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The struggle to achieve a 'Great Society'

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Gary Eichten, Bill Green and Walter Mondale
(left to right) MPR's Gary Eichten, Augsburg University professor Bill Green and former Vice President Walter Mondale, Oct. 14, 2018, at a History Theatre event in St. Paul.
Courtesy of Molly Weibel

This hour two Minnesotans shed some light on American history a half-century ago, which has considerable resonance today. Bill Green is a history professor at Augsburg University, and Walter Mondale was one of Minnesota's U.S. Senators in the 1960s.

Back in the mid-1960s President Lyndon Johnson and Vice President Hubert Humphrey, another Minnesotan, were working to create what they called "The Great Society." Their struggles to pass far-reaching domestic policy legislation were overshadowed and overpowered by the expanding war in Vietnam.

These controversies are the subject of a play now on stage at the History Theatre in downtown St. Paul. Longtime former MPR host Gary Eichten discussed these events with Mondale and Green, at an event held on Sunday that first featured a few minutes of highlights from the play "The Great Society."

History Theatre artistic director Ron Peluso introduced the scenes. The actors you hear are Pearce Bunting as LBJ, Shawn Hamilton as Martin Luther King, Andrew Erskine Wheeler as HHH, and Eric Knutson as Robert McNamara. 

"The Great Society" by Robert Schenkkan is on stage at the History Theatre in downtown St. Paul through October 28, 2018.

To listen to the discussion, click the audio player above.