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Credit approval required Capital One Bank, USA and a welcome to stuff you missed in history class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and happy Friday, I'm Tracy B. Wilson, and I'm Holly Fry. One of our episodes this week was about Mississippi Freedom Summer.
We mentioned a couple of times in the episode, the podcast seen on radio and their series, The Land That Has Never Been Yet, and their episode on Freedom Summer, something we didn't mention, but which I watched as part of the research and background into all of this was the Freedom Summer documentary that came out in 2014 and was aired on PBS American Experience.
You can currently watch it on the PBS website that has a lot of interviews with people who were involved and archival footage from the time. That is where I heard that that phone call between Johnson and Hoover about Rita Schwerner. One of the things that was really striking to me about this particular documentary is it reinforced how young everyone was because this took place in 1964. A lot of the volunteers were in their early 20s. A lot of the organizers were maybe into their later 20s.
So people were doing these interviews when they were, you know, in their 60s. Everybody looked really young, except for Pete Seeger, who was also there because of his work with music during the civil rights movement. And Pete Seeger looked ancient. He was significantly older than a lot of the other people interviewed. But it was just this huge contrast of like no one reminding me of how recent this was and how young everyone was. And then also this contrast of like and then here's Pete Seeger, who looks like a grizzled old man.
Oh, Pete. Yeah. Every time I come across something about Pete Seeger, I like kind of go I want to do an episode about Pete Seeger one day.
Yeah, yeah. This episode, like many, it is hard. I will give us away and say that we have this stuff a number of times. Yeah. I get so angry I start to cry sometimes, which is not fun but I think understandable. I imagine listeners sometimes experience the same things. Yeah.
Oh humans. Yeah. One of the things that's frustrating for me is the thing that we touched on at the end about how there is still a lot of voter suppression and a lot of discriminatory laws surrounding voting that still exists today and have been sort of creeping forward and a lot of ways with the most recent presidential election being so focused on, like unfounded allegations of fraud that nobody has actual evidence that holds up for us and a fear that that trend is going to escalate like that is the response to do baseless accusations of fraud.
There will be further laws to make it harder for people to vote that are probably going to disproportionately affect the people that have historically had the hardest time voting already. I hope not. But yes, that is an ongoing fear as well. Yeah. Again, so angry tears.
We've gotten a couple of emails from people when we have previously referenced the unsubstantiated allegations of fraud from people who have been really angry about how we need to tell both sides of the story. So I just want to take a moment and say that there aren't two sides of the story. There just aren't there is the truth side, which is that there are baseless allegations of fraud that have really sowed a lot of doubt and a lot of people's minds. But like unsubstantiated means, unsubstantiated.
Yeah. And in some cases demonstrably false.
So, like that has just made the whole thing deeply frustrating and frightening in terms of like what happens next, in terms of the idea that we're supposed to be a democracy where everybody can vote and whether that is true or not.
I feel like we should say something peppy here at the end, because I know Friday. Normally we get to the end of these and I kind of go, that feels like a good stopping place and like that felt like a stopping place, but not necessarily a good one. Right. I imagine our email and Twitter mentions will be full of, well, actually emails or people saying that. You have to have an ID to write a check, so why not to vote and man, there's just so much information on that easily available on the Internet.
What information, what? Yeah, so how are you you mentioned that there were some times that they were just like angry tears and we had to take a minute.
And often when there is something really sad happening in an episode, you have a trick that you do to try to to to sort of compartmentalize it in your mind. Right. That helps me get rid of it. It doesn't work when you're already angry and not sad, which is that normally, if I am weepy over something in an episode, I pretend I'm Bea Arthur because Bea wouldn't cry. She would get mad and address the problem. But when you're already angry, that doesn't fix more mad.
Stay mad. My other trick is to think of odd Star Wars characters that make me laugh and sometimes that works in a situation like this. But really, Bea Arthur is always the good go to you. And it doesn't it doesn't work in this scenario.
Yeah. This week we talked about W. Montague Cobb. And I just want to tell the story of how this wound up finally on my episodes that you often when I am out and about in the world, which, of course, is not something that's really happening now.
I'm obviously not laughing at the pandemic, just that we all have come to just live in this strange time where we're like, I guess I live at my house all the time.
Yeah. Yeah. So in in the before times, if I would be out and about somewhere and I would see something that caught my eye for a potential podcast subject, I would just put it in a notes in my phone, because a lot of times if I am out and about in the world, I'm taking a break. I don't want to devote a whole lot of time and space to work, but I also don't want to lose ideas that I stumble across.
It seem like they could be really interesting. So then the downside to that is sometimes years will pass between when I put something in a note in my phone and when I put the phone notes into any kind of more usable list of ideas. So back in I think twenty eighteen, you and I were in Washington, D.C.. For a tour. And I went to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture and I wrote down like six or seven things on a little note in my phone, w Montague Cobb was one of them.
I have no recollection of what the context was like, what specific thing I had seen at the museum that made me go, oh, this would make a really good topic for the show. But I did not actually put the notes that I took into a, you know, a place where I would see it on a regular basis, like on my computer at work until late twenty, twenty or so years passed between when I made that list and when I actually made the list into something more recognizable.
I did a just a bulk pass through the phone to put all the ideas that I had jotted down out in the world into my actual, like, short list of ideas. And one of the things that I thought was a list of topic ideas that I had seen somewhere was actually locations from Skyrim. So anyway, that's how finally, finally, more than two years of after having having seen something that sparked my attention in Washington, D.C., finally got to this episode, I, I never moved them off the phone.
Yeah. Yeah. I put them on the phone and I just now have a list on my phone and I don't usually put context. So it's like a second layer of fun discovery when I go, what is what does that person say? What does that word about? And then I'll look it up online and go, Oh. That was fascinating. Good job, me putting it on a list, so I think I will do an episode now.
Yeah, I was pretty much scanning back through my short list, including the the late last year, transferred over from the phone topic ideas. And I was like, oh, yeah, this does sound really interesting. Let's do this right now. One thing that we did not get into in the in the episode, we alluded to it a little bit. We didn't really go into it. And a lot of detail was that Cobb was really focused on.
The needs of black doctors and black patients and black people as a whole. That was something he was obviously focused on and it really makes sense that he would be focused on. And if there was anything that I could see is like a shortcoming in his work, it was that he did not seem entirely conscious of the fact that indigenous people were also still living in large numbers. Like I would occasionally find he would be describing sort of the state of medical care and some of his descriptions of of like the needs of indigenous patients would sound kind of dismissive.
It sounded sort of like, well, but they're not there aren't many anymore. That's like not really so much of a concern, but it definitely was and is still a concern. I think that was just a, you know, sort of a trickle down effect of his own focus and his own life experience and his own immersion in the world that he was immersed in.
I generally love the idea that during cadaver labs, maybe the anatomy professor would be playing the violin to try to keep everyone relaxed. I have never done a cadaver lab, but I have watched, like, recorded video of cadaver labs when I was taking a an anatomy course of that level. And it wasn't that it was a stressful experience, but I can just see it being nice to have some musical accompaniment to kind of occupy part of your mind during all that.
I feel like that is something that should be adopted for like any kind of lab where you're not necessarily interacting with language while you're doing it right. Like a geology lab. Also perfectly great when you do analysis of of, for example, pictures of the night sky in an astronomy lab. I would love to have someone playing violin for any of that in my classes. This is amazing. So, yeah, he seems to have had a very larger than life personality and a lot of ways, including playing the violin, his dissection labs.
So it's Friday. Whatever is coming up for your weekend, I hope it goes as well as possible. If you'd like to drop us a note about anything or a history podcast that I heart radio dot com, and you can subscribe to the show on my radio app and Apple podcast than anywhere else that you get your podcasts.
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