tv 400th Anniversary of Forced African Migration CSPAN February 21, 2019 10:15pm-12:23am EST
ensley and asa hutchinson discuss education policy. watch the national governors association winter meeting, life this weekend, on c-span, cspan.org, or listen with a free c-span radio app. in august 1619, 20 africans who had been forced to cross the atlantic ocean arrived in the virginia colony, aboard a dutch ship. next, in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the beginning of forced migration to north america, the association for the study of african-american life and history host a panel discussion of the same 400 years of perseverance. this is about two hours. good afternoon. thank you again. here for black history month,
now, the association for the study of african-american life and history was funded by dr. carter woodson it started as history week and has been expanded to black history month. we would like to thank our sponsors. they included the prince georges truth ranch of a fellow. usa today, and the law and policy group we would also like to thank all of those people who make black history happen all year round. the year 2019 is special for many reasons and we will explore those reasons in two parts. part one, we will talk about the theme for black history month, this year, and that is black migration. our press event also includes a panel of scholars.
first, if we have her here, we are looking for the president of the national press club allison fitzgerald, who will come. who will come to give welcome in a few minutes. we are also honored to have the presence of dr. lonnie g. bunch the third period of the founding director of the national museum of african- american history and culture, and also a centennial ray of light. thank you, thank you dr. bunch for your ongoing support and your embrace of a legacy of our founder, dr. carter woodson. each year, the president of us all a discloses a selection of
the theme for the study of black history, globally. black history is not just an american thing. black history is a study that we have seen actually take place in the uk, as well as parts of africa, and other parts of the world. so, what dr. woodson started has become a global, global event. dr. jacob austin is the professor of history and african-american studies, and the first african-american chair of the history department at harvard. we are also proud to congratulate her for winning the doctor john hopes franklin award. we just learned of this last night. she is a historian of historians. and, to read her statement on this year's black history theme, black migration, i give you dr. higginbotham.
>> thank you, and welcome. every year i write a statement to inaugurate black history month. this one starts off, happy black history month. this year opens with the theme black migration. as the founders of black history month, the association for the study of african- american life and history believes that migration represents one of the most important aspects of our nation's past. the very title of the book, a nation of immigrants, written by president john f. kennedy, captures the centrality of migration to the makeup of the american people. however, for african-americans, the history of migration has a unique meaning.
thought of forced migration, in the form of the african slave trade to america, which ended by law, though not always in practice, in 1808. and the domestic human trafficking, what we call the domestic slave trade, that continued into the abolition of slavery in 1865. these are stories of family set rated, of children taken from parents and such pain was overwhelming and heartbreaking for families then, as it is now. for children separated from their parents in the hispanic migrants who seek asylum in america. the founder, dr. carter g. woodson understood the meaning of migration in this way, where he wrote a century of negro
migration. he published that book in 1918, and presented the facts as to have the negros in the united states have struggled under adverse circumstances to flee from bondage, and oppression, in quest of a land offering asylum to the oppressed and opportunity to the unfortunate. it calls attention to the many stories and forms of migration over the centuries, and also in the present. we give special attention to the year 1619, when africans arrived on to slave ships in the virginia colony. the first permanent english settlement in north america. i always like to say, and this is a digression, africans were in what is presently understood to be the united states as early as the 1500s, because they were slaves there of the spanish, and they helped to
build the city that is the oldest city in the united states in 1565. but, 1619 is crucial. because it is the year that epitomizes the moment of the unfolding problem of race and slavery in the american past and present. we want to applaud the legislation introduced by congressman bobby scott of virginia, and that legislation is tied up the 400 years of african-american history commission act hr 1242 dash 115. that came out february 2018. 1619 is important because it is part of the story of the united states revolution, that
revolution that created the united states. eight is the year, as i said, that epitomizes the moment of the unfolding problem of race and slavery in the american past and present. virginia's lawmakers led to the 13 colonies in creating a legal process that gradually structured permanent racial servitude, indeed as a colony, virginia and later as a state, would pass laws on race that would serve as a model for defining the subordinate legal status of persons of african descent. it emphasizes 400 years of perseverance in order to capture a history more expensive than enslavement, however. before, centuries bear witness to migration as countless stories of a past left behind any future full of hope for a
world free of racial discrimination. this long-standing and steady perseverance includes many actors, some escaping from slavery, some seeking to emigrate to africa, so moving from firm to city in the south or to the west. others seeking employment in the north and the 20th century, over returning to the south in the 21st century, and not least of all this he came to the united states from the caribbean, from south america, from africa, and for many other places. help us to make black history month of the but it is in 1619 two 2019 and throughout this year come with us on this intellectual journey of black migration. thank you. thank you dr. evelyn brooks
higginbotham, our 28th president for the association of african- american life and history. once again, her name is gloria bob marshall. i also would like to put on another hat. that is a legal commentator who covers the u.s. supreme court. the study of black history involves many stakeholders, that include branch members, students, supporters, readers, foundations, scholars, archivists to name a few. but, researchers of history rely on newspapers. and, they say that journalism has been the first draft of history. we are pleased to present michelle smith. michelle is a cornelia editor of usa today's investigation team and the leader of several award-winning race and diversity projects. additionally, usa today publishes an annual african-
american history publication during black history month. this year, a solace 400 member calendar and other events are featured in this publication. i give you michelle smith. >> thank you gloria, and thank you to members of a solid. i am so delighted to finally be presenting this black history month special edition to you this is exodus, the issue we have for 2019. we have been doing these issues for seven years, unbeknown to the group and asla have been part of what has undergirded the issue since its inception. one of the things that we wanted to do with this addition in particular, we had a little bit of freedom of movement to
step away from our founding philosophy. we have found this in 2013 to celebrate civil rights anniversaries and to find a way to talk about how meaningful those anniversaries were. this year, we had a little bit of leeway to really drill down deeply into asla's frame of black migration, to the point that the writers group i bring together every other like wow, that is so broad, what are we going to do to narrow that down. luckily we had a reporter for our main story who has been wanting to talk about mr. schaumburg's in motion exhibit in the 13 migration theory that they set forth. and, she was able to use the theme to really get into that, and tell a story that does not present african-americans post slavery as victims, but rather talks about how we were confronted with a situation which we had no blueprint, and
we were able to kind of move through and find our way and use agency and intelligence and independence to build a new life for ourselves. also in looking at this, we knew we had to talk about the 400th anniversary of the anniversary of the african arrival. i have been doing for years the 400 anniversary of slavery slavery started in 1619. so i went into the research with the idea that i was going to find a precise date. and, as we went through, and i was pleased to have an approved writer do this for us. we found that we needed to do some debunking instead, and returned to darrell scott and gloria brown marshall, and other people at asla come to help us drill down into that notion and really debunk everything, as well as give the schedule. so i am tremendously proud of this issue, as i am every year. i think that this is probably our most thoughtful issue, and i hope that you guys will go online, and maybe get a
physical copy for yourself. it is online -- online store.usa today.com. i will also be having, be posting some of the stories, the key stories from this edition at our civil rights in america website, that we have had, and i've been maintaining for the past decade or so. and that is civil rights.usa today.com. and also, i want to let you know that your word and your work travel so much farther than you think it does, then i ever thought that it was going to do when we first started this last year, we were able to give away 11,000 copies for free to museums and schools and libraries, indelible acp, and other institutions. this year, i'm delighted to say we have a help of a former washington post reporter, getting us to a 2000 distributed around the country. i am hearing lots of positive feedback from all of the country, and hope that we can continue to present this to you.
i just want to tell you how we use this issue to bring things full-circle, not only do we want to go back into the past, but we find things useful in terms of going back and getting what we need as a push forward into the future. so, with black panther being just a phenomenon that it was last year, i found that the asla theme , was the perfect device to talk about the theme, in terms of our ancestors must've felt the same way in their search for their promised land as we did when we all saw wakanda and started searching somewhere. i know i did when i went to jamaica. so thank you so much for providing a mechanism to talk, not just about america, but about the haitian revolution, about the islands, and about so much more that we were not able to get into this issue this time, but we hope to be able to get into the future. i really
appreciate the work. and if i could say one, one more little thing, i just want to give a little shot out and love to the black press as well. people debated their purpose and usefulness as more black people are in the mainstream press, but without other newspapers, in addition to the historians gathered here today and that are listening, i would not be as informed as i need to be in order to do this work? i appreciate you. >> thank you, michelle. someone created a national calendar of events for the 400th. it is a clearinghouse of events and activities taking place not just across the united states, but around the world.
asla provides organizations and individuals with a flea platform to tell the world about therefore hundredth related event. for example, on our calendar, if you have a chance, you go to asl ah.org and you will see our 400th calendar has a group from wichita, kansas, traveling to africa to give libations for the ancestors. we have dozens of conferences taking place, including a conference that is taking place in hampton, virginia, which is the a site of the arrival of the 20 africans in 1619. we have great migration concerts and prince george's county, presenting the music of the different areas of impact, and film screenings in chicago, so if you have a chance to look at our calendar, and of course submit events that are 400th related. you will find it is an abundant place for us, and to not only
know what is going on in our communities, but communities across the country. we have been contacted about black history month so limited in scotland. there is so much to go see around this world that was started by our founder, dr. carter g woodson, and to understand those connections. 400 years of perseverance, the 1619 arrival of africans in virginia begins a journey that would include overcoming unspeakable obstacles. but, because we overcame those obstacles, we are allowed to be in this room today. it is the on on the glory of that resilience, that perseverance, that makes this 400 commemoration so important, not just to the african-american -- but to the world. african-american resilience, perseverance, love, family, and cultural pride, brought us through so much we are today
having gone through all of that, understanding that 400 years of perseverance is represented in so many ways. before we go to part two of our panel, i would like to have a welcome from the national press club itself. thank you from >>, gloria. so great to see you, and great to see all of you here today. i am bill mccarron, i am the executive director of the national press club. we are honored to have the of the support and location, and see your smiling faces, and to know that there is so much to celebrate, and that you will enjoy this great program that gloria has put forward. i want to just, if i can, just touch on a couple of aspects of our history, that we think are important and have to do with progress, and participation of the african-american community in the press club together.
so, recently, we have had two presidents ago, jeff was our president, he is a producer. their television programming happens to be african-american american. this is our first african- american male. jeff did a tremendous job and was a great ambassador for us. if you go to our ballroom, which is the biggest room around the corner over on that side, there is a plaque, and the plaque commemorates the first african-american speaker at the national press club. this was 1962, this is dr. martin luther king, he was about 33 years old, then. he was a terrific speaker for us. it is meaningful to people when the into that room and they know that dr. king spoke their.
interesting, don't have full video of this event, we have full audio of this event, touches on the library of congress website. he was terrific of course. it is not of his i have a dream speech. it will come later in life in that rhetoric that day. so, it is sort of interesting as a historical document to hear and see that. i can literally go on like this forever, but i know gloria has got great stuff. i will leave you one or two other great things i find fascinating that inform our place, our country. so, the last place that louis armstrong played a trumpet in public was here at the national press club. for about a year, he had been holding the horn and singing. he had a heart condition, and went up to the force you need to play the trumpet. so, he is coming up here january 1971 to cs, and his
doctor gave him a go through right before he got on the train to come up, and he said you know, let your own conscience be your guide. if you want to play, you are well enough to play. so, people came there expecting to see him, and to hear him sing. but, not expecting to hear him play trumpet. and, he was great, and we found the audio, and we give it to linton marsalis, and he said i have heard him play that run from hello dolly like hundreds of times, but i never heard that improvisation. so, what it tells us about the human condition is that the end of life, you know, the artist is still inventing, right? and that music became the lead selling thing, my kids would know these terms on apple, no,
on itunes, jazz, and on one of the other ones, digital ones, for like two weeks. this music was years old. but anyway, we had not heard it before. that is one of the things that happened that press club, is that stuff that is important to our history. we have not really listen to it at the right way or heard it recently. it helps inform us about the world we are in, in the public. so much of that we find is the richest book and art, and policy and culture that is brought forward from some of our visitors in the african- american community it's a wonderful thing. if you really want to know about that, without wonderful museum down across the street. anyway, i am grateful for a opportunity to see all of you. i am going to turn it back over
to gloria. thank you for being here, thank you for what you do, and grateful for you to be here. >> thank you, i am also a number of the national press club. so, as we turn to part two, we were going to be led by our president, dr. hagan boffin who will moderate the scholars who will discuss 400 years of perseverance from their perspective, dr. hagan boffin? will all >> so we have a distinguished panel today. is the director of the african- american cultural heritage action fund. a 25 million dollar fundraising and preservation campaign at the national trust for historic preservation. he is a harvard university loeb
fellow, and author of preserving african-american historic site. he has led efforts to create the birmingham civil rights national museum monument in alabama, which president barack obama designated in january 2007 pick he is the recipient of the 2018 robert g stanton national preservation award. but, other projects include reserving iconic aces, like the estate of madame cj walker in irvington new york, or joe frazier's gym in philadelphia, pennsylvania. or nina simone's birthplace in north carolina. and many more places. brent likes is also an assistant clinical professor at the university of maryland's graduate program in historic preservation. spencer crew is the clearance at j robinson professor of history at george mason
university. his research interest in publication focus on african- american migration, slavery, and the underground railroad. he has been a leader in public history for several decades, serving formally as the president of the national underground railroad, freedom center in cincinnati ohio, and a little working as at the national museum of american history, smithsonian institution, for 20 years. he brought it in the innovative exhibits, and the creative exhibits, which have been important and memorable. the one that people probably remember best from field to factory. migration 19/5 teen to 1940. and, he also co-curated the exhibit, the american presidency , a glorious burden, which is
one of the smithsonian's most popular exhibitions. he has also published books with the same names, the same titles, and many more publications. he is working on a i have a fee of thurgood marshall. gloria ron marshall is a profession of constitutional law at john jay college of criminal justice. she has many books and articles. her two books that have really made a mark, the voting rights war, the naacp, and the ongoing struggle for justice, and her book, the race law and american society, 1607 to the present. i chose that book because it is a groundbreaking work, connecting rasul justice over 400 years in the areas of education, voting rights, property rights, criminal justice, a host of themes that involve african-americans, latin americans, latinos, asians, and native americans.
she is currently working, or almost done on a book that is coming out called she took justice about black women and the law. she is also working on a documentary of the same title which will accompany the book. she has artie told you, she is the u.s. supreme court correspondent. she is a member of the national press club, and is often on television. you may have seen her as an analyst for msnbc, cbs, cnn, abc. and she is a solace for hundreds commemoration committee. lastly, roger fairfax is the jeffrey m isakson senior associate dean for academic affairs and professor of law at george washington university law school.
it teaches rights at the areas of criminal law procedure and policy. any scholarship appears in numerous books and journals such as the boston review, uc davis law review, harvard civil rights civil liberties law review, yale law review, and i can't list all of the. while at the harvard law school, where he received his law degree, he was one of the editors of the harvard law review. and later a senior fellow at the charles hamilton houston institute for race and justice. he is also an elected member of the american law institute. so, we are very pleased to have you, and i look forward to this conversation.
>> brent, your work with the national trust for historic preservation gives history a really tangible form. i like to always tell my students that you learn history in books, but you can also learn history in museums. but, there is something really special standing in those places where history was made. please talk about why it is so important to preserve size of slavery, and in fact why your action fund is so crucial for captioning 400 years of perseverance. >> i want to thank you evelyn and osama for having me here today. we preserve the places where history happened.
we believe that every american, including african-americans should be able to see themselves in the historic places that surround us. the national trust by congress in 1949, today we are a national nonprofit organization, and we are the leaders in preserving african- american historic places. we believe that preserving both the places of injustice, difficult histories and slavery, is critical to understanding the black experience in america. we don't stop there. we believe that it is our social responsibility to reconstruct a national identity, balance public memory, and to tell the full history of our nation by honoring the black women and men and entrepreneurship and activism, education, law, science, in all
of the ways we have contributed to the development of the united states. what i wanted to do today was highlight a couple of our projects, just to give you a sense of the kind of work we do. has anyone toured port munro? so, president obama used the antiquities act of 1906. it was his first use to designate port mile road national monument. we got involved because we wanted to ensure that the story there, the story of towns in mallory and baker was brought to life. the enslaved africans, they organized themselves, they would be considered contraband of war by benjamin butler. if he can a catalyst, and unknown colleges, for emancipation 500,000 freedom
seekers followed in their footsteps. we believed as we recognized in under 1619, that there is no greater story of black presidents than the ones of those freeman. we want to make sure that all americans understand that history. there is also a place called james madison's mind tell you. in virginia. we have been working at this historic site to expand the narrative there. if you have the opportunity to tour the exhibition title, distinction of color. what is beautiful about this, is that the enslaved workers there literally working in the basement and on this plantation, it was hidden in the way that we had been interpreting that story. today, visitors will learn about those markers. but, also the legacy of slavery.
they talk about police brutality. they talk about the aspirations of president obama becoming the first black president, and really speaks to the span of 400 years. then, the last slavery site that i want to share is shockoe bottom in richmond, virginia. this nine acre archaeological site, if you see it today, it is nothing more than pavement and driveways and streets. but, if you were able to pull back that history, you begin to understand this was the second largest slaveholding site in america. when the national trust learned that the city had proposed a $90 million redevelopment to build a minor-league baseball stadium we thought this was an injustice. we organized with local advocates, grassroots organizations, and other preservation partners to mitigate that threat, and today are working with the community to develop a community driven
birthplace of north carolina. or southside community arts center in chicago where culture , arts and historic preservation practice is being leveraged as a form of community revitalization and economic development. helping rich dentists help acquire and create a center for female ownership with their new foundation that they just created. also, john and alice coltrane's home in new york, we are so happy to be working there because john produced his masterpiece in a bedroom in that space.
most americans don't realize that alice coltrane recorded her first album there. it provides us an opportunity to build recognition for black women in civil rights, spirituality and music. one of the aspirations and goals of the action fund is to create a $10 million national program. last year when we invited proposals we received 830 proposals. from 42 states requesting nearly $91 million. last year at the essex festival we awarded 16 projects from los angeles to atlanta and new york . we invested $1.1 million. places like the with adult ladies club in los angeles. tuskegee university. we just closed our second year of
proposals and we received 462 this year. requesting nearly $30 million. this year we will award nearly $2 million and having to invest in 20 preservation product checks. we hope to support 150 projects across the country because we want to amplify the stories of african-american struggle and achievement. we want to foster education, true healing and reconciliation. most importantly through the action fund we want to highlight and share the full contribution of african-americans to this nation. from 1619 two today we are celebrating black perseverance. thank you. >> in 1903, the great scholar
and activist the ved the boys spoke prophetically that the color line would be the problem of the 20th century. how did the migration of african-americans during the 20th century contribute to making that statement true. >> i think as we listen to read about the to voice he was a preserver of american society. i think what he was observing was changes taking place in the african-american community. he had done a study of philadelphia and have seen what was taking place of changes there. what i think he also saw and why he believed the color line would be so important and how migration impacts that is because he was beginning to see a new generation of african- americans. a generation that were not born into slavery and not been shaped by that but saw
themselves in a much different kind of way. they are much less willing to accommodate to the ideals that southern society had forced upon african-americans before that. they did not believe that they were not equal. not that their predecessors did. i think they had a much different perspective. as you begin to see the aftermath of reconstruction and the new walls coming into play, segregation, jim crow, you have individuals who are trying to navigate and figure out what alternatives are available. i think wind begins to happen is that you get to turn-of-the- century and new opportunities present themselves. the most important one was the start of world war i where you see recruiting of white to go off to fight into the military and the jobs begin to open in
the north. before that, african-americans were looking for other choices and opportunities. they moved in from rural areas from the south to urban areas in the south and began to move to urban areas in the north. i think the biggest change that takes place that we have to keep in mind is the fact that we are shifting the democratic center that prior to the earlier 20 century. the majority of african- americans lived in rural areas in the south. i the time it to 1920 there were still mostly in the south and much more urban in the way we operate. also much more now than in the weather we operate. it was a consequence that he is beginning to talk about is that what had been seen largely as a southern issue where southern legislatures and senators and people like resident wilson said that we know best how to take care of the african- american community. we have been around for a long time and we understand the issues that go along with that.
what happened with the great migration and to the north as you get closer to world war i is that the locust of african market committed he becomes more northern. you see an explosion in the size of the african american population in northern cities. places like new york and cleveland. seeing a population of our computer americans double and triple inside. they were placed in a society and no long a seven question. the northern cities or having to adjust to the issue of how do we accommodate this influx of new individuals into our city. how do we provide facilities and support in order to accommodate them. you see the growth of african-
american enclaves in the cities. their becoming very important areas of african life. it pushes the issue of african- americans concerned in the forefront. we began to raise issues about what their life is like and what kind of treatment they deserve as citizens and what the nation is going to do about that. you see this like in the naacp is to say that we have a place in this nation and have made important contributions and we will not sit quietly. the consequence i think is what the voices talking about is the push of african americans into the forefront of the nation.
it's not only in terms of growth of black populations in cities and the pressures they are bringing in the political pressure of the naacp, also you see the contributions of african-american increasing as well. it's not just in harlem it happens. washington, d.c.'s a center, chicago is a center. you see jazz coming to the north . the fact that he comes from south new orleans and brings the music with him you begin to see this become more part of american culture and life in the weight operating. you also see it in the plays that begin to emerge.
i think the face of african- americans becomes much more national. you first see this is a great migration round world war i. the reality is that it's just the beginning because another great push of african americans that happened around world war ii. this push is slightly different. it doesn't go so much north to south. many people come to washington, d.c. during this time during world war i. many people in washington, d.c. now can trace the roots back to escalona, south carolina and virginia. in world war ii the migration pattern comes somewhat northward because of a westward migration. people moving from louisiana to california in the midwest to california. following the jobs available in terms of military and things going on there, what we see happening is african-americans
we relocate themselves in different parts of the nation and the impact of those places that they really cause a change in how we are perceived. issues of race, much more sequential. was more important in terms of how we focus as a nation. also our influence upon the political system. you see a shift take place when you look at franklin roosevelt in office. he may not be the most supportive president. but his wife is. i think those kinds of things are what raiseare going
criminals. it is a whole process of criminalization. i think about martin luther king. i like to tell my students sometimes that you have to understand that rosa parks broke the law. she was actually the one breaking the law. and so what is the role of the criminal system, the criminal justice system as it relates to the arc of american history in we see how unjust on many levels the system of criminal justice has been. >> well, first of all, ellen, i want to thank you for inviting me to be part of this wonderful event. congratulations on this terrific kickoff to a year-long celebration and commemoration of the 400th anniversary. merriam webster defines perceiver sense as the continued effort to do
something despite difficulties, failure or opposition. and when the professor asked me to think about the role of the criminal law and four centuries of african-american perseverance, i decided to go where i often go for commemoration. i'm looking here at the front row because that is the national museum for african- american history and culture. our wonderful institution, which i think it is fair to say is indeed a monument to perseverance. and indeed on one of the interior walls of the museum are the words of dr. maya angelou. i am the dream and the hope of the slave. those words from still i rise speak powerfully to the display by african-americans throughout these four centuries we're discussing. and i visited the museum
probably a dozen times now on various occasions. and as is the experience of others with whom i've spoken about their visits, i experience it differently every time i go. so in preparation for today's panel, i thought it would be worth going back. i went earlier this week to help me situate my thoughts about the role of the criminal law and these 400 years of perseverance. and you know what, it probably should not be surprising that there is scarcely an exhibit in that museum that does not bring into sharp relief the intimate nexus between the criminal law and the 400-plus year struggle of african-americans in this country. and whether that is the criminal law being used as a means, as a tool of social or racial control or to
crystallize racial inequity. and our professor brown marshall talked about this a little bit, the development of the law, the black that were designed to cement the racial segregation after the civil war, forcing african-americans into labor contracts, restricting their freedom of movement. denying them the franchise. prohibiting them from serving on criminal and civil juries. jim crow laws regulating their access to transportation and recreation and education. regulating marriage between individuals of different races. and as professor pointed out, these were criminal laws. so failure to adhere to these discriminatory prohibitions meant that you would be prosecuted and convicted and incarcerated as a result of your resistance to these laws. so, again, the criminal law was being used as a blunt tool to
enforce an unjust racial and social order. we also see in the museum stories of the failure of the criminal justice system to provide equal protection of african-americans. the long and sad history of racial violence and stayed actors who are often in different at best and complicit at worst in this violence. the many horrifying images of african-americans hanging from trees and from bridges as a result of this violence. the image of a young vibrant juxtapose next to his disfigured face as he lie in the casket. the moving exhibit with the casket in the museum. and the description of the rape or torture of countless african- americans often without any subsequent serious effort to apprehend the wrong-doers. when they are apprehended, with no grand jury indictment or no
conviction at trial. and we also see in the museum stories, the use of the criminal justice apparatus to frustrate civil rights advocacy. the often cozy if not coordinated relationship between racial terror organizations as was just mentioned and law enforcement meant that these racial terror groups had cart blanche to use intimidation and even murder to -- to pursue economic advancement. and the museum depicts the phenomenal of the criminalization of these civil rights advocates. mug shot after mug shot of iconic and lesser known civil rights activists who were arrested and brought into the criminal justice system simply for asserting their rights under the constitution. and so we see in the museum stories of, again, the criminal
justice system's impact on this attempt to persevere despite all that stood in the way of african-americans throughout this time. and one thing that struck me was the set of museum stories about the criminal justice system's warehousing of black bodies. the vivid descriptions and convictions of convict leasing. exploiting that loophole in the 13th amendment and that ban on slavery to allow private parties to continue to profit from the unpaid labor of african-americans. and i could go on and on with these examples of how the museum chronicles these intersections of the criminal law with the african-american history of perseverance. but we should be reminded that this is not only about history. i mean, many challenges remain. and the museum chronicle this unfortunate history of police brutality within the african-
american community. but today we see instance after instance of unarmed african- americans losing their lives at the hands of law enforcement. and too often with justice being denied. yet we persevere. we see the different more enlightened public health response to the opioid epidemic that is sweeping majority communities. and rightly so. that is the response that we should have. but countless numbers of african-american families are still feeling the effects of ill conceived policies associated with the war on drugs. and that led to the mass incarceration that we still suffer from today. but yet we persevere. the museum illuminated the criminal justice system's role in profiting, as i mentioned, from the exportation of block bodies through practices such as convict leasing.
but today we have a proliferation of private prisons here. and the criminalization of poverty through criminal justice related fines and fees and penalty that's were brought to light in the wake of ferguson. and the dysfunctional cash bail system that we have that was illuminated with the tragic story of broward. we're persevering as we continue to deal with these issues. another story that the museum told me was of the long and enduring struggle for educational equality for african-americans. and today we're still grappling with that at the same time that we are confronting the realities of the school to prison pipeline. so still we persevere. and really in quite moving fashion, the museum tells a story of the racial violence fueled by hate, such as the 1963 murder of those four
little girls in the 16th street baptist church in birmingham. and today we mourn in the wake of mass shootings at an african- american church in charleston, at a synagogue in pittsburgh. and the hate-fueled violence that was put on display in charlottesville. but yet we persevere. i mentioned earlier dr. angelo's words on one wall of the museum. james bolan's words on another wall there. just as a quick aside before i close, i bring to you the adaptation of baldwin's classic if street could talk. i was blessed to invite to a screening of that film. and that was followed by a q and a with the brilliant director barry jenkins and the equally brilliant president and
director counsel of the ncaa p cheryl. and it was a wonderful conversation. explores a number of the themes of the intersections of race and criminal justice that we talked about here. baldwin's words on the museum wall are the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us. our unconsciously controlled by it. history is literally present in all that we do. and i think that what baldwin said is true. and i think it is a fitting observation as we commence this year-long commemoration of the 400th anniversary. and as the anthem commands us, we sing a song full of the faith that the dark path taught us and also the hope that the present has brought us. we will and we must persevere. thank you. [applause]
>> thank you. i'm curious, i'm really interested in each of you has a mission, a project work that you're doing related to these topics. and you've talked about it so well. but i'm curious if you've ever been surprised or shocked or saddened or inspired. give me an example of something that has crossed your path that really moved you. and i just want all of you to just speak. >> all right. a moment that has inspired me. so the first time that i witnessed issues of race in place was when i was in the third grade. my mom has a lesson for helping
us feel empowered. when we were registering for school, went up and i introduced myself. i'm brent legs. and the woman asked, what is your address? and i said 741 maguire avenue. she said what apartment number? and i said 741. and she said no, what apartment number. and i said 741. so i'm looking at my mom who is standing there and seeing the frustration that she has. give you some context. so maguire avenue is a long street. at the end of the street was a low income housing project. where we lived in the red brick ranch house that my parents built in 1972 that they were very proud of coming from rural kentucky. and that literally was the first moment where i understood that race and place would create a false perception about
my identity. when i had the good chance to go to grad school at the university of kentucky, i had a random conversation with the dean of the graduate preservation program. i was searching for my professional identity. convinced me to go into that program. and they asked me to conduct a statewide inventory of rosen called schools. a massive school building program imagined by booker t washington and literally the preservation of these spaces is -- is the physical manifestation of a social movement in response to a crisis in black education. during this process i learned that my mom and dad went to rosen wall school. right. and i remember standing at a school having this multi sensory experience and interaction with this physical history. i could hear and touch and feel the creeing floorboards as i toured the space. for me it really start today
speak to the power of historic preservation and the power of place to remind us of our great potential and our social responsibility as a community to continue to fight for justice and equality. so today i stand heresa preservation professional, first generation academically trained. and we are committed to building a pipeline and diversifying the field of preservation practice because we want other diverse voices and professionals to stand up and rep for black culture. [applause] >> as mentioned earlier, early in my life i got to, would on exhibition of migration at the museum. i think what was most inspiring was the chance to travel around the country. and as we try to figure out
about this exhibition, part of the mantra at the american history museum for years and years, we can't do exhibitions on african-americans because we don't have the material culture. the idea of doing this exhibition was to begin to find those things and make them part of the story. to make it part of the story that is very essential to the african-american community. migration is a part of probably the history of all of us in one way or another. my wife reminds me when she was younger she would hear her parents talking to people. and they would say where are you from? we're from d.c. where are your people from. then you find out that they are from north carolina and south carolina and places like that. more importantly in working with the exhibition, it was the chance to talk to people about their stories. and to have them understand that their story was part of a larger context. their story is part of a larger flow of the history of this country that was important. more importantly, the material culture that was part of their
lives that they felt was important basically that were in attics and trunks around the house were important harbingers and contribution to this country. it is a series of moments talking to people and having that light go on that their stories were important. and they were important enough to have their objects, their clothing, their papers, their bibles come to the smithsonian and be a part of it. and that for me was very important and inspiring. and it reminded all of us about the kind of contribution that's we had to make. and how important saving those things and making them available were to ensuring that our place in this country's history was never lost. so it was for me the chance to share that with people, to have
them realize that, and then to share that back to make sure that our stories are never lost so. that for me the most important thing is making sure that as is being done at the african- american museum that we capture our heritage, that it is not lost. and our stories are never lost. if we do that, we will never be forgotten as important contributors to the history of this country [applause] >> when i was working at a civil rights attorney full- time, i would be in small towns in alabama and georgia. and i would say -- i would not call them hotels. they were definitely motels. i would be by myself. and i started thinking, how long have we been doing? how long have we been advocating our rights in court. that's when i started to write my book. and i thought it would go back to the 1950s. then i saw it was back to the
19 -- post plessy in 1905, 1906. the red summer 1919 had another feature which was the colfax massacre in the 1800s. then i would go back again and i would find -- that's why my book begins in 1607 and goes forward. but then i also found my place. i put a picture of my family in the front of that book because they were, and i found the term later, we just told the story of coming up from kentucky in the 1800s. and then there was a word it is called exodusters that we moved from five families. the bradshaw line my mother's side to kansas. and in kansas we became farmers. and five family, five brothers starting their farming communities and we still have cousin who's are farmers.
at one point had the largest black farm in kansas. but what also got me about this was this idea of free will. and the cases i ran into when i was doing my research was point dexter versus bailey. and in this case, from 1850s, we had a slave master who of course would have these enslaved human beings and right before he died, before he wanted to go to the rotten place in he would monument them. he put in his will that once he died, then this enslaved person could either choose to stay with his wife as an enslaved person or be free. the court then says no, this person has no right or free will to determine if he can even be a slave. he has no human right because humans have a right of free will. this person is not human as property and you don't decide
where the chair goes. the chair -- you decide, the chair does not. so that always stayed with me. the idea that mayan she is tores traveled to kansas by free will. that i travel to where a job takes me or i need to go. that we're here today based on free will. and it is so important to understand that there have been oppositions, groups and certain people and philosophy who do not want us to exercise free will. one klansman said after the civil rights act was passed now they're going to work for every inch we get. if you feel that you've been embattled, we have. and the battle is over free will. because it was determined that we were here for a particular purpose that would benefit others. not ourselves. so this is all quite unusual, isn't it?
that we actually get to have choices. choose our partners. choose where we live. what type of work we do. all of this is relatively new for that time period between 1619 to the present. i also wanted to talk about this one thing that happened to me. i was bussed. and i was bussed under missouri versus jenkins because i came from the midwest, kansas, into kansas city, missouri and busing came very late. so when i was bussed, it was this old but new phenomena. and i remember people walking in and looking in the doors as we were at the time about 20 african-american students in a school of hundreds and hundreds of white students. and you heard the n word and you had things written on your locker and you had all of these things happen. to me, the jury is still out on the benefit of busing and the benefit of this forced integration. but it also gave me the power to say that i can look anyone
in the eye and be very clear in what i have to say to them. without fear of favor. but i also realize those people who would come in with their charts and they would look and examine each person in the room and where they were seated and how many people were there, i always wondered who they were. they were civil rights attorneys. so little did i know years later that i would become a civil rights attorney. my area would be education. and i would be the one opening the doors, peeking in, seeing what the racial composition was in this particular classroom and how many books were in the library. all of these things going full circle. and i think about our ancestors and how proud they must be and concerned at the same time that we move forward, that we're here in this room would be great pride. but at the same time, do we still have the fire and the sense of free will that we want to carve out a place in this world for the next generation
to be freer than we are today. >> thank you. [applause] >> so it is interesting. my father, roger fairfax senior has been involved in a pretty intense effort over the past really two decades now to uncover our family history. and he has done some -- some phenomenal work aided by people like carmen powell who i know is a friend of professor crew and he has really uncovered branches of our family tree and traced them back to the early 19th century. right around 1800. we hit a roadblock then because of the documentation. we couldn't find our ancestors prior to about that turn ever the century point. and the trail really went cold for a few years.
but we had a break through fairly recently. and thanks to the work of another phenomenal genologist, mad emccoy from the virginia slavery inventory database, we were able to discover my great, great, great grandfather simon fairfax who was enslaved in northern virginia, fairfax county, to be exact, and received his man mission on june 5th in the circuit court. i think that is extraordinary enough. there's a lot i could say about this. if you want to learn more, the "washington post" has covered this story quite extensively. some other outlets. but the reason that these media outlets were interested in this story is because our discovery came literally 48 hours before -- i call him my baby brother.
i can't say this anymore. my youngest brother justin fairfax was sworn in as lieutenant governor of the commonwealth of virginia. and my father and maddie, you know, came up with this document 48 hours before the swearing in. and i remember being in the green room right before we walked out to the steps to the capitol to witness him be sworn in. and my father handed him a copy of the document. i knew what it was. he did not yet know what it was. he had been obviously consumed by the events leading up to the swearing in. and my father said just put it in your pocket. don't ask any questions. when you take the oath, i want you to have that. so he did it. and he took the oath of office. it was a frigid morning. january 2018 in richmond. and he was sworn in as only the second african-american statewide elected official since reconstruction with his
great great grandfather's man mission in his breast pocket. so pre severance perseverance indeed. >> now we want to hear from you. do you have questions foreour panelists. >> yes. i know you're familiar with this. >> barbara. yeah. >> i've been reminded that i need to say my name. i'm robert harris i'm from cornell university and a former president of asala. and i know evelyn you that know this. but dubois when he talked about the problems of the 20th century being the problem of the color line, he was looking at this not just domestically
but also internationally. and this year 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the first pan african congress of 1919 after world war i. and i think it is something that we, you know, be aware of and think about, especially when we have a president of the united states who can so flippantly talk about nigerians not wanting to go back to their huts in africa and who can also make comments denigrating the african continent. some people see africa as not being a continent of nations and is one undifferentiated mass. anyway, i mention that because next women i'll be going to
paris with a delegation from alpha fraternity to commemorate the centennial of the first pan african congress. and that meeting was extremely important, organized by dubois, logan played an important role. and ida gibbs hunt played an important role in the organization of the first pan african congress and of pan africanism. so i think we need to keep this in mind. of course carter woods also saw the relationship between africa and african-americans with several of his publications. i just wanted to mention that. >> thank you. >> you can just pass it around. >> my name is howard moreland. i'm a husband of the woman who is passing the mic around.
[laughter] >> i just want today give a shoutout to gerald horn who introduced me to the case of somerset versus stewart. and i think it was 1774. the case of a man who was enslaved in virginia and taken as a man servant by his owner to england. and when he got to england, he ionians mated himself and sued for his freedom. and the chief judge of the entire british empire, more powerful than the chief judge of our supreme court because he had personal discretion, he gave the ruling that there is not now and never has been a law in england authorizing slavery. therefore, there is no slavery in engrand. somerset is free to go. and two years later when thomas jefferson wrote that all men are created equal, according to gerald horn he had in the back of his mind this idea we have
to get out of the british empire in order to escape the looming fate of emancipation. so the cornerstone of this country was fear of emancipation. >> my name is ap bailey. and i was just in an organization called pan african federalist union. we had a conference just this past december celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first all african congress. but i would like -- i'm a person who believes that we the people put too much time on electoral politics and not enough on economics.
there is any historian, anyone exploring how we have used our collective economics to advance and promote our interest in the society? because of moral reasons and people marching. it was won because bus drivers were losing thousands of dollars monthly and they had to -- they went to the -- to the people and said we have to do something about this. we just simply it is so difficult to find anyone who talks in the black community about economics. and the use of collective economics as a means of promoting our interest in this society. professor james wrote about it all the time in blackmon ematters, his column. but we seem to on every level totally ignore how our collective economics can be a
major weapon to promote and protect our interest in society. >> i would like to speak to that very briefly. my area is not collective economics. but from a civil rights standpoint, once again it was two steps forward, you know, and then being pushed back a step and three quarters. and i will tell you why. it goes back to this issue of competition. when those africans got through the middle passage and rose on the shores of virginia and were able to survive at a time when not only was there cannibalism being practiced in the virginia colony, and if you visit jamestown, you will see, you know, the remains of evidence of this cannibalism that is there for you to witness. this was a very devastating place, even for the european servants. so they navigated the culture, the weather, the conditions, and the economics. so when i say marion anthony johnson had property of their
own in farming, and how do i know this because under law when it was time for them to pay their taxes, there was a fire on the farm that was probably the neighbor jealous of these african who's had this property, had this economic development, had this, you know, financial power x they burned their farm down. and so once again this is the overarching story. we make economic progress and that progress is undermined through terrorism, through murder, through fires, through the killing of the cattle. these things have been happening time and time again. it is not that we haven't had the economic push. we have had economic unity. but as we go through even after slavery ended, there was this push. there was economic development. there was the farming and then the backlash of terrorism and the klu klux klan. it went into the jim crow area. same thing. the reason that barnett becomes famous is because she sees
these brothers who own a store in tennessee and then the store is doing well in the black community. the white store owner who is treated horribly gets upset and trumps up the charges, go after the black store owners say there is a rape involved and there is not. and the next thing you know, we defend our selfs and there is a slaughter and when these men who own the grocery store is put in jail, the jail attacked them and they are lynched. so this is an ongoing -- we are fighting for economic development. and the last point that i will make is this. the boycott is a tool that we used. economic boycott that we used to say if you're not going to serve us or treat us fairly, if you're not going to hire us, we're not going to buy your merchandise. and unfortunately this case went to the -- these cases went to the u.s. supreme court and the supreme court ruled against the naacp use of a boycott.
when we talk about the broader case it ended the case that was represented by fred gray ended that case. so it wasn't the protest that ended the case. it was the case before the u.s. supreme court. so i just want you to know that the economic push and pull and what we have been through, talking about perseverance, and even starting a business is so difficult to the point where we know now that the bank -- bank of america, countrywide and other banks, during the obama administration, under attorney general eric holder, they paid millions upon millions of dollars of types because as soon as we bought a home, we found out we were given these horrible rates. we were given these balloon payments. and then ended up in foreclosure. and so they found out later it was racial discrimination that led to these horrible term that's were given to us and we had the same collateral or even more in the bank than other
people. once again, each time that we make economic progress, that progress is undermined by people who cannot imagine our free will and ability to rise up and not just be on the same level economically, educationally, et cetera, but maybe even be better in certain areas. >> has anyone explored economics and how it can be used -- just like -- i've never heard of a book. i'm trying to find one that talks about economics and -- >> julian malvoux has several books on economics. >> brent is also saying the national urban league has the studies on the state of black america. and they will bring those topics up. but i just want to also emphasize the point about the browder case. because browder and three other
women, not including rosa parks, are the ones that took the case to court. which shows that we need the protests and the boycotts but we also need to take our cases to court. >> uh-huh. >> and this is also why -- and i do agree with you that economics is important. but please know politics is important. we have got to vote. >> hi, my name is james jordan. i'm a reporter with the afro. this week we witnessed the attack of a black openly lgbtq actor this week. it was a hate crime. both from, you know, a racist standpoint and a homophobic standpoint. we're also facing many challenges within the lgbtq
community regarding hiv and criminalization of people who are hiv and being able to divulge your status. i was wondering when we talk about perseverance and visibility of groups, what are we doing in order to include those groups in the conversation and preserving historical places like, let's say, gmad's building or preserving or working together to expand the conversation around civil rights with these intersections between race and lgbtqia? >> all right. i'll start. >> thank you for that question. >> and we were all saddened by the violence that happened to our brother and are wishing him well. so i want to start off by giving you a stat. the national register of historic places which is the national inventory of the places that we deem significant
in the united states has an inventory of over 90,000 places. less than 10% reflect a full diversity of america, including underrepresented communities, women and lgbtq. at the national trust we have been committed to creating a more equitiability interpretation and vision for the nation by advocating for the preservation of stone wall in new york city which is a national monument declared by president obama. then one of our treasure campaigns is the home of poly mary in north carolina. and when you speak to intersectionility, co-founder of the national organization of women, she was an activist and scholar against gender and equity, against racial injustice. and we're looking to identify and honor and recognize more
places like that. >> to add to that, i have been on the board of a national trust. and part of the push all along has been to have the investigation of places worth preserving in larger terms. because previous lie i think the idea was who famous had lived there. the push all along has been let's think more about the people that are connect today these places in a different kind of way. when you go out and look at a house, the question is who built the house? who -- who served there? who the gardner? who is the person who made it viable. and if we continue, it will allow the intersections to come forward. it is broadening how people think about what makes these places important. and if you do that, then i think it allows you to see a much bigger picture that you might otherwise. >> i wrote an article titled
wanted gay black men. and the reason why i wrote this is because i think that the civil rights movement has always included all of us in some form or other. and i use the prime example of james baldwin. and so the sense of -- and byron. when you start going through the names and you will see the different artists and activists and lawyers and others. and so that's always been a part of our community. i -- i wrote that article because i wanted the black gay activists to come forward and use that energy and creativity and courage in the overarching issue of justice for our community. because we can't afford to leave anybody alone. our community needs all hands
on deck. we needed it before and we especially need it now. so i think we need each other. and if nothing else, the circumstances today are showing more than ever how we need each other. >> go ahead. [laughter] >> i'm from mississippi. we defer. [laughter] >> it is a respect thing. my name is tamala bingham. i'm so full and overwhelmed with this discussion. i didn't know if i was going to make it because i drove from petersberg and my mother that's alzheimer's so getting up here is always a struggle. there is so much to say but in all sin i always give a thank you to those who let us be here at the national press club.
i'm an environmental engineer. i'm in his tucker chapter of asala in washington, d.c. but like i said, i'm living in petersberg. and i grew up in jackson, mississippi. now, i've always thought i was free. my family made that possible for me. summer of 1964. my mother went through that pregnancy. that was a pretty bad summer in jackson for those of you who know. so i feel very blessed to be here. but god has taken me through some changes from mississippi to florida to the dnv and now he has stuck me in petersberg, virginia and i am like what is wrong here. i seriously came today. i am the great great great granddaughter of gabriel of gabriel's rebelon. my father worked on this
research until his death from the 1940s to 2014. so i felt free all my life. and i got to central virginia and people are not free in he's you areberg and rich -- in petersberg and richmond. i can't explain it. i said whoa because they really want today run him out an a rail. i can't even believe there is a lee jackson day but it is the day before the holiday. it was the accommodation made to have the king holiday. so coming from this rebellious family, i have three questions and it pretty much relates to everybody so i will direct them. i'm the family genologist now in my dad's passing. first of all i'm in pete petersberg. i have made myself the chair due to lack of anything happening. this is a community so focused
on the con ted lass eand the battlefield even though it was the first black -- free black community. i am refighting the civil war. so i need help. i just met with the city manager. she is at least from baton rouge. so she understands. we have a common background about these things. we grew up in the same time and we know what our folks have gone through for us to be free now and for us to tell history completely. they do not want to do that in petersberg. so i made an economic development argument, cultural tourism. i'm still being fought. so i need asala. i need us to meet afterwards to really talk about this plan. i'm meeting the superintendent of the petersberg national battle field. he is african-american but he is constrained because he is in the national park system. >> uh-huh. >> so i understand everybody's viewpoint.
they gave us the economic and the political lessons growing up in jackson. that is question number. natural trust person totally needs you. melissa jest is a good friend of mine. >> yeah. >> and there's a gentleman who started a petersberg preservation task force. you know the word preservation didn't mean to me what it now means. >> uh-huh. >>