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
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.
If you weren’t able to get tickets to next week’s Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library, don’t worry! The event will be live streamed on their website:
President Barack Obama will be joined by three former Presidents who will also deliver remarks at the upcoming 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.
The Civil Rights Summit, comprised of afternoon panel discussions followed by evening keynote addresses, will reflect on the seminal nature of the civil rights legislation passed by President Johnson while examining civil rights issues in America and around the world today.
President Dwight D. Eisenhower died on March 28, 1969 at Walter Reed Army Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Eisenhower was buried in his World War II uniform. It consists of trousers and the green “Ike” jacket that he made famous.
Although he was one of the most decorated military men in history, his uniform had only the following medals: Army Distinguished Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters, Navy Distinguished Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit.
There were four gun salutes during the Eisenhower funeral ceremonies.
Letter from Fidel Castro to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 11/06/1940
Item from Records of the Foreign Service Posts of the Department of State. (03/05/1923 - 01/1961)
This letter from tweleve year-old Fidel Castro congratulates President Roosevelt on his re-election and asks the president to send him a ten dollar bill. Presidents receive hundreds of thousands of letters every year from children and adults sharing their concerns and well-wishes with him.
Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel
On March 26, 1979, on the North Grounds of the White House, Presidents Jimmy Carter and Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menechem Begin joined hands in celebration of the signing of the “Treaty of Peace Between the Arab Republic of Egypt and the State of Israel.”
This is one of the most requested photographs from the Carter Library.
On this day, March 20, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson calls for federal and state troops to protect civil rights marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The decision came two weeks after the “Bloody Sunday” attacks on demonstrators by police in Montgomery, Alabama.
LBJ signed a proclamation and executive order to provide federal assistance in the state of Alabama that would provide monetary funds for the Alabama National Guard and the U.S. Army to protect the demonstrators who would be marching from Selma to Montgomery.
This entry from the President’s Daily Dairy outlines the historic day.
On April 8-10, 2014, the LBJ Presidential Library will host a Civil Rights Summit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter will all deliver remarks. Learn more
-from the LBJ Library
Jeanne Holm, Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs
President Ford appointed Jeanne Holm, Major General USAF (Retired), as Special Assistant to the President for Women on March 8, 1976. She succeeded Patricia S. Lindh, who had resigned to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Jeanne Holm enlisted in the armed services during World War II and later became the first woman to attend the Air Command and Staff College. She went on attain the rank of Major General in the Air Force, and at the time of her retirement in June 1975 had the distinction of being the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
As Special Assistant, Holm served as a liaison with women’s organizations and provided the President and White House staff members with advice on legislation, regulations, and executive orders. Her office also developed programs supporting women’s civil rights and encouraged recruitment of women for top-level government positions.