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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Civil Rights in America, Fifty Years On

President Johnson addresses a nationwide television audience during his signing of the Civil Rights Act in the East Room of the White House, July 2, 1964.  Among the dignitaries in the front row are Lady Bird Johnson, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, and Senator Barry Goldwater.

President Obama spoke on Thursday at the LBJ Library in Austin, commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a great turning point in American history that was largely the result of President Lyndon Johnson's strenuous efforts to ensure that Congress passed the bill, which he signed on July 2, 1964.  Notice what Obama says about gay Americans, and about the movement of history.

Full text and video of Obama's remarks are here.

Just to refresh your memory, here's a mini-documentary about LBJ's work on the Civil Rights Act, which was an uphill battle all the way - this Wikipedia article gives details on the votes in the House and the Senate.

And a short study of Barry Goldwater's attitude towards civil rights - notice at the 1:28 mark, the sign held by white protesters in New Orleans, 1960: "God Demands Segregation." Sound familiar?

And Andy Borowitz gets the last word:

Nation Stunned to Learn Congress Accomplished Something Fifty Years Ago


Stan said...

I doubt it would even pass in todays do nothing congress.

Russ Manley said...

Pass, hell - it would never even come to a vote.

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