This Is What LBJ Did When He Heard that MLK Had Been Killed


LBJ meeting with civil rights leaders Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Whitney Young, and James Farmer in the Oval Office in 1964.

On April 4, 1968,
LBJ observed: “The world that day seemed to me a pretty good
place.”

But, as he prepared
to attend a Democratic fundraiser that evening, a note arrived
reading: “Mr. President: Martin Luther King has been shot.”

Shortly after,
another message came: “Mr. President: “Justice has just advised
that Dr. King is dead.”

LBJ lamented, “I rarely have felt
that sense of powerlessness more acutely than the day Martin Luther
King, Jr., was killed.”

Immediately,
Johnson started planning a special address to a joint session of
Congress to present a comprehensive program for African-Americans.
LBJ told Califano, “We’ve got…

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