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Pat  Watters
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Pat Watters, "Keep on A-walking, Children"
New American Review, January 1969

"This will be the whimper," a friend who had observed a good bit of the Poor People's Campaign heretofore in Washington during the spring and the summer had said, "with which the Movement will die." I had once before just stood there and taken in the full impact of an event. That had been John Kennedy's assassination. Until a month before I had been a newspaperman for eleven years, and when the flash came from Dallas, my every instinct was to get up from my new job, rush out, and begin putting together a story. Instead I had to sit there and just feel what had happened. Journalism is a cold and callous calling; out of necessity to get the news while it is breaking, the best workers have a conditioning and an ability to divert all the energy of their emotion into the skills of gathering information and writing it coherently. Sometimes this can be a blessing.

Copyright © The Estate of Pat Watters.  Selected from the Library of America anthology.  See  Reporting  Civil  Rights:  American Journalism 1963-1973.