Special Edition April 28 and 29

The Sue Henry Show
Monday, April 30th

A discussion about prison safety with the father of slain Senior Officer Eric Williams of Nanticoke, and others who are part of the race that honors his memory on May 12 at Luzerne County Community College. Also, an interview with Elizabeth Brassell, director of the Communications Office of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board regarding their campaign tailored for parents to talk to their young children about alcohol use. And, the details of a new book, “Dinner in Camelot: The Night America’s Greatest Scientists, Writers and Scholars Partied at the Kennedy White House,” penned by Hazleton native Joseph Esposito.​

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to a special edition. A weekly look at these issues in the news and the personalities shaping the stories special edition is a production of Entercom communications. The views expressed by guests are not necessarily those of Entercom communications staff. Management or sponsors and now here's your host soon Henry. On today's program will hear from those whose mission it is to create a safer working environment for corrections officers. And learn about an upcoming event that benefits future members of that profession will check in with the Pennsylvania liquor control board and get the details of a campaign they've developed. To help young children learn about the dangers of drinking and will revisit a storied day in the history of the Camelot era. A dinner that brought together some of the greatest influencers. Of the sixty's senior officer Erik williams' death at the hands of a federal inmate. At McCain in prison and wait mart sent shockwaves across the country. And started a movement for safer conditions that continues till this day in February of 2013. Williams was brutally attacked by Jesse condom week. With a sharpened weapon. Condo we was tried for the crime found guilty of first degree murder sentenced to life in prison although prosecutors sought the death penalty. Eric's father Don and others are continuously lobbying for a better staffing levels. And they are opposed to augmentation. Which is sending guards to take on tasks and prisons they're not familiar with. Creating further risk in an already dangerous place we'll hear about the details of the Eric. But first we had the chance to speak to Don Williams about his continued efforts to make prisons safer working. Now is the affected the staffing levels in the prisons have actually gone down. Over the past several years instead of up but despite. The increase in violence. And staff injuries as well as injuries on inmates so even though we've gotten a lot of book promises. And you know commitments to look into things. The reality is that this year they cut 6000 positions out of the Federal Bureau of Prisons that they have no intention of showing. And they're there they're trying to claim that these are safe levels obviously you're not and I say obviously because you you know. People were allowed to see. The daily reports. Of the the injuries and in the attacks on staff. They'd be appalled so we're gonna continue our our campaign of trying to. Make people aware and in particularly. Legislators aware and until somebody does something. We certainly have a lot of the legislators here in the northeast that I have to compliment the mall days they've gotten behind the the corrections workers and they are doing their very best and that's on both sides of the aisle which is the way it really should be. The one thing we have succeeded is the other purpose of this race. Is in getting scholarships. And we've been able to give us scholarships every year to students. Most some criminal justice but not all and and so we we're gonna continue to do that. And so we call racist success Cecil. The focus has changed a little bit of this race and got started as. The race for justice and now it has a little bit of a new name in May be a little bit of a new focus well yeah we can't really call it the race for justice because the the trial. For Eric is over with and you know we certainly don't feel any justice. Came out of that and now it's a memorial raising exchange Sydney today you know here officer Quinn's more race and that's a little baby talk about here. Contact with people across the country you are from a lot of individuals. Who have loved ones working. In prisons and I know all day you often are keenly aware. Of what happens when people contact you what are they telling you have. Or the people they contacts. Me are again concerned if it's a family member of their concern for their families that work here again because they're very aware that the of a several issues that you one of the issues is a staffing level. The other is that. You know they don't always follow through was summoned the the behavior management as they should. And so some some of the films are worried about that. You know it it's almost the biggest her ball is that the people that are in the administration's in this is this is states. Federal. Counties are not forthcoming and and and not honest about what these. Staffing levels are and how unsafe to actually. Tell us a little bit about. Some of the stories that you are hearing. That. Appall you what what are people telling you what what are the what are these guards facing day in and day out. But I just said young lady right that you know she'd been assaulted while on the job. In net. The administration at the prison literally turned their back on it. Never filled out in sooner reports or anything else in order to make it look like him. That things were safer than they actually are she actually couldn't get the kind of help she needed due to the assault. Because it is correct so that's one of the a number of those kinds incidents that the human cloud cover ups you know in the than they happen. How can. Someone like that holds there. Administration. For that what could they do how can they hold people accountable one of the things. Do they they do have a union and nearly go to the union. Yet he sees a bit tied up in and bogged down idea I still think the right answer is to. Get those legislators that care about this going on to. Bring these administrators to the table and are starting to do that he would you know others say there's a lot of resistance and a lot of denial a lot of what I like to smokescreen. They just had a hearing. Last week with the new director of the Bureau of Prisons. Carson Marino and some of the people on the judiciary. And you know he went ahead and defended. This idea of augmentation or you take. Non correctional staff and stick them into housing unit which is a big thing that there corrections officers are pushing back on but anyway he he justified it said it's all perfectly safe. There are no boots on the ground people in that hearing so what I did was use our voices and Joseph FaceBook page told anybody who wanted to to write a rebuttal to what he said and then I had the all of the legislators look at those rebuttals and that. Worked out pretty good. What was the result of that what do you think I think the result in that this is only a matter a couple days ago sewing I think the result is going to be that a lot of debris bottles at these. Corrections officers and family members wrote will now before you waded into questions for the next here and they're much more concise in and they won't be easy to dodge so. It's it's given a voice that people who don't normally have a voice in there's a lot of people out there who will privately message voices a jolt. And you know the organization did. We have the that lobbies but that they'll try early messages saying we we were too afraid. To be publicly say anything about our concerns but you know they ask us to be the voice for them. You know so they'll they'll put their issues down in a private message and it carried and carried forward. You use it like somebody who doesn't. Who doesn't mind you'll tell like it is you don't care about any kind of retribution I don't work for them so I'm not gonna we're about it. These these issues contributed to. My son's death and not so I don't care about their feelings. And I don't care if if it bothers them that I do this. All say would can't be said by some people in in hopes that it doesn't happen though the people and but he pushed back a new. Not really yeah you know I had comments may hit it. But no no real attempt to push back now. Probably this race was the only thing I remember the bigger prisons back a few years ago when a winner in this race nationally Panetta memo cynical and hold it on on. Prison grounds which he had no intention of doing in the first place but other than that and all they've they've not said anything. I think with they've done is to be. Made every attempt to. Convince me that dead. Everything's okay and did you know some of these officers are are. Exaggerating the case that that's not that can't be won is when it's all across the nation. You know one or two people complain about sultan well then maybe it's not true that neither too many in it's it's too widespread and it's the same story. Have a tendency not to think too much about prisons in our own do laugh because of the out of sight. Out of mind dynamic that we see. What what do you want people to know gorgeous average individuals about the situation but yeah I went people noted. You know is to forces to the law enforcement we oftentimes think about what's good the bad guy off the street make assaults date. The once that quote unquote bad guys on the street. They have the putting somewhere in which you hand as a whole city of criminals. That our operating his best at thinking and inside that structure would they would the to set up criminal organizations and you have only a handful of people. Trying to manage that. And I think that their job. It's far more dangerous. Because it's it it there's years here in danger 24/7 when your work in there as opposed to. Responding to a call. On the outside I mean my son was a police officers blows it corrections officer. And now I've seen both sides of the picture. People but need to understand that corrections is a branch of law enforcement. In a very very vital one and sometimes even our lawmakers don't understand that certainly need in your own personal if you know that individuals who are incarcerated. Some of them have absolutely. Nothing to loose and I think at that makes it very very dangerous. For the officers behind those walls. Just just like what my son's trial. This man murdered before. No murder corrections officer my son. Annie was doing life and he gets a life sentence so the word goes around. You know very quickly that look you you know if you're going life and you can you. You do sucked into a corrections officers. Nothing really gonna happen. You know so he just painted a target. On the back of the people who try to manage these kind of criminals. I understands people's Seattle sympathy toward. You know not like in the death penalty and stuff like that but sometimes we need do we need to consider those that we put in harm's way. When we're not going to step up and in draw lines have more. And say certain things are just known example. Don Williams is an advocate for enhanced procedures to keep corrections officer safe we also spoke to Darryl homered. Who has spent nearly three decades working in the field and is northeast regional vice president. Of the council of prison locals biggest challenge to. Days is staffing don't have enough staffing and cease to be getting worse I've been involved in or I've been. Hired credit bureau prison since 1990. And right now I haven't seen as worse is this getting to the point that. Augmentation. Has become a regular thing that there are Manning staff. That don't normally be a correction officer into these positions. On that is. Raising your parents safety of staff and in me. Stroke prisons when these these people go through this augmentation process to they want to do it I mean if I knew one thing and then they said well you're gonna have some kind of enhance duties. I'd I'd be kind of I don't know I'd be wary of how they feel. They don't wanna do because as they can't do their job. On and then they're doing double work so if they can't get done what they're supposed to be doing so if they're assigned to. Medical field. Medical secretary where she's working were records all day and keeping up on. What is going on with the inmates or medical records the following day she comes in network are still there because it's not being done by anyone else. And no they don't feel alone when their moved in and am positions. They don't feel safe because I'm not used to doing that you know when you get used to doing a certain position in a prison. It becomes your position. I know that the the agency says more everyone's a correction off from her first book. The fact of the matter is is a correction officer at Knowles what's going on is housing unit knows the inmates Wear these staff don't know the inmates. Gonna happen in situations like this or has anything happened for example on staff assaults is a big thing that happens inmates are getting away with. More. Breaking rules because there wouldn't they don't know the inmates and I don't know he meets general behavior every day in this relates to actually more violence amongst the inmates on because they could they know that can get away with. What is causing misses this. Lack of people entering the field as this monetary what does it. No it's not a lack of people entering the field this. A lack of I believe it could be the attorney general. In the staffs and our aren't aren't saying that we need to cut back due to give me population going down but the fact of the matter is yes you may population did go down but it only went down in low security facilities. And maybe medium security Phillies we don't have enough hard bad space that's one of the prom running into now. And they say that they vacated 6200. Positions that or never staff. That is also not true depositions were staffed prior in out 26 team. And as people retired. And moved on they never filled that position so old now or behind the eight ball. In the case that tire correctional officers or any positions it takes months and months that get that person into her position because of the training. In the film familiar position training and at the goal through. And by the time they go to their background investigation and everything else. You're talking 35 months does see. Attorney general. Understand that I mean is is or dialogue open between the parties. We are trying our best though we've been having numerous roundtable meetings in Washington DC. We've been doing legislative events. We've been to new stories. We went as far as putting up billboards. There's one up on the Casey highway here but there's many down and Louis per gallon would area. Letter writing them knocking on borders. Congress and senator very aware of what's going on in their starting to question. Director of the Bureau of Prisons he just went through a a a rigorous. Talking to in question years to see what is answers are so why he's doing what he's doing. So yes senate and congress are very aware of it. We're just hoping that director. Sees the light and make sure that these tires properly staffed to run prisons safely. To say this is the worst you've ever seen is this. It's pretty hard to hear considering what officers are facing in these prisons from a population that is violence. And unpredictable. Yes and men its it it is very unpredictable and one of the biggest major problems we're having now is the the amount of cellphones that are entering prisons the amount of drugs that are entering prisons. The synthetic drugs that are entering prisons and it it's not it's not because the staff don't know what they're doing it's because. A lot of it has to do not having enough staff. To properly screen everything before comes into the prison so. Another words are and mail room. No mayoral staff may be short so all the mail that comes and has to be screened in these inmates are figuring out ways to soak this paper. And send the damning evidence inside the prisons which is causing a lot of it makes to be addicted to these drugs and a lot of programs also that the inmates. Are supposed to be getting is not happening due to the staff being pulled augmentation for officers and when you augment. That's actually dropping the amount of staff there is to respond. To an incident. Daryl Palmer is the northeast regional vice president of the council of prison locals. He and other corrections officers come together each year for the Eric. Planned for Saturday may twelfth at Lucerne county community college. Mary Beth core is a member of the committee takes. In the plan because after the death of Eric Evers emphasizing. Safety within prisons. And making sure that that doesn't happen again this race. Like re integrate back and it you know make raises awareness to presidency tape tells the details of how people can get involved then you can go on to the Eric I am as these folks I end from there you can link to online registration and so you can. I'm contacts anyone of us that are involved cans from there we committed to registration you can also sign up today of their race at. It was uncanny time. For a more details visit the Eric. You're listening to special addition on Entercom communications. You were listening to special edition on intercom communications. Hosted by sue Henry. Talking to kids about a number of issues can be perplexing to parents. And the topic of alcohol education happens to be one of them. If your children are young you best not wait too long. Children are trying alcohol at some pretty young ages these days. As you're about to find out from Elizabeth Purcell director of the communications office for the Pennsylvania liquor control board. We have embarked on the street search effort a couple of years ago knowing that we wanted to get some sort of alcohol education. I don't get it reached. We started doing a little research digging into you know scientific journal helped -- happen anytime during some of our own research by serving at putting up and find them some statistics that are a little scary very pitcher adolescent health that suggests to one and three kids has tried alcohol by each eat and eat straw that number grows to the street so that an economic health of the little shocking but then when you consider that the journalist substance abuse says that children who begin drinking age thirteen to four times more likely to become alcohol dependent later in life if you really underscored for they need to develop a campaign. The back talk and about the importance of these discussions and agents perhaps earlier than they thought this. Pennsylvania is a statistics are they Ager magically different from other states if you now. I don't know that now we we took a look at the national research and and everything that we did specific to Pennsylvania now. What really gauging parents' perceptions about all of their awareness of underage drinking. You know what and they think it's appropriate to talk to children if they think it's their responsibility to talk to their children about how popular. With the Nevada Missouri Pennsylvania parents about 94% they do believe that it's their job to have these conversations what they can't get it up to that school it's not up to it's soccer coach it's not up you know the scout leader. I don't know it's their job to have these conversations that only about a third of them had ever seen or read or heard any. Information on how to approach it and so this campaign turns aims to fill that gap. And answer reader in case people missed that one in three kids has tried alcohol by the age of eight so you have to think Elizabeth in your mind about age appropriate. Discussions when that when the kids are east. And yeah I am sure that in parents might wanna know what what does work what's an effective strategy in talking about this. Absolutely and you know what those don't initial statistics are a little scary is that over a line and now we also Islamic kids aged eight to eleven the circuit and that the magical age or their most receptive to PC. Back grade based cap and they felt like camp and the great opportunity and and what we're stressing for Panthers that this doesn't have to be one big intimidating discussion in the united got a piece. And think about and it can actually be at he said very age appropriate complications from looking for every day teaching moment. I haven't eager upon and other developing this campaign I was good enough votes you know I know my job but if it gets a little early and how do I really do it people want to I want to lend some of the tips and tools and no way to know how dot org is the web site that provides I'll have that you know attraction to provide its all in digestible bits and pieces so it's not overwhelming for. But me personally attacked it became a little more are uncomfortable effect got over that mental hurdle that it's going to be really. It happened so organically. And my son and I were reading Harry and last call we got to the point in the being book one where pro Catholic. Groups around to learn the secret of getting past rocketed during the dog like a light bulb went off analysts alike. They think this could be you know which it's completely organic opportunity certainly wasn't expecting enter territory evening self selective reading. They took advantage of that opportunity yeah it was shot and simple and I just kind of got a baseline of what his understanding of alcohol was what he's. He knows what drug could be in there it's a little too much finer a little too much beer for adults who make start acting a little funny. It was it was an easy conversation and it black would be no weird he and his understanding and away. He'd meet confidence to look for those opportunities on an ongoing access to pull that competition that'll be my. Have to ask a question which may make some of the listeners uncomfortable but if people are in a family and that they are the parents obviously they're able to drink in their homes outside and you know it's it's legal. Deep part of it is. Behavior this being modeled in front of their eyes are they going to be able to. Look at this in a way were they see may be mom or dad did John King. And they think I'm all right while they do it so it's going to be okay. Absolutely and that's one of the key takeaways and we have been talking to pat having a piece to focus groups. The Pennsylvania. Are really having a tough time reconciling their own alcohol use were. What we need competition with respect supposed to have with their children you know and and concern about. A wind mom culture has proliferated over the last few years that their social media means kind of I'm seeking jokes about how alcoholic almost drinking requirement at that point. Really it's it this campaign for a number of folks has history the number of social issues and so. You know the web site like at that provides the template that the carrier expects it it really is an opportunity for our. Parents to start the reflecting on you know their own alcohol use sent thinking you know maybe maybe you don't want to think that mom that has. Big kid you know on the first vehicle when he profile that's simply say mom's favorite drink a check it. Yeah. You know I enjoy my Saturday but I certainly don't want my you know my kids bringing back deck circle from school. You know it it up comic having conversations with children but it's also about just becoming a little more aware of the adult how we're using now on how we are modeling and children. And I I think that that's a good thing because it does seem that they do pick up on cues when we don't expect them to be picking up on cues so maybe it is time for us to look at it a little bit of our own behavior modification in regards to those that. Actually do and and you know another another interesting piece that came out of our research we asked if I'm you know do you security alcohol in your home and found that about seven in ten Pennsylvania don't have any and I can tell you what one -- but apparently never really bothered you know putting a bullet comes sulfur or not having the beer in the fridge and I think that we're encouraging parents come to think about in the campaign the acceptability of alcohol in the hole because it's important because about 85% of underage drinkers get alcohol from not their own home the home of up into. It stating you know we need to be locking up into the beer cooler for kids eight years old but it is just again an awareness to an end to get adults to start thinking about that acceptability. I'm because they can't believe he's 200 chicken. And is certainly there are parallels her Elizabeth with some other problems that were experiencing in Pennsylvania right now on they would have to do with the OP would crisis the medicine cabinet and so on so forth so be able via a multi fascinated discussion with your kids about the dangers of some other things that they may come across in the home. Right endlessly talked and particularly our focus groups you know we did get out but some of that fadiman. You know there are so many others. Scarier things that I've got to worry about my kids you know at how kinda taken a back seat thinking about having a conversation with my child about alcohol. Content in the top priority. What we worked to help understand that that alcohol is often something that leads to a lot of those riskier behaviors. And even outside of back starting these conversations. Young having them early and often and can really affect agreed to be looking foundation you know related to underage drinking just that you can't really did everything else that's well if you could get. That foundation where you have an open two way conversation and and and children become comfortable talking about these things that he how can not how can not benefit them as they face. Rick gear and scarier things I think grown mature content and in sort of grow and mature as a child doesn't. The and you said something earlier that I don't know if I thought about my chin before and that is. That when your kids are the they are more inclined to listen to you than when they are fourteen or fifteen and then there they say look mom doesn't know anything look at her. Right and they get their ten MG rice's none of your existence. The research supports that but it is sort of back golden age of opportunity I'm and the influence that parent I think sometimes underestimate their own and science. The 80% of teens fit it into the biggest factor in whether or not they decide to drink but again if you lay that foundation even before their team that you can really think getting to their heads before they found during intercourse teenager monster you know it's a great except. C area you have two little boys and they're not in the the N age where there and rebelling openly or this. Yet now but I mean you know that first conversation with my son that it was by opening tip get to understand that he knows what drunk mean and you know I have to admit it's and that's talk about it. Land and kind of got the public eye roll like like got that step it's so low why would we even. You know I don't even think about it but I'm Betty it like that I know where he would. And then it went polity it came around and there was the kid line in there ready adult cocktail and some questions about you know white light that that I have to kick line and you have that in. We had a conversation about how he'd had during celebrations everybody can have a. You have some materials that earn in a good centrally located. East so if they if people are listening to us right now Elizabeth and they are thinking well I like to know more and I'd like to do some research you owner hit them to the website these guys have put together which is extremely user friendly in contains all kinds of our resources for my parents with kids of of all ages which is off some. That was the goal it's www. No way no how dot org. And the web site provides a lot of information that the first sent on these physical effects of alcohol on the developing body and it provides information on the I'm legal and criminal consequences for both adults and children engaged in underage drinking. And that type of tickets scenario that how to eat right up by the teachable moment how to treat everyday activities into opportunities for these discussions. I'm so we get we developed it intentionally you know again bits and pieces not overwhelming. Come to China really facilitate these conversations between parents and kids. And we know what I knew I know when the kids are real little ball never latch onto this but we do now. That there are real evidence based. Studies that show Elizabeth that the the when the brain is forming. That alcohol can really harm. A child's a development. And end their full brain development to really does not take place until they're in the early twenties. And I know that's a hard sell. But when when I think about Dick kids today I think about so well a lot of them want to be at their greatest potential mate who would be able to tell them listen. You're really hurting yourself looked. Yeah yeah we heard from talking to Pennsylvania and since that different things appeal to different kids and that's I would try to prevent a variety declaration on the web site. Our kids who worked fascinated by science that really you know we heard from on my couch my son would be fascinated to learn about that the brain damage and cell damage all of that medical staff would really appeal to. Apparently heard from say that's not gonna get to get below will get to like hit it did he get caught underage drinking and he's played soccer anymore. And you know we again we try to provide information in a variety of different. I am a different subject matters different approaches to the conversation and and helpful and it's just so glad that we developed we put all of our advertising on the web site for the TV comes told the radio commercials we have web banners. We've also try to make this campaign an acceptable to parks and promotion ladder back and be at school. A local community organization and I'm public health in check. Nobody can go on to that website and grabbed a one page error or handout or you know utilize their digital assets can and promote a month social media so boats are in contention that this message really resonates with and and may have. And avenue from reaching even more apparent we encourage them to go to no way no how dot org and and helped and it took promote it not just much of that cap. Look at it formerly done Elizabeth what else what might we be missing her what don't we know all that we should be doing do you think is. It it should be very obvious to people that sometimes they miss it. Why keep legally divorced I think you're number one alert and the fact a lot of that's actually just talked about the consequence of an underage drinking the end of underage drinking. And again peace and have a tremendous influence still encouraging parents to Utah and content having these conversations. And Pakistan in the cockpit and earlier than parents thought necessary think that's one of the big things that came out of this with that need help basically your old sweat out how it's it's really what I should start thinking about it and and we think that it's affected if you do start Ackerley. And yeah that's what sort of a gimme but you know parents stay involved no we typically know what they're doing an even be on the can milk and your kids first and I'm didn't even if you alcoholic securing home maybe it's not banker you know kept their kid security treat cure them and they're going to be leaving your environments at some point so knowing Mac community Europe part of and personally again just start to think about how you can secure alcohol in your home. Elizabeth breast cell is the director of the communications office for the Pennsylvania liquor control board. More information about their campaign that helps parents start a conversation with their kids about alcohol can be found that no win no how dot org. You're listening to special edition Entercom communications. You were listening to special edition on intercom communications. Posted by so Henry. April 29 1962. Brought together a cast of intellectuals. Statesman scientists and artists. Under America's roof the White House for a once in a lifetime dinner. Hosted by president John F. Kennedy. And his wife Jacqui the back story of this amazing gathering his deep tailed in new book. That just happens to be written by a native of Lucerne county we recently had the opportunity to speak with Joseph asked does eat out. Author of dinner in Camelot and I'd America's greatest scientists writers and scholars partied at the Kennedy White House. One thing I can tell you was that that is that I yeah I met John Kennedy and he's open on October 20 1960 he was campaigning. In the northeastern and southeastern Pennsylvania. He later spoke invokes very. And I had an opportunity to speak with him in needles and got his autograph on the cover of Saturday evening post with a drawing gotten caught him by Norman Rockwell. And that sparked an interest lifelong interest really in politics Austrian government I went on the Serb entry presidential administration. So good to have a native son back honor airwaves with a site talk about your look and I I know when we have people over to the house just of sometimes we sweat it tried to pick out sent. Who who's good to come over who gets along with who and maybe summer rabble Rouse there's an on night April 29 1962. It was quite the assembly there at the White House for dinner right. It was 175 gas that was the largest dinner ultimately Kennedy era and it was. Really and an unbelievable galaxy poll of geniuses. 49 Nobel Prize winners. And even those people who work Nobel Prize winners were very distinguished and they're they're fields among those. Who work Nobel Prize winners were Robert Frost Williams siren James Baldwin Katherine Porter John doe was passed so. Heard Hemingway's little spare set next president Kennedy and that the principle after dinner. Literary presentation was and unpublished manuscript. Written by yeah I Hemingway who died the year before. There was there were some contentious relationships but. Many of these people had known one another year so it worked with him with one another. Several had worked on the book that on the yacht. A Manhattan Project that lost almost. The preponderance of people were scientists. There literary people who were to know that two Nobel Peace Prize winners as well. But through those list of twelve distinguished people just goes on and on Robert Oppenheimer Perl book. Linus Pauling. And quite appalling connection is really quite interest thing because. He had doubt wondered that Nobel prize in 1954. Had become a a significant. Peace activists. And that he would then he was invited to the bitter because he knew he had won the Nobel Prize but. He was out picketing the White House that's seen today in the previous state as well. Because he was unhappy with president Kennedy was getting nowhere on. Com and how many of measure to limited. Computer testing. So he was picketing outside the White House and went over to us. The Willard Hotel. Cross the street from the White House sought to change into his tuxedo and wouldn't it bitter end up in the receiving line president Ted Kennedy said. Well you've been around the white house of few days already haven't used them. Before he introduced. Appalling to to Lou mrs. Kennedy's said that. I hope that you continue to express your opinions and calling had a great time he actually led. This spur of the moment impromptu dancing in the. All. It's a thing Joseph that there wouldn't be some kind of trepidation about that with those who protected the president knowing. That somebody who expressed open dissent was being allowed in. Well. It was a different time of course. And I have the for the opportunity just to. To be discussed because several people associated with the dairy queen quite who was sort Jackie Kennedy's so. Secret Service. Agent. And he discussed the movement of the the measures that they took which work cracked rather. Rather. Blacks certainly by today's standards in fact. The writer James Baldwin. When he went. Who is going into the dinner he was outside at the pivotal. The little guard out spear the southwest gate of the White House. And that he's provided. Is. It is an invitation and he also forgot his wallet. Seoul. The but the guard there says is there a possibility he might have your name in your jacket. The ball and open jacket and says James Baldwin in law that's fine you can just go right here. These are different times indeed for sure. You're aware. Occasion that brought all these people together what what kind of found kneeling to dig at her RY where they invited at what what was what was going on the White House. Well at the very outset of the Kennedy administration if it had been decided that. That that they wanted to make an overture to people in the arts and into the broader intellectual community. And the soul at the at the inauguration in January 1961. There were so large representation. From. People in the that that the glittery communities see the artistic community. And their war. Number of dinners and representations. Of the White House to proceed at this greater problem consults for instance the cellist agree cellist. Had performed earlier White House and has an interest being. Site story here. He had last performed for Dior Roosevelt with the White House shall be sixty years later comes back can. Reforms in the during the Kennedy here but it would have been decided that. It was so that. But it the desirable. Opportunity to. Invite the Nobel Prize winners primarily. These people were scientists. Oh. The overwhelming majority of of these Nobel Prize winners were were scientists at work. Nobel Prize winners in peace and cobalt can literature that they were they were scientists and some work on the Manhattan Project and in that John Glenn was there as well course wasn't a Nobel Prize winner good. It was an overture to the scientific community and to really. Thank them. For further accomplishments this was the height of the Cold War and also. Really the high profile 00. In in many ways of over American scientific achievement was a time when we have. People from the Manhattan Project. And the people who work or like John Glenn who work. Involved in the very early stages of this property. A space race is will. Was there I am especially that the seating was devised I mean I think about it a few. Trying to do that under normal circumstances and try to get people together. Abuja they tried to put an artist with the sciences. Store or will help what was what was the rhyme or reason to it. There was very carefully calibrated and and the First Lady Jackie Kennedy's certainly had a rule that. That who beat out. The principle a responsibility though useful role was body. Church Aldridge who was the social secretary. And on. They had tables round tables of ten and two people each and they were two rooms that were used. There was police state dining room where the president essentially presided in the he has beat. What would be considered perhaps the main table where they. Proper process and this is George Marshall the listeners. Ernest Hemingway said then and several others. And then because it was so large they had to use another room. And so the blue room where this was employed in it and didn't mrs. Kennedy. Was there they have done she had that it was us it was in effect the head table for proof that rural. John Gordon was there in coral bark and Lester Pearson who the following year became. Prime minister candidate list and we'll see there as well. So they had for the head of public address system and when president spoke. People would vote troops here. After the dinner. They had a you know they had a bit of a reception and then they have that there entertainment. The discussion literary discussion little. Well looks spotty but Hemingway but also some coral Louis and into. The media. The harder commencement speech by George Marshall which laid out the Marshall plan. And I also talked in the the book about this after party that was held at the private quarters for. But a select. Dozen people. I'm in the second four year old war movement which people like we're inspiring was better Robert Frost and others. Just an extraordinary time in them. I guess I like to be remiss if I didn't ask about the menu would not because and a lot of people are from Moody's in this day and age so. What was considered on that did you get a choice on the Carter what what happened there. Well they'll. There was. But the White House brought him but he. Or rather notable French chef. That the outset it was sort some were selected by by Jackie Kennedy and the if he would say he even at very particular. The shelf and that they would sit down and apologized for what. The menu would be creatures these these so. These big dinners interestingly. Were they were having discussions about to the dinner in the in the shop these electric shock was present. All the social secretary. Constantly refer to the dinner as the brains that are because these people were so. Intelligent. And she misunderstood and thought. That they were going to serve brains for there. The scene protests that said the brains just not what. But as it turns out would this be the main men in the main the main course was so upbeat flow into the they have done in the book guy I actually had to reproduction without the bitter end here. And that's how you can I I guess because you have you know your White House photographer there and and so on and so forth. How many photographs. And existent and what strikes you about some of them. Many photographs exist that the Kennedy library in Boston and that was the very useful for me I have about thirty photos in the book. Like magazine which we certainly prominently at the time Adam and well a number of well over additional photographs as well. I think what does what's what's struck with split strike people would beat yeah. But that doesn't this sense of it gay getting UP thing and you were. These were. Extremely intelligent accomplished people who really enjoy themselves. Bill. Linus Pauling. Even though he had been picketing the White House so let this impromptu dancing and there's photographs of that as well which is quite capacity. And what's your relationship like with the rose Styron. The widow. I'm William Styron and and she wrote to an in your book the forward rate so what is what is there what is their place with you and with the Kennedys. Well. Grossed the coastal very gracious. And we have a long interview in which she yeah. Disgust prove our own memories of the theater I was very helpful. Standup. And as you can note she looked forward which is a very grateful for. William Styron who is that who wrote. So these trolleys in the compression method that turner and other other. Notable works. Not ever had never met John Kennedy. And you lose is that they formed a friendship. That they were in the after party actually. In England in the residents stand up. The relationship between the Kennedys in the Styron. I'm not just John Kennedy but Jack Kennedy and Robert Kennedy and Ted Kennedy. In others it has continued for more than fifty years but it was a result of that that are. Interest income and Joseph asked the Zito native of nasal ten who went on to work. In a couple of different administrations. And I was so and it intrigued enough to write a book about the what must've been an absolutely. Amazing dinner party I would be so nervous at this it would be unbelievable for me. But the book is called dinner in neck Camelot that she knowledge has there been a social event quite this intriguing since I'm. No not at all at all. There have been have been one notable hitters. But does nothing but boost of this stature I mean when you think about. 49 Nobel Prize winners that really the greatest single likes of the time being honored. And I think it or what most people know about this theory they have heard about it before. He has a quote that present Kennedy bogey as part of his remarks. He said I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent. A human knowledge that has ever been gathered together the White House. With the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone. Epic that's that some think if if you could just have to say that you could have people already your house. For. A dinner and they could be from any part of history have you thought about who you might have a over. Well. I'm historians so that's a challenging question forming. I would be I would certainly be interest in talking to Franklin Roosevelt. And talking about duck. That the Greeks. Challenges that that he faced with the great depression and World War II surely some of the people who were at this dinner with B. I'd be interest in talking to you as well but. It's an interesting idea to come up with good. Well with which people you would people fascinated with. A dinner party. Our guest Joseph aspirin Zito recap the social event that took place 56 years ago this weekend in his book dinner in Camelot. And I'd America's greatest scientists writers and scholars partied at the Kennedy White House. You're listening to special addition on Entercom communications. Thanks for listening to special edition. A weekly look at these issues in the news and the personalities shaping the stories.
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