The Clinton Library Celebrates Nine Years Today!
November 18, 2004, Dedication Ceremony of the William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
Pictured: President George W. Bush and Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush gather to dedicate Former President William J. Clinton’s Library in Little Rock, AR. Photo credit: William J. Clinton Foundation
-from the Clinton Library
LBJ with “Godfather of Black Politics,” Louis E. Martin
Louis Emanuel Martin was a close advisor to three Presidents; John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Jimmy Carter. As a trusted White House counsel, his impact on African American issues and voters earned him the nickname “the Godfather of Black Politics.”
While working with JFK on the 1960 run for President, Martin persuaded Kennedy to call Coretta Scott King after her husband, Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested. That phone call is largely seen as the tipping point in winning over the African American vote for JFK in the Presidential election.
During LBJ’s time in office, Martin’s influence was prominent in marquis policies such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and in the nomination of Thurgood Marshall as a Supreme Court Justice. At the time of this photo, Martin was also the deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), a position he had held since 1961 under JFK.
Jimmy Carter called Martin to the White House again in 1978 to serve as a special assistant to the President.
Photo from the LBJ Library: President Lyndon B. Johnson with White House advisor Louis E. Martin at the Reception for Democratic National Committee Delegates. In the Red Room of the White House. 4/20/66.
Happy (belated) Birthday, Jimmy Carter!
Though we were unable to wish Mr. Carter a happy birthday on the day-of, we can still keep the birthday celebrations going (and give everyone an excuse to eat another slice of cake)!
James Earl Carter, Jr. was born on October 1, 1924, in the small farming town of Plains, Georgia and was raised in the nearby community of Archery. Read more about the thirty-ninth President here and see if you can find him among the Plains High School class of 1941 in the photo above!
The Camp David Accords
Three scheduled days at Camp David turned into thirteen intensely frustrating ones. When the three-way negotiations began on Wednesday, September 6, 1978, President Jimmy Carter found both Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Isreali Prime Minister Menachem Begin clinging to old arguments and repetitious statements.
After two days, despite some amicable moments, President Carter felt that more progress could be made if they did not meet directly. He spent much of his time listening intently to heated arguments and realized that a whole new approach was needed. By Saturday, September 9, Carter worked with a team led by Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski to draft an American proposal.
After twenty-three drafts and continuous debates on wording, the U.S. delegation came up with a final framework agreement on Sunday, September 17, that the Egyptians and the Israelis could agree on. Resulting in the comprehensive Camp David Accords, these meetings laid the groundwork for further negotiations, and for the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty.
Photo: A scene from the historic signing of the Camp David Accords on Sunday evening, September 17, 1978, in the East Room of the White House.
-from the Carter Library
"My Name is Harvey Milk — and I want to recruit you."
In 1978, former Governor Ronald Reagan, Supervisor Milk, President Jimmy Carter, and former President Gerald Ford all opposed a ballot initiative sponsored by California state senator John Briggs. The “Briggs Initiative” would have banned gay men and lesbians from being teachers or otherwise employed by California school districts.
Milk, who had been elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 1977, gave a rousing speech at the city’s 1978 Gay Freedom Day celebration. In it, he challenged Briggs and others to reexamine American history.
On the Statue of Liberty it says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free … .” In the Declaration of Independence it is written “All men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights … .” That’s what America is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words from the Declaration of Independence. No matter how hard you try, you cannot chip those words from off the base of the Statue of Liberty.
Milk also expressed his frustration at the “silence from the White House … . There are some 15 to 20 million lesbians and gay men in this country listening and listening very carefully. Jimmy Carter, when are you going to talk about their rights?”
In case the President had not read the speech, Milk sent him a copy along with a note. He hoped that the President would oppose the Briggs Initiative and “take a leadership role in defending the rights of gay people.”
President Carter did eventually state his opposition to the Briggs Initiative. Ronald Reagan, who would soon run against Carter for the Presidency, wrote an op-ed piece opposing the initiative. It was ultimately defeated at the polls in November 1978.
Milk’s speech and his letter to President Carter are included among the holdings of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum.
Jimmy Carter’s White House Solar Panels
On this day, June 20, 1979, President Carter had solar panels installed on the roof of the West Wing. There were 32 panels that were used to heat water for the White House.
The solar panels were installed amid the oil crisis of the late 1970s as part of President Carter’s efforts to encourage alternative energy sources.
After the Carter administration, the solar panels were taken down in 1986. They eventually made their way to Unity College in Maine through the government surplus donations program. The panels were use to heat water for the student cafeteria. Upon the transfer in 1992, former President Carter sent a letter of congratulations to the school.
The panels were retired in 2004, twenty-five years after they were first used at the White House.
You can still see one of the panels on display at the Carter Presidential Library and Museum. The Smithsonian Institute, and Unity College of Maine also have single panels from the original White House system in their collections.
Happy Birthday Willie Nelson!
“When I was in trouble in the White House or when I wanted to have some deep thoughts, I had a very high quality hi-fi player, and the number one thing I played was Willie Nelson songs. All the good things I did as a president, all the mistakes I made — you can blame half of that on Willie.”
-Jimmy Carter in an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine
Photos: Jimmy Carter with Willie Nelson and his guests outside of the Old Executive Building. 4/25/78; President Carter on stage at a performance by country western singer, Willie Nelson at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. 9/13/80.
The two remain friends today.
-from the Carter Library