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LBJ and the Great Society

Page history last edited by Mr. Hengsterman 2 years, 2 months ago


Lyndon Baines Johnson - The Great Society

Born out of initiatives that developed in Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal and expanded in Pres. Harry S. Truman's administration and then in Pres. John F. Kennedy's New Frontier, the Great Society encompassed President Lyndon B. Johnson's "War on Poverty"







Background Who is LBJ




 In the Election of  1964 Johnson is challenged by conservative Republican Barry Goldwater for president, but wins in a landslide. LBJ platform of "The Great Society"  was a sweeping set of New Deal-type economic and welfare measures aimed to transform  America.  Public sentiment aroused by Michael Harrington’s The Other America (1962) which showed 20% of US population and over 40% of blacks lived in poverty.  Compelling description of impoverished areas of America. Played a role in persuading President Johnson to make the war on poverty the centerpiece of his Great Society






Michael Harrington - Poverty: Hopeful or Hopeless" - Part 1



Silent Spring




Primary Goals of the Great Society (The War on Poverty

#1 Use the federal government to enhance social welfare

#2 Use educaton and job training to help disadvantaged people overcome the cycle of poverty that has been limiting their opportunities







Analysis of Great Society Programs





Similarities between the New Deal and the Great Society


#1 Both the New Deal and the Great Society used the government to enhance social welfare

#2 Both the New Deal and the Great Society included the following:

     - Government sponsored employment programs 
     - Government support of the arts

     - Federal programs to encourage housing construction 
     - Federal legislation to help the elderly


Differences between the New Deal and the Great Society

#1 Preschool education for disadvantaged children was an innovative Great Society Program. This was not an extension of the New Deal

#2 In contrast to the New Deal, The Great Society included federal legislation protecting civil liberities of African American









LBJ and the Great Society 





NPR Story on the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (7 minutes)



Civil Rights Act of 1964 (July 1964) Forbade segregation in hotels, motels, restaurants, lunch counters,theaters, and sporting arenas that did business in interstate commerce. -- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created to enforce the law.







Selma to Montgomery March (March 25, 1965) Martin Luther King Jr. leads 54-mile march from Selma to the Montgomery to support black voter registration.


Why start at Selma? Only 2% of  eligible African Americans in Selma were registered to vote.


According to a 1961 Civil Rights Commission report, only 130 of 15,115 eligible Dallas County Blacks were registered to vote. The situation was even worse in neighboring Wilcox and Lowndes counties. There were virtually no Blacks on the voting rolls in these rural counties that were roughly 80 percent Black. Ironically, in some Alabama counties, more than 100% of the eligible white population was registered. See point #6 below for more examples.










Viola  Liuzzo (April 11, 1925 – March 25, 1965) was a Unitarian Universalist civil rights activist from Michigan. In March 1965 Liuzzo, then a housewife and mother of 5 with a history of local activism, heeded the call of Martin Luther King Jr and traveled from Detroit, Michigan to Selma, Alabama in the wake of the Bloody Sunday attempt at marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Liuzzo participated in the successful Selma to Montgomery marches and helped with coordination and logistics. Driving back from a trip shuttling fellow activists to the Montgomery airport, she was shot dead by members of the Ku Klux Klan. She was 39 years old.


One of the four Klansmen in the car from which the shots were fired was Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant Gary Rowe.Rowe testified against the shooters and was moved and given an assumed name by the FBI. The FBI later leaked what were purported to be salacious details about Liuzzo which were never proved or substantiated in any way.


In addition to other honors, Liuzzo's name is today inscribed on the Civil Rights Memorial in Montgomery, Alabama created by Maya Lin.






Image result for black panther party



The Black Panther Party (originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense) was an African-American revolutionary socialist organization active in the United States from 1966 until 1982. The Black Panther Party achieved national and international notoriety through its involvement in the Black Power movement and U.S. politics of the 1960s and 1970s.


Founded in Oakland, California by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale on October 15, 1966, the organization initially set forth a doctrine calling primarily for the protection of African-American neighborhoods from police brutality.The leaders of the organization espoused socialist and Marxist doctrines; however, the Party's early black nationalist reputation attracted a diverse membership.The Black Panther Party's objectives and philosophy expanded and evolved rapidly during the party's existence, making ideological consensus within the party difficult to achieve, and causing some prominent members to openly disagree with the views of the leaders.







"When I say fight for independence right here, I don't mean any non violent fight or 
turn the other cheek fight.  Those days are gone, the days are over"
Malcolm X





Malcolm X assassinated February 1965

Rejecting integration and nonviolence, Malcolm splits off from Elijah Muhammad's Black Muslims and is killed by black opponents





Voting Rights Act of 1965 (August 6, 1965) Legislation still did not address the 15th Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote. Literacy tests unlawful if less than 50% of all voting-age citizens were registered. If so, African Americans could be enrolled whether or not they could read. b. If local registrars would not enroll African Americans, the president could send federal examiners who would. This gave teeth to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - As a result, 740,00 African Americans registered to vote in three years.



On 6 August, in the presence of King and other civil rights leaders, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.


Recalling ‘‘the outrage of Selma,’’ Johnson called the right to vote ‘‘the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men’’



In his annual address to SCLC a few days later, King noted that...



Montgomery led to the Civil Rights Act of 1957 and 1960


Birmingham inspired the Civil Rights Act of 1964


Selma produced the voting rights legislation of 1965







Race riots in Detroit and Newark 1967

Worst riots in U.S. history results in 43 deaths in Detroit and federal troops being called out to restore order





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