The Next Big Story Continues

In this second excerpt from Soledad O'Brien's memoir, The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities, we have moved to 2006 in her story.

Soledad had just obtained exclusive access to Martin Luther King Jr.'s papers. Through rare access to the Morehouse College Martin Luther King Jr. Collection, Soledad was able to examine the personal determination and private courage and concerns of the preacher and civil rights leader.

She had just done a report on the papers as co-anchor on CNN's American Morning.

On this American Morning, I have an exclusive look at a man at least half the world admires. I feel like what he is saying speaks to me. I am energized, a new member of the quarter million people who joined him on the mall, and a new recipient of the grace he handed out in Selma.

Then, out of nowhere, The Reverend Jesse Jackson calls with an invitation to meet and talk and it brings my reverie to a halt. We greet warmly and sit. A young, clean-cut security guy hovers near by. He stays close enough to be summoned for a quick question but not close enough to overhear. I notice the china is clinking, like real good china. I have four small kids so I never hear that particular sound. The restaurant is on the first floor of a famous hotel and the place is nice. The Reverend Jackson begins talking in his strong Southern accent. His voice is very low. He says "call me Jesse," but that's something I feel like I cannot do. I am confident he doesn't remember the first time we met. It was my job in 1989 to escort him through his live shots at WBZ TV around Boston Nelson Mandela's historic visit to the U.S. I was his "babysitter," the one making sure no other media plucked him away. He was our contributor. He whispers something. He is speaking so low I can barely hear him. I strain to get closer...

The papers became the focus of a CNN special called MLK Papers - Words That Changed A Nation which aired in February 2010.

continue reading the book excerpt online at cnn.com

The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities (Celebra Books) 

The book is also available as  audiobook on CDs or as an mp3.
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