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The President, June 1968

LBJ Library & Museum

Sound | 1968

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  •  Homer Thornberry is nominated by Johnson for Associate Justice of the Supreme Court 
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This film, produced by The White House Naval Photographic Unit, presents the activities of President Johnson in June 1968. This was a month that opened with tragedy as President Johnson was informed of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. This killing, coming on the heels of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., propelled President Johnson to call for meaningful gun control and led to the signing of the Safe Streets Act of 1968. June also saw the end of Resurrection City – the poor people's encampment in the capitol, the president's appointment of new Supreme Court justices, and President Johnson meeting with foreign dignitaries including President Fernandez of Costa Rica and the Shah of Iran.

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 # MP897.

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. 
William Homer Thornberry was a democratic politician born in Austin on January 9, 1909. His parents, William and Mary, were both deaf and taught at the State School for the Deaf and Blind. Homer graduated from Austin High School and earned his bachelor’s and a law degree from the University of Texas.  He was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1937, where he remained until 1941. He briefly served as a District Attorney for Travis County before enlisting the Navy during World War II. He also sat on the Austin City Council and served as Mayor Pro Tempore. 
In 1948, Thornberry was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, taking over Lyndon Johnson’s seat. He remained until his resignation in 1963, when President Kennedy appointed him to the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas. He held that position until 1965, when President Johnson appointed him to be a judge on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where he presided over many civil rights cases. He was nominated to serve on the Supreme Court when Abe Fortas was poised to replace Chief Justice Earl Warren, but that nomination was rescinded when Fortas withdrew his own nomination. 
Thornberry was elected to the Austin High School Hall of Honor in 1983, and he received the Leon Green Award from the Texas Law Review Association of the University of Texas Law School in 1986. He was married to Eloise Engle until her death in 1989, and he died on December 12, 1995 in Austin. 
The President June 1968
President Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson
First Lady
First Lady Johnson
Lady Bird Johnson
The White House
Walt Rostow
Robert F. Kennedy
RFK assassination
flag at half mast
state funeral
Robert F. Kennedy's funeral
Arlington National Cemetery
Edward Kennedy
Ted Kennedy
the oval office
gun control
Thomas Kuchel
Senator Thomas Kuchel
Wayne Morse
Senator Wayne Morse
Richard Russell
Senator Richard Russell
National Council on the Causes and prevention of violence
Eisenhower Commission
Doctor Milton Eisenhower
Archbishop Cooke
Eric Hoffer
AMB Harris
Safe Streets Act of 1968
Public Law 90-351
Presidential Scholars
army bands
National Rural Electric Cooperative Association Youth Conference
Washington D.C.
neighborhood beautification
beautification awards
Glassboro State College
President Dr. Thomas E. Robinson
commencement speech
mortar board
graduation robe
Chairman Kosygin
Soviet Ambassador
Anatoly Fyodorovich Dobrynin
Consul Pact
Dean Rusk
Secretary of State
United Nations
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
UN address
Swords into Plowshares award
Stanley B. Robuff
Costa Rican President Jose Trejos Fernandez
Shah of Iran
Paris Peace Talks
Cyrus Vance
Averell Harriman
George Ball
Arthur Goldberg
Governor Nelson Rockefeller
Secretary of State
Dean Rusk
Earle Wheeler
Eugene McCarthy
tax increase
the rose garden
Patrick Lyndon Nugent
Oval Office
birthday cake
first family
Timberline Lodge
Mount Hood
Columbia River Gorge
Sturgeon Pond
fish hatchery
J. Percy Priest Dam
hard hat
Poor Peoples Campaign
Resurrection City
Lincoln memorial
dismantling Resurrection City
Earle Warren
Abe Fortas
Homer Thornberry
supreme court
chief justice
associate justice
the capitol
newspaper headlines
first family
Naval Photographic Center