“At its best, public television would help make our Nation a replica of the old Greek marketplace, where public affairs took place in view of all the citizens.”
-President Lyndon B. Johnson
On this day in 1967, LBJ signed the Public Broadcasting Act (S.1160).
Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson delivering remarks prior to the signing in the East Room of the White House. November 7, 1967.
Read the full remarks at the American Presidency Project.
-from the LBJ Library
Johnson in Vietnam
After attending a summit in the Philippines with the Heads of State and Government of Australia, Korea, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, President Johnson traveled to Vietnam. He visited with U.S. military personnel in Cam Ranh Bay on October 26th.
President Lyndon B. Johnson in Vietnam: With General William Westmoreland and the fighting men, 10/26/1966
Click it…or ticket!
This 1965 Corvette Stingray was a gift to LBJ’s daughter Luci on her 18th birthday. Unlike most cars manufactured in the sixties, it was equipped with seat belts.
On September 9, 1966, LBJ signed legislation setting new standards for vehicle safety, which included equipping all cars with seat belts beginning in 1968.
-from the LBJ Library
Happy Birthday, LBJ!
Here’s the first photograph ever taken of Lyndon Baines Johnson. He was born approximately six months earlier, on August 27, 1908, in central Texas. No word on the teddy bear’s photographic history, but at least we know it had nicely brushed fur the day this was taken.
-from the LBJ Library
"President Lyndon B. Johnson listens to tape sent by Captain Charles Robb from Vietnam, 07/31/1968"
In this White House photo taken by Jack Kightlinger on July 31, 1968, President Lyndon Johnson listens to a tape recording from his son-in-law Capt. Charles Robb, who was a Marine Corps company commander serving in Vietnam (and later Governor and Senator from Virginia).
LBJ Signs the Medicare Bill
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare into law. The event took place at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and LBJ told the nation that Medicare “all started with the man from Independence.”
Truman was the first president to publicly endorse a national health insurance program.
As a Senator, Truman had become alarmed at the number of draftees who had failed their induction physicals during World War II. For Truman these rejections meant that the average citizen could not afford visiting a doctor to maintain health. He stated “that is all wrong in my book. I am trying to fix it so the people in the middle-income bracket can live as long as the very rich and the very poor.”
Truman’s first proposal in 1945 provided for physician and hospital insurance for working-aged Americans and their families. A federal health board was to administer the program with the government retaining the right to fix fees for service, and doctors could choose whether or not to participate. This proposal was defeated after, among many factors, the American Medical Association labeled the president’s plan “socialized medicine” taking advantage of the public’s concern over communism in Russia.
Even though he was never able to create a national health care program, Truman was able to draw attention to the country’s health needs, have funds legislated to construct hospitals, expand medical aid to the needy, and provide for expanded medical research.
In honor of his continued advocacy for national health insurance, LBJ presented Truman and his wife Bess with Medicare cards number one and two in 1966.
Image: Harry S. Truman’s Medicare Card #1.
Photo: President Lyndon B. Johnson shakes hands with former President Harry S. Truman at the signing of the Medicare Bill. LBJ Library #34897-14.
White House Meeting with Civil Rights Leaders. June 22, 1963
Photograph of meeting with Civil Rights leaders. Front Row Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert F. Kennedy, Roy Wilkins, Lyndon Baines Johnson, Walter P. Reuther, Whitney M. Young, A Philip Randolph Second Row Second From Left Rosa Gragg Top Row Third From Left James Farmer
From the Abbie Rowe White House Photographs series
April 28, 1965. 4:40 PM. Ambassador Bennett sends this cable from Santo Domingo to the White House less than two hours after the previous one. It begins: “Regret report situation deteriorating rapidly.”
LBJ’s secretary Juanita Roberts (foreground at her desk, in 1968) hand-delivers it to the President seven minutes after it is received, interrupting a meeting with foreign policy advisors.LBJ Library, National Security File, Country File Dominican Republic, Bennett “HELP,” Box 48, #7c.
April 11, 1965. LBJ signs the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, at the Junction School in Johnson City, TX. Among the guests at the bill signing are Kate Deadrich Loney (LBJ’s first school teacher), Sen. Eugene McCarthy, and Adm. William Raborn, along with Lady Bird and Lynda.
“As a son of a tenant farmer, I know that education is the only valid passport from poverty.
“As a former teacher—and, I hope, a future one—I have great expectations of what this law will mean for all of our young people.
“As President of the United States, I believe deeply no law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America.”
Today the schoolhouse is part of the LBJ National Historic Park.
March 20, 1965. LBJ holds a news conference from the LBJ Ranch to announce that he has federalized the Alabama National Guard at Governor Wallace’s request.
“I have called selected elements of the Alabama National Guard into Federal Service. Additionally, I have military police put in position at both Selma and Montgomery, Alabama. In addition, we have Federal marshals, FBI agents on duty in that area at this time….
“Over the next several days the eyes of the Nation will be upon Alabama, and the eyes of the world will be upon America. It is my prayer, a prayer in which I hope all Americans will join me earnestly today, that the march in Alabama may proceed in a manner honoring our heritage and honoring all for which America stands.”
Read the full text here.
March 7, 1966. In a rare handwritten letter to President Johnson, General de Gaulle states the reasons for his decision to withdraw France from the military aspects of NATO.
“…France considers that the changes that have occurred, or are in the process of occurring, since 1949, in Europe, Asia, and elsewhere, as well as the evolution of her own situation and her own forces, no longer justify, in so far as she is concerned, the arrangements of a military nature made after the conclusion of the Alliance, either jointly in the form of multilateral agreements, or by special agreements between the French Government and the American Government.”
This decision led to the withdrawal of American bases from France and the relocation of NATO headquarters from Paris to Brussels. To read the full translation, see the Foreign Relations of the United States Series.
We interrupt this regularly scheduled LBJ Time Machine:
To tell y’all that we have posted the 1934 love letters between LBJ and Lady Bird, available in full for the very first time, on the web. You can find them here: searchable, downloadable, and transcribed.
LBJ and Lady Bird met on September 5, 1934 and ”committed matrimony,” as Lady Bird described it, on November 17 of that same year. These 90-odd letters are their correspondence during the time of their (brief) courtship, while he was in Washington and she was in Texas. Enjoy—and Happy Valentine’s Day, from us to you.
— LBJ Presidential Library Archives Staff
Does 90 letters in 90 days in 1934 equal 5,000 text messages in 2013?
The love letters of LBJ and Lady Bird have finally been digitized and released to the public this morning. You can read them all at www.lbjlibrary.org.
Image: LBJ sent this photo to Lady Bird during their courtship. The caption reads “For Bird—A lovely girl with ideals, principles, intelligence, and refinement from her sincere admirer, Lyndon” (Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)
On Valentine’s Day at 10 a.m. EST, we are releasing all of the 1934 love letters between Lady Bird and Lyndon from their whirlwind 10-week courtship. The letters are all digitized, transcribed, and will be available for download online via www.lbjlibrary.org.
“Lyndon, my dear, do you want me to keep on loving you? Shall we keep on writing each other every day? Shall you, (perhaps, sometimes) call me? And are you going to keep on loving me, with an eye to the now somewhat-more-distant future? I want to know. For me—I shall keep on writing you. I shall keep on loving you. I do not want anything to come between us.” (Lady Bird, 10/22/34 letter)
Image and text from the LBJ Presidential Library. Photo of Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor, 1935.