March 20, 2001
National Archives Spring Prologue Features Articles on President Johnson and the Anniversary of the Korean War
College Park, MD. . .Throughout the summer of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson agonized over the fate of his campaign, even as he pushed through Congress the Civil Rights Act of 1964, one of the most important pieces of legislation in several generations. He faced white backlash, especially in the South; unrest among African Americans in his own party; and an increasingly conservative Republican Party, led by Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater.
"The election of 1964 is considered by many to be the most racially polarized Presidential contest in modern American history. As such, it has been seen as a watershed in the evolution of our two-party system in recent times," writes Jeremy Mayer, assistant professor of political science at Kalamazoo College, in the Spring 2001 issue of Prologue: Quarterly of the National Archives and Records Administration, in an article entitled "The Racial Politics of the 1964 Presidential Campaign: LBJ Fights the White Backlash."
Mayer draws heavily from documents and tape recordings of telephone conversations in the holdings of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, TX, one of ten Presidential libraries administered by the National Archives.
For more than 30 years, Prologue has been sharing with readers the rich resources and programs of the National Archives, its regional archives, and the Presidential libraries. From the First Continental Congress to the conflict in Vietnam, Prologue tells the story behind the story, revealing many intriguing and little-known details from our nation's past. In every issue, there are thought-provoking and entertaining articles-based on research in the National Archives' magnificent holdings-written by noted historians, archivists, and experts recognized in their fields. The Washington Post said, "Prologue . . . can be regarded quite literally as an invitation for further study. It is also consistently absorbing reading."
Also featured in the Spring Prologue is an article about a celebrated battle that occurred 50 years ago during the Korean War. In "Fix Bayonets," Albert Kapikian, a writer/editor on the Archives staff, describes how American soldiers captured important territory during this oft-forgotten war by using bayonets attached to their rifles, something almost unheard of in the mid-20th century. The leader of U.S. troops was the legendary Colonel Lewis Millett, who later received a Medal of Honor.
"Return to Sender: U.S. Censorship of Enemy Alien Mail in World War II," by Louis Fiset, an independent research historian, examines how the U.S. Government monitored the mail of its internees. Focusing on the camps run by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Fiset looks at changing policies on censorship and how the government tried to balance national security and humane treatment of internees.
In a lighter vein, Prologue explores, in "Mutual Admiration and a Few Jokes: The Correspondence of Harry Truman with Groucho and Harpo Marx," the relationship between President Harry S. Truman and two of the famous Marx Brothers. As a young man in Kansas City, Truman became a fan of the zany brothers as they came through town in their vaudeville tours. Later, as President, he corresponded with Groucho and Harpo, but the relationship was not all jokes and laughs. Ray Geselbracht, special assistant to the director of the Harry S. Truman Library in Independence, MO, reveals their correspondence, now in the Truman Library's holdings.
"Genealogy Notes" focuses on documenting the service of African American infantry and cavalry between 1866 and 1890. The cavalrymen are better known by their nickname, "Buffalo Soldiers." The author, Trevor K. Plante, is an archivist in NARA's Old Military and Civil Records unit.
The Spring Prologue also contains an article detailing the efforts of the National Archives and Records Administration to build what it calls an Electronic Records Archives, which will house the electronic records being created at an ever-rapid pace by the Federal Government. The article brings readers up to date on NARA's efforts to research, develop, and build this electronic archives, which will allow the agency to preserve more records and make them more accessible to researchers.
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