- Lady Bird Johnson | National Museum of American History
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Pre-White House Years
A daughter of the Old South, she literally risked her life to advance civil rights. She was an early champion of the environment, becoming one of the most important First Ladies we've ever had. It was an extraordinary journey. She just graduated from college with two degrees, and here was this forceful young man, Lyndon Johnson, badgering her, as they drove through the Texas countryside. He told her what direction she should take with her life, she should marry him that very day.
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She just wasn't so sure she wanted to go marry Lyndon Johnson that day. But there was a real sense of-- of butterflies about the fact that if I don't marry him today He might leave. And she just wasn't willing to let go of that love. LBJ would take her out of East Texas, and before long, he would give her a front-row seat on history.
LBJ would have a wife who was willing to make his life her own, someone who would endure his ego and his passions, sometimes his ridicule, who nonetheless, had the strength to stand up to him when it counted. Lady Bird knew that this tornado of a man loved her and needed her. This was the Deep South. The Taylor family lived in a mansion called "The Brick House.
It's a rather good old house, built about by slave labor. Growing up, the young girl hated the nickname, but it stuck. Lady Bird's two brothers, Thomas and Antonio, were much older than she was. The sign over Taylor's general store said, "T. Taylor, dealer in everything. The blacks of the county raised his cotton, got their supplies from his store, and went to him for loans.
Lady Bird: A Biography of Mrs. Johnson
They called him, "Mr. Her mother, Minnie Taylor, was an eccentric southern lady.
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A reader, and a dreamer, she kept herself apart from the country folk around Karnack. When Lady Bird was five, her world was shattered, when her pregnant mother fell down a staircase and died.
Lady Bird (Claudia Taylor) Johnson
Boss was a mother and father in many ways. He was the person she depended upon. He was her rock. Not only in buildings, but parks, not only parks, but highways, not only highways, but open spaces and green belts. A beautification in my mind is far more than a matter of cosmetics.
To me, it describes the whole effort to bring the natural world and the manmade world to harmony. To bring order, usefulness, delight to our whole environment. And that of course only begins with trees and flowers and landscaping. Following the presidency, Lady Bird Johnson wrote the page White House Diary , which detailed her husband's life including the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination.
She also remained active in beautification projects. Her love for native wildflowers inspired her to create the National Wildflower Research Center in , near Austin, Texas. It was renamed in her honor in Lady Bird also remained outspoken on women's rights issues, calling the Equal Rights Amendment, "the right thing to do. The widow of former President Lyndon B. Johnson suffered a stroke in that left her with difficulty speaking. We strive for accuracy and fairness. If you see something that doesn't look right, contact us! Sign up for the Biography newsletter to receive stories about the people who shaped our world and the stories that shaped their lives.
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