Luci Baines Johnson continues the legacy of the late president
DALLAS – Upon entering the Dallas Arboretum, Luci Baines Johnson is delighted to see the natural Texas plants that her mother Ladybird Johnson worked so hard to preserve.
“Nature was her friend and gave her great comfort and great joy and that is why, as the First Lady, she wanted to provide that same kind of comfort and joy,” Johnson said.
The youngest daughter of First Lady Ladybird and former President Lyndon B. Johnson was at the well-known Arboretum this week to tour the grounds and be honored by leaders for continuing her mother’s work. Johnson has helped the Ladybird Nature Preserve in Austin since its inception and was delighted to speak with visitors to the Dallas Arboretum about the exhibit on her mother’s contributions to Texas that has just reopened at the LBJ Presidential Library.
Johnson said that while most remember her mother for her love of nature, there was so much more for Ladybird Johnson and the Johnson family as a whole.
The legacy of the late 36th President, his legendary wife and their family is evident throughout Lone Star State along the highways, parks and buildings that bear their names. Johnson said it’s a legacy that she’s trying her best to keep up the pace.
“I’m walking in a mighty shadow trying to do my best,” Johnson said.
Johnson said living with politically famous parents has been a fact of life for as long as she can remember. She remembers her parents welcoming her and her sister, Lynda, into the family business when her father was running for the White House.
“He had me campaigning in 26 states on his own, and I’m thinking about it now, giving that kind of responsibility to a 16-year-old, but Lyndon Johnson knew me well,” Johnson said with a smile.
LBJ would go on to take the presidency following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas in November 1963. From there he held the position for the remainder of the 1960s and led the nation through a number of challenges and of history. moments, from the Vietnam War to the moon landing.
Her youngest daughter is now reflecting on having witnessed all these ups and downs from the front row.
“He has played such a role: social justice work, environmental work, space work, education work, health work,” she said. “They felt so attached to this nation.”
In the years that followed, Johnson made a name for himself in the business world and continued many of his parents’ efforts. This includes all of her mother’s efforts to preserve nature and her father’s efforts to fight for social justice.
Over the past year, Johnson has spoken out particularly on the subject of voting rights after steps were taken to strike down some of the sections of the voting rights law his father defended in the ’60s.
“When the Supreme Court essentially emptied the heart of the 1964 voting rights bill, it emptied my heart,” Johnson said.
That’s why she said she had no plans to slow down anytime soon. Johnson has said she wants to leave a better world behind, just like her parents did for her, and she intends to continue championing many of the same causes they believe so much.
“I hope when I leave this world I will make it to Heaven and I’m brave, but I don’t have the courage to want to meet Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson and not say how hard I’ve tried,” said Johnson said.