Johnson hosted world leaders, astronauts, press conferences, and social events at, what reporters affectionately called, the Texas White House. During my time as park superintendent , I recognized the need for a book of photos as visitors who tour the home cannot take photographs inside, so have no way to document their visit and share it with others. The public who cannot visit the ranch want to see the inside, in detail, and explore the place where a president and his family lived.
After ten years as superintendent, no one had produced a book, so I took retirement time and wrote one. Over the years I gave and participated in many VIP tours of the home and told stories shared with me from family, friends and professional associates of the 36th President. Some of those are included in the book.
Photo: wavebreakmedia Shutterstock. In his youngest of two daughters, Luci, was married in DC, and in his oldest daughter, Linda, was married in the East Room. After the president's death, and in accordance with Johnson's wishes, parts of the ranch were incorporated into the Lyndon B. A month later, frazzled from, as Ladybird described it, the "tornado of activity that has surrounded us", the Johnson family retreated to the ranch on Christmas Eve. He increased troop presence in Vietnam and bombed North Vietnam. Last Name.
From his first year as a congressman, he used the power of his office and position to help his constituents. As president, he used all his political capital to build the Great Society programs that still benefit Americans today. The great tragedy is how much more he wanted to accomplish domestically, but could not because of the Vietnam War, a war he did not want and could not find a way out. When I talked with park visitors a recurring statement from many was their relating him to the tragedy of Vietnam and were surprised to learn about how much he accomplished.
Many reluctant guests, who stopped because a spouse or friends wanted to, left with a new appreciation for Lyndon Johnson. I always found myself lingering in the living room and imagining being there with the President and Mrs.
It was the first room of the ranch house I experienced when invited for dinner with Mrs. The photograph from that night is on the back cover of the book. I imagine many visitors of that time walked into the room and felt the same thing modern guests feel; immediately at ease and comfortable. I want to thank, first and foremost, the Johnson family for giving us this opportunity and the graciousness with which Michelle and I have been received.
We came down a little bit late because we were upstairs looking at some of the exhibits and some of the private offices that were used by President Johnson and Mrs.
And she said, come, come, you need to listen to this. And she pressed the button and nodded her head.
Some things do not change -- laughter -- even 50 years later. Four days into his sudden presidency -- and the night before he would address a joint session of the Congress in which he once served -- Lyndon Johnson sat around a table with his closest advisors, preparing his remarks to a shattered and grieving nation. He wanted to call on senators and representatives to pass a civil rights bill -- the most sweeping since Reconstruction.
And most of his staff counseled him against it. They said it was hopeless; that it would anger powerful Southern Democrats and committee chairmen; that it risked derailing the rest of his domestic agenda. And one particularly bold aide said he did not believe a President should spend his time and power on lost causes, however worthy they might be.
Today, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we honor the men and women who made it possible. Some of them are here today. We recall the countless unheralded Americans, black and white, students and scholars, preachers and housekeepers -- whose names are etched not on monuments, but in the hearts of their loved ones, and in the fabric of the country they helped to change.
The office humbles you. But the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents -- by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates; by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be. As a master of politics and the legislative process, he grasped like few others the power of government to bring about change. LBJ was nothing if not a realist. But he also knew that only the law could anchor change, and set hearts and minds on a different course.
As Dr. And passing laws was what LBJ knew how to do.
No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson. He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required. He could wear you down with logic and argument. He could horse trade, and he could flatter.
And he knew that senators would believe things like that. Laughter and applause. President Johnson liked power. He liked the feel of it, the wielding of it. But that hunger was harnessed and redeemed by a deeper understanding of the human condition; by a sympathy for the underdog, for the downtrodden, for the outcast. And it was a sympathy rooted in his own experience. As a young boy growing up in the Texas Hill Country, Johnson knew what being poor felt like.
Everybody worked hard, including the children. Oftentimes his students would show up to class hungry.
Deprivation and discrimination -- these were not abstractions to Lyndon Baines Johnson. He knew that poverty and injustice are as inseparable as opportunity and justice are joined. So that was in him from an early age. Now, like any of us, he was not a perfect man. His experiences in rural Texas may have stretched his moral imagination, but he was ambitious, very ambitious, a young man in a hurry to plot his own escape from poverty and to chart his own political career.
And in the Jim Crow South, that meant not challenging convention. And at the beginning of the Kennedy administration, he shared with President Kennedy a caution towards racial controversy. But marchers kept marching. Four little girls were killed in a church. Bloody Sunday happened.
The winds of change blew. And he knew that he had a unique capacity, as the most powerful white politician from the South, to not merely challenge the convention that had crushed the dreams of so many, but to ultimately dismantle for good the structures of legal segregation. And possessed with an iron will, possessed with those skills that he had honed so many years in Congress, pushed and supported by a movement of those willing to sacrifice everything for their own liberation, President Johnson fought for and argued and horse traded and bullied and persuaded until ultimately he signed the Civil Rights Act into law.
He shook them off. Immigration reform came shortly after. And then, a Fair Housing Act.
What President Johnson understood was that equality required more than the absence of oppression. It required the presence of economic opportunity.
King would be in describing that linkage, as Dr. A decent job, decent wages, health care -- those, too, were civil rights worth fighting for. An economy where hard work is rewarded and success is shared, that was his goal. And he knew, as someone who had seen the New Deal transform the landscape of his Texas childhood, who had seen the difference electricity had made because of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the transformation concretely day in and day out in the life of his own family, he understood that government had a role to play in broadening prosperity to all those who would strive for it.