Wakefield to Talk on The Emmett Till Trial, James Baldwin
Wakefield to Talk on The Till Trial, James Baldwin. About three years ago writer Dan Wakefield began getting phone calls that began with apologies. They went something like this: “Mr. Wakefield, I am sorry to bother you, but I need to talk to you because I am writing a book on the Emmett Till murder trial and you are the only reporter who was at the trial who is still alive.” Wakefield says “That’s my distinction-..- I am still alive.”
Wakefield will talk about the Till trial and his friendship with James Baldwin in New York in the Fifties. The event will be he held March 8 at 6pm at the Northminster Presbyterian Church, 1660 Kessler Blvd, East Drive. (corner of Kessler Blvd. and Kingsley St. There is no charge. All are welcome.
📍Northminster Presbyterian Church, 1660 Kessler Blvd
🗓️ March 8, 2023 – 6pm
Introducing the new Naptown series podcast
A new 10-episode series with Susan Neville and myself. Recorded and produced at Butler University on topics related to the arts, culture, Kurt Vonnegut, history, writing, and more.
The first episode discusses my book, Going All the Way, and is available now.
Enjoy time at home with these podcasts
Naptown, Season One: Dan Wakefield
with host Susan Neville
Episode One: Old White Guy Gets Woke
When Dan Wakefield moved back to his hometown of Indianapolis in 2005, he saw it with a different lens and was re-awakened, in his 80s, to the history of racism and the erasure of Midwestern black culture that he had been blind to as a child.
Episode Two: Kurt Vonnegut
At the time of this taping, Wakefield was Kurt Vonnegut’s “oldest living friend.” It was Vonnegut who wrote the New York Times review of Wakefield’s Going All the Way and it’s Wakefield who posthumously edited Vonnegut’s stories, letters, and graduation speeches.
Episode Three: Emmet Till Trial and C. Wright Mills
In 1955, Wakefield graduated from Columbia University and went looking for his first job. Through Indianapolis connections, he landed an interview with Barney Kilgore, editor of The Wall Street Journal. He wasn’t, Kilgore told him, quite ready for the Journal, but he was given a reporting job at a small paper in Princeton, New Jersey, where every day he watched Albert Einstein walk to work.
Episode Four: The Columbia Years
Dan had the opportunity to study under some of the greatest teachers/writers/critics of the 20th century, including Lionel Trilling and Mark Van Doren.
Select eBooks by Dan Wakefield
“A precise and moving recreation of a time and a place when the world seemed small and we knew everyone in it.”
– Joan Didion
“Having written this book, Dan Wakefield will never be able to go back to Indianapolis. He will have to watch the 500-mile race on television.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, “Oversexed in Indianapolis” (Life Magazine review)
“Dan Wakefield’s Selling Out does for Hollywood what William Tecumseh Sherman did for Atlanta. This is a novel that flat out burns – killing funny, killing sad, fires everywhere. Wakefield takes no prisoners.
-Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried.
“What a wonderful book is Dan Wakefield’s The Story of Your Life. It will help many people to write their own spiritual autobiographies… And I suspect that many readers are going to want to take one of Wakefield’s workshops in writing your spiritual autobiography.”
– Madeline L’Engle, Author of A Wrinkle in Time
“This is a quietly explosive book. It’s part of America, like apple pie and Pabst.”
– The Atlanta Journal
“He pulls it off. The question that remains is just how did he manage to work such magic?” – The New York Times
More from Dan
Indianapolis Monthly has been nominated for 14 different awards
My piece, “How an old white guy got woke” was nominated for best in Essays/ Criticism/ Commentary.
“The crowds are gone and this Delta town is back to its silent, solid life that is based on cotton and the proposition that a whole race of men was created to pick it.”
65 years ago as a young journalist for The Nation, I was sent to Mississippi to cover the trial of Emmett Till, a 15-year-old boy who allegedly whistled at a white woman. You can read the full story at The Nation.
“Human narrative, through all its visible length, gives empphatic signs of arising from the profoundest needs of one fragile species. Sacred story is the perfect answer given by the world to the hunger of that species for true consolation. The fact that we hunger has not precluded food.“– Reynolds Price, A Palpable God
Be kind; for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.Philo of Alexandria