UTA Magazine
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Nick Kotz

Pulitzer Prize winner Nick Kotz detailed the “mortally suspicious” and “uneasy” relationship between civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson in a speech in February in Irons Recital Hall. Kotz’s fifth book, Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws that Changed America, was released in January.

Kotz used FBI wiretap logs, Johnson’s recorded telephone conversations, previously secret communications between the FBI and Johnson, and the first lady’s personal diary in revealing how Johnson and Dr. King worked through their differences to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Kotz said that both Johnson and King may be remembered unfairly by history—King because he was martyred by assassination and Johnson because he is seen as “the wheeler-dealer from Texas who gave us Vietnam.”

“But they both cared deeply about the civil rights issues,” Kotz said. “They were the right leaders at the right time in this flash of our history.”

Kotz, formerly with The Des Moines Register and The Washington Post, won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting and the National Magazine Award for public service. His five books deal with politics, social justice and the civil rights movement.

Susan Douglas

Has feminism changed the image of “good” mothers like the smiling 1960s June Cleaver vacuuming the floor and cooking dinner in high-heeled shoes and pearls? Susan Douglas, author of The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women, told a UTA audience in March that it most definitely has. But not for the better.

Douglas said June Cleaver would not begin to measure up to today’s idealized image of supremely energetic and patient women who lovingly rear bright and confident children. These size 2 celebrity moms, photographed for the covers of women’s magazines in the 1980s and ’90s, became among the most influential media forms for selling a lifestyle that Douglas and co-author Meredith Michaels call the “new Momism.”

These People, InStyle and other magazine profiles professed to show working mothers who had found a balance between work and family. But the stories ignored the cushion afforded by beauty, fame, wealth and a SWAT team of nannies.

“Women are continually besieged by ridiculously romanticized images of motherhood as the most joyous, fulfilling experience in the galaxy and are made to feel inadequate and guilty for not living up to those images,” said Douglas, a University of Michigan professor who spoke at UTA’s 19th Annual Women’s History Month Lecture Series.

Husain Haqqani

Former Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani says talking about Islam, even without addressing terrorism, is a formidable task.

“I have 26 minutes to tell you about followers of a religion that began in Arabia in the 14th century and now has more than 1.4 billion followers around the world,” he said in a February speech, pointing out that Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India each have more than 100 million Muslims, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 16 million.

Extremists are a tiny percentage of Muslim people, he said, but they are conducting a global holy war fueled largely by the economic decline of great Muslim civilizations and European mishandling of the post-colonial period. Haqqani said the U.S. came to the party late but is still held responsible for what happened before it arrived.

Haqqani, brought to the campus by Americans for Informed Democracy, said there’s no way to win a “war” on terrorism. The solution, he said, lies in addressing education and economic development. “It costs $1.5 million for one cruise missile,” he said, noting that it is far cheaper to spread the ideas that have shaped democracy.

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