April 10 - U.S. President Obama celebrates former President Johnson's signing of the civil rights law of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, religion or gender. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) On the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, President Obama spoke at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas. Obama's speech celebrated former President Johnson's signing of the landmark civil rights law of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, religion or gender. "What the hell is the presidency for, if not to fight for causes you believe in?," Obama asked. "Progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow. Frustrating. And Sometimes you are stymied. The office humbles you. You're reminded daily that in this great democracy you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history. Bound by decisions made by those who came before. Reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision," Obama said. Obama described President Johnson as being a master of politics and legislative process; "He grasped like few others, the power of government to bring about change." "As Dr. King said at the time, it may be true that the law can't make a man love me. But it can keep him from lynching me," the President said, receiving applause. The LBJ Presidential Library is hosting a Civil Rights Summit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. The Summit, comprised of afternoon panel discussions followed by evening keynote addresses, will reflect on the seminal nature of the civil rights legislation passed by President Johnson while examining civil rights issues in America and around the world today.