April 21, 1967, 12:30 am. The Situation Room informs the President about the early morning military coup in Greece. Details emerge throughout the day about the overthrow of the Greek Government. While the Prime Minister as well as other political leaders are arrested, King Constantine seems to remain in power. This leads some to question whether the King was involved in the coup.
Memo, Situation Room to the President, 4/21/67, #122, “Greece, Volume 2,” Country File, NSF, Box 126, LBJ Library.
May 19, 1966. LBJ walks and talks with Louis Martin, a newspaper executive, Deputy Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, and important liaison for LBJ with black political leaders. In his oral history Martin later described LBJ’s approach to government appointments:
“David G. McComb, interviewer: You know, it’s a cliche that Johnson as president was interested in appointing people from minorities. Is this true from your point of view?
Louis Martin: I think that President Johnson was very sensitive to the general charge that blacks did not have true equality of opportunity in the federal establishment. He also recognized the political value of getting good men in spots so if he found exceptionally qualified blacks he really covered two bases. He got the job done, but he also got some political points. Now my feeling about Johnson, and this is what I used to tell many Negroes in the newspaper business and others—is that since Johnson was a Southerner, he would normally, being a good politician, lean over backwards to prove that he was not a racist. Further, there’s something in the folklore of Negro life that a reconstructed Southerner is really far more liberal than a liberal Yankee. And I exploited this part of the folklore.
Mc: Is that true as far as Johnson is concerned?
M: I think it is true. I think Johnson did many things that Kennedy would never have done, including appointing Andrew Brimmer as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board. I don’t think I’d have ever gotten Kennedy to do that. Johnson did it without prodding. Nobody pressured Johnson, nobody prodded him, nobody told him, nobody marched, nobody did anything. Johnson saw the merits of this guy.”
LBJ Library, Transcript, Louis Martin Oral History Interview I, 5/14/69, by David G. McComb. Photo A2471-18, public domain.
May 18, 1965. LBJ speaks about Head Start:
“This is a very proud occasion for him [Sargent Shriver, head of the Office of Economic Opportunity] and for us today, because it was less than 3 months ago that we opened a new war front on poverty. We set out to make certain that poverty’s children would not be forevermore poverty’s captives. We called our program Project Head Start.
“The program was conceived not so much as a Federal effort but really as a neighborhood effort, and the response we have received from the neighborhoods and the communities has been most stirring and the most enthusiastic of any peacetime program that I can remember.
“Today we are able to announce that we will have open, and we believe operating this summer, coast-to-coast, some 2,000 child development centers serving as many as possibly a half million children.”
Full text here. Read the booklet here. Lots of OEO promotional videos for Head Start available on our YouTube channel playlist here.
Jimmy Carter waving from Air Force One. 5/17/77.
Bill to Break the Sound Barrier
If you were the first woman to break the sound barrier, who would you pick to fly the chase plane behind you?
Jacqueline Cochran tapped her friend, Colonel Chuck Yeager for the task for her May 18, 1953 flight. A logical decision, since he was the first pilot to break the barrier in 1947.
Here is his final bill for his expenses, including the replacement of dead chickens that stampeded when her low-flying Sabre jet flew over a ranch.
More — Jacqueline Cochran, World Famous Aviatrix
-from the Eisenhower Library
Being that today is the opening of “Gatsby” we thought it fitting to share this snippet of a letter from F. Scott Fitzgerald to Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway sent Fitzgerald the typescript of “A Farewell to Arms”, and Fitzgerald wrote back about ten pages of commentary and edits, ending his critique with a compliment about the book overall, saying “A beautiful book it is.” After reading the ten pages of criticism of his book, Hemingway added his own colorful language (pictured) on the bottom. But, we know from later drafts that he did consider some of the advice! (From the Hemingway Collection at the JFK Library)
The S.S. Mayaguez Crisis — This Week in 1975
President Ford briefs the Bipartisan Congressional Leadership on the seizure of the American merchant ship S.S. Mayaguez on May 14, 1975.
The Mayaguez had been seized in international waters off the coast of Cambodia on May 12. Over the next two days President Ford and the National Security Council closely monitored the situation, ultimately deciding to use air strikes and send in Marines to rescue the boat’s crew.
President Ford received word that the Mayaguez and its entire crew had been safely recovered shortly after 11:00 p.m. on the 14th, and at 12:30 a.m. he made the official announcement to the press.
In accordance with the War Powers Act, on May 15 President Ford sent a letter to the Speaker of the House and president pro tem of the Senate regarding the Mayaguez incident. Read the President’s account of his actions here.
-from the Ford Library
Baseball great, Jackie Robinson with President Eisenhower and comedian Joe E. Brown at the White House on May 14, 1957.
-from the Eisenhower Library
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Red Cross Uniform
ER used this uniform during her 25,000 mile tour of the South Pacific in August-September, 1943 as a representative of the American Red Cross. The First Lady also wore a second uniform made of seersucker fabric during her trip.
-Check out more artifacts from the FDR Library’s “100 Days” Countdown Tumblr