About the National Archives

Welcome Remarks for "LBJ’s 1968: Power, Politics, and the Presidency in America’s Year of Upheaval"

McGowan Theater, National Archives Building, Washington, DC
September 18, 2018

Good afternoon, and welcome to the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives. I’m David Ferriero, Archivist of the United States, and I’m pleased you could join us, whether you are here in the theater or joining us through YouTube or CSPAN BookTV.

Before we hear from Kyle Longley about his new book, LBJ’s 1968, I’d like to tell you about two other programs coming up soon here in the McGowan Theater.

Tonight at 7:30, in partnership with the Center for the Constitution at James Madison’s Montpelier, we present a panel discussion about the United States Constitution. In a program called “For Us, By Us: America's Trust In & Expectations of, The Constitution,” moderator Judy Woodruff will lead a discussion of the results of a national survey conducted by James Madison’s Montpelier, created with the goal of better understanding how Americans relate to our government and its founding document.

On Wednesday, September 26, at noon, Mark Leibovich will be here to tell us about his latest book, Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times. A book signing will follow the program.    

Check our website, Archives.gov, or sign up at the table outside the theater to get email updates. You’ll also find information about other National Archives programs and activities.

Another way to get more involved with the National Archives is to become a member of the National Archives Foundation. The Foundation supports the work of the agency, especially its education and outreach programs. Check out their website— archivesfoundation.org—to learn more about them and join online.

The year 1968 was a year of turmoil—a year that left a deep impression on those who lived through it. Newspaper and the nightly news were crowded with stories of unrest, civil rights, assassinations, and—looming over all that—the war in Vietnam.

Upstairs in the O’Brien Gallery, our exhibit “Remembering Vietnam” examines the war from its World War II origins to the fall of Saigon. In the section that covers the events of 1968, you’ll find a page from President Lyndon Johnson’s March 31 televised speech to the nation. In concluding his speech, he made the surprising announcement that he would not run for President in the coming election.

LBJ reflected back on 1968: “I sometimes felt I was living in a continuous nightmare.” It was a year of challenges, and we turn to Kyle Longley now to hear how LBJ met them.

I’m very happy to introduce Kyle, who happens to be one of the newest staff members to join the National Archives and Records Administration.

In late July, Kyle became the fifth director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library in Austin, Texas. He came to us from Arizona State University, where he was a professor of history and political science and held a number of administrative positions including associate director of the School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies and faculty head of the History Department.

He is active in national academic organizations including the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, and the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations.

Longley is also prize-winning author who has published or edited eight books with another coming out in January 2019. He has also contributed to Newsweek, the Washington Post, New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times.

Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Kyle Longley.