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tv   Designing African American Museums and Public Spaces  CSPAN  September 9, 2017 10:45am-11:31am EDT

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continental army. those musket balls were referred to, in one newspaper as "melted , majesty." it was issued out to the continental army and fired back at the ministerial troops, as they called them. so there are only a few fragments of that statue that have actually survived. but it's a great story. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2017] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> up next on american history tv, zena howard speaks to a gathering hosted by the association of african-american museums about design museums and public spaces. ms. howard was a senior project manager on the smithsonian national museum of african american history and culture. this is about 40 minutes. >> you are so gorgeous. [laughter]
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ladies and gentlemen, madames et messieurs, brothers and sisters. [applause] don't let this cane fool you. the hips still work. [laughter] [applause] just saying. i am so excited to be here. they said to say your name, but they did not that tell me what it was. [laughter] my name is kinshasha holman conwill. [applause] thank you. thank you. thank you. it is so wonderful to see you. and it is so wonderful to be in such a warm and welcoming assembly in washington, d.c. it's a rare thing these days. [laughter]
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you are in for a treat. i am supposed to say some things and i will, but i am so excited and so privileged to be introducing my sister today. for those of you who do not know her, your mind will be blown. let's get real. she is amazing. and she is beautiful -- ok whatever. , whatever. and i worked with her, so you may talk about what you know about zena howard. but did you work with her for eight years? i don't think so. i don't think so. so i know. she is amazing. this has been a conference of firsts. the celebration of the first year of the museum. i am so proud to be part of the national museum of african american history and culture. [applause] and a lot of our great staff members are in the audience.
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looking right at me is jolene. saw jackie and all of our fundraisers. there are a gazillion people. it is so nice to have you all come home. it is the first time aaam has been hosted in the nation's capital. as you heard, this is the first aaam conference to top 150 attendees. [applause] and so within this day of firsts, this week of firsts, i am going to be shortly introducing you to one of the first african-american women leaders at a architectural firm in the united states of america. a gifted architect responsible for helping us to envision and build the first black museum here in washington, d.c.
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she was our senior project manager. was zena howard. andas all of our good pals our director can tell you, she was there for every important decision, urging us on, telling us all what we needed to know. there is another witness to this. peter cook -- he said "don't mention my name." he is sitting right there. peter, at the time, was part of davis brody bond. you know our team was part of the smith group. and max bond and sophie -- max is in heaven, but phil is here. not right in this room. he is taking care of business elsewhere, as the british say. but what a dynamic group of people. peter was there for that. this has been a conference where we raised up the names of some
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of our most important foremothers of the aaam. we have talked about people like dr. margaret burrows. dr. rolena stewart. [applause] and another name i want to list that is very near and dear to us at the smithsonian is claudine brown. claudine brown. claudine brown. [applause] and so zena is in that great tradition of african-american women. and there are some living heroines among us. one who was here the other day. i do not know if she is here today. for those of you who don't know, she helped change that institution which is very hard to do. and bernice johnson reagan.
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turning that battleship that is the smithsonian. marquette will probably tell you that. and i do not have time to tell you what michelle torres does. and i will not mention ager and brooks or any of them because we , do not have time. darn it. so -- ok, if i get crazy now, it is her fault. you know me. i have to do quotations. here goes. only the black women can say what? that is why i like talking to you all. when and where i answer -- enter. with undisputed dignity of her womanhood. without violence and without suing without special patronage, , then and there, the whole negro race enters with her. who said that?
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yes, ma'am. she was born in north carolina. her birthday is coming up. august 10. ok. leave me alone. [laughter] so in that tradition, university of virginia-trained zena howard has been, throughout her stellar career, instrumental in creating the types of spaces that we have entered. that we must enter. that make museums or cultural organizations. spectacular community landmarks. for civiling beacons and cultural engagement. ms. howard was invited to this fabulous group today, because she has something in common with each of you. she is extraordinarily good-looking. she is -- [laughter] that is not what that says. and she is she is very, very, very, very smart. and she is a creator and
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contributor to the cultural history of african america. in a is impressive. as a builder she builds. , i want to call you a partner. sorry. managing director. she is a partner to me. at perkins and will. and of course, she worked with us for eight years from 2008 until 2016. as young as she is, she has 25 years of experience as a n architect and project leader, with a career focused on public and private institutions. museums and cultural facilities. libraries. and higher educational organizations. she is of course, a member of the american institute of architects, the aia, and also the national organization for minority architects. just a few of the accomplishments of ms. howard include the international civil
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rights center and museum in north carolina. durham county human services complex. durham, north carolina. and here in d.c., something special to me and other folks pay the anacostia library. the libraries here in washington, d.c. were not given the attention they deserve for years. now, you go into these communities, and you see these museums that are really beacons. here at imls, they are beacons of cultural and community engagement. they literally draw more people to the libraries, because they are so stunning and so thoughtful. now this is where i am supposed to say something about "the brady bunch." if you want to say it, you can. i did not watch it. after all i am from canada. , she watched it and said i wanted to be an architect, whatever. but i did not watch it, so i don't care about mike brady. i do not know if he was a father
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, was he the child -- i don't know. i was making artwork at the time, i was not watching no tv. but i don't care. because she is fabulous. i don't care who inspired her. she is just fabulous. but here is the interesting thing. listen up. listen to this. as many of you will recognize, her path is not one that is well trodden. michelle wilkinson. not a lot of people have walked this way, because african american women make up less than one third of 1% of the architecture industry. there are only 300 licensed african-american women architects in all of the united states. what is up with that? but the more people that hear zena howard, the more then will be inspired to follow in her brilliant footsteps. she is actually interested in and working on diversity
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inclusion in architecture. she works with the aia on a number of initiatives. and at her home purge of perkins and will, she works with the global inclusion community. she visits allergy schools, and what she does is talk especially to young girls and talk about the profession. perkins and will is an interdisciplinary research and design firm established in 1935. i was not alive then. it was founded on the belief that design has the power to transform lives and and hands communities. perkins and will employ professionals across 20 offices 2000 globally. for our amazing museum project , zena was literally the glue. i mean, talk to me later about the project management meetings, where she told us what time it was and corrected whomever. you could be a deputy director
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there who did not know what you are talking about, you could be a -- not a secretary, but something close to that. always polite but firm, because she just knows her stuff. one of the things i think some of you will know is that the museum will soon -- knock wood that it will have been -- be leed goldas a building. [applause] this woman is a leed gold certified architect. environment and design. she can tell you more about that. but there are more credits you can get. this is serious, is this, and she is all about it. she is going to share some of her projects and perhaps her challenges. basically what you will see is running through her career and her life is the notion and
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philosophy that architects create buildings that are portraits of their communities. that their strength emanates from those communities. in that community, of course, includes this field and you wonderful people. your work has laid the groundwork and the foundation for the great work zena howard does. so i guess it is time for me to let you see what it is like to hear from the great, the wonderful, the extraordinary, zena howard. [applause] ms. howard: wow. she was talking about somebody else. that was not me.
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i am so happy to be here today. it is a honor. thank you, kinshasha, thank you guys for making this one of the most successful conferences in aaam's history. i really appreciate that. when we started at -- sorry, i am trying to advance a slide. ok, if you can queue the presentation, that would be good. when we started as the fremont group, over 24 years ago, working with cultural institutions, many of you guys are here today, many of you guys are our clients. we had a vision, and that vision was to take cultural and the justral practice beyond
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the four walls of an institution and to actually extend that out. so what i am going to talk to you today about is some of our vision through the work. i am going to tell you some of the stories of where we came from and where we are going. which, to me, is so exciting. first of all, thank you to some of our visionary clients, shown here on the screen. those of you who have been with us the past years. 24 we look forward to our next quarter, decade, working with you all. we have a belief in our practice that, throughout history, the most inspiring and important buildings have been cultural buildings. that does a couple of things for us. believet belief, we that these buildings, they collect and share and preserve
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history. they strengthen connections between buildings. they build community awareness. they foster experiences. let me turn this way. i think i can see the screen a little better this way. they embrace cultural identity. and they create transformative projects. this is our atlanta beltline project we completed very recently. they celebrate memory. they honor unique assets. you can see her at the mary rose museum. and they nurture knowledge creation. when we start with these sort of our culturalf
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practice, we know that we are moving towards the next evolution of what we believe culture is. for us, our cultural work transcends the boundaries of the state building focused projects to embrace a we call the creation of places where learning and sharing are a continuous part of the experience. there are a couple of ways we think about that. we think about this notion of the next evolution as sort of fusion. that, for us, starts with the idea that every place we go to and every client that we work with, every institution, such as yourself, has a story. and we define that as having a history and a context. therefore, this notion of fusion is really the melding of these historical and social context of
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powerful idea-driven design and a forward thinking design that enriches and engages the community that we serve. i will walk you through four projects that are really this notion of idea-driven design. notice theseuys projects, because they are certainly institutions that you are part of. starting off with the gantt center. center draws its inspiration from the history of a neighborhood called brooklyn village that was destroyed, as i will talk about, as a part of urban renewal. it started with this project, where we mined the history of the storied neighborhood, as well as a venerated school there. called the second ward high school. so when we look at the second ward high school, the high
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school had a signature feature called jacob's ladder. we reused that notion of a jacob's ladder that was a edifice that the children who graduated from this high school would stand on and take their graduation photo. we took those notions and weaving and came up with a design that expressed both of those notions of leaving, culture, and jacob's ladder. that is the final photography of that building in which you see its context. so the next idea of this is -- here we go. the center for civil and human rights in atlanta, georgia. here we look at this notion of a place for action. so, hands coming together and creating a space for action.
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first, we looked at a building sitting in the green that can actually be a place where people will come. and it will draw the community in times of unrest, in times of peace and celebration. this photograph that you see here was taken to -- the day after the inauguration of our 45th president. so our vision of having this be a place where people can feel comfortable with and commune with each other was realized that project. of course, you all know the national museum of african american history and culture here in washington, d.c. and for this project, again, another strong idea drawing upon notions of celebration. the form of lifting your hands up that you see here. what people do when they
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celebrate. their actual bodily gestures. also, drawing from agrarian concepts. farming. the porch. notions of the south. also joined upon a very strong, iconic form in west african art and architecture. of the structure that you see to the far right. so when used study -- we studied these particular elements, we married them to include these west african sensibilities. with notions of iron craftsman. the craftsmanship in the south from areas such as new orleans and charleston, creating these intricate, wonderful iron sculptures. and that evolved into what you see today and what you experience at the national museum of african american history and culture. the place where you actually experience the filigree of the
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sun and the dabbling of -- dappling of light and shadow from the interior. also from the exterior -- i wonder why there is that delay. here we go. also, from the exterior, you look at that facade. and sometimes, you experience it sort of shiny facade. but sometimes it has a dark , presence. that again is these notions of a strong, powerful idea coming together. next is a current project that we are proudly working on. i think you guys just saw a preview of it a second ago. and that is the motown museum. motown really is. "was."is," not
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it is the music that changed america, because it still influences so many artists today. and a lot of what the young children are listening to, they are just not understanding what was created in the mowtown s -- motown sound. with motown, we took the motion gordy -- hef berry was a man who was inspired by a very strong family structure. we cannot underscore that/ -- we cannot underscore that. the third component was that it was a city known for strong entrepreneurship. the opportunity. that was the third thing. a man with a vision and a strong family that provided opportunity .
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-- he stepped out with is now evolving into into what we have codified with a strong idea of this building. of taking a singular song, just one song, and it is a song i like. marvin gaye's, "what's going on?" when we say "what's going on?" let's peel that back. this idea of a cultural facility is routed in that song and how we can trace the history of that song and actually express it on the exterior of the building. [applause] so i like to see here that the building sings. and it should. because every inspiration that
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we have, from marvin gaye's "what's going on" to all of the artists that contributed here. it is part of our legacy. it guides our musical institutions today. that is what i call fusion. so from there, over the last 14 years, we personally worked in leading the market. i work in the north carolina practice. right now, i am the boss of him. [laughter] don't tell him i told you that. but phil is still our visionary design director. so coming out of fusion, we moved to the next stage of what i call "enfusion." that is a powerful thing for me. what we do is we brace and layer on this notion of enhancing public spaces that were traditionally devoid of significant interpretation. with designs and features that
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simulate and invite exploration. so we're moving into these environments that have not yet seen the wonderful work that you guys do today with in the four walls of your institutions. so a few examples include the ,lide you see now, merging art storytelling, and celebration in the library project. thehasha spoke about anacostia library. if you have ever been to that library. if you have you have seen interpretations happening in that library. there are two other projects -- or notions -- that we have expanded as well. a new park opened this year. it is in houston's third ward park.
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it is a 10 acre park purchased by former slaves to celebrate -- for this trip, i should not to explain what that is. that will save me some time. in the 1950's, it was the only park and sewing pools open to african americans. this year, we took the notion of these park celebrations and history and culture and opened a wonderful institution. again, this notion of infusing culture in spaces you may not have expected. the last example here is freedom park in raleigh, north carolina. currently working on this project. shout out to raleigh. [laughter] across the nation -- our nation, many cities particularly, in the south, are grappling with public spaces that fail to convey or celebrate the more fulsome story of race and relations in this country. many cities opted instead to
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ignore or suppress african american history, culture, and contributions. so this emergence of outdoor memorials, museums, and areas that reframe these spaces. and, once again, under or -- und erscore the importance of public commitment. the public has to commit to telling the full story. no longer can we accept spaces that have a singular monument that memorialize part of our history and, oftentimes, the most darkest part of our history. we hope, wills, open in a couple of years. that is currently on the board. i love sharing that project with you. finally, that is what i call fusion and "enfusion." now we have transpired into what i call diffusion. actually, for me, that is the
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bulk of my work right now, other than the motown project. i stay real busy with this. this is our next frontier. as we see traditional notions of learning and knowledge expand, leaving behind the four walls of the exhibition to immerse us in information and awareness in a myriad of environments, we are reimagining our strength through this process i called diffusion. a cultural practice and where it is headed is spreading out beyond the walls. a inform and embrace transformative model for all of our projects. this expanded cultural engages our expertise that i mentioned earlier in providing learning and sharing in every aspect of our project. but with other markets and their
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disciplinary approaches, multidisciplinary approaches, diffusion is coalescing where storytelling, interactivity, knowledge sharing, are just as essential to any space as a its in so we are partnering now with other collaborators beyond our traditional partners, such as owners, developers, urban designers. we are including historians, social anthropologists, environmental scientist, artists, policymakers, ultimately to provide a really holistic approach to be built in environment. so i will give you a sneak preview -- you guys are first to know. do not tell anybody. of a few of our current projects that are embracing this multidisciplinary approach with urban design.
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and i have affectionately called these projects "remembrance projects," because they are so special to me. and working in these communities just invigorate me. kinshasha mentioned earlier the importance of engaging and working with people and understanding that story. i so love engaging with the smithsonian. kinshasha did not have a cane, and i did not have gray hair when we started working on the african american museum. but this is the next frontier for us. let me set the framework for you, quickly. 1960's, right? not so long ago. freeway construction in and near urban centers in the late 1960's destructive swaths through established cities and sort of ripped the urban fabric that was there.
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most often, of course, the route chosen for these new highways, they followed the path of least socio, political, and economic resistance. these paths often correlated to minority neighborhoods, where political and social capital was either low or nonexistent. the results were devastating. to once thriving communities that were removed through these renewald urban ne efforts. today's cities bear the scars of these failed approaches with freeway construction through lost and disconnected neighborhoods, on walkable -- unwalkable landscapes which , disenfranchised the minority community. our work today is about remembering and honoring and transforming and reinventing a new place that once again can do fosterngs that were and
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the activities that were so inviting to these populations of people. this first one i call sycamore hill. it is in greenville, north carolina. this is a historic photo of the sycamore hill area back in 1960. as we progress on -- here we go. the stalwart of that community was their church, missionary hill baptist church. and it was not any church. it was the one thing and that community that sort of infused structure. what was known there was anyone that came out -- grew up in that neighborhood and went to that church came out and was largely successful. what happened is that the community was destroyed. the community work hard to save
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the church, as you see, that sits there on the corner. they fought hard and kept the church. but shortly after that courageous fight, the church was also destroyed through what is presumed to be arson. the church was bombed. so what we're doing now is coming into these places, which are extraordinarily important. this, for the city of greensboro, this will be a n icon for the city. we are going to bring back the notion of community, spirituality, and history that was once part of this vibrant community. so that is sneak preview. i cannot show you the designs yet. i will move on to the next one. this is in vancouver, b.c.
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vancouver, as we all know, is a progressive city. many people are looking to try to move there if things do not work well for us in the united states. [laughter] it is wonderful. i can attest to the fact that, if you are curious, it is a great city. that is all i will say about that. but vancouver has a very small black population. a progressive community and a black population that is unapologetic about the duality in reconciling past harms with political justice. building a better tomorrow. that unapologetic is something that i am not used to in the united states, because we tend to shy away from anything that smacks of reconciliation or apology. --a little known fact vancouver was heralded as a city , upreat urban planning
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until a couple of decades ago. proclaim that to they were one of the few cities that never ran a major highway through their city. but there are some people who -- but not so fast. a few wonderful black people who said there was a community that was destroyed. we want everyone to know about that. so this entire black population was destroyed by fire ducks -- viaducts, which are now coming down. they are right there in the heart of vancouver. we look at this community -- the big question here, when you look at the vibrancy the community just had the big
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, question is why. why commemorate a neighborhood that was once so a desirable. -- undesirable. invisible. with such a disparaging name of hogan's alley, that is similar to skid row. the reason for that is because when you look at this dilapidated home, and the state of homes before the community was wiped out -- they had a sense of each other. they had a sense of community. they had a sense of welcoming and identity. they lost the potential to grow and progress and realize what they might have become. we are in the process now of having them realize that potential in a very modern way. creating a precinct -- not just a cultural building. a cultural precinct.
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so that is inspiring to us. then, i am going to get to the last one here. i think i went past it. but the last one is charlotte, brooklyn village. so the theme of today's conference is called "persistence." i am going to ask you guys a question. how far can we go? charlotte, north carolina. the heart of the second ward. 17 acre of development. like every other city that is theng in now, years later, infrastructure, such as the civil infrastructure and the transportation and mobility infrastructure in disrepair, developers are now coming in and developing the cities. but when you come to a place like charlotte, where there was a significant, the most vibrant african-american neighborhood in the state of the time that was removed as a result of urban
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renewal, you don't just approach that place with your standard development. in and put at come starbucks and walk away. how do we remember what is there? when you look at images, you can see how vibrant that community was. they owned their own homes, their own businesses. own banks. and it was wonderful. then, as we move ahead -- eventually. we see that there were policies put in place at the time, tolining any and everything devalue this property and to disenfranchise blacks. finally, in 1960 to 1968, purple village was destroyed. the entire village was wiped out.
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if you recall, this is the same project, years ago, for the gantt center that we drew inspiration from, and here we are years later reestablishing , this neighborhood. this is the magnitude of what was wiped out. over 1400 structures lost. is --t we imagine research. we do a lot of research in our practice. researching what was there. restoring,back and three wonderful urban design, parks and creating an outdoor museum. so this project, as you see here, the sketch for the two acre park, will have a museum building that sits on the green. how far can we go? we take it outside. and the notion here is is it possible. i asked three questions. is it possible for all of the
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forgotten spaces between and around buildings, the underside of a fresh archers, will all of those things contribute to telling the stories and interpretation for remembrance? is it possible for every person and entity conjured into this development from designers, developers, commercial tenants and visitors, to contribute to telling the story? is it possible to repurpose the same policies used to disenfranchise these neighborhoods to restore and commemorate what was lost? at restoringook the notion of glass the williams -- pavilions that were reminiscent of the churches that were destroyed at the time. or coming in and looking at the pitched houses that were destroyed at the time.
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coming into the landscape and offering maps of what was there. so every person, when they stand on a particular place at that site, it is hallowed ground. they know what was there previously. so the answer for me is, when we say is it possible, we believe the answer is if we persist. yes, if we persist, what we can imagine here today about development and moving forward with architecture and institutions with like you, developers, and all the other stakeholders i mentioned, the unimaginable is possible. so thank you very much for your time. [applause] >> coming up this weekend on
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american history tv on c-span 3, stirringt 10:00 p.m. a on reel america, a 1970 film of the operations of "the detroit news." aren some things, we liberal. in others, we are conservative. but there is an effort to give both sides of the question. give our readers a balanced stack from which they can select their own opinion. >> sunday at 11:00 a.m. eastern, former national park service treat historian and author robert sutton on the immigration of new england abolitionists to kansas. >> a particular bostonian by the name of amos adams lawrence. upset by the whole affair that he wrote a letter to his uncle. in the letter, he said, "we went
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to bed old-fashioned conservative compromise union wigs, and woke up start mad abolitionists." ofand the great migration african americans after world war i. >> there was a lack of workers to help prepare the munitions and supplies for the war effort. were they did was figure out where else can we find people to hold these jobs? so for the first time ever, physicians -- positions for african americans in northern to the,es began available. so now there is a reason to move to the north, to the cities, because there are jobs. >> american history tv. all weekend, every weekend. only on c-span 3.
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>> up next, the friendship between herbert hoover and harry truman. this event was part of the herbert hoover presidential library conference. it is 45 minutes. >> welcome back. for the second half of our conference, starting off this afternoon is a paper by dr. lisa payne ocean. she is a professor of history at des moines area community college. she received her masters degree in women's studies from eastern michigan university and a doctorate from iowa state university in agricultural history and rural studies. author of three books.


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