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

May 19, 2008, 01:00 ET from Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation

    WASHINGTON, May 19 /PRNewswire/ -- 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
     "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
-- Joseph A. Califano, Jr., top White House Domestic Aid, former Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare, and President of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University -- Douglas Brinkley, award-winning author and historian -- Robert Dallek, award-winning historian and LBJ biographer -- Nick Kotz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author -- Harry Middleton, Director Emeritus of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum -- Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink -- James R. Jones, Appointments Secretary to President Johnson in 1968 -- Harry McPherson, special counsel to President Johnson from 1966 to 1969 -- Bill Moyers, a special assistant to President Johnson from 1963 to 1967 -- Michael Beschloss, author and official NBC Network Presidential Historian -- Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- Republican Leader Mitch McConnell -- House Republican Leader John Boehner 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." The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation The Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation supports the historic and academic work of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum and the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at The University of Texas at Austin. As one of only twelve presidential libraries in the country, the Library was established to preserve and make available for research the papers and memorabilia of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. The mission of the LBJ School is to develop leaders and ideas that will help the state of Texas, the nation, and the international community address critical public policy challenges in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world.

SOURCE Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation