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tv   Pocahontas at the National Portrait Gallery  CSPAN  February 22, 2015 8:35am-9:01am EST

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one possible dc swingers club frequented by the couple countered as u.s. stampers and u.s. members as members. >> at the national gallery at washington, d.c. with historian jim barber who gives an in depth look at "pocahontas." it's a native american woman who married an englishman named john rolf. it's called "face to face" in
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important players and the struggle for justice in american history. to explore some of the surprising historical connections within it. it might be a stretch to connect alexander hamilton with mark twain or carnegie with booker wa, she do it all the time.
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>> there's almost 500 indians in -- in virginia, not far from
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james helm. so i'll talk about the the portrait for her life a little bit. talk about the portrait, where it came from, why is it here. and then i'll make some sense of the other two portraits that will follow in this series in february and march. i mentioned individuals that we think of. john smith in particular. john smith, in particular. pocahontas saved his life. the history passed down from the indians is a little different than the version that captain john smith wrote about after the fact. to england.
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they don't always agree. there's a language difference. a lot to work out. another individual that we think of in relation to pocahontas is john rolf.
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and john rolf will be another member of the virginia company of london. and this is a commercial endeavor. jamestown wasn't -- it wasn't a tour boat that came to america. it was a commercial endeavor. and the -- the people that signed on for this, they didn't really know what they were going to find. they were hoping to find gold and silver and precious metals and maybe lumber and whatnot. but it turned out the be a cash crop that was going to be the profit making substance to make all their efforts in the new colony worthwhile. that cash crop is going to be tobacco. that's where john rolf comes in. he pretty much founded tobacco in virginia. and it wasn't the native tobacco that was sort of bitter and what the indians smoked, it was the
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sweeter, caribbean tobacco that comes from trinidad, cuba has been in the news. goes back home. the new bride. this is a commercial endeavor. they sail back to england. he thinks it should be good for the virginia company to sort of show off what the natives are like and how well everyone is doing. and hopes of getting new and besters in this.
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they sail in 1616. it all happens quickly. i stop there. and they stay in england for a year. and their feeted. pocahontas is introduced to the king and queen. king james, queen ann. royal society. and she's looked upon as american royalty. she's looked upon as an indian princess. her father is a powerful indian chief in the new colony of virginia. so she is somebody and she -- you know she can't be wearing buckskins. if she's an indian princess.
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so once you see her in this image here is english royalty. this is -- she wouldn't be dressed for court in england. so let's actually turn to the portrait. what are we looking at. more often than not, there's some student that would say, that doesn't look like pocahontas she look like -- you know, they're right. it doesn't look like an indian that you would find in the new world.
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and, you know, who dresses in court dressed like this. so it doesn't really -- it doesn't really look like pocahontas. so what is this exactly? this is a painting and we don't know much about it other than it's very old. it's -- we have for the date after 1616. but we know the image, the image is authentic. right under here, you see this and it says that in the latin there's latin, olde english, and indian in this text here. but in the latin, it says of the age 21, 1616. this painting was actually done from a print that was -- that appeared in a book of kings in 1818.
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so it sort of reverses things. apparently there had been when she was in england, went to england, a portrait done of pocahontas. and usually as you look down this hall here you see a portrait of benjamin franklin. that's a new $1 bill image of benjamin franklin. the process would be to paint a portrait and then from that portrait, you make a print, and engraving, which is what the $100 bill is made after today, after that image of franklin. so there must have been an original portrait that has been lost from that was made from that original engraving of 1616. and this portrait was copied
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from the old engraving. this is old. where did it come from? it came to the gallery as a gift from the national gallery of art. they acquired the portrait from the andrew melon foundation about 1942. so let me just turn here to what goes on to what is in the people that the engraver and the -- the portrait paint erer puts some information down here. let's just take a look at that and see what they thought was important. so what it says, it says montehoga or rebecca. you will not see the mention of pocahontas on there.
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pocahontas was her -- was her nickname and a playful one. her indian name was matoaka. and her christian name when she married john rolf became rebecca, daughter of the mighty prince pohaton, emperor of his nation in virginia. she's converted and baptized in the christian faith and wife to the worthy mr. thomas rolf. now, this has -- we've learned that this has been repainted down here. and whoever did the re -- the conservation mistook the old english, "john" and put thomas. he must have been thinking of "the son of pocahontas and john rolff. the son of course went with them to england.
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he will stay -- he's one year old. he will stay in england and not return to his homeland until he's about 20. in 1635, he returns, pohaton has remembered him. pohaton dies shortly before pocahontas does. leaves and never comes back. she will die in england of disease. way back but before the boat leaves the harbor. she becomes ill. she's burr are ied in new england, it's one of the ironies and her son will return 20 years later. pohaton has remembered him. he's given him some 30,000 acres of land. and so he comes back to reclaim this and it's from him where the descendents of pocahontas.
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if you go in to -- on the internet you can google descendents. and there's some 2,000 of them. you wonder, well, how could that be? it's interesting, think about that a little bit in thinking of our own ancestors. but before i do that the person of real interest the owner of this, was the one was the man francis burden harrison who gave the portrait to the national gallery of art. and he was a descendent of pocahontas. he was a descendent through his mother who is the parents are very interesting too. but back to frances burden
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harrison, 100 years ago, he was the counselor, he was the governor general of the philippines, the administration of president woodrow wilson. he was born in new york. and although his roots were virginia, he didn't really ever live in virginia never really spent much time in virginia. he liked the philippines. and he is burden of proofry ryry ryry ryry -- bury in the philippines. he singled out this portrait dub in england. sought out the owners of it and acquired it. so he's thinking about -- he's thinking about his ancestry and whatnot, even though he never returns to virginia. well, the parents are of interest. the father burden harrison is from louisiana. he's now a virginia harrison.
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he has nothing to do with the lineage of pocahontas. he was jefferson davis -- president jefferson davis' secretary during the civil war. and he will become acquainted with a virginia woman whose name is constance curry fairfax. and she was a fairfax of old virginia. she will then eventually marry mr. harrison and so this is where the lineage comes through frances burden harrison. so think about that. that was important to him. you know how do we remember back? there's some -- it's been estimated that there's 16 generations from the time of pocahontas. and if you consider that a little bit, there was -- you had
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the parents, you had the grandparents. and then there would be follow 14 greats. so let me ask you -- talk about oral tradition that you could be -- you could remember that you were a descendent. think about your greats. you have eight great grandparents. how many of you know their names? you have 16 great, great grandparents. did you ever think about that? you know, how many -- how often have you visited their tombstones or whatnot? so things can get lost through time. this is why we have places like the national portrait gallery so that we -- you know, we can keep track of people and events and whatnot. so -- so if you were -- and there are many -- there may be people still that are related to pocahontas and don't know it. chances are, you may know that.
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and the former owner of this portrait although he really didn't think much about virginia, but he -- he knew that he had -- his lineage went back to pocahontas. now, how does all of this fit. what comes next in next month will be -- i will talk about a portrait of a -- of an african-american that was born free. ira aldridge. he was born in new york. and he became an actor. and this was in the early 19th century. he couldn't make a living -- he was black. he couldn't make a living doing what he wanted to do in america so he went to england. and that's where he made his name. so the connection here is really jamestown. in 2007, virginia celebrated two
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anniversaries that were noteworthy. the 400th anniversary of jamestown, the founding of jamestown, and the 200th anniversary of robert e. lee. so when you think of robert e. lee, you think of old virginia as far as families and you think of the civil war you think of the civil war, you think of slavery. so it just so happens that ira aldridge and robert e. lee were born the same year. in 17 -- in 1807. so we'll sort of shadow -- with ira aldridge we'll shadow robert e. lee. talking about slavery and all that and african-americans in the country. the -- the third and last portrait will be of senator edward dirksen of illinois and that's a time cover in our timex bigs upstairs. and we will look at him. he played in 1964 a monumental
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role in getting the civil rights, the famous civil rights act of 1964 passed through the congress. and the senate. which lyndon johnson signed on july 2 of 1964. so we'll look at that. that's where we'll go from there. i'll finish on one last note and that has to do with the african-americans and there was a major, major anniversary coming up in two weeks. and that anniversary is not -- it's not on most people's radar. but it's going to be the 150th anniversary of congress' passage of the 13th amendment that ended slavery. that will happen saturday, december 31. that will be the anniversary date of that. so it's -- it's a date that
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we -- january, yes. january 31. and so that's -- that will be coming up. so in four years, four years, slavery is obliterated from the united states from -- in lincoln's first term. that's really what the movie, you saw the daniel day lewis movie four years ago, he wins an oscar for the role in lincoln, that's what the movie is about. it's about the pass sam-- passage of the 13th amendment. it will take another 100 years before the passage of the civil rights act of 1964. any questions about anything? well gooped, well, thank you very much for being here. i appreciate it. >>. [ inaudible question ] >> and all of the sources will
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tell you that. all of the sources will mention that. we really don't -- she never left a diary or anything. there was no writings at the time. we just know from the oral tradition. from the indians, and from what captain john smith wrote. so it's right -- we don't know for sure much. >> thank you. >> you're welcome. glad to be here. >> pick up this story on february 19 with jim barber and ira aldridge. hope to see you there. thank you for coming. [ applause ]
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>> thank you so much. it's a pleasure to be here and to introduce our two guests. i'm going to jump into that very quickly and get this started. sandra day o'connor is a retired associated justice of the united states supreme court. she was the first woman to be appointed to the court and she was the first female majority leader in the arizona state
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senate. throughout her career, several publications listed her among the most powerful women in the world. in 2009, she was awarded the presidential medal of freedom by president barack obama. welcome. >> well, thank you. [ applause ] >> there's one other item that i want to mention in my history. and that is for a time i was president of the hurd museum. and i really enjoyed it. i love the hurd museum. so i'm glad to welcome you here on behalf of the hurd. >> perfect. >> we have another phoenix connection, a phoenix high school graduate, annamaria chavez. she began her career journey in the same movement she now leads, the girl scouts. since 2011, she's been ceo of the girl scouts of the usa. previously, she worked as deputy chief of staff for urban


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