Johnson Outlines Affirmative Action Approach To Civil Rights

1965

In a graduation speech at historically black Howard University, President Lyndon B. Johnson says that laws prohibiting discrimination are not enough and that more pro-active measures are necessary:
“You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: ‘Now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.’ You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘You are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe you have been completely fair … . This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity, not just legal equity but human ability, not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.”