Nick Turse, graduate of the Center, author of Kill Anything that Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam, and winner of the Ridenhour Prize for Reportorial Distinction, in the New York Times
For those of you in and around New York City, I’ll be giving a reading and signing copies of my New York Times bestseller Kill Anything that Moves at 192 Books in Chelsea (at 192 Tenth Avenue at 21st Street) on March 27th at 7pm. For more information, call 212-255-4022 or click here.
The New Republic’s Timothy Noah writes how the New York Times Magazine assigned, then killed, Martin Luther King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
According to Diane McWhorter’s Carry Me Home: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, [New York Times Magazine Editor Walter] Shapiro phoned the offices of King’s organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, in July 1962. King was doing jail time in Albany, Georgia, on charges of disturbing the peace while protesting the segregation of public facilities. Shapiro suggested that King write a “letter from prison” modeled on those of early Christian saints; Shapiro may also have been thinking about another 20th century political martyr and Christian minister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer…
…The following May, King was once again in jail for staging a nonviolent protest, this time in Birmingham, Alabama. King remembered Shapiro’s offer… King scribbled a response in the margins of the newspaper, on toilet paper, and and on other scraps that his lawyers sneaked out to the SCLC’s executive director, Wyatt Walker, who got it transcribed. Walker passed drafts back and forth through the lawyers until King was satisfied.
Up north at the Times Magazine, Shapiro was eager to publish, but (according to McWhorter) he “could not get the letter past his bosses at the Times.” Way to go, Gray Lady!
The Times, S. Jonathan Bass reports in Blessed Are The Peacemakers: Martin Luther King, Eight White Religious Leaders, and the ‘Letter From Birmingham Jail,’ initially scheduled the letter for publication in late May. But first it wanted (in the recollection of King adviser Stanley Levison) a “little introduction setting forth the circumstances of the piece.” Then it decided, no, what it really wanted was for King to “write a feature article based on the letter.” Or, possibly, it wanted both. Before King had a chance to jump through these hoops, the New York Post (in those distant days a plausible rival to the Times) got a copy of the letter and published unauthorized excerpts, killing the Times’s interest.
“Letter from a Birmingham Jail” was eventually published in its entirety by The Atlantic and then Liberation, Christian Century and The New Leader, and, of course, entered the American literary canon.
Timothy Noah, The New Republic. How the New York Times Screwed Martin Luther King Jr.
Ideally, the 66,000 American troops would already be leaving, and all of them would be out as soon as safely possible; by our estimate, that would be the end of this year. The war that started after Sept. 11, 2001, would be over and securing the country would be up to Afghanistan’s 350,000-member security force, including the army and police, which the United States has spent $39 billion to train and equip over a decade.
But there is a conflict between the ideal and the political reality. Mr. Obama has yet to decide how fast he will withdraw the remaining troops, and the longer he delays, the more he enables military commanders who inevitably want to keep the maximum number of troops in Afghanistan for the maximum amount of time.
The 10 Best Books of 2012 from The New York Times Book Review, including our own Andrew Solomon’s powerful, groundbreaking FAR FROM THE TREE: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity. Congratulations, Andrew!
At Mr. Sulzberger’s death, The Times was being run by a fourth generation of his family, a rarity in an age when the management of most American newspapers is determined by distant corporate boards. A family trust, unaffected by his death, guarantees continued control by Adolph Ochs’s descendants.It was no coincidence, Mr. Sulzberger believed, that some of the country’s finest newspapers were family-owned. “My conclusion is simple,” he once said with characteristic humor. “Nepotism works.
“Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”
—Richard A. Muller, author of Energy for Future Presidents