Interview with James Farmer
QUESTION 3
INTERVIEWER:

I'M SORRY, START BY MENTIONING KENNEDY.

James Farmer:

Yes, many of us felt that Kennedy's commitment to civil rights was political--that it was a device to get him elected—because in the first six to eight months, he had done very little. Let me illustrate that. During the campaign he had indicated that there was one whole area of discrimination that the president could wipe out with merely a stroke of the pen, and that was the area of public-housing discrimination. And, if elected, he would use that stroke of the pen by issuing an executive order. That would do the job. Well, we waited for more than a year for that stroke of the pen, then decided that his pen must have run dry.** So we started what we called an "Ink for Jack" campaign, and sent bottles of ink to the White House. Then his pen suddenly became active and he signed an executive order.