The Johnson “Treatment”
Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall, President Lyndon Baines Johnson used his imposing stature as one tool in his own brand of political persuasion, known as the Johnson “treatment.” LBJ used his “treatment,” shown in the photograph above, to intimidate, badger, flatter, or plead in order to achieve his political goals.
President Johnson and Louis Martin at the reception for Democratic National Committee Delegates, April 20, 1966
This photo is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
During the recent #Signatures tweetup for the “Making their Mark” exhibit, we coaxed exhibit curator Jennifer Johnson (r) and designer Amanda Perez (l) into re-enacting the scene. It was a little tricky for everyone to keep a straight face, but they were great sports!
Our own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will introduce President Carter tonight at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is hosting the summit on April 8, 9, and 10.
You can watch the panel discussions and keynote address live on their website: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/updates/
The keynote speakers include President Barack Obama and three former Presidents: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on the evening of April 10.
Learn more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in our new Google Cultural Institute exhibit, which includes videos, letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, and high resolution photos.
Image: LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Serial Number: A1030-17a Date: 08/06/1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
As detailed in his official daily diary, President Lyndon Johnson received word of the shooting shortly after 7 p.m. that evening. After learning of King’s death, Johnson called Coretta Scott King and later addressed the American people on television.
President’s Daily Diary Entry, April 4, 1968, 04/04/1968 - 04/04/1968
Welcome Back to Earth!
Six days after Astronaut John Glenn orbited the Earth in the Friendship 7 capsule, he rode in a parade with his family and Vice President Lyndon Johnson in Washington, DC.
Washington, DC, Astronaut John Glenn and Mrs. Glenn with their Children Ride with Vice President Johnson in the Washington Parade, 02/26/1962
On January 18, 1966 Robert C. Weaver became the first African American Cabinet member when he was sworn in United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Secretary Weaver was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson five days earlier on January 13, 1966.
Photograph of Swearing In of Robert C. Weaver as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, 01/18/1966
The War on Poverty
Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson declared a war on poverty. In his Annual Message to Congress on the State of the Union, LBJ outlined his plan to alleviate poverty in America.
LBJ believed that the most effective way to “win the war on poverty” was to introduce legislation, programs, and tax cuts that would result in a Great Society, giving all Americans — not just the poor and underprivileged — a better quality of life.
“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.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
An act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States and for other purposes, August 6, 1965.
This “act to enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution” was signed into law 95 years after the amendment was ratified. In those years, African Americans in the South faced tremendous obstacles to voting, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic restrictions to deny them the right to vote. They also risked harassment, intimidation, economic reprisals, and physical violence when they tried to register or vote. As a result, very few African Americans were registered voters, and they had very little, if any, political power, either locally or nationally.
In 1964, numerous demonstrations were held, and the considerable violence that erupted brought renewed attention to the issue of voting rights. The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi and the attack by state troopers on peaceful marchers in Selma, AL, gained national attention and persuaded President Johnson and Congress to initiate meaningful and effective national voting rights legislation. The combination of public revulsion to the violence and Johnson’s political skills stimulated Congress to pass the voting rights bill on August 5, 1965.
The legislation, which President Johnson signed into law the next day, outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of Federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in those jurisdictions that were “covered” according to a formula provided in the statute. In addition, Section 5 of the act required covered jurisdictions to obtain “preclearance” from either the District Court for the District of Columbia or the U.S. Attorney General for any new voting practices and procedures. Section 2, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color. The use of poll taxes in national elections had been abolished by the 24th amendment (1964) to the Constitution; the Voting Rights Act directed the Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S. 663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia’s poll tax to be unconstitutional under the 14th amendment.
Because the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the Federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War, it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required. [See South Carolina v. Katzenbach, 383 U.S. 301, 327-28 (1966) and Allen v. State Board of Elections, 393 U.S. 544 (1969)]
The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new black voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners. By the end of 1966, only 4 out of the 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982.
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
The White House to Kremlin “Hotline”
Hot Line Teletype Machine
Lyndon B. Johnson Museum Collection
Established 50 years ago on June 20, 1963 and announced on August 30, 1963 by the Kennedy White House, the Kremlin-White House teletype “Hotline” was established in the aftermath to the Cuban Missile Crisis - to be used only in an emergency to ensure clear communication between the President and the Soviet Premier.
The White House Hotline teletype machine was used for the first time for communication between President Lyndon Johnson and Soviet Premier Alexsei Kosygin during the Six Day War in the Middle East.