and honest discourse about this very difficult issue. we did not come up with any answers today, but we had a lot of powerful discussions. i heard them in the halls, i
heard them during the breaks, i heard them at lunch, i heard them in the questions that we were being asked, and i heard the speakers talk about all the phenomenal interaction they were having with folks that are here today. the shenandoah battlefield's foundation is committed to saving the battlefields of the shenandoah valley. and it's committed to saving and preserving the story of the american civil war as it played out here in the shenandoah valley. but the trustees of the shenandoah battlefield's foundation also realizes that we have a responsibility as one of the largest, most effective battlefield preservation organizations in virginia to take a stand, to draw a line in the sand and to ask others to stand with us. and to that end, the battlefield's foundation snuded a policy which it released on september 27 of 2017, and i would like to read portions of that policy to you today.
i will read the pre amble and te first four lines, the last being administrative only. throughout the shenandoah battlefield's historic district are places of remembrance and commemoration that memorialize and tell the story of the soldiers and civilians, union and confederate, enslaved and free americans who lived through the tumultuous and defining years of the american civil war. and the decades of reconstruction and civil rights struggles that followed. monuments are and always have been an important part of that commemoration and an important part of interpreting history and understanding the past. on battlefields they provide focal points, tangible icons that help visitors understand
what they are -- that they are on hallowed ground, where americans of all sides struggle to deal with the wrenching issues that divided our nation and forged the country that we are in today. monuments have, for thousands of years, expressed the ideas and ideals of past generations. they have spoken to the present and called to us to reflect. to seek our own understanding, to draw meaning from the past for our own time. the shenandoah valley battlefield's foundation considers monuments to be historic in their own right, to be important feature on historic rural and urban landscapes and to be worthy of protection. accordingly, the shenandoah battlefield's foundation makes the following statements of policy.
the svbf is opposed to the removal of plaques, statues, monuments, place names and other public honors associated with the history and heritage of the united states. the shenandoah valley battlefield's foundation asserts rather than taking down monuments, confederate or otherwise, additional monuments should be added to historically appropriate sites throughout the historic district that address the subjects of slavery, the underground railroad, self-emancipation, uftc service, the 13th through 15th amendment, reconstruction, the terrible jim crow era and the civil rights acts that led us into the modern day. existing monuments should be kept intact but can often be
co co come p complemented. we should recognize our flaws, recognize our progress and acknowledge that still more progress must and will come. the shenandoah valley battlefield supports existing and future state laws that forbids state and local governments from removing damaging and otherwise altering monuments and strongly asserts that monuments should remain located where originally placed. and lastly, in the unfortunate event that a monument to union or confederate soldiers, civil war officers or commanders or civilians of that period, enslaved or free, is removed from its original location, and if said monument is considered relevant to the history of the struggle from civil war to civil rights of the shenandoah valley, the shenandoah valley's
foundation is open to contributing such a monument to the historic district. the battle division sees the shenandoah valley foundation where people can gather to commemorate, understand and draw meaning from our nation's heritage. we feel that our work to preserve battlefields, our work to preserve stories, our work to preserve monuments and the work that you have started today by opening up discussions about such complicated issues is doing just that. and with that, i thank you. [ applause ] >> i think we do have some time if there's any last-minute questions before we go out to the book signing.
all right. have a safe trip home. >> announcer: the u.s. house is in recess through the month of august and we're using this opportunity to show you american history tv programs that are normally seen only on the weekends here on c-span3. coming up, presentations from a recent conference on civil war confederate monuments. it starts with an overview of the debate taking place across the country over taking down the monuments. that's followed by an explanation of why people have competing memories of the civil war. and then the controversies behind taking down confederate
monuments. and later a look at the popularity of the confederate battle flag and confederate heritage preservation. >> announcer: this sunday on oral histories, we continue our series on women in congress with former democratic congresswoman pat schroeder. >> when i first got elected, i was in this really idealistic mode of, isn't this wonderful? how long do you think it will be before at least half the house is female? i asked the library of congress or somebody what they thought, and they said probably 300 years. i'm beginning to believe maybe they're right because it has been very incremental, very incremental. >> announcer: and in the weeks ahead, we'll hear from sue myrick, eva clayton, helen bentley, barbara kennelly, nancy
johnson and lynn woolsey. watch oral histories on sunday at 10:00 a.m. on c-span3. >> announcer: this weekend the c-span cities tour takes you to las cruces, new mexico. with the help of our comcast cable partners we'll explore the life of literacy in las cruces along the banks of the rio grande saturday on book tv. his book, j. robert oppenheimer, the cold war in the great west. >> when oppenheimer first brought history to cal tech and then to new mexico, he changed particularly new mexico. it brought this state that was poor, had very little infrastructure and put in the
middle of it this federally funded facility that just transformed the state. >> announcer: then author martha andrews discusses the roles of western frontier women in her book "out of the shadows: the women of southern mexico." we visit the white sands missile range museum. >> the testing that's been done out here, people think it's been mostly military testing, but it really -- it's involved a lot of civilian uses as well. a lot of the rockets that are fired out here even today are sounding rockets used to do upper atmospheric research. that's still a big program out here. >> announcer: then a tour of fort selden, a u.s. military outpost located near the rio grande river established to keep peace in the region. watch c-span's tour of las cruces, new mexico saturday on book tv and sunday at 2:00 p.m.
on american history tv on c-span3, working with our cable affiliates as we explore america. >> announcer: next, virginia tech history professor americus james robertson shares his views on the arms debate. he also discusses robert e. lee's character and talks about the organizations and people who are seeking to remove his statues throughout the country. this hour 15-minute talk was at a conference about confederate icons host the by the shenandoah valley battlefields association. >> good morning again, everybody. thank you so much for being here in harrisonburg, virginia in the heart of the national historic district that is comprised of eight counties of the shenandoah valley. we at the shenandoah valley battlefields foundation are thrilled to have you all