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Johnson, Lyndon B. (Lyndon Baines)

b. 1908 - d. 1973

Lyndon Baines Johnson, 36th U.S. president (1908-1973), assumed the presidency after John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. Johnson went on to win the 1964 election, with strong support from Dr. King. Johnson did not seek re-election in 1968, choosing unity over the bitter division surrounding the Vietnam War. Johnson was responsible for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He nominated Thurgood Marshall to be the first African American justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. Though cordial, the relationship between Johnson and Dr. King was often strained. King appreciated Johnson’s generally positive position on civil rights, but King’s vocal opposition of the Vietnam War created challenges for the Johnson Administration.

Associated Archive Content : 231 results

A Christian Movement in a Revolutionary Age

In this address, Dr. King fuses the philosophies in the Old and New Testament regarding revolutionary social change. He argues that the most creative and constructive revolutionary force for change is one that combines the Old Testament’s “righteousness and justice that flow down like a mighty stream” with the New Testament’s call to love one’s enemies and bless those who persecute you. He asserts that God has been working actively since the time of Moses for the freedom and perfection of people and society. Dr.

American Education: Segregation, Northern Style

This article from American Education focuses on the problem of de facto segregation in Northern and Southern cities that results from discrimination in housing and contributes to further housing discrimination and minority unemployment. De facto segregation is as detrimental as legalized (de jure) segregation. The author provides an overview of efforts around the country to eliminate segregation in public schools and some of the difficulties encountered.

American Journal: Let Justice Roll Down

Carey McWilliams writes to Dr. King to inform him his article, "Let Justice Roll Down," was included in the American Journal, a publication by the US Information Service aimed at representing opinions and current subjects of interest in the United States. This edition, published in 1965, was he 5th year in a row Dr. King had contributed an article describing the tempo of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.

American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa Memorandum

Theodore Brown, Executive Director of the American Negro Leadership Conference on Africa, provides a progress report on ANLCA's work on Nigeria, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and Southwest Africa (now Namibia). He mentions that the group offered to help the Nigerian federal government and the four regions mediate the conflict that resulted in the Nigeria-Biafra Civil War (1967-1970).

An Appeal by Puerto Ricans for Fair Treatment

This document reviews the economic, political, and cultural disparity of Puerto Ricans. The authors explain the history of American imperialism in Puerto Rico and how Puerto Ricans have been mistreated in the United States, particularly in New York. Criticizing the Vietnam War, the authors suggest focusing the funding used abroad on community building.

Anonymous Letter to MLK

This note, signed "A white citizen who likes good Negroes," warns that President Johnson is no friend to the Civil Rights Movement, only supporting African American voting rights to earn more votes for his reelection. It is unclear if both sides of this note were written by the same author. Both discuss how they are conscientious objectors, although they object to an integrated society, writing that "[No] high-class, intelligent persons (politicians excepted) will accept the Negro when he has an axe to grind."

Anonymous Letter to MLK

Dr. King received this letter from an individual who urges that both poverty and the Vietnam War should be ended by helping Americans and building up communities, and then sending peaceful volunteers to South Vietnam to do the same. The author, who has several family members in the service, chooses not to sign their name, fearing retribution, and states that they wish to broadcast this message around the world.

Anonymous Letter to MLK

This letter, signed "A Malaysian Citizen," expresses the author's hatred of African Americans. In addition to urging for their genocide, the author states that African Americans ought to be grateful that they are no longer enslaved. The author tasks the recipients of this letter, including Dr. King, Stokely Carmichael, and President Johnson, to circulate it widely in order to express what he claims are the Malaysian views of the 20th century.

Anonymous Letter to Mrs. King following MLK's Assassination

This letter was written anonymously to Mrs. Coretta Scott King following the televised funeral of Dr. King. The author questions the nerve of Mrs. King to be in mourning, stating that she is no Jackie Kennedy and calling the entire thing a farce. In addition to accusing "The Black King," presumably Dr. King, of planning to burn D.C. and then swoop in to save the city, the author states their desire for African American leaders to receive "a belly full of lead."

Anonymous Letter to President Johnson

The anonymous sender of this letter urges President Lyndon B. Johnson to take action to fund programs in order to get people in school or at work in order to quell rising tensions in cities filled with people dissatisfied with their social and economic positions.

Anonymous Telegram to President Johnson

This telegram, intended for the White House, was sent regarding the treatment of a former African American Secret Service agent, Abraham Bolden, at the federal medical center in Springfield, Missouri. The sender states that President Johnson ought to follow the United States Constitution and restore Mr. Bolden's freedom or face consequences.

Around The World Pilgrimage Proposal

Mr. W Emerson Smith appoints Dr. King and Mr. Abernathy as leaders of a proposed pilgrimage around the world. Mr. Smith outlines the estimated costs and planned itinerary along with profits for the SCLC.

Atlanta Workshop in Nonviolence Newsletter

This newsletter, Volume I Number 4, is published by Henry and Sue Bass of Atlanta. They write about the Atlanta Peace Parade, an anti-Vietnam protest to take place on August 6, 1967. The Atlanta Peace Parade would become the south's first major peace parade, about which the Basses write President Johnson was worried, calling for counter-demonstrations.

Bayard Rustin: Goals and Strategies

In this speech, given before Bowdoin College in 1964, Bayard Rustin outlines the basis of civil rights issues currently being fought for. He argues that man must come together as one and face the problem with our society, and that African Americans see the problems with society more than other races because they are struggling to bring civil rights and social change to all.

Boston Sunday Herald: Martin King Discusses. . .

In Boston Sunday Herald article, Dr. King shares his views on mayoral candidate Mrs. Louise Day Hicks, Senator Edward Brooke, and the President's stance on the Vietnam War. Dr. King is adamant enough on the latter issue that he remarks he may change his policy regarding neutrality in elections.

Catholic Interracial Council's JFK Awards Dinner Honoring MLK Brochure

This brochure outlines the Catholic Interracial Council's (CIC) John F. Kennedy Awards Dinner honoring Dr. King, to be held on October 29, 1968. In addition to describing the mission of the dinner, the brochure adds a description of the CIC and a biography of Dr. King. Also included is an article and photo from Dr. King's visit with Pope Paul VI.

Chicago Daily Defender: SCLC Aide Makes Spirited Capital March Call Here

The Chicago Daily Defender published this article about Rev. Ralph Abernathy's visit to Chicago to promote the Poor People's Campaign. According to Abernathy, "Come this summer, thousands of poor Americans are going to take their burdens to the White House and they'll leave them with LBJ."

CIC Press Release: Hilliard to Head Catholic Testimonial for MLK

The Catholic Interracial Council releases a statement announcing Raymond M. Hilliard as the Chairman of the 1964 John F. Kennedy Award Dinner. During the event, Dr. King will be honored for his leadership and dedication to the civil rights struggle. Hilliard, whom President Johnson named to the National Citizens Committee for Community Relations to advise on the implementation of civil rights legislation, called Dr. King's work "inspired and truly Christian" and said that the CIC was honored to celebrate him.

Comments on John F. Kennedy by MLK at the Berlin Festival

Dr. King gave this speech at the Berlin Freedom Festival in Berlin, West Germany, in memorial to the recently assassinated President John F. Kennedy. Dr. King reflects on the personality, achievements and enormous influence Kennedy had on the world. He highlights Kennedy's commitment to international human rights, which included recognition of Negro rights, and his leadership in concluding the atmospheric nuclear test ban treaty.

Congressional Record: The President's Housing Bill, or, How To Succeed in Politics Without Really Trying

Senator Charles Percy forwarded this article, published in the Congressional Record, to Dr. King. The article discusses President Johnson's attempted housing referendum, known as the Fair Housing Bill, in March of 1968.

Declaration of the World Council of Peace on Vietnam

The World Council of Peace issued this press release declaring their position against the Vietnam War. They state that they are pro-peace and against American oppression and that President Johnson is ignoring their peace proposals.

Democratic National Convention Platform Committee Statement

In this statement delivered August 22, 1964, Dr. King outlines three urgent priorities for the Committee and the party as a whole: enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, furthering voting rights and the war on poverty. He asks that the platform include a recommendation that a panel of voting rights marshals be established and that the Convention support a Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged.

Detroit Free Press: Dr. King Strengthens an Anti-War Coalition

This article, which appeared in the 'As We See It' column of the Detroit Free Press, reports Dr. King's speech in New York from April 4, 1967 on his opposition to the Vietnam War.

Do the Following to Keep National Attention Focused on Selma

Dr. King composes a list of activities that will keep national attention focused on Selma. Written on Waldorf Astoria Hotel stationary, the list includes measures such as contacting top level government officials like President Johnson, organizing a march, and enlisting the help of celebrities. Dr. King concludes the list by emphasizing "We must insist that voting is the issue and here Selma has dirty hands."

Dr. Spock Joins King in March

Pediatrician and anti-war activist Dr. Benjamin Spock and Dr. King lead thousands of individuals throughout the streets of Chicago in objection to the Vietnam War. Both Dr. King and Dr. Spock express their dissatisfaction with President Johnson's focus on Vietnam rather than the war on poverty.

Draft of MLK's An Open Letter to Negro Youth

In an open letter to Negro Youths, Dr. King urges them to stay committed to the nonviolent principles of social change in their plight to gain broad access to education and employment.

Draft Statement of Reverend Dr. MLK Jr.

This statement, not written in Dr. King's hand, responds to Joseph Alsop's syndicated column in the New York Herald Tribune. Dr. King clarifies that SCLC has no affiliation with the Communist Party. He also states the SCLC has not continued a relationship with Jack O'Dell since he was relieved of his responsibilities.

Eartha, Verbal Tempest, Flies to Los Angeles

This article references statements made by entertainer Eartha Kitt during a White House luncheon for women. Kitt expressed her concerns about the impact of the Vietnam War on American families and their sons.

Economic and Social Bill of Rights

The SCLC calls for an economic and social bill of rights to demand the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for African Americans. It would include the right of every employable citizen to a decent job, the right of every citizen to a minimum income, the right to a decent house in a neighborhood of choice, the right to an adequate education, the right to health care, and the right to full participation in decision-making.

Face the Nation Interview

This is a transcript of an August 1965 interview of Dr. King on the CBS television news program Face the Nation. King is asked to comment on numerous issues facing American society including the conflict in Vietnam, civil rights, housing and birth control.

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