Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughters of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson, smile for a photo during the Inaugural 50th anniversary commemoration awards dinner Friday night. (Alaina Denean | Times-Journal)

Dr. King and LBJ’s family remember Voting Rights

Mar 06, 2015

By Blake Deshazo
Friday, March 6, 2015
Originally published in The Selma Times-Journal

The families of those who dedicated their lives in the fight for equal voting rights were honored by the city of Selma on Friday night at the 50th Anniversary Commemoration Awards Ceremony and Dinner.

In attendance were President Lyndon B. Johnson’s daughters, members of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s family and others who represented civil rights activists that made a difference 50 years ago.

“It’s just great to have them here to honor them and show them that we have not forgotten them [or] what their families went through,” said Selma Mayor George Evans. “Their family members paid a price and suffering and pain, but as a result of that we are here today to celebrate our history.”

Lynda Johnson Robb and Luci Baines Johnson shared their father’s vision and memories of the work he did with Dr. King as they mingled through the crowd.

“The things that people did in Selma, the stand that they took made a difference. We can all make changes if we do it together, but nobody can do it by themselves,” Robb said. “Dr. King was the leader, and daddy was working hard with him and all of these people in Selma. We can make a difference together, and that is what we’re celebrating tonight all of these people who deserve to be honored.”

Johnson showed gratitude for the city’s effort to honor their father for his work in the Civil Rights Movement and the work of the many others that marched together.

“We feel very grateful to Selma. It’s the fact that tonight they are not just celebrating the Kings and the Johnsons. They’re celebrating a very diverse number of people who made this great achievement in our country’s history possible,” Johnson said. “That is important because each and every role was invaluable. We look back 50 years ago, and they were treated with clubs and guns. Today those same folks are being honored.”

Representing his father, the man who served as the leader of the movement, was Martin Luther King III.

“I’m really honored to be here with those who are being honored who opened doors, but I am a little saddened that we still have not crossed the threshold,” King said. “I think if my dad were here, his focus would not be on celebration, but it would be challenging the nation to create either a new voting rights bill or releasing the restrictions that exist.”

King talked about new voting laws that were put in place in some cities that restrict voters by requiring new IDs.

“While there may be reason to celebrate, there is more reason to challenge the nation to make it easier for everyone to vote.”

Civil Rights Activist Jesse Jackson shared similar thoughts, as he said he felt the work of civil rights activists is far from over.

“It is important to honor people who sacrificed, but the work is incomplete,” Jackson said. “I hope that the legislators that come here have a plan to invest in Dallas County. People need jobs, job training, education and healthcare.”