Posts tagged: President LBJ

Yet Another Step Forward

By , January 9, 2014 1:14 am

Image: ESPN.go.com


I knew my paternal grandfather but not for long as he died in 1947. When he was born in 1859, the United States of America permitted three to four million human beings to live out their lives as slaves. That is about 155 years ago. Starting with the Civil War, our shamed nation has slowly plodded forward towards fulfillment of the ideals in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States.

1862 – the Emancipation Proclamation
1865 – the 13th Amendment
1940’s – Jackie Robinson breaks into baseball
Late 1940’s – Marion Sweatt, after having fought for his country, is denied admission to the University of Texas Law School
Early 1950’s – Black youths denied entrance into St. Mary’s Seminary, Houston
1954 – Supreme Court orders end to segregated schools but it doesn’t happen
1964 – The first major civil rights act followed by a half dozen others through the influence of Lyndon Johnson
2004 – Barack Obama elected President of the United States
2014 – Charlie Strong becomes head coach at the University of Texas

This may not mean a lot to many younger people today but any person of my age and who remembers “The Way We Were!” can appreciate this decision with thankfulness that slowly – slowly – slowly we are moving towards the ideals on which this country was founded. For that let us thank God.

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The Hope-filled ‘60’s – Looking Back

By , March 27, 2012 1:32 pm

http://www.time.com/time/covers


The 1960’s were an extraordinary time in the United States. They were filled with hope and chaos. Nationally, the Vietnam War raged on and on. Thousands of young Americans were dying and tens of thousands of Vietnamese were suffering the same fate. The draft was on and many young people were making every effort to avoid it because they instinctively knew that the war was so senseless, so wasteful and so unnecessary.

On the Church side of the ledger, things looked differently. Konrad Adenauer was leading a prosperous, peace loving Germany and the agony of the Second World War was beginning to fade, at least slightly. In the Church there was optimism everywhere. John XXIII, that rotund, little parish priest from the Italian alps, sat on the throne of Peter. He was loving and lovable. He looked at the problems in the Church and for the first time in more than 100 years called for a world-wide council of bishops. Change was in the air. Hope was in the air. Optimism was abundant. So there you had that decade. You had war and chaos and conflict, and you had faith, hope and optimism.

As a young priest, I had already been in several very diverse parishes and in the late ‘60’s was serving the national office in Washington, D.C. I had the thrill of witnessing close at hand the remarkable legislative accomplishments of President Lyndon Baines Johnson. In the South, the Freedom Riders were beaten and sometimes killed but the War on Poverty with all of its ramifications and the Civil Rights Act, the Voters Rights Act and Open Housing Act were all passed in that same decade. I remember the whole decade very well and I hope that I never forget it. No one should.

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