Category Archives: Video

Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – A Reading of Chapter One

Video: Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – What to bring on the Oregon Trail?

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: Another thing about going on the trail is that when people were moving, from the South to the West, they would pack their belongings. They would sell their farms and pack their belongings and they would travel on the trail. So do you think you could bring your piano on the trial? Students: (Nooooo) Your sofa? Students: (Nooooo) Armchair? Yes? Students: (Nooooo) but people tried. So they packed them in their wagons. And as they traveled on the trail, and over mountains, through rivers, across streams, they had to throw them out along the way. So, you would see someone’s piano tossed on the road. You’d see someone’s sofa tossed on the road. They would break them up and burn them to start fires so they could stay warm. They had to keep their load as light as possible.

Welch: Has anyone ever seen the Griffith Park museum, the Gene Autry Museum? Lovely! They had a whole room dedicated to things that were left along the trail. ANd they have letters from people who took the trail. it is really quite a lovely place to go. And imagine the things they thought they could bring. Because they had never travled that far. They didn’t know how bad it was. They didn’t know how bad it could get.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Great Equalizer

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: So one of the things about slaves going on the Oregon Trail and going to the new territories is that the Oregon Trail was sort of the great equalizer and everyone was sort of the same. It made everyone equal. A lot of people traveled in wagon trains and the wagon trains would have a driver and would be pulled by oxen, usually, not even horses. People on horses would ride beside. Oftentimes, everyone had to walk. Every child had to walk. Not just the black children — the salves — like what our family was used to, but all the children would have to walk. 2000 miles.

Welch: So let’s start right now. Are you ready? (crowd) We can go right now? We’ll go from here. We’ll go to Missouri. We’ll be there in about, I don’t know, two years?

Comer Jefferson: So the kids would have to walk. A lot of times the women would have to walk, but everyone was treated the same.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – What is slavery?

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

What’s interesting to us  — people who study slavery — is the idea that slavery was different in the United States than it had been in the past. Maybe when you study world history, you’ll find out that in ancient Rome and ancient Greece and in Egypt they had slaves. It was a style of labor. That’s what they did, but the way you became a slave in those ancient places was, you were part of a group — two sets of soldiers and you come to war together and this team lost. So the losers became the slaves of the winners. That meant that you knew your slave was as smart and as tough as you were and, just by whatever the accident was of that day in battle, he had lost. So you had respect for him and you could have him teach your children to read or to write poetry or to fight or any of these many things. So there was a weird level of respect in the ancient times. When we come over to the United States and we’re getting started as colonies and all that lovely stuff, we decided its difficult to do that, because if you take slaves that look like you and they run away, other people don’t know they ran away from you and then you lose the money that you put into buying that person. So we decided it made a lot more profitable sense to got to one place where people tended to look differently than the folks who had actually first come to the United States. When we went to Africa and we brought people here — kidnapped them — then we suddenly decided that one whole group of people was only meant to be slaves. That changes how we think about them. We didn’t qualify them as human beings. We qualified them as property — as if you were trading in cars. So this changed people’s attitudes towards each other and obviously was one of the many things that created racism in America. Something we are still talking about wanting to end today. So slavery here became a much worse situation and some people say that because it got so bad that’s why a bunch of people decided that they wanted to end it. Which is what led to the Civil War. 

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Story

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Thanks for having us. My name is — like Arlene said — Dawn Comer Jefferson and I have a 5th grader here. I am a writer/editor for television and also for books and I wrote this book, called The Promise, with my friend, Rosanne Welch, who is a college professor and also a television writer. The Promise is based on a radio show that I did for National Public Radio and it is based on a true story. Now some of the kids in the last discussion had already read it. Have any of your read this? Ok, then I will tell you a little bit about it. it’s based on a true story and it’s about a family in the 1850’s in Louisiana — a family of slaves — and it’s told from the point of view of the nine-year-old daughter in the family. And because the father can read and write, he was asked by his master to go on the Oregon Trail. It was a promise of freedom when they got to Oregon, but after traveling on the trail and having all sorts of hardships happen to them, when the master got to Oregon, he freed the parents, but kept the children. In 1854, the salve parents took the master to court and sued him for custody of their children and won. It’s a true story which basically influenced whether Oregon — which at the time was a territory, not a state — whether Oregon would come into the Union as a free state or a slave state. Because Oregon came in as a free state, so did Washington, so did California, and it really shaped  the way we live today and the way the war went, as well. We thought the story was interesting because it all hinged on the story of this little girl.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – Abolition and the Law

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Welch: What’s interesting about the legal method, we thought, again in Oregon at that time the territory was debating “Do we want to be a slave state or a free state?” We had a little rule for a while in the United States. Any time one territory wanted to enter, they had to have 2 territories — one would be slave and one would be free so that everything in the government was balanced. So no one could out vote each other. Right? So that was their deal. So you had to decide and there was an opportunity for the west coast — California itself could have been a slave state. IF you ever drive up near Bakersfield we grow cotton in California and cotton was a crop that required slave labor. So, this was a possibility and people had both sides if the argument. And luckily, in the case that Mary’s family went through, the judge happened to be an abolitionist. And we had those people from the very beginning.

Comer Jefferson: Did everyone hear her? An abolitionist is someone who wants to abolish or destroy slavery.

Welch: Exactly. Right. And we had people like the Adams Family — not the one’s who go click click — John Adams and his family were abolitionists in their own right in New England and they actually had a place for the Underground Railroad — which is whole ‘nother book we have to write, but — So, people from the very beginning of the country were against it, but they needed enough people on their side to overturn the idea. So, in our case, in this story, the judge had abolitionist sentiments — which is hose they would have phrased it back in the day. And so he could have judged either way on this case, but he chose to judge for the slave family to point out that that was the side he was one and the side Oregon should be on.

Comer Jefferson: …and he did it based on the testimony of Mary, the 9-year-old girl who is the heroine of the book, because we really wanted to have a little girl who was a strong heroine in a story and we thought that Mary’s story was the one to tell.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – Western Expansionism

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: We want to deal with American Expansionism. Doesn’t anyone know what that means? Yeah!

Student: It means America wants to expand to new lands

Welch: Exactly. The concept of “from sea to shining sea.” Right? There’s also the concept of Manifest Destiny, which meant that we had a right to own all the land from one end to the other side.

Comer Jefferson: Thought we had a right to it.

Welch: That’s what it means, yes. Exactly. So, this is what started the idea of the Oregon Trail. Right? Somebody like Jefferson felt that we had have land and every person should own there own plot of land and grow their own food on and this is going to make them a good citizen because they cared for the place because they owned it. Right? So, as we ran out of land on the East Coast, because more people got married and had children and pretty soon it was very busy. They kept moving west. And West. And West. That’s why we’re all here in California. How did you think we ended up in California? This wasn’t originally part of the Founding Fathers land, so the Oregon Trial helped move Americans west and that’s what the Holmes family we wrote about imagined. You lived in beautiful place. Yet, he wanted more so he figured “I’ll try going over there and get even more land.” But sadly, along the way. he lost most of what he had.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – Adapting a True Story

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

In doing an adaptation, we always make sure the research is most important. The story is important. Sometimes we change things when you adapt it to make it work, so one of the things in The Promise that we changed was the part of the slave being able to read and write, actually came from my great, great, grandfather who coud read and write. He was a slave on the Comer plantation in Alabama which was owned by Governor Comer. And he was able to read and write and because he grew up with the master’s son. And that allowed him, and his family after that, to be able to do a little better in life because they were able to read and write.

So, e put that in the story in our adaptation. The other thing was a Quaker family. I knew a Quaker family growing up and I realized there were a lot of Quakers that traveled on the trail and their influence made people more accepting on the trail. That was also something that we pulled from my life to put into the story.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Quakers

Video: A Presentation on

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: So you brought together lots of different types of people with lots of different believes and lots of different religions and one of the things that this family met along the way — they met Quakers. Quakers on the trip believed that everyone should be treated equally. so, one of the things our family find on the trail is that – some people got to ride in the wagons, but all of the children had to walk, for the most part.

Welch: Oh yes, walking from Missouri to Oregon. You start now. Let’s see how far we all get.

Comer Jefferson: …and then the women had to, too, sometimes. So, it was a different experience for our family because they were used to only the slaves having to do the difficult things.

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Video: A Presentation on “The Promise” – The Oregon Trail: What would you bring?

Promise what bring

Dawn Comer Jefferson (L) and Dr. Rosanne Welch (R) present on their book, The Promise

 

On Friday March 21st my co-author, Dawn Comer Jefferson and I had the pleasure of making a presentation on “Slavery and the Oregon Trail” based on our book The Promise to the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades of Carpenter Avenue Elementary School as the guests of the non-profit Parents For Carpenter.

Transcript:

Comer Jefferson: When you went on the trail, you were usually in a carriage or a wagon which was pulled by oxen and often you had all your belongings that you could bring. Oftentimes, people packed too many things and then they had to throw them out of there wagons along the way. the whole trail was littered with people’s things — with piano, with your china, with all these things you thought you would need in the new world, but didn’t.

Welch: Did any of you ever go to the Autry Museum in Griffith Park? With your parents? There is a whole room of stuff people left behind on the trail. Really fascinating the things they thought they could carry. You get halfway there and suddenly you figure out that if the oxen die along the way, I have to pull the wagon by myself. So, I think I’ll throw away all these things I thought I needed because I want the oxen to make it through the other side. Very scary moment there. Definitely. We have that in the book which is what we were interested in.

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