Papers of John F. Kennedy. Presidential Papers. President's Office Files.
Sound recording of a meeting held on August 28, 1963, between President John F. Kennedy and Civil Rights Leaders: Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, Whitney Young, Floyd McKissick, Eugene Carson Blake, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and other unidentified participants. Wilkins, Randolph, and the other civil rights leaders initially report to President Kennedy on the March on Washington, but then turn the conversation to the pending civil rights legislation in Congress and the need for action to ensure equality. President Kennedy reviews a head count of votes in Congress on the administration's bill and legislative strategy. Martin Luther King speaks briefly. Randolph calls for a crusade with President Kennedy as its leader. Vice President Johnson explains the realities of political power in relation to Congress--how to craft a coalition of support, pressure on business leaders, approaches to former President Dwight D. Eisenhower, etc. There is also a discussion of the right of African Americans in the military to demonstrate. At the end of the meeting, there is a coordination of statements on the completion of the meeting and President Kennedy reads the statement he intends to release. Please note that this Civil Rights Meeting recording was opened to research use in July of 1984. This sound recording has been excerpted from Tape 108, which contains additional sound recording(s) preceding and following this one. See Related Records to access Tape 108 in its entirety.