Special of the week; Issue 13-71 "Spread the Word: The Story of Louis Lomax" Part 2
NDE are the national educational radio network presents special of the week from W VH S. FM at Hofstra University Hempstead Long Island. Part two of spread the word. The story of Louis Lomax noted journalist writer lecturer and of the time of his death a professor at Hofstra the program is produced by Kevin Riley and Elliot Saul souls of W VH C..
Could sit. Back eat eat. Fish you put it in me you eat. Louis Lomax was all things to all people. Indeed many of his friends are reminiscing today about their experiences we tend to give conflicting if not contradictory views of the Lomax they knew their stories Durkan cover however
in describing various projects and one of them being an effort to examine the Black Muslim movement as it was beginning Louie's personal principals didn't agree with those of the Muslims. I was after Benji Wiley a vast University tells us it was an integration as there are several periods in his life when he wait. There are certain periods in your life or perhaps. People like Marcus Garvey in the early mail were correct but there should be complete separation and complete national of every aspect of black society but of the very famous debate with Malcolm in Chicago and certainly after Malcolm came back from the Middle East and he had few white people know how to talk to someone who claimed over and over again that a black man in this country with every American and his history with any extra bone from history in the country that there could be no separation of the races
that this was. Think of an every move every country would inevitably come when we care about our society. In his need to seek out all viewpoints on the Black Muslims. Louis had his lawyer per the max at the Muslims restaurant on Lenox Avenue in New York City. Mr. Seiden now Bauer president of Manhattan describes the meeting of the three of us were sitting at a table and then what happened. Malcolm I was of course a strong philosopher with regard to black people taking over the part of the United States. But it would be entirely self-sufficient. You really had no idea that it was impossible for any person with your white or black to be self-sufficient as a country if you want undeveloped country developed country and that black people having their own separate state would find themselves bound to call upon white people to give foreign protection that. And then of course Louis had been to Cuba by saying that. Whoever became the foreign minister
of this black state that would be called a knuckle Tom because he'd still have to deal with white people. And of course Malcolm said this wasn't true and that one can be self-sufficient entirely self-sufficient any suggested Muslims but that time self-sufficient just at that time the Muslims were as they are today known as. In their commercial aspects they're known to be good prevail years of a wonderful little thing called time. And. Into the About this time these billions to the bean pie like any other pie requires flour to be used in his making and just when Lulu is making his concessions to Malcolm X and agreeing with American that possibly the Muslims were already beginning to be self-sufficient and we were eating all of the Muslim food that was their food rather tasting of the food in their command to deliver the flour it goes to make the pie and there was a great big sign of
course on the bag of flour the bomb the sign said it was buried and burst into laughter and he said Mr. Minister I know how independent you are back comes Mr. Wright Pillsbury to deliver the right bower for the black must lose early interest in the Black Muslims combine with the power of television to give the Muslims nationwide attention. Mike Wallace of CBS News was the person who first gave Louis the opportunity to tell the Muslim story Lomax came to me. I would imagine it was back in 1939 he was wanted to do a piece a magazine piece I believe it was for Jet magazine about me. The interviews and so forth that I was doing in our news operation at Channel 13 at the time. We sat around and talked at some length about that and then during the course of the conversation he told me about an outfit called the Black Muslims which I confess I had no can of talk that time.
And I said let's talk a great length about this. So we went a couple of blocks away to societies and we sat there and talked for a couple of hours about the Black Muslims and Elijah Muhammad and a fellow by the name of Malcolm X. none of whom I had any familiarity with this subject had not been treated at all in the white press at that time. So I asked well if he thought conceivably we might be able to do some kind of a documentary treatment of the Black Muslims. He said well he'd try. He got in touch with a larger Muhammad and with Malcolm X and they said yes but that no no white television journalist would be received. No no we don't use would be done with a white man. So I asked Lew if he didn't want to join our staff and help us produce this documentary and I got a few thousand
dollars from the Channel 13 management at that time it was still a commercial operation then and we set about producing it. Lou did the interviews and a good deal of the legwork and reporting and my then colleague Ted Yates and I produced it and it went on the air in 1959 under the title the hate that hate produced. I believe that would be in June or July. June I think of nine thousand nine hundred fifty nine on Channel 13. Well it caused quite a stir because the black community simply had no knowledge of all of this. They were black separatist. There was a good deal of talk of violence. There was talk about the day of retribution coming immediately after that. Time magazine and Newsweek and the United States news and U.S. News and
World Report and then the Detroit papers and the Pittsburgh papers began to take up the subject of the Black Muslims and eventually even the Augusta New York Times. So about four or five months later did a front page take out on the piece in spite of the fact that they had rather approved it when it first came on the air. And because Lou and I worked so well together I asked him if he wanted to leave freelance writing and come to work as a television journalist we had a half hour news broadcast television news broadcast that time I believe it was the first regular half hour news broadcast in New York and he joined our staff as writer reporter Robinette Lomax third wife and widow of Lou Lomax terms of Louie's part in bringing Malcolm X to the American public's attention.
But it was Mike Wallace the world became aware of Malcolm. Mike Wallace tells of the impact that the heat that he'd produced had on Malcolm X himself Malcolm X in his autobiography goes on at some length about the hate that hate produced and how we did first focus the attention of the National white media on the whole phenomenon of the Black Muslims. And as I say it also focused our attention on Reaper Tauriel abilities of Lomax and I believe that he was. I don't know for a fact but I should be surprised that he was not the first black reporter in television employed full time as such. It is perhaps unusual that a documentary such as this received so much attention because it was only broadcast locally in New York. Mike Wallace explains. You've got nationwide attention because variety reviewed it and the New York Times reviewed it and John Crosbie who was
then a television columnist reviewed it and because after all if you do a documentary that causes a stir in New York with TIME and Newsweek and The Wire services and so forth looking in at it here and it got coverage in the national print media immediately afterward. In spite of the fact that very few Americans saw it at the time it was broadcast. It caused a stir for the reason that other media covered it. As far as I know it was never played on any other on any other broadcasting station besides Channel 13. It now resides in the archives at Syracuse University and or two three four five times a year. The tape the video tape of it will be loaned out to some government arm of the government or some
journalistic group or some university who know of its historical importance and want an opportunity to view it. Mike Ross describes Louie's work on his news team. Lou I suppose was among the first of the new breed of subjective reporters he was not always an objective reporter. The subject that he knew best obviously was the subject of black America and he was committed. Two militant civil rights organizations and so forth it is very difficult to be a revolutionary if you will and he was something of a revolutionary perhaps not as militant and certainly not as violence oriented as as the latter day revolutionary but a committed man very difficult to be a committed
advocate of a cause and an objective journalist and one in the same time. And for that reason we had a little difficulty on that score because the two can be adversary. Afterall the reporter reports in an advocate advocates. We didn't have him in an editorial or a commentary capacity we had him as a gatherer of facts. Louise Doody is as REPORTER Well rather as a writer as Mr. Wallace relates. Actually he made his living more as a writer over at Channel 39 he's a rewrite man. He sat in the news room and and rolled and rewrote a copy for our nightly newscasts and didn't do it. But he did. Some work out on the street with camera crews but originally he was hired as a writer and I think that he was restless in that role. Matter of fact on one
occasion we got into a bit of a hassle just before we went on the air and he was in the middle of writing a piece and didn't like what I said to him and so we simply walked out with about 15 minutes to go to air time. And it was many months that he quit just before we went on the air so that he and I had a slight difference of opinion following that for a period of some time but then we became friends again because then we came from a middle class Baptist background. He might have had an extra opportunity to get into journalism. But Mike Wallace says that it was Louis reportorial ability and enthusiasm which got him as far as he did. The fact that that I hired Lomax over at Channel 13 simply meant that he got a job somewhat earlier than he would have gotten it otherwise because he did have the ambition and the drive and the determination that was bound to make him eventually a reporter in the
in the white media scene and I'm sure that he would have done it one way or another. The fact that he came to me with the story of the Black Muslims and that there was that lucky confluence of his story. Channel 13 the ability to give us air time and the money to produce the piece and my willingness to listen and be curious about what Lomax was bringing to me. That lucky circumstance and all of these came together at one time propelled him into the broadcast journalism scene otherwise earlier than it might otherwise have done. But he would have gotten there eventually I'm sure. And we went about on his work with an unusual enthusiasm. And Dean just asked one of the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You said his impression of Laurie's enthusiasm after he and his wife spent an evening with a Lomax's couldn't help but be called up and whose enthusiasm and
whose And whose commitment. I think. You felt your angry is almost drained. Because you had been so tense listening to everything that Bernie had to say. Mike Ross has a different interpretation of Louie's enthusiasm. I think that he showed enthusiasm for his work and he certainly did have energy psychic energy creative energy actually psychic energy creative energy enthusiasm curiosity are hallmarks of a good reporter and channelled effectively disciplined effectively. There's nothing better since Louis was always enthusiastic about and involved in something he looked for signs of change. But in some of his jobs he didn't find it as Mrs. Robinette
Lomax tells us. Don't go away. Felt Good Friday would come from the academic community and committed to helping the doctor. They were absolutely right and there were calling and Louie had a unique gift for communicating and Dean Joseph Assman of the Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences comments on his technique for talking and the threat of a sit in or a confrontation. His favorite phrase was let's wrap let's wrap. Wrapped with people wrapped with students with faculty and so forth.
There was little danger of the city and any confrontation getting out of hand. Louis used his speaking ability to prod people's consciences as Mrs. Lomax relates him got in the Guard. Frank Mrs. Lomax describes one incident in which Louis spoke. You know you're under I'm there for your words. Don't think don't make me think Lou is replying to such screams was not one of Louie's vehicles for prodding people's consciences was his talk show on Katie TV in Los Angeles. This is Lomax describes it for us. Identical appeared on.
The California encompassed everything fly along the way that no one else at that time would have on there. Robin it was Louise administrative assistant on that show and the interest shown toward each other in their work brought them together in marriage in 1968. Though she was Louie's third wife Robin Hood Lomax was the one most taken up with Louise lifestyle and who understood his meaning. Mrs Lomax relayed some of the projects she undertook with her husband. I don't think that we got involved for what they called it one can know where. I think 5000 job people here in California. We had an operation. Came out in the 25 20000 during the summer
here. Catalina Island Beach Florida and wherever it is we moved about 11 hundred from about 11 to 20 and we improvise didn't that we too were a minimum of two feet. We monitored and then we did a follow up after our program and found that. Right coroner could not gratify could not have leadership quality ended up being the best worker went on to. Bigger or got involved in all sorts of things like that. We're
traveling to different parts of the world. Always reporting now that Lewis Lomax is gone the only way we can get a true picture of the man is to consider the impressions he made on different friends and colleagues not by themselves but taken together to allow the differences of opinion to balance each other. CBS newsman Mike Wallace gives his candid appraisal of Lewis Lomax the man Lomax was a young man an aging young man one of a group of blacks who live at a very exciting time for them he had the tools and he had the opportunity and he lived at a time when the revolution was coming to fruition. Therefore he was he was you know on the ground floor of all of this so to speak. He was an opportunist. There were those who would suggest that he didn't stay long enough in any one of these activities to
make his impact sufficiently felt he wanted. Some would suggest to capitalize for himself on the revolution. Well I have no reason to argue necessarily that a quibble with a man who wants to do that. So when he would write a book or he would do some television or he would teach or he would advocate or he would get up and entertain or exploit at rallies he was doing things which were aimed really in my estimation. A good deal of the self-fulfillment of Lou Lomax perhaps just as much at the self-fulfillment Lomax as that working within and for the black revolution. I don't fault the man for that. I mean each man goes his own way and I'm sure that there is a good deal of that in I suppose and Malcolm and Martin Luther King and Roy Wilkins and so for some people have said that the reason
that Louis explored so many different vocations was that he was unreliable unable to content himself with any one job. Others such as Dean Jones have asked many say it is that our psyche patients as being united as in a scheme of communications storming the ministry of socio and going room to room drawn to what was going. On from only winding up a straw. I was a teacher on one of these is related to communication myths and this is what he what he was driving for micros cautions us not to overlap the size the man Percy Sutton echoes us notes but takes an optimistic tone to his remembrances of Louis to. Recall to memory many things that are larger than the person described. But I would say to you it is not likely
with regard to. Man if they say kind things about him they had overcome a number of barriers to say these kind of things so I would give greater credence to those things that are said about Louis Lomax than I normally would give to those things that are said upon the death of a man. Mike Wallace's final estimation of Louie is perhaps the most concise he had had no television experience prior to the time that I assigned him to late and he would use and yet quickly he learned the techniques for a straight question a very capable articulate and self-assured television reporter. Everything he did he learned very quickly and then it began to pall on him and he wanted to move on to something else. He was upwardly mobile and very anxious to get there and.
Spread the word. The story of Louis Lomax was produced by Kevin Riley and Elliot saw souls for AWP it's a comedic cast nearly. The producers wish to thank the fowling for their cooperation. This is Robin Hood Lomax B honorable Percy Sutton borough president of Manhattan. Mike Wallace CBS News. Dean Jones of asked man of the house for a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Dr. Bauman is the wily professor of English at Hofstra University.
Thing A. Thing of. NPR's special of the week. Thanks W VH C FM Hofstra University Hempstead Long Island for the recordings of these programs.
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- Chicago: “Special of the week; Issue 13-71 "Spread the Word: The Story of Louis Lomax" Part 2,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 21, 2022, http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jh3d3d9q.
- MLA: “Special of the week; Issue 13-71 "Spread the Word: The Story of Louis Lomax" Part 2.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 21, 2022. <http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jh3d3d9q>.
- APA: Special of the week; Issue 13-71 "Spread the Word: The Story of Louis Lomax" Part 2. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip-500-jh3d3d9q