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tv   Reel America Frederick Douglass - An American Life - 1985  CSPAN  March 1, 2021 11:51am-12:26pm EST

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no matter who you are. weeknights this month, we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. march is women's history month. tonight house of representatives historian matthew wisniewski and curator farrah elliott take a look at women in being could. they present artifacts and photographs beginning with the 1917 election of janette rankin and ending with representatives in the 1970s and '80s. they tell stories about margaret chase smith, claire booth lewis, shirley chisolm and lindsey bogs. watch tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. ♪♪ you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3, explore our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3
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created by america's cable television companies, and today were brought to you by these television companies who provide american history tv to viewers as a public service. ♪♪ frederick douglass is not my real name. a fugitive slave. the year i was born i do not
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know. my mother and i were separated when i was still too young to know her as my mother. as a child i knew indescribable hunger. i remember fighting with yard dogs for skroops of food and i'm astonished about the scene of the slave with evidence of contempt. this was a terrible mistake. the songs of the slave represent the sounds of his heart. i've seen men and women chained and put on a ship to go to new orleans. can i still hear their cries. >> i'm just going through some
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old files and notes. i might find something interesting for the women's conference this afternoon. >> we wanted you to make a formal speech. >> i won't be long. just want to be prepared. [ inaudible ] >> i won't be long. >> a, b, c. >> very good, fred. >> go on. >> g, h, i, j, k. >> what in god's name do you think you're doing? >> you are mean. >> if you give a nigger an inch
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they will take a mile. if you teach them to read them no longer be a slave. we're going to trade when you're bigger. there ain't no reason for you to be reading, boy. no need at all. >> i understand, dear. i'll see to it that it's not allowed to read any more books. >> there's nothing more needs saying.
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>> oh, oh. >> i have little hope of the freedom of the slave by peaceful means. more than two centuries of slavery placed the slaveholders beyond the reach of normal and humane consideration. the only penetrable point of attack is fear of death. >> you mean to resist me? >> yes. >> it never did. it never will. the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those who -- >> ana, i shall not marry you as a slave. >> then i reckon you should go up north. >> you're coming with me.
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>> if i'm caught this time lord knows what happens. >> you've on the plantation now, fred. you learned yourself a trade in a shipyard. there's work for you up there and freedom. i saved up some. i've got some that i can spare for a new york train. >> anna. >> please, come up and share your thoughts with us. >> i'm not very used to speaking like this.
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>> frederick douglass is not my real name. i'm a fugitive slave. what year i was born i do not know. my mother and i separated when i -- >> have we been listening to a piece of property or a grown man? will you allow this man to be carried back into slavery? >> no! >> started here in massachusetts it becomes accustomed to travel. >> mr. douglass. >> i don't believe you've met mr. garrison. >> i'm honored, sir. >> i was deeply moved by your
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address. you have a great gift, mr. douglass. >> thank you, mr. garrison. >> you say you never had any formal schooling? >> no, sir. >> not even after you escaped? >> no, sir. i've been teaching myself ever since i was a youngster. >> amazing. >> impressive. >> really is. >> mr. douglass, mr. collins and mr. ramon and i were discussing you become an agent for the society, as a traveler, a lecturer. >> mr. garrison, i hardly have the ability. >> nonsense. you speak with full conviction and authority. >> if there is no struggle, there's no purpose. the struggle may be immoral or it may be -- >> slavery must fall. the long crushed negro must rise. >> there's not a nation on earth more guilty of practices more
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shocking and bloody than the people of the united states at this very hour. >> fred! >> no. >> slavery cannot last. the mel cole is a the truth may be for the dealers in human flesh, no constitutional change, no legislative enactments, no human contract nor grievance can save the system of human bondage from the depth and decay through which god and nature have deemed it. >> bravo. bravo! >> who is it? come in. the.
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>> i must speak to your father. >> sorry to disturb you like this. i should have known it. the very thing we're afraid of has happened, but who would have dreamed the reaction would be this great. you've made your masters and marked yourself for the fugitive catchers, my dear man. >> i have no choice. my effectiveness as a speaker was diminished. the ends of our cause claim i'm a fraud. that no slave would be literal. >> great britain. >> this seems such a capricious time for journal? >> frederick, mr. garrison may be right. >> by anna, that means i'll have to leave you and the children for a while. >> but you still have your freedom. >> can we not persuade you to stay? >> it's been over a year.
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i must go back. it's not an easy decision. the british people have taken me into their arms. >> have you any plans, frederick? >> oh, yes. when i get back there will be speeches and more speeches and meetings and more meetings, but, julia, i'm thinking of starting a newspaper. i want to call it "the north star." >> if you do, i would like to help. >> i could raise fund, sell subscriptions. >> i fear the reaction of our abolitionists at sfwloem why should anyone object? >> let me speak to mr. douglass. >> the more that's known about slavery, the better. don't you agree? >> frederick, my sister and i have hired an agent who has been in contact with you all. he is willing to sell you.
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>> sell? >> as son as transaction is completed we can gift you your freedom. >> freedom. >> freedom. >> welcome home, papa. >> rosetta. >> i like this. that's good. >> thank you very much.
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>> rosetta, who is at the door, please? >> yes, papa. it's mrs. tubman. >> harriet! oh, my goodness. so good to see you. >> frederick. frederick. >> rosetta, lock the door. the. >> oh, a warm stove is sure a welcome sight. >> harriet, this is my friend from england. she's been helping to straighten out the paup's finances. >> i'm so honored, mrs. tubman. i've heard so much about you. even in england.
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>> i'm just an old lady that loves to do a lot of walking in the great outdoors. [ laughter ] most times at night. >> and she's fond of bloodhounds, too. >> wherever i go, i hear folks talking about john brown. >> we're indebted to your deed in kansas. they say you freed over 100 slaves. >> several hundred. we escaped just ahead of the shall we say the friendly posse. >> douglass, my words are for your ears only. >> what do you mean by that? >> i intend to seize office. i want you at my side. >> seize the town? >> yes. >> first, we'll capture the army and then we'll hold their leading citizens hostage until the slaves are freed.
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>> don't you see you can't fight the entire united states army alone? you and your men will be anile aid by their numbers. >>p if it would force the people to take action against this institution. >> you know, i have supported and will continue to support you and all of your other efforts, but my dear friend, this -- this deed is doomed to failure. this is the wrong place. this is suicide, man. >> whether we live or die, this deed must be done.
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>> for the love of god. >> mr. douglass. i believe i'll go with the old man. ♪♪ >> the much of the public has declared john brown to be truly mad but he's not. he's simply a man who believes the declaration of independence behooves and the bible be a guide to human conduct. the future will write john's entat on the hearts of behave freed from slavery. he laid his hands upon the pillars of this great national temple of cruelty and blood when
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he fell and that temple began to crumble to its final doom. [ applause ] >> mr. douglass, a word with you, please. come, walk with me, sir. >> a telegraph operator, i have in my pocket a wire that just came from the united states marshall. they plan to place you under arrest. >> arrest. >> what are the charges? >> conspiracy and accessory before the fact of murder. they plan to extra diet you to virginia to stand trial with john brown. >> what in. >> mr. douglass, i'm a friend of your cause. i nova have a justice will surely see you go to the gallos. i'll hang on to this message until you're certainly out of town. >> i'm to leave to britain for some month. it's been planned for some time.
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>> mr. douglass, go at once. >> i'm go to canada. sail there. >> go quickly, mr. douglass. godspeed. i must get back to my work. >> frederick, the women on the council know you've been crossing the country for nearly half a century. >> yes, it's the men i'm trying to reach at that meeting, men that still aren't convinced. women must have the right to vote. >> you really think you can change their minds? >> perhaps. i've changed a few in my time.
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>> frederick. >> let us stop the war on the soil on which it originated and among rebels and traitors. >> yes. >> organize yourselves into societies and communities. purchase arms for yourself, learn how to use them. >> yes. >> let us not only be ready when called, but let us dance about with the opportunity to strike for the freedom of the slaves, the rights of human nature for we shall be told, and we must be red. [ applause ] >> thank you. >> thank you, stir, for
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consenting to this visit. >> mr. douglass, your reputation precedes you. we appreciate your efforts in recruiting so many negro troops. now, tell me your concern. >> to put it bluntly, mr. president, our negro soldiers are receiving inferior arms, inferior training, lower pay and in other ways of being unfairly treated by the union army, and when captured by the confederates are murdered in cold blood. mr. president, the negro soldier is willing to fight and die in this great war, but they must receive some sign from this administration that simply isn't exchanging one form of oppression for another. >> mr. douglass, if this administration goes too far we will bring down upon ourselves
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all the hatred that is felt for the negro. this will greatly hinder our ability to successfully conclude this war as we still have much to gain in this great cause. >> let us pray that this -- >> what happens now, papa, now that the people are free? >> there are papers that supposedly set us free, louis, but this my heart i feel the danger, that the victory that you and charles and 170,000 other black man fought to gain will be lost -- >> but poppa, president johnson -- >> i fear that andrew johnson is no friend of the negro people. >> you mean we've been suffering all these trials for all these years for nothing? >> without the voting, liberty
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is a mockery. the negro can no longer be a slave to an individual master. he will be a slave to society. >> it is the spirit of hate, spirit of murder, spirit of a family in their beds, but one thing i know, and that is there is no middle ground for us. we must receive all the rights of american citizens or we must be exterminated and we shall never again be slaves. [ applause ]
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♪♪ >> do you like it, anna? >> it's beautiful. >> maybe a might too grand. >> well, president hayes wouldn't have the united states marshall for the district of columbia living in a log cabin. >> mr. nigger lived in a log cabin. ♪♪
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>> how do you feel? >> what's wrong, papa? >> nothing, my dear. everything is fine. >> what is it, fred? >> i met with president garfield today. supporting and then he informed me i'll no longer be a united >> i'm to be appointed the recorder of deeds, glorified clerk. >> lincoln never took a step
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backwards in his administration. papa, you're not going to take that job, are you? >> is there had a choice? our people's pride demands that a negro hold some position in the government in the united states. i must put their pride ahead of my own. >> you've done the right thing, fred. you usually do. >> papa, papa. miss tubman is here to see you. >> harriet. >> frederick. >> my goodness. my goodness.
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>> what a pleasant surprise. >> i can't stay but a moment. i couldn't come to washington without stopping by to say hello. >> it's been so long, harriet. it brings back such pleasant memories. you know, harriet. most of what i've done in my life has been public, but i've made it in a private way. i've had the applause of the crowds while your greater deeds are known by only a few trembling, scared, bondsmen, midnight sky and silent stars are witnesses to your heroism. >> as said by that silver tofng yours.
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. you must be terribly lonely, frederick, with anna gone now and all the children grown up now. >> harriet, anna was the anchor of my life for 40 years. but i have rosetta, charles, louis, fred and i have my work. >> i hope this is hot enough for you. >> thank you, rosette. >> yes, mr. douglass. >> do you have the files on the ramsey property? >> i'll get them. >> thank you. >> miss phipps. >> yes, miss douglass. >> i understand you enjoy bonds.
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>> very much so, mr. douglass. >> perhaps -- perhaps you wouldn't mind accompanying me to the concert tonight. >> i'd be happy to. i'll have to get back to my correspondence. >> pama, i speak for the entire family. how could you do such a terrible thing? >> rosetta, is it so terrible for an old man to seek the comfort of a loving wife? >> but you are not just anybody, papa. you are the leader of our people. what kind of example is this if you insist on marrying at your age while turning your back on
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our women to marry this hussy. >> that's nonsense, rosetta. black or white, male or female, we all have the right to follow the conviction of are our hearts. i'm about to marry helen not simple police because she is white. go to my grave self-confused and self-convicted moral counter. i don't deserve that. >> oh, papa, really. >> rosetta, please. >> wonderful. >> here he is.
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[ applause ] >> thank you. >> may i have your autograph. >> i truly enjoyed your speech, sir. very moving. thank you. >> may i have your autograph, sir. >> thank you for those wonderful words, mr. douglass. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> you mean a lot to all of us. >> mr. douglass, how would you sum up your involvement in the women's cause? >> when i ran away from slavery, it was for myself. when i advocated emancipation it was for my people, but when i stood up for the rights of women, self was out of the question and i found a little nobility in the act.
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[ applause ] >> hello, mr. douglass. >> hello. >> i'm martin andrew. i heard you speak last week at mt. olive. >> oh, yes, that was an inspiring affair. >> can i talk to you for a moment, mr. douglass? >> well, martin, i've just left one meeting and i barely have time for supper before i have to go off for another. why don't you stop back tomorrow afternoon and i'll have more than just a moment. >> but i just have a question. >> all right. >> just one. >> sir, you lived in the old days when our people were slaves and in the new times both, but it seems like all those rights that we have supposed to have won are being taken away from us? what advice would you like for a young fellow like me who wants all people to live in liberty and justice? >> agitate, martin.
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agitate. agitate. agitate. >> if there's no struggle, there's no progress. the struggle may be immoral or it may be a physical up and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. power concedes nothing without a deed ma. i have little hope of the freedom of the slave by peaceful means. the limits of -- want to invite you to speak on
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this occasion. what did the american slave endure for the fourth of july? slavery must fall. most slavery cannot left. the slaveholder -- it's hardly necessary for me to say after what i've already said that i'm a radical woman suffrage movement. slavery is a common enemy of all values. -- stepped upon the free soil of massachusetts -- let us never forgot justice to the negro is simply to the nation.
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♪♪ >> you're watching american history tv. every weekend on c-span3, explour our nation's past. american history tv on c-span3 created by america's cable television companies and today we're brought to you by these television companies who provide american history tv to viewers as a public service. weeknights this month we're featuring american history tv programs as a preview of what's availability every weekend on c-span3. march is women's history month. tonight, house of representatives historian matthew wisniewski and curator ferreira elliott take a look at women in congress. they present artifacts and photographs beginning with the 1917 election of janette rangin and ending with the representatives of the 1970s and 5080. they tell stories about margaret chase commute, claire booth lewis, shirley chisholm and
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lindsey boggs. watch tonight beginning at 8:00 eastern and enjoy american history tv every weekend on c-span3. >> every saturday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3, go inside a different college classroom and hear about topics ranging from the american revolution, civil rights and u.s. presidents to 9/11. >> thanks for your patience and for logging into class. >> with most college campuses closed due to the impact of the coronavirus, watch professors transfer teaching to a virtual setting to engage with their students. >> gorbachev did most of the work to change the soviet union, but reagan met him halfway. reagan encouraged him. reagan supported him. >> freedom of the press which we'll get to later i should mention, it madison originally called it freedom of the use of the press and it is indeed freedom to print things and publish things. it's not a freedom for now what we refer to institutionally as the press. >> lectures in history on american history tv


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