April 10, 2014
06:24 PM EDT
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Today, 50 years after President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law, President Obama spoke at the LBJ Presidential Library to honor the work and legacy of our nation’s 36th president.
“As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we honor the men and women who made it possible,” President Obama said. “We recall the countless unheralded Americans, black and white, students and scholars, preachers and housekeepers — whose names are etched not on monuments, but in the hearts of their loved ones, and in the fabric of the country they helped to change.”
“But we also gather here,” President Obama said, “deep in the heart of the state that shaped him, to recall one giant man’s remarkable efforts to make real the promise of our founding: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”’
Because of the Civil Rights movement, because of the laws President Johnson signed, new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody — not all at once, but they swung open. Not just blacks and whites, but also women and Latinos; and Asians and Native Americans; and gay Americans and Americans with a disability. They swung open for you, and they swung open for me. And that’s why I’m standing here today — because of those efforts, because of that legacy.