top of page

Dr. King Hits Kennedy on Civil Rights

June 9, 1963 - The civil rights approach of the Kennedy Administration as compared with that of the Eisenhower Administration has merely substituted “an inadequate approach for a miserable one,” Dr. Martin Luther King declared today. He said that President Kennedy “may have done a little more” than President Eisenhower, “but the plight of the vast majority of Negroes remains the same.” In his broadest attack to date on President Kennedy’s civil rights record, Dr. King charged the President with a failure of leadership and with not having lived up to his campaign promises. He expressed these views in a two-hour taped interview with David Susskind on the “Open End” television program on New York’s WPIX-TV. He said that, above all, President Kennedy must start talking of integration in moral terms in which “we seldom if ever hear the President of the United States speaking” rather than in purely political terms. Dr. King indicated that integrationist groups, to help the President, might stage “a march on Washington, even sit-ins in Congress.” Asked by Mr. Susskind whether “political considerations” had held the President back until now, Dr. King replied: “I think it boils down to a fear of arousing the ire of Southern Congressmen, many of whom hold the leadership in basic and important committees in Congress.” Despite all discouragements, Dr. King predicted: “Between 7 and 10 years from now, we will be able to see all over the South a desegregated society. And I believe before the turn of the century, we will have moved a long way towards a thoroughly integrated society in America.”


bottom of page