President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law this weekend, 56 years ago. As the landmark legislation is again being debated, Johnson’s daughter is taking up the cause.
Luci Baines Johnson was 18 when her father signed the act. “I stood behind my father on August 6, 1965, when he signed the Voting Rights Act into the law,” she said.
Now, at 74, she’s still standing behind her dad.
When asked if her father’s legacy was on the line, she said, “Well, let me put it this way. A lot has been dismantled.”
The youngest daughter of president Lyndon Johnson has embarked on a crusade for voting rights — one of the signature hallmarks of his administration.
“We have gone backwards in a way that just breaks my heart,” she said.
The Voting Rights Act has beenseveral times, most recently in 2006 with bipartisan support. But in 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated federal oversight of elections, a key part of the law designed to keep tabs on states with a history of discriminating against minority voters. The court decided such oversight was no longer necessary because of changes made by states since 1965.
“The Supreme Court several years ago literally gutted the heart of the 1965 Voting Rights Act,” Johnson told CBS News, “and states throughout this country — I think it’s 18 now — are working fast and furiously to do everything they can to diminish the opportunity for vote, for all of us, but especially for people of color, especially for people who are poor, and especially for people who are old. And I am here to say no more.”
When asked what her father would make of what’s happening, Johnson said, “I think he would be here, fighting fiercely.”
Johnson traveled from Texas to Washington this week to meet with Vice President Kamala Harris and urge Congress to act.
“They’re courageous people on both sides of the aisle who now need to stand up and be counted. They need to be like those legislators were in ’65,” she said. “They stood up with us. They voted with us.”