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tv   American History TV Visits Tyler Texas  CSPAN  May 6, 2018 2:01pm-2:51pm EDT

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[chatter] that. you bring up something new and something different people want and they say
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questions they want to know. always try to pick out a question that people outside of washington want to know about. it.they appreciate they tell me there -- i'm asking the questions they would ask. >> we will learn about it tyler native, a white house reporter who covered presidential politics dating back to 1946. hear how her early years helped shape her. we will later speak with the man responsible for the origination of the adapter highway movement. what happened is nearly unbelievable, how these things start. certainly, we didn't envision it to go for life when we started. the thought was to clean up tyler, texas. >> with help from our cable partners, in the next 40 minutes, we will explore the history of the east texas city. a visit toin with the tyler rose garden and learn why the industry is a large part of the city's identity.
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>> the rose inder -- industry began in the early 1900's. it began as prop that came in at here invastation raised the area. the farmers were looking to the alternative. . early beginnings began with people who had european route who had interest in roses. they started to bring that into the tyler area. rose inder -- industry began in the early 1900's. it caught on and grew from that point to a multimillion dollar industry. it encompassed a lot of growers in the region. our weather in the area are conducive to growing roses. have a slightly acidic
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condition. they are normal winters that dormancy which is good for them. have an abundance not only have an abundance not only for roses but agricultural crafts as well. roses were growing in the field. the average have an abundance ny for roses but agricultural crafts as well. roses were growing in the field. the average field was 200-3000 plants in the field. around 20,000 plants per acre. crops go -- growing in or to your crops. different ways to grow roses. method pair route you take the cutting from the plant and the plug. today andly popular more economical on our route system but not all roses can be grown that way. from aerything was grown grafted method here in the area and on the acreage and the land surrounding the tyler area.
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the industry today has changed. processing plants are still here. a lot have been different from the local processes in the area and growers in the fields and california and arizona. that was the devastating breeze that hit here in the 1980's, with roses being a two-year crop, a severe heart freeze in the early 1980's, and it took down a lot of the growers and the crop production. it devastated it. it was hard for growers to get back into production because interest rates at the time were 18%. some folks will remember in the 1980's, the interest rates were not as low as the current ones now. we started looking at fields in bakersfield, careful of it -- california. most of the field grown production today is in those areas. the plants are shift -- shipped into the area by refrigerated
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trucks. they still go through a facilities packaged and facilities packaged and marketed and then sent back out for retail across the united states and other countries. festival in the area began from garden groups and people who are interested in the industry and a kind of evolved. it began as small garden meetings and turned into a festival, and then the festival turned into a parade. so it became a really big event in october, and it would bring people from all over the world to tyler for the rose festival. the rose festival still goes on today, we still celebrate the industry in the history of the roses in tyler, and we have our beautiful garden for display of the roses. it has went through evolution and changes over the years as well. it was a wpa project at the beginning when the garden was built, and today there are different varieties of roses on
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display for people to walk through and see, and see what varieties they may like to see in their yard or available from the different processors and retailers reside around. our rose garden not only has the garden, but we have a municipal building that has been refurbished over the years from its original construction. and there is a wonderful museum that people can learn the history of the heritage of the rose industry, not only from tyler but how it evolved and got here from its roots in europe and other parts of the world, how the rose industry evolved and came here to tyler, texas. >> our cities to her staff
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we continue now with a history of tyler. >> i'm a nativethe history of c. once you pay attention, you can see it all around you. some people say tyler is the most southern of texas city's. so the history here is also
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in terms of civil rights struggles. some of those are very prominent and involve national figures in the movement and have really gone if not unnoticed, they have and a mostuiet hidden from some people. but tyler was a battlefield very early on, right after brown v. board of education in the civil rights movement. that interested me. there started to be a discussion last year about the name of a public school in tyler, one of the two major high schools here is called robert e. lee high school, and there began to be a discussion over why this school was named that and whether it was a good idea to keep the name. this was sparked by the demonstrations and the death of a protester in charlottesville, virginia, and a minister here in
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town actually asked for the school board to consider changing the name of the school, saying that given the history and given the symbolism and given that this was a confederate figure, was questioning why a public school, particularly in this day and age, particularly in a district that is now majority black and hispanic, why you would have a school named for this. there was a school board meeting, and i went to the board meeting -- just out of curiosity. several people stood up who were robert e. lee graduates during this school board meeting, and they would say how they did not want the school's name changed, and they kept repeating the old saw that "if you do not know your history, you will be doomed to repeat it." it really struck me,
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particularly since i live in the south, with my background, that these people might not necessarily know their own history, and they might not be aware how this name came to be. so i got curious about it and started to look into it. i was having discussions with a publisher, tasneem raja, and she was very interested in looking into this. she asked me to drive in, and very quickly decided to call the folks at the tyler county historical society, asking what they had. originally, i thought they would not have anything, maybe they
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would not have anything, but they had a treasure trove of information. in 1957, the decision came down, they were looking at building a new school, a segregated high school in the white community and the southern part of town, and there was a debate, what they had a treasure trove of information. should we named this school. there was an effort made to let the student body, the white student body of the school decide what they were going to name it, and ultimately, some choices were given to the school district, and the school board, all white, decided to name the school robert e. lee high school, which, you know, the white community would say this is just to honor our past and our history. tyler has a rich history connected to the confederacy, war camp, camp ford, is right up front here, so we are just honoring our confederate heritage. for the black community, it is very much a thumb in your eye and a gesture of defiance. very quickly after they named the school, some symbols of the defiance became very clear. the mascot that was chosen, it was the rebels.
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they refer to them also as the they refer to them also as the confederates. the school symbol became the rebel flag. within a year after this hole rebel flag. within a year after this hole opened in 1960, a prominent family in town brought and donated a gigantic rebel flag. they bragged on as the second-biggest rebel flag in the world. rebel flag. within a year after this hole opened in 1960, a prominent family in town brought and donated a gigantic rebel flag. they bragged on as the second-biggest rebel flag in the world. here is a picture of it with rebel flag. within a year after this hole
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opened in 1960, a prominent family in town brought and donated a gigantic rebel flag. they bragged on as the second-biggest rebel flag in the world. here is a picture of it with so you had not only that symbol, but you had a group called the rebel guard that was formed by a high school history teacher within a year or two after the school was named. here is a picture of the rebel guard. they are all wearing what looks like confederate uniforms. these were actually authentic uniforms that were identical to those used by an artillery unit that was assigned to support robert e. lee's army during the civil war. they are here posed with then governor john connally at an event. just from start to finish, you had so many different symbols of the confederacy. the drill team was known as the
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rebelettes, and the band wore the stars and bars on their chest as part of their uniform. here is the drum major for the robert e. lee band. you can see the stars and bars prominently displayed on his chest, and you also see the same in pictures of some lettermen wearing their letter jackets. what is most prominent on the letter jacket? it is the confederate flag. it could not be lost on anybody what they were trying to say here. one of the first annuals, you can see the confederate soldiers, the confederate flags, so it was very powerful symbols and symbols of resistance. another powerful detail, even the school newspaper was -- and still is known today -- as "the southern accent." there is the confederate character who is their mascot, they are the rebs. another name for the sports team or the confederates. here is an article when they were naming the rebel guardsmen, the guys in the confederate uniforms that would shoot off the canon, they are being named here today. here is a picture of one of these guys in the school
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newspaper. so it was just engrained in a fabric of daily life of the school, that, you know, we are the rebels, we are the confederacy. and this is the old elite white south. at the historic society, this is kept by a prominent lawyer in town and a politician who was also involved in the school district, and he actually kept in his files a chronology of the battles over integration. and this is from the viewpoint of the white power structure, what they were trying to do as there were successively, you know, more aggressive efforts within the federal government and in the courts, of course, to force desegregation. with the story tells of you look
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at this record and other records is a story of a power structure of a school district that was slow walking. when they could, they would absolutely say no. and when it was clear that the federal government and the court were going to force the issue, they would work as slowly as possible, and in 1970, the department of justice filed suit against the tyler independent school district in tyler federal courts. the case went to a judge who had not been on the bench that long, who was from one county over, a great name for any judge -- william wayne justice. in mid july, they asked judge justice to order immediate and sweeping integration. at that time, there were two
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white white high schools, john and robert e. lee, and one black high school, emmett scott, beloved in the black community. it had been there since the 1920's. when they realized that the gig was up, the school board presented a plan to desegregate in part by closing emmett scott was up, the school board high school, which then the black community looked at as a thumb in their eyes, and here is a school that had a class that graduated prominent member subtly of the black community here but people who went on to great success elsewhere, and they said ok, if you are going to do this, we're going to shut this down. and the justice department responded that this was racially motivated. an expert that was brought in by
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federal lawyers said if it makes financial sense, but late july, the judge ordered immediate integration. in his initial order, he said that they would keep emmett scott high school. within a period of weeks -- keep in mind school was going to start within a month, so they
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needed to come up with a plan pronto. under the gun, in the background, the federal lawyers agreed and compromised with the white leadership of the school board, and under the agreement, emmett scott would be closed, and it would no longer be used as a school. as a school. that was devastating, again, to a black community -- the school had been revered. it was also painful that the kids were going to have to go to a school named after a confederate general. in october of 1972, there were
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had been revered. body who presented the school four kids from the black student board with a petition, asking -- would you please change these confederate symbols and the name? because again, here is a school that was now integrated that have black students who have to run under a rebel flag every time they came out. every time they came out on the football field, if they were miserable time, they wore the stars and bars on their band uniform. they were waving rebel flags, shooting off a cannon, dress up like rebel soldiers, and members of the black community said this is really unacceptable to our kids. we are having the sort of shots in our faces every time somebody yells "give them hell, rel." there was a petition asking blankets to honor a black flag
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as a symbol is like asking jewish kids to honor hitler and the nazi flag. the school board again delayed action, and in november 1972, there were skirmishes between white kids and black. there was debate about how it started and how serious it was, but there was enough tension that police were called in. the next day, people were scared. 500 kids would come school, at least. some kids, the teachers told them to stay away. then, again, at a pep rally, the white kids sing dixie, some
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black kids raised their fists in a black power salute. there is more tension, and in all of that environment, the school board is asked to vote in november on what they are going to do about the school name change. they refused to vote on whether to change the name, and one white board member said black students of not deserve the right to ask us to change this because of all the fights at the school, has said if the black students have been a little less arrogant, a little less demanding, compromise might have
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been accomplished. a great number hate each other's guts. the letter is pretty strong on all sides and also among members of the school board. after that was delayed, the next month, the state education, the school's representatives sent people to tyler to tell the school board that the issue was not closed, that they were going to have to look at the confederate symbols and the name of the school, so on january of 1972, the board voted 5-2 to get rid of the rebel flag, the dixie fight song, and other confederate symbols at robert e. lee high school. only under duress, and even two board members would not bow to do this. they voted, though, at the same time, unanimously, to keep the school's name. the next morning, lee students came to school to see their teachers stripping classrooms of rebel flags, confederate symbols. they also made plans to take out a mosaic in the school lobby and the rebel symbol in the school gym floor. in local newspapers, which were again newspapers that were the
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voice of the large community, there were articles describing white students crying, some raging, and some students appearing to accept the changes, but it was a very traumatic time within the school. since then, the discussion largely died down about what the school should be named until charlottesville. once charlottesville happened, again, a minister of hispanic heritage began to raise the issue. what was gratifying and interesting about presenting this to people is even people on the school board approached me and also approached the folks at the tyler loop saying we did not know this. we did not know this about our own community. so what started as a curiosity about someone saying "you do not
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know your history, you are going to repeat it," led to this history of this project where we are presenting it to people, and for the first time, even though they may go back generations here -- and this is not only in the white community. it is also in the black community, because we found the records of the systematic enforcement of segregation, that people in the black community really had no idea existed. several folks to me said to me after they read it "i cannot believe they wrote this down." but you are looking at it through a lens of the 21st century. if you go back 50 years, tyler was a very different place, and one of the pieces of evidence i point to is how different we have become for having this discussion here right now. and it is a very civil discussion. it is still ongoing. they have not decided what they're what to do about renaming the school, but they are seriously considering it. it has been a civil discourse. there are very strong emotions on both sides. but that to me tells me something about how this very southern city has changed. >> located on u.s. 69 is the
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first adopt a highway sign in the world. the father of the data to highway will share his story and the impact of this program. >> fell down the road with -- coming out of their car. i have seen people stop and tossed the bag. i have seen people throw beer cans out the window. it wanted me a lot. since we had to clean it up. i did not appreciate people telling me my highway was dirty and to do something about it. i started out in west texas, i was a maintenance engineer. my job was to pick up trash. in those days, the way we did truckwe would send out a and have our gifted employees pick up trash all day long. it was very demeaning and it bothered me a lot.
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we produced money to burn, showing the evils of litter. was tomy assignments show clubs and schools and it made quite an impression on me. didn't do much on the public. sending employees out to pick up trash and it did not appreciate people failing trash. 19 84, i know we took a trip to meeting,ota, a highway and my wife and i kept talking about how clean the roadways were. we decided the cities were so clean that there had to be public involvement. speech -- a speech to a civics club. i challenge you to adopt the highway to get rid of the litter. of course, that was it part of
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my speech and did not expect anyone to jump up and do anything. the more i thought about it, the more i thought that might be something we could try. i called the chamber of commerce and enlisted their help and they said they're having a garden club and -- convention and they will put your man to give a speech and somebody will take us up on that. sure enough, the entire club did. in 1985, we put up the signs, highway adopted by the tyler club, they clean the highways and the adopt a highway program was born. we showed to video people that encouraged them to adopt highways. andromoted the idea locally people did come to us from our neighboring districts.
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people would see it and they would contact their office in their local highway department and they would want to adopt a highway. the format we had was what was used everywhere else.apartment,t to adopt a highway. the format that we had is what they used everywhere else. first thing you know, they had an international adopt a highway conference. every year, they would get together from all the states and have meetings and discuss what people were doing in other states. it was just a program that the time had come. people wanted to become involved, they wanted to be volunteers, and i still say the secret was giving people credit for what they were doing. a big sign. a lot of people criticize -- well, the sign is too big. you know what we told of his universal statue-- them is you
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erected to beatue pretty. people going out of picking up litter, that has been 33 years ago times $3 million. that is a lot money that the taxpayers have saved through this program. for the signs and the bags have the labor is free. the groups go out and do this on their own. from a personal standpoint, i feel really good that it is a legacy i can leave to my children and grandchildren -- from an ego point. it is something i just feel good about. considering what happened is nearly unbelievable how this thing started. i certainly did not envision it to go for our lives. clean up tyler, texas, and it is just amazing what has happened. was the largest pow
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camp west of the mississippi .iver randy gilbert will share this piece of tyler's history with us. site ofe're at the side can't afford, the largest pow camp west of mississippi. cap fromd as a prison august 1663 to may of 1865. the last prisoners were exchanged six weeks after appomattox. probably the greatest time somewhere around 3000 i'm all 437 prisonerssand can be identified as having come through this facility. if you had to have been a prisoner of war in the civil war, this probably was one of exist in.amps to it started in the summer of 1863.
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during the winter, they were build a substantial law quarters. the spring came in at the southwest quarter of the stockade, and large numbers of prisoners being dumped in late spring, early summer of 1864, this camp had a sense of internal order and discipline. the officers' quarters were above the spring, and they could p control the water supply and keep it pure. they kept their water supply good and clean and pure. i have been a longtime member of the historical society and have been working with this facility for 30 plus years in terms of researching and developing it. part of the grant application where we received the grant to develop the site as an historic k included two things come in large part done by texas a&m
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university. the lithograph that was drawn in 1865, once we got some sense of where the boundaries of the stockades work, and i can take you over there and show you where the artist was sitting when he was drawing sketches of the stockade, it matches perfectly. albert swinger from the 40th thiscame back to visit site, and he left a handwritten monograph committee details he gave matched the archaeological work of the stockades. we have a number of diaries that we have uncovered. missing early 1865, but other than that, i can almost tell you what the weather was out here on a day by day basis, because that is one of the things they
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noted in their diaries, what the weather was. probably the most , and they talked about was the boredom of being a prisoner of war. every moment is wasted. brothers was from illinois, one had come to texas in the 1850's, his brother had stayed in illinois. they had lost contact. looksening, this prisoner at the guard on the guard wallets and what is your name. what is it to you, yank. i think you're my brother. lo and behold, it was his brother guarding him, and the guard moved back to illinois, and they are buried side-by-side. an illinois one with a confederate tombstone and
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another one with the union tombstone. . escapes were common. we can identify about 97 people who made successful brakes. when the stockings were expanded, they improvise, as the were expanded, they locked them off to six feet. the final stockade was only about six feet tall, so it was not hard to get out. the problem was making 300 miles to union lines, but even so, nearly 100 men make good. some men spent better than 10 years in captivity. i can think of a main boy coming down during his first texas summer, with no shelter. understandt they can these were people fighting for soldiers,m, union they were from every state in the nation with the exception
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of, i think, delaware and vermont. hopefully they can appreciate what our forbearers suffered to give us our freedom. >> this weekend, american history tv is featuring tyler, texas. c-span's cities tour staff recently visited many sites showcasing its history. located 100 miles southeast of dallas, tyler is considered an economic hub in northeast texas, and known as the rose capital of america. learn more about tyler all weekend here on american history tv. sarah: mr. president, sir, did you screen those projects in the economy stimulus package before you sent them to the hill? the republicans are saying there are so many things in there that are totally unnecessary. i cannot believe that you sent those up there, and maybe somebody did it for you. [laughter] sarah: the golf course is in
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there and swimming pools and statues and even a project on studying the religion in sicily. pres. clinton: no. let me say -- [laughter] daye: sarah's career to becoming a journalist was a series of advancement in her job. women were not hired as news reporters in that era. so she thought, "well, i will just start one of my own." she was not tied by national syndication saying well, you cannot talk about that, or you cannot say that, and her behavior was not questioned. she could do what she wanted, because she was on her own, and that allowed her the freedom to look at an issue from more than one viewpoint. sarah mcclendon was born in this house. she was the ninth child of sydney junior and annie mcclendon. she had eight brothers and
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sisters. but it was a very political family. mr. mcclendon was the founder of the democratic party here in the county, was a postmaster, and was the chairman of the democratic committee for many years. his wife, annie, was a suffragette, and sarah can remember her going to rallies -- "vote for women" -- and i look with her mother, and she grew up as a model, sarah did. i look of a dining room, and i think about her parents talking about local, national, international events, so they would know. the breadth of what they read i think means that they were open. they did not have one particular idea about the world and life.
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they opened themselves up and took on a lot of different. ideas. this was a very eclectic reading family. they just did not look at murder cookbooks or murder mysteries. they ran the gamut. they did have a lot of different types of books, subject-wise. sarah: i was told when i first started working in washington, i would have to ask about the international questions and things like that. you bring up something new, something different, that people want to know about and ask about that. there are plenty of questions they want to know. so i always try to pick out some question that the people outside of washington want to know about. and believe me you, they appreciate it. they really do. they tell me often that i am asking the questions they would ask if they were there. and i am glad of that. but sometimes the washington white house press corps do not understand what i am asking for, about, because they do not know what goes on outside of
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washington. [laughter] daye: a woman a news agency was unique in the fact that very few independent news bureaus were open. most of them were associated with the radio stations or the up-and-coming tv station, so that was the primary source for news, but she did not just go with the ordinary stories. she liked to look at what was happening with the little people, not the air force or not the government, but she wanted to see the impact that some of the laws and events had on people back home. eisenhower was once asked by her "are you in favor of big dams upstream more little dams downstream?" of course he rolled his eyes.
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but when he got back, on his desk was a report from the corps of engineers, and it showed that it meant the difference of millions of taxpayer dollars, that they were building big upstream or little ones downstream. she knew it, and he did not. sarah: we should have training -- not on the job, but we should have some training before they get there. but as for this man, well, i can tell you, eisenhower, when you asked him a question, you had to tell him what agency you were talking about, what had been happening, where it was in the government, and what did he think about it. you had to educate him with your question. daye: sarah wrote two books. the first one was "my eight presidents." and you can see her energetic face there. "hi, mr. president. i have got a question for you." this one -- it is her memories and she kept wonderful notes. she has very detailed information about her
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relationship, and then also she has got pictures thrown in here as well. her second one was the latter part of her life, called , appropriately, "mr. president, mr. president!" there were press conferences, and she was screaming "mr. president, mr. president." they really hated to get her questions, because either a, it was something they did not know about, or they thought that it was not, you know, to the point. i would say 99.9%, it really was on point. i don't see sarah as a real crusader for women's rights, i see her as an example of women's rights. she took on the jobs. she went into the army in world war ii. she started her own business.
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she was a bulldog about finding out the details and getting the right point of a program. sarah: there is nothing wrong with being open-minded to the point where you want all information to come into you, and that is what reporters are trying to do. reporters are conduits -- you need us. whether we get kicked around or not, we are still supposed to be reporters, and we're supposed tell you what is going on in the world. if you did not have us, you would have a lot worse government than you have got now. you need us badly, and if anybody is trying to stop reporters from being reporters, and taking it from right or left or liberal or conservative, anywhere they try to find the facts, anyone who stops us from being reporters is hurting democracy. this weekend, american
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our cable is joining partners to showcase the history of tyler, texas. to learn more about the cities on our current tour, visit we continue now with our look at the history of tyler. bombing in world war ii took on a new meaning in the war, because prior to that, in world war i, we used some bonding and a lot of fighters, but it was ground fighters. the bombers were able to go when and destroy cities and destroy infrastructure that you do not have access to on the ground. hey went after strategic targets, which would be railroad lines, factories, military supportsything that the country's war fighting capability, so it became very
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popular. take, the military will tell you we cannot win a war without more power, and that is why it was developed in world war ii with strategic bombing. a locallook at it guy who grew up here, he became a site for, then they can an officer, they -- they made him an officer, and he was a photographer. he took photos of numerous ash i cannot even tell you how many different targeting photographs from the air, and they made him hhe repository for all of his artifacts. .m., by the way, is the historic aviation museum. they had 30 area cameras.
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they were good cameras. this room is very popular here, because people like to keep thinking, and he is a local guy. before you bombing target coming you need to know about the target. you need to know about it from the air, you need to where they want to place the bond, so they had to go in, because you think about it, before world war ii, we did not have an aerial photographer like have today. of all the cities in the world, they had to create their own. they would send bombers and, different airplanes and, ariel thought every of different cities were different installations, and then they would come back and review them and look for it as a place to bomb, so what was important to be bombed or not your so that is why aerial photography took off. so his job was very vitalt. . two items, which include for
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pictures of pre-strikes in and post strikes of hiroshima and nagasaki. that is the only place it has been used in the world. these photographs were only taken a short time before. not once before but a few days before the bombing. they knew that they were going to be bombed. whether or not they knew they were going to use an atomic bomb, i am not sure. they have several cities on the agenda, by the way. they took photographs of other cities that they were going to target. one of the interesting things we have here that people do not really know about is prior to bombing hiroshima and nagasaki, we dropped pamphlets on all the cities in those areas, where we told the japanese people "we are going to bomb the cities. please leave. leave. stay alive."
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you know, this is for civilians. i do not think too many left, but we did go ahead and bond them after we said we were. he was a real hero from tyler. helped usraphy win during the war, that is for sure. he provided a real service for the country, and he is a local hero here in town. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to tyler, texas to learn more about its rich history. for more about tyler and other stops on arts were at /citiestours. americanatching history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. connect with c-span to personalize the information you get from us. /connectto and sign-up for the email. the program guide is in a melt with the most updated
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program schedule and upcoming live scheduled to word for word gives you video highlights of their own words, with no, terry. apple tv newsletter -- the book tv newsletter gives you an andming look at artists book festivals. an american history tv gives you a look at the past. visit and sign-up today. >> next, on "the presidency," we hear about dolley madison's political talents and the working partnership she forged with her husband, james, to create a sense of personal and political excitement during their white house years. einhof isal


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