Today is President's Day, and while you're reading all of the articles in praise of the men who have taken their turn in the Oval Office, let's talk about the stories that didn't get a lot of attention in your high school text books: some of the racist moments of our nation's leaders.
They're moments that sometimes came through in their policies, in the things they said (and the way they said it), or in private moments that later became public. A lot of them did some great things for the entire country, but failed when it came to racial equality because they didn't want to oppose the popular views of their time (and political party). Of course, time and context matter. Some of them tried to shed the racist or prejudice views they were brought up to believe later on during their presidencies. Some didn't.
Here are some of the worst racist moments of American presidents.
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Harry S. Truman
Lyndon B. Johnson
Number: 36th president
Term: Nov. 22, 1963 – Jan. 20, 1969
Lyndon B. Johnson is considered a champion of civil rights because he passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and focused on taking down the KKK. But the man didn't have a way with words, and constantly chose to use the word "n****r" like it was his own name. He even called the Civil Rights Act the "n****r bill."
In Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times, 1908-1960, by Robert Dallek, Johnson reportedly defended appointing Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court to a staff member by saying, "Son, when I appoint a n****r to the court, I want everyone to know he's a n****r."