The Kerner Commission
July 27, 1967. President Johnson appoints the Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Commission, named after the Chairman Otto Kerner of Illinois). The task of the Kerner Commission is to investigate the recent eruptions of civil disorders in the Nation and make recommendations on ways to prevent such violence in the future.
“So, my fellow citizens, let us go about our work. Let us clear the streets of rubble and quench the fires that hatred set. Let us feed and care for those who have suffered at the rioters’ hands—but let there be no bonus or reward or salutes for those who have inflicted that suffering.
Let us resolve that this violence is going to stop and there will be no bonus to flow from it. We can stop it. We must stop it. We will stop it.
And let us build something much more lasting: faith between man and man, faith between race and race. Faith in each other and faith in the promise of beautiful America.
Let us pray for the day when “mercy and truth are met together: righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” Let us pray-and let us work for better jobs and better housing and better education that so many millions of our own fellow Americans need so much tonight.
Let us then act in the Congress, in the city halls, and in every community, so that this great land of ours may truly be “one nation under God—with liberty and justice for all.” Good night and thank you.”
—The President’s Address to the Nation on Civil Disorders. Read the rest of the speech at the American Presidency Project.
LBJ Presidential Library photos A6106-3, A6109-17, and A6108-8; images are in the public domain.