225th Anniversary of the First Congress: We’ll be posting documents and stories highlighting the establishment of the new government under the Constitution through March 2016.
As recorded in the first House Journal, only eleven representatives were present on March 4, 1789, the first day of the First Congress under the Constitution. Neither the House nor the Senate had enough members present to attain a quorum, so they adjourned from day to day until they could proceed with official business.
Today in History — Winston Churchill Delivers his “Iron Curtain” Speech
On March 5, 1946, Winston Churchill spoke at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. President Harry S. Truman introduced the former British Prime Minister who then delivered one of the most memorable speeches of the twentieth century.
Reporters were given advance copies; however, deliberately omitted from those copies was the part of the address where Churchill used the term “iron curtain.”
Churchill warned that Joseph Stalin was intent on cutting off all of Eastern Europe from the West in order to establish communist domination through the region. Read More
-from the Truman Library
On February 27, 1941 FDR addressed the annual Academy Awards dinner via the radio. In his address, he states:
The American motion picture as a national and international force is a phenomenon of our own generation. Within living memory we have seen it born and grow up into full maturity. We have seen the American motion picture become foremost in all the world. We have seen it reflect our civilization throughout the rest of the world—the aims and the aspirations and the ideals of a free people and of freedom itself.
You can read the full transcript here or listen above.
Breaking News — President Barack Obama will join former Presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library.
The White House announced today that President Barack Obama will deliver the keynote address at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, on Thursday, April 10, 2014. First Lady Michelle Obama will attend the Summit with the President.
The three-day Civil Rights Summit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Act, along with the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act in 1968, helped establish the legal foundation in fulfilling the long elusive promise of equality among all Americans.
President Obama will be joined by three former Presidents who will also deliver remarks at the Civil Rights Summit: 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.
Go to www.civilrightssummit.org to learn more.
-from the LBJ Library
Thrilled about this upcoming historic event!
Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns from the DAR — Today in History
In February 1939, Howard University invited Marian Anderson, the internationally famous African American contralto singer, to give a concert. They asked the Washington headquartered Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if they could use their auditorium, Constitution Hall.
The DAR refused, explaining that local conditions and custom did not favor such a move. In protest, DAR member and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization.
A Gallup poll taken at the time showed that 67% of the public approved of her action.
Moving quickly to capitalize on this public support, Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior promptly approved the idea and on April 9th a crowd of 75,000 people assembled before the Lincoln Memorial to hear Ms. Anderson sing.
Above is a copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s DAR resignation letter, 2/26/39. Read More
-from the FDR Library
Sometimes sharing a good meal is the best way to resolve the differences you may have with another. For the United States and China, this strategy helped normalize relations during the Cold War.
During President Nixon’s trip to China, chefs prepared items familiar to the American palette like shrimp, roast pork, and roast duck with pineapple. Menus also included native cuisine like shark’s fin soup, black mushrooms with mustard greens, and bamboo shoots.
President Nixon skillfully used chopsticks to sample each dish served to him, maintaining proper Chinese etiquette.
The main beverages that were served were boiled water, orange juice, wine, and, of course, mao-tai. Photographs of Nixon and Chou En-lai toasting each other with this staple Chinese liquor quickly appeared on newspapers all across the world, symbolizing a new day in relations between the two countries.
Images: Menu and table settings from dinner given during President Nixon’s visit to Peking, China. 2/25/72.
President Nixon and Premier Chou En-lai toast in the Great Hall of the People on Tiananmen Square. 2/25/72.
"Now, therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of February 21-27, 1993, as "American Wine Appreciation Week." I call upon the people of the United States to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities."
That’s right, it’s American Wine Appreciation Week! Be sure to start off your weekend with “appropriate ceremonies and activities” y’all.
-from the Clinton Library
Premier Chou En-Lai and the Nixons share a toast at the welcoming banquet for the historic trip that began on this day in 1972.
The archival team at the Nixon Library has created a video of behind-the-scenes film clips and stories from Nixon’s trip. Watch more here.
-from the Nixon Library
Cheers and happy Friday!
Nixon in China
Today in history, Nixon became the first U.S. President to visit the People’s Republic of China.
When Air Force One touched down at the airport in Peking, it ended 25 years of isolation between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China. During the week of February 21-29, 1972, the President traveled to Beijing, Hangzhou, and Shanghai - thawing relations with a country that had long been closed to the West.
The historic trip was initially met with public opposition, but it yielded the establishment of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and China in 1979. Read More
Photos: President and Mrs. Nixon’s arrival in Peking, China. Nixon reviews troops at the airport; Air Force One in Peking, 02/21/1972.
President and Mrs. Nixon visit the Great Wall of China and the Ming Tombs. 2/24/72.
-from the Nixon Library
White House Photographer Eric Draper at the Nixon Library This Thursday
Eric Draper, served as President George W. Bush’s chief photographer for the entire eight years of his presidency. Named Special Assistant to the President, Draper became the first White House photographer to be named a commissioned officer to the President.
Draper will be at the Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, California on Thursday, February 20 at 7:00 pm. to talk about his experiences capturing the American Presidency.
This event is cosponsored by the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, the Richard Nixon Foundation and the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin. To reserve your seats for this free event, visit nixonfoundation.org.