Yesterday I wrote that in January of 1964 I encouraged the Governor of South Dakota, Archie Gubbrud, to approve ratification of the 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution — the amendment outlawing poll taxes that kept African-Americans from being able to vote in many Southern states.
After riding around Pierre with the Governor in his new Lincoln, he dropped me at the St. Charles Hotel, where I met with Ping Murray, my state senator from Rapid City. While many legislators had gone home for the weekend, many from western SD were still in Pierre because of bitterly cold weather and a lot of snow.
Ping urged me to meet with Joe Dunmire, the Senator from Lead who chaired the State Affairs Committee, which had been blocking the bill.
I trudged a few blocks through the snow to Dunmire’s apartment.
Dunmire was happy to talk with me but said he had no intention of letting the bill get out of committee. “We need to teach that son of a bitch a lesson in Constitutional Law,” he told me. The SOB to whom he was referring was Lyndon Baines Johnson, the President of the United States at that time.
Dunmire said it was not the President’s place to interfere with the rights of individual states. We went back and forth for a long time.
Finally, he agreed that he would let the bill out of committee if I would help him solve a problem he was having with Ping Murray.
Tomorrow I’ll tell you how that worked out.