PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Signing of Voting Rights Act of 1965 (Transcript)


President LYNDON B. JOHNSON: Today is a triumph for freedom, as huge as any victory that’s ever been won on any battlefield.

NARRATOR: In the same room where President Lincoln signed the first Emancipation Order in 1861, President Johnson signed the 1965 Voter Registration Act, and pledged to millions of Americans, a new chance to find a political voice.

President JOHNSON: This law will ensure them the right to vote. The wrong, is one, which no American in his heart can justify. The right, is one, which no American true to our principles can deny.

NARRATOR: With a battery of pens and before witnesses like negro leaders, Martin Luther King, Roy Wilkins, and James Farmer, who were watching the climax of the campaign to which they devoted years of will and energy, the president signed. President Johnson moved the next day to implement the bill. So far the strongest link in the legislative chain, which the president titles the Great Society, the voting bill promises a profound effect upon the future of politics for the entire nation.