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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs