July 28, 1967. Rostow sends this memo to President Johnson regarding growing violence in China related to the Cultural Revolution. In a memo that Rostow received from Alfred Jenkins on July 21st, Jenkins reported:
“The pace of social disintegration in China at present is even greater than it was in January and February. Evidence from many sources gives a picture of turbulence and confusion, in varying degree, but in each of the 26 provinces of China!”
—memo, Jenkins to Rostow, 7/21/67, #49, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967,” Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
—scanned document memo, Rostow to LBJ, 7/28/67, #47, “CHICOM - Cultural Revolution, July - December 1967, Files of Alfred Jenkins, National Security File, Box 2, LBJ Presidential Library.
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.
LBJ Signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - Fifty Years Ago Today
On this day in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex in public accommodations such as hotels, theaters, parks, restaurants, and other public places.
The act also authorized the withdrawal of Federal funds from programs that practice discrimination. It discouraged job discrimination through the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Additionally, it authorized the Attorney General to bring lawsuits against schools practicing segregation, and made the Commission on Civil Rights a permanent organization.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others behind him. East Room, White House. 7/2/64.
-from the LBJ Library
Plus more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Don’t miss the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit in Google’s Cultural Institute
Teaching resources at The Struggle for Rights in America, via DocsTeach
Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, was a major debate for decades in the U.S. Congress. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy urged Congress to take action. Passage of the act was not easy. We’ll be exploring some of the key moments for the Civil Rights Act throughout the day.
Shortly after President Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and urged them to pass Civil Rights legislation to honor Kennedy’s memory. He said,…no memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long. We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. We have talked for one hundred years or more. It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law.”
President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Address to a Joint Session of Congress, 11/27/1963, Records of the U.S. House of Representatives
On July 2, 1964, with Martin Luther King, Jr., directly behind him, President Lyndon Johnson scrawled his signature on a document years in the making—the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislation.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on, 07/02/1964. (The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)
The first and the signature pages of the act will be on display at the National Archives Rubenstein Gallery in Washington, DC, until September 17, 2014. These 50-year-old sheets of paper represent years of struggle and society’s journey toward justice.
The most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction era, the Civil Right Act finally gave the Federal Government the means to enforce the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The act prohibited discrimination in public places, allowed the integration of public facilities and schools, and forbade discrimination in employment.
But such a landmark congressional enactment was by no means achieved easily…
Plus more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
- Don’t miss the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit in Google’s Cultural Institute
- Events at the National Archives in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act
- Teaching resources at The Struggle for Rights in America, via DocsTeach
- See all the pages of the Civil Rights Act in the National Archives online catalog
The Johnson “Treatment”
Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall, President Lyndon Baines Johnson used his imposing stature as one tool in his own brand of political persuasion, known as the Johnson “treatment.” LBJ used his “treatment,” shown in the photograph above, to intimidate, badger, flatter, or plead in order to achieve his political goals.
President Johnson and Louis Martin at the reception for Democratic National Committee Delegates, April 20, 1966
This photo is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
During the recent #Signatures tweetup for the “Making their Mark” exhibit, we coaxed exhibit curator Jennifer Johnson (r) and designer Amanda Perez (l) into re-enacting the scene. It was a little tricky for everyone to keep a straight face, but they were great sports!
Our own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will introduce President Carter tonight at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is hosting the summit on April 8, 9, and 10.
You can watch the panel discussions and keynote address live on their website: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/updates/
The keynote speakers include President Barack Obama and three former Presidents: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on the evening of April 10.
Learn more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in our new Google Cultural Institute exhibit, which includes videos, letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, and high resolution photos.
Image: LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Serial Number: A1030-17a Date: 08/06/1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
As detailed in his official daily diary, President Lyndon Johnson received word of the shooting shortly after 7 p.m. that evening. After learning of King’s death, Johnson called Coretta Scott King and later addressed the American people on television.
President’s Daily Diary Entry, April 4, 1968, 04/04/1968 - 04/04/1968
Welcome Back to Earth!
Six days after Astronaut John Glenn orbited the Earth in the Friendship 7 capsule, he rode in a parade with his family and Vice President Lyndon Johnson in Washington, DC.
Washington, DC, Astronaut John Glenn and Mrs. Glenn with their Children Ride with Vice President Johnson in the Washington Parade, 02/26/1962
Happy Year of the Horse!
Two terra cotta tomb sculptures of men on horses, 05/09/1967
From the series: Artifacts Relating to the Life and Presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.
From the Scope & Content description:
Each figure is made of glazed and unglazed terra cotta. They were excavated near Sian, capital of Shensi Province and given to President and Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson from President and Madame Chiang Kai-Shek of the Republic of China. The artist is unknown.
(From the holdings of the lbjlibrary.)
On January 18, 1966 Robert C. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member when he was sworn in United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Secretary Weaver was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson five days earlier on January 13, 1966.
Photograph of Swearing In of Robert C. Weaver as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 01/18/1966
Robert Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet Member
Today in history, January 13, 1966, Robert C. Weaver was nominated as Secretary of Housing and Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member when he was sworn in as head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on January 18 of that year.
Photo: Informal gathering after the Swearing-In of Dr. Robert Weaver and Dr. Robert Wood as Secretary and Under Secretary respectively of Dept. of Housing and Urban Affairs. Photo ID #A1765-20A.
-from the LBJ Library
The War on Poverty
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty. In his Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, LBJ outlined his plan to alleviate poverty in America.
LBJ believed that the most effective way to “win the war on poverty” was to introduce legislation, programs, and tax cuts that would result in a Great Society, giving all Americans — not just the poor and underprivileged — a better quality of life.