New exhibit at LBJ Library celebrates presidents’ strides in rights for minorities

Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson's hats on display at LBJ Library.
Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon B. Johnson's hats on display at LBJ Library.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson and Abraham Lincoln led this country a hundred years apart from each other, but both made strides in the rights of minorities in America.

“These are the four documents on which modern civil rights legislation was enacted,” said Michael Macdonald, the museum registrar.

Enclosed in a modest glass case, and together for the first time:

  • One of 48 copies of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln.
  • The resolution proposing the 13th amendment abolishing slavery in America.
  • The Civil Rights act of 1964
  • The Voting Rights act of 1965

The civil rights and voting rights acts were both signed by President Johnson.

“It’s kind of an honor to be entrusted with such national treasures,” Macdonald said.

Next week, President Obama will tour this Cornerstones display.

“It’s really an honor to be able to get a stovepipe hat that was actually owned and worn by Abraham Lincoln,” Macdonald added.

MacDonald says this is one of only three Lincoln hats still in existence. It is displayed next to the pristine cowboy hat LBJ wore at his Stonewall Ranch.

Photographs in the display include pictures of the March on Washington in 1963, the bullet through the window that killed civil rights activist Medger Evers, and the Brown sisters in Topeka, Kan.

Finally there is LBJ’s famous American Promise speech on voting rights, complete with his handwritten notes.

‘The ultimate achievement of that is an African-American president,” Macdonald said.

The exhibit will be on display at the LBJ Library through the end of the month. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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