In the last weeks of the 1960 presidential race, Louis Martin pulled off a minor miracle. With two days to go before the election, this passionate civil rights advocate and Democratic activists put two million pamphlets into the hands of black voters across America, informing them of Senator John F. Kennedy's sympathetic phone call to Martin Luther King, Jr., then languishing in a Georgia prison. The center of gravity in black partisan support shifted, and Kennedy won by a hair. This is just one example of the remarkable influence Louis Martin had on national politics for more than four decades. Now, for the first time, the story of Louis Martin's life is told. Walking with Presidents traces the career of an African American who rose from crusading journalist to preeminent presidential advisor and civil rights liason in the Kennedy, Johnson, and Carter administrations. Martin was the consummate insider, unconcerned about who got credit for his work so long as he could advance his mission-bringing African Americans into the political mainstream.
More than any other person, Louis Martin has oaved the way for the significant involvement of black Americans at all levels of the Democratic party...He is an extraordinary person. -- Ron Brown We didn't have many civil rights crises when I was in the White House because I was alwaus on Louis Martin's side. -- Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States [Louis] has been...a fighter for social justice and a practical man of public affairs. I don't know what trouble Louis is going to get into. He got me into a good deal. -- Lyndon Johnson Thurgood Marshall probably would not have been appointed to the Supreme Court, nor Andrew Brimmer to the Federal Reserve, nor Robert Weaver to President Johnson's Cabinet, but for Louis Martin. -- Vernon Jordan Martin had the most influence on John and Robert Kennedy of any black American. He was the one African American they listened to with unqualified respect and without feeling that we was pushing anyone's agenda. -- Harris Wofford