The “March on Washington” Leaders Visit the White House
On this day in 1963, civil rights leaders speak to members of the press following a meeting with President John F. Kennedy regarding “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” that was held earlier that day.
Left to right: President of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC), Reverend Eugene Carson Blake; unidentified (back to camera); President of the National Urban League, Whitney M. Young, Jr.; President of the Negro American Labor Council (NALC), A. Philip Randolph; unidentified man (in back); Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Roy Wilkins (speaking at microphones); President of United Auto Workers (UAW), Walter P. Reuther; President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; President of the American Jewish Congress, Rabbi Joachim Prinz; several unidentified reporters. White House, Washington, D.C. 8/28/63.
President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson meet with organizers of “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” in the Oval Office. 8/28/63.
It’s the Birthday of LBJ!
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born on August 27, 1908, in central Texas, not far from Johnson City, which his family had helped settle.
In 1937 he campaigned successfully for the House of Representatives on a New Deal platform, effectively aided by his wife, the former Claudia “Lady Bird” Taylor, whom he had married after a whirlwind courtship in 1934.
During World War II, Lyndon Johnson served briefly in the Navy as a lieutenant commander, receiving a Silver Star in the South Pacific. After six terms in the House, he was elected to the Senate in 1948. In 1953, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history, and the following year, when the Democrats won control, Majority Leader. With rare legislative skill he obtained passage of a number of measures during the Eisenhower Administration. He became, by many accounts, the most powerful Majority Leader of the twentieth century.
LBJ’s “Great Society” program included aid to education, Medicare, urban renewal, beautification, conservation, development of depressed regions, control and prevention of crime and delinquency and removal of obstacles to the right to vote. Read More
Studio portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson at 18 months old, ca. 1910.
Portrait of President Lyndon B. Johnson in the Oval Office. December, 1963.
-from the LBJ Library
August 25, 1921: FDR is Diagnosed with Polio
On this day in 1921, Dr. Robert Lovett diagnosed 39-year-old Franklin Roosevelt with infantile paralysis, more commonly known as polio. The diagnosis came a few weeks after a fall into icy waters that left him unable to feel parts of his body and hold his own weight.
Although there was no cure for polio at the time, FDR participated in rehabilitation classes and swimming exercises to regain his strength before re-entering politics.
Photo: President Roosevelt in his wheelchair on the porch at Top Cottage in Hyde Park, NY with his dog, Fala, and Ruthie Bie, granddaughter of the cottage’s caretaker. February 1941. Wikimedia Commons.
Happy Birthday Hawaii!
On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state to join the United States of America. Hawaii’s journey to becoming a state had started five months prior when President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Hawaii Admission Act on March 18, 1959.
This cover is from a brochure compiled by the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii that outlines student support for Hawaiian statehood. It features reasons for statehood from students, staff, and a number of American public figures. It was included as part of a statehood petition sent by University of Hawaii students to Representative Hugh Peterson (D-GA), then chairman of the House Committee on Territories.
The brochure is titled “Hawaii: 49th State” because Alaska had not yet entered the union.
-From the Eisenhower Library
Nelson Rockefeller, Vice President-Designate
President Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller, the former Governor of New York, as his Vice President on August 20, 1974.
Selecting a Vice President had been one of President Ford’s main priorities after taking office. He requested recommendations from the members of his Cabinet and Congressional leaders. By the end of his first week as President he had narrowed his choice down to five candidates, and after careful deliberation he asked Rockefeller to take the position.
After announcing the nomination President Ford introduced Rockefeller for a brief press conference. “I think he will make a great teammate,” he said. “I think he will be good for the country, I think he will be good for the world, and I am looking forward to working with him.”
Vice President-designate Rockefeller fielded questions about why he accepted a job he had previously turned down during other administrations and the confirmation process. Although he didn’t know what his specific duties would be yet he stated, “I am deeply honored and should I be confirmed by the Congress, will look forward to the privilege and honor of serving the President of the United States and, as I said in the other room, through him all of the people of this great country.”
After four months of extended hearings Rockefeller was confirmed and sworn in as the 41st Vice President of the United States on December 19, 1974, becoming the second person to fill the office under the 25th Amendment.
Images: President Ford and Nelson A. Rockefeller in the Oval Office as the President prepares his message to Congress nominating Rockefeller as Vice President, 8/20/1974; Message of President Gerald R. Ford nominating Nelson A. Rockefeller to be Vice President of the United States, 08/20/1974, from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
LBJ signs the Economic Opportunity Act, 50 years ago today.
"Today for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people."
-President Lyndon B. Johnson
The Act was designed to provide education, job training, health and employment counseling, and neighborhood improvements. Programs included Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Legal Services, Upward Bound, and Head Start.
Photo: LBJ visits a Job Corps Center. 11/8/65.
-from the LBJ Library