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tv   Author Discussion on Minority Contributions to America  CSPAN  November 17, 2019 1:10am-2:02am EST

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belief to actually live up to those rules if we don't have people trusting the legal system it cannot operate they don't get the help from the community for who was to blame. so this call for forgiveness on my part is a way to say that is one way we trust with one another. ♪ >> i'm the provost at the university of tennessee at martin and tiff pleasure of
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hosting this session, shared history, >> good afternoon iam the provost lawn - - provost at university tennessee program the pleasure to host this session. southern festival of books is completely free thanks to strong community support. if you like to donate to support the festival you can do so on site at festival headquarters or online via the humanities tennessee website. you can purchase copies of the books we would be discussing in the book sales area and after the session both authors will be sign copies of their books in the signing tent. today it will focus on two books on the book the forgotten story of north america and the american
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founders of people of african descent establish freedom in the new world. we will hear from both of the authors then after that we'll have time for questions. growing up in the united states graduating from the university of georgia before moving to london england 20 years ago. she worked as a journalist for the guardian and for more than a decade before returning to academia earning phd from university of cambridge in 2011 with a thesis to focus on the hispanic caribbean in the era of the haitian revolution. 2014 she published her first book empires crossroads history of the caribbean from columbia's to present day this is her second and published february this year it has
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taken her on extensive travels and extended research trips through latin america caribbean us and europe. doctor cole examines questions surrounding race and ethnicity with the interdisciplinary comparative transnational entrance historical framework. a dual doctor in history and sociology from the new school of social research is currently a lecture in the american studies department at the university of virginia. while her book american founders has those to establish freedom in the new world over decades of research american founders is not an academic project but invitation to all americans to engage in their shared history.
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[applause] >> thank you very much and for the kind introduction. i want to say how great it is to be here that the southern festival of books and i have family in the area so i would come to the festival quite a fewew times and it's a pleasure to be here on the side. i will do a short reading that outlines why i wrote it it is a history of the united states and i go through chronologically starting with columbus basically starting in
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2017 mostly in order because there is a lot of information to get in here i didn't want to hop back and forth. i really wanted to make a point with the large landscape to get a sense of the scale talking about the hispanic past i think people reduce it gdown to the borderlands. i wanted to show this is a story that reaches to canada and focus on north america. but i also want to give a sense. so i travel 10000 miles in researching to cuba so in this
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book i try to give a sense of that landscape it would be obvious like los angeles have to read it to find out but next time when you are traveling this will be on your mind becausees then when you start looking for traces you see them everywhere. so i will read from the author's notes which explains who i am and what i'm doing the rest is straight up history with reflections with the conclusion. >> my journey through the
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islands of the caribbean before ending not far from where i began in georgia. in this town a dramatic transformation when i was in high school. in 1990 the school consisted of a student body with only a handful of people in the esl class. by the time i was a senior the esl classes were fall. thousands of kids and their families worked in the carpet mills that dominated the economy per greg graduated 1994 months after nafta came into force. 1200 miles from the border. today my old high school has a student body about 70 percent hispanic and the town is about
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50 percent. the complexity of what i experienced then in two decade sense informs this book. was started in my spanish language classes with those who could teach me later i added to the mix by a decade to research the colonial history of puerto rico and dominican republic and cuba finally my experience was filtered from living with the most multicultural cities of london england. my families moved away years ago i hadn't thought about the town or the question of immigration in the united states and in the serious way through the 2012 electionn . in washington dc as i read the coverage i was struck by the
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turn of conversation the way hispanic people were depicted surprised me because thehe language seemed unchanged of the rhetoric from a decade earlier. so those implications were the same with little recognition of the long shared i past and it was talk of lack of documentation or border jumpers and mexican a shorthand for illegal immigrants it was jarring because the reality of who was coming to the united statess had long been more complex the anxiety of the spanish-speaking population exploded in the 2016 presidential race where the chant to build the wall could be here at campaign rallies but that election was still years away. this book was concerned now they are given a new urgency
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to talk about the hispanic history of thes. united states. the public debate between elections had widened consistently for some time the president was outhe of sync with the past as well to be unacknowledged or that the past predates by century every bit as important to shape the united states of today berger realized watching my mexican schoolmates w if a last name was garcia it would be an entirely different set of assumptions and expectations on me i was born in ohio but i move south for my father's job my grandmother did not speak english but yet my white middle-class shielded me from those indignities put upon the
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non-european immigrants. and then on my father's side my maternal grandparents came around the second world war and after the case of my grandmother. and my grandmother who never lost her italian accent raise my daughter on - - decided to raise her daughter in english. my anglo-saxon name relies on my roots what bothers me is why had i could transcend this but not those of hispanic names? they have a much deeper path
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than i do swear they still traded as strangers in their own country? language, belonging race and, nationality are difficult questions with the best of times but especially fraught with pain at theom moment this is an attempt to make historical sense of the large story of hispanic people in the united states and i will be that there. >> i have written about trying to expand the way we think about the american narrative it's called american founders. looking at the story of the entire hemisphere and it begins and 1492 i will read a littlele bit from excerpts in the book and then have questions and conversation but
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there are some images from the book also on the cover that a tiny individuals that are described historical narrative shape how we imagined our place in the world in the past much has limited african-americans to a few roles related to slavery or the civil rightses movement that means dream history is white people however if we turn up the lights it is evident people of color resemblele every icint the distinction between american history and african-american history is imaginary american founders explores three things. first slaves were americans irrespective of citizenship rights were recognized in the
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ordinary and watershed events. enslaved individuals were instrumental of every major new world historical event as an epic multifaceted revolution. the era that preceded not all black people were slaves people of color born c free purchase their own freedom and liberated themselves through flight people of color abounded throughout the americas and the third theme undergirds the first two black and white americans not only share the same new world history but ancestry. enslaved and people of color frequently have relatives who
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descendents became both black and white americans. slavery is no aberration however american mystery is inextricable and cannot be reduced to slavery. caafricans proceeded to come to the united states this book chronicles the way that african men and women founded and developed america as a whole by forming communities to eradicate slavery through 1820 in the early 16th century the expeditionary for every mission with unbroken tradition of black military service in the americas 17th
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century continuesam to establish throughout the america as explorers and soldiers and pirates proprietors, artisans. and with those legal challenges began in the 15 hundreds the early 18 hundreds saw significant actions for freedom with black democratic insurgents to shape the national independence wars at the end of the 19th century. at the end the 18th century but a 19 century they negotiated terms of citizenship during nationbuilding lawyers and medical professionals entrepreneurs, educators, artist and journalist and local and international activist and they continue to champion the american ideals and civic
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engagement the academia science medicine, business, journalism and art. throughout the history of america's to negotiate with their lives to realize when they use the courts to petition for their freedom to alter the legal framework of slavery they consistently capitalize on his stability and to undermine slavery with thousands of black militia members who earn their freedom and pursue upward mobility for those who defended militarily as well black pirates who escaped slavery people of color served and error-free military engagement throughout the americas to erode the
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political economy of slavery. or black americans fought freedom on both sides of the conflict including armistead who served to serve the yorktown victory those that recognize the promise of freedom the vast ranks of men and women in exchange for freedom among the largest in history. and those that preceded the declaration of independence in 1776 the de facto political movements shaping those event south carolina is just two
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examples to reverberate far beyond throughout the america afro-americans tod a couple arms before and against as patriots and militia to state claims the language of the emancipation proclamation shows that military service was essential to winning the american civil war. history has too often itmisconstrued purity based on interaction. h many of us are conditioned to think as america as the binary term slave or free or north or south. but as it turns out we are anthony johnson is one of the
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first and the earliest documented slave one of whom was the first black president of the united states historians talk about the nation's first president but they along with others have significant ancestry beyond question. you will notice many people in these portraits have european ancestry that talks about the color line that would put them apart. so the vast majority of americans arrived to a new world as slave phil - - both literally and figuratively and then to fundamentally shift with massive contributions in every way. the men and women presented should encourage us to think
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more deeply what we mean when we say we as americans. fighting for freedom to nsliberate all americans from actions of citizenship. seeking to defend the ideals of liberty and justice african-americans were crucial to the development of l democracy. we will not understand american history until we understand african history that it is not fully a story of oppression that can continue as extremely dangerous current of those of african descent have had to contend but also they were the architects of the nation and the principal founders at large. black americans continuously encourage the united states to live up to the ideals and trying to documents there are also innovators and pioneers and scientists who overcome the constraints of racism for
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humanity multiculturalism is not politically correct it is historically accurate but with those binary frames of reference that shape how we think to understand race that isn't just the malevolent kind s at is easy to identify but is the exception one - - assumption of how we fit into the world around us part thank you. >> thank you both for sharing the information youks have provided in these books. they share small parts of people's stories perk i would like to invite the audience to come up and ask questions if you are interested there is a
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microphone to my left. when we say hispanic history it brings to mind the southwestern part of the united states or texas or california. how does this connect to the south or tennessee quick. >> you don't think that it does but there is a whole hispanic history of the deep south that actually dates back to the earliest. and the spaniards start trying in the 15 hundreds but is that we think of today with south carolina and florida in the
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georgia coast of what they envisioned of florida. so for instance this is one of the stories that i really like. as they try to put a settlement in georgia and it failed. so these are some of the earliest non- indigenous people of coastal georgia and that is the area. that is the expedition going through alabama around louisiana and arkansas but at various points so i was in
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montgomery recently the only paintings of the 19 twenties and there is one of de soto and it looks like they are about to have a standoff and i was struck by that because this decision that kept showing up especially in alabama and then there is the case of saint augustine that has come out of the sprint one - - french and spanish conflict and the refugees who try to establish a settlement that which is a complicated story. so the south is full of these
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stories t and the last thing i forgot to mention it is all of these missions in florida but you t can see this is an the 16 hundreds and this is the south. it is fascinating to think actually the story of hispanic people got their start and also north carolina fragoso would argue tennessee that we cannot trace things back yet but the story is here. >> that is an important part
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of that. with the spanish taking control in 1762. because it is presented as being french but there is a whole spanish element to it. >> what is the relationship between african-american history and slavery quick. >> with the american founders i tried to document the stories of these individualsls but outside of slavery as well but i want to make the larger point this has existed since beginning of civilization with 50 percent of the population was in play.
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ancient greece, rome, pre-columbian america. but is just the rules of war and rules of religion. the national order was hierarchal. so we didn't need race to justify. and before 1800 most individuals and then you could be a surf of that subject or a concubine but the individual right and freedom was a recent idea. one of the things to happen to the americas at the very that the institution of
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slavery is of the nightmare that's based on mass production for mass consumption. so this new type of slavery that has very interesting tensions i have resolved. but then it becomes and those that are enslaved within the becomes a hereditary condition and then with those rights ofre individuals as long as and
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those that are no longer in place. this is why i argue people of color are on the forefront of the struggles to eradicate slavery to put democracy into practice. legal battles, cultural, so those on the front lines to eradicate and dismantles the slavery i would argue fugitive slaves and those that push the civil war into motion and that people are not responding properly so they instigate the american civil war and those
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that are responsible to eliminate slavery to say another fruitful way to think about the history of slavery and the violence and discrimination with the fallout is to think about. >> wet gaps in the existing narrative the military feels quick. >> it is different and i sometimes think of history to expect that as a totality summit of the indigenous part
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of the country but one of the reasons it has been missing and it had been missing from the narratives so it brings that we tried to take a more sophisticated approach. because they are from brazil, cuba, all over and does take a wide term generous ideank of the americas. so one of the i more radical things is that we just positioned the us that is part
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of latin america and the whole continent we were all formed by these forces of course they have individual trajectories but there is a shared thought so yes they were m successful but the initial forays and encounters start here with the spaniards. there is a big f over time for sure. >> i'm from the region when i go to puerto rico i am seen as the american cousin here in the states i am relegated to
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that i have some complexities with negotiating and could you comment changes of history to identify themselves quick. >> thank you for your question. so two moments jump out at me. but after the mexican-american war with 50 percent of the americans came to california and new mexico. they were going to give the right to vote to white men and then they realized who is white? what does that mean if somebody is brown.
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so there was a whole jim crow aspect to the west like texas and california were mexicans and should set in the balconies. so a lot of the tensionst we see that is a gap that needs to be filled and discussed so after the spanish-american war puerto rico becomes a colony then i believe there is a legal challenge of a woman who was to migrate to new york and she is pregnant and as a ward of the state and challenging i am a us citizen that is a collection of what is puerto rico? but then really it is answered int 1817 and at that point it becomes official but that
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brings up the citizenship. but wait if you control less than i should haveve that freedom and why can't i come here? because it is super important because it has such a unique place as well. and then in the aftermath of maria to show half the country did not realize puerto rico was part of the us so they believed it didn't deserve disaster relief. so obviously there is aa long way to go to reconcile but it's also a broader
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experience. >> my mom's family is from the south my dads is from cuba so it caused me to write my first article in graduate school called what color is cuban. and also my friends in miami that is uniquely in hispanic north america that's not in my book the oldest documented christian marriage saint augustine between an african woman and a spanish soldier. to me that's the american story right there. so then it is reverse acculturation where cuban and
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culture is the dominant culture so there is a different relationship to be latin and those issues of race are not resolved at all that in general looking at colonial history what i found is that the very definition of whiteness was much more malleable and intersected with class but also those communities were catholic with the partisan individualism to get into this.
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it is the one drop rule that there is a story of a us journalist interviewing in haiti what percentage is the population is white he said 99 percent and that he misunderstood and said that is the one drop rule and that varies widely it's very specifi specific. >> as it became clear these are the interventions they try to remediate a lack of american history but the fact
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that we have in the - - obsession to intervene to bring something into history that's not where he wanted to be in 25 years. if we were to move forward what would your work had led to change american history? or talk about hispanic american or african-american history? >>. >> it is in the african-american history section. i believe itnd is american
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history so i would like to consider this a shared history with visions of the south is not a minority culture. so it's like gone with the wind vision but it is that demographic rally to talk about minorities in america so these ares. majorities. and they outnumber the europeans were cuba and peru and brazil and the american south they are outnumbered
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with different parts of these populations so imagine the history without them. and then it is easier to think about this interconnected they are indigenous because they are african and hispanic. >> part of the problem is to ask readers to complicate what has been presented as a very segmented narrative. that you will get what happened that is messy and complex and just accept it if you can change the way the
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public in general approaches , it would be to say this will be messy but let's dive in. so it becomes very hard to write. so it's how many people connect? so that's the thing to go forward 25 years to make sense of history with the chronology to go into thoseh moments too much more widely think about how did the narrative change? it's like being a kid. it is a messy business for great hope that's where readers feel that it is
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complicated and messy but i come away with an understanding. >> there is a brief mention of the color line is african-americans god and color is an issue within the african-americans. the idea the lighter skin the closer to white or the better you are based on hierarchy. it is that phenomenon of that color line? >> hispanicc approaches generally speaking but then
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look at what they would make in the colonial period everything you could do to human beings to draw a picture. that there is an obsession with a gradation. and what's d really different and then those that like latin america and then regardless of their patrimony and then you can see then they have full siblings and they are using different kinds of cues to yhow that absurdity and somebody will say to be very
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light complected and it's so common that they don't even notice it. >> and i will make a comment which is interesting because it's from between the public with a complicated relationship with color and darkness because the history of haiti i didn't know i was black and i went back to the us now that development and that activism as well so on the one hand it is the
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identity but also to mobilize uppolitically because cubans and mexicans that are not necessarily in close proximity. but also the question t of language whether or not you speak spanish or that the spanish is in perfected like if you go back and get made fun of back on the island but there was a decline with cultural identity but that's part of the whole package.
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>> you just have a few minutes left. if you could share this briefly what was the most difficult part of writing each of your books quick. >> so to delve into primary research because the scale is so wide you have to rely on the work of scholars of inclusion and what needs to go in and to make sure you are challenging and trying to get a good balance not just focusing on those main historical figures to include more women who find that challenging and those that can
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disappear to do that amazing scholarship and like florida i knew nothing going into to help along the way. >> synthesizing all the sources and to stand on the shoulders of many scholars. in 1850 black bostonian wrote about the black patriots and with the american revolution that only those who fought afro-cuban and mexican soldiers fighting for that victory so i'm indebted to those scholars that hide in plain sight that information
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that i could collat collate. >> thank you for writing such important books and sharing important information. thank you. [applause]
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