Then she make another trip there with the two little pigs she got washin and ironin for her boss lady. Prince took my pig he was lettin me fatten in his peanut field. I goes back to him. He was settin on the steps to his porch. I walk on off. So did the other tenants and Mr. He talked around.
I went to Mr. Motley to get his wagon to move. I had stayed in my place and lived in my bounds. You had to be mighty sharp then to make it for your folks. Mighty sharp and straight humble. If one say you steal, whether you steal or not, if somethin is missin you took it. Things was burdenin me. I walked back from Mr. When I come to the black gum tree which was still scarred up from a lynchin that took place when I was a boy, I set down to study this thing out. Prince when his other two tenants left. They was smarter than me. When one of them see what our boss was like, him and his wife and two chilien cleared out just before layin-by time, about July 4.
Me and Emmett, the other tenant, was in the barn. He went to pickin cotton by the hundredweight and made money. Emmett stay till the cotton all picked and the corn gathered and we was bailin hay. It was the last of October when him and Mr. Prince fell out. We had finished everythin but strippin cane. It took me two days to strip the cane and take it to the mill. All one day I chopped the wood for cookin it.
He had got old. So I goes to Mr. It was early in the mornin, and he was at the table pray in. I had to wait the longest for him to get through; then I ask him could I help butcher the cow. After we butcher the cow, I jump over the fence and taken what meat the butcher give me to my wife. We was glad to get it. Then I goes right back to the sugar mill and ask Mr. Prince what do he want me to do. He had promised to pay me in syrup.
So I ask him to pay me in money. He turnt me off. I ask him to let me cut him a cord of wood for an overall jacket to wear the comin winter. I can tie a string around my plantation, and me and my boys can live in it for twelve months. Durin the worst of the panic people was walkin to and fro, up and down the highway. Men would come into the settlement and go from house to house beggin for somethin, anythin to do.
The white people could get a yard cut for thirty cents and hedges clipped for twenty-five cents. In I sold my cotton for five cents a pound. My share of that was two and a half cents. I come acrost him one day settin on the railroad. But he caught them and died. While he was livin him and his people went hungry. It was all stacked up. Just about the time of the panic the tractor come in strong. In just a few years the tractor improved so much it put the mule out of business.
The landowner was quick to take a likin to the tractor. He could buy fertilizer with the money he used to pay hands. Men started walkin the roads lookin for a farm, for a dry place to sleep, and a place to raise somethin to eat. Some would walk weeks lookin for a farm. One day my granddaughter answer a knock at the back door. I goes to find what do he want. Together with him bein white, what scared my granddaughter, I think, is that he was bearded and had a long, poor face.
Do we have any food to give him? She cook them and fry him some bacon and make him some hot biscuits and a pot of coffee. I put a quart of buttermilk in front of him. There was syrup and butter on the table. He finished every bit of it. Then he come and set down in the front room. We was havin a dry spell and I had been haulin water from Abbeville, where he come from. An old, old gentleman come one cold winter night. He was raggedty and patched every which a way. After he got thawed out by the fire, he was settin there talkin. I ask him where was he travelin to.
One day in Hoover times comin home from Kramer along the railway track, I walk up on a fellow sittin in a dugout. We can walk along together.
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When we got nearly to the turnoff for my place, we come on a dead rabbit the train had run over. The man grabbed this rabbit just like it had been alive and was goin to run. He belt it up and smelt it. It will help me travel. When he got to the railway trestle, he stop and wash the rabbit, and I reckon he eat it, because when I left he was buildin a fire.
One Saturday about ten or twelve men, white and colored, was workin on my place with the peanut picker. I had about four tons of hay to haul in before the rain come. A white man named George spoke. The next mornin before day he come back with a truck and woke me up. I paid him five dollars. Him and his wife busted up, and he leave and stay off one or two years. He told me to get up and make a fire. Me and him set and talk. He told about drivin a big transfer truck haulin produce from Florida to Atlanta and how he was goin to bring me some beans.
I was settin up there believin him. Once I ask did he want to take off the overcoat he was wear in, and he say no. I ask myself why he doin it. I give him the quilt. We both go to sleep. When we knowed any thin it was day. I built another fire. I want you to do me a favor. This is a right new suit I got on. He look nice. Helpin your neighbors was different. One lady thank me still. Her husband runned away and lef her with three chilien. Out in the country sometimes it was hard for a lady to get a job.
A lot of the white people cook for theyselves. He let me have food out of his garden and out of his kitchen to feed my chilien, and I love him for it. McLeod was a born burglar. We had about seventy-five chickens my wife had raised that bunched theyselves up on the east side of the house in the shade. One time me and my wife come back from town and driv up in our yard, and there was McLeod settin on the porch lookin at the chickens. Since Mac was a known chicken thief, I walk right straight ta him. Some of them was stickin they heads out of the holes he had cut in the sacks.
I took him in my wagon to Rochelle, where he try to sell them chickens on the street. Some he took ten, fifteen, or twenty cents apiece for. How come he to sell them so cheap was because they was frizzly chickens—with feathers curly like a curlyheaded man. When they young, they look very pretty with curly feathers all over, but they molt and get to look near about half naked. They scratch a lot.
I always said they was scratchin for a livin. But many folks claim they was very good for scratchin up a conjuration somebody had put down in your yard. Frizzly chickens is no different from any other chickens once you get the feathers off. Mac come to spend two or three days with his sister so he could see what his brother-in-law, Rogers Hollis, had. The main thing was one milk cow. He goes to the hands on a big farm. They was goin to buy the cow for seven dollars and butcher it and divide the beef amongst them.
But before they could make up the money, the law come and arrest McLeod. The judge sentence him to twelve months. After Mac was in jail awhile, Mr. Hyatt Wilcox paid his fine and got him out. Wilcox would not pay him in cash but let him take up his wages in groceries at the store. Saturday night Mac was in the habit of takin up enough groceries for two or three people. After pilin up a big debt at the store he runned away.
It was Saturday evenin, and he had slipped back on the Seaboard train that run through there then to see his wife. Somehow the white folks got in the winds of McLeod bein back. I was livin on Mr. It had glass windows and a narrow porch with a rail that run acrost the front of it.
About midnight there was a knock at the door. Whoever was there had come up quiet. I look out the front window.
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There was two men settin on the rail. I walk into the dinin room, where my two sisters was settin up in bed. I look out the dinin room window and there was men in the yard. There was one or two men at every crack that open out my house. I walk into my bedroom.
And my little girl was too small. That give me a little time to study. I had a. I was shakin so bad. I crack open the door. There was a man standin with his back to the wall right next to the door. I look out right into his face. I shot the door back. I open the door, and he come on in. I had one closet. He jump backwards up in that closet. He make a show of lookin around. They run for the car because they knowed there was too many of them for the inside of Mr. Some could hang on to the runnin boards, and the last one or two would have to stick on the hood.
I want him and the other colored families to know the bailiff was comin. They had done got at Homer before they come to my house. I had got to missin my Model T, so in I followed the style and made me a Hoover buggy. To do that you took the front axle of a Model T Ford and the two front wheels, and a lot of folks use the front seat with springs out of the car.
It was drawn by a horse or mule and rode good with rubber tires. Ours come in handy that summer, when Highway was paved. We would go to town and buy groceries and my wife cooked them and I went up and down the highway in our buggy askin the workers which want to order a plate for noontime. And even though there were arguably twice as many people in the newsroom as there are today, because it was a different economic time in this business, there were still people taking off on holidays, and still not people eager to say, "I'd love to work on Labor Day. And it got to the point where they finally said, "Okay, enough.
Taste of Colorado, Labor Day weekend, we don't have that many people. Do you think you can handle it? It was obviously a heavy-hitting assignment [laughs]. But they let me be on the air. I was going, "Yes! I spent Christmas Eve at the airport during a snowstorm — all night long. I think it was probably on the 6 a. But once I became a general-assignment reporter, people would say, "We can't put Kim on Sundays, because something giant is going to happen.
I still remember that. It was massive; they basically had to let it burn itself out, and it burned for days — and I was on-call. After that, a few months went by and a plane [ United Airlines Flight ] crashed into a lake bed in Colorado Springs with twenty-some people on board [in March ].
There was so much controversy about what caused it, which basically turned out to be wind shear — and that was a Sunday, too. A few months later, the United Bank murders happened on Father's Day, on a Sunday — and I was on-call for every one of them. That's how we remember life events, and I remember so many of them that way. Like when people talk about wildfire season, I think, don't tell me it's just a season. Because I remember standing in Boulder in November with raging winds and a huge wildfire [ 's Olde Stage Fire ], and it was Thanksgiving.
A long time; I don't remember how long. The first newscast I anchored was the Saturday morning newscast, when we started that. I think that was in the early Nineties. It was only Saturday, and I'd report for four days a week. Then I transitioned to the weekend nights, and I would still report three days a week. What did you like most about anchoring? Or did it take a while to warm to, given how much you enjoyed reporting from the field?
They both present different challenges. I would not still be in this profession and in this job if I didn't still have the opportunity to go out and report, because I love to meet people, I love to hear their stories. I'm still blown away that they're willing to share their stories with us and trust us with the opportunity to tell it and produce it and give honor to it. That part I still love. But I enjoyed anchoring more because of the people I work with.
I don't have that experience of working in another market, but I do have the experience of working with people who've come from other markets every single day, and they're the ones who tell me, "You have no idea how fortunate you are. I've worked with extraordinary people who've made me look so much smarter and more interesting. There's a little bit of magic and a little bit of luck when they put together a new team. But I can't imagine anyone being more fortunate than me. I've had the chance to work with Mark Koebrich, who was the brother I never had growing up, and with Ward Lucas, who was a really funny and interesting guy.
I've worked with people who've become dear, dear friends over the years. I've worked with Kyle, I've worked with Tom [Green]. I'm winning. Who can I work with who's any better? Every day, I work with a lot of smart, interesting, funny people who make me better. And this is exactly what we are every day: a team. I could not imagine being on TV just by myself every day. It's the team that makes you good. It's the person who's next to you, the one who points something out or challenges you to be a little better, a little smarter, to study up a little more.
It's been number one for decade after decade. Do you have an idea about why that's been the case? I think it's a combination of things. I definitely think you have to put good journalism at the very, very top: being accurate, being reliable, covering breaking news. But I do believe outstanding photojournalism and storytelling make a difference.
That also loops in investigative work. And that really makes a difference. And the third thing — I almost view it as a triangle — is community involvement. It's not just, "The station is going to sponsor this parade. Y'all drop by. Maybe this economy doesn't remind you how fortunate you are to have a job, but I know that years ago, I was reminded every day how fortunate I was to have a job. And it's even better to have a job where you feel like you're making a difference and getting to know people and having the opportunity to use what you do to give back.
It's like a megaphone in some respects, where we're able to raise awareness. We recently did a whole week where almost every show, we did something different related to Alzheimer's in light of Annabel Bowlen's announcement. And it makes me feel good, because there are so many families in this community living with Alzheimer's every day who are feeling that nobody knows what they're going through.
And we've tried to say, "We do. Let's offer you some resources. Here are some things we can do.
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Certainly, my passion has been the fight against breast cancer and some other issues as well. But I really think all those things work together. And it's so important to have great people, without question. Then the station had to slowly change and evolve. Adelle is my mentor, my goddess; she was my best friend in this newsroom. I miss her so much, in so many ways. But when Adele came in here, she rocked this place, and for a lot of good reasons. First of all, nobody was used to seeing a woman on the set, which was crazy, but I'm old enough to remember that. And she could do live reports from the scene like no one ever.
People would go, "Wow.
A Survival Story - Transcript
She's not just reading the words in front of her. I think the bar's set high, and that's the case for every generation that comes in. We've got so many new, bright young people, and that's really exciting. Once Kyle came, I thought right away, "This guy's got it. You mentioned your breast cancer advocacy, and if I've got the chronology right, you actually started working on behalf of the cause prior to your sister being diagnosed.
That's right. The station had sponsored the first couple years of the [ Susan G.
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Komen Race for the Cure ], and a sister station in Florida had started the concept of breast self-exam. I went to my bosses at the time and said, "We should do that, because we're sponsors of the race. My mom had multiple scares; they just weren't cancer diagnoses. But nobody talked about it. It was like our private little family thing. You'd talk to your family or your pastor. But nobody discussed that kind of thing outside of your home.
You didn't say, "Hey, have you done a breast self-exam today? So when I heard about that, I said, "We should do that. We should tie it in to the Buddy Check program. So we started telling different survivor stories and talking to doctors and other people and doing some things on research about breast cancer. And then, three years later, my sister was diagnosed, and it was mind-boggling. It was completely out of the blue. Despite my mom's scares, there was no family history. It just rocked my world. She's my best friend; we were roommates for years and years and years.
And she was the one who said, after two or three months, "I'm good with talking about it if you need to tell people. It was wonderful. People understood what it was like to be the sister. She's just so important to me, and she was willing to share it. We still occasionally do speaking engagements together, and when we do, we talk about how we're really two very different people.
I would have gone with the very first doctors they gave me — the first surgeon and the first oncologist. And she said, "Nope. I'm going to visit two or three. It was really rewarding, and she's doing great. One hundred percent. This was something she caught at the earliest stages. She'd had a mammogram a month before and it hadn't shown up. So it showed how important it is to check everything. She just went in for a routine checkup, and afterward, everyone from her surgeon to her oncologist said it's amazing that it was found in a clinical exam, because it was so small. But it made every bit of difference.
And that's the message. That's the message we try to get out with Buddy Check9. You alluded earlier to how there are fewer folks at 9News than there used to be in the context of the changes in the broadcast-news business. How challenging is it to try to do more than you used to with half as many people? It's really a culture change and a mindset change.
Some things are easier and some things are more difficult. If we have a wildfire, we don't have the staff to send three or four crews to different areas. But on Twitter, we can probably gather more information from the agencies involved than we ever could have with all of that staff.
How you gather your information has changed in many ways. And now reporters are photographers, photographers are reporters. People take on all jobs, which is good and bad, because it makes it challenging with the number of newscasts we put on every day. But it's also great, because you have all those skill sets. Everybody has been taught they're a journalist in this building. If you're working behind the scenes, you're a journalist.
If you're working on the assignment desk, you're a journalist. If you're working on the digital end of things, you're a journalist. Everybody can contribute because people get their news from us now in so many more ways. That's a positive. But the hard part is, sometimes you look around and think, "That's all we've got? We're bringing in extra resources, and that's it?
So it's not the volume of people we used to have. But there's just as much of a focus on quality and the fact that everybody can be a journalist — how we do that, how we approach it, and how we can teach others. And the other really critical part of it is that you can't be trapped into making a mistake when you're part of this, when you're part of a breaking-news situation. It's how things have evolved in so many ways. I'm one of the two or three people who was here when Columbine happened.
I'm one of the two or three people who can tell you those students didn't have cell phones — and they didn't. And they didn't have social media. Things have changed so much, and how we approach that and what we've learned — we learned a lot through that experience. We learned about shooters and how we use their names and the kind of images and video we use in the moments after something like that.
It's good that there are some people who have been here a long time who can say, "Let's not do this. Hold on. Hold back. Doing so many newscasts with fewer people is interesting. But technology has helped us. The equipment has changed. That's good. We're lighter. We can do things with GoPro cameras. We can do a lot of things we couldn't do before.
One of the frequent conversations in the journalism business has to do with the number of stories out there that aren't being covered because there are fewer people to cover them. Do you see that as well, and is it frustrating? It is. You think, if we had a few extra resources to cover this angle of the story or a few more people to go to this important city council meeting or knock on some doors and ask some questions. That part is frustrating. But it's interesting how we gather the stories now that are different than in the past.
We have people communicating with us in a different way, and that sometimes opens up stories we might not have been able to get before. It would have required me to go into a neighborhood and ask friends of friends of friends. But still, it's super-frustrating to think, what if we had extra people to snoop around like this — to be able to investigatively cover more stories, or to do more in politics?
More boots on the ground, more people saying, "Where's the money coming from? But we still invest strongly in investigative reporting, and we try to let them do their thing without having to be beholden to the daily grind of so many newscasts. They're able to do what other journalists can't do when they're meeting the needs of newscasts at four, five, six, nine and ten. When you learned that Adele Arakawa was going to retire , were you immediately interested in stepping into her place, or was there some convincing that needed to be done?
To be really honest, I didn't think I had a chance. I suspected they were doing a long-term search, which I think they did. I don't know; I'm not privy to that information. But I really didn't think I had a chance. I knew I was the longtime person here, and that's it. I'm the Colorado girl who's still here. But I didn't know if they'd consider me. I was pretty surprised; I was shocked, actually. I know this newsroom is really respected around the country, and anytime a job opens up here, people are eager to apply and get their name out and pursue it, or have their agent pursue it.
And I don't have one. Why would I need an agent? Why would I want to leave? I'm the girl who got the chance to be on TV after working all night long in my home town. My family's here. Where was I going to go? I didn't need an agent to convince me to move to Madison [laughs]. I'm happy here. When you were chosen as the lead anchor, and over the time you've been in that role, what vision have you had about what you want 9News to be today?
To say that I was intimidated would be an understatement, just because of my respect for Adele. And I also know that Adele and I have two very different styles. I was completely intimidated when I first started — and I still am some days. You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter s - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
I feel like we're at a really interesting time. One of the things that makes this place special is that we're always trying new things, and I feel like we've been ahead of the curve on a lot of things. For years, people have said, "Newsrooms are shrinking and we've got to evolve. We've got to build the web team" — and everybody scoffed.
But we did it, and all of a sudden, the website became hugely popular. So then it was like, "We've got to build social media, we need to have reporters who can shoot, write and edit. We need to have photographers who can also be reporters. It was viewed with some disdain by a lot of folks. But we said, "We're trying it. We're doing it anyway.
In my heart, I didn't know if people would want me to do the ten o'clock news, because I am that person who wears her emotions on her sleeve sometimes. I have teared up on TV. I also do an afternoon newscast where you can do goofy stuff here and there. So I was concerned about that. But management was really supportive. They said, "All we want you to do is be authentic. Just be you. Be you every day. And I'm also gratified that I get to go out and cover the stories I care about — and I've really been trying to flex new muscles in doing those stories.
Not doing only certain things. But I'm also trying to remember that I can only be the Kim that people know. And if it doesn't work out, it doesn't work out. We have an outstanding team of journalists here. They brought me up, and if they decide, "You know what, Kim? We're ready to move on," I'm good with that. It's been a great run. I've been so blessed. Who else can write that story?