UPDATE: The talk between Jim Squires and John Seigenthaler was cancelled due to Mr. Seigenthaler’s passing on July 11, 2014. You can listen to Mr. Seigenthaler discuss his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement as part of the Civil Rights Oral History Collection.
Nashville Public Library presents a special edition of Nashville Writers Circle. On July 13, James Squires will interview Writers Circle host John Seigenthaler about his illustrious career in journalism. The recording of this event will be part of the John Seigenthaler Oral History Collection.
The John Seigenthaler Oral History Collection will contain a series of interviews conducted by Jim Squires with John Seigenthaler about his life. Interviews will cover general life experiences and include discussions of growing up in Nashville, working as a reporter, editor, publisher and CEO at the Tennessean, covering the Nashville Sit-Ins and the Freedom Rides, serving under Robert Kennedy in the Attorney General’s Office, founding the First Amendment Center, and other experiences.
More information about Seigenthaler’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement can be found in an oral history he recorded as part of the Civil Rights Oral History Collection.
John Seigenthaler founded the First Amendment Center in 1991 with the mission of creating national discussion, dialogue and debate about First Amendment rights and values.
A former president of the American Society of Newspaper Editors, Seigenthaler served for 43 years as an award-winning journalist for The Tennessean. In 1982, Seigenthaler became founding editorial director of USA TODAY and served in that position for a decade, retiring from both the Nashville and national newspapers in 1991.
Seigenthaler left journalism briefly in the early 1960s to serve in the U.S. Justice Department as administrative assistant to Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy. His work in the field of civil rights led to his service as chief negotiator with the governor of Alabama during the Freedom Rides.
In 2002, the trustees of Vanderbilt University created the John Seigenthaler Center, naming the building that houses the offices of the Freedom Forum, the First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute. A chair in First Amendment Studies was endowed for $1.5 million in Seigenthaler’s name at Middle Tennessee State University.
James D. Squires was born in Nashville, Tennessee in 1943. He holds a B.A. degree in English and Political Science from Peabody College, Vanderbilt University. From July 1981 until December 1989, he was editor and executive vice-president of the Chicago Tribune, which under his leadership won seven Pulitzer Prizes.
As a national political correspondent for the Tribune and earlier for The Tennessean, he covered 12 national political conventions, three presidential elections and the White House under three different administrations in Washington, including Watergate and the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon. In 1992, Squires was press spokesman and media advisor to Ross Perot in his independent campaign for President. He has appeared frequently as a political analyst on CNN and PBS, and as a guest on NBC’s Meet the Press and Nightline on ABC.