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Tag: Austin

Reflections on LBJ and Civil Rights

Mark K. Updegrove is Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

The first time a sitting President came to the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library was on May 21, 1971, when President Richard Nixon boarded Air Force One and journeyed to the campus of the University of Texas at Austin to help former President Johnson dedicate the library to the American people.

It had been a little more than two years since Johnson had yielded the Oval Office to Nixon, and Johnson’s place in history was very much in the balance.

The war in Vietnam that Johnson had escalated and that continued to divide the nation hung balefully over his legacy. This, despite the profusion of landmark laws LBJ left in his wake, including the passage of a triumvirate of seminal civil rights legislation: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act.

As library’s inauguration played out, the voices of 2,100 Vietnam protesters rumbled in the distance, their chants of “No more war!” carried by 25-mile-an-hour winds that swirled throughout the day.

On April 10, 2014, when Barack Obama became the second sitting President to visit the LBJ Library, the weather, which topped out at 88 degrees, was far less tempestuous—and Lyndon Johnson’s legacy had become far clearer.

President Barack Obama discussed the impact of the Civil Rights Act. (LBJ Library photo by Lauren Gerson)

President Barack Obama discussed the

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Putting together a Presidential Library is a really, really big job

In 1939, President Roosevelt donated his personal and Presidential papers to the Federal Government, marking the beginning of the modern Presidential Library system that is part of the National Archives. Seventy-four years later, the newest Presidential Library holds more documents than FDR could have imagined.

The George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum holds more than 70 million pages of textual records, 43,000 artifacts, 200 million emails (totaling roughly 1 billion pages), and 4 million digital photographs (the largest holding of electronic records of any of our libraries).

Collecting this material, cataloging and processing it, and making it available to the public was a task that began on January 20, 2009.

The Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, accepts custody of the George W. Bush Library on April 24, 2013.

As a Presidential administration nears its end, the National Archives works with the White House and the Department of Defense (DOD) to begin organizing, boxing, and moving a huge amount of Presidential materials out of various locations in Washington, DC. All records and artifacts must be out of the White House by noon on Inauguration Day.

At the same time, the National Archives locates temporary storage in the area of the future Presidential library—in this case, Lewisville, Texas. Then the National Archives and the Department of Defense begin moving the records to the temporary library … [ Read all ]