AUSTIN (KXAN) — Four U.S. presidents, including Barack Obama, are scheduled to headline a summit that begins Tuesday afternoon to commemorates the signing of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago that brought broad changes in America’s social fabric. President Carter and LBJ Presidential Library Director Mark Updegrove will cap day one with a discussion.
The Civil Rights Summit celebrates President Lyndon B. Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
An event historians consider the greatest domestic movement of the 20th century. Mark Updegrove, the Director of the LBJ Presidential Library, believes most people associate LBJ with the Vietnam War. He hopes the Civil Rights Summit will help change that perspective.
“No president made more strides in ensuring racial justice for all Americans then Lyndon Johnson,” said Updegrove. “And I hope that will change people’s perceptions of him in this regard.”
The event runs Tuesday through Thursday at the LBJ Presidential Library and the LBJ Auditorium on the University of Texas campus in Austin.
The summit kicks off Tuesday at 12:30p.m. with discussions on two modern day civil rights movements, gay marriage and immigration. Later in the day a panel discussion will explore how music has been a catalyst for social change.
Other panel discussions over the three days include civil rights leaders, current and former officeholders, academics, dignitaries and authors.
“The purpose of the event is not to just have an event and go home. The purpose of the event is to create discussion about what do we need to do in this country to make our civil rights situation the best in the world,” said Elizabeth Christian, President Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.
President Obama will give the keynote address Thursday morning at 11:30, with former President George W. Bush speaking that evening.
Former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday evening at 6p.m. will speak with library director Mark K. Updegrove, and former President Bill Clinton will speak Wednesday evening.