May 12, 1974 – a Sunday that year. And as with most all Sundays, the day for observing, speculating and recalling, and the day for Sunday Talk Shows. This one; ABC’s Issues And Answers featured Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), Congressman Charles Rangel (D-New York) and Congressman Andrew Young (D-Georgia), members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
1974 marked the 20th year since the Supreme Court Decision Brown v. Board of Education brought the start of an end to school segregation. It was a decision that, even some 20 years later in 1974, was still being fought over. But this brought about a bigger discussion; race relations and the status of Civil Rights in America in 1974. No magic wands were waved over America in 1954 or in 1965 or even in 1974. It was an ongoing issue, one that brought daily battles.
And the biggest issue of the day, one that occupied most newspaper headlines, evening news lead stories, primary topic of discussion on the street and on the air was Watergate.
In 1974, the atmosphere around Washington, in fact that around the country, was a sense we were heading into unfamiliar territory; this new chapter of American history. Up to that point, only one President had been impeached; Andrew Johnson in 1868. But even at that, Johnson was acquitted. This new chapter in 1974 involved endless riveting testimony, volumes of evidence and an evolution of media which hadn’t existed in 1868. No, this was new territory – and it was on everyone’s mind.
In May of 1974 Congress was weighing the possibility of impeachment of President Nixon, as there had been many calls for it since the April 29th release of pertinent tapes and testimony began to reveal a darker, more sinister picture.
So a major part of this Issues and Answers discussion centered around the impending impeachment call and how the Congressional Black Caucus was feeling about it. Bear in mind, this was only one of an almost endless series of discussions via radio and TV during the previous months and for the months to follow.
Here is that episode of Issues and Answers from May 12, 1974.