Cover: President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with civil rights leaders, Janu-
ary 18, 1964. From left, Martin. Luther King Jr., President Lyndon B.
Johnson, Whitney Young, and James Farmer. Roy Wilkins and Lee White
were also present at the meeting but do not appear in this photo. LBJLi-
brary Photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
President Lyndon B. Johnson met with several African American leaders
in the Oval Office of the White House in January 1964 to discuss his pro-
posed civil rights legislation, which Johnson signed into law in July 1964
as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In spite of his southern background, John-
son was committed to passing the legislation and he worked with civil
rights leaders and Congress to get the support needed to pass the bill.
CORE leader James Farmer was one of four people from Marshall, Texas,
who had a significant impact on the passage of the legislation generally
recognized as Johnson's greatest legacy. The other Marshallites were
presidential aide Bill Moyers, First Lady Lady Bird Johnson, and Zephyr
Wright, theJohnsons' cook. PresidentJohnson often used the difficulties
Wright endured as a black person in the South as an example of why he
was so adamant about the public accommodations portions of the civil
rights legislation, which he considered the heart and soul of the bill.
Farmer was among the first to test the new law when he attempted to get
a haircut in Kansas City the day after the bill was signed. Moyers wrote
speeches in support of the bill and Lady Bird embarked on a train tour of
the South after the bill's passage in which she urged the South to support
the legislation and the president. Gail K Beil's article, "Four Marshallites'
Roles in the Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," begins on page 1 of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed April 27, 2015.