Helen Thomas - First Female Member of the White House Press Corps
Veteran journalist Helen Thomas served in the White House press corps under ten presidents, and became the first female member of the group during President Kennedy’s administration. An advocate for women’s rights, Thomas convinced President Kennedy not to attend annual dinners for White House correspondents and photographers if women were not invited.
Pictured: President Kennedy speaks with Thomas in the Rose Garden, April 1963.
-from the JFK Library
Country roads take John Denver to the White House
Denver, then considered to be the most popular singer in the world, was in the area as part of a nationwide tour. He played four concerts at the Capital Center, one of which Susan Ford attended.
The signer met with President Ford in the Oval Office on April 14, 1975. During the meeting President Ford and Denver discussed the upcoming American Bicentennial, as Denver had been appointed as a youth advisor to the Colorado Bicentennial Commission. They also had another connection through Colorado as both enjoyed skiing there. Denver lived in Aspen, and President Ford often hit the slopes while vacationing in Vail.
-from the Ford Library
On this day in 1933 FDR met with Amelia Earhart. This token was later given to the President to commemorate Amelia being the first women in world to fly alone across the Atlantic Ocean on May 21, 1932.
LBJ Signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Fifty years ago, the work of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Passage was not easy and depended on the painstaking efforts of civil rights leaders, cooperation in a resistant Senate, and growth in public support.
When the bill was finally signed on July 2, 1964, it was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
This week, The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas honors this historic legislation. Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, and Carter are part of the Summit, joining a full schedule of programs that address the civil rights issues we face today.
Our own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will introduce President Carter tonight at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is hosting the summit on April 8, 9, and 10.
You can watch the panel discussions and keynote address live on their website: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/updates/
The keynote speakers include President Barack Obama and three former Presidents: 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.
Learn more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in our new Google Cultural Institute exhibit, which includes videos, letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, and high resolution photos.
Image: LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Serial Number: A1030-17a Date: 08/06/1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
Faced with mounting evidence of the imminent fall of South Vietnam, President Gerald R. Ford authorized the evacuation of thousands of Vietnamese orphans to the United States on April 3, 1975. This evacuation became known as Operation Babylift. Between April 3 and 15 more than 2,000 orphans were flown into the United States by military and private aircraft.
Resources about the Ford administration’s involvement in Operation Babylift are available in the Ford Digital Library.
Images: President Ford carries a Vietnamese baby from “Clipper 1742” at the San Francisco International Airport on April 5, 1975; memo regarding A.I.D. Efforts to Airlift Vietnamese Orphans to the United States from the Theodore Marrs Files; and a pair of well-worn baby shoes worn by orphans evacuated from Vietnam during Operation Babylift.