tv Kevin Boyle The Shattering CSPAN April 21, 2022 6:10am-7:05am EDT
archives flagship building in washington dc which sits on the ancestral lands of the nokache tank peoples. i'm david ferio archivist of the united states as a pleasure to welcome you to today's conversation with kevin boyle and suzanne e smith about boyle's new book the shattering before we begin i'd like to tell
you about two programs coming up soon on our youtube channel. on wednesday, january 26th at 1 pm. david mckean will tell us about his new book watching darkness fall which recounts the rise of the third reich in germany and the road to war from the perspective of four american ambassadors in key western european capitals, london berlin rome paris and moscow. and on tuesday, february 1st at 1pm. we'll hear from sarah pollock who will discuss her book fdr in american memory roosevelt and the making of an icon. she analyzes roosevelt as a cultural icon in american memory historical leader who carefully and intentionally built his public image. kevin boyle begins his look at the 1960s with the story of 8 cahill who in 1961 organized his neighbors to deck their houses with american flags for the 4th of july. boyle was inspired by a photograph of cahill and his neighbors that he had seniors
before in a book published by the national archives the book which reproduced more than 200 images from our photographic holdings was called the american image boyle's book about america in the 1960s. the shattering takes us a decade beyond the american image and focuses on the periods transformative conflicts the new york times calls the shattering a rich layered account of the 1960s history is not simply the unfolding of events, but it is the story of individuals behind the events in the shattering boil introduces us to the people who propelled the changes the washington post reviewed declares that boyle has a gift for synthesizing and translating the often dry arguments and this a formal scholarship into artful and empathetic storytelling. kevin boyle is the william smith mason professor of american history at northwestern university his previous book arc of justice on the national book award for nonfiction and was a
finalist for the pulitzer prize. he's also the author of the uaw and the heyday of american liberalism and co-author of muddy boots and ragged aprons. his essays and reviews have appeared in washington post new york times baltimore sun chicago tribune in detroit free press suzanne e. smith is a professor of american history at george mason university and teaches african-american history 20th century cultural history of death in america american popular music and african american religious history. she is the author of dancing in the street motown and the cultural politics of detroit. now let's hear from kevin boyle and suzanne e smith. thank you for joining us today. let me begin today's simply by letting you know that professor smith wasn't able to join us the last minute there were
complications that made it impossible for her to join us and i'm very sorry that she's not here at luck be sharing this afternoon with her, but i am honored to be sharing it with you. i just want to say how much i appreciate the national archives giving me the opportunity to talk with you today. and particularly. i want to thank susan clifton for putting together today's program. i want to start today by doing one of those things that i think you're not supposed to do when you talk about your book. i want to start with somebody else's book. an imparticular but i want to do is i want to start with a book by a woman who's been in the news a bit lately because her passing one is start with joan didion's second book of essays the white album particularly
what i want to do just for a second is i want to read just the start of it. it's a famous start. this is the start the very first essay of the white album, which is a collection of essays that didian wrote in the late 1960s and early 1970s. this is what she said at the start. we tell ourselves stories in order to live. we live entirely by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images by the ideas with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria, which is our actual experience. or at least we do for a while. such a beautiful elegant way of describing what historians actually do what we do as historians is we take all the fragments the complicated pieces of the past. we try to shape them into a coherent story. and then over time we start to
wonder whether the story that we shape. is really the best way of telling the events of the past. and so we start to think that we did ian did whether we need a new story. and that's what the shattering is. it's my attempt to take the phantasmagoria of the 1960s this extraordinary straw of events. and to reshape them into a new story of the 1960s. and a lot of that story. centers on powerful figures of the 1960s. the book deals do a considerable extent with the presidents of the 1960s, which john kennedy with lyndon johnson with richard nixon and to my surprise really with dwight eisenhower who hovered over the 60s to an extent that i hadn't realized. when i first started working on this book. it deals with those people who
tried to become president barry goldwater bobby kennedy hubert humphrey george mcgovern george wallace. runs too so much of the 1960s talks about supreme court justices. it talks about a general or to talks about the towering activists. we associate with the 60s, dr. martin luther king jr. malcolm x but if there's one thing that animates my sense of the past my sense of myself as an historian. is also really believe that ordinary people. are central to history too? ordinary people who we don't know help us understand whose names. we've never heard of help us understand. the past in a new way an ordinary people in the american past change this nation. so alongside all those famous people who run through the
shattering. but i also try to do is tell the stories of ordinary people. what i want to do today. so i just want to tell you. four stories and this is the first one. this is the fourth of july 1961. on the 6100 block of west eddy street in the northwest corner of chicago the day before and cahill and his neighbor clarence mitchell draped their block in 38 flags. that's a lot of flags given that they're only 36 houses on the entire block. and ed being ed had written to the chicago tribune the major one of the major newspapers in
chicago to announce what they had done. and the trip decided that they would send a photographer out to take a picture of this block. and so the neighbors all gathered on the lawn right next to ed cahill's house. and ed and clarence, of course got pride of place as they should have again. that's ed right there. and that's clarence right there. and two of ed's kids he had three children two of his kids got in the picture too. that's his son terry. standing at attention up on the top of the steps. and that's his daughter katie. way in the back right back there. you can barely see her is ed's wife. stella cahill smiling into the 60s stella had good reason to be smiling stella was born a couple
of days after christmas in 1916 deep in the polish ghetto of chicago where she for her parents lived? on what her father who was a tailor managed to bring home from his trade? she had an older brother chester and the four of them lived in a tenement deep inside the ghetto. just about two years after her birth. her father died killed by the spanish flu that was then raging through the poorest neighborhoods of american cities. and her mother with two young children to raise face the prospect of tumbling into the worst forms of poverty she tried to break the family's fall by getting married again in 1920. she married another polish immigrant this time a man who
didn't even have a trade that her now deceased husband had had made his living as an unskilled labor, which meant he made his living. on the power of his back a power that he tended to dissipate it turned out. by drinking he couldn't control. and so all through the 1920s stella her brother and her mother and now stepfather lived. on the edge of poverty. there's no clearer sign of that. it's in the fact that they moved every single year every single year all the way through the 20s. they lived in this part of town and then they moved to that part of town and then they moved to that part of town the way you poor people do. and then in 1929. the economy collapsed around them by the spring of 1930 stella stepfather was unemployed. and the family was getting by on
whatever money her mother could bring home. from her job boxing candies in a candy factory wasn't enough. within a year or so. stella's older brother left school to take a factory job that he was lucky to get. that brought in just enough money that they could keep stella in school through the two years of a commercial course he was taking in one of chicago's public schools and the minute that course was over they pulled her out and sent her off to work, too. she was 15. stella meth ed cahill on a blind date in 1938 the cahill family were hardly well to do. but in the working class world
of chicago they were a step above stella's family. considerable step above ed's father. who had been born in downstate illinois of irish immigrant parents? his father worked as a factor is a foreman for construction company that did road work for for the city of chicago. and what that meant, especially in the 1920s that work was steady. in a way that had never been for stella's family. and with that steady work he earned enough ed's father earned enough that in the late 20s. he was able to buy a house. on the 6100 block of west eddy street the block you're looking at now though in that though is days. it was a half finished brand new development going out way on the outskirts of town. it was a completely white neighborhood. much of the new developments that were going up in chicago in
the 1920s were wrapped in restrictive covenants those little clauses that were put a developers put on their deeds to say this property can never be sold to a --. and oftentimes to a jewish america. but i have no evidence whatsoever. that when ed's family bought that house out on eddie street, they thought at all about race. chances, are they took it natural as a natural thing that neighborhoods were going to be segregated that's how deeply that racial discrimination was written into the fabric of american society. what they saw. was that they were buying a 900 square foot house of living space with an unfinished attic up above? that they could finish off where the boys could have a place to sleep. but they saw was that they were
buying a house with a little backyard and a little front yard. set in a half finished neighborhood. six blocks away from a brand new catholic parish that they could join saint ferdinand. it was such a new parish. in fact, it didn't even have a church yet, but it did have a parochial grade school or ed and his brothers could go. as part of the commitment to the cahill family the deep commitment to the cahill family to catholicism. and that's where ed grew up. ed and stella got married in may of 1940 1942 they had their first child a baby girl. they named judy. in november of 1943 for judy was about a year old. ed got drafted he was gone for
two and a half years. most of that time he spent in europe. in the signal core trailing along behind the front line troops as they marched towards berlin and the end of the war. and stella stayed home with the newborn. now stella new on some level that ed was safe. she knew that of course from the letters. he wrote home these sweet personal letters that he sent as often as he possibly could. but you got to stop for just one second. and think about this young woman. in chicago in 1943 in 1944 or 1945? living surrounded by war living surrounded by death by the gold
stars that she'd see in the windows as she walked the baby along the streets. for the prayers for those boys who had gone missing. the prayers that sunday mass for the boys that had gone missing from that parish that she was a part of and you got to believe i believe with all my heart. that deep in the night. that fear came creeping up to her too that it would have been impossible for not to imagine. the western union messenger coming to her door with that notice. and is that were to happen? that she would become her mother. in 1918. a two young widow it's a toddler enter skirts. and her life collapsing around her.
it's not what happened. ed got through the war just fine and he came home in the spring of 1946 as part of the massive demobilization of that year. within a few months to no one's surprise. stella was pregnant again. an ed decided that with a new baby coming he couldn't really afford to take all the benefits to the gi bill was providing. i mean he needed to go get a job. he did he got a job as a clerk in the front office of the vacuum can company of chicago. vacuum can company of chicago made industrial strength coffee urns and one of their major clients, but the united states military us navy really liked their coffee earned as did the army. in 1948.
well their son was born in 47. that's terry right up here in 1948 this now young family. ed and stella and their two kids moved into his father's bungalow. i've done west eddy street. and they moved in partly to take care of him. his wife had recently died and everybody knew he couldn't take care of himself and i think partly because ed man ed had such a powerful sense of place. he wanted to go home. and so they did in 1948. that neighborhood was still half-finished half the houses on the block hadn't even been built yet because the development that had started back in the 20s had stalled during the depression and then stalled again again during world war two. but over the next few years from 48 on into the early 1950s, the neighborhoods started to fill in as the developers came back to put in no. small reasonable houses onto the
empty lots. houses that have been sold overwhelmingly to italian-american and polish americans who are moving out from the center city of chicago? in a process we call white flight. as that neighborhood filled in as the population filled in it became a more prosperous area in the mid-1950s developers built. a brand new shopping mall, not that far from eddy street one of the first shopping malls in chicago went in not that far from eddy street. and that catholic parish that was so important to ed. finally got the church that it had never had a gorgeous beautiful church wrapped in marble. a place for families like the cahills to feel a sense of solidity that neighborhood had
never had the cahills started to do well for themselves too and slowly started to move himself up in the vacuum can company until by the end of the 1950s. he was the head of sales. they had a third child in 1952. that's kathy down here. and the cahills cahills were not extravagant people. but they had more money than ever before. so in 1953 54 they bought their first card never had a car before. but now they didn't see the need for ed to take the bus all the way down to the vacuum can company down in the center city anymore. and then 55 about a tv put it in the little living room. and when the kids were old enough judy was certainly old enough they sent them all off to the parochial school to the grade school that was connected to their parish to saint ferdinand. and then when judy their oldest
daughter got of high school age. they sent her to a catholic high school. and when she finished there 1959 they centered to depaul university one of chicago's two large catholic universities. now there's no doubt. that this was a parochial world that the cahills lived in they lived inside this tight kind of upper working class lower middle class catholic world. there's no doubt that this neighborhood out on west eddy street was wrapped around. racial exclusion and discrimination can see that just in the picture of the folks standing out here in 1961. and the cahills at least. their prosperity their ability to buy the car to buy the tv to
send their kids off to schools. private schools was paid for in part. by the vacuum cans connection to what dwight eisenhower would call the military industrial complex. because the military industrial complex wasn't all about missile systems and bombers who's also about industrial strength coffee yearns. but you also have to think just for a minute. but what this world looked like for stella cahill here was a woman who grew up right on the edge of devastating poverty who never had a stable place to live and now she and ed owned their own home. out on eddy street here was a woman. who in their early days of her marriage and her early days of
motherhood wasn't sure. whether husband was going to come home. now living in this extraordinarily stable family-centered world. here was this woman who in 1961 had her older daughter. in college when she had to leave school at 15. said any wonder it's still like cahill was smiling into the 1960s. and already that world built around eddie street already, there were cracks in the exclusions that that world. have created none more dramatic, none more important than the one symbolized by this young woman. elizabeth eckford elizabeth
eckford story would have been fundamentally different really. if her mother and father it had a phone. that they were working people. and they had six kids to raise and they couldn't afford that sort of extravagance. and so on the day before school was to start in 1957 september of 1957 on september 3rd of 1957. the eckfords didn't get the phone call from the national association for the advancement of colored people the nation's leading civil rights organization. beckford didn't get the call telling her. that elizabeth was supposed to meet with the nine other kids who were going to desegregate
little rock central high the next morning and that together the ten of them would be escorted. to the school so on the morning of that first day on september 4th of 1957 elizabeth got up early. to make sure that she could get herself dressed in the clothes. she had carefully picked out for her first day. she made this skirt. and she had breakfast with her family. and when breakfast was over. her mom called the kids together. so they could all pray together. 27th psalm and then elizabeth picked up the binder that her mom had bought her. and she put on the sunglasses that she hoped might hide. how scared she was. and she took the bus. it's a little rock central high
school. the bus dropped her off two blocks from the school not i don't know if any of you have ever been to little rock central high, but it is a massive building. it covers two whole city blocks. it's frontage runs two whole city blocks. and elizabeth got dropped off near one of the corners. two blocks up, but near one of the corners of that big two block school. she walked down and she was walking down towards the school. she could see down towards the center of the school on the street in front of the school down towards the center. she could see the white mob. and she could see ringing the school all the way to the corner the national guardsman that the governor of arkansas had called out the night before. in order to tonight before order to prevent. elizabeth eckford and her nine other african american kids from going into the school and defiance of a federal court order. she was 15.
now as she was coming up to the line, she could see that the national guardsmen were letting white kids through and in that kind of mind for 15 year old. what she thought was well, they'll let me through to. born she got up to the corner. the guard's been told her that she had to go down to the center of the line all the way down to the main entrance of the school. and so she did she walked along the street along in front of this long national guard's line and as she walked the mob came up behind her trailing along behind her screaming at her shouting at her some of the kids shouting as if it were a football game two four six eight. we don't want to integrate. and others yelling racial slurs. and somebody in that mob. yelling over and over again lyncher lyncher and then we're newspaper reporters there, of course because this was a major national story. they trailed along next door
with their notebooks asking her for comment that she refused to give in the photographers walking behind backward in front of her to get this very picture. and she refusing to say a word. and finally, she got to the center of the school the center of the line along the street in front of the school where she had been told to go. and she came up to the guardsmen who were standing there. and yeah if she could get through. and they told her she wouldn't be going to school and she needed to move on. and for a second. she had no idea. but she was going to do. she couldn't go back to the where she come from because the mob was behind her. and so she thought she had no choice but to just keep going. and that's what she did. she kept walking all along the street the mob trailing along
behind her the reporters gathering around her the screams the yells the threats. until she finally reached the end of that two block stretch in front of little rock central high. where she saw a bus stop? and she sat down at the bus stop and she smoothed out her skirt the way a proper young lady should and afterwards the reporter said well, they created a kind of cordon around her to protect her from the mob and maybe that's true. i don't know. but beyond them stood the mob screaming and yelling and that person still there. threatening to hang her from a tree how long she sat there? no one could ever say maybe about 20 minutes. half an hour and at one point an african-american man middle east african american men came up and her a ride home.
their parents had told her never take rides from a stranger and so she politely refused. and then finally a white woman came out of the mob. and this white woman started to harangue the other whites around her to say that they were going to be sorry. for what they have done someday. and elizabeth was horrified because she feared that what that white woman was gonna do by trying to tell off the mob which she was to make it worse. when all elizabeth really wanted to be let alone. a warrior of the civil rights movement sitting on a park bench trying not to cry. the next day this photo ran in
all of the major newspapers in the united states made the front page of every major newspaper in the united states. and in that image what happened was that millions of white people? were forced to confront for only a moment. the confrontation the contrast that the civil rights movement wanted them to see not the individual one though. that's obviously terrifying. but the systemic one the one between a social a community that could produce a woman. a young woman of such grace and dignity and the social system that could take ordinary people like the people you're seeing in this picture and twist and turn them. into thugs in defense of the indefensible over the course of
the 1960s civil rights movement would twist and turn an all sorts of complicated ways. i tried to trace some of those in my book. but it would never have more power. then when it built this extraordinary contrast that elizabeth eckford brought out. and a glistening september day in 1957. four years later this woman estelle griswold got herself arrested. it's still griswold. once upon a time when she was young back in the 1920s. she dreamed of being a professional singer she'd even gone to paris for a couple years to try to make it go of it.
didn't quite work out in 1927. she came back home. to her home state of connecticut where she fell in love and married an aspiring ad man? and for the next 30 years or so she trailed along behind his career wherever it took him. 1945 it took him. to germany or the state department had hired him to help with. the occupation of defeated germany and with the reconstruction of western europe after the devastation of the war and she went with and from 1945 to 51 she works herself with a refugee agency an agency trying to help the massive refugee crisis that engulfed europe in the terribly brutal days after the war. and 51 they finally decided to
come home. they settled in new haven connecticut came back to connecticut. and for a year or so she continued to work with the refugee agency, but it's headquarters were up in new york and she got tired of the commute. so she quit. and what looking for other work, but she had a kind of particular skill set as an administrator that wasn't an enormous demand for a woman in new haven connecticut in 19 nearly 1950. so it took her about a year or two to get a job finally in 1953. she got a job that she thought would be interesting. she was hired as the executive director of the connecticut branch of planned parenthood. the nation's leading advocate for birth control. now she said afterwards. no idea about birth control. when she took this job. she didn't know where to diaphragm was. she thought that work could be interesting and she hadn't been the strait of skills.
the work turned out to be very very interesting. in the late 19th century any number of states had passed laws. trying to prohibit in one way or another birth control. and connecticut was one of two states massachusetts was the other one that had particularly stringent laws in connecticut from 1879 forward. it was illegal for anyone to distribute. to sell or to use any form of birth control when planned parenthood was formed in the early 20th century. it made it a special effort in connecticut to get that law repealed and for decades and decades in the middle decades of the 20th century. planned parenthood kept lobbying the connecticut state legislature to repeal that 1879 law. but they didn't really want to do it there were political costs
to doing that and the truth is nobody enforced the law. and so it's set on the book. so when estelle griswold took over as executive director of connecticut's planned parenthood and 53. she tried to to lobby the legislature to get them to withdraw the law. and if any luck and so in 1958 she decided to change tactics she arranged for two married couples who were willing to cooperate with planned parenthood. to sue the state of connecticut for prohibiting them from using birth control. they wanted to use they wanted to get the law declared unconstitutional and in the way these things work it that case wound its way up all the way to the united states supreme court. finally reach the supreme court in 1961 the spring of 61. four of the nine justices were willing to say but that law was
in fact unconstitutional. but the other five they said there was no real law here. it was on the books, but no one was enforcing it. and as you undoubtedly know to have a supreme court case you have to have real harm. you can't just have a case. that is an abstraction. you have to prove that somebody's being harmed and these married couples couldn't prove that. and so estelle griswold's case failed. and that's when she decided to get herself arrested. to be more precise what she decided was that the way to test this law wasn't by getting married couples to say they were being prohibited from using birth control. it was to get herself arrested for distributing it. and so through the summer of 1961 she arranged for planned
parenthoods, connecticut branch. to open a birth control clinic in new haven where women could come in and get the men presumably could come in and get the information that she thought about it in terms of women getting the information they needed. how to use birth control in their families and she always assumed this was about married women they opened their clinic in october 2nd on october 2nd 1961. in direct defiance of the law and nothing happened because nobody in a position of authority in new haven cared. that they were distributing information about birth control. but at least one person in new haven did a man who worked for car rental company in fact a
devout catholic with five children at home who believed according to the teachings of his church at the use of birth control was a sin? and therefore should not be allowed by the state. and the law said that this was illegal and he wanted that birth control clinic shut down. and so he contacted the local authorities in new haven to demand that they go over and find out what was happening and shut down estelle griswold's clinic. nobody wanted to do it spent a better part of a day being shunted aside from shunted along from one office to another in new haven by everybody saying well you really know how to talk to this person. you want to talk to that person. you ought to talk to this one. nobody wanted to deal with this guy, but he was so persistent and so insistent that finally the prosecuting attorney said, all right. all right, basically to get him out of the phone. i'll send a couple of policemen over. and he did he sent over a couple
of policemen to estelle griswold's clinic and when they arrived she came pounding out of her office. and she grabbed hold of these two people and she brought them into the office and she sat the officers down and for an hour. she gave them every little bit of information. she possibly could about birth control all the pamphlets all the information. she was dredging up every bit of technical one knowledge. she possibly had throwing it at them and they sat politely taking notes. and when she was finally done. they all got up and they shook hands and they walked out the door. two weeks later. she got a letter informing her that she was being charged in violation of connecticut's 1879 statute exactly as she wanted to be she was convicted as she knew she would be in january of 1962
and find a hundred dollars for the enormous crime of distributing birth control. she then appealed that conviction all the way through the state. legal system up through the connecticut supreme court and when she lost as she was going to do. she then went into the federal courts and in that long complicated way that court cases have known you've ever been in a caucasian or what i'm talking about. her case finally reached the supreme court for oral arguments the 1964 and the spring of 1965 at the end of their 1964-65 supreme court term. the supreme court ruled in her case griswold v, connecticut, not only that the 1879 connecticut statute was unconstitutional but it was
unconstitutional because it violated a right that up to that point. no american hat. a right to privacy it was out of that court case in other words. the planned parenthood cracked through that parochial world that the cahills had lived in. and opened up such dramatic litigation to come the most dramatic of it rule v wade then there's this young woman. alison kraus she ellison had been a graduate. of wheaton john and wheaton, maryland john f kennedy high school. just a year.
when the washington post reporter came to the school to ask about her. he went to the front office as he was required to do. and when he asked for any information, they could give her give him about allison. really didn't have much to say. they pulled out our file gave him a copy of her grades of her sat scores. let him see. the letter that her guidance counselor had written on her college application said something like alison is very mature woman young woman. but really nobody remembered anything much. except how pretty she'd been. and even that wasn't necessarily a memory of her because already the photo you're seeing are high school graduation photo had made the papers by then. nothing anyone really a john f
kennedy high in wheaton should have remembered alice and krause. she came to the school the way a lot of kids did. to a place like kennedy high trailing along behind her father as he pursued his corporate career. her dad had been hired by the westinghouse corporation in cleveland, ohio in 1949 when he was a young man. and there he and his wife started to raise their family alison and her younger sister. 1963 her dad was transferred to the pittsburgh office. so the family trailed along behind him to pittsburgh. then a few years after that he was transferred again to the baltimore plant of the westinghouse corporation, but by then alison was a sophomore in high school and her younger sister was in middle school, i think. and they were a little worried about how the schools would go and so they decided to settle in. the washington dc greater area
settled into the suburbs and her dad would get the drive up to baltimore every morning. and allison and her little sister would get glistening new suburban schools. kennedy hyde only been open a couple of years when allison enrolled but for some reason or another alison didn't really make much of a mark in high school probably because she had arrived as a sophomore. probably because she was 15. didn't join the sort of clubs that the cool kids joined. didn't earn the sort of grades that made her a stand out in the classroom. now when she reached her senior year and decided that it was time to apply to college. she only applied to one school. but she remembered. was that when she was little on a sunday her mom and dad and her little sister, they'd all pile into the car and they would
drive. how to cleveland out into the countryside and that way folks used to do she loved those trips just drive an out in the countryside. and so she decided that she would go to a college. it was out in that countryside, too. she enrolled at kent state. and in her first year at kent state the 69-70 school year the folks back at her high school only heard from her once. she wrote once in the spirit, right? i guess it was in the winter to set to ask that they sent her transcripts to the university of buffalo because thinking of transferring. in order to have an idea why i shouldn't explain why she was thinking of transferring but it turned out that she had met a young man from long island. they become boyfriend girlfriend. and the young man didn't really
fit in at kent state. he was here too long. he didn't care about football. his roommates used to homophobic slur about him. and so we decided that he had some friends at the university of buffalo and he'd like to transfer there and alison was going to follow him just as her mother. have followed her father all those years. she and her boyfriend were together. on the 4th of may 1970 crouching in a parking lot. when the bullet from the national guardsmen ripped through the kennedy high t-shirt, she was wearing that day. the next morning the anger was flooding through. the country in what was become the most intense moment of the anti-war movement college campuses shutting down all across the country in the
protests reached to kennedy high school too. a group of kids came out of the school and they went up to the flagpole in the front of the school and they demanded that the flag be lowered to half-mast and allison's honor. another group of kids came out and said no that flag had to stay at the top and there was a tough a lot of pushing and shoving until the principal came out and he worked out a compromise. said that the flag and front could be lowered to half-mast, but they leave the one over on the side up all the way at the top and that got the kids back into the school. but at some point or another somebody came out and they took that flag at half mast and they pulled it all the way down and they burned it. in the garbage can and it was a few hours after that. the post reporters came to find out what he could about allison's story and after he talked to the folks in the main office. he wandered around the hallway to see if any of the kids had anything to remember and they all wanted to talk about the protest and they wanted to talk about the war and some of them argued that why should the flag
be lowered to half mass because one kid was killed when so many young men were dying in the war. but when he asked if they remembered alison most of them said well, maybe they saw once or twice in the hallway. but really nobody knew her at all. that fourth of july ed cahill put the flags back up on eddie street did become a tradition every year all the flags went up in the flags multiplied because ed loved this. he collected flags kept boxes of flags down in his basement and every year he'd bring them out and drape eddy street. and he added music he put his record player out at the window and it would blast out patriotic songs and he set up bike parades for the kids and cookouts for the neighbors in what he probably called an old-fashioned holiday.
and some of that seemed the appropriate thing by 1970 that the displays that he had embraced back in 1961 the world that he had embraced in 61. somehow seemed a relic of the past i'm not trying to say that the social movements. of the 1960s were all triumphant. civil rights movement of the 1960s where elizabeth eckford came from where her moment? has to be understood had its triumphs in the 1960s dramatic triumphs that i will argue till the day. i die that they were important. triumphs but there were also limits to what the civil rights movement could do and among them was the segregation that embraced little rock high in 57 and that ran around eddie street all the time that the cahills were there.
and it's true that estelle griswold and those who followed shattered open those restrictions of the parochial world. that was so important to the cahills. but the issues they open clearly haven't died. we live with them still. this is so clear in what's coming from the supreme court in the next few months. and it's true that the anti-war movements and i insist there were more than one movement. did you have an enormous impact on the war in vietnam? even as it costs far too many lives. but the larger framework of america's place in the world wasn't fundamentally transformed. and that's the story of the 60s. i'm trying to tell. a story of the 60s that's
complex. that's intimate. that's personal. that's terrifying and inspiring. and deeply profoundly ambiguous. a story of the 1960s for our own troubled time thank you so much for spending some time with me today. now i see that there is a question no. my mistake thank you so much for letting me join you today. thank you full tour online at