News / USA

Obama Praises Predecessor Lyndon Johnson's Civil Rights Legacy

Obama Praises Civil Rights Legacy of Predecessor Lyndon Johnsoni
X
April 11, 2014 10:20 AM
President Barack Obama applauded his predecessor Lyndon Johnson for a civil rights legacy that led to the election of the first U.S. black president nearly half a century later. Obama gave a keynote address Thursday at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Zlatica Hoke
President Barack Obama applauded his predecessor Lyndon Johnson for a civil rights legacy that eventually led to the election of the first U.S. black president nearly half a century later. Obama gave the keynote address at a ceremony Thursday marking the 50th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Civil Rights Act. Former U.S. presidents George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, civil rights leaders and other dignitaries also attended the three-day Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
 
The president reminded the audience at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library of the significance of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The law, was soon was followed by the Voting Rights Act and other laws that now are part of U.S. civil society. Obama said those important measures opened new doors of opportunity for many Americans.
 
"Not just blacks and whites but also women, and Latinos and Asians and native Americans," he noted. "And gay Americans. And Americans with a disability. They swung open for you and they swung open for me."

The president praised Lyndon Johnson for his courage to fight for a cause that many officials had told him was lost.
 
"And one particularly bold aide said he did not believe a president should spend his time and power on lost causes, however worthy they might be, to which, it is said, President Johnson replied: 'Well, what the hell's the presidency for? What the hell's the presidency for if not to fight for causes you believe in?'" Obama told the audience.
 
The president also said that the fight started by President Johnson is not over yet.
 
"As was true 50 years ago, there are those who dismiss the Great Society as a failed experiment and an encroachment on liberty, who argue the government has become the true source of all that ails us, and that poverty is due to the moral failings of those who suffer from it," said Obama.
 
President Obama insisted that the government has a role in making sure all Americans enjoy equal access to education, jobs, health care and other basic rights.
 
Civil Rights Movement veteran John Lewis, now a congressman from Georgia, praised Obama's understanding that there is much more to be done in that area. 
 
"That is why, as president, he has set his shoulders to the plow to bring about meaningful change in America by ending two wars and passing comprehensive health care reform... Thank you, Mr. President," said Lewis.
 
Obama ended his speech on an optimistic note, saying America is a story of progress, despite challenges along the way.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid