Category Archives: Uncategorized

‘The Coaster’ with Ravel soundtrack

Author and pianist Kris Faatz features story readings paired with piano performances

Special thanks to author/musician, friend and colleague Kris Faatz for featuring my flash fiction piece, “The Coaster,” paired with two Ravel pieces as part of her Storytelling and Sound seies on her Zen for Ten video/performance blog in December of 2017.

Zen for Ten 34: The Coaster



‘Austerlitz’ Questions Holocaust Tourism

MAY 26, 2017
The Jewish Times

To call Sergei Loznitsa’s 2016 film “Austerlitz” self-reflexive would be an understatement. Self-reflexive of filmmaker Loznitsa and his quest for understanding of a painful subject, yes, but also of us, the audience, the observers. The watchers.

For “Austerlitz,” above all, is about us. About watching ourselves. Watching ourselves as tourists, hordes of logo-T- shirted and shorts-clad summer tourists, cellphones and video cameras in hand, sipping from plastic water bottles, on a day trip to a Nazi death camp.

With no interviews, music or dialogue beyond ambient sound and occasional snatches of tour guides speaking, this austere black-and-white documentary keeps the audience focused on observing the visitors as they observe the stops on their tour. Pathway to yard, door to window. We watch them as they watch. We study them as they study their surroundings. But we can’t see what they are seeing, as often they are observing something just out of frame. Are they looking at photographs, artifacts, plaques of information? Often, we can only guess.

The camera, always static, lingers meditatively before windows or doors, behind or through which the visitors travel. At first, we see no geography or perspective of where we are. And then through successive scenes we eventually see the gates with those infamous words: Arbeit Macht Frei (Work sets you free). We see barracks in the background, barbed-wire and razor-wire fencing, a white-tiled room with white-tiled autopsy tables, an open doorway through which several ovens are visible. But the focus is always on the tourists, stopping to look, frowning, pausing for a selfie.

And although the scenes are sometimes bustling, sometimes quiet, the tourists for the most part passive or pensive, I found a growing sense of unease as I watched the parade of people, chatting, taking photos, eating, sometimes smiling. Because, of course, it is impossible to forget where they are and what happened there and at thousands of other camps. (Although there is no overt identification of the camps, the film was shot at Sachsenhausen and Dachau.)

Loznitsa seems to be asking, why are we here? Is this a necessary observation of something we should never forget? Or a violation? A violation of a sacred space, a space that is literally a killing ground, a graveyard?

In his director’s note on his website (, the filmmaker says he happened upon the concentration camp site one day.

“I never thought that I would come here,” he wrote. “Passing by I saw the sign and turned off. … Cars are lined up in the parking area. It is a quiet and hot summer day. Nothing unusual.”

But he enters through the gates, and as he walks from numbered building to numbered building, he watches the tourists.

“This is the place where people were exterminated; this is the place of suffering and grief. And now, I am here. A tourist. With all the typical curiosities of a tourist. Without any notion of what it was like to be a prisoner in the concentration camp having a number, every day waiting for death, clinging to life,” he wrote. “I stand here and look at the machinery for the extermination of the human body. Traces of life, sometime ago, long ago, here and now. What am I doing here? What are all these people doing here, moving in groups from one object to another?”

These questions moved him to make the film. So now we can observe. We can watch. And we can think about what we are doing and why we are doing it.

“One can refer to the good will and the desire to sense compassion and mercy that Aristotle associated with tragedy,” Loznitsa wrote. “But this explanation doesn’t solve the mystery. Why a love couple or a mother with her child goes on a sunny summer day to look at the ovens in a crematorium? To try to come to grips with this, I made this film.”

I saw “Austerlitz” at the Maryland Film Festival in the theater in MICA’S Brown Center. The 5 p.m. show on a Thursday evening was the first of two screenings for the film. There were less than two dozen people in the theater. After the film ended and the lights came up, no one clapped, unusual after a film-festival screening. But I don’t think the lack of applause meant no one appreciated the film. For me, it was because although the film was a quiet and observational meditation, I left feeling stunned, sad and uneasy. It made me think, which is what the best films do. And making us think, I’m sure, is exactly what Loznitsa had in mind.

For more on Ukrainian filmmaker Loznitsa and to watch a trailer for the film, visit The film is currently on the film festival circuit and not yet in distribution. 

A Welcome Return to Journalism

I recently began working as a journalist again, when Baltimore Jewish Times editor Marc Shapiro asked if I’d be interested in freelancing for the metro weekly magazine. I jumped at the chance. I missed being a reporter these past five years and appreciated Marc’s thinking of me when he had some freelance budget to burn. My first assignment was an event that focused on addiction in the Jewish community — a subject that can always use more light and understanding:

Erasing the Stigma
April 6, 2017
By Susan C. Ingram

Shame. Fear. Denial. Silence.

Familiar territory in the life of someone struggling with addiction, as well as for family and friends. In an effort to reduce that stigma and encourage open dialogue, Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community School in Pikesville recently held an addiction education program, “Not in MY Family: Substance Abuse in the Jewish Community.”

Scores packed the school’s Mintzes Theatre the evening of March 29 to remember those lost to addiction and cheer those sharing their stories as recovering addicts. What emerged from those painful, but hopeful stories was the call to pull addiction from the shadows. Shadows that some in attendance said are particularly opaque in the Jewish community.

Read the rest of the story here.

The Second Battle that Saved Washington, D.C.?

I found myself on a battlefield this week. My brother and I were passing through Frederick, Md., on our way home to Baltimore from West Virginia when I suggested we stop at the Monocacy National Battlefield.

We often pass over the Monocacy River on our way to my cabin in Great Cacapon, WV, and when I heard a recent news piece about the formation of the Monocacy National Battlefield Foundation, I wondered why I had never heard of the battlefield, and decided to stop by and check it out.

Turns out this little-known site actually played a pivotal role in the Civil War in 1864, when it was the site of a battle that, although the North lost, proved to slow the progress of Confederate Lieutenant General Jubal Early, who was making for Washington, D.C. with 15,000 troops to take the Capitol.

Early and his men met about 6,500 mostly un-battle-tested Union soldiers at Monocacy Junction, a strategic B&O Railroad junction in Frederick.

The battle took place on July 9, 1864, and although the Union forces put up a good fight, they could not match Early’s numbers. Several key strategies, including burning a covered bridge that would have hastened Early’s arrival in Washington, saved the Union from a larger assault on the nation’s capital:

“Although the battle was a military victory for the Confederates and their only victory in the north, it was also a defeat. The time spent fighting the battle cost the Confederates a crucial day of marching and provided the Union time to send reinforcements to Washington, D.C. General Early’s army returned to Virginia and the remainder of the war was fought on southern soil. Because of General Wallace’s valiant delaying action, the Battle of Monocacy became known as “The Battle that Saved Washington, D.C.”

monocacy2As my brother and I made our way through the well-organized and informative museum on the second floor of the Visitor’s Center and hiked around the battlefield to Monocacy Junction, I thought about the current “Battle for Washington” now brewing, started by the new president – a Nationalist and Isolationist whose policies and support base seem to echo much of the ideology forwarded during the Civil War by the Confederate States – preferring “state’s rights” to a unified federal government and holding on to a nation’s past that put white Christian rights and freedoms over and above those of other races and religions.

monocacy1After hearing today about the federal judge who stopped the president’s “Muslim travel ban” on the grounds it is unconstitutional, I thought, well, perhaps these and other strategies will prove to slow and ultimately halt the current takeover of the nation’s capital, and common sense, equality, fairness and Democracy will prevail, winning the Second Battle that Saved Washington, D.C.

Monocacy National Battlefield is definitely worth a visit, get more info here:





Happy Holidays from Newzcook!

xmas16It’s Christmas Eve and I’m gearing up to finish my New Year’s cards and bake some cookies to take to my mom’s for Christmas Day tomorrow.

But as a Happy Holidays to everyone, I thought I’d share some easy, fun holiday recipes from past posts, including Christmas Bison Chili, Irish Whiskey Cake, Easy New Year’s Eve Appe-Tarts and the easy, yummy, Fudge-Filled Slice-n-Bakes, in case you’re running out of time and looking to dress up those last minute supermarket cookies-in-a-tube…

Have a Great Holiday, whatever you celebrate, and a Happy New Year!

Bison Christmas Chili was just one way my family celebrated the seaon "out of the box"

Bison Christmas Chili is a fun alternative to traditional holiday meals. You can substitute with veggies, ground turkey, tempeh, or other meatless alternatives.

Christmas Bison Chili

  • Olive oil
  • Crushed garlic
  • 1 large sweet onion
  • 1 large sweet red bell pepper
  • 1/2 c. frozen peas
  • 1 lb. ground bison – preferably organic, or at least no hormones, no antibiotics, etc.
  • 28 oz. can vegetarian baked beans
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • red pepper flakes
  • ground sea salt
  • ground black peppercorns
  • 1 T. soy sauce

Saute’ garlic in a couple tablespoons olive oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven until fragrant, add chopped onion and bell peppers and cook till a bit soft. Push above to one side and add bison meat in chunks to pot. Cook meat through, but don’t overcook. No need to spoon or pour off fat, as the bison is lean and there won’t be much. Simply stir everything back together when the meat is cooked so the meat will pick up some of the flavor of the garlic, onion and pepper. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato paste and use spices to taste. Simmer for about 1/2 hour. You can add the peas late in the cooking so they retain some of their green color. For a portable/party meal, pour the chili in a crock pot and take it to your gathering. You can leave it on low and let people serve themselves. Because of the sweet peppers and baked beans the chili is sweeter, like Sloppy Joe. It’s great with tortilla chips, or crusty bread. And because it’s made with bison and with vegetarian baked beans, it’s probably lower in fat and cholesterol.

Irish Whiskey Cake


This recipe is modified from a recipe in “Traditional Irish Recipes,” by George L. Thompson and a recipe I saw in a newspaper, but can’t remember where. Basically, you’ll need a pound cake (I used Sara Lee), a cup or more of Irish whiskey (I used Powers), a large box of vanilla pudding (the kind you cook), jam or preserves (I used lo-cal strawberry from Aldi), and heavy whipping cream. You’ll also need a nice glass, or crystal bowl, to layer the cake in.

Cut the pound cake in slices and arrange flat on a couple plates. Sprinkle/pour Irish whiskey on both sides of slices – depending on your taste you can moisten, or really douse the cake. Let it sit for a bit while you cook the pudding. The pudding called for 3 c. milk and I substituted 1/2 c. of that with eggnog. It could have used more. Take pudding off burner and let cool. Skim the top before you build the cake. To build the cake: Spread each cake slice with generous layer of preserves, then layer bowl with cake slices and pudding, ending with pudding. Whip a cup or more of heavy whipping cream with a little sugar to sweeten it and top the cake with a thick layer of whipped cream. Using real whipping cream makes a nice thick, not to sweet topping (as opposed to canned or frozen topping). Chill in refrigerator until you serve it. Use a spatula to cut and serve. It held together like a cake – which was surprising. It was also delicious.

Easy New Year’s Eve Appe-Tarts

  • 2 tubes refrigerated crescent roll dough (8-roll size)
  • Saga blue cheese
  • 5 oz. bag Emerald Glazed pecans
  • Fresh-made whole cranberry sauce

I made fresh cranberry sauce for these. Recipe’s on the bag of fresh cranberries, but I used 1/2 c. white and 1/2 c. brown sugar. I also added a tablespoon or so of apricot preserves and some pear liqueur to add some extra flavor. These tarts are fun and simple to make right at the party if you want. If you have kids around, give them some peanut butter, jelly and chocolate chips (or whatever they like) and let them join in and make their own tarts.

Separate the crescent dough triangles. Spread with blue cheese, cranberry sauce and top with pecans. Roll up, or fold, and pinch the dough to seal the tarts. Arrange on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake as directed until golden brown. I think it was 10-12 minutes in a 350 or 400-degree oven. Watch out! The filling is hot, so let them cool a bit while you make the cocktails. Bombay Sapphire Martinis made a great cocktail pairing.

Fudge Filled Slice-N-Bakes

Fudge Filled Slice-N-Bakes

Quik, Eezzy, Yummy

I said in the last post that I was going to try upgrading the stand-by slice-n-bake cookies and if I was successful I’d report my findings.

My Aldi slice-n-bake Holiday Cookies with the built-in candy canes were delicious and a bargain at $1.99. But when I decided to bake a second batch for Xmas Day I wanted to add a bit of a personal touch. So when I spied the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting recipe on the back of my (Aldi’s) Baker’s Choice baking cocoa, I thought, hmmm, sugar cookies sandwiched with fudge. Kind of like, as my mother pointed out yesterday, a Berger Cookie (a Baltimore favorite – it’s a cake-like vanilla cookie slathered with a pile of hardened dark chocolate icing,

They were a hit, as you can see from the photo of the almost empty tin. The decorated slice-n-bakes looked great, the soft, chocolaty icing was the perfect counter point to the snap of the sugar cookies, and the icing oozing out the sides gave them that homemade appeal.

So, if you don’t have time to mess with making a bunch of from-scratch holiday cookies but want that personal touch for family gatherings and holiday parties, this is a quick and easy alternative. (Try different kinds of cookies combined with different icings.)

Use any brand slice-n-bakes you want. Here’s the recipe from the cocoa tin:

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

  • 6 T softened butter
  • 1/2 c. baking cocoa
  • 2 2/3 c. confectioner’s sugar (I used 2 cups)
  • 1/3 c. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla extract (use real vanilla extract if you can)

In a small mixing bowl, cream butter. Add cocoa and confectioner’s sugar alternately with milk. Beat to spreading consistency (I made it thick to stand up to the cookies). Blend in vanilla.

(With one tube of slice-n-bakes and this icing recipe I made 18 sandwich cookies.)

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year and…

Chow for Now!

Who feels like cooking when you’re sick and tired?


Nothing like comfort food in bed with your best pal, when you’re feeling sick and tired.

I’ve been sick since Thanksgiving. The usual winter head and chest cold that it seems everyone is suffering with right now. Lousy time for it, with the holidays bearing down. There are gifts to buy, cards to address, meals to plan. Who has the energy? I don’t. Not after working all week. Just trying to sit upright and get through the day is hard enough. I spent most of this week having enough energy left over to open a can of soup and box of crackers for dinner and adding an orange for dessert, in hopes of getting some real food in there somewhere.

So, when this weekend rolled around I felt like I needed to get some healthy, fresh vegetables in me, but all I craved was comfort food — and I still didn’t feel like spending any time cooking.

So, I split the difference and came up with some semi-healthy comfort food that was quick to make. Yesterday, following that comfort food craving, and not knowing what to eat for breakfast, I threw together a cheesy skillet quick-bread. I had that with dinner later — steamed fresh veggies and shrimp tossed with Pecorino Romano and Parmesan cheese and Old Bay. This morning I did a fresh tomato and avocado melt on a baguette. In the spirit of the recipes on this blog, they were all cheap, quick and easy:

20161217_100428Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread

  • 1 1/2 c. Bisquick Heart Smart mix
  • 1/2 milk (plus a splash to make it looser)
  • 1/2 c. or so grated sharp New York cheddar
  • Cast iron pan
  • Olive oil
  • Optional: Old Bay seasoning

Make the biscuit recipe on the box (above), and mix in grated cheese (it could probably handle more than I added, but this was my first try, so I didn’t go crazy with the cheese). The batter should be loose enough to spread into the skillet, so you may need to add a little milk to thin it. Add a tablespoon or so of olive oil to the skillet and start warming it on low. After the oil warms spread it around evenly with a paper towel. Put the batter in the pan and spread it to the edges. Cover the top with some more grated cheese. Cover. Keep the heat on low-medium. You don’t want to brown the bottom too much before the biscuit sets inside. Take a peek after 10-12 mins or more. If the top is set and the bottom is golden, turn off the heat. I have a toaster oven that can accommodate a pizza, so I put the whole skillet in the toaster oven (the door was open a bit from the handle). Leave it in a few mins to brown the top. You can garnish the bread with a dusting of Old Bay if you want to add a little spice. Serve warm with butter.

20161217_205903_resizedQuick Veggie/Shrimp Bowl

  • Fresh broccoli and stems cut in 1-inch pieces
  • Grape tomatoes sliced in half
  • Frozen shelled/deveined precooked shrimp
  • Olive oil
  • Pecorino Romano and/or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & Pepper (try McCormick’s Peppercorn Medley)
  • Dried basil
  • Old Bay seasoning

You can make this with any amounts of veggies and shrimp, depending on how many you are serving. Cut broccoli into nice chunky pieces, halve the tomatoes. Use a sauté/frying pan, not a deep pot to steam in. Put a 1/2-inch to 1-inch of water in the pan. Bring it to a boil. Drop in veggies. Let them get a little crispy/soft before you drop in the frozen shrimp. Cover and steam just a few minutes until all are heated through and the broccoli is softened, not overcooked, still bright green. Drain, retaining a little of the steaming water. Put veggies and shrimp and a little of the steaming water in a bowl. Toss with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Season to taste with salt, pepper, basil, Old Bay. Toss with a handful of the cheeses until everything is coated. Garnish with a sprinkling of more cheese. Serve with the warmed Cheesy Skillet Quick-Bread.

20161218_101258-1Tomato/Avocado Melt

  • Crusty baguette
  • Tomatoes (I used grape tomatoes)
  • Half an avocado
  • Sharp New York cheddar
  • Butter
  • Salt and pepper

This is a sort of healthier modification on one of my favorite comfort-food deli breakfast sandwiches (Toasted bagel, cream cheese, tomato, melted cheese).

Slice and partially toast the baguette with a little butter. Top with tomato, season with salt and pepper. Top with sliced cheddar. Put back in toaster-oven to fully toast the baguette and melt the cheese. Remove from oven and top with fresh, sliced avocado. Season to taste.

I hope you get through the holidays without getting the winter crud, but if you do get short of time or energy I hope you enjoy some of these easy, quick and comforting recipes.

Happy Holidays, Happy New Year and Chow for Now!


Turn Back the Clock America? No Thanks.

russell-campbell-largeAs I turned back the clocks for daylight saving time today, I listened to voters on NPR talking about the election. As we have so often heard before in this election from Trump supporters, one of the white women interviewed said she was voting for Donald Trump because she wanted to return to “the America we enjoyed when we were younger.” Challenged on this point by another white woman, a Hillary Clinton supporter who brought up poor treatment of women and minorities during that time, the Trump supporter responded that life was good back then, like on “Leave it to Beaver.” That’s what she wanted to see America return to.

Pressed again on the issue that America was not so great for women and non-whites, another Trump supporter responded that eight years of President Obama had not helped black Americans and the racial divide was worse – that Democrats hadn’t done anything to help minorities and that Trump was right on that point. She didn’t mention Republican obstructionists, white backlash toward immigration, or white fear of growing minority power that is fueling that racial divide.

The idea of “turning back the clock” to a fantasy-land, “Leave it to Beaver” America (that never actually existed) seems to me an amazing act of denial and self-delusion. Not only were civil rights and equal rights for minorities and women denied when I was growing up, when I was in high school and college the country had a murder rate much higher than it is today. More people lived in poverty and we know that millions – before President Obama – were unable to access healthcare whether because of pre-existing conditions, access or affordability. (Right – I know healthcare is a huge issue right now. Mine went way up too, people. But 20 MILLION MORE PEOPLE have healthcare. That is a positive I don’t care how you want to spin it. And we need to keep helping to insure people – and make the system work better – not return to denying people healthcare.)

Anyway – back to turning back the clocks. Below is a timeline of events that took place when I was a child that I do not want to see repeated by “turning back the clock” to “make America great again.” Witness recent uprisings over police brutality and shootings and it’s obvious we need to keep moving forward, not marching backward

As one of the Clinton supporters said in that interview on NPR this morning, “I don’t want to go back there. I want to go forward.”

So do I.

Don’t you?

Below are some highlights and lowlights in America’s Civil Rights struggle that show the level of civil demonstrations that influenced federal will and lawmaking that was necessary to help to begin to reverse entrenched, institutional discrimination. I’ve bolded the lowlights. These events occurred from the time I was 2 until I was 10, in 1968. I do not want to go back to the America of my childhood, to see America have to re-fight these struggles that were won with blood spilled and people killed – blacks and whites who died trying to better our country. The timeline is from the International Civil Rights Center & Museum website:


FEB. 1, 1960

Four black university students from N.C. A&T University began a sit-in at a segregated F.W. Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, N.C. Although they were refused service, they were allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggered similar nonviolent protests throughout the South. Six months later, the original four protesters are served lunch at the same Woolworth’s counter. Student sit-ins would be an effective tactic throughout the South in integrating parks, swimming pools, theaters, libraries and other public facilities.

MARCH 6, 1960

President Kennedy issued Executive Order 10925, prohibiting discrimination in federal government hiring on the basis of race, religion or national origin and establishing The President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity, the EEOC. They were immediately directed to scrutinize and study employment practices of the United States government and to consider and recommend additional affirmative steps for executive departments and agencies.

APRIL 1960

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., providing young blacks with a more prominent place in the civil rights movement. The SNCC later grew into a more radical organization under the leadership of Stokely Carmichael (1966-1967) and H. Rap Brown (1967-1998). The organization changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee.


OCT. 1, 1962

James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. President Kennedy sent 5,000 federal troops to contain the violence and riots surrounding the incident.


JUNE 12, 1963

Mississippi’s NAACP field secretary, 37-year-old Medgar Evers, was murdered outside his home in Jackson, Miss. Byron De La Beckwith was tried twice in 1964, both trials resulting in hung juries. Thirty years later, he was convicted of murdering Evers.

AUG. 28, 1963

More than 250,000 people join in the March on Washington. Congregating at the Lincoln Memorial, participants listened as Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

SEPT. 15, 1963

Four young girls, Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Addie Mae Collins, attending Sunday school were killed when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a popular location for civil rights meetings. Riots erupted in Birmingham, Ala., leading to the deaths of two more black youth.


JAN. 23, 1964

The 24th Amendment abolished the poll tax, which had originally been instituted in 11 southern states. The poll tax made it difficult for blacks to vote.


The Mississippi Freedom Summer Project was organized in 1964 by the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO), a coalition of four civil rights organizations: the Student NonViolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE); the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). The project was to carry out a unified voter registration program in the state of Mississippi. Both COFO and the Summer Project were the result of the “Sit-In” and “Freedom Ride” movements of 1960 and 1961, and of SNCC’s earlier efforts to organize voter registration drives throughout Mississippi.

The Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) launched a massive effort to register black voters during what becomes known as the Freedom Summer. The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) began sending student volunteers on bus trips to test the implementation of new laws prohibiting segregation in interstate travel facilities. One of the first two groups of “Freedom Riders,” as they are called, encountered its first problem two weeks later when a mob in Alabama sets the riders’ bus on fire. The program continued and by the end of the summer, more than 1,000 volunteers, black and white, participated.

CORE also sent delegates to the Democratic National Convention as the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to protest – and attempt to unseat – the official all-white Mississippi contingent.

JULY 2, 1964

President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion or national origin and transform American society. The law allowed the federal government to enforce desegregation and prohibits discrimination in public facilities, in government and in employment. The “Jim Crow” laws in the South were abolished, and it became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing or hiring. Enforcement powers were initially weak, but they grew over the years, and later programs, such as affirmative action, were made possible by the Act. Title VII of the Act established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

AUG. 4, 1964

The bodies of three civil-rights workers – two white, one black – were found in an earthen dam. James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been working to register black voters in Mississippi, and on June 21, went to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them.


FEB. 21, 1965 – MALCOLM X Assassinated

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb., on May 19, 1925, this world-renowned black nationalist leader was assassinated at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan on the first day of National Brotherhood Week. A Black Muslim Minister, revolutionary black freedom fighter, civil rights activist and for a time the national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, he famously spoke of the need for black freedom “by any means necessary.” Disillusioned with Elijah Muhammad’s teachings, Malcolm formed his own organization, the Organization of Afro-American Unity and the Muslim Mosque Inc. In 1964, he made a pilgrimage to Islam’s holy city, Mecca, and adopted the name El-Hajj Malik El Shabazz.

MARCH 1965

Selma to Montgomery Marches

The Selma to Montgomery marches, which included Bloody Sunday, were actually three marches that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement.

MARCH 7, 1965

Bloody Sunday

Blacks began a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights, but were stopped at the Edmund Pettus Bridge by a police blockade in Selma, Ala. State troopers and the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department, some mounted on horseback, awaited them. In the presence of the news media, the lawmen attacked the peaceful demonstrators with billy clubs, tear gas and bull whips, driving them back into Selma.

The incident was dubbed “Bloody Sunday” by the national media, with each of the three networks interrupting telecasts to broadcast footage from the horrific incident. The march was considered the catalyst for pushing through the Voting Rights Act five months later.

MARCH 9, 1965

Ceremonial Action within 48 hours, demonstrations in support of the marchers, were held in 80 cities and thousands of religious and lay leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, flew to Selma. He called for people across the country to join him. Hundreds responded to his call, shocked by what they had seen on television.

However, to prevent another outbreak of violence, marchers attempted to gain a court order that would prohibit the police from interfering. Instead of issuing the court order, Federal District Court Judge Frank Minis Johnson issued a restraining order, preventing the march from taking place until he could hold additional hearings later in the week. On March 9, Dr. King led a group again to the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they knelt, prayed and to the consternation of some, returned to Brown Chapel. That night, a Northern minister who was in Selma to march, was killed by white vigilantes.

MARCH 21-25 1965 (Selma to Montgomery March)

Under protection of a federalized National Guard, voting rights advocates left Selma on March 21, and stood 25,000 strong on March 25 before the state capitol in Montgomery. As a direct consequence of these events, the U.S. Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, guaranteeing every American 21 years old and over the right to register to vote.

AUG. 10, 1965

Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, making it easier for Southern blacks to register to vote. Literacy tests, poll taxes and other such requirements that were used to restrict black voting were made illegal.

SEPT. 24, 1965

President Lyndon Johnson issued Executive Order 11246 to enforce affirmative action for the first time because he believed asserting civil rights laws were not enough to remedy discrimination. It required government contractors to “take affirmative action” toward prospective minority employees in all aspects of hiring and employment. This represented the first time “affirmative action” entered the federal contracting lexicon and sought to ensure equality of employment. (Presidential Executive Order 11375 extends this language to include women on October 13, 1968.)


JUNE 12, 1967

In Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting interracial marriage was unconstitutional. Sixteen states that still banned interracial marriage at the time were forced to revise their laws.

AUG. 30, 1967

Senate confirmed President Lyndon Johnson’s appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first African American Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court after he served for two years as a Solicitor General of the United States.


APRIL 4, 1968

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., at age 39, was shot as he was standing on the balcony outside his hotel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Escaped convict and committed racist James Earl Ray was convicted of the crime. The networks then broadcast President Johnson’s statement in which he called for Americans to “reject the blind violence,” yet cities were ignited from coast to coast.