Richard N. Goodwin

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29 March 2017

Democracy teeters on the income gap

"Former President Barack Obama this week designated income inequality and lack of social mobility “the defining challenge” of our time. I am in accord; indeed, evidence of this “defining challenge” appeared on the horizon long before the widespread attention it is currently receiving. More than three decades ago, I wrote the following op-ed for the Los Angeles Times. Though recent statistics reveal an even greater hardening of class division and income inequality, I’d like to believe that the optimistic pulse of what I wrote in 1985 – that problems devised by us can be resolved by us – still resonates. For if we abandon the struggle for economic justice we will have abandoned our essential allegiance to the great experiment that is America," wrote Richard N. Goodwin in today's The Boston Globe. Read the rest of the column here.


25 May 2016

Hollywood plans feature film based on Dick Goodwin play

With an eye toward turning the play into a feature film, Hollywood’s Gulfstream Pictures has acquired the rights to Dick Goodwin’s historical-philosophical drama, “The Hinge of the World.” Gulfstream partners Mike Karz and Bill Bindley announced the deal Wednesday. Goodwin (inset), who lives in Concord with his wife, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, said he’s delighted. “I’m very pleased. Wouldn’t you be?” Goodwin joked. “I worked very hard writing this play and I love the idea.”


25 May 2016

Richard Goodwin’s Play ‘Hinge of the World’ to Be Adapted Into Movie

Gulfstream Pictures has acquired the feature film rights to Richard N. Goodwin’s play “The Hinge of the World,” which centers on the battle between Galileo and the Pope.

The play was published in 1998 with the title “The Hinge of the World: In Which Professor Galileo Galilei, Chief Mathematician and Philosopher to His Serene Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and His Holiness Urban VIII Battle for the Soul of the World.”


25 May 2016

Gulfstream Pictures Acquires Rights to Richard N. Goodwin's Play About Galile

'The Hinge of the World' is the first play by Goodwin, whose book 'Remembering America' was the basis for the film 'Quiz Show.'

Gulfstream Pictures has acquired the feature film rights to Richard N. Goodwin’s play The Hinge of the World, which focuses on the clash between astronomer Galileo Galilei and Pope Urban VIII, it was announced Wednesday by Gulfstream partners Mike Karz and Bill Bindley.

Goodwin’s play explores the science, faith and politics as it depicts how Galileo tried to convince the 17th century pope that Earth was not the center of the universe.

“The battle between Galileo and Pope Urban really plays out in an exciting and intriguing way, with the earth's true place in the world hanging in the balance,” Bindley said in announcing the deal.


25 May 2016

Richard Goodwin’s ‘The Hinge Of The World’ About Epic Clash Between Church And Galileo Being Developed As Feature

BREAKING: Richard Goodwin’s play The Hinge of the World which tells the story about the epic battle between the Roman Catholic Church and astronomer Galileo Galileo when faith clashed with science is being developed for the big screen by Mark Karz and Bill Bindley’s Warner Bros.-based Gulfstream Pictures.

PBS documentary "JFK & LBJ: A Time for Greatness"

8 August 2015

As the country celebrates the 50th Anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Voting Rights Act, Richard N. Goodwin reflects in the new PBS documentary "JFK & LBJ: A Time for Greatness" on the seminal "We Shall Overcome" speech that he wrote for LBJ. The now immortal words captured the historical sweep of black Americans from slavery to true freedom. Hear Goodwin's recollections of that momentous time here.


3 June 2015

Fifty years after LBJ challenged the nation, the rights of African-Americans remain unfulfilled


31 January 2015

'Selma' and celebrating an American triumph

by Richard N. Goodwin

Richard Goodwin served as a special assistant and speechwriter for President Lyndon Johnson.

The continuing wrangles over the movie "Selma" - contention over the relative roles played by Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights movement, Lyndon B. Johnson and the federal government - miss the essential point: In the spring of 1965, the Selma demonstrators and the president of the United States forged an authentic partnership that ultimately resulted in the passage of the Voting Rights Act. The act guaranteed the right to vote to millions of African Americans. This historic landmark was realized because the pressure from the outside brought to bear on our ruling authorities was fully embraced by the government.

On March 7, 1965, a day forever known as "Bloody Sunday," peaceful demonstrators were savagely attacked by local police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. The brutal images that flashed across the television screen provided a sense of urgency to the issue of voting rights. Eight days later, on March 15, I reached my White House office in the morning and learned that I was to work on the speech President Johnson was to deliver that evening to a joint session of Congress, urging the immediate passage of the Voting Rights Act. There was no argument to be weighed in this speech. There was no debate, one side against the other. There was only one side and one position. This was a moral issue. It was a matter of simple justice.

While I may have helped with the words, it was the message the president wanted to send. The force of his embrace gave them their power.

"At times, history and fate meet at a single time, in a single place, to shape a turning point in man's unending search for freedom," Johnson began. "So it was at Lexington and Concord. So it was a century ago at Appomattox. So it was last week in Selma, Alabama."

"The real hero of this struggle," the president made clear, "is the American Negro. His actions and protests, his courage to risk safety and even to risk his life, have awakened the conscience of this nation...He has called upon us to make good the promise of America." The cause of civil rights must be our cause, he continued. "It's all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice...and...we...shall...overcome."

After a moment's silence, an electrical charge went through the room. In the well of the House, I tried to control my breathing. Later I heard that in Alabama King wept.

By summoning the anthem of the movement, LBJ embraced the rallying cry of thousands of young civil rights workers. The reaction signified the recognition that the president had placed the power of his office behind their struggle. Before the eyes of the nation, a great drama was playing out. The moral imperative of a social movement had become the legal imperative of the government.

In our democracy, there is tandem motion forward. Our government always lags behind an originating movement. The anti-slavery movement shaped the debate that led to the Republican Party, to the election of Abraham Lincoln and, eventually, to the Emancipation Proclamation. The progressive movement created a passionate consensus that allowed Theodore Roosevelt to pressure Congress to confront the problems of the Industrial Revolution. The gay rights and women's movements mobilized citizens, whose fight for justice led to ongoing legislative changes, civil unions and gay marriage.

So it was at Selma - the civil rights movement initiated the momentum that, together with the conviction and impassioned skill of President Johnson, led to one of the most important pieces of legislation in the 20th century. This is indisputable. I was lucky to be there, to witness Johnson at work during those months. I witnessed his fervor and determination to get it done. Far from resisting King, he worked all the avenues of power to do something with all the might and matchless skill he could muster.

The combination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement with Lyndon Johnson and the federal government created neither a black moment nor a white moment. It was an incandescent American moment.

At the signing of the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol Rotunda, President Lyndon Johnson moves to shake hands with the Rev. Martin Luther King, right. (Yoichi R. Okamoto/LBJ Library)

The Boston Globe: What the '60s can teach us about Ferguson, Staten Island today

The recent events in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y., where grand juries refused to indict white police officers in the deaths of unarmed African-American men, depress me just as they depress the nation. As I've followed the news these past weeks, and having recently celebrated my 83rd birthday, my mind returns to a very different time and circumstance — the civil rights movement of the 1960s, when racial issues were at the forefront of our consciousness and when our country was moving in a progressive direction.
19 December 2014

Aspen Institute 21st Annual Summer Celebration (9 August 2014)

Richard N. Goodwin and his wife Doris Kearns Goodwin were honored at The Aspen Institute's 21st Annual Summer Celebration and presented with Public Leadership Awards for their contributions to democratic enterprise. Following an introduction by former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice, Richard and Doris spoke with the Aspen Institute's President/CEO Walter Isaacson about their work with and study of presidents and politics. Hear their insights about Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and more!

Click here to view the video

Richard N. Goodwin on C-SPAN Radio (6 June 2014)

Forty six years after the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 6, 1968, Richard N. Goodwin joins Steve Scully on C-SPAN Radio to talk about his time as an aide, advisor and speechwriter for Sen. Kennedy, and presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Part 1.

On C-SPAN Radio, Richard N. Goodwin and Steve Scully discuss the relationship between Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and President Lyndon B. Johnson, and talk about President Johnson's overwhelming re-election victory in 1964. Part 2.

Richard N. Goodwin spoke with C-SPAN Radio's Steve Scully about coining the term and formulating the concept of the "Great Society," which Goodwin outlined in a speech for President Johnson that was delivered in 1964. Part 3.

On C-SPAN Radio, Richard N. Goodwin recalls his last conversation with Sen. Robert F. Kennedy on the evening of his assassination in June 1968 in Los Angeles, discussing how Sen. Kennedy's compassion and hard work set the groundwork for his lasting legacy. Part 4.

The Washington Post: The Great Society at 50

LBJ's unprecedented and ambitious domestic vision changed the nation. Half a century later, it continues to define politics and power in America.
17 May 2014

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