President Johnson Appoints the Kerner Commission

Following nationwide race riots that had been occuring in Black and Latino neighborhoods between 1965 and 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed what is now popularly known as the Kerner Commission in July 27, 1967. Formally known as the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, the 11-member Commission was chaired by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner (D).

The final commission report was released in February 1968. Its overarching finding was that the riots stemmed from frustration at the lack of economic opportunity amongst Black Americans, and included the famous passage: “our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.”  The Commission’s findings and recommendations were largely ignored.   Just week’s after the Commission released its report, Dr. King was assassinated causing more rioting and pressuring President Johnson to take some action.