Monday, January 11, 2016

AP reporter's memoir recalls civil rights struggle and 'My Time with the Kings'

Originally posted on AP.org

Former AP journalist Kathryn Johnson was a groundbreaking civil rights reporter, the only journalist Coretta Scott King invited into her home the night of Martin Luther King’s assassination in 1968. In a new memoir, Johnson recounts her private moments with the Kings, and adds firsthand insights to the historical record of the tumultuous era.

Published this week by AP and RosettaBooks, the memoir is called “My Time with the Kings,” subtitled “A Reporter’s Recollections of Martin, Coretta and the Civil Rights Movement.”

“Whenever anything was happening, Kathryn seemed to be there,” Andrew Young, a close aide to King who went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta, writes in the book’s introduction.

Johnson, one of the few female reporters on the civil rights beat, says she first covered King in 1960, “at news conferences, sit-ins and demonstrations, when he was a young, fairly unknown Baptist minister.”

In the years that followed, she became close with King; his wife, Coretta, and other key figures in the leader's circle. As she describes the scene at the King home in Atlanta after the slaying in Memphis, a policeman on the porch said no reporters were being allowed inside. But when the door opened so someone could leave, Mrs. King saw her outside and told the officer, “Let Kathryn in.” 

They sat together in her bedroom watching TV reports of the killing and reruns of King’s orations, the widow “tight-lipped and misty-eyed,” until their silence was punctuated by a call from President Lyndon Johnson.

“I’ve no idea what Coretta was thinking that night, though I’ve often been asked,” Kathryn Johnson writes. “If I had to guess, it would be about her devastating loss, about how she and her four children were going to get along, or perhaps how she would carry on her husband’s remarkable legacy.”

Johnson is now 88 and still lives in Atlanta. “My Time with the Kings” features previously unpublished photographs from Johnson’s personal collection, original news wire transmissions from the AP Corporate Archives and the transcript of an oral history in which the author discussed her nearly 20 years of reporting for AP. 

“My Time with the Kings” is available in a paperback edition and as an e-book.

A new interactive experience includes excerpts from the book, AP photos and clips from Johnson’s oral history. 

About AP 
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.

Contact 
Paul Colford 
Vice President and Director of Media Relations 
The Associated Press 
212.621.1895 

Lauren Easton 
Media Relations Manager 
The Associated Press 
212.621.7005 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

'Mulligan's Christmas Stew' served for the holidays

Originally posted on AP.org

Hugh Mulligan was the kind of guy you hope sits next to you on a long train ride – funny, smart, kind and with more stories than a lifetime should include. A collection of 44 holiday columns by the former special correspondent of The Associated Press has just been published under the title "Mulligan’s Christmas Stew."

It's available as an oversize paperback from Rosetta Books and as a Kindle e-book.  

"Mulligan’s Christmas Stew" includes the stories behind "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" and "Silent Night," and explores the mystery of who Santa Claus is, noting that thousands of words have been written about him, "but he has never submitted to an interview." One column considers what it would be like if Ebenezer Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Mr. Pickwick and other famous characters from holiday fiction all came to Christmas dinner. 

Mulligan, a native New Yorker whose work appeared in newspapers across the country, recounted his adventures in nearly 150 countries. He covered popes, presidents and princesses. He retired in 2000 and died in 2008 at age 83. 

In The Wall Street Journal this week, columnist Ralph Gardner Jr. called Mulligan "a witty and erudite storyteller."

For those familiar with Mulligan’s work, the book will be a keepsake that gathers his holiday stories in one place. For younger readers, it will serve as an introduction to the popular storyteller. 

In a 1958 piece titled "Brainy Babes in Toyland," Mulligan wrote:

Like everyone else, I'd like to be a child again at Christmas, but frankly I just don't have the IQ for it anymore.

Toddlers today, as any department store toy catalogue plainly shows, are so far ahead of the rest of us intellectu­ally that parents need a cram course at the Institute for Advanced Study to set the toys out under the tree.

It was bad enough in the old days trying to assemble junior's scooter and sister's doll carriage on the night be­fore Christmas, when all that was needed was the brains of an Edison or Marconi. But how are you going to con­tend with the 266-piece, four-foot-long atomic cannon that actually fires and the alpha 1 ballistic missile with its rocket motor, remote control adjustable launcher and its nontoxic, nonflammable oxidizer and fuel load?

Actor and storyteller Malachy McCourt writes in a foreword:

This is a serene book that nudges its way into your heart. And speaking for myself, I don't believe I'll have a negative thought about Christmas again as these stories, an amazing gift all their own, would even put a smile on Ebenezer Scrooge's face!

"Mulligan's Christmas Stew" includes Christmas trivia and quizzes, and concludes with an oral history about the journalist’s life and career that he did for AP Corporate Archives in 2005. It is the latest in AP’s burgeoning book publishing program

About AP
The Associated Press is the essential global news network, delivering fast, unbiased news from every corner of the world to all media platforms and formats. Founded in 1846, AP today is the most trusted source of independent news and information. On any given day, more than half the world's population sees news from AP. On the Web: www.ap.org.


Contact
Paul Colford
Vice President and Director of Media Relations
The Associated Press
212.621.1895
pcolford@ap.org


Lauren Easton
Media Relations Manager
The Associated Press
212.621.7005
leaston@ap.org