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tv   Book TV After Words  CSPAN  February 20, 2011 9:00pm-10:00pm EST

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you can't turn on tv without hearing some radical terrorism act occurring j in the world. that drives me to do what i do. >> what's your next project? >> working on another book, and it's discussing the grass roots movements around the world, not only in the united states, but how the internet gave power to the people to rise up, get mobilized and involved with their governments. there's a revolution around the world now, and the internet is empowering that. i can tell you my organization started out of my bedroom on the internet through nothing but a website. today, we're the largest national security grass roots movements in the united states. 160,000 members, 510 chapters nationwide with a full time lobbyists in capitol hill started from a website on the internet. the next book is about power to the people. ..
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joined by carole simpson for "after words" and book tv. welcome. great to have you here. you've written a book coming your autobiography and i want to start out just asking why you decided to write this book.
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>> guest: because i had authority your long career in broadcasting journalism and i don't think anybody else in history had that distinction and i wanted to tell my story because i thought it had lessons, i thought it had the pain and humor. i had lots of experiences and i just wanted to put them down, and i left adc not a happy person. it was a mutual parting of the ways, but then i was like now what am i going to do? and i decided the first thing i wanted to do is start writing everything that happened, and it was a real catharsis. he should have seen me in writing. i would write a story, i was typing on my computer and then i would start crying. it was painful and i would remember and have to stop and then get myself together and
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come back and write again, so it was a very difficult process to relive all of those experiences. >> host: if you set at one point you had a journal so you were able to go back and look at the journals. tell me about the writing process you use today. >> guest: some time ago when i was very into the women's liberation movement in the early 70's and nbc women filed a lawsuit against nbc for the lack of women being hired. you don't remember, but in the 70's the women were making their voices heard after the civil rights movement that we are not getting jobs and we are not even getting promotions and we are not getting the corporate suites, so in all fields, all kind of women were raising issues, and i have remember when that lawsuit was filed, although
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i was not party to it, but according to the newspaper stories, they suggested that the women who write things down. they were talking about incidents that may happen to you. but every day i wrote down what i did and what happened that day and they date back to 1974 when i had began and network television, so i was able to really half times and dates and everything on all kinds of things that happened to me so it was just a good exercise and reliving those things and knowing where to find them. >> host: the process of writing a memoir is always about one part narration but also reflections. what did you learn about yourself in the riding of this? >> guest: you know, i felt better about myself. when i took the measure of my
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career, i don't want to sound immodest but i did do a lot. i really did make a difference, and that felt really good and i was hoping to continue to make a difference by writing the book and hopefully people could get things out of it and they could use and there were places. >> host: you decided to self published this. >> guest: because i took it to the literary agents and they said nobody wanted to publish, and one of the themes of my book is people kept telling me know all for what my career. no, you can't be a journalist, no, you can't incur the news or the the white house correspondent, and i used to use those like vitamin c and just get energy from them. don't tell me know when i know i am prepared and capable and so
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on. so the same thing happened with the book. somebody was telling me know again that we are not calling to publish your book, so i was like the little red hen who asked > ñ everybody to help her planned her wheat and ñ nobody would coñ within she said well and i will do it myself. ñ ñ ñ ñ so i did it myself. >> host: yes, let's go back to ñ your ñ ñ beginning. ñ ñ ñ ñ ñ where did you grow up? >> guest: i grew up in chicago. my kind of town, chicago is. i love it. >> host: in your parents did what? >> guest: my mother was a seamstress. she didn't finish the ninth grade, and she took in sewing > for wealthy white women, and my> dad was a mail carrier. > > > >ñ > were working class people. ñ> >> host: one of the things you talk about in the book is early experiences in realizing race was about and listens imparted by your mother around race. >> guest: my mother was a
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malabo and very beautiful and when she was 13-years-old, her white father was asked by a white man in town to give her to him, and he said if you don't give her to me, i'm going to take her. and of course, in the early 1900's that's what happened. if he wanted a young black girl, you got hurt. so he sent her to chicago to his half-brother. he put on a train the following morning and sat by the door with a shotgun to keep this man from getting his oldest daughter. and she went to chicago and she had lived in the segregated south, and when she had children, she taught me about race. i teach a course on cultural diversity at emerson college in boston, and white people don't ever think about there being white, and the point that out. but black people always think about being black and how am i
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representing myself? help our people viewing me? do i have to fear going into this situation because of my skin color? so she taught me that that was going to happen, and that i had to know how to deal with it and that i should never let anybody tell me that i was not as good as anyone else. and, you know, i thank her for that lesson because i don't know what i would have been oregon had she not just pressed me and pressed me. ñ ñ > > you can do it, you be the best.> and so that left with me. the parent influence is amazing. >> host: indeed. at some point you traveled down south when you were about 9-years-old tell me what happens on that trip down south. >> guest: it was so awful. i grew up in an integrated situation in chicago. although we had a large black family, so i knew why was and what i was, but i had never been
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to the south, and we were driving to a relative's wedding to see my grandfather down in washington, georgia, and my parents decided that they would teach me on a nice drive and go through the great smoky mountain national park, and i had never seen mountains before coming from the flatlands of illinois, and so i was so excited. and when we got through kentucky and tennessee, we needed a place to stay calm and we were trying to get a motel and there were vacancy signs everywhere. my dad would go in the office and he would come out saying they say they have no vacancy. and i was like well, the sign -- i booze 11 -- i said the sign says vacancy, and daddy said we will find some place else. we went down this and how your
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highway, and there are motels on both sides of it and no one would grant us a room and we slept in the car cramped up, and i didn't understand why we had to go through that. and then daddy wanted to get some coffee in the morning before we went to the smoky mountain national park. and he went to a cafe, i don't know, a diner, a little tiny place. but people eight there and he wanted to fill his firmness with coffee and get me some milk. and while he went into the store, i saw a sign on the door that said no catholics, no jews, no dogs, and no nigers allowed. i using the n word but that's what it said. i asked my mother i never heard that word, what is that, and she
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said they are talking about black people. i said us? she said yes. and it turned out my dad went in the wrong door. he should have went around the back but he went in the front door and was sent to the back of the store where he got his coffee and he got some milk. no, he couldn't get milk for me because it was in the front of the store and they wouldn't let him go to the front of the store so i drank coffee, my first coffee drinking as a child. then we get into the park, this beautiful, mountainous spectacular smoky mountains. i just love them, the little haze on them. we went to the observation deck on the highest peak, and i was running around and running around, just having the best time. you could see seven states from of there. and i saw a water fountain and i was thirsty and i went to drink and a white woman grabbed me,
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jerked me by four or and said you don't drink here. and i was so stunned by how she was treating me, and she dragged me at around to the back where there was a colored sign, and was doherty, the spigot had -- gum stockholm it. and again, yet never -- what is this? what is this found him? so i am running to my offer and my father because she had been so mean to me. what do those signs cream? what is that all about? and that's -- that's when i realized what segregation was. that white people got to drink from the pretty white fountain and black people had to drink from this spigot, not a real found him with love leave running water coming out. so it was a sad, sad day for me
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because as i said, while i was told about it, i had never seen it or experienced it. and it just -- it changed my life. >> host: how did you take those experiences back to chicago? you went to high school, integrated high school, and what was race like in high school for you? >> guest: i was very active in high school, so i had a lot of contact with white students. i was in the cui club, and i was on the student council, and i was in the plays and so why didn't hang out with just black kids. i was, you know, intermixed with all kind of people, and i -- i looked at them in a different way because as my parents explained to me the superior attitude, white privilege, what white privilege is all about, and so i had a different look at my friends even though they had
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never treated me any differently. but the idea that white people can do things that i cannot do was more than i could abide. so i don't think i was quite as friendly with them as i had been. >> host: wow. about one of the things you did do is in your junior year decided to join the newspaper. what led you to do that? >> guest: i had an english teacher that said i wrote a very well. it's very funny. about five years ago, i got a letter from the teacher that i had in eighth grade in chicago. she had saved one of my papers that i had written about thanksgiving. >> host: she must have really liked your paper. >> guest: she really liked this paper and she mailed it to me and said best papers i had gotten from a student, and i read that paper and i was going
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pay -- >> host: you're hot stuff. >> guest: i was good. [laughter] >> host: what was the speaker about? >> guest: thanksgiving. >> host: the blessings of thanksgiving. >> guest: kind of what it meant to me. i don't know, but it was good. [laughter] >> host: is it that your refrigerator? >> guest: it is in a box with all of my memorabilia. but it was remarkable that she had saved that. anyhow, apparently i did polite pretty well and i had an english teacher that said you need to join the high school newspaper, and all i had never thought of writing. i actually liked acting. i was in a lot of plays and things like that, which i'm very grateful i was now because that helped me as a television broadcaster. >> host: your voice and presentation. >> guest: using your voice and projecting it and not being afraid to get in front of people and speak. so i joined the newspaper, and they gave me a column called quote code division upnews." they were not homerooms then,
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they were called division. my job was to go to all of the homerooms and interview people about what was going on with the people in their home room. it was a kind of gossip column or something. who won the spelling bee and the science fair. but i enjoyed so much having access that me, carole, could go around to these rooms and talk to the teachers and talk to the students and those things before anybody else knew them and then write them down. it seemed like filing. my goodness, will you must feel the same way. [laughter] >> host: is the same. it's unusual. >> guest: it's kind of day have the experience. >> host: indeed. and so you make the decision this is going to be your life work. >> guest: i'm like i love this, okay? >> host: the attention, the access. >> guest: people coming up to me wanting to tell me information.
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>> host: right. >> guest: and i was a curious child who read a lot. i guess i was pretty nerdy. but it all worked. they're reading, writing, the access and being able to ask questions and get answers was just wonderful, and i said this is what i want to do. but did i know anybody black who was a reporter? did i know anybody, a white woman that was a reporter or anybody? all i knew was lois lane from superman. [laughter] and brenda starr from the comic books. but the idea -- i knew there was a "chicago tribune" and a "chicago sun-times" and a chicago daily news, there were all kinds of great newspapers in chicago at the time. my parents were edited newspaper readers and so it seemed the bylines in the newspaper there and people were covering things
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about murder and of fighters and politics and i just decided that i had to do that. >> host: and you go and tell your parents that this is what you decided. you want a career as a journalist. what are they saying? >> guest: [laughter] silly girl. silly little girl. you can't be a journalist. women don't do that and certainly black women don't do that. you need to go become a teacher so you can take care of yourself. you can always get a teaching job, but we don't want to spend tuition, and was a struggle for them to get my tuition together for me, and it was like you need to be a teacher or a nurse or a social worker. that's just about all the things the young women in the early 60's would aspire to. and i was just "know, i don't
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want to do that, you really want to do this." so there were a lot of fights in my household and a lot of slamming of my door and putting my foot down. and again, this was the first no, no, you can't do this. and i was determined. and finally they solve it was not going to be happy, i was not going to be a good person to live with unless i got this opportunity. so, they supported me, and i thank god for having the support of parents who didn't go to college but made sure me and my sister did. >> host: and then at some point you hear a second no, the second of many noes when you apply to school, northwestern. >> guest: northwestern university in illinois was right outside chicago, and that's where i wanted to go, because at that time it was one of the best journalism schools in the country. and i had great grades, as i told to, i was in all kinds of
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activities and things. and i had a b plus, a minus average from high school, and i played at northwestern, and little did i know there was a quota system going on. the savitt knowledge did now that there was a quota of the number of jews and the number of blacks that they took into the college, and so i go to this admissions counselor, and he tells me i was wasting my time, that i needed to go become a nice english teacher, that i could get a job but i would never get a job working for "the chicago tribune." so i knew what was going to happen and i got the rejection notice a few weeks later. we regret to inform you -- alladi remember those first words -- >> host: thin envelope. >> guest: thin envelope, mo forms to fill out, no housing, little tiny letter, and i was
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like -- and my parents, thank god, didn't say we told you so, but i said i'm playing someplace else. >> host: and you do just that and you end up eventually grudge reading from where and what your? >> guest: the university of michigan, and why do you want the year? so everybody will know how old i am? >> host: never mind. [laughter] >> guest: 1962. >> host: and you did well in school. >> guest: i did well in school again, and there were 60 graduates in my class from journalism, and everyone had a job at the graduation time except me. >> host: the little red hen didn't have a job again. >> guest: so i went to work at the chicago public library where i had worked every summer from the time i was 15-years-old. here i am with a degree and i'm going back to my high school job, my college summer job. and i was disappointed, with but
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i just felt something swing to happen, something's going to happen. and i got this call from the dean of the school saying that he had lined up an internship for me. it didn't look good for the university to have one black student who did not have a job, so he worked very hard to make that happen. and that is how long i ended up in tuskegee alabama. >> host: tell us about that. what was the south like? it's the early 60's. what's going on? >> guest: i was there for everything i was there when george wallace stood at the schoolhouse door at the university of alabama. i was there during selma and birmingham, the fire hoses and the dogs and all of that was happening so close to me, and i am in this little town of 5,000 people in the middle of nowhere in alabama.
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but we saw the news, and you had to watch the national news because the local news didn't do a good job of covering the civil rights movement. and i felt bad that i was not demonstrating, that i was not part of the movement, that i should have been out there. but then i'm like i want to be a journalist. >> host: so you didn't join it because he wanted to to maintain that object to the uncovering it. >> guest: yes, and i -- it changed me again because i had been in the north and now i knew what segregated life was like. i lived under segregation. a younger guy asked me out to a movie in tuskegee alabama. there was one little movie theater, and he said we are going to have to cook our own
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popcorn and bring it in there and we need to buy some candy bars because you couldn't go down on the first floor where the concession stand laws. all the black people had to set up in the balcony, which of course as u.s. delphi, they never claimed it or took care of it, and i was like i am not doing it. i'm not -- i am not going into a segregated facilities. i had to go to montgomery alabama to shop and they wouldn't let you try on clothes. there was a dressing room for white lies and white man and then there was the colored dressing room, in which men, women and children had to change clothes and i was not going to abide by that segregated dressing room. so you would have to hold up close and see if it would fit or something like that, and i was like i just can't stand this is
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crazy. i was like on another planet. and so i would end up doing catalog shopping or my mother would send stuff from chicago down to me because i just couldn't go back into that kosmas feared defeat the -- atmosphere. the horrible things shot at me by young white man as i walked down the streets -- i will repeat them, but you can imagine they were nasty and hurtful and i just hated the south. i came to hate the south and southern people -- i just was very radical about my feelings about the south. but, you know, it made me do the stuff that made a difference because i didn't demonstrate, but for those people that had gotten their heads beaten and who died and were in prison and
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and all those kinds of things, i felt i have to do something for my people. i have to do something to make things better, so i was determined that i would work wherever i was in trying to make things improved conditions for black people, and that's why i ended up being very outspoken about the lack of blacks and corporate offices and black producers and women and producers and all of those kind of things, but it was largely based on those experiences and feeling helpless and deciding i've got to do something where i can. >> host: you finally leave the south and go back up north and finally land back at home in chicago in the 60's. it's about 1965, and tell me about chicago. what was going on then and also
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this retial job that you had. >> guest: i wanted to be a print reporter, and the difference between 62, when i couldn't get the job, and 65 was an amazing length of time. a lot had happened during that period of time, and in chicago the civil rights movement was growing in the south. people were making demand for construction jobs and getting into the trade unions and things like that so black people were sought out to be reporters. they would take people off the street, you want to be on tv because black people said you are not going to cover our e vince unless you send a black cameras and reporters and i thank them for saying that because i don't know how many of us would have entered the profession that early.
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so they were looking -- i had jobs from all over. i was getting job offers. all of a sudden my sex and color that had been handicaps' were now advantages. so i ended up taking a job for a huge radio station, 100,000 station heard on the east coast evin and became the first woman to broadcast news in chicago. i had changed from print to broadcast because while i was at the university of lawyer was in graduate school, i joined the radio station and thought i would try that. >> host: and you had that voice. >> guest: which again, developed from the trauma. it's so funny how things fall into place. so, yes, i was on the radio in it they were like my god, you sound really good because they didn't like women on the radio. we were shrill, our voices were
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shrill and difficult to listen to, and i was like who said that? where are the market studies that show that? so it's just a reason to keep us out of certain jobs, but i loved radio because of the intimacy, it's you and the audience and the story you covered and you are telling it to them. so i just really loved radio and in the death taking the job instead of all the offers i got from newspapers to work for this big radio station in chicago. >> host: and times were tough. you might have been happy and certainly making history as the first black woman on radio but your colleagues were not as happy to have you there. >> guest: no, it was a big news department for a radio station there were 13 of us reporters come and we -- the
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didn't want me there. they were upset that i was there. they were like what is she coming here for? i hadn't worked my way up from small station to bigger station up to this great station in chicago which at the time was the second biggest market in the nation before l.a. grew so much. chicago was the second city. everything was second. and so they resented the fact i was hired. and so they set out -- i believe it was a conspiracy -- set out to make me feel, to make me mess up, to have management have an excuse, to get rid of me. like telling me, sending me to a news conference, been assigned to cover a news conference that happened an hour before i was told that it was happening and coming back empty-handed and having the news director -- and
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i said it sounded so lima, but they told me that that's where it was. the milling me when i was on the air, they would open the door and someone would stick his naked behind in my face to make me a break on the air or make me stop what i was doing, but i was getting a newscast, i couldn't. i had to keep going. they would throw rubber tarantulas on the desk and said my papers on fire. when you're on the air they would come in and you can't say what are you doing in here? i'm reading the news and come and stand behind me and snatched the papers out of my hand, and i learned very early how to get around those kind of things by saying repeating our top story -- since i didn't have the rest of the newscast -- i would just drag it out, and because i had written them i knew them so i
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could add lib some of the stories. but what they did when they were trying to make me mess up was give me more focus. >> host: and make you better. >> guest: it made me better but, you know, a gun could fly year, on the air and you heard an explosion of some kind, i would keep going. i just -- i just had that kind of focus that nothing would shake me thanks to their pranks. >> host: we are going to take a break and we will be back with carole simpson soon. >> "after words" with carole simpson and nia-malika henderson will continue after this short break.
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"after words" with carole simpson and nia-malika henderson continues. >> host: we are back with carole simpson. tell me who you meet in 1966, someone who changes your life and changes your career. >> guest: yes. dr. martin luther king pbr i had watched, you know, being in alabama, i had seen all of the demonstrations he was leading and all of his work, and of course his speech in washington, the i have a dream speech.
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i just had so much admiration for this man, and i never thought i would get an opportunity to meet him, but he announced for mali into he was going north to chicago and he was going to fight segregation in chicago. well, this big competitive news town trying to find out what the heck is he going to chicago for, and the mayor richard daley was horrified what is this carpetbagger? there's nothing wrong with the city of chicago, and so everybody was trying to find out what it was that he was coming for and i asked my news director can i have this story? he said well, he's black, she's black, probably yes. >> host: your blackness benefitting you again. >> guest: so why went to the airport waiting for all the planes coming from atlanta with
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all the other reporters and tv crews and so we are going from gate to gate as the planes are coming from atlanta, and never saw him arrive anywhere, so it turned out we found out -- i found out from one of the ticket agents he had been taken off the back of the plane and taken down in a car on the tarmac and was driven away from us. so, most of the reporters thought he was going to stay in a hotel that he frequented when he came to chicago in downtown chicago. for some reason, i felt if he is being disregarded about it and doesn't want anybody to know anything, i bet he's going to stay out here near the airport. so i started by myself with my little tape recorder i start going from hotel to motel all are around the airport and i am
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so silly, so young i go is dr. king registered here? [laughter] as if he would be registered as dr. martin luther king. i'm sure he would have been mr. green or something like that. and so all of these people were saying no, he's not registered here. but one of the hotels that i went in there was something i got from body language, you know, you learn as a reporter to pick up on that, and it was just the way she said it that i believed she's here, i know he's here. so when she wasn't looking, i went up the elevator and buy stock on to, three, four, i was looking up and down the corridors, looking for any activity. fortunately it salaam hotel that didn't have other quarters, it was just long. so you could look off the elevator and see if there's any activity and i know he would be traveling with his lieutenants,
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and so i get to the seventh floor and i see all these black men at the end of the hall, and i'm going -- so i start heading that way, and i said to one of the gentleman who was like young leedy -- i said i want to get an interview with dr. king. [laughter] >> host: sure, no problem. i'm sure that was the response. >> guest: of course. she said no, dr. king is not giving any interviews. and i said the line here to see why he is coming to chicago. can someone tell me why he's coming? no, he's having a press conference at 10:00 in the morning and you will find out with everyone else. well, that didn't make me very happy. so i decided i was going to stay by the elevator. he would have to get past me whenever he went anywhere. and, like, if i could get to him and of his palace guard, i might be able to get through to him.
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so, i sat -- i had newspapers, i got a diet coke, and i sat -- was their diet coke -- it was probably tab back then. [laughter] i think it was a tab. and i sat down on the marble floor sitting on my coat -- it was wintertime -- and i waited. i was there starting at about 7:00 in the evening. and they were just puddling back-and-forth through the hallway people coming and going. but i recognized with ralf elbra savvy and -- >> host: andy williams. >> guest: unlike my god i am here with this brain trust, so all night i waited and a man came out at about midnight and said young lady, you ought to go home because dr. king is not going to talk to you tonight.
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you should just go to the news conference. and i said no. i'm determined to see him. i'm going to stay. and he said okay. so all night long, i don't know how i was just all aching all over and sitting on that hard floor, and at 07:30 in the morning lacy dr. king coming my way, and i can't tell you it was like a halo was around him, like god was coming my way, and i straightened myself up and i tried to press my hair down and look presentable after a night on the floor. he came up to me and said are you this young lady they've been telling me about? i said yes, sir. he said have you been here all night? i said yes, sir. i had to see you.
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and i said could you please i am young, the only negro reporter coming into would be so fantastic if i could scoop the rest of the story if you could tell me why you're here, and he said all i admire your perseverance. and he whispered in my ear, she got close to might year and he told me i am here to challenge the housing segregation patterns in the city of chicago, which was and still is probably the most segregated city in america. and i was like really? he said it's going to be a direct challenge to the mayor richard daley. and he said now don't tell anybody. [laughter] i said what? don't tell anybody? and he winked kind of and he got on to the elevator and he said good luck, young lady, i think
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you're going to go far. he gave me such a boost. i ran to the telephone, reported the story. it was picked up by the network, and everybody else was reporting. it hit to the ap wires that wcfl is reporting dr. king is here for this. so i went to the news conference at 10:00 after giving lots of reports about how i had gotten the story, and he saw me in the audience and he gave me a wink, and i went high dr. king. [laughter] >> host: thanks, dr. king. >> guest: he really put me on the map, because no longer was anybody asking who is carole simpson? >> host: everybody knew who you were. at this point you were on radio but eventually make the switch to tv and land at nbc news, the network. tell me about that experience in
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the first months there at nbc news. >> guest: at nbc, i had been nine years in the local news before i hit the networks, and they wanted to reporters. now they don't care, but you can see very young women giving the news that the wanted you to be solid and have had a lot of experience before you went to the network. so i had amine in chicago, and they thought i did a good job and they wanted to hire me and moved me to washington, d.c. which was my dream because now we wouldn't be reporting things on just involving chicago and the region, but national sings in a world wide things, so i had always wanted to be a correspondent in washington and that is what they offered me. i get to washington, my dream job, and i am not getting any assignments. i was assigned to cover apw
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which is the former name of hhs, the department of health and human resources. the hhs, health and human services. so i was coming up with story ideas and suggesting all of these things. nobody wanted them. the network, the nightly news didn't want them, the today show didn't want them, and i was like what is going on? and i was being sent out to do interviews for other people's packages, and i had it been on the network working out of the midwest bureau before i moved to washington to the and so on happened -- this went on for about eight, nine months. and i was miserable. i was not doing anything. i was not called upon. this is not what i imagined. why aren't i at the white house? and so, a friend of mine went to
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london and visited would have been our old news directors in chicago, and she said hauer is carole doing? i don't see her on the air. he said the word is she's gotten lazy, she went to washington and got lazy. thank god she came home and reported her telephone conversation to me. and i just went berserk. fleecy! you can call me ugly, you can call me stupid, but don't call me and lazy. it was such a term associated with black people i went crazy, so i immediately went back into the bureau chief and said its crossed the atlantic ocean that i am lazy come and i understand the whole network thinks the chaim lazy. i want out of this contract. i am leaving and going back to chicago. what are you talking about? and he claimed to have not heard
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any of this. he said don't you worry. we don't want you to leave. i will look into this. well, that night at 9:00 i got an assignment i knew was going to get on the air, and of course the next day i was on the air, and it just showed me how people can make things happen if they want to make them happen. if they don't want to make them happen -- so i vowed to find out who it was that had started that rumor, and i had called a free but he that i had worked with in chicago that were now the network and said you know me. you're not easy. every time you hear that what you promise me you would tell them you know, carole, why would i come here and become lazy for my dream job? so things worked out i found out
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what was and i made him pay. [laughter] i made him pay and i told people who it was. it's the old boy network. they still supported him. he may have been chastised, he may have been reprimanded. nothing formal common no suspension or anything like that but he was still there and i did everything to undermine him in any way i could the way people tried to undermine me. it's like dhaka don't like ugly. >> host: evin jolie your move after spending a number of years at nbc news side to go to nbc. >> guest: not to decide. knowledge offered me money, the
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great television producer that was running abc and had run abc sports built on the news department and other networks. we used to call it the almost broadcasting company when i was at nbc, and he was determined to build it into force so he hired me away from nbc and i was happy to go, it was more money, and that's where i spent most of my career, 24 years i stated nbc. >> host: what did you experience and see in terms of the abc news treatment of women? >> guest: it was real bad. we got together, we started getting together socially as i had done at nbc, and i followed the women at adc were not even talking to each other because
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with the man had done is set them up as, you know, competitors towards each other not with the men that competitive towards each other so they would play women against women who would get a good assignment and wouldn't get the good assignment, and we started getting started tv together socially talk about things and we happened to talk about work and we realized there were no women's in the corporate states and no women senior producers of any shows camano executive producers camano bureau chiefs, no foreign correspondents, no women on the major beat in washington which would be white house or congress or something like that and that we were being denied opportunities and like why? we needed to bring that to the attention of people. there was talk of lawsuits,
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let's sudan. i said no, let's go through channels. so i was chosen to be the spokesperson because nobody else wanted to be so we made an astounding presentation. we did a content analysis of every show to show where the women and minorities were not and how many there were, how many women were doing what and it changed. i never really thought about it. he come out of sports and the importance of the women was a big deal. but he did and i give him credit for making changes based on the presentation. >> host: and the results changes were made. >> guest: they were. we had a woman named vice president. i became an anchor for the weekend news. we had a woman assigned to the white house, we had to women
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bureau chiefs named to the women correspondents. we also found out the women were making $30,000 less than the man as producers to be exactly the same job and having to have the same qualifications, said the in the devotee and the pay equity study come and equalizing the salaries, so that's still in place. that change is there so women are not starting off with one hand behind them. so the women have made a lot of progress at abc news. still not the big jobs, the hiring and firing, but the vice president's overseas shows and things still trotting. there's lots of cracks in the glass ceiling but we haven't broken to it yet to have a president of the network. >> host: while you were there
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you were doing double duty. you were an anchor and correspondent during the week nights. >> guest: the best combination i could imagine. i could get up and get dressed up on sunday, have my hair done and my makeup done and talk to the people. i love talking to the people, and i felt there were people out there that i was talking to, and then my love is reporting so i covered a lot of social issues because nobody else wanted to cover them so why did the crack babies and the juvenile crime and post-traumatic stress syndrome the children were getting and cracked mothers and really important stories i felt for the network but they don't do those stories anymore. you know why? people don't want to be upset. so we've got a situation.
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i mean, i'm kind of glad i'm not in network television now because its program to to what people want, and they don't want to see public housing, they don't want to see poor people, they want medical breakthroughs and business and a little bit of the news with the president, but they don't want to see anything that upsets them, and that's what i want to do. what's his name, i can't remember his name 100 years ago our job is to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted and i tell that true to the way that i covered the news. >> host: and that certainly came through when hugh in mid-1990 to moderated the town hall between the then governor clinton, president bush and ross perot. you describe that as the crowning achievement of your career. tell about that. >> guest: 1 million people
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were watching. i was chosen to do the debate because there had been criticism about the previous debate. there were no people color. so they got a twofer with me being a woman and an african-american, and, you know, if the had gone to adc and said give us somebody to moderate this debate do you think abc would have chosen me? it would have been peter jennings or ted koppel or diane sawyer or i would have been way down on the list, but i was chosen by the campaigns and the bipartisan commission on presidential debates and i had covered clinton and i had covered george h. w. bush for eight years, so i knew him very well, and they approved my being the moderator, and it was very scary to me because it was this town hall format, and we hadn't
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had one of those before. it had all been panels of reporters asking questions and the candidates, so this i didn't -- there were no films i could go back and look at and see how you do this, so it was really on the job training, but i was seen by 91 million people, and i go overseas and people still remember me overseas because they were watching. the red suit was so the camera and the director could spot me. if i was in another dark suit like the candidates, it would have been hard so they asked me to wear that red suit, but i do love red. >> host: in 1996 the was the year you felt like things started to go south at abc. tell me about that time. >> guest: you want to make me
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cry. >> host: i think we have some tissue. >> guest: you are trying to make me cry here. no, there were two people at abc that i think began to put the knives and me. one of them was a white woman who was the executive producer of why we can't show -- weekend show and the other was a black man who was a producer of the weekend show, and it hurt me show to show that the people that began the doing enough carol simpson wore a white woman and a black man. people that i had worked 30 years to get into the jobs they held. i can't tell you how much that hurts. it's like you owe your job to me
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because i put my job on the line. and you would do this to me? so that began. and merrill lynch passed away at the was a new president of abc news who didn't like carole simpson quite as much. despite what the people were saying they started saying things like she doesn't know how to ad lib, she doesn't add lib well. on an ad libbing this full hour with you. don't you think -- >> host: it's very impressive. >> guest: don't you think i can add licht? and i was getting slow on the delivery and suggesting age. you can't see it because of the ada law, age discrimination act. said it was things like that, just she's not feeling well.
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i had traveled in from washington every weekend start the day after having, you know, traveled. but as soon as the red light came on, i was fine. tommy chaim life and i'm ready to go. but it was very hurtful that i had fought racism, sexism, and here was coming ageism in of the subtle comments about my performance. as they offered me -- they said they wanted to bring in new talent along and prepare them for the network. i had on the show for 15 years which is a long-running tv, but i felt they wouldn't have told peter jennings that, he had been doing it for 20 some odd years, but it was to get rid of me so they made me an offer on could
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refuse, and insulting offer to stay at the network and not to the news anymore. i'm not going to just say i'm not accepting that, i'm going to stay here and make you have to deal with the longer. so i stayed three years longer not doing a whole lot, kind of put out to pasture but during that time planning the next phase of my life. >> host: tell me more about your family. i was reminiscent of not asking that. the work life balance. >> guest: it was so difficult. you are wearing three hats. my husband was a career man, and there were social the activities that i needed to go to with him. i had to do my career, and i had
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to be the best possible at doing that, and i had children and a home and i was the one buying the issues when their feet were getting too big for them, so sometimes it was just an awful hard juggling act, and wanted to be the best of all of them and tried, but it's tough. i want women to know it is tough, you think you can with all but it's very hard. >> host: today when you look at television news, what do you see? do you feel like the changes that you pushed for are evident in what you see on tv today? >> guest: no. no, i don't. you see lots of women on tv, don't you? on the cable networks and everything. so, one would think the women are doing amazingly well, but they are not making the


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