Houston Matters

The Bigger Picture: ‘The Lady Bird Diaries’ and the political power of women

Houston Matters remembers the former First Lady and other notable women of 20th-century politics.

Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady alongside President Lyndon B. Johnson
ABC News
Lady Bird Johnson, former First Lady and wife of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson.


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Following her death in 2007, the extensive audio diaries of former First Lady Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson became available to the public. Now, a new documentary on Hulu by Dawn Porter features the diaries she recorded throughout her husband Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidency.

Beginning almost immediately after LBJ took office following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, The Lady Bird Diaries follows Lady Bird Johnson documenting all kinds of aspects of her life as First Lady.

Mrs. Johnson is just one example of how women’s power and influence in politics grew throughout the 20th century.

In this month’s The Bigger Picture, where Houston Matters explores social and cultural topics in film, we discuss other notable women in politics who laid the groundwork for future generations.

In the audio above, Joshua Zinn talks with Charles Dove, Director of Rice Cinema and the Film Program at Rice University, and Nancy Beck Young, Chair of the History Department and Moores Professor of History at the University of Houston.