5 Black Journalists Were Allowed to Ask President Obama Questions on Air Force One Before his Selma Speech

President Barack Obama answers questions on Air Force One from (from background to foreground on the right) Charles Blow, DeWayne Wickham and Rembert Browne.   VALERIE JARRETT
President Barack Obama answers questions on Air Force One from (from background to foreground on the right) Charles Blow, DeWayne Wickham and Rembert Browne.
VALERIE JARRETT

5 Question President En Route to Selma Anniversary

I couldn’t sleep for s–t,” Rembert Browne wrote Monday for grantland.com.

“Friday night had turned into Saturday morning, and I was staring at the ceiling in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., only blocks from the White House, recovering from my third hot shower of the night. The fever that had developed from an 11-hour Amtrak trip down the East Coast a day earlier hadn’t left my body, and the only way I knew how to deal with the chills was to take hot showers and hope for the best.

“But that wasn’t the real reason for my insomnia and this body-zapping panic: I would be speaking to the president of the United States of America in 10 hours. On Air Force One. Before his speech in Selma, Alabama, on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the march that took place on what became known as Bloody Sunday.

“On Monday, I had received an email from the White House offering ‘a potential opportunity with President Obama in the very near future.’ The opportunity was to be a part of a roundtable of five journalists who would have 30 minutes to talk with the president.

“As the week progressed, however, the stakes grew. With the date inching closer, the details became clearer. On Friday, the final email:

“Following brief remarks at the top of the roundtable, the President will take a question from each participant.

“As in one question. Zero room for error. My editor’s response was as blunt as it was true: ‘Better make it count.’ . . . ”

Brown asked his question, as did the other black journalists on Air Force One: April D. Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks; Zerlina Maxwell, a freelancer for such publications as Essence magazine; Charles M. Blow of the New York Times; and DeWayne Wickham of USA Today and Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication, where he is dean.

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Source: The Root  | 

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