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     Second Interview with Clarence E. Walker, Historian, University of
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march sixth the sixty seven when radical reconstruction has launched so this idea that if you can close at the beginning of the film some rifleman what's happened since the end of the morning people going to reconstruct just having started in sixty five victory it's not until sixty seven that this new so there's this is launch and was it begins we're in the nineteen eighties ms caroline tell someone you know it and if you want to explain to someone who hasn't seen show and what has been happening when you were looking in your and sixty seven what's happened in the two years since the war has concluded has been on the one hand an assertion of black people
for free and there's been a counter reaction on the part of southern whites there's also been a growing awareness on the part of the mormon population that something is going to have to be done to sort of bring this out into conformity with the idea that black people should be equal before the law there's also been a changing our own sensibility on the part of some elements of the government about the role of government in this process and so over these two years this is a movement towards that process of the mount call radical a black reconstruction and there's also been a president or a president who has been intransigent
obstructionist and downright crazy on some wells a man who found himself in a situation that he found unacceptable own old racial and ideological grounds are man who found himself as the chief o'connell party that he felt was acting in many ways an unconstitutional matter and the man whose aspirations led him to think that he could create a new political formation our of them are ruling conservative wings of the republican party animal in southern wing of the democratic party would you really frets at those two years have been full of ambiguity are our roads not taken an innocent in this moment of great shock nest which word or one group of people meaning that their region is being written i think it has been a two year
period in which there's not so much the ambiguity the one in which there has been a concerted effort to derail the process of reconstruction an effort on the part of the president and his supporters to create a new political formation that the conservative i think it should never be forgotten that in the political history of the united states before the civil war the democratic party has been the party eleven years before it had stood for a strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution and even the party that had been in the eyes of many people north there was a progressive at in some ways long station what republicans represent it seems to me is an effort to modernize the united states first of all by
doing away with on the freeway and secondly by creating a infrastructure based upon modern technology railroads production steel arm mining sector are things that will bring the united states to the place with by the turn of the century nineteen hundred nurses will well on its way to becoming the twentieth century the seeds of that money the republican program all reconstruction remains below the city's center and the boat upright citizens
this is not just a very wonderful thing that you know there's kind of a mace you know plus that they get wet it is and at this time is essential for their survival an essential point that that it was that their rights could only be protected by some fellow iowans amendments and the banks can you tell us a little bit about how they get to this point where they think we need to give the law it always finishes as a moment for those who talk about mantle and one of them are still being with a lot of men the united states in the nineteenth century old format war was the fact that it was only big vote in some ways the scenes in a black man from the franchise model is less than the volunteers you the right to determine in some
ways the people who now represent you and commerce but the people who will protect you on the local level as a sheriff the justice of the peace the mayor excessive eu is you some say about gonna process is he your neighborhood pay it and also on the federal level and so for these five in the vote was the beginning of a bet integration into the mainstream of american culture as man and as citizens of the united states he therefore hasn't been an appeal i think it's very hard for us today to understand gillian of insulting people wrote this is not the case in the nines that we who heads the ohio winter
on issues are wishes of the day as of this vote is a very important transition will move the immigration apply to mainstream americans and an hour move in that direction with different than that that this idea that they need that won't not only to get to basically protect us that that wasn't made them free and use of explosives ooh and deal with white southerners were that happened this week this is going to be one very basic tool for them as a poker absolute league that the vote ease now is somebody with a very practical it is now have some say about will be elected sheriff in your cat or a justice of bees
you also being at the time was a public education also be able to determine in some ways who represent you in the state legislature and also represent you and the congress and the senate of the united states that has the practical dimensions of these pieces of art we're in the country and it also means it provides so many of these black man with an avenue to attain power themselves because they can convince other blacks now the republicans in the south you know this man
twenty twenty it seems like this was something for visiting can't fight for you know a long for a while you know i think that but they were very happy i've been really know what the response of white woman or the black man it was another step and they're moving into the mainstream of american society it is they had demonstrated in many ways that long they were going like the women and now they had received now to receive dr final symbolic statement about this in getting the right to vote and i think that this was from speeches and from
our reading newsday reports from the time this was a moment of great joy what do polls very aware of what you look at any of those thomas nast's cartoons that time you see people very very calm for our lives and i'm humbled by the importance of it at that is that that they've taken out as citizens of the united states and so i mentioned that it was you know other four judges moment many of these men they've been waiting for its allies i think that they now have more to say about their lives and they never had before because of the station in the electoral process you said
a historically and i think also a mark is the fact that this is such a leap you know for you know in terms of the history of slave they need to talk to you it was only in terms of the history of supporting publicist of the slaves this was a revolutionary moment because all black people eater the political system in a way that past there are heroes in the west indies and for that matter in brazil cannot are it's also the case that arm is part of a general are i think he's working because of united states in that working class people here owned franchise much earlier than they are and most of the european states uk france germany or england on in the nineteenth century in a
way that they were not in those countries and so busy is a remarkable on cops in terms of the history of the united states you think people are there was it seems like it it the two big forces at here is one of the republican party and this is one more republican votes in the south but also this other four isn't you were talking about earlier you know needing to react to the situation is not sustainable for blacks not to have whether republicans it was a way of ensuring their continued promising american government by creating in the south this law of votes that could offset the white southern voters often the conservatives in the current of the locals that this of course is extremely dark owl
because it means that people who were deemed so human and had been non citizens of the united states will now participating in the democratic process so to the people around president johnson obviously this is the degradation the democratic process because these visual novels based on sort of rational calculation all the millions that means that is low purely on the basis of emotion driven by some kind of a rational association with republican party he says it reduces was looking at the film you think you know you're looking at the second season that's always an election in health and end there
is also like the vote becomes the one thing that people fight over that will unleash all these other was essen talked a little bit about that this was someone but also the fact that this one moment it's gonna you know i think is that all from this one moment was only the reigning of the right to vote to let people set in motion a process that was to be extremely tumultuous in the history of the south but also a history of the american republic and eat it creator generates a great count of forms that results ultimately in the overthrow of the reconstruction regimes because it is the granting of this vote that white southerners constraint is the very basis of the legitimacy of these regions that these regimes restive
caucus and reconstruction fronts there's a loyalty somebody to exercise the franchise because they're more driven by emotion and they are by a rational calculus of the issues of all voted that is an idea that this given the fact that a great number of whites we're also now oh is there so marie curie great i think maybe because of the responsibility that was given that
what is now called upon to make decisions that you get for nasty but as the engine a and this is not in response to be taken with the utmost seriousness and the little thought i would say he's what people do that well no surprise because later moment for this moment and you know so from a fan but just from what you know what though she is playing out so we were suddenly faced with having to do with their former slaves when a consumer of these demands that to us seemed very reasonable
people like fred dealing with really it was completely new and a president that activity and they don't know how to handle cheesy or the other members of her class know how to handle differently than the free labor particularly women also comes racial lines was the way black people historically been a center the slaves and the path of things they're the plant aristocracy cannot figure out and don't want to understand what they want to use the gospel disciplined labor reforms they don't want people asking to be guaranteed that their wages they don't want people asking for breaks a time to
be off they don't want people asking pam how they're going to be treated in terms of performance of their jobs and they don't want people telling them that they don't want to pick certain talk crops and produce certain types of commodities because it says that we will use that and so it's not the last one of these really is the wild side that is not used to doing this week you know you think of them but most workers are feeling as they are you know that scene where they're going and they're trying to so there is some new things be what would say that the workers on their plantation were testing the boundaries of their freedom seeing
how much they could get through the process of negotiation and through the process of compromise with their former owners and the bow course ease that matteson it does is they have a family really has no prior experience of dealing with three legs and most upon even most mental demands it's completely different this man says
well i think it's fairmont where any of the members of her class had any idea of what it meant to deal with free labor was completely on president to experience what they had for years been in a position where they could just command and there was not the rest of the season that takes place between someone's cellar and some of those things i'm calling for a very you know medical basis for the crack was a basically among the people who were elected to the state legislature
in the sense that they didn't call for redistribution of land and property they didn't insist upon what the settlers call social equality there's eight intermingling of races and hamas says that he also called universal education what they call citizens of the state to assume many responsibilities we have not had before it requires states to provide eagles overseas to waltz with insulin that since these garments i'm not outrageous and their demands are the programs that they propose but he does the mere fact that he's been proposed but what people that makes this an outrage
well now i think that most of the black people in the south and to the government and the government understood that they were going to have to live with these people once reconstruction so they didn't want to publicly humiliate their former owners and the former leaders of the confederacy in texas they differ from saber rattling the republican party was in some kind of humiliation of these people and also their disenfranchisement are most of the people elected to the state legislatures in the south pacific was where much omar own these questions than their white peers to the end of the eighteenth century so a compromise on this i know this is a tricky business and the summer happens at a given mr lesage you may have bridged some people honk how much more
people aware that this was the fifth that resolution to this presidential election was going to mean basically the end of this moment of opportunity um how do you know how the us and with my sisters and that's the light you know you know we want a concession in northwest louisiana south sort of one instruction in one sense that seems to be one of them is this new lawsuits in one reconstruction in this is that these really cost to do it buyers in jeans and intimidation one reconstruction in the sense that the history of this process was rewritten you became an aberration in the history of the
united states becomes a great malformation a moment of corruption among them about a moment in which the bottom rail on top behave in ways that would not acceptable and the lights are out and so the south and won the propaganda about this moment in american history up through the nineteen sixties but for people who watched our show and the second where there was this relentless violence in his own words i don't understand how black people in this city even physically survived what we've just been through a lot of guess as a vo so this is awesome and that opens up a few opportunities for black people when they get a taste for different things that they will hold on to in one way or another i'm not saying
which you know very well over time but stanton says they rely on their own resources is really seen clearly in their assessment of their own churches the time warners and social but now it also be seeing e n roll basically from the broader aspects of our political and social life into a black community and the creation of all acts such as mount violent come later on in the nineteenth century but also in a since there are this was a moment that had passed but it cannot fail is going to be a voice said where is expected to say that it failed largely on the inability of white america
sustain the idea that the united states was democratic republic but do you know how do you imagine people who had seen their relatives feel like that are there you know whether the mayor or who have been so supportive do you do you imagine them being able to hold onto some of them at least as they face this like long road it would appear that you know that many people understood the accomplishments and the achievements of the reconstruction governments let's say many black people understood this and this would sustain them through what now comes to be called american history that made beer that fall into a world which last week as he was
now greatly for children court curtailed that the idea of being a black congressman did not die the idea of being a black justice of the peace was superintendent of the schools did not die what we can see in reconstruction than it is a secret or c ground from which will spring greater activity political activity in the twentieth century and one which does not disappear in the south until after the turn of the twentieth century completely split the sales associate thousand and eight he was saying well you know it's people you know survive this and move on and where they gain strength in that it's about slavery i mean that's you know that they are already very used
to you know i mean to move on top and in the face of things would you agree with that is that look like me that these various was later our head somehow created a cultural sensibility was not always an unfolding exercise of progress you know they were deeply and devoutly christian but they're really a violin solo but there were moments when history was thought that it was always moving as the bronco to those in the white culture in a linear path of problems there will be steps forward and there will be steps backwards and i think that many people come out his understanding that revolutions to go get that they're not always progress and that they're not always sustained over long periods of
time in the show from one of the us economy in the church and says at one time talking about new construction that mentioned they do not and that's also stuck in my mind was you hold the last of the reconstruction and the violence the terror and intimidation and the disenfranchisement that
takes place in many parts of this novel that results ultimately even the reassessment of white supremacy that this was a moment when these democratic governments will return by thought fox what's interesting is that your answer about how they had a good season in a way and this might be an exaggeration but it's but that was the hair cynicism reducing obesity a lot different groups that were putting a you know at this point i think i thought we really have no clue how to deal with it and here are these people who have gone to a particular classes with people and maybe when we're putting more
into their heads and that was actually that maybe they did not they didn't understand that this was a very risky proposition because i think that that was always there this was a moment of some fragility and this is quite clear and scenes throughout the reconstruction process when they don't get the necessary support from their republican allies that they feel that they should receive that in the south many of the sultan's play both sides of the field will disappear beneath it they supported their class here is what it is and so this was by any stretch of the imagination at the moment that was bizarre to say who is that one could not count in the long
term for support from these are white republicans at elements of this republican party in the south particularly in northern alabama and to parts of tennessee and north carolina we're the white helmets did a little favor of doing this of these buttons a movie that black people should be supportive of what it did not last cds government's embarked on programs that they felt were threatening this one
possible way to the spirit of scientists look at it splits off a battle between civil rights and states' rights and we don't really franco and this is the one one and usually the best one way to go i think of this as a struggle a little sensitive quality and i tend to think that the southerners will not in any way committed to an expansion of that idea to include people on the surface it's a white people and that their use of the rural states rights is basically a full to cover up something much worse
which was white supremacy and that this language of states' rights is fraught with a whole host of reactionary implications even in the context of the nineteenth century though it means that and so i tend to think i did not this is very impressive essential to that scene fair in you know that you're right about anything that what you have here is the use of that phrase states' rights to cover something far
more far reaching and far more reaction in the nineteenth century is basically behind reporters this rise they wanted to was that i was really is that this in some ways the social event had disappeared as a result of war she is looking at the two anniversaries ahead
and it seems to us that there is this symbol as these two goals that where you know part of the aftermath of the civil war one reason the betrayal of the aisle the reunion of confederate and northern soldiers represents the real cost issue of united states a white state based upon the nile all that history of fifty years ago was imbibing emancipation proclamation that that meeting comes at the cost of latin liturgy unlikely it also comes through very clever process of rewriting and it's facing from that they are union participation of latvia they are not bit
and so the nation rebuilds itself by facing a very crucial historical moment would you would you say that then read the remainder of northern south was a foregone conclusion mean was it clear that this is going to happen is the reason to celebrate that part of the offenders then reaffirming it and they say it's impossible to think of their something that you know she had these long history of those through a contingent issue but given what the top post at nineteen that means almost predictable because you have race riots in baltimore and so
damaging in baltimore and so and so you had been a meeting of the minds of these two sections of the country as in bahrain for example and to get to griffith rejuvenation the marriage of a house of stone to the little colonel and that still symbolizes the reunification all the united states on the issue of race and so it's not predictable it was certainly hustled or probable what one is nineteen thirteen what does this moment similar symptoms of the african american community where they have at this particular a low moment it seems to me on one hand
but also symbolizes the possibility of other new things because with the coming of world war while there will be a greater out migration fueled by the expectation that the window will result in a better world and about a lot it also represents in the south a moment of increased racial hostility and one he is it taste moment seems one field opening of the film is this a business that fifty years have passed since is the sort of cases where they're out in nineteen nineteen directly connected to what happened since can use that investment firms well i mean this is directly connected to reconstruction but i would say here is a
reflection of the blowout all reconstruction and white still memory of what had taken place during reconstruction but the slopes the rocky horror show sons and a moment that is demonized as one historian call with the blackout once government can you talk about both the east and the difference is a very similar thing to what he did with this burden and inspiration that they leave without mentioning prices in many ways it's a justice for friedman open to bring life back into the life of the country to try to tax incentives
that in reconstruction by nineteen sixty it's clear that what was that one of them believe that the country has om to defer to quality that has moved away from a commitment to the ideals of the civil war and emancipation any the ideals that undergirded the reconstruction process that black people by nineteen thirteen on facts second class citizens in the united states will be solvent over time salons that black people have been told that the issues that concern them about art of the national program that what it was it's secondary now to
this whole racial unification of the north and so and that comes through a process of rewriting history of the war and re writing last out as active disciplines and as being at the heart of that struggle as you know the legacy that because a person says even more so in nineteen thirty six but all the things that we try to see the creation of the school's black churches still somehow survived even throughout this period black life continues and continues to be violence in many ways it's also a life that is let
the bounce of the constraint is that constraint to which i have been speaking the fact that these people freed but they were not really rivals for that and that is the point they can never be forgotten that you file money will you said people on the road to freedom and then when they made an effort to establish themselves that role was pulled out from under them and they left to the people whether these determine their future and that we just talked about that and the meaning of that as a as a citizen as a mohel also the podium at when one of them becomes clear that one of the things that happens is that and for schools has
sent us a sense of the meaning of human level interrogator an enormous me in that new political power is going to be shared between glass bottles and also many many locales the black people would now have power over white people because they outnumbered them in those communities it means a traditional lines of authority and how the change of government in those errors were now in the hands of people who have different ideas about the distribution of resources about logistically one more and so this etc a very frightening thing for many white suburbs because they have in effect lost control over what they have deemed to be their birthright which is the right to run in these governments it does is also so risky because it is a risky proposition for the nation as a
whole i couldn't even there was even imagine them under american grit because their fortunes and that is the case that many people thought that this was a risky proposition i certainly think that it was never be forgotten that large numbers of people who voted in american elections and the nineteenth century would not necessarily hurt or well educated that they were brought to the polls by the symbolism of the farms and by their understanding of all the issues and not a rational calculation of their interest and so this was the war of corruption or overturning of the democratic process it's been
nice what was the treatment was this transfer of power to like people threw the franchise voting this is what i meant by saying that revolutions do that what you have here now is the overturning allow the democratic process by illegitimate means that this is the outcome of these governments and intimidation of their supporters alike and while it wasn't a legitimate exercise of power on the part of the white settlers win
revolutions go backwards we see that they're not always forward moving but they do have a can be derailed thousand and seven says the real fifth season of them were running was not prosecutors today voting in this context of this recession was a very dangerous process it involved a service of publicly in communities and what you are open to all sorts of extralegal court you could lose your job you could be shot the run out and so when these black people stood up these lipid stood up to vote they brought down upon themselves a whole host of entities in the broader society people were opposed to this process and opposed to the images of at me and
American Experience
Reconstruction: The Second Civil War
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Second Interview with Clarence E. Walker, Historian, University of California, Davis, part 2 of 3
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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. Walker talks about black reconstruction and counter reaction by southern whites, importance of voting rights, labor negotiations with former owners, black legislators, 1877 compromise, revolution going backwards, struggle for political and civil equality, 1913 Gettysburg reunion and anniversary of Emancipation Proclaimation.
Race and Ethnicity
Politics and Government
American history, African Americans, civil rights, racism, Reconstruction, Confederacy, voting rights, slavery, emancipation
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Chicago: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Second Interview with Clarence E. Walker, Historian, University of California, Davis, part 2 of 3 ,” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed July 9, 2020,
MLA: “American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Second Interview with Clarence E. Walker, Historian, University of California, Davis, part 2 of 3 .” WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. July 9, 2020. <>.
APA: American Experience; Reconstruction: The Second Civil War; Second Interview with Clarence E. Walker, Historian, University of California, Davis, part 2 of 3 . Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (WGBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from