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King Feared Race War, LBJ Recording Shows

April 13, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

In a tape-recorded conversation just released, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. told President Johnson he feared a "full-scale race war" after the deadly 1965 Los Angeles riots.

The LBJ Library and Museum in Austin released 40 hours of phone conversations Johnson secretly recorded in 1965, including the 13-minute call from King.

The men discussed racial tensions after the Watts riots and Johnson complained about opposition in Congress to some of his anti-poverty initiatives. The president also implored King to publicly support him on the Vietnam War.

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