Skip to main content

tv   Showcase for the Nation  CSPAN  April 23, 2016 8:00am-8:31am EDT

8:00 am
announcer: on october 22, 1965, president lyndon johnson signed a highway unification act which called for removing outdoor advertising signs and encourage enhancement on the interstate highway system. the effort was championed by lady bird johnson, who also worked with private organizations and government offices to clean up the nation's capital. next, showcase for the nation, the story of mrs. lyndon b. johnson's beautification program. the 23 minute film details the first lady's effort to plant trees and flowers and improve parks and playgrounds in the
8:01 am
district of columbia, with the hope that other cities would follow the example. ♪ ms. johnson: beautification, to my mind, is far more than a matter of cosmetics. to me, it describes the effort to bring the natural world and man-made world into harmony, to bring youthfulness to life to our whole environment. ♪ ♪
8:02 am
narrator: after the presidential elections in 1964, mrs. lyndon johnson felt it would be most effective is the nation's first lady to concentrate her efforts in a few major areas of concern. during a meeting at the lbj
8:03 am
ranch, mrs. johnson was urged by the secretary of the interior to share her lifelong interest in beautification. putting this into practice would require organization and hard work. mrs. johnson wanted to make her adopted hometown an example for others to follow. washington, d.c., would be a showcase for the nation. and so, the community for a more beautiful capital was born. mrs. johnson assembled her committee for the first time on february 11, 1965, at the white house. its members were public officials, businessmen, architects, philanthropist, a cross-section of many americans. ideas and inspiration began
8:04 am
flowing at once. an overwhelming number would be funded by the more than $2 million given by private donors. among the first proposals was a plan to adopt countless traffic circles and grassy triangles that dot washington intersections. they would be adorned with bright and colorful planters. on march 9, 1965, mrs. johnson laid out the first phase of the beautification program. in may of 1965, the committee met aboard the uss sequoia for a cruise and two were of the potomac river. tours and short trips would be a regular part of the activities. this highlighted the potomac's waterfront, and highlighted some of the problems connected with the river.
8:05 am
the first lady had challenged her committee to find ways of implementing those beautification projects already underway, boosting those that should be underway, and being catalysts for new undertakings. an action program was devised for tackling washington's beautification programs. from the beginning, mrs. johnson received mail and support from all over the country, and all eyes were on washington for the inspiration that would stimulate similar projects in cities and towns across the land. the many donations of money and plans were handled by a supplemental committee. some of the grants included $10,000 from the rockefeller foundation, and 4000 cherry trees from the people of japan.
8:06 am
along with the magnificent statues and monuments, the delicate japanese cherry trees have always been provocative attractions to washington visitors. ♪ narrator: on a drizzly april afternoon in 1966, mrs. johnson attended the commemorative planting of a cherry tree at hains point, on the tip of these potomac park. this was the first of 1800 such trees that would give a scenic drive around the peninsula. hains point was the location of further activity when mrs. johnson received a gift for the children of washington from the first lady of mexico. ms. johnson: it is one of the universal linkages that brings a smile to the face of mankind everywhere.
8:07 am
it underlies the imaginative spirits that lead on the human condition. ♪ ♪ narrator: another project to enliven hains point was a towering jet of water, donated in honor of president and mrs. johnson. on a crisp fall day, mrs. johnson and the committee boarded buses on a trip to a bold-planning festival on columbia island. on a crisp fall day, mrs.
8:08 am
johnson and the committee boarded buses on a trip to a bulb-planning festival on columbia island. located on the potomac, this uninspiring patch of earth is crossed by more than 150 thousand commuters and visitors every day. to brighten the way of these travelers, the committee decided to transform this approach to the nation's capital. the national parks service by members of area garden clubs implanting the first of 800,000 daffodil bulbs provided by an anonymous donor. ♪
8:09 am
announcer: the improvements of school grounds was also high on the committee's list of priorities, especially when it would involve the children themselves. in a ceremony at a high school, mrs. johnson dedicated the landscaping on the school complex in the center of an urban renewal district. the principals and pta's of these schools were eager to establish a program of nature education in the classroom. this effort would insure student involvement and active participation. a major endeavor of the committee, a project aimed at providing a stimulus for the entire neighborhood. ♪ narrator: a different plan, involving recreational
8:10 am
facilities, was devised for buchanan's school. beforehand, this school had been a depressing, window broken eyesore, a sad place to send youngsters for an education. but thanks to a generous donation, all of that has been changed. buchanan plaza has now become one of the most exciting playground in washington. here, the committee gathered for the dedication ceremonies. ms. johnson: buchanan plaza belongs first and foremost to this school. it also belongs to everyone in the neighborhood. it is a place where all ages can come together and find when they get there that there is lots to do. who can put a price tag on boredom?
8:11 am
who can put a cost on unchallenged energy? this kind of playground is a constructive answer to the urban problem. narrator: in 1967, the committee unveiled project trailblazers, a work-study program for ghetto teenagers. ms. johnson paid a visit to one of the trailblazer activities at a park. the park is located next to the smithsonian neighborhood museum, where trailblazers have also worked. during the summer, these teenagers laid out nature trails, cleared picnic areas, and built shelters. each trailblazer was provided with a camera and film to record the group's accomplishments.
8:12 am
♪ narrator: further to the north lies in watts branch park, a good example of how even the most blighted area can be reclaimed from this act. this had once been a ravine, neglected and abused. however, with the aid of a donation, it has been made into an attractive and inviting park. residents in this border-line neighborhood are proud of their park, and pitch in to keep it lovely. another problem of concern to the committee involved the downtown business district. as in many metropolitan communities, washington's central city was becoming choked
8:13 am
and unsightly. inspired by the committee's activities to improve washington, local officials and businessmen decided to counteract this deterioration with two beautifully planned and landscaped malls. first, the median strip of f street, the main shopping district, was transformed to a pedestrian walkway with kiosks, maple trees, and a bright post office pagoda. on new york avenue, a busy traffic are quite flanked by bus terminals and shops. it was planted with myrtle and holly trees. these, combined with the elms, freshened and enlivened the whole area. partially as a result of winning white house recognition, and
8:14 am
partly on persuasiveness of the first lady, business and commercial establishments throughout washington were becoming conscious of their appearance. they knew that appealing surroundings would have an appealing return on the dollar. mrs. johnson: we live in a time when 70% of the population allows -- dwells on 1% of the land. obviously, the great need for our attractive environment exists in our urban centers, where most americans spend most of their lives, and we are doing something about it. narrator: in june of each year, mrs. johnson welcomed to the white house people who were doing something about their environment. the winners of the community's
8:15 am
annual beautification awards. establishments from all over the district had representatives at these ceremonies. ♪ mrs. johnson: you are the doers. you do not dream i delete or give up in despair. you are showing all of us how each person can contribute something a positive value. your accomplishments are important to your families and neighbors, and to me.
8:16 am
this is the time that we recognize the power for good that each citizen has. narrator: in addition to award ceremonies at the white house, there were many conferences, like the first national youth conference on national beauty, with more than 500 young people around the country. and the white house conference on national beauty, and which more than 1000 experts in environmental planning met for intensive discussions. there were special ceremonies, such as the arbor day planting on the white house lawn with schoolchildren, and the monthly meetings of the beautification committee itself. at this meeting, after welcoming committee members, the first lady reported on the signing of an act establishing redwood national park in california. ms. johnson: at last, it is
8:17 am
achieved, so things do get done, and we also have a feeling that it is another check on the list. narrator: the mayor then presented a report on the summer employment program in the district. >> we had this summer something that was beyond our expectations. about 18,500 children, youth working in this city in a variety of projects by the government as well as private. in fact, we were the only city in the nation to meet the president's goal for the national alliance. i might say that you would be most happy to know that the streams were kept clean up by 100 kids who cleaned the streams so you could enjoy the water as well as the banks on the side,
8:18 am
and also have gainful employment. it was this stuff that we kind of call "hard stuff." that keeps a little something in your pocket. ♪ narrator: but the first lady's attention was not limited to washington alone. to salute the accomplishments of citizens in their communities, ms. johnson crisscrossed the nation, giving speeches, dedicating parks and fountains, opening recreation areas, inspiring further progress, seeing and hearing firsthand the contagious affect her endeavors were having across the land.
8:19 am
♪ narrator: after the many dedication ceremonies she attended for others, mrs. johnson returned to washington to dedicate one of her favorite projects. ms. johnson: columbia island is a gift of nature and man. i am so pleased that this piece of land challenged this committee, and we have concentrated much of our efforts in preparing it as a magnificent gateway to the capital. having been there when the flowers were planted, having watched almost everyone of those trees go into the ground, and envisioned how that pink
8:20 am
starwood will look next spring, you can be sure that i shall return. [laughter] [applause] narrator: as a surprise to mrs. johnson, secretary udall announced that columbia island would have a new name. secretary udall: we have given that the name lady bird johnson park. [applause] ♪ narrator: the washington mrs. johnson shall be returning to in the coming years has been improved from one end of the city to another. the evidence of change is abundant.
8:21 am
pershing square. farragut square. along rock creek parkway. at the triangle of 3rd street and independence avenue, where it all began. in neighborhood parks like these. at twining square. by the washington monument. along the mall. at haines point. much has been done, but this has really been only the beginning. the activities of mrs. johnson
8:22 am
and her committee were a jumping off point for washington and the rest of the nation. they show that in a time of complex, driven crisis, functional surroundings can exist, and provide new opportunities for city dwellers. in the words of her husband, maintaining a livable environment has now become one of america's greatest challenges. president johnson: mrs. johnson, and mrs. lassiter, and there are many other hard-working colleagues, put some playground equipment and the schoolyards, and improved the neighborhood parks. i think their shovels dig deep into the future of this land.
8:23 am
those shovels, while digging deep, are changing the lives of our children. these efforts are what history will remember us by. ♪ [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2016] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] secretary, we proudly get 72 of our delegate about to the next president -- votes to the next president of the united states. [applause] ♪
8:24 am
eastern, wet 10:00 will look at some of the speeches by president obama during his two terms at the white house correspondents dinner. this year will mark his final attendance. president obama: it turns out jeb bush identified himself as hispanic in 2009. it is an innocent mistake. it reminds me of when i identified myself as american back in 1961. [laughter] >> join us tonight at 10:00 p.m. eastern, and be sure to tune in for live coverage of the white house correspondents dinner on
8:25 am
saturday, april 30, on c-span. on "q&a" the biography of alexander hamilton. ron: he said i was reading your book, and as i started reading started jumping off the page. i said really? i was thinking one honor was this guy talking -- what on this guy talking about. i think he picked up quickly that he had a world-class ignoramus on hip-hop. can hip-hop be the vehicle for telling this large and complex story. he said i'm going to educate you about hip-hop. he did on the spot. he started pointing out that you
8:26 am
can pack more information into the lyrics than any other forum, because it is very dense and rapid. he started talking about the fact that hip-hop not only has rhymed endings, it has internal rhymes, and he started educating me in all of these different devices that are very important to the success of the show. >> sunday night at 8:00 p.m. eastern and pacific on "q&a." >> each week, american history america" brings you archival film that helps provide context for today's issues. of four, 25years years of continuous terror, pestilence, and death, many of
8:27 am
nv living and the dead -- the dead because the dead no longer suffer. dreams, hopes, trust of years gone by. ♪ >> only one thing keeps many going. hope. marine on patrol, headed for some village whose name you not even remember. country, a region season under the control of the viet cong. somewhere out there in the dense jungle growth, they may be hiding. at any moment, you may come across them. cong orunt or -- viet refugees? if it is viet cong, you know what to do. but if refugees, what?
8:28 am
what do you do with these people who want out? refugees that have had enough of the enemy from within. your job when you encounter them -- where possible, to take care of these refugees, to bring them to a place where they can be safe -- where they can learn to believe in life again. there are more than 500,000 refugees here. million in all of vietnam. each week, the total swells by hundreds. the five northern provinces of south vietnam are called the high core because the solving enemiess -- south the
8:29 am
-- vietnamese operate there. an example of inter-service cooperation shown by the use of army helicopters resulted when a call was received to lift out a large group of refugees who were caught in the middle of a fierce firefight between the marines and the viet cong forces. they have hidden during the fighting. now they run for assistance. it is your job, the job of the marines, to bring these people to collection centers where the government of the republic of the vietnam will provide for their immediate needs, food, medical care, shelter, and start them off on the road to a . -- two a spirit >> interested in american history tv -- visit our website, where you can look at the
8:30 am
schedule, or watch a recent program. >> history professor and author elizabeth schmidt talked about how war influenced africa during the cold war. she talks about how colonial powers dealt with these countries as they gained independence. she talks about tensions within the u.s. government over how to respond to africa's decolonization. the wilson center and the africa history center cohosted this event which is about an hour and a half. >> thank you for coming out this afternoon. it is my pleasure to introduce this afternoon's speaker elizabeth schmidt who is a professor at the university of loyola maryland. a professor of history. she received her phd from the university of wisconsin madison. she has books, "from the cold


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on