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tv   Book TV Visits Tyler TX  CSPAN  May 5, 2018 12:00pm-1:01pm EDT

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the fix, absolute power, which became major motion picture. plus over 30 novels. written six novels for younger readers which include the finisher, the keeper, and the width of the world. during the program we'll be take your phone called, tweets and facebook messages. ... >> located 100 miles southeast of dallas, tyler is known as the rose capital of america with a population of about 105,000. as we traveled around the city, we'll visit the university of texas at tyler where we'll hear from an author who shares the story of texas lieutenant governor and state senator bill ratliff. >> his stature rests on a single
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trait. he's a totally free man; free of partisanship. he casts a rare republican vote to raise taxes. he's free of egotism, free of ambition, free of the lobby, free to act as every senator should but few actually do. he would look at every issue from both sides and decide what was right. it's remarkable. i mean, he was just, he was just one of those good guys. >> with the help from our cable partners, for the next 45 minutes we'll explore the literary life of this city. we begin at the home of louann smoot as she explains the struggles of hiding her homosexuality in texas for 60 years. >> i start off talking about my
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parents, because they had such an influence on the direction that my life took. they were baptists, southern baptists. so i was brought up in the baptist faith tradition. they were leaders in the church. my dad served as a deacon, and both of my parents taught adult sunday school classes. and it seemed like we were at the church every time the doors opened. and i learned to take my religion very seriously. so much so that when it was time to choose a college to attend, i chose baylor university. and it was at baylor that i had to face the fact that i was different, because i fell in love with a girl at baylor. now, when i had been in high school, i had what i called strange feelings toward a particular girl. having been brought up in a
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very, very conservative home, i had never heard the words gay, lesbian, homosexual. i had no idea it was even possible for a girl to fall in love with another girl. is so i had no -- so i had no vocabulary to explain to myself who it was and what it was that i was feeling. so as i've already mentioned, i fell in love at baylor. we were both 17, and this was in 1956. when the christmas holidays came, we were separated for the first time, and we missed each other so much that we were always writing letters back and forth. each evening i propped up in bed, and i wrote to her. my dad was a sociology major with knowledge of same-sex
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attractions and rightly concluded that his only daughter was gay. he shared this information with my mother and suggested she go in and have a talk with me. so she came into my bedroom that evening, and she shared with me what she had been taught about being gay, that it was sinful and certainly an unacceptable way for me to live my life. now, she and dad had plans for me to earn my teaching certificate, and she told me that evening that no school district would hire me to teach in their schools. she also explained we would have a very difficult time just finding a place to live that, that no one would rent us an apartment, and few people would even sell us a house. so she painted a very bleak picture of our future together.
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her talk with me that evening devastated me. i felt guilty, i felt shameful for something that i felt i couldn't help. after all, i hadn't planned to fall in love with a girl. i would have much preferred to have fallen in love with a boy, someone i could proudly show off, someone i could marry, someone with whom i could have a family. but that didn't happen to me. i fell in love with a girl, and i felt my life was in a mess. i felt sorry for myself. and what i yearned for that evening was for my mother to show a little bit of sympathy for the predickment i was in. predicament i was in. but all i received was condemnation and a type of cease
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and desist message. this was the beginning of a life pretending to be something i really wasn't. i had always dated throughout high school, i continued to date in college. it was part of the front, part of the fitting in that became part of my life. when i was 23, i was teaching high school in odessa which is out in west texas. and one day i simply said to myself, lou anne, you're not going to ever fall in love with a man. quit waiting for that to happen. but you do need to get married. so just pick out a nice fella, marry him and get it over with. it wasn't long after i made that
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decision to marry without love that a friend arranged a blind date for me. he was a nice fella, a schoolteacher with aspirations to be a school administrator. and this appealed to me because my dad was a school administrator. his dad was a southern baptist preacher. he loved children, he very much wanted to have a family, and i wanted to have children. so i asked myself what more is it that i'm looking for? he fits the bill. we were married in march of 1963. it wasn't long after we married when i realized i had made a terrible mistake. i was very unhappy. but by the time i began to
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seriously consider divorce, we had had our first child, a little boy named after his dad. and as i contemplated asking for a divorce, i told myself it would be cruel to separate this father from his young son. and then i told myself that i would bring shame to my parents who were in the public eye in little rock, because getting a divorce in the '60s was shameful. and then i told myself ill bring pain to my in-laws who loved me and were proud of me, and i would be divorcing their eldest son. so as i thought through all these ramifications of getting a divorce, i always came to the same conclusion that no one
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would benefit from a divorce but me. and that made it a very selfish decision. i had been taught all my life not to be selfish. so i eventually decided that i would honor my wedding vows til death do you part, and that's what i did for 37 years. but i was very unhappy during that time. we have four children, and they brought light and joy into my life, and they still do. but i was determined that no one would ever know that i was gay. i especially didn't want my husband to ever find out that i was gay. i also avoided reading anything about homosexuality for fear someone would see me reading that kind of literature or
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material and figure out that i was gay. so i went through life very ignorant of the subject. i actually thought i was a unique human being suffering in a way no one else was suffering. i also avoided having a close friend for fear i might fall in love with her. after all, that's what had happened to me at baylor. so i became a shell of a person. i wasn't the woman i was created to be. i began to think of my inability to love a man as that dirty trick god played on me over and over that thought would go through my mind. and then i added to the thought by saying but god's trying to make up for that dirty trick he played on me by giving me a good life, because i had a good life.
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i had married a good man. i had four wonderful children. i had a secure life. but i was always thinking of my college love, missing her, wondering where she was, what she was doing, whether or not she was happy. and when i'd think about her, tears would come. and i convinced myself that i would never again be happy here on earth, that only by dying and going to heaven would i ever again be happy. so i spent close to 40 years of my life yearning for death, thinking of all kinds of ways i could kill myself. and eventually just begging god to take me and to take me right then, that i was ready to go.
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but all of this changed in august of 1999. at that time i was teaching a ladies' sunday school class in the first baptist church here in downtown tyler. it was a small class. i hadn't been teaching it long, and i didn't know the members well at all. and one morning i was simply visiting with one of those members. we were sharing with each other information about our families and our faith and she began telling me about her son who was an artist, and she told me that he was such a kind and thoughtful person especially to his grandmother. and it was about then this thought came into my mind like a lightbulb going off, her son is
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gay. now, the thought i had was not in the form of a question like, hmm, i wonder if her son is gay. it wasn't like that. i knew her son was gay. and for that reason, i believe god put that thought in my head, and i believe god pushed me into what i did next which was totally illogical. because i asked this woman, is your son a homosexual? well, you don't ask people that question, especially in the conservative area like tyler, texas, and a member of a southern baptist church. she was shocked, and she hesitated quite some time before she eventually said, yes, but that's just the way god made him, and god loves him just the way he is. well, it was my turn to be
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shocked. i had never heard that before, that god loved gays. and especially that god loved gays when they weren't even pretending to be straight. her words that morning changed my life. it would take too long to explain all the emotions i experienced that very afternoon, but my final emotion centered in on this woman. her words of acceptance -- words i'd never heard before -- stirred that dead spot in my heart, and i fell in love with her. after all my efforts to avoid this very problem, never telling anybody i was gay, never reading about the subject, never having a close friend, all of those efforts had been for naught. because that feeling of love for
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a woman came completely out of the blue and hit me hard. i couldn't pretend any longer. i had to get out of my marriage. and about five months later, i asked my husband for a divorce simply telling him i was very unhappy in the marriage. and i moved out of our home into a small one-bedroom apartment. about two months later, he sent me a long e-mail asking me to please be specific about what there had been in the marriage that had made me so unhappy. i didn't want to answer that letter because i had never had any intention of ever admitting to anyone that i was gay. but when i reread his letter, i realized he was blaming himself for some things that had nothing to do with my asking for a divorce. and then i reminded myself, we'd
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been married for 37 years, and i felt i owed him the truth. so late that evening i wrote a long e-mail back. i simply told him that i was gay, that i'd always been gay, and then i tried to explain what it's like to be gay in a world that doesn't accept gays. he wrote back immediately saying that this was a subject he didn't want to discuss on the web, but asked if he could come by my apartment the next morning after his exercise class, and i said, certainly. so when i opened the door to him about 9:00 the next morning, he took me in his arms and held me tight and began sobbing. and i held him and cried. and when we eventually sat down on the sofa, i placed a box of tissues between us, and i gave him an opportunity to vent for
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all those years of frustration when heed had tried to be close -- he had tried to be close to me and just couldn't. he'd always said there was a wall between us. and i'd always known he was right, but i never told him he was. one of the questions heed asked me that morning -- he asked me that morning was, is this something you thought every year? and i said, every year? i thought about it every day. and he said, it must have been a miserable life. when i came out to my brother in california, he told me i needed a support group because i didn't know any other gays, none. and he sent me a list of various organizations which i looked up on the web, found a lot of 'em were in dallas, but that's a good hour and a half away.
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one of them was in tyler, texas, and that was pflag, east texas pflag. now, pflag at that time stood for parents, families and friends of lesbians and gays. i'd never heard of it, but i called their phone number, found out when and where their next meeting would take place, and on monday evening, april the 10th of 2000, i drove to st. francis episcopal church, parked my carr and just sat in it for a while working up the courage to walk into a meeting of strangers and out myself to them. at that time i was 61, and i had spent my whole life hiding the fact that i was gay. and i knew that my life would be changing after that evening. when i sat in my car that
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evening, i'll have to admit that there was a certain curiosity on my part as to what gays and lesbians looked like and acted like, because i was just as much a victim of misinformation as everybody else. when i eventually walked into that room of 25-30 people, there was one empty chair by the woman who is now my wife, brenda mcwilliams. we have -- we were in a relationship for over 17 years now, the last two as legally married, and i've always felt god was really watching over me that evening. in fact, that first pflag meeting seemed very much like a church service to me, because there was a lot of talk about god and how much god loves gays
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despite the messages we were getting from pulpits around town. when i actually came out in my church, i started feeling very uncomfortable. there were several members i considered friends who simply could not look me in the eye, and it made me feel as if they saw me as the epitome of evil itself that they couldn't look upon. and i gave serious consideration to leaving the church, finding somewhere else to worship where i would feel more comfortable. but i feel god nudged me and reminded me that at that time i had been a member of first baptist for almost 12 years, and the congregation knew me not only as a christian, but as the wife of a deacon, the mother of four children, a sunday
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schoolteacher, handbell ringer and a very active and supportive member of the congregation, and if i left, then i would be throwing away all that goodwill, so to speak. whereas if i stayed, i told myself i had a very unique opportunity to become known as a gay christian. what to many, if not most, and maybe all the members was an oxymoron. so i decided i would stay. and then when brenda joined me there shortly thereafter, then we became the church's example of a gay christian couple, and we made a point of sitting together about the third row from the front in the center section where everybody could see us. and we remained as active as they would allow us to be, and there were restrictions placed upon us. and we remained an additional 14 years. we finally left mt. first part
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of -- in the first part of 2015. i spent most of my life believing that being gay was some kind of moral failing, and i did everything in my power to hide the fact that i was gay. but now i believe that being gay is just the way some people are. it's the way i am, and and i'm thankful for god's love and for the freedom he gives me to simply be who i am. well, my purpose for writing the story, at least at the beginning, was to have a target audience of fundamentalist christians who were convinced that being gay was chosen. and i have always felt that my story depicts perfectly that
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being gay is not chosen. and i wanted to target that group and convince them of the erroneous belief that we can change, that gays can change and become straight people, you know? all they have to do is pray. goodness knows i prayed. for years, i prayed. and i knew that was not the solution. it did not change me. so that was my target audience. and then once i realized that fundamentalist christians are not interested in my story, then i thought, well, i had learned by that time that those who were interested were those who had lived either a life similar to mine or who had gay children. and this targeted the pflag organization. and so many of the talks that i
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have given through nine different states at this time have been to pflag groups primarily, although there have been a few churches, there have been some college classes. but primarily the pflag groups. it's amazing how many will come up to me afterwards and say you just told my story. or some statement i made, they say that's exactly how i felt. so i have become a voice for many who had the same story to share and just have not been able to share it in the way i have. so i never started off to be a gay advocate. that was not my goal. my goal was to convince fundamentalist christians. and then i realized in the attempt to do that, i had become a gay activist and had become
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able to admit that i'm gay, it no longer bothers me, i'm proud of the fact that i'm gay. i wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. >> the tyler public library was established in 1904 as part of the andrew carnegie library fund. former librarian sally harper showers the library's history and how it was utilized by the community. >> well, at the turn of the century in 1900, not 2000, andrew carnegie -- the steel magnate from pittsburgh, pennsylvania -- decided he wanted to do libraries for the country. and so at that time, he had already done five libraries in texas. and there was a federation of women's clubs, and the ladies decided they wanted a carnegie library. so they wrote mr. carnegie, and he agreed to give $15,000 to the city of tyler to build the library. but the city had to promise that
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they would give $1500 every year to support the library. so it was agreed upon. they bought this lot where we are now, and the library opened its doors in 1904. and i'd love to read a quote to you that the mayor said when he accepted the library. he said, "all the success of this library has been due to the efforts of the noble women of our city, and i say furthermore that future generations will rise up and call you blessed for your noble efforts." mayor john bonner. the steps that are here are still here, they're 114 years old, and if you look very closely, you can see how worn they are from people coming in and out over this 114 years. we are sitting in, we are
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sitting in the adult reading room of the old library. it has magazines, newspapers and current books. there's a picture of the fireplace here in this adult reading room. it's very changed today, but this was what the original fireplace looked like. then we have a picture of the reference room which is across the hall. this is a picture of the reference room across the hall. so then the library -- tyler grew, and in 1934 the library had pretty much outgrown the city, and so it was during the great depression, and president roosevelt had started many projects to help people to have jobs, and one of them was called
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the public works administration. so the city of tyler raised $19,000, and then the project gave them seven. so they had about $25,000 to put a new addition on. and the people that built it were part of this public works administration. and then the room we're sitting in which was the adult reading room was done by the same project, and it pictures all but agriculture and oil and roses and all the things that were going on in tyler at that time. and i have a picture here of the library being constructed. they tried very, very hard to keep it the same as the old library. out on the south side of the library, this is the original part, this is the new part. the brick is slightly different, and they put a train pipe right down the -- a drainpipe right
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down the middle is that maybe you couldn't see the difference. and that was the last addition made to the tyler library, and that was in 1934. i started working here in i think it was 1974, and with the help of the daughters of the american revolution, which is a genealogical society, the women traced their ancestors back to soldiers that fought in the revolutionary war. and with their help, we started the local history and genealogy section of the library, and i was there until 1980 when they moved this building to the new building in 1980. and this then became the archives for the smith county historical society. these women back in the early, really 1900s, the women's clubs, there were literary clubs, and they wanted a library for the people to come and get educated. and they had them in several different places.
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one was in a lawyer's office, one was in the firehouse, and finally, as i said earlier, they got ahold of mr. carnegie. i don't know what the future for libraries are, but before the advent of television and the internet and all of that, books were the only way people could get educated. and people, all people couldn't buy books, so this was mainly for people who could not afford books. >> we're here at the bill ratliff room at the university of texas-tyler campus. mr. ratliff served for over 15 years. it's here that we spoke with local author bob stirkin to learn more about bill ratliff's legislative career. >> ratliff's stature rests on a single trait that sets him apart from the mass of the senate. he's a totally free man, free of partisanship. he cast a rare republican vote to raise taxes. he's free of e egotism, free of
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ambition, free of the lobby, free to act as every senator should but few actually do. he would look at every issue from both sides and decide what was right. it's remarkable. i mean, he was just, he was just one of those good guys. bill ratliff was a successful and highly decorated consulting engineer. he was, he did big projects, city projects; bridges and roads and parks and a ship, the houston ship channel rework at one point. big projects as an engineer. and at 51 or so decided to become a public servant, essentially. and so he stops, he retires from
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his engineering work, and he becomes a -- decides to run for office, for the texas senate. and he served in the texas senate from 1989 through 2003, 2004. one of his most famous comments is, i think sums up the kind of man that he was in the legislature. there's a couple different ways to go with this. one is to say he said that he was republican for the same reason that he was a methodist, that he believed in the republican party at least 51% of the time. [laughter] you can tell that's kind of his -- he wasn't this extreme one way or the other guy. he was, you asked what kind of
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representative he was, he was a problem solver. the man was about -- not about like -- he hated partisan politics. he was not about party, he was not about the bickering and the struggle of politics. he was about problem solving. he was an engineer by training, and so his thought process was that his way of thinking was about solving problems. and so everything he did in the senate was in a problem-solving mode. how do we fix this particular thing for texans. how do we make this better. and so he did that without ideology getting in the way. he did that without partisanship getting in the way. and so that made him, well, greatly loved in austin. he was, i mean, hands down both parties he was a person people
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could work with, and he was revered, actually, for a long time in texas politics. the big things that he worked on in the texas legislature, his work in education finance, in k-12 finance and also in higher ed finance but mostly in k-12 finance. the state of texas was in the throes of lawsuits when he came in to office in the late '80s over how -- over school funding and how schools in texas were funded in the inequality of that funding. and ratliff, from his very first term, very first days in the legislature, was given the assignment of working on the education code and rewriting the education code. and he did that in successive
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legislative sessions for several years to great success. and the work that he's done, the reshaping of the school finance system in texas, is still the code, still the law today. so that's got to be one of his biggest accomplishments. ratliff serves in the legislature as a senator until george bush is elected. when george bush was elected, rick perry moved to the governorship, and that left the senate lieutenant governor chair open. it was for the next two years as lieutenant governor. and so they elected ratliff. probably one of the, in the later part of his career it was a big, there was a, an incident here in east texas where three
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white men picked up a black man on the side of the road one night here in deep east texas and brutally murdered him, drug him behind their pickup truck and dismemberedded him. -- dismembered him. it was just, you know, a horrible crime, hate crime. and that, the texas legislature, the house and the senate both took up the next session took up strengthening the laws on hate crimes. and senator rodney ellis from houston, others picked it up, and ratliff was at this time the lieutenant governor of the state. and as lieutenant governor, he was not expected to vote unless they needed to break the tie. he could vote, but he wasn't expected to vote. so the hate crimes bill made it through the committee, and it
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was going to the floor without sexual orientation language in it, which is really odd for for a hate crimes bill. i mean, that's typical for across the country, we see that -- sexual orientation -- as part of a typical hate crimes piece of legislation. so when it got to the floor of the senate, there was an amendment to insert that language into the bill. the governor, bush at the time, and the republican party was adamantly opposed to putting sexual orientation in the hate crimes legislation. it was hotly debated not just in texas, not just in the legislature across the state is, but around the united states as well as to whether or not that was appropriate to put it in there. there was a lot of pressure on ratliff as the leader of the republican party in the texas senate and a lot of pressure on republicans from across the country to leave that language out of the hate crimes
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legislation. they inserted it in as an amendment, and when they were going down through the roll call, when they get to ratliff, he doesn't have to vote. it looks like the piece is going to be added, but he's up on the dais up next to the microphone, and he stands up and shows, and says show the chair voting aye. i mean, he didn't need to do that. he just did it because it was the right thing to do. and he went that day, i mean, the republicans turned on him with a lot of vitriol. they started sending out flyers, you can still see them, bill ratliff supports the gay agenda, and all sorts of terrible things went out about him about that one particular piece of -- that one particular vote. and that one particular vote
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really led to the sequence of events that comes next within the party. he's running, he's decided to support this putting sexual orientation in the hate crimes legislation, and then he decided that it's been a successful lieutenant governor run, and he's decided -- as an officer, as lieutenant governor -- and he decided to run for the statewide position, to run a campaign and to run for the office. and he, his campaign guys told him that he needed to raise $10 million to do this. and i told you this, but this is an important story. i think it's important for him. so anyway, so ratliff goes to houston, to river oaks to a fundraising event where he says he's supposed to meet heavy
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hitters. he and sally were seated with a bunch of other republican donors. and the conversation turned to the hate crimes legislation, and it turned to ugliness of racism and how that blacks would have been better off -- they were better because we brought them from africa, and they weren't in aids and all sorts of horrible things like this. and ratliff and sally were both embarrassed and silent. they didn't say anything, which is uncharacteristic of him. the next day they're driving back to east texas, and bill was really quiet, and sally says, you know, what's wrong. he said, i don't like myself very much. finish and he said i don't like, i didn't like the fact that i budget, i didn't speak, i didn't challenge, i didn't express, you know, i didn't say the right thing in both of those incidences with those people with the bigotry and the racism and the things that he was
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facing. the next afternoon he does a public announcement where he said he wasn't, he decided not to run for lieutenant governor. he wasn't willing to change his stripes for $10 million, he said. so he stepped down, he decided not to run and went back to being a senator. the redistricting battle was really started by tom delay and with republicans in washington. when they saw an opportunity to garner decades of control over congress. and so they realized that the power of drawing the districts could be enormous and would do what it has done, actually. what it's done is reshape the districts to the point where they are completely safe now. and ratliff understood that what redrawing of districts would do to his constituents.
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he was concerned about the district 1 in particular where he is, where he was from, being drawn in a way that would include urban areas of dallas that would produce a republican without fail but would not represent the rural area ares of east texas. -- areas of east texas. and that the rural areas of east texas would become superfluous or wouldn't matter in reputation. so that was his principled stand. and he stood against his party. he got a phone call from president bush, and he got karl rove called him, and they put lots of pressure on him to cave and to help stand with the republican party. and he refused to -- he refused. he said karl rove asked him if it would be okay if the president called, and he said,
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sure, i'll be glad to tell the president why i think that this is not right for my constituents. and so he signed a letter in, with ten other democrats that stood on the principle of fairness for his district. and when he did that, he pretty much ended his time with the republican party. and today he'll tell you he's a man without a party for doing that. when i talk to my students in my freshman and sophomore classes, there's this cynical nature about who these men and women are or why they're in politics. especially in texas. there's a -- people are in it for what they can get out of it, they're not to be -- they're to be expected to lie, they're expected to be corrupt, these kinds of things. when i first get to know ratliff, i was immediately
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struck by this is a good guy. he's a good man. and he had a 15, 17-year career in politics and was successful and a person of principle. it never compromised, never went away. didn't have any torrid affairs, didn't have all -- wasn't accepting bribes. as a matter of fact, he was working on ethics and focused on fixing those kinds of problems. and so i think that's the central piece, that there are good men and women in politics, today do -- and it's possible to do the people's work. i think that's the thing. he did a full career where he focused on what good for east ts and for texas in general. not just what was good for bill ratliff.
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and it wasn't -- it was never about him. maybe that's part of why he was so successful, is it was not about his ego, it was not about his ambition. it was never about, like, what he was going to do next. he never wanted to go to washington. he never wanted to do something different than that. he was just about is service. and i think that's the cool message. that's the thing, that's the central piece of bill ratliff's service. >> our look at tyler's literary community continues as we speak with librarian connie greer to hear about tyler, texas', first african-american public library. >> in 1945 correspondence happened between margaret gower and the carnegie foundation requesting access to the carnegie public library for african-americans who represented a third of our population. it was denied in that it was a local request that needed to be
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made, and i believe the request, of course, was not met. and so collaborating with the city, trying to get fundraising started happening immediately for books and which location would take place. the negro public library opened in the basement of the bethlehem baptist church. and for years it operated under the city. the city, of course, brought it under its wing, and funds were allocated for the city to have the library open for several years. about 90% of the books in the library were e donated by the white population in tyler. and it moved locations just one more time. the board of the negro public library requested a location on its own instead of in a basement, and that was granted.
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and in 1961 the library changed names to the ella reid public library. ella reid wasn't the librarian, she was actually a well known, respected member of the community who was actually a midwife. and that is who the namesake for the library was. and at the end of segregation, of course, everyone was allowed into the carnegie public library, a much larger library, and the ella reid public library closed. every month in the library we like to display things that not only showcase or shed light on something special from our history or current events, and black history month i was immediately starting to pull black artists in the library on display, and i found myself one day, of course, in a local history and genealogy room looking at some of our really old books that are behind locked
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cabinets and noticed the ella reid public library collection. about a hundred books, and they're beautiful books, and i thought -- first, i thought shock. you know, first i was in shock that we had something like that, but then i thought what a wonderful way to show our history and past here in tyler. so for the month of february, i displayed the books, and it got quite a lot of showing. so this book is the hawk of egypt, and if you open it up, you will see the stamp of negro public library which tells me that this book is from the late 1940s. and you can see the change in library names. this is the library, the inside of the library, and the main change, of course, happens over here cans now the ella reid --
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here, which is now the ella reid public library. this is a copy of the city of tyler, texas, budget summary for the ella reid public library. it shows salaries, supplies, maintenance. and just looking at the amounts lets you know the time frame that we were in. this is actual board minutes from the 1940s from the negro public library board. march 26, 1947, library board meeting. and i thought this was an interesting bookmark where it shows how much books cost and magazines cost the library. books, magazines totaled $33.
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and right here we have the word "paper," can that says -- and that says $32.50. and then we have quite a lot of shakespeare, and these books are just precious. the tudor shakespeare, if you open it up, of course, you'll see the red stamp of the negro public library. these are called pocketbooks. pocket books. very common at the time, and there are several that we have. just lovely little pocketbooks that were lended out at the library. and i think it's wonderful that the library had these. this book that we have right here is titled camille by dumas. this is a lovely book from the library, and it has some interesting prove nance in it in that you see, of course, the red negro public library stamp,
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tyler, texas. but then upside down is property of smith county rural library. a library that i have never heard of. and is so that is interesting showing how book has traveled and been renamed. and once again, it's on the inside. a lovely book that is in pretty great condition considering how old it is. next we have old testament selections. this is a great book in that when you open it, it still has the card inside. and let's see what this says. old testament copy 12. so we had 12 different old testament selection volumes in the library. let's see on the back, this is
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what i was remembering. the dates right here in the back, most of these dates say 19 22. so it makes you wonder where was this book before the library which, of course, opened in the '40s. this is an autobiography of sweeney. beautiful book that still has the pretty gold leaf and lovely cus color to it. careful. just lovely, the bookplate's inside. books are not made this way anymore, and it is just charming to see. and, of course, if you would like to hold this book in your hand and any others in the collection, just come to the tyler public library's third floor local history room, and you can do so. to be able to house these works
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of history that not only people have held and, you know, held dear to their hearts i think a lot of the books in the libraries in tyler, to be able to house these today and to be able to still show these to the public and to be enjoyed again, i think, is just wonderful. it is emotional in a sense in that how many people have held these books, what were they going through in their lives when they were reading these books. finish -- and that is libraries in a nutshell, is that there's so many lives and stories to tell in each building. and this room, the local history room, in the library we want to preserve tyler's past, and i think we're doing a really good job and speaking about it today just goes to show you that it is continuing. >> twice a month c-span's cities tours take booktv and american history tv on the road to explore the literary life and history of a selected city. working with our cable partners,
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we visit various literary and historic sites as we interview local historians, authors and civic leaders. you can watch any of our past interviews and tours online by going to and selecting c-span's cities tour from the dropdown at the top of the page or by visit ising you can also follow the cities tour on twitter for behind the scenes images and video from our visits. the handle is @c-spancitys. >> here's a look at some authors recently featured on booktv's "after words," our weekly author interview program that includes best selling nonfiction books and guest interviewers. ronald kessler reported on the trump administration. michael isikoff described how russian hackers attempted to influence the 2016 presidential election, and south carolina republicans senator tim scott and representative trey gowdy talked about their friendship
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and their time in congress. in the coming weeks on "after words," former defense secretary donald rumsfeld will recount the presidency of gerald ford. he'll be joined by former vice president dick cheney. journalist jerome corsi will argue that there is an effort to thwart the presidency of donald trump. and this weekend facebook co-founder chris hughes argues for a guaranteed income for the working class. >> there are a lot of ways to finance a guaranteed income. my view is that the clearest way is to ask those who have done the best in the new economy to pay their fair share, and that is people like me. so specifically to bring tax rates on income above $250,000 back up to where they were historically, that's at 50%, and close some of the most egregious loopholes in our tax code like the buffett rule which enables billionaire investors like warren buffett9 to pay a lower
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tax rate than his executive assistant. if we do those two things, then i think they woulding bring not only balance back into the tax system overall, but they would raise enough revenue to be able to lift 20 million people out of poverty overnight. >> "after words" airs on booktv every saturday at 10 p.m. eastern and sunday at 9 p.m. eastern and pacific time. all previous "after words" are available to watch on our web site, >> i mean, i think more and more cities are razeeing they need -- realizing they need to have something like a livable wage. and the truth of the matter is a lot of people in the private sector are realizing it as well. companies like jpmorgan, just to select one -- >> yeah. >> -- have a major commitment in detroit. and they're doing it in the form of banking branches and opening up opportunities for financial
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literacy. and so a lot of folks in the private sector are realizing we create a better society, a better market, a better set of consumers if income and wealth are more broadly shared in society. >> right. >> now, let me make a quick point on the difference between income and is -- and wealth because it's pretty interesting. income is what people make and spend and then, you know, whatever's left -- so income is in and out every day of our lives, every month, every paycheck. and on that score, minors in the united states make -- minorities in the united states make something like 70% or so of what the average american makes in income, right? >> right. >> but wealth is a different thing. wealth is what you get to save. wealth is what you invest. wealth is what you own. wealth is your net worth. and on that score, minorities in the united states -- both african-american and latino --
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make, what would you guess? about 10%. >> right, much less. >> in wealth comparisons. >> now, there's some understandable reasons why that's the case, because the families tend to be younger, therefore, they haven't invested in things like pension systems, for example, or insurance, you know, for a lifetime. but, and they don't have the money to buy things, so they're not owners of rental property, they're not owners of stocks and bonds, they don't have annuities that they can act on. they work in industries that don't have coverage for them in the sense of pension systems, retirement systems, 401(k)s. so it's kind of, liking predictable. it's obvious that there would be that difference. but 10% is a huge, you know, to have minorities own 10% on average of what other americans own, and that means you don't have the ability to get a loan to send kids to college or a loan to start a business because you don't own anything.
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>> communities of color have a hard time advancing as the generations progress in that situation, right? >> exactly. so for all of these reasons, these subjects are -- need to be talked about. >> you can watch this and other programs online at >> you're watching booktv on c-span2, television for serious readers. here's our prime time lineup. at 7 p.m. eastern, scott horton, managing directer of the libertarian institute and host of antiwar radio, argues that it's time to end the war in afghanistan. then at 7:45, former fbi director james comey discusses his recent biography. at nine, the claremont institute's joseph -- provides a history of the u.s. constitution. on booktv's "after words" program at ten, facebook co-founder chris hughes discusses his plan to reduce
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poverty and strengthen the middle class by offering working people a guaranteed income. he's interviewed by democratic congressman don buyer of virginia. and we wrap up our prime time programming at 11 p.m. with conservative authors bruce hirshenson and joe pollack from the richard nixon library and museum in california. they talk about conservativism in the age of donald trump. that all happens tonight on c-span2's booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend. television for serious readers. .. >> his current book, the lexington


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