tv David Zucchino Wilmingtons Lie CSPAN November 26, 2021 12:16pm-1:03pm EST
find about books and all of our podcasts on the c-span now app or wherever you get your podcasts. you can watch about books sundays at 7:30 p.m. on book tv on c-span 2 or online at any time at booktv.org. c-span's american history tv continue now. you can find the full schedule for the weekend on your program guide or c-span.org/history. good afternoon, i'm carole bucy, and i am the moderator of this session on david zucchino's book, "wilmington's lie, the murderous coup of 1898 and the rise of white supremacy," it's indeed an honor for us to have this book here at the southern festival, and because david has won the pulitzer prize for 2021 for nonfiction for this book.
it is a very important book, and i hope if you haven't read it, you will certainly be inspired to read it after our session today. david zucchino is a contributing writer to the "new york times." his most recent articles have been about the war in afghanistan, the withdrawal and the overall condition of the country there. he did win a pulitzer back in 1989 for his journalistic reporting after the apartheid in south africa. he's been nominated for journalism four different times in addition to that. so without further adieu, i want to introduce you to our author, david zucchino. thank you very much. >> thank you carole, it's wonderful to be here. i want to thank everybody for coming in. i'm going to talk for 10 or 15 minutes and give you an overview and sort of ground you, and
we're going to go to some questions from carole, and hopefully questions from you in the audience. i would like to begin today to talk about a violent event from 123 years ago that still reverberates in the racism, demagoguery, disinformation, violence that we see today. on november 10th, 1898 at least 1,500 heavily armed white supremacists in wilmington, north carolina, carried out the only armed overthrow of an elected government in american history. white vigilantes and state militia men killed 60 black men, and drove more than 2,000 black citizens from the city two days after the 1898 midterm elections. at the time, wilmington had one of the few multiracial governments in the south with black men in prominent positions but the white mob evicted the city's three black and seven white alderman, the mayor, police chief and other elected leaders at gunpoint and installed coup leaders in their
place. they burned the city's black newspaper and tried to lynch the black publish. as well as white race traitors who served in city government with black men. these black and white leaders were marched at gunpoint to the wilmington train station, thrown aboard departing trains and told don't come back or we will kill you on site. not one of them ever did return. not one came back. the 1898 coup was a pivotal event not just for the north carolina but the entire south. it cemented white supremacy as city policy for the next 60 years and inspired whites to use violence and terror to snuff out the black folks. it also turned a black majority city into a white supremacist citadel. wilmington was 56% black in 1898. in fact, it had the highest
black population of any major city in the south at the time. today, wilmington is less than 18% black. after the coup, black citizens in north carolina did not vote in significant numbers for almost 70 years until after passage of the voting rights act in 1965. now, in 1896, two years before the coup, there were 126,000 registered black voters in north carolina. 126,000. by 1902, just four years after the coup, the number had been cut to 6,000. so you can see how effective this coup was in just destroying the ability for black men to vote. in 1898, there was one black man in congress that needed the senate or the house. george henry white from a north carolina district next to wilmington. white supremacists hounded congressman white and his family so viciously that he left north carolina forever in 1900. whites parting words were quote i cannot remain in north carolina and be treated as a man. after the coup no black citizens
served in congress in north carolina until 1992. that's almost 100 years later. that's for a century almost this coup prevented or led the effort to prevent black citizens from serving in public office in washington. and from north carolina. three black aldermen were forced at gunpoint in 1898, no black citizens served on the wilmington city council until 1972, more than 70 years later. the coup also provided a blueprint for terror and intimidation of black men who tried to vote elsewhere in the south, and ushered in the jim crow area in north carolina. wilmington was among the first cities in north carolina to get jim crow laws when they segregated the street cars. in 1906 white supremacists in georgia planned to steal the midterm election by attacking black voters. first they consulted with wilmington's coup leaders on how to do it. w. hoek smith later elected
governor in a stolen election said quote we can handle the blacks the way they handled them in wilmington, where the woods were black, carcass. most probably never heard of the wilmington coup, until i read about centennial events in wilmington, newspaper coverage in 1998 hadn't either and i went to high school and college at north carolina. the coup was never mentioned by any professor or any history book in all the classes i took. many people who have read the book have the same two questions i have when i first learned of the coup in 1998. one, how could i not know about this, and two, how could this happen in the united states of america. i think the best answer i can give is this is a forgotten chapter of american history that was covered up or mischaracterized in a century and happened at a time when white supremacy went unchallenged.
victors indeed write history so after 1898, white supremacist leaders wrote the narrative of the coup, they portrayed as a good government initiative that replaced corrupt black leaders with honest white men. and claimed it was black men who were stockpiling weapons and planning a race riot. they called the coup a race riot, black inspired riot, rather than a violent act of domestic terrorism by armed white supremacists. a century later it was being referred to as a race riot. in fact, it was a racial massacre, a planned murder spree and white supremacist's coup. for the lie that stood for decades. it's hard to believe now, but no one was ever held accountable. no one was ever arrested or charged for the murders or for the coup and the federal government did absolutely nothing. now, why was wilmington such a threat to whites. first, it was a black majority city at a time when almost all
major southern cities have white majorities. second, wilmington was an outlier, a bold experiment in multiracial government, 30 years after the civil war, black men served in positions of authority. 10 of 26 police officers were black men, the county treasurer and jailer were black men, and so were magistrates, and they presided over cases of white defendants, and there was a thriving middle class with doctors, lawyers and teachers. the federal customs collector was a black man who earned more than the white governor. this was intolerable to white supremacists. they vowed to overthrow negro rule and quote negro domination by the ballot or bullet or both. they had a name for their efforts. they proudly called it the white supremacy campaign, issued a book for white supremacy, and
black inferiority. here's one quote for the handbook that's clear about white intentions. quote this is a white man's country, and white men must control and govern it. the book was called the democratic handbook, and you have to remember in 1898, democrats were the party of white supremacy, and the republicans were the party of lincoln and black suffrage. because the coup leaders announced their intentions, in fact, a lot of the research that i was able to do for this book came from newspaper stories particularly in the national press as well as the north carolina press. national newspapers, "the new york times," "the washington post," "the philadelphia inquirer," the ”chicago tribune”, many others sent reporters, all white men to cover the race war in wilmington. they were met by white supremacist leaders who gave them lodging and cigars and
whiskey. to guard against a black riot. they repeated the white narrative that black men were planning to riot and kill white men, and rape white women, and that's the story northern readers got, and that's the lie that was told for decades afterwards, and just as a side note, i read hundreds of newspaper articles from 1898 and did not find a single instance where a white reporter interviewed a black citizen, which i found just absolutely remarkable. now, there have been many other so called race riots in america, in tulsa, chicago, atlanta, and elsewhere, but these were generally spontaneous outbursts of white rage, usually involving some sort of contact between a black man and a white woman. but wilmington was unique. the violence was premeditated, the coup was planned for months. it was a carefully orchestrated racial revolution, carried out by armed vigilantes, and it was america's only permanent violent overthrow of an elected government. now you would think this major event would be described in
north carolina history books. in fact, it was barely mentioned. and when it was mentioned, it was portrayed as a heroic white response to a black race riot, and a quote good government effort to replace corrupt quote negro rule. in closing, let me read some descriptions of the coup that appeared in north carolina public high school text books that helped keep the lie alive. again, this is from state sanctioned public text books for high school students. there's a quote from a public school textbook, 1933. quote, there were many negro office holders, some of who were for their tasks. this aroused ill feelings between the races. end quote. here's a tex book passage from 1940. the mass of negros became poor seasons, allowing to do very much as they pleased. the worst crimes got punished. the white people of the south are no longer safe and this is
from the 1949 textbook. quote, a number of blacks were jailed for starting a riot and a new white administration took over wilmington's government. end quote. and finally, this is from a 1940 textbook about the kkk, the klan, and the red shirts who were the armed vigilantes in 1898 used by the white supremacists to intimidate black people, quote, to put an end to this terrible condition white people joined together which they named the ku klux klan, members dressed as ghosts and scared lawless men into acting decently. on moonlit nights they could be seen on horse back riding to bring order back into the lives of people. such sights frightened negros to living better lives. the names of the men negro or white who had done wrong, they were listed. the next night, the men would visit and punish. lawless men were not so bold, and crime became less and less,
end quote. on that note, i'll stop here, and answer a few questions from carole, and questions from all of you. thank you very much for listening. >> thanks, david. it really is a wonderful introduction to what is a very powerful book, and it is really gripping to see what is going on and one of the things that just amazed me so much about the book was some of your sources were these things that the perpetrators of this coup had very proudly written for the rest of the world to see and give them accolades for what they were doing to bring what they believed in their heads was good government. >> exactly. i thought that was one of the most remarkable things i came across when i was researching this book is just how many diaries, newspaper editorials, and letters and memoirs were written by the perpetrators openly bragging about what they
had done, and really extolling the virtues of white supremacy x pointing out that this coup was so effective that it's basically eliminated the black man not only from voting but from politics, and after that first generation died out, it was really interesting, then suddenly all the information went quiet, and people just stopped talking about it. and i think the next generation realized how painful that must be for their black neighbors, and how embarrassing it was for the world to know the truth of it, so it sort of was bury after that, after that generation died out and wasn't really talked about except in certain occasions, like the text books i mentioned where it's mentioned in passing, but very much as a triumph of good government and good order. >> and you know, it's, i guess, just a matter of human nature to some degree that the descendants
of the perpetrators may be somewhat embarrassed but they are not going to speak totally openly about what they know about what they're grandfather or great grandfather did. i was interested that you were able to even get interviews of those descendants. >> yeah, and it was very interesting. a couple were grand sons. one was frank samuel jr., the grandson of the news and observer, the driver of the white supremacy during the summer of 1898 and ran a fake news campaign that white men to attack black men. i spoke to him. the first job out of school was at the news and observer in raleigh. and i worked for mr. daniels, and i worked there five years and had no idea daniels had been involved in white supremacy. there were busts and it was this
editor that was a wonderful person, and never mentioned white supremacy. in talking to his grandson and the grandson of another leader, they both said interestingly that their grandfathers were men of their time, that they reflected the beliefs and the -- of the time, and during that period it was accepted that black people were inferior to white people, and they were performing a sort of public service in bringing sort of the best people possible to government. i mean, it seemed to me that they sort of rationalized the roles of their grandfathers even though they're saying, of course it was wrong by today's standards, and nobody would do anything like that today, but you have to understand what the conditions and the environment was back in 1898. >> and so after this story began to come out around the hundredth
anniversary of the coup, the state of north carolina, then, had to appoint a special commission to really ferret out from all of the mythology about it, from the african-american population who had some family interest in the story as well as the white descendants, how did that commission finally come to grips with all the information they were finding? >> well it took them five years. it was a five-year project. their final report was detailed. it was 460-some pages, and their main conclusion was first of all, it was not a riot. this was a coup. that it did set black voting rights for decades, and it instilled white supremacy, state policy, all of that, and so they did correct the historical record. finally, you know, more than a
hundred years later we finally get the truth. i don't think people were really paying attention. there wasn't a whole lot of publicity even in north carolina, much less nationally. i think it kind of slipped by, and people really didn't know. people didn't know about the coup to begin with, so they tended not to read about an explanation for something that happened so long ago that they didn't know about in the first place. >> that's right. now, we've got a question from eric hall here, and this is his question. charles w. chestnut's 1901 historical novel uses the wilmington massacre as the central conflict. chestnut makes it clear that the white mobs are responsible for the massacre of black americans in his novel. why do you think it took so long to reveal the true narrative? >> that's a great question, and
in fact, that's a terrific book and i used it as one of my sources even though it was fiction, it was very much fact page. and it was useful for sort of getting the feel for wilmington, the people, the environment, but as far as the story coming out, you have to remember, this was a black author and white people back then didn't read black authors, so it obviously enlightened the black community, the black people who read it but they already knew the truth. i think that's why it didn't have a whole lot of impact, and it wasn't until a hundred years later that the real story starts to come out. if anybody is interested in this period of history, it's worth it to get the african-american perspective, and when we were talking about the state report a little while ago, the report made a big point of how difficult it was to get the black perspective because so much of the narrative was told by whites, and you have to remember that black citizens of
wilmington were in fear of their lives. they were running for their lives. they were leaving town. they had lost everything. so they were really in no position to write memoirs or diaries. they were running for their lives, and of course they didn't dare send black reporters to cover this, but it was a great resource for me, the black press in other cities where people from wilmington fled within days after the coup got really realtime events and realtime interviews with survivors describing what had happened. that was an excellent source of the black point of view. >> and you know, i hasten to add that the african-american community after reading your book, i realized how well-educated it was. there was a strong group of teachers there. there also were doctors and lawyers who had been trained in all sorts of institutions around
the country. and one of the central pieces of the book that i saw were these competing newspaper stories. and the spark, i suppose, for starting the decision that we've got to take over here from the white supremacist there, was an editorial in the african-american paper, the daily record, by manley, the editor of it, alex manley had written something that really provoked the whites of wilmington. >> yes, alex manley was actually the grandson of a white governor but he lived his life as a black man, and he was a very aggressive journalist and he started a daily black readership newspaper in wilmington and in august of 1888, he wrote a speech from a white congressman
in georgia in which she said the solution for a so called rape epidemic of white women by black men, she said the solution was quote the lynch group, and she said, quote, i say lynch a thousand times a week if necessary, and she was telling the men of georgia they needed to go out and start lynching black men to stop this rape epidemic. alex manley was incensed, he heard about this, sat down the day he heard about it in august and wrote an incendiary editorial that absolutely shocked the white supremacists and whites across the south, and essentially he said that most black men who were lynched were supposedly raped white men, in fact, they're consensual lovers and secondly he pointed out what everyone knew, and put it in writing, white men had been raping black women for
generations with impunity. this incensed the white community and the vigilantes, the red shirts wanted to lynch him that day. to show you how premeditated, no, this is too early, this will have a much greater political impact if we wait until closer to the election in november, then you can lynch manley, and burn down his newspaper. they did burn down his newspaper but he was warned a couple of days beforehand that a lynch mob was looking for him. he fled and escaped and never went back. >> rebecca felton is the woman you're talking about, and you know, she really was -- she was on one level a feminist, a suffragist, and then on the other hand, she was a white supremacist, and you do see that the woman suffrage movement was tied to white supremacy in both sides, both the anti-sufficient
-- antisuffragists, played the race card quite loudly, and they were trying to get their views known across the country, but particularly across the south, and there's some version of a lot of this business about lynching in probably every state where slavery was legal at the time of the civil war. not all of those 15 left the union, but there was this tremendous fear and if you can spread fear, you can capture the attention of almost anybody and it was every african-american male is a potential rapist, we have to protect our southern women, and one of the things that gave me a little bit of a chuckle in this book was when the legislature of north carolina is discussing the laws and the comment was made they better not go too far into this
one because most of the white members of the legislature are probably guilty one way or another, and that did give me just a small chuckle that they were going after themselves in all of this about the book. >> it was a white judge who made that comment, and it shut down all attempts to pass that law. they just quit after that. the term they used in the newspapers to incite whites was the black beast rapist, and they planned, phone any stories about black men preying on white women, that were completely false but the narrative was that you better get your gun and go out and lynch black men because they are coming for your women. and they're going to rape women, and that was a really strong component of the whole white supremacy campaign. the other component was black men were not capable enough or intelligent enough to vote, and
they certainly weren't competent enough to serve in public office, and that message was just drummed home to the white readership of the newspapers. you have to remember at this time the newspaper was the source of the information. that was the entire news media. they were very very effective at disinformation and fake news. >> yes, and you know, it did -- they did get their point through to the people. one of the things that you mentioned were the guns, and these people are stockpiling weapons and we've seen some stockpiling taking place in more recently times as well. but people were stockpiling and the kinds of weapons the white supremacists had amassed during the planning of this was just astonishing to me, and i can only imagine the terror that some of these african-americans felt when they see all of this
because they're all afraid of these folks, and so one of the most painful parts of the book to me was the african-american families who felt like they had to get out of their houses that day because they were going to be burned out and killed, and they went into the swamps and into the cemetery on a november night when it's cold and wet and they hid laying down in this wet cemetery for a couple of days. two women, didn't two women give birth and die in the cemetery, and the children died, and then when they finally get brave enough to get back, i mean, the children are wet. the children are crying. it was such a descriptive scene that i could visualize what it was like for those people afraid to go back saying they were all going to die out there in that
cemetery. >> i mean, they left their homes with no warning at all. i mean, they knew something was coming, but then when they see 60 black men murdered in the streets, they're all for their lives. and the guns, wilmington was probably the best armed city in america. winchester rifles and pistols. in fact, the gun stores ran out of weapons and ammunition, and they had to telegraph richmond and baltimore to load weapons and ammunition on trains. at the same time, all the gun dealers of course were white and they refused to sell to black men. so the black community had very few weapons and the other very very tactic that the white supremacists used was to make sure the white -- there were two white militias, the national guard of the day, the wilmington light industry and the naval reserves.
they were supposedly reporting to the governor but in fact they were commanded by a made up of white supremacists, and basically took orders from the white supremacist leaders of this campaign, and this summer of 1898 was the summer of the spanish war, and two black companies were called up to the war, the white supremacist leaders made sure the white units were back in wilmington in time for the coup. and they were. they also made sure the two black units were in georgia on a training base and did not get back because that was the only armed young trained black men in the city, out of the city, and they made sure they didn't come back in, and they unleashed the two militias on the black population, and actually during the summer, the two militias were equipped with rapid fire guns, the first machine guns they put on the back of a wagon,
and they were paid for by white supremacist merchants to make sure they had enough fire power to put down this purported black riot. >> you mentioned the spanish american war, the african-americans had even before november 10th made pleas to president william mckinley. mckinley was the son of abolitionists and tell us about president mckinley's reluctance to get involved. his response, as well as the response of other national leaders. >> you mentioned mckinley was a son of abolitionists, he was an abolitionist himself. he served as an officer, was very much against slavery, and against segregation. in fact, when he was running as a candidate for president was the first presidential candidate to address an all black audience on the campaign trail. so it's baffling to me that his
response was minimal. as you mentioned, he was warned by george henry white, the congressman, and by black ministers from wilmington, who traveled to washington, met at the white house, and warned him, mr. president, there's a coup being planned, white people are beating and intimidating and terrorizing black men and planning a coup. they did nothing. after the coup, congressman white and the same ministers went back and met with him again, and asked him to protect the voting rights of black men, he made no comment ever that i could find publicly about the coup. it was discussed in one cabinet meeting and the topic of sending federal troops or federal marshals to north carolina was brought up but nothing ever happened. no one was ever held accountable. the grand jury was set up, but white witnesses refused to cooperate. so no one was indicted. no one was certainly arrested or
jailed or convicted. they completely got away with it. >> and you know, it's really interesting to me that mckinley as a republican politician would have really cared much about the south because republicans in those days were not carrying any southern states anyway. north carolina and tennessee and some of the border states had populations of republicans in the mountains more or less, the eastern part of tennessee, and so i can't understand why president mckinley couldn't take a strong position about this because it surely wasn't because he was afraid he was going to lose the south in the 1900 election. >> that perplexed me, too. as you say, he was running for reelection, but i think he made a calculation of with this coup, and he figured that it would spread that there would be no black vote.
he realized that. and blacks had put him in office. they were very important in getting him elected. i think he realized now because of this voter intimidation, the white supremacist movement across the south, there weren't going to be black voters, and he didn't want to antagonize the white leaders, which he needed. needed them in congress, not necessarily to get elected because the republicans didn't carry the south anyway. he made a calculation that he needed them. for whatever reason, he kept quiet. i could find nowhere that he made a public comment about wilmington, and he had a lot on his mind because there was the peace talks after the spanish american wars and there was a lot of political pressure on other fronts. i don't think this was a big issue for him. >> no, i don't think it was a big issue, and you know, the whole subject of voting rights was integral to all of this whole racial tensions coming up with jim crow politics and
whatnot across the south. what was interesting to me to learn in your book was the extent of the communication between these white supremacists in north carolina with white supremacists in louisiana, for example. you know, the idea that they came up with these grandfather clauses and other ways to prevent african-american voting. can you say a little bit about the grandfather clauses and some of the other tactics that they were swapping ideas about. >> exactly. you mentioned the grandfather clause that had been used in louisiana. and daniels, the editor of the news and observer was actually not a journalist. he was a politician that owned the newspaper. he actually was on the executive committee and held democratic party meetings in his news room. and the white supremacists realized they had a problem,
first of all, with taxes. there were a lot of poor whites that couldn't afford the poll taxes. and then the literacy tests. so they had to get around that problem. and what they did was copy to a certain extent louisiana's grandfather clause. in north carolina it said that if your ancestor voted before 1868, then you were eligible to vote. and 1868 was a pivotal year because that's the year black men got the vote. of course no black men would have an ancestor who voted then because black men didn't vote. so it disqualified all those except those grandfather was white, but that was a minority. to basically eliminated black men from voting but gave an out to poor whites and ill literal
whites. it was an effective piece of legislation. and that played a big role in black citizens for not voting for 70 years in north carolina and also in the south as well. >> well, it definitely suppressed the votes all across the south. you're right about that. and one thing that as this riot, this momentum gets started, one thing that i shouldn't have been surprised of was that just groups of men started coming to wilmington, you know, they wanted to get in on the action there. and that was very surprising to me. >> yeah. the real shocking thing was that governor daniel russell was a republican. he was from wilmington. he was part of -- his grandfather was a slave owner. he grew up on a plantation, but he was a moderate by the standards of the time and absolutely owed the black voters for putting him in office. yet, he gave the order that day,
the day of the coup, for the two white supremacist militia to go out into the streets and started, quote, putting down the ruckus. that was pivotal. i think he was completely intimidated by the white supremacists. he was related to a lot of them by blood or marriage. nigh knew him. they threatened his life and they threatened to impeach him. he stood by and did absolutely nothing as black citizens were murdered in the streets. indirectly on his orders. >> in carolina, had the republicans, they also had this other kind of more fluid groups. tell us a little bit about the fusionists. >> yeah. actually, that is what allowed, i guess you could call them, the progressives of the day to take over the wilmington city government and the election in
1897 as the poll -- the people's party, which was maybe -- mainly four white farmers had become disenchanted with the democratic leadership. they had voted democratic. but they felt they were being ignored by the bankers, the railroads and the lawyers, and these were poor white farmers who had more basic issues like education for their children, support for farmers. they gave their allegiance to the republican party, which meant they were aligned with black voters because almost black voters at that time voted with the republican party. this was called fusion. this was the white farmers and then the white and black republicans and it was strong enough to take the state legislature i think in 1896 and then in 1897, they took power in wilmington. and it was the very presence of black men in office that enraged
white supreme cysts that they planned the coup. >> it was very interesting for me that from my perspective, the main leader of the coup was alfred waddel. and, yet, somewhere in the middle of the coup, he says no lynching. no lynching. and, you know, they were looking for alex manly. they had check points all around the city. and then he says no lynching. and the most silly thing, i suppose, one of the many silly things, is he almost crowned himself mayor after they get the fusionists mayor out of office. and, so, all of the government officials, even the white ones, which were the majority of the government officials all got sent home and waddell has control of the whole city. >> yeah. and that's why he was put in this awkward position. all summer, his role during the
summer was to give these ind send yar speeches really inspiting white men to attack black men and terrorize them and keep them from voting. he said if they went out and saw a black man trying to vote, they should order him to go home or shoot him down. shoot him in his tracks. that was his quote. in fact, after they -- at gunpoint they removed the previous city mayor, the police chief, they held a fake election and he was, quote, elected as mayor. and then he was put in the position of having to provide public security and protect citizens, black and white. so he started giving speeches saying, okay, everybody, go home and put down your guns. but this violence he had incited had got out of control by then.
he said lynching is out of control now that i'm in charge. >> so they control the narrative of how this story is going to be told. we were saving wilmington. we were saving north carolina. we were saving the south. >> white women, yeah. >> white women, especially. and one of the things that you said in the book, and i will have to paraphrase it, but it was something that even though that slavery had ended with the civil war and white people understood that slavery did not exist, that black people were still black and that was what made all the difference to these folks. and it was -- it was so totally racially motivated. and, so, you know, i am a little bit curious to find out a little bit more about what happened in wilmington after world war i when we have the riot in tulsa
and the rejuvenation of the klan at stone mountain, stone mountain, georgia and the 1920s planned convention in washington where they proudly marched down pennsylvania avenue. so i'm very interested in learning a little bit more about that because this was only one of these massacres that took place. >> right. >> and there were -- there were lots of these kinds of things across this. so tell us here in the two minutes we've got left, what do you hope your readers will take away from this book? >> well, one thing i -- one big reason i wrote this big was to correct the historical record and tell the true story of what really happened. and i hope what people take from this book is that the danger and the power of demagogues, disinformation of using violence for political end is dangerous.
it's a real deep and imbedded part of our history, as is institutionalized racism and learn to recognize those, the signals, that tell you that this is happening again. and i see it a lot today, particularly when trump was president. i see this being repeated. so i hope the less son from this book is to be alert and be aware democracy is very fragile. and once you start inciting people's violence for whatever reason, it is hard to stop it. and i see us in that position today, particularly with the january 6th insurrection, which was very similar to what happened in 1898 where people essentially equated patriotism with vigilanteism. they were told that their way of life and their very country was being taken from them in both
1898 and on january 6th. people responded with violence in protecting what they thought was their way of life. >> and -- and certainly the price of democracy is that we have to be vigilant. we live in this wonderful place and we have to be vigilant. and voting is power. and we need to make sure that the franchise is there for people to be able to use that power that they have to have a say in government. and, so, i want to say thank you to you, david, for writing this book. i want to say thank you to our viewers for participating and watching this session and encourage you to get this book from your local public library or purchase the book and read it. it is a very important book that i think every american needs to read to understand many of the things that are taking place from time to time across the country. and, actually, indeed across the world. and, so, i want to close with
the quote from james lowen who passed away a few weeks ago. and this is what he said about american history and how american history is taught, which, of course, is a debate across the country now about what should be taught and what should be omitted from the teaching of american history. and this is what he said. the antidote to feel good history is not feel bad history but honest and inclusive history. and he goes on there in that passage of one of his books that -- that honest history teaches that the good and bad come together and that is part of our collective identity, and we have to kind of pay attention to our collective identity so that we can help our country grow more thoughtful, more tolerant rather than being a
centric nation. and i do think what is included in the history books is very important to all of us today. so i hope you will enjoy getting -- coming to grips with this story, learning about it and then learning about the history of your community or your state that perhaps is not as well known either. thank you very much for coming today. i hope we will see you again next year. >> thank you, carol. thanks, everybody. american history tv continues now. you can find the full schedule for the weekend on your program guide or at cnn.org/history. today we're going to talk about the tomb of the unknown soldier. and this is the 100th anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier. he did lay in state in the capitol and sam is going to talk to you about that. and let me give you a little