Fidel Castro

William Worthy

William Worthy

On his 1964 album, “All the News That’s Fit to Sing,” Phil Ochs released “The Ballad of William Worthy,” a two-minute, 12-second recounting of the strange tribulations of a reporter for the Afro-American.

Worthy had gone to Cuba in 1961, two years after the revolution. He interviewed Fidel Castro, but when he tried to return to the U.S., where he was born in 1921, the State Department detained him. He was sentenced to three months in prison, though his conviction was overturned later. A young William Kunstler served on his legal team.

Worthy was traveling without a passport.

The State Department had declined to renew Worthy’s passport after he had...