George Foreman’s warm-up robe

This week's artifact is a warm-up robe (1983.61.1) worn by Heavyweight boxing champion George Foreman. The lettering reads "George Foreman - The Fighting Corpsman." In a letter to Lady Bird, George said, “I wore the robe with pride because it had been President Johnson’s Job Corps which had changed my direction in life. By wearing it, I thought all those Job Corpsmen out there would see that one among them was making it, and maybe it would help them believe they could as well.”

This Topic Talk, entitled "The First Thirty," is a documentary about the first thirty young men to enroll in LBJ's Job Corps program, an initiative some called 'an army against the war on poverty.' The participants arrived at Camp Catoctin on January 15, 1965. The film was produced by the Office of Economic Opportunity. Celebrity spokespersons for Job Corps included Danny Kaye, Andy Williams, Dick Van Dyke, Andy Griffith, Johnny Unitas, Richard Crenna, Harry Belafonte, and Dinah Shore.

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Then & Now

Did You Know…

Thanks in part to job training and job placement programs initiated by LBJ, the rate of poverty in America declined significantly during and after his years in the White House. Millions of Americans raised themselves above the "poverty line," and the percentage under it dropped from 20 to 12 percent between 1964 and 1974. Read more at MillerCenter.org.

Topic Talk