A JOINT RESOLUTION HONORING THE LIFE AND MEMORY OF LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON, 36th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Whereas, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th president of the United States of America, died at the age of 64 on January 22, 1973, after a long and dedicated life of public service to his home state of Texas and to all the peoples of the United States, it is only fitting that the General Assembly should take note of this service and to a special relationship between former President Johnson and the State of North Carolina.
Whereas, Lyndon Baines Johnson had ancestral ties with North Carolina, through his great-grandfather George Washington Baines; and
Whereas, Lyndon Baines Johnson developed and maintained close personal and public ties with North Carolina members of Congress and other officials, both as a member of Congress and as President of the United States; and
Whereas, the people of North Carolina, being profoundly grateful for the service of his life, and being deeply grieved by the loss of his presence by death, and holding the family of the late President Johnson in sincere affection;
Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Senate, the House of Representatives concurring:
Section 1. That Lyndon Baines Johnson for over thirty years did serve the peoples of the United States of America, first in the Congress as a Representative and later as a Senator, then as Vice President of the United States, and finally as President. "Lyndon Johnson…was proud of America and had visions of greatness for this country that guided us to great domestic accomplishments and guided him to become a leader of the world," said our Lieutenant Governor. The General Assembly of North Carolina, for itself and on behalf of the government and all the people of North Carolina hereby acknowledges a deep appreciation for the public life and service of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Lyndon Baines Johnson was born near Stonewall, Texas, on August 27, 1908, to Sam Ealy and Rebekah Johnson, Jr. On that same day his grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson, Sr., is said to have ridden around Johnson City on horseback shouting, "A United States Senator was born this morning - my grandson." Forty years later this prophetic statement came true. Political involvement came natural for the young Johnson for both his father and grandfather had made names for themselves in the Texas Legislature. From them he acquired a liberal political philosophy which was strengthened by his deep Christian heritage and an abiding respect for the value of education learned from his mother. In 1930 he graduated from a small Texas college where he had become well known as a debator and as editor of the school paper. His adventures into politics began the following year when Representative-elect Richard M. Kleburg took him to Washington as a legislative assistant. Six years later he was elected to the United States House of Representatives and quickly gained the reputation of being a strong supporter of President Roosevelt's programs. In 1941 he made an unsuccessful attempt at being elected to the United States Senate - it was the last time he was ever defeated by the public electorate. He returned to the House and in 1948 was elected to the Senate. In spite of his varying political views, he won the respect of his fellow Senators from the South and a place among the senatorial elite. In 1960 he was one of his party's nominees for president, but lost out to the young John F. Kennedy. His interest in social and educational legislation led to his being selected by Kennedy as his vice presidential running mate. When tragedy struck in Dallas on November 22, 1963, Lyndon Johnson became the 36th President of the United States. The following year he was elected to his own term by the greatest vote majority ever accorded a presidential candidate to that time. It was under his guidance that some of the most far-reaching social legislation in American history was enacted most noteably the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
President Johnson had a special tie to North Carolina that few people knew about. In a speech given in Raleigh on October 6, 1964, many thought that a reference to a great grandfather from North Carolina was a political ploy to obtain support for his candidacy - this was not the case. On December 29, 1809, George Washington Baines was born to Thomas Baines of Creecy's District in Chowan County (some say it was Perquimans County). In 1817 the Thomas Baines family moved to Georgia and then to Alabama. Following in his father's footsteps, George Washington Baines became a preacher and started several churches in Arkansas and Louisiana. In 1850 he moved to Texas and ten years later was elected president of Baylor University. His son Joseph Wilson Baines later married Ruth Huffman and their daughter Rebekah was the mother of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
However, President Johnson had more than an ancestral relationship to North Carolina. During his many years of service in Washington he became friends with many of North Carolina's political leaders. Senators Sam Ervin and B. Everett Jordan were his close friends during his years in the Senate, and former Governor of North Carolina Luther Hodges was Secretary of Commerce while Johnson was Vice President and during the first year of his Presidency. Johnson's deep appreciation for education and his desire to see the less fortunate given an opportunity in life, brought him into direct contact with events in North Carolina at that time. A large portion of his Anti-Poverty Program was aimed at improving conditions in Appalachia. He was a friend of the farmer, especially the small family farmer in whom he saw reflections of his own childhood. On more than one occasion he praised the efforts of the small farmer and encouraged them not to give up. "We are not going to plow under the family farm," he told one audience. Lyndon Baines Johnson was truly a "favorite son" of North Carolina.
The death of Lyndon Baines Johnson is a great loss to this State and to the Nation. Few men have given so thoroughly of their time and energy to public service as did he. He was an American first and foremost, and everything he did was done with the conviction that it was in the best interest of the United States. During the latter years of his administration, the dark clouds of war in Southeast Asia overshadowed his real accomplishments and lowered his standing in the public eye. "Johnson was not a revered theorist of government or the proponent of great change and innovation. Nor was he a polished orator, a magnetic personality, a powerful factional leader," but he was one of the great human figures in America. Only time will determine his true place in American History, but in the words of Howard K. Smith, "I believe that a longer perspective will place Lyndon B. Johnson very high on our scale of Presidents." But, there can be no doubt, he was as he said in his own words, "…a free man, an American, a public servant."
Sec. 2. That the North Carolina General Assembly expresses its appreciation for the public services rendered by Lyndon Baines Johnson, services which have contributed to the betterment of the State of North Carolina, and that the General Assembly further expresses its sincere sense of loss on the occasion of the death of Lyndon Baines Johnson.
Sec. 3. That the General Assembly expresses to the family of the late President Johnson its most profound sympathy and condolences, and assures the family of its continuing affection.
Sec. 4. That this resolution shall become part of the public records of the 1973 Session of the General Assembly of North Carolina, and that the Secretary of State shall cause certified copies of this resolution to be transmitted to Mrs. Johnson and to the immediate family of the late President Johnson.
Sec. 5. That this resolution shall become effective upon ratification.
In the General Assembly read three times and ratified, this the 1st day of February, 1973.