The Music Has Gone Out of the Movement

Civil Rights and the Johnson Administration, 1965-1968

By David C. Carter

384 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-2200-2
    Published: December 2014
  • E-book EPUB ISBN: 978-1-4696-0657-6
    Published: September 2012
  • E-book PDF ISBN: 979-8-8908-7961-5
    Published: September 2012

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After the passage of sweeping civil rights and voting rights legislation in 1964 and 1965, the civil rights movement stood poised to build on considerable momentum. In a famous speech at Howard University in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared that victory in the next battle for civil rights would be measured in "equal results" rather than equal rights and opportunities. It seemed that for a brief moment the White House and champions of racial equality shared the same objectives and priorities. Finding common ground proved elusive, however, in a climate of growing social and political unrest marked by urban riots, the Vietnam War, and resurgent conservatism.

Examining grassroots movements and organizations and their complicated relationships with the federal government and state authorities between 1965 and 1968, David C. Carter takes readers through the inner workings of local civil rights coalitions as they tried to maintain strength within their organizations while facing both overt and subtle opposition from state and federal officials. He also highlights internal debates and divisions within the White House and the executive branch, demonstrating that the federal government’s relationship to the movement and its major goals was never as clear-cut as the president’s progressive rhetoric suggested.

Carter reveals the complex and often tense relationships between the Johnson administration and activist groups advocating further social change, and he extends the traditional timeline of the civil rights movement beyond the passage of the Voting Rights Act.

About the Author

David C. Carter is associate professor of history at Auburn University.
For more information about David C. Carter, visit the Author Page.


"A brilliantly fascinating history of the Johnson administration . . . brimming with political detail. . . . Meticulous in detail and covers the drama from one set piece to another and is highly recommended."--Journal of American Studies

"Carter's thoughtful analysis . . . should hit almost all of the right notes for readers interested in civil rights and the presidency in the 1960s."--Journal of American History

"[Carter's] combination of views from the top levels of government to the nation's poorest neighborhoods provides valuable insight into developments during these crucial few years."--Journal of Southern History

"The Music Has Gone Out of the Movement . . . offer[s] an important window into the conflicts between the federal and local amid the civil rights movement. . . . Students of civil rights will find this work indispensable in enhancing their understanding of both the complex goals and reservations of the Johnson administration."--Essays in History

“Carter’s analysis of [Lyndon B. Johnson]’s second term, especially his close attention to the details of the administration’s civil rights policymaking, makes this book well worth reading. . . . His research, especially his use of the records of the Johnson administration, is commendable.”--The Historian

“An important contribution to scholarship on the 1960s in America.”--American Historical Review