Records Relating to Civil Disturbances, 1968

Records Relating to Civil Disturbances, 1968 (RG 319 A1 1695; NND 57082; 1 box)
By Dr. Trichita Chestnut

Forty-four years ago on April 4, 1968, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated as he stood on the balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, TN. Despite appeals for peace, race riots erupted in major cities across the country. As a result, President Lyndon B. Johnson issued a series of   Executive Orders and instructions for the deployment of military forces to control the civil disorder and restore law and order in cities like Baltimore, Chicago, Memphis, and Washington, D.C.

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7 Responses to Records Relating to Civil Disturbances, 1968

  1. Susan Cummings says:

    Dr. Chestnut,
    Thank you for this post on this pivotal day in American history. I remember vividly the TV images of Baltimore in flames. You might be interested in an educational packet put together by the Maryland State Archives- see:

    • Trichita Chestnut says:

      I agree. April 4, 1968 was a pivotal day because it changed the course of history and civil rights activists fought even harder. Thanks, Susan for the suggestion. I will look into it and see if I can up with something.

  2. Lee Ann Potter says:

    The Kennedy Library’s website features a statement made by Robret Kennedy on the assassination. In workshops with teachers, we have asked them to read the statement, and then listen to the actual speech–also online from the Library (see: It is very powerful to listen to the crowd’s reaction.

  3. John says:

    There are also great documents on this date at the Johnson library. LBJ met with leaders to discuss the need for calm (Stokely Carmicheal famously waited outside the WH gate to get into the meeting). The meeting took place inthe Cabinet room and was recorded. Tom Johnson took detailed notes of this meeting (series: Tom Johnson’s Notes) that are an excellent source. There are also many interesting telephone conversations and transcripts.

  4. Dan says:

    Is this blog still active? Nothing has been posted for some time. Also, is NARA working on an Open Government Plan 2.0? According to the White House blog they were due on April 9, 2012.

    • Don says:


      Thanks for the comment. Yes, this blog is still active, just a little slow right now. I’m hoping to have a post out with our new openings (March – mid-May) shortly. Yes, we contributed to NARA’s Open Government report. I’ll find out the status and let you know.


      • Don says:


        Here is more from our Open Government folks. we provided them with updates regarding the NDC.

        NARA is working on updating the Open Government Plan, which will be issued shortly. The White House gave small agencies a June 2012 deadline for updating Open Government Plans. When it is published, it will be made available on

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