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The President, August 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 August, 1968. The month saw President Johnson entering the final stretch of his presidency as he watched the Republican and Democratic National Conventions on television from his ranch. Nevertheless, August was not an entirely quiet month for the president as he reacted against a sharp increase in the price of steel passed by the Bethlehem steel company, and later was forced to respond to the Soviet Union's invasion of Czechoslovakia.

    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 # MP899.

    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.
    The President August 1968
    President Johnson
    LBJ: Lyndon Baines Johnson
    The White House
    First Lady
    Lady Bird Johnson
    Mrs. Johnson
    steel mill
    blast furnace
    steel workers
    steel furnaces
    Bethlehem steel company
    Council of Economic Advisors
    Art Okun
    John W. McCormack
    Speaker of the House
    Alan Boyd
    Secretary of Transportation
    Henry Fowler
    Secretary of the Treasury
    Willard Wirtz
    Secretary of Labor
    The Housing Act of 1968
    Hubert Humphrey
    Vice President Humphrey
    John Sparkman
    Mr. and Mrs. Lupe Arazola
    Franklin Delano Roosevelt
    LBJ and FDR
    Nathan Strauss
    still photos
    Harry Truman
    President Truman
    Dwight D. Eisenhower
    President Eisenhower
    housing projects
    Department of Housing and urban development
    Independence Avenue
    Department of Transportation
    Federal Highway Bill
    natural gas
    news clippings
    super market
    Wholesome Poultry Products Act
    consumer protection
    National BAR Association Annual Convention
    Clifford L. Alexander
    Equal Employment Opportunity Committee
    National Medical Association
    Mayor Walter Washington
    Health Manpower act
    first family
    Lynda Bird Johnson
    Captain Charles Robb
    General Westmoreland
    Veterans of Foreign Wars
    Walter Reed Army Hospital
    General Dwight D. Eisenhower
    The Washington Post
    invasion of Czechoslovakia
    Anatoly Fyodorovich Dobrynin
    cabinet meeting
    cabinet room
    San Antonio
    dairy men
    hay bale
    The LBJ Ranch
    President Johnson's birthday
    Patrick Lyndon Nugent
    birthday cake
    Republican National Convention
    Richard Nixon
    Spiro Agnew
    Mrs. Humphrey
    Democratic National Convention
    Humphrey's acceptance speech
    Southwest Texas State College
    Texas State
    San Marcos
    Naval Photographic Center