Author: Lyndon B. Johnson

Lyndon Johnson, 1964

Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908–73) was the 36th President of the United States. Born in Stonewall, Texas, Johnson briefly worked as a teacher in a public high school before entering a life of politics, first serving as a legislative secretary for a Texas congressman, and then winning election to represent the state’s 10th congressional district in the US House of Representatives. After serving on a survey team in the southwest Pacific during World War II, he won election to the US Senate in 1948. In 1960, democratic presidential nominee John F. Kennedy chose him as his running mate; when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Johnson assumed the presidency, completing Kennedy’s term as president and successfully running for reelection in 1964. As president, Johnson encouraged Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, both landmark pieces of civil rights legislation. As part of his “Great Society” plan, he also pushed through legislation that expanded federal aid to education, healthcare, and anti-poverty programs. At the same time, the nation was becoming more and more involved in the war in Vietnam, the unpopularity of which led to divisions in the Democratic Party and, in part, contributed to Johnson’s decision not to seek reelection in 1968.  He died in 1973 at his ranch in Texas.

To Fulfill These Rights

Lyndon B. Johnson

On June 4, 1965, while the Voting Rights bill was still pending in the House of Representatives, Johnson delivered this commencement address at Howard University in Washington, DC. In it, Johnson sets forth a new national vision for fulfilling the promise of America for its Negro citizens.