November 3, 1966. 1:06 PM. LBJ signs the Demonstration Cities Bill and the Clean Water Restoration Bill, saying: 




"Clean streets and clear rivers—could anything really be more basic to a Great Society? Could anything really be more vital to our children?

I have signed many bills in the 3 years that I have been President. I will sign perhaps a thousand this year. But none has given me greater pleasure than the ones that we are about to sign this afternoon. For they are proud additions to the legacy of a greater America.” 



Photo of Kingman Boys and Girls Club (opened 1968) on Kingman Place, NW, Washington D.C., by rockcreek via Flickr Creative Commons. Full text of signing statement here. 

November 3, 1966. 1:06 PM. LBJ signs the Demonstration Cities Bill and the Clean Water Restoration Bill, saying: 

"Clean streets and clear rivers—could anything really be more basic to a Great Society? Could anything really be more vital to our children?

I have signed many bills in the 3 years that I have been President. I will sign perhaps a thousand this year. But none has given me greater pleasure than the ones that we are about to sign this afternoon. For they are proud additions to the legacy of a greater America.” 

Photo of Kingman Boys and Girls Club (opened 1968) on Kingman Place, NW, Washington D.C., by rockcreek via Flickr Creative Commons. Full text of signing statement here

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.

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.

December 14, 1965. The Outside Task Force on Urban Affairs and Housing, tasked by LBJ to investigate the causes of the riots in Watts, submits its report to the President. Their statement of “the urban problem”: 

“-the great dimensions of unmet housing needs: some 7 million urban families live in homes of such disrepair as to violate housing code standards of major cities.
-the growth of population: 2 million new units of housing are needed each year for the foreseeable future—an increase in the volume of production 25% greater than has ever been achieved before.
-the chronic inability of the country to provide low income housing of adequate quality at a reasonable price…
-the special problem of the poor and the Negro unable to move freely from racial ghettos and subject to heavy exploitation in the costs they pay for the  necessities of life: 3 our of 10 slum houses are now occupied by Negroes, and at high rent levels the proportion of Negro families living in substandard housing is six times greater than that of white families. 
-the inability of metropolitan areas to deal with the movement of people and goods, in particular the failure to provide adequate mass transportation for families who do not own an automobile or where use of private vehicles is unnecessary  uneconomical, or socially undesirable. 
-increasing pressures on municiple costs…
-unnecessary and unwarranted restrictions for the suburban American as well—expressed in uniformity in housing choices, excessive costs of community facilities and services, gross deficiencies in recreation and leisure time opportunities. 
—for all metropolitan residents, urban and suburban alike, unnecessary costs imposed by lengthy journeys to work, growing dangers from water and air pollution.”

Report, “Outside 1965 Task Force on Urban Affairs and Housing”, 12/14/1965, Task Force Reports, Box 3. LBJ Library. Map: Los Angeles Metro, today. 

December 14, 1965. The Outside Task Force on Urban Affairs and Housing, tasked by LBJ to investigate the causes of the riots in Watts, submits its report to the President. Their statement of “the urban problem”: 

-the great dimensions of unmet housing needs: some 7 million urban families live in homes of such disrepair as to violate housing code standards of major cities.

-the growth of population: 2 million new units of housing are needed each year for the foreseeable future—an increase in the volume of production 25% greater than has ever been achieved before.

-the chronic inability of the country to provide low income housing of adequate quality at a reasonable price

-the special problem of the poor and the Negro unable to move freely from racial ghettos and subject to heavy exploitation in the costs they pay for the  necessities of life: 3 our of 10 slum houses are now occupied by Negroes, and at high rent levels the proportion of Negro families living in substandard housing is six times greater than that of white families. 

-the inability of metropolitan areas to deal with the movement of people and goods, in particular the failure to provide adequate mass transportation for families who do not own an automobile or where use of private vehicles is unnecessary  uneconomical, or socially undesirable. 

-increasing pressures on municiple costs

-unnecessary and unwarranted restrictions for the suburban American as well—expressed in uniformity in housing choices, excessive costs of community facilities and services, gross deficiencies in recreation and leisure time opportunities. 

for all metropolitan residents, urban and suburban alike, unnecessary costs imposed by lengthy journeys to work, growing dangers from water and air pollution.”

Report, “Outside 1965 Task Force on Urban Affairs and Housing”, 12/14/1965, Task Force Reports, Box 3. LBJ Library. Map: Los Angeles Metro, today.