Detroit Riots

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Documents

7/23/1967: Memo, Larry Levinson to President Johnson


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July 23, 1967, 10:45 p.m. Less than two weeks after Newark, Detroit erupts in riots. President Johnson receives a memo from Larry Levinson updating him on the growing violence.

Ex HU 2, WHCF, Box 26, LBJ Library

7/24/1967: Telegram, Michigan Governor George Romney to President Johnson


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July 24, 1967, 10:56 a.m. President Johnson receives a request for assistance from the Governor of Michigan, George Romney.

In President Johnson's memoir, The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency, 1963-1969, he reflected on this request and the one problem the administration ran into:

"He requested troops but failed to certify that the disturbances amounted to a state of insurrection...His request, in short, did not meet constitutional requirements. Later that morning Governor Romney said he was not yet prepared to state that there was a condition of insurrection or domestic violence, because he had been told that such a statement might result in the voiding of insurance policies within the state."

However, President Johnson was able to order troops from one military base to another, and he used that authority to send units from North Carolina and Kentucky to Michigan. He made his telegram notification of the troop movements to Gov. Romney a public statement. See it here.

Telegram, Governor Romney to the President, 7/23/67, Ex HU 2, WHCF, Box 26, LBJ Library. Quote from Lyndon Baines Johnson, The Vantage Point: Perspectives on the Presidency, 1963-1969, New York: 1971, Holt, Rinehart and Winston, p. 168.

7/24/1967: Memo, William J. Hopkins to President Johnson and Aide Joseph Califano


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July 24, 1967. President Johnson receives word from Cyrus Vance, a trusted observer he sent to Detroit earlier in the day, that Governor Romney has declared a state of emergency and that the local and state forces are overwhelmed. He reports that 1,200 people are currently detained in felony court.

Vance recommends that President Johnson signs the Executive Order to federalize the Michigan National Guard. The president is still concerned about constitutional issues, and as the above memo from Hopkins indicates, he must not issue his Executive Order too quickly.

Memo, William J. Hopkins to the President, 7/24/67, Ex HU 2, WHCF, Box 26, LBJ Library.

President Johnson's Daily Diaries During the Detroit Riots

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July 24, 1967
July 25, 1967
July 26, 1967
July 27, 1967
July 28, 1967
July 29, 1967

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Video

7/24/1967: President Johnson's address to the nation regarding the riots in Detroit

LBJ Library video MP 593 donated by CBS. No usage fees. Footage is pool coverage from the live presidential address and is not copyrighted. The library has made this footage available (excluding any network commentary) for decades without incident.

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7/27/1967: President Johnson's second address to the nation regarding the riots in Detroit

LBJ Library video MP 593 donated by CBS. No usage fees. Footage is pool coverage from the live presidential address and is not copyrighted. The library has made this footage available (excluding any network commentary) for decades without incident.

Read the full address

Navy Film Excerpt, 7/24/1967: President Johnson's address to the nation after authorizing the use of Federal troops in Detroit, Michigan

This clip is an excerpt from MP886 and was created by the White House Naval Photographic Unit, aka the Navy Films. The films consist of monthly reports on the activities of President and Mrs. Johnson from 1963-1969. Watch the full MP886 video here.

Navy Film Excerpt, 7/29/1967: First meeting of the Kerner Commission on Civil Disorders

This clip is an excerpt from MP886 and was created by the White House Naval Photographic Unit, aka the Navy Films. The films consist of monthly reports on the activities of President and Mrs. Johnson from 1963-1969. Watch the full MP886 video here.

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Audio

7/25/1967: President Johnson & J. Edgar Hoover Discuss Detroit Riots

Excerpt from telephone conversation #12005 between President Johnson and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover. 7/25/1967, 10:33 a.m.

Hoover reports that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. will give a press conference about the riots in Detroit. They also discuss the federal response to the riots. Hear the full conversation here.

7/26/1967: President Johnson & Senator Everett Dirksen Discuss Detroit Riots

Excerpt from telephone conversation #12008 between President Johnson and Senator Everett Dirksen. 7/26/1967, 3:15 p.m.

After riots in Detroit break out, President Johnson and Senator Everett Dirksen discuss the legality of sending federal troops into states. Hear the full conversation here.

7/27/1967: President Johnson Speaks to Mayor of New York John Lindsay About Kerner Commission

Excerpt from telephone conversation #12009 between President Johnson and Mayor of New York John Lindsay. 7/27/1967, 5:02 p.m.

President Johnson reads his statement to Mayor of New York John Lindsay about forming a commission (later known as the Kerner Commission) to study civil disorders in wake of the Detroit riots. He also asks Lindsay to vice chair the commission. Hear the full conversation here.

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