Archive for the ‘civil rights’ Category

Selma

UnknownBelieve it or not, I didn’t think about my new year resolutions until a few days after the ball dropped in Times Square. Once again, “the year of the book” tops my list. Here’s hoping that 2015 is the year I finally finish writing the Katzenbach biography. It’s particularly frustrating to sit on the sidelines as debate rages over the new movie Selma and the ensuing controversy of LBJ and his support, or lack thereof, for voting rights. Katzenbach and I talked about Selma and he made it very clear that Voting Rights was a priority for the Johnson Administration with or without Selma.

Like many, I’m anxious to see the movie and glad that today’s generation will have an opportunity to bear witness to the violence that was unleashed on Bloody Sunday – March 7, 1965 – in Selma, AL. There is no controversy about whether the movie portrayed what happened that day accurately, and the two subsequent marches on March 9 and March 21; the latter of which fulfilled the original goal to march from Selma to the Alabama State Capitol in Montgomery.

One thing is clear, this movie has gotten people talking about history and facts, what biographer doesn’t love that!

50th Anniversary of Civil Rights Act

1393523191000-AP-LBJs-Legacy-001I woke up this morning expecting to be inundated with memories and reflections of the 1964 Civil Rights Act on its 50th Anniversary. Last night there was a great piece on CBS Evening News with former White House Aid Clifford Alexander, and, as he said,  he was “the only African American on the staff at the time.” I was hoping to be greeted by similar stories this morning through my morning news – NPR and the Washington Post (no TV) and was disappointed when neither mentioned this historic occasion. I even flipped through the front section of the Washington Post and there was nothing. However, one story, that jumped out was about Michelle Howard. She just became the first female four-star admiral and first African American to become the Navy’s vice chief of naval operations, the number two person at the Navy. So while I didn’t see news of LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act, the impact of that historic legislation is reflected within the news of the day. I imagine (and hope) that there will be more stories later in the day.

For history junkies like me there is always C-Span, and particularly C-Span 3, which has treated viewers with all sorts of archival treasures in the days leading up to this historic 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.