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Business & Economy
The sad balance sheet of African Americans PDF Print E-mail
By Alazar Kebede   
Wednesday, 15 April 2015 06:03

50 years after major civil rights reform
Fifty years ago, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The landmark law was designed to protect the ability of black Americans to vote, to ensure justice and to improve educational and employment opportunities. President Johnson (a.k.a. LBJ) was remarkable. He was from Texas, not exactly a particularly hospitable territory for blacks at the time and definitely not a state known for widespread enlightenment. Even so, LBJ rose to the occasion, even against the advice of his own staff.
Considered a masterful operator of the political machine, he was believed to have no moral compass. The Kennedys, in contrast, John F., the late President, and Robert F., the Attorney General, were considered to own political morality because of their refined upbringing. In reality, it was the other way around. The Kennedys were quite squishy and only dealt with the civil rights issue when there was absolutely no other choice.
President Johnson, faced with a series of shocking events, focused on the issue squarely. On the occasion of the signing of the Civil Rights Bill on July 2, 1964 he said “We believe that all men are created equal. Yet many are denied equal treatment. We believe that all men have certain unalienable rights. Yet, many Americans do not enjoy those rights. We believe that all men are entitled to the blessings of liberty. Yet, millions are being deprived of those blessings, not because of their own failures, but because of the colour of their skin.”
Those were remarkably clairvoyant words under any circumstance. And then he continued: “But it cannot continue. Our Constitution, the foundation of our Republic, forbids it. The principles of our freedom forbid it. Morality forbids it. And the law I will sign tonight forbids it.” Add a comment

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 06:05
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