Lyndon B. Johnson photo

Lyndon B. Johnson Event Timeline

November 22, 1963

Lyndon B. Johnson (36) Event Timeline

11/22/1963 - 01/20/1969




President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, TX. Subsequently, Lee Harvey Oswald is arrested and charged with the murder.


Vice President Lyndon Johnson is sworn in as President aboard Air Force One at Love Field, Dallas, Texas.


At the Dallas Police Station, Lee Harvey Oswald is shot and killed by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner.


National broadcasts televise Kennedy’s funeral, funeral procession, and burial. 


Address to the Nation on the Thanksgiving after President Kennedy’s assassination.


Signs Executive Order 11130 creating a commission to investigate the assassination of President John Kennedy.


Signs the Clean Air Act. This bill aimed to control air pollution on the federal level.


Address to the United Nations.




Annual State of the Union Address.  Johnson announces a war on poverty and a series of federal programs that aim to alleviate poverty.


The Twenty-Fourth Amendment is ratified. This amendment outlawed any form of poll taxes as a requirement for voting. This news was celebrated by members of the Civil Rights Movement who advocated for African American voters.


The Beatles begin their first US tour.


Special Message to the Congress Proposing a Nationwide War on the Sources of Poverty.


Signs a Joint Declaration with Panama, re-establishing diplomatic relations.


The Supreme Court rules (by 9-0 vote in New York Times v. Sullivan) that freedom of speech limited the ability of public figures from suing the press for libel. This decision was reached after the police commissioner of Montgomery sued the New York Times for libel after publishing a piece with factual errors.


Remarks to a Group of Civil Rights Leaders. ”. . . laws and government are, at best, coarse instruments for remolding social institutions or illuminating the dark places of the human heart. . . [or] the thousands of incidents of discrimination and hatred which give the lie to what is learned there in the classroom.”


Approves secret bombing of the “Ho Chi Minh Trail” along the border between Vietnam and Cambodia.


Signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat 241). This law prohibited discrimination against a person based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Radio and Television Remarks upon signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Remarks on Signing the Urban Mass Transportation Act.  “. . . today urban congestion is an unpleasant fact of everyday life for too many millions of Americans.”


Gulf of Tonkin Incident. Two US ships, the USS Maddox and the USS Turner Joy, are allegedly attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin by Vietnamese torpedo boats.


Radio and Television Report to the American People Following Renewed Aggression in the Gulf of Tonkin.


Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution—which extended the wartime powers of the US President. "Congress approves and supports the determination of the President, as Commander in Chief, to take all necessary measures to repeal any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent any further aggression."


Signs the Economic Opportunity Act. This was a part of Johnson’s War on Poverty. It created different social programs in the areas of employment, health, and education.


Signs the Food Stamp Act. This act appropriated 75 million dollars to the Food Stamps Program—a program that was previously a pilot program.


Johnson’s campaign for president airs a controversial advertisement (“The Daisy Girl”). This ad depicts a child counting down while holding a daisy that abruptly turns into a nuclear missile countdown.


Remarks in Oklahoma. “We don't want our American boys to do the fighting for Asian boys. We don't want to get involved in a nation with 700 million people and get tied down in a land war in Asia.”


Warren Report on the assassination of John F. Kennedy is published. It reports that both Lee Harvey Oswald and Jack Ruby acted alone. [Download link.]


Addresses the nation almost one year after Kennedy’s assassination. Johnson reflects on his first year as president and encourages Americans to vote for him in the November elections.


Martin Luther King receives the Nobel Peace Prize for his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement.


Radio and Television Report to the American People on Events in Russia, China, and Great Britain. During this address, Johnson discusses the change in leadership in Russia, nuclear testing in China, and a recent election in Great Britain.


Proclamation announces death of former President Herbert Hoover, in New York.


Radio and Television Address to the American People on Election Day Eve.


Election Day. Johnson defeats Barry Goldwater with 61.1% of the popular vote and 90.3% of the electoral vote. 


The Supreme Court rules (by 9-0 vote in Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States) that the federal government could prohibit places of public accommodation from discriminating on the basis of race under the Commerce Clause.




Delivers the State of the Union Address. Johnson reveals plans for a “Great Society,” a series of federal programs which created social and welfare programs.


Inaugural Address. President Johnson exclaims that Americans “can never again stand aside, prideful in isolation. Terrific dangers and troubles that we once called ‘foreign’ now constantly live among us.”


First March from Selma to Montgomery, led by Rev. C. T. Vivian. Marchers were attacked by Alabama state troopers who shot and killed Jimmie Lee Jackson.  Jackson died eight days later.


Malcom X is assassinated after delivering a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan.


The US military begins Operation Rolling Thunder, a strategic bombing campaign against North Vietnam.


Bloody Sunday” march (the second Selma to Montgomery march) across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL, led by Hosea Williams, John Lewis, Albert Turner, and Bob Mants. The attack on marchers by police and state troopers was covered prominently on television.


First deployment of US ground combat troops to Vietnam;  Marines arrive at Da Nang.


Statement by the President on the Situation in Selma, Alabama. “I am certain Americans everywhere join in deploring the brutality with which a number of Negro citizens of Alabama were treated when they sought to dramatize their deep and sincere interest in attaining the precious right to vote.”


President’s News Conference. “The promise of America is a simple promise: Every person shall share in the blessings of this land. And they shall share on the basis of their merits as a person. They shall not be judged by their color or by their beliefs, or by their religion, or by where they were born, or the neighborhood in which they live.”


Special Message to the Congress on the Right to Vote. “. . . eight years of litigation has made it clear that the prompt and fair registration of qualified Negro citizens cannot be achieved under present legislation in the face of consistent defiance of the laws of Congress or the command of the Constitution.” 


Special Message to Congress: "We Shall Overcome."  In a televised address, Johnson spoke of the need for equal rights.  “This was the first nation in the history of the world to be founded with a purpose. The great phrases of that purpose still sound in every American heart, North and South: "All men are created equal"--"government by consent of the governed"--"give me liberty or give me death." Well, those are not just clever words, or those are not just empty theories. In their name Americans have fought and died for two centuries, and tonight around the world they stand there as guardians of our liberty, risking their lives.”


Third Selma to Montgomery march. Martin Luther King Jr. leads 25,00 Civil Rights activists on a march from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama.


Telephone call to crew of Gemini 3 to congratulate them on first multi-person manned space flight.


U.S. Embassy in Saigon is bombed.  Thirteen killed.


Address at Johns Hopkins University: “Peace Without Conquest.” Pledges to honor the commitments of prior presidents to the people of South Vietnam, but will engage in “unconditional discussion” of peace. Promises a vast economic development program for all of Vietnam if “peaceful cooperation” can be achieved.  This was widely seen as a shift in US policy.


Signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This act provided federal funding for instructional materials and professional development programs. This was one of many bills passed under Johnson’s War on Poverty.


North Vietnam rejects offer of negotiations (see 04/07/1965) calling them a “deceitful maneuver.” (New York Times, 04/12/1965, p. 1)


Statement Upon Ordering Troops into the Dominican Republic.


Signs the Second Supplemental Appropriation Act. This act appropriated over 2 billion dollars towards public assistance programs, disaster relief programs, and veteran compensation programs.


Radio and Television Report to the American People on the Dominican Civil War.


At the University of California, Berkley, 40 men burn and destroy their draft cards in protest of Vietnam War.


Signs a resolution appropriating 700 million dollars in funds for military action in Vietnam.


Announces in a Rose Garden Event that over 2000 Head Start centers will be open and operating by during Summer.


Signs a bill authorizing new embassy in Saigon.


During the flight of Gemini 4, Ed White makes the first “spacewalk” lasting 23 minutes.


The Supreme Court rules 7-2 in Griswold v. Connecticut that the Bill of Rights prevents states from banning married couples from using contraception. Justice Douglas writes that the Bill of Rights creates penumbras that establish a general right to privacy that extends to marital privacy.


Signs Medicare Bill in Independence Missouri, telling former President Truman, “perhaps you alone can fully know just how grateful I am for this day.”  This law, Public Law 89-97 (79 Stat. 286) amended the Social Security Act and included the Medicaid program.


Announces in News Conference an increase to the number of American troops in Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000.


Signs the Voting Rights Act—prohibiting discriminatory voting practices that have historically disenfranchised African American voters.


The Watts Race Riots break out in the Watts Neighborhood and the surrounding Los Angeles Area. This occurred after a 21-year-old African American man was arrested and rumors spread that the police kicked a pregnant woman during the confrontation. The incident caused over forty million dollars in damages and forced the National Guard to send 14,000 troops to suppress the violence.


Thurgood Marshall sworn in as Solicitor General of the United States—first African-American to hold the post.


Signs an amendment for the Universal Military Training and Service Act. This amendment criminalized the destruction or mutilation of draft cards.


Signs Act creating the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities. These become the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Signs Immigration Nationality Act, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act. This law removed the National Origins Formula and any other quota-based restrictions on immigration.


In a Statement, outlines procedures to be followed during his “inability” during his gallbladder surgery scheduled for 10/08/1965.


Pacifist, David J. Miller, publicly burns his draft card at a rally in Manhattan. Three days later he is arrested by the FBI for violating the Draft Card Burning Law.


Statement by the President in Response to Science Advisory Committee Report “Restoring the Quality of our Environment.”  The report predicted an increase of 25% in atmospheric carbon dioxide by the year 2000.


Remarks on Signing the Higher Education Act of 1965. The Higher Education Act (HEA) was to increase resources for colleges and universities and provide financial aid to students pursuing postsecondary education. The HEA promotes access to higher education regardless of socioeconomic background. it governs student-aid programs, federal assistance to colleges, and oversight of teacher training. Subject to reauthorization every five years.


Telegram of congratulations on the successful rendezvous in space of Gemini 6 and Gemini 7. The astronauts were Captain Walter Schirra, Major Thomas P. Stafford, Commander James A. Lovell, Jr., and Lt. Colonel Frank Borman.


The US begins a 37-day pause in the bombing of North Vietnam. During this time, the US attempts to pressure North Vietnam in negotiations.




Annual Address on the State of the Union.


Robert Weaver sworn in as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, the first African American member appointed to a president’s cabinet.


After the US fails to negotiate peace with North Vietnam, President Johnson announces the resumption of air strikes on North Vietnam.


Signs the Asian Development Bank Act.


The Supreme Court rules 6-3 in Harper v. Virginia that a poll tax enforced by the state of Virginia was unconstitutional violating the Equal Protections Clause of the 14th Amendment. This decision was a major success for the Civil Rights Movement.


6400 teachers and professors collectively sponsor a 3-page anti-war advertisement on the New York Times.


The Supreme Court rules 5-4 in Miranda v Arizona that the Fifth Amendment protects against self-incrimination. This decision also held that law enforcement officials must advise suspects of their rights to an attorney to remain silent.


Signs the Bail Reform Act of 1966, which Increased the bail rights of federal non-capital defendants.


Expanded US bombing campaign hits oil storage facilities around Hanoi and Haiphong.


Signs the Freedom of Information Act. Warns about the need to limit disclosure for military secrets and to protect personnel records.


Signs the Fair Labor Standards Amendments of 1966. These new amendments increased the federal minimum wage to $1.60 per hour.


The Black Panther Party is founded in Oakland, CA.


Signs the Department of Transportation Act, which created the Department of Transportation.




Ronald Reagan is inaugurated as governor of California.


Delivers the State of the Union.


Astronauts Ed White, Roger Chaffee, and Virgil Grissom are killed in a fire during a NASA launching test.


Twenty-Fifth Amendment is ratified, clarifying that if the president dies, resign, or is removed from office, then the vice president would fill his vacancy.  If the office of vice president becomes vacant, the President may appoint a new vice president.


Martin Luther King Jr. “Beyond Vietnam” speech criticizing the Vietnam War.


American Boxer, Muhammad Ali, refuses to participate in the US military draft. He was later convicted of draft evasion and banned from boxing for three years.


The Supreme Court rules 9-0 in Loving v. Virginia that anti- miscegenation laws in Virginia were unconstitutional because they violated the 14th Amendment. Chief Justice Earl Warren wrote that "the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual, and cannot be infringed by the State."


Nominates Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court. Marshall becomes the Court’s first African-American justice. He was confirmed by the Senate on 8/30/1967 and sworn in on 10/02/1967


Remarks on authorizing use of Federal troops including forty-seven hundred federal paratroopers to restore order in Detroit riot. “Pillage, looting, murder, and arson have nothing to do with civil rights.  They are criminal conduct.”  Also see Executive Order 11364 and Proclamation 3795.


Invites USSR to end “competitive spacemanship” by cooperative space exploration.


At the largest anti-war rally up to this point, over 50,000 protestors participate in a “March on the Pentagon.” At the Pentagon some protesters rioted.


Signs the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967. This is the origin of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.


Robert McNamara resigns as Secretary of Defense. McNamara becomes one of the many aides to President Johnson who resigned over the Vietnam War. Following his resignation, Secretary McNamara is nominated as president of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.


Statement on Signing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967




Signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Amendments of 1967.  Provides financial assistance for low-income children, school libraries and supplementary education centers.


North Korea captures the USS Pueblo, a communications intelligence ship (although classified officially as an Environmental Research ship). In an Address to the Nation on 01/26/1968 Johnson called this a “wanton and aggressive act.”


The North Vietnamese launch a coordinated attack on hundreds of cities in South Vietnam in an attack known as the Tet Offensive. This assault contradicts statements by President Johnson that the North Vietnamese troops are weak and losing the war.


Special message to Congress about the housing industry, fair housing legislation, and urban development legislation.


Letter to the Senate on a bill to simplify entry for foreign visitors. This proposal would waive visas for tourists and businessmen from certain principally Western European nations.  


Nationally influential anchorman, Walter Cronkite, announces on CBS Evening News that he is confident that "the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate."


Alabama Governor George Wallace enters the presidential race.


Special Message to Congress on the Problems of American Indians. “The Forgotten American.”


In the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, challenger Senator Eugene McCarthy got a surprising 42 percent of the vote while Johnson won with a disappointing 48 percent.


US troops commit what becomes known as the Mai Lai Massacre. In small village in South Vietnam, American troops kill 300-500 unarmed Vietnamese civilians.


New York Senator, Robert F Kennedy, announces his candidacy for the 1968 presidential race. He exclaims that it is “unmistakably clear that we can change these disastrous, divisive policies only by changing the men who make them.”


Statement criticizing violence in Memphis, TN in association with a strike by city sanitation workers. Martin Luther King spoke to the workers on the night of 04/03/1968 (the “mountaintop” speech).


Following criticism of the Vietnam War, domestic unrest, and Robert Kennedy’s campaign announcement, President Johnson reveals in a nationally televised address that he will not run for reelection. Announces unilateral halt to military action north of the demilitarized zone and a willingness to enter peace talks with the North Vietnamese.


Statement on the Assassination of Martin Luther King in Memphis, TN. King was shot by James Earl Ray while on the balcony outside his hotel room.


Signs the Fair Housing Act, (also sometimes called the Civil Rights Act of 1968), which banned discrimination in housing based on race, religion, or national origin.


In a News Conference, announces that Hanoi has agreed to begin peace talks in Paris on 05/10/1968.


The Supreme Court rules (by 7-1 vote in U.S. vs O’Brien) that burning a draft card is not a form of free speech and therefore is not protected by the First Amendment.


Signs the Consumer Credit Protection Act.


Shortly after winning the California Primary, Senator Robert F. Kennedy is shot and killed at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. President’s Statement of 06/05/1968.


Letter to President of the Senate and Speaker of the House urging passage of an effective gun control law.


The Poor People’s Campaign organizes a rally for Jobs, Peace, and Freedom in Washington, D.C. 50,000 people participate in this historic rally.


Johnson signs the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.


The Republican National Convention nominates Richard Nixon for president.


Soviet Union invades Czechoslovakia


Calls on the Warsaw Pact Allies to withdraw from Czechoslovakia.


Hubert Humphrey accepts the Democratic Nomination for president. Democratic convention is marked by extensively violent conflict between police and anti-war demonstrators.


NASA’s Apollo program launches its first crewed flight, Apollo 7. This was a major step toward eventual lunar landing.


In the Mexico City Olympics, Americans John Carlos and Tommie Smith win the Gold and Bronze medals for the 200-meter dash. They both raise their fists during the national anthem in protest against violence and inequality against African-Americans. The following day, both men were stripped of their Olympic medals and sent home.


Election Day. Republican nominee Richard Nixon defeats Hubert Humphrey with 43.4% of the popular vote and 55.9% of the electoral vote. George Wallace won 13.5% of the popular vote and 8.4% of the electoral vote (winning the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, and Mississippi).


New York’s Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to the US House of Representatives.


Meets with President-Elect Nixon at the White House.


Leonid Brezhnev, General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, and thus the USSR dominant leader, articulates what comes to be called the “Brezhnev Doctrine.” Basically, a threat to any socialist country is a common problem and concern of all socialist countries.


Apollo 8 becomes the first crewed spacecraft to orbit the moon and return to Earth. After their return, President Johnson spoke by telephone to Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Andres.


Initially posted 9/16/2021. Last modified: 7/19/2023.

Lyndon B. Johnson, Lyndon B. Johnson Event Timeline Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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