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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The Durrs find friendship with other southern liberals in Washington, D.C.

During the 1930s, the Durrs joined a Washington social circle including other southern liberals such as Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. Durr describes her impressions of the Johnsons during the early years of their marriage and her admiration for his political abilities.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975. Interview G-0023-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

So, through Clark, I began to meet a lot of black people and through Aubrey, I met Mary McLeod Bethune and then through the Goldschmidts, I met Lyndon and Lady Bird. You see, Tex was in the Interior Department too, and he was in the dam building or water conservation or whatever they called it. You see, at that time, when Lyndon first got elected as Congressman, there was another very attractive man from Texas named Alvin Wirtz, who was the Assistant Secretary of the Interior and they were both just hell bent on the Lower Colorado River Authority. You know, that was to dam it up to irrigate some land. Well, then Tex Goldschmidt was active at the bureau that controlled all of this, maybe that was Public Works. Well, anyway, there were the Lyndon Johnsons, The Alvin Wirtzes, the Clifford Durrs, the Clark Foremans and then Nancy and Mike Straus, they were there quite often. He was also in the Interior Department, and Abe Fortas and his wife. We had a little circle,and we began to meet maybe once a week for dinner and we became very, very friendly with each other. Lady Bird had just come up from Texas, you see, and Lyndon was a young Congressman with a great big adam's apple, as thin as a stringbean. We used to laugh and call him "The Drugstore Cowboy," because he always wore cowboy boots and all. And you know, when I think of Lyndon's later life when he was so maligned and being called just such a vicious and cruel . . . he was the sweetest young man. Of course, we were older than he was, we were ten years older, but he was the sweetest young man and I just adored Lyndon. You all won't believe it, I know. I just loved him dearly and I loved her dearly and I still do. You know, we are just back from visiting her. Because you see, I knew them when they were this young couple, just out of the South, like new laid eggs, almost, it was so . . . and so young and so sweet. Very charming and then Alvin was a very attractive man and had a very cute wife. But the thing that impressed me about Lyndon in those days, when he wanted to go after something like the Lower Colorado River Authority, he did not miss a trick. He cultivated everybody in the Interior Department and he sent presents at Christmas and he was always on the job and always there remembering birthdays and everything else. He was a constant politician. He never took his eyes off the Lower Colorado River Authority. Anyway, he got it and then he got electricity for the Pedernales River where his home was. We are just back from there and everything around there is electrified, but you see, when he grew up, there wasn't any at all. And no irrigation and it was awful dry.