thumbnail of American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Nell Irvin Painter, Historian, Princeton University, part 2 of 2
Transcript
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
it is well and the details of it talk you talk a little bit about what what what it must've been like for planners agree a couple of others before work with other plans at this and be in a position to negotiate with people like people who'd just been freed and these do that on the unfortunate year in order to pay a lebanese of freedom was that people who had been slaves became employees and the core relations were still very unequal but i dont now employees understood themselves as the employees particularly if there were a member of the finance bureau nearby who was sympathetic
not all the three major people were sympathetic and they were very few of them say that kind of been on the ground but the latest euro could have a kind of intermediary between the planters workers and particularly if there was someone who understood the needs of the workers that friedman spiro could look over the contracts welcome in the force just the contracts it was a brand new right there in which the workers had certain rights as in to be paid so for workers that this was something new but are you actually had felt along that there were it was the appropriate or extorted so it was not that big a change for them but for the the planters who became and for years it was extremely difficult to understand that they no longer could tell their workers hard work
and what comes up over and over again as the terms of the plan for the workers they thought they were going to be employed to do certain tasks to to plow certain roads to pick certain amount of cotton and so forth and all the other things that needed to be done they should be paid extra for the pleasures thought that all the work should be done in the world is responsible for everything to the workers should be responsible for clearing out the world rose for irrigation the workers your response to be responsible for keeping them the fences in order the workers should be responsible for everything which is the all slavery so the question of who does what and who gets paid for what and how many people in a black family should be working this was also a question so in from the place where you if you play the father has been you you can reach
into the family and expect that the wife and the children were also for the workers for black men is the man was born to contract he could do what he wanted with his family if there was a school nearby he could send his children to school if he and his wife wanted her to stay home and take your family that's something else that you have this conflict over the meaning of work how extensive is for how many people do you employ it when you employ this one now head of household now over here among that afridi people the same kind of negotiations are going on because black women have been in the workforce i didn't want to play they were all enormously endearing as workers so for many families that was a real adjustment between all of the
people in the family being equal was the caseworkers unpaid workers and then having one person in the family stand for the family to have one person father husband made decisions for the whole family because that had not been the case i didn't say you have a whole lot of negotiating some of it quite ugly in some of the quite violent between family members over who does what and who decides in terms of the negotiation between black workers in a way to employees what kind of what kind of leverage to black employees have now the great leverage black employees had was whether or not to work if you're freaking walk off to get another job the contracts were sticky humid place during a crop
here and that worked fairly well for black men in household word for women that were no contracts and so people like her june thomas have a kind of revolving door of workers who if they were good went off to work for somebody who could pay more and if they were no good she find them so she didn't have any assurance they're critical mass detentions because workers complete and that was that the great powers that we can we ethically together they call that struck the american imagination and there's a patient and reconstruction have slightly different impacts on like when i'm over generalizing terribly here because women like black man very different situations
mass data coming into the world and in these early political discussions in nineteen sixty five sixty six they really heated discussions ahmed and women can take our children with tears well and so you have a coach to duty our political people right after emancipation in eighteen sixty seven that right there it makes a distinction between one and it starts to real hit black gender relations more towards general middleclass ones working class and former norms to be much more egalitarian because working class and farmer women at the back of any race or any ethnicity tend to work with underpaid or the work and so you have
this workers men and women were equal that when you start to elevate man over women in any way and in this case it's with the ballot then you start tipping the scales and so after eighteen sixty seven black women are no longer as important as political actors because black men are the ones that actually cast of our state forward are thirty or forty years when black men are no longer able to vote then black women achieve middle class and start to have more political because as non voters they can meet up almost an equal footing with white women who also looters and politics becomes more persuasion and networking than it is to cast a ballot and organizing politically troubled
for example studios the terms of negotiation and even though yes yes yes yes i interviewed thomas' journal and in the the financier records include a glimpse into what's going on in black families because very often when they would use to friedman's bureau as a kind of family court because it was the only place where black people could go and happier side of the story her soulmate used it for labor negotiation and when these different fantasy she so when we go to the free spirited to say my husband is bd or the plan she won't let my children grow or my
husband as my children and so you see in two black families in the friedman school records an extraordinary by and what you find is that people are not always falling into line behind our father huston as head of the family he will decide so for instance the war often sound economic opportunities economic opportunities to go to town and sell what they can bait for instance or to sell the milk that they were getting from the cows are you know very often black women worried about the people who can plant your hustles going to play just say oh we're going to do and black women who are used to working in very obvious to manage and we're going to get there and then a husband comes from another plantation saying okay drop it all come home with me it's not always some women were done like they were happy to
be with their families and some women's rights seventy votes that's very different i i know the argument you're talking about and i think it's been exaggerated because the voting citron said he wants a certain story running mate is about extreme this difference even though you're talking about a very egalitarian
kind of tb compared to class white people or particular request like if i am poor black people have a very egalitarian relatively speaking a political conscience so even when i'm interviewing and women are not voting women have a certain say that women have always had a certain say no matter what major women have a certain say on the us women have a certain say that it's it's matured different when maine can vote and women cannot with his own conservative john was interested in this as a kind of the kind of music do you represent one of the reasons why they really a general lynch was a singular figure john lynch hadn't been wrestling his father
was irish his mother was a slave his father was a family that died and then his executor instead of free as the father had once said sold into slavery in mississippi they were an interesting and so john lynch grew up as a slave in natchez mississippi and as a slave in natchez mississippi he did not have access to education or obstinacy young men spoke about it at forty three so he's a young man just as emancipation comes with the union forces that came down and said the middle of the war now very bright young man and a fastener i think he only had about four months of formal schooling but he he listened and he was also the photography business so he heard a lot of people who could afford to have their pictures taken so he can't be out to
the attention of the reconstruction governor of louisiana and they went straight out from justice of the peace to the legislature itself and actually became speaker of the legislature and was elected to congress at the age of twenty six so he was someone who had a tremendous mobility are coming from inside that were many others who were on much as he had one white parent came from much more advantaged backgrounds allow the people of south carolina for instance had formal education sometimes warm sometimes people of great wealth which may himself along very wealthy through politics in this is what people did in the nineteenth century and so the reasons for getting into politics so while he was in the mississippi legislature while he was in the congress he was also buying land in natchez
he was was no longer reelected in the at the state advantages for a while i went to washington dc i came back to the city became a gentleman and wrote it was published in nineteen thirteen the facts of reconstruction and the facts of reconstructions of interest in luck because it refutes the prevailing view of reconstructions this terrible moment of negro this rule and so forth i'm white supremacist ideology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century for trade reconstruction as a terrible time nothing to recommend awful awful awful what nations tried to show was what had happened in two years home schooling in terms of infrastructure and railroads really starting to bring the south
into the nineteenth century so to speak his book went largely district he also published two articles in the journal of negro history to show the facts of reconstruction says during the nineteen teens that his new reconstruction didn't start retail until after the civil rights era of the nineteen fifties and sixty ce so we have not simply what happened in reconstruction in the eating sixties and eighteen seventies and the larger reconstruction of the eighties in eighty nine just because black people didn't fall out of politics completely until the very end of the century in the south but what we have is the events of reconstruction and eighteen sixties in eight seconds and then we have a representation of the history and the history what the historians call historiography
changes over time with what's going on at the particular time so in the late nineteenth century early twentieth century reconstruction appears assist her comment this appears in the nineteen fifties or so and then during the civil rights era which many people call the second reconstruction historian say hey let's look at what was going on back here and they discover john wojtowicz and john ridley just work and you get an entirely different view of reconstruction in the nineteen sixties and nineteen seventies eighties and nineties and the twenty percent a good example of how that has changed the last thirty years or so when i was in graduate school in the early nineteen seventies reconstruction appeared as a time when black people got into politics and black
people black men when they got to be the same thing but we didn't have a sense of just the tremendous violence that was going on i tended that process out my first book exodus jurors were published in the early nineteen seventy seven tried to show some of the struggles on the ground by this time by our present time we now understand the struggles on the ground and what we need to discover our various versions of the changes at the time how not just people with in a particular class or even a particular race ahead how people's responses their actions their thoughts could very person by person family by family region by region state by state county and
you'll find here so what we're doing now is discovering the myriad ways that people dealt with freedom may get free dealt with politics made themselves as political actors folks and one of the masses i think the best way to get to that is to greet his reminiscences and active lives can use to sell them i have i have not gone back to that since the nineteen seventies that i think the best way to get him to have seasons
do you think that they don't know him well enough and i think you really need to use his in his own right two questions it has been controversial where is where is this political work for you yes we have yeah
you know remember that slavery is based on violence so the antebellum that is the period before the civil war is a violent period because the fact of violence and the threat of violence are permeate our society in addition it's also a society with virtually no police are police were new thing in the united states in the early nineteenth century and where you find police is more likely to be in cities in the country and the south was very rural area c talking about rural area with no police ea full of violence so you have the basis of a violent reaction then you have a cataclysm which is the civil war you have a revolution in social
relations economic relations with all relations so you come home and the disorder and then with reconstruction you have the empowering ahmed who compliments him of the population she had this tremendous revolution going on in very many ways after the civil war in an already already un policed region so if you can imagine the balkans rwanda or the former soviet union are any of those areas where you have this kind of turmoil you'll recognize this is the kind of situation which again women for instance you get a lot of refugees people leaving home to try to find safety and you also have political violence political violence to put down the insurgents and the basis of political violence is people who could be mercenaries
and back in the black belt so that would have been poor white people who might've been controllers say are before the war so if someone had enough money and i love horses and of the birds they could equip own private army because there's no police and there's not much in the way of union army there to supply any countervailing force so what you have in the late eighties sixties was a tremendous amount kind of private violence private militias private armies going around trying to keep people in line i guess that's a scene from the people who had been on top what and this becomes so of regents and so bloody and so anti republican that by the early eighties seventies congress is looking into a deer ku klux klan hearings have produced volumes of testimony so
anyone can who could has access to a federal repository a bit lighter can go really what it was like eighty six the nineteen seventies that is in print and what we discover is a kind of violence in northern louisiana for instance veterans black veterans the union army were doing their own fact finding they have something called the committee and they were keeping a tally of the people of the island incidents they sent out that the justice department and they sent that congresses and this is what's going on and so the deer at the records were there in eighteen sixties a coach eating seventies and they're still there the history is there if you look for instance of the virtues of the park with
her pension tomatoes years the empowerment of the month so quiet talk about what that what you're moving in houses connected to the shrine they're saying they might sell of society it was a standard say in the middle of the nineteenth century and i might still as we walked into a room and there's a little place to scripture the mud off your boots so that's the lowest allowed to people and it's great one script and that's what people called black people in the south amid suicide the most well it but then with on enfranchise that black men become borders be a difference they are no longer the mud so and as voters they can influence the politics they can influence tax policy so they can also influence the economics so they become a mature real problem for the people who have money and
the people who thought they should have the power to unity in eighteen sixty five nineteen sixty six at sixty seven are so many high ranking former confederates had been this franchise for disloyalty however the new will be enfranchised when they signed a loyalty oath so at the same time that black men are becoming voters the white man who had been this franchise tag lost their vote are also coming back into the politically so you have a real partisan conflict between former confederates were trying to go back to what this is a year before the civil war and black men and their allies in the republican party southern republicans and workers who comes out you have a real conflict here which people are sorting out to violence an attack one of the saddest stories i've read about this research and accessed years west
out of a black man who had been a political organizer in northern louisiana and that people called a bulldozer said is that democrats the white supremacist who were trying to get rid of him they burned down his house his family unit who had maybe they would have that mercenary forces of the democrats who were trying to be gaining power so they do they were not simply using the ballot because they felt they would lose about the reducing violent collision we would be limiting their competitors can you give me that certain things are dishonest to imagine the song the whole sort of the citizens of the us curiel because the vote known as the first question
when i was doing research my first book i discovered a story of black organizer in northern louisiana who was going around rallying black voters they were republicans and his competitors who are democrats realizing they could not defeat the republicans both use violence the violence in this case was to bring down the man's house with the man's family in it no one more question what is the way to have their lives and what that was was the number of
years the average americans had to deploy and if you can do is a picture of what that was and what their responsibilities and how and how to respond to the minutest of the sixties those officers saw whoa whoa what the president knows a response that americans that are going back into physicians and in the senate and the exodus eighteen seventy nine occurred at the end of reconstruction however and many years before then in reconstruction have been winding down so people were learning out that they were not going to get support from the union army which had virtually disappeared after the war or defeated spiro which it virtually disappeared by at sixty nine and they were on their own they were on their own faced with a relatively well armed and pretty bloodthirsty
group of democrats who are going to take over power no matter what at any price so black people in the south and in particular in louisiana mississippi and texas and tennessee we're thinking what are we going to do and one answer lies to leave some people want to go to africa and this was an idea that had come out earlier in the century the nineteenth century and it periodically comes go to africa it's not a home without knowing it here we don't know where it came from but it's not here and the other possibility was kansas which people remember from the kansas nebraska controversy the mediating fifties as a place that would not become a stay until it to be a free state so kansas was the quintessential free state kansas of john brown free kansas so twenty thousand or so people from the lower mississippi valley
set out to get to freedom before they will re instilling that was a great fear and even understand that fear considering the kind of violence and the lack of any countervailing force they were they were unsafe in money and in order to keep audience all together they felt they had to so they got on boats going up the mississippi river to st louis and from st louis over the kansas city the responses were very the black people's responses vary black people in the lowest acetate that could be a pretty good idea let's think about it so some of the people who were not willing to just get on a boat and go home and that they would get their would send a representative to kansas to check it out and maybe why some land or make arrangements that was one response another response was to make a better deal at home
because the ex investors departure made for a labor shortage so you could maybe make a better contract or get better wages for people who were not in the south people who were say in washington dc let that was at the time our poor in the north there was again a range of responses were swiss the leak harms he says black people should stay in the south and demand their rights but other black people saved frederick douglass you don't last person to talk about state of south beach's years out where a fugitive slave and so my sense is that by in large northern block our opinions was for the ex investors for trying to get away when you could on why respond similarly very
the chicago tribune for instance is republican i was very sympathetic to his young sisters and covered that exodus extensively on democratic newspapers either ignored it or make fun so you have a range of responses to disease or if you have one more question this is the southeast ok when we look back at the exit is to kansas of eighteen seventy nine its variant it's easy to understand why people would read what is not so easy to understand the wrenching that would have gone into that kind of decision the desperation that must have been
underway that kind of decision because of what people were so there's very often we speak mostly southerners meaning white southerners we're talking about the civil war he says the south the confederates in lots of people in the south who were not considered supporters and i used to i used to shop my north carolina students by saying i'll bet that a majority of southerners were more union in their sympathies the confederate because a third of the south was flat virtually all those people would have been union supporters a lot of white women were being very glad to get rid of slavery because of what it did to their families and then there were a whole areas such as what became of west virginia are areas where white people were more union that confederate views so the confederacy is not the sound of
Series
American Experience
Episode
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
Raw Footage
Interview with Nell Irvin Painter, Historian, Princeton University, part 2 of 2
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
AAPB ID
cpb-aacip/15-cz3222s704
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-cz3222s704).
Description
In the tumultuous years after the Civil War (1863-77), America grappled with how to rebuild itself, how to successfully bring the South back into the Union and how to bring former slaves into the life of the country. Painter talks about planters and employers of former slaves, emancipation and black women, John Roy Lynch and The Facts of Reconstruction, political violence in the south, the mud sill of society, the exodus of 1879.
Topics
History
Race and Ethnicity
Politics and Government
Subjects
American history, African Americans, civil rights, racism, Reconstruction, Confederacy, voting rights, slavery, emancipation
Rights
(c) 2004-2017 WGBH Educational Foundation
Media type
Moving Image
Duration
0:36:47
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Credits
Release Agent: WGBH Educational Foundation
AAPB Contributor Holdings
WGBH
Identifier: Barcode116373_Painter_02_SALES_ASP_h264 Amex 864x486 (unknown)
Duration: 0:36:47

Identifier: cpb-aacip-15-cz3222s704.mp4 (mediainfo)
Format: video/mp4
Generation: Proxy
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Citations
Chicago: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Nell Irvin Painter, Historian, Princeton University, part 2 of 2,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed August 20, 2019, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-cz3222s704.
MLA: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Nell Irvin Painter, Historian, Princeton University, part 2 of 2.” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. August 20, 2019. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-cz3222s704>.
APA: American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Interview with Nell Irvin Painter, Historian, Princeton University, part 2 of 2. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-cz3222s704