Lady Bird Johnson
aboard the "Lady Bird Special" in
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.
Presidential Campaign, Lady Bird Special: Lady Bird Johnson met by
September 12, 1964, the White House provided a press release concerning
the upcoming "Lady Bird Special." Lady
Bird Special Press Release
leaving on the trip, Mrs. Johnson sat down and recorded her thoughts and
feelings about going on the Whistlestop trip. Mrs.
October 4, 1964, the White House released a copy of Mrs. Johnson's itinerary
for the trip. Whistlestop Itinerary
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
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.
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