Lincoln Museum
(Seth Perlman/AP)
September 04, 2013

Grant WIll Support Digitizing Lincoln Documents

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is getting a grant to help pay for the storage of tens of thousands of images of documents related to the 16th president.

Officials announced Tuesday that Amazon Web Services awarded the Papers of Abraham Lincoln $24,000 worth of storage services.

That's enough for the project to securely store 35 terabytes of master image files — the equivalent of a digital music file that would play non-stop for 68 years.

The Papers of Abraham Lincoln has scanned more than 90,000 documents written by, or to, Lincoln.

The retirement of a mass storage system at the University of Illinois forced the project to look for new space.

Officials credited U.S. Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., with alerting them to the Amazon grant.


September 03, 2013

Old Barn At University Of Illinois Getting New Life

The University of Illinois plans to build a solar-energy farm where a century-old barn now stands. But the barn will live on in a new location.

The barn was built in the early 1900s on what used to be the Cruse family farm in Savoy. It will be moved to Congerville. Savoy is just south of Champaign while Congerville is 20 miles northwest of Bloomington.

Morgan Johnston works for university Facilities and Services. She told The News-Gazette in Champaign that a company called Trillium Dell Timberworks of Knoxville will be paid $55,000 to take the barn down.

The company says a buyer near Congerville plans to use the old barn for horses.

Cathy Cruse Revere grew up on the farm. She's thrilled it will be used again.


David Frost
(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
September 01, 2013

British Journalist And TV Personality Sir David Frost Dies At 74

Veteran British journalist and broadcaster Sir David Frost has died from a suspected heart attack while aboard a luxury cruise ship. He was 74.

The Guardian and The Daily Mail both report that Frost was in the process of giving a speech aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, en route from Southampton to Lisbon, when he collapsed.

Frost, whose programs included That Was The Week That Was, which ran for two years on the BBC before being picked up by American television, and The Frost Report, conducted hundreds of high-profile interviews over the years, including his most famous, a 1977 talk with Richard Nixon in which the former president for the first time acknowledged some fault over the Watergate scandal.

The Mail says Frost "probably interviewed more world figures from royalty, politics, the Church, show-business and virtually everywhere else, than any other living broadcaster [and] was the most illustrious TV inquisitor of his generation."

Larry Miller, reporting for NPR from London says "David Frost trained as a preacher before heading to Cambridge University where he edited the student newspaper. He rose to fame as a satirist on the classic 1960's British current affairs show, That Was The Week That Was. During his career, he was equally at home with light entertainment and tough high profile interviews."

The BBC's Barney Jones, who edited his Breakfast with Frost program on the BBC for more than 10 years, said: "David loved broadcasting, did it brilliantly for more than 50 years and was eagerly looking forward to a host of projects - including interviewing the prime minister next week - before his sudden and tragic death. We will all miss him enormously."

The BBC reported a statement saying "His family are devastated and ask for privacy at a difficult time."

Prime Minister David Cameron tweeted his condolences: "My heart goes out to David Frost's family. He could be - and certainly was with me - both a friend and a fearsome interviewer."


A page from the comic book, "March."  It is a vivid first-hand account of Congressman John Lewis' lifelong struggle for civil and human rights.
(Courtesy Top Shelf Productions)
August 31, 2013

Graphic Novel Depicts John Lewis' 'March' Toward Justice

John Lewis is the only person to have spoken at the 1963 March on Washington who is still alive. He was just 23 years old when he addressed the crowd of more than 200,000 at the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago.

Lewis is a pillar of the civil rights movement. The son of sharecroppers in rural Alabama, he went on to become the president of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and then eventually, a U.S. Congressman from Georgia.

His story has been told before in documentaries and books, but now he's putting his life story into the form of a graphic novel, March. Every superhero has an origin story — and so does the graphic novel of John Lewis' life.

A bunch of staffers on the Lewis' 2008 re-election campaign were sitting around, talking about what they would do next, including staffer Andrew Aydin.

"Unashamed, I said I would be going to a comic book convention. And there was a little teasing, but Congressman Lewis stood up for me," recalls Aydin.

"And I just said, 'You shouldn't laugh. At another time in another period there was a comic book called the Montgomery story ― Martin Luther King Jr. and the Montgomery story — that inspired me ―"

Imagine a young John Lewis in 1958 — 18-years old — having arrived at college, picking up a comic book. Lewis says the comic tuned him in to the greater story:

The comic book tells the story of Rosa Parks' symbolic refusal ― but it also gives a detailed account of how to protest non-violently. It was a lesson Lewis took to heart when he staged sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in Nashville in the late '50s.

"It was on February the 13th and we had the very first sit in here. I took my seat at the counter, I asked the waitress for a hamburger and a coke," Lewis says in a 1960 NBC documentary.

Lewis' staffer, Andrew Aydin, knew the history but didn't know about the old comic book. Aydin became convinced Lewis should tell his story as a graphic novel. But Lewis wasn't so sure.

"I thought he was somewhat out of his mind? Why would I be writing a comic book?" Lewis says.

But then he thought back: "I do remember reading the Montgomery story comic book, and I said, 'Yes, if you would do it with me.' And it's been a labor of love."

That labor brought them all the way to San Diego's Comic Con — the geek and supernatural mecca known for its outlandish costumes and.

Waiting in line were three Dr. Whos, four Wolverines, and that one guy in an elaborate Transformers outfit. But they weren't waiting to see the stars from the latest sci-fi movie. Hundreds of people stood in line to have Congressman Lewis sign their copies of March.

Among the Comic Con fans was Mary Clark, a teacher at San Elijo Middle School in San Marcos, Calif.

"This will go into my library collection ― as a graphic novel, sometimes students who aren't really enthusiastic readers will pick it up thinking its about the pictures ― so to be able to give them a story along side those pictures... and something as powerful as Congressman Lewis' story..." says Clark.

That story ­spanning the Congressman's seven decades, will be told in three books. March is the first.

It begins with John Lewis as an old man waking on a dark early morning in Washington, D.C. ­It's 2009, the day of President Barack Obama's inauguration. Quickly the reader is sent back in time ― to Lewis' childhood, when he was taking care of his sharecropper parents' chickens ― practicing sermons on the young birds. The pictures are black and white, and graphic artist Nate Powell renders Lewis' life in shadow. Powell says he drew the story close to the ground, the way a child would experience the world.

I could slip into his shoes for that second and I knew precisely what it was like to witness the baptism of these chickens ― the loss of a beloved hen down a well. Hiding under the porch so that he could sneak away from his house in order to get an education each day and hop on the bus with his mom chasing after him.

The up-close perspective ― sometimes so close you only see what Lewis is seeing ― gives way to wide shots and birds' eye views as the story shifts to sit-ins and marches. Powell says there were things that were tough to draw.

"Trying to find the appropriate and powerful way to respectfully depict the murder of Emmett Till," Powell said, for instance.

Till was a 14-year-old boy brutally killed in Mississippi for allegedly whistling at a white woman. His murder received national attention and helped galvanize the civil rights movement. In the graphic novel, we see an image of Till's mangled body. Drawn from above, after Till has been dragged from the river, Powell makes thin jagged lines of ink to create a sense of human flesh that's turned into broken twigs.

Lewis says, just like the Martin Luther King comic book that inspired him, March is also a primer on non-violence. The Congressman says this is a lesson he and his co-authors, Aydin and Powell, want to keep alive.

"I remember hearing Martin Luther King Jr. preach from time to time," says Lewis. "And his father would be in the pulpit. And he would say, 'Son―make it plain―make it plain.'­ So between Nate and Andrew, they made it plain."

 

 
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A spectator on the National Mall holds an image of President Obama and Martin Luther King during the 2013 presidential inauguration in January.
August 28, 2013

Speaking At The Lincoln Memorial, Obama Assesses 'The Dream'

Thousands gathered under gray skies in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.

They gathered in the exact same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech, and many of the same themes — equality, dignity, unity — echoed through the crowd.

President Obama was joined by the King family and former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

At 3 p.m. ET., they rang a bell that once hung in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., before the church was bombed weeks after the March on Washington. Today, the bell was a symbol of what the civil rights movement accomplished and the bloody price many paid for the fight.

Obama delivered a nuanced assessment of where King's dream is today.

"To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest little has changed dishonors" the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march, Obama said. But to say that everything is OK, also dishonors that legacy.

President Clinton, like Obama, said today we are at a crossroads.

The choice from 50 years ago, said Clinton, remains the same today: "cooperate and thrive or fight with each other and fall behind."

Clinton said that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, said Clinton, have lived the dream King talked about.

The question, said Clinton, is how we will repay that debt?

"Martin Luther King did not live and die to hear us complain," said Clinton. "It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the American people back."

We'll be updating this post with highlights from the event. Hit your refresh button to be sure you're seeing our latest updates.

Update at 3:34 p.m. ET. The Dream Of Every American:

In a speech that ran around 30 minutes, President Obama delivered a nuanced analysis of the progress of Martin Luther King's dream.

"To dismiss the magnitude of this progress, to suggest little has changed dishonors" the sacrifice of those who paid the price to march, Obama said. But to say that everything is OK, also dishonors that legacy.

Obama opened his speech by reminding the crowd of the history of the march. It wasn't just about ending oppression, Obama said, it was also about jobs.

He quoted MLK, saying what good is it for a man to be able to sit at a lunch counter, if he can't afford to pay the meal.

"It is along this second dimension — economic opportunity — that the dream has most fallen short," Obama said.

As Obama said, in his speech 50 years ago, King described the "the dream of every American." He described the promise that was made 200 years earlier by the country's founders: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

The pursuit of happiness, said Obama, "requires the dignity of work."

"We now have a choice. We can continue down our current path" of growing income inequality or "we can have the courage to change."

Update at 2:59 p.m. ET. 'Let Freedom Ring':

At about 3 p.m. ET, Bernice King, King's daughter, said that today, "we are going to let freedom ring."

The King family walked up to a bell saved after the Birmingham Baptist Church was bombed in 1963 and rang it. Across the country, churches joined in, ringing their bells in order to remember King.

Update at 2:41 p.m. ET. 'The Choice Remains':

The choice from 50 years ago, said President Bill Clinton, remains the same today: "cooperate and thrive or fight with each other and fall behind."

Clinton said that Americans today owe a tremendous debt to "those people who came here 50 years ago." Millions of us, said Clinton, have lived the dream King talked about.

The question, said Clinton, is how will we repay that debt?

"Martin Luther King did not live and die to hear us complain," said Clinton. "It is time to stop complaining and put our shoulders against the stubborn gates holding the American people back."

Update at 2:32 p.m. ET. Greatest Leader:

Dr. King is "the greatest leader my native state, and perhaps my native country has ever produced," former President Carter said.

He said that King's dream is still not complete. He said "we all know" how Dr. King would feel at some voter ID laws, and at the Supreme Court ruling striking a key provision of the Voting Rights Act. "We all know" what Dr. King would think about the incredible unemployment rate, and incarceration rate of blacks.

"There's a tremendous agenda before us," Carter said. "I'm thankful to Martin Luther King Jr. that his dream is still alive."

Update at 2:24 p.m. ET. Long Way To Go:

Rep. John Lewis, the Democratic congressman from Georgia, is now at the podium. Remember, Lewis was at 23, the youngest speaker at the March on Washington, 50 years ago.

"We have come a long way in 50 years, but we have a long way to go before we can fulfill King's dream," Lewis said.

He said we've made progress: "The signs that said white and black are gone... but there are still invisible signs," Lewis said. "The scars and stains of racism remain."

NYPD's Stop and Frisk program and the injustice in the case of Trayvon Martin are some examples.

"We must never, ever give up," Lewis said.

Update at 2:16 p.m. ET. Presidents Arrive:

President Obama, along with first lady Michelle Obama and his predecessors, Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter walked down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and took their seats on stage.

As NPR's Craig Windham told our Newscast unit, it's an overcast day in Washington, but that did not stop thousands from gathering at the National Mall. Many told him, that they came to Washington, today, because they wanted to be part of history and because the struggle for civil rights is not over.

Update at 2:11 p.m. ET. Recommit To The Love:

Television mogul Oprah Winfrey reminded everyone that Martin Luther King Jr. "challenged us to see how we are more alike than we are different."

That's why as the bells toll at 3 p.m. ET., "we must recommit to the love that abides and connects each of us, and let freedom ring."


John Lewis
(Michael Reynolds/EPA /Landov)
August 28, 2013

50 Years After March On Washington, John Lewis Still Fighting

Fifty years ago Wednesday, John Lewis was the youngest speaker to address the estimated quarter-million people at the March on Washington.

"Those who have said be patient and wait — we must say that we cannot be patient," the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) said that day. "We do not want our freedom gradually. But we want to be free now."

Aug. 28, 1963, also was the day Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, and few are as thoughtful about the significance of the day as Lewis, now a Democratic congressman from Georgia and civil rights icon.

That summer, the nation had seen black children attacked by dogs and fire hoses in Birmingham, Ala., and the murder of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers.

In his 1963 speech, Lewis thundered: "Where is the political party that would make it unnecessary to march on Washington?"

Lonnie Bunch, director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, says Lewis originally planned to give a much angrier speech.

"Unlike all the other leaders there, John, coming out of the SNCC leadership, really experienced that violence," says Bunch. "He experienced that violence as a Freedom Rider. He experienced that violence at the sit-ins. He found himself saying how crucial it was not to wait for freedom, because waiting for freedom also meant that there would be years more violence."

Lewis acknowledges that he did plan a more direct speech.

"I did say in my original text, 'Listen, Mr. Kennedy. Listen, Mr. President. Listen, members of Congress. You're trying to take the revolution out of the streets and put it in the courts. You tell us to wait. You tell us to be patient. We cannot wait."

State troopers swing billy clubs to break up a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965. John Lewis, then-chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (in the foreground) is being beaten by state troopers.

State troopers swing billy clubs to break up a civil rights voting march in Selma, Ala., on March 7, 1965. John Lewis, then-chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (in the foreground) is being beaten by state troopers. (AP)

Some thought the first draft of Lewis' speech was scary, so organizers convinced Lewis to tone it down, Bunch says, for fear it could jeopardize the civil rights legislation President John F. Kennedy was supporting.

"There's the fear that this version would not only alienate Congress but it might alienate the potential middle America who might become supporters of this when it's seen as a moral issue," says Bunch.

Lewis is still fighting, he told a crowd Saturday during a march to commemorate the original demonstration 50 years ago.

"There are forces — there are people who want to take us back," said Lewis. "We cannot go back. We've come too far. We want to go forward."

 

 

Lewis says he never thought 50 years later that some of the same issues would be back on the table.

"I thought we had completed the fight for the right to vote, the right to participate in the democratic process. I thought we were in a process of reforming the justice system. But when I see something like what the Supreme Court did, or what happened to Trayvon Martin, it tells me over and over again that we're not there yet. We have not finished."

Lewis is referring to the verdict in the killing of unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin, and the Supreme Court's decision in June striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Two years after the 1963 March on Washington, Lewis' skull was fractured as he marched for voting rights in Alabama on what's known as "bloody Sunday."

"I got arrested 40 times during the '60s," Lewis reminded the audience Saturday, speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. "Beaten and left bloody and unconscious. But I'm not tired. I'm not weary. I'm not prepared to sit down and give up. I am ready to fight and continue to fight, and you must fight."

Looking back over 50 years, Lewis says it's "almost too much to believe" that an African-American president resides in the White House and can "come and greet the participants that gather 50 years later" at Wednesday's commemoration of the March.

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Clarence B. Jones
(Norbert von der Groeben/Reuters/Landov)
August 27, 2013

Clarence B. Jones: A Guiding Hand Behind 'I Have A Dream'

For the month of August, Morning Edition and The Race Card Project are looking back at a seminal moment in civil rights history: the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his iconic "I Have a Dream Speech" Aug. 28, 1963. Approximately 250,000 people descended on the nation's capital from all over the country for the mass demonstration.

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J.D. Salinger
(AP)
August 26, 2013

New Salinger Books Will Arrive In 2015, Authors Say

A stream of fiction and stories written by reclusive author J.D. Salinger will be published between 2015 and 2020, according to a new biography about the writer of The Catcher in the Rye, who died in 2010. Some of the books will reportedly revisit beloved Salinger characters such as Holden Caulfield.

The claims come from David Shields and Shane Salerno, co-authors of the biography Salinger, which will be published next week. Days later, Salerno's documentary film of the same name will be released (and in January, it will air on PBS).

In their research on Salinger, Shields and Salerno culled information from new and existing interviews with people who knew the author and with book critics and experts on Salinger, who famously withdrew from public life and stopped publishing in the 1960s — but never stopped writing, according to many accounts.

And some of that work reportedly features familiar characters such as Franny and Zooey Glass, the witty and introspective siblings in the novella Franny and Zooey.

Citing two anonymous sources, the authors say that Salinger "left instructions 'authorizing a specific timetable' (starting between 2015 and 2020) for the release of unpublished work, including five new Glass family stories; a novel based on his relationship with his first wife, Sylvia Welter, a German he married shortly after World War II; a novella in the form of a counterintelligence officer's diary entries during the war; a story-filled "manual" about the Vedanta religious philosophy," according to New York Times book critic Michiko Kakutani.

Also rumored to be on tap: "The Last and Best of the Peter Pans," an update on the lives of Holden Caulfield and his family. That's from a separate Times report, which notes that Salinger's literary legacy would be vastly expanded by upcoming releases, if the new claims are true.

If the claims of planned new work from Salinger are true, they would represent the first substantial publication of his fiction since the story "Hapworth 16, 1924" appeared in The New Yorker.

The AP cautions:

"But there is no consensus on what he was writing and no physical evidence of what Salinger had reportedly stashed in a safe in his home in Cornish, N.H. The Salinger estate, run partly by Matt Salinger and Salinger's widow, Colleen O'Neill, has remained silent on the subject since the author's death in January 2010. The two did not cooperate with Salerno and Shields."

The pair have also refused to comment on the early reports of upcoming Salinger fiction, as did representatives of Little, Brown and Company, publishers of Catcher in the Rye.

After Salinger settled into life in a small New Hampshire town, he rarely gave an account of his activities, or his reasons for rejecting a more public life.

One of Salinger's few interviews was conducted in 1980, by reporter Betty Eppes.

"He said, 'I refuse to publish,'" Eppes told NPR in 1997, "'There's a marvelous peace in not publishing,' he said. 'There's a stillness. When you publish, the world thinks you owe something. If you don't publish, they don't know what you're doing. You can keep it for yourself.'"

As for the merits of the new biography, the AP, which acquired an advance copy of Salinger, compares it to an oral history. Writing in The Times, Kakutani calls it "a loosey-goosey, Internet-age narrative with diminished authorial responsibility."

In a final note, we'll remind you that the Two-Way's regular "Book News" feature is on a late-summer holiday. In April, NPR's Annalisa Quinn told us about nine letters Salinger wrote to a woman in the 1940s, in which he mention his recently submitted manuscripts.


Saddam Hussein
(Reuters/Landov)
August 26, 2013

New Details On How U.S. 'Helped Saddam As He Gassed Iran'

Newly declassified CIA documents "combined with exclusive interviews with former intelligence officials, reveal new details about the depth of the United States' knowledge of how and when Iraq" used chemical weapons against Iran in the 1980s, Foreign Policy reports.

According to the magazine:

"In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq."

For several years before that, CIA documents show, U.S. officials were aware that Iraq had been using chemical weapons in its long war against neighboring Iran and likely would again.

That's just what happened, according to Foreign Policy:

"The Iraqis used mustard gas and sarin prior to four major offensives in early 1988 that relied on U.S. satellite imagery, maps, and other intelligence. These attacks helped to tilt the war in Iraq's favor and bring Iran to the negotiating table, and they ensured that the Reagan administration's long-standing policy of securing an Iraqi victory would succeed."

The new report comes, of course, as the U.S. and other nations weigh whether to use military force to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad following last week's alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians near Damascus.

The Washington Post's The Switch blog writes that the Foreign Policy story shows how "satellite imagery can be used to violate human rights, or to protect them."


August 26, 2013

Probe Of 50 Auschwitz Suspects Near Complete

The head of the special German prosecutors' office that investigates Nazi crimes says a probe of 50 suspected former Auschwitz guards is near complete and may result in charges against many of them.

Berlin's taz newspaper reports more than 40 suspects were found to be still alive in Germany. Prosecutor Kurt Schrimm told The Associated Press on Monday his office planned on recommending charges against most.

State prosecutors then have to review the cases and decide if there is enough evidence to press charges.

Schrimm says the investigations are not quite complete, and that more details would be announced next week.

They are being pursued under a new legal theory that anyone who served in a death camp can be charged as an accessory to murder.


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