August 22, 1967. LBJ meets with Walter Washington, Chairman of the New York City Housing Authority, and LBJ’s pick for the new Mayor-Commissioner of Washington, DC. Washington will be the very first African-American Mayor of a large U.S. city. The President calls upon the Mayor of New York—and the First Lady—to help make Washington a success. According to the Daily Diary, LBJ tells Lady Bird:

 “”We talked to Walter and he says he wants to try the job, and now we’re going to see [New York] Mayor Lindsay and see if he can help make the transition easier. And then we’ll depend on you to help Walter to do it. I don’t want him on my neck. You get his wife and you all get on that crime thing.’” 

Top: Walter Washington, via Wikipedia: Bottom. Mayor Lindsay—check out his body language!—and LBJ in their meeting that day. LBJ Library photo # 6380-7, public domain. 

August 9, 1967. The House of Representatives votes down, 160-244, a resolution to disapprove LBJ’s proposed reorganization of Washington, DC. The resolution therefore stands. Republicans split, 110-64 for the resolution and against the home-rule plan, as did southern Democrats (47-39 for the resolution/against the plan). Supporters of home rule argued that denying residents of the capital, a city 65% black, was a violation of civil rights, and the majority of the House agrees. 
With the failure of the resolution, for the first time, the nation’s capital will have some measure of representative government. The President will appoint a city commissioner, to be known as Mayor, a deputy commissioner, and a nine-member council. They replace the three-member commission that previously ran the District, and affords more representation for the diversity of the city. Now the fight moves to the proportion of whites and black that LBJ will appoint, and who will hold the position of Mayor. LBJ hopes that this measure will be only an interim plan until Congress passes home rule, and residents can elect their own representatives, but this will not happen in 1967.
Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. XXIII, 1967, p. 1024-1026. Photo via US Marines. 

August 9, 1967. The House of Representatives votes down, 160-244, a resolution to disapprove LBJ’s proposed reorganization of Washington, DC. The resolution therefore stands. Republicans split, 110-64 for the resolution and against the home-rule plan, as did southern Democrats (47-39 for the resolution/against the plan). Supporters of home rule argued that denying residents of the capital, a city 65% black, was a violation of civil rights, and the majority of the House agrees. 

With the failure of the resolution, for the first time, the nation’s capital will have some measure of representative government. The President will appoint a city commissioner, to be known as Mayor, a deputy commissioner, and a nine-member council. They replace the three-member commission that previously ran the District, and affords more representation for the diversity of the city. Now the fight moves to the proportion of whites and black that LBJ will appoint, and who will hold the position of Mayor. LBJ hopes that this measure will be only an interim plan until Congress passes home rule, and residents can elect their own representatives, but this will not happen in 1967.

Congressional Quarterly Almanac, Vol. XXIII, 1967, p. 1024-1026. Photo via US Marines

June 19, 1967. Larry Levinson writes this memo for Tom Johnson about whether to hold a White House Conference for Mexican-Americans, and whether or not Puerto Rican representatives should be included. The debate over whether or not to hold a Mexican-American conference along the lines of “To Fulfil These Rights” on civil rights has been going on for much of 1967.
Memo, 6/19/67, “HU  2 6/16/67-6/30/67 EX” White House Central File, Subject File HU Box 5.

June 19, 1967. Larry Levinson writes this memo for Tom Johnson about whether to hold a White House Conference for Mexican-Americans, and whether or not Puerto Rican representatives should be included. The debate over whether or not to hold a Mexican-American conference along the lines of “To Fulfil These Rights” on civil rights has been going on for much of 1967.

Memo, 6/19/67, “HU  2 6/16/67-6/30/67 EX” White House Central File, Subject File HU Box 5.

June 14, 1967. LBJ’s aide Marvin Watson receives this memo about Stokely Carmichael’s trip to the USSR. 
Memo, “HU  2 6/16/67-6/30/67,” White House Central File, Subject File HU, Box 5, LBJ Library.

June 14, 1967. LBJ’s aide Marvin Watson receives this memo about Stokely Carmichael’s trip to the USSR. 

Memo, “HU  2 6/16/67-6/30/67,” White House Central File, Subject File HU, Box 5, LBJ Library.

June 13, 1967. LBJ meets with Solicitor General Thurgood Marshall just before announcing his nomination to the Supreme Court. LBJ takes these notes during their meeting.

Early that morning, LBJ had a frank conversation with Attorney General Ramsey Clark about Marshall, asking questions like, “Is he well-liked by staff?” and inquiring as the origin of the negative things he’s heard (begins about 1:55). Clark’s response, at 2:20, is that he “doesn’t fit the mold…he’s a big, easy-going very humane type of person.” 

Photo: #C5706-1, public domain. Notes, Handwriting File, “June 1967, [3 of 3],” Box 27, LBJ Library. 

…no matter how we articulate this, no matter which theory of the Due Process Clause or which emphasis we attach to, no one can articulate it better than Richard Loving when he said to me, ‘Mr. Cohen, tell the Court I love my wife and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia’.

On April 10, 1967 Mr. Bernard S. Cohen made these arguments before the Supreme Court in the case of Loving v. Virginia. Hear the arguments at the Oyez Project.

On June 12, 1967 the Supreme Court decided in favor of the Lovings, thus striking down laws prohibiting interracial marriage. In its decision, the Supreme Court wrote, “Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.”

June 9, 1967. LBJ swears in Vicente T. Ximenes to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ximenes is the first Mexican-American on the committee, which is responsible for enforcing federal laws prohibiting discrimination. LBJ acknowledges the significance of the appointment, which is covered extensively by the Mexican-American press and in Mexico as well. He also uses the opportunity to announce a focus on Mexican-American issues within the Great Society: 

"Today, I am releasing a special Cabinet report which tells the story of new opportunities that have been created for more than 5 million Mexican-American citizens.

It shows how far government, business, labor, and community leadership still must go to turn the slogan of opportunity into the fact of reality….

I am going to establish today the highest level committee a President can create, a Cabinet committee on Mexican-Americans…. and I am going to ask Mr. Vicente T. Ximenes to serve as the chairman of that committee.” 

Meanwhile, there is growing activism by the Chicano civil rights movement in the Southwest. In Texas strife continues between striking Mexican-American farmworkers and the Texas Rangers, who they accuse of excessive force and illegal arrests. Just six days ago the farmworkers union filed suit with the Justice Department after Governor John Connally declined to intervene. In New Mexico, ten members of the land-grant activist group La Alianza have been arrested. La Alianza’s declared mission is the return of Spanish and Mexican land grants that were lost after Mexican American War: the group staged an armed raid on the Rio Arriba County courthouse on June 5. At the time of LBJ’s speech, there is an intense manhunt ongoing for Reies Lopez Tijernia, the group’s leader.

Top: LBJ congratulates Ximenes on his appointment, LBJ Presidential Library photo C5654-12A. Bottom: Reies López Tijerina and California Brown Berets in 1969, by Mark Bralley via the High Country News

See also LBJ’s full speech, more on La Alianza in the journal Antipode, and LBJ and Mexican Americans, by Julie Leininger Pryor (Austin UT-Austin Press, 1997). The papers of Reies Tijerina are available at the University of New Mexico.

LBJ proposes half a loaf of self-rule for Washington, DC

June 1, 1967. LBJ submits a plan to provide for some measure of self-rule, but not full home rule, for the District of Columbia. The fight for home rule in the nation’s capital has been going on since the 1940s, and LBJ has been advocating for it since 1965. Supporters have met significant resistance, in part due to white fears of home rule in a majority-black city.

By framing it as a reorganization, the President will be able to bypass the House District Committee, on which several members oppose the bill, in favor of the friendlier Government Operations Committee. Reorganizations cannot be amended by Congress, although they can be rejected by resolution within 60 days. This approach, although it will not result in the full home rule that LBJ advocated in his 1966 State of the Union, is a good example of the President’s belief in politics as the art of the possible. 

"The proposed reorganization is in no way a substitute for home rule. As I stated in my Message on the Nation’s Capital, the plan: 

'will give the District a better organized and more efficient government … but only home rule will provide the District with a democratic government—of, by and for its citizens.'

I remain convinced more strongly than ever that Home Rule is still the truest course. We must continue to work toward that day-when the citizens of the District will have the right to frame their own laws, manage their own affairs, and choose their own leaders. Only then can we redeem that historic pledge to give the District of Columbia full membership in the American Union.”

President Johnson’s Special Message to the Congress Transmitting Reorganization Plan 3 of 1967: Government of the District of Columbia. 

May 2, 1967. More than two dozen members of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense stage an armed invasion of the California State Assembly, interrupting legislative debate in the second-floor chamber. They denounce a proposed gun control bill and the police, and then Panther chairman Bobby Seale reads from their manifesto: 

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense believes the time has come for Black people to arm themselves against this terror before it is too late.” 

After reading the manifesto, the Panthers leave the chamber. Twenty-six members of the group are quickly arrested four blocks away.

The Panthers were founded in October 1966 in Oakland by the six men pictured. Top left to right: Elbert “Big Man” Howard; Huey P. Newton (Defense Minister), Sherman Forte, Bobby Seale (Chairman). Bottom: Reggie Forte and Little Bobby Hutton (Treasurer). Photos via Wikimedia Commons.

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.

President Johnson’s Remarks at a Ceremony Marking the 100th Anniversary of Howard University, March 2, 1967.

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.”

 

LBJ Library photos C4615-17 and C7518-13a, public domain.  

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.”