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tv   World War I New York City  CSPAN  September 10, 2017 1:20pm-2:01pm EDT

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c-span, the new york historical society hosted a events. it is a little over a half an hour. >> tonight's program will focus on new york city's role in world war one, before, during, and after the war. our city played an important role and continues to host memorials throughout the city. our guide on this city will be kevin fitzpatrick, who has written the governors island explorer's guide and the algonquin round table. his latest book is world war i new york, a guide to our city's enduring ties to the great war. the book is for sale in museum store and kevin will be in the great hall outside after the program to sign books and answer your questions. , he doeseing an author
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an awful lot of stuff. kevin is a world war i reenactor and new york city tourguide, so you have seen him around a lot. he is also a member of the world war i centennial commission for new york city. please welcome kevin fitzpatrick. [applause] kevin fitzpatrick: thanks, kathleen. thank you so much. i want to thank the new york historical society for inviting me tonight to speak and to congratulate you on a fantastic world war beyond the trenches exhibition. i want to thank you all for attending tonight. of my seven books that are tied into new eric city history in some way this was the first one d me to exploree all five boroughs to great depths. we have 80 miles from brooklyn to queens, i went to visit every world war i monument as i could. i have been in many neighborhoods.
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how many people here have been to the one in williamsville? travis, staten island in the house. brownsville, never visited, but so to see triangle park and the jewish names on that memorial was really powerful. the book is in two parts. part one is locations and military training, recruiting, fundraising and other places the war touched from 1914 to 1919 in the city, long island, and new jersey because one in 10, 10% doughboys that went to france, were from new york. part two is the notable memorials and monuments in the five boroughs. there are close to 200. let's try out my clipper. my book has connections to the city and world war i, and we are in one right now. this landmark, our building, is designed by george and sawyer, architects of many notable buildings here.
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for those upper west side or's, they created the central savings bank on broadway and 33rd street. congress created the battle monuments commission to care for the war dead, and general pershing was to oversee it. of the thousands who died, more than 30,000 remain in third entered in france, belgium, and england. this is another york and sawyer building. this was a vintage photo my -- this is not a vintage photo. my friend took it last week. chapel isan cemetery also a york and sawyer building. 26,000 americans filled it. this was the bloodiest conflict in the war, 14,000 are interred
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there. it is the biggest american cemetery in europe. it is meticulously maintained. time will not dim the glory of their deeds. this is also in new york city. inside the chapel are stained-glass windows made in new york by heineken and smith. these are army divisions. you can see the first, the fighting first on the left side from governors island. in the center is the yankee division, the 26th, and the new york division, the 77th. another there see stained-glass window is one in , columbia in the journalism school. that is a stained-glass window of the statue of liberty, same artist, same craftsmen. when i lead to tours of the city of the city i say the war is all , around us. york avenue is not named for the duke of york.
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it is named for alvin york. in brooklyn, avenue q, that is quentin roosevelt, the 99th anniversary of his death coming. -- of his death. in staten island, victory boulevard, it is that victory over germany. unlike the dunkirk movie, i will not drop you into everything. i will tell you how we got to where we are. here is world war i 101. wife onduke and his june 20, 1914 started the first european more and more than 100 years. austria was threatened by serbia with support of germany. russia was drawn to mobilize against austria to protect serbia. that led germany to war against russia. france immobilized against germany because it had a treaty with russia to support it. when germany invaded neutral belgium as it drove to france,
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this brought in british intervention. practically overnight there was a world war. the central powers, germany, and all hungary, turkey of the commonwealth and colonies of france and england. this was the summer of 1914. by the war was in full force. august, america sat it out. america was in pacifist mode, and woodrow wilson ran on a platform to keep us out. for the next few years, until american entry in 1917, many americans did volunteer and go over, whether going to canada, joining the canadian black watch were flying for france or britain or driving an ambulance. it would take until 1917 for us to enter. there were three contributing factors. coming up on the 30th, july 30, 1916, the explosion of black tum mile.
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that is an island on jersey city behind the pedestal of the statue of liberty. on the evening of july 30, 1916, a mysterious explosion occurred, 50 tons of tnt, 100 tons of -- 100 thousand tons of ammunition exploded. it was so loud you could hear it , in boston and maryland, and it shook the city like an earthquake and severely damaged the statue of liberty. no one has ever -- no one was ever caught or prosecuted for the crime but it could have been , german saboteurs. the u.s. made germany pay war reparations. also the zimmerman telegram. that was a communication that went from berlin to mexico city that the british intercepted, aligning that if mexico would join them and fight america on its border after germany was victorious, they would give to mexico the states that we had captured many years ago, texas, california, new mexico.
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the third being unrestricted german u-boat warfare on the lusitania and the drowning of men and women and children. so on we did declare war. april 6, 1917,i love this picture because this is new york in 1960 next to grand central terminal. i used to take photos when i was in the marine corps. this is the kind of photo they asked me to take. you don't know what the artillery officer is saying, but you know it must be very funny. who has not been to governors island? are you waiting for a bridge? [applause] >> it has been open for 13 years. governors island has more world war i memorials than any other state. there are many activities happening on governors island. so on april 6 1917, shortly
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after the united states and congress declared war on germany, within minutes, soldiers were waiting with packs and rifles. they got onto army and navy tugboats from this pier. that is pier 101, the entry point from the brooklyn battery tunnel. they boarded the boat and went into the harbor. they see all the german ships bottlenecked in the harbor for many months. without firing a shot they , captured all the ships, imprisoned the crews on ellis island, and turned the people over to france to fight in the war. then, the following month, may 20 8, 1917, general pershing traveled from d.c. to new york with 200 men in civilian clothes. he also came here to this pier. he met with general bell and he
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boarded a tugboat to brooklyn, just off the coast, and then he boarded the baltic and that took him to the war in france. so, this is what fort jay was like during the war. all of these warehouses and all of this part of governors island are part of the landfill. they added 100 acres down here starting in 1901. this is flat as a pancake. they have torn down some of the warehouses. this is 10 years after the war. this whole side, this is the east river site. -- side. this whole side was warehouses. right here was a railroad terminal. there were railroad tracks that went up and down the islands, and it was used for war material. they were shipping out everything from horseshoes to bullets every day.
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it was out of this. right here. this would look up to the ships and the ships would take them across the atlantic. housing and barracks would have been over here. governors island was a very important part of the war effort. today, this was just recently discovered this is the last trace of the railroad from world , war i. they found a set of boxcar trucks when they were doing excavation work. if you're over on the south end by the urban farm you can see , this piece of the railroad. i love this photo because you know the photographer, probably from the daily news or something, said, give me an irishman, give me a jew, give me an all-american guy, give me his friend and jump up and down. [laughter] >> camp upton is having its centennial the summer, as well. the u.s. army built its larger training center of the war. it was about 10,000 acres.
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in june, 1917, colonel lawson islandt from governors and that was ralph peters who was present at the long island railroad and made an inspection of the property. they chose the location of the camp because it would suit the railroad. the location was approved and construction was left in june, to a very important builder in new york. the book the a conklin -- a empire state building. work that summer was little. heat, rain and incessant mosquitoes plagued the workers. it was nearly unbearable. laborers were imported from new york city, about seven dollars per day today. there were about $12 for carpenters. the largest number of men employed at one time was 15,000. they wanted to expand the railroad two miles to reach the camp.
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workers erected warehouses. it was a massive operation. the first draft of men arrived on september 10, 1917. they were put to work to finish the camp. by the end of 30,000 men had october, arrived, closing on its capacity of 37,000. when soldiers were given weekend passage trains arrived hourly on , saturdays and return on sundays. the trip from penn station to camp upton was a big thing between 1917 and 1918. for the soldiers that were training they were training in , trench warfare. some of the instructors were french or englishman who had been wounded or gassed and came over and talk them to fight. notice they are wearing campaign hats. marines were not issued steel helmets and gas masks until they got to france.
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among the people trained here for the 77th division. after the war ended, the camp was transitioned. i love this, another wintertime scene. go back to new york. union square was a key point in recruitment. they built the uss recruit for memorial day 1970. -- 1917. it was a commissioned battleship in the navy. it was made out of wood. the ship was commissioned in the navy. they had a crew of sailors and marines assigned to it. you could see the sailors scrubbing the decks, doing laundry, carrying out drills. it was launched memorial day, 1917. a rate of 14,000 schoolchildren and veterans wrote it down to open it.
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mayor john mitchell had an enlistment goal. he wanted to thousand to enlist in the war. the city got 25,000. after the war, it became an attraction at coney island. they had dancers on it as well. here are men signing up. they would do anything to attract attention to the ship. they would have a vaudeville performers, wild west stars, boxing matches, anything to draw a crowd. i love this guy. mayor mitchell, graduate of columbia, elected in 1914. he was 34 and he was always called the boy mayor. he ran on a platform of getting into the war and ran against tammany hall. he lost the election in 1917 and enlisted in the army the following day. he went to louisiana to train as an airplane a pilot and on his , last day of training in 1918,
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he fell out of his plane and was and hisn the crash, wife was watching. they brought his remains back to the city and had a big memorial service at city hall. he was lying in state. today, this beautiful memorial is on central park on the reservoir. central park, what i like about this picture, anyone from the central park conservancy? they would lose their marbles if you were to kick a soccer ball over there today. [laughter] kevin: this was a u-boat captured by the british off of breast. it was brought to new york in three pieces and they hauled it on a parade all the way from hell's kitchen across the city and parked it in central park. bond.all that you buy a if you bought one, you could go inside and take a tour.
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this was long before selfies, but a great place to take a selfie. there were doing many things to attract attention to selling bonds. where are my upper west siders? if you go into the hallway and see the exhibition of posters many of them were created on , west 67th. between central park west in columbus, it was all artist studios built just after the , turn-of-the-century. this location was james montgomery flags. this building is still standing. james montgomery flagg and christie were two popular artists of the era. they have a lot of original artwork still displayed. christie was known for painting fetching women. flagg had a fantastic design sense and a very keen eye for
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detail. another thing about flagg, he wrote his own copy. here is flagg in the studio. unless he was working somewhere else, he did the uncle sam "i want you" painting at his studio. he had originally been in 13 west 67th. that building has been demolished. christie did this illustration earlier in 1917 for the cover of leslie's. the war department asked him for it and he turned over the copy. flagg claims he printed more than 4 million of those posters. christie had a thing for printing lovely women. he would put them in uniforms. because i was in the marines and wore dress blues, that is why i chose this richer. another thing they had in common, they both married their models. they both had an eye for the ladies. these were very important.
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i cannot say that enough. these recruiting posters and bond it drives were very important. as you see in exhibition, how iconic they are hundred years later. part two. the second half of the book is about monuments and memorials, there are close to 200 and the city. about 100 of them are in the domain of the parks department. they have done a wonderful job of maintaining and storing them -- restoring them as we get closer to the centennial. this is the bronx county war memorial. on one side, you have the boys marching off to war, and on the other side they are coming back to the war. a powerful image. there are more world war i monuments than to any other conflict in the city, and the entire nation. world war i has better representation than the civil war, world war ii or any other conflicts. for new york, that is laid at the feet of robert moses.
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he takes the blame for a lot of things, but when he was parks commissioner during world war ii, he did not permit any of the small, community-based monuments and memorials that had been erected 20 years before. he put his foot down and said they were not permitted in the parks during the 1940's for world war ii. he preferred large world war ii one memorial for the city, and that was never built. brooklyn has a very beautiful world war ii memorial being restored right now. that is why there are more world war i memorials than anything else in the city. so i started passing this monument about 10 years ago. it is in grand central terminal. i would see this 10 times a week going to work and coming home. what i did is, i wrote down the names of these 35 men and went to the national archives and pulled their records find their
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stories. this memorial was created in 1938 on the 20th anniversary of the armistice. every man on here worked for the irt. a few things to note about the memorial. let me go back. using my pointer. here is the sword for victory. it has the banner for peace. on the side are oak leaves for strength. down here are some weight wheels -- subway wheels the symbol of , the irt vfw post. here is their symbol. these are doughboys, and the square things are gas masks. this is a lewis machine gun. he is holding a springfield rifle with the bayonet and he has a brodie helmet. the eagle is the symbol of the united states. let's talk about some of these people. that is the beautiful monument.
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it is virtually hidden, it is down where you catch the 4, 5 and six when you are going over to lexington. it used to be upstairs, but at some point the mta moved downstairs. hopefully you'll go see it. this poor guy. this is robert mccrae. he was from south carolina and worked for the mta. the navy was so short of ships when the u.s. entered the war that rich people or donating -- were donating their got to the navy. this was a a steam yacht donated. he was a seaman second-class. it was the first ship sunk by a german torpedo. this was early in 1917. his -- he was never found. his name is on the tablet of the missing in brookwood, england, outside of london.
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wells bradley. he worked for the irt, joined the navy, then the army, and was sent to texas, where he trained on the jenny, which was manufactured upstate. he died in an airplane crash. he died, he burned to death in february, 1918. he was from mount vernon. this is interesting. i was talking about this on a podcast, it was on my website, and the great-grandson of walter o'connell reached out to me and said, how do you know that walter worked for the mta? i said, his name is on the memorial of grand central terminal. the family went over to see it. he was on this tugboat, and it crashed a few weeks after the war ended.
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he was from, he was also from brooklyn and he died with 15 crew members. i could do a whole talk on cemeteries, but i won't. i will talk about this one in trinity. this is uptown just off audubon place. i was there about 10 years ago or so visiting the astors, as one does, and i noticed the cemitaph. it really struck me how big it is. it is by far the biggest one in manhattan, and possibly the city. i haven't been to every cemetery i've never seen one bigger than , this, it is more than 65 feet tall and topped by columbia. columbia was the female symbol of the united states. this was before the statue of liberty became so famous.
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as i got close to it, i was like, this person must be rich or famous. as i got up close to the plaque, i saw the eagle globe and anchor and i knew it was a marine, and i knew it was 1918. then i started researching this. here is a tip for anyone doing genealogy, if this is your target, looking at this tombstone, you always want to look at the parents and the widow. then you get all of their names and you can build the story. let me tell you about stephen. he was from a real estate family. his father owned a block of fifth avenue in the 1850's. he was married, one year later when he was 21, he enlisted in the u.s. marines in 1918. his wife and mother said goodbye to him and he boarded a ship in the city of athens.
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on the night of april 30, 1918, the ship was struck. ship went to the bottom in under four minutes and 69 men, , women and children were lost. , there were 24 irving recruits on their way to parris island. eight drowned. he was last seen helping to evacuate passengers. his mother never found his body. she created a fantastic monument. she also established a scholarship fund at williams that is still given today. his widow never remarried and died in the 1970's. there are two cemeteries that i talk about at length in my book. the first is cypress hills national cemetery in brooklyn, the only national cemetery in new york. cypress hills was dedicated during the civil war, one of 10 created by president lincoln. while new york do not have a place, no battles were fought
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here during the civil war, many many wounded came here and many prisoners died in new york. cypress got its start. i started researching cypress hills about 15 years ago, and when i am out there, i am the only one in the cemetery. there are 18,000 people interred there. it is usually me and the grounds crew. the cemetery closed to interments 18 years ago. it is a beautiful monument. there are 24 medal of honor winners. the other cemetery is woodlawn. i really do believe that woodlawn is the most beautiful cemetery in the united states. i wanted to go there because i wanted to find a doctor, an aviator, and interest -- infantry man, and a woman volunteer. woodlawn has all of those.
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the stars are interesting. world war i was the beginning of the monument memorial business for veterans and for casualties of the war. these were created by the detroit mausoleum company. families could customize these for their loved ones. there are many of these bronze stars scattered throughout woodlawn. as you are walking around, you can see two or three sections that woodlawn was selling in 1921 in 1922 when they were , repatriating the war from france. you can look around and find these gravestones. travis. so travis is a small town on victory boulevard in staten island. travis has this monument for 75 residents who served in the war, nine who did not come back. the local belief is that no american town of its size, less
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than a thousand people, gave or lost such a number. travis also lays claim to the parade, it always starts right here. if you drive by quickly, you will miss the back of the monument, which is the names of the honored war dead. all local boys from the public school district, 25. they had all gone to school together. now it is time to talk about doughboy cultures. these are probably the most common things you would see in america today. these are the sculptures of soldiers that have common elements. some of the most popular are father duffy in times square, the brooklyn war memorial. bronx has a beautiful statue in norwood. manhattan has many. probably the most well-known is flanders field is the most memorable.
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there is one of the bronx being restored, hopefully that will be back before the centennial is over. new york has more doughboy sculptures than any other city in the united states. they all share a common element. you need to have at least four of these things to be a doughboy sculpture. you need the steel brodie helmet. where a 1918 expeditionary forces uniform. the wool puttees, and the springfield rifle with a bayonet. this is not in new york city. this is in greenport in long island in suffolk county. it is from a monument company, they were making copies of the sculpture. there was a time in the teens and 20's and into the 1930's, if you wanted to sculpture, you could order one from a catalog. you would come up with the pedestal and bass. you see these across the
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country. one is called the spirit of the american doughboy, it is very common. there is none in new york, but there is one in westchester. that is notable because he has a rifle in one hand and a grenade in the other. there are more than 100 of those across the country. you can track them down on my facebook page. new york did not want an over-the-top kind of pose. they went with a more refined sculpture like this this is "the one. returning soldier" by brooks johnson. this is in woodside. he also created a flanders field doughboy in hell's a kitchen six years later. it was dedicated memorial day 1923. 5000 attended with gold star mothers in the front. in 1928, the american federation of artists that it was the best war memorial of its kind. a different take on this than the other doughboy sculpture you
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sought is he has a head wound and his, it is removed, and you see the branches of peace around his helmet. that is more common to see in new york city war memorials. if you know of the carl ilva statue, those also have their helmets removed. some are charging and some are wounded. that was controversial at the time, it was not really showing the gritty side of war. so this is probably my most favorite place to visit. what i try to do before go to these places, i did not want to look at them on the internet, i just wanted to get the address. the parks department has a list. i made a list of all the places i wanted to go. the brooklyn war memorial is the name of it, it is by augustus lupeman. he also did the strauss memorial
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for the titanic victims. he was a very known the sculptor at the time. the architect was arthur pickering. when the monument, the plans were submitted to the municipal art society, it was rejected because it wasn't great enough. they said make it bigger. so it was increased in size. it was unveiled on june 20 6, 1931, the anniversary of landing in france. 15,000 marsh to prospect park led by 1500 gold star mothers. let me show you the details. gold star mothers also are something that can out of world war i. originally, if you had a son serving, a son or daughter, you have a red star in your window. if they were killed in action or died of disease, they were
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turned to a gold star. the gold star mothers foundation was launched in washington dc -- washington, d.c. less week, my friend lisa, who also lives in brooklyn not far from here, so a gold star family license plate and she was so moved she wrote about on facebook. imagine if there was 1500 mothers who had lost someone in the war. this room holds about 420. this is 3.5 times the size of this room. all of the women were white. you wear a white blouse and a white skirt as a gold star mother. they are followed by civil war veterans of brooklyn and schoolchildren. there were 35,000 people attending the dedication of the monument. there are 2800 names on the memorial and three women, daughters of brooklyn, who died during influenza pandemic. it was commissioned by the parks department but not paid for by the parks department.
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the money was given by a patriotic man, a shipbuilder. that was william h. todd from redhook. he raised the money is the patriarch benefactor. the monument was covered with large american flags. when natalie may todd, his daughter unveiled it the crowd , was awed. to the younger generation who are present, and have no relatives named on the tablet, i say, do you no harm to the names thereon, and see if someone has the same first name is yours. -- as viewers. -- as yours. then you will see how a mother felt about seeing that name and dropped a flower every once in while. thanks very much. [applause]
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kevin: i do want to say one more thing. if you're interested in world war i, september 16 and 17th, we will be on governors island for world war i history weekend. it is the largest public display and exhibition for world war i on the east coast. we will have 65 doughboys in uniform, a 1917 tank, of course, and a red cross dog. it will be two days of author talks and living history. that is the website address. we will also be in the veterans day parade. if you are interested in asking a question, i will be outside signing books. if you buy a book, you can ask a question. [laughter] kevin: a $17 question. also i will be here tomorrow all , day from 11:00 until 4:00. living history. this is me right here in my uniform. you can ask me all -- questions all day tomorrow.
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thank you very much, everybody [applause] ♪ >> interested in american history tv? visit our website you can view the tv schedule preview updating programs, and look at archival films. american history tv at >> this weekend on american history tv, historian spencer crew discusses the great migration when more than 6 million african-americans moved after world war i from the rural south to urban areas in the north and west. here is a preview.
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>> what happened and washington was that there was a lot of resentment emerging from former soldiers who came up to the city and could not find work. they were resentful of seeing the americans who had worked. it was printed as black invasion into washington city around capitol hill. this was unacceptable. the violence began when white military individuals heard a rumor that the wife of one of the members had been assaulted and the man had escaped. they got angry and began going to the street and attacking african-americans wherever they saw. .t lasted for four days it resulted in the death of more than 30 people. what was different about this was that after the second or
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third day, african-american veterans decided a were not been this any longer. the response was when they were shot at, they shot back. this forced the government to step in and to bring the right back under control. what was in new about this riot youhat for the first time had african-americans respond .ack and firing back they decided they were not going to accept this kind of treatment 80 longer. you see as we look at these changes taking place. the influx of new individuals into the cities north and south, the question becomes, why does this change take place at this particular time? wide it it wait until a quarter of the ways into the 20th century to make the choice to move north?
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the entirewatch program sunday at 6:30 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. eastern. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> the battle of guadalcanal began in august of 1942, it was the first major world war ii allied defensive in the pacific. up next, retired u.s. naval reserve captain rick james marks the 75th anniversary, by talking about the strategy and significance. the national world war ii museum in new orleans hosted this one-hour program. : all right, welcome to the national world war ii museum here in new orleans. we are glad to have c-span joining us today and also all of the live audience from me facebook live on our facebook. next week


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