tv Poynter Institute Pulitzer Centennial Celebration CSPAN April 17, 2016 6:30pm-9:01pm EDT
100th anniversary of the pulitzer prizes. next, the poynter institute hosted an event commemorating pulitzer prize congressman john lewis in georgia delivered the keynote address. this is 2.5 hours. mayor of st. petersburg, a former journalist, and a proud graduate of the poynter institute. any service to the power of words. i will serve as one of your host for this evening. you can't have a pulitzer prize celebration without some pulitzer prize winners. we are so fortunate tonight to have a distinguished group of winners among us, to honor them, of the times and
former chair of the pulitzer prize forum. [applause] thank you very much. it is my pleasure to introduce a number of great winners to the pulitzer prizes tonight. let me take a moment to recognize one of my predecessors both as the chair of the tampa bay times company and of the --itzer prize, and barnes andy barnes is with us. [applause] our purpose here this evening is to say happy birthday to the pulitzer prizes. they turn 100 years old this year, which is older than anybody in this room, i believe. [laughter] this is a great tribute to a robust and resilient american institution. you to's also say thank
joseph pulitzer who created these prizes. it is a very hard thing to when a pulitzer. it is hard even to become one of the three finalists. hundreds and hundreds of entries arrive in new york each year for prizes given in journalism, literature, and the arts. spinteer juries of experts -- spend days willing down the entries. the board members read every finalists' entry and vote on a winner. it is with great pleasure than to present to you these pulitzer hase winners whose work inspired us and who join us here this evening. i will present them in chronological order of the year they won their prize.
please holger applause -- please hold your applause until all of them has been introduced. winner of the 1982 prize for public service, sydney free burn. winner of the 1988 prize for feature writing, jackie. 1993-92 prize for feature writing for the "new york times," al raymes. winner of the 1993 prize for the miami herald and a graduate of the poynter institute, liz. prize forthe 1998 photography, clarence william. 2003 for the baltimore sun and another pointer graduate, danielle.
winner of the 2003 prize for commentary for the "washington culber winner of the 2000t king. four prize -- winner of the 2004 prize, willard fits. winner of the 2007 prize for history with his co-author jean roberts. winner of the 2009 prize for the washington post, eugene robinson. winner of the 2014 alert surprise for commentary for the detroit free press, stephen henderson. and now, from your own newspaper, the tampa bay times, winner of the 1985 prize for
investigative reporting, lindsay morgan. [applause] please hold your applause. [laughter] you had been doing so well, too. [laughter] prize for 1998 feature writing, thomas french. winner of the 2009 pulitzer prize for feature writing, duane gregory. winner of the 2013 prize for editorial writing, tim higgins and dan ruth. [applause] we have a consistent offender here. [laughter] the 2014 pulitzer prize for global reporting, michael. now, please joining in a round of applause. [applause]
congressman john lewis. [applause] to introduce them as the winner of the 2007 pulitzer prize for commentary in the atlanta journal-constitution. please welcome cynthia tucker haynes. [applause] cynthia: good evening. it is fitting on this evening devoted to the history of civil rights and social justice in america that we hear from my dear friend, john lewis. kind of prize, i wonder, does he deserve? let's put it this way, his life is a prize. down the precious metals of a pulitzer prize and a nobel peace prize and an oscar,
and a medal of honor, and forged them to cement a prize, it would not do him justice. he was born the son of on february 21, 1940, outside of troy, alabama. he grew up on his family's farm and attended segregated public schools in pike county, alabama. he was inspired by the activism surrounding the montgomery bus boycott and the jr., of martin luther king which he heard on radio broadcast. he even read comic books were civil rights leaders were the heroes. moments, hevotal made a decision to become a part of the civil rights movement. while still a young man, john lewis became a nationally
recognized leader. one of, he was dubbed the big six leaders of the civil rights movement. at the age of 23, he was an architect of any keynote speaker at the historic march on washington in august, 1963. helped spearhead one of the most seminal events of the civil rights movement. along with hosea williams, john lewis lead over 600 peaceful, orderly protesters across the edmund pettis bridge in selma, alabama on march seventh. they intended to march from selma to montgomery to demonstrate the need for voting rights in the state. by marchers were attacked alabama state troopers and a brutal confrontation that became
known as bloody sunday. news broadcast and photographs revealing the senseless cruelty of the segregated south helped hasten the passage of the voting rights act of 1965. despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, congressman lewis remains a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. in the half-century since those momentous events, he has compiled and inspiring list of achievements too numerous to mention here. there is one of compliments -- there is one congressman that feels -- that fills them with pride. he is the co-author of a graphic trilogy. language, it captures one of the most astonishing life experiences
ever led by any american of any color. it offers to a new century and a new generation of the story of the people. of the american people, that should never be forgotten. in the years ahead, as we create pulitzer prize-winning stories about the next battles for civil rights, social justice, and equality, there will be voices echoing from the past and into our future to inspire us. one of the most powerful will be the voice of john lewis. join me now in welcoming him. [applause]
john: good evening. tucker, myynthia good friend, for that warm and kind introduction. it is good to see you. it is good to be here. delighted to see each and every one of you. i want to thank the president of the poynter institute, tim and the pulitzer prize committee to invite me to celebrate the 100 anniversary with you this evening. that i did notu grow up in a big city. [laughter] like st. petersburg? or a city light and mentor
washington d.c., or new york? miami? tallahassee? [laughter] sarasota? [laughter] it is to that i grew up in rural alabama, 50 miles from montgomery, outside of a little place called troy. she told you that my father was a sharecropper and a farmer. she did not tell you that my grandfather worked on another person's land. she did not tell you that my great-grandfather was a slave. you that on all farm, it was my responsibility to care for the chickens, and i fell in love with raising chickens.
[laughter] she did not take that as a little boy, i became so fond of raising chickens and i wanted to be a minister, that i would gather all of the chickens in the chicken yard -- [laughter] -- ins wonderful behavior this wonderful theater, and we would have church. [laughter] chickens,each to the , some ofi look back these chickens which take their heads. they never quite said "amen." some of convinced that those chickens eyed priest in the 1940's and 1950's tended to listen to me better than some of my colleagues listen to me today. [laughter] [applause] and some of those chickens for just a little more productive. [laughter]
but you who live in this congressional district are more than lucky. to have auly blessed in -- ul congress person [applause] visit montgomery, visit signs that saw the white men, colored man, white women, color waiting, white waiting period go down to on a saturday afternoon to this theater, all of the black students had to go upstairs to the balcony. although little white children went down to the first floor. i came home and asked my mother,
father, grandparents, uncles and aunts, teachers, why no? that is the way it is. don't get into trouble. 1955, 15 years old in the 10th grade, i heard about what happened to them at teal -- emm it till. i heard about rosa parks. her the words from martin luther king jr. on the radio. the action of rosa parks, the words of dr. king inspired me to find a way to get in the way. i got in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble. to have ao poor subscription to the local newspaper. my grandfather had one.
day, we would finish reading the montgomery advertising. we got the paper and we read it. one of my teachers was from montgomery. , the place aroy , the place all doctor can call the four corners of alabama. he called me the boy from troy. he told me what was happening there. in 1957, at the age of 17 when i finished high school, i wanted to attend a school called troy state college, now known as dragon university. i never heard a word from the school, so i wrote a letter to martin luther king jr., told him what i wanted to do, he wrote me back and sent me a round-trip
i went downtown and bought a used suit at a used men's store and paid five dollars for it. i saw a picture a few days ago. i could probably sell it on ebay for a lot of money. [laughter] so i come here tonight to thank institution ofis finding a way to get in the way. a way to get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble, now more than ever before. we need to press to be a headlight and not a taillight.
and to get out there and push and pull. we are not there yet. we have not created a beloved community and not laid down the burden of the race. racism is still deeply embedded in our society. we you can have a member of saying to the president of the united states, you live. when you can have a governor in in the put her finger face of the president of the united states, that is not right. that is not fair. with someone do that to a white president? -- would someone do that to a
white president? we should not sweep the issue of race under the rug, or in some dark corner. .e must confront it head on if we fail to do what is right, and fair, and just, it will consume all of us. you have an obligation, you have a mission and a mandate. you have it. you have a moral obligation! ,ick up your pens and pencils user cameras to tell the story to make it plain, to make it real. it does not matter whether we hispanic,or white, asian american, or native american, we are one people, one family, we all live in the same house, the american house.
the late randolph said to us back in 1963 when we were planning the march on washington , he said it over and over again , maybe are for mothers and our forefathers all caps of this great land in different ships, but we are all in the same boat. us.you, all of we can do better. better.do model forn service a the rest of the world. [applause] i'm going to tell you a story and that i will be finished because this is your night, not mine. i am just a poor, country where
that happened to be elected to congress. [laughter] , 50 miles growing up montgomery, on a form that my bought and still owns an aunt, and she lives it will be calling shotgun house. a green,ot have manicured lawn. just a simple, plain, under yard. ard.irt ye you have never seen a shotgun house. one way in, one way out. e-house you could bounce a basketball through the front door and it would go straight
out the back door. [laughter] from time to time, my on geneva would go out in the woods -- my aunt geneva would go out in the woods, tied tree branches together, and make a broom. she would sweep the yard very clean two or three times a week, especially on a saturday, or sunday because she wanted this shotgun house/yard to look good during the weekend. , a groupday afternoon of my brothers and sisters in a few of my first cousins, there were only -- i was only four years old or five years old, and unbelievable storm came up, thunder started rolling in lightning started flashing, and started beating on the old, 10 roof of the shotgun house. my aunt started crying.
keep up his old house would blow away. she got all of us little children together and told us to hold hands, and we did as we were told. the wind continued to blow and the thunder continue to roll and the lightning continue to this oldthe roof of house and we cried and we cried. we try to hold the house down with our little bodies. we never, ever let the house. the wind load, the lightning flashed, but we stayed with the house.
example every day. all of us, all of us were enveloped with the sound of his words. tonight is a special night. blessed. we are thank you, congressman lewis. [applause] now, please help me welcome dr. clark, a teacher too many and mentor to more. and a scholar at the poynter institute. [applause] >> good evening. you may not realize, but every person in this room has been influenced by work that has won a pulitzer prize. if you have watched the movie to
kill a mockingbird, you have experienced the work of a pulitzer prize winner. the prices have gone 2000 -- prizes have gone to thousands of people, from writing to cartooning, to photography. prizes havearts, gone to biographers, historians, and composers. on rare occasions, special citations have gone to artists who have shaped america. this evening, we celebrate those winners whose work eliminated the themes of civil rights, justice and equality. in 2008, the great american troubadour bob dylan when a special pulitzer prize for his impact on popular music and american culture, marked by
compositions of poetic power. to remind us of that power, marking social change, we billnt florida troubadour to stick -- shustick. people her around wherever you roam and push back the waters soon you will be dressed -- drenched to the bone it is worth saving you better start swimming or you will think -- sink like a stone des ties are changing -- ti are changing come mothers and fathers throughout the land
do not deny what you cannot understand your sons and daughters are beyond your command and the old road is rapidly aging so please get out of the way if you can tides, they are changing congressmen, and please heed the call you do not stand in the doorway you do not lock up the hall he who is lost is he who has stalled there is a battle outside and it is raging it will shake the windows and rattled the walls for the tides, they are a changing ♪
[applause] host: over the next hour, we will experience words about change in america. an america that is still struggling for social justice, civil rights, and the quality. ,n our historical retrospective we will highlight the work of more than two dozen winners of the pulitzer prize. those whose work inspired small communities and the nation. along the spine of this work we will honor writers from 1946-1972, the classic period of the civil rights movement. 11 whitetorialists, men and one white woman who rest
-- who risked their lives to write what they believed. that violence and hatred must give way to peace, tolerance, and justice. >> these writers combined virtues that helped them win the day. they had the moral courage to stand for what was right. they had the physical courage to help them resist threats of violence to their person, loved ones, their property and businesses. and they had a devotion to craft and an understanding that in the end, not only was the pen or camera mightier than the sword, it was also mightier than the flaming cross. host: most of these writers also signified a form of humility that understood the truth. the greatest discretions of
courage are not as exercise by white men and women in offices, they were expressed by young black man and women who put their bodies on the line in buses, lunch counters, and in churches, buddy lines and in rotests across -- p across the south. their names are part of history, king, lewis, young, nash, and so many more. >> the first pulitzer prizes were presented in 1917, it would take 33 years before the first african-american, gwendolyn brooks, would be declared a winner. and many more years before the first african-american journalist would win as an individual. it did not have to be that way. the likes of w.e.b. dubois, richard wright, were producing work equal or superior to privileged white counterparts.
whoseers and columnists, influential black newspapers were doing a better job of covering the race wars in america and papers like the washington post and new york times, but the color lines would for most of the first century of their existence. host: please accept this as a warning, many a compliment we will celebrate -- accomplishments we will celebrate were in the face of terror. some of that violence, including the horror of lynching my will be revisited tonight. you will hear race descriptions from history, such as color and negro, and yes, you will hear , as part of
history. >> they are about white editorialists willing to be carried along the sea of change and that was hard for them to imagine, ac cresting with the courage and endurance and patriotism of african-americans. ladies and gentlemen, it is 1919. we begin, not in the south, but in the heartland -- omaha, nebraska. please greet the great southern historian ray arsenault and bob devon jones. [applause] >> good evening. when we scan american history for those signature moment and events that mark progress in civil rights, social justice,
and equality, certain dates popped into view. 1863, perhaps. or 1963. we are likely to skip over 1919, which would be a terrible mistake. soldiers returned from europe after the great war with a notion that their sacrifice would be honored and that racial economy -- equality would roll the day. instead, that summer became known as the red summer, a bloody season of resistance, writing, oppression, terrorism, bob role -- rule, and torture. w.e.b. dubois, perhaps the greatest black editorialists, a scholar and writer who in an alternate universe might have won a handful of pull surprises wrote this in 1919. "this is the country to which we
soldiers of democracy returned. this is the fatherland for which we fought. but it is our fatherland. fight.right for us to the fault of our country are false -- faults. under similar systems uses we would buy again. but now that the war is over, we do not get every ounce of our brain to fight a sterner, longer, more unending battle against the forces of hell in our own land. we return, we return from fighting. we return fighting. make way for democracy. we have saved it in france and
by the great jehovah we will save it in the united states of america or know the reason why. " 1920, because of political corruption, labor unrest, and racial scapegoating, the city of omaha, nebraska would experience one of the darkest moments in american history. 12,000 wouldany as attack and burn the courthouse. their target was a 40-year-old black man, william brown, falsely accused of raping a white woman. when the mayor intervened, they strung up the mayor. the mob made up of many young people, captured william brown. he was beaten and hanged, his body riddled with bullets and dragged through the streets.
people played with his remains. army troops established martial law, but it was too late. the next morning, the editor of the omaha evening world herald, harvey newbridge, wrote an editorial with the title, "law and the jungle." we will read from it. the role of the jungle, and there is the rul e of law. life jungle law, no man's is safe. no man's wife, home, liberty, rights, property. law be freee of the by every mother to the babe that is on her lap. let it be taught in schools,
seminaries and colleges. let it be written in spelling books and almanacs. let it be preached from pulpits and proclaimed to legislative halls, and enforced and courts of justice. let it become a political religion of the nation." editorial integrity and defense of the rule of law, wbranch was awarded the pulitzer prize for editorial writing. [applause] here is the vice president of the poynter institute, kelly mcbride. 1920's saw a resurgence of the ku klux klan, and not just in the south. , newspapersccasions
were investigating the plan. in 1928, the pulitzer prize for editorial writing would go to the editor of the montgomery advertiser. by then, the ku klux klan included many law enforcement officers and senators from the state of alabama. too often there was silence from the pulpit and the press. the exception was grover hall senior, in july 1927, he was outraged at the flogging of a young black man at a church. he led his newspaper on a crusade designed to bring the ku klux klan to justice. , and ised members supported a lot to make it illegal to wear the mass in public. -- mask in public. here is another great editor to read what hall wrote. wearing in public
places is indefensible and must be outlawed. all good citizens we believe, must now realize that the mask in alabama is a source of unmitigated evil. it is a menace to life and limb, and a reproach to civilized society. robe,led under hood and men have stopped about -- stalk about in the night and cruelly assaulted helpless people. in other instances, intimidated and wronged citizens of the state. " grover hall died at the age of 53, a passing that was noted and mourned by many journalists and citizens of alabama and the
south, for standing almost alone against the forces of corruption and oppression in his state. grover cleveland hall senior was awarded the 1928 pulitzer prize for editorial writing. [applause] a vision of what life was like in small southern town's during the depression, has been shaped and powerful ways by a novel that when the pulitzer prize for fiction in 1961, to kill a mockingbird by harper lee. to help us relive that work, we present a young lady, well, i think she should just present herself. good evening.
louise finch,n actually my name is charlie daly, i live next door to roy peter clark. who is the best neighbor in the whole world. he told me to say that. [laughter] least for tonight, you can call me scout. you know me as a 10-year-old girl in the novel, to kill a mockingbird. authorway, in 1961, the harper lee one pulitzer prize for fiction. you can class -- clap. [applause] all sad to hear about her passing. something strange happened last
year, another book about me was published, it was called, go set a watch man. young about me as a on woman, but also about my father, atticus finch. daddy inpeople like my mockingbird, he was kind, fair, and loving. i do not know what happened to him in watchmen. let's for a minute forget about the old atticus, and remember the young one. the one that inspired us all. ,ere to read about him for us mr. mcginnis. remember, you are the jury ladies and gentlemen and he will give his closing statements. >> gentleman, i shall be brief.
i would like to use my remaining time with you to remind you that this case is not an easy one. -- but it does require beyond all reasonable doubt. to begin with, this case should have never come to trial. it is as simple as black and white. and if so, a humble my quiet negro, who had the -- to feel sorry for a white woman. and they wanted you to go along with them with the cynical confidence that he would go a long with the evil assumption that all negroes lie, that all negroes are basically amoral beings, that negro men are not to be trusted with our women.
and assumption that associates with mind of their caliber. one more thing before i quit, thomas jefferson once said that all men are created equal. there is one way in which all men are created equal. there is one human institution erat makes the proper -- paup the equal of a rockefeller. the stupid man an equal of the einstein. and in man equal to any college president. that institution is the court. now it could be the supreme court or the most humblest of courts, or this court which you honorably serve. our courts have their fault, as does any human institution, but in this country, our courts are the great levelers. and in this country, all men are created equal.
now, i do not firmly hold on to are all that our courts that they are supposed to be. that is no ideal to me. but they are representative of our people. gentleman, you have heard all of the evidence given. you have heard the testimony and i would like you to release the defendant to his family, in the name of god, do your duty. [applause] >> 1946, after the depression of world war ii, america and would soon be forced to see racial
justice in a new way. american soldiers would go to war and see firsthand oppression , intolerance, and racial hatred and where it would lead -- the concentration camps. one soldier was named carter. he returned home to start a newspaper in mississippi, which would become the delta democrat times. he wrote about racial injustice and the need for social change, a stance that aren't him -- earned him scorn and boycott. in 1946, his editorials won him a poll surprise. his most famous and most reprinted was titled, go for broke. the slogan of japanese-american soldiers. in a, he offered a righteous plea challenging america to abandon prejudice against japanese citizens, especially
those who fought bravely for the american cause. "itugust 27, 1945 he wrote, is so easy for a dominant race to explain good or evil, patriotism or treachery, courage or cowardice, in terms of skin color. so easy and so tragically wrong. too many have committed the ese,g against the loyal n who have proven themselves good us withs, even while our actions against them have shown ourselves to be that americans. se slogan ofthe ne gopher broke could be adopted by all americans in the days ahead.
we need to shoot the works in the fight for tolerance." >> the message found in international stage. in 1955, he wrote passionately against the white citizens council that had established themselves in the south of the main street version of the ku klux klan. his printable stance earned him the enmity of the legislature, which took a vote and condemned the article as a live by a nigger loving editor. he responded, -- >> by a vote of 89-19, the mississippi house of representatives has resolved the editor of this newspaper into a liar, because of an article i wrote. if this charge were true, it would make me well qualified to serve in that body. [laughter]
>> it is not true. , i hereby things up 1-0, thaty a vote of there are 89 liars in the state legislature. [laughter] >> i am hopeful that this favor like ku kluxism will run its course. meanwhile, those 89 robbers can go to hell, can --collectively or singly, and wait there until i backed down. maybe not plan on returning -- not plan on returning. [applause] hodding carter junior was a
man of his time and he stood out as a beacon in his support of tolerance and opposition to bigotry and hatred. he recognized that the award of 1946 date of his work in stature that helped sustain him in the difficult years to come. [applause] >> it is the 1950's and the classic time that we know as the civil rights movement is ahead. it is the decade in which young john lewis will come of age. he will learn, he will listen, and he will lead. john lewis would not be turned around on his march to social justice and equality. no freedom song signifies that
feeling more than this one. nobody turning around, turned me around, turn me around keep walking, to keep talking, what does freedom said? turn me around turned me around onp on walking, keep talking, walking down freedom way turned me around don't let no one around around, turn me keep on walking, keep on walking, keep on walking down freedom way
me't let nobody turned around walking down freedom way don't let nobody turn me around turn me around keep on walking, keep on talking, walking down freedom way me't let nobody turned around turn me around keep on walking the keep on walking, walking down freedom way ♪ >> it is 1952. and it is our pleasure to introduce two of america's greatest journalists, father and son, colbert king of the washington post and rob king of
espn. [applause] [applause] good evening, father. [laughter] >> good evening, number one son. >> is amazing being here together. >> i am proud of you for all of the great journalism you have created at espn. and i understand that you are on the board of trustees. you are kind of a big shot. [laughter] >> did you clean your room? things never change. [laughter] >> i am very proud of you dad
for winning the 2003: surprise pulitzerntary -- prize for commentary. [applause] >> the citation says you one for against the grain columns that spoke to people with ferocity and wisdom. ferocity and wisdom. that reminds me a lot of high school. [laughter] >> ferocious and wise. that would be me. [laughter] >> dad, i have a question. >> what is that? >> why is there no pulitzer prize for sports journalism? >> that is not true, for sports columnist have one for commentary. >> that is only 4 in 100 years.
how many of you think that there should be a pulitzer prize for sports journalism? [applause] >> i have an idea. why don't you tell them about the story of johnny wright. nations and one of the greatest athletes plays football in iowa. he bears the storybook name of johnny wright. among his compliments, he would lead the nation and compete for a heisman trophy. bright would have a legendary career in the canadian football league and be inducted into their hall of fame, exhibiting as an educator and coach. but his life story was dominated by something that was on a football field in a game between drake and the school that is now oklahoma state. bright was a negro
athlete. his very presence on the field, not to say his dominance, was offensive to some and the days of crow. is stillin what referred to as the johnny bright incident, a player for oklahoma state viciously struck bright with an elbow to the jaw. the violence was not typical for the place at the time, because the was an adequate. but it was common speculation that the blow was racially motivated, something that smith denied all of his life. was negligent to everybody. [laughter] >> the incident might have passed quickly except for the spot work of two photographers.
it was an important game in the conference and the two photographers planned to shoot in the first quarter and get back to des moines. in a sequence that would be republished in the new york times, they captured the brutality and a legality of the cheap shot that not bright out of the game. bright wouldr, testify that the broken job was worth it -- jaw was worth it. it led to a change in the rules to make it safer for players, introducing mouth guards and base guards -- facwe guards. i do not use those guards and he can see the result of it. >> and many people say i look
like you. >> bright would continue -- and the journey toward racial justice. >> with their timely photo sequence, the two photographers one the 1962 pulitzer prize for photography, magnifying the incident. drake would withdraw from the conference and eventually name their football field for johnny bright. oklahoma state would eventually apologize, 54 years later, for the incident. became 22 years after the death of johnny bright. >> great job, son. >> thank you, dad. can i get a hug? >> call your mother. [applause] >> special moments all my long. makes me want to hug my death
and joining me now -- hug my de ad. joining me now -- every now and then -- the award for public service would not go to a big newspaper, but 22 tiny weekly -- two tiny newspapers in north carolina. horace published by carter and the other was for willard cole . awarded for battling the ku klux klan at bell -- at risk danger, commented in the conviction of over 100 cookbooks klansman and an antiterrorism in their community. carter wrote more than 100 editorials and news pieces,
condemning the ku klux klan over the three-year. period. [applause] >> please welcome to journalists, a veteran news anchor and the vice president for diversity at national public radio and poynter institute's former dean. denise white and keep was -- keith woods. [applause] you.ank much of the pulitzer history that is to follow was created in the aftermath of brown versus the board of education, that held that separate was not equal and that public schools should be desegregated with deliberate speed. the final oxymoron was excuse for many to delay the
inevitable. consider the story of miss lucy. the first black student to attend the university of alabama in 1956. the daughter of a sharecropper, she attended school in alabama and the all-black miles college. she and a friend were accepted into the university of alabama, until it was learned that they were black. naacp they sued the university, a case that took three years. on february 3, 1956, lucy enrolled in the masters program in library science and attended her first class. mob of moreater, a than 1000 men pelted the car in
lucy,the dean of women's, road, threatening to enter -- to lynch her. she was expelled for her own safety and driven off campus on the floor of a car. the day after the riots, the editor of a local newspaper wrote the editorial, entitled, what price for peace? >> when mobs started posing their will on universities, we have a bad situation. that is what happened at the university of alabama and it is a development over which the university of alabama, the people of this state, and the people of tuscaloosa, should be ashamed and more than a little afraid. every person who witnessed the detachment speaks
with the nearness with which the university became associated with murder. her crime,was lucy, she was born black and issues moving against southern custom and tradition, but with the loss all the way to the supreme court w all the way- la to the supreme court on her side. what does it mean today to have the law on your side? the answer has to be nothing. mob disagrees with you and the court. was this on the university campus this morning. what price has been paid? in response to his work, buford
boone and his family was threatened. his phone would ring, keeping his family awake through the night. his windows would be broken and if boone was away, his wife would call to tell him that he was in trouble. boone up to all of this, was awarded the pulitzer prize for editorial writing. [applause] and as for ms. lucy, in april 1988, her expulsion was an old by the university of alabama and she enrolled in the graduate program of education and received a degree in may of 1992. in a complete reversal of spirit from when she was first admitted, the university admitted -- named a scholarship in her honor and unveiled a portrait of her in the student
union, overlooking the most trafficked spot on campus. an encryption reads, her courage won the right for students of all races to attend the university. [applause] >> good evening, my name is jackie. in 1950, the pulitzer prizes for public service and editorial writing went to -- further coverage on the desegregation of a high school in little rock. southernerse when would it take action not seen in a century. against the supreme court order, to disaggregate the public order -- public schools, they caught up in national guard and state police to surround the high school and prevent 15 black
students from registering. a famous photograph shows a young student walking unprotected, surrounded by white students yelling at her. this would inspire the president to move federal troops in to restore order and protect the students who had become part of civil rights history, known as the little rock 9. the coverage of the event also helped to restore order and rule of law. coverage that was actuated by a front-page editorial by harry ashmore. editorialistsn that would follow him, he based his argument on the idea that the anti-justice should be preserved by following the law, bu not by defining it. he wrote reflections in a hurricane's eye. everyehow, sometime,
person will have to be counted. we will have to decide what kind of people we are. whether we obey the law only when we approve of it, or whether we obey it no matter how distasteful we may find it. there are those, of course, who admire courage and in the calculated confusion of the hour, have even come to believe that he may yet stand against the government of the united states. there are also those who admire when he ordered the seated her back. but it did not turn back and there is no indication that the federal government can or will abandon the authority of the united states supreme court. for this, harry ashmore, one of
the south's leading voices on matters of race, was awarded the 1958 pulitzer prize for editorial writing. [applause] we should not leave little rock in 1957 with aeren ref to the current and the dignity of a reporter, alex wilson, covering these events for the methods tri-state defender, a black newspaper of the day. what were the chances of him winning a pulitzer prize? outskirtsmob on the took out their anger on reporters and photographers, black and white, who are covering the event. criminal -- who won a pulitzer prize described the
scene. and who better to narrate it, then the writer himself. [applause] as the assault continued on the journalists, the station wagon with the students used -- eased to the entrance of the school and to students and two adults emerged. as they entered, they examined the crowd with curiosity, but with a little interest. meanwhile, alex wilson concert, pushed, slapped as he kept walking, was suddenly rushed from behind by a man who swung as hard as he could and slammed his shoe into the base of wilson's spine. another man kicked him so hard
that the reporter's refrain looked as if it would fall. still, he lurched forward. he stopped, slowly, almost casually as if to give them no credit for altering his course, he bent down to pick up his hat. in that moment, he had a chance to run and he might have been able to get away. file, longmade that ago -- vow, long ago in florida, i decided not to run, he wrote later, that if i were i be being i would -- beaten, would take it walking if i could, not running. as the crowd was throwing punches and kicks, he stood erect and took time to run his hands along the creek -- crease.
his refusal to show fear infuriated the mob. run, run. one man yelled. wilson, those around it, moved ahead. a more vicious attack followed, including a hard kick to the center of his chest. haton stood, holding his might even as they felt to the ground. he raised himself up and kept walking. he looked straight ahead and he took one more powerful blow to the head. some witnesses said it was a brick, before being pushed away by the crowd. the nine negro students had quietly slipped into the high school. with theb went wild realization that is go had been integrated, wilson walked to his car. he still had not unfastened the
middle button of his suit coat. wilson died on october 11, 1960, at age 51. no doubt from the long-term effects of the beating he took in little rock. the tri-state defender ran a photograph, showing wilson line in stigma above it, the headline, editor wilson back home to stay. there is no category of pulitzer prize for a journalist who becomes a martyr to the cause of civil rights, social justice, and the quality. -- equality. if there were, alex wilson, the reporter who would not run, with head the list. [applause] >> missing from all of this was
the story of everyday african-american families, working and struggling, with a deck stacked against them. together, we celebrate the work of a playwright, an african-american who is body of work stands to the like of tennessee williams and arthur miller. he is our beloved august wilson. he won a pulitzer for drama in 1987 for fences and another in 1990, for the piano lesson. on three other occasions his plays were honored. that is one of his accomplishments for poets are history. playsrectors know his better than bob devon jones, the greater of studio at 620. he has been a visionary leader in the development of the cultural life of st. petersburg. and this evening, with the
assistance of a young actor, he will perform a famous scene from, "fences." hard 1957, troy has led a life. he was a great ballplayer, but came to see the limitations afforded a young black man. the only salvation in the form of manhood, attached to hard work. wantstough on his son who to also be a ballplayer. he wants them to get a job -- him to get a job. his son asks him a provocative question. [indiscernible] ? who the hell say i got -- what law is there to say that i have to like you. to ask a question like that, talking about liking somebody. come over here when i talk to you.
up, got damaged -- god damn it. what law is there that says i got to like you? don't you eat everyday? answer me when i talk to you, don't you leave everyday? >> yes. >> as long as you live in my house, you better -- when i talk to you? dup everyday? got close on your back? why do you think that is? >> because of you. >> why do you think that is? >> because because you like me. >> like you? i go out there every morning, but my but, put up with those crackers every day because i like you? you are the biggest goal i ever saw -- fool i ever saw.
it is my job, my responsibility. a man have to take care of his family. you live in my house, keep my behind -- fill your belly with my food. because i like you? because you are my flesh and blood. - aeed got to like you - in't got to like you. ain't got to like you. i do not get money on payday because my bath likes me. i will give you everything i have to give you, i gave you life. me and my mother worked that out. and liking your blackouts was -- black ass was not part of the bargain. you best trying to make sure
that they do right by you. you understand what i am saying to you? >> yes, sir. >> now get out of my face. >> yes, sir. [applause] >> are you having any fun yet? are you inspired? [applause] one of dr. martin luther king's favorite gospel singers, was the great miss jackson who performed at the march on washington. john lewis spoke that day. to remind him and all of us of that moment, we are pleased to present the community choir, featuring the great sharon
i thank you i thank you lord you never left me i thank you i thank you for how you brought me i thank you for how you taught me you have been my mother, you have been my father, you have been my doctor, you have been my friend, you have been my , you never left me never left me oh lord soul look back and wonder how i got how i got
prize in 1959, he was widely recognized as the dean of progressive white newspaper editors in the south. in 1960, he hired gene patterson as editor. with mcgill taking the title of publisher, it was as if babe ruth had hired lou gehrig. in their columns, written every single day, they led the white house toward tolerance -- white south toward tolerance the best they could, even in the face of threats. it was helpful admiration for mcgill came across the country. he knew that they would strengthen his position in the south and in atlanta, the place that would become known as the realized that a
small gestures would mean a lot. ofbecame executive editor the constitution and insisted that the word negro be spelled with a capital "n", and unheard of practice. 20 years later, he returned home to be informed by his wife that the couple -- t the largestemple, -- temple, the largest jewish synagogue in atlanta, has been bombed. he ran to the office and wrote in editorial that would earn him a pulitzer, it was titled, "a church, a school." >> dynamite in great quantities ripped a beautiful couple of worship in atlanta. the likes of a high
school in tennessee. whereme mad dog minds without question behind both. they were also the source of previous bombings in south carolina, florida and alabama. the schoolhouse and the these. targets of facts that this is notrvest and it restrict.o preach and leadershipces, when failed to support the itstitutional authority, opens it up for all of those who
decade saw a succession of editors getting pulitzers for editorials advancing civil rights. onshined a bright lights some of the most courageous editorialists from small newspapers. here they are. >> 1963. harkey with the chronicle. ofedith at the university mississippi. called tooops were protect meredith, who would be shocked during his march against
fear. there were proposals to close the university, rather than integrate. ey wrote.hat hark >> anywhere else in the united states, the suggestion the wouldsity is closed down not rise to a level of public discussion. not a suggestion could originate outside of a lunatic academy. leaders made us believe that we would not have to obey the same laws others have to. letleaders call out to american gis in marshall's refer to terms in hate.
it was previously only used for the people who ravaged belgium during the war. if we now let them convince us that it is proper to close ole miss, maybe we do not deserve any better event to be led by andmar school intellects attitudes left behind in history. it took physical and moral harkey to take that stand. boycotted thes newspaper and someone fired a bullet through his store. his words lived on.
>> editorials in the lexington advertiser. sloan editorials, describes the nature of the herncy and judges commended for a steadfast adherence to editorial duty and the statement was not adequate for dedication. sheriff shot a young black man. pressure on smith began to mount. the financial situation was critical and they mortgaged
their home. still, smith continued attacks , in an the corrupt and honored editorial, she put light on an editorial -- a terrible injustice. sheriffeputy service -- a negron in arresting for firebombing his own home has come as a shock to the people of the county and it is a disservice to the county and for all who encounter tension and strife. citizens couldo not believe that something like this could happen in our country , they couldan, wife
come from sleep and be forced to leave their home in terror to be shot at by intruders outside and to have the head of the family jailed the same day for doing a officer whoed by an was sworn to protect all citizens. described of what she -- she described what she saw in her rule as an editor and said that all we have done here is try to look at the issues. we did not ask or run from a fight with the council and we
have given it all we have, nearly 10 years of our lives and the loss of five till 6 -- financial security. i would not call myself an editor, if i had gone along with the councils and felt the way that i do. truth andt is the protecting the freedom of all mississippians. it will continue. journeyoignancy of this and the impact on civil rights in our time is worth the minutes we give it. traditiont time this made it to the sunshine state.
the first recipient was harrison. leaders tried to get a building code passed in gainesville and he had a devastating editorial that was a memo. the authoris harris, of the book. >> a boy strained underneath the weight of the bucket he was carrying, bringing it more than two blocks from a fountain that was provided as a courtesy. 3-5 times a week, the child makes a trip and lives in a .ouse along with other people on
there are no screens, front doors and sunlight comes through the roof. share an and family outhouse and a backyard. the water went over the side with the concrete block into the mayor gets a third to a fifth of the supply of the familyink and the section of gainesville and that is the university city and the center of education and medicine.
tell us again that a minimum unnecessary and that the child who carries the hasking water down the road a minimum code that is happens whenas social justice journalism creates a call to action. for the editorials, harrison receives the pulitzer for editorial writing. >> if there was a pulitzer prize rock andpeople who are
morelegends, i would have than robert frost and eugene o'neill. , listening to the heroes, the music was fun, energetic, and sexy. when racialtime enforcedon was being and there was a thinly-failed code of civil rights. when chuck berry saying about the brown eyed handsome man was not just brown eyed. he was brown-skinned. for otis redding, it was a song about the mystic desire and it was about what a person wants from the institutions.
transformed the song into a feminist hits. as ap and a player, my hero was little richard. thank you. player, hero was little richard. thank you. we first record my mom bought as a 78. 78? anybody owned a tell the young. knockin'eep a it was a crazy and wild song. it would sound like pat boone. but you', can't come in.
come back tomorrow and tried again. andas a hymn to close doors aspiration. the music changed you and i am ready for change. are you ready for change? are you ready for change? changed. to be i am a word man and i do not have the words to describe the next performer. incandescent. luminescent. appeal, aeel, sex tower of power that is too sweet to be sour, alex harris. ♪
the first to win the prize. you'd be naive to ask why it took so long for this to happen. was the jackie robinson of pulitzer prizes, marching into history with the dodgers and we know a color line prevented black players in major league's and it took many years before they inducted were the stars to the negro leagues. there are literary and journalistic requirements. white, ralph ellison, just to mention some of the brightest stars. do we accept the exclusion in or dark part of our history is there something we can do about it?
other institutions share the issues in theress history and there may be a way to reinvent special citations to create a category of people excluded from consideration because of race and gender -- and gender. consider this the lightest of nudges. moment, thes wonderful september penn >> the most famous poem is a short one. e, ita journalistic ey bar.ibes players at a
made real cool by september? special moments on my lawn. the story of the pulitzer would not be complete without a reference to a special citation that was given to the newspapers for a project. the project generated 100 stories and one that endures comes from an african-american reporter named shirley scott, who worked for the times and the like was about what is it to be black. what is it like? >> regardless of efforts, promotion comes slowly, if at all. they are always at arms length
5:00ssociation will end at . you are stuck at the bottom of the ladder. not because of what you do. because you are a negro. the doors remain closed and your aildren prevent -- present special problem. ,n addition to the healing sometimes, early in lives, you must explain the taunt. can you explain there is nothing wrong with being black? will they believe you? you fight back the tears and the anger because you know there is no way to protect them and you pray that the strength will be transmitted to them. reporting, years of surely worked for the
anti-poverty agency and she ran for mayor in 1975 and lost, dying in 1977. we do not know to what extent she took pride in being the first african-american journalist to contribute to a project that wins a pulitzer prize. known that, at least for tonight, she is well remembered. >> african-american authors and journalists grew stronger as the century came to an end and it was highlighted by the , whovement of alice walker wins for the color purple and toni morrison.
gender drawnd attention, these authors identified places where race and gender converged, rather than alienation and despair. manifestopiece of the that articulates a womanist prose. >> when did my mother have time to know about the creative spirit? the answer is simple and many have spent years discovering this. we have looked >> unlike any other in the world. inspired, and figures were true the story of the crucifixion. it is considered rare, beyond
price. it follows no known a pattern of quote making and no one has made -- even though it is made of bits of worthless pieces of rags, it is someone of deep spiritual feeling. below the quilt, i saw of note that it was made by an anonymous black woman in alabama hundred years ago. thisif we could locate anonymous black woman from alabama, she would turn out to be one of our grandmothers, an artist who left her mark in the only materials she could afford, and the only medium her position in society allowed her to use. [applause]
>> writing in that same tradition, toni morrison evokes the runaway slave and her pulitzer prize-winning novel, "beloved." thether contemplates circumstances that led her to take the life of her own child. to read it, we are delighted to introduce poynter institute's former president, carol dunlap. [applause] beloved. she my daughter. she mine, you see? she come back to her on her own free will, and i don't have to explain a thing. i didn't have time to explain before, because it had to be done quick, quick. she had to be safe. and i put her where she would be. and sheove was tough,
back now. i knew she would be. --ill expect to her, it explain to her even though i don't have to, why i did it, how, if i hadn't killed her, she would have died, and that is something i cannot bear to have to happen to her. when i explained it, she will understand, because she understands everything already. i will tell her as no mother ever attended a child, a daughter. nobody will ever get my belt no more except my own children. i never had to give it to nobody else. the one time i did, it was took from me. they held me down and took it. milk that belong to my baby. -- nurse whitee baby and me too, because mama was in the right. little white baby's got what was
left, or none. there was no nursing milk to call my own. i don't know what it is to be without the milk that belongs to you, to have to fight and holler, holler for it, and have so little left. i will tell beloved about that. she will understand. she is my daughter. [applause] >> good evening, my name is tom .rench this pulitzer parade of african-american women became manifest in journalism as well. authors such as wilkerson, who won the 1994 pulitzer prize. working out of the chicago bureau of the new york times, she will be astonishing profile of a 10-year-old boy, nicholas
whitaker, growing up with challenges no child should have to face. here is a passage from that story, a passage that haunts me as a father when i first read it 23 years ago. the passage is called "the rules." diane? >> it is a great winter's morning. zero degrees outside, and school starts for everybody in less than half an hour. the children line up, all scarves and coats and legs. the boys bow their heads so their mother, late for class herself, can rush their hair one at a time. there is a mad scramble for a lost mission. -- mitten. then she sprays them. she sprays an aerosol can and sprays their codes, their heads, their tiny, outstretched hands.
she sprays them back in front to protect them as they go off to school, facing bullets and gangrene critters -- and gained --ruiters and a danger he dangerous world. it smells like drugstore perfume, and the children shut their eyes tight as she sprays them, long and furious, so they will come back to her alive and safe. at days end. these are the rules for angela , recountedchildren at the formica topped dining room table. don't stop playing. when you hear shooting, don't stand around, run, nicholas said. why do i say run? their mother asked. because of bullet don't have no
eyes, the two boys and shouted. she pray for us every day, will he said. -- willy said. [applause] welcome to greater pulitzer winners, columnist eugene robinson of the washington post, and photojournalist clarence william iii. [applause] >> well, before there was me -- >> and before there was me. >> and before all enterprises were won by men like stephen henderson, before us, there was a truly great photojournalist jr. moneta dleet,
he was the first to win a pulitzer prize as an individual. here is the photograph. he died in 1996 at the age of 70. on his passing, the new york times recalled his life in this obituary. sleet jr. brought his camera to a revolution, showing inequality, died on monday at columbia presbyterian medical center. hisas 70 and best known for pulitzer prize-winning photograph of the funeral for that reverend martin was a king junior. on the time he was sent to montgomery, alabama to cover the unlikely boycott led by young minister martin luther king to long after he captured what became the signature moment of in king's moment in atlanta 1968, he was gentle and ubiquitous, present in the
struggle for the united states and a fixture at ceremonies and celebrations. >> in a provision as practitioners are expected to bring detachment to their work, mr. sleet though no reason to apologize or his emotional involvement with those he photographed. i wasn't there as an objective reporter. i had something to say and was trying to show off one side of it. he didn't have any problem fighting the other side. in the era of civil rights marches, he talked about doubletime, saying he had walked 100 miles during the 50 mile march from selma to montgomery in 1965 because he kept walking back and forth along the march to take photographs. was based in new york, he sent a good deal have his career on the road, photographing virtually every black head of the in africa.
withrisscrossing the south dr. king and other civil rights leaders. known for his perpetual optimism, his ever present smiles, and his knack for making others smile even when they didn't feel like it, as her sleet at such a gentle, engaging personality that he captivated civil rights leaders and other black celebrities he covered. it was not unusual for those he had covered to request or insist that mr. sleet be assigned the next time they agreed to be interviewed. larence: in 1968 when corrina scott king had a small full of photographs -- learned that a small pool of photographers did not have a black photographer, she said there would be none. the photograph showing dr. king's five-year-old daughter bernice laying on her mother's
lap and looking at the camera was considered such a powerful image with considered -- translated nationwide and won a pulitzer prize for journalism, the first by a black journalist. [applause] >> so it is 1967, and we have saved the most sentimental recollection until last. in the 1970's and 1980's, jeanne patterson held during the -- gene patterson helped turn the st. petersburg times into one of the best newspapers, and when he died, mr. poynter's vision was turned into action of creating a school which now bears his name. he also spent a term as chair of
the pulitzer prize board. for his reputation as a great editor and influential editorialist shaped in atlanta from 1956 to 1968, was the exact boundaries of the classic period of the civil rights movement, let's think of jean paterson of being in the middle of things, the hub of a great wheel. he won his pulitzer for editorial writing for the columns he wrote in 1966. this year, 2016, is the 100th anniversary of the pulitzer prize. the year 1966 would have been the 50th anniversary of the prize, so smack dab in the middle. as editor of the atlanta constitution in 1960 to 1968, jeanne patterson's image and words were on the editorial pages during the most torturous years of the civil rights
movement in the south. with his mentor and best friend ralph mcgill, he uses platform to persuade his low white southerners -- fellow white southerners that on matters of race, they were wrong. if they changed, the sky would not fall. i see what you are trying to do, one reader accused. your trying to make us think we are better than we are. [laughter] in an era of political assassinations and church bombings, southern editorial writers who challenged segregation needed courage. advised not to worry about anonymous cowards that threatened him with hate mail. it is the ones you don't hear from that you have to worry about, he said. patterson's equalizer was not a debtl but a hammer hit in hidden in a desk drawer.
he never had to yield it, but he west open the drawer. his daughter remembered how she once found her father in a panic because the dog had been shot by strangers. daddy, maryid this, told her father. people were angry about the things you are writing. -- pup livedle top to the age of 16 even with a bullet lodged near her heart. he wrote an editorial every day 3200 and all.968, he wrote on saturdays and sundays, sometimes by hand in a fishing boat because he worried if he wrote to columns on thursday or friday, the second would lack the energy of the first. to me, writing was like shaving, patterson explains. if a man wants to look good, he gets up in the morning and
shaves. that is what i do every day, shave the writing column. over 16, 1963, -- september 16, 1963 gene was knowing the line when he learned for girls had been murdered in alabama when a dynamite bomb went off in their church. he wrote his most famous column, his eyes brimming with tears. flower ofe title of the graves. when this reached walter cronkite, he invited patterson to read it in full on the cbs evening news. praise for his words came from all over the world. , the columnhy haynes to the library of the poynter institute, the space named for gene. hank for prints and for glass four -- next to it hangs
prints and four glass cubes with names, cynthia wesley, denise mcnair. conclusion to tonight's reflections, we bring forward again one of gene's favorite people, al raines, to read the famous column. >> a negro mother wept in the streets sunday morning in front of a baptist church in birmingham. ,n her hand, she held a shoe one shoe from the foot of her dead child. we hold that shoe with her. everyone of us in the white
south holds that small shoe in his hand. it is too late to blame this -- blame the sick criminals with the dynamite. the police can do with that kind. the charge against of them is simple, they killed for children. -- four children. only we can trace the truth, southerners, you and i. we broke those children's bodies . we watched the stage set without saying. we listened to the prologue undisturbed. we saw the curtain opening with this interest. -- with this interest. we who go on electing politicians that keep the kettles of hate, we, who raise no hand to silence of mean and little men that have their nigger jokes. we stand aside and imagine in
restitution and let mad dogs that run in every society slide their leashes from our hand and spring. we, the heirs of the proud south who protested the word and demanded recognition, we are the ones who have with difficulty skirted the challenge, presented the necessary, rationalized the unacceptable, and created the day surely when these children would die. load ouro time to anguish on to the murderous scapegoat who set the cap and dynamite of our own manufacture. he did not know any better. and deepern the dim recess of an evil mind, he feels right now that he has been a hero.
he is only guilty of murder. he thinks he has pleased us. we of the white south who know better are the ones who must take a harsher judgment. we who know better created a climate for children killing by those who don't. we hold that shoe in our hands, southerners. let's see it straight and look at the blood on it. let us compare it with the unworthy speech of southern public men who have produced the negro, match it with the spectacle of telling children whose parents and teachers turned them free to spit at the desk, small huddled negro schoolchildren a week before this sunday and birmingham. hold up the shoe and look beyond to the statehouse in montgomery where the official attitudes of alabama have been spoken in heat and acre. -- and anger. ♪
let us not blame the blame. we know better. we created the day, we bear the judgment. may god have mercy on the poor south that has been so led. change thes happened day when the good south that has great being rise to this challenge of racial understanding and, humanity. -- common humanity. play atay school birmingham has ended. mother we think negro stand in the better smoke and hold a shoe, if the south is to be what we wish it to be, we will plant a flower of resolve for the south now upon those for small graves that we -- those
the singing of the most recognizable song, anthem from the civil rights era. shusterg to invite bill to come out and lead us. i would like to thank all of the presenters. [applause] i would like to thank all of the pulitzer prize winners. [applause] i would like to thank all of our friends from the pulitzer prize institute come down here from new york. i would like to thank all of the bay timesm the tampa but especially my great colleagues from the poynter institute. [applause] .ongressman lewis [indiscernible]
good night, good night everybody. >> thank you. >> one final bit of business. one final bit of business before we go. roy has them working on this for the past year doing the research and the writing for this program and has done a phenomenal job. roy, we love you, we appreciate what you did. thank you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
>> you are watching american history tv on c-span 3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook. >> up next, kathleen bartoloni-tuazon talks about her book "for fear of an elective king: george washington and the presidential title controversy of 1789." when washington was elected chief executive that year, congress was unsure how you should be addressed. he was commonly known as his excellency until the title was changed to president because of concerns that position would become too much like a monarch. universityington hosted this event as part of the celebration honoring tir