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FBI Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Opening of Civil Rights Office in Mississippi

President Johnson

President Johnson

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

As violence against black people continued after signing the Civil Rights Act in July 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson turned to the FBI for help.

The New York Times reports that Johnson urged then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover to open the first office dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Americans.

The FBI on Thursday celebrated the 50th anniversary of the opening.

Officials and civil rights leaders said a lot has changed in the bureau since then.

“We saw the F.B.I. only as an institution set to keep people of color down,” said Myrlie Evers-Williams, the widow of Medgar Evers, the Mississippi civil rights leader killed the summer before the office opened said. “One that was not a friend, but one that was a foe. And I stand before you today saying that I am proud to say I see the F.B.I. as playing the role they did, and finally in my mind, and my heart reaching the point where I can say, friend.”


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