The Unmaking of the President
March 31, 2008 1:58 PM   Subscribe

Lyndon Johnson believed that his withdrawal from the 1968 presidential campaign would free him to solidify his legacy—but four days later, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
posted by veedubya (8 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Robert Caro's "The Orator at Dawn" in the New Yorker several years back (abstract) is a pretty good introduction to the relationship between Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.

It was interesting because it talks about the interplay between a powerful personality (Johnson) and a weaker rival (Humphrey), and how Johnson the New Dealer effectively neutralized the activism of Humphrey, the liberal from the Plains.

The New Yorker was so great when David Remnick first took over.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:42 PM on March 31, 2008


My wife wrote a great feature about the King funeral in Atlanta Magazine, in the April issue (for some reason, not up on the site yet).

She conducted oral history style interviews with folks involved, and really came up with something I found very moving. Part of the raw audio will be up on the site when they get around to updating it.

Of course... I'm just a wee bit biased.
posted by jpburns at 3:23 PM on March 31, 2008


I remember distinctly from The Fog of War or another source (??) that Lyndon Johnson relied on the Beatles to keep him going during hard times when hearing of casualties in the Vietnam War.

(jpburns, would love to read that article when the link works)

A friend of ours was big into film in the '60's and he sent a crew from NYC to film Bobby Kennedy's last speech. One young lady in the crew was standing near him when he got shot. She returned to NYC and said, "I'm outta this business."

Bad times, those, I don't think anyone who didn't live through it can comprehend what a big deal MLK was and how much of a shift he caused in our society. Nowadays we know it's not cool to say the "n" word and judge people by their skin color but back then it was the social norm that people with darker skin tones were lessor human beings.

I had someone ask me once if I was of African American descent because of my curly hair and big lips and I was like, "hrm, maybe, but why do you ask?"
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:38 PM on March 31, 2008


veedubya, thanks for linking this. Interesting reading.
posted by joannemerriam at 6:34 PM on March 31, 2008


I remember distinctly from The Fog of War or another source (??) that Lyndon Johnson relied on the Beatles to keep him going during hard times when hearing of casualties in the Vietnam War.

Must have been an another source. That's never mentioned in The Fog of War. (Transcript here.) Fascinating thought, though.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 8:01 PM on March 31, 2008


very good article. thanks for posting.
posted by brandz at 8:33 PM on March 31, 2008


#: I had someone ask me once if I was of African American descent...

It's my understanding that it's become practically fashionable -- unless, of course, you're writing from about 1963 or thereabouts.
posted by vhsiv at 12:17 AM on April 1, 2008


Very interesting article, thanks.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:48 AM on April 5, 2008


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