1963 December 31

LBJ Integrates University of Texas Faculty Club


President Lyndon Johnson escorted Gerri Wittington, an African-American and one of his personal secretaries in the White House, to the New Year’s Eve Ball at the University of Texas Faculty Club (known as the Forty Acres Club) in Austin, Texas. The club had been racially segregated until that moment. Everyone in the crowded room was reportedly stunned. One person leaned over the Bill Moyers, one of Johnson’s top aides,” and whispered, “Does he know what he is doing?” Moyers replied, “he always knows what he is doing.”

Escorting Wittington to the previously segregated club was only one of several gestures Johnson made in the first weeks of his presidency to make the point that he was committed to racial equality. In his first days in office he personally called all the leading civil rights leaders to tell them he needed their help in getting the pending civil rights bill passed. (It passed, and Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964.) He then promoted Wittington from the White House secretarial pool, making her the first African-American to serve as a secretary to the president.

Read about the event: http://deadpresidents.tumblr.com/post/53207381610/lbjs-historic-night-out

Listen to LBJ’s phone call to Wittington on December 23, 1963:

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!