tv Book TV CSPAN April 24, 2011 4:45pm-6:00pm EDT
i've brought to the university of georgia which at that time was picking up with all kinds of crazy bohemians and musicians. r.e.m. was playing for free in venues around town. people thought it was the music capitol of the nation. so, yes, i certainly enjoyed that and certainly took part in it. >> what do you teach here at the university of virginia? >> type t's twentieth century u.s. cultural history and the history of the u.s. south and to work for the history department as well as the american studies program. >> how did you get attracted? >> well, one of my daughter's says, mom, you have the greatest job in the world. you get to watch movies all day. if you live your life correctly sunday you can have this job as well. in all seriousness it really is a wonderful joy to be able to spend your time reading
20th-century literature. watching films and listening to music. release strutted up more interesting in the earlier part of the 1920's. the 30's and then kind of leapfrogs into an interest in the 60's and 70's and has not worn out the century yet. >> what at the end of the semester do you want is to is to take away? >> well, i want my students to take away the ability to think historically and critically about the category they used to make meaning in their everyday lives. to think about ideas and concepts as having a history and not just people our nation. so, for example, before going to talk about racism of want them to be able to understand that doesn't mean the same thing in 1860 as it does in 1890 as it does in 1960.
that is a concept that changes over time. the concept of racial identity as well changing over time. i want them to be able to think about ideas and concepts and categories as having a history to. that doesn't mean the same thing across time and space. >> this is a book published by oxford. a nation of outsiders. great for elizabeth hill second book. how the white middle class fell in love with rebellion. >> now on book tv carla peterson recounts the lives of african american elite in the new york city in the 19th century. examining a committee of african-american new yorkers, some of which our ancestors occupations afforded them under -- upper-class status.
this is about an hour and ten minutes. >> of want to start out my talk with two quotes. there are both from the prologue of my book, and now give of little explanation for them. they introduced why i decided to write the book. but first "is from the prologue. still hold certain truths about african americans to be self-evident. the phrase 19th century black americans refers to enslave people. the york state before the civil war the nets a place of freedom. blacks in new york city designates harlem. the black community is a classless and culturally unified society. a black elite did not exist until well into the 20th century. the lives of my new york forebears'.
they were born free at a time when slavery was still legal in new york state. they lived in racially mixed neighborhoods, first
in lower manhattan and then after the civil war in brooklyn at a time when harlem was a mere village. they were part of new york's small but significant community and specifically its elite class so, the first in polls for my writing the book was my desire to overturn these assumptions, assumptions that we live with almost on a daily basis. therefore to point to the significance of the black elite in new york city. so it was a professional and polls, if you will. the second boat is from the epigraph of the prologue. it is from toni morrison's beloved. denver was seeing it now and feeling it. the more fine point she made the more details provided the more beloved elected. so she anticipated the questions by giving blood to the scraps of
her mother and grandmother told. denver spoke, beloved listened. the two did the best they could to create what
really happened. how it really was, something owning she knew begin she alone have the mind for it. the time after work to shape it. so this second "points to one of my great concerns in writing the book. my family's past, not my mother. my great, great grandparents, great grandparents and so forth. realizing that their memories and not my memories. how could i tell the story of memories that are not my own? they had just come down to me in scraps. how could i then give blood and the heart beat to these scraps? said that was my second much more personal motivation for writing the book.
and indeed i had a hard time trying to give blood and the heartbeat to the scraps i found because i started with almost nothing to with really wonderful story. the full story -- part of the false story. basically i was told that i had a great grandfather, he had been born in haiti. at the time of the haitian revolution he left haiti, went to paris, became a pharmacist, came to new york, and anglicized his name to fill up a guest is white. the story was half true. there was no haiti, no trip to paris. he was born actually in new jersey in hoboken. moved very quickly to new york city. he did become a pharmacist. so, i was faced with the real problem. and as i started my research to find family stories what i
discovered was that there had actually been a real will to commemorate among 19th century black new yorkers that forbidding was not their way of life. they started off, first of all, and commemorations, for example, of important events but the abolition of the state trade -- slave trade january 118 l.a. and commemorated it every year after on the same day in ceremonies and parades. commemorated the abolition of slavery in the state of new york which was july 41827. they had newspapers, the co-lead american freedom journal where the road about themselves and that it -- the desire to commemorate. they tried to erect statues. i might mention of little bit later. not central to the stock, but he would be a very important black
leader. they wanted to create a memorial in his honor. they managed to create but by and large did not manage to preserve. so the problem of preservation became a tremendous one. when you are an and resources committee, when you don't have funds and research and resources how do you preserve? so much got lost by the wayside. of course the best example i could give that all of you are familiar with is the negro burial ground in downtown new york, how it was the black cemetery of the way throughout the 18th century, got destroyed in 1795 because of realistic speculation, what else. so, the cemetery is taken over to make ground -- to lay ground for new bonds to be sold. houses to be built to make to attract such a. and then there was the problem of the archives, the earliest
new york archives was established by john petard, very well-known white elite man. in 1804 the new york historical society. black new yorkers had to wait until the 1920's for arturo schaumburg to establish the center. yet basically the archives were ultimately my only resource. it was the only place i had to get to since my family had given me so little. so, what i do in the book, and i do want to point this out. the book is on two levels. on one level it is the story of my search, how i went to the archives looking for material, finding, not finding, how to put them together. the second level, of course, it is the story itself. so i started out in schaumburg and was really lucky to find it very early on to scrapbook pages
in an archival collection. and in them i found the obituary pasted on the scrapbook of my great-grandfather and then migrate great-grandfather. so, this is the first scrap book page. it is my great-grandfather. of course the name was bill by the justice white. i recognized him immediately. to give you a really quick thumbnail sketch, he was born in 1823, died in 1891. he was from a fairly poor family. his father died when he is gone. he went to one of the public schools. they called the mcauliffe school. afterwards he went to train with james mccann smith who is one of our early doctors and pharmacists. he was an apprentice in smith's pharmacy for two years. that then enabled him to enter the college of pharmacy of the city of new york.
he got a degree in 1844, 1844, black man from the college of pharmacy. is -- then he established a pharmacy, a drug store in downtown new york. it is on the corner of what was frankfurt and called street. part of pace university is there now. he made quite a bit of money through his drugstore. the money he had he get back to add to causes. one, the education of black children and the other, his church. when he moved to brooklyn in 1870 he settled there. 1883, seth low who is then mayor brooklyn appointed him to the brooklyn board of education. he had the first black seat on the broken board of education. so that is my great grandfather. this is his father-in-law, my great, great grandfather back.
philip white mary's. this is elizabeth's father. he was the one -- now, his parents were haitian. he was born in new york, 1813. died in the early 1880. he went to a school that i will come back and talk about later. he did a variety of odd jobs, married my great, great grandmother died very young. i know nothing about her. in his second marriage he married into the ray family. they were a prominent family. cornelia's brother, peter williams wayde was also a doctor and had a pharmacy and drug store. so he was brought into the drugstore as a pharmacist. no background the way my great-grandfather did, the training, but he could become a pharmacist. very devoted. the other treasure trove that i found at the schaumburg with
that. of row williamson papers. again, if you look down on the family tree you will see him there. i won't go into detail. maybe that doesn't show up too well. and the -- in doing the family research the woman on the right here is married joseph lyons, and she is the sister of my great great grandmother rebecca marshall. so, she marry this man. and i bring them up, and not going to talk about them much in this talk tonight. i bring them up because of reliance said to his daughter maria. she is on the family tree, he wanted to write the story, the history of his generation. he never got further than the title. at the title he picked, the gentleman in black. so, he said to his daughter, i
am not going to be able to do it. i want you to. so in this same collection of papers we have a typed manuscript, about 85 pages. pretty much in draft form. organizationally at least in draft form. what emerges said was that from the vast output of fugitives trapped she was going to try and write her memoirs. she titled it memories of yesterday's, all of which i saw and part of which i was, an autobiography. so she wrote the 85 pages but did not get it published. so, i considered my book black gotham, to be the final event, the final publication of this idea of writing the history of the gentleman in black which goes well back into the 19th century. i just hope if they are looking down listening, watching, reading that they approve of what i did. .. bad
yorkers. every time they feel they made processes, something slaps them in the face and bringing them down again. lastly though, it's a spatial history, and that's why i titled the book "black gotham" to show the degree to which so much of their life was formed by where they lived, the city of gotham and the spaces in it. i'll name the five spaces now and come back and i'll only try to talk about a couple of them. if i would talk about them all, we'd be here all night. it's what was called the wide circle of the leading citizens of new york and the vicinity, basically the black elite. second is the black community, the term you hear a lot, the
black community, this, that, and the other. just to give you a sense of some numbers for those of you who like numbers, in 1840, the number of black inhabitants was 16400 out of 313,000. this is all proximate. it declines to 12500 out of 18 18140 in 1860 just for a few numbers. i'll come back to gotham, then, young got than and last week in the audiences, there was a man from phillie, and we can have a
real go-to because the differences in culture were different from new york, and we can talk about that in the q&a, and timely and not the least important is the citizen of the world, that they were cosmopolitan and belonged to the entire world, they were part of the entire world. let he start by -- let me start by talking a little bit about the elite and the idea of the wide circle of the leading citizens of new york and the vicinity. the first thing i want to point out is the way in which education was really absolutely foundational to this elite. if nothing else, i could say this is a book about education, education, education, education, so what you hear now is not new at all. i mean, turn on new york one, and you'll hear about the school system, ect., ect..
same issues back then. this is the most famous school of the early 19th century. it's an african free school called the mullberry street school and that's where my great, great grandfather went to school and went there with a bunch of young men who turned out to be real leaders to have the black community both in new york and beyond, and i'll just name the ones i'm going to come and talk about later. there was george downing, charles reissen and patrick reissen and james mcewen smith. today we call this the solid foundation of a liberal arts education. in addition to that, there was education in other areas, character was one, can respectability another, the acquisition of wealth, this is new york. basically, work hard, become
very skilled in your trade or in your profession, and make money in the process, but then give money back to the community, and finally the idea of cos moo -- cosmopolitan. read the important works of the world. the way in which we say black-american or african-american and an image immediately comes to mind, and what i want to point out is the very dynamic process of making identity in this period. people have been kidnapped from and brought and slaved to the new world, to the united states, to america, to the united states, to new york, and they didn't become black-american or african-american overnight, but it was a process of struggle and trying to forge identity, and that's what the schooling was all about, so pass on, that's
circle number one to pass on circle number two is the black community itself with all the institutions literate society, political societies, and so forth, and i'm not going to spend many time talking about these. we can come back in the q&a period. they are mainly male organizations. women are not members. they are definitely not officers. they are invited as companions to talk light now; right? but they would not be a member of the society of historic preservation. [laughter] they could accompany their spouse to it. that presented -- that was an incredible research problem for me which i could talk about later. the other thing -- so that basically is the black community, and i'm going to pass on. education schools were one and churches the other. my family's church was down here
in lower manhattan and is now up in harlem. the third circle is that of gotham, and this is where i'll spend the rest of my time talking, and i have a section in my book titled distance and proximity because what i want to point out is no matter how distant black new yorkers were from their white counterparts, either poor native born irish immigrants, german imgrants or even wealthier whites there was still proximity because they lived downtown in racially separated neighborhoods in ward four, ward five. they were not necessarily in the same house on tentment, but maybe ten meants that were block
to block. to me, this was surprising and led to un predictable act cans with whites, and i'm just going to mention a couple of things that i talk about and that i think are making this point. the first is old new yorkers experience the same indignity of living in new york, the same filth, the same pigs who are running around eating garbage and knocking people over and bites you not leg. the same disease like smallpox, cholera, yellow fever, and if you were wealth, you could escape town, but the second is the idea of what i call whimsy that there's no set protocol for race relations. you would think in the 1840s, 50s, and 60s with a city in which racial discrimination and
hostility is so intense that every boundary is tightly drawn and you'd really know what to do, and yet they encountered what i call whimsy. let's see if i can switch back here, this is my new toy, and says writing for colored folks depended on the whims of respected safe drivers. she talks about going to school and at times she was free to get on the railroad car no problem, and other times she was like no, you have to wait for the colored car. that would be one example. another would be going to crystal palace, the great exhibit put on in the 1850s modeled after london's crystal palace, this great exhibit hall, and a comment in a newspaper was that black new yorkers have been casting the horoscope as to whether colored people would be admitted, so one day you could
be admitted, another not. then there were high cultural events, and in a way the black elite hoped that class would trump race, that if they had education, understood kind of high culture that they would be free to go, and that was true a lot of times. they went to the opera, they went to plays, they went to bookstores, art galleries, but in one instance they were forbidden to enter, and this is when one of their own, an opera singer came up from philadelphia, a black singer to sing in the hall in which she was to sing did not have a segregated section, and so the black elite for worned away and told they could not enter. they raised up and finally they were able to get in. that is to show the confusion,
the real whimsy that operated in new york for the black elite and for all black new yorkers, and so for the remainder for my next half of the talk k i'm going to focus on this area, something that dana asked me to do, and i'm going to be focusing specifically on three sides, one is broadway, another is launch street which was parallel to thompson street north of houseton, and that's a launch street school, and the third is the african's grove theater located on merser street. i want to show two things, the way in which distance and proximity still obtained this area, and the other is i think i see a way in when i talk about place and what happened in certain places to point out some of the moral values underlying the happenings. what happens i'm going to talk
about the white elite first. the white elite, of course, started downtown like everybody did and they gradually start to move up. they are trying to flee the very thing they were creating; right? commercialization in the city so they come on up to the village to st. john's park and broadway, and then at a certain point, of course, they move north of bleaker street, and so there was that phrase, you know, above bleaker street, and that's where the upper tendum lived and they were also in the lafayette area too. i want to read a passage in the book and george foster and how he captures broadway in that period so going all the way up
broadway starting maybe a little bit blow houseton and going up. i talk about the way in which the bond street lafayette place area is very nice and quiet. what was not quiet was broadway, an avenue marked by contrast writer george foster well captured its flavor in his most recently recent book. there was the contrast of morning and afternoon. at daybreak, broadway was hushed and solitary. the few about could watch the swine galloply downward to have the first cup at the new garbage. later in the day, massive people surge through the street, a human river flowing towards the sea. there weres contrasts of buildings. among some of the truly fine structures, others just sprung up. a brick schoolhouse here, a penitentiary there. finally what caught your eye
depended on where you looked. down, a rotten cellar door, straight ahead, a clothe filled window, and above there was arm posts armed with glass bottles and clothe wines. what was failed to mention was the contrast between day and night because come night fall the area would be overrun with people, customers in search of good food, good drink, good entertainment, and, yes, good sex. the area was a center of the city's sex trade. prostitutes were everywhere, in the hotels, private supper rooms of restaurants, in upstair drinking saloons, on streets where they handed out cards. walt whitman was certain that in no other place could vice show itself so everyone tently.
that was broadway. then i want to move on to my second place which was the lawrence street school for coal alreadied children located a few blocks north, and unfortunately, i do not have an image of it. this is where my great grandfather and great, great grandfather goes to the school and my great, great grandfather goes to the lawrence street school. i know a lot about my great grandfather because of the very lengthy eulogy that this man, george downing, wrote and published in the "brooklyn citizen" at the time of my grandfather's death. he said my great grandfather, thomas white, he was a white man from northern england and says absolutely nothing about philip's mother, but from looking at philip's death
certificate, it says she comes from jamaica. she was elizabeth stehle, undoubtedly black. she was the one because of my great grandfather was labeled colored. i don't know where they meant. i don't know whether she was slave or free or if they married or how they ended up in the united states, but thomas dies in 1835, and then its up to elizabeth stehle white to give her children an education, and she gets -- philip goes to the lawrence street school, and in one of these other -- another moment of research, i was at the new york historical society and looking through the public school society records, so 90 volumes of handwriting, and i come across this note that says that the public school society twice paid my great grandfather on january 25 and then on april
28, 2840 $3 for making fires in african school number two over a period of three months. the building was cold, and he was paid to make the building warm by making fires. i also found out in july, the public school society paid elizabeth white $15 for cleaning and washing primary school number seven. you see what hard times they were and how they really had to scramble, so philip went to this school and the boy's principle was charles reissen, the one who went to school with my great grandfather at the mullberry street school in the 1820s so what i think is so significant here is that at the mullberry
street school, white teachers had taught these young black men, george downing, charles reissen, ect., ect., and now black teachers are teaching black youth. this active mentorship was so incredibly important for the elite. philip took many different courses studying latin and history both ancient and modern and melissa lyons has charles as a teacher, and this is what she says. charles is cultured, refined, was quite intolerant of mediocrity. he shunned the ordinary and the common place and kept himself aloof from all that was awkward. he could and would teach, but only if allowed his right choice
in the selection of his pupils. those willing and able to submit to his processes found compensation far in excess. he loved study for study's sake and for those alert and diligent, he disclosed interest. satisfaction and wonder, whoever could be trained to enjoy what he enjoyed in the way it pleased him measured intent and complete and exceptional. i don't know if you wanted him for a teacher, but that's what he was. [laughter] philip was, according to george downing, a very good student, worked very hard, and did very well at the lawrence street school, so on graduation he needed to learn a trade. his mother, elizabeth, with the help of george downing, placed him first with patrick reissen. patrick is charles' older
brother, i think, and he had become an engraver. he had worked, did apprentice with the engraver from britain, and had become a well-known engraver, and he took philip into the shop. it didn't work out. a three months probation satisfied parent and master that the apprentice had not the slightest app constitute for the work. he came forward with his idea saying he wanted to be a pharmacist. that's when he was sent to apprentice with james mcewen smith in his pharmacy on west broadway and then because he had a two year apprenticeship, he was able to go to the college of pharmacy, and you know the rest of the story. what i want to point out, not only that these men mentored philip, but also that they were
businessmen in their own right, and i want to emphasize the degree to which entrepreneurship was so important in the black community. as hard work to show you were working hard, the satisfaction of doing really well of becoming really skilled in your trade or profession, and finally as i said, making money in order to buy property, become a property owner, be able to vote because there was a $250 minimum to vote, and in order to give back to the community, so george downing had a store on broadway right, i think it's north of bleaker, yeah, right above bleaker, and he placed ads in the "new york daily tribune" that focused on pickled oysters and boned turkey, and he was appealing to both black and
white customers. patrick's engraving shop was on bond street patronized by the families on bond street and so these men were doing very well. wealth was not the only important thing for the black elite as i said before. one was respected -- another was respectability. you had to behave in respectable ways, and as well as character, so character is the formation, it's the moral formation; right? of the self, and respectability is its outward manifestation. if you're an upright moral person, if you work hard, if you go to church, if you treat your family well and so forth, then it would automatically show on the outside in proper behavior, proper forms of dress, and so
forth, so respectability was as important, probably more important than wealth in acquiring and becoming part of the black elite. to give you a sense of -- oh, let me see, one more thing -- let me see -- that's my great grandfather philip white. think of him of the image of respectability, okay? he has this drugstore, makes quite a bit of money, promotes black education. he's the pillar of st. philip's e missing pi call church, and he's mr. respectability himself. now i want to go on to the disrespectful because we get a nice idea about respectability by looking at disrespectability. here he is. you can turn to my family tree. this is my great, great grandparents, joseph marshall
and elizabeth wewitt -- hewitt marshall. the only way i could really give you a flavor of what he's like is to read the passage from my book. i'll do a little reading now. the details of his career are fascinating but incomplete. he was a member of the african grove theater formed by william brown in 1821. this was a location on merser street, this is my third place. i gave you broadway, lawrence street, and now tho is merser street. the african grove theater formed by william brown in 1821. initially, it was simply a tea garden where black new yorkers congregated for musical events and social activities. once the theater company was formed, it played in rented
downtown locations until brown opened his own space on merser street in 1822. from then until the early 1830s, hewitt performed with brown's company and many other venues close to home at the military garden in brooklyn, somewhat further in philadelphia, and virginia, and even across the seas in london and south america. he aspired to be a pure shakespearean actor and played the lead roles and much like other budding actors of the day, he honed his craft by intimidating serious performers. some of his other roles were more subversive, however. up -- indirectly hinting at the resistance of black americans. the warrior native chief in the
ballet osama, the leader and the nationalist scottish ball loads. black new yorkers flocked to performances at the theater so it might not have been his acting or poll takes that his family found offensive. because of that, they drove him out of the family. there's a note in the williamson papers saying he was a play actor in his day and was drummed out of the family. it's not necessarily his acting or his politics. they might have enjoyed watching him in his roles, but racism made theater going a dangerous activity. from the start, white new yorkers were hostile to brown's enterprise. they complained about noise from the tea garden.
they objected to the theater staging of shakespeare's plays of the day. in 1822, conflict burst out into the open. the police raided a theater during the january performance and arrested the actors. a group of route whites followed suit in august storming the theater and causing a riot. he seems to escape bodily harm, although brown was severely beaten. it's also true that he could single handedly stir up plenty of bad publicity that must have made his family cringe. first, there was reports, possibly true or not, about his performances that smacked of the stereotype of the child like primitive black. pamphlet insists he translated the lyrics into black dialect
repeating lines a heart that never loved for example. british actor, charles matthews, who befriended him while touring the united states also satirized him in public. returning to london, matthews created a show based on his american trip mocking the strange and ludacris alterations to hamlet. he responded by publishing a rebuttal in the local newspaper defending his own abouting abilities as well as the right of blacks to perform shakespeare. although a laudable act, the letter opened him up to more bad publicity. then there were his repeated problems with the law. in some cases, he was a victim or mere bystander. when he decided to open a dry cleaners shop in 1823 to make
ends meet, a competitor named cox beat him up. in 1825, he took a position as a steward aboard a ship but had to testify in court after a passenger was accused of repeatedly assaulting the only other passenger on board. in later years, he turned perpetrator. in 1835, he signed up again as a ship steward. while still in port, he was eared and convicted of steeling various articles from the ship including several bottles of wine and porter and served a six month sentence. in 1837, he was accused of seducing and abandoning a white woman and sentenced to one month hard labor. later that same year he was caught stealing a watch from the house of a man who had just died and was returned to prison. despite his pleas, gentlemen,
don't put me in the newspaper, it will hurt my character, he was still in the press. of this, he was -- after this, he was dismissed from public view. i tried to track him down, but had no luck. this is the kind of thing the black elite and that my family shunned and wanted to have no part of. i want to come back and say a little bit about women and what i can say i can talk more about what they did in the q&a, but here i just want to point out the way in which woman part of the black elite helped to police the rights of respectable behavior. they were the ones who were very prominent in defining norms of respectability. richard's memoir offers a rare and fascinating glimpse into the social lives of the black elite and tells of the pressure and
>> her mother. mother was the life of a minor group of single -- young, single, and married folks to found in her a social woman his company was as agreeable as when she was a maiden. with her it was possible to have a good time without fuss and feathers. her guests were frequent. they danced, plate, were signed, play games or so for charity. all alike found many an opportunity to pass many delightful hours with her in the home courtesy, sociability, and friendliness reign supreme. it was permissible for families to move from one circle to another. no hard and fast lines were drawn. however, the same persons could be bad now in one circle in the other. sayre you can understand how somebody like james hewlett with his play acting career, with his brushes with the long, with his
time spent in prison, with his hard labor, so forth would not have been welcome. courtesy, sociability, and friendliness reign supreme. the other thing i can point out about this passage, i think it gives you a clemson to something that i tried but really had that very hard time talking about in my book which was pressured. we are so used to talking about a press subordinated people, oppressed and subordinated. being victims, having had downtrodden life, and always having a sense of obligation and duty and so forth. one of the things i tried to capture here in their social life but also in the participation in st. philip's episcopal church was this sense of pleasure and of appreciation of beauty that sent me through, i think, the episcopal
denomination. and the ability, yet, to enjoy beauty, to enjoy aesthetic experience. so i'm going to close now. if you read my book we go from lower manhattan over to brooklyn in 1870. the book goes up to about 1895. we have a kind of scattering of the black population. of course later on they go up to harlem after 1910 or whenever. so the conclusion rather than talk about scattering of want to talk about coming back together. on a windy october day last fall a took a trip to cypress hills cemetery in brooklyn armed with a map provided by the front office. i went searching for the graves of my forebears and their friends who had left lower manhattan and later brooklyn for their final resting place. the white family plot lay on the flat land there are broad path
surrounded by tall, beefy trees. buried there were philip's mother, two of his sisters and their families and philip and his family. alexander, charles, and their families lay nearby. i did not have a chance to talk to them, talk about them. that figure prominently in the book. recently we discovered and commemorated with a brand in marker. it at -- i was as honest to discover of these men had bought their plots at the same time between january and may of 1850. determined that not even death would separate them. crossing the path and walking uphill i found the land at st. phillip's church had bought for it professionals in the late 1850's. the rate family plot which included peter kim young, was notable for a tall obelisk that it's covered. in the waning days of the 19th century new york's black elite reunited in this burial ground.
physical reminders of their lives and commemorations of their deaths. they serve as an archive, a place of safekeeping. a place for storing memories of the past that are simply waiting to be brought back to life in the brightness of time. thank you. [applause] [inaudible] >> thank you for your presentation. >> thank you. >> what did it feel like when you had this comment of finding a puzzle piece? also discovering that you were missing other pieces. in you're putting together these
threads did you ask any of the resources how they can to have this information? >> yeah. the first thing i will point out, and it is not exactly what you asked me, but i want to make this clear. i had nobody living task. i had a couple of leeds, a woman who contacted me after seeing something that had rope on the web. i was so excited that day. remember going. i teach at the university of maryland. remember running up to work. she is going to fill in the gaps. no, she wanted information for me. so i was so disappointed. then the second question is finding the man is good material. i mean, i would just shake. i would just shake and quiver. finding the first ones, finding
that when least expected there were 12 shoeboxes, you know, about like that. remember the old days. i got to box number eight. there was a moment at which weariness sets in. how can i do this. i go hot and cold. i just shake. you are in a manuscript ramp. you have left everything outside. you are wearing gloves. you can be sure that you don't run away with anything. you have something called the snake to put down to hold things down. and then you have your magnifying glass. all this paraphernalia around you, and it is so hard to get. at me, you feel the emotion, but it's so hard to express to be when i found the one at the new york historical society, and that was days and days of just going through these written records. i was like, what -- why am i doing this?
the young man, his name was for mandela. i went and told him. he get really excited. this was the one excitement. i can give you this book. yes. you know i can't. so that is number two. your third question was about when i -- [inaudible] yes. okay. so, at the schaumburg obama's had written the book called the free negro and antebellum new york. it was a columbia dissertation from the 1970's, and she died before publishing it. her husband had gotten it published as a book. then gave the manuscript collection to the schaumburg. the book is old, and everybody says, oh, go to the recent scholarship. she had really done her
homework. she did everything. i ended up just repeating what she did just for their fine, but everything she had panned out. so, he had given it to the schaumburg. so the material that i saw in her book i kind of expected to find there. you know, as a primary source, not just a footnote, but i was really stunned to find, to find that. and nobody knows where the scrap book page comes from. i mean, that's another one of the gaps that i can't fill in. where does it come from. somebody cared enough. so the palms next to the obituary, and each poem i realize, is a poem about something significant in my great-grandfather's life. so there is to eternity, the mother church of st. philip's. there is why johnny can't read about education. references is about dying and
going to heaven and got saying, you know, why do you deserve to be here. he says, as my wife and daughters three. and so the person really knew philip and really loved him. i mean, that's the whole commemoration right there. i don't know. >> hi. my name is andre coral. i want to thank you so much for this wonderful presentation. it gives me goose bumps that one of your relatives is actually james hewitt. that's amazing. i give the walking tour a few weeks ago. this is really amazing. so my question is, where it was the scroll located?
>> on lawrence st. which was one block parallel to thompson. >> laguardia now. >> yes. >> okay. patrick reasons engraving shop on bonds street, to you have an address for that? >> it is in my book. i think it is 50 something. >> yes. >> yes. and that would have been approximately what year? >> that would have been the 50's. again, it is in the book. >> great. >> he moved to cleveland after. i'm not sure whether he ever comes back. he is in cleveland in the 1860's. he comes back to visit, but not to left. so i would say in the 1850's. i'm pretty sure it's the 1850's. >> thank you so much.
>> yeah. >> i don't remember if you mentioned how long it took you from the day you decided to do this until the actual book came out, but i'm sure you went through such an up and down escalator of the motions. how did you know when you were all done? how did you feel when you were finished? >> that is a really good question. because nobody else knew. i'm not sure i did. i'd just -- i was tenacious. i would just take end date. i could not give it a rest. after about two or three years by has been said, well, why don't you start writing. i said i don't have anything to write. he said, well, you have been working at his retirement three years.
i have an outline, the bare bones, but i know that it is the detail that will make the book sizzle. it is all going to be in the detail. so getting the date and i think it's 56 vaughn street. you know, getting the stuff right is going to make all the difference of the world. so i would say to him, why start writing if i'm just going to have to go over and do it? so i've really wanted the detail. i dug and dug and dug long before -- long after people told me to stop, especially historians. i am a literary critic by training. i teach in that in this department. i am not a historian. people were laughing and saying, give it a rest. so as to give you one example. an independent scholar i knew had said about philips' obituary
where it said that he apprenticed with james mccann spent. this somewhat creaky independent scholars said how do you know? how do you know. i'm like, well, it's in the a bit. he's like, well, you don't know. i decided i should really try and track it down. i started looking. the apprenticeships and then going to the college of pharmacy of the city of new york which is also in the a bit. the college of pharmacy became part of columbia in 1903 or 04. then was part of the college or the school of pharmacy. had been disbanded in the 1970's. so i called up at columbia and started pestering him. he said, no, we don't have them. we probably three out. i was like, i don't believe you. i decided i was going to keep on looking. i started calling historians of american pharmacy around the
country. i called here and there and elsewhere. i finally said this is my last phone call. averaged demand in ohio state. was in ohio. he said to me, well, you know the best cash of pharmacy papers are at the wisconsin historical society. i was like, i didn't know that. he said, yeah. wisconsin, the university of wisconsin was the first school to establish a graduate department in pharmacy some time back in the 19th century. so i booked a plane ticket and went out. and that is when my historian friends were just really, really ugly. i found him. i went to the minutes and left out the record. his entrance, his graduation, and then 30 years later that his admission to the college as a
member of the college which is like having a professional. the young man who graduated with him, there were four of them, they had gotten and, they graduated in april of 1844. they all became members in may at 1844. it took my great-grandfather until the 1870's to become a member. that was worth it. and after that i said that's enough. that's enough. >> you have somebody wonderful affirmation about the 1840's and that your family in the 1850's. them in the 70's and the 80's. i'm really wondering about the 1860's and civil war and what happened with your family then if you have any scraps. >> i do. i do. it was much talk from last week. i have the grace story. so, at the time of the draft, i'm going to talk about the draft riots.
the draft riots were the week of july 131863. it is possible that once again the black elite thought that class with trump race and that they would be safe. they weren't. they were attacked. their homes were destroyed. it was as if they were, just because they're black. so the big story is that of the colored orphan asylum. the way in which it was -- it was run by white women and seen then as an illegitimate act on the part of white benevolent women toward undeserving black children. that was destroyed by. the home of william powell was destroyed. the home of our alliance was destroyed. bridgeheads an amazing account of a three part assault on their home.
the third assault was successful, and it was burned to the ground. so, in areas albert williamson papers i came across a note. it is down there pit i won't bother to read it. a sergeant rates to alberto lions and says, i'm going to try and help you. i don't know what today will bring. meet me at said drugstore at 3:00 p.m. and i will conduct the to safety. so, the lions and philip white lived on vendor water street just of few doors from one another. philips white pharmacy was right around the corner and frankfurt and gold. i speculate that that is the pharmacy. so, it is just amazing to think that the sergeant thought that was a safe enough place. so, to take the family.
so, i started reading through williams's papers. i found the story. the preservation of philip white pharmacy. he'd brought the pharmacy or in 1847 at the corner of frankfurt and gold. he stayed there until his death. he established really deep roots in the neighborhood. the neighborhood when he went in in 1847 was mixed. as time went on it became more and more irish. poor irish. and according to all the accounts i read he was a good neighbor. he sold. he made up medications, and they didn't have money he gave the medications away for free. he gave away money, he gave away clothes. when the draft riots happen to they didn't want to see that trucks toward demolished. they didn't want to see philip would harm to. the new york times repress this
little dialogue in knows how accurate it is. but -- the businessman of the neighborhood, the area was called the swap. the businessmen of the swamp saw what was happening. this city need to run away. he said, no, i don't. as many writers come down upon me, as many neighbors i have will protect me the drug store was not disturbed. that was our real accused bob moment, of rogue is bob moment. yes. >> hi. i am shannon. >> hello. >> okay. i was wondering, what made you write about the history of your family tree to back i have been trying to research my from my own. i find it to be very hard. very difficult to find things that go past the 1800's.
go way past the 1800's. up was wondering if you could give me any advice. tell me how you found it exactly. >> you have to have the passion. without the passion, this took me 11 years. you have to be prepared to be put aside a budget time. you have to have the passion, drive, the termination, the willingness to look and look and find nothing. one of the reasons why i took the tack that i did. there are so many ways in which i could have ridden the history of black new yorkers in the 19th century, but it was exactly for that reason to encourage people to go and look for their family history. people say, oh, carla, you are so lucky. you have a family to write about. you have material. i can't do that. have you tried? well, one of the things i want to do is encourage people to go
try. maybe i was indeed lucky. boy, do i wish that my, you know, for father had been james mccann spent. i would have found more material. you take what you have. that's crap. when you try to embroider without going into fiction are making applies. of really tough look around and maybe to give the scrap context. so that is the way, that is the way you have to do it. but don't give up. don't give up. >> hi. >> aye. >> time to meet pension. we have an underground railroad said. the givens underground railroad side.
so instead of feeling satisfied, that has made my co-chair and i even wore a obsessed with research. so i recognize the face looking for a needle in a haystack. am i coming to a question can't. >> what source said he turned to? >> i was lucky i got -- my kutcher did a lot of my research bit then i kept researching for more letters of the family. i was sent with a hot tip by judas well known. columbia university's. wind up there and found a record of fugitive 1855 by sidney howard k.
then that set me off onto of real search because i found the most extraordinary thing. sarah more was married to her husband take a more in the gibbons previous home. so now of trying to find zero more. so i did find her listed in new haven conn. that has taken me two years to find that. i'm going to go back to the schaumburg, but i shouldn't say on the record. there was one staff member who terrified me. so mean. i'm going to get my courage and go back. >> of talk to you later. have to talk to you give you the name of somebody who is really
really wonderful. as summer a couple months ago. >> let me tell you there was of its own society. the african american vision on society. you can look around for that. david rolls would be one name to research. graeme hunters has a book out. >> i have that. >> i do have a question. >> have you ever heard of louis napoleon? >> i'm trying to find him too. he helped rescue the woman. he was working with some the howard gay. then the editor or the secretary and the do everything of the anti's every society. so now i know enough to know and now i know nothing. >> thank you.
sir charles ray, charles raise daughter put out a memoir of his life after he died, 1886. that is up at the schaumburg. he was also a member of the vigilance society. i don't do very much with the vigilance society because i couldn't find any relationship between that and my family. dentist could start talking about everything. my editors were already going nuts. i would say david ruggles, charles ray, and charles rays memoir, what about pursuing beecher, henry ward beecher. >> i just started to scratch the surface with that. >> okay. >> louis napoleon worked with him, too. two afternoons in the brooklyn historical society. i've realized as very helpful as they were i was searching in the
wrong collection. >> that happened to me, too. the brooklyn historical society. so a woman -- >> excuse me, i have to stop we can talk. i'll give you names letter. >> of right. >> thank you, colonel. [applause] >> pa 34 describing the lives of a group of african-americans with upper-class status in new york city before the civil war. to find out more visit hill press top yield that edu and search black gotham. >> let us return therefore to the child to young single, not child, but not adult either. i see him as the result of four huge.
versus pre adulthood. the decade or more of sigell life devoted to work and self exploration. women also center this in the years of the '20s and '30s. here's the difference. women have the advantage miserable as a sometimes makes them of about biological limits. a large majority of women and men said they want children. that is what the surveys consistently say. but for women whose fertility begins to decline by the time they're 30, that means that they will not be able to plague or work without serious distraction for very long. even those who are unsure whether they will have children know that the decision alone imposes boundaries on their pre adult it. men don't have these pressing limits. they can take their time, and they do. the second force is a highly segmented and uncensored media
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