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tv   National Museum of African American History Culture  CSPAN  December 25, 2017 11:00pm-1:36am EST

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war's impact on his life and the country. >> i don't hold a grudge against the north vietnamese. i don't like them, there's some i would never want to see again. but at the same time, i was part of a conflict okay? i thought they were some of the meanest people i've ever met in my life and i never want to see again. but there were several that were good people and that were kind to me. that's why it was much easier for me to support along with president clinton and others, the normalization of relations with our two countries, to heal the wounds of war. >> american history tv, this week in primetime on cspan3. earlier this year american history tv was live from inside the national museum of african-american history and
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culture. we look at exhibits and artifacts chronicling the african-american story from slavery through the inauguration of the first african-american president. and we talk to museum specialists. this is american history tv, only on c-span3. >> you are looking at the national museum of african-american history and culture on the mall in washington, d.c. it is the newest smithsonian museum opening back in september. and this week it welcomed its 1 millionth visitor through these doors. tonight we will take you through the doors of this museum that for artifacts that chronicled the african-american experience and also telling a shared american story. we'll be live for the next 2.5 hours. in about 40 minutes we'll be taking your calls, tweets, facebook posts for curators. we're joined inside with robert wilkins to talk about how this museum came about. he is the author of the book "long road to hard truth".
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100 year mission to create the national museum of african-american history and culture. thanks very much for being with us. >> thank you. it's a pleasure to be here. >> so talk of this museum began back in 1916. it took a century to be built. walk us through the process. >> back in early 1916, in march or so, gentleman named ferdinand de soto lee, created a nonprofit called the national memorial association, and its goal was to construct a physical memorial here in the nation's capital to honor the contributions of negro soldiers and sailors who had fought in every war from the revolutionary war on up until that time. within a couple years the organization broadened its mission to want to construct what they called a national memorial building to negro achievement and contributions to america in all fields of endeavor from business to education to the arts, et cetera. essentially a national museum of
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african-american history and culture. so it began literally 100 years ago. >> behind you just some of the historical photographs inside the museum that talk about the experience from slavery through culture through the inauguration of barack obama. >> it's amazing, i mean, there's so much for this museum to cover, but they do it just expertly well. i mean, i couldn't be prouder of the way that the smithsonian has handled it. when you think about it, the people who were inspired to create this were, in part, responding to the movie "birth of the nation" which was essentially a racist slander against the african-american people and argued that they were a burden on america in that the ku klux klan was needed to kind of set things right in the south. one of the first rallies that national memorial association
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had in 1916, the flyer across the top had in all capital letters "birth of a race" and it was right after this movie -- screened here in washington. so they were responding to that and affirming that we needed to be recognized as not a burden on this country but as contributing to it. and just think about the irony of 100 years later this museum opening with barack obama presiding over that dedication ceremony. >> a decade and a half ago our network focused on american writers and one of them james baldwin who i know testified before congress in the late 1960s and you quote him in your book. what did he say about the need for a museum like this? >> he was very supportive of it but he warned congress, he said, my history contains the truth about america. it's going to be hard to teach it. and i paraphrased baldwin with the title of my book.
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but he said that we were interconnected people, black and white, and he said that this history had to be told. i'm quoting from him, he said, i am the flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone. i have been here as long as have you been here, longer. i paid for it as much as you have. it is my country too. do recognize that this is the whole question. my history and culture has got to be taught, it is yours. really profound statement, but i think it was a quite accurate statement. and this museum i think does that. it tells the nation's story through the lens of african-american people but it is the nation's story. >> i want to talk more about this museum but i want to talk but as well because you're a judge in the d.c. circuit court of appeals. you quit your job many years ago with two young children, or one son and one on the way. what did your wife say when you said you were going to focus on
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this? >> well, luckily she didn't say, you know, i'm divorcing you. but she was very supportive and we agreed to, you know, live off of our savings and eat a lot of beans and cornbread and go from two salaries to one when i left my job and she was seven months pregnant with our second child because we saw this as a quest. we saw this as something that needed to happen just like the holocaust museum needed to happen, the museum of the american indian needed to happen. we needed to find a way to support efforts to make this museum happen. >> but what motivated you to do this? >> there were a lot of things. at the time i was a public defender here in washington and i dealt with so much tragedy every day. i had so many clients who were young people who didn't have much hope or self-esteem, who were african american and didn't really have any sense that their people had contributed to this country.
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they really weren't adequately taking advantage of the opportunities that they had. and i wanted there to be a place where they could see how much people had sacrificed for them to make this country better, to make them -- to make there be opportunities for education and to vote. and perhaps to make them see themselves differently. and so in a way, this working on this museum was therapy for me because it helped me feel like i was contributing to something and perhaps helping to build something. >> how did two world wars and then more recently 9/11 delay this project? >> well, you know, they got going in 1916, but of course the united states entered world war i in 1917 and that took the project off course. and similarly, as they were gaining some steam in 1929 and trying to move this project
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forward, because congress actually passed a law to authorize the construction of what was essentially this museum in 1929, of course you had the great depression and world war ii interfere. and the african-american community was trying to survive during the depression and support the country during world war ii and they were focused on victory at home and victory at -- victory overseas and victory at home with civil rights and hopefully voting rights and the end to segregation. and so all of those things took really priority over efforts to create this museum. and that's really part of the reason why it took 100 years for this to come into being. >> the role of congressman john lewis, what was it? >> congressman john lewis is the hero here as he is a hero for so many other things. he started working on this issue
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from the time he got to congress in 1986. congressman nicky leland was leading efforts. congressman leland was tragically killed in an airplane accident and john lewis picked up the mantle and fought for this through good times and bad times and ultimately built a bipartisan coalition around the time of 2000, 2001 and recruited key republican support from then people like then-senator sam brownback, j.c. watts and president bush and vice president cheney among others. so he brought everyone together to be on one accord to get this done. >> we're going to get a tour with mary elliot and then talk about the museum but i want to talk to you about the location. it was not without controversy. what did the state department
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what did pierre la enfant have to do with this site? >> in fighting for location on the mall, i and others did a lot of research and we learned that pierre lonfont designed the nation's capital for president washington. they actually designated this site here at 14th constitution for a building. and later in 1911, the state department drew up plans for their headquarters to be at this location. they ultimately built their headquarters later about a mile away, but we used those two designs to argue that this site was historically appropriate for this museum. in that this museum should go on the mall and that this site was available because there were many people who were arguing that the mall was full, that there was no room at the inn, so to speak. but i think the merits of our argument prevailed. >> well that's my next question
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who gave you resistance? what was their argument that you could have a museum but not on the mall and if not on the mall then where? >> well, they felt that the american indian museum was -- was going to be constructed on what they thought was the last appropriate site for building on the mall based on plans that had been drawn up in the '60s. and so they wanted this museum to be constructed either in the arts and industries building, which is an existing building next to the smithsonian castle or just off of the mall. and our argument was that this is america's front yard here in the national mall, and this museum should be here. as john lewis put it, he grew up in the south having to enter white people's homes and establishments from the back door, and he didn't want this museum to be at the
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back door. it needed to be in the front yard. >> not surprisingly, on a spring-like day here in washington, d.c., this museum was crowded coming in earlier this afternoon. and as we said at the top of our program on c-span 3 history tv, one million visitors and growing. did you ever expect it to be this popular this soon? >> you know, i knew that the nation was thirsting for this museum, but i have to confess i didn't know that the reaction would be this positive and this strong. and it really heartens me to see it. i think it's long overdue, obviously, but also just the quality of the museum itself. the smithsonian just did a phenomenal job, the founding director lonny bunch and his staff are just, you know, the top experts in their field and they're just really put together something special here. >> so walk us through the process involving president george w. bush and republicans and democrats on capitol hill to finally get in project under
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way. what happened? what transpired? >> so you had republicans and democrats come together and say, look, enough is enough, this has been talked about for decades, let's build this museum, it needs to happen. and so in may of 2001, legislation was introduced, it had all of the leadership from both parties as cosponsors, looked like it was set to go, and then september 11th happens. and that really took the wind out of the sails of the movement to build this museum because congress was completely preoccupied with capturing osama bin laden, war, the patriot act, creating a department of homeland security, the economy was going down, and it looked like this museum was going to be, you know, delayed or perhaps even put off track for indefinitely.
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but congressman lewis and the coalition that he built reached a compromise and said let's create a presidential commission to plan how we can move forward. and i was honored to serve on that commission, and that bipartisan commission wrote a plan, how we could move forward and determine that there would be support for this with private funds and with collections, et cetera. and we delivered that plan to congress and congress acted on it and passed legislation practically unanimously in the house and senate, and it was signed by president bush in 2003. >> so let's quickly talk about the numbers. what was the final price tag in how much federal dollars, how many in private dollars? and how many artifacts? is there a count? >> so i believe that the final price tag for this building was $540 million. congress agreed to put up half and smithsonian had to raise the other half. my understanding is that they've
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raised over $330 million, so they raised their half and congress put up their half. i believe that the number of artifacts is -- i mean it's in the tens of thousands, i don't want to quote a number. and they digitized hundreds of thousands of objects so there's a virtual presence for this museum as well. >> is it a memorial? how do you describe this? >> i think it is in part a memorial. it's a memorial in the sense that it's a long, overdue recognition of all of the sacrifice that people of african descent have made in this country. and really it honors the quest for freedom that they've always had and in a way have made this country much better by making this country live up to the words in the constitution and in the bill of rights for all
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people and not just for some. >> as the author of the book, "long hard road to truth" final question has it met your expectations? >> definitely. it's exceeded my expectations. the building itself is beautiful, it's a magnificent structure, it's an engineering marvel. but the content, i think that the exhibits really speak to the essence of the african-american community and the culture. >> judge wilkins, thank you very much for being with us here on c-span 3. >> thank you. it was my pleasure. >> and we're going to show you the exhibits dealing with slavery and freedom with mary elliot when we come back in about 25 minutes, we'll open our phone lines. we want to hear you when we come back live to this museum. here on cspan3's american history tv.
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>> let's start looking at one of the opening labels for the slavery and freedom exhibition. right behind me is the label that speaks to the making of the atlantic world. it's powerful because we actually featured the story of queen nzinga who was one of the leaders along the western african coast. she was in west central africa and she was over the mbande people. she aligned with the portuguese, the dutch and the church all in an effort to avoid her own people from being enslaved as well as from being involved in the slave trade. but you'll notice that underneath her story say quote from a gentleman of european descent. the statement said, while i admit i am sickened at the purchase of slaves i must be mum for how would we do without sugar and rum? what's important about that statement is to really think about the morality of this
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particular story. what moral obligations do we have to each other? concentrate on that opening line, i admit that i am sickened at the purchase of slaves but then again, i must be mum for how would i do without sugar or rum? it's very important that we look at those moral issues as we go through this exhibition. and i have to point out as well, that we do not start this exhibition with the story of slavery, we start this exhibition with the story of humanity and we actually start in africa looking at it as a continent made up of many people, place, society, cultures, intellect. so let's go ahead and look at some of the other objects in the exhibition. as we discussed, we just came through the beginning of the transatlantic slave trade looking at the making of the atlantic world and really the making of a global economy. the driver of the trade at that time was sugar and that driver of the trade actually moved forward the effort to ship as
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many human beings across the atlantic ocean forced into slavery. so now we come to the story of the middle passage. the middle passage of course being that space transporting africans from the west coast of africa throughout the americas, across the atlantic ocean. we're fortunate to feature some dynamic objects in this case including artifacts from a slave ship found off the coast of south africa. the sao jose, left lisbon, went to mozambique, africa, picked up africans on its way to brazil to sell them as enslaved africans. the ship crashed off the coast of south africa. we're very fortunate to have organized with george washington university, the university of cape town and partners in mozambique we were were able to identify this shipwreck off the
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ocean floor off south africa. one of the key markers to identify this is the shipwreck are a slave shipwreck in particular is some of the archival research revealed there were 1400 ballast stones on the ship. though were used to offset the human weight. and we know for a fact there were ballast stones on this ship because we found them on the ocean floor. so we're excited to be able to feature those in this particular space in the middle passage. one thing that visitors will note is we do not have images in this space. we chose to allow the first person voice to carry the space. we wanted those who went through this experience to speak for themselves. and while we talk about this human story, the human story extends to everybody, so you'll hear voices of those who were enslaved, but you'll also hear voices of crew members, you'll hear voices of slave ship surgeons all discussing, in fact, the horrors of this experience, but also understand, again, there is a important
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understanding of the resistance, the resilience and the survival. we think of human suffering but you also have to think of the power of the human spirit. how could someone hold on to live through that experience. >> the despondency which seizes their spirits when confined soon becomes fatal. every morning perhaps more instances than one have found that the living and the dead fastened together. >> across the way from the middle passage space is the transatlantic slave trade space. again, we look at one of the themes, profit and power opposed against the human cost. in that way we have it designed so you see the business of the trade, the development of the plantation system, and you also see how everyone benefitted from the trade. but we also look at the human cost through the voices of the enslaved in the process of enslavement.
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one of the objects i'd like to point out to you in that particular space is the fox's wage book. the wage book features the wages that were given to crew member who's served on a slave ship. again, looking at the human story. so we look at the crew members on the slave ship and that document actually tells us two things. one, it lets us understand that everyone benefitted from the trade. but then you have to ask yourself, why would someone serve on a slave ship? we often think, well, perhaps they wanted to gain passage to the new world or they needed to feed their family or, in fact, going back to that moral issue, perhaps they thought it was just fine to make money and profit off the sale of humans. but it's important to note when you open up that book you will find that many crew members actually committed suicide or ran away. again, this goes to that human experience the human experience extends to everybody. and looking at the people below in the hulls of the ship, we
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understand that slave ship crew members would pack the hulls of those ships tight pack or loose packing, and that experience often times the slave ship captain said how much cargo you can bring depends on how many small enslaved people you can fit into the hull of a ship. it's a very powerful story. so now we're going to go into the colonial north american space of the exhibition. allow me to explain to you some of the design treatment that we've used to help unpack this story. in fact, we break out the section by region because this is not a monolithic story. africans in america shaped the landscape and were shaped by the landscape. so, the regions that we break out include the chesapeake where we actually look at the making of race. then we move into low country down in the carolinas and the gulla islands and in georgia
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area. and that allows us to look at enslaving skill. then we come to louisiana and we consider the convergence of cultures. and finally we come to the north and we look at the urban environment and a merchant system. what's important to note is in each of these spaces, the treatments are done in a pattern but they each have their own unique features but it's important for me to let you know about that pattern. from the beginning you see some of the regions of africa where many the people came from and, two, in the specific regions of the americas, particularly north america. but you'll also see how the laws change over time and start to define whiteness and you start to see how africans become black in america. you start to see the status development of all people in
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north america. planter elite to yeoman white farmer to poor white, free black, and enslaved african. you'll look at work in the space, you'll look at life in the space, escape in the space, and then we really start to unpack the story of freedom through the story of rebellion. and of course we humanize everything so we feature individual stories, personal stories about people who actually lived, labored, and rebelled in these spaces during this time. all of this is foundational to the development of the nation. and so what comes next is the fight for liberty. but, remember i said slavery and freedom was from the beginning so the fight for liberty is a national fight, but the fight for freedom is one that had been going on amongst africans from the time they were carried from the interior all the way to this point. so why don't we go to the section on the paradox of liberty where we really start to unpack the story of what liberty and freedom means and this pivotal moment in time as the nation is taking shape. so we've come from colonial
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north america and we are passing through the story, a powerful story about the revolutionary war. well, now as i mentioned we're entering into the paradox of liberty. but first let me show you a powerful object that's personal and speaks to genealogy and the importance of the role it plays in helping to tell this story. again, we enter into this revolutionary period and there's freedom everywhere or so one would think. freedom and liberty are the call of the day. here we have a space that looks at free communities of color that were all over the nation at the time, believe it or not. but one of the poignant objects shows that shows while there were free communities of color, there were limits to that freedom. we were fortunate to be contacted by a woman elaine thompson, a wonderful woman in virginia who took the time to really take care of her family heirloom piece. it is this handmade tin owned by
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her ancestor joseph trammel. he actually made that handmade tin to protect, as i like to say, his freedom. in fact, it was used to protect the freedom papers from 1852. those freedom papers were vastly important to him because at any moment's notice someone could challenge his freedom and he would have to prove that. he had to register every two years in virginia and it gives us a little more insight on the personal experience of being free during that time. sadly elaine has passed on but she was the steward of her family's history and she was able to unpack quite a bit of her family's story. but we're very fortunate because at this point her great niece has now picked up the mantle and she is carrying it forward. she wrote a book at age 9 with the assistance of her great aunt and now she's getting ready to rewrite that book at age 16 and carry that research further.
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so the we're looking further to working with her more on unpacking the story of this family and the significance of joseph trammal during the period of slavery and freedom and his status as a free black man. now let's look over the paradox of liberty. we talk about the free communities of color. well you imagine at the time you have free african americans who align with enslaved african americans, again a collective voice fighting for freedom. but they're fighting for freedom in a nation founded on liberty but still maintaining slavery. directly behind me you see the cast figures of benjamin banaker and thomas jefferson. this is a platform featured in the exhibition where we unpack that story of voices of freedom. included on that platform are toussaint la voouter, mum bett
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who petitioned for her freedom and won as well as phyllis wheatley, all voices of freedom. what's very powerful to me about the connections between banaker and jefferson includes benjamin banaker sending his almanac to thomas jefferson and stating african-americans are brilliant, they are human, they contribute to the development of this nation and deserve to be free. excuse me if i paraphrase, but thomas jefferson said you are the exception and freedom was not going to come during his particular time in life. so, now why don't we go forward and look at making a way. again, remember, this is a human story so in the midst of all of this inhumanity, you still have african americans, again, fighting for freedom, fighting for liberty, fighting for the nation to recognize them as citizens in this world. right?
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but, as we go forward, we look at well there were laws restricting them, african americans found ways to go around those laws and hold on to their humanity. why don't we go to the section on making a way out of no way. understand that many things happen after the -- after the revolutionary war, including the development of the cotton gin in 1793 and the louisiana purchase in 1803 and the end of the slave trade in 1808. what did all of that mean? please note the space that we're in right now. directly front of me is the tower of cotton which is a marker as the driver of the trade, no different than sugar was during the early period. so as we come out of this paradox of liberty and we look at directly to my right all of these pieces of legislation from the declaration of independence, the constitution, bill of rights, all through 1820 compromise, 1830 compromise,
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kans kansas/nebraska act, dred scott decision, and then you see paired with those actual excerpts from speeches, sermons, from newspaper articles all written by african americans speaking back to the moment. to my left is the story of the domestic slave trade. again, remember, 1793 the cotton gin is produced, 1803 the louisiana purchase takes place. that means that there's more land to cultivate cotton and cotton is high demand and it's being produced more efficiently but that demand has an impact on african-american bodies. and husband, wives, mothers, fathers are all be sold to the lower south to produce more cotton in the fields down south. at the same time this is a story of slavery and freedom, so those same men, women, and children are fighting for their freedom all along the way fighting
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and defining freedom for this nation. one of the more pivotal stories is of that nat turner. we're fortunate to be able to feature a bible that we understand was owned by nat turner at the time of his escape and at the time of the rebellion. nat turner is pivotal because it like many other rebellions that took place throughout the nation and the african diaspora, it really made an impact on this country. laws tightened up. still, african-americans found ways to go around those laws. allow me to point out we have a section directly behind me entitled make a way out of no way where we look at the black codes, slave codes, codes that define status and ability, autonomy. so african americans free or enslaved often times were restricted more than you can imagine. for example, illegal to marry, illegal to read, illegal to gather, illegal to practice their faith.
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one of the objects that i like to point out is, again, a family object. we were fortunate enough to be contacted by ms. shirley burke in detroit who reached out to us and donated her ancestor's violin that he was given by a slave owner to perform at gatherings at the plantation site. we were fortunate to restore the violin and have it on display here. that violin is important to the law regarding illegal to gather, often times african americans in the hush of night would find ways to gather and practice their faith, find ways to gather and actually leisure and love one another at the same time. so, allow us to go down the hall and go see the slave cabin next, which is a very poignant story and it's a community story. again, this is a shared history. so we've come from the story of the driver of the trade being cotton and we're in the
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antebellum period and again we see the nation and all the cacophony of activity going on and the development of legislation all deeply embedded with slavery. we also look at the human story of african american men, women, and children finding ways to go around black codes and slave codes, but we have a deeper understanding of the personal experience of being sold away on the auction block and that juxtaposition of profit and power also associated with that experience on the auction block. it's important to note one of the design features we have is that we have a wall filled with excerpts from bills of sales and broad sides. so you will see a young boy sold for $5. $5 for a young black boy is what the excerpt says. understand that $5 is the monetary value but the value of that young boy to his mother, to his brother or sister is immeasurable.
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that gets us to the story of life, work, and enslavement and looking at the many complexities of this experience during the antebellum period. we're fortunate enough that we were able to receive a call from the island historic preservation society that wanted to donate a slave cabin to our museum. they knew that we were looking for a slave cabin to help tell this story in a powerful way. they had one from the point of pines plantation located on the island in south carolina. what's really powerful about this cabin is on the front side we interpret it looking at slavery. on the backside we interpret it looking at freedom because, in fact on this island is where the union army camped out during the period of the civil war and you see where land is given to the african-american community and taken away several times until it is taken away for good. let's talk about the
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interpretation in terms of slavery. notice the cabin behind me. what's important about that cabin is not unlike where people locked up animals at night that worked in the fields, not unlike the enslaved men, women, and children, this really could be considered a pen. but african american men, women, and children again through resistance and resilience and holding on to their humanity found ways to love one another, to practice their faith, grow gardens on the side of their cabins ton supplement their diets and to create new cultural practices. while we look at life, work, and enslavement, in this same space we break down members. community, the new nurturers, builders. cultivators. allow me to speak about builders as one example. story of solomon williams was a blacksmith on the plantation. we look at his story. through life, work and enslavement. he created an ornate drill bit that was used practically every day for work on the plantation
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site. this is a gentleman who had no education but this drill bit is an architectural feat. and you look at his same skill set he used to create a grave marker for his wife. he used those same skills to create grave markers for members of the enslaved community throughout his plantation site. but he no doubt as a blacksmith created the shackles that were used on the enslaved on the plantation site. again, that gives more depth. we don't look at a broad stroke just like in colonial north america, we don't look at just what he wore, what he ate, when he got up in the morning, how much land he cultivated. in fact this is a man and his story is told through life in terms of how he designed those ornate grave markers, work in terms of his inability educated but still being able to create that ornate double helix drill bit,
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and in terms of enslavement being responsible for actually creating the restraints on the plantation site. so that takes us next to the story of the coming of the civil war. so allow me to take you around and we'll talk about the coming of the civil war and how actually complex that story is. it's not just north versus south but there were many voices involved in this fight. so we've just come from the slave cabin. and one thing i want to point out with a slave cabin is we can talk about object and their importance in the historical context but what's important to note again is how we acquire these objects. so in the process of actually dismantling the slave cabin, we actually had community members come out and help us unpack the story of the community. included in that community are the descendents of the enslaved as well as the descendents of the slave-holding family. we were fortunate enough to meet with both groups together and talk about the importance of this history coming to the
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general public to get a deeper understanding of what it is to be american and all the nuances of this particular story of slavery and freedom in the u.s. now, we know about slavery and freedom and we know that there was a civil war which had a major impact on this nation. we look at the story of the civil war and keeping the union together. and embedded in the secession papers is slavery. but understand that african-americans fled to the union lines as they came closer to where many of these plantation sites were located. at that time the confederates demanded their property back but the union army declared them as contraband of war and they were able to keep them as contraband of war. these men, women, and children thunder fight for keeping the union together into a fight for freedom. as such, one of the greatest speakers of our time and one of the most influential members of
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the african-american community and america itself is frederick douglas. frederick douglas led the charge on pushing for freedom and in constant dialogue with abraham lincoln ensured that are african-american men would fight on the battlefield for their freedom. right behind me is a dynamic broadside that we were fortunate to receive where you see a call for men of color to arms. you can only imagine how powerful that must have been for african american men to understand that they could suit up and fight for their freedom and ensure the freedom of the generations to follow them. again, frederick douglass played a pivotal role. while he ensured that african-american men could fight in the army he was influential in a constant dialogue with president lincoln to ensure that freedom came through the emancipation proclamation and the 13th amendment. we would be remiss if we told the story about the civil war and left out the story of women's involvement in the civil
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war. when you visit you'll see artifacts that speak to the efforts of charlotte forten grimke who educated many of the people who were at these contraband camps. you'll also see the story of harriet tubman. underground railroad but she also served as a union spy. and finally you'll see the story of susan king taylor who not only served as a nurse but ultimately opened up her own hospital. why don't we go forward and look at some of the artifacts that speak to freedom during the period of emancipation. how do you tell a whole population of people that they are now free? in fact, those same men that frederick douglass fought for to ensure that they were able to fight for freedom on the battle field were responsible for carrying things such as this, this very important tiny but powerful handheld emancipation proclamation. they carried a handheld
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emancipation proclamation from plantation to plantation and told men, women, and children they were no longer enslaved. >> we are back live at the smithsonian national museum of african-american history and culture. we want to continue with specialist mary elliot. thank you for the tour. now a chance for more questions. we appreciate you being with us. >> thank you. i'm excited to speak with you. >> we want you to participate phones are open. 202-748-8901. those eastern or central time zones. 202-748-8901. tweet us @cspanhistory or on facebook at we talked with judge wilkins about the location of this museum. let me ask you about the design.
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i said before, not without controversy, people drive by and say, what is it? >> that's a great question because the exterior of this building has a lot of meaning just as much as the content of this building. so we were fortunate to have the firm, a group of three architects who came together to produce this building. and the shape of the building is inspired by a veranda post that would have sat outside of a building seen along that western african coast where many of the enslaved came from. that would have held up a porch. and we have actually the veranda post that inspired the shape of this building. at the top of this post is a corona design, three tiers, and this building actually mimics the top of that post. equally important is the type of shell that surrounds the building. and that is actually based on an
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algorithm that was inspired by the iron works produced by blacksmiths in south carolina and louisiana. and i also want to point out that many people look at the building and while the architects really were inspired and our director really talks about that sense of rising up, one of the things that's really moving to me is even while we're sitting here in the history gallery, the sense of rising up and the sense of the human spirit, while we know this history has a sense of human suffering, there's also that sense of the human spirit even below the level of the ground. >> and history that is in this neighborhood, this street, washington, d.c., as slaves made their way along constitution avenue up to the eastern market. >> right. so we know that in alexandria, virginia, there were several slave dealers offices including the offices for isaac franklin and john armfield, price and birch. but many of the enslaved which is something powerful to think
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about, many when they were being march marched -- marched in coffles, they were being marched past the capital building, down pennsylvania avenue. and where our satellite offices were located there was actually the site of a slave auction site. so it's very powerful to think that where we are there was slavery and there was freedom in the midst of this nation coming into being. very much directly in front of each other. >> we're going to get to your calls in just a moment here on c-span 3's american history tv but there are two exhibits i want to talk to you about. first of all, you mentioned this during the tour. the slave cabin. what does it represent? >> the slave cabin is -- it's a powerful story and while we are -- i'm very excited about this slavery and freedom exhibition. i love the fact that we, you know, of course we had to start during the early period talk about the transatlantic slave trade. but i bring that up because quite often people think of slavery and they just think
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antebellum period. and we know about the transatlantic slave trade but i think we unpack the antebellum a lot more, particularly in this nation. but the slave cabin, i find it powerful that it embodies this history in thinking about slavery and freedom, thinking about the juxtapositions of profit and power to the human cost. so if you look at that cabin, not unlike when people put animals in a pen at night, that it was similar. you're locking away people, right. but in the midst of that inhumanity, african americans held on to their humanity and they still found ways to love each other, even though there were chances of them being sold away. they still found ways to practice their faith, they still found ways to create cultural practices. and so the idea of holding onto
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your humanity under the conditions that they were in was very powerful. but then again, like i said, there's that human cost and there's the profit and power. so the people who held that land, the people who gained from the labor of these enslaved african men, women, and children, right. the other part about that cabin that's powerful is i say it really embodies the importance of this exhibition. in taking apart that cabin every day for a week the community gathered to see this history being dismantled, to be taken up to washington, d.c. and ultimately put back together to help tell this story. well, the community included the descendents of the of the enslaved and the descendents of the slave holders. so while we know that many people wrestle with this history, here you have them come together and they built the community together. and, again, we can talk about the inhumanity, but there's also
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that human element, how people relate to each other even through some of these harsh realities of our history. and so it was really powerful to see that unfold and to see people wrestle with this history and to see people add layers and context to this story. so i think that's a really powerful object that helps people kind of sit and think about this experience and what it means. >> the second exhibit, and we should point out for those watching at home that some of the exhibits are dark, including the sao jose which is a slave ship. two questions how did you find this and what does it represent? >> well, the sao jose, just to give a little context, it was a slave ship that started in lisbon, portugal, went to mozambique where they picked up captive africans. they were on their way to brazil to sell these africans into slavery and the ship crashed off the coast of south africa. we were fortunate to connect with george washington university that was already working on this effort and it
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came together that it was our museum, george washington university, the zico museum, folks at the university of capetown. and we actually pulled together to identify this ship to make sure that we were able to, in fact, raise some of the artifacts from the ocean floor so that it would allow us to tell this story. and i say tell this story in a new way because one of the things that's important is think of the notion of when was the last time you heard about people telling the story of slavery and that early part of slavery through maritime archeology? it's quite powerful because this was a global enterprise and we know there were slave shipwrecks all over. so in addition to the maritime archeology, archively record indicates that there were 1400 ballast stones on that ship and they were used to offset the human weight. so we have those stones on display standing in for the men, women and children that were on that ship. it's very powerful because it
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shows us commerce and captivity. >> we came out with a new american president survey. we had a call from south carolina this morning that struck me, talking about the business of slavery and the importance of slavery on the southern economy, which ultimately led to the civil war. so as you walk through this exhibit, how do you tell that part of the story? >> just like the transatlantic slave trade, we think about that and slavery in general, trans atlantic slave trade and how it undergirded the development of the atlantic economy, right? once you get to that ante bellum period, even before there, colonial north america, slavery helps pave the way, leading towards the revolutionary war. then you see that slavery undergirds the u.s. economy. cotton, even the sale of human
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bodies, right? and so it's just a -- it's a hard fact. but we hate to think it was inevitable, that it had to happen. so from the beginning of this exhibition we asked people to think about moral issues. people may have seen in the tour i gave, we have the statement, i admit i was sickened by the purchase of slaves but i must be mum because how would we do without sugar and rum? while it's true that slavery undergirded this economy, what were the moral issues that people were wrestling with? see down on the floor the open space, cacophony of activity, 1793, creation of the cotton gin, 1803, louisiana territory, 1808, end of involvement in the slave trade from north america right? but it rises that cotton becomes
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the driver of the trade and slavery is embedded in all these pieces of legislation because people are aware it's important to the economy. but also the domestic slave trade, how important it is to ship people down south to cultivate more and more of this cotton. again it becomes this driver of the trade. but always remember the juxtaposition of profit and power and human cost. >> born in oklahoma, raised in silver spring and passionate about this issue. >> very passionate. a lot of people ask me when you were working on this exhibition how difficult was it for you to read some of these things and soo some of the graphics? but to tell you the truth, i read some of the quotes and thought people really need to hear this. >> get to your calls. david from washington, d.c. >> caller: how are you? >> fine. thanks for your question. >> caller: question is coming
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into the history gallery, emmet tell on display. are you going to have the four girls killed in birmingham on the walls? >> at this time the exhibitions are set, for at least ten years. i don't know that they would revisit putting in images of the little girls. i think their images are actually right at that space where the 16th street baptist church bombing is located. should be the images on the reader rail. but most of the exhibitions, actually all of the exhibitions right now are set for ten years. >> go to rashid from great neck, new york, new york. mary elliott is inside the museum. welcome to cspan3's american history tv. >> caller: great job and appreciate your commitment to
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this huge project. >> thank you. >> caller: my question to you, i noticed looking at this on tv, there's a statue of -- how much of impact did the haitian revolution play in enslaving america, especially post the purchase of the louisiana territory from napoleon? >> that's a great question. haitian revolution was important. can't talk about that without talking about african diaspora and connections between africans in america and elsewhere. we start for example our film on the revolutionary war with the fact that africans in north america had always been rebelling. fight for freedom against the back drch a fight for liberty, the fight for freedom was nothing new for them. but think about the african diaspora, think about haiti in two ways. influence on africans around the
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world? because maritime system allowed black men to travel and spread that news. what did it mean and how did it inspire others? also the haitian revolution and its success, what did that mean in terms of impact on leadership here in north america, in the burgeoning nation. and planters, who were concerned about what was it going to mean to african-americans who might also pursue their own freedom in the same way. it had a deep iminteract that manner. >> you said in the tour everyone is in this story. how so? >> well we start this story with humanity, not slavery. had you look at the notion of humanity, while this story is a story that's american story, it's a shared history, and it's a human story. so that human story is told
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looking at this through an african-american lens. that lens looked out onto an interracial world. give you example, while we tell many stories of latour, benjamin banaker and joseph tramal and his freedom papers. but at the same time many would be shocked at fox's wage book being on display. >> which is what? >> contains the wages paid to crew members that served on slave ships. what is incredible about that, we know the horrors that went on in the hull of the ship, people should know about the human experience on deck. crew members were beaten often, it was a hard life obviously being in the hull of the ship and being enslaved was a harsh reality, but we would be remiss if we did not tell whole of
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these human experiences. one thing to think about or two with the fox's wage book is one, everyone benefitted from this enterprise of slavery, from the crew member to planter elite and even the nation states. but the other thing to think about, why would someone serve on a slave ship? to gain passage to the new world? feed their family? or thought this was morally okay and they wanted to make money? when you open that book you will find many crew members committed suicide and many who actually ran away. >> join in on facebook, all of your programming is available online anytime. guest is mary elliott, charlie is our caller from winter park s florida. >> caller: thanks for entertaining the phone call. why are we not having more open
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discussions about the democratic party's role in creating racism and segregation? as a result to maintain the institution of slavery and to prevent african-americans from matriculating into mainstream america? in other words creating racism to prevent african-americans from matriculating into mainstream america. >> i actually, what i love about this museum, that's a great question, is that we look at this almost 360 way. we look at all the different factors that get us to where we are. we don't look at one particular party but what is going on in the nation at different moments in time. what's happening with democrats, republicans, what happens with the election of 1876, right? and i'm going to give you an example of different
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perspectives, all of this is steeped in issues of race. let's think about this. it's race, it's class. you have the kansas/nebraska act. and i tell people there's a case along the wall, several cases where we look at legislation going from the declaration of independence all the way to the 15th amendment. what we learned in secondary school, probably sat in class, okay, okay, can we get to recess. but now we pair this with african-american first-person voices. took excerpts from speeches, sermons, newspaper articles all written by african-americans to bring this story to life. when you look at kansas-nebraska act and think of all the people fighting to end slavery, i saw this in context to your question because we include everyone's voice.
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included are the free soilers. if you think of poor whites and yeoman white farmers and planter elites and free people of color and enslaved africans, many different perspectives why we needed to end slavery. yeoman white farmer, why are you giving away large tracts of land, i need access to, giving away large tracts of land that planter elite can continue to pursue slavery and i need my piece of the pie. poor white person say how can i expiate with free labor. same with racism in the nation. many different reasons, economic, social, they still have to be dealt with. i would not narrow it down to just one political party to talk about that. >> on average if a plantation owner was purchasing a slave,
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how much did he pay? a little boy, and we paper that wall with excerpts and bills of sale. we wanted people to see the again the juxtaposition of profit and power in the human cause, commerce and captivity. so a little boy, five dollars here that is the monetary value, but the value of him to his mother was a lot more. someone,e, you can see a man, it very. you had a man in good health who may have proven to be very valuable in the field would go for 10 thousands of dollars. you can have someone else who could do over $3500. a very, and it varied upon their skills. host: our next color is from las vegas. go ahead with your question. first of all, congratulations on your very powerful triumph of your museum.
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it is magnificent. realized in the partisan talking before, you can't get into every aspect what you are telling. but i want to know if you have someone that talks about the abolitionists, because they were very, very powerful and helping the movement of freedom. very briefly, when i was looking at the slave cabin, i couldn't help thinking of the holocaust museum there in washington. and the similarities of the two museums are just overpowering. i was wondering, do you think at sometime in the future there could be a collaboration between the two museums for school children of all ages that, when they visit one, they can visit the other to see as you see before, a human story?
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host: thank you for the call from las vegas. mary: those are great questions and a great suggestion. let me talk about the first thing about abolitionists. from the beginning, when you come to slavery and freedom, you see that africans were fighting for their freedom from the time from africarn away and brought along to the western coast. then when you go to colonial north america, you see the story of freedom through the sorts of rebellion. i say that because agency is important, that african-americans, african-americans in south america and north america, have been fighting for freedom all along. black agency is important. as you enter the section on the coming of war, we talk about
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abolitionist' efforts. we would not be -- we would be remiss if we did not talk about collaborations to end debris -- and slavery. you have questions like john brown, william lloyd garrison, but then you have someone like david white. he was one of those free soil is, and he was fighting against slavery, and he had his own reason during that cap this. -- kansas period. mob any we doby a talk about how many people gave for this cause to end slavery. there could be very least -- there could be various reasons some feel it is morally wrong. host: let's go to chanel from bakersfield, california. caller: good evening. caller:good evening, and thank
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you ms. elliott for just your passion and the eloquence with .hich you describe the exhibit i have from baltimore originally, so i cannot wait to get home and visit. mary: great. caller: i love the focus that you take, the fact that this is americantory, not only history, this is world history, not just african-american history. one of the his -- one of the pieces that always struck me when i was learning about the slave trade in school and one of the things you often hear as a rebuttal for the fact that ent was an- enslavem oppressive system is the rule that native africans played in the transatlantic slave trade. how does the museum explore this juxtaposition and the roles and motivations for the role? native africans in that system?
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mary: it is a great question, and actually we may sort of address this directly in the section on transatlantic slave trade. we look at the juxtaposition of profit and power to the human cause. we have european positive -- european currencies, so the government sanctions this trade. you see the gilly coin with the elephant and castle on it, and the trade in gold and enslaved africans. and we also have rented from the western coast of africa, because we want equal to understand we recognize some of the questions that will come our way. it is not only these questions, but important issues but we want to address. we talk about how negative africans were involved in the slave -- native africans were involved in the slave trade. the queen who tried very hard to be involved in the slave trade, she was trying hard to avoid her own people getting enslaved.
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,ou see while in fact early on europeans and africans come together for trade, and that included humans, but oftentimes that was because of warfare, people sending off their enemies away. at the same time people were involved in trade payoff debt. at the same time, there were people who were involved in trade safely because they wanted to make money. we wanted to make sure we addressed various reasons why native africans were involved in the trade. caller: host: let me follow up on that point. we did an interview with the chief justice john roberts. he set the founding fathers got everything right except this issue. yet slavery was prevalent in many other countries. what made it unique in the u.s. were different? -- or different? mary: there is a feature on the slavery and freedom where we look at sugar as a driver of the trade.
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i will give you one example. sugar is a driver of the trade. it was produced in different parts of north america and louisiana included. you think of in south america and the caribbean, people look at how many people came to north america. 400,000, 3 million to brazil. have in the case a rustic surge -- sugar pots that was used to boil down sugarcane. we were fortunate to work with our colleagues at the corporate ittan museum -- cooper hew museum who loaned us sugar bowls, kong. these are juxtaposed. when you read the label, the label talks about mortality statistics. on a sugar plantation, it was seven years.
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you think of the economy in north america, you think of this watt system, you have sugar, ,ice, cotton, tobacco, wheat and there is this sense of having a longer lifespan --ending on the crosses him crop system. in south carolina, there was a life span of seven years as well because this was a very demanding crop. and north americans also, i hate to use the word, perfected away to retain their -- a way to retain their human property. you also see why the time you get to the antebellum period how they are breeding enslaved people. our next color is from columbia, south carolina. good evening. good evening. caller: hello.
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mary: how are you? caller: good evening. just outstanding show. my question is, a couple of years ago, i had an opportunity to see you in columbia, an exhibition. an exhibition from the holocaust museum. that was a traveling exhibition here. i know your museum just opened, but i am wondering if you have any ideas of developing a traveling exhibition for people who are not able to get to washington dc to see that exhibition. it is actually powerful. host: or get a ticket. that is another story. question, is a great and we actually have, i have some amazing colleagues. , while iowa museum specialist and i co-curated this, i did not mention the other curator, dr. nancy who is
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a profound scholar, and the other lady who assisted us as well. in terms of the traveling exhibition, our director has charged us with making sure we start planning some opportunities to do traveling exhibitions as well as opportunities to travel throughout the world to do exhibitions together. when we opened during the grand opening, we had an exhibition of sorts that we sent out all over the world so people could see some of the dynamic options we have. that was through life panels, so they could see the object and stories that were telling through these objects. that are fortunate to have at the point of grand opening, but we also made sure it was across the nation that features some of the things we have in the exhibition.
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the other thing we do very well i believe if you go online, we have some wonderful stories associated with these objects. if you cannot come, you can hear the stories of the object, not just history, but how we acquired the objects of a which is powerful from the perspective of a curator and the team that brought this to life. host: we want to thank you and your staff, opening the doors for the tour and the program on this presidents' day weekend. mary: my pleasure. host: you can follow us on twitter at c-span history. we have a tweet them of you are who wants people to know how they can donate family heirlooms. mary: i would give you my phone home number. that wouldn't do. we love to hear from people all the time. we have a way you can go online on our website where you can fill out donor information. we review the documents and put
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you in touch with the appropriate staff member to follow up with you, because we have many curators that focus on different subject matter. host: you talked about nate turner. mary: net turner. seeking -- we feature the bible he held onto when he was captured. net turner is the well-known gentleman who lead the revolt, rebellion in southhampton, virginia. a group of 70 african-americans free and enslaved to work towards freedom. the revolt was ended, they were actually caught. he ultimately was captured and put to death. it really does say a lot about what people risk for their
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freedom. down on thetatement paradox delivery. if i had but one minute of for freedom, i would take it. nat turner and the rebellion says a lot about the people who think, i would rather have death than the enslaved. they risked their lives not only to gain their own freedom but in many ways making a point that freedom was everything. by any means necessary. host: good evening from california. what is your question? k you with usen,? -- ken, you with us? caller: i thought i lost my transmission. everybody wants to talk about history except black history. there are gifts from jewish history.
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is, throughout the south, where the [indiscernible] from slavery, in relation to the jews? they don't want to quit. i want to hear some answers. host: we will get some response. mary: there were jewish slaveholders. we know that. we know that there are many people who owned banks in the u.s. who are invested in slavery, but this story, kenneth , again, it involves everybody. there is no one group that we call out. everyone it was invested in this enterprise, and everyone invested except those who were not slaves. so i cannot say i can personally narrow this down to talking about jewish people who were involved in slavery.
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again, it was a cross section of people. you are right, there were jewish people who owned enslaved african-americans. host: at its peak, how many slaves were in america? mary: by the time nasa patient came, it was 4 million. -- emancipation came, it was 4 million. the value of enslaved people exceeded the value of land at the time. host: on average, what with the lifespan of a slave? average, i believe it their 20's, and some it was a little bit later, but not really beyond 50. virginia.ort news, caller: hello, it is a pleasure to talk with you today. i have an enthusiast myself.
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i want to know how have you reached out to the indians, american indian groups, particularly the cherokee and the creek, who very few people know a similar war was fought over, a black woman, his wife knifemed ochichir, whose -- name means morning dew. is a reparations lawsuit pending against the 5 million tribes who held slaves during the civil war, and they were supposed to go to the slaves, but they never got it. i was just wondering, what, as he reached out to the native indian tribes, what has been the response, and what are you going to do in the future? host: thank you for the call. mary: we are fortunate to be under the umbrella of the
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smithsonian, which includes the national museum of the american indian. we are very proud to work with our colleagues at that museum. we have done some published programs with their group. it was hosted by the museum of the american indian, and that was indivisible, where we looked some of the relationships, various relationships between african-americans and the native american community. we have an ongoing relationship with the american indians museum. there was recently a couple programs on from looking at tanto to tarzan or tarzan to tanto and looking at the stereotypes. we are looking at the relationship between american indians and african-americans. in the near future, around the
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fall, there is a lot of programming being done now, planned right now so we can unpack this history a little bit more and bring in more scholars who can share more of the nuances, the details between these two groups. when we look at that, there is not just looking at where these groups separate but also where they come together, because it is important to look for both. host: time for one more call from denver, suzette. you are on "american history tv." miami to get the last question. caller: thank you. how are you doing, ms. elliott? mary: i am fine, thank you. caller: i am 44, i will be 45 in april. when i was growing up, my mom had african-american encyclopedias in the home. so reading from those when i was a kid, and also my elementary school charles drew, named after
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a black man. so i went there from first grade to fifth-grade, and they had all the pictures of black people, martin luther king, whoever and they had a bio on. so you would start memorizing who these people are. if i was not in african-american school, and my mom did not have those encyclopedias at home, there was a lot of history i would not know. in 2017, it seems like black people don't take that as serious as they did 30, 40, 50 years ago. i was wondering how do we get back to that to where we care about where we come from and our culture and everything? host: let her response. mary: that is a great question. i will tell you that when i grew up, and i am older than you, when i grew up, my dad had several 8.5 by 11 cards he got from ebony magazine.
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a history week. we had to go around the house, and we had to memorize these icons of african-american history and american history. i wish we could get back to having those cards, but thank god we have got this museum. we have seen many young people coming to the museum, but the caller who asked about how to beget this information about the world and local communities, i have to tip my hat to many of aresmaller museums that local history museums that are local african-american history museums or that is vastly important. we have an education here that is robust and working with educators across the nation to stories in the classroom. we are looking for curriculum development and early childhood education. i have to say this. olderincumbent upon the
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generation to take children by the hand and share their stories. among the stories in this museum , we can attribute the success of collecting through family stewards, stewards of history, genealogy. while we can look towards books and museums, sometimes it is best to even tell your family stories. that is what gets young people interested, because it is personal. host: oral histories. this is an impossible question with half a minute left, but one place in a museum, one exhibit that is an absolute must see, what is it? mary: that is a hard question, i will make this. slavery and freedom is the must see exhibition, but i really say the history deadly -- gallery. you see the story of the domestic slave trade and
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domestic slave trade includes isaac pressler, one of the most successful slave traders. he turns the profit into power and purchases a plantations, including angola plantations. that is the site of angola prison today, one of the worst in the nation. by the time you get to the segregation, you see the guard tower. that helped us unpack this legacy of the slavery and help us understand after slavery came the quasi-quasi-system. even today we are dealing with the slavery complex. host: thank you very much for your time, for taking calls. we appreciate your hospitality. mary: this will. host: we will move from the civil war. postwar withhe william pretzer. we have a tour for the next half
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hour, then he will be here to take your calls and questions as we continue on c-span3's "american history tv." william pretzer: i am the senior history curator. we are in the exhibition defending freedom, defining freedom. the end of the civil war, african-americans were released from their bondage immediately thought about creating their own lives but there are resources. one of the first things many of them tried to do was reconnect with family members who had been separated during slavery.
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they traveled the country looking for relatives, placing -- in newspapers. they wanted to reconnect or build communities amongst themselves. elements wasjor creating all-black towns, not welcome in the white society. a number of african-americans retreated with families -- reconnected with families and created towns like this town out of fools bill, maryland which was called jonesville, maryland and northern montgomery county. schools and churches were built in those communities. this particular building was john hall in withmpares or contrasts the slave building.
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it was a measure of his family's ambitions amp up commission for optimism for and the future. with others in their community, they built one of the first, one of nine, actually, all black towns in montgomery in the late 1870's and 1880's. that was the mark of their independence, and it mirrored towns across the country. this building was still in use as a family home, although renovatedvated -- into the 20th century, and it was still owned once it was abandoned. this in whatound is now will still maryland p --oolesville, maryland. we had to take off the interior whiteboard to see what the law is underneath looks like -- logs
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underneath looks like. and people dismantled rebuilt log by law. there are actually hundreds of cabins that were inhabited by slaved individuals that had been read after decade. what we saw earlier was occupied into the 1980's. most of them have been whiletructed, updated, siding. the shell of the building is the structure of a former slave cabin. we are going to see the rest of the response to this kind of independence with the creation of a segregated society, and the response to that with the civil
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rights movement of the 1950's and 1960's. at the very end of the civil war , african-americans had civil rights in the form of confederacy and in fact had voting rights and produced legislatures in which over 1900 african-americans had served in state legislatures in southern states. in 1877, the political compromise removed northern troops from the former confederacy. allowed white society to begin a campaign of removing the civil rights that african-americans have received at the very end of the civil war and re-creating slavery by another name, a segregated society, what we have come to call jim crow.
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there were changes in state laws which limited the rights of african-americans, limited to their right to move, right to vote, right to serve on juries, every economic right. but it simply was not the imposition of new laws. it was the purport of those laws by a reign of terror, quite frankly. the symbol of that terror has come to be the ku klux klan. but the klan was not the only element of terror. it was a broadly societal effort that is epitomized by the klan. the klna was65, established to enforce new kinds of laws, and the creation of a new type of white supremacy. african-american society was attacked on all levels, not simply physical violence but psychologically and intellectually and by the denial
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of all of their rights. but african-americans responded to that in a way that created their own society and allow them to express their own vision for the future. hoodhite hooded became -- became the symbol of the ku klux klan and was widely seen as protecting the identity of individuals, although in most communities, everyone knew who was underneath the hood. it was not just the terror of the demised by the klan and the lynching. more than 4000 individuals will illegally -- were illegally murdered with no consequences on the perpetrators on the 1880's into the 1940's. it was a constant process of terror, of intimidation. the other part however was not so physical. it have to do with intellectual and psychological intimidation.
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the publication of a book home of the negro, a beast, in 1900, which perpetrates the idea that african-americans were put on earth to serve white people. they are not their own being. they are not their own human, their own human beings, their own self. they are here as servants for society. that kind of intellectual structure and the psychological makeup that that had on white society as well as the detrimental effect on african-americans, which had to resist that contrary -- resist that constant barrage of negative image about them created a sense of terror that unremitting,and and yet african-americans responded in a number of very creative ways. it wasn't simply physical terror, but involves things like the constant denigration of african-americans so that stereotypes, what have become collectibles in 21st century
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america, were constant reminders to white people that african-americans were inferior. constant reminders to african-americans that white society did not value them as individuals and as productive members of society. the response of the african-american community, however, was not simply defensive. it was expressions of their own vision from the future. so they built educational institutions. they built community and civic organizations. they focused on their churches. they created entrepreneurial enterprises. they valued the black press, the free press, that communicated information. they built a society within the that bothiety responded and protected them from that larger society, but also expressed their own values
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and their own sense of what the future to be for themselves and for their children. a very typical american approach to life. ♪ william pretzer: in the early 20th century, there was a massive -- the beginnings of a massive migration from americans of the rural south to great cities. the great migration changed the character and allowed more opportunity for african-americans to engage in modern society in those northern cities. it also changed the character of their sense of themselves and their opportunities. in the great 1920's, after world war i where african-americans had served in great numbers, particularly in france, in the comes an fos,e
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and engagement with cultural inspection -- expression which is the negro renaissance. this is by jacob lawrence, and rendition looking back on the experience of movement of massive numbers, millions of african-americans to northern 1910 and 1940. by the mid-20th century, jim crow society was well-established north and south in the united states and in the west for that matter. the tradition however of response to that jim crow society, efforts to expand civil rights for african americans, had contributed since the late 19th century well through the early parts of the 20th century. by the 1950's and 1960's, that is just after world war ii where african-americans again served
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in the military and came home to a segregated society that did not accept them entirely, the notion of a concerted biracial civil rights movement grew and took on more added energy and strength. on the other side of this whites instances of have violence against african-americans who are active in the civil rights movement because -- before there was a civil rights movement. activists constantly try to put pressure on white society to allow trader civil activity for greateramericans -- civil activity for african-americans, particularly voting rights. one of the major proponents in florida for instance was harry harriet.and his wife they were active in the civil rights movement. both of them are educators, and they have measures stirred --
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they have registered many to vote. 1981, a bombday exploded in broward county, florida. harry was killed outright, harriet died a few days later. they were only two of several murders to the civil rights movement before the board v. case, board of education and the montgomery boycott instigated by rosa parks. there has been a constant number of individuals who were fighting for civil rights before those particular events drew national attention, who were killed by the terrorists involved in trying to preserve white supremacy. harry moore, his wallet, his pocket watch and then his wife wore the small ladies
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wristwatch. the small locket which harriett contained wore pictures of herself and harry. his which survived the bombing of their home in 1951. another example of free civil ilghts era activism -- pre-civ right era activism come from john's island, south carolina, just outside of charleston. the jenkins created a society, a group called the progressive society, which operated a cooperative store, a small motel , a gas station. they also bought a volkswagen van in the late 18 -- 1950's and began ferrying individuals from john's island into their jobs in charleston. it wasn't simply a transportation service. during the ride from the island into town and back at night, jamie would teach the
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individuals literacy skills, teaching how to read and write, and particularly she would use the constitution of the state of south carolina to teach them about voting rights so they told have the opportunity take the test and apply for voter registration, so they combined a service along with an opportunity for african-americans to gain their rights. segregatedt of a society, transportation was one of the great challenges for both african-americans and whites. it created separation but allowed transportation for the black community. 1923railway car built in was only in 1940 renovated to create separate sections. that is, the system became more restrictive as time went on and as more african-americans joined the traveling ranks for long
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travel. this was the southern railway to travel belongs -- between washington dc and new orleans, had to increase segregation. let's go inside and take a look. as a white passenger, i would look at this portion of the car and say, these are nice, large seats, i am quite comfortable here. i have got lots of room. i can look out the windows, i can enjoy a smoke-free atmosphere because when i get back here, i see i have got room to store my large luggage. i don't have to keep it right on my lap, and i have a restroom with a lounge that allows for smoking out of the main card. and a fairly large restroom that is quite accommodating for passengers. but if i were an african-american passenger, i
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would walk into this section and take a look and say, all right, these seats are fine, but there is no place to store my luggage other than a small overhead rack, so but if i have a luggage, i have to keep it right at my feet. i look around, and i see, there is no other accommodations except a very small toilet area , restroom, with no lounge. it is a much different experience for long difference -- long-distance travel, clearly inferior. [shouting] ♪ william pretzer: when the supreme court of the united states announced that separate
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but equal was inherently unequal in american education in the case, it opened the door for opportunity for other african-americans to argue about that same kind of inferiority in separate but equal situations. in 1955, rosa parks, with a long career in activism, decided that she couldn't take it anymore, that she really needed to find out what her rights as an african-american were. so she refused to give up her seat on a city bus in the montgomery, alabama. parks, who worked as a seamstress, was sewing the stress at home during the time in which she refused to give up her seat. this was her project at home. similarly, another woman, early on in the civil rights movement, as quite different, not 40-year-old married woman with a job, but a 14-year-old high
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school student by the name of carlotta walls in little rock, arkansas, who simply wanted the best education she could get because she had an ambition of becoming a doctor. so when the opportunity to attend the best high school in little rock, central high school , carlotta signed up, and became what would be later known as the little rock nine, the first night african-american students to integrate little rock central high school in 1957. that is the dress that carlotta re the first day of school 1957 when she was in fact denied access to the school. but it was the dress that exhibit five her desire as a 14-year-old to get the best education and to put herself for it in a situation where she could be restricted -- respected as a human being and achieve her ambitions. a very typical american story. is joandifferent story
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a 19-year-old student at duke university. joan was a devout christian and civic figured the civil rights movement expressed christian values, and therefore joined sit-ins in durham, north onolina, ultimately became the student correlating committee and spent nine years in the movement, was one of the freedom riders arrested, served time in parchment prison in mississippi and carried with her the notion of an interracial, multiracial cooperation that would lead to civil rights for all americans. vest in which sheikh reelected -- in which she collected buttons. it reminded her of her activities in the early 1960's.
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of course, martin luther king was the inspirational leader of the 1960's civil rights movement and has become the symbol of that movement for many americans, although as we seen, he was certainly not the only individual who was primary to that movement and those activities. posthumously and his widow, karen scott king, were awarded the congressional medal of honor, the highest civilian award for americans. king had evolved during the civil rights movement. he had moved from specifically interested in civil rights for african americans, particularly voting right at the end of segregation, to a broader critique of american society that included a critique of the american war and of american poverty that affected all races and therefore began a larger
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approach to change in america. at this point, we move into the next exhibition, changing america, 1968 and beyond. ♪ having left the exhibition on the era of segregation, we are moving out to the new exhibition, the final exhibition in the three-part history galleries in changing america, 1968 and beyond. you can sense a different in the town and the tenor of the african-american liberation movement. the late 1960's was an era of black power. it was also an era of the transition of philosophies of martin luther king, particularly his development of the poor people's campaign, a multiracial campaign for economic justice and the end of poverty that king had initiated just before his
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assassination in 1968. the mural behind me is one of the representations of that campaign, which was embodied in resurrection city, attend city here in washington dc -- a tent city here in washington dc. king's vision was for a multiracial campaign that would bring americans, native americans, african americans, latino americans, puerto rican americans, poor white individuals from all parts of the country to washington dc to lobby congress and the change,cy for economic not merely civil rights for one group, but for changes in the fundamental economic system that would alleviate poverty in america. this mural, which was one of many painted on the plywood made up part of the tent city that
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house 3500 individuals on the ,all in washington dc represents that kind of multiracial character of the campaign. it contains a number of representations from chicanos. clearly made by individuals both african-american and chicano, interested in the movement who brought their concerns and their culture to washington dc for this moment. we are assuming it was produced by students from california, the university of the pacific, and the university of california los angeles. it is also evident this could have been representing a number of individuals from various parts of the country, including the use of this language which expresses the hope that poverty can be ended in the united states. with king's death, his associate ralph abernathy and his widow,
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greta scott king, -- karen at continued. they had permits to set up on the national mall. the weather was terrible. they tried in vain to lobby the federal government for fundamental change. the end of those six weeks, the federal government removed, bulldozed the city, and evicted the residents and eventually ended the campaign. members of the campaign who work washington residents managed to find out where the bulldozed material had been taken, to a local military base, and went by that base late at night and resurrected, salvaged some of the material, including this plywood mural. other materials, documents and parts of the tents were also preserved by activists who literally kept them until he
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donated it to this museum. many people think the black power campaign was a negation of the civil rights movement, in opposition to civil rights. in fact, the nonviolent philosophy of art luther king and the black power movement are not at odds, even though one of the symbols of the black power movement is this image of newton, one of the founders of the black panther party in oakland, california 1966, holding a spear and shotgun. notice the example of this sense of militant opposition to american society that the panthers supposedly, allegedly representing, but in fact much of their campaign was about self-defense for african americans, the same kind of self defense been seen earlier with the beacons of defense and the military and other areas of
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african-american life opposing violence against their society. part of the black panther campaign, a major part in fact, was social reform, educational reform, health care, housing. the freedom to get an education, that was useful for them. opposition to the legal system that was imprisoning thousands of african americans with no good reason. an element that we want to focus on and make known more widely to the american public is the whole ,otion of survival programs that the party was developing a series of activity and pioneered the idea of legal aid, health clinics, of educational programs, of free breakfast programs for school children. the social reform the panthers advocated and symbolized was as
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important, probably more important, than the militaristic side and the militant activities that were highlighted in the press at the time. another element of king's evolution was his opposition to the vietnam war, an issue that rent american society in the 1860's and 1970's. -- 1967 saidsaid his greatest disappointment was the ability to do with the triple evils of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism. african-americans served in vietnam, some willingly, some reluctantly, but they took pride in their service and did their utmost to serve their country, a tradition which had continued on from earlier wars in american history and since the vietnam era. the vietnam tour jacket was a common memento acquired by
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r, often in r and okinawa, where they would have them embroidered with symbols of their service. in this particular instance, and african-american soldier not only had a tour jacket made to commemorate his service in vietnam, but he had it adorned with symbols of black power representing his dual commitment both to the black power movement and to his own service in the vietnam war. of the this area changing america exhibition on black power is elements of the broad concerns. basically, a renovation of the new negro movement or the harlem renaissance of the 20th century, concerned with literature, culture, representation. so particularly the development of black women writers, black society,, critique of the development and growth of
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charlie chisholm is the first black woman to run for a major party nomination for the presidency, political force. on all of those force -- levels, politics, popular culture representation in mass media. the black power movement renovated and created yet another new african-american way of expressing themselves and of taking power, of being represented and being in control of the run circumstances. that created opportunities for subsequent generations. and we continue live at the national museum of african american history and culture. we continue with bill pretzer, the senior curator. thank you for the tour. william pretzer: it is great to have you. host: you walk us through the civil rights movement, the vietnam war.
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established, where are we right now? william pretzer: we are in the orientation gallery to the three exhibits. from this space, visitors would go down the large elevator to the bottom level and begin the exhibition on slavery and freedom that mary elliott just took you all through, then move you on to the era of segregation exhibition and finally changing america, 1968 and beyond. that would conclude the three history galleries here in the museum. host: then you move upstairs to the cultural museum. william pretzer: level three, the committee galleries, exhibitions on sports, military history, making the way out of no way, about self-help, and original study of african american life. then to level four, exhibitions on music, visual art, theater, film, and television, and cultural expressions. host: there are couple of
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questions, but if you want to call us, the phone lines are open. 202-798-8200. be sure to follow us on twitter at c-span history and also check out programming on the facebook page at ory. how dober one question, people get a ticket, and why is it so hard? william pretzer: it is hard because we are so popular. it sounds impolite to say that, but the simple case is that we have been overwhelmed by the response of the public for this museum. host: you did not expect these crowds? william pretzer: we expected crowds. andid not expect the level the sustained amount of interest in the museum. since we are limited by the fire marshal on the number of people we can take into the museum at
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any one time, we have to spread out that process and help people get the tickets in advance. the way to get tickets either as an individual and by a group is to check out the museum's the museum has had to visit, sign up for tickets, call for tickets for groups, nonprofit groups, school groups, church .roups, minty organizations they come after an amount of time that we ask people to wait a couple of months because the response has been so overwhelming. host: if i log on today, it is june right now. 1 that is the case -- william pretzer: that is the case. host: a lot of questions about african-american justices to the
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supreme court, thurgood marshall and clarence thomas. how are they represented in this museum? william pretzer: we created exhibitions based on themes that were determined by exhibition teams. as it turns out, thurgood marshall is represented by his simplyity dues card and buy a quote based on the brown v. board segregation case of 1954. there is really nothing about him as a supreme court justice. justice terrence thomas is represented in a small display around the confirmation hearings , and the charge by anita hill that led to a great deal of controversy, but then ultimately his confirmation and seating on the court. host: some may argue they played a bigger role especially thurgood marshall.
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william pretzer: we know there are thousands of stories we could have told in much later detail. we simply can't include all of those stories all at the same time. we have done our very best to find the kinds of stories that we think resonate with people, both the known and unknown stories. , justs is a living museum like our understanding of history changes, we reinterpret. we find new information. this is a conversation about what we will include in the museum in the future rather than looking at what we have already done in the past. host: a living museum despite its size and limited space. what is not included that you would like to see included down the road? william pretzer: my own interest is in the history of science and technology, and that is an interest that many, many people have had, and they have made it very clear they are disappointed we have not done more with african-americans involvement
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with science and technology. so we are looking for ways in the future to first of all built the collection, basic resource of any collection are the artifacts, the documents, the photographs, that deal with a particular subject matter, then to figure out how we would employ those, either in programs , through our website, or in the physical exhibition within the building itself. host: what does the term jim crow mean? william pretzer: jim crow is the legal and cultural creation of a segregated society that oppresses african-americans in the united states between the 1870's and the 1960's. host: let's get your phone calls. 202-748-8901 in the west. we have someone joining us from new jersey. caller: hello. host: you are on the air.
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go ahead. know, sincent to of-hop is original art america, is included in the museum too, because that is the last original art americans produced, hip-hop, and it all away across the world now. host: thank you for the question. william pretzer: that is a great question. i am happy to say that hip-hop and rap is a go. actually several -- rap appear in actually several different exhibitions. musical crossroads contains a number of examples of hip-hop. the exhibition in changing , alsoa, 1968 and beyond has a large public enemy banner. the 1980's,ut in 1990's and 2000, hip-hop, the
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cnn, the source of information. about musical expressions in our cultural expressions gallery. hip-hop is well represented within the museum. host: from post-world war ii to the current, was it easy or difficult to get artifacts? it was probably actually more difficult in a way than other curators have had fighting exhibition material for their particular subject matter. asent history is not seen historically important. if they are only from the 1990's, who is interested in that? we had to go out and encourage people to talk about what they might have, what we were interested in in terms of cultural or social history, political history, and then to them to allow us to see what
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-- convince them to allow us to see what they had, and what possibilities we saw to make them accessible to the public. >> and he started at the henry ford museum for two decades before coming back to the smithsonian? >> yes, before coming back into thousand nine to work on this project specifically. host: let's go to new mexico. caller: hi, i have a question about the social reform program of the black answers and why it relatively neglected, historiographic we speaking. i was wondering if you could speak to that? host: jamie, thank you. there was ank impression created by the media, and white frankly by the u.s. government in the 1960's and 1970's that the black panther party was essentially a black
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terrorist group, a racist organization. so it's a vibrant program, it community building programs, free breakfast, literacy programs, aid programs, wereng programs, all played down by the media because it was more exciting to see issues the conflict -- of conflict. have gotten ahers bum rap, and what we have tried to do in this exhibition is due display material from their thatval programs to offset original media pressure that was created. who was emmett till? guest: he was a 14-year-old chicago boy who went to go visit his cousins in alabama -- mississippi in 1955. he went into a store, had an exchange with a white female
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--k, four days desk clerk clerk, four days later, the clerk's husband and half brothers took him to a andrside, murdered him, through his body into the river. retrieve the body and insisted he be buried in chicago after a public funeral and an -- casket, soas the american public could see -- what racism had done to her certain. -- her son. no of dozens of individuals who became the foot soldiers of this civil rights movement in the early 70's, who are teenagers or adolescence in 1955. and for whom the emmett till murder was frightening and maddening.
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want to grows not up in a world that allowed that to happen. they were willing to put themselves on the line, and to become active in the civil rights movement a few years later. his casket is on display here? guest: yes. he was buried in illinois south of chicago. in 2005, and the fbi trying to re-examine a number of cold cases against african-americans during the civil rights movement, exhumed his body, conducted test, and he was reburied, by law, in a different casket. the original casket murdered by his mother in 1955 was stored by the cemetery -- ordered by his mother in 1955 was stored by the cemetery. they were treated to thousand nine. they knew the director of this news am because he had been the director of the chicago history a number of years.
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they agreed to donate the casket to this reason am, with the understanding that we would preserve it, restore it, and put it on display in a respectful mother,ontinue what his till, till -- mamie was for his death to not be in vain. , with ar the men prosecuted? guest: they were acquitted. that they had acquitted the murder, but double jeopardy remained and they were not retried. host: could you talk about president obama's museum tour and his reaction? guest: his family took to
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separate -- two separate private tours, and i think her responses were typical of most people responses best people's responses. this is an amazing collection of artifacts and stories told in a direct and yet very respectful cry,that one can laugh, feel in off about the things and history that this country and african-americans have participated in over the past 500 years. host: we should point out that the museum includes the oprah winfrey theater. we will continue the tour and come back in about five minutes with your calls and comments. guest: black power and the civil rights movement both offered opportunities for african-americans in all opportunities -- realms of american life. politics, popular culture, literature, economic and burner
1:08 am -- entrepreneur --rting your time show in her talk show in 1986, oprah winfrey developed an empire that would he on the business and talked about creative self empowerment, creative opportunities, educational opportunities, and used wealth and influence to promote the kind of ideas that the civil right movement leaders and black power leaders have advocated. her career exemplified that kind of opportunity and making the most of it, it both individually and collectively. was kind enough to be a supporter of this museum, and donated these artifacts from the last show, aired in 2011, of her daytime talk show.
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in 2008, barack obama created a multiracial coalition that brought him to the presidency. a coalition that mirrored the kind of coalitions that martin luther king envisioned in 1968 for the poor people's campaign. did notbama's residency just presidency did not represent a post-racial society, as we have come to understand. still, it represented a marked departure from previous american political ties, and created new image of the black band and -- man and black family for many americans. whatever his legacy in terms of all of these in the administration, his versatile in -- and -- personal legacy and impact on american
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life will be seen as a positive impact in the future. historians reconsider the impact of his presidency. we are lucky enough to have a president in barack obama who understood the impact of history and the importance of understanding history, so the artifacts we have received from the white house and the dress that michelle obama, the first anniversary 50th 1963 -- of united 1963 knots on washington -- march on washington, and the remarks of the president he made that location, acknowledging the history and if it's of the 1963 march on washington, where he makes you that every generation has a responsibility to increase the right and opportunities that all americans enjoy. it is that kind of opportunity and those challenges that has by hisnted not only
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administration, and his understanding of history, but by the black lives matter movement and others who seek ways of creating a more equal and just american society. the goal of the american experiment, that we continue to have. i think the history galleries really demonstrate the power of ,ocial change through activism that nothing happens by chance. i think they also demonstrate how the values represented in these exhibitions are quintessentially american values. they are about opportunity, .ptimistic, they are resilient they are about enlarging the experience of all americans, african-americans and others. they are very optimistic, american expression of overcoming the odds and of succeeding.
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think that is a very positive sign, and we hope that is the positive change comes about, and it is absolutely possible as long as one is involved in the values and processes of american democracy. host: let's continue with the tour that we just saw on tape. you really do put the story and history here. tost: we think the best way teach history is by telling stories and making the stories personal and dramatic. playing out the real human experience, many visitors have told us that visiting this museum is an emotional experience. as intellectual or as content rich as the stories are, we recognize that very often, it is the emotion that keeps it in our memory.
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it helps us understand that intent onnd we are telling stories well. host: this is the african american museum of history and culture. talk about a cultural icon, chuck berry and his car. what is the story behind that? guest: of course we would start a music video with chuck berry and his red cadillac convertible. our staff, particularly the curator of music and performance --nd museum catalyst specialist kevin straight were contacting numerous performers and talking about how to preserve their individual legacies, and often they begin with the performers manager and staff, rather than the performer himself or herself. with had made arrangements
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the staff of chuck berry to visit him in his home and discuss acquiring the red cadillac. kevin showed up, chuck berry was , he was notd willing to donate the cadillac yet. so they talked, they talked for quite a while. they had some ice cream bars together. and finally chuck decided that museum was ok. they went to get the cadillac convertible. they had a record come to voice wreckerr, to the car -- hoist up the car. they had a get out of the mud, get it on the road to washington, and then they talked about his famous guitar, maybelline. kevin could that have maybelline for the museum, and at that point have been --
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kevin realize he had a plane ticket to come home, and he said i have a seat on the plane but maybelline doesn't. can i buy a second ticket so maybelline can have a seat on the plane coming home to washington, and i said yes, absolutely, we can spring for that. so everything got to washington dc to this museum. elaine and d.c.? caller: do you believe that the fortion for a museum african-american history and culture will integrate or advance the conference -- cohesion of african-american participation in others museums? guest: we are very intent on promoting that idea.
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withe already partnering the national museum of american history, the national museum of american indians, who with the smithsonian latino center. we are encouraging all organizations to find ways in which we are able to talk about a variety of stories, from a variety of perspectives, not just one. we really do think that this institution will promote the interplay and discussion between perspectives, so we can develop, quite frankly, a new national narrative that is more inclusive and more attentive to the varieties of people that have made this nation. host: tucson arizona, john is next. a comment and a quick follow-up question. in the galleries that you just described to us, you only to many themes that can be embodied in the u.s. military
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experience from post-civil war. can you tell us what the plans of -- to integrate the evolving role of the in the armed forces? guest: there is an entire :xhibition entitled double v military experience of african americans. it ranges from the revolutionary war to wars of the 20th entry erie and we have several hundreds of artifacts -- century. and we have several hundreds of artifacts and tell stories of african-american participation in american wars, even before there was an america. we also have a hallway to spray all 53lay plaques for
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african-americans who have been awarded the presidential medal of freedom for their valiant tree. picture window that frames the washington monument, and it is quite a sight. just be on there is the lincoln memorial and arlington national cemetery, where so many african-americans and all many american soldiers have been interred. we think that display is an important part of the museum and the museum's presentation. includes thet tough de airmen. handful are still alive. have they come and see me of it airmen.e -- tuskegee a handful are still alive. have they come and seen any other? guest: we are trying to get them out here. , as theyn actual plane
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were trained to fly for the united states air force -- army air force. we have had a long tradition of working with them. many of them were able to take flights in that plane as we brought it across the country when we first brought it into the museum in 2012. host: you are excited about all of this. guest: i am exceedingly excited. i get that from my own passion for this work, but also for my colleagues. it is a terrific group of people that embarked on a mission, and that was it. it was not a job or any of us. host: and i hope that is being conveyed to those watching at home. you are so gracious to let us come in and enjoy this museum. let's go to new york with eunice's question. black: when i was at the museum in washington dc, i did
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not find the civil rights bill signed in 1965 by dr. king and whitney young. if he isitney young -- in the black museum because he had a lot to do with the civil rights bill. to understand that bill, black people must understand it so other people can understand the immigration bill. both are similar. absolutely. the civil rights movement and the various actors, whitney young, martin luther king jr., carmichael,stokely all of those individuals and the foot soldiers in that movement are all represented in the era of segregation gallery that we walked through. the civil rights act of 1964, the voting rights act of 1965,
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arefair housing act of 1968 all represented as either documents in those displays or in the videos that talk about the legislation that really made the difference and broke the back of legal jim crow segregation. host: be sure to follow us on anhistory. @csp page,tion on our facebook the oldest photograph in the museum. you know what that is? from: we have a pin type the era of the civil war. there is one of frederick douglass, for instance. that would have been made in the mid-1860's. --hnology, affect photography is a brand-new form andechnology at the time, one of the pin types from the 1860's is probably the oldest image in the collection on
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display. host: about 50 feet behind us is words offall in the martin luther king. what does it represent? guest: we build a commemorative space with a large, round waterfall and a series of votes on the wall -- quotes on the thatbecause we felt individuals visiting miss musing on that may need a space in which to gather themselves, in which to think back, memorialize their own family experiences. to a knowledge the pain and the that the african-american experience in the united states represents. it wasnner of speaking, modeled after the hall of remembrance at the holocaust museum. the variousequate museums of conscience around the world, the holocaust museum, the museums of the jewish experience in germany,
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and so there is a moment where we wanted to provide people with the opportunity to quietly remember. host: let's go to west cook been california.a -- caller: did you have those ?omen's in hidden figures re, andy displayed the if not, why not? the they be exhibited in future, or what is the story behind them? guest: thank you, clarence. and you movie getting a lot of attention. -- a new movie getting a lot of attention. a new movie, but an old story. in the 1930's and 1940's, a number of african-american women were hired by nasa to do calculations that led up to
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americans in space. three particular women have been profiled in a very important book, titled hidden figures and a recent motion picture. one of the debuts at that motion of that motion picture was held right here, and the actors as well as some of the family members of those three women were present at that debut showing of that movie here in washington dc at the museum. we are currently in conversation with the families of two of those women, to see what kind of artifacts we could bring into the collection so that we can include their story in the museum. i think i mentioned we don't do very much with science and technology, we were not able to put that in the first generation of exhibit. inwere looking to do that the future, and those three women and other women and men who have contributed to the americanand space --
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space program and science and technology will be highlighted in that. host: let me ask you about the black power movement and black lives matter order in the past 60 years. what are the parallels? guest: in many ways, they are representing ways of responding to similar kinds of conditions. that is, we talk a lot about throughout the museum, or at least the history gallery, the kind of violence that has been perpetrated on african-american communities. the black power movement, particularly the black panthers, who explicitly said we are trying to prevent the tradition of oakland, california police harassing and brutalizing african-americans. we are the black panther party for self-defense.
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the blackred much of power movement. similarly, the black lives matter move it is a response to what is perceived as ongoing atrocities against african-americans, particularly young men. the techniques are very modern technology allows black lives matter to communicate and plan very quickly in a matter of hours ,sing modern digital technology facebook, texting, etc., while the black panther party had to use a week the newspaper to communicate their goals and activities to their followers. before we take the next call, a reminder that we do a lot with teachers. it is all on our website at the let's go to brian in baltimore. caller: good evening. thank you for taking my call. a couple of quick questions. first, the reginald f lewis maryland museum of african
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american history and culture, right down the road in baltimore, has done an excellent job partnering with the maryland state department of education to put together an excellent african-american history curriculum. ongoing staffs development, professional development opportunities for teachers. my question is are there any plans for the national museum of african american history and culture to do similar types of projects, either with nonprofit local orions for any other school districts, maybe a department of education, who knows? my second question is more personal. as a charter member, i have been trying to go to the charter member ticket site, and i'm difficulty getting dates.
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will that site be up and running again to get tickets? host: brian, thank you for the question. guest: about the educational programs and partnerships with other organizations, we have a very active education programs department. they created a series of early programs.and teenage we work a lot with both school groups and teachers and caregivers, so those programs have actually been ongoing for the last eight years. particularly, with teacher education and caregiver programs , and we plan on expanding that. there is educational material on our website, and we are currently doing a program around national his three-day, were members of the are working with students on their national history day projects. in terms of accepting the , isite or charter members have to admit that as a curator,
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that is something i do not know much about. -- say have to a that that you would have to continue to try to work on that website. i will bring it to the attention of our public affairs staff to see we can work out in the widgets without website right now. sharon from maryland, you get the last call. it evening. caller: i have to say, thank you so much for your interest, your knowledge and your enthusiasm about the museum. i would like to ask you, could you talk more about black ,nventors, such as andrew beard or garrett morgan with the streetlight and gas mask, or willis with the telephone device , the third electrical cell, and the shuttle, construction of the
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underground tunnel. . host: a lot of stories to tell. guest: there are. we have garrett morgan since debt garrett morgan gas mask on his family. there is one inventor prominently displayed in the exhibition. talking about the importance of education and innovation in the american history. lewis latimer, and his work with the electric lamp. medical, such as charles drew, we are in the process of trying to collect material from dr. drew's family. dealing with the development of blood banks. we are also looking at percy julie's family and talking with them about the developer of artificial cortisone, so important for medical procedures. we are looking at a range of
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innovators, both in science and technology. there are plenty of publications, there are some movies about them, as we have noted. there is a lot of material known, and we need to put it all together with the artifacts. as people walk through this museum and you look at their faces, what is going through your mind? i am thrilled that the variety of people who come through this museum. they are from a variety of nations. races,nt ages, different and they are taken with the storytelling, and they find it relevant to their lives, and they are respectful of each other and of themselves. i think that is much of the lesson that we are trying to convey. does we will convene
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conclude on that note. thank you very much for being with us. guest: thank you. host: a reminder that all of our
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