Barbara Jordan recalls her first meeting at the White House on Feb. 13, 1967 (about 20 seconds from beginning of recording):
“Of course, everyone in Texas knew that Lyndon Johnson was a premier political figure in Texas. But when I was in the Texas State Senate—I served in the senate from January of 1967 until 1972 when I went to the Congress—Lyndon Johnson was president of this country, and I received a telegram at my home in Houston from Lyndon Johnson. The telegram was to the effect ‘we are having a meeting at the White House’ or having several people to discuss the future of a bill which was pending in the Congress. This bill was regarding changes in housing legislation to infuse that legislation with a civil rights component. And this telegram asked if I would meet at the White House to discuss this legislation, and it concluded, ‘Present this telegram at’ some gate of the White House.
“Well, I was, of course, quite startled to receive a telegram from the President of the United States asking that I come to Washington to talk about anything! I said, “Well, I guess I will go.” And I took the telegram—I was in Houston when I received the telegram—came back to Austin for the senate and showed it to my colleagues in the senate. I said, ‘You see, I’ve got an invitation to go to Washington.’ They were kind of excited about just the prospect. Now at the time, John Connally was governor of Texas, and I hadn’t had very good relations with Mr. Connally, but here was this invitation to the White House, so I went.
“At that time you would fly to Washington to Dulles Airport and then you would take a limousine, which is really a bus, to Twelfth and K Streets at the Albert Pick Motel or Hotel. Then you take a taxi to where you wanted to go. So I flew to Washington. I got the bus to the Albert Pick. I took my bag—I wasn’t staying overnight so I didn’t have much luggage, and I put whatever I had in a locker at the Albert Pick transfer point, got a taxi and went to the White House, presented my telegram and got in, just like magic.
“I went up to what I now know was the Cabinet Room. There were other people assembled, people who were active in the civil rights movement. We sat and waited around a table for the President and the Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, to arrive. Well, as I sat there really at the far end of the table, I still said to myself, ‘Now, Lyndon Johnson probably doesn’t know who I am or what I am about, and my name probably just slipped in somehow and got into that [list].’ So the President came in, everybody stood up. He sat down, we all sat down, and we started to discuss this legislation, fair housing legislation.
And the conversation was going around the table. The President would call on first one person for a reaction and then another person for a reaction. Then he stopped and he looked at my end of the table, he said, ‘Barbara, what do you think?’ Well, I just … in the first place, I’m telling you, I didn’t know the President knew me, and here he’s looking down here saying ‘Barbara’ and then saying, ‘What do you think?’ So that was my first exchange with Lyndon Johnson. I’m startled. I got myself organized, of course, not so that I wouldn’t stammer, since it is not my habit to stammer when talking, and I gave a response and then this conversation ensued.”