Voices of the West: Nick Kotz

bg-logo2Voices of the West: Nick Kotz
Tuesday, October 13th, 6:30pm
Jack Guenther Pavilion

Join us as we illuminate unique perspectives on the history and future of the American West. All lectures held at the Jack Guenther Pavilion on the Briscoe Campus.

Nick Kotz was born in Texas during the Great Depression. He grew up in San Antonio, living with his maternal grandparents—Nathan and Anna Kallison—until he and his mother Tibe Kallison Lasser moved to Washington, DC in 1946 when she married noted physician Dr. Jacob Kotz.

As a reporter for the Washington Post and the Des Moines Register, and in six pathbreaking books, Nick Kotz won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the National Magazine Award, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, and eight other renowned prizes. Among his works are exposés of government corruption and studies of national defense, civil rights, social justice, and labor unions. His most recent book, The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas, received a 2015 San Antonio Conservation Society Publication Award. The Texas Institute of Letters named it a finalist for their Carr P. Collins Award for Non-fiction.

Tickets are $10; Briscoe Partners and UTSA University Members are FREE. Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Member here.

Follow Nick Kotz on Facebook (www.facebook.com/HarnessMakersDream) and Twitter (www.twitter.com/@Nick_Kotz)

Washington Post Quotes Judgement Days The questions we should be asking about ‘Selma’

imrs.phpBut if Johnson did not order the tapes be sent to Coretta King, Nick Kotz argues in “Judgement Days,” his sharp and illuminating book about the Johnson-King relationship, that Johnson was not ordering Hoover to stand down his long-term campaign against King, either. After President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, “One of Johnson’s first calls after returning from Dallas was to J. Edgar Hoover [his long-time neighbor]. ‘You’re more than the head of the bureau,’ Johnson told Hoover. ‘You’re my brother and personal friend.’” Kotz explains. “Hoover answered Johnson’s flattery with a flurry of activity” focused at furthering his surveillance of King and keeping Johnson apprised of the results.

Johnson brokered a sit-down between King and Hoover after Hoover, incensed by King’s Nobel Peace Prize, started attacking King in the press, and King privately accused Hoover of indifference to crime against Southern African Americans and publicly issued a press release suggesting that Hoover ” apparently has faltered under the awesome burden, complexities and responsibilities of his office,” Kotz explains. But the Hoover-King meeting seemed more aimed at healing a public breach than providing Hoover with real accountability and new orders. And rather than confirming that Johnson would not tolerate attacks on King, King perceived the meeting as proof that President Johnson “had not come to his defense,” Kotz writes.

In fact, Kotz suggests, Deke DeLoach, Hoover’s liaison to the White House, repeatedly interpreted his meetings with Johnson aides and Johnson himself to conclude that Hoover could exercise discretion in planting reports about King. Some of Johnson’s calculation was due to what Kotz describes as a “cautious, tacit accomodation with Hoover: the FBI director would carry out extraordinary assignments for Johnson, including the covert spying campaign at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, and in return Johnson would not interfere with Hoover’s pursuit of his own special interests.” And some of it was due to the fact that “Johnson was also irritated by King’s constant maneuvering to seize the public spotlight and force his hand.”

January 5

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Nick Kotz Judgement Days Quoted in Huffington Post Blog

FILE PHOTO:  David Oyelowo To Play Martin Luther King Jr. In Biopic RoleAside from the actual audio tapes, photos, etc., from the Presidential Library of President Lyndon Johnson, the seminal book on Selma and the respective roles of Dr. King and President Johnson preceding and during the events presumably depicted in the movie is Judgement Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Laws That Changed America by Nick Kotz.


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Nick Kotz to Appear on Alabama Public Television Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement.

PROJECT-C-LOGONovember 13, 11:00 AM & 1 PM EST
Nick Kotz
will appear on Alabama Public Television’s: Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement.

About Project C
Project C: Lessons from the American Civil Rights Movement is a three-year series of electronic field trips taking place throughout the civil rights fiftieth anniversary years of 2013-2015. Project C will focus on the role of citizenship in a democracy through the study of historical events and examine the past to teach the importance of civic engagement in support of a humane, civil and just society.
Project C Website:
Link to YouTube Promo:
More Project C information (PDF)

Texas Events

texas-flagFor our friends in The Lone Star State, here are Nick Kotz’s upcoming events:

October 29: Congregation Beth Israel (7pm);  5600 N Braeswood Blvd; Houston, TX.

October 30: Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research (10:30am); Carriage House at the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research; 5300 Caroline St; Houston, TX  77004.

November 20: Dallas Jewish Historical Society/Dallas JCC (7pm): Aaron Family JCC of Dallas; 7900 Northaven Rd;  Dallas, Texas 75230.

December 3: Downtown Rotary Club (noon); Bright Shawl restaurant; 819 Augusta St; San Antonio, TX 78215.

December 5: The Alamo Research Center (formerly Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library)(2pm); Alamo Hall in the Alamo Complex; 300 Alamo Plaza; San Antonio, TX 78295-1401.

The Dallas Morning New’s GuideLive Review of The Harness Maker’s Dream:

As a child in San Antonio in the 1930s and ’40s, Nick Kotz lived with his grandfather Nathan, who ran a large farm supply store and a cattle-breeding ranch. But as he recounts in The Harness Maker’s Dream, he never thought to ask “Papa” Kallison during their many hours together about his early life, about where he was born and grew up.


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Save the Date! Nick Kotz at DCJCC Literary Festival


Nick Kotz
author of
The Harness Maker’s Dream: Nathan Kallison and the Rise of South Texas
will speak at the
Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival
Friday, October 24, 2014
Presentation:  12:00-12:45 pm
    Q&A: 2:45-1:00 pm
              Book signing: 1:00-1:30 pm
(Bring a bag lunch!)
Washington DC JCC
1529 16th Street NW

Nick KotzFormer Washington Post reporter, Pulitzer Prize winner, and author of six path breaking books with subjects ranging from labor unions to civil rights and national defense to ancestral narrative, Nick Kotz will talk about American Family Histories: Lost, Forgotten and Found. Find out how he uncovered secrets in his family’s past and why there has never been a better time to research your own roots.

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