Lyndon Baines Johnson

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.

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Did The Movie 'Selma' Get LBJ Wrong?

Jan 7, 2015

Some historians say the new film “Selma” paints President Lyndon Johnson in an unfair light with regard to his civil rights record. The film depicts him as lagging behind on voting rights for African Americans.

Today Cotulla, Texas, is reaping the benefits of an oil and natural gas boom in the Eagle Ford Shale. But in 1928, the South Texas town was incredibly poor — and that's how Lyndon Johnson saw it when he had his first job there at age 20.