Barack After Dark™: Being Biden. 50th Anniversary Of The Civil Rights Act. SelectUSA. New Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship.


 

By Jueseppi B.

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Being Biden Vol. 14: Chopper

 

 

The audio series Being Biden is an opportunity for the Vice President to give you a window into his daily life, and share some of his most memorable experiences.

 

In this episode, Vice President Biden talks about what it was like to meet with Trevor, a Navy SEAL, and his military dog Chopper. The two served together in Afghanistan and Iraq, and Chopper saved Trevor’s life. Military dogs perform a hugely important service, helping our wounded heal — in addition to serving them in combat zones.

 

Listen to this edition of Being Biden:

 

 

 

Vice President Joe Biden meets with SEAL dog “Chopper” and his handler, Trevor Maroshek, a Navy SEAL Veteran, and Trevor’s wife, Rujuta, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Vice President Joe Biden meets with SEAL dog “Chopper” and his handler, Trevor Maroshek, a Navy SEAL Veteran, and Trevor’s wife, Rujuta, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

 

Want more episodes like this? Sign up to get email updates onWH.gov/being-biden.

 

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Honoring President Lyndon Baines Johnson on the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

 

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.

Read President Obama’s full remarks, or watch them above.

 

President Barack Obama delivers remarks as First Lady Michelle Obama, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove, listen at right at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. They attended a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

President Barack Obama delivers remarks as First Lady Michelle Obama, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., and LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove, listen at right at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, April 10, 2014. They attended a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)

 

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SelectUSA: Investing in the United States, Creating Jobs, and Spurring Economic Growth

 

 

Today, Lufthansa Technik announced a significant new investment in Puerto Rico that demonstrates how efforts to deploy the full resources of the federal government to win job-creating investments in U.S. states and territories pay off. Through the advocacy of several high-level U.S. officials, including the Vice President and the Secretary of Commerce, as well as the work of SelectUSA, the government of Puerto Rico was able to secure this new investment, which will create up to 400 permanent jobs and strengthen Puerto Rico’s burgeoning civil aviation sector.

 

Lufthansa Technik, a wholly owned subsidiary of Germany-based Lufthansa AG, is making a significant new investment in Puerto Rico to build a maintenance, repair, and operations facility. Thanks to the persistent support of the Administration through our SelectUSA investment initiative, local efforts led by Governor Garcia Padilla of Puerto Rico, and the strengths of Puerto Rico’s growing aviation industry, the United States won this new investment despite strong competition.

 

SelectUSA – launched in 2011 and housed in the Department of Commerce – is the first-ever federal effort to bring job-creating investment from around the world to the United States in partnership with state and local economic development organizations. Today, Ambassador-led teams at our posts overseas directly support foreign investors looking to make investments in the U.S. by providing resources and information, and when needed, connecting them to investment experts at the Department of Commerce and throughout the SelectUSA interagency network.

 

Each investor, and investment case, gets tailor-made attention from our case managers at SelectUSA, who rely on ombudsman efforts to answer questions, as well as a sophisticated advocacy network that leverages key Administration officials all the way up to the President of the United States. Lufthansa is a perfect example of our coordinated efforts to bring job-creating investment here to the United States. In addition to Vice President Biden and the Secretary of Commerce and her team, SelectUSA involved other key federal officials, and coordinated with several federal agencies to provide the needed assistance to secure the project. And, when it came time to seal the deal, SelectUSA coordinated an effort across the federal government, including the support of the President’s Taskforce on Puerto Rico, to present Lufthansa with the case for locating their investment in the United States.

 

The Lufthansa investment is yet another example that demonstrates that the United States is an increasingly attractive location for job-creating business investment from around the world. Last year, for the first time in a decade, global business executives ranked the United States the number one destination for foreign investment. And the Department of Commerce released new data showing that foreign direct investment flows into the United States and our territories rose from $160 billion in 2012 to $187.5 billion in 2013.

 

With our booming natural gas sector, our skilled workforce, our status as home of the some of the top research universities and innovation hubs, and our resurgent manufacturing communities, the United States is primed for business investment. Businesses increasingly cite the U.S. open investment climate, rule of law, the ability to efficiently export their goods, access to high-quality supply chains, and proximity to robust consumer markets as key factors to locate their operations in the United States. And now, with the help of SelectUSA, the federal government is undertaking a coordinated and concerted effort to showcase our strengths and make the case with even more investors that the United States should be their top choice.

 

To put it simply, the United States is Open for Business.

 

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Announcing President Obama’s New Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship

 

 

At the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last October, President Obama announced that we would bring together a group of America’s best and brightest innovators to champion entrepreneurship both here at home and overseas. Together, these individuals would use their networks and platforms to stimulate a start-up culture in the United States and all over the globe. I am honored to chair this new group, the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship (PAGE).

 

President Barack Obama drops by the first meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House

President Barack Obama drops by the first meeting of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, with Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, April 7, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

 

This week, the inaugural members of PAGE met for the very first time. Each of these 11 individuals has a unique and valuable perspective that will inform how the group tackles the challenges to entrepreneurial growth at home and abroad. For example, Tory Burch (Chief Executive Officer, Tory Burch; Founder, Tory Burch Foundation), who started her line of shoes and accessories just 10 years ago, recognizes the obstacles facing aspiring businesspeople who need access to financial capital to turn their ideas into successful ventures.

 

Nina Vaca (Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Technical Resources), runs a business that provides IT services to companies all over the country and sees a real need to ensure we have a highly-skilled workforce in America that can take on 21st century jobs. And Hamdi Ulukaya (Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani), who came to the United States from Turkey and launched Chobani Greek Yogurt in upstate New York in 2007, shared that many talented, entrepreneurial minds lack a key ingredient that can help them realize success: a belief that they can achieve their dreams.

 

These leaders have created jobs in the U.S., and together can utilize their experience to help others. They are passionate about spurring creativity and entrepreneurship in the United States and recognize the positive impact of new business formation on economic growth and job creation. In fact, young companies today are responsible for almost all new job growth across the United States.

 

PAGE members understand the benefits that creative ideas and solutions bring to our society. Alexa von Tobel (Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LearnVest) launched her company in 2009, with the goal of spreading financial literacy and financial advice to people all over the country regardless of their income or background. Rich Barton (Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Zillow), founded Expedia, Zillow, and Glassdoor, with the idea that one way to empower people is through transparency and access to information.

 

America’s entrepreneurial spirit and supporting ecosystem are admired worldwide. As President Obama reminded us in our meeting on Monday, promoting entrepreneurship at home and abroad can generate prosperity globally by spurring job growth and encouraging innovative solutions to pressing challenges. The Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship will work to educate and inspire bright minds across the United States and around the world, helping them find pathways to start their own businesses and create their own success, leading to greater peace, prosperity and progress.

 

The inaugural members of PAGE are:

  • Rich Barton, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, Zillow (Seattle, WA)
  • Tory Burch, Chief Executive Officer, Tory Burch; Founder, Tory Burch Foundation (New York, NY)
  • Steve Case, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Revolution (Washington, DC)
  • Helen Greiner, Chief Executive Officer, CyPhyWorks; Co-Founder, iRobot Corporation (Danvers, MA)
  • Reid Hoffman, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman, LinkedIn (Mountain View, CA)
  • Quincy Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Quincy Jones Productions (Los Angeles, CA)
  • Salman Khan, Founder and Executive Director, Khan Academy (Mountain View, CA)
  • Daphne Koller, Co-Founder and President, Coursera (Mountain View, CA)
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Chobani (New York, NY)
  • Nina Vaca, Chief Executive Officer, Pinnacle Technical Resources (Dallas, TX)
  • Alexa von Tobel, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, LearnVest (New York, NY)

 

 

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Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library

 

President Barack Obama’s Keynote Speech: Civil Rights Summit, The LBJ Presidential Library.

 

New Rule Prohibits Voters In Miami-Dade County From Using The Restroom, No Matter How Long The Line

 

Millionaire Uses Fortune To help Kids In Struggling Town: What Is The Tangelo Park Pilot Program?

 

Breaking: Stephen Colbert named next host of ‘Late Show’

 

The Vice President and Dr. Biden’s Support for Community Colleges and Apprenticeship Programs

 

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Soy Tandoori Curry : Soy Nuggets marinated and then cooked in a curry


Originally posted on simplyvegetarian777:

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I use a lot of Soy nuggets in cooking. Soy nuggets are dried nuggets made with soy and when rehydrated are spongy in texture. The chewy and soft spongy texture is perfect for absorbing all kinds of flavors when marinated. This was the first time, I experimented the soy chunks with marination and can’t tell you how glad I am that I did :). Just out of this world.

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I believe that there are other recipes with such name but I promise this was my experiment in the kitchen. And till late I thought it was my invention till somebody said that they make it often, naive me :)..lol! Here, I resonate with my “original” thought again that “what exactly is original these days?” Sigh ….ha never mind. Great minds can think alike…right ? :)

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I am bringing this dish for all my readers on blog as well as on…

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Artisian Crackers


Originally posted on Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide:

Hey where are the cherries

Hey where are the cherries?

These crackers are really cheap, easy to make and taste great.

Making cracker dough is very similar to pie crust and is a great way to improve your skills at making pastry.

Rosemary Crackers

  • 2 cups – 2 tbsp unbleached white flour
  • 2 tbsp corn meal
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary crumbled into fine pieces
  • 3/4 tsp sugar
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup hot water

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Mix all dry ingredients together. Cut butter into flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add water slowly until a rough dough forms. You may not need the entire half cup. Gently knead dough for a minute into a smooth ball. Cut dough into four pieces and let rest 10 minutes. On a well-floured surface roll out one piece of dough until it is paper thin and the counter can…

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President Barack Obama’s Keynote Speech: Civil Rights Summit, The LBJ Presidential Library.


 

By Jueseppi B.

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the keynote speech on the third day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library

U.S. President Barack Obama gives the keynote speech on the third day of the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library

 

 

The Day At The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library

 

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The President and First Lady attended The Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. The President will delivered remarks at this event hosted by the LBJ Presidential Library.

 

 

Mavis Staples sings acoustic rendition of ‘We Shall Overcome

 

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Published on Apr 10, 2014

Mavis Staples appeared on stage Thursday to sing “We Shall Overcome.” Her performance was part of a Civil Rights Summit on Thursday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

 

 

 

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The Arrival In Texas…..

 

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Marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act at the LBJ Presidential Library

 

 

Ed. note: Tune in to whitehouse.gov/live at 11:50 am ET to watch President Obama’s remarks at the LBJ Presidential Library to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

 

In early December 1972, heroes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, braved a rare Austin ice storm to convene at the LBJ Presidential Library for a Civil Rights Symposium. Towering figures like Hubert Humphrey, Barbara Jordan, Clarence Mitchell and Earl Warren rose to the stage in the course of the two-day conference to reflect on the movement they had helped to foster while examining the issues where progress was still needed.

 

Among them was the host of the gathering, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the thirty-sixth President. It was he who, during the course of his five-year presidency, had sounded a death knell to racial inequality through a triumvirate of laws: The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

 

Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to the nation before signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. East Room, White House, Washington, DC. 7/2/64.

Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to the nation before signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. East Room, White House, Washington, DC. 7/2/64.

 

He considered the second—the Voting Rights Act—his greatest legislative achievement. As with all of them, it had come hard. In March 1965, after a protest march in Selma, Alabama, was brutally thwarted by state troopers, he stood before a joint session of Congress knowing that his plea for the law would fall on the deaf ears of segregationists in his own party. His voice strong, his will determined, he said:

 

It was more than a hundred years ago that Abraham Lincoln, a great president from another party, signed the Emancipation Proclamation, but emancipation is a proclamation and not a fact. A century has passed since the day of promise. And the promise is unkept.

What happened in Selma is part of a larger movement, which reached into every section and state of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause, too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really, it’s all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice.

And we shall overcome.

 

Through what became known legendarily as “the Johnson Treatment”—wielding political capital, horse-trading, flattering, threatening, cajoling, whatever it took—Johnson overcame resistance to the bill. He signed it under the dome of the U.S. Capitol, on August 10, 1965. As he scrawled his name, a marble statue of Abraham Lincoln, head bowed slightly, the troubles of his administration weighing heavily on his countenance, stood over his right shoulder.

 

It was apt; Lyndon Johnson aimed to finish what Abraham Lincoln had started.

 

Yet when Johnson gave the keynote address at his Library’s Civil Rights Symposium on December 9, 1972, nearly four years after leaving the White House, he believed work still needed to be done. Nursing an ailing heart and looking far beyond his 64 years, he spoke to the assembled body, his voice weaker than it had been when he pressed for Voting Rights, but his will just as determined.

 

Our objective must be to assure that all Americans play by the same rules, and all Americans play against the same odds. Who among us would claim that that is true today?

We have proved that great progress is possible. We know how much still remains to be done. And if our efforts continue, and if our will is strong, and if our hearts are right, and if courage remains our constant companion, then my fellow Americans, I am confident, we shall overcome.

Below, watch an excerpt of President Johnson’s address at the 1972 Civil Rights Symposium

 

 

 

 

It would be the last address Johnson would make publically. The following month, on January 22, 1973, he died of heart attack at his beloved LBJ Ranch. But we hear his voice still.

 

This week, the LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the first of Johnson’s civil rights landmarks, an act of bi-partisanship Johnson called “an American bill.” Our goal is not only to celebrate America’s progress in a half a century, but, just as LBJ would have wanted, to address the civil rights issues of our times.

 

Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on. 7/2/64.

Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on. 7/2/64.

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We are honored that we will have on hand a number of eminent guests who will shed light on those issues, including heroes of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, and those who, along with them, are making a difference today.

 

We are further honored to welcome the thirty-ninth, forty-second and forty-third Presidents—Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush respectively—whose administrations furthered the cause of civil rights domestically while championing human rights and freedom abroad.

 

Finally, we are honored to welcome the President and First Lady of the United States, as the Honorable Barack Obama delivers the Summit’s keynote address. Five years ago last January, history shined on President Obama as he became the forty-forth President and the first African-American to achieve the nation’s highest office, the fulfillment, to be sure, of the distant dreams of Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson.

 

President Obama’s keynote and all programs at the Civil Rights Summit will be live streamed at http://www.civilrightssummit.org/

 

Mark K. Updegrove is the Director of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, one of thirteen Presidential Libraries of the National Archives.

 

 

Civil rights marches, the White House, Congress & the U.N.: This group's been all over

Civil rights marches, the White House, Congress & the U.N.: This group’s been all over

Yesterday @billclinton stepped back in history as he explored the @LBJLibrary #CivilRightsSummit

Yesterday @billclinton stepped back in history as he explored the @LBJLibrary #CivilRightsSummit

@repjohnlewis with Lyndon Johnson the day LBJ signed the Voting Rights Ac

@repjohnlewis with Lyndon Johnson the day LBJ signed the Voting Rights Ac

Here's Dorothy Height in a meeting with LBJ & civil rights leaders at the White House on 3/18/1966

Here’s Dorothy Height in a meeting with LBJ & civil rights leaders at the White House on 3/18/1966

3/21/1965: Civil rights marchers leave from Selma on the 54-mile trek to Montgomery, for the third time.

3/21/1965: Civil rights marchers leave from Selma on the 54-mile trek to Montgomery, for the third time.

 

President Barack Obama is greeted by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as he arrives to speak at the LBJ Presidential Library, Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas, during the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Lewis withstood violence and arrest during the civil rights marches through Alabama in the mid-1960s.

President Barack Obama is greeted by Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., as he arrives to speak at the LBJ Presidential Library, Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas, during the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act. Lewis withstood violence and arrest during the civil rights marches through Alabama in the mid-1960s.

From left, LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., arrive in the Great Hall at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, Thursday, April 10, 2014, to attend a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

From left, LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove, President Barack Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., arrive in the Great Hall at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin, Texas, Thursday, April 10, 2014, to attend a Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

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President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk to greet supporters on the tarmac after landing aboard Air Force One at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, Thursday, April 10,,2014.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk to greet supporters on the tarmac after landing aboard Air Force One at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas, Thursday, April 10,,2014.

President Barack Obama speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library, Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas, during the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

President Barack Obama speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library, Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas, during the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

 

President Barack Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will all speak at a three-day summit to honor the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

President Barack Obama and former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush will all speak at a three-day summit to honor the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

 

Remarks by the President at LBJ Presidential Library Civil Rights Summit

 

 

 

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Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, Austin, Texas

12:16 P.M. CDT

President Obama Delivers Keynote Address at Civil Rights Summit 2014 (Full Speech)

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THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)  Thank you so much.  Please, please, have a seat.  Thank you.

What a singular honor it is for me to be here today.  I want to thank, first and foremost, the Johnson family for giving us this opportunity and the graciousness with which Michelle and I have been received.

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We came down a little bit late because we were upstairs looking at some of the exhibits and some of the private offices that were used by President Johnson and Mrs. Johnson.  And Michelle was in particular interested to — of a recording in which Lady Bird is critiquing President Johnson’s performance.  (Laughter.)  And she said, come, come, you need to listen to this.  (Laughter.)  And she pressed the button and nodded her head.  Some things do not change — (laughter) — even 50 years later.

To all the members of Congress, the warriors for justice, the elected officials and community leaders who are here today  — I want to thank you.

Four days into his sudden presidency — and the night before he would address a joint session of the Congress in which he once served — Lyndon Johnson sat around a table with his closest advisors, preparing his remarks to a shattered and grieving nation.

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He wanted to call on senators and representatives to pass a civil rights bill — the most sweeping since Reconstruction.  And most of his staff counseled him against it.  They said it was hopeless; that it would anger powerful Southern Democrats and committee chairmen; that it risked derailing the rest of his domestic agenda.  And one particularly bold aide said he did not believe a President should spend his time and power on lost causes, however worthy they might be.  To which, it is said, President Johnson replied, “Well, what the hell’s the presidency for?”  (Laughter and applause.)  What the hell’s the presidency for if not to fight for causes you believe in?

Today, as we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we honor the men and women who made it possible.  Some of them are here today.  We celebrate giants like John Lewis and Andrew Young and Julian Bond.  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.

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But we also gather here, 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.”

Those of us who have had the singular privilege to hold the office of the Presidency know well that progress in this country can be hard and it can be slow, frustrating and sometimes you’re stymied.  The office humbles you.  You’re reminded daily that in this great democracy, you are but a relay swimmer in the currents of history, bound by decisions made by those who came before, reliant on the efforts of those who will follow to fully vindicate your vision.

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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.

This was President Johnson’s genius.  As a master of politics and the legislative process, he grasped like few others the power of government to bring about change.

LBJ was nothing if not a realist.  He was well aware that the law alone isn’t enough to change hearts and minds.  A full century after Lincoln’s time, he said, “Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.”

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He understood laws couldn’t accomplish everything.  But he also knew that only the law could anchor change, and set hearts and minds on a different course.  And a lot of Americans needed the law’s most basic protections at that time.  As Dr. King said at the time, “It may be true that the law can’t make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me, and I think that’s pretty important.”  (Applause.)

And passing laws was what LBJ knew how to do.  No one knew politics and no one loved legislating more than President Johnson.  He was charming when he needed to be, ruthless when required.  (Laughter.)  He could wear you down with logic and argument.  He could horse trade, and he could flatter.  “You come with me on this bill,” he would reportedly tell a key Republican leader from my home state during the fight for the Civil Rights Bill, “and 200 years from now, schoolchildren will know only two names:  Abraham Lincoln and Everett Dirksen!”  (Laughter.)  And he knew that senators would believe things like that.  (Laughter and applause.)

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President Johnson liked power.  He liked the feel of it, the wielding of it.  But that hunger was harnessed and redeemed by a deeper understanding of the human condition; by a sympathy for the underdog, for the downtrodden, for the outcast.  And it was a sympathy rooted in his own experience.

As a young boy growing up in the Texas Hill Country, Johnson knew what being poor felt like.  “Poverty was so common,” he would later say, “we didn’t even know it had a name.”  (Laughter.)  The family home didn’t have electricity or indoor plumbing.  Everybody worked hard, including the children.  President Johnson had known the metallic taste of hunger; the feel of a mother’s calloused hands, rubbed raw from washing and cleaning and holding a household together.  His cousin Ava remembered sweltering days spent on her hands and knees in the cotton fields, with Lyndon whispering beside her, “Boy, there’s got to be a better way to make a living than this.  There’s got to be a better way.”

It wasn’t until years later when he was teaching at a so-called Mexican school in a tiny town in Texas that he came to understand how much worse the persistent pain of poverty could be for other races in a Jim Crow South.  Oftentimes his students would show up to class hungry.  And when he’d visit their homes, he’d meet fathers who were paid slave wages by the farmers they worked for.  Those children were taught, he would later say, “that the end of life is in a beet row, a spinach field, or a cotton patch.”

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Deprivation and discrimination — these were not abstractions to Lyndon Baines Johnson.  He knew that poverty and injustice are as inseparable as opportunity and justice are joined.  So that was in him from an early age.

Now, like any of us, he was not a perfect man.  His experiences in rural Texas may have stretched his moral imagination, but he was ambitious, very ambitious, a young man in a hurry to plot his own escape from poverty and to chart his own political career.  And in the Jim Crow South, that meant not challenging convention.  During his first 20 years in Congress, he opposed every civil rights bill that came up for a vote, once calling the push for federal legislation “a farce and a sham.”  He was chosen as a vice presidential nominee in part because of his affinity with, and ability to deliver, that Southern white vote.  And at the beginning of the Kennedy administration, he shared with President Kennedy a caution towards racial controversy.

But marchers kept marching.  Four little girls were killed in a church.  Bloody Sunday happened.  The winds of change blew.  And when the time came, when LBJ stood in the Oval Office — I picture him standing there, taking up the entire doorframe, looking out over the South Lawn in a quiet moment — and asked himself what the true purpose of his office was for, what was the endpoint of his ambitions, he would reach back in his own memory and he’d remember his own experience with want.

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And he knew that he had a unique capacity, as the most powerful white politician from the South, to not merely challenge the convention that had crushed the dreams of so many, but to ultimately dismantle for good the structures of legal segregation.  He’s the only guy who could do it — and he knew there would be a cost, famously saying the Democratic Party may “have lost the South for a generation.”

That’s what his presidency was for.  That’s where he meets his moment.  And possessed with an iron will, possessed with those skills that he had honed so many years in Congress, pushed and supported by a movement of those willing to sacrifice everything for their own liberation, President Johnson fought for and argued and horse traded and bullied and persuaded until ultimately he signed the Civil Rights Act into law.

And he didn’t stop there — even though his advisors again told him to wait, again told him let the dust settle, let the country absorb this momentous decision.  He shook them off.  “The meat in the coconut,” as President Johnson would put it, was the Voting Rights Act, so he fought for and passed that as well.  Immigration reform came shortly after.  And then, a Fair Housing Act.  And then, a health care law that opponents described as “socialized medicine” that would curtail America’s freedom, but ultimately freed millions of seniors from the fear that illness could rob them of dignity and security in their golden years, which we now know today as Medicare.  (Applause.)

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What President Johnson understood was that equality required more than the absence of oppression.  It required the presence of economic opportunity.  He wouldn’t be as eloquent as Dr. King would be in describing that linkage, as Dr. King moved into mobilizing sanitation workers and a poor people’s movement, but he understood that connection because he had lived it.  A decent job, decent wages, health care — those, too, were civil rights worth fighting for.

An economy where hard work is rewarded and success is shared, that was his goal.  And he knew, as someone who had seen the New Deal transform the landscape of his Texas childhood, who had seen the difference electricity had made because of the Tennessee Valley Authority, the transformation concretely day in and day out in the life of his own family, he understood that government had a role to play in broadening prosperity to all those who would strive for it.

“We want to open the gates to opportunity,” President Johnson said, “But we are also going to give all our people, black and white, the help they need to walk through those gates.”

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Now, if some of this sounds familiar, it’s because today we remain locked in this same great debate about equality and opportunity, and the role of government in ensuring each.  As was true 50 years ago, there are those who dismiss the Great Society as a failed experiment and an encroachment on liberty; who argue that government has become the true source of all that ails us, and that poverty is due to the moral failings of those who suffer from it.  There are also those who argue, John, that nothing has changed; that racism is so embedded in our DNA that there is no use trying politics — the game is rigged.

But such theories ignore history.  Yes, it’s true that, despite laws like the Civil Rights Act, and the Voting Rights Act and Medicare, our society is still racked with division and poverty.  Yes, race still colors our political debates, and there have been government programs that have fallen short.  In a time when cynicism is too often passed off as wisdom, it’s perhaps easy to conclude that there are limits to change; that we are trapped by our own history; and politics is a fool’s errand, and we’d be better off if we roll back big chunks of LBJ’s legacy, or at least if we don’t put too much of our hope, invest too much of our hope in our government.

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I reject such thinking.  (Applause.)  Not just because Medicare and Medicaid have lifted millions from suffering; not just because the poverty rate in this nation would be far worse without food stamps and Head Start and all the Great Society programs that survive to this day.  I reject such cynicism because I have lived out the promise of LBJ’s efforts.  Because Michelle has lived out the legacy of those efforts.  Because my daughters have lived out the legacy of those efforts.  Because I and millions of my generation were in a position to take the baton that he handed to us.  (Applause.)

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.  (Applause.)

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And that means we’ve got a debt to pay.  That means we can’t afford to be cynical.  Half a century later, the laws LBJ passed are now as fundamental to our conception of ourselves and our democracy as the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  They are foundational; an essential piece of the American character.

But we are here today because we know we cannot be complacent.  For history travels not only forwards; history can travel backwards, history can travel sideways.  And securing the gains this country has made requires the vigilance of its citizens.  Our rights, our freedoms — they are not given.  They must be won.  They must be nurtured through struggle and discipline, and persistence and faith.

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And one concern I have sometimes during these moments, the celebration of the signing of the Civil Rights Act, the March on Washington — from a distance, sometimes these commemorations seem inevitable, they seem easy.  All the pain and difficulty and struggle and doubt — all that is rubbed away.  And we look at ourselves and we say, oh, things are just too different now;  we couldn’t possibly do what was done then — these giants, what they accomplished.  And yet, they were men and women, too.  It wasn’t easy then.  It wasn’t certain then.

Still, the story of America is a story of progress.  However slow, however incomplete, however harshly challenged at each point on our journey, however flawed our leaders, however many times we have to take a quarter of a loaf or half a loaf — the story of America is a story of progress.  And that’s true because of men like President Lyndon Baines Johnson.  (Applause.)

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In so many ways, he embodied America, with all our gifts and all our flaws, in all our restlessness and all our big dreams.  This man — born into poverty, weaned in a world full of racial hatred — somehow found within himself the ability to connect his experience with the brown child in a small Texas town; the white child in Appalachia; the black child in Watts.  As powerful as he became in that Oval Office, he understood them.  He understood what it meant to be on the outside.  And he believed that their plight was his plight too; that his freedom ultimately was wrapped up in theirs; and that making their lives better was what the hell the presidency was for.  (Applause.)

And those children were on his mind when he strode to the podium that night in the House Chamber, when he called for the vote on the Civil Rights law.  “It never occurred to me,” he said, “in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students” that he had taught so many years ago, “and to help people like them all over this country.  But now I do have that chance.  And I’ll let you in on a secret — I mean to use it.  And I hope that you will use it with me.”  (Applause.)

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That was LBJ’s greatness.  That’s why we remember him.  And if there is one thing that he 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.

In his final year, President Johnson stood on this stage, racked with pain, battered by the controversies of Vietnam, looking far older than his 64 years, and he delivered what would be his final public speech.

“We have proved that great progress is possible,” he said.  “We know how much still remains to be done.  And if our efforts continue, and if our will is strong, and if our hearts are right, and if courage remains our constant companion, then, my fellow Americans, I am confident, we shall overcome.”  (Applause.)

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We shall overcome.  We, the citizens of the United States.  Like Dr. King, like Abraham Lincoln, like countless citizens who have driven this country inexorably forward, 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.  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.  He believed we make our own destiny.  And in part because of him, we must believe it as well.

Thank you.  God bless you.  God bless the United States of America.  (Applause.)

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When Hope And History Rhyme: President Obama Embraces Rep John Lewis

When Hope And History Rhyme: President Obama Embraces Rep John Lewis

Julian Bond hugs Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, after singing "We Shall Overcome".

Julian Bond hugs Luci Baines Johnson, daughter of President Lyndon Baines Johnson, after singing “We Shall Overcome”.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are introduced at the LBJ Library #CivilRightsSummit in Austin.

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are introduced at the LBJ Library #CivilRightsSummit in Austin.

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For the 5th Year in a Row, Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy Students Achieve 100 Percent College Acceptance


Originally posted on GOOD BLACK NEWS:

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For the fifth year in a row, Chicago’s Urban Prep Academy has again achieved a 100 percent acceptance rate for its 2014 class.  This year, 240 students were accepted into four-year colleges and universities.  “I got into a lot of different schools but right now I’m thinking about four different choices,” student Keshawn Cathery said.

“I got into Georgetown University which I will be attending in the fall,” student Derrick Little said.

As part of an Urban Prep ritual, when seniors are admitted into college, they exchange their red uniform ties for a red and gold striped tie, a symbol of how hard they’ve worked.  “The tie represents to me moving on from a boy to becoming a young man and actually doing something with my life,” graduating senior Dumar Harris said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gave the students a pep talk Tuesday, and NBA star Dwyane Wade donated $10,000 through…

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