Lyndon Baines Johnson

When it comes to the list of Texans who were warriors for civil rights, the name Homer Thornberry may not likely be a name that many will conjure up.  But without his name that list would be lacking.

Texas State Archive

There are many colorful yarns about W. Lee “Pass the Biscuits Pappy” O’Daniel. With his hillbilly band the radio flour salesman won two terms as Texas Governor. And then Pappy became a Senator by orchestrating one of the most spectacular campaigns and controversial vote counts in Texas history. 

Ryan E. Poppe

This week thousands of Vietnam War veterans gathered at the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin.  They’re there for a three-day conference that takes a look back at a war where young men were drafted to defend a cause they didn’t always support and college campuses boiled over with anti-war protests.  More than 40 years after the end of the war, the memories are still painful.

LBJ Presidential Library / public domain

It was 50 years ago this week that President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Voting Rights Act.

The law that sought to end the Jim Crow practice of blocking African Americans from the voting booth. It was later expanded to include Latinos in Texas.

The Voting Rights Act is just part of a battery of civil rights reforms and anti-poverty laws that LBJ was responsible for. Yet some still wonder about what Johnson’s legacy will be as the passage of time brings new filters to examine his record of accomplishments and failures.

Former House Speaker Jim Wright Dies At Age 92

May 6, 2015
U.S. House of Representatives

DALLAS — Former U.S. House Speaker Jim Wright, the longtime Texas Democrat who became the first House speaker in history to be driven out of office in midterm, has died. He was 92.

The World War II veteran and author, often praised for his eloquence and oratorical skills, was living in a nursing home when he died early Wednesday morning, according to the Harveson and Cole funeral home in Fort Worth. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Wright represented a Fort Worth-area congressional district for 34 years, beginning with his election in 1954. He was the Democratic majority leader in the House for a decade, rising to the speakership in January 1987, to replace Tip O’Neill.

Although three House speakers had resigned before Wright stepped down in 1989, they all served during the 19th century — and none before him had been under fire and facing judgment in the House for breaking its ethics rules.