With the signing of the Civil Rights Act, attention turned to passing the Voting Rights Act, the next of LBJ's landmark equality laws. When Johnson signed that one, Terry was one of the staffers in the room, and got to shake his hand.
Johnson was a complex man, at times crude, at times spiteful, almost always vain. And he made huge mistakes, especially regarding the war. He is the biggest single reason that Hubert Humphrey never became president and that Richard Nixon did.
Still, after his personal journey through the true meaning of civil rights, he landed on the right side of that piece of history. And that's what's being celebrated today. What a shame that it comes at a time when so many states are cynically gutting voting rights wherever and whenever they can. Shame on them. Shame on Texas, shame on Ohio, shame on Wisconsin, shame on the Carolinas, and all the rest whose reprehensible state legislatures see exercising the great voting franchise as a threat. We should rise up against them just as LBJ and Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen rose up for civil rights in the 1960s. They won a battle, but the war of hatred goes on.