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LBJ Library Educator Webinar with Dr. Sharron Conrad
July 21 Session 11: Dr. Sharron Wilkins Conrad

Johnson and Civil Rights Leadership in the African American Imagination

When asked which of the five most recent presidents achieved the most for civil rights, black respondents to a 1966 Harris Poll named John Kennedy over Lyndon Johnson by fifty-four percentage points. This, even though President Johnson had signed into law the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act--the most significant civil rights legislation of the twentieth century--in the previous two years. The disconnect between LBJ's accomplishments and the frosty response he received in the poll points to the deep mistrust Johnson generated in the black community. When Jet magazine's Simeon Booker's warned a month after Johnson's swearing-in that, "the odds are against him in our community," he could not have been more prescient. This presentation examines the genesis of that mistrust and why it lingers more than fifty years later.

Jul 21, 2020 10:30 AM in Central Time (US and Canada)

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Dr. Sharron Wilkins Conrad
Postdoctoral Fellow @Southern Methodist University
Sharron Wilkins Conrad is a postdoctoral fellow at Southern Methodist University’s Center for Presidential History. Her research interests include the Civil Rights Movement, public history, and the presidencies of John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Her book, The Trinity: John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson and Their Civil Rights Legacies in African American Imagination, traces the process by which Kennedy emerged as a civil rights hero for many African Americans while Johnson’s civil rights leadership has been viewed more skeptically, despite the fact that he fought for and signed into law historic civil rights legislation. Dr. Conrad received her PhD in Humanities from The University of Texas at Dallas in 2019. She holds a BA in History and Anthropology from Penn State University and a MA in Public History from Howard University. Previously, she served as Director of Education and Public Programs at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.