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Democrats’ Fundraising Efforts Thriving

May 29, 1964 - President and Mrs. Johnson went to three gala political parties in New York City last night that poured $1.5 million into the Democratic Party war chest.

The two dinners and star-studded entertainment extravaganza at Madison Square Garden were termed by their sponsors “the single most successful fundraising political event in the history of the Democratic Party.”

“Our future rests on your willingness to join us in the most exciting adventure of our century — the high enterprise of building in this land a new and great society,” the President told his partisan supporters.

Referring to civil rights, Johnson pledged his Administration to “carry forward the fight until emancipation is not just a proclamation — but a fact.”

“I ask for the support of all citizens to complete the work so nobly begun by our martyred President — John F. Kennedy,” Johnson said.

“After the majority had spoken in Los Angeles [in 1960], John Kennedy asked me to stand at his side in the fight to get America moving again.

“I left the convention hall dedicated to carrying out the programs, policies, and principles of John Kennedy because I believed they were good for America. That work has already begun.”

The evening started with Johnson and his wife Lady Bird moving from table to table at a $1,000-a-plate dinner attended by 750 members of the “President’s Club of New York” at the Hilton Hotel.

His daughter, Lynda Bird, 20, left the dinner and went to the $100-a-plate dinner attended by 1,400 “associates” of the President’s club at the Americana Hotel. Her parents arrived later.

The First Family then moved to the Garden, where 17,000 tickets had been sold at $5 to $100 a seat.

Gregory Peck, Johnny Carson, and Allan Sherman were masters of ceremony. Other stars included Mitzi Gaynor, opera star Robert Merrill, comedian Woody Allen, folk singer Joan Baez, Mahalia Jackson, and the New Christy Minstrels.

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