Tags: Lyndon Johnson | daughter | portrayal | Selma | LBJ

LBJ's Daughter 'Saddened' by Her Dad's Portrayal in 'Selma'

Monday, 09 February 2015 12:48 PM

The daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson has slammed the hit new movie "Selma" for depicting her father as "a reluctant latecomer to the civil rights movement."

Saying she was "saddened" by the film, Luci Baines Johnson took to the pages of The Texas Tribune to claim her dad was instrumental in getting the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act passed during his presidency while risking his own political career.

The film about the 1965 protest march in Selma, Alabama, led by the Rev. Martin Luther King, allegedly portrays LBJ as being at odds with the civil rights activist, and even using the FBI to discredit King.

The movie, starring David Oyelowo as "MLK," also appears to show Johnson to be reticent about pushing the equal rights voting bill and opposed to the Selma march itself.

However, in her commentary, Baines Johnson writes, "As a child of the South, I witnessed the painful injustice of ‘whites only’ public toilets, water fountains and restaurants.

"I saw people of color banished to the balconies of movie theaters and the back of the bus. I saw inequity in education and access to the polls. I saw a separate and unequal nation.

"But I also saw my parents, Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, refuse to live in areas of town with restrictive racial and religious covenants and witnessed my mother leave a motel that wouldn’t let our housekeeper stay with us simply because she was black.

"I never knew the wrenching pain of discrimination. But I saw with a heavy heart what it did to people of color, what it did to our country, what it still does."

She continued, "That’s why I was so excited to learn of 'Selma,'" the new film that depicts the pivotal moment in civil rights history that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act. I found the movie riveting and the acting powerful.

"But I was deeply saddened that the film does not convey the message of hope that the historical Selma does. Hope that comes in knowing there once was a time when black preachers and a white Southern president joined Jews and gentiles, Democrats and Republicans to do what none of them could do alone — secure the right to vote for all of our citizens.

"Hope that comes in knowing that by working together we’ve overcome injustice before, and surely through collaboration we can do it again."

She pointed out that in 1963, six months before LBJ became president upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy, her father made a speech at Gettysburg that still resonates with her to this day.

"Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men’s skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact," Baines Johnson quoted LBJ as saying.

She went on to say that it was her dad’s "commitment to social justice" that drove him to "risk his political life" to secure passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

"So I was sad to see our father depicted in Selma as a reluctant latecomer to the civil rights movement rather than the partner I had seen in the fight for social justice."

In her detailed opinion piece, she concluded by saying: "It’s important that the children of the millennium know of the enormous sacrifice, courage and character of all the black civil rights leaders of the 1960s.

"But it is also important for the young people of today to know the hope of the Selma story. People of color weren’t alone then. They aren’t alone now.

"We haven’t yet reached Dr. King’s ‘promised land,’ but we’ve moved closer to it by working together. And if we stand together for social justice, ‘deep in my heart I do believe, we shall overcome someday.'"

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The daughter of former President Lyndon B. Johnson has slammed the hit new movie "Selma" for depicting her father as "a reluctant latecomer" to the civil rights movement.
Lyndon Johnson, daughter, portrayal, Selma, LBJ
Monday, 09 February 2015 12:48 PM
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