tv Oral Histories Navajo Code Talker Keith Little Interview CSPAN March 30, 2019 6:51pm-8:01pm EDT
it is the closest thing to a true documentary that i have ever done. steve: george colburn, thank you very much for stopping by. we appreciate it. dr. colburn: thank you for having me. steve: and now, in his own words, keith little, part of the documentary produced by our guest, "navajo code talkers: in their own words" here on c-span3's american history tv. dr. colburn: tell us about your land, your family, how long you have been here, what livestock you have, what it means to you. keith: i came here a long time ago, about 30 years ago on this land. i got married to nelly, and at that time, her parents were living over here, but they are both gone now.
we have this ranch that we had some livestock on, some sheep over here and some goats. there were also some cattle that are wandering around here somewhere, and we had about 100 acres, i guess. i have never made it a point to measure it, but it is a fairly decent size land, about half a mile wide, and about maybe a little over a mile long. so we have a farm here, this is our pasture land, all of it, and we usually have a garden over here, but we did not plant it anymore. the drought has been so severe lately, and it takes a lot of water to raise corn. so this is our land, and we raise livestock.
all of our kids have been raised here. the wind -- of course my wife, nelly's, brothers and sisters, they all have been raised here. and they are real close with this land. i think they are all making their home here. dr. colburn: tell us about your extended family here, because it is more than just you and nelly. it is actually -- keith: well, we have about five grown children there, all working out somewhere. and one of them lives down here, down navajo, and one of them is
in arizona. and they are spread all over. originally, i came from the western end of the navajo nation, so my family is all over there, my relatives, my brothers and my sisters, my aunts, of course my grandmother, all gone. just my aunt, a few of them are still going. and my -- the younger children, i do not even know all of them, because there are too many to remember, ok? dr. colburn: ok. but right here on the land, you have a daughter. does the daughter have a grandchild? could you tell us about who is here? keith: yeah. my granddaughter, she has two children, my great-great grandkids, two of them. they are both in school. my daughter, the other one, lives with us, and she has five
kids. they are all in school. every one of them is doing something for themselves, working, and some of them works on a little bit of arts and crafts to support themselves. so it is that way. we were pretty well-established right here, and we do not really think about going off somewhere and making our home someplace else. if we do, we might have to move back into the city, where i was raised. dr. colburn: what is there -- this is now our fourth day in talking to people about the importance of the land, in particular, in this beautiful country. i mean, it is something that is -- it seems to me more special than other parts of the united
attached to you are the land, you stay there, children go off to school, they come back and farm. do you have any thoughts about the importance of the land and navajo culture just generally? does it mean you and your culture are somewhat united? keith: i believe that we were taught to respect the land, and the atmosphere, the sun, the moon, everything that is -- i believe -- more or less, we think of it as guardians, natural guardians for our existence. and land is the most important element for us. existence, our survival, and
we stay pretty close to the land, because that is pretty spiritual to us, to respect the land, because we really exist on what that land gives us, and that is our way, our living that is that way, they taught us to respect the nature, what it gives you, you are making a living out of it, and you are grown, your children, your children grow up respecting our own traditions, our own custom, our religion, the spiritual thing that comes out of the earth that we survive on. dr. colburn: if you could think back to the days after the war and coming back to reservation land and that, was that something that you thought about during the war and wanted to get
back here, because of the special nature of this place? keith: well, when you are born on the land, as we do, that was the most important thing to us, because we make use of the land, and when we went away to war, we more kind of always have that in mind, the way we were raised, what we had done growing up. it just becomes a part of you. and the land, what it looks like. when you are away from here, like overseas, a lot of times , sometimes you think about it, think about your people, think about the land that you played on, and the planting, the
harvesting of the crops, and you wonder just how, just what it is doing now. and at a certain time of the year, they do certain things, and i wonder who is harvesting corn, or maybe they are having a ceremony or something, something youial, and you wondered, just imagine that while you are away from here, so coming back to the land from war is quite a spiritual thing, also because you were taught to respect the land and respect the nature. and this is where we were raised.and this is where we were raised. i mean, this is where our people are merged, the way our story
-- our creation story goes. just like other religions, they have theirs. ours is that way. live within nature. dr. colburn: the reason i ask you that question is because when you were on the trip with us, and i think especially of okinawa, and you looked at the burial photo of okinawa, completely devastated, all of the vegetation completely gone, and you talked to that guy come your big point was that land had been renewed there, and that must mean something to the okinawa people. that is why i brought it up. same thing with guam. guam had become so green there. and when he was there with the marines come of a -- with the
marines, they totally devastated it. that is not the way it is supposed to be. the environment is supposed to be green and giving, supportive, those of us who inhabit it. maybe you could just mentioned -- mention something about the trip, and when you saw those islands before, maybe you could tie the land, your land released beliefs in with the trip we took. keith: well, i would say the land over there, as you already mentioned it, it was dilapidated, and that can make you sick. and going back to the land after 60 years, it is quite, uh, well, surprising, i guess. the way it looks, the way
nothing in no way compared to what it was when we were there. at that time also, i did not really realize that the natives there had gone through an ordeal that was uncalled for. and so going there and talking to those people, they look at the united states marine corps and many of the navajo code talkers that have been there, they think of them as somebody reverent, almost. of course they got their land back, and they have more freedom than they used to have.
here, we have that freedom all the time, from the day we were born to the day we came back, we still have freedom, so we want to hold on to that. so it means a whole lot to us to come back to this land, to our land, where we were raised. dr. colburn: well, i just want to ask you one last question about the sheep that we see off in the distance here and so on. do you raise it to sell, to butcher and use yourself for ceremony? tell us about your flock here. sheep, the, the animals, in particular the sheep, the sheep, is the backbone of economics, of our economic survival. ever since we came back from captivity, and maybe even before
that. and being raised, walking after sheep every day, may be taking care of the horses, maybe taking care of the cattle, you kind of share with them into your heart, because that is the prime economic survival for our people. you pay for it. at that time, it paid for everything. everything that we do, the animals paid for it, so it is something that our prayers are tied to, and the almighty given things that we have, that we enjoy. dr. colburn: and so does this flock that we are seeing here help feed the family? keith: yes, it does. we were raised on mutton, and
when i was away to overseas, i always kind of wished someday, the craving for that smell of mutton, you cook it over hot coal, you just imagine that, and you swallow your saliva and kind of get mad -- "why am i here?" -- and you come back, and it is something you appreciate, because you were raised with it. dr. colburn: sam said that some of his sheep are used in traditional navajo ceremony, and i just wondered if you used that as well, or if you could mention it. keith: well, that is just a custom. everybody uses that. if i want to, i will donate a
head or two to the people that are having the ceremony. even a head of cattle sometimes. dr. colburn: just one question, more about you. were you brought up on a farm, and did you do sheep herding as a young man, like i know many of you did? keith: yes. i would say we had a farm, but we were kind of nomadic people. we moved, moved, moved, for greener grass, for water, always for the animals to eat something good, we moved around and also keep the land from being overgrazed. and we had a farm. we would harvest everything that we can, and when we would make use of our animals, we would eat almost everything, so it is
really part of it. dr. colburn: so you grew up with those animals. keith: yes, walking after them, sleeping with them, sometimes, in the corral. [laughs] dr. colburn: what age where you when you went back to school? i think it was 1937, was it? 1936, 1937? i mean, you left the sheep and went away to school. keith: i went away to school when i was about 10 or 12, somewhere. 1936, 1937? i left my home and went to school, because my brother came back one day, and he dressed really well, clean, white shirt, and i wanted to be like him, so i went to school. dr. colburn: and you left the sheep.
keith: well, i worried about them, but somebody said you are better off learning, i guess they meant to be a businessman or something like that, and i did not know what it meant, but if you get a decent education, you would live better, something like that. dr. colburn: anything else? i am finished. about the land or the sheep or anything. keith: well, uh, i think that one of the things is we can appreciate the fact that we still have our way of life, and that nobody has ever intruded on us, even though that is happening all the time. we still have everything that we have, not as many as we used to
have, but it is an item that is very special in our lives. dr. colburn: i noticed on your seal, the great seal, the navajo nation on your jacket, there are sheep on that. keith: mm-hmm. dr. colburn: so, anyway, that is staring at me right now. [laughs] keith: it is the prime saying of life for us, sheep. cattle, too, it takes its place, but for me, i was raised on sheep. they say that we have some snow here, and it is a little bit after mid-october, and you see a lot of snow on the mountains, which makes the country a little more livelier.
and to a lot of people, it is early. you usually think about winter as december, january, and february, but we do get snow sometimes in october, and it is normal. and, uh, usually, uh, we welcome it. we really do appreciate the snow because snow is something that moistens the ground a lot, a lot more than the rain does. the rain, when it rains hard, the water jumps off. -- runs off. and snow stays on all winter long, so we welcome the snow. in fact, in order to welcome the snow, you are supposed to take ,our clothes off in the morning
naked, and wash yourself, and we were trained that way also. it is just part of the spiritual training that we inherited. announcer: you are watching interviews with former world war ii navajo code talker keith little, conducted between 2004 and 2006, for a documentary project "navajo code talkers: journey of remembrance." the interviews took place at his home on the navajo nation in arizona and on the battlefield. where he traveled with other code talkers and their families. keith: i am pleased to be here, a privilege. and come back. this is not the place that i fought. i fought about 100 miles north of here. but in comparison, i have always talked about the places that i have fought with my comrades,
and, uh, at that time, the land, the communities, the homes were all shattered. demolished. and then somehow or another, there were some ladies that survived. i remember them. they were being herded into a stockade and penned up, and one day i went over there and took a look, and i felt very sad, there were some kids in there with their parents, in the stockades. and i wondered how they fared out. i always wondered about that. i wondered how those people fared out, when their land was destroyed, their homes were destroyed, everything that they had was destroyed. maybe they had livestock. maybe they had farms.
and their way of life was completely destroyed, and they had to rebuild themselves back up. and the development of their country. it is quite amazing to me, and so it brings back to me -- i wonder what guam looked like at that time, maybe in comparison to the navajo land, our land at home was not developed and was totally isolated from the outside world. so as a navajo code talker, i wonder about these things. i wonder if these people, they know what freedom means, the natives here, people here. and we also feel that way because we came into the picture
as navajo marines, code talkers, not knowing anything about just the world out here. but that always sticks in my mind, and some of the things that i might see here, especially there, i think it will relieve a lot of my mental attitude about the ordeal that these people came through. i feel enthusiastic, i guess , or may be confused. but i do appreciate coming back, i think in a lot of ways, it touches every generation from world war ii down to the present time in the future. what freedom is, what our land is, and how we love our people
and our families, our culture, and all the things that we grew up with. and i think it should be very important to them as well as these people, here on guam, the people who experienced the ordeal that was not that necessary. human beings, talk to each other and get along. you don't have to have wars. these people experienced some of the worst punishments of war, what war is. also, i think a lot of times, little kids don't seem like they -- they don't know nothing. here is our great-grandchild, he took his little teddy bear, take it with you, grandpa. that can't go. you have this cargo, you carry
it in your purse, grandma, so she can't touch the land over here and take it back. so the healing of that power, of seeing, visiting where you walked, who would let him touch the soil there. take him back. that is the way i feel, i think, and i think that we do it for the young kids that come with us. they should carry these messages back to their families, in schools and wherever they are. thank you. my personal impression of my
first visit back here since 1945, just sitting where we are in tinian and saipan and guam, that was in 1944 -- june, july, august of 1944. but when i say 1945, i am also thinking of iwo jima, where we had our last battle. and along the way, you think about -- it is quite -- at that time, i was not too impressed with what i was doing. simply because i was -- most of us were just ordinary marines. ordinary soldiers trying to do his job. what the command wanted us to do accomplished certain things,
objectives each day, each hour, and no matter how much you here, you throw a bomb into a piece of land like tinian or saipan or even iwo jima, the ultimate land footsoldier would cry on the ground with his rifle, with every equipment he has to carry, has to do the cleanup work, the dirty work of what goes on. what has to be done, finished. that is, to me, that was -- we did not know. i did not know the reason why i
was doing it. all i wanted to do was shoot the people that started the war, because it had to be done. for a cause, really for us, for american people, and i never did really consider that they were people, they were suffering an ordeal that is beyond, you know, imagination, i guess. they are not free, they have their own way that they have experienced, many years before, but at the time now, when we were here, they didn't have that privilege, that freedom that we enjoy, or people back home. and it is -- the code talkers,
nobody ever imagined that american, native americans in particular, the navajo tribe was not even considered a citizen at the time. and because of our teachings, our religion, of our freedom, to do anything we want to do, we decided that what has to be done to protect our land and our people had to be accomplished. it had to be done one way or another, and so it took us, the navajo code talkers, compelled to use their language. and they devised it and schemed it in such a way that it played
a role, a very unique role of confusing the enemy by using their own native code they developed themselves in combat. to come over -- to overcome what was an obstacle in always that -- in all ways that was prevalent, breaking each other's codes so you know what your enemy is doing. and our code was so uniquely devised that they never did. it was never deciphered. so the native people here on the marshall islands and in saipan, tinian, and iwo jima -- today, they are properly thankful that
-- probably thankful that we have done such a thing. and with the atomic bomb, to finish the job of killing other people, we had to do what had to be done, to use a thing, killing more people, so that they might begin to understand. each other. that war is a real dirty game. so i am very glad that i made the trip. sometimes i overcome a lot of mental anguish and mental desires and -- why do people have to kill each other? these native people, they want peace. they want to live their own style of life, and maybe we will
get support from them in america to do that. thank you. where to be in certain locations , and where the line of departure is going to be. where on the beach we are going to land. and i had no idea what kind of seas we were going to get, because at one time we had to wade through water about knee-deep. because of the reef. i was hoping that we would not hit something like that, but we did all right on saipan when we were landing. here, this was a question mark. it is always a question mark, because if you get stranded out there, you have to get out of the boat.
your boat would be stuck if it stopped. so you had to get out to save your life, and get away from the boat as fast as you can and get to the shore. and when you get to the shore, you don't wreck. you go in as far as you can, even if you have no resistance at all. here it happened that way, everything went smoothly, like you were being delivered to a hotel or something, you know? we ran up the beach, and in here somewhere, we wrestled them act -- back there away. the sergeant in charge kept us going until we could find a little cover.
if they were firing on us, we would have got it right there, coming in. because they had a good line of fire. i don't know. we just felt that we did not get any resistance for a good quarter of a mile in. we had a lot of room to play with. that is where we stayed, until the line got lined up straight, and the man takes over. -- the command takes over. each unit has to move in the same way, with the unit on the left and the unit on the right. and how far they want to move -- they control that. if you run into resistance of any kind, you stop and see how we can take care of it.
everybody stop. so we usually call for something, either the mortar people or the artillery people, or maybe even they might call else if it is a safe distance away. but if there is immediate resistance a little ways from us, we take care of it right there. that is the way. i know we went in maybe a quarter of a mile, that is about a thousand yards or more, and we stayed there for a long time until the evening, late afternoon. everything synchronized together, i guess, and we moved up another thousand yards if we could. but somebody did not reach their target. so with night coming on, we
would make a line right there where we are, tuck in for the night. night, we got some -- what they call some japanese coming through the line, but we got them. the guys up front, we were behind, and up front they stop those guys from coming in. and we never did get an organized attack of any kind. for several days, until we got to the airport. from there on, our objective, i guess, was to move that way. i thought we were going north, but now i see we were going this way, because up there i heard about suicide, where people were
jumping off. i did not go down, but the infantry people went down. we were up there, so we stayed up there. suicide, where peoplee several days, about a week or so, before we reached the eastern shore line. the thing that you are doing, you know you are in a heck of a situation and you could lose your life anytime. so you are on alert all the time. when you are out here, you know that you are going to go up to the fighting area and you know that wherever you are you are going to get it. you are going to get some kind of shelling of some kind, or maybe a sniper is hanging in the tree.
so you always have that feeling that you must be safe where you are. if you are going to walk from here to there, you are ready to die anytime. physical mentality, it is a thing you are constantly aware of, your own safety and your safety of your buddies that are in there with you. so i guess awareness of what we are doing is a sign of faith, because a lot of replacements, green reserves came in. you have to take care of them and that is a dangerous job, when you have to take care of somebody else. you don't know what they are going to do.
being a code talker, wherever you are used, you go. so the defense line, a free tricky thing also. when you run low on supplies, somebody has to fill in also up there. so i had the opportunity to watch over and machine gunner that was new that came into the unit, and it just so happened that him and i were on the same watch. i was to look after him, see that he is awake, that the rifle is over here on the left and the right, so you kind of crawl around and see, tapped him on the shoulder and see if they are awake. you cannot sleep.
you are giving substance to people you are working with. they are on watch, they are alert. i said don't you open fire during the night. [laughter] keith: if you open fire, you give our position away. do not shoot unless you have a clear target. and we have a way of getting the other guys alerted right away. they had to tell me that there is something out there. well, i guess the guy went to sleep. i don't know what he did, but anyways, sometimes at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, he opens up. there was nothing wrong, nothing anything to shoot, but he was firing away. so i get up there and i beat him on the head and make him stop. ask him some questions, is there
something out there? i hear the noise out there. well, we don't want to go over there. if something is coming, we will shoot, but nothing happened to the rest of the night. the next morning, when everything was light, me and some other guys went over there and took a look, and there were bunch of dead goats out there. [laughter] keith: so you don't know -- they are green, they can jump at anything, you know? they are ready to shoot. some of them are, you know? their mentality is that -- is pretty solid. some of them are trigger-happy guys. announcer: you're watching interviews with former world war ii navajo code talker keith little, conducted between 2004
and 2006 for a documentary project, "navajo code talkers: journey of remembrance." at hiserviews took place home in arizona and on the pacific island battlefields where he traveled with other code talkers and his families. what went into the decision to go back to the battle? you are a major advocate of going back to the battlefield, so maybe you can tell us why,yof how you came to that decision to go back after 60 years? keith: i came to that conclusion about our religion of not going back as a warrior, not going back to where you fought with the enemy.
and i turned -- death has always been on my mind, ever since i came back. you don't go back. the medicine men, the spiritual advisers are the ones that advise against it. but i thought about it, how did that come about?, that piece of advice? here, for me, not knowing about it, although i hear about it, you had to do something in a national emergency, as we had. you had to do something. you feel like you have to do something. and there is -- what the
japanese had pulled was, to me, was a dirty trick. because that is the way we hear the news. we have no idea what the background of it was, the bombing of pearl harbor. so according to our understanding of our religion, native american people have always fought one another for supplies. here was a national emergency. it is not fought on our land. we learned about guadalcanal, saipan and guam, iwo jima. and okinawa.
was that special advice, was not for when our tribes rated one another -- raided one another? here, maybe it pertains to that. maybe it does not interfere with the seas, butoss i always wondered what those countries look like. i have seen people over there going through ordeals, being marched at gunpoint and hungry, their land is devastated, everything they have is gone. here, we enjoy the elements of good things, and we also have
been captivated by other people. our people, our people suffered that harsh ordeals and my wife nelly says, you don't know how many children they lost in their kind of situation. a lot of people lost their lives, their loved ones, and unimaginable ordeal that they suffered. it, there, when you look at knowing anything about it, it did not mean much to me at the time. although you have feelings for those people that we have intruded on over there, in the islands. so going back, looking at the
results, like oh, iwo jima is a good example of the enemy that wants to kill you, that wants to kill all americans. but yet you don't see them. but you see a lot of your friends, your buddies, your comrades being wiped out. and also the fact that how hard -- how do you survive, how do you survive in a situation like that? and you see the land, how devastated it has become. and you leave it that way and go home. so that stays in your mind, that
picture of the situation that is all the way, something you wouldn't remember. they say that your spiritual ceremonials will cure that, and i have had that. but it still, that picture, that situation over there still hangs somewhere in my mind, until i went back over there to see what the country looks like, to see how the people are happy, they are at peace, they are enjoying their freedom. they make their own decisions, they are going to school, the kids are happy. they have moms and dads, you know? just a situation where everybody is living in harmony with each other.
you don't think about somebody coming around, invading you or distorting all of your living. so this is my thought about whether to go back, it's always a stumbling block. the initiation of that religion from the holy people, that you don't go back, that you don't go back to where you fought, here on this land. the other portion, which is bothersome to me, is overseas. but yet, the people over there are now pretty well satisfied with what they have. dr. colburn: when you think about the pacific islands, now you have a recent memory that blocks out that old memory. keith: curious, curious.
kind of a curious happy thought, and ending in goodwill. that is the way my feelings are. i don't know how john feels, but that is mine. that is my experience, and my understanding of it. these kids don't understand. none of these kids understand how harsh and brutal war can be. and so the people that have fought over there are somebody who have sacrificed their lives in order to protect what we have here, the freedom. dr. colburn: if i were to summarize your thoughts, you investigated the brief and found out it did not apply to this
particular case and you were able to go and make this trip back to the battlefield, despite this long-held belief that you did not revisit the battlefield, would i be correct in that summary? keith: you might be, but part of the push behind my thoughts about that, being an official at the organization, where you kind of are forced into a situation and you don't want to, but yet you wanted to. you want to look or go see. there are two sides to that. dr. colburn: did your wife's viewpoint help you in making that decision, or was she an influence? keith: sometimes we talk about it, discuss it a bit, but i make it a point to not really discuss it, even with my kids.
because my --religion forbids bringing something that is unneeded into the family. dr. colburn: after the war, you came back and you were under orders from the marines not to talk about it. to not talk about the specifics of your war activities. secondly, you were at war and your people did not really want to know the details about it, so you could only share your thoughts with yourselves. was it something that was constantly on your minds, those really horrible thoughts about the war? did they tend to dominate your life? keith: it does in a certain way, you know? you learn what you are and what
you are required to do when you are young. and this thing, this ordeal, you feel it. when your country and your people are under what do you call it? war conditions, unsafe, not healthy -- being a man, you have to almost, a duty to go do something about what the other nation is doing to you, so you are kind of in a situation where you are not or are you going to. if you think a lot of your people, people say, love of country, and then you have to do it.
that is the balance that is kind of scaled to try to do away with bad veins. dr. colburn: when you think about the legacy of the post office and your people, world war ii, what is it that comes to mind? what is the strongest feeling, a couple of generations there on the couch, what is it that you really would like them to take away with them and carry with them about your experience? keith: uh, that is a tricky question. well. we live here in this country.
i do not know, i cannot even estimate. but it has been longer than long time, i guess, and we came into it and we were taught to defend your people in every way you can. the warriors doing activities among the native people in the united states, it is a duty to do that. now, it's a must. it is almost a must, but these kids, they do not know nothing about war. but, if they respect their ancestors as they will as time goes on, what they have done, what the navajo code talkers specifically have done, they say it is unique, they say it is
incredible using the navajo language. the navajo did not, was the development of the code. it is these 30 men, or 29 men that were recruited especially for that purpose and trained. when they come out of camp, they did not go right into basic training. they put them to work developing the code. i understand it is that place that was a guarded place. so it is a secret that nobody has ever done, so it is incredibly unique to have these people come up with that code.
there must have been a lot of discussion. i sure would like to listen to it. sometimes john's memory is kind of poor, but the few times i've talked to him, i did not press him for, how did you name, or how come you come out with the term hummingbird? how come you came up with the term, grenades. how come you come up with a term like big whack? and using the plant system, the resources -- all of the natural resources and the human resources of our navajo country. so, they must have been pretty brilliant men amongst some of those. in genius lee -- ingeniously
brilliant. because not everybody memorizes things the way we were forced to do. if you did not have it, you lost out. that is why i think the legacy of the navajo code talkers is something that should not be forgotten. like i am saying now, i do not believe it should be forgotten. it should be observed annually and make it national. in the united states. looking back over it now, we have been mistreated all the days, ever since the white man came over. right now, we have done something that is beyond expectation. we are still being mistreated
by, not really known how our own people, the 29 men come up with this code. and i do not know it either, because if i was there, i would know. but i was not there. john has a lot of work to do. what did they do? how did they come up with these terms? how much discussion did it involve? and a lot of things that they say that you are not supposed to talk about and you are not supposed to use these words this way. maybe that came into the picture and they were reluctant to use it, but it is to confuse the enemy, whoever the enemy is. somebody that is trying to do something to you unexpectedly, and that is exactly what these
people did. the young kids have a big challenge ahead of them to remember the navajo code talkers like abraham lincoln or george washington or martin luther king or whatever. it is a code that the navajos developed which has never been broken by any expertise anywhere. and has not been done yet. again, it is up to our own people, the young people to carry the legacy down the road for generations to come. and learn their traditions, learn their cultural traditions, customary practices, learn the resources that the navajo nation
simply because all of that was involved in developing this code. and with that, they enhance their own patriotism. their own way of sacrificing yourself. you have to be like that in order to be what you are. protect everything you have, even if it means sacrificing yourself to keep your freedom. announcer: the six part series on the navajo code talkers continues next week when we hear from jesse smith. mr. smith was assigned to the fourth marine division. nicknamed the fighting fourth. he served in pacific islands and transported messages. the program airs next saturday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv. and you can watch today's
program again by visiting our website, c-span.org/history. announcer: sunday night on q&a, supreme court reporter joan this cubic talks about her latest book "the chief." a biography of chief justice john roberts. >> john roberts controls. however john roberts of votes that anthony kennedy has gone, he will determine the law of the land. the liberals want him to come over, inch over a little bit, but the conservatives are trying to hold him back. where he always was. meanwhile, you have this chief is noe declaring there such thing as an obama judge, there is no such thing as a tramp judge, bush -- trump judge, bush judge. when they all have their agendas of sorts. announcer: sunday night at 8:00 q&a.rn on c-span's
announcer: 40 years ago on march 20 6, 1979, president jimmy carter, and egyptian president, and israeli prime minister signed the camp david accords, a peace treaty from egypt and israel. if you months earlier, a photographer took an award-winning white house photo of the three leaders as they reached the agreements. here is mr. hike is. >> i want to jump they had a little bit. you mentioned doing photography of the presidents. let me ask you, we have another of your photos in the exhibit. what was that experience like? do you remember it? day it happened, my wife's breath a is the 12th of september. i am pretty sure this was the 17th of september. john fall was a
upi photo editor and photographer who worked weekends. this was on a saturday or sunday. i think it was a sunday. he called and he said, they are coming down from the mountain and they are going to have a press conference in the east room. we can only have one photographer in the east room, so, go. so i grabbed my gear, and headed to the white house. in, got in, and finally they took us into the east room. here we are,here, one person per organization, right? ap had to bank. time magazine had two. newsweek magazine had two. the thing about it, the israelis, the egyptians, they all had two or three. i was literally the loan person for upi. when i was standing there looking at what was going to
that i did noted want to stand straight in the middle, because when they signed the accord's come and when they got together, they were going to be way too far apart. did, andwhat i usually i moved the way down to the end. riser, so i could look back, and when they signed it, they were compressed. the embrace came and jimmy smiling, was the fact so i wasappened, standing in front of the israeli flag, and carter was behind him. but it was very tight. some of the people later on who thebeen in the middle had three-way handshake which got some play, but my picture got the most. news photographer contest for presidential come it won the
picture of the year contest for general news. and a lot of people made it. but i was the only one that had the angle that put it together and made it work. tried toalways what i do, tried to figure out as you do, and all these photographer here thatotographers work at the white house in washington will tell you, that the big thing was figuring out where you have to be other right time at the right lens in your hand to do what you have to do. which is what we all did. one of the things that strikes me about that story is i am sure some of the folks in that room, we have their collections too. how competitive was your relationship with these other photojournalists? >> very competitive. more competitive, -- competition is what it is all about. we have people here that i competed with who did not work
for the wire service as i did at the time. but i worked for upi. the ap photographers were very competitive. but so were the photographers for the magazines and newspapers. goal was to come as upi, was to get my picture on the front page of the washington post. it did not matter that they had photographers there. i wanted to times, get my page on the front page of all of these things. that was exactly what it was all about. you were there to try to out shoot everybody there. jobif you happen to be on a and they outshot you and their picture was in the paper the next day and you were not, you would congratulate them and say you did a nice job yesterday and it was a nice picture. wouldder your breath you say, you better bring your lunch because it will be a long day today. which is what it was all about. announcer: you can watch the
entire interview with gerald hike is on our website at c-span.org/history. he is one of several in a-winning photographers oral history collection recorded by the briscoe center for american history at the university of texas and austin. tv, allamerican history weekend, every weekend, on c-span3. was simply three giant networks and a government supported service called pbs. in 19 79, a small network rolled out a big idea. let viewers decide on their own what was important to them. c-span opens the doors to washington policymaking for all to see. bring you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. in the 40 years since, the landscape has clearly changed. there is no monolithic media, youtube stars are a thing.
c-span's big idea is more relevant today than ever. no government money supports c-span, it's nonpartisan coverage is funded as a public service by your cable or satellite provider. on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government, so you can make up your own mind. next on lectures in history, college professor edward white teaches a class on lessons learned from the vietnam war and how films and documentaries have portrayed the conflict. his classes about one hour. today is the last class in our eight part course called vietnam war, history, movies, and music. normally i begin with a brief review of the previous class. today, let's take a quick