All Weekend, Every Weekend. On C-SPAN3.

Oral Histories: Arlen Specter on His Immigrant Roots

Arlen Specter

Arlen Specter

Philadelphia, PA
Saturday, July 21, 2012

Arlen Specter died Sunday, October 14th, 2012, at the age of 82. Specter left the United States Senate in 2011 after a 30-year career. Soon afterwards, he sat down for a series of extended oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Specter reflects on events that take him from his Russian immigrant roots to his involvement in some of this country's most momentous events, from his work on the Warren Commission investigating President Kennedy's assassination to the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. In the first excerpt from these interviews, Specter recounts his family's arrival in the U.S. and his formative years during the Great Depression and World War II, and how his personal experiences later informed his politics.

Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 at 11:09am (ET)

Related Events

Oral Histories: Former Senator Arlen Specter
Sunday, October 14, 2012     

This is an oral history with former senator Arlen Specter. He served 30 years in the U.S. Senate. Shortly after he left the Senate in 2011, he sat down for a series of extended oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. In this segment, he reflects on his work on the Warren Commission investigating President Kennedy's assassination. Arlen Specter died on October 14, 2012. 

Oral Histories: Arlen Specter on the U.S. Senate
Saturday, August 4, 2012     

Arlen Specter died Sunday, October 14th, 2012, at the age of 82. Specter left the United States Senate in 2011 after a 30-year career. Soon afterwards, he sat down for a series of extended oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Specter reflects on events that take him from his Russian immigrant roots to his involvement in some of this country's most momentous events, from his work on the Warren Commission investigating President Kennedy's assassination to the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. In this excerpt, Specter recounts his arrival in the U.S. Senate just as President Reagan began his first term and he describes the culture of the institution he would call home for three decades.

Oral Histories: Arlen Specter on Robert Bork & Clarence Thomas Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings
Saturday, August 11, 2012     

Arlen Specter died Sunday, October 14th, 2012, at the age of 82. In his 30 years representing Pennsylvania in the U.S. Senate, Specter participated in the confirmation hearings of 14 U.S. Supreme Court nominees. Soon after leaving the Senate in 2011, Specter sat down for a series of oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. In this interview, he recounts his experience as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee as it considered the nominations of Robert Bork and Clarence Thomas.

Oral Histories: Arlen Specter on President Clinton's Impeachment, 9/11, the Patriot Act & the Iraq War
Saturday, August 18, 2012     

Arlen Specter died Sunday, October 14th, 2012, at the age of 82. Specter left the United States Senate in 2011 after a 30-year career. Soon afterwards, he sat down for a series of extended oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Specter reflects on events that take him from his Russian immigrant roots to his involvement in some of this country's most momentous events, from his work on the Warren Commission investigating President Kennedy's assassination to the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. In this excerpt, Specter recounts the events leading up to President Clinton's impeachment, the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Patriot Act and the Iraq War. 

Oral Histories: Arlen Specter on the 2008 Financial Crisis and Health Care
Saturday, August 25, 2012     

Arlen Specter died Sunday, October 14th, 2012, at the age of 82. Specter left the United States Senate in 2011 after a 30 year career. Soon afterwards, he sat down for a series of extended oral history interviews with the Pennsylvania Cable Network. Specter reflects on events that take him from his Russian immigrant roots to his involvement in some of this country’s most momentous events – from his work on the Warren Commission investigating President Kennedy’s assassination to the Senate impeachment trial of President Clinton. We’re airing a selection of these interviews here on American History TV. In this excerpt, Specter talks about the 2008 financial crisis, the health care debate, his cancer diagnosis and his decision to switch political parties.

Oral Histories: Audrey Hamilton & JoeAnn Ulmer
Sunday, June 29, 2014     

At the direction of Congress, the voices and experiences from the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century are being documented in an oral history project. This effort is a collaboration of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Library of Congress and the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This is an interview with Audrey Hamilton and JoeAnn Ulmer who were part of the “St. Augustine Four.” In July 1963, 23 people were arrested after a sit in at a local Woolworth’s lunch counter. Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Ulmer were among four teenagers detained for over four weeks because they refused to promise not to demonstrate. After going to jail, they were sent to reform school for 52 days. These two women relive their experiences and talk about the aftermath of the event for them, their community, and the Civil Rights Movement. 

Oral Histories: Junius Williams
Sunday, June 15, 2014     

At the direction of Congress, the voices and experiences from the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century are being documented in an oral history project. This effort is a collaboration of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Library of Congress and the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From that collection, this is an interview with Junius Williams. Born in the segregated South, but educated in the North – Williams joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the early 1960s to fight for equal rights. He recalls his work with SNCC, his time in jail, a civil rights conference he organized, and his conversations with Malcolm X. This is the first of a two part oral history. 

Oral Histories: Emmett Till's Cousin, Simeon Wright
Thursday, May 29, 2014     

At the direction of Congress, the voices and experiences from the Civil Rights Movement of the mid-20th century are being documented in an oral history project. This effort is a collaboration of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, the Library of Congress and the Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. From that collection, an interview with Simeon Wright who was present when his 14-year-old cousin, Emmett Till, was forcibly taken from his uncle’s Mississippi home by white men on a summer night in 1955. Mr. Wright has written his own account of the events that led to his cousin’s brutal murder – a murder that galvanized the civil rights movement. His book is titled, “Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till.”

Martin Luther King Jr. Interview by Robert Penn Warren
Saturday, March 15, 2014     

Poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren interviewed Martin Luther King Jr. 50 years ago—on March 18, 1964—while researching his 1965 book, "Who Speaks for the Negro?"  This audio interview is copyrighted by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries. It is part of the Robert Penn Warren Civil Rights Oral History Project. 

Oral Histories: LBJ Special Assistant Sherwin Markman
Saturday, February 22, 2014     

C-SPAN3’s American History TV has been airing oral histories from those closest to President Lyndon Johnson as the nation marks the 50th anniversary of his administration. The interviews were conducted by former LBJ speechwriters Harry Middleton and Bob Hardesty and are archived at the Lyndon Johnson Presidential Library. In this interview, Sherwin Markman recalls his experiences as LBJ’s special assistant  from 1966 to 1968, including his civil rights work with the Black Panthers.  

Share This Event Via Social Media
Book TV (late 2012)