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tv   [untitled]    July 8, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT

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big for them to fight alone. the proper role of government, and as i said at the beginning of my talk, it all went back to the beginning. i may have talked too long, but if i could write short, i wouldn't always be writing 1,000-page books. thank you. [ applause ] you're watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. for more information, follow us on twitter @cspanhistory. the life of a sailor include scrubbing the deck in the morning, climbing the sail, whatever the duties assigned, but by the end of the day, you're ready for rest. aboard a ship like constitution, it's four hours on, four hours
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off. >> this weekend on american history tv, the life of an enlisted man aboard the u.s.s. constitution during the war of 1812. >> the sailor lived in fear. it was always scare carried by a petty officer in a bag and the thing a sailor never wanted to see is getting ready for the flogging. don't let the cat out of the bag, don't want to see the cat-o-nine tails. >> that's 7:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. also, more from the contenders, our series on key political figures that ran for president but lost. today, 1928 presidential candidate, al smith. that's at 7:30 p.m. eastern and pacific.
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welcome to jefferson city, the capital of missouri. with the help of our mediacom partners, we'll take you to this city as we explore the rich and varied history in a town named after thomas jefferson. coming up in a moment, a visit to the historic missouri state penitentiary. >> this prison right here, at one time in 1967, this was called the bloodiest 47 acres in america. >> then in about 30 minutes, a look at the capital building and how the history of the state is presented inside its walls. >> the painting here is called
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"the social history of missouri," it's how missouri came to be by everyday people. >> and to round out our hour, we travel from the capital building over to the governor's mansion. >> the home was built in 1871, cost about $75,000. >> all this and more as c-span and mediacom bring you to jefferson city, missouri. >> the presence i feel as i walk through these walls, looking and touching these massive stone walls, walls that are smooth and cold to the touch, walls of lost history of killings and such. in the dim light, a specter, i feel, walking and stalking, oh, yes, it is real. for this is a place where dead men are kept, a place where i as their keeper once crept. turning my head as repentant men wept. so look if you will for it is the tomb of our lost human race. glance in a mirror as through life you race so the specter i
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saw won't surprise you some place as the specter you see may be your own face. we're at the missouri state penitentiary, the old missouri state penitentiary in jefferson city, missouri, and it's kind of right in the middle of the capital city of the state of missouri. from 1836 until 1989, this was the only maximum security prison for adult male offenders that was run by the state of missouri, and so basically you got every individual that was a problem child. at one time, 1967, this was called the bloodiest 47 acres in america. the building of the prison itself is located off east capital avenue, which used to be called east main street, and initially when the prison was built on this site it would have been on the outskirts of jefferson city, but the town actually built around the prison, so actually it's on the
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eastern side of jefferson city, but it's still with the way the city limits incorporated other areas, it's right in the middle of the town. there's two basic philosophies that evolved with regard to prisons in the united states, the first one being the pennsylvania system, which was initially started by the quakers, the first prison being the walnut street jail that opened in philadelphia circa about 1790 and the quakers believe you punish the soul rather than the body. the next system that actually evolved, putting it in a nut shell, was the auburn system, and that formed in prisons back east that are older than this prison, east of the mississippi river, so when that actually occurred, this prison, which was as i stated open in 1836, it was one of about 30 -- between 30 and 40 prisons that opened during the time period that operated under the auburn
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system, and the auburn system was very, very harsh. they believe that basically convicts had nothing coming. they believe that the harsher the punishment and the harsher the conditions, the better it was, so basically this prison operated for almost 100 years under that auburn system and that's where you got the contract labor system, the lease system, our first mayor in
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by the inmates from here, so this was a very, very large operation and it made some people very wealthy. it was almost a relationship from within the community, within the town. as long as everything went smoothly inside the prison, it wasn't too bad, because they had the use of convict labor, which under the auburn system and, of course, the inmates basically got paid next to nothing, so it was basically like slave labor, but then whenever you had periods of unrest or numerous
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escapes, which occurred over the years or insurrections, riots, then, of course, it was a different story and people would say oh, my goodness, that prison, we have to do something about it. so from the time the prison first started and it first opened its doors in 1836, in fact, the very week the alamo battle was going on in texas, and until we closed in 2004, it was that love/hate relationship. we're going to go down this way. at one time i think it was a commissary for the building but they also said the whipping post would be down here and there are dungeon cells down here, so that would kind of make sense, so we'll come down here and unlock this. when you come over here, you're going to see the dungeon cells, and remember when i said about conditions of confinement and lack of human rights standards, those types of things. under the auburn system, they could put you in the dungeon
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cells, and they wouldn't just put one person in the dungeon cell necessarily, they may put five, six, seven, eight, nine people in the dungeon cell with you, and the most infamous individual that did time in the dungeon cells was a man by the name of j.b. firebug johnson. johnson came here and got his reputation and his nickname, firebug, inside this prison because he started several insurrections in here. he burnt down one of the large factories. he was involved in a mass escape attempt. the warden got sick and tired of him around 1883, 1884, and he was placed in the dungeon cells. when he got out of prison, a book was written in about 1903 called "buried alive: 18 years in the missouri penitentiary" and he tells us about the dungeon cells.
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imagine, look how smooth that floor has been worn, that bench would not have been in there, and those men slept on the floor. imagine the feet going back thousands of times in total darkness back and forth and one of the things that firebug johnson mentioned was you might take a button off your shirt and you would flip that button in the dark and spend all day looking for it so you wouldn't go insane. we're entering what was called h-hall, housing unit one, became known as housing unit one later on, and initially this would have been the women's unit when it opened circa about 1906. i guess, the two most famous female inmates was kate richards o'hare and emma goldman, and the federal prison system never had prisons for women until around
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1925, 1927, and so at the time of world war i, emma goldman, who was a native of russia, was called red emma. she was a very outspoken activist and she and kate richards o'hara, kate richards o'hara was from kansas, and she spent a lot of time in st. louis, missouri. she was married, had several children. well, those two ladies were sent here right around 1919, 1920, because they had made a series of speeches around the country in which they very strongly protested u.s. involvement in world war i, so the government convicted them for sadicious acts against the government, and they were sent here. they were very well known. there were approximately 70 to 80 other female prisoners in here at the time and you can see
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this cell block is like a box within a box, pretty typical for the time. we don't know exactly which cells emma and kate were in, but we know it was in this general area, because behind me is located what was called the blind cell and both of them made mention in their later writings about the blind cell at the missouri state penitentiary, so we know that somewhere in this location was where those two were located. the blind cell was actually the female equivalent to administrative segregation or the hole or the dungeon cells and you can see a toilet stool in there now, but that toilet stool would not have been there when they were here. they talked about how very cold it was in there and how very hot it got in the summer. those two women weren't here all that long, but it was very impactful during the time that they were here. when they got out of prison, emma goldman, she was
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responsible for helping to found the aclu, mother earth, she was later deported back to her native russia. she later slipped back into canada, and when she died, she was buried in the city of chicago. kate richards o'hare, on the other hand, i think kate did a lot more with her life. when kate got out of prison here, she eventually got a pardon from president calvin coolidge. she wrote a book in 1923 called "in prison." it was a prison reform book, very well received and later became assistant director of corrections in the state of california and helped to build a model prison system in that state, and i believe she died in 1948, so you can find a lot of information on those two women, because they were two of the most renowned women activists of their day, they really were, so that alone to me makes this unit
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extremely, extremely historical. the building we're going into right now is housing unit three. it was originally called mcclung hall. this unit down here, this was administrative segregation, and also later it became death row. when the 1954 prison riot happened september 22, 1954, it started at 6:45 in the evening in a building called e-hall. the inmates that were the ring leaders of the riot wanted to get into this unit so they could kill two inmates. one of those fellas was named walter donell, and so walter donnell was, for all practical purposes, they would call him a prison snitch, so he was locked up down here in this unit. they got into this unit, the
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staff would not give up the keys. in fact, i was told they threw the keys someplace where they couldn't get to them and the inmates forced their way in here. one of the officers was very severely beaten and they then got into this room right over here and this was a probation and parole officers room and it was the offices for the staff as well, and one of the things that happened is they got ahold of a sledge hammer and over here on the wall, you can see right in this area, you can see where they pounded through the wall right here, and they broke into this area and the skinniest of the bunch went through there. they gained access to the cells, which i'm going to show you in a few minutes, and they killed walter lee donnell with a hammer. here's the cell walter lee
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donnell and another inmate were in at the time they were murdered, september 22, 1954, in the evening. there have been some pretty interesting people that have served time here behind the walls. charles arthur "pretty boy" floyd arrived here in 1945 from st. louis for armed robbery and became very infamous after he got out of prison, he was involved in the kansas city union station massacre. adam richety was down on death row and was execution number six in 1938, and he was the driver for pretty boy floyd in the kansas city union massacre. we also had james earl ray here, he came in about 1960 for armed robbery. there was nothing significant about him that made him stand out, from what i've been told. he came here before i was here, but, of course, he came infamous
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in 1968 when he killed dr. martin luther king. he escaped out of this prison april 1967, and he actually got out through the prison's sally port, that's the point of ingress and egress and got in a giant bread box somewhere between here and across the river, he got off that truck, and at the time, the reward for james earl ray was $50, and that was the standard amount for any inmate. well, after he killed dr. king, of course, the u.s. government had a real high price on his head, and we still had an active warrant for james earl ray right up until the time he died down in tennessee. sonny listen did time here, he was in a-hall, cell 33, came here in 1950 for armed robbery, i believe 13 or 15 children, he was illiterate. the staff here helped him with his boxing career and helped him
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obtain parole because they saw this man had tremendous talent. this institution is a piece of national history, and i guess sometimes people want history to be all about the good things, but history is, as it happened, and this facility is a sociological classroom, and to me it would be a real tragedy if this entire place would be reduced to rubble and that some day we might just see a plaque that says from 1836 until september 15, 2004, was the oldest operating maximum security prison west of the mississippi river. you can look at pictures all day. i can stand here and give you a description all day, but when you come into this facility and you can see the buildings and then hear the stories, memories are what this place is about and it's about those people and those memories that means so much to me, and that's why i hope that it's available for
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people to come from all over the united states and see this prison and understand the history and the stories that made it. all weekend long, american history tv is featuring the history of jefferson city, missouri. because the city is located on the mississippi river, lewis and clark stopped here, hosted by our mediacom cable partner, recently visited many sites. learn more about jefferson city, missouri, all weekend on american history tv. >> we're at the missouri state archives and going into the stacks where the records are held for the archives. we hold records from all branches of state government. we have about at least 338 million documents in our holdings here, a half million photographs, video and film library, just a tremendous
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amount of material that researchers are able to use when they are conducting research here at the archives. down these rows here, we are storing the missouri state penitentiary and corrections. your national audience, i'm sure, is familiar with james earl ray and his killing of dr. king and that's what we're going to show you in this area today. what i'm going to pull here is the classification book for james earl ray. it actually has the marks and scars that he had for identification purposes, and since he escaped from the missouri state penitentiary, that was important for identifying him once that the national authorities determined who that they were looking for in the man hunt for the killer of dr. king. this is actually the criminal identification for james earl ray. it gives all the statistics for him. if you see here, it kind of lists, like, his birth date, where he was born, his mother's
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name, his address, then down on the page further it also talks about what he was actually charged for, why he was in the missouri state penitentiary, those kind -- that kind of information. he'd actually stolen a motor vehicle, so he was in for auto theft, basically. these came as a transfer from the missouri state penitentiary. we have a number of series here that relate to james earl ray as well, and we received all of these as transfers from the missouri state penitentiary. what we're looking at here is the inmate register that cont n contains the information on james earl ray. we marked the page previously. here, his inmate number, 004 # 16 shows when he was admitted to the missouri state penitentiary in 1960 and shows all the different information about him. he was a baker as his occupation and catholic as well. he only went to the 10th grade,
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which is interesting as well. he did not graduate from high school, and then this column shows where he had been in prison before, so if you look, both the state penitentiary in illinois as well as two stints in kansas there. he was serving 20 years. i'm sure some of that had to do with the fact he was a repeat felon and it shows how long that he was serving, so he was convicted in february of 1960 and admitted to the state penitentiary on march 17, 1960, and he was supposed to get out of the state penitentiary in 1980, and if he served good time, which he did not, because he escaped, he would have gotten out for good behavior march 16th of 1975, and these last columns are discharge and violation of rules and this is where it shows
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at one time he had been admitted to the state hospital in fulton and that was in 1966, but then on april the 23rd, 1967, he escaped from the missouri state penitentiary. next we're going to look at the record of escapes for the time period when james earl ray left the missouri state penitentiary. he escaped from the missouri state penitentiary. you can kind of look at the book here and look at all the escapes from 1965 through 1967, and he's the next to last entry on the page. he actually smuggled himself out in a bread truck, but it's kind of interesting whenever you look at all these escapes. they highlighted those that came from inside the prison itself on this page and so there are only five on this page from june of '65 to may of '67, basically, a two-year period, that escaped from the missouri state
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penitentiary. most of these were on work release when they escaped, and if you look at the page too and how they all were recaptured except james earl ray. he's the only blank entry on this page. he went to alabama and then went to memphis where he killed dr. king. he escaped to canada eventually, took on an alias, went to england, and that's where he was captured is in england, and what we're looking at now is the extradition paper for james earl ray, because he was actually captured in great britain, there was a number of telegrams and correspondence because he still was supposed to be in the custody of the missouri state penitentiary at the time, so the extradition was based on his escape from the missouri state penitentiary. this document here is the actual
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request for extradition hearing that was taken in great britain, and if you look on here too, it says james earl ray, but they specifically cite his alias that he assumed when he fled to canada and that's what was on his passport when he went to great britain as well. the extradition was in june of 1968, and he was brought back soon thereafter to memphis, tennessee, for prosecution. he eventually pleads guilty, actually, to the assassination. he was incarcerated in tennessee there in tennessee, and he eventually died in the tennessee state penitentiary. the james earl ray documents are really an example of -- of what you would find for any family that has a family member in a
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prison, so in that respect, it's kind of just a general approach, but then for historians who are really interested in all the details, it gives you details you may not have known, you may not have known he was at the fulton state hospital, you may not have known what he was in prison for here. it also gives you a road map to other records. remember the records, it gives you other arrests he had, gives you clues to find other information about him. when they were investigating dr. king's assassination, they came to the missouri state penitentiary and went through every record they had through those details and historians do those same kinds of things. all weekend, american history tv is featuring the history of jefferson city, missouri, the state capital, with a population of almost 150,000 in the metro area, hosted by our mediacom cable
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