tv President Johnson and Martin Luther King Jr. CSPAN January 11, 2015 3:05pm-4:01pm EST
that included my rights and the rights of eight other negro americans who wanted to go to central high school in little rock arkansas. we were terrance roberts thelma, elizabeth eckford, serviced green --ernest green many g brown, and gloria -- minnie brown and gloria ray and we were going to school again. >> coming up next, the panel reflects on the complicated relationship between president johnson and dr. martin luther king jr. speakers include former johnson domestic affairs adviser joseph colophon oh, whose criticism of lbj's per trail in "selma" -- portrayal in "selma" has
recently made news. this is about an hour. [applause] >> good afternoon. i had the honor of chairing the lyndon b. johnson foundation for 30 years. among the finest achievements that the current chairman and i claim is that we recruited the director of this lbj library and this three-day program is a terrific tribute to mark and his wonderful staff. [applause] from 1965 until the end of his term, i served as an aide to president johnson. on april 4, 1968, i had the sad duty of taking a flash
associated press message into the oval office and handing it to president johnson that read dr. martin luther king has been shot in memphis. our world changed that tragic day. president johnson had enormous respect for dr. king. they worked together to pass the civil rights act, the voting rights act. what we are celebrating this week, 50 years later. our panel is about as good as it gets. first, doris kearns goodwin, a pulitzer prize winning author, a former member of the lbj white house staff and one of the first members of the white house fellows program created by president johnson.
joe califano who served as domestic affairs adviser -- better known as domestic affairs czar from 1965 to 1969. ambassador andrew young, one of dr. kings very closest aides the first african-american united states congressman elected from the deep south since reconstruction. appointed by president carter as united states ambassador to the united nations. and, mayor of my city of atlanta from 1982 to 1990. taylor branch, pulitzer prize winning author best known for his writings on civil rights. his book, parting the waters won the pulitzer in 1989.
our moderator is todd purdum contributing editor at vanity fair, senior editor at politico. he recently published a book, an idea whose time has come. ladies and gentlemen, please welcome todd purdum, doris kearns goodwin, andrew young joe califano and taylor branch. [applause] >> thank you very much, tom, mark and the entire staff. it is wonderful to be here. i want this to be a conversation. today i have only one exhortation -- no filibusters.
[laughter] with that being said, i think it is fair to say that lyndon b. johnson and martin luther king were two of the most colossal figures of the 20th century. bill moyers said that the president was 13 of the most complex and interesting men he had ever met. stan levinsohn said that he was anything but the plaster saint that white america wanted him to be. i thought we might begin our discussion today not at the beginning of the civil rights bill but at the end, july 4, 1964. i think this exchange offers a window into the complexity of their personalities. it was the fourth of july. president johnson had come home to texas. he seized on a quote from his press secretary that he had been in continual touch with dr. king. why do you say that? that is the last thing the president has been in continual touch with -- from time to time
he had seen martin luther king is what i said. why do you say that, johnson demanded. you saw him at the ceremony. why do you say it? because i was asked. they had seen you there. i am sorry he was there, johnson said. don't you get hung in on it. i was struck by listening to that tape. on the moment of the president's greatest triumph, he had such complex feelings about dr. king. all of you have explored this question. ambassador young, what was the nature of president johnson's intense and brief partnership with dr. king? >> i don't think it was that brief but it was very intense. i think it was very warm and personal. whenever i went with him, there was never an argument. it was a gentleman's disagreement.
dr. king saw himself as having to keep the pressure on. when we left before the voting rights act, right after the nobel prize, president johnson talked for an hour about why he didn't have the power to introduce voting rights legislation in 1965 and gave very good reasons. he kept saying, i just don't have the power. when we left, i asked dr. king what did you think? he's had, i think we have to figure out a way to get this president some power. [laughter] i thought at the time that it was arrogant of him to say that. except that we had not been back in atlanta for three days before amelia boyden came over from selma with a report on the voting atrocities in selma and
pleading with dr. king, you have got to come help us. this was not anything we were aware of. it was thrust upon us. we went to selma on the second of january and by the end of march, the president had all the power he needed to get that voting rights act introduced. >> i want to get to selma in a minute. [applause] if i could just start by asking you, taylor, lyndon johnson's views on race evolved over time. when he became president in the wake of the assassination, a lot of civil rights groups were not so sure of his record. he was known to many for having watered down bills to get them past. what was the ark of his consciousness on the question of race and the necessity of comprehensive civil rights law?
>> i don't think i know him well enough to say that. i wouldn't presume that the ark is measured by his voting record. his voting record is a practical thing. i think you might argue that his views on race were fixed when he was teaching, or even before that, when he taught drama in the 1920's by teaching people first of all to make animal noises and be comfortable exposing themselves in front of other people. i think johnson had enormous empathy his whole lifetime. practical politics made it impossible for that to express itself until he got close to the white house.
i think that is a mystery with a man in public life as long as he was. it presents a mystery looking back on it. did he suddenly have a conversion, which is the common view, to take his earlier votes as reflecting his inner feelings. that is hard to reconcile with the sustained -- nominating thurgood marshall in the middle of the vietnam war -- that tends to show the longevity of that record through the upheaval and the backlash against civil rights. those were probably his sincere views. my guess is they were formed long before it was popular to believe they were there. >> one of the revelations to me in this book is that john kennedy's acquaintance with black people was limited to his valets and the leaders of the movement. lyndon johnson had known, what he said, hate can do to the eyes of a child. what was your experience with him in his own discussions about
these questions? >> i have no doubt. i only knew him in the last years of his life, 1967 until he died. there was no question in the time i spent with him, he was proudest of civil rights of anything he had ever done. he knew that it would stand the test of time. once he became president, he had the power and he had always wanted to do more than he could do. he was stuck. it was right to represent the state of texas. he is a texas senator. i don't think it was just john kennedy's death, although that they gave him an opening. i don't think it was just the movement out there although that was huge. what you pointed out in this tension between dr. king and lbj, there is an inevitable tension in a movement that is pushing in at the government from the outside. as a president who knows he needs that movement, there is going to be tension.
no president wants to be pressured from the outside. the same tension existed between president lincoln and frederick douglass. eventually they became really good friends. lincoln understood that he needed frederick douglass and the abolitionists just as lbj needed the civil rights movement. together, they produced something -- thank god they were there at that moment in history -- that changed our country forever. [applause] >> secretary califano, what was your perspective? you had the good or bad luck to be there when the relationship dissolved. >> i think at both ends -- dissolved in the sense that dr. king made a decision about the vietnam war. i think he admired king.
i think they were both quite good at politics. in january of 1965 -- 1964 rather, in a phone conversation between king and president johnson, johnson starts talking about -- 1965, i'm sorry, about the voting rights act. king reminds him about the states he didn't carry having the lowest voting record. johnson said to king -- if you can find a worse condition -- this is january -- the worst condition in alabama mississippi, louisiana, south carolina, where people are
denied the right to vote, if you take that one illustration, get it on the radio, get it on television, get it in the pulpit, get it in the media, pretty soon the fellow who didn't do anything but drive a tractor would say, that is not right. that is not fair. that will help us for what we are going to show through in the end. and king says, that is right. if we do that, johnson said, we will break through. it will be the greatest rate through of the voting rights act. not even excepting the 1964 act. i think the greatest achievement of my administration was the passage of this 1964 civil rights act, but i think this will be bigger. we will do things that even the 1964 act couldn't do. incredible. a partnership between these two guys that was wonderful and
idealistic and what have you but very practical. king knew what he was doing. johnson wanted him to do it. johnson knew -- the other wonderful exchange here is johnson says, talk about the right to vote. talk about the right to vote for everybody. >> he had another marvelous thing he said. he called john connally and said, don't talk about enforcing it. talk about obeying it. everybody thinks it is right to obey. >> lbj had these incredible metaphors. the meat in the coconut. >> i would like you to contrast resident kennedy's relationship with dr. king and president johnson's. kennedy and king had a prickly relationship. they didn't relate at the level
of human discourse so much. it seems to me that the mutable earthiness of dr. king and president johnson might have served them well. >> [indiscernible] it's just being southern. president kennedy as you say did not understand the south or race. president johnson understood it all too well. dr. king would say, when i talked to president kennedy, he asked questions for an hour. when i go to see president johnson, he talks for an hour. [laughter] he said, he knows what he wants to do. i don't have to convince him of anything -- i think they're only tension was, i think johnson would have liked to take the poverty program, all of those issues first and then come back to voting.
that was one point of tension. we didn't really have the choice. we didn't like the sit ins. we didn't like the back of the bus. we were subject to the pressures of the people. there was so much going on. we saw it on bloody sunday. that was a nazi-like community. >> you have said the movement in the streets was drafting the 1964 bill. the truth is, the people in the end who did the legislative work on the bill were all overwhelmingly white men at a time when there were five black members of congress.
>> there had been 30, 40 years of work at howard university. the law schools had basically fashioned the path to freedom. there was probably more tension between dr. king and thurgood marshall then there was between king and johnson. thurgood marshall, he felt very uncomfortable with us breaking the law. the concept of civil disobedience was not something he adhered to. the first time i read an article about civil disobedience was written by harris morford in the howard university law review. i always thought he was black. [laughter] >> it is that famous exchange between wilkins and dr. king about, wilkins demanding to
know, what have you desegregated? dr. king's reply, only a few human hearts. one of the hearts was apparently john kennedy's. >> i would like to say that he was moved by dr. king's words and example in the movement. after birmingham, demonstrations spread over to 200 cities like wildfire. president kennedy said there were even demonstrations on military bases overseas. we are your going to -- we are either going to put it out one at a time or bite the bullet. i think the sympathetic demonstrations that spread from birmingham created the pressure that pushed kennedy to give that speech. on the other hand, that speech ought to be much more iconic than it is. to say we are confronted
primarily with a moral issue as old as the scriptures and as clear as the u.s. constitution was just what dr. king had been asking him to say. that was a shining moment. that was the peak, an isolated moment. he decided to do it that afternoon and was still writing. it was impromptu. in some sense, it came from the heart. that is one of the best things you can say about that. the pressures were severe. he was cutting loose from the democratic southern base that had anchored democrats in the white house for a century. he knew that but he did it with a very fine words.
>> i was general counsel of the army in the 1963 march. initially, robert kennedy, john douglas was hip representative we met, john douglas and i with bayard rustin. bobby kennedy did not want to march to take place. vance did not want to march to take place. the kennedys saw this as a political issue. bobby kennedy was really tough on this. we came back from that meeting and said, this march is going to happen. at that point, there was terrible concern about the march. we had military people in the crowd. we closed all the liquor stores. we literally called hotels -- they didn't want anybody to stay overnight.
come and go. we couldn't take the chance. we asked hotels to impose outrageous prices for their rooms. i got in an argument with the cardinal in washington because the catholic church was providing cots. it really gave you a sense of that. i watched the march with vance in the army war room. we had people on top of the lincoln memorial. it was all really scared about violence. something nobody really wanted. if only king wouldn't do this. if only -- we even had -- jon lewis had a stinging speech attacking kennedy. we did everything we could do to put the heat on lewis to tone it down.
i think that march had a profound impact on everybody in the government. i began to see things change dramatically. i will say, within a month after johnson became president, the government changed. the pressure to do civil rights, it was in his gut. it was really in his gut. >> doris, if i could ask you about that. with no disrespect to president johnson's colossal role in this. many other people had a hand in this too. i think it is less well known that in the senate, the president was chasing, he was chomping at the bit, wanting them to hold the senate around
the clock, wanting to go into overdrive. they thought the best strategy was to let the southerners talk and exhaust themselves. what discipline must it have taken him to restrain himself? >> that shows an extraordinary understanding of the congress. he knew when to apply that pressure and when to let up. he knew for a certain period of time that he had to trust his leaders there. he would call when he needed to. the discussions are just fabulous. you come with me on this bill and 200 meters from now, schoolchildren will know only two names. how could he resist? the naacp will be flying your banner. just to go back to what we were saying before, i think that tension between a social
movement pushing at a president is the best moment in our american history. the progressive movement pushed teddy was about. the abolitionists pushed lincoln. the civil rights movement pushed kennedy and johnson. you need a president who is open to that. i think even though jfk started to be open to it after that march, what you needed was somebody who was going to put it at the top of his agenda. that is what lbj did. he was able to understand that he could say in his first speech to congress, no memorial would matter to jfk more than the passage of the civil rights bill. he used that whole feeling toward jfk to help him. then it became his thing. when you have an andrew young, we were lucky to have those moments. those generations don't always exist. god almighty, we need one now. [applause]
>> i think these two men knew each other -- even a week before the president declined to run again, i heard them talking like brothers. like pastor and member. and yet in the midst of this you had two alien forces dividing them. one was day edgar hoover and the other was what i call the harwood mafia. >> i thought you were going to say vietnam. >> well that is the harwood mafia. [laughter] in fact, i didn't realize that bloody sunday was about the
overthrow of one of the government in vietnam and johnson wasn't focused on vietnam at all. he was trying to deal with selma. mcnamara said why don't we send in two battalions? johnson said, we cannot win this war. mcnamara said, nobody will know. we will at least fly the flag. he was lured into vietnam. one of the reasons dr. king stood up against the war was, he thought he was standing with president johnson. president johnson would say to him over the phone, they are trying to get me to bomb this. you don't know the job i have standing up against the generals.
they want more troops. so he felt that plus the meeting with -- who explained to him the buddhist position of the tension between the vietnamese and the chinese. ironically, the one war i had to mediate was between china and vietnam. and so, they were wrong about vietnam. we knew it and nobody would admit it. that, i think -- and i still don't understand what hoover's motivation was, but he had a sick envy or hatred of martin luther king. >> on hoover, yes. i remember hoover sent this memo out describing dr. king. unbelievable. you are right about the selma thing. after bloody sunday when the march resumed, johnson sent troops.
we nationalize the guard to protect the marchers. my instruction was to send memos to the white house every two hours about those marchers. you can read them. they are on the lbj library tapes. every two hours, where they were, how far they had gotten. i sent them to jack who would bring them into the president. he was so focused on selma and on that march working. it was really quite remarkable. >> one of the things people forget is how many things were cheek by jowl -- senator kennedy was in the plane crash on the night the senate passed the bill.
your head spins at all the things the president is dealing with. it was remarkable how unwilling president johnson was for such a famous wheeler and dealer to wheel and deal. he was sent away in 20 minutes empty-handed. there was a marvelous exchange on the tapes wear johnson tells humphrey, i am against these amendments. i am going to be against them right up until i sign them. he never did have to sign them. the poignant part is the signing of the bill and the passage of the act, it really represents a watermark of consensus. just weeks later, the republicans begin their long transformation of identity. in atlantic city, the conflict between the democratic party and the regular democratic party gives president johnson and credible heartburn and heartache. talk about how even in the wake of the signing of the bill, that good feeling and consensus that had made it possible began to
dissipate. >> i think we have to look at this with a sense of history that is rare. 50 years ago, there wasn't a republican in congress from texas to the atlantic ocean. it was the solid south. 80% of republicans in both houses of congress voted for the civil rights act in 1964. at the same time, with goldwater announcing his opposition to the bill and johnson pushing the bill forward, you had something unprecedented in history. the parties reversed abruptly their 100-year-old position on race. it switched.
nothing but race. try to imagine something today that could happen in politics that next year would have republicans voting democrat and democrats voting republican. i grew up in atlanta. we didn't even know any republicans. [laughter] >> there was the black and tan. >> when i went to georgia in 1954, they asked me to run a voter registration drive to support eisenhower. i said, but i am a stevenson supporter. they said, not here. [laughter] in georgia, if stevenson wins richard russell appoints the federal judges. if eisenhower wins, we get to nominate the judges. and the whole bevy of southern judges that really saved the nation were all republican appointees. >> there is this -- as a historian, i am so glad that lbj has all those amazing tapes. if those tapes didn't exist, people would be pushing a consensus that johnson never had his heart in any of those things. if there is one thing that
overshadows the tendency of race to determine how we reform, it is our tendency to miss remember race. i was taught the civil war had nothing to do with slavery. those tapes preserve the intimacy of johnson's feelings. we really need a balance. i think race -- johnson shows that race was the gateway to a broader freedoms for lots of other people. it opened the door for the women's movement, for the disability movement, things that are hard to imagine. back then, women couldn't serve on juries. they couldn't dream of going to ivy league schools, let alone west point. at the same time, people started wanting to misremember.
president clinton told me once that he could predict how people were going to vote with 85% accuracy by asking one question -- do you think the 1960's were good or bad for america? that is the reinterpretation of all this. i think the civil rights leaders were in the role of modern politics, the founding fathers. they were confronting subjugation and setting in motion equal citizenship. but we don't remember it that way. that is why this anniversary is such a great opportunity to get the memory and balance. [applause] >> there is no question that i think for historians those tapes will still be the gold star. you understand where the president is coming from. i will never forget, years later
i met this man named don who was the ceo of pepsi-cola. he told me, i know you knew johnson but i don't think you know the story i am about to tell you. he said that when nixon was made president, he was asked to go to the ranch to talk about some private matter. johnson was working on his memoirs. the only chapters that are any good -- i had these little tape machines and i have verbatim conversations. those chapters are coming out great. you go tell your friend when he starts his presidency, there is nothing more important. [laughter] thereby he contributes to the downfall of his good friend. >> that lapse in historical judgment. he told bill moyers he feared the change you talked about was coming. you have also written about he felt he had to get civil rights to establish his credibility so he could do the things that were so important to him, to push opportunity even further.
i wonder if you could talk about -- did dr. king give him credit for that? they were obviously on the same page. they were divided later by vietnam and by hoover. did dr. king give him credit? >> i think andy can answer that better than i can. relevant is the wrong word but he certainly was involved. when you look at everything from headstart to higher education, the food stamp program medicare, medicaid. i think it is important to know, race was an issue in those programs. we couldn't get the elementary education act through. there were two problems. the catholics wanted help for parochial schools and the
evangelicals and the secular urban jews didn't want any help for parochial schools. both had the power to block it. what johnson saw as the killer problem, congress was beginning to look at this as a black bill. that is why he told adam clayton powell, you have to get out of town. powell never recovered from that. johnson did not want black involvement in that legislation. they came up with the idea of leasing books and things. the bill passes the house. johnson says, call speaker maccormick.
tell him not to send the bill here for another month. i want to sign it on carey's birthday. i don't think it is that king wasn't interested, but i surely know that we were constantly worried that people would see these great society programs on a race basis. >> we didn't want that either. i think the last gathering we had, dr. king brought together 23 different minority groups four or five different hispanic groups. the whole idea of the poor people's campaign was, we knew segregation was about race but
we didn't think voting rights was just a racial issue. i to this day think that president johnson knew poverty and the poor. he had taught kids who came to school hungry. those were the people he was concerned about. i think dr. king thought he was more concerned about the poor than the vote. i think that he was probably wrong. he was right in saying that we would lose the south, but we have had four southern presidents since the voting rights act. clinton, carter, bush and of course johnson himself. we haven't lost the south. the south will rise again. [laughter] [applause]
on november 4. we will see another new south. >> we tend to forget how intertwined the question of economic fairness and justice always was. the march on washington was the march for jobs and freedom. when president kennedy proposed the bill, he had these statistics about the differential prospects of a black and white baby born in the same place on the same day. on questions like access to opportunity, life expectancy blacks are doing much better today. on questions of lifetime earning power, economic power, it is distressingly almost identical. what do you think dr. king and president johnson would have made of this gap and what do you think we can do about it? >> on the life expectancy, the real promoter of that was medicaid, not medicare. giving the poor people health
care. the black life expectancy went from just over 40 to 60 plus within a few years. they are entwined. >> i think that -- now i am holding this social security card. there are things that we need to do. we need to make the vote more accessible. a social security card with your picture on it is something that you need to get in a hotel, to get on an airplane. you need a government issued id. the social security administration could do it for nine cents apiece. it would do a lot to save money
if the government began to send its money through banking channels. it would put a lot more money in the bank. if we really wanted to make government efficient -- and i think those are the kinds of things that dr. king and president johnson were interested in. they weren't interested in just a show. they were interested in the delivery. how do you wipe out poverty? dr. king at one point said, a guaranteed annual income. just give people money and give them a chance. that wouldn't fly too well in today's world. we still have to have a way to make democracy and free enterprise work for poor people of all cultures. [applause]
>> tomorrow morning, a young fellow who has received the nomination for president in denver, an occasion where as i remember, president johnson's name was not mentioned. talk about president obama's reaction to his situation and president johnson's. since you are professional historians and i am just a journalist, i wondered what you think president obama could take away from president johnson and his relationship with dr. king? is there anything that could be comparable? any instruction we could take in the president day from president johnson? >> first off, he needs to get 67 senators. >> he only needs 60 now. >> which he doesn't have. to change the mood of the
country from cynicism to optimism is not something that isn't wholly within the purview of the president. it is a totally different environment. on the other hand, i wish he talked more about race. in a way that helps inform all the others. we go nuts whenever he mentions anything. there was a quote in the new york times saying, his comment about trayvon martin betrayed the great promise of america which is never to discuss race. i think obama is a little too captive in that.
he is facing a gridlock that is not comparable to what president johnson had. that was because of two things. world war ii and the great optimism that came from that. we are going to go to the moon we are going to lick polio. and the civil rights movement had in building up a sense of sacrifice for years into the 1960's. it made people say, maybe something good can happen when we confront these problems. obama has neither of those major advantages. i think it is unfair to look to the president to do all of it. the great moment for dr. king to me was president johnson after selma, they had a phone conversation. johnson says to dr. king, i couldn't have done anything until you got down there and mobilized the people. the whole mood of the country changed. your movement aroused them so i could go before congress in that night session. he said, that was the greatest thing that ever happened. king is saying, absolutely right.
getting responsive government, that is what america is about. it is not just president obama it is up to us too. >> i think the two major changes in our political culture today that make it harder for president obama than it was for president johnson, one is that in the old days they formed friendships over party lines. they weren't rushing home to raise money for these campaign costs which i am convinced are the poison in the system today. [applause] how much time the stupid people -- i shouldn't say stupid people. how much time our congressmen and senators spend time raising money. television exacerbates it. they want people -- they look at each other with tribal alliances rather than friendships. that makes it harder. i also think the bully pulpit makes it harder. if the president gives a speech,
it used to be covered on all three networks. now you have the pundits tearing it apart before it is even done. you have people watching cable networks, only seeing part of the speech. i think the one thing president obama can do now, which goes to the heart of lbj, when he talks about the defining issue of our time being the gap between the rich and the poor and the lack of mobility, president johnson talked about -- you can't just bring people to the starting gate and think they are going to have an equal chance for the race. opportunity has to be built into the society. when we see that in our country, people born in the bottom fifth have a less chance of getting beyond that then people in europe -- this was the promise of america. you would be able to mobilize
through society. i think obama has talked about that and it should be the defining issue. dr. king was talking about poverty. that was the whole movement. economic opportunity was the next step. boy do we need that now. [applause] >> as mayor, i can never talk about race. but looking back, everything i did to help people helped black-and-white together. you don't see that at the time. i don't think i ever cast to vote to just help black people. we have got to de-racialize these issues to get people to look at them more objectively. the stabbing in the schools today just before we got here, 19 kids stabbed. that is not race. that is a culture of violence.
it is a sickness that is pervading our society that is far more complicated than anything dr. king and president johnson had to deal with. bernice king is dealing with it in the school named for her mother. she went into a rough neighborhood and got the girls in this middle school to say, we are going to try 100 days of nonviolence. she made it work. this was a rough school. but going in, talking about nonviolence, it was all black -- we have got to deal with the culture of violence. the things president carter talked about, the fact that there are more spousal abuses,
murders, than there are in the wars nowadays. more domestic violence than military killings. that is a sickness in society that we have got to find a way to face. it is not what it used to be. >> i just want to say one thing about violence. remember, alcohol and drugs, but particularly alcohol is involved in about three fourths of the rapes in this country and the incidence of domestic violence. we have a lot to do about that problem. i think there are some lessons for president obama. i think one is, it is important to recognize that when you sign a law, that is the beginning. that is not the end.
when he signed the voting rights act, he announced that the justice department was filing suit the next morning to have a mississippi poll tax declared unconstitutional. we sent monitors into the southern states. secondly, i think there are opportunities of various kinds. johnson was very opportunistic in the best way. he was opportunistic in using the kennedy assassination as part of his ability to get the 1964 act passed. when martin luther king was assassinated, that night he said to me, we are going to get one good thing out of this. we are going to get a fair housing bill.
he wanted a draft letter the next morning. he sent a handwritten note to jerry ford. get that bill passed. when robert kennedy was killed he said, we are going to get our gun control bill. we got about half of it. we are going to get something good out of this. i think there should be some use of this in a much more opportunistic way. a much more immediate way. that is the last point i would make. you have to go fast. i thank god we have president obama in the white house. i wish he had moved on gun control. he would have gotten a gun control bill. he waited a couple months. you can't. we are in a world -- you live in it more than any of us with your reporting. we have 30-second attention spans.
lastly, one of the problems he has is because he is black. [applause] let's be a realistic about this. i think there still is a lot of resentment about that among people in congress, among people all over this country. we have got to get over that. [applause] >> in that context, it does seem worth remembering that president johnson's last public appearance was on this stage at a conference about civil rights. on that day, he said nothing was more close to his heart, nothing was more essentially him. he also famously said that whites stand on history's mountain and blacks on history's hollow.
i am honored to be part of this discussion today but i think your discussion has shown that the work president johnson began 50 years ago is not over. thank you all for all you do to keep the ball rolling. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> you are watching american history tv. all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. to join the conversation, like us on facebook at c-span history. >> monday night on "the communicators," martin cooper, inventor of the cell phone on spectrum issues and efforts to meet the growing needs of mobile phone providers. >> dynamic spectrum access
includes a whole bunch of things. it also includes cognitive radio. i know you have heard a lot about that. it includes some new technologies just starting to become laboratory available where we can use satellites to create a model of the world so that when somebody transmits they will know whether they are going to interfere with somebody else. you put all these things together. i hesitate to tell you how much more efficient we are going to be. you would laugh me out of this room. we are talking not about tens of times of improvement or hundreds or thousands, but millions of times improvement. that's not as crazy as it sounds. from the time of marconi until now, we are a trillion times more spectrally efficient than we were in marconi's time.