What We’re Reading: “The Shrinking of LBJ”

LBJ & Lady Bird
Photo courtesy of Hulton Archive/Getty Images

“Johnson failed to swing a single Southern Democrat, despite the fact that several, including J. William Fulbright of Arkansas and Al Gore Sr. of Tennessee, were considered possible converts.” That’s a quote from The New Republic’s article about the myth and the reality of what role President Lyndon B. Johnson played during the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The author, Clay Risen, is an editor at The New York Times and will be speaking at the SFA’s fall symposium, which will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the monumental legislation. Risen points out that though LBJ wasn’t the star player, it wasn’t any single person that made history happen. Like all American lawmaking, it was the result of many individuals, both at a grassroots and executive level. You can read the entire article here.