Eartha Kitt and Lady Bird (multiple responses)
Fri, 1 Nov 1996 17:10:52 -0500


Subject: Eartha Kitt and Lady Bird

RE J. Grant's query: As I recall, Eartha (sic?) Kitt publicly asked
Lady Bird Johnson why her husband was "killing our boys." But my
memory may be suffering the effects of age and agent orange. Can anyone
Ed Palm

Sender: (Ian Gordon)
Subject: Re: Eartha Kitt

>Eartha Kitt provoked an incident at a white House dinner many years ago,
>but I cannot recall the details.
> Can someone help?

A few years ago there was an article about this incident in a journal
called Presidential Quarterly or maybe Presidential Studies Quarterly,
something like that. The article was written by a student from Texas and
her conclusion was that Kitt's protest about the Vietnam War and racial
discrimination demonstrated a lack of manners. I kid you not. Nonetheless
the article had a lot of details. If you need to have a more precise
citation let me know off list and I'll find it in my files. I think I still
have it because I found the whole style of it bizarre.

Ian Gordon
KvB College of Visual Communication
Ph. 61 2 9922 4278 (wk)



Sender: "Richard C. Crepeau" <>
Subject: Re: Eartha Kitt

The incident involved a war protest over Vietnam. I recently heard her
talking about this incident with Marian McPartland on her "Piano Jazz"
program. Ms. Kitt was talking about the ferocity of the reaction she
generated and the fact that she has never really been forgiven for what
was seen as a breech of etiquette even after all these years. I believe
that the event was a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.

Dick Crepeau



Sender: (Stu Shiffman and Andi Shechter)
Subject: Re: Eartha Kitt

According to Tom Wells' book _THe War Within_ (pp 219-220)

"At a January [1967] luncheon on juvenile deliquency in America, the
entertainer Eartha Kitt sternly lectured Mrs. Johnson on the war's
contribution to the problem. 'We send the best of this country off to be
shot and maimed,' Kitt said, advancing a step toward Lady Bird. 'They rebel
in the streets.' The first lady - her face pale, her voice quivering -
could only meekly respond that the war's burden should not deter efforts
to 'make this a happier, better-educated land.'"
Wells goes on to say that LBJ reportedly put the FBI and CIA on Kitt - and
her career did suffer from press attacks calling her "a sadistic

Andi Shechter



Sender: "Ron Jacobs" <>
Subject: Re: Eartha Kitt

>From what I recall, she was at some awards dinners for artists with
LBJ and she spoke out against the war.

Ron Jacobs\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Bailey/Howe Library,UVM\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\
Reserve desk\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'Twas ever thus...\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\----Mr. Natural
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Sender: "Kathleen E. Bethel" <>
Subject: Re: Eartha Kitt

>From NOTABLE BLACK AMERICAN WOMEN (Edited by Jaessie Carney Smith, Detroit:
Gale Research, 1992): p. 636...

"At the invitation of First Lady Mrs. Lyndon Johnson, Kitt attended a
Luncheon in January 1968 at the White House. The question under for (sic)
discussion was, "Why is there so much juvenile delinquency in the streets of
America?" Believing then (as she did as recently as December 3, 1989, on
CBS's "Sixty Minutes") that her own poverty had colored her actions in every
phase of her life, Kitt chose to respond to the question. Her feeling was
that the war in Vietnam was a direct cause of the street crime in several
ways. NEWSWEEK (January 29, 1968) quoted her remarks to Mrs. Johnson as
follows: "I think we have missed the main point at this luncheon. We have
forgotten the main reason we have juvenile delinquency....No wonder the kids
rebel and take pot...." Informing Mrs. Johnson that pot was marijuana, Kitt
suddenly found her options for employment severely curtailed, and she became
the subject of a lurid CIA investigation and other surveillance. Kitt says
in ALONE WITH ME, [her second autobiography, 1976] "With God as my witness,
I had no intention of launching a diatribe against the war in Vietnam."


Kathleen E. Bethel, African American Studies Librarian
Northwestern University Library, Evanston, Illinois 60208-2300
Office: 847.491.2173, Fax: 847.491.8306, E-mail:


Sender: <>
Subject: Eartha Kitt

Didn't Eartha Kitt insult Betty Ford proving herself not a "Old Fashioned Girl
as the lines of her 50s song went? Further memory stirrings seems to recall
that she identified herself as the Cat Woman of America following her cameo
appearances in the old Batman television series.
Tony Williams