Skip to main content

tv   American Historical Association  CSPAN  January 6, 2018 4:30pm-5:04pm EST

4:30 pm
the human desire for justice represents "a powerful drive at a time when there are only a of well-prepared black lawyers in the south, charles houston transformed howard into a laboratory for civil rights law. stanley nelson has a wonderful about black colleges called "tell them we are rising." he talks about howard as an incubator of the civil rights movement. men in where young black the 1930's had a physical and intellectual space to prepare for protracted assault from jim
4:31 pm
crow. we don't want to lose sight of what is happening during this period and think of ways to capture this during the 1930's and 1940's. this is part of a broader democratic struggle of the new deal era, where people in the margins of american politics helped to shape the reach of the democratic reforms of that period. activist, labor organizers. they connected. they had sort of a global perspective on things. these parallel activities and movements were part of the environment that shaped the civil rights movement during these formative years. i teach in columbia, south carolina. there is a major site where a number of these individuals came together in 1946. of 1946. 1800 students, black and white,
4:32 pm
met in the township auditorium. bob dylan had a recent concert october,there coming through to. begun byete the task our forefathers during the civil war and reconstruction period." their keynote speaker was w.e.b. dubois, a key architect of civil rights struggles in this country, and someone connected to friends across the world. he delivered a speech at benedict college. african-american colleges come up as so important in laying the foundation of being displaced where people can come together. he looked too young people in the region to expose the barbarities that prevailed. he urged them to lift the better of humanity and face each other as equal independent human
4:33 pm
beings, if it takes all of your lives, and the lives of your children's children. called the long haul. dubois noted that while democracy was a sham -- he talked about colonialism and world war ii -- she said called. here in the south t laid the path to a greater and freer world. the sit-ins would show the promise that he saw when he came to columbia. dubois submitted a petition to the u.n. a statement of denial of human rights to minorities and appeal to the united nations for redress. claiming a global platform for demanding human rights, and exposing the denial of those rights here.
4:34 pm
the history that is lost maybe in this backlash and repression of the cold war years -- i should mention louis burnham was situated in birmingham. in 1951, dubois himself was handcuffed and arrested for his actions in the peace institute. birmingham has been a center previous to the 1960's. these activists are such unimportant part of this history. houston --cance of embraced anduch
4:35 pm
sustained. the legal struggle forwards in the embraced and sustained. the legal struggle forwards in the courts under the radar -- the courthouse is so important. robert talked about the court as robert talked about the court as a theater, where african-americans would come into these spaces, like jackson embraced andwatch him interrogate the superintendent. these spaces that facilitated this kind of activity was foundational to what followed. this bridgegard, from the work they did in the 1930's and 1940's. clarendon county was a community that responder to the efforts of houston. thurgood marshall took over as director of the legal effort. someone who teaches in south
4:36 pm
carolina -- clarendon county is so important. it was the first case tried in a serious cases -- series of cases that comprised brown. it came out is a majority poor black community. for these families to go into court and make demands for their children really risked everything. everyone lost their livelihoods. and you risked your lives as well. it was a great scene, as thurgood marshall describes, outside the federal courthouse in charleston. a beautiful building, still there, where they are trying the briggs case. in 1951. they arrived in the morning -- i wish i had a slight of this beautiful courthouse. lawyers arrived, 1951.
4:37 pm
and 500 people the are lined up down the stairs, out and around the courtroom building. this is the end of may. they stood there all day while the lawyers trying to their case. they acted as a human telegraph. the lawyer made a good point, it would travel out of the group. thurgood marshall noted seeing these people waiting in the heat and 500 people all day, he knew they were going to win, because the people would carry on. to to demand asnue lawyers took these cases up to the supreme court. from marshall -- "negroes from third and county shoulderoulder to showing that they are determined to eliminate segregation from
4:38 pm
american life." the ground ruling followed three years later, and was a culmination of this decade-long battle rooted in communities along the south and energized by the politics of the 1930's and 1940's. brown, but thew legacy of brown and how it is documented is essential in telling the story within our own communities and country and globally. your it is a powerful and enduring lesson. iteshigh points -- and the s selected and proposed resonate with some of the major battles of the southern movement montgomery like the
4:39 pm
bus montgomery bus boycott. the importance of churches -- mass meetings. albany be in the place where the music of the movement is coming out of these sacred spaces and places. we talk about heritage -- and to be reminded as we reinterpret these spaces. thinking about the church bombing just after the march on washington. the terror people faced, the struggle, the violence -- it really underscores the remarkable nature and the power of this movement and where it came from. at again, you look individuals who go and observe the south. james baldwin goes south after the brown decision after he sees
4:40 pm
young people walking through just to go to school. he had to talk to them and understand how families could do that. he traveled south in 1957 and talked to some families. 1960it-in movementthinking in amplified the struggle. that is an aspect of the -- people knowe about the civil rights movement that really stands out. a lot of great visuals and accounts of what happened there. this period leading up to birmingham, which is such a critical turning point for the country -- to think of the ebba
4:41 pm
nd flow of what people experienced going into these .laces .hen the sit-inthen spreading to when the sit-ins happened, 4 students going, then hundreds, hundreds of other cities within six weeks. remarkedporter students all across the south are on the march, a movement the likes of which the united states has not seen before. where is it coming from? black colleges. one reporter concludes that, if you want to stop it, you've got to close down these colleges. those are places that are essential. -- we have the freedom riots the next year.
4:42 pm
freedom riots, thinking about the legal and mass protest. historians are so discounted -- it is the lawyers, it is the no, the courts were an essential no, the courts were an essential part. the thurgood marshall case overturned segregation to open the way for court. the time was ripe, and it was the freedom march. this took the lid off things. a massive violence and counter outside of atrial way bus station, which is now a historic site and a terrific museum. 61.t is 19
4:43 pm
there has been activity all over the south. can showal places that turning points and television of the movement beyond the local. -- and elevation of the movement beyond the local. spotlighting the violence and lawlessness all the way up to the governor. beyond thean important movementn educating the kennedy administration about what they were facing in the south. ith serving him -- in early said, i think the story is over, i think the country has lost interest. a reporter went back to report for time magazine. the person he was replacing said,, i think the story is over, i think the country has lost interest. done. the country did not this story b onto this. all of these instances, public
4:44 pm
attention. but birmingham was tremendously important. what happened there? what was broadcast across the country and the world, and the reactions of america -- of african-american communities across the country? for kennedy, it was a concern, and rightly so. warned that time was running out. the explosive nature of those living under segregation. amplifies really that. robert kennedy and others who were aware enough helped
4:45 pm
mobilize this kind of energy they needed to push the civil rights bill. that. robert kennedy and others who john f. kennedy gives a remarkable speech on june 11, 1963, preparing to introduce the civil rights bill. he talks about the national dimensions ofdimensions of raci. talks about over 100 years of delay since the emancipation proclamation, the slaves not yet freed from social and economic oppression. for all its hopes andjohn f. ke, this nation will not be fully free until all of its citizens are free. of course that night after midnight, medicare evers is -- down invers is gunned his driveway in jackson, mississippi. that summer, john f. kennedy, who like many in his generation, had been brought up in the dunning school to
4:46 pm
reconstruction, after medgar , ohs was assassinated, said my goodness, i believe studies stevens is correct. stevens is correct. that definition of freedom is correct. the sentiment all over the country is explosive. people are not going to wait much longer. getting on bill through congress takes time. the march on washington, an amazing moment, but weeks later the bombing of the 16th street baptist church, killing those four girls. the civil rights bill is passed in july of 1964. freedom.e summer of
4:47 pm
civil rights workers killed at the beginning of the summer. it is really a battlefield. i think what is so significantly on this moment is the capacity for people to carry on and continue to fight for this and risk so much to create the change. selmating rights act, is really the culminating moment of the civil rights movement in this country in terms of getting the lost to enforce -- getting the laws to enforce the 13th and 14the amendments. at the same time, you have the inntry moving beyond demands in the south to face the problems of segregation, police brutality, and the rest.
4:48 pm
essay,d said in a good what happened to the civil rights movement? the civil rights movement moved north. there are many great studies that show in the aftermath of the voting rights act, people in southern communities are onowered into voting, war poverty programs in the rest -- just transforming the face of the south and the political climate. again, changing the country in ways it was still grappling with. fromt to pose a quote august wilson that i use quite often. i think it is a reminder to all of us to turn our sites south in terms of our history, this country's history, and in terms of an enduring struggle for
4:49 pm
human rights in what it takes. what eache of change, generation inherits to carry it forward. he mentions of this in 1891. he was directing his comments to young african-american. ushink it applied to all of concernedterested and about the struggle for justice and human rights, and the significance of this southern-based movement. "black americans need to go back and make the concerned about the struggle for justice connection that we allowed to be severed when we move from the south to the north. the culture growing in the southern part of the united states for 200 some years we more or less abandoned. we have a situation where kids don't know who they are because they can't make a connection and their grandparents,
4:50 pm
therefore their connection with political history in america." thank connection that [applause] >> you. now we do have about 10 minutes for some q&a, if we have any. now we do have about 10 minutes for some q&a, if we have any. let's thank our panelists for taking us through the presentation and reemphasizing the incredible importance of elevating and stewarding these compelling stories, and how too ls like the world heritage list, the national monuments program designation, the national treasurer's program, the african-american heritage cultural action fund, are really incredibly valuable tools toward not end -- toward that end. do we have any questions? i would remind you we are being televised live, so if you have a question or comment, please come
4:51 pm
to the mic so you can be heard clearly. please come to the mic in the aisle. could you identify yourself? umass amherst. umass amherst. i admired the chronological focus and geographical focus, which as i know required in this nomination. also what i admire is the way you use this to exemplify something much larger and more global. what stephen morrison said. you have someone that goes to jail because he does not want to pay his poll now we do have abo0 tax to expand for slavery. thoreau.s inspired by
4:52 pm
this global conversation that can very birmingham,how this in two years and a couple square birmingham, in two years and a couple square miles, really exemplifies. >> would you care to respond? >> that is dirty business. >> birmingham that is an excellt observation. uses simply connected -- you succinctly connected those strands of protest. is civil rights movement is informed by the struggles in india, which were informed by the resistance of thoreau, or the efficacy of tolstoy and other proponents of nonviolent resistance. out of birmingham will come support for other nonviolent protests around the globe.
4:53 pm
the civil rights movement is being seen as being inspirational to protests into 's the 1980's with the tearing of the berlin wall or the protests in tiananmen square. for the streets of birmingham to be the site in america that protest was brought home to the world was a really significant thing. on to thet to add rationale why you would therefore than create a national rights monument in birmingham? what are theking, opportunities for identifying the resources, both nationally and internationally, to sustain the stewardship of these cultural landscapes? i think there are a lot of scholars at this table and the conference that fully
4:54 pm
understands the depth and beauty and complexity of this history. we need more advocates with the resources that can help us on the preservation side of things. when you were discussing stewardship planning, and a coalition of partners for these spaces, the national trust would love to help convene and organize that with partners, again nationally and internationally. so if you know of those, please let me know. >> do we have another question or comment? please. >> i am a phd student at american university. of people of color in the united states is frought this losses in addition to gains. i was wondering if there are any
4:55 pm
programs to preserve spaces of absence, not where things were lost, but where things were never there to begin with. ms. sullivan: that is, i think, a really important observation. you think of doing oral histories. who do we talked? -- we talk to? we talked to people who remember. what about the people that were traumatized by their-- we talk e of the movement? i think it is very important to think about how to do that. there is an interpreter frame, right? that could be included. history -- ithis
4:56 pm
is inspiring, but also the loss, the tragedy, what it took. tha needst to be part of the story. that amplifies the significance of what was gained. all of us in this work need to think about ways to do that. to add, this going is sort of a commercial for an upcoming conference in charlottesville in march, on best practices in interpreting the legacy of slavery. it is not exactly responding to the question that you have, but the presentations -- it is being sponsored by the thomas jefferson foundation, university of virginia. ofwill run the gamut coming
4:57 pm
to the modern era. intangible heritage will definitely be part of the presentations. that may be a place to of go to modern hear more about what's going on. ms. sullivan: one other thing to theon is that in april, equal justice initiative on lynching will open in go to hear montgomery, cataloging the atrocities that took place throughout the south. i think that is a part of respondent to her comment. such aeems in a way challenge to think about movement that is so complex it has so many historical phenomenon over such a decades, involving so many actors over different places, and we are trying to squeeze it into 10 or
4:58 pm
12 properties. some might say you are doing it a disservice. inscribedmination is list, thatd heritage will be the rising tide that lifts all boats -- i don't know. that will reverberate and illuminate some parts of the story that we could not really include. >>that was our motivation for creating birmingham. literally birmingham as a national monument boundary is within four blocks of a civil rights district. understanding we could not identify and include all of the fights connected to birmingham list, thats will be the rising activity. but it does elevate the story that needs our support.
4:59 pm
mr. pencek: having said that, give information if those in the audience are interested in connecting, is there a place where they can connect? this you are interested in effort to create serial nomination of civil rights sites. georgia state university has a site that shows periodic efforts of our support. it is world you you access the site, you for an e-blastp
5:00 pm
list, and we will inform you on any opportunities. we had a great conference in for an e-blast list,washington put together wie national parks service through i think we were one of the first to advertise brent's trust and the cultural heritage action fund. mr. pencek: where should folks go? >> to learn about the newly created birmingham civil rights national monuments, you can literally just googled the name or go to the national parks website. if you want to know more about the motel treasure campaign that we concluded in december, you can go to the national trust website at www res. i want to close by acknowledging
5:01 pm
president obama's leadership. through the use of the antiquities act of 1906, he helped create more national monuments that tell the story of people of color in the united states. in the last week before office -- he designated three new offices, including birmingham. i want to acknowledge congressman sewall, congressman mayorn, and newly named randall woodson for his -- mayor randall woodfin for his help in realizing this monument. >> i would like to thank congressman john lewis for his efforts through the national to designate civil rights sites as well. mr. pencek: thank you all. >> [applause] mr. pencek: to designate civil
5:02 pm
rights and thank you all. >> we need to get a picture. >> [chatter]
5:03 pm
host: that concludes today's live coverage of the american historical association's annual meeting in washington dc. if you missed any coverage we will reair all of today's panel discussions and discussions ahea d on history tv on c-span3. you can also visit our website at to view today's american historical association's schedules in its entirety. programsatch other tv such as our programs such as our series on the civil war and the presidency. again, that is at /history. now


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on