Don Carleton speaks with Daina Berry, chair of the Department of History at UT Austin. Her research and teaching—which focuses on the history of the enslaved—has utilized many of the Briscoe Center’s collections, in particular the Natchez Trace Collection, a which documents life in the Lower Mississippi River Valley from the 1760s to the 1920s. Dr. Berry was also the chief consultant for Teaching Texas Slavery, an educational K-12 resource that launched in 2019 and features items from the center’s collections.
This episode of American Rhapsody was mixed and mastered by Morgan Honaker.
- Daina Ramey BerryProfessor and Chair of the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin
- Don CarletonFounding Director of The University of Texas at Austin's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
[0:00:06 Speaker 0] This is American Rhapsody, a podcast of the Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Each episode we interview those who witnessed American history first and who have since donated their archives to the Briscoe Center. We also talked to historians, journalists and others who research in those collections. We’re all asking the same question. What actually happened for a period of time in the late 19 eighties, when the Barker Texas History Center had not yet been merged into what is now the Dolph Briscoe Center? Renowned historian John Hope Franklin was a frequent visitor to the reading room as he researched his book Runaway Slaves. Rebels on the Plantation. Dr. Franklin and I became lunch partners during this time, and he was one of a handful of people who convinced me of the need to broaden the centers profile and bring more attention to our invaluable Southern. His beholding, which include the fame Natchez Trace Collection, A documents life in the lower Mississippi Valley from the 17 nineties through the 19 twenties, Dr Franklin’s friendly critique of the center was that our focus needed to better reflect our total collections. In other words, we needed to acknowledge that we were not simply collecting, preserving and making available the history of Texas or the South. But we were, instead of massing the raw materials needed for telling a much broader story, a national history. Indeed, Dr Franklin’s own work, while certainly rooted in the South and in the black periods, was also a national story. He was right about the center’s mission, and I’ve spent over 30 years trying to heed his advice. Today, I’m delighted to say that the centers collections are used much more than they were 30 years ago by scholars across America who now tell a much wider history of our nation. Today. Historians doom or broadly, what Franklin’s were did in particular, as he once wrote, to confront our past and see it for what it is. A past that is filled with some of the ugliest possible examples of racial brutality and degradation and human history. Unquote, to quote Dr Franklin again, we need to recognize it for what it waas and is and not explain it away. Excuse it or justify it. Having done that, we should then make a good faith effort to turn our history around unquote. The Teaching Texas Slavery Project is an outstanding example of this type of work, and it follows in the footsteps of Dr Franklin by utilizing the Briscoe Center’s archives in New and Exciting Ways, a project of UT Austin Center for Innovation and Race Teaching and Curriculum teaching. Texas Slavery was launched in the fall of 2019 here at the Briscoe Center. It provides K through 12 teachers with first class Online. Resource is related to slavery in Texas a difficult topic but one vital to understanding the state and the nation’s past. Dr. Donna Berry was the project’s lead researcher. Dr. Berry, who earned her doctorate from U. C. L. A, is a nationally recognized scholar whose work has won a number of prestigious awards. She holds the Oliver H. Radke Regions Professorship of History and was recently named the chair of the Department of History here at UT Austin. She’s also the associate dean of the university’s graduate school, where she leads a campus wide initiative to transform funding student outcomes and career pathways. In addition to her work on the Teaching Texas Slavery Project, Dr Barry is the author of six books, including the much praised the price for their pound of flesh, the value of the enslaved from womb to the grave and the building of a nation. Published by Beacon Press in 2017, she recently completed a Black Women’s History of the United States, also for Beacon Press, with Professor Caylee Nicole Gross of Rutgers University. Donna, Welcome to American Rhapsody. You know, when people think of Texas history, you know, they think of the Texas Revolution, the Alamo Cowboys, you know, oil. But you know that Texas was really one of the most significant, really important slave states in the mid 19th century is really often for gotten are probably better worded, obscured on purpose. Your project teaching Texas slavery really counters that traditional narrative. Let’s start out by you telling us about this program. It’s innovative and its goals and and how it works. And I’m talking about teaching Texas slavery. First of all, thank you so much for having me. It’s my pleasure to be here, and I’m looking forward to our conversation today. Teaching Texas slavery is a collaboration between the College of Education, the Department of History and doctors. Kathlyn Anthony Browne’s new center, the Center for innovation and race teaching in curriculum. We also worked with humanity’s Texas, the Texas General Land Office, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Briscoe Center in my other new project, the Texas Domestic Slave Trade Project, which was the foundation for the research used on the teaching Texas slavery website records and research from the Briscoe Center. That I’ve been working with a team of scholars for the last five years, and we’ve been working together to try to understand how enslaved people came to Texas, how they moved about the state and how the experience slavery here in the state of Texas and teaching Texas slavery. We received grant funding from the Spencer Foundation and from humanity’s Texas toe work with doctors Kathlyn and Anthony Brown and their center on campus that deals with teaching race, curriculum and instruction. And so what we do is we actually compiled the documents we wrote on the website. You can see the narrative stories of Texas in Texas slavery based on records here at the Briscoe Center, and then we did a series of workshops and have been doing a series of workshops for the last year and a half with teachers K through 12. Educators that wanna learn about waste incorporate these records in teaching Texas history and U. S. History. Well, you have a national reputation. Is a scholar in your field? Was there anything in doing this work for teaching Texas slavery? You gonna cover reading it surprised you, or it’s more important than than maybe something that you thought before. I mean, any surprises in this project, or is it pretty much what you expected? Oh, actually, I think there’s daily surprises primarily because the research is ongoing and what we found was the richness of the Briscoe Center collections. This individual documents. Every time we went to the archives and did research, we would discover new people, new stories that we wanted to find ways to incorporate in people’s classrooms. These air stories that have have maybe been in archive box on a shelf, and we felt like we wanted to do something to bring them to life. So we have documents on our website that show different aspect of enslaved people’s experiences, some recording their births and some recording their death, some recording their daily activities on plantations day to day. What they did, from sunup to sundown and others just. Their overall experience is based on records from there in slavers, but also from themselves through the narratives collection that the Briscoe Center has that also contains photographs of enslaved people. Oh, Donna is you know, the center has worked very hard to collect archival and manuscript materials documenting the history of American slavery. For example, we acquired the Natchez Trace Collection in the 1985 which is a massive archive of records, publications and personal papers full of items really useful for research about the enslaved as well as the institution of slavery in the old matches district in Mississippi and Louisiana. In addition, back in the 19 thirties, Askew? Probably no Barnes Lathrop, who was a member of the faculty in the U. T. History department, you support from the Littlefield Fund for Southern History to travel throughout the South to collect materials documenting the antebellum era. His effort brought to the center three archives of the Pew Plantation in Louisiana and the massive plantation in Virginia, among other collections. And of course, you know our resources include a very wide range of material documenting the enslaved in Texas the most recent being the car gall, or cargo papers, which documented plantation up in northeastern Texas, which, of course, was a center of for slavery in the state. Over the years, we’ve had numerous scholars from around the United States and Europe come to the center really to make use of these valuable resources, including scholars such as Kenneth Stamp, Eric Phoner and, of course, the great John Hope Franklin. But I had long been eager for more of our own faculty and students to make use of our holdings in this field of study. So, Donna, your rival at university, was a great event for us. As a result, we’ve been very happy to see you and your students become frequent visitors to the center. We consider your efforts in your work is being an important part of what we’re here for. You came here to the University of Texas from Michigan State. I think it was about 10 years ago. Wasn’t it s okay, who’s who’s counting, right s Oh, my understanding is that the archival resource is available at the Briscoe Center. May have played, you know, part of your motivation for coming is that correct? I’m. Is that correct? Absolutely, Absolutely. It was one of the biggest pull factors to have me consider this particular job, because I have been always doing Southern history, always during the history of slavery. But I was working at a school in Michigan and my resource is, and research was really sort of founded in the South. It’s held its foundations in the South. And to be able to come to a university from my perspective and become and use a collection and on archive, as the Briscoe Center contains all the collections on the particularly the Natchez Trace Collection was really what was what drew me here to be able to be at a university where that was in my, as I used to say in my own backyard, I knew that I could see a long career at UT Austin. I knew that I could I could see the different dissertation projects that students could work on. I could see the articles in the books that I could write based on records in this collection and these in in the larger collections of the Briscoe Center so I could see a much longer trajectory for my career. and I knew that it would be useful for someone who was trained in the West. In California, I went to U C L. A. And my research was in Southern plantations in Georgia. I was constantly flying back and forth and on a graduate student budget. At the time, it was difficult. So when I envisioned with life would be like for my graduate students. I thought, How great would it be even if they didn’t just study Texas? But at least in a comparative sense, look at the history of slavery in Texas and other regions and other states and other locales that they would have a treasure trove of documents right in their own backyards. Well, that’s the reason why we do our work. And that’s why I’m so grateful to have you on on board. Donna, you know, you also, of course, teach. And could you give our listeners a bit? Tell us a little bit about your teaching and the class you teach to here at the Briscoe Center? Absolutely. I’ve taught a few classes I teach. I’ve taught both graduate and undergraduate research courses and research methods courses at the Briscoe Center, one on the Texas domestic slave trade or just a general, of course, in the domestic slave trade. I’ve also taught courses on gender and slavery or gender slavery in the economy, a variety of different versions of slavery courses that have taught. I actually teach my courses in the Hatfield seminar room, and it’s a wonderful space. It’s beautiful, and what I like about is that the students are physically in the archives, and then we have documents that we look at during class. We analyze them, we put them up on the screen and use the document camera, and then we’ll also sometimes break off and do research. And that’s a really wonderful sort of hands on experience for students to be in archive toe. Learn about how you interact at an archive, how you research a source, the process of actually going to the archives. And I have to say that the late David Gracie was always so gracious in coming to the class, even at the Briscoe Center and teaching our students about archives and about the archival experience, which was something that he was known for, and it was very helpful for them to have an expert explain to them the importance of archival research and how to do it properly. Well, I’m glad you mentioned David Gracie. David Gracie was a colleague of mine for about 45 years, I guess. And he just as you obviously know, recently passed away that we really it’s a loss. But he made so many great contributions to to the university and to the cause of history. I’m glad you mentioned him. So, you know, your students have been just great, the students who have sent to us and have been worked in the collections. And so I mean a good example is Maria Hammock. You want to say something about some of those students and some of the projects they did? Absolutely. We have a great partnership with the history department. I think Dr Jackie Jones and you worked out a graduate fellowship. So a lot of the students have had fellowships at the Briscoe Center to do their research year or the year before. They’re graduating at the Briscoe Center and physically spend time there during the year as a fellow. And that’s been a wonderful opportunity for them. For students like Maria Hammock, who’s doing a project on enslaved people who ran away not north but south to Mexico. And she’s found a number of documents relevant to her research at the Briscoe Center and was able to document the experience and the travel. Um, that enslaved people made and went through to escape, to claim their freedom, as we call them, self liberated individuals, as opposed to looking at them as fugitives. So she looks at self liberated individuals that went to Mexico. Another student of mine, Ron Davis, is doing a study of enslaved cowboys or enslaved men that worked on ranches and did cattle runs 200 plus miles across the state of Texas. And a number of his re sources are at the Briscoe Center. Another student who’s now a professor at Michigan State Nicaea Parker, who I know you are familiar with. Her research was on Native Americans who owned enslaved people, and she did a year of research at the Briscoe Center as well. And finally, another recent grad doctor signee. For me, I was doing work on women and slavery and infanticide and all of those students of mine, and that’s just a few, just to name a few have benefited from the collections of the Briscoe Center. Well, that’s just that’s a such a diverse, wide variety of subjects. I mean, you know, angles and in ways of looking at things and off course, that’s a real tribute to you, the that these students have really taken on some subjects that I don’t think anyone’s really thought about them much before. And that’s that’s really a path breaking. Now just go to your own work for a minute. Here, when we talk about path breaking, you’re highly praised. Book is what I’m referring to. And that’s the price of their pound of flesh, the value of the enslaved from the womb to the grave and the building of a nation, and that was published by Beacon Press in 2017 and the book Aziz, You well know, since you wrote it. But I’ll tell our listeners, is the first exploring the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives in the early American domestic slave trade. You know, not only is this book absolutely outstanding work of scholarship, you know, one of the things that appeals to May was it’s a fantastic example of the imaginative use of primary sources. I long taught a methods and sources seminar to graduate students in the history department, and if I was still teaching that seminar today, that that book donna would be required, reading a great example of what you could do with primary sources so elaborate a little bit about the theme of that book and the conclusions you reached after you completed your research. Sure, so the book took 10 years of research long time because I was looking at how enslaved people were priced and how they were valued from before they were born. And what I learned later, after they passed on on what I mean by that is that we have records. We have lots of collections and some of them at the Briscoe Center that look at the ways in which enslave women were valued based on their future fecundity or their future ability to give birth to Children and whether not those Children were healthy. And they survived because infant mortality during slavery was quite high and it was rare for someone to make it to age five a child to make it to age five because the death rates will. So infant mortality rates were so high. So I found that women were priced. And when we look at plantation records and we found lots of documents that had enslaved people valued at the beginning of the year and then valued again at the end of the year, they would track how their values increased. And I found that their values increased over time as they age, so there was a direct correlation to their age. But once women past their childbearing years of the early twenties, their values, their monetary values in the market or their praise values in the plantation records often started to decline. And men we saw ages decline around the early thirties. But what I also learned was that even after they passed away, oftentimes particularly those that committed a crime quote unquote or allegedly committed a crime and they were going to be executed by state, various states, state governments decided toe execute them because of the crime that the enslave er’s or the former enslave er’s within compensated for the value of the enslaved person. And I call those ghosts values because there was a price tag on their bodies after they passed on yes, and that that’s the part that took. I did another three years of research because I was just trying to figure out why they would be selling cadavers and what they do with them. And I learned, and I wrote about in Chapter six that these bodies within sold to many of the major medical schools in the United States for anatomical research. When I was in graduate school, my mentors explained to me that, you know, there was almost impossible to African American history because there were no sources. And I know that’s not you would not be surprised to hear that, because that was a widespread thought. It’s totally incorrect, of course, and one of the things that I dedicated myself to when I was teaching my graduate that’s is and sources seminar was really the importance of public records. You’ve touched on that a little bit that you know everything from probate records, just criminal justice system records and so forth that contain these nuggets of information that you have so imaginatively and skillfully woven together, give you an example. This isn’t a public record. Well, it is sort of a public record, but It’s not the record of the government on It’s a runaway slave ad, and I just want to read this because it give our listeners who many of them are not historians. An example of what I mean by when I was teaching my class, I would refer to these things is bits and pieces, you know, you know how that works and you find these bits and pieces. So here’s a It’s a little bit more than a bit in peace. But you know, this is a runaway slave. Add that you found in our collection. I believe. I hope I’m not wrong there. And it’s dated 18 24 on advertisement announcing that have slaved run away and we call them Runaway Slave Ads. And it says, $50 reward. A Negro man named Andrew. 22 years of age well made, not vory dark about 5 ft 10 or 11 inches high. Ah, scar on the back of his neck, occasioned by a burn he sometimes stammers a little when spoke to it is believed the above named Negro has been enticed by some white men. The above reward will be given for the apprehension of the thief and Negro are just $20 for the Negro alone delivered to me at the Walnut Hills are secured in any jail so I can get him again. Oh, so rich, so rich. And that’s a perfect example of the kind of things that you know, As I said, my mentors who were find people in many ways, but they just and they were products of their time. But they just didn’t think very deeply about how you can uncover this information. And this is a good example of the documentation that was out there hiding in plain side, so to speak. I just wanted to add, like, what would I do with something like that and add like that and how I would utilize that or how I would teach my students? I would tell them to pay attention to every word in every description in the ad, and even something that’s is short is a small paragraph, maybe 200 words. I don’t I don’t even know, but very, very small word count kids. That’s a lot of information about Andrew, this enslaved man, E. I mean, we know his age. We know his height. We know a little bit about his personality about the time period. We have locations, you know, Walnut Hill. There’s there’s certain clues in there that we could do more research on using other types of documents and records like we could use maps to find out where he might have ran or what neighborhood he was living near. We can learn about. Maybe if there’s a jail, we know what jail he went to. We could find out about that site, and and there’s just a lot of other little as you say, nuggets just from a runaway slave advertisement. And those were. Now, if you look at any 19th Century newspaper, most 19th century newspapers have advertisements like these. Oh, absolutely, And it’s like you say it’s really linking these things all together to make a whole We need to just do a beautiful job is that you know, one of the concepts Donna that shows up in your work. And indeed, in the teaching Texas Lavery resource is the is the term social construction of race. Can you tell us on our listeners, Maura, about that concept, how it influences your your approach to primary sources? Absolutely. That’s a very common concept and no doctors carefully. And Anthony Brown, When we do our teacher workshops, they really spend time explaining different concepts on how we can approach history. We know that race was socially constructed, and that means through social interactions and the way in which people have identified the way they want to talk about race. And there’s a number of scholars that right about this we include those on our website so that people could understand that. What does it mean? If race is socially constructed? It’s It tells us a lot more about the way in which we think about black people. We think about other people of color and that there are certain stereotypes that come along with the ways in which we think about certain groups of people. But when we look at our DNA or we look at our blood, there’s no special blood type for one group, as others, there may be some that’s more common. But for the most part, when we, when we talk about race, were often overlooking all the weight of everything that comes along with assumptions that are made about race, right, right. If there any particular sources. They’re especially good for doing research on this particular idea of the social construction of race and determining that we include a book called Racial Formation in the U. S. Bio Me and Wynette, W I. N A. N. T. Is published in 2015. That’s one of the books that we recommend that we think is a great use. There’s also historical studies that deal with race that deal with the more binary of black and white races, and that’s something that we are. We’re trying to move beyond that construction, but we know that George Fredrickson and me Obey both. Wrote two books one The Black Image in the White Mind, the other one, The white image in the Black Mine. Very interesting to contrast there. They were published generations apart, generations of scholars. But it talks about the way in which people viewed black people and people viewed white people from different perspectives. And that’s one of the things that we teach when we talk about how to understand and teach race and slavery, is that thinking about things from multiple perspectives and understanding what it means to experience forms of racism and how racial subjectivity would come into play in the ways in which people might make assumptions about various groups of people. You also talk about another type of value as well. And that’s your concept of soul value. Yes, I’m actually finishing an article on it for slavery and abolition on soul value. Soul values was something that I brought up in price for the pound of flesh, where I was trying to explain that there were different ways in which enslaved people were valued. And I mentioned earlier the market value of the sale price. The appraisal, because in slavers had to put a value on their state inventories for tax purposes. I also mentioned earlier about ghost values where enslaved people’s bodies or their cadavers were also priced. Soul values are what I call ah value. That was an internal value that enslaved people had for themselves. It was a value that nobody else could commode. If I had an infinite weight that nobody else could, it was something that nobody else could touch. It was a space within themselves that they could turn to, and I argued that they use their the value of themselves, which was greater than any other value placed on their body. They used the value of themselves to survive the institution of slavery for those that had that internal strength, and sometimes it was connected to, ah, spiritually or religious being. Sometimes it was connected to a god or an ancestor, and sometimes it wasn’t. It was just a place inside themselves that was deep in the for their soul that they could turn to to allow themselves to think about life outside of slavery or beyond slavery. I’m exploring a number of other narratives and sources were enslaved. People are expressing their values from themselves. And it was a concept that I just mentioned in passing, and I felt that it was something there was something there, but I needed. I needed more time to explore, so I just kind of introduced it in the price for the pound of flesh, and it really seemed to have it seemed to resonate with a lot of readers. Well, I can understand why. I mean, that’s a fascinating approach. It really is. I mean, do you think that so value has, uh, meaning Today in the age of black lives matter. I absolutely do. I think it’s it’s not taking how other people value a person or how other people value you. And allowing that value to dictate how you feel about yourself and sole value is a way to claim your own self and to be proud of who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you came from, but toe value yourself beyond the ways in which people might not value. U. I think black lives matter is evidence of soul value in its own way, whether they were connected or not. I’m saying that I think there’s a connection to that and that people are saying that black people’s lives and bodies and souls matter just as much as any other group of people. Absolutely that Z that’s excellent. Ben, do you have you want to jump in here now? Oh, I could ask questions all day and we’d be here all day. I’m very much. Here’s your opportunity. You don’t have all day, but here’s your opportunity. One of the questions, Um, obviously this is an inspiring and meaningful work, but obviously it must be grueling. And it must be, um, you know, at times disheartening. How do you approach these kind of subjects and this kind of archival research from a self care perspective, that’s a great question. And I literally have just started getting that question in speaking about the book. I think when people read it, they see that the pain of people’s lives, that air that I share in there, they see the struggle. And sometimes I’ve been told that it’s been hard to read the book from cover to cover that you have to sort of read it in small doses. But for me, I went through lots of ups and downs while I was writing it, and I really look back on that moment. In the last couple of years of writing. Well, I do believe I was sort of in a cave and you couldn’t even ask. My students will tell you I was remember in 2015. I was teaching a class, and I was writing. I write when I write, I write every day and I write every day in the morning from 4 a.m. to 7 a.m. When most of the world is asleep and quiet, and I was in a space where I needed to stay in that space, and I needed to stay quiet, and it was difficult for me to come out of what I call a writing cave and to interact with other people. I had trouble sometimes doing social events. Not that I’m not a social person at all, but I just wasn’t necessarily in the mood. Or if I had been writing about ah, husband and wife who were separated in the auction, I was still thinking about them. Or I had just written about a son and a mother being separated and the child hearing the mother crying for miles and miles until he couldn’t hear her cry or anymore. So then I go to dinner at a friend’s house and I didn’t really feel like talking. So the self care I had to actually move into, I use exercises. One form of self care working out is great. Stretching, yoga, meditation. I started taking a meditation class weekly, which I had never been ableto sit quiet enough to do that. I could do that in my writing, but I had never done it where I could just go sit and be in a class or be by myself and meditate. So those were things, and then I did need to do also sort of mindless activities. So comedy watching comedy on TV or comedy shows or going to a comedy show these air all you know, activities that worked for me just to put some levity into my day. Those were some of my coping mechanisms, but other times I felt driven to continue to investigate a person or study a person or tell their story because I felt like this person has never been talked about in history and never been thought about. And what can I do to write their story and tell their story? So I felt like there was I had a sense of obligation for some of the stories in the book, and I did everything I could to try toe, allow their voices and bring them to the front of the page so that the readers would would have that experience to know that person. You know, it’s an interesting thing because so much of history is extreme, isn’t is really an extremely unhappy and even horrifying story. That’s a good example of historians not having a particularly good experience. Uh, diving into something like that, either. If you think deeply enough and and care enough about things, it’s not an easy thing to do. That’s a very well stated thing that you may sit there. And also that’s just from a practical standpoint, I agree with you about the 4 to 7 thing. That’s what I do as well. Yes, Oh, it’s the best writing time. I tell everybody, If you’re not a morning person, that may not work, you have to go to bed early. But if you get into that groove of writing at that time, when I usually do like five or six weeks cycles of that and then I come off for, like a week and then I go back on it. So I’m just coming out of that. I was in it for the last month, and I’m gonna start it up again because I’m working on another book. So that’s what works for me and for those that try it. Some people are nighttime writers. When I was a graduate student, I wrote from 11 PM to 3 a.m. me to e was always a night person, and I didn’t think I could ever be a morning person, and then I just did it. And of course, aging has something to do with that. But yeah, I know it z much more productive. And I write every day at seven days a week to you know, I wonder, Dr Carlton, if we need Thio, change the hours of the Briscoe Center to accommodate graduate students and their professors, maybe Seems like 11 PM to seven. Am should be our new hours. Well, I do know that it thrills you and the rest of my staff to be getting emails at 4. 30 in the morning. Yeah, People always comment on that. On my email times, I said, Don’t judge me on my email times. I assure them all. I’m not expecting an answer, you know, at that time of the year. So, you know, one of things I wanted to share with you. You may already know this story, but Donna, but I think it would be good for us to get it down. Our podcast project here. When John Hope Franklin was here working on his fugitive slave book, I got toe. He was here quite a while, and I got to know him, and we had a regular lunch together and run errands for him. He didn’t have a car when he was doing this. Researcher. We go the post office and so forth, and I just found him to be an amazingly wonderful human being. And e remember we were having lunch one time he had just plowed through. I think it was the pew or the Massey Plantation Records on, and we were talking and he said, You know, do you mind if I give you a recommendation? So of course, E would not mind. Said, Well, you know the name of the of your places, the Barker, Texas History Center. And he said, I think that’s misnamed, and I think you need to do something about that. Eso Really? Hey said yes, he said, You know what, he said. You have a fabulous archive on Southern history, and I have whole generations of students. I never sent down here because of the name of your center, and I really thought about that a while. We talk more about it, but that was literally the moment that moved us toward creating the Center for American History, which we later of course, received an endowment and named it for Governor Dolph Briscoe, Briscoe Center. But it was literally that moment where the concept of the Center for American History was created and John Hope Franklin was the father. I did not know that that’s almost like, ah, prophetic vision of his, because I know now the Briscoe Center is a place that people come from from all over the country. You have that external fellowship where scholars that live outside of certain mile radius can come in and do research. And as I mentioned for me, coming to you t. Was. This was a big decision, the Briscoe Center in the collections here. And let me tell you how I knew about the collections. I knew about it because my dissertation adviser, Dr Brenda Stevenson, had been on activity here for a few years while she was in her dissertation from Yale University. And she used the collection for her work, And that’s how I heard and knew about the collection when I was a graduate. That’s very interesting. One other point. I have a John Hope Franklin story as well. I’ve actually used the video that you all have on the website so good. I talked about you mean the Militant South lecture? I believe we have it in our digital media repository online. Yes, that’s exactly the lecture. And I actually show that in class, and it’s great because the students can see Dr Franklin talking and giving that lecture on campus. But he, um, I met him not to. Maybe about a few years before he passed away, and he taught my husband’s father and undergrad and remembered him. And the thing to me is you could imagine someone like John Hope Franklin. He’s probably thought maybe you know more than 5 to 10,000 students. Yeah, and when he when he met us, we met him at an event and he said, I know that name and I taught your father and it was just like, How could this man who’s been in the profession for so many years and taught so many students remember the name of one student that he had in his undergraduate classroom? I thought that was pretty fast. That’s that is amazing. You know, one of the things that struck me, and like I said, we had a lot of lunches together everything. He was such a great company. And he was He was a broad gauged man. He was interested in everything. I mean, you know, sometimes let’s face it, in our profession, people get a little narrow sometimes in there and one of things that stand out. My memory of we went out someplace to get something Thio and he was talking about the cost of a car or something that he thought was outraged anyway. But he would refer to money as Somalis. He was, Yeah, e don’t know where this came from, but he would say, You know, man, he said, Those cars out there, there’s a lot of Somalia’s you out. You have to buy one of those U s. So it was just a little tidbit there, Donna. I just can’t thank you enough for taking time away from what I know is an incredibly busy schedule that you have now that you’re the chair of the history department. Good luck on that. I also appreciate really very much all the work you’ve done and you’re teaching research at the Briscoe Center and have ah good rest of semester in these crazy times. But thanks thanks very much for joining us. Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure. Briscoe Center preserves the raw materials in the past. Photograph, letters and diaries, measure books and much more. Today’s episode was made possible by the Natchez Trace Collection in the Bihar archives. The Briscoe’s Centers collections include many other Resource is for studying African American history. The center is collected these materials to educate all of us not only about our nation’s shameful record of racial injustice and oppression, but also the highlight the significant contributions that black Americans have made to our nation. Examples include the Texas Works Projects, his administration’s archive of slave narratives, which includes the recollections of formerly enslaved individuals recorded in the 19 thirties and 19 forties. The Hope Plantation Records and those of numerous other East Texas plantations. The Ah Metris during papers, which document racial segregation and integration at the University of Texas at Austin. And the papers of civil rights leader Dr James Farmer, who was a longtime leader of the Congress of Racial Equality, or core, as it was, better known. Photographic archives include those of Flip Schulke, who is Dr Martin Luther King’s personal photographer, as well as many other photographers who documented black life and the civil rights movement, including R. C. Hickman, Calvin Littlejohn, Spider Martin, Charles Moore and Stephen Shames. These collections air among thousands of others at the center. People across America have entrusted this evidence to us, and it is used by people from across America. In addition to inspiring their work, it inspires our own books, documentaries, exhibits, online repositories and digital humanities projects by collecting, preserving and making available these materials way help Keep the debates and arguments about who we Americans are rooted in evidence way Keep the American rhapsody going