Published online by Cambridge University Press: 09 December 2011
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74. ‘Remarks at a Breakfast of the Georgia Legislature,’ May 8, 1964, Public Papers and Addresses of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1963–1964, I: 649.
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78. Ibid., 196. Johnson’s power over Congress had become so great by the summer of 1964 that he was able to pressure Republican minority leader, Charles Halleck, to support a rule that enabled Congress to act on the president’s poverty legislation. See telephone conversation between Lyndon Johnson and Charles Halleck, 22 June 1964, White House Tapes, http://whitehousetapes.net/tapes/johnson/telephone.
79. See, for example, Johnson telephone conversation with Roy Wilkins, head of the NAACP, 2 July 1964, Johnson Tapes. Originally the president and civil rights leaders agreed that he would sign the bill on July 4 to highlight its historic importance. But Johnson was concerned that Republican legislators were heading off to the GOP convention and might not be able to participate in the signing ceremony, thus risking the bipartisan support he had worked so hard to achieve. Wilkins expressed his support for LBJ’s desire to sign the bill on July 2, emphasizing particularly the need to cultivate bipartisanship as “an overwhelming political reason” to act quickly.
80. Memorandum, Lee C. White to Johnson, 13 August 1964, Johnson Library.
81. E-mail to authors from Sherwin J. Markman, a Johnson White House aide, who was heavily involved in resolving the MFDP controversy, 13 January 2004.
82. Johnson also was concerned, even at this early stage of his presidency, that an unruly convention might open the door to a Robert Kennedy candidacy. Markman, written communication.
83. Johnson telephone conversation with Walter Reuther, 9 August 1964, Johnson tapes.
84. Johnson telephone conversation with Hubert Humphrey and Walter Reuther, 25 August 1964, Johnson tapes. On the Mississippi seating controversy, see Mark Stern, “Lyndon Johnson and the Democratization of the Democratic National Delegate Selection Process,” paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, San Francisco, 29 August–1 September 1990. Johnson was kept apprised of the Democratic National Committee’s implementation of the 1964 convention’s call for greater participation; given the tight reins the White House kept on the committee, these activities certainly would not have gone on without the president’s approval. See Memorandum, Marvin Watson to LBJ, 19 April 1967, Marvin Watson Files, Johnson Library. As became clear at the 1968 convention, the rule was no paper tiger. Having found no evidence that the Mississippi Democratic party had “complied with either the spirit or the letter” of the convention call prohibiting racial discrimination, the Credentials Committee voted overwhelmingly to bar the Mississippi regular delegation from its seats. A biracial delegation, including many members of the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Party, was seated in its place. See Sidney M. Milkis, The President and the Parties: The Transformation of the American Party System Since the New Deal (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 210–16.
85. Johnson Telephone conversation with Martin Luther King Jr., 15 January 1965, Johnson Tapes.
86. Kotz, Nick, Judgment Days: Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Laws That Changed America (Boston, 2005), 267.Google Scholar As Kotz notes, King was elated with the president’s expressed support for the marchers’ cause.
87. Lyndon B. Johnson, “Special Message to Congress: The American Promise,” 15 March 1965, www.lbjlib.utexas.edu.
88. In 1963, Johnson mentioned FDR’s 1938 purge campaign to Kennedy aide Theodore Sorensen. Johnson recalled that FDR had attempted a failed “purge” in the 1938 primary campaigns, trying to replace conservative southern and border-state Democrats with 100 percent New Dealers who were committed to economic reform. The president’s moral commitment to civil rights, LBJ believed, should not be expressed in an effort to purge southern Democrats, but, rather, through an appeal to their consciences: “I think the President could do this in North Carolina or some place. I’d invite the congressmen and senators to be on the platform. . . . I’d have him talk about the contributions that they had made and then I’d say, ‘Now, we have a problem here. No Nation—a hundred years ago in the Lincoln-Douglas debate, Lincoln said, No Nation can long endure half slave and half free.’ Now no world can long endure half slave and half free and we’ve got to do something about it in our own country.” Telephone conversation between Lyndon Johnson and Ted Sorensen, 3 June 1963, George Reedy Office Files, Johnson Library.
89. Martin Luther King Jr., The Autobiography of Martin Luther King, Jr., 288.
90. John Lewis, with D’Orso, Michael, Walking with the Wind (New York, 1998), 340Google Scholar; see also Kotz, Judgment Days, 312. Johnson showed a less poetic, more practical side to Lewis in asking for the civil rights movement’s help in implementing the Voting Rights Act. Inviting the civil rights leader to meet privately with him in the Oval Office prior to signing the legislation, LBJ told Lewis earnestly, “Now, John, you’ve got to go back and get all those folks registered. You’ve got to go back and get those boys by the balls. Just like a bull gets on top of a cow. You’ve got to get them by the balls and you’ve got to squeeze, squeeze ‘em till they hurt.” “I’d heard that Lyndon Johnson enjoyed talking in graphic, down-home terms,” Lewis later acknowledged, “but I wasn’t quite prepared for all those bulls and balls” (346).
91. Lewis, Walking with the Wind, 340.
92. Johnson’s enormous ambition, invested in the bold commitment to create a Great Society, could hardly be indifferent to world affairs. “History has a peculiar ability to forget what a president does at home and judges him on the size of his impact on the world beyond his shores,” Bill Moyers wrote in a memo to Johnson in June 1965. This “irony of judgment” would determine Johnson’s place in history. “Some president, some day, will come along and pass programs topping the Great Society—the country will have greater needs than today and he will have more GNP to use in solving them.” Moyers’s memo concluded, “But no president is likely again to have the chance to redeem Southeast Asia from Red China—or keep the Communists out the Caribbean—or save the U.N.” Memorandum: Moyers to LBJ, 21 June 1965, Office Files of Bill Moyers.
93. Memoranda, Hayes Redmon to Bill Moyers, 27 November 1965 and 30 November 1965, in ibid.
94. As Kotz notes, both Kennedy and Johnson “failed to recognize a significant historical reality. The Communist Party’s fifty-year campaign to recruit African Americans to its cause had been a colossal failure.” Kotz, Judgment Days, 236.
95. Johnson telephone conversation with Martin Luther King, 20 August 1965, Johnson Tapes.
96. Kotz, Judgment Days, 353.
97. Richard Goodwin, Speech Draft, May 1965, White House Central File: SP 3-93, Box 172, Johnson Library; Johnson telephone conversation with King, 20 August 1965, Johnson tapes; Lyndon Johnson, “Commencement Address at Howard University: ‘To Fulfill These Rights,’” 4 June 1965, Public Papers of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965, 2:636.
98. Johnson telephone conversation with King, 20 August 1965.
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104. The openly segregationist campaigns in Arkansas and Maryland did not succeed because pro–civil rights majorities formed behind the moderate Republican candidacies of Winthrop Rockefeller, Nelson’s brother, and Spiro Agnew, a big Nelson supporter, respectively. See Paul Hope, “New Faces Mark Victory of Republicans,” Washington Star, 9 November 1966.
105. Interview with Harry McPherson, Sidney M. Milkis, 30 July 1985.
106. Public Papers of the Presidents: Lyndon B. Johnson, 1967, 2 vols. (Washington, D.C., 1968), 1:721, 723.
107. In June 1965, James Rowe, who ran Johnson’s 1964 campaign, informed the president that the Office of Economic Opportunity was “giving instructions and grants to local private groups for the purpose of training the Negro poor on how to conduct sit-ins and protest meetings against government agencies, federal, state and local.” Johnson passed this memo on to Bill Moyers, with a pointed note: “For God’s sake, get on top of this and stop it at once.” Memorandum, James Rowe to the President, 29 June 1965, White House Central File: Aides, Moyers, Johnson Library. Shriver “started a damn revolution,” LBJ complained to Richard Daley a few months later. Telephone conversation with Richard Daley, 24 December 1965, Johnson Tapes.
108. On the Johnson administration’s attempt to craft a “new” liberal coalition, see Milkis, Sidney M., “Lyndon Johnson, the Great Society, and the Modern Presidency,” in The Great Society and the High Tide of Liberalism, ed. Milkis, and Mileur, Jerome (Amherst, 2005).Google Scholar
109. As LBJ privately told Hubert Humphrey in the spring of 1968: “I could not be the rallying force to unite the country and meet the problems confronted by the nation . . . in the face of a contentious campaign and the negative attitudes towards [me] of the youth, Negroes, and academics.” W. W. Rostow, Memorandum of Conversation, Participants: The President; the Vice President; Charles Murphy; W. W. Rostow, 5 April 1968, White House Famous Names, Box 6, Folder: Robert F. Kennedy, 1968 Campaign, Johnson Library.
110. Following R. Shep Melnick, by “civil rights state” we mean “not just the abstract rights and policies announced by the courts, Congress, and federal agencies, but the dense institutional structures developed over the decades to define the meaning of such key terms as “discrimination” and “equal opportunity,” to establish detailed guidelines for the many public officials and private parties subject to civil rights laws, to monitor their compliance, and to impose sanctions on those who fail to comply.” R. Shep Melnick, “The Great Debate over the Civil Rights State,” paper presented at the American Enterprise Institute, 12 May 2010.
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113. Ibid., 462–63. On the critical role that the courts played in mounting the civil rights state, with special attention to the rewriting of Title VII, see Frymer, Paul, “Acting When Elected Officials Won’t: Federal Courts and Civil Rights Enforcement in the U.S. Labor Unions, 1935–85,” American Political Science Review 97, no. 3 (August 2003): 483–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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