Thursday, August 25, 2016
Radio and TV journalist Edward R. Murrow, was born Egbert Roscoe Murrow on April 25, 1908 in Greensboro, North Carolina; died of lung cancer, April 27, 1965 in Pawling, New York.
Edward R. Murrow is recognized as the dean of 20th century broadcast journalism. Before Murrow, broadcast journalism was an unwanted stepbrother of the newspapers, and most radio reporters were writers by trade. Murrow’s high standards for reporting and superb narrative skills -- his aim being to report for the ears, not for the page -- raised the bar for all broadcast reporters who would follow him.
A student orator at Washington State College who served as president of a national college students’ organization, Murrow backed into radio as an educational radio show producer. His duties took him to Europe in 1937, and with World War II brewing, Murrow found himself on the air feeding the hungry demand for news about Hitler as one of America’s first radio foreign correspondents.
He first captivated American audiences, though, with his dramatic eyewitness reports from London during the Nazi blitzes of 1940. With bombs and air-raid sirens sounding in the background, Murrow would intone with his deep, rich voice, "THIS is London . . . it’s a bomber’s moon out tonight." Very quickly his influence as a journalist began to eclipse that of the print correspondents, not only because he was beating their reports by several hours, but because millions of listeners soon began to empathize with this man whose voice was coming to them in their living rooms from the heart of the action. Later, Murrow provided commentary while flying in an Allied bombing run over Germany, and accompanied U.S. troops as they liberated the Buchenwald concentration camp.
After the War, Murrow became CBS news director, and led CBS into the television age with his weekly news program See It Now (1951-58), covering such stories as the Korean War, human rights in South Africa and the polio vaccine. During these programs, Murrow exuded the same kind of cool, casual image that he had developed on radio, typically with a lit cigarette in hand and a cloud of smoke around him. After spending two episodes exposing the abusive red-baiting methods of Senator Joseph McCarthy with snippets from McCarthy’s own speeches, McCarthy demanded equal time and accused Murrow of spreading "propaganda for communist causes." As it turned out, Murrow gave McCarthy the chance to ruin himself; public opinion turned dramatically against McCarthy after his angry response, and within a year McCarthy had been censured by the Senate.
In 1954, Murrow had also introduced a celebrity interview show, Person to Person (1954-59) which featured in-depth interviews of such people as Eleanor Roosevelt, Groucho Marx, Marilyn Monroe and Duke Ellington. Advertisers began to pull their support from See It Now in 1955 due to the controversial nature of Murrow’s reports, leading Murrow to launch an attack against the institution of television in a speech to TV and radio news directors. Arguing that commercial interests were using the medium to "distract, delude, amuse and insulate" viewers. In 1958, CBS cancelled See It Now, but Murrow continued to do occasional news documentaries, such as his highly-acclaimed report on the conditions of migrant workers, "Harvest of Shame" (1960).
In 1961, Murrow left CBS to accept an appointment by John Kennedy as head of the U.S. Information Agency, which had as its mission informing the world about American culture and democratic principles; he served there until 1964. George Clooney’s film about the Joe McCarthy feud, Good Night, and Good Luck (2005), named for Murrow’s sign-off slogan and starring David Strathairn as Murrow, is highly recommended.
"It has always seemed to me the real art in this business is not so much moving information or guidance or policy five or ten thousand miles. That is an electronic problem. The real art is to move it the last three feet in face-to-face conversation." -- Edward R. Murrow.
Thursday, June 23, 2016
First American woman to win three gold medals in the Olympics, born 1940 in St. Bethlehem, Tennessee; died of brain cancer, November 12, 1994 in Nashville, Tennessee.
From the unlikeliest of beginnings, Wilma Rudolph became one of the most admired women of the 20th century. Her father was a porter and her mother was a housekeeper 6 days a week in a Southern town which was still gripped by Jim Crow. She was born prematurely, weighing just 4-1/2 pounds, the sixteenth of her father's nineteen children (11 of them were stepbrothers and sisters). The doctors didn't give her much of a chance of survival, but she lived through several bouts of illness in her first 3 years. When she was 4, she contracted double pneumonia, scarlet fever and polio, and the prognosis was grim; soon the muscles in her left leg and foot weakened to the point where she couldn't use them, and the doctors at the nearest hospital for blacks, 50 miles away from her hometown, said she'd never walk. For 2 years, Wilma's mother took her by bus to Nashville for physical therapy, bought her special shoes and put her leg in metal braces. Gradually she walked, but haltingly. When she was 11, she shocked her entire family by throwing away the braces during a church service and walking down the aisle. In short order she found she could also run, and she seemed to be a pretty good with a basketball, shooting hoops through the peach basket her brother had set up in their yard. At 13, she made the girls' basketball team at Clarksville High School and averaged 32.1 points per game, a state record. Her coach encouraged her to run, and she enjoyed an undefeated record before qualifying for U.S. Olympic track team in 1956.
In the Olympics at Melbourne, the 16-year old Rudolph won a bronze medal in the 4 x 100-meter relay. She entered Tennessee State University in 1957 to work with the famed coach of the Tigerbelle track team, Ed Temple. (For his part, Temple said his only contribution to Rudolph's greatness was that he reduced her intake of junk food.) She was sidelined with injuries over much of the next several years, and a tonsillectomy threatened to take her out of the 1960 Olympics. She managed to recover, however, setting a world record for the 200-meter dash during the Olympic trials. When she arrived in Rome, the foreign press was captivated by her charming smile, her graceful 5'-11" frame and her deceptively easy, long strides, calling her "La Perle Noire" (the "black pearl") or "La Gazzella Nera" (the "black gazelle"); indeed, even the American press made itself look a little silly by celebrating her beauty, after years of neglecting women athletes, especially African-American ones. By the end of the games, she had won the 100-meter dash by three yards with a time of 11 seconds; easily beat the field in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.2 seconds; and, running the anchor leg of the 4 x 100-meter relay, she led the team to a world-record 44.4 second race despite a sloppy final pass of the baton, becoming the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics.
After an audience with Pope John XXIII, she returned to Tennessee, where she was honored with the first ever racially-integrated parade in her hometown of Clarksville. Through it all, Rudolph radiated a sweetness which reflected the gratitude she felt for being given the chance to succeed, becoming one of the most beloved sports figures ever. After the Olympics she finished college; set a new world record in the 100-meter dash (11.2); and won the Sullivan Trophy as America's best amateur athlete (1961), becoming only the third woman to do so up to that time. She later had 4 children, wrote a best-selling autobiography (later filmed as Wilma, starring Cicely Tyson), modeled extensively, and worked tirelessly to support underprivileged athletes.
"She was always in my corner. If I had a problem, I could call her at home. It was like talking to someone you knew for a lifetime." -- Jackie Joyner-Kersee.
Thursday, December 04, 2014
Schuler Presents THE STEEL BAR to ACC
Reposted from Ingots:
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
That Time When a Pittsburgh Lawyer Governed Part of Ukraine
"He has the distinction of being the only American citizen to have presided as governor over a province that would later become a part of the U.S.S.R."
Zatkovich later served as Pittsburgh city solicitor during the administration of Mayor William McNair in the 1930s.
From THE STEEL BAR: PITTSBURGH LAWYERS AND THE MAKING OF MODERN AMERICA
Friday, June 21, 2013
Jacob Margolis: Pittsburgh lawyer, Anarcho-Syndicalist
Margolis: First, syndicalist; I put the syndicalist first, because it is an important thing; syndicalist-anarchist would be my position.
Jacob Margolis, a Pittsburgh lawyer who represented the IWW during the 1919 Steel Strike, told Senator William Kenyon of Iowa that he was an anarchist during a Senate investigation of the Steel Strike. When he returned home to Pittsburgh, he found that the Allegheny County Bar Association was moving to have him disbarred. During the legal battle that followed, the ACBA was fed information from the FBI. Margolis lost his license to practice law in 1920 following arguments before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, but was reinstated within the bar in 1928. He spent most of the rest of his career as a writer and lecturer, retiring to Santa Barbara, California during the 1940s.
NOTE: Photo is not available for republication.
Friday, April 26, 2013
Justice Baldwin's Dueling Past
"Duels were not altogether uncommon among these men in this day. ... Henry Baldwin had fought a duel against another lawyer, Isaac Meason, Jr., over a grievance that has been described as either political or romantic in nature – possibly both. During the first round of pistol-fire, Baldwin was hit in the chest and began spitting up blood, so witnesses feared he had been shot through; but apparently a Spanish silver dollar in Baldwin’s waistcoat pocket deflected Meason’s bullet. The parties were scared off by a posse sent by Judge Riddle before they could lob a second volley." Henry Baldwin later became an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.
See The Steel Bar: Pittsburgh Lawyers and the Making of Modern America.
See The Steel Bar: Pittsburgh Lawyers and the Making of Modern America.
Monday, November 05, 2012
Yes, I'm sick and tired of the election, too ... but ...
Yes, I'm sick and tired of the election, too. I have to confess, though, that the night before the election is just like Christmas Eve was to me when I was a kid. Maybe it's just me, but for all my excitement, I'm going to have a hard time getting to sleep tonight, and tomorrow morning I'll be up and running down the stairs ... because after months of being talked to and talked at, of dozens of robocalls and campaign contribution solicitations, of having my daily practical thoughts interrupted at every turn by a SuperPAC campaign ad, I'm finally going to get my present. I'm going to get to have my say.
As much as I may be completely fed up with this campaign, I do love our process. It's a great gift, and I can hardly wait until sunrise to open it.
Labels: Presidential Campaigns