JOHNSON, Lyndon Baines (1908-1973), President. Photograph signed ("Lyndon B. Johnson"), also signed by Vice-President HUBERT HUMPHREY, Speaker of the House JOHN MCCORMACK, FBI Director J. EDGAR HOOVER, Secretary of State DEAN RUSK, Attorney General ROBERT F. KENNEDY and MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., [Washington, D.C., 2 July 1964]. 1 page (8 x 10 in.), professionally matted and framed, the signatures in various inks in the wide lower blank margin.
A PHOTO OF THE SIGNING OF THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT, SIGNED BY PRESIDENT JOHNSON, ROBERT KENNEDY AND MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
A rare and telling combination of signatures on a fine, dark photograph depicting President Johnson signing into law the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act, in a room crowded with dignitaries, Senators, Congressmen and leaders of all the major Civil Rights organization (although King is not visible in this view, he is prominent in other photos of the historic event). Johnson's signature is affixed at the bottom center; both McCormack and Dean Rusk may have signed with an identical pen, possibly at the same time.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act, one of the defining acts of Johnson's presidency, was set in motion by President John F. Kennedy in the wake of growing activism on the part of Civil rights leaders, of whom King, President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, was the most prominent. But Kennedy's Bill would never have become law without Johnson's unflinching advocacy. As drafted in 1963, the bill's strong stipulations on equal employment and equal access to public accomodations became the focus of determined opponents in Congress. Johnson publicly pledged not to permit the bill to be watered down. In response, the Bill's opponents, led by Johnson's former mentor Richard Russell, mounted a filibuster in the belief that the liberals would be unable to obtain sufficient support for a vote of cloture. Knowing he would need Republican support, Johnson shrewdly turned to Illinois Senator Everett Dirksen (shown in the photo) and by a combination of direct and indirect lobbying, finally secured his vote for cloture. On June 10, Dirksen cast the decisive vote, ending the Southern filibuster and allowing passage of the most sweeping Civil Rights bill in history. The act barred discrimination in employment and in restaurants, hotels, and other public facilities and empowered the Attorney General to initiate Federal suits to enforce desegregation.
RARE. No other example of this historic photograph bearing these signatures has been traced.