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Hubert Humphrey was a Minnesota Democratic politician, who after a long career in the U.S. Senate served as vice-president under Lyndon B. Johnson and ran unsuccessfully against Richard M. Nixon in the Election of 1968.Hubert Horatio Humphrey was born in Wallace, South Dakota, on May 27, 1911. He dropped out of college in the 1930's to work for his father in the family drugstore in Huron, but returned to obtain a degree in political science from the University of Minnesota and a masters from Louisiana State. He taught at both of his alma maters as well as at Macalester College.During the New Deal, Humphrey worked for the Works Progress Administration and was later elected (1943) and re-elected (1947) mayor of Minneapolis.At the Democratic National Convention in 1948, Hubert Humphrey gave a stirring speech:
Now let me say this at the outset that this proposal is made for no single region. Our proposal is made for no single class, for no single racial or religious group in mind. All of the regions of this country, all of the states have shared in our precious heritage of American freedom. All the states and all the regions have seen at least some of the infringements of that freedom -- all people -- get this -- all people, white and black, all groups, all racial groups have been the victims at time[s] in this nation of -- let me say -- vicious discrimination.
Humphrey's successful push for a strong civil rights plank in the Democratic national platform contributed to the departure of the Dixiecrats under Strom Thurmond, but in the Election of 1948, Humphrey became the first Democrat elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota and Harry Truman beat Dewey.Humphrey campaigned unsuccessfully for the Democratic nomination for vice-president in 1956 and for president in 1960. In 1964, Lyndon Johnson brought him onto the presidential ticket, and in the Election of 1964, they resoundingly defeated Barry Goldwater and William Miller.A little more than three years into his term as vice-president, Humphrey was suddenly thrust into the forefront of the 1968 presidential campaign when Johnson decided not to seek renomination. Drawing on the same core of support that had backed Johnson in the early primaries, Humphrey won the nomination but lost the election of 1968 to Richard Nixon.Hubert Humphrey died of cancer on January 13, 1978, in Waverly, Minnesota.
Hubert H. Humphrey Building History
The Hubert H. Humphrey Building is located on Square 577 in Southwest, Washington DC. The Square has the general shape of an irregular pentagon, with the full length of its south and west edges formed, respectively, by C and 3rd Streets. The remainder of the north and east edges are bordered by Independence Avenue and 2nd Street. The building&rsquos proximity to the Capital and National Mall make this a prominent site within the city.
One of the challenges posed by the site was the Interstate-395 3rd Street Tunnel, which runs directly beneath the HHS building. This was one of the first projects in the District of Columbia to utilize air rights in order to construct over the tunnel and resulted in an early building nickname, the &lsquoAir Rights Building.&rsquo The site design for the building also includes a large open plaza fronting Independence Avenue across from the National Mall. The building is set back from Independence Avenue allowing views of the Rayburn House Office Building and Bartholdi Fountain Park.
(1948) Hubert Humphrey, “Speech at the Democratic National Convention”
When the Democratic National Convention met in Philadelphia in July, 1948, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s 37 year old mayor, Hubert H. Humphrey, was a candidate for the U.S. Senate. Humphrey was chosen to give one of the speeches at the convention and used the opportunity to propose a more aggressive civil rights plank in the party platform than President Harry Truman and other moderates wanted. The Democrats adopted the Humphrey-supported plank, prompting a walkout of conservative Southern Democrats. Humphrey was elected to the Senate from Minnesota in 1948, serving there until 1965 when he was elected Vice President during President Lyndon Johnson’s landslide victory in 1964. Humphrey was the Democratic nominee for President in 1968, losing to Republican Richard Nixon. Humphrey’s 1948 speech which launched his national political career appears below.
Mr. Chairman, fellow Democrats, fellow Americans:
I realize that in speaking in behalf of the minority report on civil rights as presented by Congressman DeMiller of Wisconsin that I’m dealing with a charged issue — with an issue which has been confused by emotionalism on all sides of the fence. I realize that there are here today friends and colleagues of mine, many of them, who feel just as deeply and keenly as I do about this issue and who are yet in complete disagreement with me.
My respect and admiration for these men and their views was great when I came to this convention. It is now far greater because of the sincerity, the courtesy, and the forthrightness with which many of them have argued in our prolonged discussions in the platform committee.
Because of this very great respect — and because of my profound belief that we have a challenging task to do here — because good conscience, decent morality, demands it — I feel I must rise at this time to support a report — the minority report — a report that spells out our democracy, a report that the people of this country can and will understand, and a report that they will enthusiastically acclaim on the great issue of civil rights.
Now let me say this at the outset that this proposal is made for no single region. Our proposal is made for no single class, for no single racial or religious group in mind. All of the regions of this country, all of the states have shared in our precious heritage of American freedom. All the states and all the regions have seen at least some of the infringements of that freedom — all people — get this — all people, white and black, all groups, all racial groups have been the victims at time[s] in this nation of — let me say — vicious discrimination.
The masterly statement of our keynote speaker, the distinguished United States Senator from Kentucky, Alben Barkley, made that point with great force. Speaking of the founder of our Party, Thomas Jefferson, he said this, and I quote from Alben Barkley:
He did not proclaim that all the white, or the black, or the red, or the yellow men are equal that all Christian or Jewish men are equal that all Protestant and Catholic men are equal that all rich and poor men are equal that all good and bad men are equal. What he declared was that all men are equal and the equality which he proclaimed was the equality in the right to enjoy the blessings of free government in which they may participate and to which they have given their support.
Now these words of Senator Barkley’s are appropriate to this convention — appropriate to this convention of the oldest, the most truly progressive political party in America. From the time of Thomas Jefferson, the time when that immortal American doctrine of individual rights, under just and fairly administered laws, the Democratic Party has tried hard to secure expanding freedoms for all citizens. Oh, yes, I know, other political parties may have talked more about civil rights, but the Democratic party has surely done more about civil rights.
We have made progress — we’ve made great progress in every part of this country. We’ve made great progress in the South we’ve made it in the West, in the North, and in the East. But we must now focus the direction of that progress towards the — towards the realization of a full program of civil rights to all. This convention must set out more specifically the direction in which our Party efforts are to go.
We can be proud that we can be guided by the courageous trail blazing of two great Democratic Presidents. We can be proud of the fact that our great and beloved immortal leader Franklin Roosevelt gave us guidance. And we be proud of the fact — we can be proud of the fact that Harry Truman has had the courage to give to the people of America the new emancipation proclamation.
It seems to me — It seems to me that the Democratic Party needs to to make definite pledges of the kinds suggested in the minority report, to maintain the trust and the confidence placed in it by the people of all races and all sections of this country. Sure, we’re here as Democrats. But my good friends, we’re here as Americans we’re here as the believers in the principle and the ideology of democracy, and I firmly believe that as men concerned with our country’s future, we must specify in our platform the guarantees which we have mentioned in the minority report.
Yes, this is far more than a Party matter. Every citizen in this country has a stake in the emergence of the United States as a leader in the free world. That world is being challenged by the world of slavery. For us to play our part effectively, we must be in a morally sound position.
We can’t use a double standard — There’s no room for double standards in American politics — for measuring our own and other people’s policies. Our demands for democratic practices in other lands will be no more effective than the guarantee of those practices in our own country.
Friends, delegates, I do not believe that there can be any compromise on the guarantees of the civil rights which we have mentioned in the minority report. In spite of my desire for unanimous agreement on the entire platform, in spite of my desire to see everybody here in honest and unanimous agreement, there are some matters which I think must be stated clearly and without qualification. There can be no hedging — the newspaper headlines are wrong. There will be no hedging, and there will be no watering down — if you please — of the instruments and the principles of the civil-rights program.
My friends, to those who say that we are rushing this issue of civil rights, I say to them we are 172 years late. To those who say that this civil-rights program is an infringement on states’ rights, I say this: The time has arrived in America for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights. People — human beings — this is the issue of the 20th century. People of all kinds — all sorts of people — and these people are looking to America for leadership, and they’re looking to America for precept and example.
My good friends, my fellow Democrats, I ask you for a calm consideration of our historic opportunity. Let us do forget the evil passions and the blindness of the past. In these times of world economic, political, and spiritual — above all spiritual crisis, we cannot and we must not turn from the path so plainly before us. That path has already lead us through many valleys of the shadow of death. And now is the time to recall those who were left on that path of American freedom.
For all of us here, for the millions who have sent us, for the whole two billion members of the human family, our land is now, more than ever before, the last best hope on earth. And I know that we can, and I know that we shall began [sic] here the fuller and richer realization of that hope, that promise of a land where all men are truly free and equal, and each man uses his freedom and equality wisely well.
My good friends, I ask my Party, I ask the Democratic Party, to march down the high road of progressive democracy. I ask this convention to say in unmistakable terms that we proudly hail, and we courageously support, our President and leader Harry Truman in his great fight for civil rights in America!
Whereas: Stories from the People’s House
Since the late nineteenth century, the Electoral College count had occurred every four years without incident. This year, however, would be different.
Shortly after 1:00 p.m., tellers from the House and Senate began examining the election certificates of each state. The count had gone smoothly until the tellers announced that North Carolina’s electors had cast 12 votes for Nixon and one vote for Wallace. O’Hara stood from his seat. “For what purpose does the gentleman from Michigan rise?” the acting president of the Senate, who oversaw the vote count, asked. “For the purpose of objecting to the counting of the vote of North Carolina,” O’Hara answered.
It was the first time in American history that a Member of Congress filed a formal objection during the count of the Electoral College.
The Electoral College
The Electoral College is the system by which America chooses its President, and it is as old as the country itself. During the Constitutional Convention, as the Founders designed a government for the new nation, disagreements emerged over how to elect the President. Some in attendance favored a national popular vote, while others wanted Congress to select the chief executive. Their compromise—the Electoral College—was something of a hybrid. Under this system, when Americans vote for President, they technically do not vote for a candidate but instead for a slate of electors who promise to vote for that candidate in the Electoral College. The candidate who wins a majority of the vote in the Electoral College wins the presidency. (The candidate who wins the popular vote can still lose the Electoral College, as has happened five times in American history.)
Since 1961, the Electoral College has been made up of 538 electors: each state has the same number of electors as it does Senators and Representatives in Congress (for a total of 535), plus three electors from the District of Columbia. In the modern era, state political parties choose their electors, usually through a convention or party committee. Almost anyone can serve as an elector, except those who hold a federally elected or appointed position. In all but two states, the presidential candidate who wins the most votes on Election Day wins the entirety of that state’s vote in the Electoral College Maine and Nebraska use systems based on pluralities in their specific congressional districts.
Electors meet to vote in their states on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December. The votes are recorded on election certificates, signed by the electors and state governors, and sent to Congress and the National Archives. Many states use strict rules and the threat of fines to “bind” electors to the candidate to whom they pledged their vote. The Constitution does, however, allow electors to change their vote. When they do, they are known as “faithless electors.” Faithless electors have occurred in eight presidential contests but they have never swayed the outcome.
Once states send their Electoral College results to Congress, the House and Senate gather in a Joint Session to certify the election. The incumbent Vice President presides over the count, while four tellers—two from the House, two from the Senate—tally the votes.
The 1876 Election
The Electoral College has failed to determine the outcome of three presidential elections. Following the first two occurrences—a tie in the Electoral College in 1800, and then in 1824 when no candidate won a majority—the House of Representatives, as required by the Constitution, settled the contest. But in 1876, when neither Ohio Republican Governor Rutherford B. Hayes nor New York Democratic Governor Samuel Tilden captured the 185 votes in the Electoral College then required to win, Congress opted for something different.
The result of the 1876 presidential election hinged on the contested returns from three southern states: Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The elections that year saw former Confederates and white Democrats violently suppress Black and Republican voters to overthrow the biracial coalitions that had governed the states in the 11 years since the Civil War. As a result, the outgoing Republican administrations in Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina sent Electoral College returns to Congress showing Hayes had won, while the incoming Democratic governors sent election results showing Tilden had won. Republicans on Capitol Hill refused to count the Democratic returns. In response, congressional Democrats challenged the constitutionality of an elector from Oregon. Congress suddenly faced a constitutional crisis. Because a combined twenty votes in the Electoral College from those four states remained contested, neither Hayes nor Tilden had been declared victorious. Hayes had 165 votes in the Electoral College and Tilden fell one short with 184.
At the time, Democrats controlled the House and Republicans controlled the Senate. But rather than allow the House to determine the winner, Congress created the Federal Electoral Commission in January 1877—a temporary bipartisan tribunal made of Senators, Representatives, and Supreme Court Justices. Following weeks of testimony and debate, the commission declared Hayes the winner.
Known as the “Compromise of 1877,” Democrats accepted the commission’s decision with the promise that Hayes would remove federal troops from the South who had been monitoring elections. With Republicans having ceded control of southern state governments to Democrats and former Confederates, the rigid and violent system of Jim Crow segregation took root across the region where it remained for another century.
Electoral Count Act of 1887
Hoping to avoid a repeat of the legitimacy crisis of 1876 election, Congress passed the Electoral Count Act in 1887.
The Electoral Count Act left it to the states to settle front-end Electoral College issues, including the selection of electors and the methods used to bind them to pledged candidates. But once the process reached Congress, the law gave Members the power to object to a vote if they believed it had not been “regularly given”—parliamentary speak for votes with particular discrepancies, those cast on the wrong day or for an ineligible candidate, or for votes suspected of being part of a bribery scheme.
In order to challenge a vote in the Electoral College, the Electoral Count Act requires one Representative and one Senator to sign an objection together and present it to Congress during the Joint Session. The counting procedure then halts, and the House and Senate gather in their respective chambers for debate. The Electoral Count Act limits the debate on the objection to two hours and only allows Members to speak for up to five minutes. Both houses of Congress must agree to the objection in order to void the electoral vote in question.
For decades, the act sat largely unused. But 82 years after the Electoral Count Act became law, James O’Hara of Michigan invoked it to challenge the result of the 1968 presidential election.
The 1968 Presidential Election
During the 1968 presidential election, former Vice President, Republican Richard M. Nixon, faced the incumbent Vice President Democrat Hubert Humphrey and a third candidate, Alabama Governor George Wallace, who ran as an Independent.
Wallace was an ardent segregationist who opposed Black civil rights and had little chance of winning the presidency. But he devised a plan that he hoped would enable him to wield influence over the next administration. Wallace believed that if he captured enough votes in the Electoral College to prevent both Nixon and Humphrey from capturing a majority, he could play powerbroker by instructing his delegates to vote for whichever candidate promised to enact his preferred policies. It was a quid pro quo not unlike Hayes’s promise to Democrats to pull federal troops out of the South in 1877.
Initially it seemed as though Wallace’s plan could work. Even late into the fall of 1968, there was little indication that either Humphrey or Nixon would win a majority of the Electoral College. But Nixon ultimately won the presidency with room to spare, taking 301 votes in the Electoral College but with only a slim majority of the popular vote. Humphrey captured 191 votes and Wallace 46. By January 6, 1969, the country was preparing for a Republican inauguration.
The Faithless Elector
When Congress gathered to count the Electoral College in a Joint Meeting on January 6, 1969, Vice President Humphrey was overseas attending the funeral of Trygve Lie, the United Nation’s first secretary general. In Humphrey’s absence, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia, the president pro tempore of the Senate, oversaw the proceedings. Two mahogany boxes containing the Electoral College certificates from all 50 states and the District of Columbia sat in front of him on the House rostrum.
When Russell pulled the North Carolina election certificate from the box, Senator Benjamin Jordan of North Carolina stated it was “regular in form and authentic.” Jordan announced that Nixon had received 12 votes for President and that Wallace had received one vote.
After Jordan finished speaking, O’Hara and Democratic Senator Edmund Muskie of Maine—Humphrey’s vice-presidential running mate—filed their objection to North Carolina’s certificate. Specifically, they objected to a faithless elector—the kind of elector Wallace had hoped to use to swing the outcome of a close presidential contest. Except in this case the faithless elector in question—Dr. Lloyd W. Bailey of Rocky Mount, North Carolina—had voted for Wallace despite his initial pledge to support Nixon.
Bailey’s vote for Wallace was not unconstitutional, it did not break North Carolina law, and it did not sway the outcome of the election. Bailey said he broke from Nixon because Wallace “polled a large vote in his area,” and he believed the Electoral College allowed “checks and balances which guarantee that the minority voice be heard.”
But O’Hara and Muskie wanted Congress to reject Bailey’s vote to discourage faithless electors in the future. They objected, they said, to maintain “the integrity of this election under the present system and to effectively dramatize the dangers of continuing to operate under this outmoded, haphazard and undemocratic method of electing a President.”
Following O’Hara’s and Muskie’s objection, the Joint Session recessed to allow the House and Senate to consider the issue separately. In the House, James Wright Jr. of Texas opened debate in support of O’Hara’s objection, arguing that faithless electors threatened the democratic process. Such “kingmakers,” as they were known, would become the norm. “Shall we declare that [the people] have no authority whatever to require that their votes be faithfully reflected by their agents, the electors—no right, no remedy, no resource and no protection against the faithless elector who betrays their trust, abuses his office, disdains their wishes, and cavalierly substitutes his will for theirs?”
Others, like veteran lawmaker William McCulloch of Ohio, defended faithless electors. “Today, the objectors ask us to circumvent the [constitutional] amending process. They ask us to do what we have criticized so often before—to read into the Constitution what we wish the law to be. . . . They ask us to adopt a view which not only differs from but which is diametrically opposed to the way the Constitution was written.” Citing the 1876 election, McCulloch argued the objection process should be reserved for cases when Congress received two sets of returns. “But once the real set is determined, the votes must be counted,” he said. “Nothing in title III [of the Electoral Count Act] empowers Congress to change or disregard votes because an elector has been unfaithful.”
O’Hara sat quietly during most of the debate. He rose in the closing minutes to say, “Only the Congress can see to it that the elector respects his obligations, and the only way we can do it is by sustaining the objection that the junior Senator from Maine, Senator Muskie, and I have filed.”
The House ultimately rejected O’Hara and Muskie’s objection, 228 to 170, as did the Senate, 58 to 33. When Congress resumed the Joint Session at 4:45 p.m., Senator Russell announced that “the original certificate submitted by the State of North Carolina will be counted and provided therein.”
The Second Objection
The only other time a Member of Congress objected to a vote in the Electoral College happened 36 years later, on January 6, 2005, during the Joint Session to certify Republican George W. Bush’s re-election as President. Representative Stephanie Tubbs Jones of Ohio objected to all the Electoral College votes from her home state citing what she described as widespread voting irregularities, particularly in low-income and African-American neighborhoods. Senator Barbara Boxer of California co-signed the objection. “This objection . . . is a necessary, timely, and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy,” Jones told her House colleagues at the start of the debate. “I raise the objection to debate the process and protect the integrity of the true will of the people.” Ultimately, Congress rejected Jones’s objection.
Amending the Process
O’Hara’s challenge to a faithless elector in 1969 occurred amid a broader effort to reform how America selected its President. Although O’Hara’s objection failed, many in Congress supported its intent. The House Majority Whip, Democrat Hale Boggs of Louisiana, backed a constitutional amendment to “once and for all get rid of this anachronistic provision” concerning faithless electors. House Minority Leader Republican Gerald Ford of Michigan called for quick action as well. But other Members wanted to go farther. “It is important that we keep the pressure on for reform,” House Republican Conference chair John B. Anderson of Illinois, told the Los Angeles Times. “I for one would abolish the Electoral College rather than simply try to apply a Band-Aid.” In fact, in 1969 the House approved a constitutional amendment to abolish the Electoral College, but the bill failed in the Senate.
Still, O’Hara had been optimistic for reform. “While we had hoped to establish a precedent that might have deterred future faithless electors,” O’Hara later said about his objection, “the purpose of that challenge was in part educational—to once again remind the public and the Congress of the power of the presidential electors, and the danger inherent in that power.”
Al Sharpton’s Silence about Hubert Humphrey Is Puzzling
This link to the video of Strom Thurmond and HHH debating the Civil Rights Act brings home a strong point as it relates to Al Sharpton and the relationship his family had with Thurmond’s family. Less than six months after JFK was assassinated the US faced an ongoing Civil Rights challenge. Segregationist Strom Thurmond was not backing down from his position and nether was HHH. It would therefore be left to the Senate to decide if the Civil Rights Act would become law after it had passed the House.
That created a debate which aired on CBS Reports March 18, 1964 entitled Filibuster-Birth Struggle Of A Law.” Thurmond was a champion when it came to the Filibuster.
Back in those days, American blacks also had a Ku Klux Kan (KKK) problem along with the bias against them that you will hear from Strom Thurmond if you are able to listen to the accompanying video. Thurmond’s words echo a similar illogical attitude toward blacks that the South African Government held during the days of Aparthied.
Strom Thurmond was most probably a KKK supporter. Therefore it took a major effort by Hubert Humphrey to pass that Bill in the Senate. Al Sharpton during Tuesday’s George Floyd Houston funeral service told about his family history.
He went to the cemetery where his great grandfather was buried and it happened to be owned by Strom Thurmond’s family. Sharpton described what he saw when he went to look at his great grandfather’s grave. From what I understand Sharpton’s great grandfather was a slave and that is why he was buried there. It appeared to me that Sharpton had the look of hurt and disgust on his face when he described it.
As I was listening to Sharpton speak I was also feeling hurt and disgust but not for the same reason. I really thought that at some stage he would mention the name of Hubert Humphrey, but much to my disappointment I never heard him utter the former Vice President’s name once during both eulogies.
You also might remember from a previous Blog that I worked in the office of I.S. Joseph to put myself through University. The owner of the company was Burton Jospeph and his wife Geri was a speechwriter for Hubert Humphrey. I learned a tremendous amount about HHH during that time and respected him as a person of values who treated everyone he met with respect.
If MLK Is Considered The Founder Of The Civil Rights Movement Then HHH Represents One Of The Foundations On Which The Civil Rights Movement Stands
At the 1948 Democratic Convention, Hubert Humphrey and Illinois Senator Paul Douglas were among the first party members to recognize the need for long overdue Civil Rights legislation.
On July 14, Northern Democrats pushed for the convention to adopt a strong civil rights platform plank and endorse President Truman’s pro-civil rights actions.  They were opposed by conservatives not happy with racial integration and by moderates who feared alienating Southern voters (regarded as essential to a Democratic victory) including some of Truman’s own aides.
In a speech to the convention, Humphrey urged the Democratic Party to “get out of the shadow of states’ rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.” The convention adopted the civil rights plank in a close vote (651½-582½). In response, all 22 members of the Mississippi delegation, led by Governor Fielding L. Wright and former Governor Hugh L. White, walked out of the assembly.  Thirteen members of the Alabama delegation followed, led by Leven H. Ellis.  The bolted delegates and other Southerners then formed the States’ Rights Democratic Party (“Dixiecrats“), which nominated Strom Thurmond for President and Wright for Vice President.
The fight over the civil rights plank was a launching point for Humphrey. He was elected to the United States Senate that year, and in 1964 was elected Vice President.
Sharpton Could Honor Hubert Humphrey In Minneapolis When He Returns For The Floyd Trial
Hubert Humphrey And His Lifelong Partner Muriel Are Buried Roughly Four Miles From Where Al Sharpton Delivered His Eulogy To George Floyd’s Family In Minneapolis
In Houston, Al Sharpton indicated that he would be returning to Minneapolis for the trial of those policemen who are being charged with George Floyd’s death. Now if Sharpton is going to the trouble of organizing a massive march in the memory of MLK’s “I have a dream speech”, he could at least schedule a tribute to Hubert Humphrey for all HHH contributed to the fight for Civil Rights.
One suggestion would be to hold a march in Hubert Humphrey’s honor that would begin at the site of Floyd’s killing, and arrive at the gravesite of HHH. The total distance is roughly 2 miles.
In a previous Blog, I wrote about the ceremony that took place during the unveiling of Hubert Humphrey’s statue. It was filled with speeches from those who knew him best. And while Senator Amy Klobuchar was speaking, former President Bill Clinton arrived and let everyone know how many times he listened to Hubert Humphrey’s 1948 Democratic Convention speech. Clinton admitted that he learned a lot from that speech which helped on his road to becoming President.
One thing is for certain, Minnesotans have always respected Hubert Humphrey for all that he did not only for the city of Minneapolis when he served as Mayor, but for everything he accomplished while serving as Senator and Vice President. And I am sure all Americans and may I add Israelis share that view.
Al Sharpton should be well aware of HHH and what he did to help the Civil Rights Movement.
This is all the more so because of Al Sharpton’s story related to his great grandfather.
That is why I am puzzled Al Sharpton forgot to mention HHH’s name during both ceremonies for George Floyd.
Today’s Minnesota DFL Has Totally Abandoned The Values Of Its Founder, Who Was Also HHH
Hubert Humphrey is considered by many to have founded the Minnesota DFL with the same principles that he stood for throughout his career.
The current Minnesota DFL Party is an embarrassment to the values that it has traditionally represented.
Just looking at the chaos that has been taking place on the streets of the Twin Cities before the recent riots proves that point. And with the death of George Floyd, this only added fuel to the fire.
1968 Presidential Race Democrats
Paul Newman, one of many notable Hollywood stars who became active on behalf of presidential candidates during 1968's primary & general elections. Life magazine, May 10, 1968.
Yet in the 1960s, the caldron of social issues and political unrest throughout the country, coupled in 1967-68 with an offering of hopeful candidates — especially on the Democratic side — brought both older and newer Hollywood celebrities into the political process like never before. “In no other election,” observed Time magazine in late May 1968, “have so many actors, singers, writers, poets, artists, professional athletes and assorted other celebrities signed up, given out and turned on for the candidates.”
A war was then raging in Vietnam and a military draft was taking the nation’s young to fight it. President Lyndon Johnson had raised U.S. troop strength in Vietnam to 486,000 by the end of 1967. Protests had erupted at a number of colleges and universities. In late October 1967, tens of thousands of demonstrators came to the Pentagon calling for an end to the war. In addition, a growing civil rights movement had pointed up injustice and racism throughout America. Three summers of urban unrest had occurred. Riots in 1967 alone had taken more than 80 lives. In the larger society, a counter culture in music, fashion and values — brought on by the young — was also pushing hard on convention. And all of this, from Vietnam battle scenes to federal troops patrolling U.S. cities, was seen on television as never before. Society seemed to be losing its moorings. And more was yet to come, as further events — some traumatic and others unexpected — would fire the nation to the boiling point. There was little standing on the sidelines people from all walks of life were taking sides.
From left, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte & Charlton Heston at 1963 Civil Rights march.
Hollywood and the arts community had a long history of political involvement and activism on behalf of presidential candidates, dating at least to the 1920s. Even in the dark days of the 1950s there had been a sizeable swath of Hollywood backing Democrat Adlai Stevenson for his Presidential bids of 1952 and 1956. And in the 1960 election of Jack Kennedy, there was notable support from Frank Sinatra and friends, as well as Kennedy family connections to Hollywood. Others, like singer Pete Seeger, had never stopped their activism, even in the face of political pressure.
By the early 1960s, with the civil rights movement in particular, a new wave actors and singers such as Joan Baez, Harry Belefonte, Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan, Charlton Heston, Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman and others were becoming involved in one way or another. Some lent their name or provided financial support others joined marches and demonstrations.
By the mid-1960s, however, the Vietnam War became a goading factor for many in Hollywood. And among the first to speak out and oppose the war was an actor named Robert Vaughn.
The Man from UNCLE
Robert Vaughn was the star of a popular primetime TV spy series called The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which ran from September 1964 to mid-January 1968. Vaughn was among the first to criticize President Lyndon B. Johnson on the Vietnam war — and he did so very publicly in a January 1966 speech. In Indianapolis, at a dinner given to support Johnson’s re-election, Vaughn spoke out against the war and LBJ’s policy there. “Everyone at the front table had hands over their eyes,” Vaughn later explained when asked about the reaction. Vaughn became worried about the Vietnam War after immersing himself in all the documents, books and articles he could find on the subject. “I can talk for six hours about the mistakes we have made,” he told one reporter in 1966. “We have absolutely no reason to be in Vietnam-legal, political or moral.”
In late March 1966, Vaughn went to Washington to meet with politicians. He lunched with Senator Frank Church (D-ID) and also had a lengthy meeting with Senator Wayne Morse (D-OR) to discuss the war. He told the press then “the Hollywood community is very much against” the Vietnam War. “[T]he Hollywood com- munity is very much against” the Vietnam War.
– Robert Vaughn, March 1966. But wasn’t it risky for a star to be so outspoken, he was asked? “I’ve had nothing but encouragement from my friends in the industry, from the studio, even the network,” he said. On his visit to Washington that weekend Vaughn was a house guest of Bobby Kennedy’s at Hickory Hill in nearby Virginia. He continued to be visible in the Vietnam debate, appearing as a guest on William F. Buckley’s TV talk show, Firing Line. He also engaged in impromptu debate with Vice President Hubert Humphrey on a live Minneapolis talk show. At the peak of Vaughn’s popularity, he was asked by the California Democratic Party to oppose fellow actor, Republican Ronald Reagan, then running for California governor in the 1966 election. Vaughn, however, supported Democrat Edmund G. Brown, who lost in a landslide to Reagan.
Vaughn would continue to oppose the war, leading a group called Dissenting Democrats. By early 1968, Vaughn supported the emerging anti-war presidential candidate Senator Eugene McCarthy (D-MN), then running for his party’s nomination. (Vaughn had later planned to switch to Robert Kennedy, a close friend, if Kennedy won the June 1968 California primary).
McCarthy at 1968 campaign rally in Wisconsin.
Gene McCarthy had announced his candidacy for the White House on November 30, 1967. Opposing the war was the main issue for McCarthy, who had been prodded to run by anti-war activists. On the Republican side, former vice President Richard Nixon announced his candidacy in January 1968. And on February 8th, Alabama’s Democratic Governor George Wallace — the segregationist who in June 1963 had stood at the doors of the University of Alabama to block integration — entered the presidential race as an Independent.
McCarthy attracted some of the more liberal Democrats in Hollywood, including those who had been for Adlai Stevenson in the 1950s. “…[H]e’s the man who expresses discontent with dignity,” actor Eli Wallach would say of McCarthy in 1968. Wallach had won a Tony Award in 1951 for his role in the Tennessee Williams play The Rose Tattoo and also became famous for his role as Tuco the “ugly” in the 1966 film The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Wallach liked the fact that McCarthy had taken “a firm position on the war in Vietnam.” Wallach and his wife Anne Jackson, a stage actress, were among those who held fundraisers and poetry readings for McCarthy. Actress Myrna Loy was another McCarthy supporter. She had played opposite William Powell, Clark Gable, Melvyn Douglas, and Tryone Power in films of the 1930s and 1940s. Loy was a lifelong activist who had supported Adlai Stevenson in 1952 and 1956. In 1968, she became a stalwart for McCarthy, making personal campaign appearances for him and hosting fundraisers. But perhaps the most important Hollywood star to come out for McCarthy was Paul Newman.
Paul Newman Factor
Paul Newman at 1968 fundraiser.
Campaigning by Newman at a McCarthy rally in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin, 1968.
Newman made campaign appearances in New Hampshire during February and March 1968, some with wife Joanne Woodward. Tony Randall and Rod Serling also made appearances for McCarthy in New Hampshire. But it was Newman who drew the crowds and notice by the press. In March 1968, Newman went to Claremont, New Hampshire to campaign for McCarthy. Tony Podesta, then a young MIT student, was Newman’s campaign contact. Podesta worried that day that only a few people might show up to hear Newman. Some credit Paul Newman with raising McCarthy’s visibility in New Hamp- shire, enabling his strong showing there. Instead, more than 2,000 people came out to mob Newman. “I didn’t come here to help Gene McCarthy,” Newman would say to his listeners that day. “I need McCarthy’s help.”
“Until that point,” said Podesta, “McCarthy was some sort of a quack not too many people knew about, but as soon as Paul Newman came to speak for him, he immediately became a national figure.” In New Hampshire, the Manchester Union Leader newspaper published a political cartoon showing Newman being followed by McCarthy with the caption: “Who’s the guy with Paul Newman?” Author Darcy Richardson would later write in A Nation Divided: The Presidential Election of 1968, that Newman’s visit to the state “caused a great stir and drew considerable attention to McCarthy’s candidacy.” New Republic columnist Richard Stout, attributing honesty and conviction to Newman’s New Hampshire campaigning, wrote that the actor “had the star power McCarthy lacked, and imperceptibly was transferring it to the candidate.” Barbara Handman, who ran The Arts & Letters Committee for McCarthy, would later put it more plainly: “Paul turned the tide for McCarthy. . . Paul put him on the map — he [ McCarthy] started getting national coverage by the press. He started being taken seriously.”
New Hampshire Earthquake
On March 12, 1964, McCarthy won 42 percent of the vote in New Hampshire to Lyndon Johnson’s 49 percent, a very strong showing for McCarthy and an embarrassment for Johnson. McCarthy’s campaign now had a new legitimacy and momentum that would have a cascading effect on decisions that both Lyndon Johnson and Bobby Kennedy would make. Paul Newman, meanwhile, continued to campaign for McCarthy beyond New Hampshire and throughout the election year.
March 22, 1968 edition of Time magazine, reporting on McCarthy’s surprising showing in New Hampshire & the emerging Democratic fight.
Bobby Kennedy, 1968.
Kennedy In, LBJ Out
On March 16th, four days after the New Hampshire primary showed Lyndon Johnson to be vulnerable and McCarthy viable, Bobby Kennedy jumped into the race, angering many McCarthy supporters. Kennedy had agonized over whether to enter the race for months, and in fact, McCarthy and supporters had gone to Kennedy in 1967 to urge him to run. McCarthy then decided to enter the race after it appeared Kennedy was not going to run. But once Kennedy entered the race, he and McCarthy engaged in an increasingly heated and sometimes bitter contest for the nomination.
In 1968, however, party leaders still had a great deal of influence in the nominating process and the selection of delegates. Primaries then were less important and fewer in number than they are today. Still, a strong showing in certain primaries could create a bandwagon effect and show the party establishment that a particular candidate was viable. In 1960, John Kennedy helped get the party’s attention when he defeated Hubert Humphrey in the West Virginia primary. Now in 1968, Gene McCarthy had the party’s attention.
Lyndon Johnson's surprise announcement of March 31, 1968 made headlines across the country.
King shot, April 4, 1968.
On April 4th, 1968, several days after LBJ’s bombshell, the nation was ripped apart by news that civil rights leader Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis, TN. In the next few days, dozens of American cities erupted.
RFK making famous speech in Indianapolis the evening Martin Luther King died. AP Photo/Leroy Patton, Indianapolis News. Click for PBS DVD.
By the end of April, the nation was boiling on other fronts, too. Student protesters at Columbia University in New York City took over the administration building on April 23rd and shut down the campus. On the campaign trail, McCarthy won the April 23rd Pennsylvania primary, and a few days later, on April 27th, Lyndon Johnson’s Vice President, former Minnesota senator Hubert Humphrey, formally announced he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination.
Vice President Hubert Humphrey enters the race for the Democratic nomination, April 1968.
Instead, Humphrey planned to use the “party machine” to gather his delegates and was the favored establishment candidate.
Lyndon Johnson would also help Humphrey, but mostly from behind the scenes since Johnson was regarded a liability for any candidate given his Vietnam record.
Meanwhile, on the campaign trail, a showdown of sorts was brewing between Kennedy and McCarthy as the May 7th Indiana primary approached.
Celebs for McCarthy
In April and early May of 1968, there was a lot of campaigning in Indiana, and star power was again at work with celebrities helping McCarthy. In April, Paul Newman was drawing large crowds in the state for McCarthy, where he made 15 appearances. At one of those stops, Newman explained from a tailgate of station wagon: “I am not a public speaker. I am not a politician. I’m not here because I’m an actor. I’m here because I’ve got six kids. I don’t want it written on my gravestone, ‘He was not part of his times.’ Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were Simon & Garfunkel, Dustin Hoffman, Myrna Loy, and Gary Moore. The times are too critical to be dissenting in your own bathroom.” Newman continued campaigning for McCarthy through May 7 and was then still drawing crowds, with his own motorcade sometimes followed by cars of adoring fans.
Also making appearances for McCarthy in Indiana were actor Dustin Hoffman, singing duo Simon & Garfunkel, Myrna Loy, and TV host Gary Moore. Simon & Garfunkel sang at a McCarthy fundraiser at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum in May 1968, where Dustin Hoffman introduced them. Hoffman’s popular film at the time, The Graduate — filled with a Simon & Garfunkel soundtrack — was then still in theaters. This celebrity support for McCarthy, as Newman had shown in New Hampshire, was important for McCarthy. “When you have a candidate who is not as well known, and there’s no money so that you can’t by television time,” explained Barbara Handman, head of the Arts and Letters Committee for McCarthy, “these people [celebs] become more and more effective for us. They’re well-known drawing cards…” Handman had previously headed up similar committees for Jack Kennedy in 1960, and Lyndon Johnson in 1964. Her husband, Wynn Handman, was co-founder of the American Palace Theater. Both were well connected in Hollywood.
Celebs for Kennedy
Andy Williams, Robert Kennedy, Perry Como, Ted Kennedy, Eddie Fisher at unspecified 1968 fundraising telethon, Lisner Auditorium, G.W. University, Wash., D.C. (photo, GW University).
Bobby Kennedy campaigning in Indianapolis, May 1968. Behind Kennedy to the right, are NFL football stars Lamar Lundy, Rosey Grier and Deacon Jones. Photo by Bill Eppridge from his book, 'A Time It Was'. Click for book.
Lesley Gore, a pop singer who by then had several Top 40 hits — including “It’s My Party” (1963), “You Don’t Own Me” (1964), “Sunshine, Lollipops & Rainbows” (1965), and “California Nights” (1967) — also became a Kennedy supporter. At 21 years old, and about to graduate from Sarah Lawrence College in Yonkers, New York, Gore became head of Kennedy’s effort to get young voters, called “First Voters for Kennedy.” She volunteered after she heard that Kennedy needed someone to attract young voters. “I understand there are 13 million first-time voters this year,” she told a New York Times reporter in early April 1968. “After my graduation next month I intend to give more of my time to visiting colleges and universities around the country.” In this effort, Gore would be traveling with actresses Candice Bergen and Patty Duke, and also the rock group, Jefferson Airplane.
Andy Williams, a friend and skiing companion to Kennedy, was also a key supporter. “I’m doing it because I think it important,” Williams told a New York Times reporter. “I am worried about the image of America. People don’t think Nixon is swell, and they don’t think Humphrey is swell. Bobby has star quality.” Williams would refurbish his guest house for use by the Kennedy family when Bobby campaigned in California.
Sinatra for Humphrey
Frank Sinatra & Hubert Humphrey, Washington, D.C., May 1968.
During his campaign, Humphrey would gather additional Hollywood and celebrity supporters beyond Sinatra. Among these were some of the older and more established Hollywood names, sports stars, and other leading names, including actress Tallulah Bankhead, opera star Roberta Peters, jazz singer Sarah Vaughan, former heavyweight boxing champ Jack Dempsey, writer and naturalist Joseph Wood Krutch, and fashion designer Mollie Parnis.
Indiana & Beyond
A Gene McCarthy campaign celebration, 1968.
Both candidates campaigned vigorously throughout California, a winner-take-all contest with a large pot of delegates. McCarthy stumped the state’s colleges and universities, where he was recognized for being the first candidate to oppose the war. Kennedy campaigned in the ghettos and barrios of the state’s larger cities, where he was mobbed by enthusiastic supporters. A few days before the election, Kennedy and McCarthy also engaged in a televised debate — considered a draw.
On the east coast, meanwhile, and in New York city in particular, there was a star-studded celebrity fundraising rally for McCarthy in New York’s Madison Square Garden on May 19, 1968. One Canadian blogger, who as a teenager happened to be in New York city that weekend with a friend, recently wrote the following “forty-years-ago” remembrance of the event:
. . .Rob and I did many crazy things that weekend. . . .We learned that McCarthy was having a rally at Madison Square Garden on the Sunday night so along we went figuring we’d meet some more chicks. That event was awe inspiring.
All sorts of famous people spoke or performed that night. Paul Newman, Phil Ochs, Mary Tyler Moore to name a few. A new, young actor said a few words to the crowd on behalf of the candidate. We recognized him as the star of the ‘adult’ movie we had seen the night before. The movie was The Graduate and he was a very young Dustin Hoffman.
Celebrities walked thru the arena imploring people to donate to the campaign. Tony Randall came up our aisle and we gave him a couple of bucks. Stewart Mott (General Motors rich kid) stood up and donated $125,000 right there on the spot. The crowd was delirious. Sen. McCarthy spoke to the crowd and promised to take his fight against Sen. Kennedy all the way to the Chicago convention in August. It was pretty heady stuff for a 17 year-old from Toronto….
RFK campaigning in California.
Robert Kennedy campaigning.
Four hours after the polls closed in California, Kennedy claimed victory as he addressed his campaign supporters just past midnight in the Ambassador Hotel. On his way through the kitchen to exit the hotel, he was mortally wounded by assassin Sirhan Sirhan. His death became yet another of 1968’s convulsing events. Seen as an emerging beacon of hope in a dismal time, many had pinned their hopes on Kennedy and took his loss very personally. The Democratic party went into a tailspin as a stunned nation grieved. Thousands lined the tracks as Kennedy’s funeral train moved from New York City to Washington D.C. Millions watched his funeral on television. At the request of Bobby’s wife, Ethel, Andy Williams sang the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” at Kennedy’s funeral.
New York Times headlines, June 5, 1968.
Historians and journalists have disagreed about Kennedy’s chances for the nomination had he not been assassinated. Michael Beschloss believes it unlikely that Kennedy could have secured the nomination since most of the delegates were then uncommitted and yet to be chosen at the Democratic convention. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. and author Jules Witcover have argued that Kennedy’s broad appeal and charisma would have given him the nomination at the convention. And still others add that Kennedy’s experience in his brother’s presidential campaign, plus a potential alliance with Chicago mayor Richard Daley at the Democratic Convention, might have helped him secure the nomination.
Leading up to Democratic convention in Chicago, former Kennedy supporters tried to sort out what had happened and whether and how they would line up with other candidates. George Plimpton, a well known New Yorker and journalist who authored the 1963 book Paper Lion, had been a Kennedy supporter. He was with Kennedy the night he was assassinated in the Ambassador Hotel kitchen, walking in front of him. In New York, on August 14, 1968, Plimpton sponsored a party at the Cheetah nightclub on behalf of McCarthy supporters, along with co-sponsor William Styron, author of the The Confessions of Nat Turner. Henry Fonda was scheduled to host a McCarthy rally in Houston. “I started out with Senator Kennedy,” explained Fonda to a New York Times reporter, “Now I think McCarthy is the best choice on the horizon.” McCarthy supporters had other rallies and fundraisers scheduled in 24 other cities for mid-August ahead of the Chicago convention, including one at New York’s Madison Square Garden that included conductor Leonard Bernstein and singer Harry Belafonte. Hubert Humphrey’s campaign also had fundraisers, including one in early August at Detroit’s Cobo Hall with performances by Frank Sinatra, Trini Lopez, and comedian Pat Henry.
Humphrey campaign poster.
By mid-August 1968, “Entertainers for Humphrey” included Hollywood names such as Bill Dana, Victor Borge, Alan King, and George Jessel. There were also more than 80 other luminaries in a somewhat less well-known “arts & letters” group including: classical pianist Eugene Istomin, author and scholar Ralph Ellison, violin virtuoso Isaac Stern, manager/impresario Sol Hurok, playwright Sidney Kingsley, opera singer Robert Merrill, authors John Steinbeck, James T. Farrel, and Herman Wouk, and dancer Carmen de Lavallade. Humphrey had also picked up some former supporters of Republican Nelson Rockefeller, including architect Philip Johnson and dancer Maria Tallchief. But Humphrey’s biggest challenges were directly ahead at the Democratic National Convention.
1968: National Guardsmen at the Conrad Hilton Hotel at DNC in Chicago.
Turmoil in Chicago
As the 1968 Democratic National Convention opened in Chicago on August 26, 1968, there was a fractured party and little agreement on the main platform issue, the Vietnam War. In addition to the formal business of the presidential nomination inside the convention hall, there was a huge focus on the convention location as a protest venue for the Vietnam War. Thousands of young activists had come to Chicago. But Chicago’s Democratic Mayor Richard J. Daley — also the political boss running the convention — had prepared for anything, and had the Chicago police and the National Guard ready for action. Tensions soon came to a head.
Convention floor, 1968.
At the convention itself, Chicago mayor Richard Daley was blamed for the police clubbings in the streets. Daley at one point was seen on television angrily cursing Senator Abraham Ribicoff of Connecticut, who had made a speech denouncing the excesses of the Chicago police (this scene shown later below on book cover in Sources). Inside the hall, CBS News reporter Dan Rather was attacked on the floor of the convention while covering the proceedings.
Haynes Johnson, a veteran political reporter who covered the convention for the Washington Post, would write some year later in Smithsonian magazine:
“The 1968 Chicago convention became a lacerating event, a distillation of a year of heartbreak, assassinations, riots and a breakdown in law and order that made it seem as if the country were coming apart. In its psychic impact, and its long-term political consequences, it eclipsed any other such convention in American history, destroying faith in politicians, in the political system, in the country and in its institutions. No one who was there, or who watched it on television, could escape the memory of what took place before their eyes.”
1968: Paul Newman & Arthur Miller on the convention floor.
ABC News of August 28, 1968, for example, included short interviews with Paul Newman, Tony Randall, Gore Vidal, and Shirley MacLaine. Sonny Bono — of the famed “Sonny & Cher” rock star duo — had come to Chicago to propose a plank in the Democratic platform for a commission to look into the generation gap, or as he saw it, the potential problem of “duel society.” Bono, then 28, would become a Republican Congressman in the 1990s. Dinah Shore made a brief convention appearance for McCarthy, singing her famous “See The USA in Your Chevrolet” anthem, adapting it as, “Save The USA, the McCarthy Way, America is the Greatest Land of All,” throwing her trademarked big kiss at the end.
Humphrey supporters, 1968 Democratic National Convention.
Humphrey, for his part, attempted to reach out to Hollywood celebrities, as California would be a crucial state in the general election. Humphrey met with a number of celebrities during and after the convention, one of whom was Warren Beatty. Beatty in 1967 had directed and starred in the movie Bonnie & Clyde, a huge box office hit. Beatty had appeared in a number of earlier films as well, from Splendor in the Grass (1961) to Kaleidoscope (1966). Beatty reportedly offered to make a campaign film for Humphrey if he would agree to denounce the war in Vietnam, which Humphrey would not do. During September and October 1968, a number of Hollywood’s stars and celebrities came around to support Humphrey, with gala events and/or rallies such as one at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts in New York in late September, and another at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles in late October.
Hollywood actor E.G. Marshall narrated a political ad for Hubert Humphrey in 1968 that pointedly raised doubts about opponents Nixon and Wallace. Click to view video.
New York Times, 7 Nov 1968.
On November 5th in one of the closest elections in U.S. history, Nixon beat Humphrey by a slim margin. Although Nixon took 302 electoral votes to Humphrey’s 191, the popular vote was extremely close: Nixon at 31,375,000 to 31,125,000 for Humphrey, or 43.4 percent to 43.1 percent.
Third party candidate George Wallace was a key factor in the race, taking more votes from Humphrey than Nixon, especially in the south and among union and working class voters in the north. Nearly 10 million votes were cast for Wallace, some 13.5 percent of the popular vote. He won five southern states and took 45 electoral votes. Democrats did retain control of the House and Senate, but the country was now headed in a more conservative direction.
In the wake of their loss, the Democrats also reformed their presidential nominating process. As Kennedy and McCarthy supporters gained more power within the party, changes were adopted for the 1972 convention making the nominating process more democratic and raising the role of primary elections. Hubert Humphrey would become the last nominee of either major party to win the nomination without having to compete directly in primary elections.
Warren Beatty, who worked for Bobby Kennedy in 1968, continued his activism & political film making, flirting with White House bid himself in 1999. Click for DVD.
Many of the celebrities who worked for Democratic candidates in 1968 did not throw in the towel after that election. They came back in subsequent presidential election cycles to work for and support other Democrats ranging from George McGovern and Jimmy Carter to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
And some of 1968’s activists, and their successors, also continued to use Hollywood film-making to probe American politics as film subject. Among some of the post-1968 films that explored politics, for example, were: The Candidate (1972, with Robert Redford, screenplay by Jeremy Larner, a Gene McCarthy speechwriter) All the President’s Men (1976, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford) Wag The Dog, (1997, with Dustin Hoffman and Robert De Niro), Bullworth (1998, produced & directed by Warren Beatty who also plays the central character), and others.
And certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways, especially in the packaging of candidates. Hollywood experience, in fact, was becoming a political asset for those who decided to run for office. By the mid-1960s, Hollywood actors and TV personalities like Ronald Reagan and George Murphy were winning elections — Murphy taking a U.S. Senate seat as a California Republican in 1964, and Reagan elected in 1966 as California’s Republican Governor. Certainly by 1968, if not before, it had become clear that Hollywood and politics were intersecting in an increasing number of ways. Reagan, of course, would become president in 1980, and others from Hollywood, such as Warren Beatty, would also consider running for the White House in later years.
Today, celebrities and Hollywood stars remain sought-after participants in elections and political causes of all kinds. Their money and endorsements are key factors as well. Yet polling experts and political pundits continue to debate the impact of celebrities on election outcomes, and many doubt their ability to sway voters. Still, in 1968, celebrity involvement was a factor and did affect the course of events, as every political candidate at that time sought the help of Hollywood stars and other famous names to advance their respective campaigns.
See also at this website the related story on the Republicans and Richard Nixon in 1968, and also other politics stories, including: “Barack & Bruce” (Bruce Springsteen & others campaigning for Barack Obama in 2008 & 2012) “The Jack Pack” (Frank Sinatra & his Rat Pack in John F. Kennedy’s 1960 campaign) “I’m A Dole Man”( popular music in Bob Dole’s 1996 Presidential campaign) and generally, the “Politics & Culture” category page. Thanks for visiting – and if you like what you find here, please make a donation to help support the research and writing at this website. Thank you. — Jack Doyle
Date Posted: 14 August 2008
Last Update: 16 March 2020
Comments to: [email protected]
Jack Doyle, Presidential Race, Democrats,”
PopHistoryDig.com, August 14, 2008.
Sources, Links & Additional Information
Charles River, eds. “The 1968 Democratic Convention: The History of America’s Most Controversial Political Convention” (Mayor Daley shown shouting). Click for book.
Frank Kusch’s book, “Battleground Chicago: The Police and the 1968 Democratic National Convention.” Click for copy.
“The Passage of Power,” best-selling book from Robert Caro’s multi-volume series on the life and career of Lyndon B. Johnson. Click for copy.
“The D.O.V.E. from U.N.C.L.E.,” Time, Friday, April 1, 1966.
Peter Bart, “Vaughn: The Vietnik from U.N.C.L.E.,” New York Times, May 29, 1966, p. D-9.
Satan’s Little Helper ipod Warren Weaver, “M’Carthy Gets About 40%, Johnson and Nixon on Top in New Hampshire Voting Rockefeller Lags,” The New York Times, Wednesday, March 13, 1968, p. 1.
“Unforeseen Eugene,” Time, Friday, March. 22, 1968.
‘The Hustler’ Is on Cue for McCarthy,” Washington Post-Times Herald, March 23, 1968, p. A-2.
E. W. Kenworthy, “Paul Newman Drawing Crowds In McCarthy Indiana Campaign,” New York Times, Monday, April 22, 1968, p.19
Louis Calta, “Entertainers Join Cast of Political Hopefuls They Get Into Act to Back 3 Candidates for the Presidency,” New York Times, Saturday, April 6, 1968, p. 42.
Associated Press, “Celebrities Endorse Candidates,” Daily Collegian (State College, PA), May 5, 1968.
Lawrence E. Davies, “Sinatra Supports Slate Competing With Kennedy’s,” New York Times, Sunday, May 5, 1968, p. 42
“The Stars Leap Into Politics,” Life, May 10, 1968.
Leroy F. Aarons, “Poetry’s Popular At Club Eugene,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, May 16, 1968, p. A-20.
“The Pulchritude-Intellect Input,” Time, Friday, May 31, 1968.
“Newman and Miller Named Delegates to Convention,” New York Times, Wednesday July 10, 1968, p. 43.
“HHH Office Unit Opens, With Sinatra,” Washington Post, Times Herald, August 2, 1968, p. A-2.
Richard F. Shepard, “Stage and Literary Names Enlist for Candidates Plimpton Giving a Party in Night Club to Further McCarthy’s Cause,” New York Times, Wednesday, August 14, 1968, p.40.
Florabel Muir, “Trini Goes All Out for HHH,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, August 15, 1968, p. D-21.
Dave Smith, “Singer to Tell Democrats of Youth’s Views,” Los Angeles Times, Aug 23, 1968, p. 27.
Victor S. Navasky, “Report on The Candidate Named Humphrey,” New York Times Magazine, Sunday August 25, 1968, p. 22.
“Guests Flock to Week-Long Party Given by Playboy…” New York Times, August 29, 1968.
Jack Gould, ” TV: A Chilling Spectacle in Chicago Delegates See Tapes of Clashes in the Streets,” New York Times, Thursday August 29, 1968, p. 71.
Tom Wicker, “Humphrey Nominated on the First Ballot After His Plank on Vietnam is Approved Police Battle Demonstrators in Streets,”New York Times, August 30, 1968.
David S. Broder, “Hangover in Chicago – Democrats Awake to a Party in Ruins,”The Washington Post, Times Herald, August 30, 1968 p. A-1.
“Dementia in the Second City,” Time, Friday, September 6, 1968.
“The Man Who Would Recapture Youth,” Friday, Time, September 6, 1968.
“Dissidents’ Dilemma,” Time, Friday, September 20, 1968.
Richard L. Coe, “Candidates By Starlight,” The Washington Post, Times Herald, November 3, 1968, p. K-1.
E.G. Marshall, 1968 T.V. ad for Humphrey Campaign, “Nixon vs. Humphrey vs. Wallace,” @ The Living Room Candidate.org.
Joe McGinniss, The Selling of the President, New York: Trident Press, 1969.
Pope Brock, “Myrna Loy: So Perfect in Her Way, it Almost Seems We Imagined Her,” People, April 4, 1988, p. 47.
Charles Kaiser, 1968 In America: Music, Politics, Chaos, Counterculture, New York: Grove Press, 1997, 336pp.
Ted Johnson (managing editor, Variety magazine), “Paul Newman: Bush is America’s ‘Biggest Internal Threat’,”Wilshire & Washington.com, June 26, 2007.
Ted Johnson, “Flashback to 1968,” Wilshire & Washington.com, April 25, 2008 (also ran in Variety magazine Ted Johnson is managing editor).
Darcy G. Richardson, A Nation Divided: The 1968 Presidential Campaign, iUniverse, Inc., 2002, 532pp.
Tom Brokaw, Boom! Voice of the 1960s: Personal Reflections on the ‘60s and Today, New York: Random House, 2007, 662 pp.
Ron Brownstein, The Power and The Glitter, New York: Knopf Publishing Group, December 1990 448 pp.
Joseph A. Palermo, In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy, New York: Columbia, 2001.
Associated Press, AP Photos @ www.daylife .com.
Ray E. Boomhower, “When Indiana Mattered – Book Examines Robert Kennedy’s Historic 1968 Primary Victory,” The Journal-Gazette, March 30, 2008.
“Forty Years Ago This Weekend – May, 1968….,”BlogChrisGillett.ca, Sunday, May 18, 2008.
Haynes Johnson, Democratic Convention: The Bosses Strike Back,” Smithsonian magazine and Smithsonian.com, August 2008.
See also, “The 1968 Exhibit,” a traveling and online exhibit organized by the Minnesota History Center partnership with the Atlanta History Center, the Chicago History Museum and the Oakland Museum of California.
Hubert Humphrey - History
In December of 1977, President Jimmy Carter attended a Washington fund-raiser to benefit the Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, located at the University of Minnesota.
President Carter, who generally had an awkward style of speaking, gave this charming informal tribute to Senator Humphrey, who was in attendance.
For decades, Humphrey had been a mainstay of liberal Democratic politics and had championed civil rights. In 1968, Humphrey had been the Democratic candidate for president, but lost to Republican Richard M. Nixon.
Through it all, Humphrey was considered by political friends and foes alike to be a truly decent man.
He is a man who has touched my life and that of my family, as I'm sure he's touched almost everyone here, in a strange and very delightful way. And I'm going to tell you just a few brief instances that occurred, actually, long before I had any dreams of coming to Washington myself.
The first time I heard about Senator Humphrey was when I was in the navy, and he made a famous speech at the Democratic National Convention. He was quite well known in Georgia. I don't think anyone else has kept more Georgia politicians from seeing the end of a Democratic convention than Senator Humphrey has, because it got so that every time he walked in, they walked out and came back home.
So, in 1964, when he became the vice-presidential candidate, in Georgia, it wasn't a very popular thing to be for the Johnson-Humphrey slate. My mother, Lillian, ran the Sumter County Johnson-Humphrey headquarters. And I could always tell when my mother was coming down the road, because she was in a brand-new automobile with the windows broken out, the radio antenna tied in a knot, and the car painted with soap.
In that campaign, Hubert and Muriel came down to south Georgia to Moultrie for a Democratic rally. And because of my mother's loyalty, she was given the honor of picking up Muriel at the airport. And Rosalynn and my mother and Muriel and my sister Gloria went down to Moultrie to attend the rally. Senator Humphrey made a speech, and they had a women's reception for Muriel. And they were riding around that south Georgia town getting ready for the reception. Everybody in town was very excited. And as Muriel approached the site, she said, "Are any black women invited to the reception?"
For a long time no one spoke, and finally my sister said, "I don't know." She knew quite well that they weren't. And Muriel said, "I'm not going in." So, they stopped the car, and my sister Gloria went inside to check and let the hostess know that Muriel was not coming to the reception. But in a few minutes, Gloria came back and said, "Mrs. Humphrey, it's okay." So, she went in and, sure enough, there were several black ladies there at the reception. And Muriel never knew until now that the maids just took off their aprons for the occasion. But that was the first integrated reception in south Georgia, Muriel, and you are responsible for it.
Ten or eleven years ago, when I was not in political office at all, Senator Humphrey was vice-president. He had been to Europe on a long, tedious, very successful trip. And he came down to Atlanta, Georgia, to visit in the home of a friend named Marvin Shube. And I was invited there to meet him, which was a great honor for me. I have never yet met a Democratic president, and he was the only Democratic vice-president I had ever met. And I stood there knowing that he was very weary because he had just returned from Europe. But he answered the eager questions of those Georgia friends until quite late in the morning, about two o'clock. And he was very well briefed, because when I walked in the room, he said, "Young man, I understand that your mother is in the Peace Corps in India."
And I said, "Yes, sir, that's right." He said, "Well, I've been very interested in the Peace Corps. The idea originally came from me, and I've been proud to see it put into effect." He said, "Where's your mother?" And I said, "She's near Bombay." He said, "How's she getting along?" I said, "Well, she's quite lonely, sir. She's been there about six months, and she's not seen anybody, even the Peace Corps officials. She's in a little town called Vikhroli."
About a month later, I got a letter from my mother. She was in her room one evening, and the head of the Peace Corps in India had driven up to the little town of Vikhroli. He came in and asked my mother if she needed anything. She said, no, she was getting along quite well, but she would like to go over to Bombay. He said, "Well, can I take you in shopping, Mrs. Carter?" She said, "Yes, I'd like that." So, they went in, and he bought her a very fine supper and brought her back to Vikhroli. When he got out, he handed her a fifth of very good bourbon. And he turned around to get in the car to leave, and he finally turned back to her and said, "By the way, Miss Lillian, who in the hell are you, anyway?" And that's a true story. It was not until later that my mother knew who she was. She was a friend of Hubert Humphrey.
And, of course, the next time he crossed my path was in 1968 when he was our nominee for president. And all of us in this room went through that year of tragedy together when he was not elected to be the leader of our country. And I think he felt then an urging to be loyal to his president and, unfortunately, many people were not that loyal to him. And his loss was our nation's even greater loss in 1968.
The next time I saw him was when I was governor. He came to our home in 1972. All the candidates just happened to stop by to see me that year, and my daughter, Amy, was about four years old. And most of the ones who would come into the mansion--she stayed away from them, having an early aversion to politicians. But when Senator Humphrey came in, she loved him instantly.
And I'll never forget sitting in the front presidential suite of the Georgia governor's mansion, a very beautiful room, trying to talk to Senator Humphrey. Amy came in eating a soft brownie, and she climbed up on his lap without any timidity at all. In a very natural way, he put his arm around her as though she was his own grandchild. And I'll always remember Senator Humphrey sitting there talking to me about politics and about the campaign, smiling often, with brownie all over his face. And each time he frowned, brownie crumbs fell to the floor. And Amy loved him then and has loved him ever since. But I think she recognized in him the qualities that have aroused the love of so many people.
And then, of course, last year all I could hear everywhere I went when I said, "Would you help me become president?" almost invariably they would say, "Well, my first preference is Hubert Humphrey. If he doesn't run, I'll support you." And there again, I learned on a nationwide basis the relationship between Senator Humphrey and the people of this country.
But I think the most deep impression I have of my good friend Hubert Humphrey is since I've been president. I've seen him in the oval office early in the morning. I've seen him in meetings with other congressional leaders. I've called him on the phone when I was in trouble. I've gotten his quiet and private and sound advice. And I've come to recognize that all the attributes that I love about America are resident in him. And I'm proud to be the president of a nation that loves a man like Hubert Humphrey and is loved so deeply by him.
President Jimmy Carter - December 2, 1977
Hubert Humphrey was the consummate liberal politician of the second half of the twentieth century, evolving from charismatic mayor of Minneapolis to crusading U.S. senator to compliant vice president under the overpowering Lyndon B. Johnson—to defeated presidential hopeful.
Here is the most complete and authoritative biography of Humphrey ever written. Based on over two hundred interviews and access to his papers at the Minnesota Historical Society, it presents a portrait of a vivacious, complex man, the leading orator and most productive legislator of his age.
The book opens with an account of what may have been Humphrey’s finest hour, the 1948 Democratic National Convention, when the brash, young mayor of Minneapolis challenged Southern conservatives and committed his party to the civil rights laws that reshaped twentieth-century America.
Here too is the story of Humphrey’s failure to weather the contending passions and ambitions of the sixties, and of the humiliating bargain he made with Lyndon Johnson in accepting the vice-presidency in 1964. The author’s dramatic account of this relationship highlights Johnson’s ruthlessness and Humphrey’s inability to see the catastrophic political consequences of his blind loyalty to the president.
In Carl Solberg’s vivid retelling, Humphrey’s compassion and ambition, successes and ultimate failures, are placed in historical context and provide a vital source for the understanding of our times.
The Tragedy of Hubert Humphrey
On Feb. 17, 1965, Vice President Hubert Humphrey sent President Lyndon B. Johnson a memorandum stating the United States must begin an exit strategy in Vietnam: “It is always hard to cut losses. But the Johnson administration is in a stronger position to do so now than any administration in this century.” Johnson had trounced Barry Goldwater in the 1964 election — and thus, no longer had to prove he was tough on Communism — and the conflict had not developed into a full-blown war. “Nineteen sixty-five is the year of minimum political risk,” Humphrey wrote.
Humphrey gave Johnson the opportunity to change the course of history: By pulling out of Vietnam, he could have avoided opposition from his own party and seeing his vision for the Great Society jeopardized by a foreign war and his aspirations for nuclear disarmament between the Soviet Union and the United States thwarted.
Johnson ignored Humphrey’s advice. In fact, he was described as infuriated with the vice president the day after receiving the memo, Johnson told his national security adviser, McGeorge Bundy, that Humphrey should “stay out of the peacekeeping and negotiating field” on Vietnam.
The president went further, and more or less banned him from the Oval Office for the remainder of 1965. Humphrey lost his responsibilities in the administration on civil rights — the subject that elevated him to the Senate in 1948, when he told the Democrats at their national convention they needed to “get out of the shadow of states’ rights and to walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights.”
Humphrey, who had long been the most prominent and productive liberal in the Senate — and the Democrat (other than Johnson) most responsible for the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, seemingly vanished from the public eye overnight, In August 1965, the comedian and musician Tom Lehrer sang to a raucous audience, “Whatever Became of You, Hubert?”:
Whatever became of you, Hubert?
We miss you, so tell us, please:
Are you sad? Are you cross?
Are you gathering moss
While you wait for the boss to sneeze?
Vietnam destined Humphrey to a miserable four years as Johnson’s vice president. For his dissent against the war (his “disloyalty”), Humphrey suffered the brunt of Johnson’s unpredictable wrath. Humphrey’s advisers felt Johnson’s intimidating, dismissive treatment was the reason Humphrey reversed his position on Vietnam a year later: why he defended the war as a necessary fight against Communism that provided jobs, hope and prosperity to suffering Vietnamese. It was his only way back into his boss’s good graces.
Humphrey’s support for the war condemned him in history as a supporting player in the tragedy of Vietnam. The war alienated Humphrey from liberals, civil rights activists and young Americans — the same people who, for decades, had loved Humphrey for his support of racial justice, full employment and the labor movement — and ultimately cost him the presidency in 1968. Voters thought Humphrey meant continued war, while Richard Nixon promised “an honorable end to the war in Vietnam.”
But given what we now know the history of the Vietnam War after 1968, Hubert Humphrey — both his life and political career — deserves re-examination. Humphrey forces us to consider the history that might have been: the possibility of ending the Vietnam War before 1973, an expansion of the Great Society in the 1970s, a different America. Without Vietnam (and his being Johnson’s vice president), Humphrey might have won in 1968. The country — and the world — would be drastically different.
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Hubert Humphrey arrived in the Senate in 1949 as a liberal in an illiberal institution. Southerners held the reins of power in Congress, and they hated Humphrey for his opposition to Jim Crow segregation and “that speech” at the Democratic National Convention.
While he was determined in his quest for social justice, his legislation often stalled in committee. He gravitated toward the one man who could help him: Lyndon Johnson. By 1954, Johnson needed Humphrey too — Johnson had become Senate majority leader and wanted liberals to fall behind his leadership Johnson concluded Humphrey was the brightest and most pragmatic of them. It was a devil’s bargain: Johnson helped Humphrey with his relationships with Southerners, and Humphrey vowed to keep the liberals in line.
The partnership between Johnson and Humphrey was as close as that of two antagonists could be. When Johnson became president in November 1963, Humphrey ensured that the Civil Rights Act overcame the Senate filibuster the following summer. Johnson recognized Humphrey’s talents as a legislator and orator (“There are so many ways I envy you,” Johnson said in 1951), and chose Humphrey as his vice president in 1964 — but not before asking Humphrey for his backing (“unswerving loyalty,” as Humphrey recalled) on all his decisions. When Mississippi civil rights activists tried to force the Democratic Party to recognize them over the state’s official, segregationist delegation at the 1964 national convention, it was Humphrey who, on Johnson’s orders, made them back down.
Once in office, Humphrey tried to keep his commitment to Johnson, but on Vietnam his convictions conflicted with his promises. Humphrey had been suspicious of American involvement in Vietnam since the mid-1950s, but became more incredulous of the war’s success after meeting with the veteran intelligence officer Edward Lansdale in 1964, who argued that a political solution to the war was possible. Humphrey sent several memos to Johnson in 1964 implying Johnson should pull back on the conflict, and that he meet with Lansdale. Johnson dismissed each one.
Then, on Feb. 7, 1965, American forces were attacked at Pleiku and nine Americans were killed. Bundy, the national security adviser, sent panicked cables to Johnson demanding the United States retaliate. When Johnson asked Humphrey his thoughts on bombing North Vietnam, Humphrey responded, “Mr. President, I don’t think we should.” Johnson ordered the bombing anyway. Then Humphrey wrote his Feb. 17 memo, and his fate was sealed for 1965.
But Johnson gave Humphrey one last chance to prove his loyalty, sending him to South Vietnam in February 1966 (almost one year to the date of his memo). On that trip, after meeting with Gen. William Westmoreland, American and Vietnamese soldiers, and South Vietnamese civilians, Humphrey convinced himself of the truth he wanted to believe: Vietnam was winnable it was a war for democracy it represented a global mission for peace and prosperity.
Humphrey’s adviser Thomas Hughes recalled that Humphrey returned from Vietnam “saying things that were crazy” about the virtues of the war. In a meeting of the National Security Council in June 1966, Humphrey said, “I have come around reluctantly to accepting the wider bombing program.”
For two years, Humphrey seemed to genuinely believe that Vietnam was a necessary war, that it represented a fight against global poverty and Communist tyranny. Humphrey convinced Johnson he believed this, that he had changed, and was welcomed back into Johnson’s good graces. (After Humphrey encouraged Johnson’s staff members to send the president his speeches supporting the war, Humphrey was admitted to the president’s luncheons on Vietnam.)
But as he promoted the war to the American people (his main task after 1966), Humphrey was increasingly taunted by the antiwar movement. When Humphrey emerged as the Democratic candidate in 1968 — after the assassination of Robert Kennedy and the upheaval at the Democratic National Convention — “Dump the Hump” became a common motto. Signs with slogans such as “Killer of Babies” and “Humphrey’s Johnson’s War Salesman” regularly greeted him on the campaign trail.
The protests agonized Humphrey. “All I had ever been as a liberal spokesman seemed lost, all that I had accomplished in significant programs was ignored. I felt robbed of my personal history,” he recalled.
On Sept. 30, 1968, Humphrey had enough of Johnson and his war, and in a speech in Salt Lake City he demanded a halt to the bombing. Humphrey called Johnson to warn him of the speech hours before. Johnson reacted coldly: “I take it you are not asking for my advice. You’re going to give the speech anyway.” Johnson then shunned Humphrey for the remainder of 1968 — indeed, the question remains whether Johnson favored Richard Nixon over Humphrey in the election, and whether Johnson’s hatred of Humphrey led to his loss.
But what if Humphrey had not been Johnson’s vice president — what if Humphrey remained in the Senate? What if Eugene McCarthy received the vice-presidential nomination in 1964 as he wanted? McCarthy would have become Humphrey: forced to defend America’s policy in Vietnam, and painted as a patsy for Johnson’s War. Humphrey would be the skeptic on Vietnam, and eventual vociferous critic — but also more palatable to the party establishment than McCarthy ever was. Divisions within the party would be united under a Humphrey candidacy in 1968, the wounds Vietnam opened among “New Democrats” healed by a Cold War liberal.
Humphrey could have won in 1968 under these circumstances. Would Humphrey have faced the same pressure as Nixon to end the war with “peace through honor?” Most likely, and certainly during his first term. But Humphrey would have immediately searched for a political solution to the war — for the conflict to end peacefully, and without further military commitment. Needless to say, he also would have continued to expand the Great Society, and not begin its long demolition, as Nixon did.
For these reasons, Humphrey represents the possibilities for a different history for the United States after 1968, particularly for Democrats looking today to rebuild their party and understand the mistakes of the past. Vietnam turned America’s leading liberal into a personification of liberalism’s failures. This is the tragedy of Hubert Humphrey and his Vietnam War — one that shapes Americans today.
Grave of Hubert H. HumphreyView all photos
Tucked in a nondescript corner of a beautiful cemetery in South Minneapolis, lies the final resting place of one of the most significant Democratic politicians of the mid-20th-century.
Hubert Horatio Humphrey was a politician from Minnesota who served as Mayor of Minneapolis, Senator from Minnesota, and Vice President of the United States under Lyndon B. Johnson. He ran for president on multiple occasions, garnering the nomination of the Democratic Party in 1968, although he would be defeated by Richard M. Nixon.
Humphrey was a congressional leader at the forefront of passing civil rights legislation and several other initiatives. Of course, not everyone was a fan. Political reporter Hunter S. Thompson famously lambasted Humphrey in Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972.
Humphrey was considered a humble man who loved his life, which is exemplified by his gravesite. It’s a simple slab of concrete, with a square of grass in the center that holds the graves of Humphrey and his wife of 42 years, Muriel. Inscribed on the grave marker is a quote from Humphrey himself:
“I have enjoyed my life, its disappointments outweighed by its pleasures. I have loved my country in a way that some people consider sentimental and out of style. I still do. And I remain an optimist with joy, without apology, about this country and about the American experiment in democracy.”
The Lakewood Cemetery also contains the graves of many Minnesota luminaries and people of interest, such as Senator Paul Wellstone, long time Governor Rudy Perpich, singer Tiny Tim, and Franklin C. Mars, creator of the Milky Way bar.
Know Before You Go
The Lakewood Cemetery is open year-round for visits. You can grab a brochure for a self-guided walking tour at the beautiful Administration building and take a walk around. Humphrey’s grave is easily accessible from the 36th Street entrance. Simply turn left as you enter and walk to the corner of the cemetery at 36th and King’s Highway, just inside the fence.