LBJ calls for equal voting rights

On March 15, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson addresses a joint session of Congress to urge the passage of legislation guaranteeing voting rights for all.

Using the phrase “we shall overcome,” borrowed from African American leaders struggling for equal rights, Johnson declares that “every American citizen must have an equal right to vote.” Johnson reminds the nation that the Fifteenth Amendment, which was passed after the Civil War, gave all citizens the right to vote regardless of race or color. But states had defied the Constitution and erected barriers. Discrimination had taken the form of literacy, knowledge or character tests administered solely to African Americans to keep them from registering to vote.

READ MORE: When Did African Americans Get the Right to Vote?

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LBJ calls for equal voting rights Editors

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Access Date

March 15, 2022


A&E Television Networks

Last Updated

March 14, 2022

Original Published Date

November 24, 2009