Excerpted from the Foreword of the Softcover Edition of Who REALLY Killed Martin Luther King Jr.? by the Acclaimed First Generation JFK Researcher Edgar F. Tatro
Having spent a major portion of my adult life investigating the criminal history of Lyndon Baines Johnson, a documented sexist, sexual predator, hypocrite, liar, cheapskate, narcissist, thief, blackmailer, bully and conspirator in multiple murders, it is LBJ, the racist, which figures most prominently, the significant underlying factor, in Phil Nelson’s Who Really Killed Martin Luther King Jr.?
Phil’s meticulously detailed prologue exposes the shameless and Machiavellian macrocosm central to Johnson’s political agenda, the clever ploy to pass civil rights legislation in a devious attempt to create a fallacious facade to falsely show his presidency in a liberal and historic light, and that bigotry in overdrive helped give birth to political assassination.
Herein, it is my intention to expose the microcosm of LBJ’s amoral inner core, a brief, succinct behind-the-scenes peek at a more up close and personal racism inherent in the man. Brevity is mandatory in a foreword, but the following vignettes and quotes unearthed by diverse historians and researchers and courageous whistle blowers should convince the reader to digest Phil Nelson’s insightful and scholarly tome with an open mind.
Are you ready?
During the 1964 Democratic Convention, a top official of a major television network picked up the phone to hear Lyndon Johnson, the President of the United States, growl, “Get your God damn cameras off the niggers out front, (civil rights protesters from Mississippi), and back on the speaker’s stand inside, Goddamn it!” (1)
When he was a youngster, Johnson would throw rocks at black kids to scatter them in all directions away from the local swimming hole. As a congressman, when he would return to Texas, he would place snakes in his car trunk, then ask a black gas station attendant to check his spare tire and laugh with glee as the poor guy would react in horror and fear at the snakes. (2)
In January of 1964 he told a friend from Texas – “I’m gonna try to teach these nigras that don’t know anything how to work for themselves instead of just breedin’. I’m gonna try to teach these Mexicans who can’t talk English to learn it so they can work for themselves…and get off our taxpayers’ back.” (3)
In his 2005 autobiography, Billie Sol Estes, the notorious convicted Texas wheeler dealer, wrote, “One of (Lyndon’s) most annoying faults was his dislike for blacks. In private, he used the ‘N’ word, but as a politician, he courted their votes.” Estes admitted that LBJ’s racism/hypocrisy was one of the reasons that he testified before a grand jury in 1984 about Johnson’s ordering the “hit” of agricultural official, Henry Marshall. (4)
During his presidency Johnson asked Larry Temple, an attorney for LBJ’s best friend, Texas Governor John Connally, his thoughts regarding the appointment of a black man to the Supreme Court. Temple recommended Judge A. Leon Higginbotham, a federal district judge from Pennsylvania. Johnson told Temple, “The only two people who ever heard of Judge Higginbotham are you and his momma. When I appoint a nigger to the bench, I want everyone to know he’s a nigger.” (5)
Warren Trammell, the son of Seymore Trammell, who was a primary adviser to Alabama’s George Wallace during Wallace’s tenure as governor, sent an email to a Texas JFK researcher on August 28, 2013 about his 1965 visit to the White House Oval Office with his father and Lyndon Johnson. The key discussion centered around the civil rights protests in Alabama. According to Seymore Trammell, LBJ ranted, “Now you boys, you gotta get your God damned asses back down to Alabama and make those God damned niggers act right and calm the hell down! I am God damned tired of hearing ‘bout those God damned niggers on the God damned news every night….”
Even Johnson’s political pawn, Bill Moyers, offered another glimpse of LBJ’s exploitation of racial divides in the Washington Post on November 13, 1988. One night after drinking in a hotel in Tennessee, Johnson commented on the racially-charged signs they had seen earlier in the day during a political motorcade. He told Moyers, “I’ll tell you what’s at the bottom of it. If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
The most eye-opening and truly despicable anecdotes corroborating Lyndon Johnson as a racist were documented by an unlikely source, a black insider, Robert Parker Jr., a waiter, cook, messenger, and chauffeur for LBJ and other Washington politicians. Parker’s ability to tolerate abuse and obey orders for the sake of a paycheck and his family’s well being eventually led him to the position of maître d’ of the United States Senate Dining Room from 1964 until his retirement in 1975.
Parker admitted that Johnson never called him by his name. He was always called “Boy,” “Nigger,” or “Chief”. When Johnson, as a senator, asked him in the back seat of his car once if it bothered him when people didn’t call him by name, the black chauffeur cautiously responded, “Well, sir, I do wonder. My name is Robert Parker.”
Johnson shouted, “Let me tell you one thing, nigger. As long as you are black, and you’re gonna be black till the day you die, no one’s gonna call you by your God damn name. So no matter what you are called, nigger, you just let it roll off your back like water, and you’ll make it. Just pretend you’re a God damn piece of furniture.” (6)
Whenever Parker was late picking Johnson up from an event, Johnson would call him a lazy, good-for-nothing nigger. Parker wrote, “He especially like to call me ‘Nigger’ in front of southerners and racists like Richard Russell. It was, I soon learned, LBJ’s way of being one of the boys.” In private, Johnson would soften a bit and say, “I can’t be too good on you. I don’t want to be called a ‘nigger lover’.” (7)
In 1954 Johnson missed an important senate vote because he was stuck between floors on a broken elevator. A black waiter named Lamb was stuck with him and Johnson was kind and considerate during the wait. The two men sat together on the floor while mechanics corrected the problem. The next morning, a reelection year in the balance, Johnson issued orders that, from now on, colored waiters would deliver food only by way of the stairs. The Texas newspapers loved it and Johnson won the 1954 election in a landslide unlike his stolen victory in 1948. One of LBJ’s friends commented later, “Lyndon, you shoulda had a nigger on the elevator in 1948.” Johnson agreed and replied, “Yeah, it’s always good to have a nigger in the woodpile.” (8)
Having established the basics confirming LBJ as an unmitigated bigot, it also seems fitting to substantiate his total disdain for human beings, his dark void of empathy for anyone but himself. Bill Gulley, the Director of the White House Military Office became a whistle blower extraordinaire in 1980 with his book, Breaking Cover, which detailed a wide array of illicit financial abuses by LBJ of the Military Office Secret Fund and the White House Communication Agency for his own personal use and to enhance many areas of the LBJ Ranch in Texas, but it was one singular quote from LBJ which stayed with Gulley permanently—”Just you remember this: there’s only two kinds at the White House. There’s elephants and there’s pissants. And I’m the only elephant.” (9)
Air Force One steward, Robert MacMillan’s recollections are strikingly similar to those of Robert Parker and Bill Gulley. McMillan said LBJ often referred to staff members as “You damn fools” or “Boy,” but he noted Johnson’s contempt was also directed at the American public. MacMillan said, “Johnson would come on the plane, and the minute he got out of sight of the crowds, he would stand in the doorway and grin from ear to ear, and say, ‘You dumb sons of bitches. I piss on all of you.” MacMillan’s overview of Johnson was profoundly sobering — “I doubt that there was a day in Johnson’s life in the White House that he didn’t do something that was dishonest.” (10)
Senator Barry Goldwater summarized the essence of Lyndon Johnson as well as any politician who had dealt with him— “The last thing Lyndon Johnson wanted to do in life was talk political principles or beliefs. He wouldn’t do it. LBJ never believed in either. His only political dogma was expediency. Things were never right or wrong. Most problems in the country could be fixed with cunning and craftiness. He never cleaned that crap off his boots. It trailed him from the senate to the vice presidency and into the Oval Office itself. There’s an old saying out in Arizona: If you get down in the manure, you come up smelling like it.” (11)
LBJ’s press secretary, George Reedy, a brilliant writer and astute analyst of Johnson’s psyche, wrote, “As a human being, he was a miserable person – a bully, sadist, lout, and egotist. He had no sense of loyalty (despite his protestations that it was the quality he valued above all others) and he enjoyed tormenting those who had done the most for him. He seemed to take a special delight in humiliating those who had cast in their lot with him. It may well be that this was the result of a form of self-loathing in which he concluded that there had to be something wrong with anyone who would associate with him.” (12)
Jerry Bruno, the primary advance man for JFK’s Texas trip in 1963, and a devout and patriotic loyalist to President Kennedy, knew that LBJ’s key henchmen were responsible for setting up the Dealey Plaza deathtrap, which included tall unsecured buildings, extreme right angle motorcade turns and plenty of potential sniper lairs by forcing the motorcade to travel to the Trade Mart instead of his choice, The Women’s Building. (13)
In Bruno’s memoirs, he perceived a metaphorical parallel to Adolph Hitler– “There’s a story that’s told about Hitler…..Hitler was reviewing the troops one day, and somewhere in the ranks, a man sneezed.
“‘Who sneezed?’ Hitler says. No answer. “‘Who sneezed?’ Hitler shouts. Nothing. So he orders the whole front row of troops mowed down with a machine gun. “‘Now who sneezed?’ Hitler says. “And from way in the back comes this voice, ‘I did, Mein Fuhrer.’ “‘Oh,’ says Hitler, ‘Gesundheit.’ “There’s something about that in Lyndon Johnson.” (14)
Please realize that these examples cited are the proverbial tip of the amoral Johnson glacier, but, hopefully, my brief primer has offered the reader at least a sobering snapshot at Lyndon Baines Johnson, a true master of amoral, outrageous acts and racist beliefs, the “Mr. Hyde” of his generation. Now it is time to read Phil Nelson’s book to judge for yourself who really killed Martin Luther King Jr.!
1 Robert Sherrill, The Accidental President, (New York: Grossman Publishers, 1967), p. 19.
2 Robert A. Caro, The Years of Lyndon Johnson: Master of the Senate, (New York; Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), p. 715.
D. Jablow Hershmann, Power Beyond Reason: The Mental Collapse of Lyndon Johnson, (Fort Lee, New Jersey: Barricade, 2002), p. 30.
3 Robert Dallek, Flawed Giant, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998), pp. 111-112.
4 Billie Sol Estes, Billie Sol Estes, A Texas Legend, (Granbury, Texas: BS Productions, 2005).
For more information regarding the murder of Henry Marshall, go to Youtube and type “The Guilty Men,” Part IX of “The Men Who Killed Kennedy’ series, broadcast on The History Channel in November, 2003.
5 Dallek, Flawed Giant, p. 441.
6 Robert Parker, Capitol Hill in Black and White, (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1986), P. V.
7 ibid. p. 16.
8 ibid. p. 77.
9 Bill Gulley with Mary Ellen Reese, Breaking Cover, (New York; Simon and Schuster, 1980), pp. 44-45.
10 Ronald Kessler, Inside The White House, (New York: Pocket Books, 1995), pp. 25-27.
11 Barry Goldwater, With No Apologies,(New York: Berkley Books, 1979), pp. 51-52.
12 George Reedy, Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir, (New York: Andrews and McMeel Inc., 1982), p. 127.
13 Personal papers of Jerry Bruno at the JFK Library, Boston, Massachusetts.
House Select Committee on Assassinations: Jerry Bruno file at the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.
Jerry Bruno and Jeff Greenfield, The Advance Man, (New York: Bantam Books, 1971).
14 Bruno and Greenfield, pp. 97-98.