From the Annals of the Red Scare – In 1962, John Henry Faulk was awarded a $3.5 million libel judgment against AWARE, Inc. for branding him as a communist. AWARE was a for-profit corporation which purportedly offered a “clearance” service to advertisers, and radio and television networks. AWARE would supposedly investigate entertainers for signs of Communist sympathy or affiliation. In reality, AWARE was but a tactical arm for notorious scumbag Sen. Joe McCarthy and provided another way to promote his Red Scare agenda.
Faulk’s “mistake” occurred when he and other members wrested control of The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists away from officers backed by AWARE. With no evidence, AWARE labeled Faulk as a Communist. Faulk soon discovered that AWARE was keeping its radio station clients from hiring him. Faulk sued with the back of other radio entertainers and CBS News vice-president Edward R. Murrow. Faulk hired famed New York attorney Louis Nizer. AWARE engaged notorious scumbag attorney Roy Cohn (later the attorney for Trumpf – The Insult Comic President). After many delays instigated Cohn’s tactics for AWARE, the case went to trial and the jury found for Faulk awarding him more damages than he had sought in his petition. had determined that Faulk should receive more compensation than he sought in his original petition. The $3.5 million was the largest ever in a libel case at that point. On appeal, the damages were reduced to $500,000. After paying legal fees and accumulated debts, Faulk received about $75,000. Faulk’s book, Fear on Trial, published in 1963, tells the story of the experience.
From the Annals of the Writers – In 1890, Katherine Anne Porter (nee Callie Russell Porter) was born in Indian Creek. At age two, her family moved to Kyle after the death of her mother in child birth. They lived with her paternal grandmother Catherine Ann Porter – whose name she later adopted – until her death when KAP was 11. After that the family moved around Texas and Louisiana. She received little formal education beyond elementary school but did attend the Thomas School in San Antonio. She left home at 16 married a well-to-do scion of a ranching family who physically abused her. They divorced after about a decade and she had her name changed to Katherine Anne Porter in the divorce decree. After her divorce she spent time in New York and Mexico where she became acquainted with Mexican leftists such as Diego Rivera. She made her living ghost writing and doing publicity work for movies. Her first published story was Maria Concepcion in The Century Magazine. In 1930, she published her first short-story collection, Flowering Judas and Other Stories. After an expanded edition of this collection was published in 1935, she began to receive true critical acclaim. Her only novel Ship of Fools was a best-seller and the movie rights made her financially independent. She continued to write short stories including Noon Wine, a collection of short stories set in Central Texas. Today she widely recognized as a master of the short story genre. The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965) won the Gold Medal for Fiction from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Pulitzer Prize, and the National Book Award. She died in 1980 and her ashes were buried along side her mother in the Indian Creek cemetery. She is a must read for all lovers of Texas literature.
From the Annals of the Early “Bloggers” – In 1874, the first of a series of twenty-three letters and poems authored by “Pidge” was published in the Austin Statesman. The actual author was Thomas C. Robinson. Robinson had come to Austin in 1874 following a feud with a neighbor in his native Virginia. He enlisted in the Texas Rangers and served under Leander H. McNelly during the Sutton-Taylor feud. He was also involved the continuing conflicts with Juan N. Cortina’s raiders. Robinson’s works describe Austin in the 1870s, but more importantly provide one of the few insights into what service was like in the Texas Rangers from observations in the field. Unfortunately, Robinson returned to Virginia on leave to settle the feud with his former neighbor and was killed in a gunfight on April 4, 1876, shortly after the last “Pidge” letter was published.