March 16, 1967. LBJ has a meeting with his National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity. Attendees listed in the Diary include:
- Mr. Morris Leibman, Chairman - Chicago Attorney
- Rev. George Davis - Washington, D. C. (Pastor National City Christian Church)
- Mr. Otto Eckstein - Harvard Professor (former member of CEA)
- Dr. Hector Garcia - Corpus Christi. Texas
- Mr. Jesse C. Kellam - Austin. Texas - KTBC-TV, Austin
- Dr. Walter Lane - Temple Terrace, Florida
- Hon. Theodore McKeldin - Mayor of Baltimore
- Mrs. Robert McNamara
- Mr. Albert Rains - Attorney, Gadsden, Alabama
- Mr. David Sullivan - Pres. , Building Service Employees Int’l Union
- Mr. Cato Valandra, President of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, Rosebud, So. Dakota
- Hon. Louis Welsh - Mayor of Houston .
- Mr. Whitney Young - Executive Director National Urban League
- Hon. Horace Busby - 1225 19th St. , N. W. , Wash, DC
- Rev. John P. Cody - Archbishop of Chicago
- Sargent Shriver
- Hon. Chas. Schultze - Director, BOB
- Harry McPherson
LBJ Library photos: A3834-2a, before the meeting begins: A3834-30, Mrs. Robert McNamara (L) and Whitney Young (R) in conversation. Harry McPherson (behind Young) and another Council member look on; Whitney Young (at right) in conversation with an unidentified Council member. All public domain.
I came here 20 months ago, on a late afternoon in June, to say ‘Freedom is not enough. You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: Now you are free to go where you want, and do as you desire, and choose the leaders as you please ….
‘The task is to give 20 million Negroes the same chance as every other American to learn and grow, to work and share in society, to develop their abilities—physical, mental and spiritual, and to pursue their individual happiness.’
I have come back here to Howard today to renew my commitment to that task, and to remind you and to tell you again that so long as I live, in public or private life, I shall never retract or retreat or amend that commitment.
In this passage LBJ is referring to his famous speech at Howard on June 4, 1965, in which he called for “not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.”
February 28, 1967. LBJ announces that he will nominate Ramsey Clark as the new Attorney General. Ramsey Clark’s father, Tom Clark, is currently a Supreme Court Justice: in a conversation with Ramsey Clark last month, on January 25, the President asks point blank (at about 4:01): “Do you think you can be Attorney General with your daddy on the Court?”
Tom Clark will resign shortly after the President announces the appointment of his son. LBJ now has a vacant spot to fill. The same January 25 telephone conversation hints strongly at his likely choice: Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall.
Ramsey Clark speaks highly of Marshall. That part of the conversation begins around 1:59, when LBJ asks about Marshall’s record and Clark explains that the Solicitor General considers it part of his job to argue “even the losers.” They go on to discuss the kind of Supreme Court Justice that Marshall would be, whether he would be “in the pocket of the liberals, 100% of the time,” to which Clark replies that on some kinds of cases, other than civil rights, Marshall would likely reflect “an older generation’s attitudes.”
Barbara Jordan recalls her first meeting at the White House on Feb. 13, 1967 (about 20 seconds from beginning of recording):
“Of course, everyone in Texas knew that Lyndon Johnson was a premier political figure in Texas. But when I was in the Texas State Senate—I served in the senate from January of 1967 until 1972 when I went to the Congress—Lyndon Johnson was president of this country, and I received a telegram at my home in Houston from Lyndon Johnson. The telegram was to the effect ‘we are having a meeting at the White House’ or having several people to discuss the future of a bill which was pending in the Congress. This bill was regarding changes in housing legislation to infuse that legislation with a civil rights component. And this telegram asked if I would meet at the White House to discuss this legislation, and it concluded, ‘Present this telegram at’ some gate of the White House.
“Well, I was, of course, quite startled to receive a telegram from the President of the United States asking that I come to Washington to talk about anything! I said, “Well, I guess I will go.” And I took the telegram—I was in Houston when I received the telegram—came back to Austin for the senate and showed it to my colleagues in the senate. I said, ‘You see, I’ve got an invitation to go to Washington.’ They were kind of excited about just the prospect. Now at the time, John Connally was governor of Texas, and I hadn’t had very good relations with Mr. Connally, but here was this invitation to the White House, so I went.
“At that time you would fly to Washington to Dulles Airport and then you would take a limousine, which is really a bus, to Twelfth and K Streets at the Albert Pick Motel or Hotel. Then you take a taxi to where you wanted to go. So I flew to Washington. I got the bus to the Albert Pick. I took my bag—I wasn’t staying overnight so I didn’t have much luggage, and I put whatever I had in a locker at the Albert Pick transfer point, got a taxi and went to the White House, presented my telegram and got in, just like magic.
“I went up to what I now know was the Cabinet Room. There were other people assembled, people who were active in the civil rights movement. We sat and waited around a table for the President and the Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, to arrive. Well, as I sat there really at the far end of the table, I still said to myself, ‘Now, Lyndon Johnson probably doesn’t know who I am or what I am about, and my name probably just slipped in somehow and got into that [list].’ So the President came in, everybody stood up. He sat down, we all sat down, and we started to discuss this legislation, fair housing legislation.
And the conversation was going around the table. The President would call on first one person for a reaction and then another person for a reaction. Then he stopped and he looked at my end of the table, he said, ‘Barbara, what do you think?’ Well, I just … in the first place, I’m telling you, I didn’t know the President knew me, and here he’s looking down here saying ‘Barbara’ and then saying, ‘What do you think?’ So that was my first exchange with Lyndon Johnson. I’m startled. I got myself organized, of course, not so that I wouldn’t stammer, since it is not my habit to stammer when talking, and I gave a response and then this conversation ensued.”
February 13, 1967. 2:02 PM. The Daily Diary records that the President, Vice President, and various aides met in the Cabinet Room with:
- Sec’y John Gardner [Health, Education, and Welfare]
- Sec’y Robert Weaver [Housing and Urban Development]
- Hon. Stephen Shulman, Director, EEOC
- Roy Wilkins, Executive Director, NAACP
- A.Philip Randolph, Vice-President, AFL-CIO
- Dorothy Height, American National Red Cross
- Clarence Mitchell, Director Washington Bureau, NAACP
- Rev Patrick A. O’Boyle, Archbishop of Washington
- Father Theodore M. O’Boyle, Pres., Notre Dame University
- Andy Biemiller, Legislative Director, AFL-CIO
- Barbara Jordan, first Negro member of Texas Senate
- John Doar, Civil Rights Division, Dept. of Justice
- Roger Wilkins, Community Relations Service, Dept. of Commerce
- Postmaster General Lawrence O’Brien
- Rev. Walter E. Fauntroy, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
- Whitney Young [President, National Urban League]
- Hon. Ramsey Clark, Acting Attorney General
- Hon. “Steve” Pollack, Advisor for National Capital Affairs
“[They] discussed proposals under consideration by the Administration; the Pres. invited those participating to exchange views with him on each of those proposals; they exchanged ideas about economic problems, education and health, employment, legislative problems.”
Photo #C4510-16 [L-R: Andy Biemillier, Barbara Jordan, John Doar], C4510-22 [Whitney Young], C4510-19 [Dorothy Height] C4510-22 [Whitney Young].
February 12, 1967. Lincoln’s Birthday. LBJ lays a wreath at the Lincoln Memorial and says a few words:
“So Lincoln began his troubled journey towards a new concept which would go beyond theories of black power or white power; beyond the ancient blinders of racism to the establishment of a multi-racial community in which a man’s pride in his racial origins would be wholly consistent with his commitment to the common endeavor.
“He died before he had the opportunity to give voice to this vision.
“We can never know what course history would have taken had Booth’s bullet not brought down this towering political saint and stoked the fires of vengeance.
“We do know that it has taken more than a century for us as a nation to assert the ideal that Lincoln had barely formulated.
“It has required the hard lessons of a hundred years to make us realize, as he realized, that emancipating the Negro was an act of liberation for the whites.”
President Johnson, Remarks at a Ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial. February 12, 1967. LBJ Presidential Library photos 9896-O, 9896-J by Abbie Rowe of the National Park Service. Public domain.
to shooting James Meredith in Mississippi on June 6, begins serving his sentence. His sentence is for 5 years, with 3 years suspended. He had originally plead not guilty on the grounds that his constitutional rights had been violated by the inclusion of black people on the county jury.
October 10, 1966. Home rule for Washington, D.C. fails for the final time in the 89th Congress, when a cloture motion to forestall a Southern filibuster falls short by 11 votes. The nation’s capital city will continue to have no local representative government and no representation in Congress. While home rule bills passed both the House and Senate in 1965, the differences between the bills proved irreconcilable both in 1965 and in 1966. LBJ considered home rule in majority-black DC to be a civil rights issue, and he had urged the adoption of the Senate bill in his 1966 State of the Union.
The battle for home rule had launched a new activist group headed by Marion Barry, the Free D.C. Movement. Some other civil rights groups, though strong supporters of home rule, were put off by the new Movement’s aggressive tactics. Staunchly aligned against home rule were Southern Senators like LBJ’s old friend Richard Russell and some powerful local organizations like the Board of Trade. LBJ’s ardent supporter—and sometime critic —Senator Wayne Morse had attached the home rule bill to a college aid bill in a last-ditch attempt at passage, but despite the support of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, among others, home rule proponents will have to wait until the next Congress to try again.
Photo by Rob Shenk via Flickr Creative Commons.
September 27, 1966. Hunters Point, a predominantly black section of San Francisco, erupts in a riot. Compared to Watts, or, especially, the riots to come in 1967 and 1968, the violence is relatively mild: it only lasts 128 hours, and no one is killed.
Two days later, however, LBJ tells Robert McNamara that he has received a frantic 2AM phone call from San Francisco’s mayor asking for help in finding work for the city’s young black men. (Listen to the LBJ-McNamara conversation here: this discussion begins at about 5:45.) LBJ has asked his staff to see if there might be work available around the defense industry, such as in the Navy Yards.
Then, at about 6:46, LBJ describes the impact the riots are having on support for civil rights: “These people are…these old dogs won’t hunt any more.” LBJ blames rioters for “a great revulsion taking place” against civil rights. While this is especially true in the south, LBJ adds that “the Daleys are awfully bitter” and that places like Chicago and New York are also becoming less hospitable to federal civil rights actions. LBJ refers to “my Demonstration Cities bill,” which was a bill currently before Congress that proposed an ambitious plan to partner with local governments in tackling urban problems. The fight over model cities is heated, but the bill becomes law in November.
Photo via FoundSF.
Fair housing march, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, 1966 (James Groppi, center).
We’re recapping the top 12 most-liked and most-reblogged photos we posted in 2012. #11 was one of the dramatic images of Civil Rights activists selected by guest curator Mark Speltz, who provided an overview of Milwaukee’s Civil Rights movement for us in January 2012.
When we posted this photo last January, a reader asked if we could identify the other people marching with Groppi. Activist Margaret Rozga (wife of Father Groppi) identified several: “Unfortunately most of the people on the picture have died. The woman on the left is Carol Butler, the tallest person is Duane Tolliver. The person in the sunglasses behind Carol Butler may be Forthune Humphrey. The woman behind the two Youth Council men on the right (with her right hand up at her forehead) is Vada Harris.”
In 2007, Rozga published an article about the “March on Milwaukee” in the Wisconsin Magazine of History.
September 5, 1966. The march on Cicero, Illinois, proceeds despite Dr. King’s withdrawal. This eight-minute video from the Chicago Film Archives shows the 250 marchers, including many white supporters, flanked by several thousand members of the National Guard and Cook County police. Around the 5:20 mark, the tensions between the marchers and angry protesters flare up: this rage is what city and state officials were afraid of—and the reason Cook County Sheriff Ogilvie called marching in Cicero “awfully close to a suicidal act.” The tenor of the marchers, as well, some of whom can be seen to be gesturing to and interacting with the crowd, indicates the shift from Dr. King’s vision of nonviolence.
August 26, 1966. Martin Luther King and members of the SCLC meet with Chicago officials, including Mayor Daley, to finalize a program to end segregated housing there. The Open Housing Summit Agreement, available in full here, included promises by the Chicago Housing Authority to build more public housing, and by the Mortgage Bankers Association agreed to make mortgages available without racial prejudice. The agreement passed unanimously.
Before the passage of the accord, Dr. King had announced a march in Cicero, reputedly one of the toughest and most segregated Chicago suburbs. Dr. King now wants to call off the march, but other members of the movement (notably Monroe Sharp of SNCC) have vowed to proceed. Meanwhile, ominously, newspapers (like this Denver Post article from August 26) are reporting a growing “white backlash.”
My state, as other states in the north, has very difficult problems in the field of civil rights. I cannot come here to Mississippi and say that our hands are clean. We have done too little. We started quite late. The Negro in Boston, to our shame, goes to a segregated school, holds an inferior job, and lives in one of the worst parts of our city. Progress has been made, some important programs just in recent days, but we have a long way to go. So I am delighted that this organization is extending its work to the cities up north. We need your help up there too.
August 5, 1966. Martin Luther King is attacked while leading a march against de facto housing segregation in Chicago’s predominantly white neighborhoods of Marquette and Gage Parks.
Despite the presence of city police in riot gear, the marchers were hit with rocks, bricks, knives, and cherry bombs. Dr. King was hit by a fist-sized rock behind the ear. Also targeted were members of Catholic and Jewish clergy who accompanied the marchers: Father George Clements was beaten by a group of people until police intervened. Police reinforcements hurriedly helped the marchers escape from Marquette Park while marchers’ car windows were smashed, sugar poured into gas tanks and vehicles set alight.
Above: Marquette Park in 2006. Today, according to Chicago’s Official Tourism site, these neighborhoods are two of the most diverse in the city. Photo by samuelalove via Flickr Creative Commons.