May 19, 1966. LBJ walks and talks with Louis Martin, a newspaper executive, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and important liaison for LBJ with black political leaders. In his oral history Martin later described LBJ’s approach to government appointments:
“David G. McComb, interviewer: You know, it’s a cliche that Johnson as president was interested in appointing people from minorities. Is this true from your point of view?
Louis Martin: I think that President Johnson was very sensitive to the general charge that blacks did not have true equality of opportunity in the federal establishment. He also recognized the political value of getting good men in spots so if he found exceptionally qualified blacks he really covered two bases. He got the job done, but he also got some political points. Now my feeling about Johnson, and this is what I used to tell many Negroes in the newspaper business and others—is that since Johnson was a Southerner, he would normally, being a good politician, lean over backwards to prove that he was not a racist. Further, there’s something in the folklore of Negro life that a reconstructed Southerner is really far more liberal than a liberal Yankee. And I exploited this part of the folklore.
Mc: Is that true as far as Johnson is concerned?
M: I think it is true. I think Johnson did many things that Kennedy would never have done, including appointing Andrew Brimmer as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board. I don’t think I’d have ever gotten Kennedy to do that. Johnson did it without prodding. Nobody pressured Johnson, nobody prodded him, nobody told him, nobody marched, nobody did anything. Johnson saw the merits of this guy.”
LBJ Library, Transcript, Louis Martin Oral History Interview I, 5/14/69, by David G. McComb. Photo A2471-18, public domain.