The Austin Chronicle

Perspectives on the LBJ Library From the Directors

Three of the LBJ Library's directors offer their unique views on the institution

By Robert Faires, August 27, 2021, Arts

Mark A. Lawrence (2019-present):

"I think that LBJ himself, Mrs. Johnson, and others who had a strong hand in shaping this place really wanted the LBJ Library to be different from the existing presidential libraries. At the time, there were only three: FDR, Truman, and Eisenhower. And nothing against those institutions, but they were smaller in scale and they were kind of focused on the history of the president. In terms of the scale of this building, you can see that something's different here."

Betty Sue Flowers (2002-09):

"I loved the idea of sharing with the public the raw materials of history through the archives and the many interpretations of that history through programming and museum exhibits. President Johnson did so much that our materials were incredibly rich and important. And, of course, the LBJ Library was known as the best in the system, with the best staff and the most supportive first family."

Mark K. Updegrove (2009-17):

"We needed to get LBJ firmly in the 21st century and to compel younger people who might not give LBJ any kind of look to say, 'Not only do I understand but I can relate to this presidency because the same issues he addressed we are addressing today: voting rights, racial equity, environmental preservation, health care, immigration.' All these things that LBJ was grappling with so consequentially in the 1960s are issues that we're facing today."

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