Skip to main content

tv   Lectures in History Colonial Myths and Monuments  CSPAN  January 17, 2021 12:00pm-1:06pm EST

12:00 pm
>> you can watch this or other american artifacts programs at any time by visiting our website. >> american history tv is on social media. follow us on c-span history. >> next on lectures and history. university of delaware professor zara anishanslin teaches a class about how colonial history is remembered through historic sites and monuments, and sometimes contested. she argues people's assumptions about colonial america are influenced by material and popular culture, including paintings depicting early american history in the u.s. capitol and statues of columbus and pocahontas. this video was provided by the university of delaware. prof. anishanslin: welcome to history of colonial america. i am professor zara anishanslin.
12:01 pm
at the beginning of this course i asked each of you to tell me what you think of when you think of colonial history. many of you don't remember what you put, i'm sure. i will give you a little synopsis today. many of you focused on what historians would called the historian revolutionary era. people like george washington, thomas jefferson, alexander hamilton, issues about taxation without representation, other founders and the imperial crisis of the war popped up. a few of you mentioned places like historic jamestown, plymouth plantation in massachusetts, and colonial williamsburg. a few people mentioned the history of slavery. it was notably because either/or the 1619 project or the black lives matter protests. there were a few omissions. no one mentioned individual women or individual indigenous
12:02 pm
people by name, and no one, if i am remembering correctly, mentioned anything west of the appalachian mountains, much less west of the mississippi or the rockies or west coast. technically speaking, this course runs before contact with indigenous europeans to the end to 1763 to the end of the seven years war french and indian war. obviously this covers hundreds of years, millions of lives, and half of which were women, coming together of people from africa, mostly enslaved and not of their own volition as well as multiple countries and empires in europe, england being the one among these and not even the first to establish a permanent settlement, as we discussed, as well as indigenous people intermingling with africans and europeans on what is now america. it was originally all indian territory stretching from the atlantic to the pacific. including hawaii and alaska.
12:03 pm
we do not even cover the revolutionary era because it tends to suck the air out of a room. i love the american revolution, i teach a class specifically on that, but it does tend to overshadow the rest of the colonial period. most of you, like most americans, i think, when asked to speak on what colonial american history means to you, thought about a few white men searching seaboard colonies who signed the declaration of independence and fought the american revolution. this makes sense. most of us, unless we take advanced history courses or do a lot of outside reading, have a pretty narrow conception of what colonial america is. we have a memorable example of one of your classmates showing a halloween costume that was laughable but typical of how americans picture the colonial past. there are a lot of silences in contemporary america and how we remember the colonial past. i hope this course has changed
12:04 pm
that for you. spoiler alert, one of the things we will do next week is i will ask you the same question so we can compare it to where we began in our conception of what people american history and where we are now near the end of the course. the relatively narrow conception most americans have of what colonial american history is, is one of the reasons why we spend the first two weeks defining what it means. in other words we talked about what does colonial mean? what does america mean and what is history? we will return to those discussions next week. a lot of these are pretty controversial. notably the word "american." america encompasses north america, south america, people in latin america, take issue, understandably, with u.s. citizens referring to ourselves as americans. we co-opted that phrase. what does history mean? who is in charge of fashioning it and whose interpretation of the past do we focus on?
12:05 pm
in the meantime, today's lecture will be the chance to connect a lot of dots on the last few weeks we spent learning about the salem rich trials -- salem witch trials and more. to use our reading in particular of the book past and production history which you are finishing up this week and next to think about the history of colonial america and how that history is created communicating and memorialized, not just inside academic circles in books, but also out in the broader public and two ways in which the concepts are popularized are the subjects of today's lecture and that will be myths and monument. -- monuments. i am now going to start sharing my screen. so far so good. we are all still here. i began the course by introducing you to one of the most critical concepts i hope students who study history in college walk away from. that is that history is not the
12:06 pm
same thing as the past. history is not a recitation of facts that happened in the past but people's interpretation of those facts. sometimes people believe in history that is not even based on fact at all. hence the myth part of this lecture. when it comes to the history of colonial america i think how we define the terms about which we are speaking is critically important. for example, who's past are we discussing, when does it begin, where is the situation? these are basic questions surrounding history course but they are not and what encompasses american colonial history and how we define it is shifted over time and how we choose to interpret the past matters to the american present because it does include answers to the questions of what do we celebrate, who or what do we silence, and what people, places, and events do we count as important in the past? myths and monuments to a lot of this work.
12:07 pm
they do it in a variety of ways, of course, outside courses. one of the reasons why, in addition to studying primary sources, i asked you to look into historical interpretations of the colonial american past. everything from names on street signs to disney films to halloween costumes to colonial williamsburg, in which you see pictures here, and of course monuments to people. treo puts it really nicely and silencing the past. and i quote, "history has many parts and academics are not the sole history teachers in the land." in other words, people get their history from a wide variety of places. history is produced outside universities as well as within them. our history of understanding how colonial american history is constructed is that we consider our history not just within, but beyond the academy.
12:08 pm
people do get a bigger dose of colonial american history when they go to colonial williamsburg or plymouth plantation in many cases than they do in their choices of reading or some of their k-12 history courses. history, especially popularly consumed history, often takes material form. and one reason we need to study objects, artifacts, and places as well as art, i always think of loosely put together as what scholars call culture, it's a really great way to understand production and consumption of history, and that is one of the reasons why the author spends a lot of time in his book talking about history not just in books, history found in places like statues as examples. debates around monuments of which we have seen a lot in the lesser few years but a lot in
12:09 pm
particular this summer. debates around monuments and public art, whether they should stand or fall, what should be erected in the first place are actually debates about history, which is itself a form of monumentalising and commemorating. what i want to talk about today is how the stories we do not tell are just as important as the stories we tell and when we silence stories, it's kind of like tearing down statues in a sense. when it comes to colonial america, historiography shapes not just how the past is interpreted but the parameters that we put around discussing that past as well. whose past is it? when does it begin? where is it situated? this is complicated, but the celebrations of it rarely are. his quote here is a really great one. this is the section you read for this week. the mythmaking process does not operate evenly. celebrations are created, and
12:10 pm
this creation is part and parcel of the process of historical production. in other words we make choices with monuments, with celebrations like columbus day just as we make choices in terms of what to put in our history books and these commemorations, the celebrations are usually sanitized in the sense that they are simplistic, right? monuments tend to offer a very simplistic narrative, and easily understood one, a pretty black and white one, and we know from discussions history is hardly ever a matter of black-and-white. it is usually various shades of gray. it is complicated is the answer to a lot of the questions we posed about the colonial past. think about monuments. how many monuments are there that have things inscribed at their base, like, to the memory of both sides of a messy pass. the usually represent the victor or the person in control of the narrative about the past. how we choose to interpret the
12:11 pm
american colonial past matters to the american present and what and who we celebrate, and what or who we silence, we can see and places and spaces around us. just to take one of the things we wrestled with in the early weeks, when do we begin colonial america is really critically important and it is such a seemingly simple question but it is so hard to answer and yet the answer predetermines, to a large extent, how we view colonial america. we talked about whether we should begin our example before contact between european and indigenous peoples. whether concepts like history to describe indigenous history before european arrivals actual do a disservice to the indigenous past. the idea that we should look at historical artifacts and structures left behind by mississippian mayan cultures like that as just as valid as written history that european people tend to leave behind, and
12:12 pm
yet we refer to indigenous history as prehistory in a lot of cases, and what happens after contact is history. if we start in 1776 thinking about america than that defines america as always around the nationstate of the united states and america, when in fact there are hundreds of years of history that come before that, by which it was no means predetermine the united states of america would ever be. similarly we discussed a lot about dates that are important as starting points traditionally in how we talk about colonial american history and what we should do with that. 1492, the idea that columbus discovering is often the word use but we discussed how that does history disservice because it is about contact and conquest, not about discovering something that was well-known to many, many people who lived
12:13 pm
there before columbus stumbled upon it. 1492 is the beginning point. or can we begin with 1607, the first permanent english settlement at jamestown, virginia but this ignores the fact that the english were not the first european powers to establish a permanent settlement. those were the spanish in saint augusta, florida. or was it 1619, jamestown, the arrival of africans who became the first enslaved africans in an english permanent settlement or the establishment of the house in burgesses or is it 1620 with the pilgrims arrival in plymouth? these are all various options. one of the reasons i spent so much time with us discussing issues like when does colonial america begin, i think it helps us to determine what we discussed, who we celebrate, and who we raise monuments to among other things.
12:14 pm
getting to why these choices are important, i think they are important because, as the author says, celebration straddled the two sides of history, it poses a silence on the events that they ignore and they sell that silence about the events that they celebrate. one reason i have you read this in the first place is so we can discuss the man who it's going to begin with. a man who never stepped foot on the united states of america, but who regularly begins our surveys of the past. and that is christopher columbus, who got a lot of attention this summer, and has for a wild due to the holiday celebrating him, columbus day, which is gotten a great deal of pushback for columbus and his reputation. there is columbus the men, columbus the myth, and a lot of monuments celebrate columbus the myth. we can talk about the man as we
12:15 pm
have in this course and one of the reasons the myth is gotten pushback is more and more people have become aware of why exactly he deserves analysis and critique from his enslavement of indigenous people, from his very point -- first point of contact to america to his raping and killing of indian people at his command in the name of pursuit of profit, specifically gold in the caribbean, and yet he is celebrated and we discussed this as the kickstart to the chain of events that led to the establishment of european colonies in north and south america, and the caribbean without which the united states america would not be in its present generation. one of the things that is a common response to critiques of the actions of people like columbus whose actions we now condemn as deplorable in many ways is that he was a man of his time.
12:16 pm
we discussed this too and the fact that there were always people who stood against atrocities such as those that columbus ordered, participated in, noticeably indigenous people at the time. they did not approve of this and also other europeans at the time. a former enslaver himself who also participated in the 1513 invasion of cuba but came to have a change of heart in part as a priest and leave the -- and someone who believes the treatment of indigenous people was wrong. other people who journeyed into what is now florida and texas in the 15 20's and 15 30's. alongside them was an enslaved african, which is an interesting point of contention some historians have made with the 1619 project, which is the first arrival of enslaved africans when estaban was there.
12:17 pm
in florida and texas the century before. despite the fact that critics besieged his fellow spaniards to treat indigenous people better, to not enslave them and to treat them better than columbus had done for example. despite pushback in his own time and since, we have so many reminders of columbus. not just like statues of these, like what you see in philadelphia, which has not been defaced because men stood around it and protected it this summer so it would not be defaced. just showing you the strong emotions that people have for as well as against columbus. the statue of columbus in san francisco has been splashed with red paint, which is often something protesters use do to deface monuments of
12:18 pm
historical figures they feel have blood on their hands. on the right, a statue i will spend more time talking about, a statue of columbus in a park called bird park and richmond that was toppled this summer and put into a pond. it's in the lake. let's talk about the statue of this monument of columbus in richmond. i think this gets us at how columbus is just a starting point and monuments in talking about power and how we view about colonial american history. especially scattered throughout our landscape. i mentioned the statue of columbus was put in the pond in richmond is in a park called bird park. bird park -- byrd park is named for a family of virginia colonists who grew quite wealthy, owned a lot of property
12:19 pm
and william byrd the second, whose portrait you see here, is one of the byrd family who helped found the city of richmond in the 1730's and who owned a lot of property on which the city of richmond was built. byrd park is named for him as a founder of the town of richmond. but this is something i think is important to note. when the columbus statue was toppled this summer and put in the water and byrd park, a lot of the focus was on columbus and what columbus tells us about colonial american history. nobody talked about william byrd, for whom the park is named. i think it is important to bear in mind of how we memorialize colonial america is just as powerfully found in the names of parks and streets just as in monuments. in some ways, these are more important because they are just as hard to topple. people are very attached to the
12:20 pm
names of things, and if we think about christopher columbus, if we are going to go about tearing down everything related to the man we would have to tear down a number of things, including the capital. washington, the district of columbia. that assembly that comes out of the columbus name. if you think about william for the second and you start to learn more about him, you have to question whether his name should grace that of a park in which people gather to enjoy themselves. william byrd the second was very wealthy, he was area died -- ariodict, wrote a number of books, including his secret diaries which he wrote in code, which was cracked by historians. in his secret diaries he records his serial philandering. he was married twice but he continued to have multiple sexual affairs, many of which were rapes of enslaved women, all of which he details in his diaries.
12:21 pm
he also had terrible habits of interaction with enslaved people who he claimed as property. one enslaved man, for example, had a habit of wetting the bed at night and as punishment william byrd made him drink his own urine after he wet the bed. not at all and attractive figure, quite the contrary, sort of representing the worst of virginia colonial aristocracy, and yet his name is what this park and richmond, virginia, is named. it's named for him. when we think of monuments that are toppled we need to think about the wider connections. the name of byrd park it self is also important. what do we do with that? where do we draw the line with our questioning of these myths and monuments, because at a certain point things are so entangled it is difficult to separate them out.
12:22 pm
columbus, for example, washington, d.c. the district of columbia. columbus is celebrated in the capitol rotunda. we see the capitol at the top left. the capitol rotunda as eight epic paintings within it, these enormous paintings you can see. sort of a popular, public tour at the capitol. four of them to memory things of the revolutionary era and they celebrate the revolution. the other four are from the 19 century and they are described by historians as four scenes of early exploration in the united states. these are interesting word choices because these depict things like this painting, which is the landing of columbus, completed, installed in 1847, commissioned by congress in 1836.
12:23 pm
they also include photos, edition mississippi valley, and in the baptism of pocahontas. which we will see in a moment. they depict scenes that arguably could be called not early exploration but scenes of disposition. scenes of contact and conquest, and dispossession of indigenous people from their land. air on the case of pocahontas, which we will discuss. this is her own culture in ways that are being critiqued by scholars of indigenous history. what does this mean that these images are in the u.s. capitol rotunda? it means they are being celebrated in monumentalized and celebrated in public art. it is not just the founding period but what happened in the 19th century gets wrapped up in indian removal act and in the concept of manifest destiny of the united states fulfilling a god-given right to spread across
12:24 pm
the u.s. continent from the atlantic to the pacific, really arguing that columbus and desoto and other early explorers, people from european empires who, and conquer the land of indigenous people are something to be celebrated in american culture, and these do not just a just stay in the capitol, these paintings end up on the backs of 19th-century currency. this painting of the landing of columbus was used not just on a bank note issued in the 1870's but also on two stamps in the 19 century. similarly, if we look at one of the other of those four paintings from the 19 century in the capitol rotunda we see the baptism of pocahontas.
12:25 pm
this was completed in 1840, and like the landing of columbus, it also appeared on the reverse of money issued in the 1860's and 1870's, and it shows a ceremony in which pocahontas is baptized and given the name rebecca in in the anglican church in jamestown. the ceremony took place in 1613, 1614 in jamestown. jamestown is celebrated as the first permanent english settlement. this is something the u.s. capitol is celebrating, even though we know it's not the earliest european settlement in the americas. pocahontas is often touted as being the earliest native convert to christianity in one of the permanent english colonies, and so this is something seen as a success
12:26 pm
story. the idea that europeans are going to come over and convert indigenous people to christianity is something at the heart of many imperial endeavors, english, spanish, french as three notable ones. the idea that pocahontas should be celebrated for renouncing her cultural heritage, for becoming english in many important ways, becoming christianized is what is being celebrated in this painting. a form of cultural disposition, i would argue. as we know, the real pocahontas versus the stylized one in the capitol rotunda, or even worse, the disney princess, that's what you see in the top left, had a much more complicated history. she was probably more of a go-between, a skilled
12:27 pm
interlocutor between indigenous and english people responsible for making connections, cultural connections, as well as important connections through her marriage through english settler john rolfe who cemented ties in this critical decade in the jamestown settlement. in the capitol rotunda painting celebrates her for her here you see the actual pocahontas, who looks quite different from the romanticized version from the rotunda or disney and the only surviving known portrait of her, which shows her as not looking indigenous at all, looking very much like a european and english woman wearing lots of expensive finery's including leaves and feathers -- lace and a feather likely to stand in as a symbol of her exotic indian
12:28 pm
origins in european eyes. a velvet, richly expensive metallic thread, embossed, embroidered velvet jacket and super expensive lace around her neck as well as something we discussed, a hat which will -- most likely made of beaver pelt which will prefigure the very lucrative trade in the beavers as a commodity that comes to buy a lot of interactions between indigenous and european settlers in the 16th and 17th century. one of the things it is interesting to point out about pocahontas and her persistent presence as a myth and monument in our collective understanding of the american colonial past is that she is one of the very few women who we even know or celebrate her name as an individual. as i mentioned, i do not think any of you, and it is understandable why, mentioned an actual individual woman in your
12:29 pm
discussion of what crosses your mind when you think of colonial american history. that first week of class. i think it is not accidental that there is a connection there between the number of monuments erected to women from any time period in america, and how often women populate our common historical understanding. less than 10% of figures in statuary hall, also in the u.s. capitol, and has two capitals -- two statues for every state, less than 10% are women, and about 10% of all outdoor monuments in america are women. there is a big gap between historical reality and what we are choosing to memorialize about the past in america. one of the women who does have a number of monuments in america is a woman who again became like
12:30 pm
a lot of these figures celebrated long after her death, in particular around the same time in the 1860's and 1870's is when her monument started to pop up that images of the baptism of pocahontas and the landing of the plymouth ended up on the back of the currency. all of these things are entangled and working together to push the same cultural narrative, the same historical narrative. hannah dustin, pictured here in two of the monuments had a number of monuments erected to her, most put up in the 19 century, a few in the 20th century. one in the early 20th century. she is also the woman who is the earliest publicly funded monument of a woman in the united states. that is her monument in new hampshire, a close-up of what you see on the left.
12:31 pm
this is an interesting choice that tells us a lot about what americans were choosing to commemorate and celebrate about their colonial past in the 19th century. hannah dustin is a colonial massachusetts protestant woman and mother who was taken captive by indians from quebec during king william's war in 1697. king william's war was one of the series of the wars we discussed in the class. the war between indigenous people pivoted around competing claims that french and english imperial interest had for north american territory, and clashing interest among native people that intersected with all of these. as we discussed, people are taken captive. hannah duston was taken captive along with her newborn daughter. along the march from
12:32 pm
massachusetts to new hampshire, where she ended up while captive, it the indigenous people who captured her killed her daughter, who was only six days old, i smashing her head against the tree, as hannah duston recalls it. while captive in new hampshire hannah duston, in a grisly fashion, returns the favor. she is taken captive with her infant daughter and the woman who was helping to nurse her through her pregnancy and recovery from the birth. when they arrived in this island in new hampshire where they were stopping with the people who had taken her captive, she, hannah duston, along with the other woman with her, and a teenage boy who had been captured separately, the three of them decide to ride in the night and free themselves, which is understandable. what they do next is less
12:33 pm
understandable to contemporary points of view. they decided to rise up and kill and scalp 10 native americans, americans, including two men, two women and six children, and returned with the scalps as bounty. in fact, not only returned with the scalps as proof of what they had done, but petitioned the massachusetts authorities, the legislature to pay them for scalps, which they did. not only is this moment celebrated at the time, and scalps of these indian men, women, and children is rewarded with money from the massachusetts government hannah , duston is celebrated enough so she has statues erected of her. this was defaced this summer, a reminder that women are complicit in these complicated
12:34 pm
past as well as men. the last thing i want to touch upon is the final example, how we sometimes turn bits of the landscape into monuments as ways to remember the american colonial past. here you see plymouth rock, which is something that was familiar to most, if not all of you before the course. a lot of you mentioned plymouth in your responses about what you think about when you think about colonial america. i think this is something that is worth diving into a little bit. you will start to see an emerging theme in terms of monuments to the colonial past. plymouth rock was not seen as important. it wasn't until the 18th century. it's not like in 1620 when the pilgrims landed in plymouth they took out a chisel and carved the year into the rocks, this is something that was done later. it was not until the mid 18th century that a descendent of those pilgrims pointed to the
12:35 pm
rock as important, because it was in danger of being obscured by some new construction. so this is one of the moments where, much after the fact, people decide to celebrate this element of the past. one of the reasons plymouth rock is important in our national conception of who we were as a colonial people is because i think it speaks to something that we like to celebrate about the past. the past is full of depressing things that happened, but it is also a place where people strive to make their world better, to make themselves better, and leave beautiful things behind. i think one of the reasons people like discussing the pilgrims is that, although there is a flipside, which we discussed at thanksgiving, the attempt to dispossess indigenous
12:36 pm
people of their land, armed conflict, and killing of indigenous people, spreading of disease, etc. but the pilgrims speak to something that many people like to celebrate about america, which is to seek freedom from religious persecution. something that's very important to concessions american have about not just american culture, but there is a reason that freedom to practice religion is the first among the rights listed in the bill of rights to the u.s. constitution. in some ways, plymouth rock is a way to celebrate that. his idea that people who were believers and persecuted for their protestant, religious faith in europe, were able to come and carve out a new place for themselves in this new england. we also have discussed the
12:37 pm
importance of the mayflower compact. people agreeing to come together to communally govern themselves. all of which does leave a lot out of the story as well. there is this element to plymouth rock that i think appeals to people for that reason. but it's interesting to think about why we celebrate this particular part of american history. why we focus so much on it? why we focus our collective attention when we think about the colonial past on these 13 colonies? i would argue, new england england and virginia get outsized attention. why is this? why do we focus so much on this? so much of colonial american history is unfolding, obviously most precisely with the vast array of indigenous people who are living in occupying this territory and the time period.
12:38 pm
but also the diverse array of the european settlers who were also there. we discussed how the french are up and down the mississippi river. the spanish are in texas, florida and california. you have all these people, european american, indigenous people, as well as enslaved africans coming together in these spaces. but why do we spend so much time on this teeny tiny part of the territory there, with the blowup of plymouth on the right, as compared to the continental united states? why is it we spend so much attention on these tiny colonies? i think it's important. this is one reason why we use alan taylor's american colonies as our textbook. taylor is rightly correct with a lot of explanatory power in
12:39 pm
situating american colonial history in the continental way rather than just an east coast parameter. i think it is important that, even if we are talking about the history of religious freedom and people's desires to pursue the freedom to practice religion as they wish, much like the history of colonial america is not just an east coast one, but a continental one. we should remember the history of people in america struggling to practice their religious freedom is not just an english or european one. i will take us back to the u.s. capitol, this time to statuary hall, and talk about the man on the right, who is one of the few colonial figures celebrated in statuary hall in the u.s. capitol. that is the figure of a pueblo indian. he is shown holding some knotted
12:40 pm
ropes. those are integral to the story i will tell you about why he is celebrated to this day. to put this in context, in 1630, john winthrop, whose portrait is on the left, came to massachusetts, to new england in the first wave of what has been called "the great migration." this wave of puritan settlements. the 1620 program was a smaller blip. under john winthrop, puritans have a mass migration to new england and spread out throughout the land. winthrop is also famous for the 1630's, coming to massachusetts and talking about america -- the settlement in america being a city upon the hill for the world to marvel at, which is that rhetoric of the city on the hill is a bit of american mythology
12:41 pm
that is perpetuated and often referenced by u.s. presidents ronald reagan, who referenced it well into the present day. we learned about the puritans and the 1630's. you don't learn as much about the man who was born around 1630. just like we spend much more time in massachusetts and we -- then we spend in the american southwest. the pueblo indian, -- like winthrop, he wanted to practice his religion, wanted to practice it and freedom and was not allowed to practice it the way he wanted to buy the authorities, who were in power, just like the pilgrims in the puritans. the authorities and power are the spanish catholics, who, in 1675 arrest him along with almost 50 other pueblo indians for practicing their traditional
12:42 pm
traditional pueblo religion. they were charged with witchcraft, which shows you have a spanish viewed traditional practices in the 17th century. a few of them were hanged, but the rest were brought to santa fe, and what is now new mexico, and whipped publicly. what you have is a man, who by all accounts is very charismatic. he was transformed by this experience in this public punishment in his persecution for his spiritual beliefs, and conspired to start a revolt. which becomes the most successful indian revolt in american history. as the knots in his road either very clever -- rope are the very clever communication system he came up with. each day and not was untied and by the time the rope passed around with no knots that's when it was supposed to begin. it did not quite happen that way
12:43 pm
because someone was apprehended, but despite the false start it was the most successful in the history. him and his indian allies kicked the spanish allies out of santa fe and completely occupied it. an important reminder is that fight for religious freedom is not just among european settlers. to get back to plymouth rock, i will leave with this idea, which is, why do we study plymouth rock and our conception of colonial america war than we study something like newspaper rock? there are many elements to the collection of rocks with these petroglyphs on them in current day arizona and new mexico. this is one in arizona called newspaper rock. petroglyphs were carved by indigenous indians. pueblo indians like pope as ways to leave clan symbols or offer spiritual interpretations and
12:44 pm
see a calendar. just like the myth rock could be seen as all of these things, a way to leave a family or clan symbol, the mark of the puritan, the puritan migration, spiritual meaning, this is a place where the pilgrims are memorialized or get a settlement to pursue freedom from religious persecution in a calendar event. what i'm saying is that these rocks that are created by indigenous people on one hand and european settlers on the other performed very similar tasks in terms of these -- being monuments upon the land that human beings are celebrating in what is now the united states of america. why is it that we tend to focus almost exclusively on things like plymouth rock, and the related stories of those 13
12:45 pm
colonies then we do on stories like pope's and monuments such as newspaper rock? why don't we include those more often? what i would like to suggest as i end here, is i think that america, vast early america is -- which has been dubbed vast early america, vast early america is so much more interesting than the 13 original colonies of america. it encompasses those 13 colonies, but there is a lot more we can learn about the past. why not have a vast history that mimics this. i am looking forward to questions, which we have time for, or comments. since everyone is -- has their video off and i cannot see your faces to call on you, why don't you just chime in if you have a question, and if people step
12:46 pm
over one another, we will manage that. comments or questions? >> this is sarah. i like your point about why we don't focus on certain things. i know that plymouth rock is in massachusetts. that is the big thing where they are like, look at the rock. i think it's interesting that we don't focus on other events. i did not even know about the native americans who did all those things. i did not realize he was there. people need to open up their eyes and expand more on what is true and what is not. maybe do their own research. prof. anishanslin: nicely said. i love what you said about doing your own research. that is the reason why i have you do, in addition to the historical interpretations,
12:47 pm
analyses and the the primary source interpretations. again, since history is not the same thing as the past, your interpretation of history can legitimately be completely different than mine. you have to make up your own mind about that and do the research and look at the primary sources. i think one of the things that is interesting about monuments is that they are not primary sources in a sense that they are someone's construction of the past. which is one reason why i think they get so contested often, right? any other questions? >> i liked your comment about, your discussion of william byrd was interesting. i was quite horrified a couple of weeks ago visiting colonial williamsburg.
12:48 pm
they had someone out portraying landon carter, who was of the same sort of caliber and in the same elite group as william byrd, and who, in my opinion, did some equally deplorable things to his enslaved population. i was quite surprised to see an interpreter portraying him at a living history site. it felt a little bit -- it just felt -- i don't know, i would be interested to hear your takes on that because i did not know what to say. prof. anishanslin: that is another excellent point to make. thank you. if you don't know. to sarah's point, if you have not done a deep dive into the histories of landon carter or william byrd the second, how would you know? there is the simple story, which is a wealthy virginia gentleman who, in the case of william
12:49 pm
byrd, collected lots of books and wrote a very informative history. again, showing the racists biases of the time. a natural history focus on the dividing line between virginia and north carolina is a valuable historical source. but if you get into william byrd the second as his personal life, things get messy and complicated. but as you point out, that is not something -- the landon carter at colonial williamsburg is not the landon carter who would keep children up at night. it is a tough decision. i think it has come out most clearly with so much that we don't talk about in this course because he does not get important into the american story until after. but thomas jefferson is a
12:50 pm
important symbol of this. what do we do with thomas jefferson, the man who wrote about man's equality while holding people enslaved in bondage and having a controversial then and controversial now relationship with his his wife sally hemmings was enslaved. you have william byrd the second, landon carter and thomas jefferson. these men are in some cases the most horrifying thing about them is they are not unusual. this is a very american story, which i think is something to be wrestled with. again, i think there is a landon carter story that you tell them
12:51 pm
colonial williamsburg, but i hope that they also make an effort to give you the flipside of that. that i think is the conundrum with places like byrd park. you just go, and if you learn anything about it, then you can do your own research and check it out on the internet, but it's named for william byrd the second, who was one of the founders of richmond, and the fact that he owned a lot of the property upon which it was established, the city, nothing is mentioned about his horrible mistreatment of enslaved people. nothing is mentioned about his salaciousness. nothing is mentioned about the property he owned being dispossessed from indigenous people. there are so many complicated layers. one of the things that monuments, and whether they take the form of parks or statues, like i said at the beginning, our nature tends to simple five things much more than the past deserves to be.
12:52 pm
in the case of something like plymouth rock there is this other story, this inspiring story about religious freedom that we love to think about, for good reason, that is critically important for historical importance. we are under an obligation to also tell the other side to this story that monuments don't often allow us the bandwidth to dive into in terms of complexity. i am just glad i am not in charge of running historical interpretation at a colonial site. i think it would be rife with a lot of tough decisions. anyone else have any comments or questions they would like to offer? >> i would just like to make a comment. we pepper myths in school, starting at the elementary school.
12:53 pm
where do we start to correct history? prof. anishanslin: i think one of the problems is that, if you are an elementary school teacher, if you are teaching columbus in kindergarten, how do you tell kindergartners the real story of columbus without horrifying them? it's a lot of the stories that cause people to splash red paint on columbus art are not age-appropriate for five and six-year-olds. so what do we do with that? again, there are complicated questions in terms of how you approach them. but i think to start, and elementary schools, for example, why not make more of an effort to tell stories of pope alongside stories of puritans. so you don't necessarily have to dive straight into the brutal ugliness of colonial history in
12:54 pm
its most terrifying iterations in order to tell a more inclusive history. i personally think that is one way to do it. i would be interested in picking this up next week to discuss how you all would do this. how and whether this course has changed how you would choose to talk about the history of thanksgiving with your family, for example. so, i think these are important questions, and i think that how and why we choose to include things in our history is vitally important regardless of the level of education in which you are talking. i think that a lot of americans emerge from our system of education due to a variety of factors. everything from personal standards from teaching to where you go to college and which classes you take.
12:55 pm
but that's why so many of us still think about history as its presented through these historical interpretations through historical sites and monuments. in monument hughes -- museums and historic sites have historical interpretation. colonial williamsburg, for example, in addition to landon carter, which is a devious choice, also does a fantastic ground baked -- groundbreaking work on the history of enslavement in colonial america. personally, what i would say is, include as much history as possible. have the talks alongside plymouth rock, and maybe have a statue of people talking to columbus just to say they were in a certain dialogue in the 15th and 16th century in the case of this reacting to policies put in place by columbus and his conquest of the caribbean. i also hope that this is giving you more food for thought in
12:56 pm
terms of putting the work in its broader context. he is talking about the moral of -- he is talking about haiti, but the moral of the story can be applied to our discussion for colonial american past. so any final words before i end this q&a? >> i have a question on the four paintings in the rotunda. i was just kind of wondering how you think they should be handled, because i am sure there are some people who supported -- support removal while others , prefer acknowledgment. -- acknowledgment of the inaccuracy and the incorrect celebration. i think it is really important to acknowledge, for tourism it's a really important form of education. prof. anishanslin: john vanderlinden is a great painter. his paintings are renowned for
12:57 pm
their skill and artistry and beauty. to your point, a lot of the -- the confederate monument controversy, a lot of those statues are artistic trash. they are hollow, they are made out of -- cheap metal statues that are turned out in the beginning of the 20th century. it's different to talk about the -- from an artistic standpoint something like silent sam being toppled versus the slashing and burning of a painting. you bring the element of artistry and it creates some problems. one answer that i think is fascinating is that contemporary artists have taken to creating works of art that directly speak to in protest against paintings, including the landing of columbus. they are black artists, and their work, which has been
12:58 pm
housed in museums and galleries is a fabulous way to both allow the original work of art to stay, but also speak to its limitations and its problems and the violence it does to the histories of indigenous and black people specifically. the landing of columbus had been the subject of that type of artistic pushback. i think it's really helpful, because i think that sometimes people just don't know the history of these complicated, complex historical artifacts and people. i think the discussion and education is the first step to correcting that. say what you will about the 1619 project, it has gotten people discussing jamestown in the of slavery in colonial america. in ways that most of us would agree has not been as widely
12:59 pm
done in years, if ever. i think with art like that in the rotunda, if the counter interpretation is presented properly, could really be a powerful pedagogical tool. again, not an easy question to answer, right? unless anyone has any parting words, i am going to end this session and say that i am really looking forward to hearing next week what you all think about monuments and how your conception of what colonial american history is has changed throughout the course of this class. i think that each of you has shown really fantastic ways of wrestling with the complexities of the past, and i think that, considering how we choose to memorialize and celebrate colonial american history, which elements of it, whose history
1:00 pm
and why, are things that i hope you don't stop thinking about. so, thank you so much. and i will see you all next week. [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] >> listen on the go by streaming our podcast anywhere, anytime here you are watching american history tv, only on c-span-3. ♪
1:01 pm
announcer: you are watching american history tv, with event coverage, eyewitness accounts, archival films, lectures and college classrooms and visits to museums and historical places, all weekend, every weekend on c-span-3. >> you are watching american history tv, 48 hours of programming on american history every weekend on c-span-3. follow us on twitter @c-span history for information on our schedule and to keep up with american history news. >> on sunday, a discussion of
1:02 pm
the 1945 battle of iwo jima and the importance during world war ii. here is a preview. >> >> because next up d-day, the 19th of february, clear and sunny. at 6:45, the bombardment begins. at that time the tracks are being loaded up and headed out to the beach. you can see it in wave after wave heading toward the beach. at zero 700, two miles off in line for bircher. at 8:00, the navy stopped firing, stopped the bombardment and carrier aircraft hit the targets with bombs and napalm. by 8:30, the first wave of the
1:03 pm
lining vehicle tracks goes in followed by nine more waves. and the first wave glanced at 8:59, the official designated time they were going to land was 9:00. so they were off by only one minute. that's the persuasion they had gotten to buy this time of the war. they encounter no significant enemy fire. they were very deliberate to hold off any major fire for that time. he wanted to have forces start landing in wave after wave until they were crammed in. and what the troops immediately found was a pretty significant trellis that they had to overcome, 15 foot and soft, will can ask and pay you step in it and you sink down to your ankles, and then you have 100 pounds of equipment on your back
1:04 pm
and you are hundred 30 pounds or hundred 40 pounds to begin with and that on your back -- 130 pounds or 140 pounds to begin with and that on your back. the vehicles have the same problem. it was only in the subsequent waves that they were able to get their way through some of the trellises and get into firmer ground once they got further inside. >> learn more about the battle of you will jima -- battle of iwo jima here on history tv. announcer: you are watching american history tv, every weekend on c-span-3. explore our nation's past. created by america's cable television company. today we are brought to by these publishing companies who provide
1:05 pm
american history tv to viewers as a public service. >> the national world war ii museum hosts an online panel discussion on efforts to document the more than 22,000 chinese-americans who served in the armed forces during world war ii. speakers include an author of a book on the subject, a researcher who assisted in her efforts, a chinese-american vietnam war veteran, and the daughter of one of the 22,000 veterans. the national world war ii museum provided this video. >> welcome, everyone. thank you for joining us this evening. >> thanks for having us. tyler: i want to begin by talking to samantha. so, samantha, how did your work on the stories of chinese-american veterans begin?


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on