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Primary Sources

What Can We Do?
A Federal Communications Commission employee appreciates a timely public television program.

Why the White Man Calls You "Nigger"
A woman from Brooklyn expresses her thoughts about race relations in 1963.

An Aggravating and Frightening Experience
A viewer seeks an on-air rebuttal to Malcolm X's remarks.

Primary sources from American Experience's The Presidents and The Kennedys Web sites:


Civil Rights Announcement, 1963
Following the forced desegregation of the University of Alabama, President Kennedy calls for nationwide participation in addressing the "moral crisis" and guaranteeing that America is a "land of the free" for all citizens.

Desegregation in the Schools of Alabama, 1963
President Kennedy asks Alabama governor George Wallace to respect the law and desegregate the state's schools.

Telegram from President Kennedy to Governor George Wallace of Alabama, 1963
The president spells out his authority to desegregate Alabama schools, by force if necessary.

Telegram from Governor George Wallace of Alabama to President Kennedy,1963
In reply, Wallace invokes states' rights and the Constitution to demand the federal government stay out of Alabama.

I Have A Dream, 1963
Martin Luther King Jr.'s impassioned civil rights speech, delivered during the March on Washington and widely regarded as one of the greatest American speeches ever made.

The Negro as an American
Robert C. Weaver, the head of President Kennedy's Housing and Home Finance Agency -- and the first black Cabinet member -- describes the responsibilities of black leadership.


Lyndon B. Johnson's Speeches
Access President Lyndon Johnson's State of the Union Addresses from 1964-1969 and see how the federal government responded to the civil rights movement.

Civil Rights Act of 1964
The historic law that promoted equality for all Americans.

A Segregationist's View of the Civil Rights Movement, 1964
Presidential candidate George C. Wallace denounces the Civil Rights Act.


Address to Congress: We Shall Overcome, 1965
LBJ expresses solidarity with the civil rights struggle and asks Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act.

Address to Congress: Voting Rights, 1965
The president calls for progress through the democratic process. (with RealAudio clip)

Commencement Address at Howard University: To Fulfill These Rights, 1965
Johnson describes equal opportunity and the end of injustice as necessary elements in improving the lives of black Americans. (with RealAudio clip)

Executive Order: Equal Employment Opportunity, 1965
President Johnson lays out his policy for equal employment for all, specifying rules and penalties.


Robert F. Kennedy on Civil Rights, 1966
Touring South Africa, Senator Kennedy outlines the need for a new world society based on inclusiveness.


Robert F. Kennedy's Statement on the Death of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The presidential candidate announces a leader's murder, and appeals to Americans to work for justice.

Statement by the President on the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., 1968
LBJ expresses America's shock and sadness.

Address to the Nation Upon Proclaiming a Day of Mourning Following the Death of Dr. King, 1968
LBJ announces that Sunday, April 7, 1968 will be a national day of mourning.

page created on 1.19.04
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