Regional Citizenship as a Rhetorical Resource and the 1964 Lady Bird Special

LII Faculty Authors: Dr. Sara R. Kitsch

On October 6, 1964, Lady Bird Johnson made history as she boarded a train headed south from Washington D.C. In the first solo campaign conducted by a first lady, she embraced the opportunity to advocate on behalf of her husband’s reelection and dedication to Civil Rights in a region she called home. Scholars have recognized the importance of attending to place; however, less attention has been given to the role of region and how it might serve as a rhetorical resource. This essay explores regional citizenship, a term I am using to describe three strategies – enactment, affirmation, and construction – that constitute a rhetorical resource that allowed Lady Bird to enter, engage, and effect change in the South.