10 Things You Might Not Know About Lyndon B. Johnson

10 Things You Might Not Know About Lyndon B. Johnson

1. He began his career as a teacher.

Johnson was born in 1908 in Stonewall, Texas, as the oldest of five children. Though his father had served in the state legislature, he had lost money in cotton speculation, and the family often struggled to make ends meet. The young Johnson drifted for a few years after high school, but enrolled at Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1927. During his time there, he taught in a largely Mexican-American school in the south Texas town of Cotulla, where he was known for his energy, dedication and encouragement of his underprivileged students. Though Johnson would soon turn his attention to politics, heading to Washington as a congressional aide in 1931, his experience as a teacher left a lasting impression.

2. In the 1948 race for U.S. Senate, Johnson won the Texas Democratic primary by just 87 votes, out of some 988,000 votes cast.

Johnson worked hard and rose quickly, winning special election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1937 when a congressman in his district died in office. In 1941, he ran for U.S. Senate in another special election, but lost. He tried again in 1948, squaring off against the popular Texas governor Coke Stevenson in the Democratic primary. (At the time, there were so few Republicans in Texas that winning the primary basically meant getting elected.) In a race that was rife with voter fraud on both sides, Johnson won by a razor-thin margin, earning the derisive nickname “Landslide Lyndon.”

3. Johnson’s career took off in the Senate, but he almost died in the process.

In 1943, Johnson became Senate minority leader, and after Democrats regained control of the Senate two years later, he became majority leader. Johnson excelled at forming the Senate Democrats into a united bloc, while charming, flattering and otherwise convincing colleagues from both sides of the aisle. In mid-1955, the 49-year-old suffered a severe heart attack; he later described it as “the worst a man could have and still live.” Upon recovery, he quit smoking, lost weight and learned to delegate some responsibilities but he continued in tireless pursuit of his agendas, including civil rights and the U.S. space program.

4. He was an outsider in the Kennedy White House.

After losing a bitter primary fight in 1960, Johnson shocked nearly everyone by signing on as running mate to Sen. John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts. As a Protestant Southerner and the consummate insider in Congress, Johnson balanced the ticket, helping Kennedy capture Texas, Louisiana and the Carolinas in his narrow defeat of Richard Nixon. But Johnson’s influence was limited as vice president, as Kennedy’s advisers (especially his brother and attorney general Robert Kennedy) made sure to keep him on the sidelines. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, for example, Johnson was a member of the group convened to advise the president, but was excluded from the meeting at which the final decision about the American response was made.

5. Johnson’s challenge–assuming the office of president and running for reelection within the same year–was without precedent in U.S. history.

Everything changed on November 22, 1963, when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Though seven U.S. presidential transitions had happened due to death rather than election, including three assassinations, no president had ever died so late in his term. When Air Force One landed in Washington that night (Johnson had been sworn in aboard), the new president gave a brief speech, saying “I will do my best—that is all I can do.” In the days to come, Johnson worked to calm the national hysteria and took firm control of the government, even as he kept Kennedy’s cabinet and top aides to provide continuity.

6. Within months, he managed to push through a congressional logjam, starting with civil rights.

On November 27, 1963, Lyndon B. Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress, calling on them to honor the martyred Kennedy’s memory by passing the major civil rights bill that was currently stalled in congressional committees. While preparing his speech, Johnson’s aides had warned him that the bill was most likely a lost cause, and pursuing it would hurt his chances in the next election, less than a year later. Johnson’s simple response–“Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?”–would go down as one of the most famous quotes of his career.

7. Johnson was an unlikely champion for civil rights–who signed the most sweeping piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.

Barely seven months after addressing Congress, Johnson would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, banned segregation and provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities. That Johnson was the president to pass such a historic bill seemed ironic: As a congressman, he voted against every single civil rights bill that ever made it to the floor between 1937 and 1956. Johnson reversed that record with a bang in 1957, pushing through the first civil rights bill to pass Congress since 1875. He passed another one in 1960, but both bills were relatively weak compared to the far-reaching powers of the 1964 act. Even more paradoxically, as a Southern man of his time, Johnson used racist language–even as he smashed Jim Crow laws across the South.

8. In January 1964, he declared war on poverty.

In his first State of the Union address, Johnson declared an “unconditional war” on poverty in the United States, announcing that “Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it and, above all, to prevent it.” He spearheaded legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid, expanding Social Security, making the food stamps program permanent and establishing Job Corps, the VISTA program, the federal work-study program, the Head Start program and Title I subsidies for poor school districts. Though the war on poverty is still far from being won, the programs put in place as part of Johnson’s “Great Society” did succeed in reducing economic hardships for millions of Americans, and many are still in place today.

9. Johnson’s wife, Lady Bird, was key to his success.

Claudia Alta Taylor, known as Lady Bird from childhood, married Johnson shortly after graduating from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied history and journalism. She became an undeniable asset to his rising political career, not least because of her considerable family fortune. In 1960, Lady Bird Johnson traveled some 30,000 miles on the campaign trail, and Bobby Kennedy would credit her with winning Texas for the Democratic ticket. Four years later, after her husband had angered Southern voters by signing the Civil Rights Act, she won many of them back with a special train tour, dubbed the “Lady Bird Special.” (Johnson ended up defeating his Republican rival, Barry Goldwater, by one of the largest margins in history.) As first lady, Lady Bird championed the Head Start education program, as well as an environmental initiative aimed at the “beautification” of highways, neighborhoods and parks.

10. The war in Vietnam drove Johnson into depression, and brought his presidency to an undistinguished end.

Despite his considerable achievements in the domestic arena, Johnson’s presidency was undeniably marred by the Vietnam War. Despite campaign promises not to widen U.S. involvement in the conflict, which had begun during President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s administration and intensified under Kennedy, Johnson vastly increased the number of U.S. troops in Vietnam and expanded their mission. By 1967, Johnson’s popularity had plummeted, while the massive cost of war threatened his Great Society programs and spurred inflation. With student demonstrators around the country chanting things like “Hey, hey, LBJ, how many kids did you kill today?” Johnson was plagued with doubt about the war, and reportedly fell into a prolonged depression. In March 1968, he announced he would not be seeking reelection. After his VP, Hubert Humphrey, lost a close race to Richard Nixon, Johnson retired to his beloved Texas ranch in 1969. By that time, some 30,000 American soldiers had been killed in Vietnam. Johnson wouldn’t live to see the official end to that conflict: He died in January 1973, after suffering another heart attack.

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8 facts you might not know about the White House, home of the president of the USA

How much do you know about the history of the White House in Washington DC, which has been home to all US presidents since John Adams in 1800 (including the current president, Donald Trump)? Writing for HistoryExtra, White House historian Lindsay M Chervinsky shares eight surprising facts about the famous building – from how it was built by enslaved workers, to the year it caught fire…

This competition is now closed

Published: November 27, 2019 at 3:39 pm

When and how was the White House built? How many rooms does it contain? And how it is kept so white? Here’s everything you need to know about the home of the US president…

Enslaved workers helped to build the White House

In 1792, work began on the new president’s house in Washington, DC (eventually renamed the White House), on a site selected by the first US president, George Washington. Over the next eight years, a mix of free African-American and white wage labourers, enslaved workers, and skilled craftsmen built the White House. They worked in a variety of positions, including basic labourers, overseers, sawyers, carpenters, stone workers, and bricklayers.

Some of the enslaved workers were owned by the city commissioners charged with overseeing the project or James Hoban, the architect. The vast majority, however, were hired out from their owners in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Maryland, who then pocketed the enslaved peoples’ wages. The construction crews were often shuttled back and forth between the White House and the Capitol building sites, depending on which location needed labour or had available materials at any given moment.

The White House was set on fire by British Forces

In August 1814, British forces marched into Washington, DC and burned all public buildings in retaliation for the destruction of York [now Toronto], Canada, the year prior. After enjoying a lavish meal laid out by First Lady Dolley Madison, the British forces set fire to the White House.

Urban legend suggests that a rain storm arrived and saved the White House. The truth, however, is that the rain actually made the damage worse. While the wet weather saved the surrounding buildings from catching fire, it nearly destroyed the walls of the White House. The stone walls were incredibly hot from the fire and the cold rain caused them to shrink rapidly and crack.

Congress quickly appointed a commission to investigate the damage and rebuild the White House. The investigators discovered that almost everything inside had been destroyed except for a few pots and pans in the basement kitchens, but their report concealed the extent of the damage to get the rebuilding process started immediately.

Some officials wanted to move the capital to a more developed city – like Philadelphia, New York, or Charleston – because lodging, food, and entertainment options were still quite limited in DC. Furthermore, representatives from states far away from DC, like New Hampshire or Georgia, wanted to shorten their travelling time. They saw the destruction of the White House as an opportunity to move the capital. Eager to maintain a historic link with the earlier presidents, Presidents James Madison and James Monroe rushed to rebuild the White House exactly as before. They even hired the same architect, James Hoban, to complete the renovation.

Each president has a portrait hanging in the White House

The portrait locations follow a rough pattern they are mostly arranged chronologically, with a few exceptions. The portraits of the most recent presidents are in the entrance hall of the State Floor and they extend chronologically up the stairway to the residence.

Others are scattered about: George Washington and Theodore Roosevelt are in the East Room, Abraham Lincoln is in the State Dining Room, and William Howard Taft is in the Blue Room because that’s where his portrait was painted. Presidents Millard Fillmore and Chester A Arthur are hung in the East Wing where guests enter because the paintings are so large that they don’t fit on any other wall. Most of the portraits in the Blue Room are of Virginia presidents… and John Adams, which I suspect would irk him.

But President Lyndon B Johnson’s portrait has the most interesting placement. Each president has a fair amount of influence over how their likeness is captured and as a larger-than-life figure, one would expect Johnson’s portrait to be equally grand. Instead, it’s one of the smallest. He didn’t leave an explanation for why he requested such a modest portrait, but its final location offers one possible clue: Johnson’s portrait is hung in the corner of the Entrance Hall, next to the doorway into the State Dining Room. Few other portraits would fit in this space, so perhaps by selecting a diminutive portrait Johnson was ensuring he would always retain a place of prominence on the State Floor.

It’s an ongoing battle to keep the White House walls white

Keeping the White House white is no easy feat! Lime-based white wash was originally applied shortly after the building was constructed to protect the porous sandstones. By President Jimmy Carter’s administration (1977–81), the paint was so thick that visitors couldn’t see the carving details above the windows and doors, or any of the beautiful molding. The White House underwent a significant external renovation to strip the many layers of paint, which took 20 years and wasn’t completed until President William ‘Bill’ Clinton’s administration. When finished, over 45 coats of paint had been removed from the exterior walls.

Many animals have lived at the White House

Most people are familiar with the dogs that have lived in the White House – such as Bo and Sunny Obama, or President George W Bush and First Lady Laura Bush’s Scottish terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley. But there have been a menagerie of animals that have called the grounds home. President Woodrow Wilson welcomed a herd of sheep to the South Lawn and they donated their wool to the Red Cross to create uniforms for soldiers during the First World War. One particularly adventuresome ram named Hi caused a bit of trouble when he repeatedly broke into the Oval Office.

John F Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline, had a pet pony named Macaroni First Lady Grace Coolidge had a raccoon named Rebecca and President William H Taft had a cow, Pauline Wayne, which roamed in front of the Old Executive Office Building. Perhaps best of all, Alice Roosevelt (Theodore Roosevelt’s daughter) had a garter snake named Emily Spinach that she carried around in her purse and pulled out as a conversation piece at parties.

The White House complex is deceptively large

While the building appears to be two stories from the street, there are actually six floors. There are three floors above ground (the State Floor and two floors for the residence), and three floors below ground. While much of the State Floor and residence layout has remained the same since its construction, many other areas of the White House have changed dramatically. When you enter the White House today, you would probably enter on the Ground Floor, or the first of the basement floors. Until 1901, this floor was primarily a work space. Instead of the China Room, the Vermeil Room, the Library, and the Diplomatic Reception Room, there would have been a kitchen, a laundry room, a storage space for food and dishware, and sleeping spaces for the enslaved or free servants. The basement was notoriously damp and frequently infested with vermin and rodents.

There are other spaces that have been lost to history as well. The White House had a series of stables to house the president’s horses, carriages, coachmen, and grooms. The final and most elaborate stable was converted into a garage in 1909. The attic has also undergone many renovations. In its early years, it was used for storage, sleeping quarters for free or enslaved servants, and a hiding place for the presidents’ children. In 1913 First Lady Ellen Wilson added guestrooms and a painting studio for her own private use. During the Coolidge administration, engineers discovered problems with the roof structure. They installed a sunroom (now the solarium), larger guest and service rooms, and a new steel and concrete roof.

The White House grounds were once open to anyone

When President John Adams moved into the White House on 1 November 1800, there was no fence or gate, and the grounds were open to pedestrians. President Thomas Jefferson added a fence that enclosed the grounds, but they remained open for common use. In 1873, President Ulysses S Grant began closing the grounds at sunset for additional security and in 1893, President Grover Cleveland closed the South Grounds, typically the first family’s garden, after strangers tried to take a picture of his young daughter, Esther. The North and South Grounds were closed permanently during Calvin Coolidge’s presidency at the recommendation of the United States Secret Service.

The president’s cabinet hasn’t always had a home at the White House

Every president has consulted a cabinet since President George Washington convened the first full cabinet meeting on 26 November 1791. While President John Adams was the first to live in the White House, President Thomas Jefferson was the first to meet with his cabinet in the White House and gathered the department secretaries in his private study on the first floor (now the State Dining Room).

By the time of the Civil War, the president’s study had moved to the second floor and Abraham Lincoln met with the secretaries in his office in the south-east corner of the second floor (now the Lincoln Bedroom). Theodore Roosevelt built the West Wing to provide more work space for his staff, and to give his large family more room on the second floor of the original building. In 1909, President Taft expanded the West Wing, added the Oval Office, and an official Cabinet room. The Oval Office was moved to its present location during President Franklin D Roosevelt’s presidency. Since then, most cabinets have used the Cabinet room for official cabinet meetings and elected to meet with individual department secretaries in the Oval Office.

Lindsay M Chervinsky, PhD is White House Historian at the White House Historical Association, a non-profit dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the White House. She received in PhD in Early American History from the University of California, Davis, and her book, The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution, will be published by Harvard University Press in April 2020.


Lady Bird Johnson, Savvy First Lady

Robert Knudsen, White House Press Office (WHPO) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

Claudia Alta "Lady Bird" Taylor was highly intelligent and successful. She earned two bachelor's degrees from the University of Texas in 1933 and 1934, successively. She had an excellent head for business and owned an Austin, Texas radio and television station. She chose to beautify America as her First Lady project.


10 Facts About Lyndon B. Johnson

Born in a farmhouse and destined for the White House, Lyndon Baines Johnson took the oath of office on Air Force One just hours after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

His presidency was marked by successes in the civil rights movement, the war on poverty, environmental and consumer protection laws, gun control, and the creation of Medicaid and Medicare. But it was also marred by an inherited Vietnam War, which he expanded. Its profound unpopularity, transposed onto Johnson himself, led him to refuse standing for reelection in 1968, ending an extensive and monumental political career.

1. HE STARTED OUT AS A TEACHER.

To pay for his time at Southwest Texas State Teachers College (which is now Texas State University), Johnson taught for nine months at a segregated school for Mexican-American children south of San Antonio. The experience, as well as his time teaching in Pearsall, Texas, and in Houston, shaped his vision of how the government should help educate the country's youth. After signing the Higher Education Act of 1965, which used federal funds to help colleges extend financial aid to poor students, he remarked on his time teaching at the Welhausen Mexican School, saying, “It was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American.”

2. HE WAS ALSO A JANITOR.

Johnson not only shared in the unfortunate tradition among teachers of using his own paycheck to pay for classroom supplies, he also wore multiple hats during his tenure as an educator. He taught fifth, sixth, and seventh grades, managed a team of five teachers, supervised the playground, coached a boys’ baseball team and the debate team, and mopped floors as the school’s janitor.

3. HE HAD A HEAD START IN POLITICS.

Keystone/Getty Images

Johnson’s father, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr., was a member of the Texas State House of Representatives for nine non-consecutive years. His guidance and connections helped Johnson enter politics, and at the age of 23, just one year out of college, Johnson was appointed by U.S. Representative Richard M. Kleberg as his legislative secretary on the advice of Johnson’s father and another state senator whom Johnson had campaigned for.

Johnson became a leader of the congressional aides, a dedicated supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt (who became president a year after Johnson began work in the House), and the head of the Texas branch of the National Youth Administration—a New Deal agency meant to help young Americans find work and education.

4. HE WAS AWARDED A SILVER STAR DURING WWII.

Johnson won election to the United States House of Representatives in 1937, representing a district that encompassed Austin and the surrounding hill country. He would serve there for 12 years, but he would also serve as a Lieutenant Commander in the Naval Reserve in the middle of his tenure as a representative. He was called to active duty three days after Pearl Harbor, eventually reported to General Douglas MacArthur in Australia, and on June 9, 1942, volunteered as an onboard observer for an air strike mission on the south shore of New Guinea that had fatal consequences.

Possibly because of heavy fire or a mechanical failure, the B-26 bomber Johnson was on returned to base while another (which carried Johnson’s roommate at the time) was shot down with no survivors. MacArthur awarded Johnson a Silver Star for his involvement, although some view it as a political trade for Johnson lobbying President Roosevelt for more resources in the Pacific.

5. HIS ENTRY INTO THE SENATE WAS A “LANDSLIDE.”

Johnson toured Texas in a helicopter for a 1948 Senate primary race that pitted him against former Governor Coke Stevenson and state representative George Peddy. Stevenson led the first round of voting, but, without a majority, a runoff was called. Johnson won it (and the nomination) by only 87 votes out of 988,295 (.008 percent) amid accusations of voter fraud. Biographer Robert Caro noted that Johnson’s campaign manager (and future governor) John B. Connally was connected with over 200 suspicious ballots from voters who claimed they hadn’t voted, with election judge Luis Salas claiming almost 30 years later that he’d certified 202 phony ballots for Johnson. Stevenson challenged Johnson’s win in court but lost, and Johnson went on to beat Republican Jack Porter in the general election. The accusations of fraud and the tight margin of his primary victory earned him the ironic nickname [PDF] “Landslide Lyndon.”

6. HE ALMOST DIED WHILE SERVING IN THE SENATE.

Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

A demanding boss, workaholic, and chain smoker, Johnson had a heart attack in the summer of 1955 during his time as Senate Majority Leader. Within a few days of the health scare, he had telephones and mimeograph machines brought to his hospital room so he could resume an intensely long work day. He stopped smoking, but he would later describe his heart attack as “the worst a man could have and still live.”

7. HE WAS ONE OF FOUR PEOPLE TO HOLD FOUR DISTINGUISHED OFFICES.

Among the most trivial of trivia (be sure to memorize it for your pub quiz night) is Johnson’s rare, strange distinction of the combination of offices held. Following John Tyler and Andrew Johnson, and followed by Richard Nixon, Johnson is one of only four people to have been a United States representative, the Senate Majority Leader, the vice president, and the president of the United States. At age 44, Johnson also became the youngest person ever to serve as Senate Minority Leader. Don’t ever say we haven’t helped you win bar trivia.

8. HE VOTED AGAINST EVERY CIVIL RIGHTS BILL IN HIS FIRST 20 YEARS AS A LEGISLATOR.

Johnson’s legacy is tied directly to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but he was an imperfect vessel for change. As a representative and senator, he’d voted down every civil rights proposal set before him, aligning with the post-Reconstruction south, calling President Truman’s civil rights program “a farce and a sham—an effort to set up a police state in the guise of liberty.” Johnson changed his tune as a senator in 1957 and stridently coerced Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the most sweeping civil rights expansion since Reconstruction, as president.

9. JOHNSON’S STYLE OF COERCION WAS CALLED “THE TREATMENT.”

Keystone/Getty Images

At 6 feet, 4 inches, Johnson towered over most colleagues, and he used that physicality to his benefit. When he needed to extract a favor from someone, he'd simply stand over them with his face inches from their own and tell them just what he needed, in a move dubbed "The Johnson Treatment." Beyond bodying his opponents and friends, Johnson would also promise to help them, remind them of times he’d helped them, coax, flatter, goad, and predict doom and gloom for those who weren’t on his side.

10. HIS REELECTION WAS A TRUE LANDSLIDE.

After the 87-vote debacle that launched him into the Senate, Johnson experienced a genuine electoral phenomenon befitting someone nicknamed “Landslide.” In the 1964 campaign, Johnson faced not only Republican Barry Goldwater, but also questionable popularity. He’d never been elected president in his own right, and his leadership on the Civil Rights Act had southern supporters questioning their loyalty. To counteract the latter development, Johnson deployed his greatest political ally, his wife Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, to tour the south in a train, passing out her pecan pie recipe alongside campaign buttons. After the final tally, Johnson kept Texas and half the south, winning 44 states and 61.05 percent of votes cast—the largest-ever share of the popular vote.


10 Things You May Not Have Known About The Making Of ‘Selma’

In her first major studio film, Ava DuVernary broke through with an uncompromising masterpiece, Selma. Released as a Christmas gift on December 25, 2014, Selma is a historical drama based on the events that led to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Those marches were instrumental in the passage Voting Rights Act of 1965.

With a keen eye for detail, a deep sense of history, and a progressive perspective, DuVernay vividly paints the picture of Selma not as a one-man-show for the exploits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but a collection of unsung heroes, beautiful, Black sisters, and brothers who put their lives on the line for freedom.

Bringing Selma to life was an amazing cast who all gave riveting performances. David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash, Stephen James as John Lewis, Common as James Bevel, Lakeith Standfield as Jimmie Lee Jackson, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper.

The film was a hit, grossing over $40 million dollars at the box office and earned Selma four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

While it was also nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Pictures, its theme song, “Glory” took home the coveted Oscar for Best Original Song.

As we celebrate MLK Day, here are the 10 Things You Might Not Have Known About the Making of Selma.

The idea of creating a film about Selma had been floating around Hollywood since the mid-2000s. While the possibility of a Selma movie collected dust, five different directors were considered to direct the film before Ava was chosen. Lee Daniels was set to direct, but pulled out to direct The Butler. David Oyelowo kept lobbying for Duvernay to lead the project even though she had never directed a film with a major studio.

“He convinced the producers to try me after many directors had left the project,” she wrote on Twitter. “I wrote a script for the budget they had, which got it greenlit. And we began.”

With indie films such as 2010’s I Will Follow (with a budget of $50,000 from personal savings), 2012’s Middle of Nowhere (which cost $200,000 and starred David Oyelowo), and an episode of "Scandal" on her resume, DuVernay signed up to direct Selma with a $20 million budget for her first film with a major studio.


Constitution Daily

August 27, 2020 by NCC Staff

On the occasion of President Lyndon Johnson&rsquos birthday, the National Constitution Center looks at 10 interesting facts about one of the most colorful and controversial figures in American history.

Even if Johnson hadn&rsquot become President after John F. Kennedy&rsquos assassination in November 1963, his career in Congress still would have made him a remarkable historical figure.

Johnson&rsquos time in office came during a period of huge societal change in American society, marked by the civil rights revolution and the Vietnam War.

Johnson&rsquos legacy among historians and the public has also evolved since his death in 1973. Indeed, along with Richard Nixon, who followed him as President, Johnson is seen as a complex figure involved in many significant initiatives and events that have marked modern American history.

So how did someone born into poverty in Texas and who started out as a school teacher become one of the pivotal figures of the twentieth century?

Here are 10 fascinating milestones from Johnson&rsquos life and career:

1. Johnson was indeed from humble origins. He was born on August 27, 1908, in Stonewall, Texas. The Johnson family had been in the area for generations, but Johnson&rsquos father had financial problems, and the future President grew up under difficult circumstances. As Senator and President, Johnson had a chance to translate his sympathy for the less fortunate into real social policy laws.

2. Johnson&rsquos first career was as a teacher. As a student at Southwest Texas State Teachers College, Johnson was assigned to a tiny Hispanic school in a deeply impoverished area on the Mexican border. Johnson left his brief career as a teacher after four years to pursue politics during the Great Depression.

3. Johnson&rsquos political ambitions were clear early in his career. His father had served in the Texas state legislature, and Johnson became a congressional aide in 1931. In 1937, he won a special election to the U.S. House to replace a deceased Texas House member named James Buchanan

4. Johnson was the &ldquosurrogate son&rdquo of powerful House Speaker Sam Rayburn. The legendary Rayburn had served in the Texas legislature with Johnson&rsquos father, and Rayburn backed Johnson&rsquos fast rise as a leader within Congress.

5. Johnson was nearly killed in World War II. Johnson entered the Naval Reserves while still a Congressman, and on his only bombing run, he boarded a plane called the Wabash Cannonball for a mission in the South Pacific. A last-second trip off the plane to use a bathroom saved Johnson&rsquos life. On his return from the facilities, Johnson boarded another plane that survived the mission. The Wabash Cannonball crashed, with a total loss of life.

6. The Landslide Lyndon incident. Johnson won election to the U.S. Senate in 1948 after winning a Democratic primary by only 87 votes. Allegations of voter fraud are debated to this day.

7. Johnson quickly became the Senate&rsquos leader. In 1953, he was named Senate minority leader after opposing Republicans gained control of the Senate. Two years later, Johnson became Majority Leader when Democrats regained power.

8. The energetic Johnson reshaped the role of Senate Majority leader. Despite having a heart attack in 1955, Johnson worked tirelessly to promote himself and his agendas, including civil rights legislation and the American space program. His ability to persuade politicians of both parties was legendary.

9. Why did Johnson decide to become Vice President? After losing a bitter campaign against Kennedy in the 1960 Democratic primary, the Kennedys shocked observers by choosing Johnson as Kennedy&rsquos running mate. One theory is that Johnson saw the position of Vice President as expanding his power base in the Senate. But after the 1960 election, Johnson was rebuffed when he tried to chair the Democratic conference in the Senate his fellow Democrats saw the move as a violation of the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches.

10. The Johnson presidency was incredibly active. In addition to pursuing the Vietnam War, President Johnson pressed on with an expansive slate of programs labeled as the &ldquoGreat Society&rdquo that included three landmark civil rights bills and Medicare. But Vietnam&rsquos impact damaged Johnson&rsquos political base severely, and he declined to run in the 1968 presidential election.

Podcast: The Latest Big Decisions from the Supreme Court

Supreme Court correspondents Jess Bravin and Marcia Coyle join host Jeffrey Rosen to recap recent key decisions from the 2020-21 term.


#5 His tax cut bill led to economic growth and reduced unemployment

In 1963, President Kennedy had proposed a significant tax reduction bill but he struggled to get it passed in the House of Representatives against strong conservative resistance. After Kennedy’s assassination, Johnson made passage of the tax cut bill a top priority. He worked closely with influential Senator Harry F. Byrd of Virginia to negotiate a reduction in the budget below $100 billion in exchange for Byrd dropping his opposition. The bill was passed leading to the Revenue Act of 1964, signed into law by Johnson on February 26, 1964. The Act cut income tax rates by approximately 20% reduced corporate tax rates and introduced a minimum standard deduction. The Tax Reduction Act achieved its goals of increasing personal incomes, consumption and capital investments. Unemployment fell from 5.2% in 1964 to 4.5% in 1965 and fell to 3.8% in 1966. Inflation-adjusted G.D.P. increased 5.8% in 1964 after a 4.4% rise in 1963. Growth improved to 6.5% in 1965 and 6.6% in 1966. These were the three best back-to-back years for economic growth in the postwar era and economists generally credit the tax cut for much of it.


10 Things You May Not Have Known About The Making Of ‘Selma’

In her first major studio film, Ava DuVernary broke through with an uncompromising masterpiece, Selma. Released as a Christmas gift on December 25, 2014, Selma is a historical drama based on the events that led to the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. Those marches were instrumental in the passage Voting Rights Act of 1965.

With a keen eye for detail, a deep sense of history, and a progressive perspective, DuVernay vividly paints the picture of Selma not as a one-man-show for the exploits of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. but a collection of unsung heroes, beautiful, Black sisters, and brothers who put their lives on the line for freedom.

Bringing Selma to life was an amazing cast who all gave riveting performances. David Oyelowo stars as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Carmen Ejogo as Coretta Scott King, Andre Holland as Andrew Young, Tessa Thompson as Diane Nash, Stephen James as John Lewis, Common as James Bevel, Lakeith Standfield as Jimmie Lee Jackson, Tom Wilkinson as President Lyndon B. Johnson, and Oprah Winfrey as Annie Lee Cooper.

The film was a hit, grossing over $40 million dollars at the box office and earned Selma four Golden Globe Award nominations, including Best Motion Picture – Drama.

While it was also nominated for Best Picture by the Academy of Motion Pictures, its theme song, “Glory” took home the coveted Oscar for Best Original Song.

As we celebrate MLK Day, here are the 10 Things You Might Not Have Known About the Making of Selma.

The idea of creating a film about Selma had been floating around Hollywood since the mid-2000s. While the possibility of a Selma movie collected dust, five different directors were considered to direct the film before Ava was chosen. Lee Daniels was set to direct, but pulled out to direct The Butler. David Oyelowo kept lobbying for Duvernay to lead the project even though she had never directed a film with a major studio.

“He convinced the producers to try me after many directors had left the project,” she wrote on Twitter. “I wrote a script for the budget they had, which got it greenlit. And we began.”

With indie films such as 2010’s I Will Follow (with a budget of $50,000 from personal savings), 2012’s Middle of Nowhere (which cost $200,000 and starred David Oyelowo), and an episode of "Scandal" on her resume, DuVernay signed up to direct Selma with a $20 million budget for her first film with a major studio.


The Johnson Treatment: Pushing And Persuading Like LBJ

For many Americans, the presidency of Lyndon Johnson is a distant memory marked by tragedy—the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy, the Vietnam War, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and social turmoil. But it was also one of history’s most legislatively active presidencies. President Johnson was essential to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, the Voting Rights Act and even the Public Broadcasting Act. Whether one views all this legislation as positive or not, its very volume and scale highlight the influence of a man who rose from the poverty of West Texas to become a Congressman, the youngest Senate majority leader in history and ultimately, president.

How did he do it? There is a wonderful photo of Lyndon Johnson and Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas. Johnson is towering over Fortas, smiling and invading his space as the jurist uncomfortably leans back and clinches his arms to his chest. That photo has become emblematic of what became known as the Johnson Treatment—Lyndon Johnson’s persuasive tactics described by Mary McGrory as “an incredible, potent mixture of persuasion, badgering, flattery, threats, reminders of past favors and future advantages.” As a participant in the Presidential Leadership Scholars (PLS), a leadership development program sponsored by four presidential libraries or centers, I had the opportunity to spend a weekend learning about the Johnson presidency at the LBJ Ranch and the LBJ Library. And I learned a great deal more about the 36th president’s approach to persuasion. It’s not for everyone—leadership styles are different—but it often worked for LBJ and is worth understanding today.

So how did LBJ persuade? First, he’d establish a vision and a purpose. In Mark Updegrove’s Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency, Jack Valenti recounts how, the evening of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Johnson sat at home with his team and spent five hours mapping what would become the Great Society agenda. “He knew with stunning precision the mountaintop to which he was going to summon people,” Valenti recalled. That vision for his presidency became the purpose and focal point of his persuasion. Often in seeking to persuade people we lose sight of the end goal—where we’re headed with our persuasion. But Johnson knew that vision and purpose are foundational to persuasion.

With a vision in mind, Johnson would master the details. In Johnson’s case this applied both to the facts of the case and the process needed to drive change. During the PLS program in Austin, Bill Moyers noted that Johnson regularly told his team, “Your judgment is only as good as your facts.” And former Johnson aide Tom Johnson (no relation to the president) noted, “It’s impossible to overstate his consumption of information.” He’d immerse himself in the facts of a situation—reading hundreds of pages on a topic and speaking to everyone he could about it—so that he could make the most persuasive case possible. Then he’d obsess over the process of making the change. He knew the rules of government, the personalities and motivations of public officials, and the flow of the legislative process better than anyone. This mastery of detail was a hallmark of Johnson’s effectiveness.

He also knew to identify and mobilize the right people. Making the right arguments isn’t enough to persuade. You have to rally those who can effectively influence a decision. Johnson did this consistently, particularly in the run-up to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. He called the Washington Post’s Katharine Graham, and pushed her to publish reportage and editorials advocating for a vote on the act. Knowing the influence of the United Steelworkers, he persuaded Dave McDonald, their president, to have his team lobby for the act, even having Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. join this call with him in 1963. Realizing he needed Republicans, he partnered closely with Senate minority leader Everett Dirksen, appealing to him to honor the heritage of his home state of Illinois as the “land of Lincoln.” And he worked closely with Dr. King and other civil rights leaders. Johnson knew that persuasion takes the work of multiple constituencies and always thought carefully of whose influence to employ.

Perhaps the most defining element of President Johnson’s persuasion was the Johnson Treatment itself—he was willing to push people. For better or worse, he would harangue, threaten, flatter and bully. This was evident in Johnson’s dealings with his mentor, longtime Georgia Senator Dick Russell. In establishing the Warren Commission—which was responsible for investigating the Kennedy assassination—Johnson knew Russell didn’t want to serve, but announced Russell’s involvement before asking him then bullied him into it in a phone call. As recorded in Indomitable Will, he then pushed past Russell—a dedicated segregationist—to get Civil Rights Act passed, telling him, “Dick, I love you and I owe you. But. I’m going to run over you if you challenge me on this civil-rights bill.” He did just that—leading to Russell boycotting the Democratic convention in 1964. Similarly, after Bloody Sunday in Selma, Johnson summoned George Wallace to a meeting at the White House [DOC] in which he physically loomed over the man and badgered him for hours on subjects from voting rights to protecting demonstrators. He made people uneasy. He invaded their space. And he kept after them. This kind of persistence is uncomfortable for most of us but essential for LBJ.

Finally, he would make it personal. As recorded in Indomitable Will, Leon Jaworski wrote of Johnson, “This man makes the most persuasive talk to a small group of anyone I have ever known.” And at the LBJ Library in Austin, Tom Johnson, highlighted his interpersonal persuasiveness noting, “[H]is ability to talk one-on-one. It was miraculous to see what he could achieve in that context.” He loved the telephone—as evidenced by the remarkable archive of his telephone conversations—and at his “Texas White House” ranch outside of Austin, he had 72 phone lines installed for use. Johnson also took to understand each person he was dealing with—their pressures, values, personality traits and motivations—so that his message and technique were tailored to them. In the digital age, Johnson’s person-to-person approach may be even more powerful because it is so rare.

President Johnson’s legacy isn’t perfect. Whether in foreign or domestic policy, many of his actions were and remain controversial. His personality could be grating, crude and difficult. But he got things done. And while his style of persuasion may not be suited to every person or circumstance, it’s worth understanding.


Know why third Sunday of June is designated as Father's Day in most countries

In 1966, former US president Lyndon B Johnson announced the third Sunday of June as Father's Day. Almost 62 years later, it was declared as a national holiday in the US in 1972 after being officially recognized by Richard Nixon's administration

Father's Day, the celebration of the paternal bond, is observed on the third Sunday of June. This year the date is 20 June, 2021.

The aim of the day to express appreciation and acknowledge the role of the father figure in children's lives, and society as a whole. UNICEF, too, had harped on the critical role the fathers play in early childhood learning.

The celebration of this lovely, warm paternal bond is quite popular all over the world, though the dates of observance might differ in some countries.

India follows the American date which is the third Sunday of June.

Why Father's Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June:

Father's Day originated in the United States. It was on 19 June, 1910, the first Father's Day celebration took place.

Sonora Dodd, the daughter of American Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart had requested the Spokane Ministerial Alliance observe 5 June which was her father's birthday, to honor fatherhood. Her father had raised six children, as a single parent. Her deep sense of gratitude, love propelled her to make this request.

She was also inspired by Anna Jarvis' endeavor to bring about Mother's Day, and proposed the Father's Day idea.

Finally, the Church agreed upon the third Sunday of June to commemorate. Following which, much later in 1966, President Lyndon B Johnson announced the third Sunday of June as Father's Day as he signed a presidential proclamation.

Almost 62 years later from 1910, Father's Day was declared as a national holiday by Richard Nixon who was the then President of the US (1972).

There is also information that states Father's Day was observed on 5 July, 1908, in West Virginia after a mining accident in Monongah, USA, to honour the fathers who lost their lives in the disaster.

Speaking of Father's Day history, it would be interesting to note the dates followed by other countries.

Catholic European countries like Portugal, Spain, Croatia, Italy celebrate Father's Day on 19 March which is St Joseph's Day.

Norway, Sweden and Finland observe the second Sunday in November. For Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, it's the first Sunday of September. Russia celebrates the day on 23 February.


Inspirational Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes

“A man can take a little bourbon without getting drunk, but if you hold his mouth open and pour in a quart, he’s going to get sick on it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“A man without a vote is man without protection.” – Lyndon B. Johnson

“A President’s hardest task is not to do what is right, but to know what is right.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On politics

“Being president is like being a jackass in a hailstorm. There’s nothing to do but to stand there and take it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Doing what’s right isn’t the problem. It is knowing what’s right.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Education is not a problem. Education is an opportunity.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Every man has a right to a Saturday night bath.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Every President wants to do right.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Freedom

“Freedom is not enough.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Greater love hath no man than to attend the Episcopal Church with his wife.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I am a freeman, an American, a United States Senator, and a Democrat, in that order.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Society

“I am concerned about the whole man. I am concerned about what the people, using their government as an instrument and a tool, can do toward building the whole man, which will mean a better society and a better world.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I am making a collection of the things my opponents have found me to be and, when this election is over, I am going to open a museum and put them on display.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Excellence

“I believe the destiny of your generation – and your nation – is a rendezvous with excellence.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I believe we can continue the Great Society while we fight in Vietnam.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I don’t believe I’ll ever get credit for anything I do in foreign affairs, no matter how successful it is, because I didn’t go to Harvard.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I feel like I just grabbed a big juicy worm with a right sharp hook in the middle of it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I have learned that only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. First, let her think she’s having her own way. And second, let her have it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I once told Nixon that the Presidency is like being a jackass caught in a hail storm. You’ve got to just stand there and take it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Strength

“I report to you that our country is challenged at home and abroad: that it is our will that is being tried and not our strength our sense of purpose and not our ability to achieve a better America.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I seldom think of politics more than eighteen hours a day.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I want to make a policy statement. I am unabashedly in favor of women.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I will do my best. That is all I can do. I ask for your help – and God’s.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Id rather give my life than be afraid to give it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Technology

“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology. We must also leave them a glimpse of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“If one morning I walked on top of the water across the Potomac River, the headline that afternoon would read: ‘President Can’t Swim.'” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Love

“If the American people don’t love me, their descendants will.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“If two men agree on everything, you may be sure that one of them is doing the thinking.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I’m the only president you’ve got.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“I’m tired. I’m tired of feeling rejected by the American people. I’m tired of waking up in the middle of the night worrying about the war.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“In our home there was always prayer – aloud, proud and unapologetic.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On People

“It is always a strain when people are being killed. I don’t think anybody has held this job who hasn’t felt personally responsible for those being killed.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“It is important that the United States remain a two-party system. I’m a fellow who likes small parties and the Republican Party can’t be too small to suit me.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“It is the genius of our Constitution that under its shelter of enduring institutions and rooted principles there is ample room for the rich fertility of American political invention.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Humanity

“It may be, it just maybe, that life as we know it with its humanity is more unique than many have thought.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Jack was out kissing babies while I was out passing bills. Someone had to tend the store.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Jerry Ford is so dumb he can’t fart and chew gum at the same time.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“John F. Kennedy was the victim of the hate that was a part of our country. It is a disease that occupies the minds of the few but brings danger to the many.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On God

“Just like the Alamo, somebody damn well needed to go to their aid. Well, by God, I’m going to Viet Nam’s aid!” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“No member of our generation who wasn’t a Communist or a dropout in the thirties is worth a damn.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“One lesson you better learn if you want to be in politics is that you never go out on a golf course and beat the President.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Happy

“Only two things are necessary to keep one’s wife happy. One is to let her think she is having her own way, and the other is to let her have it.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Our most tragic error may have been our inability to establish a rapport and a confidence with the press and television with the communication media. I don’t think the press has understood me.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Numbers

“Our numbers have increased in Vietnam because the aggression of others has increased in Vietnam. There is not, and there will not be, a mindless escalation.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Our purpose in Vietnam is to prevent the success of aggression. It is not conquest, it is not empire, it is not foreign bases, it is not domination. It is, simply put, just to prevent the forceful conquest of South Vietnam by North Vietnam.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Freedom

“Our society is illuminated by the spiritual insights of the Hebrew prophets. America and Israel have a common love of human freedom, and they have a common faith in a democratic way of life.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Poverty must not be a bar to learning and learning must offer an escape from poverty.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Presidents

“Presidents quickly realize that while a single act might destroy the world they live in, no one single decision can make life suddenly better or can turn history around for the good.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“We did not choose to be the guardians of the gate, but there is no one else.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Education

“We have entered an age in which education is not just a luxury permitting some men an advantage over others. It has become a necessity without which a person is defenseless in this complex, industrialized society. We have truly entered the century of the educated man.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“We have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. It is time now to write the next chapter – and to write it in the books of law.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Opportunity

“We have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“We live in a world that has narrowed into a neighborhood before it has broadened into a brotherhood.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“We must open the doors of opportunity. But we must also equip our people to walk through those doors.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Believe

“What convinces is a conviction. Believe in the argument you’re advancing. If you don’t you’re as good as dead. The other person will sense that something isn’t there, and no chain of reasoning, no matter how logical or elegant or brilliant, will win your case for you.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“What we won when all of our people united must not be lost in suspicion and distrust and selfishness and politics. Accordingly, I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as president.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Dinner

“When I was a boy we didn’t wake up with Vietnam and have Cyprus for lunch and the Congo for dinner.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“When I was young, poverty was so common that we didn’t know it had a name.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“When the burdens of the presidency seem unusually heavy, I always remind myself it could be worse. I could be a mayor.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“When things haven’t gone well for you, call in a secretary or a staff man and chew him out. You will sleep better and they will appreciate the attention.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Liberty

“Whether we are New Dealer, Old Dealer, Liberty Leaguer or Red, whether we agree or not, we still have the right to think and speak how we feel.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“While you’re saving your face, you’re losing your ass.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Whoever won’t fight when the President calls him, deserves to be kicked back in his hole and kept there.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“You aren’t learning anything when you’re talking.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon B. Johnson Quotes On Light

“You do not examine legislation in the light of the benefits it will convey if properly administered, but in the light of the wrongs it would do and the harms it would cause if improperly administered.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“You might say that Lyndon Johnson is a cross between a Baptist preacher and a cowboy.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

“You’ve got to work things out in the cloakroom, and when you’ve got them worked out, you can debate a little before you vote.” -Lyndon B. Johnson