This week I dove deeper into the Oral History interview of Judge Sarah Hughes; focusing specifically on her relationship with Lyndon B. Johnson. She spoke of how she initially met Johnson when she was making speeches on his behalf while he was running for the senatorial campaign in 1948 (28 February 1969, 11). She was also actively involved in Kennedy and Johnson’s campaign in 1960. Hughes said, “I got involved in the campaign in Dallas County from the very beginning” (21 March 1969, 19). Kennedy and Johnson came to Texas to campaign and Hughes got to ride in the car with them as they rode from Fort Worth to Dallas; stopping at the towns along the way (21 March 1969, 20). Hughes was able to talk to them in length, thus, forming a closer relationship. She speaks of great length of her interactions with Johnson while participating in the campaign. She also speaks about how she was able to attend the inauguration of President Kennedy, and how she got converse with Johnson while in D.C. at that time.
Hughes interactions with these men are greatly significant because it was Kennedy that appointed Hughes as the U.S. Judge for Northern District of Texas. Because of these connections, one can better understand why Johnson requested to have Hughes give him the presidential oath of office. Everything in this world is about connections, and if she had not made those connections with Johnson then she would not have been photographed in this magnificently historical photo, and, accordingly, would not have been the first woman to administer the oath of office.
Hughes explains what occurred the day that President Kennedy was assassinated. How she was actually at a luncheon waiting for Kennedy to arrive when she discovered that Kennedy was injured. Then when she left how she found out from someone in a passing car of Kennedy’s death. She talks about her numerous thoughts following the news and about her thoughts when she was called and asked to administer the oath of office to Johnson. She explains what was said on Air Force One among the Johnsons and herself. Also, she speaks of the pose of Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson and touches on the controversy over whether it was a Catholic missal or Bible that was used to swear in President Johnson. The interviews also include a copy of an article that Hughes wrote soon after she administered the oath about the swearing in of Johnson.
All of this is crucial to my paper. Hughes had first-hand knowledge of what occurred in the photo and what a part of that magnificent photo. She had a fascinating life that is important to know because it led her to be a part of many exciting moments in history. The photograph speaks volumes about her life regardless of whether many tend to initially recognize it or not.
Next week’s blog post will be my final post since so that I can wrap up my research and focus whole-heartedly on my presentation and paper.
Hughes, Judge Sarah T., interview by Dr. Fred Gantt. Interview with Judge Sarah T. Hughes (January 15, February7, February 28, March 21, April 11, May 16, May 27 1969).