December 13, 1968 – Busy news day – at home and abroad. Starting with Defense Secretary-designate Melvin Laird saying in a press conference earlier that he hoped the war in Vietnam would be over by the time they got to preparation of the first budget, sometime late in 1969. Press Secretary-designate countered by saying Laird would have no specifics and that it wasn’t the time or place to be making assumptions. Another Nixon Cabinet appointee David Kennedy, Treasury Secretary-designate, said in another news conference in Chicago that peace in Vietnam would not solve the economic problems of the country. When asked if peace would provide more funds for urban problems, Kennedy was quoted as saying “I don’t feel that a major dollar commitment is what the ghettos need. The ghettos need education, training and programs to bring up their hopes and aspirations”. Other Cabinet appointees held news conferences on a range of subjects.
President Johnson of the U.S. and President Gustavo Ordaz of Mexico were on-hand for ceremonies which ended in an explosion that forced the Rio Grande River into a new channel subsequently changing the boundaries in El Paso between the U.S. and Mexico.
At the UN, renewed calls from the African bloc angrily called for the expulsion of South Africa over apartheid. In Czechoslovakia, Soviet reshuffling of the government had many concerned members of the old Dubcek government would be forced out and there were hints that a broad strike would take place if the changes were too harsh. The Military government in Brazil took emergency powers when the Army was criticized in the Press as corrupt.
And the subject of Nixon’s cabinet and its affect on the Black community was fodder for a lively discussion between Attorney and Activist Florynce Kennedy and Dr. John A Morsell, executive director of the NAACP. Kennedy, who represented such figures as H. Rap Brown and Dick Gregory was an outspoken critic of, not only the predominately white cabinet Nixon had assembled, but had a few choice words for the NAACP and other moderate Black organizations.
Florynce Kennedy pulls no punches and the interview/discussion takes on the demeanor of a food-fight – very lively, highly informative and one more key ingredient as to why the 60s were such a hot-button decade.
And that’s just a little of what went on, this December 13, 1968 – as presented by Newsnight from WNDT in New York.