tv Chatter on Books Podcast with Wil Haygood Tigerland CSPAN July 19, 2020 7:45pm-9:02pm EDT
author wil haygood with his most recent appearance on the tv. in 2019 he was a guest on the podcast. to discuss his books on race in america in the late 1960s through the lens of a high school sports team in columbus ohio. >> host: we are good to go. welcome, everybody. we are back with chatter on books and one more page books in arlington where we take books more seriously than we take ourselves. thank you for letting us be your. it's great to be out in the open where people can find us. im here with jeanne mcmanus and david aldridge. we will talk about "tigerland" which is about an incredible young men at a difficult time. a couple of things, some random
thoughts, i know you have a few. >> guest: i'm kind of obsessed with looking at this list. i take the bullet for the team. i'm always interested and talked a couple of weeks ago about these books that were decades old popping up on to kill a mockingbird was a prime example. and we know why the handmaid's tale was there this week on the "washington post" bestseller paperback up pops blue highways. this was a book that was written in 1978. he was an english professor and lost his job and was separated from his wife and got in a
forward e., line 1975 van and rode what he called the blue highways. this was before gps and before google maps here he got the map of the country and all the backroads were colored blue. those were the road he chose to take and so, he went to 38 of the 50 states and just kind of learning america, learning a lot about himself it was a remarkable book on the best-seller list in for 40 or 45 weeks were some like that. that. he has written other books in that he' he is best known for t. and i cannot figure out for the life of me why it popped up. is it a movement rising up from the people of the streets.
>> remaking cars. >> the forward e.. >> i don't think we called in gas stations anymorandgas statiu could than to any gas station and buy macs. >> if anybody has a theory, he's still alivheis still alive and s and is an author of english, irish and osage background. his father was [inaudible] and his brother [inaudible] >> that's kind of a bummer. the other thing i want to tell people about coming into this is something that isn't for everybody, but my sister is here tonight gave me a book.
it's called on the streets and it will send by the fashion photographer incredibly interesting man, just rode a bicycle through the streets of new york with this landmark sort of blue coat. everybody recognized him and he photographed the famous and not famous at all street fashion in particular. he was brilliant at spotting things and as you go through the each decade has an essay or two written by somebody that worked for "the new york times," just talking about what he was capturing another decade. i was quite a life for al alivee decade seemed capable of buying incredibly bad fashion and seeing life sort of flash before you as you read the book and seeing its horrible shoulder
pads that you your self know are guilty. one of my failed careers was trying to be a photographer and back in the day when he was doing that and becoming well known it was controversial among the photographers because he isn't richard and couldn't pretend to be. he isn't a great photographer in the same of setting the scene, but he was out there all the time and he would see something two or three times and see this controversy -- and where was he promoting it and people of course, corporate america started to get to them so it doesn't just happen to be a couple of models walking down fifth avenue. >> that he had a pretty good detector and it is a good book i've seen it just a flip
through. remember agatha christie. there will be an ad in the print version of the times for the play to kill a mocking bird that has to be hoping that we are talking about house she was everywhere and now there's a movie coming out in november called knives out and it's being called agatha christie like christopher plummer all sorts of famous people with different famous people in it. it's already getting a 98% on rotten tomatoes. i don't know how you do that that is a very warm score but they are wrapping all of this event noupand now i feel like id read one of the books. >> you are the baby of the book. have you ever read any? hispanic in anticipation of this moment to fit in with you but i think that is a pretty good excuse.
if they are a devotee they are. ron charles the book critic when we've had on the show and is fabulous and if you don't subscribe to his newsletter, subscribe to his newsletter. he had a list and until you see him do a spectacular letter and it's really good and interesting, he did essentially a warning in the last newsletter we are going to see a flurry of books about whistleblowers coming out. he said 20, 30 years ago maybe two or three well-known journalists write th write a bos now because of self-publishing and everything else, there will probably be a hundred cities is keep it dry, let's let them come out and decide before we dig into any one or two so we won't talk about whistleblower books but especially since we have the washington crowd here both of you born and raised in washington, d.c.
>> those of us that live on the other side of the river that have been talking, this is far away. it's very far away. the c-span crew left at 8:00 this morning to make sure. >> this is a whistleblower quiz and i will just do a few. although there is a great story give a little description here the new york city police officer later portrayed by al pacino and the audience who was famous for what? >> he was a cop that pulled on other cops. after being shot in the face during a drug raid and later moved out of the country. >> have you ever seen the movie, but as one of the most harrowing scenes you'll eve you will evern
he gets shot in the face. >> our next one played in a movie she died mysteriously in 1974. >> had driven off the road. >> my personal favorite because i had a connection with this one and it's all about how can i inject myself into a story. former white house staff member that was a key in the saga. >> i knew linda tripp but i was coming up with libby. >> that is the plaintiff still. where does linda have a store and what kind of store is at? >> i want i >> i want to say arizona but i don't know if that is correct. it is in middleburg virginia and
its 365 days a year and she is married to an austrian guy that walks around all the time and you go out there on the big anniversary of her affairs with monica lewinsky and everybody else in middleburg deeply presents it. >> that's right, the name of the vineyard, hi his granddaughter s catherine, was that the granddaughter's name? i told well earlier that this show was a sort of about books, but it wanders all over. >> two times a year as an audience covering the redskins, so it was my turn, i went in and he was berating someone on the phone and i go how are you and he said you don't care how i am just ask your question!
[laughter] >> it's kind of true. >> so what did you ask him about? >> at the first part of 2001 i'm running a crazy public affairs department at the building saying before i start if you could send me something that shows me what am i inheriting here so it is a binder, three and a half inches thick. the military doesn't do anything less than three and a half inches thick and it's one of those diagram charts and they had my office into the outer office someone had handwritten in and linda tripp is out here which i thought was great. last one, army soldier right up the road the documents provided. it's kind of a trick question.
extra points for the original first name? there we go. next time we talk about whistleblowers that will be about books. >> [inaudible] woodward will not be on the show, i can tell you that. i could do a whole show and several stories about bob woodward. he once gave me the middle initial victoria a. clarke which was pretty interesting because it not only isn't a, i don't have a middle name so i thought okay he's making that mistake for a time. over to you. welcome or thank you for welcoming us to your store
[inaudible] >> we have a line though. it's quite good. so, you have a book writer extraordinaire. a harry potter fan. we talked a little bit about this or last time when we had you on the show and you came over to see us. it took me three hours to get home, but i did stop for food. you have some challenges a had s wonderful place at 2200 in arlington, where everyone should come. >> easy metro access. you have challenges and the community has responded, so tell us about that. >> usually july and august are slow months for us, but that wasn't the case this year. we found out in july that our real estate taxes went up 30%, which was a big chunk for us,
for anyone i think. you can't just charge more because they say right there so it was a big surprise for all of us and i believe the owner said i guess we are just going to have to sort of tell people what's happening so that they know and she sent out an e-mail to all of our descriptors and we were very open with our customers and other people in the community that know us that he said this is what's going on and this is what is happening and why. the response was as though a media and supported so it made up for the 34% increase but it really did help as to see how much people were being vocal about wanting to stay here and be part of how quickly they
wrote letters to the county board which we said here is what you can do if you want to help. you can obviously come in and spend money but they were from what i heard in these letters which was incredible with people standing up for us and getting them to do something about it a little bit and the board members were very responsive as well, once they saw that we were going to kind of make it a thing. ..
>> and everyone wanted to give something. i thought i would be annoying to say can you take time out of your busy life and writing books to help us out or anything you can do. there was a of course what do you want? do you want more? it was a beautiful show of support. we ended up 90 different items or services. people were bidding on them with great enthusiasm. even restaurants in the area if you haven't been there is a place across the street that's amazing or a café down the street they were so supportive as well.
the auction was a huge success we achieved that goal that we had as a dream not even thinking we would come remotely close and people showed up and it turned out and it was special. >> like the end of it's a wonderful life. >> literally almost just like that. [laughter] it was incredible ever so grateful to everybody and the authors and community members somebody came in and said he lived in richmond now that said can i make a donation? people have been so kind and generous with their support. >> put the money in the mug on the way out. [laughter]
>> so this is a real challenge. it's easy for people to said at home and order a book. so give them a pitch for all the people why they should walk into a place like this or another local establishment. >> any local bookstore will give you a unique experience. >> but we can offer an event like this with the amazing podcast. and we do have some wine tasting you can just show that up. i'm not keeping track. [laughter] there's one on friday.
you will not regret it. if we stay here until 9:00 o'clock we will see it in action. the other day it just started to go for no reason that i could discern which was a little bit disconcerting because it is scheduled hypothetically to start until 9:00 p.m. but sometimes you need a nice mid-day cleanup last but also on page three on we started that and allied of extra content. so if you want more robust start with twitter and then if you really are interested you can become a patriotic member. [laughter] >> tell the one book we should be reading we probably are not
state that so hard and met so much pressure but i will say that when i'm reading right now i'm a nationals fan and for the next 25 hours i will be interested in baseball that that's a great collection of essays was reading on the metro talk about the things that you don't necessarily think about all the time there is a couple of essays about that. and how we as people are trying to tell a story it isn't statistic i like the way he makes you think about that game it isn't on necessarily
everybody's radar absolutely no not. thank you very much we will take a break. [inaudible conversations] >> we are back we are at the undisclosed location in arlington virginia which is not as far away as that sounds. are featured author is will hagood the rule if we really like you i hold the book up a lot so c-span will get this a lot. you have written about white house butlers and supreme court justices in this book tiger land from 1968 in 1969
and in addition to be the award-winning journalist the greatest accolade oprah winfrey called you honey. she called you honey. [laughter] how did that happen and why and what was it like? >> it must have been when we were making the movie down in new orleans. >> based on the article you had written about away house butler who worked in the white house for almost four decades from presidents from truman through reagan. and i was called on the telephone at home. i was sitting on my couch
eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. the phone rings and pam williams who was one of the producers of the movie and i didn't think the movie was even happening. it was several years at the story was bought that i had even heard from them. and then i started to hear from the people that were making the movie, lee daniels, wonderful director and anyway pam williams calls me and says we finally found the actor who will play the butler. i said great. who? she said forest whitaker. i said, now.
really? [laughter] who will play the butler. she said really. forest whitaker. said oh my goodness. wow. the next day my phone rings again and pam williams says we finally found the actress who will play your wife on - - the wife of the butler i said who will that be? she said oprah winfrey. and i said okay now stop joking. [laughter] let's roll onto the serious part of the conversation. she said will, sit down. i said i am. >> with your peanut butter and jelly. >> this is a different day. she said oprah winfrey will play the wife of the butler
and then the other cast members started to roll in. lenny kravitz jane fonda, vanessa redgrave, kuba gooding junior, robin williams, williams, clarence williams the third. from the mod squad. amanda very few words. when i was a kid growing up in ohio very few blocks on tv. he was one of the stars of the mod squad amanda very very few words on that show. so when i was on the set when i see him i went over to him and i said excuse me
mr. williams, but when i was a kid i used to watch you and i was so inspired. i've seen you on tv. and i'm just excited that you are a part of this movie. he was wearing sunglasses. he said and he turns to me and says cool. [laughter] and that was it. >> end of conversation. >> that oprah was a pal onset? >> yes. she was filming a segment for her show. and she came down the hallway. i was standing someplace on the movie set. and she said this is the guy who started it all.
>> good for her for even knowing because most would not even care. >> that she did for her book club. >> good point and she cared. >> what did you tell us before? eight oscar winners were in the movie? >> that's a lot by any standard. >> it was seven or eight but more oscar winners appeared in the butler than any other movie ever made. >> there is your trivia questio question. >> again talking before the show we should have a show before the show like the makeup room. the greatest conversations go on but the movie was based on
an article that you wrote. you wrote the article, it appears, the next day what happened? >> the next day i had received calls from seven movie companies said that happens every day doesn't it? [laughter] you write about those redskins. [laughter] >> and you had aspirations to be an actor when you were a child? >> that my first introduction to hollywood was i wrote a biography 450 page biography of sammy davis junior. i get a phone call from my agent who says, can you go to
new york city next week and meet an actor who wants to direct your sammy davis junior book and make it into a movie. i said who is the actor? she said denzel washington. so i said let me check my calendar. [laughter] i said yes. of course. so i go to new york and meet with him. and at the end of this reading which lasted about two hours , he wanted to go out and get something to eat. i said wait.
you walking down the street in soho it will be people stopping you every five minutes. and he said well, just follow me. i walk extremely fast. by the time somebody says excuse me i'm gone. [laughter] so that's what he did. he mentioned that he wanted me to write the script. so for the next year and a half i worked on the script. he came here to washington dc one day and wanted to me and he mentioned this exclusive
exclusive restaurant he wanted to go to to take me for lunch. and i said i'm sorry. but this is washington dc. the place will be packed and we won't be able to get in there. he looked at me and said oh yes we will. [laughter] he is so cool. [laughter] he just got out of the car and walked right in. [laughter] here is a table for you right over here. [laughter] >> do you remember the restaurant? >> i cannot think of it but the chef came out and gave him a box of steak knives.
>> that happens to me all the time when i go to ruby tuesday' tuesday's. [laughter] >> really elegant steak knives. [laughter] so anyway and the option dropped he wasn't able to make the movie. but now lee daniels and tom hanks have the rights to my sammy davis junior. >> you just slum that. [laughter] >> hanging out. it is fabulous. so now let's get to tiger land you've written about all of these incredible figures in history. what made you tell us about the personal connection who
went to watch a guy named lamarr play basketball? how did you get onto the story cracks a very basic set up, 1969 columbus ohio, deeply troubled times, should have been desegregated but certainly was not. a very segregated community how did you write the story? >> when i was a little kid living on the north side. >> you are the aspiring athlete that coaches did not to recognize your brilliance. >> you did your research. [laughter] yes. i dreamed that i could possibly become an athlete. i love basketball.
but i always got cut from the teams and it always had to go asked the coach for a second chance. i was cut from two teams and i asked the coach for a second chance. this is for something for students out there because they were so shocked and stunned that a player who had been cut had the audacity or the nerve to ask them for a second chance. but when i was 13 on the north side of the city it was integrated but you knew about this all black high school from the segregated eastside. my mother wasn't going to let me catch a city bus. alone to go to the eastside. but the eastside tiger basketball team would come to
the fairgrounds colosseum which was a seven block walk from my house. so you are a kid and hear about this all black very cool basketball team and you want to see them play. little black kid. i can see these guys play. so ever go to the fairgrounds colosseum and watch them play. they really were the whole eastside. martin luther king jr. was assassinated spring april 68. >> and school starts to fall. this is an all-black school. the mayor and other people in that city are afraid and
thinking this all-black school will cause trouble. they will agitate and talk militancy. there will be trouble and the full school system goes up against the east side school but then the principal flipped the switch and said you know the city will be watching us so let's really have good and calm and the intelligent year. then what happened over the next nine months of the school year what happened was astonishing. first they when the state basketball title and then eight weeks later a state
baseball championship. two state titles in the same school year. >> with some inter- lapping on - - overlapping players who are on the basketball team. but then the story vanished from history. nobody wrote about it if they were white they would have been on a box of wheaties. no doubt about it. the story just vanished. and i would go home and sometimes i would run into those players and one of him, a guy ran into me at the store and started to talk about
eastside sports i said they had a super basketball team he said when we want a state championship also and i said who is we? he said i was on the baseball team. we won the state championship and i said when. >> i even know that. he said 1969. right after the baseball on - - basketball team one in march we one hours in june. i said no way. but the next day i had to fly out of town i wanted to make sure i was hearing him right. i got the microfiche and started to scroll. >> you might need to explain the microfiche. >> you watched it on the
screen. >> it goes by and i get to a headline and it says east high second state championship in 60 days being an. i lean back in my chair five years ago and i said that is a book. to me it was as involved and as a deep and rich as friday night lights, closures, remember the titans, losers, closures and then zelizer close personal friend. [laughter] >> and then my editor called
me after i finish my last book called showdown about the confirmation hearings of thurgood marshall the first african-american to sit on the supreme court. my editor asked me what i wanted to do next. and i said there is an all-black high school in my hometown 1968 school starts east high school with the state basketball championship and then those players on the baseball team and the baseball season starts they lose five
games during the baseball season but they stormed back and start winning games they go to the state championship game and they win the state championship. some of the parents and the school teachers of the segregated school now all of a sudden our inspired to figure out why the school is still segregated, and still poor so they file a lawsuit because they have been inspired and a lawsuit against the segregated school system. and then they win. a major ruling by the us supreme court and then from
these players. >> go back to 68 and 69 and tiger land it is remarkable. these are kids 161718 years old many from one parent households incredibly tough conditions talking about how hungry they were have the time. they knew they want to play baseball today realize at some point it had significance beyond what was happening on the court or the baseball diamond? >> here is the key to their lives at that point. he was a black man at east high school and born in kentucky in a very tough
neighborhood. and didn't want to work in the coal mines. and then went to be with another family relative because the school system there was much better. and he had a sister who died in infancy in kentucky and jack gibbs every sunday had to walk his mother up the hill to the segregated cemetery so his mother could put roses as the flower or flowers at the gravesite of jack gibbs infant
sister who had died. so i went there and i walked up that hill and then walked back down the hill. and it just hit me the reason why jack care so much about those kids ms. because he did not want to metaphorically leave any of them alone on the hill. and they kept him out of trouble. and he was just an amazing figure. and then you have to realize almost none of the's players ever had anyone in their family go to college. but the basketball coach
served in world war ii. he's white. he was at normandy. and he was upset the way the black soldiers were treated during the war. writing the senior thesis of the unfair treatment of the black soldier. now this before the army was desegregated. and that was pretty astonishing. and wanted to teach at this all-black school.
and then they didn't know about it until this book. they were all astonished. into what he's never talked about, the war. none of those players had family members as i said. so with this wave of the mlk dream you could say, high school kate kids not in alabama or the south that in the north who were still suffering the pain's
segregation. and in so many of the homes it would be a picture of mlk and you grew up with jfk on the wall. >> but mlk was everywhere and it was a presence. >> minister was a man of reverend hale. he knew martin luther king jr. and reverend hale's sister was a dear friend of mlk junior wife. there was a real family link between the hales and the first minister who brought him
to columbus. >> talk about the mom. so many players, mostly the moms who are all working. >> they work from well-to-do white families. and white lamarr the athlete. >> we like him and his but we will hold this up often. i asked him what his mom did for life. , for work, and he said my mother had migraines every
so think colin kaepernick size afro but his mother had come from the south. that is something else all the mothers had come from the south. because and they were 14 or 15 years old themselves, and then as we know were lynched and murdered by several white men because they thought he was sold at one of the wives. so these mothers and to say have to get out of the south.
so when we got kicked off the team. >> an extraordinary player. >> he was given the choice cut to the afro or leave the team so he went home and his mother said you do what you got to do and he left the team and kept the afro. >> his mother said, i didn't leave the south to come north for you to give up your dignity or your rights. so i will stand behind you. 800 percent. now when i was cut. >> because of an inlay and coaches. [laughter] i was just crashed.
i ran down the hall knowing my name would be on the coaches door. and then the tears would just come. i was in the eighth grade. you know my life is over. [laughter] so he leads the city league in scoring. and the coach kicks him off of the team. hand and another teacher ran into dwight lamarr. and they say wow. we all heard what happened to you mr. lamarr, goodness gracious if your mother should
ever decide to move to the east side of town. [laughter] over at east high school be would love to have you be a part of our student body. >> and then to say on the first day of school mr. lucy lamarr walked into the principal's office and said i would like to enroll my son in the school i just moved two blocks away into a low income public housing project. >> just the strength and the guts that chuck spent think of the scene in the movie, the
coach and his staff i don't know the whole essay about this team. i'm from the north side of town. so is dwight lamarr. so all of the guys my age knew who he was. he was that good. we all knew. so east high school first game season in the fairgrounds colosseum on the north side. that it was not announced who the starting five are going to be. so we're all small kids running around.
>> and larry walker. [laughter] and then and they said ladies and gentlemen, transfer from north high school we just died. we were all so happy. that was amazing. >> that's so great. >> and then i always worry about sports especially if you're not careful. so how do you balance those things just tell the story to
know that's enough? >> that is a super question. [laughter] >> i in this book would tell you a story about sports and then the next chapter would be titled what the mothers feared most and that was until. and then the next chapter would be more basketball. and then the next chapter after that would be about all the horrible things that had
happened outside of sports in this midwestern town because we think civil rights and the sout south. >> it's so true. and i started the book this is the book it is so clear it's the racial landscape. and it is about so much more than just that team. and those that are taking place all around them. >> for instance there was a guy and robert duncan wanted
to be a schoolteacher who is black all school teachers were sent to east high school. that when he went to apply there were no openings. so he is at a standstill in life so he says i think i'll go to law school so robert duncan goes to ohio state university school of law and graduates and becomes a well-known lawyer on the back side of town. and from a small town in ohio and his family knows william saxby who worked he may not
have known mark. [laughter] who was deep throat. [laughter] and those judgeships. and when nixon is falling apar apart, william saxby convinces him to nominate duncan to a federal judgeship. this is karma. these athletes when the case they when their sports and then these two championships. and then the's parents file a
lawsuit then to keep the school system segregated. and then it lands on the desk of federal judge robert duncan. [laughter] >> look at that. >> the word improbable just keeps coming up. to see hamilton is the greatest thing in the world what are the odds they would put them all at one time? if not for these kids her mother's i will make you read something i will hand it over
and it speaks to what i think is so remarkable the 18 -year-old does not know the impact they were having that they had a huge impact you probably remember this. >> almost by heart. >> can you do the song? >> a great cry throughout the book i went into the river i started to drown i started to think about the tigers oh yeah. and then i came back around. [laughter] and then i was at home for the first event of this book last
>> columbus proved to the nation the citizenry could adapt and with integration. and then those local business leaders the department of justice in washington. in time as they roll out word local citizens to swivel against 1968 in 1969 when a group of black baseball players had created their own legend they hope to bring hope to a city and reason to share there was more than one route.
hours from now will you be there? because you cursed them last time? and we would do the favorite comeback stories and then if you have not read on broken. the worst thing that happened and then 36 olympics he's in the army shut down over the pacific stranded on a raft and then he's captured by the japanese and pow think that's the worst that could happen and now he has terrible
richard milhouse nixon. >> i didn't give you many heads up this one better be good. >> laura hildebrandt is an incredible group of people who come together we are all incredible failures. and this trainer who really didn't have any success as a trainer and a jockey his family was incredibly rich was subject to the great depression and they lost everything and said you have to go there's nothing for you here. and then the man lost his son to a terrible and awful accident so all of the spoken
people are made whole you had nothing going on and now one of the great champions of all time. this is really something else because it all comes back to oprah. >> [laughter] thank you. she is welcome anytime if she's listening. >> one of the actors with danny strong who wrote the screenplay for the butler. a beautiful screenplay. >> what part did he play in the movie? >> he was one of the jockeys. >> and then to write the beautiful screenplay for the
butler. >> that's incredible. >> he was a failure at everything he did he tried everything and wasn't good at anything he became a politician in his mid- forties and then becomes president of the united states. [laughter] >> very busy. a little housekeeping those of you who have reviewed thank you very much. tell your friends and relatives. thank you for making it happen we are here for you we will never come this far again. but it's been great. thank you for making the track it's an absolute honor join us
the growth and future of facebook. he's interviewed by offering financial times global columnist all "after words" programs are also available as podcasts. >> guest: okay, welcome, steve it is nice to see you. the last time we may have sat together is when we were working at "newsweek" in the company campaign or something. but as you know i am a big fan of yours. i was a huge fan of your first book on