Whistlestop Campaign



Lady Bird Johnson aboard the "Lady Bird Special" in
Alexandria, Virginia on October 6, 1964.
LBJ Library photo (FM5-10) by Frank Muto.

This image may be used free of charge as long
as credit is given to the source.




Mrs. Johnson became the first wife of a President to campaign by herself for her husband. In October 1964, she traveled 1,682 miles in four days on a train dubbed the "Lady Bird Special." The train went from Alexandria, Virginia, to New Orleans, Louisiana, making 28 scheduled stops along the way. President Johnson's civil rights legislative agenda was unpopular in the South, and Mrs. Johnson wanted to campaign there. She explained her reasons in a speech to the crowd as she departed Alexandria, "I want to tell you from Alexandria to New Orleans that to this President and his wife the South is a respected and valued and beloved part of the country. I know that many of you do not agree with the Civil Rights Bill or with the President's support of it, but I do know the South respects candor and courage and I believe he has shown both." Mrs. Johnson endured boos and yells of hecklers, but the trip successfully illustrated the Johnsons' regard for the South. Following the "Whistlestop Campaign," Mrs. Johnson made a plane trip called the "Flying Whistlestop" with stops in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana and Kentucky.

1964 Presidential Campaign, Lady Bird Special: Lady Bird Johnson met by
Lyndon B. Johnson at the conclusion of the Lady Bird Special Whistlestop
Campaign in New Orleans, Louisiana, October 9, 1964.

LBJ Library photo (412-4-WH64) by Cecil Stoughton. This image is in the public domain and may be
used free of charge without permissions or fees.




On September 12, 1964, the White House provided a press release concerning the upcoming "Lady Bird Special." Lady Bird Special Press Release

Before leaving on the trip, Mrs. Johnson sat down and recorded her thoughts and feelings about going on the Whistlestop trip. Mrs. Johnson's Trip

On October 4, 1964, the White House released a copy of Mrs. Johnson's itinerary for the trip. Whistlestop Itinerary

The first of 28 speeches made by Mrs. Johnson was in Alexandria, Virginia on October 6, 1964. A press release copy of the speech is located here: Mrs. Johnson's Speech in Alexandria

President Johnson surprised Mrs. Johnson by meeting the train in New Orleans. A copy of her New Orleans speech is found here: Mrs. Johnson's Speech in New Orleans


Mrs. Johnson with staff on the back of the "Lady Bird Special," October 6-9, 1964.
LBJ Library photograph (33317) by unknown. This image is in the public domain and may be used free of charge without permissions or fees.

 
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