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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs



LBJ School Pays Tribute To Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy

President Johnson and Dr. King

In celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs offers historical pictures, letters, and recorded phone conversations between Dr. King and President Johnson as they planned their campaigns for passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. All materials on the page are available for public use.



Photos

View a slideshow of President Lyndon B. Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

LBJ & MLK Writings
President Johnson and Dr. King

November 28, 1963 - Just days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sent a telegram from Atlanta, Georgia, to President Johnson at the White House. The telegram followed an address President Johnson made to a joint session of Congress.

Dr. King: "May I assure you that you have my personal support and that of my organization in the challenging task of swift passage of civil rights legislation and all of the other progressive measures that will bring us nearer to a realization of the American dream."(excerpt)

December 2, 1963

September 28, 1964 (page 1) (page 2)

October 16, 1964

March 16, 1965 - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. sent a telegram from Selma, Alabama, to President Johnson at the White House. The telegram was sent after the March 7th civil rights march in Selma that became known as "Bloody Sunday"; demonstrators were beaten by police on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On March 9th, Dr. King led a group again to the Pettus Bridge to pray. Dr. King wrote the telegram following the President's speech to a joint session of Congress in which the President denounced the violence in Selma, called for a law eliminating barriers to voting, and told America "We Shall Overcome."

Dr. King: "You evidenced amazing understanding of the depth and dimensions of the problems that we face in our struggle, your tone was sincere throughout and your persuasive power was never more forceful - we are ready to join with you in a quick passage of the voting bill."(excerpt)

March 18, 1965

August 7, 1966

Audio Conversations between President Johnson and Dr. King
Formats Date Description
MP3 icon November 25, 1963 Dr. King and President Johnson spoke a few days after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. President Johnson and Dr. King pledged to work together to accomplish the goals of the late President; President Johnson invited Dr. King to meet him at the White House.
MP3 icon November 5, 1964 President Johnson called Dr. King to discuss the War on Poverty program; the future of civil rights legislation; President Johnson thanked Dr. King for his support and the support of the Negro community.
MP3 icon January 15, 1965 Dr. King praised President Johnsonís State of the Union speech; they discussed legislative strategy for the Great Society bills; Dr. King asked President Johnson about appointing a Negro to the Cabinet; President Johnson discussed efforts to make the Housing Department head a Cabinet post and talked about appointing Robert Weaver to that position.
MP3 icon January 15, 1965 President Johnson emphasized the importance of voting rights; the President asked Dr. King and Negro leaders to publicize the worst examples of voter registration injustices; President Johnson asked Dr. Kingís help in passing Great Society Bills, they discussed the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
MP3 icon July 7, 1965 Dr. King called President Johnson to express concern about legislative progress on the voting bill; they discussed Southern Republican opposition; Poll Tax issue; and differences in House and Senate bills.
MP3 icon July 7, 1965
(Part 2)
Dr. King praised the Presidentís message to Congress on the Voting Rights Bill; President Johnson offers to send Dr. King copies of the speech; President Johnson asks Dr. King to call Roy Wilkins to build support for the bill.
MP3 icon August 20, 1965 President Johnson and Dr. King spoke about close votes in Congress on the poverty bill; Dr. Kingís meeting with California leaders; need for federal programs to alleviate poverty; the White House civil rights conference; Dr. Kingís views on Vietnam policy; and peace efforts.
Press

The New York Times Week in Review - "Phone Call Into History" by Mary Jo Murphy - January 27, 2008

Bill Moyers Journal - Moyers on Clinton, Obama, King and Johnson: A Bill Moyers Essay - January 18, 2008

Washington Post - "It Took a Partnership" - Op-Ed by Joseph A. Califano, Jr. - January 15, 2008




For more information on the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. please go to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center at www.thekingcenter.org.

Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum

LBJ Centennial Celebration - www.lbj100.org