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Freedom: A History of US.
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Webisode 15: We Shall Overcome
Introduction Segment 1 Segment 2 Segment 3 Segment 4 Segment 5 Segment 6 Segment 7 Segment 8

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Sam Ealy Johnson
Segment 2
LBJ visits Vietnam LBJ's "Great Society"

The new president, Lyndon Johnson, was big. See It Now - LBJ Taller than six feet three inches, he had big bones, big ears, a big nose, big hands, and big feet. His voice was big, his ego was big, and when it came to ambition—it was bigger than big. His ambition was colossal. He wanted to be a great president, "the greatest of them all, the whole bunch of them," he said. Hubert Humphrey was a Johnson supporter in the U.S. Senate who would later become Johnson's vice president. This is what he had to say about Lyndon Johnson: "He was an all-American president. He was really the history of this country with all of the turmoil, the bombast, the passions. It was all there, all in one man, and if you liked politics, it was like being at the feet of a giant." See It Now - LBJ Campaigning

Johnson's dream was to wipe out poverty in America. He wanted to see blacks, whites, Hispanics—all people—treated as equal citizens. See It Now - LBJ Campaigning He wanted old people to be cared for. He wanted every child in the country to get a good education. He wanted to see an America where all men and women are given equal opportunity. Early in his term his said, "I want to be the president who educated young children, who helped feed the hungry, who helped the poor find their own way, and who protected the right of every citizen to vote."

Lyndon Baines Johnson came from Texas, from the scruffy Hill Country near Austin. It was a region so isolated when he was a boy that no one had electricity at home, and almost no one had running water indoors or an indoor toilet. Lyndon was bright—everyone could see that—but he was a rebellious student. Sometimes he did well; often he didn't. And from the time he was a little boy, it was politics that fascinated him. His father, Sam Ealy Johnson See It Now - Sam Ealy Johnson , served in the Texas legislature. Lyndon once said, "I want to wind up just like my daddy, gettin' pensions for old people."


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Did You Know?
LBJ had been very popular with both children and parents when he was a teacher. He taught the kids to play ballgames; he made them speak English in school; and to recite and debate and compete in spelling bees.


Did you know that Freedom is adapted from the award-winning Oxford University Press multi-volume book series, A History of US by Joy Hakim?



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