Skip to main content

tv   History Bookshelf Stephen Carter Invisible  CSPAN  February 19, 2021 9:50pm-10:48pm EST

9:50 pm
has received eight honourary
9:51 pm
degrees, and recently delivered the w.-y be dubois's lectures at harvard. he is the author of 15 books of nonfiction and fiction, which include the violence of peace, the confirmation mess, new england white and the emperor of ocean park. a novel that's been 11 weeks on the new york times bestseller list. tonight, he's here to present his new book, invisible the forgotten story of the black woman lawyer who took down america's most powerful mobsters. writer juan williams remarks that it is -- a new york times bestselling author, walter isaacson, prices it as a riveting and moving story, one with enormous residence for our own time.
9:52 pm
we're so pleased to have its author here to with us tonight, please join me in welcoming stephen carter. >> well thank you for that kind introduction and i think all of you for coming out. i want to thank the harvard bookstore for inviting me back, the last time us was to be here, i canceled at the last minute, i couldn't make it. and the harvard bookstore said, don't worry, will reschedule. three years later, i'm here. it's a real pleasure to be here, i suspect most of you know my work, you know me much better for my fiction but, this was a book that had been rolling around inside my head for a long time and i want to get into the book in a sense, talking backward. what i mean by that is before we talk about the book, i want to put talk about the historical moments that gave rise to it.
9:53 pm
so you have to take yourself back to the new york of the 1930s there had just been a big carrying more in which the black gangs of harlem had been wiped out or subjugated to a cold ocean various white ethnic gangs. harlem mattered because harlem was the most lucrative territory in the country. for organized crime, largely because of the numbers game. the numbers game was played by more people, but also employed between ten and 20,000 harlem lights, whose actual job was actually working the numbers, it was a big deal. the mob had taken over the numbers came, there had been a filing where for that,. and there was now a cry from specific reformers in newspapers, it was time to get serious about the mob and to try to investigate. the problem was that the district attorney in new york at the time, a man named dog was in the pocket of the mob
9:54 pm
and had no intention of doing any kind of investigation so, there came the runway grand jury, the cranberry said, everybody at dodges office, we want to special prosecutor to investigate organized crime and dodge eventually gave in and the special prosecutor was finally appointed who was thomas to, we who later ran for president that's how do we originally came to public attention when we take over, he had some conditions, were among the conditions was that here hire his own staff, his own office, no one with any connection to the government in new york would work for him and he hire 20 young lawyers and the 20 young lawyers, the newspapers immediately labeled the 20 against the underworld and the 20 lawyers who were 19 white males and one black woman and the black woman is the subject of the book, invisible
9:55 pm
so the black woman's name was eunice carter, and as some of you know, i sometimes hide the name, she is my grandmother so you have to imagine being a black lawyer, being a woman lawyer in 1930s new york. this was a time when the bar was deeply segregated the american bar association had a rule against black members, for example, at the time. there were very few women lawyers in the country, there were certainly very few women black lawyers in the country for black women to become a prosecutor, special special prosecutor was a big deal and it was news from coast to coast do we hires negro you would see this in newspapers she was in most of the stories, and there were a lot of them about two weeks hiring of the staff of course, it was the only photograph because it was kind of a man by the dog story it was this black woman doing in
9:56 pm
due east? all right, so we hired his 20 lawyers and the 20 against the underworld whose job was to investigate invest organized crime. and he gave press conferences and he says that he wasn't interested in say, a conviction for tax evasion or something like that. or prostitution, he wanted to convict for real crime, like loan sharking or murder or municipal corruption, drug running, various things. that was all he was going to invite investigate because we have to make sure, it was a device crusader so the 20 assistance were all given various areas to work on, to look into. they were all independent. they all had their own little cubicles. do we have a big office and there was this long row of office for the assistance and there were 19 white men in their offices with the furthest from do we was the black woman in her office. and all the assistance we're working on those sharking, when
9:57 pm
was working on kareem foods, this one was reconstructs mulling and so on. and this was miss carter, the black woman at the end of the hallway and she was assigned to work on prostitution because what do we discovered when he invited new yorkers, he said come to my office, you can speak to my assistance, tell me what crimes are bothering you in your neighborhood drugs are being sold in this house next door and there was some of that. but mainly, new york was concerned about brothels, they were concerned about, as they used to say, streetwalkers some of you may remember that term and so, do we had a problem he had to take these complaint seriously because citizens rope them, in but he had no intention of running a prostitution case. so he gave it to the black woman on the staff to look into and it made clear to her, this is not something that was ever going to be tried because he didn't think how they should take out organized crime in new
9:58 pm
york. now, one of the things that happened historically was that the few black female prosecutors who exist in the united states, there were not very many, almost all of them worse signed to wet was called the women's courts, which tried prostitution kates, which tried a variety of others. the woman's courts were seen as a graveyard from which the career of female prosecutors never recover. once you went there, you never got out. while jonas was not a woman's court prosecutor she was essentially assigned to the same work. she was assigned to the work of prostitution and i think a different person may have complained about being to not work, the other person may have figured that her career is over, but you need to get seriously because alone among the investigators into his office, she believed that the mob actually had a hand on the prostitution, which was widely
9:59 pm
bad at the time prostitution was not a mob activity, it was a bunch of individual entrepreneurs, basically. she believed otherwise. her theory was the mob takes a cut of every other illegal activity in the city, would be absurd of this multi million dollar activity pays nothing to the mob. long story short, she spent a lot of time alone in this office finding the records, big keeps of file that were said during both withdrew to, play lot of time on these files and then finally put together what she thought was a pretty good case that the most controlled prostitution in new york. around this time, the man was thought to be the head of the mob, doug scholes was murdered and eventually, luciano, who rose to power, who became the most powerful mafia leader in the nation's history, at least that's what most historians seem to think, and so luciano became the target. and the problem that we had was
10:00 pm
that he couldn't connect luciano to any of the crimes. but eunice, who spent a lot of time on the record, a lot of time talking to the women were involved, believe that she could connect luciano to prostitution. so finally, he allowed her to organize a raid. february 1st, 1936, 160 new york police officers, no to not to who had ever worked together before, were sent to raid 80 brothels simultaneously. the idea was to arrest all of the women. why? because there were these people, known as the fixers, and the job with the fixers was, basically they can get her out of jail so they won't so she won't turn states evidence. so the fixers were all gone, then they arrested these
10:01 pm
hundred and 60 women may be fewer than that but, then they brought a judge in, who came to the building where the offices were, so the women that you know as you were to hold them as material witnesses, and then they waited for them to turn on the higher ups. i want you should know, is now that's a staple of prosecution. you arrest the people lower down, you give them a lower sentence for turning, and you know at the time there was a lot of serious lawyers who thought this was an ethical so the thought was is if you did the crime you do the time. you should not have some special way of getting out of that and besides that it was viewed as inherently unreliable and dewy was his guy it was the guy he picked as a special
10:02 pm
prosecutor and he thought it was terrible that dewy was trading basically his sentence for information. but yunus did most of the work with women, but in the end luciano was indicted for prostitution, he fled to hot springs arkansas, where he was tracked down and he was arrested, and after being offered he offered a 50,000 dollar bribe, but eventually he was extradited and he was convicted. and it was all because of the work done by this woman alone in her cubicle at the end of the hall so now this being the period that it was. this is what you have to picture. so dewy hires is black woman, and she is the one who gets them to turn against him, and
10:03 pm
when it comes time to try the case, dewy and three white male assistance are trying the case, and yunus did have some responsibilities but you have that particular one, and this pattern repeat itself a few years later when he became a district attorney of new york and he decided to go after jimmy jimmy hines who was the most powerful politician in the state of new york and it was the same thing that yunus developed a case against him, that she got people to turn and when it came time to try the case, it was the white male assistants who did the trial work. i'm not saying he wasn't grateful to her and when he became tea da, he appointed her to head of special sessions bureau and all at the point she was supervising 71 white male
10:04 pm
lawyers. so she had a career as a prosecutor, and a very successful one now let's put units aside for one minute. and then we will come to conclusions and let you ask your questions. so on both of the children the carter children you know in many ways eunice hunton carter became a very prominent republican and the party at that time was a party of civil rights and the democratic party was not so. you have to get your player straight. and she was heavily involved with political campaigns and so when do we ran for president he cited that he was not prejudiced because he had
10:05 pm
worked with this woman and she was head of the biggest bureau and so on but it eunice was a traditionalist and she had a brother who had degrees from harvard where he was very badly treated. and he had him from and why you. he was a tennis son scholar. he wrote a dissertation about socialism, and he was multilingual, but he was something else, he was a communist. i'm not saying he was accused of being a communist, he was a high ranking member of the soviet party. of the communist party. and he was a serious committed communist. there was 700 pages for his fbi file. and something twice as long as martin luther king's fbi file. so, the two of them took these
10:06 pm
different paths. you have one traditional conservative republican, and you have a communist, with no faith in american institutions at all. he wants to bring it all down. i mention that because, they had disagreements, but once their mother died in the 1940s, they grew apart. and eunice, not only did you think her brother was wrong and he thought she was wrong to of course. but she thought her brother was hurting her career. what she wanted most of all was to be a judge, and people from the office wanted also's distinguished careers so for example william rogers, who was attorney general was one of the 20 against the underworld. and murray -- became a federal judge, he was one of the 20 against the underworld. and there were others. and there are about six or
10:07 pm
seven of them became judges. and that's what she wanted most of all but you never got it, she never got to be a judge. she did all these things but she never achieve that and she always believed it was because of her brother. her brother in 1951 he went to prison for refusing to name names, and those of you who know my work, no i am big on the tolerance of dissent, on not shutting people down or shutting people out because of their views and that comes from my great uncles experience because after you got out of prison he could not get work and with all his qualifications he worked in the factory for a while he had a bit of writing that he couldn't publish and he went to ghana he had left the country, he went to zambia as well, he spent a lot of time traveling, and as you know he
10:08 pm
went to the soviet union, and china but he did never he never came back. and my grandmother blamed him for a while, and in 1951, when he was facing his legal troubles, there was his sister who had been his prosecutor, who is now had a lot of practice new york and he never went to her for advice and he never asked her to help him in any way. he went his way alone, and my father always said that after you got out of prison he never spoke again, and it was 20 years later and they died ten days apart from each other. and towards the end of their lives, they did begin to correspond a bit, when she was in new york and he was in africa. but they never actually reconciled. so it's a tragic side but i want to focus on the things that she accomplished. because i want you to think about again the barriers of the time. and i think the story that
10:09 pm
people breaking through barriers when these barriers were very very high stories that we need to be telling. we need to be talking about thinking about. because when i was growing up my grandmother was for me just this very scary, woman a woman who had quickly correct your grammar or which for you would use at the table. she felt her grandchildren had very bad manners. and i don't know anything about her life at the time, and i learned about her life and i've come to understand that the things i saw as being intimidating and scary, were part of the fortitude and determination that had carried her through to succeed in the ways she did so she actually became, but 1940s one of the most famous black women in america. so there were not a lot of famous women in america in the 1940s, but she had been profiled in life magazine.
10:10 pm
but she was in other magazines in the, shoes on radio shows on television. and even then, when television was young she was very well-known and in part because of luciano trial there and she became very prominent as a republican political i guess he would say an activist now in the party today as well also want to say that i didn't do this work alone, my daughter liu, she left law practice, to come be the principal researcher on the brook. she dug through a all the archives, did interviews and other things. and the book reflects her work as much as it does mine. and i hoped she would be able to be here tonight, but she was not able to. so, two last points to make of the book and then i'll take
10:11 pm
questions of any aspect of it that you would like to talk about. so there is something else about eunice, in addition to the work that she did as a lawyer, she was talking about in the 1930s, about sexual harassment. talking publicly about it, when nobody was talking about that and it wasn't important. she gave a speech in 1937 for example, and she talked about men who has she put it, use their positions of power to force women into intimate relationships and she said, in her speech that burning in oil is a little too good for men of that sort so this is the time was when it was not a salon issue. civil rights it's not that any they weren't particular
10:12 pm
supporters of this, but they saw this is also a distraction. that if they tried to free women in effect at the same time they would never get to the heart of their cause. and then towards the end of her career eunice gave a speech in greece. she did a lot of international traveling later in her life. and she talked frankly about the countries where women were not allowed to be full citizens, including the united states. and she talked about a sort of a dictatorship. she talked about it in a way that after a while there's a voice that begins to whisper in your mind, and she called it the dictator within and warning you in effect not to do certain kinds of things. and it planted the see the seeds in people's heads. and she was way ahead of her time on those issues as well, and the last thing i'd like to
10:13 pm
mention, about yunus is that she also came from an extraordinary family. her parents, and i can go for the back, but her parents were activists and her father's name was william. he worked for the ymca and you have to imagine the ymca is this big vital organization, with chapters all over. he traveled all over the world you can go and you know and he gave speeches in tokyo i want to buckingham palace, and when you know he was a very conservative man but a big activist as well and those things went closely hand in hand with the racial justice of the 19th century when it came along. and her mother, who is known generally as abby, did other things and she was one of only
10:14 pm
three back women black women who went to europe in world war i with the black troops. there was other white women who went to work you know at the u.s. so type of jobs. so the troops that were placed to unwind didn't make it go somewhere, but for all the thousands of innocent women that went there was only three black women's, this and they did a book on the treatment of soldiers in world war i, and historian still right about the subject today. but her mother they sickly would also to work at the naacp cpp. she was a field secretary, and her job was to go to towns and that the black him unity had become subdued and frighten, and she would go to these black towns by herself and give these rousing speeches, to get people feeling again like they could
10:15 pm
do something in the face of the ku klux klan intimidation. and she was well aware of the dangers, but she believed in the work and she traveled from what we know, quite unafraid. and i should add, that in the end she left the naacp, there were complicated reasons, but one was because she was the only female field secretary. and she started to feel mistreated, as the only women and the only woman who did this field work at the time. that so eunice was this great accomplished woman, and the book is called invisible, because she was being shunted aside. and you could occasionally find her now in a compilation, but a lot of history to find a better
10:16 pm
is not quite right. and there's some of that in the book as well. so her story that you know in 2008 i published a story, and years later i realized that it really should've celebrated her generation, and for a long time i wanted to tell her story. and in the process that i've come to realize, that this woman who once terrified me, has really become somebody i really love and who i'm very very proud. thank you very much i will be happy to take your questions. >> thank you there is a microphone there. so please go ahead. >> there is a lot of material, in the story. for example, many historians
10:17 pm
believe that dewey became quite comfy with -- and lucky luciano was let go from jail and exiled to italy. did you come across any new information on that? >> so what happened with lucky luciano and with dewey his papers reflect that he was snookered into letting lucky luciano go. it was the united nations that pressured him to parole luciano, because luciano had protectively side allegedly protected a range for protection. in new york and sabotage and he had made contact with the sicilian mafia. so those stories are probably not true they say this is
10:18 pm
largely invented, but do ease papers tell us he was resistant to letting luciano go. but he was released on condition that he except extradition. which he did. so unfortunately he has become a romantic figure to a lot of rioters. there's a couple of novelists who say that luciano was framed and they have not looked at the evidence or the trial transcript which is clear that there was not any framing going on. but we can differ over the wisdom, of prostitution, we can discuss whether that's right or not but that was the only crime he was convicted of. >> okay please. >> you alluded to your
10:19 pm
grandmother's brother's treatment at harvard. can you talk about that. >> yes so her brother, came to harvard, in 1921 to get a masters degree in literature. he had gone to howard, as an undergraduate. upon arriving at harvard, he was informed by the dean of harvard's graduate school, that because he went to howard university, although it was a one-year masters program, and when i first came across this i thought this must be something special to have, to all the students, but it was only the howard students in other black students who are told you can get your masters degree in one year, but he was upset about this. and he resisted it and thought it, and frankly there was a
10:20 pm
reason he was exist he was resisting it. he could not afford it. he did not have the money. the cost was low compared to now, but they were high compared to people's income at the time. and he had trouble stretching money for another year, and he tried many ways to get around the requirement, but he was never able to get around it. the other thing that was interesting, he arrived at harvard right after the episode, that involves the fabled president. so when they developed a health system at harvard, president lowball, who did a lot of great things for harvard, he decided that the negro students, that they were called at the time, should not live in the houses, because they would not be comfortable. so they should board elsewhere in the city. this was a huge battle and it wasn't all the newspapers and
10:21 pm
he was finally overruled by the harvard corporation on that. but the scars from that battle, they lingered a civil rights activist look towards harvard in the 1920s. so that didn't involve him because he was a grad student, but that was part of harvard which was current at the time. so this gentleman over here. >> i have a couple questions. one is what effect, did eunice hunton carter work with franklin frazier, have on the dewey's decision to hire her. the second question is, the prosecution of jimmy hines began before the prosecution of luciano, and i'm wondering whether eunice hunton carter had a role in the trials of --
10:22 pm
and the harlem numbers guys. so, those are my two questions. >> so let's you don't deal with the first one first, so franklin frazier. 1935 there was a riot in harlem and after the riot, the mayor mayor laguardia, appointed a commission, to look into the cause of the riot. it is said to be the first major situation where the majority of members were black and that is what is often written about it. eunice was part of the commission. there are some accounts that say, the great sociologist and historian, he was the research director. and is this a part of his work there. so it's a different story, if you look at the files of
10:23 pm
commission, which never had much money, because the city would give the amount of money budgeted for it. but frazier often didn't get paid until the secretary would big city hall for a check. so they could pay him and they became very close, although i quote in the book some private correspondence, that was critical to his first draft of the commission's report but they became very close, and stayed in touch for some while but hines and pompeo is. the raids that led to the arrest of hines in 1937, and they were initially directed against pompous and other harlem numbers runners, and he
10:24 pm
was really popular on the harlem streets. when he was finally arrested a lot of people turned against her, because he was a great and wonder full man. and honor of the new york cuban games. and he ended up taking a deal where he testified against hines. the reason i mention this and the reason hines is in there at all that is because when yunus was simply involved in prosecuting white gangsters, harlem loved her. but when dewey turned his attention, to the numbers kings. a lot of harlem turned against her at that point. and the sense was she was not even know she was doing
10:25 pm
something that was wrong. that was partly because pompez was popular, and that was because ten or 20,000 harlem people were employed there. but he is no pompez is the only numbers runner who was in the baseball hall of fame. and back over here just wait one minute for the boom to one more question. >> i'm interested in more about your grandmother and how old you are when you knew her, and how close you are to her? how often you saw her? you know when your grandfather to, little more family stuff here. >> let me do a bit more family stuff, that is fine. so my grandmother died when i was in high school. i did not know any of these stories at the time. my grandfather had died he was a dentist and he was dentist in
10:26 pm
harlem, and they met in the 1920s. when she was involved, because she was a social worker before she was a law school. so she was involved in designing and creating a free dental clinic in harlem. and that appears to be when they met because he was the first dentist to volunteer to work with the clinic. they had a troubled marriage, you know he was quite the slanderer. and i told you about yunus is mother and her mother, first came to prominence in the late 19th century as a public speaker, on the duties of black motherhood and she preached that the future of the race, was dependent upon black women basically staying at home and raising children at the future
10:27 pm
leaders of the race. so abby never stayed home and she preached about marital stability so even when the marriage went that she tried everything she could do to keep it together because she had this since from her mother of a duty at duty to the race and a duty not to leave her husband. and she tried to find a way to patch things up. it appears they did live apart briefly in the late 1930s, but i can't pin down exactly when. assuming that that actually occurred. they had a rocky marriage, but they patch things up towards the end and when my grandfather was a diagnosed with cancer in all she basically cared for him. and as to why family stories are memories shoes to come visit us every year at
10:28 pm
christmas. she would come on the train, you know we were in washington she was new york. and she had a fear of flying. she would come on the train, i remember meeting her at union station, and she would spend two days cooking the virginia ham, which is more salt than you can picture but it smells good and taste good. the other memory i have is constantly, either waving her off, or meeting her at oxide. because she was often getting on or off the ocean liners. and she went to europe all the time, she had expensive taste, she had to go first class. and she was always wearing expensive furs and so on and so forth and she was always even back when her husband was alive, she was always trying to move to a fancier apartment and she won the mansion instead of an apartment, and they did that and her expensive taste became
10:29 pm
even for us a children, we realized that she had money or she wanted the world to think she had money, because she is wearing all of this fancy stuff but she came from a generation where people could afford to or they were determined to prove that they could do the same things that other people could do. so you can decide whether or not to admire that, but what was admiral about her, even though they have written about her critically, but there is something admirable about the notion that they tried. they tried to build a society in harlem and a society that was deeply stratified. either you are in it or you weren't and that was sad but they tried to do something in the midst of segregation, and build a place where they could have a sense of accomplishment and you know i admired it even
10:30 pm
if i didn't agree with the way they went about doing it. so what else we have this one over here just wait one moment ok >> never heard expensive power being admitted -- >> i haven't told you much about her -- so she went to smith college, she graduated in the class of 1921. her education at smith was probably paid for, we think by a woman named mary, she's very promising graduate was quite wealthy, wealthy activists and socialist. and we believe that she paid for unison education at smith. when she left, she tried to be a teacher in the south, shooting like that very much. she returned to new york and became part of the harlem renaissance. she was actually inducted into the harlem's weather skilled, which is the time was at the top of what they became at renaissance. they only had a dozen members
10:31 pm
at any one time and all the people who were members of it, she were inducted at the same time. which led to write a letter to harry jackman, some but he may have heard of, two great black writers of the twenties. saying, how did these people get in? sit yunus and -- said i didn't vote for them, exclamation point! i guess she missed. she did that for a while and she was on a path that might have made her one of wet and clean powell arenas who ran harlem society. she was the path that she was on and, evidently, it scared her. that wasn't the life that she actually wanted. she would've gone on writing
10:32 pm
and instead on the path, i have no idea if she was successful she wrote a lot of sports stories but who knows how that worked out but, she decided to go to law school and chose a different path she went to four different law schools and it's interesting, because if you look at the law schools at the time, most of the big law schools only admitted men at the time and quite a few of them also had a color law, which was by no means all of them and the catholic law schools, the loss of recalled women's law school's, and women have heard this term or not, that were created for a long time. try to pick up the slack and the women's law schools were -- harvard tried to shut down all the law schools in this area, to give you one example the canton law school generally were coeducational, and they had a particular mission to immigrants, the people of color and to jewish students, most of
10:33 pm
them couldn't get into the big law schools are couldn't get in without very tight restrictions. and so, if you look at the history of the catholic law schools, especially the urban areas, you'll find them with lawyers that couldn't go elsewhere. i have no idea if went elsewhere in nantes. this is where she went. she entered in 1927, then she got sick and left for a while and then she got involved with politics and it's much the things she finally went back to law school and graduated in the early 19 thirties. and she hung out a shingle in harlem, and immediately couldn't get any work. of course, most people wanted quite lawyers at the time. some people would hire blackmon, some people when hire women. but a black woman when something people took a while to get used to. she was on a couple of prominent cases, she defended a very prominent black gossip
10:34 pm
columnist of the 19 twenties and thirties and she defended him for being extradited for failure to pay trial support to try stay new york and not go back to a jail cell but she lost and when he went to jail in michigan, probably deserved it because he didn't play child support. i don't know how many years it was she also ran for office she shortly after 20 law school. she ran for the state legislature, she lost and while she was running for state legislature, she took a case involving two voters whose registration were denied because of something about the interest and so on she took the case of the election, who want that case and got free publicity from her friends in amsterdam news and so they wrote a thing about how she's out there protecting the right to vote and it didn't work, she lost anyway so in spite of that
10:35 pm
what else do we have? right over here. >> first to have a little side thing about your great uncle he said he was a member of the communist party in the thirties, i just wanted to note that the communist party was very active in fighting the cases got burrow. i think it was one, if not the most prominent, certainly the most prominent working on that, so when we think of the party, you might attach it to other ideas, but it's important to remember that history also. but i was curious about how you would talk about his mother? >> i will get about how we talk to earn a minute, but about the communist party, so lot of black intellectuals were tracked it to the communist party in the twenties and thirties. they came out for equal rights for black americans, at least
10:36 pm
back in the time, not long after the russian revolution, i remember exactly when it was. i think it was around 1920 or so and a lot of black intellectuals at the time, who looked at the soviet union, newly established, and saw hope they saw the future there were a lot of them who traveled their and studied for a while. it was not at all unusual to have that attraction what was unusual was to stick with it. and then most of these people after a few years decided that wasn't the way whereas healthiest, her younger brother, would doubled down and the he would follow the party so you look at for example, entry into world war ii when germany and the soviet union were allies, he was adamantly opposed to u.s. during world war ii and as soon as germany turned on and invaded russian territory, he immediately said, it's crucial
10:37 pm
that u.s. get involved and so on and so on every time my father talked about -- so here things we're live a bit awkward, because my father was an only child and when he was young, she sent him to barbados where her husband was, from where he studied, he spent five or six years and there's a story around the da's office that that was because they have been warned to take precaution with their families, because the luciano case. but the problem was that she sent him to barbados six months before she was hired by luciano, so that can possibly be the reason. she said it was for his health, but my father said she thought that she wanted to get him out the house especially when you came back to barbados, he immediately sent him to barbados -- to prep school. as soon as he got back. nevertheless, she was enormous influence on his, life you talk about a great deal, mainly
10:38 pm
within enormous respect. i'm not going to say with affection. that he learned a lot from her. i'll tell you one little story. he used to say that his happiest moment was this moment in the mid late 19 twenties when he was a little kid, and his early thirties and is going to sound odd, his mother got really sick and she had some surgery so she went to florida to recuperate with one of her mother's best friends where she spent some months and he went down with her on the train and late in his life, my father would, say that train ride with his mother, when i think he was six or seven years old was the happiest time they ever had together much he wasn't doing anything but paying attention to him and he had not experience this ever before so he really love that time together but he had enormous respect, he loved to tell the luciano story, it's just he never told the story when she was alive, who was interesting
10:39 pm
was only that she was alive that he started hearing stories about luciano case. i knew nothing about any of that when i was growing up. we have one or two more questions right here and i think there's one in the front >> [inaudible] >> so i think that's a very good point that the luciano trial me do we national figure and like most national figures, he decided to be president you have to understand, when i say the president, we're talking -- so luciano is convicted in 1936 1938, louise elected district attorney 1940, do we says gonna run for president. now he didn't get the
10:40 pm
nomination, i think you got a 44, but in 1940 run for president -- and he actually arrived to mention most elegance when you got there. but he didn't get the nomination. wilkie got the nomination, -- a con candidate who took multiple jobs and there was a compromise at the end. and of course, he got thrashed by roosevelt. wilkie and my grandmother all become very close, actually she came for him also. and so 1:40 and 44 -- 1942, they made him governor of new york and in 44 and 48, do we campaigns for president. and again, when he runs for president, he runs in 1944 on the strongest civil rights plan to any major -- up to that time. and eunice is involved with the black republican drafting that party plank and persuading
10:41 pm
delegates to support. this is back when political parties platforms are really important and given a lot of scrutiny. and if you see the book, on the cut of it booked is a picture of yunus tending they're pointing and a meeting. down, and there's a man next to her with his hand up in the air like that. the -- use of the she was refusing to yield the floor and the battle. units campaigned hard for dewy and both 44 and 48 and he talked about her a lot and 44 and 48 when he was trying to bring the black vote back to the republican party. that was his plan for winning his plan didn't work and did the thing that hurt you mrs. career, although she might not admit, is that she remained the of a public and forever, even though by the late forties, this black vote, which was heavily republican in 19
10:42 pm
twenties, had largely changed in the wake of the pledge depression people don't know when these numbers were, we don't know, that -- we know that it was different in the late forties than it was a 1920s. we don't have a day to say exactly what happened when you were a few little precinct now numbers. you had a question? we have time for one more question. you get a second chance, last one. >> given a relationship with roosevelt? >> that's a great question. did she have a road relationship with roosevelt? she was a great friend of al murray roosevelt, so how did she thread that needle when she was campaigning against him? so there's a speech that she gave -- the number speech but she was the same thing. basically she would say, when she give speeches to groups of black voters, she would say aylmer roosevelt is one of the great women of her time, she's towering moral intellectual presence who matter how
10:43 pm
wonderful she was. but this is not about roosevelt, it's about her husband. and she would tell the stories and you know, fdr had a lot of virtues but he refused to allow black reporters at his press conferences even though he was pressed to do so by civil rights organization. that's a matter of record. but, here he would get the armed forces, nevertheless lie to the public saying, that the deep and aa cpp -- everyone has things they did historically we wish we could get back in a sense and he was very bad on a lot of race issues, which is why there is that famous poem by langston hughes, moving on roosevelt which is a poem about -- his famously gave up politics, long before, didn't vote he writes the tone about how the black voters had gone in his judgment, nothing in return mile, maybe that's true, maybe that's not true for my grandmother's view, the
10:44 pm
important thing is about her story though that isn't what happened in politics later, on it's the fortitude in the feistiness in which she almost singlehandedly brought an entire office of 19 white prosecutors, plus do we around to her theory, her lonely theory of trying to make the correct one imploded convict leana. thank you all very much for your kind attention.
10:45 pm
10:46 pm
10:47 pm
next on "the civil war, " caroline wood newhall, a postdoctoral fellow at the virginia center for civil war studies, discussed her research on black prisoners of war in the confederacy. she talked about the misconception that all captured u.s. colored troops were executed and describes how many were instead enslaved, including those born free in the north. the center for civil war studies at virginia tech hosted this online talk and provided the on today's event, our speaker is doctor

12 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on