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Liz Carpenter, Johnson aide

Sun., March 21, 2010

AUSTIN, Texas – Liz Carpenter, an author and former press secretary to first lady Lady Bird Johnson, died Saturday at an Austin hospital after contracting pneumonia earlier in the week, her daughter said. She was 89.

On Nov. 22, 1963, Carpenter scribbled the 58 words that Lyndon Johnson delivered to the nation when he returned to Washington, D.C., from Dallas following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy:

“This is a sad time for all people. We have suffered a loss that cannot be weighed. For me, it is a deep personal tragedy. I know that the world shares the sorrow that Mrs. Kennedy and her family bear. I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help and God’s.”

Later, Carpenter wrote that she couldn’t take all the credit for Johnson’s speech: “God was my ghostwriter.”

Carpenter was Lady Bird Johnson’s press secretary from 1963 to 1969. She served as assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under President Jimmy Carter, on the International Women’s Year Commission under President Gerald Ford and on the White House Conference on Aging under President Bill Clinton.

E. Dinis, oversaw Kennedy case

BOSTON – Edmund Dinis, the former prosecutor whose political career sputtered after he oversaw the grand jury investigation into the late Sen. Edward Kennedy’s involvement in the Chappaquiddick case, has died. He was 85.

Dinis, who championed causes important to Portuguese-Americans throughout his life, was voted out of office in 1970, the year after Kennedy’s car went off a bridge connecting Martha’s Vineyard to Chappaquiddick island and into the water – with former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne inside.

Some thought Dinis was too hard on Kennedy, who pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and got a suspended sentence and probation, while others thought he let the senator escape more severe punishment.

“There was no way for him to ultimately satisfy everyone,” said Frank Sousa, director of the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth. “The community, particularly the Portuguese community, was enormously behind the Kennedys. … It really sort of did him in politically.”

Charles Moore, photographer

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The world saw glimpses of the civil rights movement through Charles Moore’s eyes: In black-and-white photographs, he captured arresting images of the integration riots at Ole Miss in 1962, the fire hoses in Birmingham in ’63, a Ku Klux Klan rally in North Carolina in ’65.

The Alabama native recognized the significance of the civil rights movement early on as one of the first photographers to document the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s leadership.

Moore died Thursday at age 79, said John Edgley of Edgley Cremation Services in West Palm Beach, Fla.

The photographer seemed to realize that civil rights demonstrators were not the troublemakers that white authorities depicted them as, said Carolyn McKinstry, who lost four girlhood friends when a Ku Klux Klan bomb ripped through a Baptist church in Birmingham more than 46 years ago.

“They were trying to change the future. I think he could understand that,” McKinstry said Monday.


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