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Luci Baines Johnson on the Voting Rights Act & Her Father’s Legacy

U.S. National Archives

As the United States begin to digest the implications of today’s Supreme Court ruling striking down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the decision is resonating here in Austin – the home of Lyndon Baines Johnson, the president who fought for the Voting Rights Act.

The Voting Rights Act stood intact for nearly 50 years before today’s decision.

For some historical perspective, KUT News reached out to Luci Baines Johnson, whose father, President Lyndon Baines Johnson, signed the Voting Rights Act. Here are her written remarks:

“I stand committed, as my father did, to protecting every American's right to vote and to have that vote counted. My father's proudest moment was signing the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law. I know, because I was there with great Civil Rights leaders and a courageous Congress who came together to take this stand for social justice. Section 4 of that landmark legislation was a safeguard to ensure equal access to the right to vote for all our people. Today's decision by the Supreme Court invalidating Section 4 breaks my heart. I believe it has failed to acknowledge the elephant in the room that there is still painful discrimination in our country which impedes access to the voting booth for some of our people, especially the poor, the elderly and those of color. It is my prayer that today's Congress will demonstrate the same courage shown in 1965 to ensure that equal access to the vote is not just a lofty goal, but a fact.”

Emily Donahue is a former grants writer for KUT. She previously served as news director and helped launch KUT’s news department in 2001.