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tv   The Dictionary Project  CSPAN  August 19, 2021 11:58am-12:10pm EDT

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if you enjoyed the conversation a little bit more, you can click that button, it helps the glorious youtube algorithm recommend our videos just a little bit faster to everybody else. thank you again one last time for showing up. "dangerous ideas". thanks again to eric and judy. i had a great time. i will wave good-bye to everybody. thank you for coming. we will see you all again, i hope very soon. bye. ♪ ♪
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>> walking from washington, d.c. to new york city, former "wall street journal" reporter neil king reflects on his nearly 300 mile journey. >> a year later with all that has happened, all of us being shut in, all of us walking behind masks, that long covid winter as we call it which was a pretty horrific stretch, the events we saw play out january 6th, the capitol which i live nearby, the contested election. there's a lot of bad blood in the air overall. it made my desire to go out -- i think it was the fifth day of spring and just walk through the spring, see it unfold and look up close and very slowly at the country and meeting people along the way and trying to kind of understand where were we as a country. >> neil king from his nearly 300 mile journey, walking from
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washington, d.c. to new york city, sunday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span's q&a. you can also find q&a interviews wherever you get your podcasts. ♪ ♪ >> weekends on c-span 2 are an intellectual feast. every saturday you will find events and people that explore our nation's past on american history tv. :: ♪ ♪ >> if you choose to research the origins of a topic being discussed frequently in the united states in recent months called critical race theory, you will find the name derrick bell,
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law professor bell who died in 2011 was one of the principal -- of this much discussed subject. in november of 1992, derrick bell appeared on book notes to discuss his book quote faces at the bottom of the well, the permanence of racism, unquote. >> the late derrick bell on this episode of booknotes+. listen at or whatever you get your podcasts. ♪ >> and you're watching booktv on c-span2. well, if you're of a certain age you have one of these on your shelves, a dictionary, and you're probably looked up words in it throughout your lifetime. but if you're a little bit younger chances are you have done it digitally.
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mary french is trying to change that. she is the founder and director of something called "the dictionary project." mary french, what are you trying to do? >> we want everyone to have, be able to have a dictionary to enjoy the benefits of owning a dictionary and we try to give them out when they're in the third grade so to get into the habit of looking up words, to spell them correctly and understand the meaning and the multiple meanings the words have and appreciate our rich language. >> so what is the importance to you of having this physical book rather than just typing it in your phone? >> it's another tool for learning, , and i've been doing this for 25 years before iphones. the technology we are using today, technology is what drives the words that are in the dictionary. that's where the words come from so it's really what holds us
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together a society and as a world how we communicate. you have to be able to use different tools in order to access information. so it's just another tool. the young age, eight '09, the primary age we give dictionaries to children in schools, they are more apt to learn from a book and computer, an electronic device. they learn both ways but i think it's more accessible to them wherever they go. plus they own it. it benefits them in many different ways. it has a lot of information in it. >> what's the importance of the third grade in this case? >> when i started this i was writing grants and i tried second-rate come forth good, fifth grade, everything. i even tried -- i really found
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thurgood was a optional age because at that time they are learning to read and been reading to learn. if you can encourage children and give them this tool, they had such an advantage in terms of expanding their education and their frame of reference. >> where the idea for "the dictionary project" come from? >> this idea was from any plumber, a woman who dropped out of school in the tenth grade was in savannah, georgia, and she -- her ability to earn money and understand the world around her and what people were saying, because she dropped out of school. when she was working as a crossing guard in savannah, martin luther king as it off of
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95, she saw children were not bringing books back and forth to school and she asked them why, and they said because there were not allowed to take the books home from school. so she bought everybody a dictionary and told them to use it, to help them because she didn't want their life opportunities to be i guess diminished because they didn't have a large vocabulary. and she stamped in each book, a mind is a terrible thing to waste. so she passed those out in savannah. she used her own money from cleaning houses, and i matter and i actually -- [inaudible] i got to know that every when i got to know annie plummer and then she died in 2000 from breast cancer. she really has had a huge impact on people, and it was a great
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idea to make sure that everybody has a dictionary. >> so since 1995 when you founded "the dictionary project" along with -- french, how many dictionaries have gone out to children? >> over 33,700,000. >> how do you get them out there? >> through civic organizations. the project started out with writing grants and then i spoke to different organizations about this idea because they were intrigued with the idea of dictionaries and, of course, literacy so important and everyone is always trying to keep people learning new words and basically from becoming illiterate in schools. so they took it on a literacy project. most organizations have to have a literacy program as part of
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their charter that the implement. this was an easy program to do and really you get the best bang for your buck. you can reach the most people for the amount of money that it costs and it has a a very long-term impact. most of these people, and i've been doing this for 25 years, so the children in the third grade, they have gone through college already who initially see dictionaries, it is see if they're still using dictionaries or people think they're worthwhile, those children say that they still have their dictionary and they know where it is. not 100% of them but when they asked them, they appreciate the gift and they still use it. so for two or three dollars it had an amazing impact on them, on their lives. >> so you have several different version of the dictionaries you send out but the front page on everyone has at this year this
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dictionary belongs to, and you can write your name right in there. why are there a different versions? go green green is when i e dictionary. a students dictionary. dictionary and thesaurus. a students dictionary and animal gazette dear. why so many different versions? >> we want to have options for people. when i first started this and i was writing grants, i was handing out a book that if out at the store, and a lot of the teachers didn't like it because it didn't have the words they were looking for and submit sample sentences and they thought the sample sentences were too violent. we started looking at other options for dictionaries, and i asked merriam-webster to create books for this program.
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i created my own books for students, they go green dictionary i created in memory of my brother who died a few years ago. he liked to repurpose things. the animal, that's my favorite because i believe in, we need to do more to protect animals in our world and so i created that book to help children understand animals and there's a lot of numbers in that particular book. that was created by some students who were available and how i think they're only like 14 and 16, and the father wanted them to have a summer job site have them help me with that book. >> one of the things in the animal gazetteer in the back in each state listed, and open this to indian avenge of


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