Selma to Montgomery Marches

Marchers carrying banner lead way as 15,000 parade in Harlem

The LBJ Library commemorates the 1965 marches for Civil Rights in Alabama

Apr 10, 2012

The struggle for civil and voting rights began long before the march in Selma and was a centerpiece of President Lyndon Johnson’s legislative agenda. As the marches in Alabama are observed this month, the LBJ Library presents materials from our archives that illustrate the Johnson Administration’s efforts to secure rights for all.

On this page, you will find:

  • A telephone conversation between President Johnson and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Video of President Johnson urging Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act.
  • Letters from Joseph Califano, Jr., detailing events of the march from Selma to Montgomery.
  • Outline of events surrounding the historic signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

January 15, 1965

On January 15, 1965, President Johnson called Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to discuss strategy for passing the Voting Rights Act through Congress. Dr. King's voice is a little difficult to hear. TRT: 2 minutes 50 seconds.

March 15, 1965

Following the bloody attacks on civil rights activists in Selma, Alabama, President Johnson calls on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act, ending with the refrain, “We shall overcome.”

LBJ calls on Congress to pass the Voting Rights Act. TRT: 5 minutes 29 seconds

Please go to this link to find a map of the march from Selma to Montgomery, memoranda from Joseph Califano, Jr., giving daily reports on details of the march to the White House, and educational activities for students. http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/lbjforkids/selma-mont.shtm

Please go to this link to a timeline of civil rights during the Johnson Administration. http://www.lbjlib.utexas.edu/johnson/lbjforkids/civil_timeline.shtm

August 6, 1965

President Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act.