Photographs of My Father
By Paul Spike
At the National Council of Churches, Robert Spike had organized American churches to support the passage of both the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act, to march in Selma and to organize in Mississippi. An important white leader in the black civil rights struggle, he helped the LBJ White House pass legislation and write crucial civil rights speeches. In the midst of what he described as "the dirtiest fight of my life" struggling to save a federal Mississippi education program, he was viciously murdered in Columbus, Ohio. The murder was never solved. Very little effort went into finding the murderer. The Columbus police and the FBI hinted the unsolved murder was connected to Spike’s undisclosed gay life. During his father's rise in the civil rights movement, Paul Spike lived a life typical of a young man in the 1960s, finding his way through a labyrinth of booze, drugs, and girls. At Columbia University, he was active in the 1968 student rebellion and friends with many SDS radicals. That rootless life ended with his father's murder.
About the Creators
PAUL SPIKE is the author of five books. A former editor of Punch magazine, his writing has appeared in many publications, including the Village Voice, The Sunday Times, Vogue, the TLS and The Paris Review. Photographs of My Father was written when he was 23 years old and named one of the best books of the year in 1973 by The New York Times.