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tv   C-SPAN Cities Tour Visits Laramie Wyoming  CSPAN  November 3, 2019 9:14am-10:16am EST

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crow alabama so my mother lived her youth in a white national society and it has -- openly surely. >> yes. and it is rare its head again. >> her most recent book is "breathe: a letter to my sons." joint interactive conversation with your phone calls, tweets and facebook messages. at 9 p.m. eastern on "after words" david shulkin author of it shouldn't be this hard to serve your country recounts his time as the secretary of veterans affairs in the trump administration. >> the governments involvement in va healthcare is the most effective way of honoring our nations commitment to our veterans. that does not mean that veterans
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should have the ability to go into the private sector when it's in their best interest, when the care is better or specialized care is available that's not in the da. i think we all believe that should be available. >> watch booktv at the weekend on c-span2. >> the c-span cities tour is exploring the american story as we take booktv and american history tv on the road with support from our spectrum cable partners this week and we traveled to laramie, wyoming. coming up we will speak with local authors about the cities history and more. we will hear about the influence the energy industry has in the state of wyoming and then after that a visit to the ivinsons mansion to learn about the early days of the city. hear how the sport of road you became a symbol of the american west. we began our special feature with the conversation about retail pioneer j. c. penney.
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>> like most people in wyoming at the turn-of-the-century, he was a transplant pig is born raised in missouri by to think j. c. penney was a country boy at heart. there's an old expression you can always take the boy out of the country but you can never take the country out of the boy. i think we see that in terms of the life that j. c. penney lived. even though he was in wyoming or roughly ten years and spent the balance of his life in new york city he never lost that essence of who he really was as a country boy who likes small towns. when you look at where he started in wyoming, a lot of these communities were relatively young. even as he branched into neighboring states also discounts have been incorporated into the lake 1800s and some of them were not incorporated until the 20th century. in many cases j. c. penney became the first real department store that was operating.
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>> tell me about his early life. where was he born and how does it end up in wyoming? >> he was born in hamilton missouri, caldwell county, actually a farm east of their born and raised and spent his entire formative years there. his dad thought he wasn't cut out for agriculture and so he stood in towards a career in retail picky basically lined up an internship for j.c. junior and he started understand retail from those expenses. that's where he really cut his teeth on that. he still had his own agriculture projects that he did on the side by this plan was to basically work his way up to his home tempo for chile his father died from tuberculosis and it became very clear j she was also a clear that if he still in the humid climate. his initial move was to come out west to denver of all places and he started as a sales clerk and what was called the joslin
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department store, one of the main department stores in denver that is since been taken over by dillards but that's where he started up a he had an opportunity to use his savings and by buys a butcher shop in longmont, colorado, just north of denver. he wanted to get out of denver. he wasn't happy in the big city so we moved to long bond at the time about 2000 people. the empty religious values that forbade him from drinking. his dad was a country pastor. his dad had a huge influence on him in that regard. so when you bought this butcher shop he did realize his greatest clients with a local hotel, and the ship that was there but the chef expected a bottle of whiskey with every order of beef. so j. c. penney obliged and provide the bottle of whiskey, and he felt delta about it afterwards and so we decided i'm not going to do that anymore. he didn't do that and lost the business of the hotel. the entire meat shop went bankrupt within the year so he
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was completely broke. at that point maki mackey notie across the street was this golden rules store that was operating, and he was intrigued by sweeping inside and explored. he understood retail of his experiences in missouri and in denver. he got to know the proprietor of that store, and ending thomas callahan, also at come up from missouri to start this business. at the time he was doing something rather unusual, the idea of having stores come basically a chain department store, that intrigue j. c. so we talked to him to be hired as a camper sales clerk with the idea that he probably would be let go after the holiday season. instead, this thomas callahan gave him an opportunity to become a clerk in wyoming in the western part of the state, and it he worked at as a sales clerk he would give him the opportunity to manage his own store and owned as a partner with tom callahan. that's initially went to him to
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wyoming. >> what's the title of your book, and why did you decide to write it? >> the title of the book is j. c. penney, the man, the store and the agriculture. i think growing up in world north dakota and eastern montana you have to go out of town to do your shopping or in our case go from country into town. my mother took us to a tiny town called headache or that had a j. c. penney store main street. at three years old i couldn't read or write. i was ill literate but i was amazed at the atmosphere that was in that building. i was fastened by the stores themselves but as a beacon to study the stores i then began to know more and more about the man behind them, j. c. penney himself for rural america was always a part of my childhood and my formative years. i did realize the degree to which it was also a part of his, and the stores themselves. the deeper i dig into this, as
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this gradually became an academic interest of mine, the more i discovered of this rule connection that i had not known before and most people had not known about either. that's really what made that will come about the way it did. his business model was similar to what the golden rule merchants had started. he didn't open the this door entirely on his own. his mentor tom callahan and in another mentor, guy johnson, partnered with it. what was different about these stores is they were partnerships. an employee became to work, penney preferred to call his employees associates, they had an opportunity for viable ownership and the opportunity to someday not only manage the store but own part of it and share in the profits. that's what was more unusual about how we started. but as i told you, his father was a huge influence on him in terms of moral convictions and values which penney then
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transferred into his approach to business. even though the initial syndicate was called the golden rule, i think that's what drew penney to that syndicate is this religious idea of doing unto others as you have do unto you. penney to get that a step further and you wanted to apply that ugly between the store and its customers but the employer, in this case him, and the potential employees associates they came to work for him, and even taking it a step beyond that and the communities that jcpenney stores served as was their own competitors and supplies. that was what his goal was, to practice the golden rule in every facet of that operation. i think when you look at his approach to partnerships, again it goes back to this golden rule idea. it wasn't about him simply making money and that was in the end of it. he wanted to basically show that success with anybody who got involved with him. in the agricultural partnerships that began, ironically it really
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began at the worst time of his life he had lost his fortune during the great depression, , e was using that same incentive to partner with common farmers. most of these would've been tenant farmers. they would've it hopelessly stuck working for wages on firms that they would never owned and probably never even generate enough income to own their own farms. i penney sop an opportunity with those rural partnerships that he could do a solid for the tenant farmer who is there by giving him an opportune to have a better front that they were working as tenant farmers on and then they would have the incentive of ownership and share in the profits of the cultural operation. one of the first ones was with oren james on a birthplace farm that penney have been born and raised him. when you came back he was a well-known person nationwide. he was living in new york city at the times he was said at those partnerships but he would simply walk up to the shack or
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farmhouse of this person come knock on the door, introduced himself as j. c. penney, ask to come inside and present this opportunity. who could say no? but it's very surreal moment think about that today if we thought about mark zuckerberg jeff bezos knocking on somebody's door offering been this kind of opportunity that penney was doing. it's almost stranger than fiction, but he continue doing that really threw through the , through the 1940s, and the last of these partnerships were finally dissolved in the late 1960s mainly because his wife that he was spreading itself too thin between new york city and missouri. but there were at least ten different farming partnerships that get set up, and they were substantial. they changed the lives of the people who got involved with him. in the book one of the later chapters is the most successful partnerships were with two brothers in north-central
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missouri. they were able not only to buy the farms out from j. c. penney in the 1960s by keith their family on this farms today. today both of those descendents, about five generations down from them, they have family farms that are largely traced back directly to j. c. penney himself. >> do you talk at all about the struggles of the store today and what it's gone through in the past few decades? >> i do, and it's sort of -- thank goodness my parents prohibited me from ever owning j. c. penney stock, and that turned out to be a good thing and last ten to 15 years or so. i think you would be heartbroken by seeing what's happened to the company. i don't think we can blame it entirely on the rise of e-commerce. i think with what it is is deviating away from the values that he built a dog. he had a mission statement he drafted in 1913 called the
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penney idea, and it was basically seven principles that were all rooted in the golden rule that he wanted that company to operate by as a continue to grow. at the time he wrote that statement he only had about 30 stores. but within 15 years he would be approaching 1400. i think would happen over time is the company drifted away from those ideas and those values, and that's why it found itself where it is. if you're not treat your employees the way you would want to be treated, if you're not treating your customers the way you would want to be treated or responding to what your customers want and need, you're going to become irrelevant very quickly in the 21st century, and i think that's part of the problem. >> what do you hope people take away from reading this book? >> i want them to see sort of an unusual approach to capitalism i think, because i think capitalism gets sort of a bad name. and think j.c. pennies brand of
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that was a situation where you could have win-win situations to capitalism rather than somebody making a profit and lowering the standard of living for everybody that they made that profit off. j. c. penney kept an awareness of everything around him, and i give trying to do what he could do to make that environment better. he saw his company and his wealth ultimately as a means for which he could do that. >> our visit to laramie continues as we are, author jeffrey lockwood about the influence that energy countries have over places in the state like the university of wyoming. >> wyoming has been described ideologist borrow the phrase from ike sullivan, , former governor who describe wailing as a small town with very long streets. there is a sense of small-town, our biggest idiot. over 50,000 people.
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it's a place of open skies, a public lands, of extracted energy. oil, gas and coal in particular. that industry accounts for about two-thirds of the entirety of the state revenues. so right now we're standing on the campus of the university of wyoming, in particular, and the campus of universe of wyoming is a special place because our university is the only four-year institution in the state of wyoming. and so it is a a place of sortf concentrated attention, which is really great in some ways and really difficult in other ways. and so we realize that the university of wyoming that the legislature of our state has been very generous in supporting this institution. answer about two-thirds of our funding at the university of wyoming comes from the state which is a larger portion than virtually any of the public
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institution in the united states. what that means is if two-thirds of our funds come from the state and two-thirds of the state funds come from the energy industry, then an effect somewhere around half every dollar that comes into the university of wyoming is flowing through oil, gas and coal production. but it also means anything that is done on the campus that may call into question the sustainability, the viability, the environmental justice issues surrounding fossil fuel industry are looked at very, very carefully and sometimes very harshly by the industries in the state. what brought about by project was a piece of outdoor artwork, and art installation by a british artist, chris drury, and just right behind me here in this low point, he constructed and outdoor spiral of logs, about 3060 across, a circular
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sort of spiral of beetle logs interspersed with coal, swirling down to a pile of gold and he wanted this which he called carbon sink, to remind people of their complicity in the death of our own forest at that time a bark beetle, pine beetle outbreak was very severe and it was, cause a large part not entirely but a large part by warm winters. during warm winters the beatles are not killed so the flourish and they are wiping out phenomenal number of trees. in in a sense it was like, kick back, right? we are expecting the call and extracting the money, putting the co2 in the atmosphere, feeding back in terms of warmer winters and the beatles wiping out our force. so the spiral was meant to show this kind of circularity, the feedback of what we're doing and remind ourselves that but as you
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might imagine was also in a sense critical of the burning of fossil fuels. and it outraged that industry. the artwork was installed in 2011 in the sum. it generated a tremendous confocal -- kerfuffle. the state politicians were rushing to condemn without ever having seen. they said it was an insult to the energy industry of the state. they demanded its removal in may of the following year, just after graduation it disappeared. instead of being the spiral block structure here, it turned into turned into a big spiral, circlet press a the plaintiff sought. what did happen to it, i would piece in an online publication that we have in wyoming called
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wild file which is sort of our best investigative, deep journalism kind of source. and called into question the veracity of the universities explanation. that led to another piece, led to our public radio station, the casper star tribune, one of our major newspapers filing a freedom of information act, and the whole story broke, that the university had buckled under pressure from politicians and energy industry, and a destroyed artwork in order to placate the fossil fuel industry. that story was picked up nationally and internationally. it was a classic case of censorship of the arts by industry, by corporate america, if you will. i thought i was kind of done with that. it was a terrible, in my mind it was a horrific case of
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censorship on a university campus. but the people around the state started sending me their stories, emailing me, did you hear what happened up in casper? did you know what happened over in holland? did you would happen on the other side every own campus? a lot of these people wanted their stories to be told that feared retribution, financial and do some cases physical retribution was there worry. they knew that i told one story, as a tenured faculty member at the university, and was my job, my duty. that's why we have the protection of tenure so that we can speak the truth. we can say things with protection that other people and understand that other people in our society can't say. so the book came together as a set of stories, and the stories show this pattern of violent things and censoring the arts.
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wyoming is not unique but i think in a sense with a great -- a great, were a tragic model of what happens with power and money with regard to speech and politics. at a national level probably one of the great disasters in terms of our democracy is the citizens united decision which said that money is speech and corporations are people. what we see at a national level is a kind of corporate talker see, and intermingling of corporations and public institutions and we see that on our campus. this is a little version of that, the influence of the private into the public. for me as i tell people i said we could blame corporations for being terrible citizens, but we created them. they are not a naturally
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occurring entity in the world. we made them and we gave them only one responsibility, and that was fiduciary. this is what your job is. we created him to make money,, and they are very, very good at that. but when we did that we should also recognize that it's the role of the government to then regulate, right, this monomaniacal accretions that we've come up with called the corporation. that would work very well, kind of the balance of power. but when the corporations are not capable of shaping and in some cases electing the people whose responsibility it is to regulate them in the interest of the people, now the system is broken down because we don't have regulators acting and are interested with regulators acting in the interest of those who they're supposed to be regulating. the book is not about the energy industry and conservative politics. it is in the sense of what it
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about free speech, censorship, the ability to speak the truth to the public. in wyoming because the power lies in the republican party, and the wealth lies in the energy industry, they are the operators of a a system of censorship that is perhaps almost unparalleled. we are just a microcosm of what happens anywhere else in the world, right? if our state was run by democrats at our major industry was the red cross, i'm pretty sure it would be every bit as anxious to censor criticism as republicans in the fossil fuel industry. it's about power, and power manifests itself is what in our state but are concerned as citizens needs to be about the capacity speak truth to power whether that power lies in liberal or conservative hands, whether it lies in the energy industry or it lies in the wind industry who would be every bit
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as happy to censor or to silence criticism of what they are doing. we see that on campuses across the united states right now, and it's a very worrisome time. censorship is coming from the left and from the right, and it's every bit as fierce. it's every bit as malicious coming from the left side of the political spectrum as it is from the right. i find both forms, both directions of the common graph of power over the building of people to speak to be a tremendous danger to our democracy, wherever it comes from politically. >> during our time time in lar, wyoming, the c-span cities tour visited very so. >> sites. next we take you to the ivinsons mansion which belong to one of the cities earliest entrepreneurs, edward ivinson. >> were in the mansion that
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edward ivins built in 1892 and it is now the home of the laramie plains museum, and it's been restored because for about ten years it was vacant and people broke in, vandalize the building and it's been a very long and fruitful effort to make into this wonderful museum that we have here at highlights that only the ivinsons family but historical issues from the past and laramie, wyoming, as well. so edward ivinson was abolished and places was born on the island of st. croix in the caribbean. he lived there for seven years because father moved from northwestern england to manage a sugarcane plantation and you want up in new york city in about 1852. while he was there he met a young woman. he's 23, she was 16. the rant away to way to jersey city to get married and eventually they like about a young folks moved west to make the payment fortune and eventually wound up in laramie,
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wyoming, in 1868. in 1868. the family been living in memphis tennessee and he decided to move the family the california. the way he got, the way thought he would get to california is he had a dry goods store in memphis. he sold all the stuff, got freight cars and put us up in these freight cars and as a union pacific was built, he followed along and at a rolling try could store. the railroad stop construction for the winter in november of 1867. edward learns to some source that the union pacific railroad which is building this part of the transcomm middle riblets can't have a facility in what would become laramie, wyoming, because there was nothing here at the time. he came here before the railroad in february 1868, built a log building is what is now a downtown laramie, started things to people waiting the arrival of the river. the railroad arrived in may. along with his wife and adopted daughter, and after as i said,
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the rent the dry goods store for three years and then he starts his banking career. eventually, well let me say this as well. he was an astute merchant and through his bank he made a lot of money. early on he was criticized for the way he made his maybe he really had high interest rates, foreclosed mortgages at the top of hat but the good news for laramie is when he turned 80 he decide to get all of his money away. almost all the came right back here to our town. just the after his wife died which now back and make it 16 gave $50,000 cash and sidley austin weekend which paid for the complete construction of our first real hospital. 1919 he gave a bunch of property to the church which help fund an orphanage. 1924 he built our world war i memorial. 1925 he gave away today terms 1.5 millions in cash to friends
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and family. he structures will upon his death the remainder of his estate would go into a trust fund which would be used to build outside this building on this home which is still used today. and when he died it was about $500,000 $500,000 in his estate, so $8-$10 million today, dollars today, and it built a beautiful facility, 20 suites for single ladies and because of his trust fund it was no charge for room or bored and because he built the hospital, the ladies got free medical care. it's still there. it still gorgeous. things have changed a little bit but it's a wonderful facility. so despite being criticized early for his ostentatious lifestyle you might say, they talking back to us here in laramie and we are still experiencing the benefits from edward ivinsons life as a merchant and the banker. we are very proud of the fact he decide at age 80 to do is right
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for our community. if it wasn't for the union pacific railroad laramie probably would not be. their transcomm railway act gave all this money, give all this land in the west to the union pacific including the one square mile where we are right now. the first thing is we opened the front door and we have little thing i like to do we have the doorknob to the original front door, which is a really heavy brass, beautiful doorknob. it's interesting because it came to us in a box in the mail what, maybe five years ago with a note from a guy who said i was a student at the university wyoming and and i stole the dob from the mansion. that's a good icebreaker for the people who come into the vestibule. and then i take them into the foyer. really our first important stop is into her drawing room where the intention was where she would do in form of entertainment for her lady friends. then i go into the smoking room
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and a draw the contrast between the very nice bright light drawing room of the darker more somber smoking room. the dining room is nice because we have some really nice artifacts that belong to the ivinsons. for example, right now we have oyster plates that they admit on one of their trips they made to europe. we had this beautiful stemware that it made for them. we have a punch bowl that was given to their son-in-law who ran his bank for a while in san diego. and then we change from the five former rooms of this first four of the mansion into the working part of the mansion. it's easy to draw the contrast. with all this beautiful hard word in the former rooms and in there we have pine and with linoleum on the floor. we go upstairs into the bedrooms, which are quite large, not unusual for a house of this size in the 1890s. and then into the master
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bathroom where we have this really cool 1892 shower that cost her $334 in 1892. so maybe $8000 today. it's really cool so that's really interesting. it's a walk-in shower. it's built out of brass. it's nickel plated, and it's got a shower head up above. and as a showerhead on either side and discussed all these little tubes. it looks like a cage when you look at it but all the tubes have little tiny holes in them she don't even have to turn around to take a shower. i had a person comes to the museum the other day and said it's like going into a car wash. we are and what we call the library. we are pretty sure the bookcases in your work put in by the boarding school because the girls would use this as a study hall, even though they didn't take classes your went to public school. i like to point out we have just
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one piece of furniture in the house that belong to edward ivinson and it is this boardroom table out of one of the banks that he owed in town. there are several examples of what we learn from visitors when they come through an agent because we get some really amazing people that come through that talk about the applicant would work in the house. there's all this timber type of hard word -- hardwood, amazing 1892 pocket doors in the mansion. i had a guy come through three years ago who had just closed up his custom woodworking business in montana after 30 years and he said, i could build one of those pocket doors for you for about $7000. those of the kind of things that are fun to learn when you give tours. his whole life is a five city story. he was born on a plantation in st. croix. he winds up in new york with no money. we know he didn't have any money
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because we recently received a letter his father sitting which said we know he was out of position. he winds up in little old laramie, wyoming, at the time 800 people in 1870. he amasses this fortune, builds disputable building, built downtown that i think it's fair to say he was a critical part of the evolution of laramie from 1868 all the way through 1928 when he finally passed away. for both jane and edward, what i want people to walk away from after they see this house that cost an awful lot of money to build, that may be the money was at least early on made from the people of laramie and not the best way, that when they leave they understand what they did for our community, whether it was her early actions with the school and the church and suffer jack, and especially his
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philanthropy that resulted in all these great things with our community. that's what i would like for them to walk away from because you can see in a lot of places fancy homes, and this one is in elegant, fancy home, but it's important people understand that making his money from all of the community, that money came back to us. so that's what it really hope they walk away with. >> the c-span cities tour is exploring the american story. join us the first and third weekend of each month as we take booktv and american history tv on the road. watch videos from all of the cities we visited codis and follow us on twitter @cspan cities. we continued our feature on laramie with author renee laegreid and she talks about her book "women on the north american plains."
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>> people have one view of the great plains pretty much, and it's stalwart, pioneer woman and her husband and the kids across the plains. that's only a very small piece of the planes history. and so when we decided to edit this book, what we wanted to do is take a really expensive look, go back to pre-contact before the americans and the planes and come up to the present. because the diversity of experiences of women in this region is just enormous, and focusing on just that i expect is a very riveting. >> when we talk about the great plains can you give me an idea of what makes up the great plains? >> we use the map of the great plains that david at the university nebraska constructed. there's a wonderful book he and
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he did called the encyclopedia of the great plains, and he took about 50 different sketches that people had of the great plains. he laid them, overlaid them on one another, and it look like a kindergarten with a huge magic marker that goes over the map of the united states. he came up with a pretty crisp definition of the place. it goes north into alberta and saskatchewan, follows the missouri river on the eastern side, the rocky mountains on the website and it goes down to northern part of texas. and so in a sense, using walter prescott webbs definition of the great plains, which is flat, aired in trios, recognizing that some places that more trees andn others, some places are hillier than others, some places may be a little more aired than others, but by and large those three
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type -- criteria to define the great plains. what we decide to do is break down the great plains region into three smaller regions, subregions. really it's true what the women expensed in the north come because of the environment, because of the climate, because of the economic opportunities, whether it's for trade or planting for native women in agriculture it's going be different because that's a a pretty huge swath of territory. we decided that from the northernmost regions up in canada to nebraska that would be the northern region. to kansas, oklahoma boarder, that would be the central pic and then from that order down to texas would be the southern region of the planes.
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within those three subregions it gave us the ability to look more specific at the interactions of women and the environment and economic opportunities, the types of movements of people through the area that contributed to unique expenses in those regions. space matters in terms of the subregions but time matters and so the experiences were of course very dependent on outside influences. so, for example, the first era that we look at is up to 1803. this is in the north. it's when you had european contact with native people's in the south contact had started earlier of course we ended at 1803. 1803-1869 when you've got the influence of technology, of public policies, political policies that reshaped the
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region. so, for example, the u.s.-mexico border, the influence of the transcontinental railroad, the passage of the homestead act which brought in people from outside the region into the region, but also created conflict amongst the people that were already in the region. the third era is 1869-1930. when you see these complex over land really, really ramping up and all three regions, and the last is 1930 to the present. that time were looking at the impact of the depression, of the dust bowl, and then moving forward to some of the more contemporary problems that people and women face on the planes. one of the things that i think people will find interesting is how many women came out here, just loved it. there's this -- walter prescott
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webb in his book the great plains which defines the great plains as a distinct region, 500 and some page book, two pages of it devoted to women. his assessment of course without asking any women was vacated it and the wind drove them crazy. this was a miserable place for women, and so a number of the essays in this book actually taking on and the use the evidence begin from letters, diaries, reminiscence. they loved it out here. it was an opportunity, and especially the middle class women who came out after 1860s, 70s, onward into the 20s, they brought with them their ideas of civilization. and so these are the women they came out and they built the communities, like laramie.
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they came and said we need schools, we need churches, we need roads, we need people who can take care of our children when they are sick. so we need to hire doctors. they are the ones that created the communities that we now appreciate as the cities on the plains. but other women came out, and for them it was a chance to say, back east i'm so confined by these gender expectations. i can't do this, i can't do that. out here i can. if i want to go right horse i can ride a horse. at the what to write a horse with a split skirt instead of writing sidesaddle, i can do that as well. so it's in the west, in the great plains region where you see the origins of the cowgirl story, first cowgirls are actually out here. they are the daughters of ranch women that grew up, and these women could look quite elegant and he went into town and went to the balls, went to their kick
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aliens but then they went home, put on the jeans, god on their horses and he went and rounded up cal or fixed fences because that's what they needed to do. so that spirit of both straddling, you know, these larger expectations for gender with the very ad hoc expectations for what needs to be done, get it done, and achieve it to i think a really unique attitude amongst plains women. when we set up, came up with the idea for the format of the book, the structure of the book, i was really emphatic about keeping these vignettes, these very, very short little stories that kind of set the tone for each section. i wrote the vignette on sacajawea, or she's also called sacajawea. and they just had so much fun researching that because as i wrote in there, no one knows what she looks like.
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we could make her look like whatever we want. whoever wants to, , maybe we wanted to have very refined little nose and pale skin, okay. we can do that because we have no idea what she looked like. what did she think? no windows. we can assign ideologies to her that she probably never would have dreamed in her wildest imagination that within assigned to her. so she's been a representative for women's rights. why she? i don't think so, but it's easy to put these sort of labels and ideologies on people because we know so little about them. so yes, we know very little about them. when i was working on the first chapter with sandra, one of the things i really wanted to emphasize was that this idea that there are two types of native women, squaws and
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princesses, just really didn't exist. that the image that so many people have of native people comes from tv shows and movies. you've got the brave warrior, then you've got the little woman tending heights are doing something in the background. what i really wanted to show is the reality of their lives, which was cooperation between men and women. this is just fundamental to native society. that one could live without the other. it goes back to their origin stories. it goes back to the rituals, and even though they may have made societies and women societies within the tribes, they are so inextricably linked together i dependent on each other for survival that you can't just say one gender is more important than the other. when explorers, jesuits,
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missionaries first came in contact with native people's, they were absolutely stunned at what they considered such uncivilized behavior, that men and women were considered equal, that women owned property. they owned their teepees. they own the agriculture. they were the farmers. they were the ones who were in charge of the agriculture through the harvest, of taking care of the fields, and then they had control of the products. so they sold the excess products from their gardens, and through that they had a lot of autonomy, a lot of power within their tribes. and for the white, you know, europeans coming in, this is backwards. min men farm, women stay at hom. they don't have property. the fact that women had, native women could have control over
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their bodies, decide if he if yu wanted to sleep with someone other than their husbands shocks them. this is just uncivilized. women could divorce their husbands if they didn't think he was holding up his end of the bargain. they own the teepees. they owned the homes, so if they decide to be done with them, they just put a a step outsidee door. i was a pretty good message that he wasn't looking anymore and this marriage had come to an end. and again from the european perspective, my goodness, this was just mind blowing, just so wrong, so wrong. so yeah, they had a very different idea of gender relations, of approaches to land, everything. one of the chapters is, talks about, in the northern section, talks about, or brings in the author cheryl. she writes about her families migration from oklahoma up to
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canada, up to calgary alberta. again calgary is part of the great plains we don't have that invisible line stop or thinking about how environment and society and social constructs really change things by the same token that mine is really important in at different nations treat different groups of people. .. >> number of african-americans leaving oklahoma and the racism in the '20s and '30s, going up to, going up to canada. and the canadians having this realization, oh, my god, we have black people coming up here. we might not want black people coming up here. we want white farmers, not black
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farmers. so their solution was to hire a black minister to go down to the churches in oklahoma and tell people, oh, canada's terrible. the weather, oh, you can't believe the weather. the crops just don't grow, this is awful. and it worked. it really stopped immigration. but her experiences as a black woman growing up in canada, and she compares them to her family that's down in oklahoma, is really enlightening because it shows the difference how national policies toward race can really influence an entire group of people. the great plains is an enormous region in the first place with just so many diverse stories of hispanic women, african-american women, euro-american women, native women, chinese women that came out. and they all kind of interacted with one another. and in one way or another, they
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had to work together, you know, to make this frontier experience work. but they each came with their own set of baggage. cultural baggage, economic baggage and expectations for what they wanted out here. and so this, the interactions amongst these groups of women is what i think is really so interesting and so telling. you know, we're in an era right now where we kind of divide ourselves into little silos, i'm this, i'm that. here we see what happens and the possibilities, the potential when people can put that a bit to the side and work for a greater, a greater cause. >> the c-span cities tour concludes its look at laramie, wyoming, as we hear about the importance of rodeo and gender in the identity of the american west. [cheers and applause] >> when i think of rodeo, i
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always thought of a very american sport, a very white male sport. and post the research, i think of diversity, i think of a sport that is a cross-cultural sport that has international appeal. and each though being in the arena -- and even though being in the arena and being in the rodeo is as american as apple pie, it's right up there with baseball, i think of how many women and men of all races and all cultures have participated in this grand sport. >> the imagery that comes to mind for me in rodeo e is more of the passion expect drive to go out and showcase your skills in a competition setting. whether you're bronc riding, bull riding, roping or barrel racing, it's all about showing off the work that you've done to become the best. we're trying to beat the myth of
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the west, basically. and it's just almost bred into our dna. so it's, i would say, built in the tapestry of our history. >> i would say it's built from the tapestry even of the mountain west, because even though i grew up a city kid spending a large portion of my life in europe just as much as i have in colorado, i remember going on a school field trip to pro rodeo hall of fame in colorado springs, and that was my first introduction to the cowboy world and seeing it as something that was really big and important in the mountain west. and then when i became, when i came to the university of wyoming as a professor, it was the first time where i had students come up with slips to get excused out of class. usually you see them for football, debate, basketball, swimming, golf. and it was the first time i had students bring me up slips for excuses out of class for rodeo, for roping. and at first i thought, really? and then i had to remember
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exactly where i was, and rodeo really the heartbeat of this great square state called wyoming. [laughter] >> the final bucking horse for the pro rodeo! [cheers and applause] >> going back to the, some of the history of it, what are some of the things that you found that, you, was most surprising about how rodeo developedded in the u.s.? >> for me, the most interesting thing was the fact of how cross-cultural it really was. so the rodeo that we think of today the, we think of very united states, very western, very white male. but really when you look at the history, our research took us all the a way back to ancient greece, to antiquity where you saw drawings and statues related to rodeo. and from there it goes from greece to africa, and then
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christopher columbus tight from african culture -- took it from african culture, brought it up to spain. from spain to today's dominican republican and haiti, and then it goes up through the americas. and so really the sport of rodeo e, we have to think -- we have to thank people who are of african and latin heritage. so i really, to see that worldwide phenomenon, to see that the word rodeo was coined -- cowboy was coined in ireland in 1000 a.d., you know, to go from there to u.s. representation as being very u.s., very male-centric is really quite a diversion. and really seeing, for example, bulldogging. bulldogging was something that was invented by a black man, bill pickett, you know, in 1904. and we don't really think about some of those foundational
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contributions that people of color made to the sport of rodeo with their incredible roping skills, you know? the tricks that we have today really come from these people of color. and so it's really amazing. or my other really interesting one was lucille mulhall where, you know, former president teddy roosevelt was so so wowed by her in the arena that, also in 1904, he declared her the nation's cowgirl and coined the term cowgirl, you know? those are things that we really didn't think of to. but there was a woman who bested lucille in roping, but we don't even know her name because she was a mexican cowgirl x. that brings up conversations about erase sure, you know? -- e erasure, so we can see that as something that once the dawn of television happens and we see women take out of the arena and put more in the sponsor girl
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role or rodeo queen role and really the influence, honestly, of jim crow. you know, it really closed the reap that doors for many -- the arena doors for many people of color when you see signs saying no negroes, nomex cans -- no mexicans, no dogs. it made it an unwelcome sport all the way through 1965 if you take it all the way through to ability to vote, the voting rights act. people like meredith dikeman who was an amazing rodeo performer, and he talked about -- he was compared to jackie robinson. and he talked about having to, you know, take his ride before crowds were there or after crowds, not being able to stay e in the same motel as all the other white rodeo contestants. so you really have to see a narrative come out today with rodeo. and i think this is slowly
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happening, and this is the benefit of social media, is that we're able to see more people of diverse backgrounds, more people of chloriding, you know -- color riding, putting up their story online so you start to see this slowly. or people like james pickens jr. you might know him from grey's anatomy, he plays dr. weber. but he's also a roper in rodeo, and he also happens to be an african-american man. and so really recenterring some of, like, the bill pickett rodeo and american indian rodeo really will help rodeo today show that it really is more diverse than what hollywood shows. >> and, sally, you grew up in this environment and have been doing it for years. did you ever feel like you were sort of looked at a certain way or put, you know, put in a certain role and said this is what you do and, you know, you're not allowed to do this over here? >> the way i was brought up it
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wasn't there was limitations on my gender. i could do whatever i wanted. and i have heard as more interviews are coming out that there are more women who want to break into more of the male-dominant side of rodeo, so that would be roping -- >> bull riding. >> bull riding, bronc riding, bulldogging. and getting to talk to some of the cowboys, they say, yeah, it's great that women can do it, but i have this protective feeling towards women which is part of being kind of a cowboy ideal. and so i think that there's still some maybe gender issues, gender feelings about who should participate in what event. but i think the barriers are coming down. >> and i would say that those challenges that these cowgirls are talking about of wanting to be more into bulldogging and bronc riding, etc., really is
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drastically different from the cowgirl experience women had in the 1880s up until 1929 where these cowgirls were in the arena, they were in the what we think of as male sports in rodeo. and they were oftentimes besting men in the arena. and that all changed with the death of bonnie mccarroll in 1929. she was strap thed in with the horse -- strapped in with the horse, like her feet -- >> they hobbled -- >> they hobbled her. so in 1950 she did the same ride, she wasn't hobbled so she lived. in 1929 she was hobbled, so because of that her feet weren't free, and so the horse ended up, you know, falling on her. she couldn't get free, and it was this four-day vigil that the media held. and after four days bonnie mccarroll died. but what happens is, is there's this large dialogue of where do women really belong, do they really belong in the reap that,
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do we need -- arena, do we need tough men sports. and we see this change happen. literally, a door closes. 1880-1929 women are experiencing relative freedom in the arena. and then 1930, 1929, 1930 hits and there's a drastic change x. suddenly women who have been fighting for their place back where they belong in the arena in the sport that they love since. >> what do you hope somebody who reads this book takes away after they read it? >> a better appreciation for what rodeo is, the history, the multiple people, faces, cultures that really developed something that is very unique to america. can and -- and to be feel that they can be able to participate and that it's open for whomever wants to do the work and learn and appreciate our culture. and also how proud we are of our
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history and the achievements that we've had. you know, just to see how everything ties together that we all can, you know, kind of celebrate something that we all created. there's many voices that have done it, so i hope that that's something that comes away from our book. as i did the research, that definitely is something that i've really grown to appreciate. >> for me i hope that people -- i agree we sally, with everything she said, but i'm also hopeful that people take away the cultural diversity, the racial diversity and the gender diversity within rodeo, because that's what made up this rich sport. we just happened to develop it in a very unique way in the western united states. >> twice a month c-span's cities tour takes booktv and american history tv on the road to explore the literary life and
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history of a selected city. working with our cable partners, we visit various or literary and historic sites as we interview local historians, authors and civic leaders. you can watch any of our past interviews and tours online by going to and selecting c-span cities tour from the series dropdown at the top of the page. or by visiting you can also follow the c-span cities tour on twitter for behind the scenes images and video from our visits. the handle is @c-spancitys. >> here's a look at some of the events booktv will be covering this week. on monday we'll be at chapman university in pittsburgh where editor barry weiss will rook at anti-semitism -- look at anti-semitism in america. also that day, the jimmy carter presidential library and museum in atlanta for the biography of the late democratic congressman
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jack brooks of texas. on thursday at the new york historical society in new york city, the national review's richard brookhiser will provide a history of the united states through 13 documents including the declaration of independence and the constitution. and that same evening we'll be at the massachusetts historical society in boston for historian t.h. brand's book. all of these events are open to the public. if you're in attendance, tag us @booktv on twitter, facebook or instagram. >> okay, good evening -- or good afternoon, everyone. welcome to the national public library and the southerning festival of books, and welcome to everyone watching on c-span as well. before we get started, a couple things to mention. one, this is a free book festival, and to keep it free and keep this festival going, everyone is encouraged at whatever level you're comfortable with t


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