LBJ Pledges Federal Troops to Protect Civil Rights Marchers in Alabama

March 20, 1965 – After two failed attempts to march from Selma to Montgomery, Dr. King had announced a third attempt would be made.  Alabama Governor George Wallace, a staunch segregationist, had called LBJ on March 18 for advice of what to do.  They agreed that the Alabama National Guard be used to maintain order but then the Governor went on television and demand that the President send federal troops to protect the marchers.  Johnson in private refered to Wallace as a “no good son of a bitch” for the obvious political ploy.  Not deterred to support the civil rights movement, on March 20 LBJ sends a telegram informing Wallace that the eyes of the world would be upon Alabama and the march should be allowed to proceed.  His pledge to use federal troops virtually assured the protestors would be protected.

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Filed under 1960s, Civil Rights, Johnson, Politics

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