Did You Know?
All in the Family
The central Texas town of Johnson City was named after Lyndon's grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson, who settled there after the Civil War to raise cattle.
The Family Monogram
Lady Bird's real name was Claudia Alta Taylor. "Lady Bird" or "Bird" had been a childhood nickname. With their two daughters, Lynda Bird and Luci Baines, all four members of the family had the initials "LBJ".
The God Lyndon
Lyndon Johnson was once worshipped as a god by followers of a "cargo cult" in Papua, New Guinea. (Cargo cults are a religious phenomenon that developed when Europeans began arriving in the area, bringing with them huge amounts of material goods, which the native peoples thought must have been acquired from the spirit world.) The people of New Hanover in Papua, New Guinea thought so much of Lyndon Johnson that during the first House of Assembly elections there, they voted for LBJ -- the feeling being that if he could lead the U.S., he could lead them, too, and bring to them the prosperity enjoyed in America. Of course, LBJ declined to become their leader, and eventually the Johnson cult died out.
A Great Beginning
In 1964, Johnson won the presidential election with 61 percent of the vote and the largest popular margin in American history, with more than 15 million votes. Sadly, in just four years his popularity would be so diminished that he did not seek reelection.
An Historic Moment
LBJ became the only president to take the oath of office from a woman, when he was sworn in on Air Force One by Texas judge Sarah T. Hughes, after JFK's assassination on November 22, 1963.
LBJ was a gifted politician, possibly the greatest in this century. His talents became evident when in 1953, at the age of 44, he became the youngest Minority Leader in Senate history.
Lyndon Johnson was elected president of his 11th grade high school class. When he graduated in May 1924, at age 15, he was already six feet three inches tall.
Walking the Walk
LBJ not only supported civil rights in legislation, he actively promoted integration in the nation's highest offices. He appointed Robert C. Weaver to head the new Department of Housing and Urban Development, the first African American to serve on the Cabinet, and he appointed Thurgood Marshall to the Supreme Court, the first African American to serve there.
To find more film resources and classroom activities, visit the Teacher's Guide for LBJ.
My American Experience
Who is your favorite 20th-century American president? Was it FDR? Reagan? Clinton? Or one of the other 14 men who helped usher the United Sates through the 1900s? Who do you think was the most influential?