Skip to main content

tv   Wil Haygood Tigerland  CSPAN  December 22, 2018 11:46pm-12:01am EST

11:46 pm
mckesson works on black lives matter and is interviewed by naacp derrick johnson ceo and president. at noon eastern it's the well-read black girl festival, held last month in brooklyn. discussions on james baldwin's writing, and an address of patricia smith. full schedule available at and on christmas eve, and christmas we'll show you the coverage of the recent miami book fair. four days of non-fiction authors and books on book tv on c-span 2. television for serious readers. for more scheduling information check your cable guides, our website book tv other, and our social media pages at book tv. book booktv recently visited the national press club annual book fair in washington, d.c. and spoke with author will haygood about columbus ohio
11:47 pm
during the civil rights area. >> host: what is "tigerland"? >> wil: everyone inside the shyst hurt, and full of pain because martin luther king, jr. has been assassinated, and robert frvetion kennedy has been assassinated. the school has the first black principal, the segregated school, and they wanted to do something special and the school principal tells them everybody is watching us, so we can't show anger, we can't walk out like some other high schools are doing. so first, they went won the state basketball championship, and then 55 days later the all-black school went to state baseball championship, first time in the history of the state that the same school wins two
11:48 pm
championships in one year. the fact that they won it, against the backdrop of martin luther king's association, vietnam war protests and other school walk-outs gives it astonishing glory angle. >> host: how much of that was due to the principal. >> wil: he was an amazing man, and a football player at ohio state university, and he was feared ferocious about pride, he cared about the students. they also at the end of that year sent more kids to college -- more kids went to college from this all-black high school than in any other previous year. and, you know -- it just became a national story of high
11:49 pm
achievement because of all the astonishing things that had happened. eight of the twelve basketball players mothers were made. they worked as maids. 8 out of the 12. two of the baseball players had fathers serving time in prison. so for the most part these were fatherless 16-17-year-old young black boys who did something amazing in that year that was full of pain. >> host: did the columbus dispatch report on this story? >> wil: yes, they did, but -- it was the only time that the dispatch -- had as many black folks on the cover of the newspaper. they really had a sense that this was a big story, even
11:50 pm
though it wasn't a paper that covered the civil rights movement, and extensively, but this was a story that they could not ignore. and they gave it -- it was a local black newspaper who had a gentleman by the name of hiram canner who had played baseball in the negro league who knew the baseball team was special. he wanted people to pay attention. but nobody came to the baseball games and the baseball players through our track down from that year told me they would look in the stands and there would be 1-2 people in the stands sometimes. both teams had coaches who were white, bob hart for basketball, and bob heart landed at normandy
11:51 pm
in world war ii. with a progressive, had a wonderful big heart. his last name hart also, but he knew this was where he wanted to be. he went to ohio wesleyan university in columbus. he wrote his senior thesis of the unfair treatment of the negro soldier in 1942. that was in 1946. 20 years later he's on the sidelines leading a black high school to the state championship. >> host: why did you wait 50 years to write this? >> wil: i was born in columbus, but left to work on other newspapers, and it wasn't in my
11:52 pm
consciousness that the high school had won two state championships. and i was home about five years ago, after finishing my book, and i ran into gar net davis who was on the baseball team that year. we were walking down the street and talking about eating pie in this similar year 1968-1969. and that they won this wonderful basketball championship. and he said to me, he said but wil, i was on the baseball team, we won a state championship that year too. and i said no way. and he said no, we lost five games in the middle of the season. we had a five-game losing streak but we stormed back, made it into the state tournament, and won eight straight games. and i said -- are you serious?
11:53 pm
he said i'm absolutely serious. we won the state baseball championship. so i ran to the t library the next morning and looked it up. just to make absolutely sure, and there it was. columbus east high wins second state championship in two month period. and i said to myself, i said -- now that's a book. that's exactly what i said to myself. and i said about finding all the athletes, and finding teachers and students, and just threading the story together. it's two narratives. you know you think of these movies like "blindside" "friday night lights," and "hoosiers" and -- those are about one sport, and one school. this is about two sports, and
11:54 pm
they actually made it to the top of the mountain. and i think a subtex of this book is what was going on in america. martin luther king, jr. has a connection to this story because reverend hale was a leading minister in the east high school area. he had brought dr. king to columbus several times. when many of these athletes had been 7 and 8 they had watched king in 1959, 1960 lead marches up and down east broad street right past the high school. and so to them to have to take the blow in the summer of '68, in the spring of '68 when martin luther king was assassinated many of them had seen him in the flesh. so it was a heartbreaking moment of course for the nation, and
11:55 pm
the city. but on a personal level, for many, many people. they ate at a restaurant that was called the "novelty food bar" and mrs. beatty operated the food bar, and was on stage with martin luther king, jr. when he gave his "i have a dream" speech in 1963. there are a lot of connections to the nation and dr. king leading up to this amazing moment. >> host: was this your high school? >> wil: i went to east high for one year but finished at franklin heights. so i knew that it was a special place, segregated, 14 years after the 1954 brown v board of education. and the book actually ends with
11:56 pm
a case at the u.s. supreme court where the parents and the naacp sue the city of columbus for segregation and they win. and so these threats have become a part of a major lawsuit at the end of the book. >> host: how many of the athletes were you able to track down? >> wil: of the 12 basketball players, i tracked down ten of them of the 15 baseball players, i tracked down 12. so it was amazing. bob hart who was a basketball coach had passed away but his three daughters lived in the area of columbus, and they turned over to me his world war ii letters, and his archives and a lot of his notes and scouting
11:57 pm
reports on the games. baseball, their coach it was paul pinell who still lives in columbus, and i was so fortunatelier fortunate he was a pack rat because he had all of the score books from all of the baseball games that year. so i really, really, really got lucky with paul pinell too. he was the head baseball coach but the assistant basketball coach. and so in a way, i had his insight from both of the sports. that was extremely helpful. two of the players from the basketball team eddie rat lif, and lamar were first team college all-americans in 1974. there were only five members of that team. and so almost half the team came
11:58 pm
from this one high school who i wrote about. two of the of the five were first team all americans. >> host: the name of the book is "tigerland," '1968-1969 a city divided, a nation torn apart, and a magical season of healing' the author is wil haygood. mr. haygood what book of yours is are you best known for? have. >> wil: that was be "the butler" that was turned into a motion picture that starred among others, forest whittaker, oprah winfrey, jane fonda, and vunessa redgrave. is a pretty special movie came out in 2013. i think you can safely say it took america by storm. it was an amazing heartfelt
11:59 pm
story of a gentleman who i tracked down who worked for eight american presidents. his name was eugene alan, and he had quite a life. he started in the white house for harry truman and went all the way up to president reagan. so he had quite a epic life. >> host: author wil haygood thanks for your time. >> keep an eye out for more interviews from the national press book fair to air in the future. you can watch them and any other programs in their entirety at type the author's name in the search bar at the top of the page. >> here are some of the best selling fiction books. according to publishers weekly. topping the something like this "becoming" michelle obama's reflections on her life. after that it's a collection of
12:00 am
the late columnist charles krauthammer's essays in the the won't of it all. followed by a picture book on president trump and his response to hurricane florence by the staff of the late show with steven coal bear. in killing the ss, bill o'riley and martin dugard provide a history of the capture or nazi fugitives am and looking at the best selling non-fiction books, tara westover growing up in the idaho mountains and her introduction to formal education at 17, in "educated" some authority have appeared on book tv, and you can watch them online at >> and now on book tv we brick you the well-read black girl physically held recently in brooklyn. it started in 2015 as a black


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on