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The Legacy of Dr. King Endures

 

In honor of what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 88th birthday, we remember his life, achievements and legacy, which prevails to this day.

Dr. King was one of the prominent members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. “Born in the shadow of slavery and on the lap of disenfranchisement,” Alpha Phi Alpha—like other black Greek-letter organizations—was founded to instill a spirit of high academic achievement and intellectualism, foster meaningful and lifelong ties, and racially uplift those brothers who would be initiated into its ranks.

In addition to Dr. King, the organization brought together and shaped such distinguished men as Cornel West, Thurgood Marshall, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., W. E. B. DuBois, Roland Martin, Whitney Young, and Paul Robeson.

In Alpha Phi Alpha: A Legacy of Greatness, the Demands of Transcendence, editors Gregory S. Parks, Stefan M. Bradley and other contributing authors analyze and discuss the fraternity, its history and its impact on civil rights. In remembrance of Dr. King, one of the fraternity’s most esteemed brothers, here is an excerpt:


mlkConsidering the mindset of President Eisenhower and considering the mindset of hostile southern whites in the wake of the Brown decision, when African Americans in Montgomery, Alabama decided in December, 1955 to protest against discriminatory treatment on city buses, it took more courage than is often appreciated. While the subsequent 1955-1956 “Montgomery Bus Boycott” was truly a community endeavor, from an organizational standpoint, someone had to serve as the spokesman and titular leader of this movement. To his distinct credit and honor (and in the highest spirit of Alpha), Martin Luther King, Jr. (then a young minister with a variety of other commitments) did not decline the opportunity, when asked, to serve the community.

The year 1956 not only witnessed the transformation of the “Montgomery Bus Boycott” from a local story to an international phenomenon, but also witnessed the 50th Anniversary of Alpha Phi Alpha.  Appropriately, and as a way to further honor the social activist spirit of the founders (three of whom were in attendance), the gala 50th Anniversary Convention, convened from August 7-11, included a special recognition of the work of Dr. King.

At the August 11, 1956 banquet, King, received the Fraternity’s highest honor, The Alpha Award of Honor. Moreover, before receiving this recognition, Brother King delivered the banquet’s keynote address entitled “The Birth of a New Age.”

King began his remarks by thanking the Fraternity in general, and President Frank L. Stanley in particular, “for the moral support and the financial contributions that you have given to those who walk the streets of Montgomery. I can assure that these things have given us renewed courage and vigor to carry on.” He further declared “I can remember those days, very dark days, when many of us confronted a trial in court and I could look out in the courtroom and see our very eminent General President. That made me feel very good as an Alpha man.”

While King made it clear that he did not want to talk solely about Montgomery, his remarks related to the general theme of “The Birth of a New Age,” included very illuminating assertions regarding the powerful nonviolent strategy of consumer boycotts:

As we move in this transition from the old age into the new we will have to rise up in protest. We will have to boycott at times, but let us remember that boycotts are not ends within themselves. A boycott is just a means to an end. A boycott is merely a means to say, ‘I don’t like it.’ It is merely a means to awaken a sense of shame within the oppressor but the end is reconciliation. The end is the creation of a beloved community.

Significantly, King’s remarks regarding “The Birth of a New Age” also provided further vindication for Fraternity members who believed that freedom was not free (and that funds spent on social action programs was money well-spent):

…in order to gain this freedom and move away from the cycles of segregation we have got to go down in our pockets and give some money. I assure you that integration is not some lavish gift that the white man will pass out on a silver platter while the Negro merely furnishes the appetite…We cannot use the excuse any more that we don’t have the money. The national income of the Negro is now is more than 16 billion dollars, more than the national income of Canada…now let us use our money for something lasting, not erely for extravagancies. 

Immediately after King’s speech, which received a rousing ovation, Frank L. Stanley proudly shared with the audience the details of the Fraternity’s financial support for King and his movement. As Charles H. Wesley described this moment in Alpha history: “President Stanley stated that the fraternity had initially given the Montgomery Improvement Association $1,000, and over $2,000 had been sent from the chapters, and $1,500 will be sent from this convention, totaling $4,500 to the Montgomery, Alabama  project.”

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#ReadUPK in the Washington Post

The following editorial has been re-published from the Washington Post Monkey Cage blog (12/16/2016).

Trump may be borrowing Nixon’s ‘back channel’ strategy in his contacts with Russia

by Richard A. Moss

News that the president-elect’s son, Donald Trump Jr., met with pro-Russian Syrian opposition in Paris, or that two Russian officials acknowledged longer term contacts with the Trump campaign, has prompted concern about undue foreign influence — especially given recent news that the CIA has concluded that Russian hacking during the election was designed to help Donald Trump. Those worries have escalated with the president-elect’s apparent selection of Rex Tillerson, chief executive of ExxonMobil who has made multibillion-dollar deals with Russia President Vladimir Putin, for secretary of state — especially since Russian Duma members applaud his nomination.

But we can look at the incoming Trump administration’s contacts with Russian officials in a different way. The Trump team may be taking a page from Richard M. Nixon’s 1968 playbook by using “back channels” to improve U.S.-Russian relations. Perhaps the incoming administration can achieve detente — a relaxation of tensions — through this more informal approach to diplomacy. If that’s what’s going on, the Trump team might wish to be mindful of this approach’s longer-term pitfalls.

 

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Richard A. Moss is the author of Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow

Nixon used two ‘back channels’ before taking office

 

Before his narrow victory in November 1968, Nixon used two back channels to get messages to the Soviet leadership. First, Nixon dispatched his longtime aide and personal friend, Robert Ellsworth, to contact Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin and Soviet Charge d’Affaires Yuri Cherniakov. Once he did so during the campaign, Ellsworth conveyed the incoming Nixon administration’s views on a variety of issues, such as the ratification of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Middle East.

The second channel — one that would probably raise eyebrows today — involved Henry Kissinger and a KGB intelligence officer, Boris Sedov. This connection functioned informally during the presidential campaign when Kissinger was a foreign policy adviser to Nixon and petered out shortly after Kissinger became national security adviser. The Kissinger-Sedov contact added the dimension of Soviet intelligence seeking additional information about the main players in the incoming Nixon administration and corroborating the Ellsworth-Dobrynin-Cherniakov exchanges.

Both Ellsworth and Kissinger were assessing whether the Soviet leadership might be open to working through back channels. These contacts quickly led to the Kissinger-Dobrynin Channel, which came to define U.S.-Soviet relations during the Nixon administration and led to detente.

Many analysts consider “the Channel” to have been an effective tool. At a 2007 conference hosted by the State Department, Russian-born scholar Vladislav Zubok stressed that there was “a 90 percent chance . . . that there would not have been a summit in Moscow in ’72, and such a productive summit that it was, without the back channel.”

Back channels can convey messages more subtly than formal contact  

The early back-channel forays also helped communication during the transition between Nixon’s election and inauguration. Nixon used both channels to kill the idea of an early U.S.-Soviet summit championed by his predecessor, Lyndon B. Johnson. As Nixon explained later, he did not “want to be boxed in by any decisions that were made before [he] took office.” The Soviet leadership received Nixon’s intended messages via Ellsworth and Kissinger. The private exchanges kept the issue out of the spotlight and set a precedent of back channels as preferred communication mediums for both Washington and Moscow.

Because of an exchange between Kissinger and Sedov, Nixon added a line to his inaugural address. At the posh Pierre hotel in New York City on Jan. 2, 1969, Sedov told Kissinger that the Soviet leadership “was very interested that the inaugural speech contain some reference to open channels of communication to Moscow.” Kissinger recommended that a phrase be included, and Nixon initialed his agreement on a memo two days later.

“I was never clear whether this request reflected an attempt by Sedov to demonstrate his influence to Moscow,” Kissinger wondered years later, “or whether it was a serious policy approach by the Politburo. In any event I saw no harm in it.”

And so in his inaugural address, Nixon proclaimed, “our lines of communication will be open.” The gesture cost nothing but almost certainly established goodwill between the new administration and the Soviet leadership.

Why use U.S.-Russian back channels?  

 

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Nixon, Dobrynin, and Kissinger at Camp David in 1973. Source: NPMP

When used to supplement rather than supplant traditional diplomacy, back channels may offer a protected forum free from leaks to explore points of agreement, disagreement and potential conflict. For instance, on relations with Vietnam, Nixon and Soviet General Secretary Leonid Brezhnev disagreed. The United States wanted the Soviets to cut aid and push Hanoi to negotiate, while Moscow wanted the United States to stop bombing North Vietnam and withdraw its troops from Indochina. Nevertheless, via back-channel exchanges, Nixon and Brezhnev eventually reached tacit agreement on broader issues, like the status and tone of U.S.-Soviet relations, and had a successful summit meeting in Moscow in May 1972.

If they choose, Russian and U.S. leaders may use back channels to clearly convey what they see as their core interests, to explore potential areas of cooperation, and to try to mitigate conflict or escalation.

Back channels are like regular diplomacy, but with more intimacy and without the bureaucracy. Like intimacy, it requires willing partners. Kissinger found one in Dobrynin, and Nixon in Brezhnev; both the United States and the Soviet Union benefited during the short-lived period of detente that enabled the two superpowers to start cooperating on arms control and in other areas, like agreements signed at the Moscow Summit on avoiding naval incidents at seabilateral trade, science and technology, public health, environmental protection, and collaboration on space exploration(the Apollo-Soyuz docking in 1975).

Of course, U.S.-Russian relations are now strained. The two nations have been backing different sides in the Syrian civil war; Russia has invaded and annexed a portion of Ukraine, resulting in U.S. sanctions; NATO installed a missile defense site in Romania and began another in Poland; and the Russians have sent nuclear-capable short-range ballistic missiles to Kaliningrad, to note a few issues. While there is no Cold War now, both countries remain nuclear powers. In the Internet era, when provocations and communications travel instantly around the globe, keeping back channels open could conceivably help prevent or minimize confrontation.

If the Trump team is indeed in informal contact with the Russians, which it denies, some observers may find comfort in the idea that diplomacy — even the back-channel variety — is underway.

But of course, Nixon — for all his accomplishments — isn’t usually held up as a president to admire, given his illegal actions in the Watergate scandal, leading to the only U.S. presidential resignation in history. Relying on back channel communications too exclusively means operating in secrecy while avoiding — or even disdaining — the news media. Circumventing the usual systems, his example tells us, has its risks.

Richard A. Moss is an associate research professor, co-director of the Halsey Bravo research effort, and a faculty affiliate in the Russian Maritime Studies Institute at the United States Naval War College’s Center for Naval Warfare Studies. His book, “Nixon’s Back Channel to Moscow: Confidential Diplomacy and Détente,” is available now.

Author’s note: The thoughts and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author and are not necessarily those of the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of the Navy or the Naval War College.

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Happy 100th Birthday to Kirk Douglas!

One of the original leading men, Kirk Douglas came along in the final days of the major studio system, and he was one of the first box office stars to take charge of his own destiny by  becoming involved in the production and marketing of the films in which he appeared.

He was a vital force in such classics as Out of the Past (1947), Champion (1949), Detective Story (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), The Bad and the Beautiful (1952), and Lust for Life (1956). He formed his own company, Bryna, and made such major films as Paths of Glory (1957), Spartacus (1960), Lonely Are the Brave (1962), and Seven Days in May (1964).

Along the way, he distinguished himself in a number of westerns, including The Big Sky (1952), Man without a Star (1955), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), and The War Wagon (1967), while also tackling several action roles in historical period pictures like 20,000 Leagues under the Sea (1954), Ulysses (1955), and The Vikings (1958).

conversations_with_classic_film_stars_coverRenowned for his support of liberal causes, Douglas is often credited with helping break down the dreaded Hollywood anti-Communist “blacklist” by hiring blacklisted writer Dalton Trumbo (who also celebrates a birthday today!) to write the screenplay for Spartacus.
In a conversation with Douglas in conjunction with Draw!, a 1984 HBO TV western, Ronald Miller asked the iconic actor about his work with other leading actors and actresses, antiheroes, and working within the studio system. You can find a full transcript of their conversation in Conversations with Classic Film Stars—a perfect gift for the film buff this holiday season.

In the excerpt below, Miller and Douglas discuss the unique art of filmmaking, and its pitfalls, as well as Douglas’s involvement in the Oscar-winning, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Excerpted from Conversations with Classic Film Stars:

Miller: You’ve worked with every kind of movie director and you don’t have a reputation for getting into disputes with them, but you are known for demanding a collaborative atmosphere on the set. Explain that.

Douglas: I’ve worked with [Joseph] Mankiewicz, [Howard] Hawks, [Elia] Kazan, [William] Wyler, [Billy] Wilder. I’ve been very fortunate. All of them work differently. I’ve even directed a couple of pictures, so I have respect for the work. But no matter what anyone says, it’s a collaborative art form. No matter how much one person is a binding force, it’s still a collaboration.

I think the problem today is that we’ve been contaminated by the European concept of the auteur system. I’ve had movies where I bought the book, developed the script, and cast the whole picture, but then the director walks in and says, “It must be a John Smith film!” I think sometimes we emphasize that too much.

Miller: Though you’ve avoided big hassles with your directors, you’ve had a few disputes with studio managements, haven’t you?

Douglas: Let me give you an example of that: Lonely Are the Brave. You need the proper selling of a picture like that. I thought Universal just threw it away. They didn’t give it a chance. They took it out of circulation. Then there were all those great reviews and people said, “Where’s the picture?” Their ego prevented them from making a different campaign for the picture. The longer I’m in this business, the more amazed I am that a movie can be made, good or bad.

Miller: You’ve taken lots of chances in your career, but I imagine one of your greatest frustrations was not being able to play McMurphy on the big screen in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest after acquiring the rights to the book from Ken Kesey and playing the part on the stage in New York.

douglas-kirk_03Douglas: It was way ahead of its time. When I took it to Broadway, the critics didn’t know what to make of it. The audience loved it, but it didn’t do very well. I tried for nearly twelve years to make it as a movie. I took it to every studio. But they wouldn’t do it, even with a limited budget. Finally, I went into partnership with my son, Michael, and we were able to find somebody outside of the industry to put up the money and we made a little picture that I never predicted would be a hit. So it did over $200 million! Nobody knows what will really be successful.

Miller: What do you think of Michael as a producer?

Douglas: I told him, “Michael, you’re the kind of producer I’d like to work with because you give everything to the other person even when you’re in the movie.” He did that in Romancing the Stone [1984]. He focused all the attention on the girl [Kathleen Turner]. I haven’t been that generous. I’ve been a producer, but I find a product like Spartacus or The Vikings or Seven Days in May or Paths of Glory and somehow there always seems to be a good part for me.

Horace Holley Subject of New Biography, Talk at Transylvania University

holleyHistorian James P. Cousins, author of a new biography on controversial Transylvania University president Horace Holley, will discuss Holley’s legacy and impact in a talk sponsored by the Humanities Division of Transylvania University starting at 3 pm in Room 102 of Cowgill Hall on Wednesday, December 7, and sign copies of the book afterward. Cousins will also be at The Morris Book Shop in Lexington on Friday, December 9, from 4 to 6 pm signing copies of the book.

Outspoken New England urbanite Horace Holley (1781–1827) was an unlikely choice to become the president of Transylvania University—the first college established west of the Allegheny Mountains—in 1819. Many Kentuckians doubted his leadership abilities, some questioned his Unitarian beliefs, and others simply found him arrogant and elitist. Nevertheless, Holley ushered in a period of sustained educational and cultural growth at Transylvania, and the university received national attention for its scientifically progressive and liberal curriculum. The resulting influx of wealthy students and celebrated faculty—including Constantine Samuel Rafinesque—lent Lexington, Kentucky, a distinguished atmosphere and gave rise to the city’s image as the “Athens of the West.”

In Horace Holley: Transylvania University and the Making of Liberal Education in the Early American Republic, Cousins offers fresh perspectives on a seminal yet contentious figure in American religious history and educational life. The son of a prosperous New England merchant family, Holley studied at Yale University before serving as a minister. He achieved national acclaim as an intellectual and self-appointed critic of higher education before accepting the position at Transylvania. His clashes with political and community leaders, however, ultimately led him to resign in 1827, and his untimely death later that year cut short a promising career.

Drawing upon a wealth of previously used and newly uncovered primary sources, Cousins analyzes the profound influence of westward expansion on social progress and education that transpired during Holley’s tenure. This engaging book not only illuminates the life and work of an important yet overlooked figure, but makes a valuable contribution to the history of education in the early American Republic.

Continue reading

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Ho-Ho-Holiday Sale!

If you’re in need of gifts and stocking stuffers for the holidays, then look no further than the University Press of Kentucky. Whether you’re shopping for a history or military buff, local foodie, bourbon lover, or Wildcats fan, the UPK can help you find the perfect gift. You can save up to a whopping 80% on thousands of some of our most highly sought-after books, including new releases!

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Below is just a sampling of what we have to offer, but click here to peruse our complete listing of sale items. Snag a few of our great titles for friends, family, co-workers … or yourself! Order online and make sure to use code FHOL or FSNO at checkout to receive discounted prices. Place orders before December 9 to ensure holiday delivery.

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Remembering Two Classic Film Stars

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November 29th marked the anniversary of two very influential and revolutionary actors’ deaths: Ralph Bellamy and Cary Grant.

Ralph Bellamy became a leading man in the 1930s.  He made more than one hundred films, and he even managed to squeeze in time to portray President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Broadway play, Sunrise at Campobello.  Bellamy later took on roles in television such as The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, and he managed to stay inclusive within the Hollywood scene.  He later went on to other television shows that continued to showcase Ralph Bellamy as an actor who could portray almost any role thrown his way.  He passed away in 1991 at the age of 87.

Cary Grant began his acting career in the 1930s.  The British-born, witty, and satirical Grant worked alongside of major Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn (Charade, 1963), Doris Day (That Touch of Mink, 1962), and Ingrid Bergman (Indiscreet, 1958).  The former acrobat turned Hollywood star suddenly became an international symbol of style and grace.  Cary Grant passed away in 1986 at the age of 82.

In Conversations with Classic Film Stars, retired journalists James Bawden and Ron Miller present an astonishing collection of rare interviews with the greatest celebrities of Hollywood’s golden age. Conducted over the course of more than fifty years, they recount intimate conversations with some of the most famous leading men and women of the era, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Joseph Cotten, Cary Grant, Gloria Swanson, Joan Fontaine, Loretta Young, Kirk Douglas, and many more.

Each interview takes readers behind the scenes with some of cinema’s most iconic stars. The actors convey unforgettable stories, from Maureen O’Hara discussing Charles Laughton’s request that she change her last name, to Bob Hope candidly commenting on the presidential honors bestowed upon him. Humorous, enlightening, and poignant, Conversations with Classic Film Stars is essential reading for anyone who loves classic movies.

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Don’t Forget Dessert!

DuncanHinesComps3.inddWrap up your Thanksgiving festivities with a delicious dessert selected from Duncan Hines’ The Dessert Book. While the turkey, stuffing, and football may be important parts of many Thanksgivings, the dessert that follows is essential for every celebration. Whether you’re looking for a more traditional pumpkin or apple pie, or want to mix things up this holiday season, The Dessert Book will not leave you disappointed.  In the words of the food connoisseur himself, “One of the most important courses in any meal is the dessert…and, like the final act in a good play, is long remembered with pleasure.”

In the 1940s and 50s, Hines was the most respected restaurant reviewer in America, known for reliable recommendations of eating places from coast to coast. Today, many shoppers may recognize his name as a dependable brand of cake mix.

First published in 1955, this work is more than just a collection of recipes.  In addition to the more than 500 desserts in every conceivable category, Hines includes a number of helpful additions to ensure a perfect result every time, including pages on equivalent measures and weights, food weights and measures, recommended temperatures, substitutes, baking and cooking terms, useful kitchen utensils for dessert preparation, how to freeze desserts, and reducing and increasing recipes.

Enjoy a selection of a few desserts to try this week!

 

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