LBJ Presidential Library

New music exhibit features iconic items owned by Willie Nelson, Taylor Swift and more

A new law making it a state crime for migrants to enter Texas without authorization faces a major test in a federal courtroom. We’ll hear the latest.

In Houston ISD, the biggest school district in the state, officials appointed by the state are getting pushback over plans to expand school reforms.

A Texas presidential museum turns a spotlight on Taylor Swift’s guitar, Willie Nelson’s boots and hundreds of other artifacts to help tell the story of American music.

Plus: The week in politics with The Texas Tribune.

Texas Standard: May 21, 2021

Days after marking zero COVID-19 deaths, Texas hits a grim milestone. How will the state prioritize federal funding for pandemic relief? Also, state lawmakers get closer to passing the state’s two-year budget. We ask how schools will fare. Plus why opponents to Texas’ restrictive new abortion law may have trouble challenging it. And fewer people are being sentenced to death across the country, but a new report shows there may not be adequate defense for those facing life-in-prison sentences. And what the 50th anniversary of the dedication of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum reveals about Texas then and now. Those stories and a whole lot more today on the Texas Standard:

Lyndon Johnson’s Gifts To Texas

For me, Lyndon Johnson did more for Texas in his lifetime than any other politician, except for Sam Houston. And Houston’s greatest gift was given to Texas in the form of a resounding victory at San Jacinto, before he began his political years as president. Two of Johnson’s most enduring gifts to Texas are NASA, and the electricity for rural Texas, especially for the inaccessible hinterlands of the Hill Country. LBJ said, in 1959, that “nothing had ever given him as much satisfaction as” bringing electricity to the rural people of his region.  

By the end of his life he had a new achievement he was proudest of and believed would be his greatest legacy. That was the founding of the LBJ School of Public Affairs in tandem with dedicating his Presidential Library at the University of Texas at Austin.   In this academic year the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the Library are both celebrating the 50th anniversary of their founding. The school welcomed its first class in 1970 and the library was dedicated in May of ‘71. These separate institutions represent a fitting legacy.. After all, he said when he was president, quote —At the desk where I sit, I have learned one great truth. The answer for all our national problems – the answer for all the problems of the world – come to a single word. That word is ‘education.’”  

Johnson also believed in the education provided by the school of hard knocks. He liked to quote his father who told him that quote — “You should brush yourself up against the grindstone of life and that will give you a polish that Harvard and Yale can’t give you.”  

LBJ did not have the eloquence of King or Kennedy, but he was a master of personal persuasion. When he had a congressman in the corner of a room at a political breakfast, and a lawmaker’s hand firmly enveloped by his, Johnson could sell abstinence to an alcoholic and even civil rights to a segregationist. No President ever pushed more legislation through Congress than he did, not even FDR. And his focus was on equality for all, in education, in economics, in voting, in opportunity, and in life as a whole.     

He was a complicated man. He said some racist things in his life, but he was simultaneously an iconic force in the Civil Rights Movement.

He passed the Civil Rights Act of ‘64 and the Medicare and Medicaid Act of 65 as well as the Voting Rights Act of ‘65.

Consequently, years later,  LBJ saw the founding of his school of Public Affairs as the greatest chance he had at fostering the continuation of good works for mankind through government. Unlike many today, he believed that government could in fact do the big things that the little guy couldn’t do for himself – like deliver electricity to rural farms and make sure the color of your skin didn’t determine where you could eat or sleep. 

When he spoke to a group of students at his School of Public Affairs in Austin about a month before he died.  LBJ told them that a life in public affairs, one of helping your fellow man, is the most rewarding of all paths one could take in life.  He said, “The greatest known satisfaction for human beings is knowing – and if you are the only one that knows it, it’s there and that’s what’s important – that you’ve made life more just, more equal, and more opportune for your fellow man – and that’s what this school is all about.”

Valerie Jarrett (Ep. 31, 2019)

On this week’s In Black America program, producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. presents a conversation with Valerie Jarrett, former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama, moderated by Brittany Packett this past spring at the Summit on Race in America: Liberty and Justice for All.

The Summit on Race in America, pt. 1 (Ep. 29, 2019)

On this week’s program, In Black America producer and host John L. Hanson, Jr. presents a conversation with James “Jimmy Jam” Harris, Shemekiah Copeland, and Wyclef Jean at The Summit on Race in America: Liberty and Justice for All, held this Spring at the LBJ Presidential Library, on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.