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tv   Caleb Mc Daniel Sweet Taste of Liberty  CSPAN  December 26, 2021 11:55am-1:26pm EST

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that's a serious conversation. >> well, and take out the lifestream for this year for american history. i'm vice president of the university of columbia and we are delighted to be partnering once again at columbia and monitoring this event and was cspan's american history tv, present and in the future. thank you so much for joining us and for this important
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discussion and, the centers new annual stream. and at the center of the partnership is truly a department of history and moderated and embarks on mission last year to have engagement and social responsibility and the history of this urgent need that we must address. i'm especially delighted to introduce our panel tonight, doctor mcdaniel are featured spiegel, caleb mcdaniel, about humanities and the department of history. and the professor caleb mcdaniel specializes in u.s. history, and an american civil war era. in the latest book, a true story of slavery and restitution in
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america. on the weekly press and awarded the pulitzer prize for history and bravery in a more of the organization of american historian and in addition, the scholarly publication, it appeared in the new york times, the atlanta, and times. as an active leader in american history initiative read them also very pleased to introduce our monitor jordan, who the justice legal firm and it the 2021, 2022, - and jordan graduated as a history major from columbia college and recently at the law school. and facilitating collective
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visions around local government initiatives. and she currently works alongside in the community and southeastern louisiana to advocate for justice and the legacies of slavery. in the intersection of law and the justice theory and a recent publication, announced her as a her preparations on american plantation and explored the years of eminent domain and attributed the plantation land and buildings in louisiana. and pleased to introduce my colleague columbia university and moderator, and professor of american history in honor of eisenhower at columbia.
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and currently at the center for american history along with the columbia cochair and addressing it. [inaudible]. and often encouraged in the american civil war and reconstruction. and with the american and the south and is on the ethic human drama of reconstruction at the turn-of-the-century. in this power in politics for the civil war fell and wanted that was a final for the pulitzer prize in a member at the institute of american history. and also moderating it on our panelists, and inquiries from the audience.
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we encourage you to submit your questions using the online tool available this lifestream. and today's program, including information on a recent by columbia program which helps the long hidden histories that face women. .. >> professor stephanie mccurry. >> good evening, everyone. i'm very excited to see you all here. the center for american history is hosting a speaker series -- [inaudible] we'll have two more events in
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the spring semester. just to tell you what we're thinking about in choosing that theme. the idea that slavery had and -- significant material leading into the 21st century and which required the program -- [audio difficulty] public forums in recent years. the connection between the past and the present -- other parts of the world were shaped in the african slave trade. long history of this movement dating back to reparations -- [audio difficulty] in other parts of the world impacted or shaped by the african slave trade. this idea has a long history or this movement has a long history
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of formerly enslaved people in the 19th century, but it has also gained strength and currency through the impact of recent activism, journalism and scholarship. in that vein i think of the work of the new jim crow, our colleague starting with her first book and journalists like ta'nehisi coates and his 2014 essay, "the case for reparations," which he published in "the atlantic." and most recently, nikole hannah-jones' blockbuster 1619 project for "the new york times" which, as i'm sure you know, is the target of republican legislators and right-wing culture warriors. and settling on this capacious theme, our idea -- the directors, myself, frank and ty jones -- our idea is to use it to engage in questions about the meaning of enslavement as a
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central theme and force in american history and life from the 1850s to the present. so in that sense, it's openly and sort of definitely a history of the present. but far from dictating any position, we think of it as a way to pose a series of questions with the hope of opening up a conversation across disciplines and specialization. what does the idea of afterlife mean at the conception of historical time? one that spans and potentially collapses the considerable instance from the 17th century or even the 19th century to the present. what does it mean for an understanding of emancipation as a meaningful break in historical times. we're also interested in thinking about whether there are differences between the humanistic disciplines in their embrace or use of this concept or framework. and what are the implications for contemporary activism.
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one of the reasons we're so delighted to have jordan brewington with usen tonight. can we -- with us tonight. can we talk to end the system of enslavement of black people in the u.s. and elsewhere, and if we can, what does it mean to be an abolitionist today. these are the kinds of questions and conversations we hope to engage starting tonight and over the course of the academic year. in addition to professor mcdaniel, who is our lead speaker tonight, our own colleagues and former students are key interlocutors in this series starting, as you just heard, from jordan brewington who's talking to us tonight and who ann thornton just introduced. but in the spring we will also have sarah haley, our new colleague in history, and sadia hartman whose work is at the very center of this debate and scholarship. and that event will be in february 2022.
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and the final event will involve elizabeth hinton, a former ph.d. student in history at columbia who's now at yale history and law and who will headline the event in march and will be joined by our current colleague from the journalism school. and so with that, i just want to say how excited we are to launch this annual series tonight with caleb mcdaniel and jordan brewington. and with that, i'm going to turn it over to professor mcdaniel who will introduce us to the summit of his outstanding book, "sweet taste of liberty." >> thank you so much, stephanie, for that warm introduction. and thank you to all of the organizers of this event. it's truly an honor to be speaking with you this evening, especially after hearing about the many distinguished historians who will be speaking in this series after me. let me begin with a story about a lawyer. on august 8, 1948, the chicago
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sunday tribune published a profile about an african-american lawyer named arthur h. simms, a, quote, one-time slave who had been practicing law in chicago for more than 50 years. according to the tribune, he had been born enslaved in mississippi in 1856 to a mother described only as a laundress, and he remained activity at the ripe old age of ark active at the age of 92. a deputy clerk said that the lawyer was the oldest attorney still practicing in the city and, quote, just seemed to go on forever. simms had, indeed, seen a lot of his years in chicago. in 1887 he became one of the first african-american graduates of the union college of law, a two-year program whose alumni
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included a future governor of illinois and the populist politician and presidential candidate william jennings bryan. here is simms pictured with his graduating class of 1889 which a few years later became what is now northwestern university's school of law. in the years after his graduation, simms made a name for himself on the south side of chicago as the people's lawyer. his bread and butter cases were those of a general practice attorney defending those accused of small criminal scrapes, handling divorce, but he had some big cases as well. after the bloody chicago race riots of 1919 in which 23 black chicagoans were killed by white mobs and another 30 were injured -- 300 were injured, simms and a team of lawyers successfully defended a black woman named emma jackson from a murder charge by proving she had fired on a white rioter in
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self-defense. and by that time, simms had also become well known in the african-american community as a promoter of black-owned businesses. in 1905, he spoke about the topic, titling his lecture with one word, progress. in 1948, however, the chicago tribune did not say much about simms' long career other than the fact that it had been long. the reporter seemed most impressed by the lawyer's longevity, and the article said that simms credited his advanced age to some sage advice he had received in 1878. quote: an old doctor once told arthur h. simms that if he learned only what was good and kept adding to it, he would live long and sleep well at night. simms heeded the advice given him in 1878, and the wisdom kept him well.
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he will be 93 next january, and he sleeps well at night. the tribune did not identify who the old doctor was who handed simms the keys to a good night's sleep and a long life in 1878. perhaps he was a college professor. we know a thing or two about putting people to sleep. but i did not come here tonight to talk to you about sleep or, hopefully, to put you to sleep. i actually came here to tell you about something else far more interesting, i believe, that happened in simms' life in the year 1878. an event that i think was even more crucial in explaining his long career in the law than the advice he got from a doctor that same year. for 1878 was also the year when simms' mother, a formerly enslaved woman named henrietta wood, won the largest known sum ever awarded by a u.s. court in
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restitution for slavery. her story, the story of henrietta wood, is the one i tell in my book, "sweet taste of liberty," and it's a story without which arthur simms' story would not be complete. so let me briefly summarize the story of the book which follows henry yet that wood across -- henrietta wood across multiple state lines over nearly a century. now, unlike her son, no image of henrietta wood survives today. but we know that her life began in northern kentucky on the southern banks of the ohio river where henrietta was born enslaved around 1818 or in 1820. she could never be sure exactly which. at the age of 14, she later remembered, like many enslaved children in the upper south at that time, she was traumatically separated from her family and
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sold for the first time to a merchant in louisville. he sold her again a few years later to another merchant who forced wood to accompany if him to new orleans where she lived for about six or seven years before returning to kentucky. eventually, however, henrietta wood experienced what very few of the millions of people enslaved in the american south before the civil war did. in 1848 she won her freedom after her legal owner at the time moved with wood to cincinnati, a state whose constitution had outlawed slavery from the beginning. assed wood later recalled of -- as wood later recalled of that fateful day, quote: my mistress gave me my freedom, and my papers were recorded in the hamilton county, ohio, courthouse; papers that proved she was free.
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wood soon found, however, that freedom in antebellum america even in a free state was always a fragile thing. in july 1849 the courthouse where her freedom papers were officially recorded burned to the ground, leaving her only with a copy of the papers in her personal possession. and then in 1853 wood was lured by her employer at the time into a carriage and taken against her will across the ohio river into kentucky where she was cruelly kidnapped and reenslaved by a man named ward. the kidnappers later crossed the river to find and confiscate wood's personal copy of her freedom papers too. now, i first learned about that kidnapping the fall of 2014 when i read an interview that wood gave about her ordeal many years after she had regained her freedom. and i have to say, sad though it
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is that the kidnapping of a free black woman in 1853 was not the part of the interview that surprised me the most. historians of this period know that the kidnapping and enslavement of free black people was not uncommon in the years before the civil war. the reason was a combination of anti-black racism and greed. on the eve of the civil war, the 4 million people enslaved in the united states were worth an estimated $3 billion to their legal owners, more than all the factories and railroads in the country combined. kidnapping gangs in the upper south knew that if they could capture and sell free black people into the lower south, they could reap a huge profit. historian richard bell has even recently estimated that the thousands of freed people kidnapped and enslaved from the north may even have been roughly equal to the number of enslaved
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people who escaped from the south on the better known underground railroad. one of the most famous victims of kidnapping, of course, was solomon northam whose memory of -- memoir of his kidnapping was dramatized in the oscar-winning movie "12 years a slave." wood's story differed, however, in two important respects. first, abolitionists and allies in new york intervened in the case of solomon northam who regained his freedom and was reunited with his family in 1853, only a few months before wood was kidnapped. wood, on the other hand, would not taste freedom again until after the civil war and the legal abolition of slavery. like northup, wood never did accept her rep enslavement --
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reenslavement. she fought. in fact, only hours after her kidnapping, she spoke in secret to a sympathetic innkeeper in kentucky who believed wood's story that she had been wrongfully enslaved. a lawyer in lexington was engaged to help, and the lawsuit was even filed in a fayette county, kentucky, court alleging that wood was a free woman. that case proved to be important later on, and its outcome was not a foregone conclusion. in earlier decades some kentucky courts had sometimes ruled that a person who had established domicile in a free state, as wood had in her five years of freedom in cincinnati, remained free even if brought into kentucky. wood's case, however, failed to convince the fayette county court who dismissed her freedom suit. wood's lawyer appealed the decision to kentucky's state supreme court, but there the case failed again in 1855. in truth, while not a foregone
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conclusion, that outcome was also not surprising. the willingness of southern state courts and legislatures to grant freedom in freedom suits waned to a vanishing point in the decade before the civil war. the legal system at the time was stacked against wood who was presumed a slave unless she could prove that she was free consider the fact that her kidnapping and the defender was zebulon ward, a man who had been serving as deputy sheriff in kentucky when he helped to orchestrate wood's abduction. between the kidnapping and the decision of the state's supreme court, wood also pursued and received a new job as the appointed superintendent of the kentucky state penitentiary in frankfurt. in that position ward was allowed to force the prisoners in the penitentiary to work for
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his own profit. he became a pioneer of the use of convict labor to enrich private firms who leased prisoners in penitentiaries from the state, a practice that a predated the civil war but later expanded across the american south, creating a racialized regime of incarceration and forced labor that one writer has called slavery by another name. and another citing a contemporary source described as worse than slavery. after the civil war, ward would go on to manage state penitentiaries in two other states, tennessee and arkansas, making several fortunes by exploiting the labor of prisoners who were disproportionately black. when he died in 1894, zebulon ward passed on an estate worth some $600,000 to his family, making him a multimillionaire in
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today's terms. that was the man who kidnapped -- and according to the state of kentucky -- now legally owned henrietta wood. and after he defeated her freedom suit in 1855, he eventually sold her to slave traders who took her down the river to nachez, mississippi. there in one of the largest slave markets in the deep south, wood was bought by a cotton planter who put her to work under brutal conditions in the fields and in his house, a place called brandon hall. and it was there that she gave birth to arthur h. simms who was born, as the chicago tribune later reported, in january 1856, quote, on a farm 11 miles from nachez, mississippi. his mother had been sold to the plantation owner, a man jailed gerard brandon, only a month
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before his birth. now, wood and simms remained in bondage at brandon hall which remains standing today in this picture here when the civil war began in 1861. but in 1863, as union armies began to close in on the district ready to enforce the emancipation proclamation issued earlier that year, gerard brandon decided to run. he forced some 300 enslaved people on the road and made them march some 400 miles to texas, settling for the duration of the war on rented land in robertson county. henrietta wood and her young son arthur were among those who brandon brought all that way to texas. after the long march, she later remembered that she arrived broken down and sick from exposure to the elements, forced to use crutches for an entire year, and she remained there in
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texas still enslaved and beyond the reach of u.s. armies until months after the surrender of general lee at appomattox. but henrietta wood's story did not end in texas. in 1869, a full 16 years after her kidnapping and 4 years after the passage of the 13th amendment, she managed to return to the cincinnati area with her son arthur, still alive and by her side. if -- she began working as a domestic worker for a lawyer in covington, kentucky, named harvey meyers. at some point she unfolded for meyers her long ordeal at the hands of zebulon ward whose name she had never forgotten. and then in 18 is 70, with meyers' legal help, she filed a remarkable lawsuit against zebulon ward in the superior court of cincinnati.
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the lawsuit laid out all that had happened since 1853, and it demanded that ward pay $20,000 in damages and lost wages for her many years of enslavement. now, i've already foreshadowed the outcome of this case, but before i give you the specifics, here's a question i've often been asked by readers about it. how unusual was wood's lawsuit? and the answer is that it was both unsurprising and surprising at the same time. unsurprising because enslaved and formerly enslaved people had articulated the demand for reparations from the earliest days of the nation's history and would continue making the demand long after wood's lawsuit. in 2014, just a few months before i began researching this book, an influential article by the award-winning journalist ta'nehisi coates revived
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conversations about what he called the case for reparations, but the struggle for reparations long predated that piece. at the turn of the century, another formerly enslaved woman, kali house, would lead a large grassroots movement of african-americans who lobbied congress for, quote, ex-slave pensions. and in the 1850s, abolitionists in new york had even lobbied the state legislature to provide compensation to solomon northup who i mentioned earlier. and those are just two examples of many reparations claims made over the years. but in other respects, wood's case was surprising and unusual. her specific claim of having been field and reenslaved, of having been kidnapped and wrongfully enslaved gave her a special legal standing even if her petition did go beyond claiming damages for world's act
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of kidnapping to include a claim for lost wages and the many abuses suffered during her bondage to someone other than ward. and wood's case was surprising for another reason. kali house's movement was defeated. solomon northup was never paid. but in 1878, after eight long years of litigation that included the removal of the suit to a federal court, wood finally got a verdict in the case of wood v. ward. and the jury decided in her favor. when the verdict came, 25 years had passed sense wood was kidnapped across the ohio river and back into slavery. her son arthur, born into slavery because of that act, was now a 22-year-old man and stood in the courtroom that day when the jury filed in to read the verdict. both must have taken some satisfaction in the outcome,
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though it would have been tinged with disappointment too. after all, wood had sued ward for $20,000, but in its verdict the jury awarded her only $2,500, a tiny fraction of her claim. plus, ward immediately objected to the verdict and move for a new trial which forced wood to wait another year to learn whether the verdict would stand. in fact, wood was still waiting in 1879 when she gave the newspaper interview where i first encountered her story. in that article she toll the reporter of her victory -- told the reporter of her victory over zebulon ward but said she was still waiting for him to, quote, pass over them checks. when i first started the research on this book in the fall of 2014, that left me wondering if ward ever did pass over the checks. in the fall of 2015, hoping to answer that question, i traveled
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to the chicago branch of the national archives where the records of the now-defunct sixth circuit u.s. court for the southern district of ohio had been relocated in 1953. there i found the original case file containing the papers from wood's lawsuit. and among those papers was a document that proved ward did pay the $2,500 to wood. as you can see here, it was labeled as satisfaction. after receiving the checks, wood and simms moved together to chicago where wood lived out the rest of her years before dying in 1912 at the age of 92 or 94. and that brings us back to where we started this evening, with the story of her similarly-long-lived son, arthur simms. simms would live in chicago until his death in 199 -- 1951
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is, practicing law and presiding over a large clan that included grandchildren and great grandchildren. his descendants through his son, arthur jr., and his daughter, nita, included a grandson trained as a tuskegee airman during world war ii, a jazz musician in postwar chicago and a host of african-american professionals including a librarian, doctor and a computer systems engineer. here he is with one of his great grandchildren possibly poring over a law book in a photograph taken around the same time as the profile of simms in the chicago tribune where we began. as you'll recall, the chicago tribune said that simms credited the advice he received from a doctor in 1878 for his good health and long career. but equally important, i hope to have shown, was the verdict his mother received in the very same year. more important, in fact.
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$2,500 was not a lot of money compared to ward's riches, of course, but $2,500 in 1878 would be worth more than $60,000 today. partly with the help of that money, simms would purchase a house in chicago in 1885 very close to where the university of chicago stands today. few wage-earning families in chicago at the time could afford to purchase homes without a loan from a friend or a family member, and the number of black homeowners was especially small. to pay the $1150 outright for the house, arthur simms must have turned to someone with enough capital to help him acquire real estate, someone such as his mother, henrietta wood. that house proved to be a fruitful asset for wood and for simms particularly as a means of acquiring cash.
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using his equity in the house, he borrowed $800 in 1888 midway through the legal studies that he began after buying it. it was the first of several mortgages simms would take out and pay off before the century turned. the chicago tribune though told only a shortingenned version of this story -- shortened version of this story in 1948, drawing the easier conclusion that the venn national barrister had, quote, pulled himself up from slavery. in pulling himself up from slavery, however, simms also had some help that most other sons of enslaved women did not. and it seems more than possible that his mother's story also played a greater role in his interest in the law than his interview with the chicago tribune let on. he mightily believes in the power and insight of judges, the tribune reported in 1948, a belief possibly seeded -- though the paper did not say it -- by his experiences watching his
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mother's suit make its way through the federal courts many years before. in any vent, it seems -- in any event, it seems safe to conclude that her extraordinary legal victory had taught him what the law and the courts could sometimes do and may have made it possible for him to do law. thank you so much. >> thank you, caleb, so much for that talk, which i think our audience can already see squarely in the very last days of slavely in the united states and the question of reparations, the urgent questions in the critical decades immediately after the civil war. and we're really lucky to have with us tonight also jordan brewington who, as we mentioned, was a graduate -- is a graduate of columbia and yale law school, and jordan's work focuses on
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approaches to reparations in the present moment, as in now. not just a historian. and particularly on ideas about how this can be done meaningfully, how this can be done meaningfully through reparative processes that focus on particular descendants of slavery, in particular very rooted local place or communities, in some cases near the plantations on which their ancestors labored. .. >> and also the potential from the past and the present, and turning it over now. >> it thank you all and think you to everyone for putting this event together and for welcoming me in his chair in conversation
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and just share this about my work. i really appreciate the professor and to reflect marie reflect on humanitarian this story and bringing it into the conversation it and what i think about henrietta wood's story, i think about the powerful bridge across time which i described in the introduction of my notes and the way of black folks who have been in the institution of that slavery, demanding revelation in and speaking to federation, for just about as long as the federation has been listed with the united states and i think about walker, a black man in massachusetts and is suited his owner in 1871 but he was denied and i think of another, a black woman who was insulated also the
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18th century by the royal family who are now the benefactors. in the petition it in front of the state legislative body, for herself and her daughter said they can survive after many in the roll and learning about date have the interventions in my life and also in my work, and rep the reformations have always been about an first that would be a demand for accountability for the suffering of those who have harmed us braided and in 1870, taking advantages of the enslavement even after they become free again. and additionally, i think that the preparations have always been in the demands to redistrict the resources and it
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so important in order for the black folks to own their own. and from the royal families state and her daughter's livelihood. that spirit and the harms that we have experience and then understanding is that the resources, they must be redistributed in our of the black folks to get relief into truly experience liberation and that is what i believed to be central. and i think accountability and redistribution of laws is at the center of every conversation it in every effort in every program in these operations in our country. and the peace and the accountability and redistribution is essential. and it called us to consider on a local level, the particular in
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public and sometimes either debating on which plantation an institution that. and a quick summary of my peace, and southeastern louisiana, or i am currently, one of the ways that i think that were seeing the end slavery is the plantation system. forcing the plantations in louisiana, originally the land of our nation and the indians and who were pushed out to make way for indigenous africans and african-americans were then forced to live and work you know, and experience this in a public way and also suffering until they died of those plantations. and these plantations are continuing to operate and even increase in their operational capacity for a time which they were able to do to rely on the
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labor of those of the slaveowner plantations and also well into the 20th century and it always use the example for instance, in louisiana, the black men and women in our the sugarcane fields and their seen as the former enslaved ancestors predict so many of these plantations, they were also were at a time they were fight the chemical industries, and the later maybe some that remain will conveyed into plantations and better to order by hundreds of thousands of tourists a year pretty in my piece focuses on the particular institution it, the play plantation it braided and uplifts many of the experiences that individuals had living and working at the plantation again in overtime.
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is the tour guide is and you know, tourism geography and historians and also the local black community to fulfill my piece in the note. soy took all of those harms are described and categorized them into economics on the narratives that occurred across time so they're historically can be viewed in the plantations and i argue, there presently being perpetuated by the industry for example i argue that plantations were a historical economic it disenfranchisement braided obviously you be institutional slavery forced labor, unpaid labor and all sorts of depressions and thinking about speaking to and another book, sort of these institutions that
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was also more common in the plantations. in the conflict of afforded by another name of enraged slavery. and that sort of that historical economic it piece, but that plantation movement might argue and perpetuating that harm and they are themselves economically disenfranchisement predict and they really reap the benefits, sales ticket sales and all sorts of benefits from and also hostig plantation weddings and other events pretty good their family to redistributed that monetary resources to the families of the enslaved and many of them i mentioned before, live right around these plantations and continue to struggle with economic instability in another example that you mentioned that
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i argue about the narrative harms and i argue that plantations insights and historical narrative. and if they were created and polar vacated by and for quite subjects. we should think of a similar narrative and professor spoke about where he talks about the told these fairytales, these actors where he would be dry by the time she spent in bondage and it lasted over a decade. national provided - which was obviously unclear that he was in fact back to the enslavement so thinking about the narrative harms as well and i argue that plantations and potentially about the harms and continue the legacy of harms particularly in producing false narratives in
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the experiences beyond the size for example, presenting at historic slavery to the perspective of the slave owner families, the love story. or how notorious the plantation owners were, these things they continue to not only support the idea of these racist actions but basically upkeep black americans enslaved and in contributions and also the perpetual plantations historically, racialized hierarchal systems of labor in the united states and they are in fact injuring the right pretty and i argue that the plantation at movement continues to harm a watching them out of commission to power and authority. and as far as i understand the plantations should only be a plantation it on whether they have directed them from folks
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who were enslaved in the plantation it to tell the story black people in general. so i laid out that picture of all of these injustices carried from the historical events into the present and that i utilize black lives reparation and for the discourse within the and to imagine it these local institution it might actually look like predict specifically for community center surrounding the plantations as i mentioned before who are named defendants. and then analyze how this case for the local operations could be actual come to how one powerful to the power of the domain, eminent domain could make this more possible. and i focus on mandate repair
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because that's what motivates my spirit and interest me. that the defendant descendents were able to maintain the security with equity i think you said it in their homes as property owners. it is really motivated my interest in the reparations movement. in a focus on how the descendents and really the state legislature from louisiana was empowered to transfer sensations and to ultimately fuel the programs by the black defendants, and to redistribute the property read a lot of these other necessary plantation initiatives is truth telling. in the spiritual elements in the narrative organ the cultural work and the systemic work that is related to a successful project to be realized. and i also take a moment to talk
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a bit about the benefits of the local operations and the powers braided in chicago and the other states as well and public institutions coming up with themselves and have the local processes are meant to be experimented and argued that to look at the stories. and contemporary stories like lawsuits and guide for reparations canopy but also that they can be or require us to look internally pretty and how slavery shows up in our lives in question, what they look like in a particular places, cities, the parishes in louisiana and the educational institutions, and columbia that we occupy. and also i talked about how these processes are also
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incredible valuable to the national plan. and in terms of actually alerting the national stakeholders to what these are in different localities and i think the national movement will really benefit from being formed by the successors in the art efforts and something that really troubles me. about the popular thoughts around this fixation on expertise and the idea that we are coleaders many of them occupy sacred power and to decide what declarations would look like rather than in the communities who are informed about the new and unique ways of slavery show up in the lives predict and in my opinion, should be responsible for the harms that they can actually, that they have experience rather than something imagined by those empowered. and additionally, the note
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speaks of big about i guess you could call them a pure institutions to the plantation museum that i mentioned in my papers rated i think about other plantation in the south where i just realized where henrietta wood herself was enslaved and i argue about other peer plantations in south carolina, commit similar narratives in louisiana and i also mentioned missions in california. my home state, and the processes of colonialism and i grow up going there every year and i never learned about the communities from california so this note is really a call to multiple stakeholders that have identified these reparations as well as to the descendents in
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louisiana. and a special enough to be given the opportunity to a parish we began the discussions around the reparations. and that is the work that i'm limited to now however, i do have to mention that category four hurricane, and i was telling the group the descendents we travel to directly over their homes, directly over the plantation it in the parishes that i describe in my note and it was devastated many different committees were now trying to rebuild. with mutual aid efforts, we are beginning to see the impact of what a redistribution of a monetary resources and what the type of effort it could mean for the river parishes but i think it in the book, it's where he says that every disaster creates
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a rupture. it is another opportunity in another moment to analyze how our societal infrastructure and the ways we move through the world are no longer serving us or others. and if i did that this rupture has allowed more meaningful conversation around the continuity of injustices by hurricane ida and they were endured by indigenous communities and black folks and the earth and is really opened up an opportunity to talk around or talk about ecological operations in the river parishes. to close, i would like to save my note not only is meant to be are talking about the injustices on the plantation but also about dreaming about with the plantation it could be one day. and also for projects and
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appointed to a plantation in georgia founded by the famous farmer who sued the united states department racial discriminations and the beautiful ways in which that trauma ended up an act of repair. and i mentioned to my friend and colleague who accorded the start of my note, actually rolled out her in the ida storm at the plantation and structure was built by her enslaved ancestors grade and coincidentally, and end up writing about the storm is actually on a similar plantation in alabama. and in a moment of emergency, and urgency, talk about what event from refuge in these places and what it could mean for these historical signs of trauma to one day be a refuge to
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an ap organizing it as a human and for the descendent communities and housed in a structure, supported by our ancestors, the one who made it for us and i would like to leave y'all that image of what could be the spirit of a operations movement which is only of what could be in dreaming of deliberations to, and with that, thank you for having me today and i look forward to talking more with professional caleb mcdaniel. >> all of the beneficiaries, and giving us this for the year, to know that this amazing start braided and extremely moving it and this historical reconstruction it here and one woman's life.
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and on what we can do now. i will open this up to the audience but before i do, want to share how how jordan and what comes from reading the book and and on a particular. [inaudible]. and at the end of your talk about the way video of the question it of henrietta wood, especially for the men to her son. and nevada chapter of herself and i think if an incredibly done well and possibly medical school. and considerable, how intergenerational that it for
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his children and his grandchildren and clearly this is part of the operation story. and i'm curious about you as a writer, and how you came to see this henrietta wood story is a reparations story because it could be that and also in other ways predict in the way that it should be played and like thinking about the suggestions d it makes a reparations story and talk about it in an effort to these cases. [inaudible]. >> and one of the ways that i ask you that is that you read a chapter in your book, a judge in
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specifically instructed the jury regarding henrietta wood, that this date to a series of causes that would be urgent in the aftermath of emancipation. and also the crime of slavery and it that case closed and was not opened the floodgates because i would involve a huge number of people pretty and the efforts to make this so to the question whether justice required, at the time, the new york times and by reminding the reader of these accounts printed and so i would just invite you to tell us more about or what lo
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that individual story. this unusual case and it was not accidental. >> thank you for that question and actually i think my process, could've gone in a different direction when i started with the bow, it was initially conceding as it is a clear case of reparations and as a mentor to come i read about it, the henrietta wood story in 2014, right in the same time that there was made a public conversation around reparations and i was interested in the question, what cases are being made for and against reparations by politicians, and congress and by journalists. and i was curious though if this created a case of our rare case of reparation and that it might inform these kinds of discussions.
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if you notice the of the book, in the case of the reparations, a true story of slavery and restitution in america and is partly because of some of the point if you dismayed that although in the end, it would give way to victory in court, i do not think that she received the kind of deep acknowledgment nerve rough evening with what she hadn't suffered a jordan was referring to earlier. they never was at fault, never had held criminally accountable for what happened in on the, he often told a series of lies about the case in the public press we do not even mention it henrietta wood by name and so i think it is important to to also reference the fact that we do not know how she herself felt
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about the final outcome of the case. the interview that i shared in my presentation and she gave in 1979, as a said to still waiting to receive payment and other we have one other interview that she gave a few years before, that is the last interview in the press pretty witchy have regarded this as a case in the broader sense that jordan was referring to, i think is a question worth having open and at least the right question to ask, how would've she regarded this printed that's a question we cannot fully answer now i think that we can look at her son and his families, the ability and significant nonetheless and there is a lesson here in the story about a big difference that even in a small amount, of restitution and in particular when he comes in
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the form of real property that can be inherited and passed down and created and used it to take out credit and advance the family's financial security reading even a small amount made a big difference but at the same time, i think you're right that this is a story about the limits of payment alone rated and absent a larger reckoning. in the name is still on billing in arkansas for a time is being hung in the state capitol. and he was only a wealthy man but rich in the social capitol and that enabled to continuation of the white supremacy at the end of the 19th century. so that's exactly why we are continuing to have these conversations today.
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>> thank you. and you can see where jordan is billing on this question of the operation. i have a question for you, many questions are coming in from the audience. and something that i've been trying to understand not being so immersed in this as you, but in particular, when at the center of the founders of the celebrities, and this issue of the reparations where it was defined in whether it was even called to the elements of this debate. on american descendents of slavery, and it is powerful way and marginal reckoning with
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slavery. and with the goal for. and it these are not disconnected things, they were connected and this question of who should be addressed to predict what can be any talk about how you see it from your feelings on this importance in the way that the founders of these inflated people. >> thank you for your question first thing that comes to my mind when you ask is the controversy between groups the american descendents of the slaves who essentially argue that reparation efforts for daily the national movement towards reparations, focused on folks who can trace there's two
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the enslaved people, and the united states and you know, the controversies arises from that when you folks like myself who father, was enslaved in south carolina and also on the inside and i will say that through supporting some ways that the things of those folks are saying, there's been a lot of conversations in writings about the difference experiences the black folks have had an the white supremacy and the united states based off of our ancestors and you know, they were either forced to migrate here and the ways in which we can navigate these institutions
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in ways that we can enable to look away from our descendents pretty and at the same time, i will say that my focus is on the direct lineage stands on with the black lives would cause, systematic accounting of acknowledgment and repair and passing the ongoing harms and kind of like one of the many definitions of reparation it and to me, is most valuable is not choosing you know which descendents also receive the reparations because the fact of the matter is as long as you are blackbody, they make united states you can be subject to this and we have seen that. and mostly 2020 in the wake of george floyd's death and my interest is the communities in general, and that systematic accounting, not just an overlay for history of slavery, but finding out the particular their
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ancestors experienced it would as much as possible really unpacking that what it is they feel that they have inherited and what is carried across the generations and what needs to be responded to the president moment so i hope that answers your question but that is sort of why i focus so much on direct lineage and again i think mentioned this before my comments something that troubles me about this public discourse residential planning is the idea that folks who are determined to be experts on the reparation or you know the national leaders, are more determined of what it means to me to heal from this intergenerational trauma that i hold and that my mother and my grandmother my great-grandmother hold rather than me in the folks
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the nine in community with who see the way the legacy show up on a day to day basis pretty and focus a lot on talking about the black folks because i am black and that's my interest might help is not that these conversations only expect and that exist in those spaces of taking shape like the conversation we are having now obviously being recorded it or on a panel and this is not necessarily a facilitation space but my hope is that you professor would be able to join more communities or institutions in columbia and yale where i came from an impact exactly this again and how it shows up in our own lives what it would mean to repair these legacies and what it would require of each of us. so those are some of the reasons of why of the direct lineage.
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>> and you can also be lost without the nature of this agreement and that i think after recognize that with jordan and in your scholarship, about you could've had these rural communities the match between a readers getting the material and it the repair of injury. in all that aside the appropriate nature of than is in the form of a body, and also is really important in a general way, including that without the story of henrietta wood, and become you know, in our community and.
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it extremely. [inaudible]. so, the first question it is the operations is that of itself and the audience member wants to know how this changed over the years and returning into that operations movement. >> will that is why question and also the conversation about expertise, when a claim special expertise in that question about the movement as a whole but i agree with this is a long history in history that goes back to the very beginnings of slavery and it many cultural and
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national context, and it's interesting to me to find some of the arguments being made against in the 1870s, the commentary after the suit. and some more hostile to the case, said the slavery happened a long time ago braided this is an old chapter in our history and in 1870, nl in 1978 so thats an argument even today, against reparation claims and is already being made then in the immediate aftermath of slavery in the united states so i think that there is probably more continuity in the opposition to reparation claims and there is in the struggle that advocates have to make a space for the operations over time and
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that was changing partly in response to different regimes and political alignments in different communities over time. and her case is a product of this opportunity that was created by reconstruction of in the aftermath of the civil war really rapidly closing was already closing at the moment it that she had the experience in the course and much more hostile to african and american and by the end of the 19th century, i think that's one of the reasons why the organization turned more to finish line of moves until into addressing petitioning in congress directly in the early 20th century and shifting more to a class action lawsuits predict in an effort to for example to whether or not they
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may have been corrected on cotton that was left in the field after the civil war could be redistributed to those who had been instrumental in cultivating and bringing that cotton to market and of course over the course of the 20th century reparation claims took many different forms but as jordan was speaking of about in southeastern louisiana which i think she really expanded the conversation that jordan was discussing about the reckoning the culture and history and not only about the compensation but that reputation and that the beginning of the century of course class action lawsuits against thanks and corporations and universities and institutions, and resources in connection historically. and segregation that were not
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welcomed by the court that heard those predict i think there's been a shift back now police on the national level to rally around the efforts by authority in the house of representatives to create it condition to study the effects of slavery to make recommendations about preparations had things interesting to hear as jordan speaks about new efforts on the grass roots level online beyond that congressional level and to push the conversation in new directions yet again. i think there is a lot of variety in change over time but the continuity is that there has always been these demands and they have been made since before slavery was abolished and in the aftermath of slavery and there has always been opposition from those who stood to profit from an end to the struggles.
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>> and my friend said regarding these lecture studies, that by the historian and incredibly powerful and one of the first things and he said was the demand for reparations in a generation to generation and is not made. [inaudible]. and i think it's interesting that the national legislature, on the questionnaire i think goes to you jordan was that anyone it that is using some of these historical losses and decisions is legal present fences and contemporary court
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cases braided and so you jordan, a graduate of yale law school predict and these historical pad went places and legal precedents. >> i have to say i have not heard utilizing these cases and in part because the historical but major who was mentioned in the lawsuits against major corporations and people. [inaudible]. but those losses were unsuccessful predict so those cases i'm not sure they would work in that case but what i can tell you about some of that really interests me is that i'm sure, many of you have heard it about tulsa oklahoma, and i know that sort of recently was serviced for surgery date in sort of the popular media but
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the attorney has representing a grassroots organization it and ones that i described before the work that i do that is been for decades, and over a century now, constantly re- animating this call for reparations and their attorneys recently filed a complaint. i think it was in september of 2022 basically utilize a different type but i'd never really used to heard these before preparations read on this public space pretty and property law, an example of these cases and a group of people within the community. the methane apart from this are
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released into air and a nuisance to sort of grapple with the complexity but interesting about the case and the attorneys i forget his name, with the attorneys the case, the basically argued that the tulsa massacre, the act of the violence itself was a start of the public nuisance that continued from 1921, to the present day. that essentially, the city of tulsa in the state of oklahoma and other defendants were responsible for that nuisance and to pay damages because of the nuisance they caused in the understanding that they use the public nuisance claim because of the success of johnson & johnson, settlements the recently happened in oklahoma. and i had not had a chance to interact with the attorneys.
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you know, with them briefly from afar and look forward to seeing how the remainder of that rendition of the scope but i would argue as well in sort of all my belief is his own not repair for the legacies of injustice will come to the very course the community these atrocities the complexities read in the fact that she saw $20000 in damages and not only was she forced to not only act in the monetary compensation but she didn't even get it, what she had asked for the beginning so i think about the shortcoming and her story. and in terms of packing whether or not the judicial branch that is going to do this avenue through which i seek the repair the healing.
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>> and the kind of connects back to the earlier question about reparations and one interesting question is why did the jury only awarded a fraction of what she was asking you not only is not really clear with this case falling we don't get the jury explaining the reasoning would but at least one of the hypotheses and the press was that the assessment of the damages to the reactive kidnapping in 1953, and did not buy the argument that were making it that wages lost after 1852 in the damages she had suffered at the hands of others that she had encountered after so into slavery and so they decided to said that by the side
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and so one can wonder legally whether even if it was received it was the kind of reparative act and that they were desiring i think by filing this petition in making this claim. >> i was struck by jordan's thinking through every paper in this idea that the fact that the most important constitution and were extremes of the law and the private things. [inaudible]. and, here is one that an important one that will say to
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the two of you. so many in the early reparations in that work limited and that was mentioned it tonight, what he think they took on this roll and i might say that particular took on this roll, i really just these cases. [inaudible]. >> yes, i said yes so quickly because this is in my notes and i studied i think this. [inaudible]. any wrote a short article about the fact that many of our early leaders were not impacted by the women and not historian so this is a conjecture but i can think
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about the experience of the post- emancipation and thinking about the ways in which a black man were subject to all sorts of violence is really but i could get into guess that perhaps they were locked in two other forms of disenfranchisement and also is the really the most important truth, they've also been at the forefront of that every social movement from healing and the benefit of all the money think about that river collective iran, essentially that black woman it, once they were free, they were all free and i think that resonates obviously in movement and resonates to the descendents the work that i do. as i described to you before, a
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conversation around reparations but also supporting these ongoing justices work that black women in particular black women over the age of 50, older black women and is really confusing to be a first why gail and barbara and all of these women, but when i spoke with them, it is because they are not career social justice warriors, their community members and mothers and grandmothers of their communities and the situation that i'm working on, they are fighting to protect their land us in the air in the soil and the broader from chemical described in the destruction and also to protect their enslaved grounds. and being desecrated and, yes, i think that the reason why black women are in these positions are the same reasons why we continue to have the capacity in the
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present because honestly they shown up for us in the ways in into a noun in fact could be a larger discussion around the efforts of justice when he could look like in the local context and a national one. >> i think you are right. and one way that seems to be natural that they would embrace .i am running out of time but i have a big question left and how many didn't know the sisters and a story. [inaudible]. in the research and what is the average think the impact would be an historical level and to the people in terms of discovering the trueness of the matter. it's a pointed question of the
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very matter of teaching this particular history of enslavement. and i hope i get answer from both of you. caleb mcdaniel, would you start. >> i think in a local understanding, what a particular family adored in a community endured and i think it's really important to uncover as many of the stories as we can. and as a professional historian, is possible to share and to also be in collaboration and cooperation with geologists who are doing this kind of work. and in a lot of ways i feel it is certainly true and i'm sure this will come up in many of your conversations to say this the violence of the archive of slavery means that the silences
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and distortions and yet we are at a moment where the digitization of many records that are not been digitized are widely accessible before like the recently released record of the friedman bureau placed on industry .com. [inaudible]. >> it is not impossible to define it many of the stories and reconstruct them and of course even in one case, the book we see that the things we can't know including things that she said about the final outcome of the case and i do think this work is important to view pretty to make it as open as possible. and one of the things i determined it to do in the beginning of my book was to share the notes that i was taking as i was conducting the search on open access web site
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that is available, one of the ways leaders can go and learn about some of these socialists involved in the book and i'm encouraged to see so many projects now connecting this project and also add enslaved .org and working at the data being collected at different communities in plantation communities, and seeing if we can link of the stories. so i think that it connects well with jordan's point about being very local and very close to the personal stories and talking about these big issues. >> i'm afraid that jordan brewington, i'm sure she can answer and 30 seconds so i do thank everybody for these questions and look forward to the answers.
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>> thank you so much, to danielle and to the jordan brewington and for these gre v
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book tv. >> welcome, to the series and thank you. in 19 and for our journey for this exhibition at the presidential library and museum in the spectacular 29 billion-dollar revenue and renovation it braided in the series will provide you special access the gallery some artifacts and stories inside rated before, all aborted, only give a quick thank you for generous, the


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