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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact 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.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs