tv District of Columbia Race in the Early Republic CSPAN June 22, 2019 11:50am-12:01pm EDT
of columbia during the early republic and antebellum period. mr. musgrove is the co-author of "chocolate city: a history of race and democracy in the nation's capital." we recorded the interview at an author event hosted by the association for the study of african american life and history. >> you decided to cowrite a story about race and democracy in washington, d.c. why did you decide to narrow it down to washington dc and why not give yourself a more narrow window of time? prof. musgrove: we wrote about d.c. because there was a need. there were a lot of new residents who wanted to know what they were getting into. a lot of older residents were city slip away and wanted to understand and make sure that other people knew their story. there hasn't been a good book on race in 50 years in d.c. we wanted to fill that void. the reason we made it 400 years is because most of the books about the city have neglected
some of the important racial populations in the city. in particular, the native american population. we wanted to start in the historical beginnings, the first time we have written records in that was ind.c., 1908 when john smith came up from jamestown and went to the native american village on the banks of the anacostia. >> let's focus on the early american period. what was the makeup at the time? prof. musgrove: once congress got here in 1800, it was 20% african-american. d.c. was carved out of tobacco plantation counties. they were plantations in the middle of the city today. there was already a large black population in the area. as folks who were building the capital decided to employ slaves, and in certain cases, free blacks on the construction projects building the capital,
that population remained constant through the end of the antebellum period. >> how many african-americans were free compared to those who were enslaved? prof. musgrove: when congress comes to town in 1800, the vast majority are enslaved. that changes rapidly, largely because of changes in agriculture in maryland and virginia. by 1830, about half of the african-americans are free. the reason for that is tobacco exhausted soil was not supporting plantation slavery in the way it could. many were switching to grain. grain doesn't require as much labor as tobacco. or they are selling them down the river. washington, d.c. becomes one of the largest slave exporting cities in the nation. >> what role did race play in
the selection of the location of the capital? prof. musgrove: the early congresses are divided north and south. they have struggled to figure out where the capital will be. in each region, they want the capital in their region to protect their interests. they are also struggling over the issue of assumption, who will pay the revolutionary war debt? alexander hamilton, treasury secretary at the time, and thomas jefferson, secretary of state, work out a bargain with james madison and they say, all the southern states will agree to support assumption. making sure that the federal government pays all these debts from the revolutionary war, if the federal capital is placed on the potomac river. that deal is struck in 1790. you have, as a result, the
residence act. it is agreed the federal capital will be somewhere between northern maryland and the confluence of the anacostia and potomac rivers. george washington is allowed to choose the site. he chooses the present location. >> why did slavery have an impact on the location? prof. musgrove: the southern interests who are angling for a potomac capital wants to make sure the capital is in the slave south. that slavery is protected in the national capital. they are particularly interested in that because the capital had been in philadelphia for a long time before the continental congress. philadelphia was becoming increasingly hostile to slavery because there is a large quaker population that was against the institution. in the 1770's and 1780's in particular.
became what is known as washington, d.c. how did that work out for slave owners? were there obstacles that got in their way? prof. musgrove: they were able to work out deals where they could sell their land to the federal government. they were also able to rent their slaves to the people who were building the national capital. there were slaves that were rented out to build the capital, the white house and other public improvements. slavery in the area was not faring well altogether. the freed the slaves or sold them into the slave trade ahead. >> the city of alexandria, at what point was that a part of the federal district. tell me about that decision. alexandria was one of the largest slave trade cities in the country at that time. talk to me about why it exited from the federal district and
white slavery played a role in that decision. prof. musgrove: alexandria was part of the 10 mile square laid out as the district of columbia. it was part of arlington county, the virginia side of the district. it had been unhappy with the ban on federal buildings on the virginia side of the potomac, which was written into the residence act. there have been people talking about ceding it back to virginia and the early 19th century. the efforts caught steam in the mid-1840's. the reason for that was because there was tremendous anti-slavery agitation in washington. specifically to get rid of the slave trade in washington, d.c.. in 1846, many of the slave trading interests and virginia supportive housing tree is efforts to retrocede back to virginia. it became roughly 60% of its original size when alexandria goes back to virginia.
the slave trade is banned in the district four years later. they saw it coming and they wanted to get out. >> tell me about "chocolate city: a history of race and democracy in the nation's capital." why chocolate city? what does that mean? prof. musgrove: we took the term from folks who had used it as a nickname for the city in the late 1960's. it becomes famous would ites outnt funkadelic wr to the city called chocolate city. we knew we wanted to use that nickname as soon as we put together the project. d.c. was a majority black city until 2011. isn't 70% black until the mid-1970's. d.c. has always been a chocolate city. we have always had a large black population that influenced how the city's government.
>> "chocolate city: a history of race and democracy in the nation's capital." derek musgrove, thank you for speaking with us. >> this is american history tv, covering history c-span tile with interviews and discussions with authors, historians and teachers. 48 hours, all -- every weekend, only on c-span3. son and on afterwards, in her latest book, the target or, a former cia intelligence analyst offers or insights into the innerworkings of the agent the and her work in tracking terrorists. she's interviewed by congressman andre carson of indiana. who osamaople know
bin laden is. there was another figure that you had a connection to with your service. tell us about your experience tracking him and those around him? initially charged with looking at and evaluating whether or not iraq had anything to do with 9/11 or al qaeda. as an analyst, we had been writing policymakers and briefing them. our bottom line was that iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and al qaeda. there was no connection. invasion, when i became a targeting officer, and kelly rose to prominence because he had been attacking targets inside of a rock -- iraq, they eventually joined al qaeda. my job was to miss aunt -- dismantle his network. >> watch afterwards on sunday night on book tv on c-span2.
>> next, on the presidency the editor of the papers of dwight david eisenhower talks about the evolution of his leadership style from a west point cadet to president of the united states. the kansas city public library hosted this program. meredith: good evening. i am the executive director of the eisenhower foundation. it is wonderful to see such an outpouring of support from our friends at the eisenhower foundation and the friends of the kansas city public library. our world-class exhibits and programs are made possible by the friends of the eisenhower foundation and other donors. i want to thank the foundation for supporting this lecture series tonight.