Presidents Johnson and Truman at the Signing of the Medicare Bill in 1965 (LBJ Library Photo by Unknown. #34897-14)
The LBJ Museum of San Marcos and the Texas State University Department of Political Science will be co-sponsoring a celebration of President Lyndon Baines Johnson’s 106 Birthday on August 27, 2014, at 5:30 p.m. with a special program and celebration. David D. Schafer of the National Park Service will deliver a program entitled, “Linked by Fate and Friendship: Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson”. Mr. Schafer led tours of President Truman’s home at Harry S. Truman National Historic Site in Independence, MO for six and one-half years followed by seven-and-a-half years of tours at the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park. He is currently chief of interpretation and resource management at Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park.
During his presentation, Mr. Schafer will speak about the long relationship and the many connections between Truman and Johnson. President Truman led the country from 1945 to 1953 through the dramatic end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War. President Johnson led the country from 1963 to 1969 through some of the nation’s most tumultuous experiences. This year marks the 50th anniversary of some of President Johnson’s most historic legislation including the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the creation of the Job Corps.
There were many similarities between the two president’s stories. Both presidents grew up in modest families without the benefit of wealthy and powerful family connections. Both overcame hardship and failures to succeed in politics. Both became president after the sudden and tragic deaths of their predecessors. Both men wrestled with some of the same issues: the struggle to provide civil rights, health care, and education at home while also waging overseas wars that became increasing unpopular.
As Lyndon Johnson climbed the political ladder he forged relationships with older men in positions of power, including Speaker of the House of Representatives Sam Rayburn and President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Johnson also developed a friendship with President Harry Truman, particularly after Truman left office. During Johnson’s presidency he often met with Truman or called the former president on the telephone. Johnson wanted Truman’s advice and support. Mr. Schafer’s presentation will include audio of telephone conversations between the two presidents.
The forty-five minute program will be followed by a question and answer period. The event is free of charge and the public is welcome.