MetroFocus: September 17, 2020

News headlines often depict the alt-right as a bastion of angry white men, but is it? After the election of President Donald Trump, women headlined a resistance to the administration’s alleged bigotry and sexism, most notably at Women’s Marches. But why were some joining a movement espousing racism and anti-feminism? In the new book, “Sisters In Hate” journalist Seyward Darby sheds light on the new face of the alt-right with an eye-opening account of three women immersed in the white nationalist movement.

Amid the ongoing national reckoning over racial injustice, there has been a push to better understand our country’s complicated history on race. Historians have had these conversations for years – and their work has taken on renewed importance after George Floyd’s death. One initiative currently re-examining our past is the “We Are Sacred” or #sacredtothememory project. Its mission: to help further identify men and women who survived slavery and had their portraits taken nearly a century ago. Their photographs are now posted online and accompanied by a simple question: do you know these men and women? Project creator Sandra Arnold discusses the importance of understanding this often untold history.

TRANSCRIPT

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

FUNDING FOR 'CHASING THE DREAM' IS PROVIDED BY THE JPB FOUNDATION.

ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR 'CHASING THE DREAM' IS PROVIDED BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III.

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS,' I'M JACK FORD.

OVER THE PAST SEVERAL YEARS THE UNITED STATES HAS SEEN A TROUBLING RESURGENCE OF WHITE SUPREMACIST HATE GROUPS.

THE SOUTHERN POVERTY LAW CENTER HAS ESTIMATED SINCE 2017 THERE'S BEEN SOMETHING LIKE 55% INCREASE OF THESE WHITE NATIONALIST GROUPS.

SO ARE SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT HAVE BEEN DRIVING THIS RESURGENCE?

ACCORDING TO OUR NEXT GUEST, ONE OF THE ANSWERS MIGHT BE SURPRISING TO YOU, AND THAT IS WOMEN.

JOURNALIST DARBY HAS BEEN INVESTIGATING THE WHITE NATIONALIST MOVEMENT FOR YEARS.

NOW SHE'S WRITTEN A NEW BOOK IN WHICH SHE CHRONICLES THE ROLE THAT WOMEN PLAY IN THE MODERN WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT AND TRIES TO GET TO THE ROOT OF WHY THEY'RE ATTRACTED AND HOW THEY FIT INTO THIS WHOLE SYSTEM.

THE BOOK IS CALLED 'SISTERS IN HATE: AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF WHITE NATIONALISM.'

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO WELCOME YOU TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HAVING ME.

IT'S A FASCINATING BOOK.

IT IS EXTRAORDINARILY THOUGHT PROVOKING AND TROUBLING IN SO MANY WAYS.

I'M ALWAYS INTERESTED FOR WRITERS AND FILM PRODUCERS TO FIND OUT WHAT DREW THEM TO THE STORY.

IF YOU LOOK AT THE INTRODUCTION, YOU TALK ABOUT A COUPLE OF CASES THAT WERE STRIKING AND SHOCKING.

WHAT IS IT THAT DREW YOU TO THIS QUESTION OF WOMEN IN THESE MOVEMENTS?

ABSOLUTELY.

I THINK FROM A PERSONAL STANDPOINT I GREW UP IN THE SOUTH.

MY FAMILY HAS BEEN IN THE SOUTH FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

SO RACISM AND EXTREMISM ARE FAMILIAR TO YOU JUST IN TERMS OF IT'S SOMETHING THAT I GREW UP HEARING ABOUT.

IN THE IMMEDIATE AFTERMATH OF THE 2016 ELECTION I, LIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE, WAS TRYING TO PIECE TOGETHER IN MY HEAD WHAT HAPPENED, WHY IT HAPPENED, AND IN THE COVERAGE OF THE SO-CALLED ALT RIGHT WHICH WAS REALLY GAINING STEAM AT THE TIME, THE MAINSTREAM MEDIA WAS COVERING IT PRETTY HEAVILY, I NEVER HEARD WOMEN QUOTED.

I NEVER HEARD WOMEN DESCRIBED.

I ONLY HEARD THE ALT RIGHT DESCRIBED AS A BUNCH OF ANGRY WHITE MEN.

THAT STRUCK ME AS PROBABLY AT LEAST A REDUCED VERSION OF THE TRUTH.

AND SO I WENT LOOKING FOR THE WOMEN, AND I FOUND THEM AND FOUND THIS VERY LONG HISTORY OF WOMEN'S INVOLVEMENT IN WHITE NATIONALISM.

I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT THE THREE WOMEN THAT ARE THE FOCAL POINTS IN THIS.

I THINK IT'S A FASCINATING WAY TO APPROACH THIS.

WE'LL TALK ABOUT HOW DIFFERENT THEY ARE AND THE ROLES THEY PLAY IN A SECOND.

YOU SAID YOU WENT LOOKING FOR WOMEN TO TALK TO.

HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO FIRST FIND THE WOMEN AND SECONDLY GET THEM TO OPEN UP TO YOU?

YES, IT WAS NOT EASY TO GET THEM TO OPEN UP.

THAT'S CERTAINLY TRUE.

FINDING THEM WAS A BIT EASIER INSOFAR AS THE INTERNET ERA, A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE HAVE YOUTUBE CHANNELS, TWITTER FEEDS AND PARTICULARLY ONES WHO WANT TO HAVE A PLATFORM AND A VOICE IN THE MOVEMENT.

THEY WERE EASILY ACCESSIBLE FROM A SOCIAL MEDIA STANDPOINT.

SO I EMAILED AND SENT DIRECT MESSAGES TO A LOT OF WOMEN.

I GOT AEFRL ABSOLUTE NOS FROM GO BECAUSE I WAS PART OF THE LAMESTREAM MEDIA AND PROBABLY A FEMINIST, WHICH I AM, AND ANY NUMBER OF THINGS THEY DISAGREE WITH.

BUT THERE WERE A FEW WHO DID AGREE TO SPEAK TO ME.

THAT WAS HUGE, AND IN AT LEAST ONE CASE ONE OF THEM SERVED AS A BIT OF A VALIDATING FORCE BECAUSE SHE TOLD OTHER PEOPLE TO SPEAK TO ME.

ULTIMATELY BY THE TIME I WAS DONE REPORTING MY BOOK EARLIER THIS YEAR, EVEN SOME OF MY MAIN SUBJECTS HAD CEASED COMMUNICATION, DECIDED IT WAS NOT IN THEIR INTEREST.

THEY DIDN'T LIKE THE WAY I WAS TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT THEM AND CUT ME OFF.

AS A JOURNALIST, I'M SURE YOU CAN COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND.

THERE WERE DEFINITELY DAYS WHEN I WONDERED WHAT AM I DOING WRONG.

I HAD TO TAKE A STEP BACK AND REALIZE THEM NOT WANTING TO TALK TO ME IS PART OF THE STORY.

CERTAINLY.

GIVEN THE STORY YOU'RE TELLING, NOT TERRIBLY SURPRISING.

THE STORY THAT YOU'RE TELLING, YOU FOCUS ON THREE WOMEN, EXTRAORDINARILY DIFFERENT IN SPITE OF THE R THEIR LIVES.

ONE IS KARINA OLSON.

SHE CAME TO WHITE NATIONALISM BEFORE THIS CURRENT MOMENT, THE ALT RIGHT AND FOR CHAN AND DIGITAL NEO FASCISTS, IF YOU WILL.

SHE CAME TO IT IMMEDIATELY IN THE AFTERMATH OF OBAMA'S ELECTION WHEN THERE WAS A SURGE IN RIGHT WING CHATTER AND RECRUITMENT ONLINE.

SHE WAS A PERSON WHO WAS A SEEKER, HAD HAD SOME TRAGEDY IN HER LIFE, HAD TROUBLE FINDING COMMUNITY, FINDING PURPOSE AND WAS ABLE TO FIND THAT IN THE WHITE NATIONALIST COMMUNITY.

SHE ULTIMATELY WENT THROUGH THE MOVEMENT, WAS INVOLVED IN A COUPLE OF DIFFERENT GROUPS AND EXITED THE MOVEMENT.

BECAME AN FBI INFORMANT AND EXITED.

THE SECOND IS AIL LA STEWART WHO IS BEST KNOWN ONLINE AS RIFE WITH A PERSON.

SHE WAS WELL KNOWN AROUND TRUMP'S ELECTION AND THE YEAR AFTER, SELF-PROCLAIMED FEMINIST, MOTHER OF SIX WHO REALLY RADICALIZED IN THE LATE YEARS OF OBAMA'S PRESIDENCY.

HER WHOLE THING IS MOTHERHOOD, TRADITIONAL WOMAN HOOD, BEING A WIFE WITH A PURPOSE, BUT TAKING TRADITIONAL VALUES AND ENTER WEAVING THEM WITH A WHITE NAT NATIONALIST.

THE THIRD IS LANA LOCK TESTIFY WHO RUNS SOMETHING CALLED RED ICE WHICH IS INFO WARS BUT FURTHER TO THE RIGHT WITH HER HUSBAND.

SHE WAS SOMEBODY WHO STARTED OUT IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND SAYS SHE WAS A MODEL AND WAS SOMEBODY ALWAYS INTERESTED IN ATTENTION AND HAD ALSO ALWAYS BEEN DRAWN TO CONSPIRACY THEORIZING AND SHE AND HER HUSBAND ULTIMATELY TOOK RED ICE IN A VERY FAR RIGHT DIRECTION AND FOCUSED ON ALL THE CONSPIRACY THEORIES AT THE HEART OF WHITE NATIONALISM.

THE NOTION TO THE RIGHT OF INFO WARS RAISES INTERESTING QUESTIONS HERE.

I'M TALKING WITH SAY WAH DARBY ABOUT HER NEW BOOK ENTITLED 'SISTERS IN HATE: AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF WHITE NATIONALISM.'

I SUSPECT, IF YOU ASKED A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHAT IS IT THAT DRIVES PEOPLE TO THESE GROUPS, NOT JUST WOMEN BUT ANYBODY, I SUSPECT THE MAJORITY IS IT WOULD BE THE IDEOLOGY.

IT DRAWS THEM IN IN SOME FASHION LIKE A MAGNET.

IN READING WHAT YOU'VE WRITTEN, THAT DOESN'T SEEM TO BE THE CASE, YES?

IT IS INDEED MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.

A LOT OF PEOPLE GET INVOLVED, AND THIS IS BORNE OUT THROUGH SOCIOLOGICAL STUDIES, PSYCHOLOGICAL STUDIES.

PEOPLE ARE DRAWN INTO THESE GROUPS FOR A LOT OF DIFFERENT REASONS.

SOME OF THEM ARE LOOKING FOR A COMMUNITY, FOR COMRADERY.

SOME ARE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO EXPLAIN THEIR PLACE IN THE WORLD, WHERE THEY FIND THEMSELVES OR WHERE THEY'VE LANDED IN LIFE.

SOME ARE LOOKING FOR POWER, AND THAT CAN MEAN HAVING A PLATFORM, HAVING A VOICE OR IT CAN MEAN LITERALLY MAKING MONEY.

SO THERE ARE A LOT OF FORCES THAT PULL THEM INTO THIS SPACE OR THAT THEY ULTIMATELY FIND ATTRACTIVE THAT AREN'T PURELY IDEOLOGICAL.

THE IDEOLOGY COMES LATER.

THERE'S A QUOTE A SOCIOLOGIST WROTE I THINK ABOUT A LOT ABOUT PEOPLE -- THEY SHOW UP ON THE DOORSTEP OF THIS MOVEMENT AND THEIR RACISM IS NOT NECESSARILY ANYMORE VIRULENT THAN A SORT OF BASELINE OF RACISM IN THE UNITED STATES.

BUT THEN IT GETS AUGMENTED AND EXAGGERATED, AND THE WAY I DESCRIBE IT IN THE BOOK IS THAT THEIR BELIEFS ARE SORT OF LIKE MAINSTREAM WHITE AMERICA LOOKING IN A FUN HOUSE MIRROR.

SO THE IDEOLOGY CAN DEVELOP OVER TIME.

I WAS -- I JUST WANT TO MENTION THIS BRIEFLY TO GET TO A QUESTION TO YOU, ABOUT 20 YEARS AGO, I DID A STORY ON LOOKING FOR WOMEN AS LEADERS, EMERGING LEADERS OF HATE GROUPS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT STRUCK ME WAS THE CASUALNESS THAT SOME OF THE WOMEN I TALKED TO WOULD DESCRIBE NOT JUST HATE, BUT VIOLENCE ATTACHED TO HATE.

DID YOU FIND SOMETHING SIMILAR?

I THINK THAT ONE OF THE THINGS THAT WOMEN ESPECIALLY IN THIS SPACE DO IS THEY OFTEN SPEAK CASUALLY ABOUT EVERYTHING.

THEY HAVE A WAY OF SEEMING VERY PERSONABLE, VERY RELATABLE.

THEY WANT TO SEEM LIKE PEOPLE YOU CAN HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH EVEN ABOUT THE MOST TABOO OR UPSETTING OF TOPICS.

VIOLENCE IS SUCH AN INTERESTING QUESTION BECAUSE I HEARD A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS OF WOMEN SPEAKING ABOUT IT.

SOME WERE ALL FOR IT.

AND OTHERS WERE VERY QUICK TO SAY I DON'T SUPPORT VIOLENCE BUT.

I THINK A LOT ABOUT LANA, SHE IN OUR FIRST INTERVIEW TOGETHER SAID YOU SHOULD NEVER DENOUNCE AN EXTREMIST ON YOUR SIDE.

THAT WAS IN THE CONTEXT OF -- WE HAD BEEN TALKING ABOUT VIOLENCE AND THE CRIMES PERPETRATED BY THE FAR RIGHT.

I WAS VERY STRUCK BY THAT BECAUSE IT SEEMED -- SHE SEEMED TO BE SAYING, THAT'S NOT SOMETHING I WOULD ENGAGE IN, BUT I WOULD ALSO BE HESITANT TO DENOUNCE IT IF IT ULTIMATELY IS TO THE SAME ENDS AS WHAT I DO.

SO THAT QUOTE DEFINITELY STICKS IN MY BRAIN.

WHAT ABOUT THE IDEA, YOU MENTIONED THAT ONE OF THE BIM YOU TALKED TO EVENTUALLY WALKED AWAY FROM THE -- LET'S CALL IT A MOVEMENT, THE OVERARCHING UMBRELLA TERM FOR IT.

WHAT DID YOU FIND AGAIN IN YOUR REPORTING AND IN YOUR WRITING ABOUT THIS NOTION OF BEING ABLE TO WALK AWAY.

HOW DIFFICULT IT IS AND HOW IT IS DONE IF SOMEBODY CHOOSES IT.

RIGHT.

WELL, I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT'S CHANGED PRETTY RADICALLY IN THE DIGITAL AGE BECAUSE ONCE UPON A TIME, IF YOU WERE A PART OF A GROUP, THERE WERE MEMBERSHIP RULES AND MEETINGS YOU WENT TO.

IN THE DIGITAL ERA YOU CAN BE PART OF THE MOVEMENT SIMPLY BECAUSE OF THE CONTENT YOU ABSORB OR LISTEN TO ONLINE AND WHAT YOU SAY BACK.

AND THAT'S A DIFFERENT -- WALKING AWAY IS A DIFFERENT SITUATION THAN I THINK IT ONCE WAS.

I THINK IN BOTH CASES THE REASONS THAT PEOPLE DECIDE THIS IS NO LONGER FOR THEM RELATES IN SOME WAYS TO THE WAYS THAT THEY DECIDE THAT IT IS FOR THEM WHICH IS TO SAY, IT'S NOT THAT THEY -- THE VEIL LIFTS AND THEY REALIZE THIS IS THE WRONG WAY OF THINKING ABOUT THE WORLD, I'VE BEEN SO UNETHICAL.

SOMETHING ELSE HAPPENS.

IT USUALLY IS THAT WHATEVER THEY WERE GETTING OUT OF THE SPACE, COMR COMRADERY, POWER, MEANING, THEY FEEL LIKE THEY'RE NOT GETTING IT ANYMORE.

NOT EVEN SUDDENLY, IT CAN BE A GRADUAL PROCESS.

THE REASONS FOR LEAVING ARE VERY INDIVIDUALIZED AND FOR LACK OF A BETTER WORD, SELFISH.

PEOPLE NEED TO FEEL -- TO LEAVE.

IT'S NOT NECESSARILY FOR SOME HIGH IDEALISTIC REASON.

WE LIKE TO THINK THAT IS THE CAUSE BECAUSE THEN THEY COULD BE REASONED FOR DECIDING TO LEAVE THE SPACE, BUT THAT DOESN'T WORK VERY WELL.

LESS THAN A MINUTE SO A QUICK QUESTION FOR YOU.

WHAT SURPRISED YOU THE MOST THROUGH YOUR REPORTING?

THE MENTAL GYMNASTICS THAT PEOPLE ENGAGE IN TO JUSTIFY THE FALSEHOODS AND CONSPIRACY THEORIES IN THIS MOVEMENT, WHETHER IT'S WOMEN SAYING IT'S NOT A MISOGYNISTIC MOVEMENT, WHICH IT IS, AND THEN FINDING WAYS TO SORT OF CONNECT DOTS TO PROVE THAT.

OR SEEING SOMETHING THAT'S A BLATANT LIE BUT FINDING WAYS TO SAY IT'S ACTUALLY TRUE.

SO JUST THE MENTAL GYMNASTICS WAS SOMETHING THAT WAS REALLY SURPRISING.

WELL, IT'S A FASCINATING BOOK, A POWERFUL BROOK, THOUGHT PROVOKING BOOK CALLED 'SISTERS IN HATE: AMERICAN WOMEN ON THE FRONT LINES OF WHITE NATIONALISM.'

SARAH DARBY, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

CERTAINLY ENJOYED THE CONVERSATION.

HOPEFULLY WE'LL TALK AGAIN SOON.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

TAKE CARE NOW.

> WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

AMID OUR ON GOING NATIONAL RECKONING OVER RACIAL INJUSTICE, THERE'S BEEN A PUSH TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THIS COUNTRY'S COMPLICATED HISTORY WHEN IT COMES TO RACE.

HISTORIANS HAVE ENGAGED IN THESE CONVERSATIONS FOR YEARS.

THEIR WORK HAS TAKEN ON RENEWED IMPORTANCE AFTER GEORGE FLOYD'S DEATH AT THE HANDS OF MINNEAPOLIS POLICE AND THE UNREST THAT HAS FOLLOWED.

ONE INITIATIVE CURRENTLY REEXAMINING OUR PAST IS THE HASHING THE SACRED TO THE MEMORY INITIATIVE.

ITS MISSION TO HELP FURTHER IDENTIFY MEN AND WOMEN WHO SURVIVED SLAVERY AND HAD THEIR PORT RATS TAKEN SO MANY YEARS AGO.

THESE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE POSTED ONLINE AND ACCOMPANIED BY A SIMPLE QUESTION, DO YOU KNOW THESE MEN AND WOMEN?

FOR MORE NOW ON THE EFFORTS TO ANSWER THAT VERY QUESTION AND THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERSTANDING THIS OFTEN UNTOLD ASPECT OF OUR HISTORY, WE ARE JOINED BY THE PUBLIC HISTORIAN BEHIND THIS PROJECT, SANDRA ARNOLD IS THE CREATOR OF #SACREDTOTHEMEMORY.

WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE HER JOINING US TONIGHT.

WELCOME TO YOU.

THANKS FOR JOINING US.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

SO LET'S START WITH YOUR INTEREST IN THIS PROJECT.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU, WHAT DREW YOU TO IT?

WELL, IT WAS ACTUALLY THE DISCOVERY OF THE FACT THAT THE PHOTOGRAPHS EXISTED AND THE DISCOVERY THAT, ALONG WITH THE WRITTEN ACCOUNTS OF THE MEN AND WOMEN THAT WERE INTERVIEWED BY THE WRITER'S PROGRAM OF THE WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION THERE WERE ACTUALLY PHOTOGRAPHS.

THAT WAS KIND OF THE BIRTH OF IT.

WHEN I STARTED KIND OF EXPLORING THE PHOTOGRAPHS AND EXPLORING THE WRITER'S PROGRAM, I LEARNED THAT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAD ATTEMPTED TO CONTACT SOME OF THESE MEN AND WOMEN WHO WERE PHOTOGRAPHED, AND UNFORTUNATELY N THEY WEREN'T SUCCESSFUL.

THAT'S WHAT INSPIRED ME.

I WAS VERY TOUCHED BY THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS'S EFFORTS TO ACTUALLY DO THIS.

I DON'T KNOW IF THE GENERAL PUBLIC ACTUALLY KNOWS THAT THAT WAS ATTEMPTED.

I THINK OBVIOUSLY MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE WORK PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION AND ALL ITS VARIOUS PROJECTS INCLUDING THE WRITER'S PROGRAM.

BUT TO KNOW THAT THERE WAS AN ATTEMPT TO ACTUALLY LOCATE THE INDIVIDUALS AFTER THE PROGRAM, I'M NOT SURE IF PEOPLE KNOW THAT.

I KNOW I DIDN'T KNOW IT.

THAT'S WHAT ACTUALLY GAVE -- THAT'S WHAT INSPIRED ME AND GAVE BIRTH TO THE PROJECT -- TO MY WORK.

TALKING ABOUT THOSE EFFORTS AGAIN, YOU MENTIONED THE WPA AND THE PROJECTS MANY, MANY DECADES AGO, WHY ARE YOU OPTIMISTIC THAT NOW THERE MIGHT BE A BETTER PROSPECT FOR FINDING OUT THE IDENTITIES OF THESE INDIVIDUALS?

WELL, I'M VERY OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN SLAVERY.

I THINK THAT THERE'S AN ASSUMPTION THAT PEOPLE ARE NOT.

I THINK THERE'S AN ASSUMPTION, PARTICULARLY -- THAT CHILDREN ARE NOT INTERESTED IN SLAVERY, YOUNG PEOPLE, YOUNG STUDENTS.

BUT ALL OF IT IS SIMPLY NOT TRUE.

I THINK PHOTOGRAPH IS A MEDIUM THAT 21st CENTURY PEOPLE CAN CONNECT TO, WILL BE VERY HELPFUL IN HELPING PEOPLE TO CONNECT TO IT.

I THINK THE INTEREST COMBINED WITH THE USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS, I THINK THERE MIGHT BE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS'S ATTEMPTS TO ACTUALLY BE COMPLETED.

THAT'S HOW I KIND OF SEE MY WORK.

I WOULD SUSPECT THAT THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED, MAYBE EVEN ASTONISHED TO KNOW THESE PHOTOGRAPHS ACTUALLY EXIST, THAT THESE PEOPLE HAD BEEN SLAVES DURING -- PROBABLY MANY OF THEM FOR THE MAJORITY OF THEIR LIVES, AND HERE THEY'RE BEING PHOTOGRAPHED NOW IN FREEDOM.

WHAT HAVE YOU FOUND IN TERMS OF THAT LEVEL OF SURPRISE?

WELL, I'LL START WITH MY OWN SURPRISE.

I THINK THAT I'VE BEEN SURPRISED -- I'VE READ SOME OF THE WRITTEN ACCOUNTS THAT HAVE BEEN ACCOMPANIED THE PHOTOGRAPHS.

I'VE LEARNED A LOT BY READING THOSE.

I WOULD ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO READ THEM.

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS THOSE AND THEY'RE ONLINE.

PEOPLE CAN READ THEM IF THEY WANT TO.

I THINK WHAT I FOUND MOST SURPRISING ABOUT SLAVERY IN GENERAL, BUT PARTICULARLY WITH ANY WORK OF SLAVERY, WHETHER IT'S THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS OR THE WPA OR ANY PROJECT, EVEN THOUGH I'M OPTIMISTIC THAT PEOPLE WILL CARE ABOUT UNDERSTANDING SLAVERY, I STILL THINK UNFORTUNATELY THERE'S A BELIEF THAT'S A DISTANT HISTORY AND THAT IT'S SOMETHING THAT REALLY SHOULDN'T CONCERN US.

I THINK THAT'S BEEN PART OF MY SHOCK I THINK IN SOME OF IT.

YOU MENTIONED THAT THERE ARE SOME NAIR TIS, SOME INTERVIEWS THAT HAVE BEEN PRESERVED ALSO.

HAVE THEY BEEN HELPFUL TO YOU IN YOUR RESEARCH, DO THE INTERVIEWS GO INTO ANY GREAT DEPTH OF DETAIL?

THEY'VE BEEN SOMEWHAT HELPFUL.

MY FOCUS IS THE PHOTOGRAPHS.

OBVIOUSLY GETTING ANY TYPE OF STORY BEHIND A PHOTOGRAPH IS ALWAYS HELPFUL IN INTERPRETING THE PHOTOGRAPH.

I THINK THE NARRATIVES -- TO BE HONEST, I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO READ ALL THE NARRATIVES.

MY FOCUS AND MY PURPOSE AND WHAT I'M DOING, IT'S REALLY THE PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE THE FOCUS.

AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS -- THE PHOTOGRAPHERS OF THE WPA -- THE WPA, THE WORK PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION, ONE OF THE THINGS THAT I JUST ADMIRED ABOUT MR. FDR IS THE FACT THAT THEY FELT THAT ARTISTS SHOULD BE INCLUDED IN EVERYONE'S CONCERN ABOUT EVERYONE EATING AND HAVING EMPLOYMENT, AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS ACTUALLY SPEAK BY THEMSELVES WITHOUT THE NARRATIVES.

ONCE AGAIN, I'M SPEAKING WITH SANDRA ARNOLD, THE PUBLIC HISTORIAN BEHIND #SAKE REDTOTHEMEMORY INITIATIVE.

WE'VE TALKED ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHS, BUT I KNOW THERE ARE ACTUAL RECORDINGS, VOICE RECORDINGS BY SOME OF THESE PEOPLE.

I WANT TO ASK YOU BOTH AS AN HISTORIAN AND ALSO AS A WOMAN WHO WAS A DESCENDANT OF PEOPLE WHO HAD BEEN ENSLAVED IN THIS COUNTRY, WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL REACTION WHEN YOU HAVE THE CHANCE TO LISTEN TO THESE RECORDINGS, THE VOICES OF PEOPLE WHO HAD ACTUALLY LIVED THEIR LIVES AS SLAVES.

THEY ACTUALLY JUST SUPPORT THE FACT THAT SLAVERY IS NOT A DISTANT HISTORY.

THESE ARE INDIVIDUALS THAT RECENTLY LIVED, AND TO HAVE A RECORDING OF THEM SPEAKING, A RECORDING OF THEM EXPRESSING THEMSELVES, THEY HAVE A PHOTOGRAPH OF WHAT THEY LOOKED LIKE, IT JUST SUPPORTS THE FACT THAT SLAVERY WAS NOT A DISTANT HISTORY.

WHEN -- I KNOW THAT PART OF WHAT YOU'RE DOING, ALSO, AND THIS COMES BACK TO SOMETHING YOU MENTIONED A FEW MOMENTS AGO, ONE OF THE AREAS THAT YOU'VE BEEN FOCUSED ON IS ENGAGEMENT, CONVERSATIONS, IF YOU WILL, LEARNING CONVERSATIONS WITH YOUNG PEOPLE, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN.

HOW DO YOU FEEL THESE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE GOING TO BE HELPFUL IN TERMS OF MOVING THOSE CONVERSATIONS FORWARD?

I THINK THE PHOTOGRAPHS CAN BE VERY, VERY HELPFUL.

I THINK I'VE HAD MY OWN STRUGGLES WITH BELIEVING THAT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE ARE INTERESTED IN SLAVERY.

WHAT ACTUALLY BROKE THAT FOR ME WAS GOING TO THE UNITED NATIONS A FEW YEARS AGO.

I WAS INVITED TO SPEAK TO A GROUP OF STUDENTS -- ACTUALLY A LARGE GROUP OF STUDENTS.

THEY HAVE SOMETHING EVERY YEAR TO REMEMBER THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE.

I WAS ASKED TO MODERATE A STUDENT CONFERENCE, AND THIS WAS A GLOBAL STUDENT CONFERENCE.

THEY HAD STUDENTS THAT WERE WEBCAST TO THE UN FROM DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.

ALL OF THESE COUNTRIES WERE ACTUALLY COUNTRIES THAT HAD BEEN AFFECTED BY THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE.

AND THE STUDENTS WERE ALL MOSTLY MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS, AND THEY WERE HUNGRY FOR THE KNOWLEDGE OF SLAVERY.

THEY WERE HUNGRY FOR THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE SLAVE TRADE.

THEY WANTED TO UNDERSTAND THE SLAVE TRADE.

THEY WANTED TO UNDERSTAND SLA SLAVERY.

THAT TOUCHED ME WHEN I WAS THERE, BUT I THINK PHOTOGRAPHS -- IF I LOOK BACK ON IT, IF I HAD PHOTOGRAPHS TO ACCOMPANY MY -- ACCOMPANY ME WHILE I WAS MODERATING THE CONFERENCE, I'M SURE THAT THEY WOULD HAVE -- IT WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL.

IT WOULDN'T SHOCK ME IF AFTER THE CONFERENCE -- AFTER THE STUDENT CONFERENCE THAT THEY WENT AND PROBABLY FOUND THE PHOTOGRAPHS ANYWAY.

BUT I THINK PHOTOGRAPHS ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO ANY HISTORIAN REGARDING ANY SUBJECT, BUT PARTICULARLY TO SLAVERY.

CERTAINLY, YOU SAY PERSONALIZES IT, HUMANIZES IT.

I KNOW YOU MENTIONED WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT, A PROJECT THAT STUDENTS WERE DOING, IN TERMS OF TRYING TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE NOTION OF SLAVERY AND IT HAD TO DO WITH THE NOTICE FOR ESCAPED SLAVES.

TELL ME ABOUT THAT.

IT WAS SIMILAR.

IT DID NOT INVOLVE PHOTOGRAPHS.

I THINK ASKING YOUNG PEOPLE TO PUT THEMSELVES IN THE PLACE OF AN ANOTHER PERSON, IT OBVIOUSLY HELPS THEM TO RELATE.

IT HELPS THEM TO UNDERSTAND AND HUMANIZE ANOTHER PERSON, AND I THINK IT ACTUALLY HELPS THEM TO HUMANIZE SLAVERY.

AND I WAS VERY POUD OF THEM ACTUALLY.

I REALLY WAS.

THEY WERE -- I DIDN'T EXPECT TO HAVE MIDDLE SCHOOL AND HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS COMING UP TO ME TREATING ME LIKE I'M A ROCK STAR OR A CELEBRITY BECAUSE I GAVE THIS INTERESTING TALK ON SLAVERY, BUT THAT'S HOW THEY TREATED -- THEY DIDN'T TREAT ME LIKE I WAS THE SUBJECT.

THEY WERE APPRECIATIVE OF THE SUBJECT.

THEY WERE APPRECIATIVE THAT I HAD ACTUALLY CAME TO TALK TO THEM ABOUT IT.

AGAIN, I WAS VERY PROUD OF THEM, BUT IT ACTUALLY ENCOURAGES ME ABOUT -- REGARDING THE FUTURE OF THE EDUCATION OF SLAVERY, AT LEAST IN OUR COUNTRY.

A LITTLE LESS THAN A MINUTE HERE.

I WANTED TO MAKE SURE OUR VIEWERS KNOW TO GO TO METROFOCUS.ORG AND THEY'LL BE LINKED WITH THE SITE AND HAVE A CHANCE TO LINK AT THE PHOTOGRAPHS THEMSELVES.

ANY SUCCESS SO FAR IN IDENTIFYING THESE FOLKS.

I HAVE TO CONTACT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

THE WAY THE INITIATIVE IS CREATED, IF ANYONE KNOWS ANY OF THE MEN AND BIM WHOSE PHOTOGRAPHS ARE PART OF THE INITIATIVE, THEY'RE TO CONTACT THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS.

I JUST RECENTLY STARTED IT AND I HAVEN'T HAD A CHANCE TO CONTACT THEM TO SEE HOW IT'S GOING.

I'M POSITIVE IT'S GOING TO GO WELL AND IS GOING WELL.

ONCE AGAIN, SANDRA ARNOLD, IT IS #SACREDTOTHEMEMORYINITIATIVE.

GOOD LUCK WITH IT.

WE'LL CHECK BACK WITH YOU.

YOU TAKE CARE.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

BYE NOW.

> 'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, SYLVIA A. AND SIMON B. POYTA PROGRAMMING ENDOWMENT TO FIGHT ANTI-SEMITISM, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, JANET PRINDLE SEIDLER, JODY AND JOHN ARNHOLD, CHERYL AND PHILIP MILSTEIN FAMILY, BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, JUDY AND JOSH WESTON, DR. ROBERT C. AND TINA SOHN FOUNDATION.

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Denise Schwartz, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Janet Prindle Seidler, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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