Who killed Paul Guihard? Part 2 (podcast)
As protests against police brutality and racism roil the United States, AFP remembers one of its own, reporter Paul Guihard, the only journalist killed during the US civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s.
Below please find a 2019 podcast on our investigation into his killing, which remains unsolved.
When President Kennedy delivered the first sentence of his address to the nation in the early evening of September 30, 1962, “James Meredith is now in residence on the campus of the University of Mississippi,” he didn't know that US marshals who had come under attack from protesters all afternoon on campus had started to fire teargas.
Soon a riot exploded on the scene, fueled by hundreds of segregationists who had come to Ole Miss from other states to “defend” it against the enrollment of its first African-American student. AFP reporter Paul Guihard and photographer Sammy Schulman split up to cover the unrest. They had no idea that Guihard would never return alive.
The second episode of our podcast retraces the aftermath of the riot and Paul Guihard’s murder as well as the admission to Ole Miss of James Meredith. It also looks at the various investigations of Paul Guihard’s death from 1962 to 2011, when his file was closed by the US Department of Justice.
Episode 2: Beneath the Mississippi Moon, Somebody Better Investigate Soon
Sidna Brower, who in 1962 was the editor of the Ole Miss student newspaper “The Mississippian,” recalled the events following her editorial calling for law and order. Brower, then 21, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for the piece.
“This is an appeal to the entire student body and to anyone concerned with the present situation. Not only do the students chance forfeiting their education by participating in riots, but they are bringing dishonor and shame to the University and the State of Mississippi…”
The picture above is one of the most famous images of James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. Surrounded by federal forces and news photographers, he arrived on campus on October 1, 1962. Some 300 journalists covered the event.
We didn’t find the pictures taken during the riot by AFP photographer Sammy Schulman, neither at Paris headquarters nor the New York bureau. What happened to them ? We know that Schulman took a few rolls of pictures, since Sidna Brower said she was in the darkroom with him when he was developing the film and they both learned that Guihard had been killed.
Schulman’s name often appears on the contact sheets that AFP has of the Kennedy presidency. He was one of AFP photographers who covered the Kennedy inauguration on January 20, 1961.
The photo above is of Paul Guihard’s 1962 French press card. It was found in a file of Guihard documents at AFP’s Washington bureau that also included his French and British passports as well as official papers and a newspaper clipping. When reading it, I discovered an article of Greenwich Village’s “The Villager” that said Guihard had produced a 1962 drama called “The Deck Chair” which was played during a five-month run at Cafe Bizarre at West 3rd Street in New York City. The one-act comedy play is about a shipwrecked sailor and an exiled officer who destroy themselves on a tiny island because of the officer’s intransigence.
A memorandum of the United States government on Guihard’s case was one of many documents that were declassified, but with the names of the witnesses deleted.
A manuscript note on top right reads “Re: Pierre Salinger statement.” Salinger was an American journalist who served as a White House Press Secretary for Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Salinger, whose grandfather was a member of the French parliament, was very popular on French television from the 1970s to his death in 2004. He was one of the favorite American guests of French news programs, especially during US elections. His loud voice and strong American accent were very distinctive. Salinger, who was a francophile, spent his later years and died in Provence, southern France and was interred at the Arlington National Cemetery.
The AFP interactive team in Paris, Laurent Kalfala, Yana Dlugy, and the journalists who lent their voices to the “Who killed Paul Guihard?” podcast are proud to pay tribute to their colleague killed in 1962. Paul Guihard is the third name on the list of the 23 AFP journalists and employees killed on duty and one two whose deaths remain unsolved…
Who killed Paul Guihard? is a production of the Interactive Graphics Team at AFP. Design by Fred Bourgeais and Jacky Fong; illustrations by David Lory; text editing by Yana Dlugy; file pictures by Cecile Cadel.
Thanks to Gina Doggett, Abhik Chanda and Yana Dlugy for their voices in the second episode and to the AFP Washington bureau for the documents.
The podcast was produced by Laurent Kalfala.
Listen to episode one, The Civil War Never Came to an End.