Marking The 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act

Apr 10, 2014

This week, U.S. presidents are heading to Austin, Texas, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush are all scheduled to speak in addition to President Obama at the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas.

The anniversary not only honors the legislation, but the president behind it, Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson is often remembered as the presidential force behind the Vietnam War, but with anniversaries like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, which has its 50th anniversary next year, Johnson is being reintroduced as the civil rights president.

Ben Philpott, senior political reporter KUT, Austin speaks with Here & Now’s Robin Young about the Civil Rights Summit.


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And, Ben Philpott, obviously talking about civil rights there. But the current president is also trying to get some laws passed. Where there - was there mention of other issues that have to do with civil rights?

BEN PHILPOTT, BYLINE: You know, not so much in his speech today. You know, I thought that maybe he would talk some about the recent executive order that he signed in terms of equal pay with a female staff at the federal level. That has not only been in a panel - that's going to be in a panel at the summit, the idea of, you know, the glass ceiling, I guess, is the way they're describing it t the panel. But, you know, that's a big deal in Texas at the moment in the governor's race where you've got a female Democrat, State Senator Wendy Davis running against male Gregg Abbott on the Republican side, the attorney general, and the issue of equal pay has been something that, you know, got vetoed in the last legislative session.

So I thought maybe something there might come up. But he really did stick to the idea of Johnson's importance pushing this kind of legislation through and then just continuing to move it forward.

YOUNG: Ben Philpott, senior political reporter for KUT in Austin as President Obama addresses the summit today at the Lyndon B Johnson library there. Ben, thanks so much.

PHILPOTT: Thank you.

YOUNG: You're listening to HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.