How Significant Was Lyndon B Johnson in Improving Civil Rights for African Americans?

1017 WordsMay 24, 20135 Pages
How significant was Lyndon B Johnson in improving civil rights for African-Americans during his presidency (1963-69)? Lyndon B Johnson became president in 1963 after the assassination of President John F Kennedy on November 22nd 1963. He formulated many policies including ‘The Great Society’. This was introduced in an aim to end poverty, improve education and rejuvenate cities for all Americans. Johnson also introduced Civil Rights. This act refers to the personal rights a citizen holds which are protected by the US government and prohibits; the discrimination of race, religion, age or gender. This was introduced to create equal opportunities for all. This essay will outline the key factors regarding whether or not Lyndon B Johnson…show more content…
This march was met by violent resistance by White community and Local authorities. Johnson provided an escort to send out the message that Black people are entitled to the same rights. This was resonant and may have created a rippling effect amongst White community, creating the idea of equality as being right. Due to Johnsons policy of ‘The great Society’ and ‘the war on poverty’, “Black unemployment decreased by 34% and the percentage of Blacks living under the poverty line decreased by 25%” (source 7). This suggests that Johnson’s aims were being fulfilled and creating a better society as intended, as oppose to Eisenhower who planted the seed of Civil Rights but did not maintain the attitude throughout his presidency and John F Kennedy who showed interest but no action was taken on his behalf. We can infer from this that the living standards of African-Americans improved due to Johnson’s involvement in The Civil Rights movement. On the other hand, some historians suggest that Lyndon B Johnson was insignificant in improving Civil Rights for African Americans during his presidency due to the Vietnam War. For example, “Johnson’s insistence on American involvement in Vietnam… placed a large strain on the economy” (source 3). This suggests that Johnson’s intentions regarding Vietnam overshadowed the commitment to Civil Rights. This has the potential to be prioritised over improving Civil Rights for African-Americans and less time and money to be put
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