Watch the Aug. 25, 1963 edition of Meet the Press, featuring interviews with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and NAACP executive secretary Roy Wilkins.
Under his leadership, beginning in 1955 and up until his assassination in 1968, the Civil Rights movement made progress in the struggle for racial equality. Influenced by the teachings of Mahatma Ghandi, Dr. King led nonviolent demonstrations including the 1963 March on Washington where he delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech. In 1964 King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal posthumously.
Wilkins was named Executive Secretary (title later changed to Executive Director) of the NAACP in 1955 and served until 1977, making him the group's longest serving leader. During his tenure at the NAACP's helm, the group accomplished desegregation of schools, civil rights legislation, and reached its highest membership.
Ned Brooks was the moderator of Meet the Press for twelve years, from November 22, 1953 through December 26, 1965. Before coming to Washington in 1932, Brooks was managing editor for a newspaper in Youngstown, OH. He died at age sixty-seven in 1969.
As Washington Bureau Chief for the Nashville Banner, Frank van der Linden appeared 20 times on Meet the Press over his career. He interviewed every president from Harry Truman to George H. W. Bush and wrote three books about American history, the latest of which was called The Dark Intrigue: A True Story of a Civil War Conspiracy.
At the time of this broadcast, Robert MacNeil was White House Correspondent for NBC News. Later that year, he was travelling with the presidential motorcade in Dallas when President Kennedy was shot and was one of the first reporters to relay the news of the event. He went on to create the Robert MacNeil Report on PBS, which later became the MacNeil/Lehrer Report. Throughout his career, MacNeil appeared 11 times on Meet the Press.
In 1933, at the age of 28, Wilson was sent to Washington to open a news bureau for Cowles Newspaper Publications. Throughout his career, Wilson was a regular on Meet the Press - he appeared on the program 175 times. In 1954, Wilson won a Pulitzer Prize at the Des Moines Register for his "exclusive publication of the FBI Report to the White House in the Harry Dexter White case before it was laid before the Senate by J. Edgar Hoover."
Lawrence Spivak made his mark on journalism not only by co-creating Meet the Press, but by developing a reputation for tough questions. He later explained to NBC News, "After the program started I began to appear because the questions were not challenging enough." After leading the program through 27 years on television - 30 years if you count the radio days - Spivak retired from Meet the Press in 1975.
Who did they talk about?
Bayard Rustin planned and executed the March on Washington in about two months. He was a Quaker pacifist and was a key organizer of some of the first Freedom Rides through the south called "The Journey of Reconciliation." Rustin died in 1987 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in August of 2013. The documentary "Brother Outsider" chronicles Rustin's life and his role in the Civil Rights movement.