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tv   PBS News Hour Weekend  PBS  April 13, 2019 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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ptioning sponsored by wn >> sreenivasan: on this edition for saturday, april 13: the search for "clotilda," the last known slave ship to reach the u.s., brings hope fo descendants; and a broadway play about one woman's personal exploration of the constution. next on pbs newshour weekend. >> pbs newshour weekend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz. sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein ramily. dr. vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. p rosaliwalter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is provided by mutual de america-- gning customized individual
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and group retirement products. that's why we're you retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for ic broadcasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. from the tisch wnet studios at lincoln center in new york, hari sreenivasan. >> sreenivasan: good evening, and thanks for joining us. the trump ministration's policy of keeping asylum seekers in mexico while they wt for court hearings will continue at least temporarily. in a ruling late yesterday, a three-judge appellate court panel issued a stay of a lower court ruling that bloc trump administration policy called the "migrant protection protocols" program. since january, hundreds of asylum seekers, mostly from central america, have been sent back to mexico while the u.s. processes their claims. the justice department is appealing the lower court ruling, and next week the ninth circuit appeals court will
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consider whether to extend the stay while the leg case continues. the democratic chairman of the house ways and means committee, richard neal, made a new demand for president trump's tax returns toda in a letter to the i.r.s. s mmissioner, neal asked that ax ye mr. trump's returns be provided il 23 and that if there is no response, "your failure will be interpreted as a denial of my request." treasury secretary steven mnuchin called the new deadlin"r ary" and earlier this week said he needed to consult with the justice department. white house acting chief of staff mick mulvaney has said democrats will "never" see the return a hacker group has posted the personal information of whatay an hundreds of federal agents police officers online. the information was apparently stolen from three local web sites affiliated with alumni of the f.b.i.'s national academy. those affected include members of the f.b.i., the secret servic capital police, and other federal agencies as well as local law enforcement in
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north carolina and florida. sudanese police said today that at least 16 people have been killed by stray bullets since the military ousted president omar al bashir on thursday. protesters in khartoum continued to demand a civilian government after general abdel-fattah burhan was sworn in as head of a transitional council formed by the military. al bashir who ruled sudan for nearly 30 years remains under thuse arrest. international criminal court has charged al bashir with egnocide linked to the war in sudan's darfurn in the 2000s. north korean leader kim jong un said he is prepared to meet with president trump for a third nuclear summit. learn more at >> sreenivasan: secretary of state mike pompeo is meeting with leaders in paraguay and peru today, part of a tour of four south american countries that will end on t colombian border with venezuela tomorrow. por more on the issues secretary eo is facing on this trip, we turn to chris sabatini of anlumbia university's school of internationapublic affairs. he's also editor of
5:34 pm, and he us from corning, new york, via skype. ability 3 million venezuelas have left the country in the last few years, many have gone to the countries currently on the secretary of staate's tripe. s the u.s. trying to do itth them. >> well, wha trying to do, first of all, with these countries, it's trying to rally them, support and get bind th u.s. sanctions, and many of those countries, all of them, in fact, recognize as interim president, the president of the national assemy, and it'seen two and a half months now since they recognized t them and the current venezuelan government isn't budging. >> sreenivasan: can the leaders to have the country look like they're sidi with the trump administration, at this point given our policy on migration an central american countries? >> that's exactly the problem, hari. this is -- there are threee issues that iving u.s. policy toward the region, the first of them is the policy
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toward cuba, the second the milicy toward venezuela and the other ration. it's cut off aid to central america, threat don't cut off the border. very difficult government for latin american leaders to get blind and support venezuela. which is critical. the trump administration's levels of public approval are very low in the region now. >> sreenivasan: secretary pompeo was placing responsibility on china and russia's what doe mean? >> well, the problem is that russia sent twoplanes three weeks ago and unloaded military equipment and 1,000 russian troops, and that really is a show of force in support of maduro and against u.s. policy. and then there's china whichas lent at least $16 billion to venezuela. so what the u.s. is is to demonstrate that these are rescue partners and it's unfortunately citing monroe
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actrine of 1823, which goes a long way bac doesn't have a pleasant history in atlanta america, but it is very woried that this possible regime change in venezuela has taken on a scale of geopolitical dimen rsis wisia and china now, and the u.s. does not like having china and rulia medding in its own, if you will, what it considered its backyard. >> one of the leads they're trying to pull is the purchase of 5g equipment d ether these countries purchase from china or buy from the u.s. >> china has been on a tear in terms of trying tonvest -- its investment in atlanta america increased by4% 2n the recent years and become one of the largest investors and export markets for latin ameritrcan cos in years, so it's a challenge to u.s. influence, also soft power but economic : wer in the hemisphere. >> sreenivchris sabatini, thank you so much. >> thank you very much, hari.
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>> sreenivasan: on tuesday, pbs will air the next installment of henry louis gates, jr.'s new series, "reconstruction: america after the civil war." it chronicles this country's upheaval as millions of the formerly enslaved sought to gain true equal status under the law. meanile, archaeologists in alabama have been searching the mobile river, looking for the wreck of the last slave ship to arrive in the u.s. in 1860. if the ship is found, descendants of its survivors say it will help call attention to their ancestors' unique story of survival. newshour weekend's megan thompson has the story. >> this is raw cotton. it's real, raw cotton. >> reporter: at a school on theo hern edge of mobile, alabama, lorna gail woods displays artifacts and photos of her ancestors. she loves to tell their >> this is mddaddy, great-great granddaddy charlie. >> reporter: in 1860, woods' great-great grandfather, charlie
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wis, was taken from what is now benin in west africa andnt forcedslavery. he came to america on a ship called the "clotilda," the last known slave shipamo arrive in ica. >> the "clotilda" came up through the gulf of mexico. >> reporter: when woods was a ild, her mother told her stories about her ancestor's traumatic voyage. >> they didn't know where they were going and where their destination was going to end up, but somehow in the bottom of that boat, they were praying and chanting. and mama said they cull strength with each other from this experience they was having. mama took that as a learning thing for us as children, tell us never forget this story. >> reporter: that woods knows so
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much about her ancestry is rare. slave ship manifests usually didn't inclu people's names, d slave owners often recorded only a person's first name. but the story of the "clotilda" came one of the best-ntually documented accounts of aoricans transpd through the transatlantic slave trade. >> we are at the upper end of mobile bay. this is the route that "clotilda" took on its illicit, illegal voyage to bring people tre to alabama to enslavem. >> reporter: james delgado is a historian and maritime archaeologist who has researched the history of this inlet on alabama's southern coast. delgado says mobile bay has been an important place for trade for centuries. >> the trade that ully changes everything is cotton. the time the civil war breaks out, mobile is exporting over half a million tons of cotton. it's the basis of the entire economy not just for the mobile area, not just for alabama, but for the entire south. >> reporter: in 1860buying and
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selling slaves was still legal, and slave labor was in highma . but importing slaves had been illegal for more than 50 years. a wealthy mobile landowner named timothy meaher made a bet he could pull off an illegal run to africa, where slaves were much cheaper than in america. meaher paid captain william foster to sail the "clotilda" to what was then the kingdom of dahomey. foster purchased just over 100 slaves and returned to alabama, sneakingnto mobile bay and then north into the mobile river under the cover of night >> the next part of the story-- and we don't know much about it other than a few carefully chosen words by the perpetrators-- "i thenmy schooner and burned and sank it," says captain "clotilda" bas took a sharp turn and went up that way and somewhere up there was burned and sunk. >> reporter: but the story of the "clotilda" did not end there. oklviane diouf is a historian and author of a bout the
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people of the "clotilda", "dreams of africa in a." she notes they spent only a few years enslaved before theyed gained their f in 1865 when mobile fell at the end of the civil r. many of them regrouped, wanting to return home to africa. >> and so, they decided, you know, to pool their money together and try tfind, you know, a ship to go back home. and then, they realizee they didn't hough money. >> reporter: so, diouf says, they saved money, working innd nearby millselling vegetables. by 1870, they were able to buy land north of mobile, recreating a bit of africa right there. they actually named thetl little sent "africatown," which tells you where... who t they were, wy wanted to remain, and where they actually wanted to be. >> reporter: the residents of ricatown, as it came to be known, built a church and a school. they elected a leader and set up a court system. and they taught their native languages to their children,
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trying to preserve some of the culture of the homeland they'd been violently forced to leave. >> it's a unique community. there's nothing else like it, a community of africansor trand through the transatlantic slave trade. >> reporter: africatowl exists today. a mural commemorates the voyage of the "clotilda the nearby graveyard contains graves and markers commemorating a few who arrived on tp. the church they started still opbuates. the vibrancy of the community is long gone. the area, now part of mobile,un is surrod by industrial sites. its population has dropped from around 10,000 to around 2,000. a visitor center destroyed by hurricane katrina hasn't been rebut. commemorative sculptures have been vandalized and gone unrepaired. africatown is listedn the national register of historic places, and there are some loca effo promote and restore it, but "clotilda" descendant
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lorna woods sayshere's never been enough money or political will to preserve the area the way it should be. >> they struggled and de a life for us here in mobile, but they never got the recognition they deserved. >> reporter: so, woods fights to keep the story alive herself, giving talks and tours. >> charlie lewis' grandson built this house by hand. >> reporter: recently, the stories of africatown have started to receive more national recognition, thanks to some s,oundwork laid decades ago. in the 1920s and 'egendary author zora neale hurston conducted interviews with cudjo, lene of the "clotilda's" last survivors.ot hurston a book, much of it in lewis creating one of the few first-person accounts of the trauma of being kidnin africa and sold into slavery. >> "soon we git in de ship, dey make us lay down in de dark.ta
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wedere 13 days. dey doan give us much to eat. me so thirst!" >> reporter: but publishers weren't interested duringhu ton's lifetime. only last year, nearly 60 years after her death, was hk finally published. also last year, after strong winds pushed water levels to extreme lows in the mobile river, a journalist for the alabama news web site found a shipwreck in the area where the "clotilda" is believed to have been burned. experts, including james delgado, were caed in. but delgado says he could see right away the shipwreck was too big to be the "clotilda." >> there's also the fact that we took wood samples, and they came back as douglas fir, saying, "okay, this was built on the west coast." "clotilda's" built locally. and so, it's step by step, sort of c.s.i.-kind of work that archeologists do that... that took us to that point of saying, "no, this is not 'clotilda.'t >> reporter:s a disappointment, but interest in finding the "clotilda" was >> and you know, if we find the
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ship, it would be fabulous. >> reporter: clara nobles is tht assit director of the alabama historical commission. w it teamed h delgado's company, called search, inc., the national geographic society and other groups to do a full-scale assessment of a section of the mobile river, to see what all lneath these muddy waters. >> you can't see your hand in front of your face, so we use the sonar to get a clearer picte. team also used magnetometers, which he desibes as "fancy metal detectors," and something called a sub-bottom profiler to detect objects beneath the mud. >> we're diving and mapping things by feel. in some cases, we're taking wo samples to understand if it's... if it's a wooden ship, what it's built of. >> reporter: delgado is nowg analyze data to figure out what they found. he says the bay and river are litted with shipwrecks, everything from barges to armored civil war gunboats. >> and perhaps somewhere in that graveyard, "clotilda" might be found. >> reporter: clara nobles says
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finding the "clotilda" would be monuntal, but it's just one piece of a much more important story. >> as we concentrate on the ship, i don't want us to forget about the people because the story is the people, to me. these people that formedwn africafter they came on "clotilda," they were strong. >> it would mean so, so very much to me. >> reporter: lorna woods says ac tilda" discovery could ignite interest in africatownd and other chapter to her ancestors' very important storyi >> by them f the ship, that'll be the glue that sticks all of it together >> sreenivasan: there's a lot of talk divided the united states is politically, and that divisionio includes the v ways americans interpret the u.s. constitution.en a new play ry opened on broadway that asks some very hard questions about ouroc
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country's founent. newshour weekend's ivette feliciano has the story. >> when i was 15 years old, i would travel the country giving speeches about the constitution at american legion halls for prize money. this... this was a scheme invented by my mom to help me pay for college. >> reporter: tenears ago, writer and actor heidi schreck began to write a play that recreates a very influential time in her life. " that pl"what the constitution means to me," opened on broadway this past march. >> i was actually able to pay for my entire college education this way. ( cheers and applause ) thank you. thank you. it... it was 30 years ago,nd it was a state school, but thank you. ( laughter ) >> i loved the teenager.on as a i was a debate nerd. i also remembered it as a time where i felt very powerful as a young woman giving speechek i th was, like, sort of the moment i began to step intor my own ps a woman.
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>> reporter: but schreck also remembers that the audience sheo was speaking tained very few women. stu talk about in the play remembering how f the audience was older white men. >> yes. >> reporter: why was that significant to you, and why did you want to point that out? >> well, it was... it was true to my experience as a teenager. i grew up in washington state, a very small, very conservative town. so, i both wanted to... to make that part of the play because ip was true to myience; and also because it feels true toth larger experience, which is, how do we speak these truths about a document that originally was wrten for these people, these cis, white, straight men? >> reporter: schreck's play is about the people the constitutionasn't written for. it also looks at the struggle to win rights not specifically included by the founding fathers. one tool in this fight was the bill of rights' ninth amendment. >> amendment nine sa: "the enumeration in the constitution,
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of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."t do you know whs means? it means just because a certain right is not listed in the constitution, it doesn't mean you don't have that right.fa th is, there was no way for the framers to put down every single right we have. i mean, the right to brush your teets, you've got it, but how long do we want this document to be ( laughter ) >> this amendment sort of hoays a space tohere are things we don't... we don't know yet, and you can use this amendment to fight for rights that are nos explicitlyd in the constitution. our constitution doesn't tell you all the rights that you have because it doesn't know! >> reporter: "what the constitution means to me" exploresow the ninth amendment helped establish a right to privacy, which led to women gaining the right to birth control, and, eventually,
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abortion rights. schreck is quick to distinguish those so-called "positive" rights from what jurists have termed the "negative" rights of the constitution. >> in the simplest terms, negative rights protect us from the government. they tell what the government can't do. our document was designed primarily to be a negative rights document, to... to give us the... the most possible individual liberty and to protect us from the government interfering in our lives. positive rights are rights. they include things like theto righn education; in some countries, the right to healthcare. >> reporter: and so, why is it so important to... to pointat ut within the context of the play?im >> it'rtant to me because what... in my ten years of study, i started to realize that negative rights are helpful, obviously, because we want to be protected from the possible tyranny of government, but that
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they're most helpful to the people who are already in power. they are most helpful to people whose rights are already protected. >> i believe we need a brand new positive rights documentechat activelyfies theth inequality at e heart of this country. i believe we need a docunt that protects all of us, because why? why should most of us be banished to the margins of the constitution? why should we be opage 30? on page 34? or not even in this document at all because we're kids? we all belong in the preamble. thank you. i think i realized that the thing that we... that we praisec soabout this document, its neutrality, is not enough for most of us. it doesn't protect most of us the way it should. >> reporter: schreck says that whilwriting the play, she began to question whether or not the constitution should be rewritten altogether.
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the first step toward that would be to scrap the one we have. to that end, she concludes her work with a scene in which she matches wits with an actual high school debater. the topic?" should the united stat constitution be abolished?" >> if we abolish the constitution, we risk sending the country into complete chaos. our country's more divided than it has ever been. the only thing holding us together as americans right now is the faith in this document. we may choose... we may choose to interpret it,differently, ithout it, we risk complete collapse. >> reporte do you actually believe that the constitution has outlived its usefulness? >> no. i still have a fundamental faith in the document. edthink it needs to be ame and it... i don't know how we that right now given how divided the country is. i believe the document gives us what we need to make this country better, but it's going to require a lot of work on our parts.
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>> this is pbs wshour weekend, saturday. >> sreenivasan: during theunt for the slave ship "clotilda" that we told you about earlier in the broadcast, archaeologists also gathered data on all kinds of other sunken objects in the mobile river and bay. megan thompson explains.>> eporter: maritime archaeologist james delgado calls the earth's rivers, lakes and oceans the "world's biggest museum," littered with artifacts that help tell an area's history. >> we forget in this time and age, with planes and trains andi on the highway, that this, the water, was the means by which we connected.te >> rep core samples taken from the mobile river banks revealed organic matter 2,at's more tha0 years old. >> we know about shell bann where peopleehistoric times lived and harvested this lea and deposited that sh after they ate what was in it. >> reporter: delgado also found about a dozen sunken barges, reflecting centuries of trade along here.
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mobile bay was also a major confederate port during the civil war. delgado's team collected new electronic images of two ironclad gunbos buried deep in the mud. >> the "tuscaloosa" and th "huntsville" were scuttled in april of 1865 as the city was surrendering to the union. they settled down into the bottomf the river, and, over time, they've just been buried in mud. and in a spot that's, like, right over there, during the civil war, the confederates sank a line of ships, one after the other, filled them with stone and brick and then built pilings anaround them to crea obstacle. the confederates also put out here floating explosive charges known to them as torpedoes. >> reporter: those torpedoes sunk the union's u.s.s. "tecumseh" at the start of the o battmobile bay in 1864. its wreck still lies at the mouth of the bay. >> it's the ship whose sinking led admiral farragut to famously say, "damn the tordoes, full speed ahead." an
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>> sreenivfinally tonight, there was at least one suspected tornado and a dozen people were jured in severe storms i central texas today. the national weather service is warning thtoe may be more adoes, damaging winds, and large hail tomorrow as the sere weather moves east through the gulf coast and into the mid-lantic states. that's all for this edition of pbs newshour weekend. i'm hari sreenivasan. thanks for watching. have a good night. captioning sponsed by wnet captioned by media access group at wgbh >> pbs newshour weend is made possible by: bernard and irene schwartz.
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sue and edgar wachenheim iii. seton melvin. the cheryl and philip milstein family. dr. p. roy vagelos and diana t. vagelos. the j.p.b. foundation. rosalind p. walter. barbara hope zuckerberg. corporate funding is pro dby mutual of america-- designing customized individual and group retirement products. that's why we're your retirement company. additional support has been provided by: and by the corporation for public brocasting, and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. be more. pbs. -star lineup
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gathers in honor of legendary singer/songwriter joni mitchell to celebrate her 75th birthday, performing songs that span her groundbreaking career. -♪ give me spots on my apples ♪s ut leave me the birdd the bees ♪ -join us for a heartfelt tribute to mitchell's incomparable musical artistry and enduring influence. -thank you, joni. -"joni 75: a birthday celebration" is next. "great performances" is brought to you by the joseph and robert cornell memorial foundation, supporting tio arts and educat ♪ ♪


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