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tv   Public Affairs Events  CSPAN  April 20, 2018 7:00pm-8:03pm EDT

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several publications focused in on the resistance that lowery offered. they focus then on how lowery refused to weber, refused to beg for his life. all to suggest his courage, ofvery, in the face of that, because they made the calculation that that would help help secure and anti-lynching bill in congress. the more they honed in on how black people were powerless, mobs, the white lynch more support they anticipated that they would receive in congress. the black press had different goals. they are not trying to have congress passed an anti-lynching law exclusively. also to the public who wants to
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and -- in this case more nuanced ways. wasicularly who the victim in life. what did he do in response to his anticipated lynching? were details several black publications, namely the chicago defender, would base their depiction of the case on. case, thereat one are two different traditions of telling the story of lynching. there is black victimization era where the naacp needed to say it to get anti-lynching legislation. then you have the other the focused on him as a person, as a man, the life that he lived in
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the community. as well as the resistance that he offered in response to this threatened lynching. is more resentment resembles -- competing telling the story of lynching is for future generations, to resist white supremacy. as long as the story focused on terror, dehumanize black bodies, that story was not a story that would create a usable path for black for black empowerment, black determination. wanted to share with
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readers is that the black experience of lynching changed , however can americans understood lynching changed over time given the circumstances of the times. importantent, it is for the naacp to highlight black people as victims. at another time, it is important for black people to be highlighted as resisting lynching, as fighting back against lynch mobs because it -- because of the intendant rhetorical impact it perhaps would have on the community. this is a much more complicated story of the black experience in my eyes, had in not been told so i wanted to tell the story as best as i could in one place. davis talkshor rc
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about the influence of indigenous latin american cultures on the development of north america. >> we are at the oklahoma temporary -- contemporary arts center, a wonderful place in oklahoma city. this is the home of the latino cultural center which started this year in february. behind us, it is interesting. the director of the cultural center, this is a painting that depicts a really important image from the day of the dead. an important tradition in the americas, really no one house -- no one knows how old day of the dead is in them the country. there are so many cultural spans that come through the day of the dead as a treasure trove of very important cultural indicators, if you are trying to steady the americas, having to do with perception of death, the human
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body, citizenship in the americas, there are just so many issues coming up in relation to images like this. mestizos are mixed-race people. it starts out in the spanish a spanisheople being or indigenous person but not representing the mixed-race people in the americas. it is cast in the broadest net. a fairlyino, assimilated latino, i'm a professional, i feel wonderful about the world i'm in. are millions and millions of latinos who are from the americas and never feel they are welcomed at the place they are actually from. i wanted to make sure the title of this book was on them -- as unambiguous as i could. mestizos, come home, you belong here. this is your home. the title to be
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interpreted any other way. my book as an argument. -- latinos have to stop apologizing for the place where they are from. they have the deepest roots of anybody. it is also a book for non-latinos. non-latinos to understand what mexican-americans are trying to achieve, and what they deal with every day. and i want them to have a little more sympathy and stop making latinos the enemy. areas,ction doubt these where the latino community has had a strong impact on since the community, 19 60's having to do with identity, attitudes toward land, attitudes toward the human body, popular culture, the emergence
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earlyultural voice in the 70's, and the rise of chicano studies in chicano literature. i made discoveries that shocked me. there was so much critical information on so many things that was not entering the national conversation, particularly about race. it alarmed me a little bit because i saw myself as maybe digging out things america needed to know more about. often, evidence, very was that there was a lot of low hanging fruit no one cared too big. people, which includes mexican-americans, brought latino category in general, most people in the americas, any countries of latin america are mestizo people. they are mixed-race people. there is a history to them being
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mixed and it has to do with the spanish colonial. and coming to the -- spanish colonial period and coming to this country. ae spanish set in motion generation of a lot of new identities having to do with indigenous people, african people, and others they brought into the americas. as a colonial power, they felt they were losing control of what they had set in motion. they did not know who these newle were in the communities developing. it was happening quickly so they created a system of racial classification where there are 16 categories. with fourgories start rows of four, if you can imagine. the first slot is occupied by a white spaniard. as you move to the right in each case, people get more racially
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mixed. theoretically, by the time they category, 60's -- 16 they have described everybody in america. the spanish was setting themselves up as the norm. this was really racist stuff. then they created the notion of a brown body, and it was a distant reflection of their own body, and a sort of a bad copy. once a got further and further mixed, particularly with africans, it came as the spanish put it "polluted" and there was no coming back. it is so pervasive that if you are a person living in the americas now and look down at your own skin, you are looking through the lens of the spanish created. one of the things that my book tries to do is say, folks, wake up. something so powerful as racism always has a history to it.
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if you are going to pull it by the roots, you have to understand the history. there is long tradition in the -- in spanish law and in mexican law, there was this concept that is almost gone now. we have something kind of similar to it. ejidos. they were community lands and can't be sold. they had to do with the commonwealth. are ejidos are traditional lands owned by the people. are probablyents buried in that land, maybe you will be buried in that land one day. in modern america, land is a commodity and it is sold on the open market to the highest bidder. there are people that have nothing to do with latino culture, professional
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geographers in the academy and universities of the united states that were worrying about this for a long time. can a culture survive where there is almost no cultural association with land? it has never happened before. where land commodities are sold at the highest bidder like a piece of plastic shaped by whatever the need -- next need for it is. he doesn't have anything to do with values any longer. is, iny, the short of it modern america, we think of the body as being disposable. and to come right down to the , in flint-- present michigan, they were willing to have whole communities to have bad water for 10 years. there's an underlying assumption
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that these bodies are disposable and ok to do that. this traditional view of the world, the body is never disposable. it is sacred. so there's an incredible conflict here and has not been dealt with enough. latino,e indigenous mexican-american traditions about the body. it is a world unto itself. it is the world you live in. is, popularhing culture, for example, if we look at day of the dead practices, cinco de mayo practices, or low rider car culture, i talk about that a little, what we are looking at is a staged encounter of mexican-american culture and of mexican-american, and how much of american culture, mexican culture, gets mixed into your life is always
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changing, it is always dynamic. popular culture is where that is played out. if you went to see where mexican-americans are in terms of drawing on tradition versus contemporary commercial realities here in america, popular culture reveals that. that is where it is played out. about a great mexican-american writer who went to the university that i teach at and at the university of oklahoma. his breakthrough novel, really signaled to the country that mexican-american culture had arrived at the point where it deserves a national audience. his book has a national audience. rodolfo would come up and over the next 10 years, a whole lot of mexican-american writers appeared that really
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helped to define the culture and broaden the united states. once those writers were writing, the country could pay attention to mexican american culture because they could go to the local farms and buy the books. they did not have to go elsewhere. there wasn't a sense they were culture crossing, more of a sense appearing into an exalted -- exotic culture. if not a good thing, but a window to mexican-american culture opened up. a lot of those writers, the emergence of chicano literature, culture, a lot of those writers became professors in american universities. -- mywas suddenly these good friend was one of them. he was a world-famous writer but taught at an english department in the university of new mexico. the emergence of chicano
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literature and the writers like that that were teaching chicano studies, that's really brought mexican american, latino culture out because it was being institutionalized. others were framing this culture. there was a crossing of a threshold that had not happened before. my sense is that these six areas, and somebody reads a book and really get through all of six, they will have a sense of cutting the culture right through the middle. they can look at the impact that mexican-american, latino cultures have been having since the 60's. there are millions of americans still who have never known a black person. they don't know a mexican-american. maybe they have only met a latino.
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and they are well-intentioned, but you can only care about what you know about. if you don't know anything about the black community or mexican-american community, and you are hearing things in the media that are sometimes sensational, often times sensational, you go through your responses on that. that theeal problem country is still segmented. i don't know how to fix this, and again, a lot of folks have well-meaning but have not met anybody like themselves enough to make a difference. a similar kind of problem is that the mexican-american community, because they were being marginalized, don't see themselves reflected in the culture, often don't know enough about themselves. here's a really important factor, some information is so important that it changes bejewel -- changes people.
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your history, your origins, that is information so important when you know you are different. that is where chicano studies, literature, and i hope, in a small way, my book will being -- bring the culture out and the open more, because it is not my book that will create changes, it is the knowledge that maybe it will help to unlock information so important that it changes the people that know it. >> we are here at the western history collection at the university of oklahoma. founded in 1927, this archive now host more than 2 million photographs. region, more about the or artefacts relating to the west as well as native american cultures. the western history collection was founded in 1927. it covers the history of the united states, west of the mississippi river, from about the mid-19th century to the mid-20th century with a special
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emphasis on oklahoma and surrounding states as well as the 39 native american tribes that are located here after having been removed here or confined to indian territory in the 19th century. is one ofcular item our newest acquisitions. we purchased it last year. many of our materials are donated but we do purchase. from the muster roll cavalry which was a regiment of buffalo soldiers. these were african-american soldiers. this has the names of the men that were serving, whether with a were present or absent, and if absent, why. pay, from rate of april 30 to june 30 of 1872, and one of the columns i found interesting on here was, if the soldiers owed the government for tobacco -- oh the government
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money for tobacco, that was taken out of their pay. they also received a closing allowance you can see indicated on this as well. it would be an ideal resource for those interested in family history because it lists their names, their rank, where they were recruited and when. shows originated in the late 1800s. they started more in the northern plains in omaha nebraska with buffalo bill's show in 1883. some of the performers that participated in his show from oklahoma. so it wasn't too long after that 1883 show that some ranches in oklahoma started their own wild west shows. we have advertisements for those oklahoma-based shows. this one is the poster for the miller brothers 101 ranch. shows that it was an
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advertising performance in the 1920's, or maybe early 30's. we don't have an exact date on this poster. the item next to it, is what we think a severe -- souvenir program from another wild west show. , and theyes the acts are not only performers who were cowboys were native americans, but they were from all over the world. and they also used exotic animals and their shows. these were enormously popular in the late 1800s, and first couple decades of the 1900s. i think, there was probably nostalgia for some skills that were maybe starting to fade away. such skills having to deal with the open range, like horsemanship, shooting, even fighting skills. they would stage mock battles. ranch and the1 pawnee bill show, traveled
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nationally and internationally. it was quite a feat to transport all of the employees, all of the livestock, and all of the props all of the country. these photographs are from the miller brothers ranch collection . we have hundreds of photographs for the ranch and the wild west show. these are an assortment. the one in the upper left and .orner shows cowboys it looks like they are from the mid-20's or 30's. working with a horse. ranch1 ranch is a working , they raise livestock, have many agricultural progress -- products, they had their own orchard, their own dairy. it was just enormous. it was 110,000 acres. some of the other photographs are from the shows. this actually sews -- shows a
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tent set up in a city. we don't know where it is but we have these modes tax -- these smokestacks in the background. as they travel city to city, upy would have an agent sent ahead to have a 10 or 15 acre parcel land so that they could have a show where they generally stayed for a few days. in the upper right-hand corner, one performer with his trick mule, will rogers. will rogers would have been in his heyday at this time. he was a famous radio personality and active -- and actor. he was also known for his political wit so he would have been famous at this time. and another is just a little boy on his calf honing his cowboy skills. this photograph is of a girl named lily taken in 1901 at the
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wichita agency. the photographer was named annette ross and she was the wife of the physician or the agency. this lovely image is of a young was good ats. hume taking candid shots in -- of own not necessarily posed in a studio environment. she started taking these photographs in 1891. this is shortly after photography became accessible to amateur photographers. these are on glass plate negatives. it is amazing to think this was a more accessible form, because these glass plate negatives, as you can imagine, are very fragile and extremely heavy. souvenir from a
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cooking school which was an annual event held in oklahoma city throughout the 1930's. one woman was a fixture in the household for much of the time. she had a newspaper column and i came across them. his were souvenir books. they have recipes, also advertising for products that and susan recommended. usanother book -- ann s recommended. the other book was originally a wall sample book. --oman named treaty flanigan trinityflanigan -- flanigan created this cookbook in 1933. it is interesting to see what they ate at that time. and how they prepared it. by ajournal was written marine who served during world
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war ii. he was from oklahoma and his roads.s earl ruing he served in iceland from 1941 to 1942. this journal was from his time in iceland. you get a feel for some of his personality and his wit in his journals. in one part, he jokes about the efficiency of the military. he had just gotten his bedding after having evidently been there for a wild. 1943, he is transferred to the pacific theater and he serves on various islands in the pacific. he is killed in july of 1944 on guam. inaction with enemy. it is really moving to read his --eriences and his own words in his own words and to be able
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to capture some of his personality. these two items are from the university archives which are housed in the western history collections. we hadntioned earlier the original charter from when the university was formed in 1890, so this fancy looking document is it. it was signed by robert martin was the secretary of oklahoma territory. the university was founded before oklahoma became a state in 1907. is part of the very extensive photograph collection we have of the university of oklahoma campus. this particular photo shows campus corner in the 1950's. you can still see some of the same architecture now in this building and in the boomer theater sign. which i don't think the theater exists anymore but the sign is still there. it is interesting to see the changes in campus and the norman
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community over time. i think they represent well the lives of people from all walks of life. educators --are educated or not so educated. they were working in all professions. some were teachers, missionaries, or lawyers, or doctors, or housewives. some of them were cowboys, outlaws, scoundrels of various types. [laughter] we are fortunate that many of these materials have survived, --re we can see firsthand see a first-hand recollection from that time. it can be really -- it can really enliven the study of history for undergraduates or k-12 students to be able to work with an original i come from the time.
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, which we often refer to as the primary source rather than working with something like a history textbook. these peoplekes from the past, it makes them come alive. we hear their works and see their face. >> our look at norman's local aserary culture continues one author explores what it means to be an oklahoman. >> the title of my book is most america, notes from a wounded place. states my thesis, i suppose you would say, about oklahoma's history. history say oklahoma's is a miniature of the national narrative. in a matter of days or weeks, or months, sometimes hours rather than decades. that is why it is so intensified here.
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this is the land that gave birth to 20th-century america's premier athlete, jim thorpe. he is the definitive white workingman he real. -- hero. one of the most celebrated black novelists. oklahoma is the only place, anywhere that spawned committed struggles to create an all-black state, and in all indian state. yet, the very first laws enacted by our virgin legislature and we became a state, where jim crow laws. laws of segregation. but still, we had more incorporated black cows than any state in the nation. still, more native tribes survived and thrived here than anywhere on the continent. irony, indded oklahoma, most of them do not live on reservations. in the land of the red people, ,hich is what oklahoma means
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indians have lost most of their land. through the allotment act, , throughhicanery legislation. one of the things most important to me to express is the quintessential nature of a profoundly american place, both by history, culture, and all of the forces that have gone into creating this state. that is the most american part and that is the title "essay. there is another essay called a -- title essay. there's another essay called "a wounded place," that talks about
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encroachment on native lands across the continent. the inversion of that is that natives were actually taken from , and not justs the southeast, that is what we were taken from their homelands and moved here. this is true for all over. if you look at oklahoma and where it is situated in the map, we are not the heartland. we are the gut, we are the belly, the underbelly. so native tribes, if you look where all of their original homelands were, they are spread all of the continent. and they were concentrated here in the middle. that is one of the ways. then, oklahoma became the promised land for a number of whites who came here. we have a great western myth of
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the land runs. that perpetual migration and encroachment from the native point of view of white settlers that happened really across the continent happened here in one day. they have the land runs, a gun went off at noon, and people pounded south and state claims. that were primarily people from the culture. -- itere african-american wouldn't have been native american, but other ethnic to stakeere also able their place. but they were mostly white. narrative isl concentrated and happened at such rapid pace in the latter part of the 19th century, moving into the 20th century, and oklahoma had always -- had only
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been a state since 1907. other states much for the west have become a state before we did. i think, also, it is the coming together here of african-american, native american, and anglo-american people that created a rachel cauldronnd -- a racial that boiled over in the 20th century, particularly in the race riot. many people will say that is not the proper name for it, many people call it the race massacre. it was an assault by 10,000 armed whites on the wealthy, well-to-do black community of tulsa called greenwood in 1921 on the night of may 31, june 21. it is the most massive assault by white americans on black americans.
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those kinds of things were happening in florida, arkansas, and other places at the time, but nothing to the degree and drama, and complete destruction of a very, very wealthy, well-to-do community of successful and prosperous in aan americans living certain kind of autonomy here in oklahoma. and then it was covered over, that history disappeared. , in a lot of ways, we have disappeared our national narrative altogether. we don't really want to think about our fans and -- our founders and slavery, we don't want to think about the broadest of the genocide of native people, or ethnic cleansing that happened with the
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-- masses ofesses people moved here on what was called the trail of tears. you think about oklahoma's contemporary character. in the earliest 20 century, we were the most left state. the socialist candidates for early -- 1919he elections i think, received more votes in oklahoma than any other state. it was a strong union state, it was very, very -- had a very progressive and socialist underpainting. then, now we are one of the most red states on the right. that happened within a century. it reflects a lot of elements having to do with the larger culture. is dominant culture here
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very religious, it is still predominantly white, unlike other areas of the country. it is very conservative, very land, and that is also part of how it reflects the national narrative and national culture. so we have these natural disasters, the tornadoes in , that we are infamous for. there were several devastations to the city of moore. and f5n that happens, tornado, everyone is laid flat and the suffering, the people of oklahoma come together in profound ways that he race all of our patients. ciants.
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we had the bombing of the federal building in 2005, which in some ways, in many ways, be staged 9/11 and how people responded after the bombing. some people asked me, why do you want to go there? why do you have to go on very all of this ugliness? -- it'smportant for us smoothed over, it is at least --bbed over, it is a knife nice smooth scar, why open up the wound? because the wound can never be healed unless we do that. so it will continue to erupt every few decades, years, every few generations until we come to own what the true nature of our history is. >> with the help of our cox communications cable partners, we are in norman, oklahoma
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exploring the local literary scene. sarah on the history of student activism on the history of oklahoma -- the university of oklahoma. >> in the spring of 1962, a group of rotc students in oklahoma decided they had to -- started alternative newspaper. there's too much conformity, too much on an emphasis on outplaying controversy. there is a quest for knowledge in getting people to think. that theme gets picked up by another group of students at ou who start a reading club and it is a very small group of students interested in new ideas. they were also interested in more radical past that a lot of people had forgotten about, which was, at one time prior to the start of
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world war i, oklahoma had the highest socialist population of any state in the union. they started making connections to that in our starting to read literature, but they are also starting to read about oklahoma socialists. that group, emerges the first chapter of students for democratic society in oklahoma. they filled out the paperwork to become an official organization, and it gets flagged pretty quickly because the administration realizes that there will be questions about students for democratic society, and so they monitor it and, within a years time, they are getting complaints from the governor wanting to know exactly is, if itrganization is causing any problems on campus, and putting it in perspective. would have, at ou on average, 12 members or 20 members. it is a small organization, but because of the national opposition to its increasingly,
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it gets a lot of attention. they started a student and members of the state legislature would get copies of it. if they saw any reference to socialism, mark is him -- they wouldtiwar, underline those and the president would get letters complaining about the students wanting to know what could be done to stop this organization. so, what happens is that you continue to see students involved in sbs at the university of oklahoma -- sds at the university of oklahoma. the oklahoma field office of the fbi has to keep tabs on activists in the state. in one of the reports in the mid-1960's, the oklahoma city field office said, look, there
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are only three or four students and sds, maybe a dozen in norman , and they don't seem to be planning anything other than a few minor antiwar protests. because of that, we don't have any plans right now to try to do anything about them. not much is going on. j edgar hoover responded and said the fact that you have indicated in your previous note that two chapters of sts exist in the state, means you need to develop a plan to neutralize them. i look forward to neutralizing -- i look forward to hearing your plans. part of the story in oklahoma and a national context, three thatembers were there and merited an fbi counterintelligence plan to try to neutralize it? or that the fbi felt the need to invest in finding informants,
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which they did at the university of oklahoma to try to get rid of sds, and it is kind of mind-boggling that they would be that level of national insistence by j edgar hoover that sds had to cease to exist. that it was a matter of national security that you completely obliterate this organization. organization, except the black panthers, gets more attention than the sds. so it is quite staggering in terms of surveillance culture. on,e all of that is going it still was not enough to satisfy the governor of the state. , in march oft 1968, following a student protest against the general of selective service, a small demonstration in oklahoma city, that convinces governor bartlett a secret agency to spy
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on suspected radicals in the state. these are students that are arrested and quickly released. zero violence takes place. and when governor bartlet creates the office of interagency coordination, he does not tell the state legislature and does not ask for their approval. did, they went to the department of military and diverted national guard funding to pay for this secret agency. over the next two years, they amassed files on over 6000 suspected radicals in the state and outside of the state. points really a turning in what is happening in oklahoma. that's true nationally as well, but part of what happens in oklahoma is that not only does exposed,ination get but may have 1970, shortly before the expose is released, it marks the most volatile.
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in the united states for antiwar protests because of what massacre of four students in 10 states in may of 1970. i one of the more interesting things that happened in oklahoma, is the way that ,tudents and the administration and the governor's office will respond to student protests, following the events at kent state. so essentially, what happens is finding students begin out on may 5 what happened at kent state, that these unarmed students were killed by the ohio national guard, you had vigils across the country, vigil on happen dozen college campuses in oklahoma. the university of oklahoma is no exception. there were a lot of trouble students by what happened. as it was playing outcome of the
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governor was to send in the national guard, once to make sure the school stays open, is eager to use force if necessary to keep students from protesting. what happened at the university of oklahoma is quite unique. on may 5, there is a demonstration against the war in vietnam and to express anger and frustration over the deaths of the kent state students. in this particular demonstration in this, -- and particular demonstration on may 5 becomes violent. there is a student waving a red flag arrested by the police. by the police, and a students surround the police car. they are trying to keep it from moving forward, they let the air out of the tires, there is an effort to attack the car.
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one person even tries to light a rag and put it in the gas tank to set it on fire. this is the moment of intense fear at ou. in the midst of this, one of the police officers released is gone. gun.leased his there are a few moments that were tense and he was trying to figure out what to do. there was a student that found a gun and returned it to a police officer, so the moment of crisis passed. it took state troopers to free the car, get the young man that twobeen arrested and other students that got arrested from the premises. there are a couple dozen students injured in all of this chaos raking out. it certainly could've been a lot worse. to put it in context, there are 400 universities that closed
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down in this time. . -- national time period. period ofintense conflict. at the university of oklahoma, at the may 5 incident, this whole plan is put together between the university of administration, campus security, student leaders, and more radical activists outside of student government. the whole intent is to protect students, and allow them the opportunity to voice their frustration and protest. the whole idea is to protect student lives. the governor really wanted to send in the national guard to stop demonstrations from happening. all of this culminates on may 12 when students are preparing for at the and rotc parade end of the year, and students
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are planning a protest in the governor wants to send in the national guard to stop it from happening. he has them located just off campus. there are a few hundred highway patrols waiting to converge on norman. if the possibility arises. what campus security realizes, ,f state troopers come back especially the national guard, somebody is going to get killed. at one particularly tense moment, the governor, who has people on campus reporting back to him about the protest and what is going on, and he is ready to send in the national guard during the may 12 parade, and the president at the time, retired and president holliman was in the office at that point. he said he would send in the national guard and president holliman said, if you do that, i will notify everyone that the blood is on your hands.
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if you make this choice, students will get hurt and everyone will know that he was your call. do not do this. he was really trying to beseech the governor to respect the lives of students and understand that if they come on campus, people will be hurt. i think, one of the things nationally now, is that there is for diverseolerance perspectives. that is perhaps a lesson to be learned. that on the one hand, you don't want to lump all activists into a single category, and on the other hand, it is important both when you think about free speech issues today, both to allow on college campuses voice of dissent, whether they are far to the left or far to the right, that is fundamental to a democracy. to engage in free speech. but to shut down free speech and to only be willing to listen to
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only things that reinforce your own worldview, a federal democracy is one thing, and it undermines what college life should be about. exposing students to new ideas, doing them the opportunity to make their own decision and reach their own conclusion. i think that is one of the really important lessons that can be taken nationally from student activism. in 1890, the university of oklahoma is now home to over 30,000 students. harper,t up with kyle an author to learn how disease and climate change impact in the fall of rome. >> one thing that was really exciting about being an ancient historian is that we are learning a lot that we did not know before about the human past. even human past thousands of years separated from us. it is not just a continued discovery of new documents, the ones we do can it -- although we
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do continue to find new evidence of a contest -- a traditional type. but we are also looking at nontraditional types at the national science level. that includes evidence about what the physical environment was like, how climate has changed and varied over time, and it includes dna of biological evidence, from skeletons that tell us about the people, but also the passages that existed in the past. the fate of rome is the story of the fall of the roman empire. one of the classical historical questions, how does an empire that is one of the most dominant, powerful empires in the human civilization ever created, how does it fall? how does it ceased to be a dominant political entity? my fear he is that, to tell the story right, we have to include the powerful force of the
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national, physical environments. it includes climate change, biological events, pandemic diseases that played an enormous role in helping to undermine rome's power. i give you an example of this. thefirst pandemic event, first plague pandemic. at the end of the roman empire in the middle of the sixth century, there was an enormous mortality event that engulfs the andre empire, and beyond, kills unfathomable parts of the population. it is called the plague of justinian's. it is the bubonic plague. is one of the most devastating pathogens that humanity has ever faced. yet, even though our historical records describe the poor ethic of facts of this pandemic, the horse store goal -- the historical record only exists for parts of the world. even in the former roman empire, the evidence we have is very
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biased towards larger cities and towards, particularly, one city called constantinople, the capital of rome. questionst a lingering , how important was the plague outside of the areas where we happen to have historical records? it is a very hard question to answer. be ableare starting to to answer that question from the dna evidence. the bacterium that causes a pandemic has been found from skeletons in mass graves, from places far outside constantinople. from tiny villages in southern germany, that are nowhere near the center of power or trade. it tells us that if the plague had reached places like this, it must truly have reached almost everywhere. it helps us take the written record, which gives us a sense of what it was like, and be able
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to say, this struck in places that were totally dark in the historical record. to combine those together, to get a sense of what a catastrophe this event really was. we all know we live in a world where we are very concerned with the effects of climate change, and have a deep need to understand how the climate system is changing. which requires a sense of how it works. is certainly being altered by human activity, by pollution of greenhouse gases. the climate system also has a background level of variability and change. it was not sickly unchanging until human activity started, it was changing. important to so understand the natural background, or has been a huge effort over the last generation to try to understand how the climate system naturally works and what the past states of the
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climate would look like. earth scientists would look in ice cores, which are a record of the chemistry of the hemisphere, in a way, on a year-by-year basis going back thousands of years. when the trees growth can tell you about temperature, precipitation, it can be a very, very detailed, high-resolution record of the past climate. lake records, ocean records, all of theses, have their contributions to make to a deeper understanding of how the earth's climate has changed over the path of time. for historians, this is really interesting because it turns out the timescales that we are interested in, the rise and fall of civilizations, the climate changes on those timescales. on an annual, on the centennial, dick kaegel scale -- decadal
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scale. me, i'm interested in the roman empire. climate history was a very important force that could either stabilize and contribute to the success of the romans when the climate was favorable, but it can also challenge the romans. it can induce famine or drought. it could induce migrations or geopolitical challenges that were very difficult to manage. it was an important part of human history from the very beginning. volcanicxample is a corruption that happened in 53680. the written record, the 538 a.d.. sources -- have recordswe now that help us understand what our human witnesses were observing.
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what they were experiencing. but now we know, there was a large volcanic corruption somewhere in the northern hemisphere that caused the sun to appear dimmed for apparently quite some time. so you have that synthesis, the human observation and the physical testimony. that was followed a few years later by another massive volcanic corruption in the tropics. eventswo are corruption caused massive and instantaneous effects in the climate system. it became cooler immediately. the decades that followed the first irruption are probably the coldest decades in the last several thousand years. a caused all kinds of challenges for the people who experienced it. story that if we tell the of the fall of the roman empire, and we include these fascinating
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new kinds of evidence, the paleo climate evidence, the dna evidence, that we can make the story richer. there is always a fascination about rome. there is something about this civilization that speaks to us. and it always has, it is always been that way. the powerful imagery of this civilization, the poignant visions of its ruins, are still there when you go to the city of rome, it captures the imagination. that's because there is something so human about it. how could an empire this transformede simply beyond recognition? i hope that by telling the story that i have -- in the way that i try to, including nature, including the role of climate
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change, the role of pandemic disease, that we see that the human story has always been about our relationship with in this most important chapter of the past, that has this powerful emotional appeal to us, if we get the story right and realize that our ate is alwaysf bound up with our relationship with the natural world, it changes your perspective. our world is very different from their world. what happened to them is not necessarily what is going to happen to us, but he can change the way we think of ourselves, our society and a deep in our sense of how interconnected we are to the physical and biological environment. oklahomasit to norman is a book tv exclusive. we showed it to you today to introduce you to c-span's. cities tour. for seven years now, we have traveled to u.s. cities bringing
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to our viewers. you can watch more of our visit that [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] >> saturday, we visit the boyhood home of thomas wolfe who angel."ook homeward >> there is autobiographical fiction and over 200 characters in the book that we can connect the people that thomas wolfe new as a boy. secrets that he should not do in a small southern town. thomas wolf said he got death threats from his first book. >> and go inside the grove park and were the great gatsby author f scott fitzgerald state during
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the summers of 1935 and 1936. >> he came to asheville and was looking for a place to belong, a place to recover. he wanted to write again, but needed something to write about. stories in thend people that were staying here. american history tv, we tour the largest home in america. built by the vanderbilt family during the gilded age. >> 33 bedrooms for guests and family, fireplaces, and an incredible massive staircase. >> and we will visit the late pastor billy graham's asheville over treat. watch the tour of asheville, north carolina. and sunday at 2 p.m. on american history tv, working with our cable affiliates as we explore
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america. >> our weekly series, 1960 eight, america in turmoil continues. a look at conservative politics that year. we sit down with white house press secretary ross shaw as part of our profile interview series with trump administration officials. and later, former president george w. bush honoring you to and activist bono for his humanitarian work. , we continue our series, 1968: america in turmoil. series "1968: america in turmoil." attention to conservative politics. we will be joined by robert merry and matthew dallek.


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