Skip to main content

tv   Authors Discuss Slavery  CSPAN  April 23, 2017 6:01pm-7:01pm EDT

6:01 pm
abortion or rights but a lot of people think about the economy and crying and beyond because it tends to shape a hard line in the authoritarian mindset and that might explain also why even though they are not religious that they have similarities in their worldviews in many cases. >> host: first tim time author d guest on book tv, here is the book exceptional america was divides americans from the world and from each other. we look forward to having you back. live coverage of the "los angeles times" festival of books continues. on the campus of the university of southern california. the last panel of the day begins now. it is on th slavery and genocide and after that with author david
6:02 pm
horowitz. good afternoon, everyone thank you for joining us. i'm from the history department here they were extremely likely to have the extraordinarily talented historians with us today. i will introduce them each and start with some questions and why they do what they do and then make sure to leave time for you all to ask questions at the end we are speaking to an
6:03 pm
audience of c-span. for one of our friends and supporters here in the purple times festival book to help guide where you can purchase and get your book signed and also the personal recordin requirings section is not. this is professor christine snyder or she's a professor of history. christina is here to speak mostly about her new book indian settlers and slaves but she's
6:04 pm
also written before on indian country and the struggles. the casting is by way of reference and excavation of the community of the earlier period of the great crossings and we will hear about that in a moment. my friend and colleague from across town at the history department is the author of a haunting bookcalled an american genocide of the united states and the indian catastrophe which single-handedly recast the history in california in my vi view. but also the recipient a couple of years ago at the "los angeles times" book award for history.
6:05 pm
so because of the remarkable quality of history in this book. [applause] and at the end of the table from occidental college in the history department, charlotte is the author of this book recaptured african africans of g the dislocation in the final years of the slave trade as a really remarkable story of a kind of eulogy all at once about memory and forgiveness, kindness because the way she opens the book with a beautiful poem that maybe we will hear from her story is about the recapturing of slaves who were enmeshed in the illegal translate just before the civil war. very little known and understood moment in american history and how their incarceration in the american south became essentially human beings adding
6:06 pm
fuel to the fire of the dislocation and the coming of the civil war. it's like all three of these works are a haunting loo book. so despite the darkness of the topics at hand, we are exceedingly privileged to be at the company of scholars that through this book have reminded us again that the 19th century that is traditionally or at least in the last half-century or so then often celebrated as a century of emancipation and freedom. it's not quite that easy. these books are a reminder that it is too easy to note. so i want to welcome our colleagues up here and open questions we can take and
6:07 pm
sequence. we want to know a little bit about your book so feel free to tell us about the book. i want you to each address us. christina structures her book by a metaphoric pathway a nice way to think about the linear history in the darkness that is in light and even passed the future. history exists between our present and the scholarly works like this and then embraced the past that are supposed to eliminate the past but in doing so the president, so there is a dialogue about the purpose of scholarly works. perhaps about the dark chapters in the american past. so, i want to know what led you
6:08 pm
to this topic. take us back to the early days i want to write a book about what took you there and then you can briefly tell us what encapsulates your findings in the story as you tell in the book. thanks everyone for coming. it retells the story by looking at the experimental community that was home to the answer of -- antibellem boarding school. it was the patriarch of the family that was afamous democratic politician in his day and he became vice president under martin van buren. he had a long-term relationship with an african-american woman who was also the slave and in
6:09 pm
some ways that relationship is reminiscent between sally hemmings many of you are probably familiar with that story. it provided a property for them, so it's a firestorm of controversy about race and place in antebellum america and at the school i mentioned is the academy that's famous in its d day. it is a voluntary school.
6:10 pm
so one of the question questiony our native people interested in education in the early period what do they want to get out of this, and it wasn't an extremely popular school, so eventually over the course of the school come 1845, 1848, about 700 students attended from all over the continent, different tribes that were different as bison hunters from the plane to the churcchurch readers to the great lakes. so it is a diverse place. and i wanted to tell the story because usually it focuses on those that turn west to conquer the continent. how did they try to meet americans in the middle and try
6:11 pm
to forge the society and also african-americans who challenged the empire to live up to its idea. we look at the interactions and crossings but also the period of fracture in which the stream of multiculturalism fall apart so that's a little bit about the book. >> i will begin with how i became interested about the topic he grew up outside of a small town called by the oregon border with no electricity, no telephone, television, mail delivery service that i had the
6:12 pm
great privilege to live. we came here to los angeles. i began to wonder where are all these people. we are in the single largest indian cities north of mexico and then one day i was in the german class and a group showed up you are on the site of the village springs that was spoken
6:13 pm
here for millennia before spaniards and the mexicans and the united states. this is the beginning of my deep curiosity. it's not necessarily shouting to the rooftops. but part of the story invaded in 1873 the indigenous population of displaced from california tell 450,000 to just 50,000. so, diseases can't dislocation from starvation and exposure all played important roles in the population catastrophe. but there were other things that work as well. systematic and free labor, mass starvation and death on federal indian reservations, hundreds of
6:14 pm
homicides and over 370 separate massacres hav that carried out e vigilantes that became elements of the united states army in total during these years the book i've written documents between 9,416,000 individual killings between 9,400 to 16,000 at an absolute minimum and has almost 200 pages in the appendices that document each and every one of these killings. so, the book tries to track how and why this happened. they paid for and launched the
6:15 pm
campaign's how was it that the u.s. army actually killed more people. it's a part of california history that we rarely hear about american citizens
6:16 pm
continued to participate in the trade and attempted to suppress it. the event i trade in my book took place in the same summer that abraham lincoln was running for president and the nation was on the civil war. my book focuses on the second phase of captivity and that is after the rescue from the slave ship. so i look at what is meant t ite a recaptured african. i was drawn to that term what did it mean to come into the custody liberated from a slave ship and what did it mean that
6:17 pm
out of the 2,000 people that were part of this particular story is large number of them were under the age of 15 during this period up to about 50% were 14 years and younger. i came to this book because of a document i learned about at the virginia historical society when i was writing my dissertation i was writing a book about medicine man to slavery in the antebellum south and all the archivists look at this journal and it was a doctor on the ship headed for liberia transporting to act as an agent over a group
6:18 pm
of the captured africans being transported to liberia many of whom were children. i knew about the conventional narratives about fugitives and the underground railroad, but this category. it's something i haven't heard of and the evidence that was picked up off the periodicals like harper. i knew that story and started to see it all over. >> terrific, thank you. >> i want to talk with the panelists about the pathway that they hope their books will take that they finished in.
6:19 pm
you are stuck with your notes and good and bad ideas and footnotes in research and it is just often times with the support of colleagues and friends and the only private intimate things and then you published it. you put it into a stream of ideas and it takes its own path. i mentioned she opens her book with a beautiful poem i'm going to read a little bit and then ask the question. when all else fails whatever names you go by, be kind. when our fingers break against the wind that holds us, be kind. when our voices fall flat, the kind in the darkness. it goes on as poignant and sad
6:20 pm
and beautiful and all at once. i just want to ask each of the panelists what path do you hope your book will take we have written about the books that do you want your books and how do you think that that will be received to provoke a memory that you've brought to life for us and that will enable us to find aspects in our racial and communal past for redemptive hope. one of the pivotal issues in the book is indian removal. we often think about this in the
6:21 pm
context of the trail of tears which is appropriate for certain reasons. they use the print media to rally the allies but in reality all native people of the east, west and mississippi. this paves the way for the expansion of slavery into the deep south in what was then the west extending west to the front
6:22 pm
cotton frontier. one of the things that is a point of relevance we talk about the agency and its been something that has come up in the news and i think a lot of times the news media focuses on the personalities of jackson and trump. i think the key is both in the age of jackson and in our contemporary world we see it at the time of change in. today though was the globalization and the changing position in the world. but in the jacksonian period, this was a time of great geographic expansion so it goes from being an east coast nation to being a continental empire.
6:23 pm
when the book ends, california is the west and they are also faced with massive immigration into how and why to incorporate those in the spanish and french empire so the key issues are the same for the citizenship and america's destiny and because those were not resolved in the jacksonian period we are now reliving those and one of the things that will come out of the book is looking at experiments in the past and their hopes and ideals will get some food for thought once w as we face theses again. >> when you write a book about crime and genocide one of the
6:24 pm
things you can't escap he can'te request of justice, the desire to uncover the crimes of the perpetrators have all too often successfully concealed for the people that like what they did continue to conceal so unjust as it is certainly i hope for in some way, shape or form and i'm happy to say that on wednesday i had the opportunity to meet with the governor of california and the cabinet and he's decided to acknowledge what happened here during these hearings was in fact a case of genocide and that signal moment far exceeds. [applause] , but the stakes are high when you talk about the crime of genocide. they include questions of reparation, ownership of the land where these events took
6:25 pm
place, questions of public discourse will genocide in california become part of our public educational standard in dusting way teachers are required to teach about genocide or the holocaust. will the people of california support or even tolerate the same kind of public monuments and state mandated days of remembrance that today commemorates the holocaust or genocide. these are very large questions, but it begins thinking about these questions. i began thinking about what happened to indian people. but as the story expanded and it became clearer and clearer the profound depth of the state involvement and the fact that our very first democratically elected governor could stayed in his state of the state address
6:26 pm
that it was going to happen behind those genocidal statements spending well over a million dollars. when i saw to be reimbursed for much of the money spent and a devoted a huge power and resource to sending thousands of soldiers then i began to think of justice and i still think about what the state and country owes to people because we are on the land this afternoon and wherever you go you will be in the country where every square inch of the state in fact everywhere you go in a hemisphere to the straits of magellan to the arctic sea but
6:27 pm
even that basic fact is beyond most of our consciousness and completely outside what we teach our children. we have a long way to go. >> my book also relates to the federal government and its accountability. i trace what happens to be recaptured africans after they are taken from the slave ships and they go through the various areas of displacement that are reminiscent of the state displaced people they are put in detention camps and because they are in charleston and key west guarded by the federal government, they are subject to a federal law that was passed in 1819 said it had to be translated and removed beyond
6:28 pm
the borders of a nation and that this is because of the existence in the united states was so controversial to the white politicians and politics of slavery. there is a lot of implication in this and because of the trauma, the total mortality to these 2,000 people of their crossing over the years 53% of total so it is a story of death even though i talk about the stories they are there all the time so part of what i hope to do with this work is provided in active
6:29 pm
recuperation. they were acquitted or never freed at all and long after, they were still in detention or the payment by forced migration. there's an entire group working in the crowd sourcing to try to do a much more detailed history in the recaptured africans in the united states, so i hope my book attributes to that and i hope that it's come tributes to ahuman history. a lot of the slave trade history has been one of demographics and statistics and only in the past decade are telling stories of individuals who experienced these global displacements and capable tragedies if they survived at all.
6:30 pm
last i do have to say i didn't write the poem so i don't want to take credit for it because of the normandy of the story and its sadness, i start almost every day i would read from the books his grandmother was born on the remote island of st. helena as a recaptured african and her book is full of fat sense of loss and alienation and loneliness but also somehow a redemption going back and looking at these lives so i hope my book is somehow a part of that process. >> i will ask charlotte to move
6:31 pm
this way and break up the flow of little faith. you've got recaptured africans, remarkably interesting story that was covered, people knew about it, covered as they say in the national press and then you have the governor speaking about genocide as a fee to complete. the press in california reports on these things and christina, you have the most famous interracial family of the day. why are stories now coming to light in other words what did we miss as scholars what did we miss you s so glaringly in the teaching and construction what explains the record unless i am mistaken about all three of these case studies or moments?
6:32 pm
>> my answer is we didn't miss it because the great intellectual wrote his dissertation and published it on the u.s. oppression of the slave trade. but what happened between you anand ithink that story, they dd out of sight in part because it didn't fit the traditional narratives. it was much more complicated and middleground. but the stories of the court cases, that have been told, but the people at the center had been given full attention. so, i think the other final thing to say is the collaboration of historians moving outside of just writing their own nation's history to the atlantic history allows the scholars to put together
6:33 pm
different parts of a story. it took me so long to write about because i was able to come closer and closer into a transnational type of scholars that were able to see things from both sides are many more sides of the atlantic world. >> the first thing i will say is californian people have always known the story and never forgot so in all of the visits this is not a surprising story for them and it is told in excruciating details that are alive and well today. the stories were not hidden in a vault i happened to find somewhere. they were in plain sight. if you were reading the newspapers of the 19th century los angeles in the star you
6:34 pm
would have read about the enslavement of southern california indian people. you would have been reading stories not only about massacres in souther southern california t central and northern california as well and i think historians have always known that something extraordinarily evil took place in california in the 1840s, 1850s, 60s and early 70s. as early as the 1880s, bancroft, arguably the founder of the european-style history in california asserted, and i quote, that it was one of the last greatest funds of civilization. there've been many scholars and activists who called what happened genocide. but it took me ten years to gather all of that information and then read dozens of newspapers.
6:35 pm
i still have a crick in my neck. it took warning through the archives at the huntington at a young library in new zealand when you see the number of libraries and archives you get a sense of how scattered to the four winds all of the data was although it was there and the important thing to understand is this book is not based on doing an interview of indian people into writing down their stories, it's based on the importance of the united states army, militia men, sheriffs, journalists, mostly white people. why? because i thought if you are going to make such an extraordinary case, genocide happened in california at the behest of the state and federal authorities that was carried out and paid for by government authorities. you have to have the highest order of evidence that is
6:36 pm
administereadmonition by perpetd the bystanders so that's why i think we waited so long for this book. >> i think there's a few issues at play with my book. one is in recent decades the historians note there has been a real fluorescence of scholarly works of actors that were ignored for a long time. but it is true it's often kind of compartmentalized so in the jacksonian era there are three issues people focus on. one is the expansion of the u.s. territory and democracy kind of spreading into the west, politics. anindependent and other topic is the expansion of slavery and on
6:37 pm
the third is indian removal. we don't often see them as being connected, but they are and it's just because of the self-discipline divide. so this story brings them all together. i think the other thing is in the popular culture we think of it as a story of progress. this is something americans have thought fohavethought for a lonr since the founding generation americans were on an upward trajectory becoming more free and perfect all the time and i think what is difficult about the jacksonian period especially if you look at nonwhite men that if they retreat on the ideals of the revolution, so after the revolution many expected an extension of democracy. and in fact they did realize many of those games, but giving
6:38 pm
the jacksonian period there was a rollback so it doesn't easily fit the narrative of the history. it shows if we think of progress as the extension of democracy and the ideals of the revoluti revolution, that's not going to happen naturally. that's kind of progress has to be fought for in hard one overtimes. >> i want to ask the panelists a final reflection before i turned oveturnit over to you all for cs and questions. one thing that i think goes without saying but i will mention it anyway is hearing the three scholars talk about the production of these books, these are each prestigious research efforts that have taken them across different genres of historical scholarship and some resources and geographies that are well dispersed and well beyond the boundaries of the united states so they have amassed far more intellectual
6:39 pm
data and reasoning than could fit into each of the three books. they know more than their books do because they have done all this work. so my question is having done this now, and is eventually producing three books that should urge us all to cast the way that we teach history and i mean that sincerely, what are you building upon in that knowledge you've created and made what are you building upon for the next book because the next book or project is something completely different as scholars often do and you can understand if this is exhausting or are you adding to its? is there a link to your next project? let's start with christina. >> there is a kind of link in that i'm interested in the question of american imperialism seeing the u.s. as an entire and
6:40 pm
a topic i look at in this book and my first book was a very and especially if you focus on all of these books together one of the things you see is slavery has persisted for a long time in american history. but it doesn't necessarily need the end slavery. in fact if you look at the west, this kind of emancipation is a new policy the u.s. carries into the west as it tries to eradicate or in some instances preserve some of the older legacies of the colonial slavery in different places so the book i want to work on now is called slavery after the civil war the slow death and many afterlives because i think essentially what you see is the perpetuation of
6:41 pm
slavery of some native peoples in the west but also a high tolerance for other forms of the indentured servitude and this image of itself the u.s. had as a liberator the country uses to expand into the specific.
6:42 pm
this will allow the indian communities in california not only that federally recognized communities but also the others that are recognized by the states to input the information. the other day t that said that e could have a place where if the teachers and others can find material it may sound a little bit schizophrenic and it's about indigenous people in the role they played in the gold rush, g, not only californian indian people but also large numbers that came from the kingdom of hawaii and mexico, oklahoma and russia and alaska.
6:43 pm
also the last chapter that deals with the apprenticeship of young people in liberia. some of them migrated to their actual homeland which was around the condo river of the democratic republic of the congo so i'm interested in black americans and other migrations possibly from liberia to what is the early and belgian congo and especially african americans and how they deal with coming out of the regime of jim crow and possibly having been born into the regime with slavery and then
6:44 pm
to colonialism that was beginning to. please in the time remaining. i was recently on the internet and came across a story of georgetown university acknowledging and making the retribution and amendments to
6:45 pm
ideally families and descendents of the slaves that they sold to pay off their debt and i was wondering if you could shed some light on that and were there other institutions. if any of them had the courage to do with georgetown did a. they have that issue and there have been many universities that we can think of of harvard, brown, emory university who
6:46 pm
feature set up their own commissions to look into their own institutions. it may be part of it drives in next big reparations push as we saw in the '90s. >> we have to wait for the microphone because they are broadcasting its reaction research to 2017. it's universal shock and shame and at the time that you did your original research report that reactions were and then they occurred did you see anything that was inspirational or anyone smiling at the time
6:47 pm
and thought these would not have occurred? >> you'll have the relationship question. >> it was important to highlight the people that stood up and fitness but it wasn't spoke about it for what it was to show they are not just the ideas of the times but human beings always have compassion, decency and a sense of justice so there were people that spoke out against what was happening in california even in the united states congress there were others who spoke out against california's genocidal policy. but i will tell you one story that stands out in my mind in
6:48 pm
part because it happened miles from where i was born and bred there were killings moving through the northern sacramento river valley coming from farm to farm she held up a close between herself and several california indian women and she said if you want to kill these three women you want to kill me and my unborn baby also. she saved their lives and they took the three women as far as they could with a wagonto take
6:49 pm
them to safety but the sad fact is there were not enough people that stood up anstood up and dig so it is always up to us in this room when we see evil being done of it is up to us to stand up and do the right thing and we can save people's lives. >> do any others care to stand up and find inspirational heroes? >> this is a great question and one of the things i was interested in and the book, this idea is prominent because there was no consensus about what it should be and from the beginning there were many that spoke out against racial tolerance and extension of democracy. one area is indian removal that
6:50 pm
was controversial and only narrowly passed the house of representatives by a few votes and even the westerners like the famous frontiersman mike jackson fought this so you have the one area of national politics where people are in debate and are not as famous and there are incidences in the school for those running away together for example you have students fighting against overseers and you've also have indian leaders who continue to fight for a
6:51 pm
sovereignty and if we think about the removal of all we think of it as a loss. the first line of inspiration would be to recap itself. if they had becomthey had becomn minister james pennington you may know his narrative.
6:52 pm
it's against some of the naval suppression policies. the issues between the civil rights, human rights and abolition in a global way was very profound for to learn about the international aspect. there was quite a bit of time to talk about those that were the
6:53 pm
there. then he said that the tribe was part. they were in los angeles so you consider the mission indians in the research are there goes that points towards the forms of slavery as opposed to what we heard in the fourth grade history books.
6:54 pm
>> we are in the country right now situated on the homelands and those are basically two terms for the same people that is referred to in the mission and belonging to the mission. there is in the book a fair amount of material in the opening chapter of the mission. and what we do know is that for a while people came to the mission really, but beginning at about 1790 it was deployed to bring people and by force. there's the employees without the freedom to quit. they are all over the la basin
6:55 pm
and also reside on other places in the state, but they are not a federally recognized drive in the state of california but not by the united states. >> we have time i think for a final question if there is one in the room. let's wait for the microphone. >> i was unaware of the communities and where they are and several of us are going to be indian reservation in wyoming to be in the native land. they are relatively free so is
6:56 pm
it just a peculiarity that has occurred in areas where native americans are relatively. >> is it a dark case as opposed to other parts of the continental united states in the treatment of indigenous peoples. if you look at the history of the united states you will see that from the 15 hundreds and thelate 19th century there are very few regions that are not stained by at least one massacre by the u.s. army by state militiamen territorial forces, colonial forces of vigilantes.
6:57 pm
so there's an ongoing debate that's happening in academia over the question of genocide in the united states as a whole. my personal take is that it's difficult for the comprehensive judgment about the nation as a whole or the entire hemisphere about robust individual case studies on which it is a broad conclusion, so i hope that this particular study points the way towards the use of the united states genocide convention is the definition in a very careful tracking of the state involvement in funding in particular to make a serious evaluation for a variety of places and we can assemble them into a mosaic that will give a better understanding not only in the united states history and native american history that a better understanding of ourselves.
6:58 pm
>> i will follow-up because most of my work is on a different area and i will say that much of what is talked about in his book is not exceptional. it goes on in other places and other but you mentioned reservation and reservation communities. that idea dates back to colonial virginia in the first reservations the idea of segregating the native people onto a particular part of planned away from the settlers and what i talked about before in the indian removal, that is the kind of extension of that idea to the entire eastern half of the continent and i think when we talk about the need of history, we need to acknowledge the realities, because i think that the profoun profound silent this when i talk to my students, they are not -- they do not often have much knowledge of the
6:59 pm
history. they might know about pocahontas with the trail of tears but they don't have a comprehensive understanding of it. and on these kind of massacres i think of ethnic cleansing it had been quite common. but it's also important to say that the native people are still here and still survived. and that's why there are reservation communities throughout the u.s. and even actually today most native people live in urban areas not on reservations, so there are native people everywhere so persistence and perseverance is also part of the story. >> was that i think i will bring this to a close. i want to offer thanks to the three scholars.
7:00 pm
[applause] i think that you will agree this is a rich time to be a scholar of the north american experience and of these three books are exemplary features of that excitement and i want to thank you all for coming. thank you for the excellent questions. enjoy the rest of your day. [applause] ..

94 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on