Lyndon B. Johnson

Photo Credit: Ellyn Snider | Daily Texan Staff

Former President Lyndon B. Johnson increased opportunities for Americans of all social classes by passing legislation focused on civil rights, voting rights and health care, according to Julian Zelizer, author and history professor at Princeton University.

Zelizer spoke about the history and impact of Johnson’s “Great Society,” a collection of programs in the 1960s set up to eliminate poverty and racial injustice, during a lecture hosted by the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law on Friday.

“The most iconic image of Lyndon Johnson that I’ve seen … is where he hovered over opponents, where he hovered over his supporters, and he seduced them, cajoled them, lobbied them into voting for what he wanted to do,” Zelizer said. 

Today, Americans underestimate the struggles Johnson faced to pass his historic pieces of legislation because liberal and conservative forces polarized politics in the 1960s, Zelizer said.

“Congress was dominated from the late ’30s to the early ’60s by a conservative coalition of Southern Democratic committee chairs and Midwestern Republicans, who teamed up on committee and who teamed up on the floor to block everything that was liberal,” Zelizer said.

Johnson maintained close relationships with members of Congress and understood the limits of presidential power, according to Zelizer. The president carefully cultivated his relationships on the Hill, and he would even instruct his cabinet staff to call members back within five minutes of receiving a phone call.

“We don’t put Johnson in the context of the times,” Zelizer said. 

Ellen Scholl, global policy studies graduate student, said she thought the relationship between the president and interest groups was the most interesting part of Zelizer’s talk.

“There is a tendency in the post-George Bush era to talk about the presidency as an all-powerful, dominating institution,” Scholl said. “As LBJ thought, there were actually some real limits on the presidency, and I think it’s important to remember those limits.”

Congress is an important part of the government, but the legislative branch has been difficult to work with throughout history, according to public affairs and history professor Jeremi Suri.

“The most important part of the lecture is … how extraordinary it is that in a particular moment, Congress and President Johnson were able to work together for civil rights the way they did,” Suri said.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

The Civil Rights Summit is a three day commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Activists and leaders from around the country — including four U.S. presidents — came to UT to speak, discuss and debate the roll civil rights plays in our world today.

Photo Credit: Anik Bhattacharya | Daily Texan Staff

When President Barack Obama spoke Thursday at the Civil Rights Summit, it was not the first time a U.S. president has visited the University. Since 1900, seven different presidents have given speeches at the University to commemorate events and inspire students — although some of them did it from their carriages rather than being live-streamed on television.

The first president who visited the University was President William McKinley, who spoke from his carriage in front of the Tower in 1900, according to the book “The University of Texas Records.” Nearly five years later, President Theodore Roosevelt spoke from his carriage in the same spot, although not very eloquently, the book said.

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“He is not an easy speaker,” the book said. “His words indeed come with considerable effort, but they are well chosen, and his intense earnestness and sincerity give great force to what he says.”

A 1905 editorial in The Daily Texan gave the students’ opinion of the president’s qualities. “The student body at the University and the people of Texas, as a rule, may not agree with the President in politics, but they are much too broad-minded not to honor the office which he holds,” the editorial said. “Besides, he has some good qualities anyhow.”

Two of the four presidents at the summit, Obama and former President Bill Clinton, also previously visited the University. In 1995, Clinton gave a speech on racial harmony and cooperation, quoting Martin Luther King Jr. and urging both black and white Americans to reconcile their differences.

“We must clean our house of racism,” Clinton said. “We are one nation, one family — indivisible.”

Obama gave a speech in Gregory Gym in 2010, in which he showed students his “Hook ‘em Horns” hand sign and emphasized the importance of prioritizing education.

The president closest to the University has always been President Lyndon B. Johnson, who visited campus regularly and even attended football games in Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, although he disliked the sport. One of his staff members was quoted in an ESPN article as saying, “He didn’t pay any attention to the game at all. He cared about as much about football as I would a ladies’ dressing parade.”

Johnson was friends with former head football coach Darrell K Royal and many other University staff and faculty, and the LBJ Library was built on campus in 1971 in his honor. His wife, Lady Bird Johnson, who worked for The Daily Texan, had degrees in history and journalism from the University.

President Johnson gave a commencement speech at the University in 1964, just before he signed the Civil Rights Act. In his speech, he spoke about how increasing population growth meant more responsibility for students to improve the world.

“For we are at a turning point in the history of our Nation,” Johnson said. “One road leads to the Great Society … and the other road leads to a legacy of despair and degradation. This is the time for decision. You are the generation which must decide.”

Civil Rights Summit

President Barack Obama delivers his keynote address at the Civil Rights Summit.

Photo Credit: Charlie Pearce | Daily Texan Staff

President Barack Obama applauded the legacy of former President Lyndon B. Johnson and emphasized Johnson’s belief that government plays an important role in promoting equality during his keynote address at the Civil Rights Summit on Thursday.

Obama discussed challenges he has personally seen as president and said that like Johnson, he believes the presidency provides a rare opportunity to help change the course of history.

“Those of us who have had the singular privilege to hold the office of the president know that progress in this country can be hard, and it can be slow,” Obama said. “You are reminded that in this great democracy, you are merely a relay swimmer in the currents of history … but the presidency also affords a unique opportunity to bend those currents by shaping our laws and by shaping our debates, by working within the confines of the world as it is, but also by reimagining the world as it should be.” 

Obama also praised Johnson’s tenacity in passing legislation and said Johnson’s transition from poverty to presidency embodied America and the ideals of progress.

“President Johnson knew that ours, in the end, is a story of optimism, a story of achievement and constant striving that is unique upon this Earth,” Obama said. “He knew because he had lived that story. He believed that together we can build an America that is more fair, more equal and more free than the one we inherited.”

Some pieces of Obama’s legislation have received negative feedback from members of Congress, including the Affordable Care Act. Obama said taking a stand for seemingly hopeless or unpopular legislation is what set Johnson apart and is what he hopes to emulate as president today.

“What the hell’s the presidency for if not to fight for causes you believe in?” Obama said, referencing Johnson’s response to his staff members who encouraged him not to pursue the Civil Rights Act.

Obama said he hopes the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act will show the younger generation of America the importance of fighting for change. 

“If there is one thing that [Johnson] and this year’s anniversary should teach us, if there’s one lesson I hope that Malia and Sasha and young people everywhere learn from this day, it’s that with enough effort and enough empathy — and enough perseverance and enough courage — people who love their country can change it,” Obama said. 

UT President William Powers Jr. said he enjoyed Obama’s speech and his focus on Johnson’s legacy.

“I thought it was a terrific speech,” Powers said. “I thought its focus on President Johnson’s legacy was a perfect theme and tone. The combination of celebrating — there has been change and there are challenges ahead. And it was an honor to have the president of the United States on campus.”

U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, introduced Obama and said his status as the first black president was especially poignant in the context of the 50-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. Obama was born three years before the act’s passage.

“President Barack Obama was born into a dangerous and difficult time in American history, a time when people were arrested and taken to jail just for sitting beside each other on the bus,” Lewis said. “When people say nothing has changed, I say, ‘Come and walk in my shoes, and I will show you change.’”

This article has been updated since its original posting.

Civil Rights Summit

Guests of the Public Affairs Alliance for Communities of Color’s Civil Rights Summit Watch Party watch a live stream of former President  Bill Clinton’s speech at the Scholz Garten on Wednesday evening. Clinton emphasized the issue of voter ID laws in his speech, as well as the importance of the Civil Rights movement’s role in elections. 

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Former President Bill Clinton emphasized the issue of voter ID laws during his speech Wednesday at the Civil Rights Summit, saying they disenfranchise voters and do not align with the goals of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Clinton also said students should be able to use their student IDs to vote.

“Here in Texas, the concealed carry permit counts, but there’s one photo ID that doesn’t count: one from a Texas institution of higher education,” Clinton said at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. “This is a way of restricting the franchise after 50 years of expanding it.”

Clinton, who was the second president to appear at the summit after former President Jimmy Carter spoke on Tuesday evening, said the U.S.’s voting laws impair some people’s abilities to vote.

“Anytime you erect a barrier to political participation that disenfranchises people based on their income or race, it undermines the spirit of the Civil Rights Act,” Clinton said.

Clinton emphasized the importance of the civil rights movement in the election of the last three Democrats to win the presidency.

"We’re here because the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act made it possible for Jimmy Carter, Barack Obama and I to become president of the United States,” Clinton said.

Guests react to Bill Clinton's speech at a Civil Rights Summit watch party at Scholz Garten on Wednesday evening. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff

The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination in public places based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin, while the Voting Rights Act extended federal oversight of elections to prevent discrimination in voting. President Lyndon B. Johnson lobbied for and signed both landmark pieces of legislation.

Student Government President Kori Rady said the elimination of obstacles such as Texas’ current voter ID restrictions is crucial to increasing voter turnout on campus.  

“We can get the ball rolling and get this conversation started, and having a former president of the United States start the conversation definitely helps,” Rady said.

Clinton demonstrated commitment to civil rights in multiple areas during his presidency, according to Gregory Vincent, vice president for the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement.

“He made a very conscientious effort to have his cabinet reflect the diversity of America,” Vincent said.

Law assistant professor Cary Franklin said Clinton’s legacy is tainted by the Defense of Marriage Act, which he signed in 1996.

“I don’t think the marriage equality story is a very happy one from Clinton’s presidency,” Franklin said. “He wasn’t enthusiastic about signing that bill. ”

Clinton said in order to progress civil rights, people should focus less on their racial and gender differences.

“We are genetically 99.5 percent the same,” Clinton said. “Why are we risking the future of this great experiment, the wide horizons that Lyndon Johnson and his colleagues open to us, by spending 99 and a half percent of our time on that half percent of ourselves that is different?”

Civil Rights Summit

Andrew Young, former congressman and United Nations Ambassador, speaks at the "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream" panel at the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

Photo Credit: Lauren Ussery | Daily Texan Staff

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson had an amicable relationship, even as King and others pressured Johnson to introduce new civil rights legislation, according to Andrew Young, former United Nations ambassador.

The second day of the Civil Rights Summit began with the “LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream” panel, a discussion that featured Young, as well as LBJ’s special assistant Joseph Califano Jr. and historians Taylor Branch and Doris Kearns Goodwin.

“[Johnson originally] said, ‘I just don’t have the power,’” Young, who also served as a congressman and mayor of Atlanta, said. “I thought it was arrogant for him to say that … [but] we went to Selma on the second of January, and by the end of March the president had all the power he needed to get the Civil Rights Act introduced.”

Young said both Johnson and King were adept politicians, and he overheard phone calls between the two men that suggested they had a close relationship.

“I heard them on the phone talking like brothers, like pastor and member,” Young said.

According to Branch, people have disagreed about what Johnson’s views about race were — whether he changed his views over time, or if he consistently supported the enfranchisement of African-Americans.

“I think Johnson had an empathy his whole lifetime,” Branch said. “I think those were his sincere views, and my guess is that they were formed long before it was popular to believe they were there.”

Goodwin said although she knew Johnson only during the last few years of his life, it was clear he was proud of passing civil rights legislation in 1964 and 1965.

“There was no question in the time I spent with him … he was proudest of the Civil Rights Act than anything he had ever done,” Goodwin said.

Branch said Johnson had several advantages that President Barack Obama does not, including an American public that possessed a patriotic sense of sacrifice and an optimistic attitude following World War II.

“To change the mood of the country from cynicism to optimism is not something that is wholly in the purview of the presidency,” Branch said.

Young said he thinks issues should not be considered on the basis of race.

“Looking back to everything I did to help people helped black and white people together,” Young said. “We’ve got to de-racialize these issues to get people to look at them a bit more objectively.”

Young said he thinks poor people of all ethnicities still struggle economically.

“We really still have to have a way to make democracy and free enterprise work for poor people of all dollars,” Young said. “We’ve come a long way. We’ve got a long way to go.”

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Read recaps of Wednesday's events by scrolling down here. Click here for the liveblog of Thursday's events, which include addresses by President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush.

Updated (8:55 p.m.): For a full recap of Clinton's speech, click here.

Updated (7:22 p.m.): Former President Bill Clinton said voting in the U.S., because of voter ID laws and other restrictions, does not reflect the goals of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

“Here in Texas, the concealed carry permit counts, but there’s one photo ID that doesn't count,” Clinton said.  “One from a Texas institution of higher education.”

Clinton also said the economy is a factor in preventing the country from fulfilling the goals of the Civil Rights Act.

“It’s all the more difficult today because of the economic conditions in which we find ourselves,” Clinton said. “The statistics show economic growth, but almost all of it is going to the top 10 percent.”

Check back soon for a full recap of the event.

—Julia Brouillette

Updated (6:10 p.m.): During the Clinton administration, there were students on campus calling for greater recognition of LGBTQ and black students' rights. Read that story here.

Updated (5:50 p.m.): Planning a Civil Rights Summit watch party? Click here for a guide on how to do that.

UT Law School hosted a watch party for former President Jimmy Carter's speech Tuesday evening. Photo by Pu Ying Huang / Daily Texan Staff

Updated (4:50 p.m.): As several civil rights leaders spoke about their contributions to the movement, they recognized that the movement was guilty of certain prejudices as well.

Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, speaks at the "Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement: Views from the Front Line" on Wednesday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff

Julian Bond, former chairman of the NAACP, said even within the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, which had more gender equality than other civil rights organizations, there were still tensions between men and women.

“There were enormous tensions over the role each would play,” Bond said. “Had it not been for women, there would not have been a movement.”

Read the full story here.

—Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (3:35 p.m.): The University Leadership Initiative held a rally in front of the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on campus to show support for immigrants who have been deported.

Students involved in the rally held a number of signs, one of which said “we have a dream 2,” and chained themselves to the MLK statue, as representatives said the ideals of the Civil Rights Summit did not align with current U.S. policy towards undocumented immigrants.

Juan Belman, a second year engineering major who said his father is at risk of deportation, said that Austin needs to show support for families who have to deal with deportation.

“If we are a progressive community here in Austin, we need to show that,” Belmot said. “We need to show Texas how to move forward.”

— Adam Hamze

Updated (3:30 p.m.): For a full recap of "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream," click here.

Updated (3:02 p.m.): At a press conference at Fort Hood army base Wednesday afternoon, President Barack Obama spoke about the recent shooting that left four dead and more than a dozen injured, and called for increased support for Americans suffering from mental health issues.

"Part of what makes this so painful is we've been here before," Obama said. "We cannot ever eliminate every risk, but as a nation we can do more to counsel those with mental health issues, and to keep firearms out of the hands of those having such difficulties."

Obama also offered words of support for the soldiers' families.

"We hold each other up, we carry on, and with God's amazing grace we somehow bear the things unbearable," Obama said. "...This army and this nation stand with you for all these days to come."

— Julia Brouillette

Updated (2:50 p.m.): In their early 20’s, at the same age that many of today’s college students learn about the impact the two activists had, Bill Russell and Jim Brown were already utilizing their status as high profile athletes to strengthen the civil rights movement.

(From left): Former NFL running back Jim Brown, former NBA center and head coach Bill Russell and Harry Edwards, sociology professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley speak at the Sports: Leveling the Playing Field panel Wednesday. Photo by Shelby Tauber / Daily Texan Staff

At the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday, Russell, Brown and Harry Edwards, a former sociology professor at the University of California, noted that their opportunity to contribute to the civil rights movement at such a young age came as a result of their strong upbringing.

“[Many of the people] around me at a young age were impeccable at stressing the importance of education,” Brown said. “Because I was helped at a young age, I knew my life’s work would be to help others.”

Read the full story of the Sports: Leveling the Playing Field panel by clicking here.

— Stefan Scrafield

Updated (2:12 p.m.): According to Andrew Young, former congressman and former mayor of Atlanta, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and former President Lyndon B. Johnson had a very amicable relationship, even as King and others pressured Johnson to introduce new civil rights legislation. Young spoke about the relationship between King and Johnson at "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream," the first summit panel on Wednesday.

“[Johnson originally] said, ‘I just don’t have the power,’” Young said. “I thought it was arrogant for him to say that… [but] we went to Selma on the second of January, and by the end of March the president had all the power he needed to get that civil rights act introduced.”

Andrew Young, former congressman and United Nations Ambassador, speaks at the "LBJ and MLK: Fulfilling a Promise, Realizing a Dream" panel at the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday afternoon. Photo by Lauren Ussery / Daily Texan Staff

Young said Johnson and King were both adept politicians and said he overheard phone calls between the two men which suggested they had a close relationship.

“I heard them on the phone talking like brothers, like pastor and member,” Young said.

According to historian Taylor Branch, there was some disagreement about what Johnson’s views about race were—whether he changed his views over time, or if he consistently supported the enfranchisement of African Americans.

“I think Johnson had an empathy his whole lifetime,” Branch said. “I think those were his sincere views, and my guess is that they were formed long before it was popular to believe they were there.” 

Check back soon for a full recap of the event.

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (12:32 p.m.): UT President William Powers Jr. said that although the University has made great strides in advancing civil rights, historically, UT has been on the “wrong side” of the argument.

UT President William Powers Jr. speaks about the University's role in civil rights, and how sometimes it has been on the wrong side of the argument. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

"The University of Texas has had a special role in the history of civil rights — first, of course, on the wrong side of those issues as a segregated school, and in Sweatt v. Painter on the wrong side of that case," Powers said in an address at the Civil Rights Summit Wednesday. 

To read more about Powers' remarks, click here.

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (12:03 p.m.): After students reported low attendance at several panels during the first day of the summit, event coordinators announced the creation of a stand-by line for admission to the remaining panels on Wednesday and Thursday. The line, which will begin on the east side of Sid Richardson Hall,  will be available to anyone with a UT identification card.

No stand-by lines have been announced for the remaining presidential addresses. To read more about yesterday's seating vacancies, click here

— Nicole Cobler

Updated (11:57 a.m.): The Google Cultural Institute, an online collection of historical archives, partnered with the National Archives and released various archives relating to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in light of the civil rights movement.

The “Historic Moments” exhibit features documents, images and videos of the development of the civil rights movement and the legislative process leading to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“Google creates platforms and tools like this, such as the National Archives, to tell the story of diverse cultural heritage and share these archives worldwide,” Gerardo Interiano, public affairs manager for Google, said.

Gerardo Interiano, public affairs manager for Google, talks about the Google Cultural Institute, an online collection of historical archives. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

Google is a sponsor of the Civil Rights Summit and is hosting “G+ Hangouts” with various summit speakers. Today’s “hangout” will feature playwright Robert Schenkkan at 2 p.m. To watch the livestream of the hangout, click here. 

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (11:53 a.m.): UT Parking and Transportation Services announced additional road closures on the east side of campus during the ongoing Civil Rights Summit in an email sent to students on Wednesday morning.

Robert Dedman Drive between Dean Keeton and 23rd streets will be closed on Thursday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition, Trinity Street between Robert Dedman and 23rd streets will be closed sporadically between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. President Barack Obama’s keynote address to the summit is scheduled for Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

As a result of the closures, the PTS email said UT shuttles that regularly stop on 23rd Street will now do so on Winship Circle next to the Winship Drama Building.

Last week, PTS announced Clyde Littlefield Drive would be closed during the summit.

— Jacob Kerr

Updated (11:42 a.m.): According to psychology graduate student Christa Vassillieri, the Forty Acres Bus, which circles campus and has a stop across from the LBJ Library, has been more crowded since the Civil Rights Summit began Tuesday.

Vassillieri said she had forgotten the summit was happening, but did notice that the bus had more patrons than usual. Although Vassillieri said she heard promotions for the summit over the radio, she did not believe four presidents would have reason to speak in Austin.

“That’s what I thought I heard, but I was like, this can’t be,” Vassillieri said.

— Nicole Cobler

Updated (11:23 a.m.): Although former President Bill Clinton was originally supposed to tour the “Cornerstones of Civil Rights” exhibit at the LBJ Library before his address this evening, he will be arriving too late to take the tour as scheduled, according to Elizabeth Christian, president of the LBJ Foundation.

The exhibit, which opened  on April 1 and will remain open until April 30, features a copy of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by former President Abraham Lincoln and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both signed by former President Lyndon B. Johnson.

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (10:40 a.m.): Ben Barnes, former Speaker of the Texas House and Lieutenant Governor, said President Lyndon B. Johnson would be concerned about the rising influence of the Tea Party in Texas and the increasing divide between political parties nationally.

Ben Barnes, former Texas lieutenant governor and former chairman of the LBJ Foundation, speaks to media Wednesday. Barnes said he thinks President Johnson would be concerned by the polarization of the country's two major political parties. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff

Barnes, a UT alumni, was the youngest Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives at 26, and served from 1965 to 1969, while Johnson was president. Following Barnes’ tenure as Speaker, he served as the Lieutenant Governor of Texas. In 1995, Barnes received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the Texas Exes, the University’s alumni organization.

“As happy as President Johnson would be about what these four days are going to mean, he’d still be very concerned about the bigotry and the prejudice that are two of the important components going into the very divisive government we have today,” Barnes said.

Barnes said he was especially concerned by the state-wide prominence of the Tea Party.

“I read a column by a Washington writer last week where he said Texas is in a situation where the Tea Party is going to be stronger in Texas than in any other state, as far as state elected officials — I’m not proud of that,” Barnes said. “I’m not proud of where they want to take Texas and I think it’s a very, very grave time in our state and I think President Johnson would share that disdain.”

According to Barnes, Johnson — who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law and increased the United State’s involvement in the Vietnam War — will be remembered for his impact on the functions of today’s government.

“As time goes by and there’s more public forums like this and people really understand Johnson and what he accomplished, people are going to remember Lyndon Johnson for what his domestic policy was,” Barnes said. “He really passed the legislation that is the framework and foundation of our government today — you can’t erase that.”

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (7:45 a.m.): While all available tickets were distributed for the first day of the summit, attendees reported a lower turnout. Check out this story by Madlin Mekelburg to read more about it.

Updated (7:26 a.m.): The timing of the summit is meant to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in July of that year. This video by Dan Resler explains the history of the landmark legislation.

Updated (7:00 a.m.): The first day of the Civil Rights Summit featured a conversation with former President Jimmy Carter, who said civil rights as they relate to racial minorities and women still need to be addressed, ranging from modern-day slavery to sexual abuse at college campuses in the U.S. 

Tuesday's panels also included:

1) A discussion about whether gay marriage is a civil right featuring attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson, who teamed up in 2010 to challenge Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment in California that banned same-sex marriages. 

2) San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour talked about immigration laws and border security.

3) Musicians Mavis Staples and Graham Nash performed Tuesday night and spoke about their experiences and what influences their music.

Other highlights from the day can be found on our Civil Rights Summit, Day 1 Liveblog.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Click here for full coverage of the second day of the Civil Rights Summit.

Updated: (8:26 p.m.) For the full story on former President Jimmy Carter's conversation with LBJ Library Director Mark Updegrove at the Civil Rights Summit, click here.

Updated: (7:47 p.m.) Former President Jimmy Carter said there are still racial and women’s rights issues the United States needs to address in a conversation at the Civil Rights Summit on Tuesday.

According to Carter, sexual abuse is major problem not only in the countries around the world that he and the Carter Center work with, but also in universities in the U.S.

“In this country, we are not above—I hate to say condemnation—but we are not hove reproach,” Carter said. “The number one place for sexual abuse is the United States universities.”

Carter also said segregation still exists, especially in public schools in the Deep South.

“We still have gross disparity between black and white people on employment [and] the quality of public education,” Carter said. “A lot of so-called segregation academies were founded so white people could send their kids to a very segregated school.”

—Alyssa Mahoney

Updated: (5:12 p.m.) Mavis Staples and Graham Nash spoke about how their involvement in the civil rights movement affected their songwriting and careers in music at the third panel of the Civil Rights Summit, “Music and Social Consciousness.”

Staples, a rhythm and blues and gospel artist from soul group The Staples Singers, attributes her lifetime as a gospel singer to meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. early in her career.

“I think that if he can preach it, we can sing it,” Staples said.

Updated: (4:02 p.m.) For the full story on the second panel of the Civil Rights Summit, "Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century," click here.

Updated: (3:05 p.m.) San Antonio mayor Julian Castro and former Mississippi governor Haley Barbour discussed immigrations issues, including the lack of a solid definition of “border security,” as well as students overstaying their visas, during the second panel of the Civil Rights Summit, “Pathway to the American Dream: Immigration Policy in the 21st Century.”

Castro said the U.S. has not “even defined what border security would be.”

Barbour said people who overstay their visas could make up a significant portion of the number of undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

“People who come on a legal visa and don’t go when they’re supposed to… could be four or five million of the 11 million,” Barbour said. 

— Amanda Voeller

Updated: (2:46 p.m.) Though attorneys David Boies and Theodore Olson once argued against each other in front of the Supreme Court, they said they are of one mind about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage. To read a full recap of "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" click here.​

(From left) John Avalon, editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, attorney David Boies and Theodore B. Olson, attorney and former U.S. Solicitor General, speak at the "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" panel Tuesday at the LBJ Auditorium. Photo by Jonathan Garza / Daily Texan Staff.

Updated: (1:54 p.m.) The Gay Liberation Front, UT's first gay student activist group, was founded in 1970. Read Eleanor Dearman's story here to find out more about gay students' experiences at UT in the 70's and today. 

Updated: (12:47 p.m.) Although Robert Schenkkan’s family had a longtime relationship with the Johnson family even before Lyndon B. Johnson became president, Schenkkan is perhaps best known for his play “All the Way,” which examines the first months of Lyndon B Johnson’s Presidency and the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

According to Schenkkan, Johnson’s was a Shakespearean figure that was rarely captured in his public image as president.

“He was not just physically big but large in his appetites, his ambitions, his flaws, his faults [and] virtues,” Schenkkan said. “[When] people talk about Lyndon Johnson, it’s always in this combination of the most generous man I ever met, the most savage man I ever met.”

Schenkkan said he thinks the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the state of civil rights today offer many comparisons.

“I think it’s a great time right now, I think in particular, to be reexamining these issues because [of] the widely-held frustration of both sides of the aisle about the gridlock in Congress and seeming inability to accomplish even the most trivial of matters,” Schenkkan said.

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (10:26 a.m.): Bob Hutchings, LBJ School of Public Affairs dean, said the LBJ School of Public Affairs will open a center in Washington, D.C. for graduate students who want to spend more time in the capitol.

Hutchings said the LBJ School Washington Center will have an office, permanent staff and classroom space. According to Hutchings, the center will begin enrolling students next year. Although the location has not yet been determined, Hutchings said he hopes it will be located centrally in downtown Washington, D.C. near UT’s Archer Center.

“This is the probably best thing we can do as a public policy school to honor the legacy of President Johnson, namely to empower the next generation, the next get-it-done generation,” Hutchings said at the Civil Rights Summit.

According to LBJ Foundation president Elizabeth Christian, Hutchings' statement is the first public announcement of the LBJ School’s plans to create a Washington, D.C. center.

Hutchings said a major priority of the LBJ School is to continue the legacy of Johnson, which he said he thinks will be aided by establishing the center in Washington, D.C.

“Too few are going into public service,” Hutchings said. “If you don’t like what you see in Washington, get in the arena and change it.”

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (9:40 a.m.): The first panel of the summit is titled, "Gay Marriage: A Civil Right?" The panel will be moderated by John Avlon, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast and will feature attorneys David Boies and Theodore B. Olson who teamed up in 2010 to challenge Proposition 8 in California, a constitutional amendment that banned gay marriage in the state. The two prevailed at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013 when the court ruled upheld the district court's decision that deemed Proposition 8 unconstitutional. 

— Alyssa Mahoney

Updated (9:30 a.m.): Here's a quick, 40-second primer on what the Civil Rights Summit will be about.

— Bryce Seifert

U.S. President Lyndon Johnson passes out some of the 72 pens he used to sign the civil rights bill in Washington D.C. on July 2, 1964. From left standing are, Rep. Roland Libobati (D-Ill.), Rep. Peter Rodino (D-N.J.), Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Rep. Emmanuel Celler (D-N.Y.) and Whitney Young, executive director of the National Urban League. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

This week’s Civil Rights Summit, sponsored by the LBJ Library, marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That act, together with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, transformed American law and society by outlawing discrimination in the workplace, in the voting booth and in housing.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had two main provisions — a ban on discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin in public accommodations such as restaurants, hotels, theaters and retail stores (Title II), and a ban on discrimination in the hiring, promotion and firing of workers (Title VII). The act also included provisions for enforcing Title VII in the form of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Before this act, employers and the owners of private establishments enjoyed the implicit approval of the federal government when they denied certain groups the privileges enjoyed by white men. During World War II, in some parts of the South, restaurant owners served meals to German prisoners of war who were being transported in the custody of American military officials but refused service to the black GIs who guarded those prisoners. Until 1964, employers routinely ran ads for job openings that said “no Negroes” or “no women” need apply. Many people of color, regardless of their formal education, could not aspire to high-paying jobs in law, business or education. African-Americans and Mexican-Americans remained confined to the most dangerous and disagreeable jobs in certain industries and excluded from whole categories of employment. White women inhabited a “pink collar ghetto” composed of elementary school teachers, nurses and secretaries and other clerical workers.

President Lyndon B. Johnson’s role in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 looms large. In the months following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Johnson committed his formidable legislative prowess to bringing to a vote a measure that Kennedy had proposed in the summer of 1963. Johnson enlisted civil rights activists, journalists and other allies, and he personally cajoled, intimidated, threatened and pleaded with members of Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike.  He believed that, as chief executive, he need not apologize for his commitment to legislation that would make the U.S. a more fair and just society: “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?” he demanded to know.

Yet Johnson’s moral convictions, combined with his strong-armed tactics, do not fully account for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The president and other white Americans were moved by the courage of civil rights activists throughout the South — men, women and children who suffered beatings at the hands of angry mobs, the full force of water cannons deployed by local police and even murder by KKK members and other vigilantes and domestic terrorists. Freedom Riders, participants in lunch counter sit-ins and peaceful demonstrators, prodded Kennedy, and then Johnson and Congress, to act.

The effects of the 1964 act were uneven. Well-educated people of color and white women were arguably the most immediate and obvious beneficiaries of the new law. Between 1960 and 1980, the percentage of black women in clerical work tripled, and women of all races had greater access to jobs such as truck driving and coal mining,  which were previously all-male positions. Still, employers continued to assign blacks and other minorities to menial jobs, and union seniority and apprenticeship rules continued to work against the interests of job-seekers who weren’t white males. In 1974, the chronically understaffed and underfunded Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was staggering under the weight of 57,000 complaints of discrimination in the workplace.

Civil rights legislation also affected the nation’s political landscape. When he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, Johnson reportedly told his young Texas aide Bill Moyers something to the effect of, “There goes the South.” He was correct in predicting that the white South would desert the Democratic Party, although that transition did not become fully apparent until the 1980s, and it shows no sign of reversing itself in the near future.

Today, some observers hail what they call a “colorblind” society — one with a level playing field for all workers and voters. Yet the corrosive effects of centuries of slavery, discrimination and segregation remain very much in evidence, with high rates of concentrated poverty among minority populations. For many Americans, the place where they live is a signifier of the rights they enjoy, with poor people lacking access to quality public education, safe neighborhoods and decent health care.

What lessons does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 hold for us today? First, it is apparent that the 14th and 15th amendments to the constitution granting the former male slaves citizenship and voting rights were insufficient to guarantee them and their descendants those rights in practice.

Not until after World War II would the dramatic and peaceful protests of an aggrieved minority pierce the conscience of the nation and lead to decisive action among the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the federal government. Johnson’s bold determination demonstrated what a chief executive could accomplish, with the right combination of moral outrage and legislative arm-twisting. And finally, we are reminded that throughout American history the federal government, albeit haltingly and imperfectly, has initiated some of the most significant measures promoting fairness and justice — the destruction of slavery, the enfranchisement of former slaves and women, the elimination of universal poverty among the elderly and the outlawing of egregious forms of discrimination in the workplace, in voting and in housing. The 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is without a doubt a cause for celebration among all Americans, and it is most fitting that four presidents are gathering at the LBJ Library to lead us in that celebration.

Jones is the Walter Prescott Webb chair in history and ideas and the Mastin Gentry White professor of Southern history.

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Next week’s Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum will draw attention to a president who, until this semester, the University offered a class entirely about — President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Forty-five years after the end of his last term, University classes, such as “The Johnson Years,” allowed students to look at Johnson’s presidency in-depth. Following this semester’s cancelation of the course, there are no longer any classes that focus solely on Johnson’s administration.

Harry Middleton, Johnson’s former speechwriter, taught the course while he was director of the LBJ library.

“I tried to be able to make those years come alive by bringing in as many of my colleagues from my White House days as I could,” Middleton said. “I think, modestly, I gave the students something close to a firsthand experience.”

Middleton said he believes legacies will fade no matter what happens, and it’s fortunate how certain events, such as the Civil Rights Summit, bring attention back to President Johnson and what he accomplished.

“I live in this retirement community, and I’m sure everyone here is on Medicare, and I wonder how many of them remember it was Johnson that brought it into effect,” Middleton said. “As we get into modern presidents, their day is coming and will fade and not many will remember — that’s the way life works.”

Johnson, ranked as the 11th-best president by CSPAN, graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in San Marcos, which is now known as Texas State University. After being sworn into office following President John F. Kennedy’s assassination, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Social Security Act of 1965. 

According to Middleton, Johnson affected people’s lives today more than any other president, and it’s important to continue offering classes on him.

“I wonder how many students at the University of Texas at Austin are in school because of the various educational programs that were passed in the Johnson years,” Middleton said. “We used to live in a segregated society, and we don’t anymore. … He’s relevant in that regard.”

Religious studies sophomore Alex Gaudio, who tried to get into the class before it was canceled, said he has never had a class that delved into Johnson’s presidency. Gaudio said he believes it’s important for politicians to learn from past administrations. 

“Every president uses previous presidents as a precedent,” Gaudio said. “The past matters.”

Government and Plan II senior Ben Mendelson was a student in “The Johnson Years” while it was still available and said it helped him learn about moments of history he would not have been taught otherwise.

“Being in that class and seeing history really come alive — the allure of watching him tell his stories about the man that he knew … was absolutely incredible,” Mendelson said.