42 minutes | Mar 29, 2021

Ep. 6: Blindsided

By the mid-60s, you can hear a growing distance between Lady Bird and the protest movement that’s sweeping the country. Bird’s a true believer in progressive causes -- civil rights, environmentalism -- but she’s also the product of her own generation and background. On a trip to two New England colleges to give speeches supporting their new environmental studies programs, Lady Bird is confronted by outspoken dissent from both students and faculty who walk out of her speeches, picket her presence and circulate letters denouncing the war in Vietnam. Lady Bird feels increasing under siege, even as she vows not to retreat into a bubble in the White House. But then dissent comes to lunch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, when singer, actor and activist Eartha Kitt participates in one of Lady Bird’s “Doers Luncheons,” and delivers a fierce critique of the war and its effect on young Black men. The resulting media backlash, fueled by the White House PR machine, is swift and brutal, effectively derailing Kitt’s career for decades to come.
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