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Blood on the Tracks is a new podcast about legendary music producer Phil Spector in the murder of Lana Clarkson. This podcast is hosted by me, Jake Brenin, creator and host of the award winning music and True Crime podcast is Graceland. Season one features 10 episodes told from the perspective of those who knew Phil Spector best, his so-called friends, just like Phil Spector. This podcast sounds like nothing you've heard before. Blood on the Tracks contains adult content and explicit language.
Listen to Blood on the Tracks and the I Heart Radio Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts. In this time of pandemic and revolution, do you find yourself frustrated at high levels of corruption and inequality, at our inability to get basic things done at the persistence of systemic racism? You're not alone.
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Welcome to stuff you missed in History Class. A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to Casual Friday, I'm Holly Fry. I'm Tracy Wilson. This casual Friday is a little bit of a mix. It doesn't feel entirely casual because on the one hand, we're talking about architecture and historical changes to buildings. And on the other, we're talking about our nation's very deep roots in the institution of slavery, which is not so casual and is an important topic.
So we'll cover the first part. First, this was just going to be gardens. Yeah, I really think so.
The way our show works is a lot of times one of us will kind of clue the other end about what we're working on, just like to make sure we're not accidentally working on the same thing. And then like time passes and we get the outline and then sometimes there are updates in the process of like when one of us finds something that's particularly funny or infuriating or whatever. And I feel like this is the first time in all of these years when you've told me this, like the topic at the start and by the end it's been basically a whole different episode than where it started out.
Yeah, I mean, I wanted to talk about the White House gardens because of this announced change to the Rose Garden and how much that was disconcerting. People, just like I said at the top of the first episode, is the way to reassure everyone, like changes part of this this space.
And like you can feel however you want to feel about whoever is holding office at any given time when they make changes. But honestly, it was designed from the beginning by George Washington to be a place that would have change.
Yes, I'm suddenly feeling very much the way that people feel when Disney changes things in Disney Park. Oh, yeah. And there's a big argument about how Walt always wanted everything to be changing and whether or not we were dishonoring that. Very different, though, because it is our nation's history. Right.
So it was going to be just that. And then what really got me excited was when I discovered those pictures of the White House being taken down to the studs in the 20th century.
And I was like, how did I not know this? Yeah, not that it was just like a renovation. They didn't just, like, strip a room. The whole thing was taken down to nothing. Yeah, I have trouble conceiving of this because, like, I had a home that had to be gutted down to the studs after a water pipe broke and a whole ordeal happened. And just being inside that space, which was a very modest little one bathroom, three bedroom ranch house to like just being in that space, gutted down to the studs was weirdly mind bending.
It's super weird like that. The White House down to the studs.
What does that even work? Yeah, it's super duper weird.
It just occurred to me. I have never asked you if you have spent any time in the White House. Not since I was a child. So listeners may remember some time back we did an episode about the Declaration of Sentiments where we did an interview there to talk about this lost document at their invite. And so I got to spend some time in the White House and like see the press room and be in some of their conference rooms.
And the one I had done tours before. But the one takeaway I had from being in those spaces was how much tinier they were than I ever thought they were going to be. Mm hmm. Which then makes this really, really interesting because some looking at it all completely gutted. It just looks like a giant, cavernous, massive structure.
And I'm like, oh, but what's it's partitioned.
It feels quite small in many ways, which is just fascinating. So that was how I got really interested in the architecture and how it had shifted. And especially once I discovered that the buttressing plus the attic shift is really what caused all those. I mean, like very serious discussions of like, should we condemn this building and move on?
Yeah, which is pretty interesting to me.
But then, of course, as I said, when you start to look at it, really what was driving a lot of the the construction in terms of labor force, you have to acknowledge that this was, as Michelle Obama said, like a house built by slaves.
Mm hmm. There is another interesting aspect to this story that came up in the discussion in an article that I was reading about John Quincy Adams and that whole sort of tricky, nuanced examination of his his connection to enslavement and having enslaved people living in his house. And one of the things that was interesting that I had not thought about, and it does not in any way let me be super duper clear, excuse the practice of using enslaved labor. But one thing that came up was.
The fact that at this point, the president had to pay out of pocket for all staff.
Oh, yeah, it was not like a federal budget line.
And even now, anything personal or private that happens in the White House, like if they have a birthday party for a child that is not a public event, that they pay that out of pocket, but their staff allowance now where there wasn't before, and that in some ways there was just not a way for this to work again, because it was so systematic in a way where there were not people that were enslaved providing some of that labor. Right.
Just from a financial perspective. Again, that gets into some ugly, messy territory. There is an interesting part of this, which is that the Adams is John and Abigail. We're always trying to hire staff. And apparently they had a really hard time hiring staff that could stay and were good, which some people point to, as of course, because most of the people that were being used is domestic servants at this time were enslaved labor who were forced to stay in their position.
Right. Whereas once you introduce people that are just legitimately hired in, they don't have to if they don't want to, you and they will often take off. They don't have the same level of required attendance.
So that was just an interesting aspect of it. Anyway, the White House, yes, it is iconic, but it is not sacred.
And we have a Hamilton digression. It's related to her. So first of all, before anybody sends angry e-mails, I love Hamilton deeply. But one of the things that's like my pet peeves about it is the whole saga related to the residents act that we talked about in this episode and the negotiation behind the scenes between Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. And there's a whole song about it sung by Aaron Burr about how there's no one else in the room when it happened.
There were definitely other people in the room where it happened, Thomas Jefferson planned this dinner. It is almost impossible that during that dinner in these negotiations, that there were not enslaved people serving the food and basically either in the room or immediately nearby waiting to be needed.
And like one of the criticisms that have come around about Hamilton since it was first came out was that it kind of glosses over slavery and a lot of ways, like there are some specific mentions to slavery, but like this is one of the ways like that dinner was happening at a place that had been I can't figure if it was Jefferson's home or if it was a place that he had arranged.
But like Jefferson was a person that coordinated the whole thing, there absolutely would have been enslaved people involved with that whole situation. The Araba thing thinking about yeah, it's interesting, right, that brings up the point of like if those people had the opportunity to speak out about the things they had seen and were part of in some cases, like what would our founding fathers look like? And in fact, I think that is a big part of what drove George Washington.
To so actively. Pursue on a judge, because she later did, like I said, gave statements later in her life about what it had been like to to be in the president's home.
Of course, he was not in what became the White House, which there's a whole other thing I'm going to get to in a moment there where she talks about like all the carousing and gambling and, like partying that went on there.
And I'm sure that is not something that anybody wanted to be a matter of public record, which may have been what drove him to be so, so insistent that she be tricked into coming back. I know that didn't work out. That is another thing that comes up a lot. I have noticed in the way people frame discussions even of slavery as it relates to the founding fathers. They start by talking about Thomas Jefferson because they frame it as the first president to have enslaved people at the president's mansion.
Right. Which is technically correct if we're talking about that one house. But the Washington's definitely had enslaved people. They just never moved into that space.
Yeah. So that that's one of those things that I kept finding over and over. And I'm like, hmm, yeah. Presidents household still Washington. You guys can't gloss past that one. Yeah.
Well, you mentioned in the episode that there was an episode about Owen, a judge on the podcast on Civil. Now that I have actually searched that there is indeed we were. We were we were talking about the podcast. That episode of Uncivil is called The Fugitive, and it's from November 9th of twenty eighteen. Again, I have not relisten to it to remember whether that was when the show had an explicit tag, because I think they dropped their explicit tag and made the show language cleaner during its run cleaner in terms of.
Apple podcast's labeling of episodes, I'm not making a value judgment about helping, right, right, right here. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Anyway, so for all of you that stuck it out through all of this discussion, some of which is uncomfortable. Thank you for listening.
And I hope that, you know, it it continues to feed our our knowledge of really like the reality of our nation's history, because if we're not acknowledging all of that stuff, we're really not moving forward in any kind of meaningful way, in my opinion. So anyway, happy Friday. I feel so guilty ending on such a downer note as the weekend is coming in. But, you know, knowledge is power. So think of it that way.
Did you have anything else to add? I don't. I don't.
All right, then I'm going to go roll into my weekend. Stuff you missed in history class is the production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts from My Heart radio visit by her radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.
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Thank you. So come keiki with us and join the kinds of candid conversations you only have with your girls. Listen to you down on the I Heart radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts out on the tracks is a new podcast about legendary music producer Phil Spector in the murder of Lana Clarkson.
This podcast is hosted by me. Jake Brennan, creator and host of the award winning Music and True Crime podcast is Graceland. Season one features 10 episodes told from the perspective of those who knew Phil Spector best, his so-called friends. Just like Phil Spector. This podcast sounds like nothing you've heard before. Blood on the Tracks contains adult content and explicit language. Listen to blood on the tracks of the Ihara Radio Apple podcast or wherever you get your podcasts.