Morris Dees: Defying Racism to Lead the Fig/ht Against White Supremacy

Photo by Tim Pierce

How did the son of Alabama sharecroppers, with relatives who were openly racist, become one of the country’s most prominent voices against white supremacy?

His name is Morris Dees, and in 1971 he co-founded the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In his decades-long legal career Dees established himself – and the SPLC – as protectors of the civil rights of many groups, including African Americans, and immigrants.

In 1991 Dees wrote a book about his career, how he got started, why he got into the kind of law he became known for, and what the SPLC was about.

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His book was called A Season For Justice, and I met him in the spring of that year to talk about it.

So here now, from 1991. Morris Dees.

Morris Dees is 88 now. The Southern Poverty Law Center fired him in 2019 after he was implicated in connection with workplace sexual harassment and racial discrimination.

Samantha Power’s Insights on Genocide

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has led many people to use a very strong word as they discuss, debate, and protest: that word is ‘genocide. ‘

One of the strongest voices for human rights in our time is former UN ambassador Samantha Power A former war correspondent who then entered public service, Power has been a champion of the rights of the oppressed.

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She’s written several books, the first of which was a 2002 volume called A Problem From Hell. It was a study of how the United States responded to genocides around the world in the latter half of the 20th century.

And even though this is an interview From more than 20 years ago, its relevance to today’s events cannot be overlooked .

So here now, from 2002, Samantha Power.

Samantha Power is 53 now. She is currently the administrator for the US Agency For International Development.

CEO Wisdom: Former Burger King Boss Barry Gibbons

Work isn’t easy.Of course it never has been, but these days it seems harder than ever.

Unreasonable bosses. Rude customers. A minimum wage that hasn’t been raised in 15 years.

And it’s often fast food workers that seem to get the worst of it.

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But here’s a conversation I had some 25 years ago with a former CEO of Burger King – see if you agree with what Barry Gibbons told me about being a good business leader.

The book he wrote that we talked about was called If You Want to Make God Really Laugh, Show Him Your Business Plan.

So here now, from 1999. Barry Gibbons.

Since leaving Burger King Barry Gibbons has been a popular and in-demand speaker on business success.

Marcia Clark’s Candid Account of the OJ Simpson Trial

Photo by Larry D. Moore

I can promise you, if you were alive 30 years ago today, June 17, 1994, you were glued to your television watching a white Ford Bronco driving down the 405 in Southern California. Inside was OJ Simpson, about to be arrested for the murders of his ex-wife Nicloe Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.

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In the L.A. County district attorney’s office, the case was assigned to a veteran 44-year-old prosecutor named Marcia Clark.

And by the time the Simpson trial was over, with its infamous “not guilty” verdict, Clark had unknowingly become a celebrity.

In 1997 Clark wrote a book about the trial, and the toll it took on her. she called the book Without A Doubt, and I met her that spring to talk about it.

So here now, from 1997, Marcia Clark.

Marcia Clark will be 71 in August. OJ Simpson died this past April at age 76.

Unlocking the Heart: Leo Buscaglia, aka Dr. Love

Photo by Alan Light

They used to call him “Dr. Love.:

Author, educator, and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia was an immensely popular figure in the 1980s, seeding the American psyche with a message of love and humanity. Buscaglia was also widely renowned for his penchant for hugging people, even strangers. But once you met Leo you were no more a stranger to him,.

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Lao Buscaglia’s parents were Italian immigrants, and although he often mentioned his mother in his books, he had never written extensively about his father, until his 1989 book Papa, My Father. That’s when I first met him.

In this powerful interview, Leo urges us to connect and reconnect with our fathers – and mothers – before we run out of chances to do so.

So here now, from 1989, Leo Buscaglia.

Leo Buscaglia died in 1998. He was 74.

Vanna White’s Enduring Legacy on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

After 41 year0s as host of TV’s “Wheel of Fortune,” Pat Sajak has retired.

But co-star Vanna White hasn’t. She’s been turning the letters since 1982. It wasn’t long after joining the show that Vanna was as well-known as Pat.

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I met her in 1987 when she wrote a memoir called Vanna Speaks, a reference to the fact that, in those years, she never said anything on the show.

I spoke with her at the noisy convention of the American Booksellers Association – an event that, it turns out, Vanna had a history with, as you’ll hear shortly.

So, here now, from 1987, Vanna White.

Vanna White is 67 now. She is signed to remain on the show through 2026.

Andrea Dworkin: Championing Women’s Rights

The feminist movement that was born in the 1960s had many faces, and many voices. One of the most prominent was a writer and activist whose first book in 1974 catapulted her to prominence.

Andrea Dworkin was an early voice speaking out about violence against women, especially sexual violence. Dworkin is today best known for her analysis of pornography and prostitution.

Get your copy of Andrea Dworkin’s book

Dworkin co-founded the organization Women Against Pornography, and was frequently and widely quoted in the media and in other writers’ books.

And she was a dedicated believer in the power of books and reading.

I met her in 2002 when she wrote what turned out to be her last book, a memoir called Heartbreak.

So here now, from 2002, Andrtea Dworkin.

Andrea Dworkin died in 2005. She was 58.

Breaking Barriers: Jim McGreevey, America’s First Openly Gay Governor

Photo by David Shankbone

In August 2004 the governor of New Jersey resigned. Big deal, you say. politicians resign from office all the time.

But Jim McGreevey’s resignation was unique, as he outed himself as the nation’s first openly gay governor:.

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McGreevey resigned, however, not because of his sexuality, but because he had an affair with a male state employee.

Two years later McGreevey wrote a book called The Confession. That’s when I got a few minutes with him.

So here now, from 2006, Jim McGreevey.

Jim McGreevey. Will be 67 in August. He is executive director of the New Jersey Reentry Corporation.

Bill Walton: A Trailblazing Career on the Court and Behind the Mic

Hall of Famer Bill Walton was a 14-year NBA veteran. The #1 draft pick in 1974, he spent his early years with the Portland Trail Blazers, then the Clippers, then the Celtics. Nagging foot injuries eventually forced his retirement.

Walton then embarked on a successful career as a broadcaster.

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I met him in 1994 when he wrote a book called Nothing But Net.

So here now, from 1994, just a few months after his induction into the Hall of Fame, Bill Walton.

Bill Walton died of cancer last week. He was 71.

A Legacy Revealed: Hank Williams’ Daughter Jett

Country music legend Hank Williams was married twice. Between those two marriages Williams had a relationship with a woman named Bobbie Jett. And they had a daughter, who was born five days after Williams’ death from heart failure.

But it took some 30 years for that baby girl to learn the real story of her parentage.And it took years of court fights for the full story to emerge, and for her to obtain her share of the Hank Williams legacy.

Get your copy of Jett Williams’s book

Jett Williams became a professional musician in her own right, and in 1990 she told her story in an autobiography called Ain’t Nothin’ As Sweet As My Baby. That’s when I met her.

So here now, from 1990, Jett Wililams.

Jett Williams is 71 now. Her last record was released in 2017.