1965 Lyndon Johnson Signed Letter Regarding His Famous "We Shall Overcome" Speech

Sold For: $2,700

Auction Year: 2017 spring

Lot: 2344

Item Year: 1965

Category: Historical/Political

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Significant one-page typed letter, on official "The White House" letterhead and dated March 17, 1965, signed by Lyndon B. Johnson, thirty-sixth President of the United States. This letter, written to congressman Michael J. Kirwan (Democrat; Ohio) directly relates to Johnson's famous "We Shall Overcome" speech made two days earlier, on March 15, 1965, before a joint session of Congress. In that speech, Johnson passionately argued for Congress to pass a strong voting-rights bill that would eliminate illegal barriers enacted to deter minorities from voting. His address to Congress took place just ten days following the "Bloody Sunday" encounter in Selma, Alabama, where a group of marchers peacefully protesting against illegal voting practices in the South were savagely beaten by law enforcement officials. In his letter, he thanks Kirwan for his support and reemphasizes his determination to see the bill passed. In full: Dear Mike: Your telegram was a bright and happy event in my day. Of course I am glad that you heartily approved of what I had to say. There really can be no argument about the position that I have taken for there are few issues before the people of this country that are so rooted in rightness - constitutionality, morally, and humanely. Thank you, my dear friend, for your very kind words. Sincerely, Lyndon B. Johnson [signed]." Johnson's signature has been scripted in black ink and grades "9." The lettter (6.5 x 8.5 inches; visually) displays a horizontal fold line and is in apparent Near Mint condition. Matted and framed together with the original envelope (7 x 4.5 inches; Nr-Mt), and two related black-and-white photographic prints (9.5 x 7.5). The first pictures Johnson speaking to reporters on March 13, 1965, after a three-hour meeting with Alabama Governor George Wallace. The other captures an African-American family in their living room watching Johnson's "We Shall Overcome" speech to Congress on the television. Total dimensions (24 x 23 inches). Full LOA from PSA/DNA and auction LOA from James Spence/JSA. Pre certified by Steve Grad and Brian Sobrero/Beckett Authentication. Reserve $500. Estimate (open).


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