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The President, May 1968

LBJ Library & Museum

Sound | 1968

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    This film, produced by The White House Naval Photographic Unit, presents the activities of President Johnson in May 1968. On the international front President Johnson prepared his chosen diplomats to attend negotiations – held in Paris - with the North Vietnamese government. Domestically, President Johnson spent much of the month working with Congress on the need for a new tax bill. The month also saw him sign the Truth in Lending Bill and the Gun Control Act. As head of state, President Johnson met with a number of foreign leaders including President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia, Prime Minister Thanom Kittikachorn of Thailand, and Prime Minister John Gorton of Australia. Of note, the film includes footage from the first cabinet meeting to be recorded in sound, as well as an amusing sequence of President Johnson interrupting a speech being delivered by the First Lady.

    The films created by The White House Naval Photographic Unit documented the life of the President and first family in both an official and unofficial capacity. During the early years of the Johnson administration the films primarily documented ceremonial events, but in June 1966 monthly reports concerning the President began being produced. The monthly reports provide insight into a range of the President's activities by documenting and presenting a clear portrayal of what the President did in that month. The monthly reports also captured happenings in the life of the first family.

    Courtesy of the LBJ Library, film by the White House Naval Photographic Center, Serial # MP896.

    Thirty-sixth president of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was born on a hill country farm near Stonewall, Texas on August 27, 1908, to Samuel Ealy Johnson, a former Texas legislator, and Rebekah Baines Johnson. He attended Southwest Teachers College, now Texas State University, graduating with a degree in history and social science in 1930. LBJ spent one year as principal and teacher in Cotulla, educating impoverished Hispanic elementary school students. LBJ became the secretary to Texas Congressman Richard M. Kleberg in 1931; the four-year position helped him gain influential contacts in Washington. Johnson married Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Taylor on November 17, 1934.
     
    LBJ acted as Director of the National Youth Administration in Texas from 1935 to 1937. Johnson won his first legislative election in 1937 for the Tenth Congressional District, a position he held for 11 years. He was a firm supporter of President Roosevelt’s New Deal and in 1940 acted as Chairman of the Democratic Campaign Committee. In 1948, following his service as a Lieutenant Naval Commander during World War II, LBJ ran as the Democratic nominee for Senate. In a cloud of controversy, he narrowly defeated former Texas Governor Coke Stevens and easily beat his Republican opponent in the general election. Before winning his second senate term, LBJ was elected Majority Whip in 1951, became the youngest ever Minority Senate Leader in 1953, and was voted Majority Leader in 1954. Johnson unsuccessfully ran for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1960 but was selected to be Vice President under John F. Kennedy. 
     
    Lyndon Johnson was sworn in as Commander and Chief aboard Air Force One following President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, and won reelection in 1964. President Johnson passed landmark legislation with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Debate over military efforts in Vietnam intensified in late 1963 when the President stated that the United States would not withdraw from Southeast Asia. Escalation of the war against North Vietnam brought disapproval from Democrats, claiming the efforts were misguided, and from Republicans who criticized the administration for not executing sufficient military vigor. Antiwar protests, urban riots, and racial tension eroded Johnson’s political base by 1967, which further dissolved following the Tet Offensive in January 1968. On March 31, 1968, President Johnson announced that we would not seek a second presidential term.
     
    After returning to Texas, Johnson oversaw the construction of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum on the University of Texas campus in Austin. Throughout his political career, LBJ was an influential figure in Texas affairs; his policies brought military bases, crop subsidies, government facilities, and federal jobs to the state. After suffering a massive heart attack, former President Johnson died at his ranch on January 22, 1973. In February of the same year, NASA’s Manned Spacecraft Center in Houston was renamed the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, in honor of one of the country’s most influential Texans.
    TFC
    The President – May 1968
    the White House
    helicopter
    Potomac river
    Washington Monument
    LBJ
    Lyndon Baines Johnson
    President Johnson
    flags
    marines
    color guard
    motorcade
    limousine
    Prime Minister
    Thailand
    Thanom Kittikachorn
    state visits
    satellite
    ship
    battle ship
    radio towers
    Presidential seal
    cabinet meeting
    Hubert Humphrey
    Vice President
    W. Averell Harriman
    Cyrus Vance
    Clark Clifford
    Richard Helms
    General McConnell
    Walt Rostow
    Vietcong footage
    Vietcong
    Vietnam
    combat
    Ho Chi Minh
    Mao Zedong
    soldiers
    US soldiers
    destruction
    tank
    tanks
    May was the bloodiest month of the war
    Hall of Heroes dedication
    awarding medals
    medals
    Medal of Honor
    Lady Bird Johnson
    First Lady
    orchestra
    District of Columbia youth symphony
    Mrs. Johnson
    flowers
    South Lawn
    Buchanan School
    Buchanan School Playground
    Mrs. Vincent Astor
    Vincent Astor foundation
    playground
    monkey bars
    children
    President Habib Bourguiba
    President of Tunisia
    Tunisia
    Earl Warren
    Chief Justice
    Supreme Court
    military reception
    Mrs. Humphrey
    Mrs. Eisenhower
    White House China
    New China
    wildflowers
    cactus
    Arizona
    conservation
    Barry Goldwater
    Camelback Mountain
    shaking hands
    Piedmont
    North Carolina
    James K. Polk
    birthplace of James K. Polk
    bagpipes
    kilts
    highland dancers
    plane
    aerial shots
    Women's Doers luncheon
    Poor People's Campaign
    Reverend Ralph Abernathy
    New York City poor People's Campaign
    march
    rally
    Mother Power
    crutches
    Reverend Jesse Jackson
    press conference
    Great Society
    Wilbur Cohen
    Native Americans
    Law and Order
    stamp
    postage stamp
    Gun bill
    Truth in Lending Bill
    Paul Douglas
    Leonor Sullivan
    Betty Furness
    Elizabeth Mary Furness
    signings
    bill signing
    credit relief
    chart
    graph
    tax bill
    inflation
    AFL-CIO
    Lane Kirkland
    Andrew Biemiller
    First Film-Sound coverage of a Cabinet Meeting
    congress
    cherry blossoms
    statue
    fountain
    rain
    umbrellas
    Prime Minister of Australia
    John Gorton
    LBJ ranch
    Texas
    General William Westmoreland
    Harry S. Truman
    President Truman
    political cartoons
    political cartoonists
    political cartoon
    Winston Churchill quote
    Texas Christian University
    TCU
    commencement
    graduation
    dog