"It was a political crime for political power," said Brown as
she highlighted how people who were set to testify against
Johnson for indictment proceedings, related to illegal kickbacks
Johnson was receiving from agriculture programs before the
assassination, were mysteriously set-up in homosexual scandals
or found dead having allegedly shot themselves five times in the
" Richard Russell was born in Winder, Georgia, on 2nd November,
1897. His father, Richard Russell, Sr., was a lawyer who later
became chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court.
Russell served in the Naval Reserve during the First World War
and was given command of a coastal battery. After graduated from
the law department of University of Georgia in 1918 he was
admitted to the bar and worked as a lawyer in Winder, Georgia.
A member of the Democratic Party, Russell served in Georgia's
House of Representatives (1921-1931) and as Governor of Georgia
(1931-1933). He was elected to the Senate on 12th January, 1933,
to fill the vacancy caused by the death of William J. Harris.
A lifelong bachelor, Russell dedicated his life to politics. He
held extreme right-wing views and told his constituents during
an election campaign against Eugene Talmadge: "As one who was
born and reared in the atmosphere of the Old South, with six
generations of my forebears now resting beneath Southern soil, I
am willing to go as far and make as great a sacrifice to
preserve and insure white supremacy in the social, economic, and
political life of our state as any man who lives within her
Russell developed a reputation as the leader of the white
supremacists in the Senate. Russell participated in his first
filibuster of a civil rights bill in 1935 when he stopped an
anti-lynching bill (Costigan-Wagner Act) with 6 days of nonstop
By the end of the Second World War Russell was the acknowledged
leader of the Southern bloc in the Senate. In 1950 it was
suggested that Russell should become head of the Democratic
Party in the Senate. Russell declined the offer and instead gave
his support to his great friend, Lyndon B. Johnson, the recently
elected senator from Texas. Russell's decision enabled Johnson
to become the most powerful man in the Senate.
Russell spent most weekends with Johnson. He was such a regular
visitor that Johnson's daughters affectionately referred to
Russell as "Uncle Dick".
After the death of John F. Kennedy in 1963 his deputy, Lyndon B.
Johnson, was appointed president. He immediately set up a
commission to "ascertain, evaluate and report upon the facts
relating to the assassination of the late President John F.
Kennedy." Johnson asked Warren if he would be willing to head
the commission. Earl Warren refused but it was later revealed
that Johnson blackmailed him into accepting. According to
Russell: "After Warren refused several times, Johnson called him
to the Oval Office and told him "what Hoover told me about a
little incident in Mexico City," whereupon Warren began crying
and told Johnson "well I won't turn you down, I'll just do
whatever you say."
Other members of the commission included Russell, Gerald Ford,
Allen W. Dulles, John J. McCloy, John S. Cooper and Thomas H.
The Warren Commission reported to President Johnson ten months
later. It reached the following conclusions:
(1) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the
southeast corner of the Texas School Book Depository.
(2) The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three
(3) Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of
the Commission to determine just which shot hit Governor
Connally, there is very persuasive evidence from the experts to
indicate that the same bullet which pierced the President's
throat also caused Governor Connally's wounds. However, Governor
Connally's testimony and certain other factors have given rise
to some difference of opinion as to this probability but there
is no question in the mind of any member of the Commission that
all the shots which caused the President's and Governor
Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of the
Texas School Book Depository.
(4) The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded
Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald.
(5) Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit
approximately 45 minutes after the assassination.
(6) Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the
Tippit killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theater by
attempting to shoot another Dallas police officer.
(7) The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey
Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or
foreign, to assassinate President Kennedy.
(8) In its entire investigation the Commission has found no
evidence of conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the US
Government by any Federal, State, or local official.
(9) On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it
concludes that, Oswald acted alone.
Russell originally agreed that John F. Kennedy and J. D. Tippit
had been killed by Lee Harvey Oswald and that Jack Ruby was not
part of any conspiracy. However, later he began to have doubts
claiming that "no one man could have done the known shooting."
On a taped telephone conversation Russell had with Lyndon B.
Johnson about Oswald being the lone gunman, he is heard saying
that "I don't believe it". Johnson responded with the words: "I
Russell continued to lead the white supremacists in the Senate.
In 1964 this brought him into conflict with President Johnson
when he tried to get the Senate to pass the Civil Rights Act.
Originally introduced by John F. Kennedy, the bill was an
attempt to make racial discrimination in public places, such as
theaters, restaurants and hotels, illegal. It also required
employers to provide equal employment opportunities. Projects
involving federal funds could now be cut off if there was
evidence of discriminated based on colour, race or national
The Civil Rights Act also attempted to deal with the problem of
African Americans being denied the vote in the Deep South. The
legislation stated that uniform standards must prevail for
establishing the right to vote. Schooling to sixth grade
constituted legal proof of literacy and the attorney general was
given power to initiate legal action in any area where he found
a pattern of resistance to the law.
Russell told the Senate: "We will resist to the bitter end any
measure or any movement which would have a tendency to bring
about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the
races in our (Southern) states." Russell organized 18 Southern
Democratic senators in filibustering this bill.
However, on the 15th June, 1964, Russell privately told Mike
Mansfield and Hubert Humphrey, the two leading supporters of the
Civil Rights Act, that he would bring an end to the filibuster
that was blocking the vote on the bill. This resulted in a vote
being taken and it was passed by 73 votes to 27.
During his time in the Senate he served as chairman of the
Committee on Immigration as well as on the Committee of
Manufactures, Committee on Armed Forces and Committee of
Richard Russell died in Washington on 21st January, 1971.