Lady Bird Johnson was a first woman -- but her sound diaries show much more.
I must admit -- if you'd asked me 10 years ago when I could see myself spending over five decades writing about Lady Bird Johnson, along with yet another five months generating a podcast about her, I'd have believed I was the wrong girl for the task.
First girls? I am a foreign policy individual. But after 15 years sitting around conference tables at Washington talking about international battle, nuclear plan or commerce policy with largely all-male coworkers, as well as with a few exceptions, largely all-male supervisors and character models, something began to bother meIt was the means by which the adventures of individuals asking the questions from definition contours people questions, and frequently the answers.
I had to have a look at this issue of women and electricity along with also the questions which are asked and answered in telling tales, writing about and creating history.
I am kind of an archive , so when I noticed that Lady Bird had listed her own White House tapes, the notion of getting to know her and her story did not seem so far-fetched. After I listened to her frequently riveting, distinctive and surprising journal accounts -- accounts for a few of the most iconic moments from our nation's history -- I started to find that each one the volumes of journalism and history written concerning the 1960s -- Lyndon Johnson, Vietnam, Civil Rights, and the Great Society -- suffer with a fairly major gap with no voice, with no idea of her sway. And of her ability.
Lady Bird Johnson is not just an obscure figure in the life span of the country. When I asked, saya couple hundred individuals anywhere over 25 or even 30 years old, it is a fantastic bet they would understand a couple of things. She is a first woman -- without a hair out of place on her petite frame. She is from Texas. Some may recall she had something for wildflowers and planting them together highways. If they have read some of those LBJ histories, they may recall that she used her inheritance to fund Lyndon's first congressional campaign. And also to buy an Austin radio station she likely had a huge hand in developing into a really successful media business.
However, what I'm sure nobody knows is that she had been arguably the strongest member of the Johnson administration. Her thing about blossoms was actually a cover to get a fairly radical environmentalism. Sure, beautifying highways mattered, however when she had been in office, her actual focus was on what we call"environmental justice," particularly in Western towns and on bringing democratic accessibility to character to people of colour particularly.
Though she never called herself a feminist, in the performing, her worth aligned squarely with all the outspoken feminists of their moment.
That she knew early on the Vietnam War might well ruin her husband's presidency.
That she had been a keen political strategist -- I feel that the one Lyndon Johnson trusted and confided in all.
Now that I have spent over five years studying her story and telling it for you here and in my novel"Lady Bird Johnson: Hiding in Plain Sight," I see how the inclination to examine the infidelity part of this Johnson marriage pops up her and stripping her of material.
That union between the 2 LBJs? It was a political venture and a strong one at that. Due to its own tapes, Lady Bird brings living facets of American politics which are highly relevant now: Hurry, political polarization, inequality and the way Americans use their energy overseas, often in our own peril. The fraying of the social arrangement that the Johnsons were so crucial in knitting together 50 decades back.
Plus it made me think: How a number of other girls are"in plain sight," women in strong positions and a lot more unseen girls whose tales similarly compose the fabric of who we are and that we shall become as a society. We only need to look. And listen.
1 night, sitting at her personal office at the White House family quarters, and representing on one of these shallow, luminous novels about her composed at the moment, Lady Bird sighed and listed,"Sometime, someplace, I expect somebody will write one with more detail about Lyndon and me personally "
It had been the evening before I was born.
Within her first journal entry, listed eight days following President John F. Kennedy Jr. is assassinated, Lady Bird presents a stunning, cinematically comprehensive moment-by-moment accounts of these dreadful hours at Dallas, and also the times that follow. The incident monitors the 14 days by the murder of their president when the Johnsons go to the White House, days full of dreadful ceremony along with heartfelt moments of solidarity involving Jackie Kennedy and Lady Bird. We hear about the decade-long connection between the two of these, one which dates back to the Kennedy's arrival in Washington from the mid-50s, and hear intriguing observations that these girls make about every other
Ep. 2: Thanks, Mrs. Vice President
There are moments in Lady Bird's sound diaries that really re-write the famous background of LBJ's presidency. This episode includes among the very consequential. In a memo Lyndon only five weeks into his presidency, Lady Bird forecasts how the Vietnam war will interrupt his government, and suggests a very clear end-date because of his period in office -- entirely four decades until he stunned the country with his statement in March of 1968 that he would not run for reelection. We hear Lady Bird's growing awareness that Bobby Kennedy is now LBJ's political competition, also RFK's bring-down-the-house performance in the Democratic Party Convention in the summer of 1964. Ultimately up to the ’64 election, Lady Bird creates a Whistle Stop tour of this South -- her home gardening -- to attempt to maintain Southern Democrats out of defecting over Civil Rights. But she is satisfied with open minded, and worse. And on her return to Washington, a sex scandal between Lyndon's closest aide gifts an October surprise which may easily upend the election.
Julia Sweig is a award-winning writer, scholar and entrepreneur.
The first two episodes of this eight-part series will launch Monday, March 1.
Julia Sweig is co-executive manufacturer, author and host of this undertaking. Finest instance Studios' Adam Pincus is the executive producer and Anne Carkeet is a producer on the job.