Yes, it does get worse.

Yes, it does get worse.
Summer Of ’67: Yes, it did get worse.

– President Johnson Address regarding riots – July 27, 1967 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –

With a country teetering on the edge of burning down. Cities engulfed in flame and violence. Civil disorder spread from coast to coast, it truly was The Long, Hot Summer many predicted would happen. The racial violence, the protests to the War in Vietnam – the Summer of 1967, contrary to being referred to as “the summer of Love” was anything but, if you went outside the city limits of San Francisco or Los Angeles.

With rioting gripping most major urban areas this July in 1967, President Johnson took to the airwaves for the second time in a week, to discuss the situation and to call for an end to the violence and to call for unity and healing.

President Johnson: “First—let there be no mistake about it-the looting, arson, plunder, and pillage which have occurred are not part of the civil rights protest. There is no American right to loot stores, or to burn buildings, or to fire rifles from the rooftops. That is crime—and crime must be dealt with forcefully, and swiftly, and certainly—under law.
Innocent people, Negro and white, have been killed. Damage to property—owned by Negroes and whites—is calamitous. Worst of all, fear and bitterness which have been loosed will take long months to erase.
The criminals who committed these acts of violence against the people deserve to be punished—and they must be punished. Explanations may be offered, but nothing can excuse what they have done.
There will be attempts to interpret the events of the past few days. But when violence strikes, then those in public responsibility have an immediate and a very different job: not to analyze, but to end disorder.
That they must seek to do with every means at their command: through local police, State officials, and—in extraordinary circumstances where local authorities have stated that they cannot maintain order with their own resources—then through Federal power that we have limited authority to use.
I have directed the Secretary of Defense to issue new training standards for riot control procedures immediately to National Guard units across the country. Through the Continental Army Command, this expanded training will begin immediately. The National Guard must have the ability to respond effectively, quickly, and appropriately, in conditions of disorder and violence.
Those charged with the responsibility of law enforcement should, and must, be respected by all of our people. The violence must be stopped, quickly, finally, and permanently”.

Under the circumstances, any call for calm was much needed.

Here is that complete address from President Johnson, as it was aired on July 27, 1967.


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