Mark Whitaker in conversation with Vern Smith

Author of Saying It Loud

Author Talks
Monday, Feb 13 2023 @ 7pm

In gripping, novelistic detail, Saying It Loud tells the story of how the Black Power phenomenon began to challenge the traditional civil rights movement in the turbulent year of 1966.

Saying It Loud takes you inside the dramatic events in this seminal year, from Stokely Carmichael’s middle-of-the-night ouster of moderate icon John Lewis as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to Carmichael’s impassioned cry of “Black Power!” during a protest march in rural Mississippi. From Julian Bond’s humiliating and racist ouster from the Georgia state legislature because of his antiwar statements to Ronald Reagan’s election as California governor riding a “white backlash” vote against Black Power and urban unrest. From the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California, to the origins of Kwanzaa, the Black Arts Movement, and the first Black studies programs. From Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ill-fated campaign to take the civil rights movement north to Chicago to the wrenching ousting of the white members of SNCC.

Deeply researched and widely reported, Saying It Loud offers brilliant portraits of the major characters in the yearlong drama, and provides new details and insights from key players and journalists who covered the story. It also makes a compelling case for why the lessons from 1966 still resonate in the era of Black Lives Matter and the fierce contemporary battles over voting rights, identity politics, and the teaching of Black history.

Saying It Loud book cover

About the Author

Mark Whitaker is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir, My Long Trip Home, and Smoketown: The Untold Story of the Other Great Black Renaissance. The former managing editor of CNN Worldwide, he was previously the Washington bureau chief for NBC News and a reporter and editor at Newsweek, where he rose to become the first African-American leader of a national newsweekly.

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About the Moderator

Headshot of Vern Smith

Vern Smith, a prize-winning journalist and author, is a former Newsweek Atlanta Bureau Chief and national correspondent. His work has also appeared in Emerge, the London Sunday Times, Geo, and other publications. Smith has contributed to or co-authored five books, including Brothers, Charlie Co: What Vietnam Did to Us and My Soul Looks Back in Wonder: Voices of the Civil Rights Experience.

 His novel, The Jones Men, a New York Times Recommended Book, was most recently published in a Spanish-language edition, Los Reyes Del Jaco, by Sajalin Editores of Barcelona, Spain.

 Smith appeared in the 2019 Investigative Discovery three-part documentary The Atlanta Child Murders, a story he covered for Newsweek.

His writings on politics and race have appeared at Yahoo, where he most recently reported on the Georgia U.S. Senate race.

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