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Bill Clinton Speaks at UT Austin's LBJ Summit

Deborah Cannon, American-Statesman
Former President Bill Clinton addresses the audience during the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday night at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin. The summit, gathering four U.S Presidents and dozens of other speakers, marks the 50th anniversary of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

Clinton lamented last year’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to weaken another part of the LBJ legacy, the Voting Rights Act. Clinton singled out the Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID.

"Anytime you erect a barrier to political participation that disproportionately affects people based on their race or their physical capacity or their income or whether they’ve got a car that can drive far enough and can afford the gasoline to get to a place where they can get an approved photo ID, anytime you do any of that, it undermines the spirit of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act," Clinton said to applause. 

Clinton also offered his own tribute LBJ, defining him as a man from a modest background who rose to a position with the power to bring about change while recognizing the responsibility to make the effort. 

“Gathered his purpose, wielded his enormous political skills and made them work for ordinary people who had been disempowered. A Texan bred with the state’s outsized ambitions saw limitless possibilities in the lives of other poor people like him, who just happened to have a different color skin," Clinton said. 

Thursday's schedule also includes a speech by former President George W. Bush at 5:30 p.m.

See a full program of events.

Trey Shaar is an All Things Considered producer, reporter and host. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @treyshaar.
Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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