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tv   Black Migration National Park Service  CSPAN  November 9, 2019 2:00pm-4:01pm EST

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i'm talking about the big one. that's the term used. i knew what he meant. it was chief of staff. election night came, and did not go away. [laughter] he the next morning, formerly asked me to be his chief of staff and i was flattered. i think he asked me because i served under every chief of staff that served ronald reagan and george h w bush. >> watch the entire talk with former white house chief of 8:00 p.m. andy, midnight on the presidency. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> next on american history tv, officials from the national park service and preservation organizations talk about how historically black sites help to tell the story of african-american migration. they also argue for additional efforts and resources to
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preserve such places for current and future generations. this discussion was part of the association for the study of african-american life and history annual meeting. >> hello, and welcome. hello and welcome to the association for the study of african-american life and history's 104th annual conference. we have of people moving, how the national park service and preservation is how the story of black migration. my name is madeline, and the senior executive assistant at the national parks conservation association. louder? is that better? sorry about that. i'm so proud to be with you this afternoon.
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on behalf of teresa and the president and ceo, thank you for taking the time to join us and welcome. for those of you not familiar with the national parks conservation association, we have been a powerful independent voice working to strengthen and protect america's national parks for 100 years. through a nationwide network of offices, and with more than 1.3 million members and supporters, npca speaks up for our parks, history, culture, and communities on capitol hill. our advocacy work cannot be done without our partners. we have partnered together for decades to make sure the national park system tells the story of all americans, from preserving a critical chapter in the civil rights movement with the designation of birmingham's civil rights national monument, to the important stories like the first african-american union at the pullman national monument. we will have a lasting and positive impact on our national park system and its visitors for generations to come.
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because of this partnership, we have privileged to award sylvia our centennial leadership award this past spring. [applause] npca centennial leadership award recognizes public officials or private citizens who have made an outstanding contribution towards ensuring that the national parks are ready and well prepared for their second century of service to the american people. sylvia's leadership and dedication to the birmingham and pullman national monument campaign, and a solid role in guiding the national park services rehabilitation and reopening of the carter g woodson home in washington d.c. are true examples of her commitment to protecting and preserving the african-american experience within the national park system. as many of you know, the national park service is one of
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the largest stewards of african-american history and culture in the united states. around 40 of the 419 national parks are african-american experience sites. from places like fort monroe national monument in hampton, to the frederick douglass house in washington, d.c., to the reconstruction era park in south carolina. these places tell the story of the african-american experience in the united states. and it is for this very reason that previous sessions have been sponsored at the conference focused on the national park system. and while the national park service is in charge of managing these parks, they do not do so in isolation. like our advocacy partnership, the national park service partners with organizations in
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their protection, preservation, and interpretation of african-american sites. tonight we will hear valuable stories about black migration, how the national park service is bringing this complex and significant history to life. we will hear how preservationists are working across the country with communities to preserve their historic sites and cultures, and how advocates and scholars are pushing for the creation of new national park designations and for national institutions to tell the full story of african-american history in this country. you will also have the pleasure of hearing a discussion moderated by alex pierce, the senior director of cultural resources. allen has dedicated two decades to the organization and has become to be known as the resident historian, and to many like me a friend, mentor, and colleague. with that i want to turn it over
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to alan. thank you. [applause] alan: i keep seeing people in the audience and i'm like rockstar, rockstar, rockstar, rockstar, even with the panelists up here. it's wonderful to see everyone here. thank you for being here for the opening plenary. for those with the background and have studied african-american life and history, you know this annual conference always begins with the plenary session related to or about the national park service. i would also like to point out david is with us, the newly appointed director of the national park service. welcome. [applause] and at the back, running around and always taking care of
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everything is sylvia. [applause] and in the second row, dr. evelyn is here, it's nice to see you all here. my job as a moderator for this panel is to get out of the way. so i'm going to do that real quick. thank you madeline, for coming up here and getting started. quick housekeeping stuff, if you have a cell phone make sure it is off or on vibrate. we are happy to have colleagues from c-span here who would like to record the panel and not your ringtone. the panelists up here. is a friend,ere that makes this special for this evening and i appreciate having this group of people here.
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i think the talent that we have assembled for this plenary on black migration is reflected in the fact that we have a sellout crowd. thank you all for being here. john w franklin, recently retired from a distinguished career at the smithsonian where he served as the cultural historian senior manager in the office of external affairs of the national museum of african-american history and culture. he's a very good man and a friend of mine and it's great to have him here. dave johnson is a historian at the national park service, she has served as the midwest regional manager for the national underground railroad network freedom program. regina rogers is a supervisory park ranger at the maggie walker national historic site in richmond, virginia. we hope to hear about how she grew up in national parks. and did i get anywhere close? he told me if i failed with the pronunciation we could all refer to him as ranger e, he's a
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superintendent at nicodemus national historic site in kansas and the chief of interpretation at brown v. board of education. he has about seven other collateral duties he has done exceptional work and we are proud to have him with us today. stephanie deutsch is a historian and author of the book you need a schoolhouse, booker t. washington, julius rosen wall and the building of schools in the segregated south. she will be at the authors pavilion and exhibit area, she will have books to purchase. if you do not have a chance to speak with her today or at the reception afterwards, please visit her on thursday at the authors reception. and at last, my good friend, brent, this is an important guy. the executive director of the african-american cultural heritage fund for the national trust for historic preservation. he led the campaign to designate birmingham civil rights, i tried to back them up as best i could, and now thanks to our work and the park service and interior department and all the great
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commuting partners in birmingham, we have had an important civil-rights story protected in perpetuity. we will hear individual presentations from these panelists we will go one by one , and towards the end i will come back up here for some guided questions and conversation. if i do not get too selfish with the time we have today, we will have opportunities to hear from folks in the audience with questions. we will do our best to end promptly at 6:30 because we do have after party events and people have other places to go. i would like to bring up john w franklin. thank you. [applause] john: good afternoon. >> good afternoon.
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john: it's wonderful to be here, as i was preparing yesterday i wanted to thank my parents for giving me the exposure to the united states and the world that gave me the perspective for the work that i have done in the work that i'm continuing to do. my late father, attended the association as we called it in our home, for 70 years. from 1937 to 2007. he met carter g woodson at that first meeting in petersburg. so i thought it was just normal to acknowledge him. and my mother, who had that children's library, she was a librarian, and next to my bed there were books from as early as i could remember.
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and there were atlases, and maps, and books that they brought back to me from india, europe, we traveled the nation as my father was visiting professors at cornell, wisconsin, berkeley, hawaii, maryland, and in doing so i saw the nation and the complexity of the people who live here. i wanted to start with the big picture of migration, not the 20th century. we will look at some maps. we must always remember that our knowledge is based on those who preceded us. my father taught at howard from 1947 to 1956. when he arrived at 1947 and one of his students was joseph harris. joseph harris created this map of the african diaspora in 1990.
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and i want you to look at the right hand side of the map, which shows how africans are taken by the east african trade controlled by the sultan of oman out of zanzibar and into the persian gulf, into the red sea, into the indian ocean over the last 1500 years. long before america's so-called discovery. right now there's a project in the indian ocean, populated by people brought from india as indentured servants, and 30% were brought as enslaved people from east africa. we do not think of the indian ocean, we don't think of south asia when we think of the african diaspora, but we must. we think we know the left-hand side of the map.
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you will notice that every country in the hemisphere received africans from 1500 on. the french are trying to take over brazil from the portuguese in the 1530's, the french only end up with french guiana on the north coast, as well as martinique, guadalupe, haiti, san dominquez, and louisiana. we were celebrating last year's 300 years of african presence in louisiana. the focus this year has been on virginia, but we must remember that what is now the united states also includes puerto rico, which was spanish. florida, which does not become part of the united states until the 1830's. we ignore 300 years of african presence in florida because it's not u.s. history.
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notice how the africans cross panama. they walked across the isthmus to ships waiting to take them down the west coast of colombia, ecuador, peru, and chile. we have been there since the 1530's and 1540's. we forget canada, where we are not free until britain frees its slaves in 1833. we will come back to that in a moment. joseph harris, inspired by his colleagues at howard, goes to these places in the african diaspora, he goes to iraq, the middle east, southern india, and of course he goes across all of the americas, looking for these traces of people from africa.
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david elvis and david richardson, by 2010, have the databases of all of the slave ships. and i like to remind people that the insurance records of these ships tell the story, because every one of these ships is insured by lloyd's of london, and american insurance companies we don't need to mention by name. but that is how we have such rich records. i know it's too far for you to see the dates and the numbers. but out of west central africa are close to 6 million africans being taken. those big green swatches are 2 million people from each of those sections. and people are brought from deep in the interior to the coastal ports from where there will be exported to the americas.
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i lived on an island for four years and dakar for a total of eight, and saw people coming from europe, brazil, and across the continent to understand our history. and we are taken in these floating prisons to every point in the americas. we are in charlston, the place were more africans are brought than any other part of the united states. the figure here's 211,000, i live in the chesapeake region, less than 200,000 in new england, as well as the gulf coast, biloxi and new orleans. and then you can see the caribbean islands, the dutch, the danish, the french, the
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spanish bringing africans there. south carolina's very important in the story. if you are not the first british son in barbados, you do not have a future. so you moved to south carolina and begin the importation of africans here in the carolinas. we also must see how africans are taken across the sahara into morocco, algeria, libya, close to 2 million from southern sudan into egypt, 800,000 out of somalia into saudi. into the persian gulf, the red sea, and all of these places in the indian ocean.
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fewer than 5% of the 12.5 million come to united states. when we think of migrations in the hemisphere, we must remember that every person coming from central america, south america and the caribbean come from slave-based societies. with laws that limited the opportunities of people of african descent. there is the same confluence of native people, african people, and europeans in each of these countries before the people come here. they come here with exposure to laws and attitudes and practices that they bring with them in the united states. finally, i want to share with you a map that i got in france.
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this shows the emancipation in the hemisphere. if you are from the english speaking caribbean you know emancipation day is august 1, from 1833. if you have the misfortune of being from one of the french colonies you know the french revolution freed us in 1794, but napoleon's first wife, the empress josephine is a sugar planter in martinique, so he reinstates slavery for her in 1802, and the second emancipation is 1848. the netherlands and the u.s. share 1863. but puerto rico does not become free until 1873, cuba not until
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1886, and brazil as last at -- is last at 1888. i wanted to begin with the big picture of migration, so we remember that everyone coming from other parts of the hemisphere to the united states comes with their own legacy of slavery and freedom. thank you. [applause] >> thank you john, for that, for setting up the big picture. and i cannot see. here we are. hello. [laughter]
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allen said that i was going to tell you the story about growing up in the national park service. i did not quite grow up tall enough. but we will go forward at any rate. john set us up with the big picture of black migration. for me, it's my turn to bring it to a smaller size. how black migration and the national parks affected me. when i was a teenager, growing up in roanoke, virginia, i would have said this statement. black migration and national parks have nothing to do with me. how many of you secretly would have thought that yourselves? oh good, i'm seeing some nods and hand raising. that's because, as some of our
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surveys, even most recently show, when they surveyed people who go to national parks, it comes out saying that people of color do not go to national parks. that they don't go outside. [laughter] that they don't travel. obviously the franklins are different on that. but they don't travel, except to go visit with family. but when they go to national parks, they don't feel welcomed. they don't see their stories there. when i was young, i fit right into that same demographic. that criteria there. for the next few minutes i will tell you a little bit about how i found a personal connection to our collective stories, such as
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black migration, through my experiences with the national parks. when i was growing up, i was very smart. i came up in the class of roanoke, virginia, which was the first class to be fully integrated in our school experiences. for me, that meant that i was an oddball. i had white friends, i had black friends, but i never felt like i fit in well with any of them. yet, at home, it was different. at home i would be with my grandmother who would tell me stories about growing up in south carolina and i traveled to visit my other grandmother in newport news, virginia, and she would tell us about how her grandfather was in the first
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class of hampton university and was a leader and shaker. and at home, with my family and siblings, we would not go to the national park, though my dad would dream about gathering us up and taking us in a big rv to the grand canyon, at yosemite, yellowstone. those were the national parks, but we never got there. instead we went up to roanoke mountain and watch the hang gliders. or do small visits like that. but it was not until one day, one of my high school teachers gave me a call and she said to me, how would you like to be a park ranger on the blue ridge parkway? i was just coming on my first i had not jmu,
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traveled anywhere and i said what's a park ranger and where's the parkway? little did i know that roanoke mountain, where my family had been going on their trips and visits, was a part of the blue ridge parkway. i had been going there all my young life, but never knew that it was a national park. i never saw park ranger there when we were walking on the trails, outside. until i became a park ranger. i never saw an arrow head on roanoke mountain until i wore one on my shoulder myself. unbeknownst to me, i already had my own connection to the national parks. i just needed to be shown. after that i was excited to learn more about the national parks. my siblings and i would jump
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into my 67 mustang and start going up and down the blue ridge parkway, visiting the different places. at one point we scooped up my grandmother and took her to booker t. washington national monument, which was a living historical farm with pigs and hens and chickens and she remembered being a girl growing up in south carolina. those stories that she sat on the porch and told us came to life for us in the national park because she was able to connect with us there by showing us those pigs she used to be afraid of, and talking about how it was when she was growing up. but also talk about how she left the south. left anderson, south carolina, because of the limiting factors there. the prejudice, the segregation, the violence inflicted upon her
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that she did not want her children to experience. so she moved to virginia and made it so that all of her children could go to school. so that her grandchildren would be able to experience a better life. again, a generational connection, learned through the national parks. by the time i started working at booker t. washington national monument. i was ready, i was on alert to find my connections everywhere i went. i was at booker t. washington monument, and at age 29 for the first time in my life i changed my address from roanoke, virginia, and i migrated to pennsylvania. real far. i started working at independence park and valley forge. now, revolutionary war, i did not have a direct connection there. as far as my family could go
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back that i knew, we did not have any revolutionary war connections. but the more i started looking, learning, and telling the history of those who were encamped at valley forge, those who were looking towards the liberty bell as a symbol of freedom, i began to make a human connection. i did not have to be a direct descendent of someone from the revolutionary war to understand what it was like to be out on that landscape at valley forge on a cold day in february. all i had to be doing is dressing in living history clothing on a cold february day reenacting it. through the park i was able to make a human connection, person-to-person, across the frm that i was and i think the most maggie a lot important connection i was able to make was that maggie l. walker national historic site. but not necessarily in the way that you think.
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yet maggie l. walker is a black woman. i am a black woman. she experienced oppression and limitation in her lifetime. i have experienced them on a different level, and i notice ready when things come along. my my experience of connecting neck to the national parks and maggie l. walker site was due to sherry jackson. there is i offer i was sitting in my office and sherry started reaching out to me to talk about the people in maggie walker's settle not --and you
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neighborhood, jackson ward. she was talking about william washington brown, who had been enslaved, escaped slavery, and settled in a home not far from maggie walker's house. she was looking to reach out to us to research about him as a freedom seeker. as she talked, she studied saying, it is not what you have been taught in school. it is not everyone moving to canada. it is not everyone secretly going through the swamps and fields and crossing into freedom. sometimes, freedom seeking is someone leaving and hiding in the woods for a time. or someone who has sought to free themselves. even if it was going into the next town. as we sat talking, i looked behind me, and saw a picture of james fields that my grandmother had given to me, and i realized
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that james fields had escaped to fort monroe during the civil war. he had not gone to canada. he had gone 90 miles east to find freedom at freedom's fortress at fort munro. he had been in the first class of hampton, getting that education. had made a way so that six generations later, his great great granddaughter could be sitting in a national park service uniform, telling the before. with that one call, and years of research later, i was able to
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connect not only to maggie l. walker site where i was sitting, but to fort monroe, and also to richmond battlefield. it was those during the civil war that enabled him and his brothers and father and sisters to escape to fort monroe. in one fell swoop, i was able to connect to four different national parks. sometimes, you just have to go and find your story. find your connections. connect to fort munro like i did, connect to richmond national battlefield park, connect to maggie l. walker national historic site, connect
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to our associated site, the james a fields house, which is now a part of the underground railroad network to freedom. because someone opened my eyes. from the time i was young to the time i am now a woman of a certain age, [laughter] i have grown up in the national park service, spent 35 years looking for those stories, and i found them. my challenge to you today is to do the same. find your stories. find your parks. that bind your story. and find your connection. they are there. [applause]
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>> good evening. i am happy to be here and i would like to thank npca for organizing this panel. i will continue on what ms. rogers was talking about about the underground railroad as a migration story. let me load this real quick. as ellen said, i'm with the national park service national underground railroad network to freedom program. this program promotes quality standards in its coordination of education, commemoration, and preservation related to the underground railroad, which is defined as resistance to
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enslavement through escape and fight. it has a verifiable associations to the underground railroad, which we refer to as the network to freedom, or the network. is it going? it is frozen. always happens to me. i am doing that one. there. currently, there are 640 listings recognized by the network in 40 states. and washington, dc. that is a map of what the united states looks like as it relates to the underground railroad. the late great carter g woodson began his book with the following quote. the migration of the blacks from southern states to those offering better opportunities is nothing new. he goes on to discuss how the railroad was one of migration.
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therefore, while the underground railroad is considered the first civil rights movement, it could be considered the first great migration. if you disagree with the fact the railroad was great in terms of numbers, it was great in terms of impact on transforming the life of individuals and the will it played in dismantling slavery. pictured here is the image from jacob lawrence's migration series. it talks about the migration that followed world war i. if you look at it, it can be about the underground railroad. the same cities were the same cities that people struck out to on the underground railroad and their destinations. they not only went north to canada, but south, east, and west. destinations included florida, the caribbean, europe, central america, hawaii, and mexico. some chose not to go far but
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settled in marginal areas establishing maroon communities. this is the great dismal swamp, located on the borders of virginia and north carolina. it is a site listed in the network. looking at the underground railroad as part of the black migration story helps showcase black agency and resistance to enslavement. it is considered one of the major aims of the program. the focus is not to discount white participation, nor negate the brutality of oppressiveness and inequities of the systems of domination, but is a testament to the human spirit. in traditional constructions, people of color were invisible. when they were present, they were often nameless. the abolitionists and movements were constructed in terms of white benevolence and people of color were passive recipients rather than active participants. as such, african americans became secondary characters in a story that was rooted in their
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own struggles for freedom and equality. take the image here, which depicts the escape of a group of 15 freedom seekers arriving in philadelphia. the other freedom seekers stand around doing nothing while three white men struggle to assist a freedom seeker from the boat. this image was originally called heavy weights, arrival of a party at league island. it was published in 1872. this was largely how the underground railroad was constructed. when i talk about the underground railroad as black migration, this is not just relative to those escaping bondage. it is also about the migration and settlement of free blacks. these communities were centers of early black economic, religious, and political development and served as places of refuge. helping freedom seekers reach destinations or welcoming them into their communities. returning to the words of carter g woodson, the settlements were
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favorable communities of sympathetic whites, promoted migration of the free grows and fugitives from the south by serving as centers offering assistance to those fleeing. these communities are often the first stop for freedom seekers. levi kaufman, a quaker from north carolina and a self-proclaimed president of the underground railroad, wrote, soon after we relocated to indiana, i found there was a line of the underground railroad, fugitives passed through that place and stopped among the colored people. he noted, free colored people who had relatives in slavery were willing to contribute to getting their loved ones out of bondage just as we would do. many of these settlements were comprised of people of color who had been free for a long time in virginia and north carolina to kentucky.
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they had migrated north and west. some excluded free blacks from the state and force them to be returned into slavery. others purchased their freedom while some had migrated with former slaveholders who freed them or had been freed and wills which provided them with funds to resettle. pictured on the left is a map of the early black pioneers. the author documented 300 settlements. if you overlay it with the map of the underground railroad, these roots are interconnected. on the right is a map of underground railroad roots. that was one of the rows used for the used underground railroad. i would like to introduce you to a few sites related to this migration that are represented in the network. the first is the union literary institute.
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it is one of two sites that represents the greenville colored settlement. this was a settlement established in the 1810s. it reaches across the borders of ohio and indiana. wb dubois wrote, the sediment became one of the main lines from the underground railroad. the institute was established in 1846 1846 by free people of color and quakers. it was one of the early educational institutions. according to county history, freedom seekers would stop and attend school at the institute. kaufman was one of the school board, and recalled how freedom seekers from kentucky would attend the school, leave his studies for a little bit, and return to assist others in a their freedom. the next site i would like to talk about is new philadelphia, in illinois. it was established in 1836.
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an integrated town, referred to as an all-black settlement in west central illinois. it is believed to be the first town legally platted and recorded by a person of african descent. the founder referred to it as free frank, had been enslaved in kentucky but had been able to purchase his wife's freedom and then his own. he with his wife and children moved to illinois around 1830. they sold the lots to finance the purchase of freedom for family members who remained in slavery at resettle them. i like tottle them. think of this as an early version of chain migration. it was stuck on the underground railroad. this was allowed because not only was it brutal, but in a remote location near
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transportation routes. the site is now an archaeological site. it is listed in the network, but also a historic landmark and has undergone studies to determine its usability to become a unit to become a unit of the national park service. the next site is the abolition west site in ohio. augustus west was a free black man who migrated to ohio with his wife from virginia in the 1830's. he had an ingenious plan. he along with white abolitionist named alexander beatty devised a scheme where they would travel to the south posing as a slave dealer and a slave. it is quite a dangerous scheme.
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beatty would sell west, who would later escape to ohio and they would split the profits. it became so successful, west was able to purchase land in ohio. on the land, he built a house pictured here on the left. he called at the mansion. he named the road abolition lane. he was making no effort to hide his activities. [laughter] west assisted others on the underground railroad, he settlement that included former freedom seekers developed on this land. the house no longer stands. there is a historical marker located in a cemetery that recognizes his activity. the next site is quinn chapel in illinois. the church was called the them a and e church. it was not built until 1878, the congregation has a history that dates back to 1839. african-american churches were a center of the railroad activity.
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dr. cheryl laroche refers to a leading facilitator of the movement. an early church historian wrote, many ministers were active in the antislavery movement and much of the actual work of receiving and transporting sk slaves was done by them. the chapel was founded by operatives from baltimore. since women other than harriet tubman often get short shift in the underground railroad, i would like to focus on baltimore instead of quinn. he was a great man, but she deserves attention to. she was born in kentucky. when she was 10, her slave owner sold her to new orleans. she was purchased by a missionary who allowed her to buy her freedom. she tracked down her mother, who had been sold away from, purchased her freedom, relocated to st. louis where she purchased the freedom of her future
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husband, john baltimore. in the 1830's they moved to brooklyn, where there was a free black population. it is on the property she once owned and believed to be where she hid freedom seekers where the church now stands. baltimore is believed to have organized other churches, all of which have connections to the underground railroad. the last site i would like to talk about is jameson jenkins lodge in illinois. it is and the bounds of a lincoln home national site in illinois. this was once the home of jamesison jenkins, an african-american and neighbor of lincoln who is credited with transporting the president to the train station for his and observation. jenkins was born 1808, it is not for certain when and how he was able to gain his freedom. and the 1930's, he migrated to indiana where he resided in a black farming settlement in indiana established in the 1820's.
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after the death of his first wife, he married a widow, elizabeth watkins, from a free black family. they married in 1840. the couple migrated to illinois, joining his in-laws who migrated earlier. in 1850, jenkins was involved in the underground railroad event. it involved the escape of 11 freedom seekers from st. louis, missouri. the event was labeled as a slave stampede. this was a term used in the press to describe group slave escapes. a group escaping at one time or several slaves from the same area in a short period of time. to bring attention to these escapes, the national park service is conducting a study in partnership with dickinson college that is looking at slave stampede's as a larger phenomenon.
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the jenkins lot is now an empty site, but archaeology has been done for several different periods. these sites demonstrate that at its core, the underground railroad is a black migration story. african-americans were central to the development and operation of the underground railroad. however, many of these sites do not exist as they did historically. they have disappeared from the landscape or suffered from a lack of preservation. the remaining physical evidence is limited to a burial, cemetery, or archaeological site. the most significant things the network to freedom does is sites that lack traditional notions of integrity that may prevent them from being listed in the national register are able to be
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listed and recognized for their history they represent. we are doing a lot to preserve history in ways other programs can't. that is one of our strongest attributes. thank you very much. [applause] >> we are going to get this right. [laughter] >> there we go. good afternoon. happy wednesday -- at my park, i usually cite happy hump day.
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i serve as the superintendent of nicodimas national historic site and the program manager at brown v. board of education national historic site. i would bring to you the link. for a succinct statement, if not for nicodemus, they would not be a brown. i would be remiss in preparation for this topic we are talking about, when we are talking about black migrations, more than a statement about black migrations, the african-american experience has been a litany of questions. rather that making the statement black migrations, the better question, why did blacks migrate? voluntary or involuntary. with that, nicodemus was a slave
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of african birth and was bought with a bag full of gold. he was reckoned a part of the salt of the earth, but he died years ago very old. nicodemus was a prophet, or at least he was wise. he told of the battles to come. how we trembled with fear when he rolled up his eyes and we heeded the shake of his thumb. nicodemus has two understandings of how it got its name. there are some that argue it got its name from the pharisees who became a follower of jesus christ at his crucifixion, when he is buried, nicodemus is there to bury his savior. others argue, this gets more of the notable accreditation, there was an african prince that was enslaved in 1692. during his enslavement, he argues with those who have held him captive that one of the
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worst things they could do is enslave not only him but african americans abroad. he would become the first african-american to fight his freedom on american soil. nicodemus as a town aligns itself with that story. there is a man named wr hill. he knows well how to promote land and acquire land. he befriends wh smith. nicodemus is the oldest african-american civilization west of the mississippi - that still exists. that still exists. if not for these two chief architects, along with six other compadres, there would not be a nicodemus.
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wr hill and wh smith come together at they say, let's make our way west, prospect this land. once they identify the land, there are six african americans they work with. a treasurer, a president. if there were only two that were literate. wr hill, he is white. and minister sp roundtree would be the other literate individual. he was always noticeable because roundtree carried a brand on the side of his face. it was a reminder from his former slave owner that that was a consequence to him getting educational instruction from his son. this, clearly in 1877, would be his ticket to developing nicodemus. to put everything in context, we in this room could talk all day about what we understand about
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. the civil rights, 13th, 14th, 15th amendment... but the reason why i nestle these dates in the presentation, it is irrefutable we understand how distinctly the homestead act crops up in the middle of the civil war. there is an understanding, at the end of this, there is land to be had, wealth to be made. we see in this homestead act, it has very few qualifications. it is probably the most gender equitable legislation that came about before the 19th century. all you had to be was 21, have a little money, and commit to cultivating land for five years. the distinctor is you had to have means. in kansas, nicodemus serves as
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the precursor to the exit dusters. they don't come about until 1879. when we talk about nicodemus, they were the pioneers. more so, i would be remiss, when we are talking about nicodemus, as i shared about the question of the african-american experience, if there were a question asked of nicodemus, the question would be, what do african-americans do with freedom? to that answer, they would say, we would build it from the ground up. and that they did. in 1860, we are still in a civil war, we make our way to 1865. you know there was a domestic challenge. after the civil war, going into reconstruction, there is a rumbling in society that is not in agreement with how people are carrying out their agency. around 1866, we get resurgence of the ku klux klan. the domestic terrorism takes hold. african-americans are still seeking a taste for freedom that
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does not cost them their lives. they will make tracks to kansas. this westward expansion, in hopes that if they died along the way, that sense of freedom is better than their life being taken. so by 1870, we see not only has the population in kansas almost doubled, but 10 years later we will see it almost triple. because that is how much freedom mattered to those who considered themselves african-american. this would be the handbill sent out as many making their way to kansas. there is pat singleton. he was known for, at all cost, trying to get other african-americans free. i will put a bookmark here.
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the african-american experience is so complex and so rich, because it we look back to the days of the civil war, here you have free african-americans who are endeavoring in their freedom, enjoying life, willing to put on a military uniform to die for african-americans who they will never meet. pat singleton is going here and there and everywhere to let people know of a promised land known as kansas. he will be enslaved seven times. seven times to ensure others can taste the freedom he had agency to have. whatever smith and hill established nicodemus with the
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seven, they get a 160 acre plot. they start to recruit specifically individuals with means. most who would populate nicodemus are from georgia, mississippi, and tennessee. the precursor is you had to have means. there are a couple of things that motivated african-americans to make their way to kansas. one was faith. reverend daniel hickman and his wife were a member of that first colony. whenever they came from kentucky, you see the red line, they would take a train and made their way through topeka through ellis. then, from ellis, they would be met with -- met by wr hill with one wagon. they would have walked 35 miles. not around the corner, 35 miles.
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along the way, many would not have made it to the promised land. whenever daniel hickman's wife was able to get to nicodemus, this was her response. i looked with all the eyes i had, where is nicodemus? [laughter] nicodemus. families lived in dugouts. the scenery was not inviting at all. i began to cry. interesting for this promised land. this would have been the scene they thought. for those who know about the west, there is not a lot of shrubbery. you do not build your house out of trees. the soil is not fairchild. the -- the soil is not fertile.
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the reason this is important, when we talk what the homesteading story in our americas, you will not see this picture nor hear this story being told of homesteading from a holistic standpoint. these would have been the houses that would have been built out of the sides of the ground, as they would've had extreme winters and extreme summers. this would have been another resemblance of what they would have built out of the side of a hill. ies, are also known as sodd somewhat of a pueblo, mud bricks. if you were to go to nicodemus today, and i know after this presentation i will see you all sometime soon, [laughter] homeis currently a soddy in the side of a hill that you can go into. we are known for snakes out in kansas.
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this would've been the handbill you would have been given when you came to be a part of where nicodemus was going. we would give five dollars. two of that would have gone to wr hill, another two dollars to the county, and another one dollar for other things and fees. here is where the story get unconventional. and 20 dental. coincidental. , 200, 300,as growing 500, 700. there's a rumor going throughout nicodemus that there is a railroad coming. there was negotiations with the santa fe, the union pacific, and another. interestingly, there is a new town five miles west that gets built. there's a road built. there is nicodemus and then there is the new town.
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the railroad gets built around in 1885,. since then begins to decline. for anybody who missed that, if you know anything about route 66, if you're along route 66 you're on the economic thoroughfare. your town will prosper because of people being able to get to your place of business. some would argue it was strategic. we still do not have factual evidence as to why they would have gone around nicodemus. president,r former signs clinton, nicodemus into being a national historic site. robert stanton happens to be around, preserving african american history, 1998.
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one take away from this is if we do not preserve history, it is bound to die where it was erected. this was nicodemus then. this is nicodemus now. july,st weekend in every there is a homecoming celebration. j would have been nicodemus' come, you eat, you enjoy, and you hear from the elders. every year it is a stable , from which we in the national park service almost remove ourselves so family can do family things, and we become active spectators of history and action. if you were to go to nicodemus now, they're about 35 individuals who populate the townsite, 17 are direct descendents. town visitorthe center, you would hear from
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someone who can say my great, great grandfather, my great, great great, grandmother. we in the national park service found a different mechanism to help nordic unities tell their own history. communitiesinority tell their own history. a question one would ask is how do you preserve the history? we tell it to these five pillars heard. self-government, religion, education, home and family. there are these pillars that help us tell the story of a community that came with nothing, gave everything, and built something for you all to come and visit. i will see you all in july. [laughter] [applause] >> i cannot wait. [laughter]
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>> i will start with an image from jacob lawrence' migration series. these images are familiar to many of us. jacob the caption that lawrence wrote for his wonderful pictures, was, and the people kept coming. i was thinking of that as you all filled every chair. they brought more chairs and the people kept coming. so, the migration series. a fellowshipas fundhe julius rosenwalt that allowed a young jacob lawrence to obtain a studio space where he can put on the wall 60 studio panels, where he could paint what is become the iconic representation of the spirits of african americans in the great migration.
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the theme of black migration finds much residence in the life rosenwold. julius it was migration that brought his parents to this country, seeking refuge from anti-semitism and crushing poverty in the 1840's from the land that would soon be germany. and by the time he was born in 1862, his parents lived in springfield, illinois. he grew up in this house across the street from abraham lincoln's house. his parents and his father like so many jewish immigrants, ran a clothing store. he grew up in springfield and never completed high school he left when he was 16 to new york -- to move to new york to learn the huge new business, the rag trade, the manufacturer and merchandising of clothing.
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by the middle of the first decade of the 20 century, julius had bought into a small unknown mail order company called sears roebuck. by the time he was 40, he was suddenly an unexpected live very wealthy man, considering what was he going to do with this wealth. been brought up as a jew assistanceaka, given with righteousness with the goal of making others more self-sufficient and secure. several things brought his attention to the increasingly tickled situation of african americans. major raceere was a riot in springfield illinois his hometown. he was very aware of it, it was on the front pages of all the newspapers. that he andis time other jews were raising money to send to europe to victims of theoms over there,
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organized violence against jews in poland and russia. the parallels between violence against two different minority populations were not lost on he said wewald. like to look down on the way they treat their jews heard but what we are doing in this country torn negra population is not so different. opportunity came for him to meet booker t. washington, and i love to hear you served at the booker t. washington birthplace, that is a park i love. the opportunity came for rosenwald to meet booker t. washington, he jumped at it. the two men met in chicago in the spring of 1911. they discover they actually had quite a lot in common. they were both very pragmatic. they were both problem solvers. that each created a domain.
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washington booker t. out to visit the enormous new sears plant on the west side of chicago. and booker t. washington retaliated by inviting julius to come to tuskegee which in 1911 he did. it took him two days to get there in his private railroad car that he filled with friends and family from chicago, his hirsch came along, camedams of hull house along. campusys they toured the of tuskegee. they were asked are nearly impressed by what they saw. the campus that had been designed and built by faculty and students at the school, the classes, the huge number programs. julius was extremely impressed. he agreed to serve on the board of tuskegee. also engaged in a real
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conversation with booker t. washington where he asked, well, what more can i do? what are the other things i need to do? and that was when washington told him about the dire lack of school houses in the south. it was true in many places for whites as well as for blacks but it was particularly dire for after americans. ald that ind rosenw many places, african americans determined to offer their children the education they had been denied, were already raising money to build schools. putshington and rosenwald together program that paired money with money raised in the community as this goes were built to serve. they also donated land, materials and, dollar for dollar more than the rosenwald
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medicaid. and the local school systems were pulled in. these were public schools. washington knew you can't raise money and build a private school, that you have to support it forever. these were public schools. public school systems became by far the largest donors to the schools. 1932,between 1913 and there were over 5000 schoolhouses, teachers homes and shop buildings built across the rural south. most of them rural, few in towns. placesoals were in some financially assisted by local whites. sometimes, i think out of goodwell. sometimes, in an effort to see their men and women they relied on for labor not leave. in some places, the schools became anchors, keeping families from joining the throngs leaving the south. one story i recently learned,
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was of a man named webster wheeler, who left catskill georgia for detroit and a job with the ford motor company as so many people dead. in 1923 -- so many people had done. heard his family was participating in building a rosenwald school and he came back. not permanently, just temporarily. he was a carpenter. this is marian coleman his granddaughter who is now the current avenue zeman that school. this is one of many -- the curator of a museum in that school. when legally enforced segregation ended, in many places the schoolhouses which were very rural and very small, some of them fell apart, some disappeared. some passed into private homes. others have been saved by accommodation of alumni passion, alumni who do not want to lose this piece of their history. and donations and hard work from , among others, the national
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trust for historic preservation, which has done a wonderful job in working to preserve the story of the rosenwald schools. in 1928, retired from sears, rosenwald reorganized his fund and hired a professional, edwin embry, to manage the fund. enthusiastich support, the fund introduced a new program to further invest in people. they had invested in schools. now they would invest in fellowships to individual scholars and crated workers as they called them. almost 1928 and 1948, 900 of these fellowship were awarded, the vast majority to african-americans. the roster of men and women these rosenwald fellowships reads like a who's who of african american achievement, both scholarly and artistic. among them are big names. you heard jacob lawrence. marian anderson,
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claude mckay, langston hughes, ralph ellison who used his grant to help them during a long. it took him to write abysmal man. aaron douglas -- to write the invisible man. franklin, ralph bunch, elizabeth kaplan. there were less well known but no less important figures who became scholars, lawyers, minister eight or, people like horace mann bond, frank lynn fraser, kenneth clark and mei mei clark, rayford logan, pauline murray, dr. charles drew and many others. 10 rosenwald fellows participated in the legal work that resulted in the brown v. board of education case. i live in washington, d.c. and the phillips collection has one half of the panels of the
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migration series. richyear, building on this trove of jacob lawrence images, they mounted an entire exhibit of art inspired by migration's worldwide. a local public school in the neighborhood where i live on capitol hill, went to see the year-longd then did a study based on what they had seen there. they talked about the annual journey of the monarch butterfly, that migration. they talked about worldwide migrations and people wanted to immigrate to this country. they also talked about their own migration to trailers for the year while their school was been renovated. they created images of their experience. this is the loneliness of the desks after they had moved out. this is a student discovering the new school facility.
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i think they captured something of jacob lawrence' style. isaac is magnificent. -- i think it is magnificent. one of my favorite images from the migration series. art and place have extraordinary power to move us. to inform us. to inspire us. sometimes even to help point the way forward. we find a powerful example of that and the enduring legacy of and hissenwald, imaginative investment in people. this is a story that i hope the national park service may address in a national historic site. there is legislation before congress now asking for a study to discuss the feasibility of creating a julius rosenwald and
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rosenwald schools national historic park. if this happens it will be the first national historic site dedicated to life and work of a jewish-american. thank you. [applause] >> here we go. good afternoon. today tored to be here share why it is important to preserve african-american historic places. i'm honored to share the stage with these amazing leaders, and these cultural institutions including the national park national parks
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conservation association. i'm theis brent leggs, executive director of the african american cultural heritage action funds of the historic trust for historic preservation. want to share my preservation story of why it matters to preserve our history. i am from a little place called paducah, kentucky. i've heard kentucky mentioned several times today. the rosenwald story is powerful. me, i was inspired by reading up from slavery. the autobiography of booker t. washington. learn that he created a social movements, literally that
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is the physical manifestation of a social movement in response to a crisis in black education. university and would demonstrate the human innovation of black intellectuals to solve social problems in our community. when i was researching rosenwald schools in my home city, kentucky, i learned my mom and dad rosenwald attended schools. i literally remember being at a school held up by a tree and making that connection, understanding the quiet power of historic preservation to bring the past into the present unlike any other form of history. thato began to realize booker t. washington and julius rosenwald, their vision of uplifting the black committee was real and ongoing peer at and it directly impacted my own life through my parents attending rosenwald schools. preservation makes black
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historical figures, jewish historical figures, it makes their life once lived real. so i want to highlight a selection of places where we have collaborated at the national trust. to begin to tell the full history of the blackest earrings in america. i would be remiss not to start with t 19. even that we just passed a stark milestone in august. ina historic milestone august. 1619of us understand that as the founding of our democracy , routing in the founding of the economy we know slavery. enslavementk of highlights black agency, self emancipation and determination literallyry and baker set their own future, and in the
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process inspired 500,000 freedom seekers to follow in their footsteps. it was this unknown catalyst in agency c1 before emancipation. before emancipation. i love the rich history in south carolina like the hutchison house. the small community of african americans after the civil war created their own community. hear stories of black love. 1885 as a wedding gift to his wife, rose, would construct this house. right, that is real romance. [laughter] certainly a real man. beauty, and the resilience.
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but we need to talk more about black romantic love over the years. and be able to tell that story. about the 105 hbcus that demonstrate black excellence on the role of these cultural institutions to educate our youth, and create change agents for our nation. we are working in partnership with the advisory council for historic preservation national parts service to crate a pipeline of future preservation professionals through a program called touching history. the school ofin architecture at tuskegee and morgan state university are learning preservation trades and being inspired by the history, and literally touching the physical history on their campuses. anybody heard of joe frazier? born in south carolina, he had
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to flee due to threats of violence. he would land in philadelphia. would this building he train for his two epic fights against muhammad ali. once he received enough price-earnings, he acquired the property occupied it for four decades. this place is not only a testimony to a sports legend in american history. it was a safe haven for black youth and a diss invested neighborhood in philadelphia. this building is protected in perpetuity. and every heard of the excelsior club in charlotte? this exemplifies another social movement important in american history. the green book. one of the most significant green book sites in north carolina. it is where the black unity and
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charlotte had their own social space, nightlife -- the black community in charlotte had their own social space and nightlife. we included it on our 11 most endangered historic places this year. temporaryed moratorium for demolition. a preservation friendly developer, we thought, planned to acquire the building. the threat of demolition is still ongoing. we will need your support to rally around this to ensure this history is not lost. anybody from chicago? often know of the migration story and the south side of chicago. centeride committee arts is in historic bronze belt. for seven decades, black artists have their own space to express their art creativity and black identity. togetheris linking
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art, culture and preservation as a tool to advance community revitalization and economic development and south side immunity art center has a bright future. -- southside community art center has a bright future. any buddy from los angeles? loss angeles -- so in los angeles there is a place called the whiffendale ladies club. 50 black women organize themselves, pull together their own resources because they do not have their own social space during the. of segregation. they would acquire this beautiful historic two-story mansion. and these are some of the ladies stewarding this place today. club has a ladies bright future. simone?heard of nina
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this is one of our signature campaigns at the national trust for historic preservation. becamethat nina simone the voice of the american civil rights movement. she was born in a rural town in where she lived learned to play the piano. she experienced racism to the degree that at her first recital , when her parents were sitting on the front row, they were asked to move to the back. fussed, cried, until they were seated back on the front row. activism is rested in her dna. [applause] rooted in her dna. [applause] for black artists out of new a form of arts
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activism, acquire the property, created an llc come apart and with the national trust and others, to plan, restore and reactivate this through arts programming. it has a bright future ahead of it. so you have heard about worming him -- burning ham. the nash -- you have heard about birmingham. the national museum made us aware there's a plan to demolish the ag gaston hotel. we created a plan for a public advocacy campaign that would result in the creation of this motel becoming the centerpiece of the newly created birmingham civil rights national monument. , this could beg considered one of the most important civil rights landmarks in the entire world. it is where the birmingham campaign was planned and
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implanted. it is where black men -- implant implemented. d one block away from the motel, 16th street, after church, we know the tragic events that happened there's timber 1963. there is a lesser-known story. design 16th street act is church in the building that still stands today. a couple of blocks away is the masonic temple, designed by robert taylor. the
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birmingham civil rights institute, designed by the second-generation black architect, max von. birmingham civil right at district and national monument is a fight of activism, achievement, community, architecture, and so much more. who has heard of madame -- madam cj walker? the two sisters were born in 1867, the sheathed legacies in business. what i think is powerful about madame cj's -- madam cj walker. in 1918 she had the gall to construct a house in the most expensive -- build this estate on the same street as the
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most significant gothic architectural revivalit's also three miles from the rockefeller estate. working with the previous owners, an african-american family, we have a preservation easement that protects the interior space and helps facilitate the sale of this property to the new voices fund in their vision is to reactivate this space as a think tank for female were norse of color. so, i want to close with this moment we are in. our nation is at a moment of cultural reckoning.
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african-american historic places are underfunded and undervalued. because of the tragic events that happened in november -- not in 2017, and 2018. charleston. mother and manual. you have white nationalists in polo shirts marching around thomas jefferson's culture, wanting to create a new form of jim crow. you see one of our own historic site in nantucket, massachusetts . our work through the action fund is to showcase and demonstrate that preservation can help respond to a social crisis and that we can leverage these leases and this history to begins to tell a full american
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history, that we can honor the full contributions of african americans to this nation and hopefully we can begin to facilitate healing, truth, and reconciliation. i am proud to say we are creating a new community. we have an advisory council that is cochaired by darren walker, the president of the port foundation, the legendary ms. felicia rishaad, and poet laureate and president of the and or w mellon foundation, miss elizabeth alexander. we also have two legends and board members in this room and i want to ask the national president, dr. higginbotham and robert g
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stanton to please stand up. [applause] [applause] their leadership is so critical because, again, we are at a moment where we are transforming the traditional preservation movement. these are not spaces that are allocated to wealthy farmers or industrialists or presidents. this is our time. preservation today is a form of activism. it is about equity and it is about achieving justice so the future generations understand our lasting imprint across this national landscape and our contributions are forever remembered. thank you. that was
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impressive. can we have another round of applause? one thing we did not talk about today was this notion of push/pull. so come off for the folks that nicodemus, for the underground railroad, to inform the audience, to share your thoughts about the push/pull component of black migration. >> i want one of the pushes to
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nicodemus, domestic terrorism. if in fact you really want to experience freedom in its grandeur, it is important to live in a town where you would know that. the education that is coming out of your school, the church you worship in will all come back to you in some way, form, or fashion. and there's the exclusivity of the fact that if you do not have means, you are not likely to find yourself in nicodemus. if around your travels to nicodemus you did not have the means to live, then it was likely that you wouldn't. that's not to say there's any documentation of individuals who migrated to nicodemus being
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turned away. nevertheless from a footnote perspective, this is the economy. >> i first blended term push poll when i was studying the jewish migration, the german and jewish migration out of europe. the push because things are bad where you're going. the poll because you think -- the poll -- the pull because you think it's better where you're going to.
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it's just interesting it is the same for all migrations >> i think one of the interesting things for people migrating on the underground railroad was people thought they were going north to the promised land, right? i think we create this dichotomy between the north and south and that does not exist. black pioneers found that out the hard way. they thought they would have the opportunity and they saw those things pass away very quickly. most northern states did not have slavery by a very marginal proportion. we think of the north, crossed the ohio river and everything is better, it's the promised land. that was a false conception. >> european colonies taught us that britain was better than jamaica. harris was better than
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martinique. portugal was better than rio. so people initially, in the 19th and 20th century go to the universities and institutions in europe and then the european star coming here. and the senegalese star coming to american universities and the canadian star coming to american universities. >> i wanted to ask -- we saw the maps you were kind enough to share with us. what is the internal disruption pattern? what does that look like on the interior of the african continent? >> this is something that is understudied. when we lose to the transatlantic migration 12.5 million people, what is the impact on the young people you have left behind? the society is
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to arrived of young men and women who are skilled. i know of more work being done in east africa on the impact of the slavery process that in west africa. >> i want to go back to the freedom project. this includes new bedford whaling as part of the migration story. you have people escaping from slavery. >> that is something we do not explore enough. black masculinity is very important for those black men who are seeking incorporation in american society. that is definitely part of the underground railroad story.
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>> gina, i have a question for you. when i was growing up in washington, d.c., one of the odd things about being in southwest d.c. was we had a way of insulting people. one of the insult you could render on someone was to call them a bama. as in from alabama. as in from a rural location. someone who does not have the skills of the city slicker's are talking and trying
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to interact with. so we have language to talk about newcomers. what would be the response for black folks coming up from southern areas if they did not have the clothing or the lingo or the customs or the traditions to guide them through that process of being a newcomer? >> maggie walker is coming up through reconstruction and it was getting everyone together. there is a great migration. you do not have those the front levels of society within the
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segregated society there. it's more a point of what maggie walker would say, pulling it together so you can invest in the people around you. investing so the money comes back to you. it is more not pushing someone out -- it is more pulling together so they have the opportunity to uplift the entire community. you still have some of that where you are separating out where it was a time to look at this to say, perhaps that is where we should go back again, to be pulling together in unity.
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>> st. luke's was part of that? >> they have the point where they would take all of the few things that they did have an come together. sometimes you would be the one who was in need. in organization was helping, but at the other end you might be the person who had a point to help others. so benevolence was the goal of the community. >> you mentioned jacob lawrence and that remarkable series of paintings on black migration. he was a rosenwald fellow. can you
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take a moment to talk more about what that program was about and why would someone like jacob lawrence me that fellowship? >> well, if there are any artists in the room, they can probably answer that question. art is -- especially when you're getting started -- it's not a field where it is necessarily easy to be supported. one of the things that fascinates me about the fellowships is the interconnection among them and the way they feed all the different parts of all the different stories. that 10 people receiving support from the rosenwald fund worked on brown versus board. i mentioned
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this in my talk. he called his book and investment in people. i think that those words really capture what rosenwald tried to do. he did not want to build big buildings and have his name on them. he thought, problems are solved by people, so people need to get the opportunity to do that and they can't do it without education. hence, schools. i have a friend in washington who went to school with her. so, and you invest in younger, but then the fellowships were conceived to be for people in their careers and to be -- it's interesting that in a way rosenwald supported the up by your bootstraps model and the w.e.b. dubois talented 10. one of the interesting things about jacob lawrence was the
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person who taught him art was also a rosenwald fellow. there are many, many connections. chicago, the south side art center. and i think history has borne out the wisdom of that idea of in testing and because so many went on, graduates of the rosenwald schools and fellows make a contribution. >> nicodemus descendents built the church before they ever built a home and shortly after that, they built schools. at there was a message our ancestors were saying that it was not enough to be free if you were not developing. it's this idea that education was part of
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the growing litmus test of not what freedom means, but what more than freedom? >> my father gets the rosenwald fellowship when he was at risk. he had to have three jobs. then he goes to harvard where he can't live on campus because they say, it's enough to admit you. we don't have to make you a gentleman. so he works in the harvard clubs, the club that joe kennedy is part of. and his dissertation topic is on the free knee grow in north carolina. he has to get to north carolina. the challenge of accessing public archives for an african-american researcher. then he asked do comparative work for new grows in alabama,
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georgia, and he uses that money to do comparative research. >> one more thing about that. langston hughes had never traveled down south. it was the rosenwald fellowship, he set off to explore down south. marian anderson use the rosenwald fellowship to go to germany to study singing their. -- singing there. >> langston hughes is on kansas. i just had to throw that in. [laughter] >> on that. >> next summer. >> in july, in july. >> what is the current status of nicodemus? you left it hanging a little bit. you are actively managing this site. it may be
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struggling a little bit. >> phenomenal question. one of the reasons you all are encouraged to calm, you can't say what you don't see. there is a resilient spirit in nicodemus when you get there. the buildings speak for themselves. the reality is those who reside there are a seasoned community.
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there is a quote. if you read through the literature of nicodemus, ancestors of nicodemus saying the son of the soil is now returning. it's becoming a household conversation that the younger generation do not live in nicodemus. so the reality is it is somewhat fleeting. so, with the 35 who live in the town site in the 17 defendants that remain, there is a lot of work. the challenges, if i may say, the history with the federal government and minority communities is checkered at best . the community has found they will hold on to their history as long as they can, even, in some cases, if it's not the best
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medium. i think the challenge is, if more do not show interest and why it is necessary to be and more resourceful opportunities, it is likely that nicodemus could dissipate and i do not say that -- i think as long as it is part of the national park service it well -- it has a bright future and spoiler alert, we are in the process of trying to figure out how we can erect a structure there so it can be protected in perpetuity. but all but one are owned by the national park service. hopefully, if you come, you will see a restored ame church that was built in 1885
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and you can have the sacred experience you would have had if you were part of that pursed group -- first group of settlers to come to nicodemus. show less >> it's not just enough to go to nicodemus in july and it's not just enough to come to a panel like this and learn how great the program is. there has to be effort to protect and preserve the areas that protected the african-american experience. we have a bunch of national parks service people. we have some of the her. make sure you say hello. make sure you care, especially when the budget comes around. fritz, i wanted to ask you and maybe give you the last
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word -- the african-american action fund? >> close. >> you talked about the program and it is a massive program you're in charge of. what does success look like for you? what does it look like? >> that's a good question. success is creating a national epic, getting more americans involved in saving black historic places in the history they embody. it is completing our first campaign. we currently have raised $18 million. yes. we have $6 million actively in
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proposal and i anticipate we will complete that in the next year and are looking at a 2.0, $50 million, but the big dream is to leverage the black history sites and more to reconstruct national identity. it is our hope that all americans can see themselves and their potential in the african-american historic places that surrounds them. when that happens we will be able to measure and understand success. [applause] >> all right. i want to thank the association for african-american study of life
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and history. it is a pleasure to work with our park service colleagues. please give it up more more time for this incredible panel of expert. -- experts. [applause] we have time for lingering. we did not get to audience questions or concerns. we do have opportunities to chat with our folks and other representatives of the parks association. thank you all for coming and have a good evening. [applause] captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019]
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american history >> tv is on social media. follow us at c-span history. >> veterans day on american history tv. only all female african-american unit sent overseas from world war ii. here's a preview. they initially had 800 african-american women in the battalion and they deployed to england. when they got there, they had a surprise waiting for them. mail that pieces of were backlog. with all of the deployment and i remember reading that the only way that african-american women could serve overseas is if the theater commander specifically requested them.
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it was one of those battalions that was recruited to come over to europe to serve in the european theater. aspectat, what was one of your deployment, your effort, your successes over there that you would like to relate to the audience? knowwould like for them to how hard it was for us to get it done in the length of time they gave us to do it. they gave us one year and we could did it in eight months. >> very good. did you have anything to add? there, the mail was piled up and rat infested.
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we had to find a place to make our postal facility so we could handle it. hangarse an old airplane and built the post office. we worked seven days a week, three shifts. outere able to get the mail in one third of the time that they had assigned us. mail, lowwas no morale. that was our motto. felt that the one thing that service people want is to be
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able to connect with their families. and the families, of course, how they're loved ones are doing. so it was a very important mission for us to be able to that connection. entire talkatch the monday at 8 p.m. eastern. is american history tv. only on c-span 3. bookshelf,history about her book, "the collapse." we recorded her remarks at inter square books cambridge, massachusetts, in 2014.


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