Historian remembers LBJ’s 1965 voting rights speech — and warns voter suppression persists 56 year later
It was 56 years ago, on March 15, 1965, that President Lyndon B. Johnson gave an historic speech to Congress about the importance of voting rights — and five months later, he signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. Author/historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who served in the Johnson Administration, remembered LBJ's speech during a March 15 appearance on "Morning Joe" — and warned that 56 years later, voting rights are under attack in the United States.
Goodwin, now 78, told "Morning Joe" hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, "It's so important to remember…. You have one senator, now President Lyndon Johnson, from the South, giving the most extraordinary address, called the We Shall Overcome Address, to mobilize the Congress to pass the voting rights bill — which it does, four months later. And it means so much to me personally."
Goodwin continued, "When we listened to that speech when I was in graduate school, we were crying. We knew something big was really happening…. It is deadly wrong to deny your fellow Americans the right to vote. If I had ever thought, that night, that three years later, I would end up working for the man, Lyndon Johnson, who delivered that speech — or marrying the man, Richard Goodwin, who worked on that speech — I would never have believed it possible."
Goodwin went on to warn that in 2021, voting rights are in danger thanks to all the voter suppression bills that Republicans in state governments are proposing.
"Now, those rights are back in jeopardy," Goodwin told Scarborough and Brzezinski. "We have to fight again. It is deadly wrong, he said, deadly wrong, to do this. And we have to remember it. This is the next big civil rights struggle."
Scarborough, during the segment, played an excerpt of Johnson's March 15, 1965 speech, followed by a clip of Democratic activist/strategist Stacey Abrams, 56 year later, warning against GOP voter suppression efforts in her state, Georgia.
Watch the video below:
Why LBJ's Speech On Voting Rights Act Still Resonates Today | Morning Joe | MSNBC www.youtube.com