tv Lectures in History Sit-ins and the Civil Rights Movement CSPAN January 19, 2019 7:59pm-9:16pm EST
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university of massachusetts amherst professor traci parker talks about the lunch sit-ins as part of the civil rights movement. they hope to bring about change for african-american consumers. her class compares social activism then and now and explores the role of social media. this class runs 70 and its. runs 70 minutes. prof. parker: we talked about jim crow on modes of public transportation. we touched on the integration of schools. another major site of conflict the partsonflict were stores, counters. these places were most visibly highlighted because of
democracy. be given -- given that american democracy was tied to one's position in the consumers fear. just a quick question, why do you imagine such sites of ,argets, department stores marshall field in chicago, now a macy's. everything is now a macy's. why do you imagine these are important? for making claims for civil rights? it included a lot of middle-class stuff, like [indiscernible] in society. prof. parker: anyone else? >> [indiscernible] >> [indiscernible] important to look the part of a citizen, so being
able to spend money in places middle-classl of respectability and spoke of citizenship was important to actually forgery yourself as a middle-class citizen. prof. parker: on a most basic level -- you walk into one of these places that looked like museums of consumption, palaces, it is important to note the ceiling here is done by tiffany's. it is in gold. these are places that are just, in the early 20th century, they are places of luxury. so you go to the department store -- have you been in one? i see everybody shopping online. what does it look like now to you? >> i feel like it is not cool. >> [laughter] i feel like the idea that
to bea middle-class hire in jobs in retail doesn't really fall anymore. prof. parker: they are working class. these are jobs, some of you may have had as a high school student, working part-time, but these are jobs you use to get to a better job ideally. >> [indiscernible] talk about white flight, no i feel like there is the good mall and the -- you don't have to interact with other people if you are like really wealthy. prof. parker: this would be a luxury department store. the discount department stores which we talked about, it is something that looks more like a kmart or walmart or jcpenney. these are places you don't go to buy louis vuitton. the other thing is under one
roof in these retail institutions, racial discrimination and -- more glaring obvious. african-americans weren't allowed to try on clothes or return loads. they had to drink from separate drinking fountains here they were forbidden from eating at the same restaurants. there were segregated lunch counters. one place we talked about in the article, wt grant, they had a lunch counter for african-americans in the basement and one for white americans on the ground floor. also if you are a worker you are not allowed to be a sales worker or clerical worker. you can't hold white-collar jobs are you are not a manager, supervisor. these are reserved for white americans. it is ok.
because of this treatment and the visibility of the consumption, african-americans protested. the picketed the front of the stores, they set in. some of you are familiar with the greensboro city and of 1960 we think of 1960 this starting the civil rights movement. .t least the sit in movement for this started before the 1960's. historians recall back to the reconstruction timeframe between 1865 and 1877. the labor movement you sit in as a form of protest in the 1930's and 1940's. sit-ins were held in urban centers in the 1940's and 1950's. on your right you have probably very who helped lead one of the sit-in campaigns of howard
university students at a local restaurant in washington, dc in 1943. the image next to her is from a campaign at an alexandria, 1930's. library in the then another image of an naacp protest that involved students in the early part of the 20th century. , the woman terrell in to your right a bit. womanghter skinned black helped with antidiscrimination laws. so this is one of the first major sit-in movement but is quite successful at desegregating d.c. restaurants and lunch counters.
as i mentioned, it is the greensboro sit-in that initiated students in the 1960's. this is the department store that mary church terrell was protesting. on 7th avenue in watching to d.c.. you see how massive the stores are. we are not talking about in the mall department stores that have two floors. this is something that was supposed to be -- these were major hubs, sites in american cities for the better part of the 20th century. these are some of the flyers of mary church terrell's committee. greensboro sit-in began february 1, 1960. four african-americans from the
college, dressed in respectable clothing, they are exemplary of respectability, set at restaurants in woolworth, greensboro, north carolina. they were welcome to come but not dine at the lunch -- at the lunch counter. spontaneous.as not it was a re-think but. it was planned -- everything but. it was planned. students were members of the naacp group and other groups. they were aware of the changes flowing through the south. at 4:30 the students in woolworth -- entered woolworth and sat at the counter. they received no service but sat there until the store closed. word spread. the actions of these men electrified other students and the next day more joined them. soon black women students from
bennett college and some white students from the university of north carolina women's college joint the protest. bennett college students were integral to this. they were foot soldiers for the sit-in movement by providing p provided marches, carpools and replacement protesters. here are images of tenant college students who started -- bennett college students who started before greensboro. in this lower picture they are boycotting a movie theater that refused to show movies that showed white americans and black americans as equals. by the fifth day of the greensboro sit-in, hundreds of well-dressed african-americans crowded stores demanding their rights. soon they received the support of the entire community.
ended julyoro sit-in 25 after boycotted stores lost $200,000, $1.7 million today. employees three black to change out of their workloads one day and into street clothes and order a meal at the counter, thereby becoming the first to be served at the store lunch counter. it received a little publicity as aanfare, but it comes very important moment spreading these campaigns throughout the south. the actions of these students sparked uprisings in greensboro but also throughout the state of north carolina in raleigh, winston-salem, high point, and charlotte. this brings us to the story of dorothea davis. worked at a lunch counter, wt grant.
she worked at the black lunch counter. she is the waitress, and she recalled, if you remember, that she comes to work one day to see this campaign occurring. it is at the counter she starts talking to the students sitting in. they go in thinking they are going to be fighting for the integration of lunch counters and eateries in this store. it was like a discount department store. do you know what that is? some of you look like no, maybe yes. >> like marshall's? prof. parker: back in the day they still had lunch counters. do you know kmart? you know. when i was a kid they would have the blue light specials. you could sit and get a meal. i don't know if they have that now. walmart has subway. >> [indiscernible] prof. parker: the idea was you could go in, by your jewelry,
yourclothes -- buy jewelry, clothes, sit and eat. woolworth and grant fall into that category. she comes in one day and the sit in people come and say this is why we are sitting in, we want to integrate, and she forges this bond of alliance with these of potential consumers. she tells them about her work and what she faces as a black woman, and they are telling her about their needs. we see the creation of thatr-consumer alliances become integral to the success of sit-in movements. you recall as a result davis is hired eventually. she is promoted from a waitress to a sales worker, and she is put in the lamp department. the store had stopped selling
lamps. she is put in the basement of the store, all the way in the back to sell lamps that had been sitting there for who knows how long. she quickly becomes the top saleswoman. that worker-consumer alliance continues even after the process of integration. you have african-americans coming down to buy lamps they don't need. they are taking lipstick from their counter and taking it to her so she can check it out. she becomes the number one sales person. that is something i think we forget when we think about movements. it doesn't stop once a person is integrated. it continues. when she leaves wt grant and moves on to address shop, -- a dress shop, all of her customers follow. you have men buying dresses for their wives.
these ideas of worker-consumer alliances are key to ensuring that it happens and maintains. you read the article. when you think about it, what were your thoughts? >> [indiscernible] what were your initial thought is that worker-consumer alliances? we have been going through a lot of changes on campus. when you start thinking about your own activism, what impact minute -- may it have had on you? >> [indiscernible] once you have managed to gain momentum in the labor market, now you are allowed to like to yourself [indiscernible]
with jobs that have higher wages, you have to spend that money, and to be limited in that, it doesn't make, doesn't allow you to actually have that freedom. it also like talks about in the there was ae correlation between the type of service you got and the amount of black workers that were there. the service you got was directly connected to the amount of black people that were actually providing the service. goodst kind of, it was a broadening of like that understanding of how black people really could leverage their economic power in the consumers fear in the workplace -- consumer sphere in the workplace. >> i think about what is interesting is what i immediately thought of was the
hm boycott with the image of the little boy in the t-shirt that said coolest monkey in the turn goal -- in the jungle. working-class people, not just black but white decided to put their money into other stores like primark or walmart because they felt the brand of the whole wasn't contributing to their cause. and even nike with their sports .e jobs -- sports hijabs i never thought about the black people or working-class people .hat weren't too affected my question would be how can we use that in a way that isn't just like, for a few months i but put moneyh&m back into black businesses? prof. parker: absolutely. >> i feel like it inspires as well because i remember from
that little girl she made a business. i forgot the t-shirt but it was circled around melanin and embracing that, and she skyrocketed. supporting celebrities -- she was supported by celebrities. [indiscernible] prof. parker: absolutely. we forget black reducing power is enormous in this country. this is what civil rights activists got at the time. century, we are talking a $1 billion or more industry, the money african-americans are spending. the american -- ability to make gains on the half of workers and consumers is critical. it is also a covert way of ating to make economic gains a moment in which the labor movement had virtually been dismantled. at a moment in which the idea
you were prolabor you were supposed to be a communist, that it challenges the very nature of american democracy. what is skillful, we are not talking about major leaders. king oravy hitters like malcolm x -- we are talking about ordinary people talking about the work of their economic strength. to make names for themselves as workers to see themselves making gains in the workplace that allow them to make more money and have more responsibility and allow them to look more respectful, these are clean jobs. time they are getting better treatment as consumers. yes? i had sort of a question about the risk of the workers under the union versus workers that weren't under the union had. prof. parker: we are talking about in department stores and
retail establishments, many are not a part of the union. there are a couple of sites, like macy's had a strong union during world war ii in new york. there was a fairly strong union at a department store in chicago called south center department store that was jewish owned but worked by african-americans. for the most part department store retail workers have not had a strong union. not aecially if you are waitress or sales worker, you are oftentimes neglected even if you are part of the union. we are also talking about once you get into the union, you have to contend with deep-seated racial divides that make it difficult oftentimes to create interventional -- interracial alliances. this does happen successfully in
many industries but it is a hurdle that has to become -- be overcome. >> [indiscernible] black dollarut the and the sit-in movement. why the switcher -- wondered why the switch wasn't to support black-owned businesses instead. i guess -- i understand it is about finding equal rights. that is not equal access entirely, but i feel like it is also not -- is an opportunity to give rise to black-owned businesses. that is something we've neglect even today. -- we neglect even today. prof. parker: part of that movement is instantly to buy at lisa's that are hiring black people in -- places that are by -- hiring black people. also to support black-owned businesses.
that is another part of it. that is not to say this doesn't go on in the mid-20th century. arguably the strongest movement to support black businesses happened during the later part of the 1960's, 1970's in northern urban centers. these are campaigns pushed by operational breadbasket and operation push by the black power movement. they try to push forward but businesses, but they are hard to stay in business. -- in thea number of early 20th century there are a couple of black department stores which they look like this -- they don't look like this. a -- it might have two floors. it looks like what they call a
dry goods store which all of you are like, i don't know what that is. it is very bare-bones, i will say that. the problem with keeping that open is you have to get loans from banks. right? oftentimes they have white retail associations targeting these to put them out of business. it is hard for black businesses to stay in business at all. if they make it a decade that is a success. it is an excellent question often, especially north carolina, how many black retail that could have been supported in this movement. >> [indiscernible] efforts.ion i was struck by how tenacious people were and how much they remain committed and took a lot of risk but when i tried, people were unwilling -- for good
reason. labor is different in this country. i am curious -- you are someone who wrote this. what would it look like now with globalization and outsourced labor? what are ways we can use this framework but making it up -- maybe applying it to a place where jobs are temporary and people aren't given jobs for decades? if someone was working at a department store, they could have this for a long time. it ist feel like something acceptable even if you have a degree or like a lot of education in this country. prof. parker: excellent question. what you read today was part of a larger project. in the epilogue, it took me a long time to figure what that would look like.
retail work is largely the work of minorities, women. class of women who are working class, and is also something that has been de- skilled. there is a desire to be in sales work now because it is still a skilled job. back when department stores were first found it, they would have working-class white women as the sales workers but the idea is you would teach them how to put on a middle-class facade, going back to respectability. they are taught french so they can speak french. it is all about the allure of shopping. try onto the store and something, she is like this is nice to you.
you are like, i don't know. sometimes -- they give you a nice cup of tea while you are shopping or champagne -- all of you are underaged, so hopefully not champagne. [laughter] so now it is a thing you should go visit like a bloomingdale's or neiman marcus or saks fifth and just go in experience it. even the ladies room. it is just a little different. but it makes you feel like you want it. what is lost is that. that feeling of retail, people don't go into stores anymore. there is a greater detachment from the worker and consumer. we buy virtually everything online. this is why every year stores
are struggling to get able to come in and purchase for christmas and thanksgiving. is part of the problem. with globalization we have to switch our mindset how we think about the worker, but what is key is to strengthen the bond between the consumer and worker again because the reason sitting campaigns could work is because the consumer could see itself as the worker and the worker asked the consumer because they are constantly -- they occupy both places. think it could still work given the switch of like racial demographics in the cities versus the country? i am from boston. neighborhood is being gentrified. the level of black people in the inner-city over the years has declined. how would this look if
working-class were on the outskirts? prof. parker: it is difficult. this is what happens with urbanization. all of you -- most of you go to the malls in downtown -- in suburbs, not downtown. boston is like chicago. there are spaces that have downtown shopping centers. for the most part people shop in the suburbs. when the push them out to the suburbs, businesses we articulated the fact that our primary customer is white middle-class women. by moving out to the suburbs, often buses and trains don't have access. they were able to be consolidated discrimination -- we consolidate -- they were able lidate discrimination.
they can have the all-white workforce and focus on white customers again. might lay outt similarly with downtown shopping centers. knowing how mass transit works at least in cities such as boston and chicago, it makes it difficult to physically exclude people. >> [indiscernible] and how racial interests were overriding economic [indiscernible] where whating now supremacy and determination is so much more hidden, whether like how it is kind of engineered into economics and whether that kind of solidarity
-- if you think it is possible to privilege the racial interests over the group [indiscernible] because we are getting more and more diversified? the question is what do you think. the folks who started these campaigns were your age. linkagenk there is a between white supremacy becoming more hidden and there being like token policies that make it harder almost to create movements like this because it makes it harder to see what the problem is. i would think of like -- i was reading something about how russia was campaigning for putin , like how america is like we never know what is happening because there is so much different propaganda that just doesn't correlate with one another, and we are confused. that is what is happening in the
u.s. oftentimes when it comes to racial and socioeconomic issues is there is so much information being thrown at you in this on governance of form -- this we don'tensive form know how to go around it. but is problematic because it comes with access to education and i mean, also having to put yourself in an inconvenient place to go and research that, or to have to like that.businesses i feel like in a way as we diversify more, as we make more progressive gains, it becomes more difficult to create such a movement. prof. parker: think about all the commercials. the colin kaepernick thing might
be an example. i was like, i am in love with that ad. and you are like -- as soon as i saw it, i will go by some 90's -- go buy some nikes. you saw nike got it. all the time. you felt like he wanted to support it, then it makes you wonder, how many black executives are there at nike? -- this isll support why advertising is like brilliant. [laughter] >> [indiscernible] advertisement where the brotherhood campaign and the [indiscernible] they did this thing -- oh my god. prof. parker: in the article, there is this brotherhood campaign where they had a black
hand and white hand shaking hands as if they are for integration and civil rights but they are practicing racial discrimination the whole time. whatever movements happened in the future, you have to start asking not only do you treat consumers well -- we do this with chick-fil-a, different -- h&m, different varieties of stores, but i think because of the way -- we no longer think of ourselves as workers. we all think of ourselves as consumers and understand we want certain service will ago someplace. you want to be waited on, no attitude, looked over. forget what the worker goes through. we are all workers. probably all low-wage workers. i don't think anyone is making six figures in this room. if you are, then we need to talk. >> [laughter]
prof. parker: yes. >> [indiscernible] the nra that they support, it is just like a lot of employees from nike donate a lot of money to republicans. prof. parker: oh. >> [indiscernible] have to cut her hair because it was too curly. when using in it was just like a just do it nike. there was a woman who was like having a back and forth and she was laughing but the employer was very serious. her, her care -- her hair was unkempt and she would have off.ke it all the company she worked for was nike. so. prof. parker: so the corporation
might have one policy, but makese local stores, that a difference. that also makes the difference. when it came down to trying to integrate retail institutions, one store might, but that doesn't mean the store in charlotte will. that because the one in charlotte integrated means the one in greensboro will. it is not under one national hub necessarily. policies of integration are not always uniform. >> i guess this was already answered that i know your original question has to do with craft coexisted. i noticed like a the paragraph you brought about the howard university students where some would like kind of like, they would go to the store when there was no picketing so other people would get mad at them. how common was that, and you
think people like that where they wanted to disassociate from their race as well as their class -- prof. parker: i don't know. i do know people like convenience. we are a convenient culture. everything has to be -- there is an example where one woman says, this my curtains from place. i have a charge card. that is why i am going. in don't work movements, people would press -- what cross the line. black women would pick them out for crossing the picket line. think it is more difficult to get everyone in a community to do the same thing all the time. there is going to be those who
maybe monday-- through friday, but they don't always follow or participate in the movement. this culture of social media that makes it really easy for us to shame each other, look at all the instances of white women calling the cops on black people for just existing and very quickly we have created movements where we identify those women, we have their faces all over social media. with that culture i think -- i don't know, it could help us in a way to create solidarity. prof. parker: i think how you use social media is part of the movement. so we talked about rosa parks boycott,ontgomery bus the woman sits up all night cranking out flyers.
around the creation of the movement you are sitting in the same room and creating community. is there something lost and gained in social media? with social media app there are regrets in that sometimes i think when you think of advocating any type of social justice movement it is not always accessible to everyone. it is like a luxury to be able to be an advocate, to get off your job and go and protest and do all of these things. the good thing about social media is it makes it more accessible and makes things that are hidden more recognizable. think there is lack of education how to properly use social media to really use it as a source, like an actual legitimate information source. i don't necessarily know if we
take that information or like what happens to that? you hear someone gets fired and you have no idea what the process, what movement made that when we get fired. was it us talking, or is there a behind-the-scenes movement that took this case on and did that? there is a disconnect. once you put everything out, it is great, but it is not organized. prof. parker: there is a level of transparency button non-transparency. you can't figure out what is going on. i think there is a lot to be said for people meeting face-to-face and forming real-time relationships at this point in time because without that, you really can't -- there is a lot of work i see people trying to do without meeting in person and it isn't the same. at the same time mass collins to government have been something the left has been doing that have been helpful.
few sometimes surprised how people take the calls in administration, for them to maybe change their policy, but it isn't reported. there was a thing in virginia where they were trying to let people not enter visitation of a prison because they weren't -- because they were wearing a tampon. if you hundred people called. i think -- a few hundred people called, less than 500 and they changed it. i think it is an interesting thing. think werelying -- i are such a social media app generation. we have to talk to each other and be bored for a little while and say stuff we don't want to hear for each other's -- i think there is a slowness and boring this -- boringness. this is such a centralized business, and so centralizing from being scattered is helpful.
the problem is all of our jobs are transient. you were just saying you have three months and then you are not here. movements will have to use social media. to bridge that i think. prof. parker: you are right. articulated [indiscernible] because not many people are aware of things. also someone might have an idea and you wouldn't have thought of that. last night there was like that whole riot from the baseball and then the thought of, ok, so all this certain demographic can go but a black worker of umass can't work without [indiscernible] some people aren't thinking about that, putting two and two together.
to make a comment, social media kind of gives you a platform to speak your opinions. if you are not a confrontational person, you can say whatever you want, no one will know who you are. prof. parker: isn't that a problemprof. parker:? >> yeah. >> if you think about it, algorithms they have for you will see other people's posts that align with yours, opinions. you will see that she will not see opposing -- you will not see opposing view is great are only speaking to your friends who are like you, so it is not giving your opinion to the other side which might be harder. prof. parker: that is interesting. the way it reinforces a particular community. >> right. prof. parker: someone to do a whole project about like --
>> [indiscernible] prof. parker: one day historians will get this. is toot be -- 2018 close. >> [indiscernible] incident that is continuing to happen and has been for the last two months. i think it took both social media app like actual group meeting -- groups meeting to elevate that. there were like screenshots of a person, chain mail type thing. in my classes i heard people talking about we want to walk, do this. all of a sudden -- it seems like all of a sudden, but there was actual real -- i don't want to say real work because i don't think spreading the word through social media shouldn't be considered that, but there were things that happened and had to take place for us to come together, then get another post
about meeting up without anyone knowing about it. prof. parker: that works. >> i thought that that was pretty cool. i identified in that instance with what you were writing about. we were able to organize silently, get to the goals, stick to them, and everybody was affected, but the message was productive. it takes two. prof. parker: i agree. >> i wanted to add off that it was a connection with the reading. i feel like the only difference is there needs to be consistency because back here [indiscernible] like you said it didn't just start in 1960. it started way back. if we want to see change today, or anything, there needs to be that type of consistency. not just march but what is the next thing? prof. parker: this is why i find the story of ms. davis
fascinating. not only does she become the first black saleswoman but then she becomes the number one, and then she has a huge following, and they follow her throughout her career. that is supporting a movement. it is beyond going, ok, we got her in office -- we got her a job, so we can stop picketing. the work is not done. it continues. >> [indiscernible] fact about social media, although it is powerful and has great potential, and that is why it gets targeted so much, i think one of the biggest problems is this global credibility that social media seems to be declining in. the fact you meet face-to-face, you can't deny what happens. ok, we just are looking at each other and -- actually you can't deny that but in social media
there are like, i don't know the full story. we are so scared of technology and always think it is working against us, so it is like, someone could have changed their words or the scene, someone cut this out, didn't do this in this area. to be know, just like able to take a conversation and cut it down to here, you get one side, it is not the full conversation. one side that is trying to really amp up the competition -- the conversation by not having the whole discourse, whatever sides that there were. there is a huge level of with socialdistrust media when is giving your accurate information. that can be solved by meeting as a group and having conversations. prof. parker: last week we had done the montgomery bus boycott. the fact everyone met at this
church, thousands came to talk about what happened to miss rosa parks and how to proceed and go forward. social media seems to be a way of spreading the work faster, -- the word faster. you tell me. i am not on social media often. there seems to be a lack of discourse. you are looking at me like "i don't know." i don't talk to anyone on social media. [laughter] i don't know. do you think there is an rescissions going on? -- conversations going on? >> trying to talk on social media, a lot of the time it is , butto voice your opinion i feel like a lot of people voice their opinion on social by people feel heard
interacting with their posts but just because they are being heard by a certain group of people doesn't mean they are enacting change. liked my comment about this, ok. but they are not actually heard by the people who need to hear it. like you can list your demands for something on social media and get a ton of likes, but that will not change anything. you can be consistent like physically showing up somewhere. i feel like that whole argument old is not enough, -- it is like an excuse to not talk about what actually happened in the video because like before video cameras and recording
word-of-mouth,e it changes every time you say it. when you have a video in front of your house -- your face, you can't deny what happened. you don't know what happened before the video, but -- also like with consistency, sometimes people say there isn't enough consistency with the movement. i don't think that is true because what we learned in history we learned about a thatin topic, and we have in our mind. has more consistency. now we are living through it, but we don't have a timeline of the event. what happened at the end of it. advocacy goingof
around. a lot of folks -- maybe our children's textbooks will put it up together for us. we will feel more proud. prof. parker: yeah. mary. >> [indiscernible] passiveness with social media. i've got a particular example. i will be scrolling through. i had a friend who made a post that he did for a while. i looked at the picture, didn't look at the caption. we were talking and he said, my coming out post. i was like, what? he was like, you liked it. i didn't know. i was like, that's strange. it was strange he made one so far after he actually came out and he was talking about there have been people who follow him on social media and friends and family that don't know he is out i guess.
so there is a disconnect. people who you immediately talk to know and what people on social media know. that disconnect, i don't know, if it is acknowledged. talking about consistency in like protests is, like with umass amherst specifically, when these racist events happen, there is a forum after. some sort of meeting then like nothing happens after that. from my knowledge of things there hasn't been like a consistent like resistance against these issues within umass. for example what i compared it to was last semester, howard university [indiscernible] their administration building,
demands,t of 15 disrupted administration, didn't let anyone into the building. umass needs to do something like that rather than having a forum. prof. parker: the onus usually is on the students. not that i am saying you should disrupt. >> [laughter] >> i think a lot of people at umass talk about it and do thecacy about it, but like administration won't recognize unless we disrupt their piece, you know? -- their peace, you know? >> [indiscernible] saying,f what she was they tried to like advocate for our students to like peacefully protest and [indiscernible] saying theshe was
only time things get done is when things get disruptive. everyone else -- i remember when i was a freshman, there was [indiscernible] happening in whitmore. the students actually had demands, but people were like getting arrested, people getting like gassed and things like that. at the end of the day they were able to get their demands filled. and it is like, it feels to me like to me [indiscernible] , this ising in and protest when it is working. but when we protest the university's rules, it is not something they want you to do. prof. parker: let's swing back to the mid-20th century. what are the demands of these protests? what is being demanded?
>> [indiscernible] being separated between blacks , and the protesters wanted equal treatment. i think there was that one point -- it seems like to me the people who ran the benefit didn't get the crux of the issue. they decided to agree upon giving the blacks like -- it is supposed to be separate but like a butter space -- better space. it is still like jim crow, still segregation. prof. parker: the d.c. protest they gave them instead of space at the lunch counter, they gave a small table they were supposed to be able to congregate and eat their food at. what they are asking for is equal access and better treatment. what they are asking for is to
be treated as first-class citizens, not as second-class. i always love this quote. so let me -- this woman gives this talk called bigger than a hamburger. the first part of her speech, she said the student leadership conference made it clear that trent sit-ins and other demonstrations are concerned with something much bigger than a hamburger or even a giant sized coke. what ever may be the difference in approach to their goal, the knee grow and white american students, north and south, are seeking to read america of the scourge of racial segregation and discrimination, not only at lunch counters but in every aspect of life. there is a misconception that it was simply about wanting to eat in the same space.
what we find especially through the stories of davis and some of the stories that involved terrell's committee is it is about being treated as first class citizens both in labor and as a consumer. to enter a place and be respected, to try on clothes, to return clothes, to be able to eat. once you stand in line, at one point in time, you came into a store and stood in line, it didn't matter whether you will -- you were first or they will wait on the white people around you, then they will get to you. it is the idea that you want to be recognized for your humanity. right? so before we go, i want to talk about the class aspect of it. what is going on with the formation of black class formation at this moment? what work to the sit-ins do for
that? >> [indiscernible] class in this moment because like access to this specific consumption, and you were mentioning this earlier, the idea of this image ofike black middle-class respectability, this, the access to the lunch counters to be seen in these spaces, having equal access to like consumption really kind of like solidified this like class status for black people at the time. prof. parker: absolutely. we see they are able to obtain some degree of middle-class status which is different -- i keep saying also mr. the thing black community class is structured differently from the white community. it is not based on income.
there are other aspects that class.e of the middle it is education, access to certain employment. even if you have a white-collar job that makes less than a blue-collar worker, you are considered part of the black middle class. mary, you had your hand up. >> [indiscernible] modern black middle-class. i think for one thing that in me reading, like that struck -- we talked about responsibility -- respectability, but there was one point where you had to dress a certain way to protest. it just -- like, i understand why in that societal norm, it seems so important but it also kind of hurts to have two -- it is the same idea of protesting under your oppressor's ideals. so like that bothers me. wondered how much like
that changed the way that protests were held, like the idea that you have to be presentable to protest. now people are like extremely dressedy the way people glass wise, baggy shorts, that kind of thing -- class wise, baggy shorts, that kind of thing. as historians we can't say if this happened, but i wonder how that could have changed things, if they were less like strong into the idea you have to be middle-class, have to look middle to upper class. prof. parker: i don't know. at this historical moment, the idea of wearing your sunday best be aed -- was supposed to sign that you are respectable and deserving of respect mostly. through the movement you seek
for the time -- you see by the time we get down to integrate in the south, to register voters, the attire changes. they start wearing more denim identify with the people they are trying to recruit to work. clothing does different work in different places, but for the sitting movement in the downtown space, the downtown space that you, youe this, mind got dressed to go shopping. just on a regular day you got >>?
is quite fluid. it is hard to say. i would say most are of working-class. that there is a desire to attain middle-class status. the idea that you can be treated with respect to the work and buy and consume of middle-class and be treated as a middle-class person in the consumer sphere. job allowsg a african-americans generally to obtain a modern middle-class status. ms. that modern is associated not just with industrial work, but with more white-collar work. >> i am curious what your thoughts are about how this sets
things up for exceptionalism. i canthinking about how definitely understand the need for people to access certain spaces, especially when they have more money. it just seems more obvious to me that it would set people up. if you can't where the perfume , see how nice things that is negotiated. not that this is part of the larger structure, but am curious about people rallying around this issue were around other issues or if this was like a focus thing. >> this is typically people rallying around this are rallying around other issues like education, voter , and they typically
have their hand in a variety of different issues. and is also important to note is -- americanidly consumerism is changing rapidly. you can buy at night he is at the dsw and nike's mec -- nike's at a dsw and at a macy's. is a vitamin discount or regular stores. even by the met specialist shops like the nike store in downtown chicago where you can order them off of amazon. there is a way in which goods are so mass-produced now you can purchase them just about anywhere. degree, thet, to a goods have been democratized. of allows for a wider group people to purchase goods that make them feel as though they are of the middle class. generation,, for my
it would have been buying expensive jeans. jeans, butould buy could you buy jordache? all of you are looking at me like what is jordache. equivalent of like baby fat. [laughter] [indiscernible] >> the idea is that not everybody can buy these. true religion, something like that. they go. idea that it is different now what marks the clothing. you can have certain label that marci levine of a certain class. the fact that you can get , but youores -- coors
could've bought it from the marshals or you could've bought it from bloomingdale. this is where things get a little more confident. -- complicated. it is so accessible now to gain materials that appear middle-class. does it shift that exclusiveness to it? >> i would argue that in the 20th century, it included more people. and also means that in addition to consuming certain goods, there's also a different education level. there are certain requirements are characteristics that make one of the black middle class.
is also about the time of work one has an typically depends on the kind of education one has. i feel like today people search for that exclusivity, especially when they are wearing certain things they definitely don't have the money to buy $800 shoes. they go through the trouble to get there. >> and that goes back to the issues of access. some of these issues going on with these department or retail store campaigns is that a lot of stores don't provide african-american credit. we are also at a moment where, if you are a woman, you can only get credit for a department store under your husband's name. what people are searching for or attempting to get is more freedom and liberation within
the consumer sphere. in a way, they can make claims to being an individual as well as a human. >> this is all reminded me of high school. this one girl was very preppy. she brought to target and had a meltdown. she was like "i can't believe this," all these people are going to have my brand. we asked her what do you mean? she just said, just like ratchet people. that don't really wear this. mouselike oh -- and i was lik e oh, rachet people.
i just felt like sharing. because it is like, what are you -- >> because there is status about the certain names. one of the shoes with the red bottoms? [indiscernible] >> no, not those. oh, thank you. [laughter] i stand corrected. and let's say this and i feel like i shouldn't because y'all love her so much. but nicki minaj and cardi b their clothing all the time. there is some status of their ability to buy those shoes. my heels have black of the bottom. you gain some sort of social status, there is something psychological behind it when you
are able to purchase and display these things on your person. >> first they had to fight to sit up counters, then they have it fight. to get people into management positions. of is am trying to think how hard it is to not get people of color followed in stores now. that still is not any means addressed on a nationwide level in any part of the country. you can be in the north, you could be in a place that is dominated by people of color who have money. guess i am thinking about how the consumer battleground is still strong. citizenship is like -- >> absolutely.
the more we talk about the civil rights movement, it is clear that gains are being made at the roles are constantly being shifted or circumvented in order to be consolidated race discrimination. that is what is tricky. to consumer sphere continues be a battleground for civil rights and someone. is through the means of following people around the store, these are all efforts to keep people of color in second-class citizenship or to .aintain white supremacy >> just looking at consumers now, looking at how class setup and middle-class setup is, like you were talking about, you talk about have the black middle
education,o do with your acceptability to white-collar jobs. yourkes me think about middle-class status now and makes you think about nicki minaj and cardi b, how it seems to now be more about the product , more so they about your other access to information. it is less so about education and your ability to have education, is really just about the product. the song is not red bottoms, plus harvard degrees. that, it isbout specifically about this symbolic red bottom. it's not even the middle-class commit puts you in a certain status. that gives you rights to all of, i of respectability
guess citizenship, in a way. you're getting services that others are not. >> there are still parts of the community that define middle-class status is having a college degree. we understand that having a college degree is characteristic of those in the middle-class. does not mean that they make more money than cardi b, but they get that respectable middle-class status in a way that, arguably, people have a hard time giving to cardi b. i'm not an expert on cardi b. i will see you on wednesday, so thank you for a good class. [applause]
>> you can watch lectures in history every weekend on american history tv. you inside college questions to learn about topics ranging from the american revolution to 9/11. p.m. andaturday at 8 midnight eastern on c-span3. sunday on american artifacts, we tour the battle of the little bighorn at the smithsonian national museum to see lakota headdress shields and drawings. here is a preview. >> this painting was made by a man named strike of the cattle, which is very unique. it is unique because of its size, 22 feet long, but the other thing is it does not represent one single event which
is usually what these paintings do. this of and that might be taking a woman'sither coming-of-age ceremony or another kind of ceremony. these events are what is known as a giveaway, and they interpret the scene in the upper right-hand corner is a giveaway. side, are one-to-3-4 tds. teepee's. and in the center are horses that are loaded down with trappings, and they are saying these are going to be gifts that are given away to tribal members. they also suggest that all of the symbols underneath the horses represent headdresses. and that these headdresses will be given to very prominent
members of the community. so what they say is going on here is not only to strike the cattle with painting a lakota way of life as it existed before the reservation, but that also he is resident -- representing everything that is important. he is representing the spirituality, he is representing the importance of kin relationships. he is representing the importance of generosity as a cultural value. >> watch the entire tour of the battle of little gain -- big horn gallery. sunday, on american artifacts. dear lafond -- lafonte was an