tv In Depth Annette Gordon- Reed CSPAN August 28, 2021 1:09am-3:14am EDT
. >> annette gordan-reed 245th anniversary of 1776 are we the exceptional nation we tell ourselves? >> we're certainly trying to be. host: in what way? >> there are people that are working to make the ideals of the declarationea a reality. the ideals expressed in the preamble about the quality and the pursuit of happiness so we have that idea and we try to reach that potential.
host: with the founders recognize who we are today? >> of course not. [laughter] some aspects but women participating in politics or blacks participating, all of those would have been foreign toou them and at the time we are talking about 1776 the 13 colonies in the middle of nowhere they don't have the power for the empire i don't think they would've seen on that has happened to the united states up to this point. >> have you weighed in on the 1776 versus 1619 debate in the country right now? >> maybe in passing with certain interviews but i haven't written anything about it maybe i had a few tweets but no in-depth essay. host: what are your initial
thoughts? >> what i said before is we need both of those things so to talk about the beginning of slavery in the american colonies and it sets that context 1776 is the beginning of the country so these people are acting within the context of 1619th because they were slavery not 13 colonies but 1776 introduces a new dilemma or paradox but the idea all men are created equal in a society so there is no paradox the english at that time are
not saying things that all men are created equal of that nature to become an issue when the united states breaks away and on the basis of the document to claim the universal ideal. host: where does the three fifths clause come from? period this is the way to apportion congress the south wanted to count the slaves totally to have better representation it was a compromise between the northern states in the southern states to have concern over who would have power in society because they come together as colonies but the regions were different but the regions have their own ways of life in madison said the difference are the states that enslave people he didn't say that but this was a way of
compromising to allow 13 fractious people who are used to being alone to come together in a union. host: this was not an easy process. >> not at all. they were country states we think of states within the union but they saw themselves when jefferson talked about virginia he said his country that is what he meant his country virginia. so itco didn't create a nation all at once but they created a union and that was a difficult process with a lot of compromises to be made or to paper over the differences that cames to a head in the 1860s. >> one of those founders you
have written three books about, thomas jefferson when did your interest start? >> when i was in elementary school. in the classroom at the back we had a separate library but it had the kinds of books you would expect for third-graders with biographies of american figures, madison, booker t washington, thomas jefferson and i read a jefferson biography during that year and the book was supposed to be a biography but something told by a fictional enslaved boy to be jefferson's companion the book bothered me because it portrayed the slavent boy as silly and not wanting to learn
exasperating jefferson because he wanted to read and go to school. he enjoyed those things and i knew at t the same time as a black person that my classmates and the intent of the author was to send a mason that i thought was about black people at the same time they were sending a message about his intelligence and curiosity i wanted to learn how to read and i could not see why the slave boy had to be portrayed that way so from that time i read other age-appropriate books of monticello that the time to w think about slavery as well and then eventually would do that but at the same time were slaveowners what's that about? some interest started in
school and continued through now. host: was yournt school that point.t >> actually this is the school that i integrated of my hometown conroe texas in the first grade by the time i got to the third grade, things had changed there were more black kids iner the school i was there by myself at first but there were supreme courtre cases and so forth that required to the immediate integration and there were more blacks by the time i read the first biography of jefferson but yes integration was new at the time and i was the person who started that in our town. host: you write you integrated that school like ruby bridges but without the police
escorts. >> yes. my parents and the school district and the town newspaperap decided we would not make a big deal about it but that i would just go and nothing would be unusual i do remember during that first year that the delegations of educators people coming to stand in the doorway with the 25 white kids in the class with me to see how the experiment was going at was intense at one point my mom said i broke out in hives which could have been a stress reaction but now we look back at that time period in a focus mainly i remember the bad stuff that a o focus mainly on
my overall feelings of excitement to be in school and learning things. i had friends some were not nice to me but my first and second grade teacher during the formative years were just fantastic and wonderful and did everything they could to have everything run smoothly but there were bumps. as you can imagine. host: in her books, writing three about jefferson 1997, jefferson and sally hemmings. the second 2008 the hemmings of monticello winning both the national book award and her most recent is most blessed of the patriarchs why did he refer to himself as most blessed of the patriarchs
quick. >> that's how hems thought of himself he was comparing himself to the patriarchs of old he had a farm and enslaved people and power he was the patriarch of this particular area and of course we look at .hat that is why we insisted we put it in quotations in the book because i didn't want people to think we were calling him that but that's his identity but now we look at that as a negative i don't want to be associated calling him that w he saw himself as a person so we look at the slaveholder and those who say it's a bit much but he sought as hear all the people i am responsible for
that i am supposed to take care of and that was the image of himself so by fixating on that phrase he does call himself that the book is about trying to figure out to figure out what it was that he meant by that. >> how long have we known about sally hemmings quick. >> it depends on who we consider we people had the story as an article of faith from the 19th century. and referenced it we have known about the story came out in the 17 nineties with the sally hemmings name in 18 oh two so the story has been in the public sphere since the beginning of the 19th century but this was rediscovered in 19 fifties
when they found madison hemmings recollection a novelist who is also a jefferson buff found this and brought it too the attention of scholars. it gets a new live they didn't talk about it explicitly in the book but in the seventies when brody wrote about it and then to put the recollections that hemmings was in 1873 he was the son of jefferson and hemmings so that recollection now in the public eye that's the first time when i was 14 years old that was the first time i'd ever seen a narrative by a former enslaved person and interest me in that
predicament and you that slaveowners had children born of connections between these people of rate and other connections. i knew that but to talk about a person or an individual i had been interested in before was a new twist on the story. host: how widespread are the descendents of jefferson and hemming quick. >> very widespread they had 12 kids i don't think the sun had children by his daughters had lots of kids there are a lot of people around the country that are descended from hemmings and i met a good number of them and corresponded with a good number of them i went to a family reunion with them but
it was very widespread. they had a lot of kids in those days and it becomes an exponential at that point. host: have they been officially recognized? >> i don't think so. i don't believe they have but i'm almost certain they would have i don't know how many are actually seeking that recognition because they have their families story that's pretty much their attitude. host: the presidential historian survey just came out
and to presidents you have written about extensively he's been consistently at seven and then johnson came in second to last right above james buchanan are those accurate quick. >> i would say so. normally he's the worst but justju above buchanan but that is about right. he was not a good present he was a terrible person to follow lincoln but the thing about buchanan is that lincoln is there but they both do things that marriage but jefferson should be in the top ten.
probably because louisiana i think. and that is controversial for what that meant for the extension of slavery and the beginning of the united states it was momentous. and then necessarily how i feel about a particular action. or how they exercise power in the office. things that were momentous to change the country.
so the first inaugural address first term was a successful term but then there was the embargo and all kinds of issues but i think he definitely belongs in the top ten and i propose because of the declaration of what they were talking about what we are speaking on he gets credit for that as p well. it is a cumulative score but i would say louisiana in the first term. with theli people of the sovereign and the rulers and jeffersonian's.ly with madison and monroe to take their place after them. and jackson saw himself.
even though he didn't admire him. and then that part of the presidency. host: we were asked to write the johnson biography by the president series or did you volunteer? >> are there's less injured junior who was on the board of advisors out of princeton i knew him from that m pollock bullet - - paul was the editor so between the two of them. and then to say sure.
and even though johnson and that put in place other fateful decisions. and that was pivotable because of people should know about that the only southern senator notxa to leave the senate. because it was symbolic. and then to send a message. and we can get back together but a southerner on the ticket
and going forward together. and then to refer to johnson's quote quirky independence and then he came from nowhere. and that taylor'sn' apprentice and did not learn how to read until a late teenager his wife taught him how to write. it's a good quality in some ways thatt stick to it and perseverance hen' didn't accept limitations he knew where he came from a working-class background. and then did not let himself be pampered by that.
and then up working is with the vice president and then becomes president because of a tragedy. there's not a lot of other things to commend in my book because that independent streakak in the loyalty to the union to say there is something there along with being in a pivotal role at a pivotal time in history. host: before we leave johnson i want to ask about dolly. >> but there is not that much
known. and not to necessarily talk about the personal life and thenin to talk about their policies and the workings of their presidency. so to go off into detail. host: back to the presidential historian survey 2021. put out by c-span andrew jackson has been dropping steadily since 2011 rated at 13. >> it says that different that
generations respond to different people we asked different questions the way they asked different questions of people and situations in the past based upon the preoccupation we have been interested in indigenous people and we are interested that jackson is an interesting figure because we think of the age of jackson for a rise of american democracy but it was the rise of what people refer to of the white man government with the idea that white men should rule. so even inld situations of blacks have the franchise and can vote to take it away. there is a situation there is
the expansion of democracy. but is a t restriction on blacks. how do we celebrate this rise and the restriction on the other side? and as a policy before jackson so jackson's treatment of native americans is seen as a problem. putting that mildly. 's right todl fixate on those issues, helix worse than he may have before. and thinking of the fortunes of african-americans during this time period.
or assuming there's only one to handle situation with native americans then he is a problematic figures of people like sausage or and others loved him. if you have the notion of progress as a historical progress that inevitably leadsds to better things you can say it's okay they were taking the franchise away from the black people. but as a historian there is nothing that is inevitable there is no and we are working toward. people can say yes but we have to deal with you can't think of what happens afterwards but what is happening in that moment and what we think about the fact of blacks who could vote before could not fill in the notion of a white man
government? how do we do at that particular time because this will be all right. so it makes sense but you know certainly jefferson's fortune has risen and fallen now he is in the trough but is not likely he will stay there these things come and go and generations are interested in different things and who knows what we are on to in the future. host: this iss sent out to 100 historians nationwide different criteria it's all available at c-span.org but we do it every four years at the endne of one president. donald trump is included for the first time in this list he comes and forth from the
bottom. as a historian, no. historians would say that is current events.s notor history. you want time to pass to have some perspective. so the january 6 insurrection people believe they were aching that on and involved in that it was an extraordinary circumstance because if you're filling out a survey to have, for something like that so quickly a lot of the judgment comes from that. so extraordinary events shape
the way people decided to do that and e that is one of the reasons and then the handling of the pandemic but then to askpr the question and then they responded on the basis of some extraordinary circumstances for the presidency but ideally you want time to pass because you don't know of the effect what the president on —- presidential actions would be the next judgments made about people that is my view. it may be different but with historians you need more time. host: june 19, 1865, the
people of texas are informed that in with the proclamation executive of thef united states all slaves are free. absolutely quality of personal rights and rights of property a former masters and slaves the connection heretofore existing between them is between that and hired labor they are advised to remain quietly and work for wages and informed they will not be allowed to collect military post and will not be supported in idleness they are or elsewhere. what is that. >> general order number three that he issues when he comes to galveston in 1865 to take control of texas in that area or aftere the final surrender
of the confederate army. he issuess the order that's the day we come to know as juneteenth the day that we believe it became a federal holiday. host: the civil war ended in april. >> they kept fighting. lee surrendered in april and the army kept fighting. the last battle of the civil war was in texas which the confederates one but decided the efforts were for not in the surrendered and then decided not to take control of texas. host: and said texas native did you grow up knowing about juneteenth? >> yes. i didn't know the details but yes i did grow up learning
about juneteenth i don'td remember time we were not celebrating it was a family holiday. i don't think we talked very much about in school so this is people by the african-american community about it was a black holiday and then it became a state holiday 1980 the then to see that as the black community and then to drink soda water and sparklers and those kinds of things. host: what did the term juneteenth come from? >> it's a mashup. mostly people say it's a mashup of june 19th and
others say some people celebrated over a three-day period but they were not sure about the dates the 18th and 19h andhe 20th. i don't know that i buy that. because and the story of the piscopo old church but is just a mashup and so was called juneteenth. host: you are recently in washington at the white house. >> i was there for the signing ceremony i was stunned by the quickness and i thought i was pretty confident would become
a federal holiday but i thought it might be later and then i got an e-mail invitation a text to come down to the white house for the signing ceremony. the quickly hopped on plane and went down and made it in time for the ceremony. host: in your most recent book you write that there is so much to misunderstand about texas that stem from the general lack of attention to or even awareness of the states foundational aspect. what does that mean quick. >> what people think of texas that people think of texas as the land of cowboys and texas is constructed asof a white man.
that's not the hollywood presentation in the film giant is a people say about texas once it was a place the cattlemen they have their way of l life and then new volvo reach one —- new rich people come together but they leave out the part of plantation owners of where stephen s austin doesn't bring people to texas to become cattle ranchers he brings people to texas with the full expectation to bring enslaved people it was clear that was
the intention when the texans break away from mexico and then that taxi ends were never really secure about that. and that's when the reasons they decided to leave mexico and those that protect slavery which prevent african-american and people of african-american descent same you can ever become citizens where vastly societyr so sometimes of the
questions thatt i get what they hear coming out of texas what are the racial problems? it is a place full of cowboys or of people who have anything to do with what we think of as the old south georgia and mississippi and places like that so the purpose of the book to disabuse people of the notion it's all about the west it is important you cannot downplay that but east texas brought in from georgia and mississippior was a slave
society. host: katie trace back your family? >> not thoroughly. i can place my mother's side to the 18 twenties my father's side from the 1860s or maybe a little before i have deep roots in texas and my family did not my mother that they left the south and came from texas go to california and go west my family stayed there. i am the anomaly leaving texas to go to school in new hampshire and dartmouth. most of my family is in texas
people that we are he knew about and my best friend who is a boy i knew who they were i knew who they were as mythic semi godlike person but then to become famous because of that but it was very heroic betrayal on —- portrayal of the alamo and is expected there is nothing in there that surprised me in a character that was a slave and portrayed
how do i have this aerobic understanding about the alamo when i realized one of the things they were fighting for toto keep people in bondage. and then to fall into the rousing nature and lawrence harvey t was cute but later on i began to see the problems so then i talk about that there's no way to reconcile this and how can you possibly do that? host: good afternoon and welcome to booktv on c-span2. this month harvard professor winning author annette
you just looked a little bit stunned at what was happening when you one. but we went to play little bit of your acceptance speech. >> i have to think first the two people who are not here my mother and father who are responsible for everything that i am that is good. and it's the journey that we try to do m with the scholarship and. host: annette gordon-reed who we are parents? >> my father was alfred and my mother was betty jean.
and in a segregated society. my father went into the army after graduating from high school and his mother had died when he was 11 his father was an invalid so he was a career army person then came out my mother was a high school englishis teacher. and went to tsu and then got married. and then my mother had gone away for a time. and then childhood sweethearts married. and then to be born in livingston moving to conroe
texas and that's the town that i write about in juneteenth. host: you also said your mother was a high school teacher but you write the effects of integration on schoolchildren black and white has received a great amount of attention which has been much less considered that was on black teachers. >> my parents i believe were idealistic when they sent me to anderson school in the mid-sixties. black people were on the move and the voting rights act. so later on and then to be disillusioned the way it
played itself out and across the south in general because my parents were killed political they talked about politics a lot to survey the scene and then they became disillusioned but it was blacks joining whites but the whites didn't have to change anythinge. for the integration of the kids but not the teachers. across the south in my town many black teachers were taken out of the classroom and my mother remained in the classroom she loves teaching and stayed there but there was a bit of disappointment about that fact because she had gone to college and to school to teach black students she loved her white students but i heard
from her former students who would write to me and said how much they meant to them but part of that generation that saw themselves as the vanguard that people would use that they were there to prepare black students for what they are facing in a segregated society but how to maneuver to how to end it to make things better for black people and then when there was integration teachers moved from the classroom there were wonderful friendships that grew outut of that it's very different from what she had known as a a part of a black men and women for these people
that were imperiled so the society was made for him so didn't have to exhort to anything other than the individual potential but there was no notion is a group of people that we have been on a journey since 1865. so she became both a little disillusioned and the terms upon which integration was carried out. host: why did you get a law degree from harvard? have you ever practiced? >> i got a law degree for a couple of reasons. my experience integrating the schools of the town gave me an
early look at law. so and lawyers were in the court and the justices. so part of this i wanted to be a writer for most of my life for all of my life there was practical thing for me to do but my experiences integrated schools to be focusedmi on the the practicality of it and then to admire lawyers and if he had the opportunity when he was growing upp you would have been a layer. - - lawyer.
is because it was harvard and i knew lots of people who weree able to do things and i saw government officials and harvard is a place it really prides public service and a lot of my colleagues and people of the faculty before people who went back and flip between government and academia. i practiced three years allow firm and then i was went to a small agency called the warn of corrections which is the oversight agency to the department the agency that went to jail. so my job or jobs is to write minimum standards for the jail to make sure those standards were followed.
it was like a tiny agency that had a huge mandate but no money to carried out so we did the best we could. for practice for about seven years. either in private practice for government practice as well here in new york.ts twenty-three internode as known as a historian and a history professor but to meet a supreme court justice at harvard law school. annette: guess i did. robert reed, husband and we met at the block law students association picnic, the first week. and thought this was a good looking guy. for the same dorm the same section, harvard is a big law school. u-verse your section is divided up into fourr sections and he ws in my section. overnight legal methods session. everything was putting us to be
together at least two sit in the lobby of adorned watch tv. after we finished studying we got married and got engaged must get year in law school. they got married the day after graduation at the harvard methodist church) campus. peter: any suggestions at this from court and will you be teaching in person this fall at harvard and what will you be teaching. annette: yes, i will be back in this year the ball i will be teaching them very excited to get back into things i will be teaching american legal history in the fall. i'm sharing the entry-level hiring committee again so i will have that class, a class in the
fall. in spring will be teaching a class in the constitutional law empire and the legal profession which is legal ethics in the w spring hip. peter: and the co-author of the most selected of the patriarchs for. i've taken enough of your time, so here's a caller first up with annette gordon-reed. >> thank you is been wonderful listening to you. my question is about selling him links and thomas jefferson, what we know about the relationship. and obviously paone her that's a horrible to say but he owned her read when she handy, there were many women i'm'm sure who woulde been more than happy to be his companion. i understand that he promised
his wife he would not remarry. what we know about the interpersonal is much we can know about that. annette: we don't know anything specific about the some people say it can only be as you mentioned he owned her. sally hemmings grandchildren, a couple of great-grandchildren. try to think of the precise number here, talk about how jefferson felt about her. that he loved her and love her dearly they said it pretty let's talk about how she felt about him. and when she comes back to the united states with him, this is somethingg that started this is the place where she and her
brother james, she told her brother that she could've taken a freedom there. and since you think about doing that but then she came back to in jefferson when they came back to the united states, she would live a good life in monticello many children there would be safe. she comes back with him. and obviously she trusted him to carry that out. she 16 years old that could've been you know that's at the same as we think of today but there were so people who young and impressionable. and she comes back with him on that and in fact, he said he was going to do, he did but we don't know anything more about it in the most that i have said is that i think about this all in his power. when she comes back to virginia,
it strikes me as unlikely that he would maintain an purely sexual interest in her for that many years. that's just not the first thing that you would have in mind about the way the people are in the circumstances. but wect don't know and we don't have her words about him we don't have hisis words about her read we just have as i said a great granddaughter talking about the two of them in only met him. and when i mentioned this in monticello, that when he dies, she keeps items from him because her belong to him and give them to her children and heirloom i don't know that means. they mention it because it is the only action that we know that despite coming back with him that we know about her
relationship to himself this is a mystery which is something that people what it probably invest in some novels that there have been. there is a novel about sally hemmings in 1978 but historians, unless we find some material we vote know much more about it than that. peter: from texas, good afternoon. guest: hello is planning to ask another question and i had heard that sally hemmings was a half-sisterit of jefferson's wi. can you dress in all in the last oumy question. peter: go ahead and ask your second question. guest: okay, my hometown is also your hometown condo and i am 84 years old, and i discovered it and eventually gotten some racism by osmosis because when i
discovered a beautiful white woman that 19 or 20, there was a big shock to me that that was even possible. so this might first big example of racism. and i've been working to get rid of it ever since. i'm an activist and a mother over 60 and it also. [inaudible]. and my seminary classmate and doctor king and here's my question. it was always remember that a black man was burned on the courthouse steps in 32. do you know anything about that. peter: in palmdale texas pretty. guest: hot been a race of violent racism there. peter: let's hear from annette gordon-reed, sally hemmingsd, half-sister. in his implicit racism and the
courthouse. annette: for sally hemmings, the daughter of john and also the daughter and father of martha wells jefferson. jefferson's wife so sally hemmings was jefferson's life half-sister so that is the case. and the bias, that's understandable if you grew up in that place, that it was a tale that had a very very or had or has a very tough racial history. there was a man burned at the stake on the courthouse steps read that was reported in the newspaper and as a person who was accused of doing something tall white woman, he will follow the white girl in the woods and was lynched essentially. so i thought about this in the
book that has a really instances of racial violence in the south the mated the kind of places some of my relatives didn't even would nodding is beenn a night there. and because of its racial path. this can be told about other towns as t well, not just for my hometown. the story could be told another places. burning at the stake, is many bone something happening in the 20th century. this was yearsetet ago and stakn place but yes, and a very very tough history. peter: lisa from indiana. it. guest: hi, i'm so impressed with your entire presentation here. and picking up a law degree very much needed as a result of what you had witnessed in your lifetime inif my question, black
single-parent, and i became victimized by premature after 17 years, in my home. i became homeless and have it healthy history but my question to you is and i know this is a worldwide scam. i thought i was on a first of the agencies that i'm going to for help since the judge ruled that my attorney misrepresented me and awarded them to take my home. forging my secretary and let them get away with it. peter: paley's i apologize for getting a little bit off topic and i'm sorry for your situation but what exactly did you want to ask annette gordon-reed rated. guest: i wanted to ask because of her experience, wondering she could guide me to the proper
agency or resource pretty. peter: okay i think we've got the point.. do you have any worse for her annette gordon-reed pretty. annette: no other than i'm sorry situation with her husband legal aid, and even the bar association in your area. to connect to people who will be able to help you in that situation because if what you're saying is true, sounds like the miscarriage of justice. i would contact a lawyer, that's the best answer that i can give. whom. peter: margaret from arkansas go ahead with your question or comment for annette gordon-reed. guest: thank you so much for being on the program and thank you so much for having professor annette gordon-reed rated and i strongly believe that they desire to protect the institution of slavery is one of the reasons we have the declaration of independence.
and just trying to read more deeply into what really happened in our history i've come to believe that read saturday, the fourth of july, i really mixed feelings that i'm trying to digest. with this means that is at the beginning of our country, this tremendous desire to protect the slaveholders and the institution of slavery. i'm bothered by that so much. cash i regard this. i was influenced by learning about the james summers case and other things in the times. at 1770s, what was happening here and in north america read. peter: something we have a point. , annette gordon-reed.
annette: while there were people who wanted to protect slavery in 1776 and when this comes through, think looking at the constitution and the ratification of the constitution, it was much more clearly coming see south carolina and seven states who are adamant about coming to an arrangement that would protect the institution of slavery. in1776, it really didn't get started in boston started in new england. and there were people interested in protecting slavery and i think they wanted to basically were trying a first to get a change and in the relations the situation in great britain and great britain was just picking on the 13 colonies, as in the process of reforming the empire in general, not just the united states but in the caribbean, and the places where they had
holdings. in the columns were the one who said we wanted to go. at a caribbean's people appropriate don't do it because they have slavery deliver there also have a majority of black people that could be a reason why they didn't want to go out but there were missed motives, i don't think it was just about slavery. and of the install somerset because somerset did not apply because somerset basically said the slavery, you have to positive law and order to justify it. the colonies had positive law. they were not doing this on the basis of common law, they actually had their statute created through the code. and jefferson doesn't talk about that. he doesn't enter in any of these figures or his papers so they're not sitting around worried about that particular case. the certainly yes, there were people who wanted to protect slavery but there also patriots who were interested or complaining about all of the
changes the british empire is trying to putha into place as ty were conscious the 13 colonies but the empire overall pretty. peter: segue be part of your course on american law history this fall pretty. annette: absolutely. peter: we haveve texture from scott and arkansas. what is your interpretation of the current political echo money over the critical race theory. as someone who is used many different varieties of critical theory in graduate school from feminist to clear to and i am shocked that this analytical lens became's political red meat to the republican base read. annette: less perplexing because critical race theory was one of my classmates emily crenshaw, we were classmates together harvard law school, and also my husband is matter-of-fact and the late,
harvard professor. they started this there's of the foremost and this is a law school class. the things that are taught in law school and are not taught in all law schools pretty so i was surprised at the thought that critical race theory was being taught k - 12 and is about law and despite changes has embedded races embedded in the legal system and the critical race theory is about trying to unpack that read something the people done has made any talk about race or critical race theory. they'll talk about race but not all people talk about race are critical race theorists read i think the most of the people are talking about race to the extent
they are, in the arm in the general slavery and so forth they themselves, are theory and you don't talk with theory with six and seven and eight -year-olds. not being disingenuous, don't think that is what is going on. i think there is a concern about talking about topics from what i've read and people of said the make white students feel bad. so if you're talking about slavery and they know the vast majority of slaveholders were white in the united states, and say that africans had slaves and the people that they had captured were being sold but we are talking about americans and the relationship that we have with one another and citizens. and we have had since the time since 1776 let me say that.
but to say that you can't talk about those things because it will make white students feel bad means that you can't talk about history and they're not responsible, no one should be teaching them the date did these things but you have to be able to say that this stuff happened and how you talk about say for example the republic without reading the constitution if you read the constitution, 20 talk about race that would be white kids whoou might feel while havg my great-great-grandfather if they were taxes, how did they respond this pretty they responded by saying yes, it was great that black people should be slaves and they can't be citizens here. i feel bad about it but there's this part of life, i mean, life is not all about feeling good about yourself all of the time and it is also an opportunity to learn to say look, those people
had ideas which i disagree i want to do better in different things. you not held hostage into all of that. so this is a bit off of your question here. but i'm as perplexed as you are about it other than real concern about airing the stories because it's kind of explains the inequalities that exist in society today the people don't want to admit that things that happened to african-american people or unfair. and other people but i'm not saying we shouldn't talk t about that either. so i'm surprised by it is you are i have a feeling there's going to be pushed back against this legislation. probably be declared unconstitutional. and teachers are pretty enamored bunch my mother and her friends are in the example.
they will find a way to talk about the truth and as long as they are telling the truth, is the truth, there was slavery quite it is the truth there was jim crow laws. that one of escape into a kid, and went to movies, we had to sit in thees balcony. there is ato separate waiting rm in the doctor's office. and this actually happened, there's no point of hiding it, people are ashamed of it is good response because then you say, were not going to do this anymore. were not held hostage to what people did in the past we want to do better. we want to do better. peter: to watching book tv monthly in-depth program when other two hours and this month it is harvard professor pulitzer prize-winning historian annette gordon-reed. and from san diego sends an e-mail to you professor, the one
time that we visited in texas, we noticed a texas state flag is flown on staffs above the american flag, sir mythology among texans about the states historyta •-ellipsis larger than regional attachments in a other states. annette: i would say so. when i was growing up, i would recall seeing the confederate flag, only occasionally, the last time that i was in texas, but the very last time but in the past few years, i was in texas and is going around in the country and riding around worried and i saw more confederate flags on that trip and probably have seen in my entire childhood growing up in texas. something has happened when the confederates identity, enemy mean something different now
because attached sort of the current political day things maybe that's what it is. but when i was growing up it was all about texas. united states coming of that is right but the loyalties, fixation was on texas as a state. and chauvinism about texas is a stable you see a white texan and a black texan. what is asking me the other day, person from another state who told me they celebrate the emancipation date on a different day. january 1st in our people in virginia it is something in april.e they said why is it that texas to have their day of celebration of emancipation become a federal holiday read in its because of this tenacity in the chauvinism i think of black it texans who
kept celebrating this holiday from 1866 of until today and then when they left texas they would go to other states and say holiday that we celebrate and you ship celebrated as well. i don't know if south carolina and other places blanco somewhere that they insist that people celebrate the holiday that they celebrate back in south carolina or florida or wherever they came fromin those places. but texas in this mythology, there's no question about that when i. was going on, we were raised to think that we were special people. because we were from texas. having many black people who took that seriously manyan my people took that seriously. and i don't think there's any coincidence that we end up as juneteenth is a holiday because black texans kept us alive were very insistent that this meant something and i think it does. a main obviously i think it does
mean something to the country as a whole. my hope is that juneteenth will be an umbrella holiday of the of emancipation and other places as well. but i think you are right, there is a texas chauvinism those shows itself pretty clearly. peter: linden san francisco, you are on with the author annette gordon-reed. guest: is a great program cspan and doctor annette gordon-reed, you're an american treasure that's all isu have to say. you mentioned earlier, the passage of juneteenth has a federal holiday. i wanted to know to think that this was maybe a way to appease black people. and it may be kind of quiet the narrative about preparations or the asian hate crime bill that was passed unanimously, very
quickly. that's what i know what you think about that. it is a hear that on social media a lot. peter: thank you lynette. annette: if people think that, that's a very naïve thought. the passage of the federal holiday is an important thing, juneteenth is important symbolically, we live by symbols. there important that the voting rights, those kinds of things, hate crimes, all of those existential questions. and people might have thought that but it would be very naïve because i just can't think that anybody would say oh we have juneteenth so that we don't have to vote. no. i'm not going to underestimate or what people said that how they can get over on other people but that's just not going
to work. as a naïve hope read i think the juneteenth holiday, almost the same holiday on last year, i guess there was one senator blocking it but this time he decided to let it go and i said what i said i was surprised by thought it might become a federal holiday but i i thoughtt would be later in the year i'm just going along and taken aback in my book virtual book tour and then on was a tuesday, the house voted on wednesday and the senate voted and i found the present was overseas in the next thing, but he was he came back he did the soap out the surprise was mr. really going along saying that one day this might become a holiday and think maybe later in the year and just like that, they came to fruition in a bleak and benign. ait. peter: and serendipitous that your book came out ready for that as well. a. annette: gas and was working in my book, it. peter: and serendipitous that your book came out ready for
that as well. a. annette: gas and was working in that in the pandemic here in new york city, i'd i knew that the holiday thing was out there. that certainly not a primary motivation for writing the book or thinking that i could influence in any way but it was good timing read. peter: jacky, and gary indiana, can you talk about how your jefferson and hemmings research has received more acceptance since its first publication whyh the writings of history has to be tested and rewritten. annette: in my first book came out in 1997, about thomas jackson and sally hemmings, it was more about historians, historical profession. though we visited people who were writing about jefferson, primarily handled this particular story that was my real interest. to say look, i was not interested in proving that one way or another but the one thing
that i did know, but the historians had been treating direct elections of people and unfair way so that's what my first book is really about read and they came out in 1998, apple collaborated with what i was saying and so that led to general acceptance of this story. and then people just sort of i think most people went on to talk about other things about the gender aspects of it and thinking about other aspects of slavery, and monticello and changes taking place. in the handling of talking about slavery so people branched out to other types of things about writing this, this was something that i said before, people talk about revisionist history and i'm sure people have heard the phrase. this is just revisionist history.
usually revisionist but all historians, good ones are revising things in i'm just telling the same story over and over again that you read to your kids that night and if you skip a line or whatever, they say no no no go back to the park on the recognize that. and were constantly finding new information. finding information also asking questions about things. and writing about this and if you don't care about the question of race and for many years people would've written about the added that fixated on the constitution. that specifically protect the slavery or the provision is to send african-americans can't immigrate there, and they can't
be citizens. if you don't care about this topics and for of the history, people writing about the public would not dwell on that. they would not think about that. but i can think of any graduate students and young person over the last 20 or 30 years, or more than that maybe, who wanted to write about the republic of texas who would not pause over those things because they understand that those provisions shape the society. you can't just say that black people don't count. and it doesn't matter and only talked about the things like with whites. and those things those words are in the document this generation of people with payay attention o that. there will be some other things, the pendulum may swing back and people won't be interested in that.
so history is constantly evolving writing history this constantly resolving in the said find new information and begin to ask different questions and very often those questions grow out of the things that are taking placein today. like how it what is it mean to say that people of african descent cannot be citizens. that is a shapely culture. what you like, even after slavery is over rated how to get rid of that racial hierarchy that was put in place by those words. and doesn't explain the lynchings diverting somebody on the courthouse square. in the 20th century are other kinds of lynchings. see the connections between things that are happening today if your expansive and your understanding about the past
read so constantly looking for those things that help you explain the foundation of the society and the origins of the society. so that's why history has to keep changing. it. peter:e. about 30 minutes left n our conversation with professor annette gordon-reed and if you would like to dial in, 202 is area code, 748-8200 and 202 - and p if you want to send a tex, (202)748-8903. please include your first name your city if you do send that text in her next caller from robin in oak ridge maryland. hi robin. >> hello doctor annette gordon-reed's what you think the leaders of the confederacy did not take more seriously the economic failure of theot repubc of texas is a place with
essentially only . annette:ly . guest: one crop economy. annette: and also the nations overseas. so there was this republics of the united states constitution was talking about person held to service but the texas constitution is explicit about all of this. they were stubborn and they were also the plan the evidence indicates that there were always people who wanted texas to become a part of the united states. new mexico and hoped-for annexation by the united states and eventually the statehood. so for the people who wanted just a republican, and the
people who thought this would become a part of the united states, that some of this was problems but even out and would give protection enjoying a larger economy and that they would go forward as part of the united states of america. so that plus people there was a plan all along. so the failures of the republic may not have been surprising to them the as he wanted something in the ultimate goal was somethinge else pretty and that was the statehood. peter: roberta calling in fromng houston, texas. >> i have two points to make doctor annette gordon-reed carried one, and you kind of evaded the issue but critical race theory is going to be coming up in the state legislature. in one forbid it. and i think that you should put onnk your armor and come to ausn
and speak about the issue. you kind of go forward which i hope you give more thought to an retired teachers has as concerned as well and when is it appropriate to bring up the issues true history and we have a book that says the states forget the alamo and they want to be come up with the true keep mentioning the state constitution of that. that is much too high of a level for gradeschool kids to be reading. so did you get practical i wish you would give it more thought and i don't want you to say it now but i do think that will be a crucial question is somebody the republicans here in the state would want to hear from you. peter: i think that the point. annette: i think we talk about
race in history. read a book about jefferson biography of jefferson for people five - seven years old and she talksks about slavery ad she talks about sally hemmings and she does it in a way that is brilliant and completely age-appropriate and i think that you could and i don't see why you could not talk about her raise the question about the texas republic and younger grades. i don't think there's a problem targeted but there are ways to write anything. and i've seen really good books for young people and g forgiveness. and certainly through elementary
school, and natalie is done a wonderful biography of thomas jefferson talking about all of the staff. in an age appropriate way. i think there is a way to do it. nascar coming down there to talk about all of this, i think there are plenty of people in texas who can hold down the fort. on that matter. and i do know the people of god and very aggressive abouter thi. this is about the citizens of texas to stand up against censorship and stand up against the idea that you can't talk about the truth and i remind you the kids are more understanding than we think we are but i've seen so many examples of writing about these issues about race and about slavery in children's books and he think that it's not what i think that it is not the case, but they're not ways to
bring these to the front in a sensitive and a reasonable way for young kids. peter: and others take for you, no see no name. he is renaming a school from jefferson middle school, like somebody in the u.s., to jeffersons hemmings middle school, a solution prompts the conversation rather than ripping away history. annette: i don't see any reason to call it jefferson hemmings school. well because of their connection to a community or for the contributions to the nation. that's why jefferson name the school after jefferson. and i don't see any purpose. i would not say the jefferson - hemmings school would solve the problem. for the issue with that read and
don't have a problem with the jefferson school so long as people talk about all the aspects of jefferson's life because he's a person and as such an effect on so many aspects of american history that is kind of hard to move him to the side away. so i am for in that situation, if you name that to keep that name if you want on the other hand, jefferson said that the world belongs to the living. and you should be able to pick your own heroes and you should be able to exhibit you represent your generation and represents your place better than i can say as well, to do that but i would not see it as imperative. the renaming as you call it, the school are paired is renaming.
in the jefferson - hemmings, i would not be opposed to it but i don't think that it would solve the problem with jefferson. and when people are concerned about. peter: will came in sacramento follows up on that in a sense in erher question is your thoughtsn removal of the statutes of a prominent confederate grade. annette: a bit on the record to say that ion don't see any reasn why there should be statutes of confederate and public spaces. inn america. so not desert racial question. people fight against the united states of america to try to destroy the united states of america. the battlefields and coming up in gettysburg and everybody's mind, and pittsburgh as well, and the battlefield is one thing in cemeteries is one thing but
public squares, i think when you can talk about reconciliation, you can't we can't make that choice for the people who were killed who died during that war. and there's the values of confederacy which are announcing his constitution and cornerstone speech of alexander stephens of the vice president that essentially well is says in fact, africans were meant to be enslaved rated that's a cornerstone of their society. there's nothing that we could get from them that we can't get better from other people without hundred that all of the baggage there. so i don't have any problem with the removal of the statutes. we will continue to learn about them. it may most people don't learn history to the statutes pretty
buildings that are named and you get books and will always talk about robert e the and jefferson davis and what happens from the union and the attempt to the destruction of the united states of america did talk about those kinds of things for me to put it to be the statute. so i would be for removing the statutes in public places and spaces and private property cemeteries battlefields, that is different. >> is a surprise you that right across the river>> from dc in arlington that the jefferson davis highway existed until about a year ago. annette: this is an attempt to reconcile a country that had been torn apart but going too far. going too far with that and not
thinking about the feelings in the sensibilities of one part of the citizenry. that african-americans who have been enslaved in the confederacy and the union is, my people in the north and in the south who remain loyal to the american nation we talked about johnson, is a good point about him is that he believed in the american union. peter: 'eight in sacramento, she had a follow-up question, how is your next clan a book subject am i suggest clara barton prices down, both outspoken abolitionists. annette: yes well i have a couple of projects that i had to interrupt to do juneteenth. i'm doing a second volume of the hemmings family story.
and taking them from charlottesville after jefferson dies in 1926, and taking them throughout the civil war. and dropping them off at the beginning of the 20th century, the first couple of decades, it is a great war. things change after that after world war i, the modern world begins in the old world, that they were an part of their incoherent subject matters to me anymore after that predict many mentioning people who continue on that basically ending there so that the hemmings family story finishing the race and has been comparing for a while basically have collected looking at his book and his memorandum
broken letters and to call out all of his discussions and his comments about race and i do sort of annotated i do a commentary about these things so that's what i'm working on now. that will probably end in my editor has been asking me for a while about to do a big book about texas. so this will take a career for me to do all three of these things. and those are the next thing he's inos the fight are down the pike. peter: john from new york, and you are on the air with annette gordon-reed but before we begin, turn down the volume on your tv otherwise get an echo pretty all right. >> yes. peter: john is gone, it looks
like evelyn in philadelphia, evelyn you are on the air raid. guest: hello, the question prayed for me to comments, i james and i have been doing genealogy research all our lives in my husband, his third great grandfather was killed by the union troops for stealing or limited national attention rated sansom in the articles of new york times. but what my concern is now i'm looking at is the fact that both in her 80s when story to tell. we tell our stories and chance to get. found in dna testing and my father was marriedhe the second time and then the third time pretty and he was in pittsburgh and got involved and my father was born in 1894.
he was jailed. he was jailed for three months working in the coal mines. i've been doing research on that pretty they talk about the 13th amendment. now that abolish slavery and it didry not predict people were pt back into bondage and treated worse than the slavery time so can you speak on that in terms of what we always say, oh, the 13th amendment got rid of slavery but it did s not because of the system pretty can you respond to that place. i appreciate it. good luck to you, i have all of your books and am sitting here right now the juneteenth. 's easy to read and i thank you for that. peter:nk can you tell us a litte bit about you and your husband evelyn. guest: we've been married 65 years. very close to her grandparents.
one day i said to my grandmom, nice grandma, he was late rated so said no, i was not asleep so i just watched the white woman's feet in a cinema grandmom, you wash the white woman's feet. but he didn't have the wherewithal to ask her the lady's name are you but i found out, doing andt doing research and as i said, we do research when we travel getting away from the black story, my nephew had a jeep dna test they communicated back and forth and finally she said looking for my grandfather. so he said oh yeah, and she asked him these questions and he said well you need to talk to my aunt, that is whatha she does so he said is it okay if i give her your phone number and i suggest or so he gave her my telephone number is that she called and we altalked she said yes and lookig for a grandfather and so i said
holy nuncio emma has been it was on the computer and he said are you sitting down and i said i'm sitting down and he said in the paper and found out that this young lady her grandfather is my father. and this was started me doing research. he was arrested for vagrancy and my father couldn't read or write so we have stories to tell and try to get a program together and paperwork together. so that we can pass it onto our future generations of that is what we do. then we can teach into the senior centers in the schools and teach kids. we just do it. i did some research for a lady who very prominent in this area and found out and never done
research and found a slave who is related to someone who gave her narrative. yes. peter: okay evelyn thank you for that extra background and we appreciate that. annette: is true the 13th amendment and the things that happen in the systems and i think arrested for vagrancy that they tried to neck the laws that brought as closely back to slavery as possible will talk about the aftermath in the south but think the principal difference is that it allows people to be worked at the will of others and even imprisoned now the people are not sold, and the difference is that one of the things that people
celebrated juneteenth is one of the things enforced was the end of the legal ability to sell people children and spouses are the brothers or sisters away from one another. slavery wasn't working without pay, but being labeled property cattlemen that slavery when he died, the children, enslaved people could be separated amongst these childrened who wod live in different places and they would be separated from their families are needed and estate sell for money that kind of action traumatizing to enslaved people and at the end of slavery, the first one of the first things people do besides going to the rear on getting and having their marriages online was to look for relatives.
and to go out and try to find my mother my kids my sister my brother. and really do think that one of the reasons juneteenth has become the aspects of it is tested was a family holiday and people come together and the other together in families and they can go through airports in the summer and seek black people walking around with garish t-shirts on family reunions or the shop family reunion. this notion of gathering people together. it grows out of the trauma and the desire to keep people together because for hundreds of years, being slavery people could be separated. and never to be seen again and you see that a lot. narrative she was army about never to bega seen again. just imagine that you lose
relatives to that and sometimes the estrangement but no somebody coming in and saying made money so your three children, were going to sell them. to louisiana or whatever. so that kind of thing, but the mark. and people have been trying to recoup the sort of regroup from that ever sense. peter: annette gordon-reed truck entered doctor joe pearson is why the problem prominent retired couple in san antonio i met them several times at the book festival in austin but misses peers, m e-mailed me separately to say that the texas state history museum has abruptly canceled the speech by the authors of the new book, on the alamo. i don't know if you're familiar with that book and texas is trying to keep the truth from competing with math this is
crazy and related to censorship. i know we touch on the alamo and ten alamo minute ago. but i wanted to acknowledge missus pearson's it e-mail predict speech of, yes, i heard about the situation, it is kind of like what is called the effects when you draw attention to things like this, this will probably make people go out and readro the book even more. people don't like to have ideas being kept from them. that's important situation. from the things that are actually part about it. i'm not the book yet. that should be on my nightstand next. peter: will you be in the s book festival services fall. annette: i think so yes i'm supposed to be in the book circuit is full in the fall. i am hoping to be there in person. some virtual things are nice but
it's also to be out and meet people. it's a lot of fun. peter: in texas is in person this p year. in cleveland ohio, go ahead. guest: my question for professor annette gordon-reed is related to sallyly hemmings. we don't know the name of sally hemmings. when dave missed in the story is a visual image depiction of sally hemmings. using from time to time the descriptions that she was mighty white and she had long straight hair down her head. she was three quarters european"
of african. but as the many sketches i don't see many images but no see many many pictures which depict sally hemmings. can doctor annette gordon-reed say something about that for me please predispute if we don't have pictures of her. i mean, we have are people have sort of imagined ideas of what she looks like an they do those reproductions r of her. but we don't have any pictures we don't have images of jefferson's wife. there might be a couple of silhouettes of hers but strangelyy enough, the fortress were destroyed and fathers home was destroyed by fire. it's interesting that she apparently was as a married woman rated people that class
would've done. so this is sort of an odd thing, his two sisters completely different places in the hierarchy the neither of them to be of any visual images of new would expect to have on of martha wells jefferson. yes some of her grandchildren. but we don't have pictures of martha or of sally. peter: this is from a high school studies teacher at hamilton, and doctor annette gordon-reed fight had great i have assigned on juneteenth is a summer reading assignment for tenth grade honor student to making this year's assigned book, we had conversations with
students was a white, who were involved with the local human rights committee, a few students expressed to us that they felt strongly the book's assigned about race gender or identityen would only be assigned from authors who identify as part of the community they write about teacher our respect and understand where the students are coming from but i disagree in part with their arguments and i want to explore this argument further the summer and winter about your thoughts on this belief. lots to digest there. annette: so the idea is that the students only want books by people who are writing about a community in which they come from. in other words they don't want books about black people from white people. in this overhead here so these are younger people. and they don't agree with that. some of the best books about slavery for example is that
slavery racial based slavery in the united states has been by white authors but understand their desire to use people who are writing about personal issues were part of the community, juneteenth is a history book but it is a memoir as well played to talk about growing up as a black person, in texas or just in texas in general, i can understand why why they would want to be a member of the community but just cycle, you talk about straight history, white authors write about black people treated and mentioned david this book on frederick douglass are right about thomas jefferson. but the memoir part of it is
they would have the particular view but one thing that i want to say, a number of people coming doctor annette gordon-reed i am not a doctor, and fortunately, even though i don't have a n phd, amateurs doctor and i do think i show examples of that in my book. so i'm just professor annette gordon-reed barnett on deepening on how well youte know me. peter: nice call for annette gordon-reed is from maine, go ahead.a guest: hi peter. i miss part of the program so i hope i'm notam repeating the question for the professor gordon reed. i'm a retired maryland public school teacher and in very upset about the controversy 1619
project. and they're offering $5000.200 pages school teachers to teach whatever that is supposed to be buried really quite upset about it and i would like her college of her opinion please. peter: thank you martha. annette: i know this is a controversial subject and waiting but the programmer but it is referring to i think that is a point of discussion. ct 19 project, vermont i read, is a number of essays, not just one. in the lead essay was the one to cause problems for ass number of people. other people that is problematic for one reason or another.
i think her other parts of it that link would be very illuminating to students. in could be useful. and i don't think was we were talking before and i forget the alamo and other instances i don't think that censoring things or stopping things are being discussed is the way to go. it's out there, in the public eye and students in an appropriate age it should be made aware of those kinds of things created to discuss it in the teachers to the point that you think are problematic imparted embrace them and i think much better to discuss things that the bottom line that i have on this pretty see they were going to post this text, hi annette, remember me, david
1977. [laughter] and i just texted mark evans to say that you work on relinquishing a magazine your mural on the square and wouldn't you think and we love you work. speech of thank you and this is amazing and david cooper and i were very good friends. and, yes, i seen it. i also learned that going to name his colectomy my hometown which shows you some of the changes that are taking place in the town over the years. very supportive of me. peter: quickly, 30 seconds left. give us a history of this mural. annette: some admires my mother's friends got people in my hometown of the put this on the bus as well. i'm down for the unveiling of the bus printed is wonderful.
i wish my parents were there to see all of this. peter: wishful will be named matthew. is an elementary school. in 2022. peter: will annette gordon-reed, we often as the authors about the favor books and annette gordon-reed sent us this list, by james baldwin the finds work on notes of a native son, hg wells experiment in autobiography. and by octavia butler in a single man by christopher and currently reading a book called it in employment in the slavery revolt by rebecca hall. and the papers ofy thomas jefferson, and another book that is currently reading. she's been our guest book tv for the past two hours, we very much