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Contact: Dave Schafer, 830-868-7128 x 235
STONEWALL, TEXAS –On Saturday, April 11, Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park will host special activities to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Highlighting the day will be a ceremony at 2:00 pm at the one-room Junction School near the entrance to the LBJ Ranch. At that site on April 11, 1965, President Johnson signed the landmark law that for the first time provided extensive federal funding of the nation's elementary, junior high, and high schools.
Activities will be on-going from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm inside the one-room Junction School. Throughout the day, visitors can sit at old student desks stocked with reading "primers" and small chalkboards, and listen to park rangers describe what education was like in one-room country schools. Children can try their hand at early twentieth century games such as cup-and-ball, hoop-and-stick, and walking with coffee can stilts.
President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act at the Junction School because it was the building where he began his education when he was four years old. "I felt a very strong desire to go back to the beginnings of my own education," the president said, "to be reminded and to remind others of that magic time when the world of learning began to open before our eyes."President Johnson even had his first teacher,so she could sit by him when he signed the bill into law.
Several people and groups with connections to Lyndon Johnson and education will be present at the 2:00 pm ceremony, including representatives of schools in Stonewall, Johnson City, and Fredericksburg, Texas. Dr. Denise Trauth, the president of Texas State University, will speak as a representative of Lyndon Johnson's college alma mater in San Marcos. Elizabeth Crenwelge, the last teacher at Junction School (which closed in 1947) will be in attendance, as well as a few former Junction School students. Four current students of Stonewall Elementary School will lead the pledge of allegiance.
Dr. Randall Woods, author of LBJ: Architect of American Ambition, will provide the keynote remarks at the 2:00 pm ceremony. Dr. Woods is the John A. Cooper Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Arkansas. He has written widely on twentieth century American political and diplomatic history. Woods is also the author of Shadow Warrior: William E. Colby and the CIA, and Fulbright: A Biography. Both LBJ and Shadow Warrior were New York Times Editor's Choices. In 2016 Basic Books will publish Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson and the Origins of the Great Society. Woods has been a Mellon Fellow at Cambridge University, Stanley Kaplan Distinguished Visiting Professor at Williams College, and John G. Winant Visiting Professor of Politics at the University of Oxford. After the ceremony, Dr. Woods will sign copies of LBJ: Architect of American Ambition.
On April 11 the Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools will host its annual open house weekend at five other one-room schools. Former students, teachers, and other members of the community will be on site to share the history of each school. Schools open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm that day will include Luckenbach, Grapetown, Meusebach, Williams Creek (Albert), and Lower South Grape Creek. See www.historicschools.org/ for more information.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park is open seven days a week from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For more information call 830-868-7128 ext. 231 or 244, or visit www.nps.gov/lyjo and www.facebook.com/LBJohnsonNPS.
More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America's 406 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at www.nps.gov, on Facebook www.facebook.com/nationalparkservice, Twitter www.twitter.com/natlparkservice, and YouTube www.youtube.com/nationalparkservice.