Martin Luther King and Three U.S. Presidents : NPR
If the meeting takes place it would be the first ever between leaders of the “ President Trump has said for some time that he was open to talks and Pak Song-il, North Korea's ambassador to the UN, praised Kim for his March 9, . We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported. U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with Republican and Immigrants' rights demonstrators march in protest of President We want to drill down and see if there is some room for negotiations," a White House official said. How to see the songs and artists you listened to most on Spotify in Neighbors Lyrics: I guess the neighbors think I'm sellin' dope, sellin' I just wanna talk to the man Even when the president jam your tape.
The decisions that have been made in Washington these past six years, and the problems that have been ignored, have put our country in a precarious place. America's faced big problems before. But today, our leaders in Washington seem incapable of working together in a practical, commonsense way. Politics has become so bitter and partisan, so gummed up by money and influence, that we can't tackle the big problems that demand solutions.
In a video posting, announcing his candidacy for President of the United States 16 January There are countless reasons the American people have lost confidence in the President's Iraq policy, but chief among them has been the administration's insistence on making promises and assurances about progress and victory that do not appear to be grounded in the reality of the facts.
We have been told we would be greeted as liberators. We have been promised the insurgency was in its last throes. We have been assured again and again that we are making progress and that the Iraqis would soon stand up so we could stand down and our brave sons and daughters could start coming home. We have been asked to wait, we have been asked to be patient, and we have been asked to give the President and the new Iraqi Government 6 more months, and then 6 more months after that, and then 6 more months after that.
I have also tried to act responsibly in that opposition to ensure that, having made the decision to go into Iraq, we provide our troops, who perform valiantly, the support they need to complete their mission. I have also stated publicly that I think we have both strategic interests and humanitarian responsibilities in ensuring that Iraq is as stable as possible under the circumstances.
Finally, I said publicly that it is my preference not to micromanage the Commander-in-Chief in the prosecution of war. Ultimately, I do not believe that is the ideal role for Congress to play. But at a certain point, we have to draw a line. At a certain point, the American people have to have some confidence that we are not simply going down this blind alley in perpetuity.
When it comes to the war in Iraq, the time for promises and assurances, for waiting and patience is over. Too many lives have been lost and too many billions have been spent for us to trust the President on another tried-and-failed policy, opposed by generals and experts, opposed by Democrats and Republicans, opposed by Americans and even the Iraqis themselves.
It is time to change our policy. It is time to give Iraqis their country back, and it is time to refocus America's effort on the wider struggle against terror yet to be won. Our troops have done all that we have asked them to do and more. But no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war, nor settle the grievances in the hearts of the combatants.
It is my firm belief that the responsible course of action - for the United States, for Iraq, and for our troops - is to oppose this reckless escalation and to pursue a new policy.
This policy that I've laid out is consistent with what I have advocated for well over a year, with many of the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and with what the American people demanded in the November election. When it comes to the war in Iraq, the time for promises and assurances, for waiting and patience, is over. Too many lives have been lost and too many billions have been spent for us to trust the President on another tried and failed policy opposed by generals and experts, Democrats and Republicans, Americans and many of the Iraqis themselves.
The notion that as a consequence of that [ Congressional] authorization, the president can continue down a failed path without any constraints from Congress whatsoever is wrong and is not warranted by our Constitution. Interview on Iraq with the Associated Press 30 January I recognize there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity, to this announcement.
Announcement of Candidacy for President of the United States. We are distracted from our real failures and told to blame the other party, or gay people, or immigrants, and as people have looked away in frustration and disillusionment, we know who has filled the void. The cynics, the lobbyists, the special interests, who've turned government into only a game they can afford to play.
They write the checks while you get stuck with the bill. They get access while you get to write a letter. But the Israelis must trust that they have a true Palestinian partner for peace. That is why we must strengthen the hands of Palestinian moderates who seek peace and that is why we must maintain the isolation of Hamas and other extremists who are committed to Israel's destruction.
Of the Arabic call to prayer — as quoted in "Obama: Man of the World" by Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times March 6, In Africa, you often see that the difference between a village where everybody eats and a village where people starve is government. One has a functioning government, and the other does not. Which is why it bothers me when I hear people say that government is the enemy.
And I had a contact in the White House and I just thought that the president was - President Kennedy was going too slow and I'd always tell him, Ralph - his name was Ralph Dungan - Ralph, tell the president this, tell the president.
Finally, he said, you know this stuff, I don't know this stuff, write him a memo, I'll give it to him. A few days after, I wrote this memo, terrified, terrified to criticize the president, I was summoned to the White House to see the president's counsel -very elevated human being, the White House counsel.
And I walked into see Mr. And I said, yes, sir. That's - that is at true story. As soon as the other ones you're going to tell. So your question was? Well, getting back to - from the point of view of somebody who's in the movement, I guess there are people like you in the Justice Department in the Johnson administration, who might be seen as allies, at the same time J.
Edgar Hoover was still running the FBI. Edgar Hoover was busily investigating people for all kinds of things as were later find out. You could - when I was in the Justice Department, you could only surmise it. You could only believe that there were some proofs somewhere that Hoover was doing things that the administration - that really were at odds with what the administration was trying to do.
I did know that Hoover did not like my organization - with a small community services agency, lots of blacks and a few Latinos and people dressed the way people dressed in those times. Hoover sent a memo to the White House saying that I was running a black power cell… Soundbite of laughter Mr.
You knew that he had a fixation on communism, and you knew that his analysis of civil rights was laced with that obsession. What you didn't know - what I didn't know until late - was that he had a secret obsession with Martin Luther King. And so - but Hoover and I, we - Hoover did not come to executive meetings with the attorney general, I think he and I saw each other only twice.
But stepping outside of that… Mr. Could you see - as somebody looking inside of that it's a little hard to figure out? Are these people our friends or are they our enemies? My assumption was that Hoover was our enemy simply because he had a - well, the FBI had to be pushed and wiggled into working the south on the Ku Klux Klan and the murders of Schwerner, Chaney, and Goodman.
They - John Door, the assistant attorney general for civil rights, had to devise a very brilliant but time-consuming worksheet for his agents to follow in order to get information that we needed and that any good professional investigative organization would have done without being pushed. So we knew that there wasn't friend in the house, in that house. We're talking with Roger Wilkins, who served as assistant attorney general in the Johnson administration; Lee White, former assistant special counsel to President Kennedy and former special counsel to President Johnson about Martin Luther King and the presidents.
Selma to Montgomery: Martin Luther King and the march for freedom
Coming up next, we want to hear from you. If you were part of the civil rights movement, how did you view the role of government? Did you see it as an ally or as an obstacle or as both? Our number is E-mail is talk npr. It's Martin Luther King Day, of course, and we're on this holiday talking about King's unique relationships with three presidents - Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson. Our guests here in Studio 3A were both eyewitnesses and participants.
Roger Wilkins, the assistant attorney general in the Johnson administration. Lee White, assistant special counsel to President Kennedy and then later special counsel to President Johnson. If you'd like to join the conversation, If you go back to those days, did you see the administration as an ally or as an obstacle? And let me ask you, Lee White. When was it that Martin Luther King himself - you mentioned this group of people that - of leaders that President Kennedy met with early on his administration.
But when was it that he started to notice Martin Luther King especially? Well, there's an absolutely perfect answer to that. It was in August in in the March on Washington. And there were a number of fine speeches made.
It's in the - I'm sure in the anthology of great speeches. I happen to - this was the March on Washington in August A couple of hundred thousand people assembled on the mall in front of the Lincoln Memorial. And the administration was very antsy about this. We weren't all that comfortable about what was going to happen. So it was being monitored very carefully. As the program went on, I was in the Oval Office with President Kennedy, and all of a sudden, we were watching the King speech.
And that was the thing that propelled him out of the pact of leaders into a position of great influence in this country and obviously much deserved. But it was that powerful speech which we hear repeated frequently and which should be because it's one of the great turning points. And it also had the effect of putting Dr. King in a position where he could be a leader of the - not only the black world but the whole world - in the United States, which led, of course, to the rhubarb we have these days of who is more important than getting the Civil Rights Acts passed?
Well, it was a package. There was an inspiration and that was an implementer. I thought he was very skilled at getting legislation enacted and who, by the way, was - used the assassination of President Kennedy as a ramming rod to push it through Congress, and he did and it was a tribute to the martyred president. Now, here's the clip that you're talking about. 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.
And in that moment when, perhaps, the tremendous political collateral that President Johnson had. Nevertheless, this was not easy and not quick. But - Bobby Kennedy testified nine days before Congress on that bill. But it was - things were reeling and President Johnson's skills were in a very clear view. For example, he knew how to deal with Everett Dirksen, the minority leader from Illinois, Republican from Illinois, the minority leader in the Senate, and also Congressman McAuliffe ph from Ohio, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, and so, he got some support from them.
And he was prepared to share the credit as long as he got what he wanted, which was the passage of the Act. President Kennedy had an observation that seemed to me to be appropriate for some of the conversations we've had lately.
He said, you know, defeat is an orphan and success has a thousand fathers. If we didn't worry too much about who got credit, we'll get, perhaps, more done.
I wonder, Roger Wilkins, if you again had another vantage point of that period of time. The urgency of now - the Reverend King was talking about in - you've already said you've certainly felt that. Nevertheless, as you looked at those political difficulties that are faced by President Johnson, what do you think? Well, first of all, I think that there was a huge difference between Presidents Kennedy and Johnson that as a young man in his early 30s I didn't really fully understand.
The Kennedys were wealthy Bostonians. And they know black people are poor people, which just wasn't in their frame of reference or in their lives. When Johnson became president, even though I've been critical of President Kennedy, I was really distressed that this Southerner. I've been born in the south and I grew up in the north, and hearing a southern accent out of a white mouth always troubled me.
This Southerner - da-da-da-da-da. He said, just stop. I know this man. I worked with him on the Civil Rights Act. I know his heart's in the right place and I know he will lead us well.
I didn't - I took my uncle's judgment with several grains of salt. As I grew older, I understood that he was exactly right. Johnson knew poor people as he was growing up.
Johnson knew minority people as he was growing up. He knew their problems in ways that Kennedys could not have know their problems. And so what I experienced as a young person working for him was that despite my abhorrence of the war, that on every other front, my admiration for him just grew.
Hail to the Chief
Until after we were out of the government, I ran into him several years after we're out of the government, and he said, well, how are you? And I said fine. And he said, you're writing for the Post. That's a great thing to do. We need voices to speak up. I said, well, why don't you speak up, Mr. He said, you think anybody would listen to me, he said, yes - I said yes. If you spoke out, you'll have the second - you still have the second biggest voice in the country.
He says, who could I get to help me?
Cal Songs ~ University of California Marching Band
I said, get McElroy ph. You guys have known each other since the '50s. You're the same generation. You like each other. He says, that's a good idea.
Sometime later, I learned that my uncle and his wife were had been invited down to the Johnson Ranch. He - my uncle then told me when he got back that they - that the president wanted ideas for a speech and that they had long conversations.
Subsequently, as he was dying, the LBJ library was opened and dedicated and its Civil Rights papers were received. And against his doctors' advice and his wife's advice, Lyndon Johnson got up and he made what I consider to be the best Civil Rights speech made in the United States in the whole decade of the seventies.
So his heart was right exactly where one would want it to be. There's another president we need to talk about so we have another guest. David Nichols is the author of "A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.
David Nichols, nice to have you with us. Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement": Good to be with you, Neal.
And Eisenhower is not a name that most of us associate with the Civil Rights Movement. How much of a part of his domestic policy was it? Well, it was a much more significant part than we - than historians have granted to this point. Eisenhower - he segregated the District of Columbia. He completed the desegregation of the Armed Forces that Truman have begun. He introduced the legislation that led to the '57 Civil - Civil Rights Act.
In fact, he introduced strong proposals that were largely gutted by the southerners, including Lyndon Johnson. That was the first civil rights legislation in 82 years.
Above all, Eisenhower appointed men to the Supreme Court and the federal courts who were pro-civil rights. And on the Supreme Court he appointed five men including Earl Warren and William Brennan and Potter Stewart - men like that, and strong pro-civil rights judges in the south like Frank Johnson who dealt with the issue in Alabama with the Alabama - the bus boycott and the Selma marches. So Eisenhower did a lot more than he's being given credit for.
If we failed to give him credit at least that - in no small part because he didn't speak much about it. Well, speaking was not the thing - and this is a thing you have to do with Eisenhower is look at what he did not what he said.
As a soldier he had not won the war in Europe by making speeches and sometimes particularly black leaders were very disappointed in him that he didn't make fervent speeches. And that includes Martin Luther King who as a very young interacted quite a bit with Eisenhower in the '50s.
And he - you want me to talk about that a little bit? Well, if you - yeah, if you could keep it short. The - you know, Eisenhower proposed the civil rights legislation in and King immediately, with his new SCLC organization, put pressure on the president and on the Congress to pass that.
He actually had a march in Washington in they called it a prayer pilgrimage. It was to celebrate the 3rd anniversary at the Brown v. Board of Education decision and King later told Richard Nixon that he supported even the weak bill that finally got passed. Most of the teeth got taken out of the by the southerners and Lyndon Johnson. But the teeth - but he said it was better no bill and all, but they would have to have a mass movement to keep the legislation meaning anything, and that mass movement has not yet developed in the '50s but it did in the '60s as your guest your guest already talked about.
Yet at the same time, yes, legislation, executive actions - those sorts of things, certainly the appointment of judges, very important. On the issue of, well, morals and conscience, words are important, too. Well, they certainly are, and that's a legitimate criticism of Eisenhower. But I have to say, Eisenhower - if he didn't make a passionate appeal for a moral case on Brown v. You know, the thing I would emphasize here and unintelligible - your introduction to the program's exactly right, it actually, the government took a backward step when Kennedy came into office in Eisenhower would never appoint segregationist judges in the south.
Kennedy appointed a number of them. He and Lyndon Johnson really were very conservative on this issue until And then I gave them full credit. They took great steps in mid, '64 and '65 and did some wonderful things that Eisenhower is actually more progressive than they were until that time. We're talking about King and the presidents. David Nichols is with us. He wrote "A Matter of Justice: And let's get some callers involved in the conversation. And let's turn first to Tesfei ph is that right?
Tesfei calling from Phoenix, Arizona. That I can pronounce. On the outset I like to say I'm neither a Republican or a former supporter of Richard Nixon, but I'm glad you got the Eisenhower man online because Richard Nixon wrote all kinds of supporting letters and supports from the Civil Rights movement way before the Kennedy's.
And knowing that his support towards hurt him politically. And later on in the - and I lived this history, later on the s, African-Americans benefited a lot more from the Nixon administration than they did on the Johnson administration. However, in the end when he realized he's not getting that support he was - in a good Nixon fashion - he devised the Southern Strategy with the John Mitchell.
Incidentally, before I hang up I like to say that we should all take what Bill Clinton is saying about Obama in the same fashion we interpret his statement that he did not have any sex with Monica Lewinsky.
Well, thank you for that. But let's discuss towards this - matters that are on topic. And David Nichols, is he right about Richard Nixon?OBAMA MIC DROP: 1999
Well, I can mainly speak about the '50s when Nixon was vice president. But you know we have to get used to it. How different it was on those days where particularly northeastern and Republicans were highly progressive on Civil Rights whereas the Democratic Party was so badly split because of this solid Democratic south. But Nixon often did - was Ike's bully pulpiteer, I guess you could say. He was the one who spoke out politically on issues, and that was typical of Eisenhower in the way he utilizes people.
Nixon became fairly close to Martin Luther King. They met together while on a meeting on June 13, for a long meeting, and Nixon later reported to the president that he thought he would really appreciate meeting with King.
And in fact, in - June 23,there was a significant meeting - and King caused this to come about more than anybody else - with Lester Granger and A.
Hail to the Chief - Wikipedia
Philip Randolph and Roy Wilkins, all met with the president. This was a historic meeting of black leaders meeting with the president to talk policy. It wasn't just a photo op; they really got together to talk policy. Now, in fairness, Eisenhower was really reluctant to have that meeting, but King really pushed him into it. King was only 29 years old at that time, so he was the extraordinary influence already. Lee White, I just wanted to get your general reaction of David Nichols' broader point that untilin fact, race relationships took a step back when Kennedy took office.
Yeah, well, I was waiting for the opportunity to respond.