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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs

Lyndon B. Johnson Aides, Leading Historians and Politicians Celebrate LBJ Legacy at Centennial Events

Visit the LBJ Centennial Celebration website

May 19, 2008 - Washington, D.C. - President Lyndon Baines Johnson ("LBJ") has been described in many ways -- as a bold dreamer, a progressive, a "can do" President, who had the drive and the knowledge to help transform many of his dreams into reality. The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation, as part of the year-long centennial celebration commemorating President Johnson's 100th birthday (August 27, 1908), is hosting a series of events in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the remarkable life and legacy of Lyndon Baines Johnson.

On May 19-21, 2008 friends, family, former LBJ staffers and colleagues, along with the U.S. Congress, will pay tribute to the native Texan who served as our nation's President and Vice President, Majority Leader of the United States Senate and U.S. Congressman. Many of Johnson's closest advisors will be in attendance to share first-hand accounts from their interactions with President Johnson.

The events are forums for leading observers of President Johnson's life and presidency to discuss his most memorable achievements, such as his progress in advancing landmark legislation on civil rights, health care, Medicare, education and poverty. Speakers will also muse upon the darker, more challenging issues of his presidency, including Vietnam, a war he inherited and persevered through in the hopes that he could achieve peace and prevent communism from spreading throughout Southeast Asia. Centennial programs this fall in Austin, TX will include further discussion about Vietnam.

"The Centennial celebration offers historians and close aides an opportunity to examine Lyndon B. Johnson's larger-than-life personality and political leadership at a pivotal moment in American history," said Tom Johnson, Chairman of the LBJ Foundation and former president of CNN. "LBJ wanted all the materials related to his presidency to be open for the public. As he said at the dedication of the LBJ Library and School of Public Affairs in 1971, 'It is all here: the story of our time - with the bark off.'"

The three core Centennial events in Washington include a keynote speech given by Johnson's special assistant for domestic affairs, Joseph Califano, Jr.; panels of distinguished historians and journalists; and a Lyndon B. Johnson Day in Congress. Centennial event participants include the following:

Joseph A. Califano, Jr.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

President Johnson fundamentally believed in the power of government to enhance people's lives, feeling that it should guarantee the basic American rights of all its citizens, not just some of them. Moreover, from his point of view, an effective government lifts people out of poverty and offers them quality education and health care. From these ideals, stemmed the "Great Society," a set of domestic programs proposed or enacted in the United States during the Johnson Administration, which in many cases went beyond the New Deal social reforms first established by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Two chief goals of the Great Society social reforms include the elimination of poverty and racial injustice. Many new and substantive programs that addressed education, medical care, urban problems, and transportation were started in this period.

"LBJ was a great champion for the poor and the oppressed. The Centennial events shed an honest and insightful light into not only these aspects of Johnson, but other facets of his presidency," said Johnson. "Through careful examination and open discussion, we hope to offer a well rounded, truthful portrait of his administration."


Media Advisory

Keynote by Joseph A. Califano, Jr. - Seeing is Believing: The Enduring Legacy of Lyndon Johnson - pdf document

Lyndon Baines Johnson's Centennial Celebration to Begin January 1, 2008, Series of Programs and Events in Texas and Washington, D. C. - October 4, 2007


Dallas Morning News - LBJ's impact felt in this race - May 22, 2008

New York Times - Kennedy: A Little Like Everyone, a Lot Like No One Else - May 22, 2008

National Journal - Lawmakers Honor LBJ's Centennial - May 22, 2008

Atanta Journal-Constitution - Congress proclaims 'LBJ Day' to mark 100th birthday - May 22, 2008

Roll Call - Hill Pays Tribute To LBJ's Domestic Achievements (Subscription Only) - May 21, 2008

U.S. News & World Report - Former Aides Revisit LBJ's Legacy - May 21, 2008

Austin American-Statesman - Nearly 100 years since his birth, acclaim over Johnson's domestic achievements - May 21, 2008

Courier-Journal - McConnell speaks at LBJ Centennial ceremony - May 21, 2008

Iowa Politics - U.S. Sen. Harkin: Pays tribute to President Lyndon B. Johnson during centennial celebration - May 21, 2008

Democrats.Senate.Gov - Reid Statement On LBJ Day - May 21, 2008

House Majority Whip - Clyburn Celebrates LBJ Centennial - May 21, 2008

Dallas Morning News - Scholars reject similarities between LBJ, Bush - May 20, 2008

US News and World Report - LBJís Gang Wants Obama and Edwards to Give Him Credit for the War on Poverty - May 20, 2008

C-Span - Joseph Califano Address on the Legacy of President Lyndon Johnson (video) - May 19, 2008