tv Slavery to Freedom at Appomattox CSPAN March 2, 2019 2:18pm-2:32pm EST
coverage of the american civil war museum's symposium in richmond, virginia on c-span3's american history tv. we will be back after a short break with paul quickly, director for the civil war studies and the author of the civil war and the transformation of american citizenship. >> i'm standing in front of perhaps one of the most famous courthouses in the united states, where really nothing of significance happened. appomattox courthouse. the name is pretty confusing. courthouse, one word, is a building like the one behind me and it is situated in the village of appomattox courthouse. courthouse, two words, is a village. appomattox court house the village is famous because it is where general lee surrendered to ulysses s. grant on april 19 -- april 9, 1965, bringing about the end of the american civil
war. this town has a lot of history to its size. today we would like to talk a little bit about why appomattox courthouse is so famous. we would like to talk about some untold stories. the courthouse is the village complete with the tavern, stores, lawyers offices, and homes. the town was not more than 140 people in 1865. it's an unlikely place for two large military forces to meet. general lee's northern army of virginia and general grant's multiple armied force of about 63,000 men. all toldm about 95,000 soldiers within a six-mile radius of fear. unlikely because it's not where either army wanted to be, but it's where they ended up as fate would have it for general lee, his army was practically surrounded here by general grant's forces. on the morning of palm sunday,
1865, general lee around 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon would meet general grant over at the mclean house, one of the nicer upper-middle-class homes here in the village. that would meet in the parlor of that home to discuss and agree on terms of the surrendered of the army of northern virginia, effectively bringing about the end of the war. that is certainly a crucial story, nationally significant, and no doubt the reason that this has been designated a national historic site. however, there are plenty of untold stories about appomattox. for over 150 years, many people have referred to appomattox as the place where our nation reunited. precedence of history we , -- for students of history, we struggle with that idea. if that were true, the 150 years that followed the american civil war don't make a whole lot of sense. in fact, during the centennial, the 100th anniversary of the ending of the civil war in 1965, a tremendous celebration took place here marking the occasion.
meanwhile, the schools in appomattox county and many across the state were still not even integrated. in fact appomattox was still , five years away from integration in 1970. so why isn't it the place where our nation reunited? part of the story starts with a large fields behind me. something a lot of people don't realize about appomattox courthouse is that there were two battles fought here. general lee's decision was not arbitrary to surrender. he was brought to that decision because of the military realities literally that surrounded him. in the field behind me on the morning of april 9, the battle of appomattox courthouse was fought. roughly 9000 confederates engaged a large federal force that eventually was put over 20,000 federal soldiers on the field behind me. during this battle that raged on in the morning of april 9, there was one known civilian casualty of appomattox courthouse. it was a woman named hannah reynolds.
hannah reynolds, like 52% of all human beings that lived in appomattox county at the time, she was enslaved. she was enslaved by dr. samuel coleman. she lived in a home one mile to the west of where i am standing in the epicenter of the battlefield of the morning of the 9th. she was very unfortunate to be hit by confederate artillery shell that morning. she was attended to by surgeons from the 8th maine infantry unit. she was able to survive another three days. she died on april 12, that wednesday. april 12 is very important in the history of appomattox because it was on this very road that i'm standing on on april 12 that confederate infantry stacked their arms and flag and ammunition all along this road. in fact come you could say that the individual confederate soldier actually surrendered on
this road, not in the parlor of the mclean house as general lee did. hannah reynolds dying on april 12 mortally wounded as an enslaved woman, and in a way she died and emancipated woman three days later. that's a powerful notion that really struck this park and its visitors in 2015 during the 150th anniversary and given us cause to explore the story and others like it more deeply. exactly what did happen in this village and throughout the south and the country in the weeks in the months that followed the surrendered. in history it seems always be a good idea to ask the question so , what? general lee surrendered to grant in april 1965. so what? the army of northern virginia with fight no more. that is a big so what. what about the enslaved population of appomattox and the rest of virginia?
what was their future? what was the future of former slaveholders and lower and middle class whites that did not own slaves, but could still be deeply affected by what's about to happen? we will head down to the other village of appomattox courthouse and we are going to visit the kelly house that could also be known as the robinson house and explore a story right here in the village that shed somewhat also love the national significance of what happened after the surrender. here on the eastern edge of the village of appomattox courthouse, we find a contrasting building. behind me is a home that was known as the kelly house at the time of the surrender. unlike the mclean house, and upper-middle-class home with 3300 square feet, perfect for the surrender meeting for lee and grant, the kelly house far more represents what most people around appomattox county and southside virginia would have lived in in the mid-1860's. it is down here that we find an
excellent example of an untold story. we talked about what happened to hannah reynolds immediately after the war. unfortunately she passed away from wounds received during the final battles. down here at the kelly house on the eastern end of the village, we find an excellent example of what happened next after the surrender. the kelly house was actually completed in 1855. the kelly family was a large one. there were five sons in this family and all five fought in the war in the army of northern virginia. in fact, at least one or maybe two were here for the surrender in their own hometown on april 9 and the stacking of arms on april 12, 1865. but in the years that followed the war, eventually this house would be purchased by a man named john robertson. -- robinson. we don't know a great deal about john robinson's early life but , this is a good example of what
emancipation looks like in the weeks, months, and years that followed here in appomattox. two of the most tangible examples of emancipation on the landscape would be the developing of a friedman school, dman's school the , legalization of black education very much so tenable evidence. the second would be the ability of black citizens of appomattox county to be able to form their own churches. in fact in many of these cases, these were people that were members of ironically integrated churches, at least physically integrated. the congregations were separated within, but it was the larger white churches where many of the black residents actually attended. as a result of the surrender, got permission to leave those churches and create their own church. the first such church to be crated here in appomattox county was galilee baptist church. one of the founding members of that church was john robinson. he was the first treasurer and
a trustee of the church. initially our understanding is in the months that followed the surrender, the congregation would form and what was known as an arbor church, simply meeting outside under the trees. by 1867, the congregation had been able to form enough money and resources to actually build a log church that exists about a mile to the west of the courthouse. about 50 years later in 1916, a new church would be built on the same groundss. that is the church still there more than 100 years later. john robinson is not only a homeowner and cofounder of a church, but he's also a businessman. he is a shoe cobbler and apparently a pretty good one because he ran a business here for more than 50 years. john robinson didn't pass away until 1933, but after raising of
a very large family, a successful business, and some of the robinson family members are buried in the backyard of the kelley/robinson house. so right here in the little village of appomattox county, we can see the 'so what' of the surrender. it unfolds right here before our very eyes. we have only had to look a more deeply to see these untold stories. >> tonight on lectures in history, professor jane daly teaches a class about the 19 year presidential election and president nixon's first term. here's a preview. >> this is when college campuses explode with students out in the quads, our ever protesting the american policies, protesting the war, protesting the draft.
at kent state university in ohio, you have seen this image am sure. publicate was a university with a largely working-class white student body. burned a copy of the constitution and then burned down the campus rotc building. not good behavior for the president of the university, but that is what they did as a protest. the governor of ohio denounced the students as the worst type of people we harbor in america. he dispatched national guard troops to quell the unrest. they were not writing but there were people out.this is one of the most tragic moments in the whole student movement because what you get there is 19-year-old national guardsmen who were unnerved by 19 will students throwing rocks at them. they shoot them.
>> learn more about the 1968 presidential election, politics and protests over the vietnam war and other issues during richard nixon's first term tonight at 8:00 p.m. and midnight eastern. you are watching american history tv where we bring the classroom to you. we now return to our live coverage of the american civil war museum annual symposium in c-span3'svirginia on american history tv. [no audio]