Miller Center

Lyndon B. Johnson (1908 – 1973)

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Life in Brief: On November 22, 1963, John F. Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas, Texas. The event thrust Lyndon Johnson into the presidency. A man widely considered to be one of the most expert and brilliant politicians of his time, Johnson would leave office a … more life in brief »

Essays about Lyndon B. Johnson

Facts about Lyndon B. Johnson

Term
:
36th President of the United States (1963 – 1969)
Born
:
August 27, 1908, Johnson City, Texas
Political Party
:
Democrat
Died
:
January 22, 1973
Nickname
:
“LBJ”
Education
:
Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University-San Marcos), graduated 1930; Georgetown Law School, attended 1934
Religion
:
Disciples of Christ
Marriage
:
November 17, 1934, to Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor (1912–2007)
Children
:
Lynda Bird (1944– ); Luci Baines (1947– )
Career
:
Teacher, Public Official
Buried
:
Near Johnson City, Texas
Writings

The Vantage Point: Perspectives of the Presidency, 1963–1969 (1971)

Lyndon B. Johnson Exhibits

‘“They Just Can’t Get the Americans to Do It”’

President Johnson reports to Senator Spessard Holland (D-Dl) about an administration decision to approve a request from the Florida sugar industry to recruit foreign workers for the upcoming harvest season. Holland had supported the sugar growers' request. Johnson also indicated that the administration had not yet received an application for foreign workers from the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association, and that the citrus industry had not yet demonstrated a clear need for such workers. Holland protested that the industry "just can't get the Americans to do it." The conversation demonstrates the process by which extra agricultural workers were admitted to the United States during the early and mid-1960s.

‘We Won!’

In this call on election evening, Johnson talks with his running mate, Hubert Humphrey. By the time of this call, it was becoming clear that the Johnson-Humphrey ticket was going to win the election handily. Johnson tells Humphrey of the physical toll the campaign had taken on him. In a previous call with Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Johnson described himself as "punch drunk." Having campaigned late into the evening in Houston and Austin, Johnson had returned to his ranch near Johnson City. Early on election day he had cast his vote at the local court house and had then returned to the ranch to recuperate before his scheduled departure for the Driskill Hotel in nearby Austin later that evening to await the election returns.

‘LBJ and Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Republican Party’

King had called Johnson to discuss the voting rights bill. In the discussion, the President emphasized the importance of gaining Republican support, and then offered his assessment of the Grand Old Party's prospects for the future.

‘LBJ on Affirmative Action’

One of President Johnson's priorities in filling vacancies in the federal government was to appoint more women and minorities, which he had championed as chairman of the President's Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity while vice president. In early January 1964, he had appointed two black judges to the federal bench. Here, he spoke with one of his closest black advisers--the civil rights leader and NAACP Executive Secretary Roy Wilkins about the feasibility of moving Carl Rowan from his ambassadorship in Finland to head up the United States Information Agency in Washington. This snippet displays some of Johnson's thinking about affirmative action. The specific issue is whether leaders of African nations would oppose the appointment of a black U.S. ambassador in their countries.

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Featured video:

Speech Before Congress on Voting Rights (March 15, 1965)

Presidential Speech Archive

Citation Information

Consulting Editor

Kent Germany

Professor Germany is an assistant professor of history and African American studies at the University of South Carolina. His writings include:

New Orleans After the Promises: Poverty, Citizenship, and the Search for the Great Society (University of Georgia Press, 2007)

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