tv Book Discussion on The Year of Fear CSPAN September 27, 2015 12:00am-1:01am EDT
the way that she's taught is a problem that resulted in theeson past where the actual rosa parkr said there is more work toks bek done. >> how did you do the research >> h on the buck and where areost: te papers?had to >> i had to do a lot of digginga .. archives, in part because part of rosa parks's papers were caught in a dispute over her estate, had gotten the papers to sell with all of her in effect, they languished in new york for a decade until this summer howard buffett made an incredible donation and recently gave them to the library of congress and in february theyopened. they are re
>> >> "usa today" on tv. leading a team of historians and journalists the museum of news events and history from pennsylvania avenue washington d.c. and as the executive director from 2011 the former chairman of the foster peabody award will to serve as a member of the advisory board the journalism honors from the
national association of newspaper columnist in winning the award that they wrote a and coproduced let's welcome jow urschel to the national archives. [applause] >> one there is no line of for whiskey is in this event. had i known i would have brought my own. thank you for coming out today i appreciate you stopping by. i will refrain myself from turning on for too long. we have 45 minutes time.
about 30 minutes into this you can flag me of a like to explain how i got into this story and into the book coming here in 1982 for the launch of "usa today". and very excited to be in washington. taking in the tourist sites and this is 1982 day just converted the card catalog system that patrons could use while they were visiting. so i typed in my last name
which is fairly uncommon and tell the baltimore ravens drafted herschel who was now not only more famous but a lot smarter probably the only person working on his ph.d. while he is playing in the nfl. when i put in my name there was one entry that popped up. of the herschel kidnapping victim. there was one book written about it with. >> host: ticket inside story of the herschel kidnapping. intrigue i called the band
sat down reading it cover to cover. it was the most remarkable story i had ever read more than you can possibly imagine and i was flabbergasted because i've never heard of this guy. i haven't heard of any herschel's other than what i was related to. after i read the book i called up my dad to say i read this incredible book about charles urschel and oil millionaire in texas that was kidnapped in the 30's are related? he said no. ice that have a you know, ? >> host: we are not. so like any good son i set
out to prove my father wrong. to embark on genealogical research looking all over the country for urschel but i never did friday a connection that they could find within the united states if there is any connection it dates back centuries which is germany. so with that i decided still a good story over the last 30 years. the more i learned the better the story got. it is an incredible story one of the most remarkable kidnappings in american history to produce the largest manhunt in the nation up to that time
covering 16 states states, 20,000 miles. resulting in a sensational trial in to put on motion picture carries and then turning to the cameras of of the next 50 years. was and to give that agents their nickname that resulted in the establishment of alcatraz does of federal penitentiary as a whole for criminals deemed vicious and the redeemable, of the worst of the worst. instead of the passage of the federal crime bill 1934 that made kidnapping of a federal crime punishable by
death and expanded the power of the fbi. all this was made possible by the cooperation of the urschel kidnap victim. and i deem to 1933 "the year of fear" because it has a confluence of events that are taking place. in 1933, three years into the great depression depression, probably the worst economic consequences to be played out across the nation as the economy sinks further and further. in the year since the 29 crash the market lost almost 90 percent of its value the unemployment non-farm was 40 percent and in some cities as high as 80 percent
thousands of banks were closed, of loss of tax revenues with draconian cuts and only a few social services did exist police and teachers were laid off schools closed in millions dropped out. catastrophic dash storms were beginning to pick up in the southwest later what we now refer to as the dust bowl incredible storms started in oklahoma or a texas or new mexico and with blows so hard and so strong that the people who lived in that area would have to drape the child beds and carriages with wet sheets to prevent the sill to come in
and chokes them to death because it would kill the livestock in the field and turn the stowe read and ships at sea coming into new york harbor could not see the skyline. you can see some of the effects from local farms. as they were taking up a sense of lawlessness was beginning to develop throughout the country when for law enforcement officers were killed in broad daylight and the user id grey gropper operated with virtual impunity along the criminal corridor from dallas texas to seen paul minnesota.
the mayor of chicago standing next to fdr and a political event when he was assassinated in miami. the al think it was directed at fdr but at the time they thought that the attempt was successful and he was the victim. because he had just unseeded the mayor of chicago to form the unholy alliance without capone and a criminal empire in chicago and he caved in on of bowel to rid the city of capone and though way to do that is to align himself with another getting operating on the north side of the city and literally had hired them to be his
police officers said body guards. just weeks earlier the chief attendant while this is all going on with the elimination of prohibition of the criminal empires with the banks drying up with prohibition coming to an end so into the market failure and estimated 2000 kidnappings had occurred between 1930 and 1933 when a
bird case was probably the most famous. so with no money left it in the bank's and kidnap being wealthy individuals and the way these operations would work across the county line where county sheriff's so is relatively easy to hide out on a remote farm for a certain amount of money with the ransom then release with the caveat everything would
be fine unless they go to the authorities and if they do and then it was working up through 1933 eric and armor plated limousines with the passenger seat companies were issuing kidnapping and while all of this is going on fdr kicks off to announce we have nothing to fear but fear itself at the same time adolf hitler was the chancellor in germany. and with tougher times coming so in the midst of
this incredible scenario george kelly and his glamorous wife decide they're going to kidnap the richest oil man in the southwest. with an almost remarkable lack of planning burst into the earth shall home while they're playing bridge with their friends so armed with a machine gun runs up to the bridge gave is suddenly discovers it and know which of the two guys is urschel. [laughter] said to make all kinds of threats they demand that urschel reveal himself which he does not do and just sits there.
as they're getting increasingly belligerent deciding he will stand up biddy a hero. at which point urschel stands up also so kelly says we will take both of you. they speed off into the night a couple of miles out of town they realize they could probably identify which was urschel by looking at their wallets. [laughter] they stopped the car they give him $10 to get a cab back to town and they take off with urschel. they take him to the farm just outside of dallas that was owned by kathryn kelley father-in-law is day
broken-down car with a few animals where the boss lives with his wife and his son and his son's wife. so they stick urschel he has been blindfolded the entire ride and for the next eight days he is blind and deaf and change to a bedframe at various times of the day but nevertheless the kind of guy who does not part with money willingly. and if he ever gets back he will get his money back so he begins collecting information and he knows how long the car ride took he also realizes that was
designed to confuse him known as the king of the wildcatters. there were finding oil all over oklahoma and texas some of urschel who grew up on a farm begins to count the number of different animals by how many they are. the information on the farm itself he is held at various times to collect information from the people better holding about the building's and how big the farm is the local prostitute and while he is doing all of this year
realizes that 930 in the morning of play and is passing overhead. he puts back into the database and leaving his fingerprints river he can in the meantime his wife has collected money for the ransom. so at the point they are about to release urschel katherine kelley new was the tougher of the to insist they have to kill him. and george says recant kill him because if we do they will come after us with the marines and we will never get away in recant kidnap anybody else because our threats will be empty. so the plan was kidnapped five more people to get
about cater $10 million in contemporary dollars and they go to mexico. everybody has their dreams. [laughter] so that plan is thwarted and urschel returns to his home in oklahoma city which by then is for the press around the world in various members of the bureau of investigation of j. edgar huge - - hoover as well as local police. urschel comes in and immediately debriefed by the fbi agents who'd just
listens having starting off telling him it is like finding a needle in a haystack after 90 minutes he said we just found a really small haystack. [laughter] but consequently urschel borrowed a plane they go up in the air with the airline they have identified they look down using urschel sketch and identify a form that looks exactly like the drawing and put together a raiding party and urschel insists he is in the lead car with a sawed-off shotgun on his lap their arrest them and of fellow who was at the
farm hiding out from the state prison in kansas. harvey bailey is an incredible character and just so happen to stumble into this story consider the most successful bank robbery in american history. which involves careful planning to have multiple backup plans if there is the most money in the bank to be robbed by studying the of local economy with the police activity is like how far away the police station is what color cars and
basically it would go well and nobody would know who did it and then and then having to take credit for anything. and then successfully robbing the denver mint and the lincoln national bank so much money that the bank failed the next day. and he did so well in the '20s that he retired from the bank robbing business opening a series of gas stations and car washes in chicago with his money in the market crash then because he did so well. he worked with george kelly on a number of bank jobs and
actually gave him a thousand dollars when he was low on funds. and to collect the money that he sustained but he just happens to be sleeping in the backyard on a cot with their arrive with a squadron of law enforcement. even though georgiana catherine had already fled they had gone up to st. paul to launder their money. the fbi agents still score an important victory that was not only of a proper but a prisoner. the raid is considered a huge success in the rise justin thyme for j. edgar hoover who in 1933 was not
yet director of the fbi barely holding on to his job with the bureau of investigation was given a job to solve the lindbergh kidnapping he had done a miserable job with almost no progress in the 18 months since it happened. when fdr took office as first choice for attorney general was the senator from wyoming. also had a bad history with j. edgar hoover during the harding administration. hoover and the bureau were instructed to besmirch both walsh and his fellow senator. and there were trying to launch investigations.
>> they tapped his phone and read his mail and tried to trap him in a hotel room with women to get incriminating evidence and it did not succeed but it did succeed to make a lifelong enemy of mr. walsh that was announced as fdr his first choice as attorney general and after that announcement he vowed to get rid of that miserable son of a. unfortunately he was 72 years old when he got two grammy to marry a cuban debutante on the trade ride back to washington when the train stopped at one dash a north carolina his wife lookup but he did not subsequently the next
attorney general was named homer cummings as the brain trust originally slated for the ambassador from the justice department and he figures the way he can raise the profile that was held fairly low of the time through the department of easy virtue to prosecute the war on crime. it really liking the sound of that do basically taken up one dash break up whenever he could do. j. edgar is under pressure
to bring and of big score in the machine gun kelly case could be the one. then the other leading character in the story, charles was a farm kid who's grew up and enlisted in the army during the first world war. when he got out the last thing he would do is to hard work it did not pay off as well as he was hoping that it starts off that he decides to make his fortune the oil business. he has a head for numbers and a great memory as you know, and hooks up with tom
who becomes king of the wildcatters' who makes their fortunes together. unfortunately, right at their peak tom slick at age 47 has a massive heart attack and dies. charros mary's his widow for being the urschel slick oil company which is even bigger then of course, that generates a lot of headlines in the paper how rich they are and what the oil holdings and tail. also be interesting reading about kidnapping urschel so urschel and select had no great love for the press
before the kidnapping because they always talk about their business affairs suddenly has even more reason to despise them. so charles those in to an alliance with j. edgar hoover where the kidnapping ochres and hoover prosecutes a nationwide search for catherine and george. the fbi was just given the sole responsibility to chase kidnappers said they were the only organization to bring this to fruition. but to problems one is that they were not armed and there were not trained most
were lawyers and accountants would have been in - - municipalities prosecute so hoover looked around his agencies to find people who would be skilled enough to go up against machine guns and murderers and bank robbers. and discovers he has fewer than and to lung dash man to and he puts them together with this @ and he puts them together with this investigation in order then this is a document produced by the bureau after the successful prosecution which they used to further demonstrate their need for expanded powers in
all cities where they suspected the kelly's might be and where they had tracked them and they had been the most of those places they tried to close the borders because it thought there would be leaving. and not a bad assumption. this is another document produced by the fbi mapped out the most prominent members of society who were kidnapped. this is the davis melvyn purchase the special agent in charge of the chicago office to captured and killed a cylinder bringing great fame to the bureau however on the urschel casey let kelley slip through his fingers in chicago the fbi
discovered that kelly was using michigan tavern as his personal address where he was paying out to enjoy a special protection from the police and assigned him to stake out the tavern but literally he forgot to do it. by the time he remembered there were two agents but they never went inside then that very day kelly was inside arranging to get a new automobile to escape to memphis, tennessee. this did not make the director happy and then purchase left the agency of the few years after these events occurred.
ultimately they choose between six and seven weeks on the road they find kelly in memphis, tennessee and successfully pressed him. there he is walking out of the courthouse and chains guarded by machine gunners the fbi now has quite an arsenal the interesting thing is that kelly started out in memphis, tennessee a child of the upper middle-class parents, of caddie at the local country club, a smart kid, but he did not enjoy a good relationship with his father. he hated him. he caught his father in interest with another woman in basically black one dash blackmailed him and said i
will not tell mom if you give me the family car and increase my allowance by x amount of dollars so that he used his money and transportation though liquor running business because tennessee was a dry state a young of entrepreneur and high-school. it went downhill from there. here is kathryn and a georgia in federal court from several weeks on the road going through to your for gin bottles a day and kelly already has been pistol whipped in the courtroom by the fbi by spectators when he attempted to defend catherine from an perceived advance from an
agent for preconceived and not on his forehead. over comings and j. edgar hoover had a special contempt for the federal prison system which they thought was too fluid too easy to escape coverage to corruptive, it too much coddling of prisoners or whatever. they wanted to create a prison nobody could escape from that only the worst of the worst could be sent to and no attempt at rehabilitation solely for confinement cut off from the outside world and could not talk to one another, a special kind of hell for these prisoners that are the worst of the nation.
like al capone or various midwestern murderers and thieves. sova george kelly and zepa in the introductory class going to alcatraz most of the rest of his life. and then to be said to the women's prison and then georges later released from the state prison and by that point charles had softened on though whole affair and went to the fdr to say he had nothing to do with this kidnapping and we ought to let him out so he agrees to probation and sets him up in
joplin, missouri with a job as a cabinet maker and gets him of room at the ymca where he lives the rest of his life without committing another crime. the urschel family and up in tact the fairly rattled. the rest of their lives are spent running the wailes business they set up a number of foundations and then tried to live happily ever after. but part of what charles experienced made his detest
publicity of any kind so he instructed the rest of his family or anybody that would listen, you should never get any publicity whatsoever the matter what you have done or how proud you are. you should remain as concealed as possible or bad things will happen to you. that attitude was not only passed down to his children but to his grandchildren as well and they have everybody involved in the case even to the point when i got around to find them and talk to them it was very circumspect and and the way back by any type of cooperation was because of the same last name and at some point we are probably related. charleses granddaughter was
the things that the al what is gangster movies. they tried to get the entire industry and then to put into the code. if you're born to make and that is the fbi agent if you have one in your movie then you have to move the scripture. 1935 and then there others did the same scenario hero. but hoover did many more
things about the famous. >> kelly did have the publicity department on his half have the stories that hoover put out about kelly took hold basically. hoover wanted to make a machine gun kelly the were spilling a possible so his achievement to catch and prosecute with seen greater. so part of it you can read about it one of the stories he spread was when they finally cornered machine gun kelly in of this he drop his weapon and coward in the quarter and said don't
shoot. don't shoot. it didn't happen like that. you can read the book but that became the brand for urd the fbi if they are to this day. so as the years pass the legend of machine gun kelly continues to grow and king of the beat moviemakers makes a movie in 1958 and makes machine gun kelly to be out psychopathic and basically living under the thumb of his domineering wife that is the image that persist to this day and there are still songs written about him in movies made about him the james taylor has a song on that
scenario. but the case in edition proved the importance of branding and media manipulation and hoover's reputation is that he was in office and then began to sour the nevertheless he did create the first national police force one of the successful and modern at the time. so i think i have droned on long enough. if you would like to ask a question since we are on
c-span please come to the microphone. spee clearly. >> how much ransom did they pay? and how did machine gun kelly get the main reputation? did he actually kill anyone? >> they took the ransom money out of the accounts of $200,000 and how did he get his reputation? curiously it was created by j. edgar hoover and kathryn kelley. he was a student and you have to stay under the radar.
if you hurt somebody that draws the of lions of george was trying to be in that fashion he didn't like machine guns and was afraid of them he would rob a bank with the concealed for 38 with a disturbing irishman is incredibly well dressed as they are concerned about his image to show a the 38 and then to empty the jurors in it -- the doors of my will be out of here. but catherine wanted to be married to the most famous criminal and all of america said she was working on the reputation then starts
spreading stories of the speakeasy she would leave the shells behind to say we have been down to the farm and he is working on his skills in you will hear more about that. but the police officers always have their eye on kelly to hang around in the bars or in the speakeasy when they first discovered it was george kelly to setup the profile saying he was a murderer and expert machine gunner in that got into the
press ahead one thing led to another now we have a psychopathic machine gun kelly. but to finish your question but he did participate in the number of bank robberies where they did get killed but when they would form these gains they really didn't recruit kelly near lake him more for his skills behind the wheel he was ted chin runner and a boot bigger for almost 20 years on the back roads and 193218
get out of the machine guns from union station and the crimes reputedly like george kelly. >> the following year the firearms act that a robot machine guns that i've understand george kelly when he was an alcatraz wrote letters to urschel or other people saying nothing could be worth this and i will carry the guilt for the rest of my life. >> that is true he was very literate and wrote not only
that letter that is considered to be one of the best descriptions of life behind bars but that is in the booktv would like to purchase a copy. [laughter] but he was the constant letter writer and particularly well versed to referred to greek mythology and he wrote hundreds of letters that are her wrenching and almost bring you toots' years if not laughter. and when he was incarcerated with the evaluation of all
the prisoners, he enrolled in correspondence courses from the university of southern california and of competition as to who could do better brand was a voracious reader to do anything he could. >> bay your pardon but i think scarred face was started by cagney played a similar role 1931 based on capone. >> you are right. you know, your film history. >> there are a lot of twists and turns on the topic people to howard hughes to have that single? >> he did not make it in but
>> was he involved in making the movie star face? >> i don't know. >> he knew splenic and all of the hollywood censorship and especially in texas he had to note urschel. >> yes. he was inactive democrat looking, he had sent emissaries to washington to get fdr to bring regulation to his business to help protect those that were driven out of business those back east would drive the price so you cannot make money. anything else? thank you for coming.
>> but that the role of the supreme court it has to have relevance but looking at the current programming. >> the court is an equal branch of government, the third branch of government. it still has a fundamental impact. >> inside this elegant building is a court room where cases are heard in decisions are made that impact all of our lives. there are so many incredibly interesting cases. we all heard about roe vs. wade but for so many people their names and a textbook we want to talk about not just the legal side but those involved. they're human beings that
they brought the cases to the court. >> but people will find most fascinating is the stories. one of my favorites is the story and when you hear his personal story that they will fall in love with the cases in feel passionate about what passes in the courts and why it matters to invite you should care. >> picking the 12 cases was difficult and arduous. it was fun because we learned a lot but they represent our understanding of rates in america looking and reds got and miranda through roe v. wade not only the history of the country but rights in america. >> landmark cases.