“For so long as man has lived on this earth, poverty has been his curse. On every continent in every age men have sought escape from poverty’s oppression. Today, for the first time in all the history of the human race, a great nation is able to make and is willing to make a commitment to eradicate poverty among its people.”Remarks upon signing the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964.
“Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole. Let us hasten that day when our unmeasured strength and our unbounded spirit will be free to do the great works ordained for this nation by the just and wise God who is the Father of us all.”Remarks upon signing the Civil Rights Bill, July 2, 1964.
“My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English and I couldn’t speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast and hungry. And they knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them, but they knew it was so because I saw it in their eyes.”Voting Rights Address to Congress, March 15, 1965.
“Somehow you never forget what poverty can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child. I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country. But now I do have that chance — and I’ll let you in on a secret — I mean to use it.”Voting Rights Address to Congress, March 15, 1965.
“Many of the issues of civil rights are very complex and most difficult. But about this there can and should be no argument: Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right.”Voting Rights Address to Congress, March 15, 1965.
“I want to be the president who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the president who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax eaters. I want to be the president who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.”Voting Rights Address to Congress, March 15, 1965.
“As a son of a tenant farmer, I know that education is the only valid passport from poverty. As a former teacher–and, I hope, a future one–I have great expectations of what this law will mean for all of our young people. As President of the United States, I believe deeply no law I have signed or will ever sign means more to the future of America.”Remarks in Johnson City, Texas, upon signing the Elementary and Secondary Education Bill, April 11, 1965
“And I pledge you that we will not delay, or we will not hesitate, or we will not turn aside until Americans of every race and color and origin in this country have the same right as all others to share in the process of democracy.”Remarks in the Capitol Rotunda at the signing of the Voting Rights Act August 6, 1965
“Here the seeds were planted from which grew my firm conviction that for the individual, education is the path to achievement and fulfillment; for the nation, it is a path to a society that is not only free but civilized; and for the world, it is the path to peace — for it is education that places reason over force.”Remarks at Southwest Texas State College upon signing the Higher Education Act of 1965, Nov. 8, 1965.
“I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this Nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American. So here, today, back on the campus of my youth, that door is swinging open far wider than it ever did before.”Remarks at Southwest Texas State College upon Signing the Higher Education Act of 1965, Nov. 8, 1965.
“Everything I want to work for, as your President, to achieve peace, to conquer poverty, to build a worthy civilization — all of these depend in a very large degree on what happens in this school and what happens in other schools throughout our land.”Remarks at the Welhausen Elementary School, Cotulla, Texas, November 7, 1966.
“We had only five teachers here in the Welhausen public school. We had no lunch facilities. We had no school buses. We had very little money for educating people of this community. We did not have money to buy our playground equipment, our volleyballs, our softball bat. I took my first month’s salary and invested in those things for my children.”Remarks at the Welhausen Elementary School, Cotulla, Texas, November 7, 1966.
“We can achieve nothing by lawlessness and divisiveness among the American people. It is only by joining together and only by working together that we can continue to move toward equality and fulfillment for all of our people. I hope that all Americans tonight will search their hearts as they ponder this most tragic incident.”Statement by LBJ on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., April 4, 1968