tv Book TV After Words CSPAN September 1, 2013 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT
give the fact they were excluded i was going tell the story where some of them went to europe, some went to new england and studied privately. some studied privately in the atlantic and became teachers and doctors and all sorts of -- in fact, actually, one of the things i got more interested in as i started the project was why they were excluded from the colleges and universities. these colleges in fact had a long history with black people on campus, and slaves but not as students. they a long history with native americans and -- native american students were on
campus for 200 years. >> host: they were doing what? >> guest: as students for almost 200 years. >> host: how is it they were able to be on campuses? you write about that. >> guest: it's the beginning of the book. if you think about it, the first attempt to build a college for native american students is 20 20210 years. the first native minister probably 150 years before the first black minister. that sounds like native americans are privileged, in fact, part of the story i tell in the book it's precisely the role of university in conquest. it's precisely the role that explains the early presence of native students on campus and precisely that role that explains how university turn to the slave trade to fund the surprise. . >> host: when you say the
conquest, from what i was reading was that part of the conquest was these are savages. these are people who are infour your and we have to educate them or train them or somehow make them unsavage-like. i'm speaking in reference to the native american. >> guest: the belief was that the goal, the obligation was to bring the gospel and the bible to untutored people and civilize them in that way. that civilizing project went hand and hand with conquest and territorial expansion. none of -- one of the things that was spriedz -- surprising to me, was the quite clear role they played in the early colonial period.
the american colleges and universities help take me as a kid as with a single mother and turn know a college professor with tenure at the fantastic university. >> host: you and your sister who is an m.d. >> guest: yeah. my sister is a pediatrician in d.c. i've always thought of higher education and colleges and universities as benevolent institutions. institutions that do good things if we can get access to them. once the research began to expose was the other role that universities can play. universities can be, in my mind, weapons of social justice, but what shocked me when i started doing the research was they could be weapons of social destruction. >> host: in what way? >> guest: they could play huge part in intermining the integrity of native american nations and civilizations. one of the things i write about in the first chapter is the
desire to christianize native american people. several attempt to build college successful and failed. which was all of the early colonial colleges have as a prepare mission the education of native people. but that has always sort of impact on native society. it en-- it means there's going to be generational division between parents and children. youngsters brought to the christian education system are tutored in english, and only have, in fact, the remnant of native culture and language. >> host: in the book "ebony and ivy" do you talk about the type of cause m that might have been created as it relates to intergenerational conflict in >> guest: sure. yeah, i touch in the first chapter of the book in trying to show the way in which the early college had a militaristic
role. part of their goal -- part of their purpose was to help achieve the strategic aid of the colleges. and so we -- and we often deploy education, and we deploy it in the colonial world to soften the resistance to native americans to europeans. >> host: then the whole issue of slavery. because the one thing that catches obviously people's attention and the critics have talked about this how the slavery founded these college campuses, funded and built these campuses. who were these individuals that built the harvards? the yale? the brown. i think many of us may remember the headline from brown university that started with a study there. >> guest: right. >> host: how much of that had an impact on what was in "ebony
and ivy"? it had a great impact on it. i was four or five years to the project when brown university released its report, and the former president of brown courageously, actually, and within the face of criticism and criticism from her often actually from her own constituents, board of trustees. >> guest: yeah. and she courageously articulated the purpose of higher education. which is the pursuit. and we pursue in all of these other arenas. we also have to put some truth in our own history as institution. and the brown board met -- in 2006 i realized how big it was. how much it's going take. how many years it was going to
take. there was a good part of me that didn't want to go forward. >> host: why? >> guest: well, you know, it just seemed enormous, and it wasn't clear that five years later or ten years later i would be done with a coherent book. what it seemed i would have no more information. that the time, you know, the book wasn't clear in my head yet. what i was clear about the amount of material there was to go through. the number of places i would have to go really pull -- >> host: such as? >> guest: from, you know, quebec city in canada to the carolina along the east coast and stock land, england, holland. >> host:let start with those that are farrest away. >> guest: okay. >> host: why scotland? i could understand england. why scott --
scotland bring feement understand -- understanding. why would a book on race, slavery, and the troubled history of university. >> guest: it's in the race part. in the section about the rise of race and racial thought. scot hand -- scotland had and ultimately on the rise of the united states as a nation an independent nation. scottish immigrants are the largest group of free people to cross. >> host: isn't that where the term red neck came from? >> guest: the larkest group of free people to cross the atlantic -- >> host: were scottish. >> guest: in the decades before the american revolution. they're filling in places like the pennsylvania back country, the carolinas, western kentucky. toward georgia and appalachia. with this enormous migration comes a migration of ideas. the scottish universities played a key role in helping to
modernize the colonial universities. the scottish faculty that come to teach and the ministers that come to governor over the school. loads of americans students, colonial students who head to scotland to study science and medicine and come back to north america to do things like, for instance, establish the first medical school in the north american common any -- alcohol -- >> host: correct me if i'm wrong, they aren't one of the principle players in the slave trade, were they? >> guest: they're not suspects you look at. there's a trade just like the small town. we have to remember small town
like bristol. we have to remember how massive the slave trade is. part of what the book is about is the enormity of the africa trade in the 17 and 18th century. the way in which the trade shaped the atlantic world. and that trade instituted the economy that convicted europe to the americas to africa to south america. and created in fact a transoceanic freight. >> host: how do with the united states will be born? in terms of building these campuses, when did -- who were these founders of these universities? were they slave traders? >> guest: no. >> host: they weren't? >> guest: well, they are largely ministers. >> host: okay. >> guest: from the various denominations. remember they are denominational schools. there's harvard and there's baptist brown and columbia,
which is the king's college. there's the dutch reformed college which is now rutgers, and there's the princeton. these are actually denominational school. they emerge out of the church communion; right. once you establish them, you need money. a lot of money -- the first source of funds will be england. the colonists will turn england. >> host: why would they want to fund? >> guest: that's the problem. that's one of the problems. i jokingly describe it to myself as working on the chapters is, you know, why would the english want to give the puritans money to blaish school -- establish a school in new england. getting rid of the puretists was a great goal. [laughter]
there's not necessarily warm friendly relations between the puritan and the church. this is where we get back to native american history. and native americans become key. because the american colonists were fearful at raising money using the evangelist of native people as a goal. and so sending off missionary to england to britain under and raising money under the claim they were evangelizing native people. the first brick building at harvard is the indian college. that's where the money -- that's where the donations are coming from. >> host: it goes back to what you were saying earlier. it allows the expansion of the alcohol any and the expansion. > guest: to facility the
economic expansion and the territorial expansion. and, you know, it accelerates the crumb -- crumble of native society on the frontier and the borders. they are not quote, unquote, slave owners. eventually after independence -- >> guest: even before. >> host: they do turn. they turn pretty quickly. they are religious groups. they are church groups. very quickly they have to figure out the sources of funding. one source is going europe, england in particular. and raising money often under the claim one is evangelizing native americans. the other source of money they have available to them is the rising population of colonial elite. people who actually have money within the colony. and in particular, both in
england and in the americas, that group is made of slave traders who are operating out of place like bar barbados and jamaican may. many of them are absentee likes or dislikes who live in england and manage it from afar. >>
host: often sending children. >> guest: right. and sometimes as i read the male children oldest might go military or the oldest might go to own the land. the middle child or the next youngest go off to college. >> guest: i actually point out. they station their children in various point. and that's how we should think about that. they are family nexts. -- networks. they'll have the main warehouses and storeses from new york city and manhattan. but they'll also send a son to
the caribbean, and establish them there. they'll send another son to england. from the various point they manage their operation more efficiently. it give them a chance to make strategic changes in the plan for the long
extended shipping voyages. they are also are two reasonses to do it. the american schools, the colonial schools quickly begin to also turn to the population of increasingly wealthy men and families. with interests and the americans. and begin to advertise themselves actually. as the institutions is of their own making and design that can cater to their children more efficiently. i use several example. one more famous. is john who becomes a scot --
a minister there scotland becoming the president of what is now princeton university. one of the things he does is writes a -- one of the chapter is named after it in which he says -- has come to imply great wealth. then he goes ton promise if they send their boys to princeton, they'll be well taken care of. and guided and super vise -- supervised and turn in to substantial young men. if you send them to england the british university are too large and decentralized to give them that kind of attention. what he's really selling is the potential of the american colony to serve themselves and the potential of the educational constitution to cater -- and large plantation owners in
the caribbean -- when we read the review as most people probably with will before without getting to "ebony and ivory "we are talking with the professor craig steven. race, slavery, and the troubled history of american universities, the impression is that slaves built these universities not just that the money from the slave trade financed them. but was there actually the presence of slaves on it in the university of harvard, yale, princeton, brown? what capacity or every capacity -- >> guest: yeah. in every capacity you can imagine related to labor. you know, the enslaved people cleaning the hotel, they often called it. basically the dormitory of the colonial period that clean up after the student. they prepare meals.
they collect wood. they gather wood for fires. they're in charge of lightening the candle and putting them out in the evening. of cleaning up the study rooms and presentation rooms and runninger rands for the students and faculty at harvard, at yale, at columbia, at princeton. many of the college presidents owned enslaved people. and arrived on campus with slaves. >> host: come from scot land. >> guest: and purchase at least two people. one for the main house and campus house. >> host: were these individuals under the ownership of the university incorporated or under the ownership of various professors? >> guest: it's both. yeah, i mean, i think it's a technical issue, kind of. that is a little bit harder to decipher in the colonial period. for instance, there's a -- one of the things i look at as i
was exploring this. i looked up the county records in which these -- the counties where the colleges are. you look at the colonial county records, often you'll have the name of the president or the name of their professor, and then listed with their taxable property will be an enslaved person or two or three. >> host: did students bring their slaves? >> guest: yeah. >> host: they actually brought them to school with them? >> guest: yeah. what happened if you look at the name of the president and three lines over part of the taxable property is an enslaved person. what you'll often is, for instance, in the case of princeton or harvard, you'll actually have the president's name, ditto the college. well, who owns the person then? a sort of common knowledge of the town, of the local area, the president and the college are kind of inseparateble anyway. i didn't spend a lot of time
actually trying to decipher that. in fact, the president and the college are -- >> host: if i -- collegetown. >> guest: right. [inaudible conversations] >> guest: and more college towns than they are now. >> guest: yeah. if u f you can believe that. >> host: right. >> guest: these are -- >> host: cambridge would be a college town. >> guest: right. nassau hall the tallest building in british american when it's built. these colleges dominate the environment. one of the things that i also found fascinating about "ebony and ivy" you talk about the slaves who build the campuses and waited on the faculty and students was the -- the curriculum. this white supreme sincerity that wasser. strait -- perpetrated. you are a professor of history
at m.i.t. i don't know how you maintain your intellectual sanity -- and you obviously knew it before, though, if you have it supported in the actual research of these quote, unquote, what we now consider liberal institutions. teaching white supreme supreme sincerity i'm not trying to sound as if i'm surprised. if you said that now about yale or harvard, you know, people would think, my goodness, when did this start? how did it get started? you sort of explain in because of the people who started these universities. >> guest: it's built in the origin. it's in the source of the funding, and the continued -- remember, as the american revolution approaches, and the tension between the colony and england increases, the capacity of the american the indian
college, harvard, largely, you know, taken down at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century. >> host: they can't finance it. >> guest: they use it for other stuff. >> host: all right. >> guest: and to be perfectly honest. i wrote it in the book, as the native american military threat in new england declined. the interest in evangelizing native american declines with it. >> host: there's no -- [inaudible conversations] >> guest: to some extend. it doesn't mean there was a sin veer -- it mean there was also in fact a strategic interest in evangelizing and christianizing. you know, and so, yeah, absolutely. one of the things that happened in this that i wrested with in the book and related to the question you asked me earlier about did students bring slaves to campus. >> host: right. >> guest: yes, they do. william and mary they pay fees to house their slaves on campus. at columbia, then king's
college, george washington comes to new york city with his stepson, and jay i can's slave, joe. and the president of columbia, king's college at the time, miles gives him a suite of roomses that jackie has painted and suited to his swift haste. and joe was actually in the smaller bedroom of the two where he can, you know, so yes, people, student arrive with slaveses to campus. the faculty often had slave. one of the thing that i want to get across in the book. the chapter with enslaved people on campus. enslaved people were inseparateble part of the college experience in the colonial world. >> host: which meant that -- exposed to higher education, or -- >> guest: yeah. they were. and in fact, actually, there are examples of this.
betsy stock don who was enslaved to one of the president of princeton studies. she becomes a gifted scholar. she's being consulted by biblical. >> host: she's self-taught. >> guest: largely self-taught. the president who owned her actually gave her instructions. he instructed her in the -- >> host: first of all, who was he? and the reason i bring this up, you write here that this future cotton planter, and they were talking about, i believe, henry
watson, jr., also wrote that the ancient egyptian had the curly hair and other features of the african race, and that contemporary egyptians were only lighter in complexion because of centuries of mixing with europeans and professor did not leave it to his students to infer that black africans cradled civilization. this fact refused all the false theory. so often in favor of slavery. expand on that. it seems to be apparently what you're saying here, there was a conflict, i take it, who were the egyptian -- how is racism taught? who were africans. whon't africans. even to the point -- i bring it up the argument takes place today. >> guest: yeah. it sounds very modern. >> host: it does.
new york city in the 1990s. every table -- street side book fellow engaged in the debate with some crowd. for at least a decade. it sounds very mod -- modern and it is. henry watson, jr. is a young man from connecticut. who goes to washington college in hartford, which is trinity college and finishes his education at harvard. he graduates in the early 1830 with his b. a. from harvard and he sets out on the world. the introduction to the book largely uses henry watson's jr.'s story. he heads to alabama, and he's looking to back tutor on a plantation to make some money that he can save and go law school. and the reason i find him fascinating is that like a lot of young college men in the
1830, the south represented an extraordinary field of opportunity. it was precisely the wealth of southern slave. it was the weflt of the plantation. it was also the educational neglect of the south that created opportunities for well-educate northerners who wanted to head tout begin their career. like at lack of voting them, watson planned to go for a year, make money, go back home, become an attorney. >> host: he would be educating the children -- >> guest: working on a plantation as a plantation tutor. the tutor to the planter's son or daughters. there was unequal distribution of time. and so he's looking for this sort of reward. i give example of lot of young men who make the choice after graduating in the same time period. a lot of whom become famous like benjamin who end up one of the most important science professor in the history of yale. and the professor who really
begins yale's science program. actually faces this same choice with he finishes college. but watson heads south and he's disappointed. he actually didn't get this job that he wanted. >> host: i see. >> guest: he doesn't find. he heads home. his father has been supporting him. he's self-conscious about getting money from his father when the endeavor has proven fruitless. he heads back to connecticut, he actually does study law. then he goes south -- again. he heads back to alabama and establishes himself as a planter. over the next decade he becomes wealthy and successful as a planter. on the eve of the civil war he owns more than 100 people. he ons more than 1,000 acres of land. he's a leading voice in defense of slave holders. that young man sat in the class of an abolitionists, charles, at harvard, in the early 1830s. he took fall lane's course.
he heard him actually make an argument. just not an abolitionist argument. an antiracist argument that he had the capacity to do it. he was trying to argue that the mountain of myth that were being used to defend american slavery were nothing more than that. they were just men. and if one looked at history -- >> host: he approached it in a scholarly way? >> guest: yeah. he chose history and camp from science. he largely queuesed history. he went back to the ancient egyptian and made the argument we were often making on the street corner in the 1990s. and so it does sound very modern. it sounds very contemporary. he's an interesting character. this is a young man who had fought to liberalize germany. who was chased out of europe. arrested for political act virgin islands, chased out of europe. he comes to the united states, e
he has the sort of somewhat gratuitous experience of running in to the -- in 1825, when lafayette is brought back. for the 50th anniversary. the french general. and on the 50th an verse of decoration of independence. he invites him back to celebrate. he runs in to fallon in phil and -- philadelphia and contacts his biographer. and tigne arrange for an appointment for fallon. he does what he does. he went back that political activism. he's teaching young students at harvard about history, but also in fact he's teaching them about the contemporary issue of their society. there's no greater contemporary
issue in the 1830 than the question of human slavery and americans. ultimately he'll be chased out of harvard for the position. the fund for the professorship will be stripped away. >> host: who chases him snout >> guest: the truthsee and the officers. the president -- >> host: because of his position? >> guest: it a few things. his position on slavery is critical to me. that's the accelerant we at least, you know, enflames the fire. at some point, we do read in history, you write attendant. at some point, former slaves, african-americans, are allowed to attend the harvard, the yale, at what point did it change? >> host: it happened in stages that are very different point. you can go all the way back actually to the revolutionary era. the first people that come to
campus as students in what becomes the united states is probably right after the revolution. what happens is a number of presidents at least no longer colonial early american schools. actually begin taking black students who are private study. >> host: for what reason? why. a lot depend. some are effective by the rhetoric of the revolution itself. >> host: okay. >> guest: the call for liberty and justice actually resonates with them. they begin to question slavery themselves. there's actually an active antislavery debate happening on american campuses in the aftermath of the american revolution. there's an active -- happening on southern campuses in the aftermath. >> host: really? >> guest: yeah. college faculty and college students actually debate the question of slavery quite a bit. >> host: in such universities
that we would recognize today. we talk lot about northeastern university. let talk about the southern university. south, georgia, north carolina. university of north carolina has an ab list nation speaker at one of the graduations. and, you know, this is in their early 19th century. then the she's published it and circulated around the united states. >> host: are these individuals who live in slave-holding states in "ebony and i i ivy." are they abolitionists? is it a free exchange of intellectual debate and discussion? >> guest: yeah. it it's a free exchange of intellectual debate and discussion. it's driven by app legislationist or people uncomfortable with the notion of slavery as is. and so, you know, the new york
which is made up largely as slave holders and establish at the end of the revolution. going fund an award at columbia for the best speech against slavery. that exposes the immorality of the slavery in the slave trade. it's given at graduation. it's based on something that happened in the england already. they borrow a deficit that modeled of intend of modifying this discussion by offering a medal. these are gailts that are happening across the -- campuses. it's because some of the president are affected bit red lick of the ref luges themselves. they been exposed to the british antislave trade campaign. and the extraordinary political force it representatives on both sides of the atlantic and some have been swayed by the arguments particularly on the question of the slave trade.
there's another group who actually begin to see black americans as potentially a tool for christianizing africa. to send back to 66 can as christian missionaries. under the logic that much like native meshes. >> host: i was going say. it goes back to the earlier part of this discussion. >> guest: if you remember 200-years earlier. how do you christianize? >> host: the children and then there's a gap. and they become a second generation, and i follow you. > guest: in fact the swiftest way to e evangelize native nations would be people of their own color and time.
you take native children and return them as adolescence and they'll do the work of evangelizing. >> host: as you're talking, i'm curious. does it create, once again i use the term a cans m between the older blacks and the younger blacks who are being educate for other purposes of the -- you understand where i'm trying to go with this. and, you know, we often have this argument, even today you're just a tool. that's really where i'm getting at. you discuss that in "ebony and ivy." were these educate african-americans tools? did they know they were being tools? did they have some other? >> guest: no. i try to be careful with native
americans and african-americans who receive the education in the way i talk about them. try to be cautious. actually princeton with the native american, during king philip's war. it's the indian resistant campaign that e americas after 1675. it's the a combination of native nation against the -- against -- and almost conquers christian new england. it becomes very close conquering it. without some external help, and some, you know, good luck. it's also true two centuries later as we begin to take young
black men, young black women, and prepare them for these various laws. very often, actually, those educations radicalize the experiences. not necessarily the civilizing ones, but the benefactors. and a to pursue the liberating project of liberating their people shouldn't be ignored. we have to pay attention to that. i'm careful in the book not to make the argument. education always scweeded. -- succeeded. to say question use it strategically. it doesn't mean they succeeded. among native americans and
african-american and find load of example of people who took the education and turn them to rat radical e mans pa story. what has been your research ten years you worked on this. ten years. when you first started with this concept that it tushed in to "ebony and ivy." fascinating read on this. i'm curious if it will be a required reading for your student at m.i.t.? >> guest: i have never students to buy my book. >> host: you are very unique. i can tell them what is in it. >> host: was there anything that as a historian was there anything that just surprised you as you were researching and writing ebony and ivy?
just to this day if i were a student in your class and asked that question, professor wilder, what really caught your attention what really stuck with you and surprised you? >> guest: honestly the thing i wrestled with the most as i was writing the book, this is rooted in my own experiences as, you know, a black man growing up in the united states in the era that i did was how to balance these historical narrative of different groups of people. once you take up the topic of colleges and slavery, it seemed to me that it would be a less than honest telling of the story if i didn't actually explain the relationship between the colleges and native american nations.
you can't tell the story how they got involved in the slave trade and the trustees ended up becoming slave traders and created cozy relationships to the planters in the south and the slave traders in the northeast and year. why they cultivated this class of people so aggressively for so long. that story actually doesn't ultimately make -- unless you actually look west. and you think about the m big of the colonial project. west of the east coast. the atlantic -- and you think about the as it often gets going. and so i had i to brick -- i felt to tell the story well, i
had actually had to become a student of native american history. >> host: when we think natives and americans, and what you're telling us, the common historical thought that we're -- that we're all taught is native americans did not make good slaves. but you do talk about them being enslaved. you talk about them. is that a myth? is that a -- is that a myth and a fallacy? >> guest: we have all sort of myth of native people. you think about native slavery, there's an enormous trade in native people in the colonial. the south carolina/north carolina created by two slave trades. it's a trade and enslaved africans brought in. and a trade in conquered and
enslaved native people being sold out. and sold out of the carolines to? >> guest: the caribbean and new france and canada. new fran from the 17th from the century on from eastern dan have been a healthy and receptive market for native people enslaved in wars throughout the americas. native people are often actually enslaved and sold in the caribbean. these are largely. we have a lot of myth making about slavery. when it comes to the thing that surprised me the most. >> host: i must say that's what surprised me in the book. i'm glad we a chance to discuss that. it's the common thought often expressed in casual historical conversations, the reason blacks or african were brought here because in native americans simply didn't make good slave. they ran away. they disappear to the western war. >> guest: and the other part of the enormous --
extraordinary mortality rate among native people. >> host: due to? >> guest: the new diseases. in the first 100 years of contact. in fact, actually, none of that stops us from enslaving native people. and that's a lesson we should take away. not a single one of those factors stops us from capturing and slaving and selling native people in to bondage in other part of the americas. trading and slave people. it there are native american slaves on the college campuses both by faculty and student. native slavery is common. >> host: the reason i want to make sure we emphasize that. as people get to "ebony and ivy "they might say when are we getting to the african slave. you spend a great deal of time, as you say, prefacing the relationship of africans and
slavery with what happened prior to africans being in essence brought in. this is the other question as we start to wrap up. there will be those then who will read "ebony and ivy ." i would -- i also have a sen -- correct me if i'm wrong, professor. it's almost two books in one. what i meaned by it. i mentioned it earlier. it's the glossary, the footnotes -- i tend turn how people come up with the narrative they write about. it's amazing that -- you have done that on purpose so, again, researchers, historians can see where you have got the information. and then expand upon it. >> guest: right. my goal was to take difficult topic and name assessable to the
public. to make it readable and approachable. there's also a fact another public that i write for. which are academics and people doing research in the field. i wanted to provide them with as accurate and clear map to the sources as i could to help along their project. and the work they have been publishing. it certainly helped me in the project. >> host: i would be remiss if i didn't ask about your own institution m.i.t.? >> guest: we show up at the end. we show up at the end of the book. the rise of the technical and engineering colleges and universities from the decades before the civil war, which is very much influenced by the expansion of cotton culture of the united states. it's cotton text tile manufacturing in new england that produces a whole wave of new wealth. in order to get it running you need qualified engineer and the owners of the mill towns and the
investors in mill town begin investing in engineering and science education at the existing universities but also by -- >> host: so then plantation owners that have the raw product, ie the cotton. which is manufactured in new england. >> guest: and financed through new york. >> host: i -- i guess the raw material in the south, produced by slaves. financed by new york bankers -- >> guest: and insurers. >> host: and then the industrialization of -- >> guest: and manufactured in new england in to text tile. >> host: and the product are sold around the world. >> guest: and the manufacturers you need engineers, and we begin investing in as one historian put it raising the whole town. along the sort of river bank where we actually can dot large-scale manufacturing. >> host: there would also be those who may finish reading "ebony and ivy" and say or ask
the question. do these universities owe us -- do i dare mention the rd reparation? and so i don't know if that is your next book? [laughter] i don't know how that discussion -- comes up in your classroom nap might be the thought process some people may end up. what is your thought behind it? >> i would have to go back to what we were talking about about the most surprising thing. >> guest: yeah one of the things was that doing the book is history is not a race to see who is worse off and most oppressed. part of the reason i wanted to blend together the stories of and the history of native americans with african-americans with european-christians was to actually get to the truth -- to
the fact, to the details much what happened. and to explain them as accurately and carefully as i can. to choose difficult time. and my task is to take reader to that. to help them, guide them through difficult moments in our history. now, there are consequences to doing this. there are consequences to the universities and histories >> host: such as? >> guest: brown has already begun to initiate and implement the recommendations from the brown committee in 2006. and ways in which brown can actually reconcile its current real twi the current history. >> host: and you bright people up to date. >> guest: establish a center. there was a new center established on campus. there was a decision to make more aggressive investment in financial aid and scholarship money, and to just be
proactive. to actually recommit to a diverse campus, to a campus that recognized that education could be a tool of social justice. at william and mary there's movement in the same direction. there was a faculty statement about the history -- the history of the institution with slavery. i think that's actually in some ways the right motion. i don't i have a prescription for all the universities that i write about in this book. i do think that universities have to engage their own history. i recognize there are consequences. >> host: when you say universities have to engage in the book, again, the book is "ebony and ivy ." engage them and then deal with their own consequence is what i
think are -- that should be left up to the universities to decide? >> guest: i think it's about the students. it's about the alumni. it's a conversation that needs to happen on campus. >> host: i see. displg it's about the surrounding area. >> host: meaning? >> guest: the neighborhood which they live. the cities and towns. i think the solutions for yale is different than the solution for william and mary. >> host: or came bridge. >> guest: right. and part of really honestly grappling with the troubled history of the american university is recognizing that the troubled history of american universities didn't end when the bookended. one of the things i did it in the book i thought the book in the high point of scientific racism. i wanted to get the reader to
the -- i love the -- racism. just quickly, what do you say in the book, what is scientific racism? >> guest: there a few chapters in the book i write about the emergence of race in science within science. and one of the things i argue is that not only the science decline one of the key ways for establishing the legitimacy of racial thought and the racial deafen of slavery. >> host: in essence -- white supreme -- >> guest: right. i would argue it's the racial defense of slavery. the idea that african people are inherently infour your. >> host: okay. >> guest: and credited and prepared by nature for a certain
level of humanity. >> host: i see. >> guest: and from a certain level of treatment. the the lives of slaves to put. prepared i by nature. that idea preexists the rise of the scientific academy in north america. but it gets coopted by science. and in many ways science becomes one of the key areas for defending race and defending the injustices of modern slavery. and i write about that in a book for a few reasons. one of the key ones that's at past that allows universities to emerge by the 1830 as independent actors in the political sphere. it's actually precisely the ability of university faculty and officers to argue in defense of slavery that creates space in the public sphere for them -- >> host: because the debate -- because it's a university, it is
that they are the center of learning and -- what more appropriate place to take place and validate this racist science or race science you're talking about. >> guest: the university -- with race and race creates the pray teeing of the university. right. so that -- race ultimately unfetters universities. if you remember at the beginning of our conversation, we said these are church -- denominal schools. they break free of the church in the 19th century. >> host: the universities? >> guest: the university break free? >> guest: largely because they have a capacity through science to make secular arguments. >> host: they start with non seq. already funding support. as they progress and become more influential, they break free of that and align themselves with
this -- pseudo science. can i say that? >> guest: absolutely. and the rise is racial science really creates a new public percent teeing for university. the modern university found exactly that moment. one of the thing i argue about the question of refer ration and social justice. we have to remember that the troubled history of the american university doesn't end when the bookends. it continues to the 20th century. those same racial concept actually come to justify new brutality in the modern world. we shouldn't forget a lot of those ideas didn't have their origin on campus, but they got the legitimacy on campus. they got refined on campus this they got validated on campus. they got modernized on the campus and got the political and social press teeing on the campus.
>> host: is there another ten years? [laughter] to go from 1830? >> guest:ly help them every step of the way. you know, the young american with a full head of hair who want that project, i will help them every step of the way. >> host: maying. to say it's a page turner doesn't do it justice. and i encourage everyone to please read this book. i started off making sure that people understood it's not a textbook. >> guest: right. >> host: it's not a textbook. it's an excellent chronological experience that you've taken our universities that we hear so much about. it is really their history. it is their history from beginning to where they are now. i do hope you'll spend another
ten years doing it. you did this one justice. so thank you very much. >> guest: thank you. i appreciate it. >> host: the book is "ebony and ivy." professor craig steven wilder. you have my most admiration not having the students buy this required. >> guest: i hope any colleagues have their students buy it. [laughter] >> host: that's right. thank you very much. >> guest: thank you very much. >> host: great book. "ebony and ivy." that was after words booktv's signature program in which authority of the latest non-fiction books are interviewed by journalist, policy makers, and others familiar with their work. you can watch it online. go to booktv.org and click on after words in the booktv series and topic list on the upper right side of the page.
>> when you write a book, a lot can go wrong. that's the the way i approach the world. i'm somewhat erratic in my writing and reporting. a lot can go wrong in 110 words. i've been pretty shocked by -- i guess if there's been criticism from in society it's been mostly in the vain of how dare he? how dare an insider giveaway the secret handshake? how dare an insider talk about other insiders in a way that perhaps might not be, you know, in keeping with the codes that we have in washington? and, you know, people asking me why are people uncomfortable here. i welcome the discomfort. but i also think it's journalist. it's what we do. booktv's book club returns this month. read the book and engage on facebook and twitter. look for daily book club posts