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Presidents to Gather in Austin this Spring for Civil Rights Summit

Yoichi R. Okamoto
Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
President Lyndon Johnson meets with Martin Luther King in the White House Cabinet Room in 1966. April's summit will highlight the changes that the civil rights movement brought to America.

The history and the current state of the civil rights struggle will be examined at a three-day summit in Austin this spring. The conference will focus on President Lyndon Johnson’s civil rights legacy.

The Civil Rights Summit will be held April 8-10 at the LBJ Presidential Library – and will mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act by President Johnson.

Mark Updegrove, director of the LBJ Presidential Library, says two former presidents have confirmed their attendance: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. President George W. Bush has not yet confirmed, and there is the possibility of President Barack Obama attending.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first of the triumvirate of civil rights acts that LBJ passed including the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act of 1968,” Updegrove said. “So really this is a celebration of his contribution to civil rights.”

The summit will highlight the changes that the civil rights movement has brought to America, and events will also feature how LBJ interacted with Martin Luther King.

“It's a look back at the civil rights movement of the ‘60s from those who were on the front lines – the heroes who are among us today who were back there waging their struggle for civil rights in the 1960s,” Updegrove said.

The summit will also examine current civil rights issues – including immigration reform. San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro is attending to address that issue.

David Martin Davies is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience covering Texas, the border and Mexico.
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