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Obama marks 50th anniversary of Civil Rights Act

By The Associated Press

This article was published April 10, 2014 at 1:07 p.m.

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President Barack Obama speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library on Thursday, April 10, 2014, in Austin, Texas, during the Civil Rights Summit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act.

AUSTIN, Texas — Reflecting on the unique power of the office he holds, President Barack Obama on Thursday honored Lyndon B. Johnson as leader who seized the presidency's opportunity to bend the currents of history and fulfill America's founding promises of equality.

"I have lived out the promise of LBJ's efforts," Obama said, speaking at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the landmark legislation that helped clear the way for him to become the nation's first black president.

Obama praised Johnson's ability to cajole and strong-arm the legislation through Congress over the objections of lawmakers from his own Democratic Party, calling him a man who understood the power of his office. But amid the celebrations of the law, Obama cautioned that work remains in order to fulfill the goals of the legislation Johnson championed.

"The story of America is a story of progress, however slow, however incomplete," Obama said.

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