Dragged into the vice presidency of her husband, Lyndon Baines Johnson—she considered it a step down from LBJ’s Senate majority position—she nevertheless took on that role and then became first lady after the horror of President Kennedy’s assassination.
Over the years, Lady Bird not only evolved into an early environmentalist but also pushed her husband’s domestic agenda, including the 1964 Civil Rights Act. For this, she was booed, spit on and threatened.
The first lady held her ground with a touch of humor. Slowly, she’d respond: “You may not agree with what I have to say, but at least y’all will understand the way I say it.”
Lesson: When emotions run high, kid a little about yourself to lighten the mood.
—Adapted from “The first lady who helped beautify the nation,” The Week, citing USA Today.