The recent death of former First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson has been felt and heard around the country. Receiving the nickname “Lady Bird” as a baby when her nursemaid declared she was "Purty as a Ladybird", the quirky name stuck with her and that’s how everyone knew her into adulthood.
It is widely understood that Lady Bird Johnson played a very instrumental role in her husband's political success. Former president Lyndon Johnson was quoted as describing his wife Lady Bird as "the brains and money of this family."
Just a few years after she married Lyndon Johnson, Lady Bird took out a $10,000 loan from her mother's small inheritance and backed her husband's first campaign for Congress in 1937. During World War II Lady Bird Johnson actually managed Lyndon Johnson's legislative office while her husband was on active duty in the war.
As if her endless political campaigning for her husband wasn't enough, Lady Bird Johnson had other causes as well. Once in office she made it her goal to start a highway beautification program. She had billboards torn down and planted trees in their place which was just one of many plans encouraged in her conservation policies. For this reason she is often referred to as the first environmentalist First Lady.
Her passion for environmental issues did not stop with the end of the Johnson term. She later founded a nature reserve now known as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at the University of Texas at Austin.
What do you think of Lady Bird Johnson's career as First Lady and her image as an early environmentalist in the White House?
Do you think Lyndon B. Johnson could have been as successful in politics without her help?
A perfect first lady! Brains, common sense, but yet knew not to overshadow her husband. I like that she was not just a shadow but an individualist who played her own music.
What an awesome lady. She was an undervalued role model for women over the years. I look at some of our female role models today and wonder if they have the same substance as someone like Lady Bird Johnson.