Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Carter opens look at LBJ, 1964 civil rights law

AUSTIN, Texas — Former President Jimmy Carter on Tuesday night lamented continuing inequalities between black and white Americans during a 50th anniversary celebration of the Civil Rights Act that will feature four of the five living U.S. presidents this week in Texas.

Carter said "too many people are at ease" with black unemployment rates that exceed the national average and schools in some places that he described as basically still segregated.

Carter, 89, was the first president to speak at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, which is holding the three-day summit to mark the anniversary of the landmark 1964 law that banned widespread discrimination against racial and ethnic minorities and against women.

"We're pretty much dormant now," he said. "We accept self-congratulations about the wonderful 50th anniversary — which is wonderful — but we feel like Lyndon Johnson did it and we don't have to do anything."

The unemployment rate was 12 percent for blacks and 5.8 percent for whites in February.

Carter, who grew up in Georgia, recalled being influenced by black culture and calling for the end of racial discrimination after he was elected governor of that state in 1970. But four decades later, Carter expressed regret at racial and gender inequalities that he says are persistent.

He touched on wage gaps between women and men and reiterated his support for gay marriage. During a wide-ranging interview in a packed auditorium, he also chalked up loosened rules on political campaign contributions as partly the reason for gridlock in Washington.

"What happens is that the political environment is flooded with money since the Supreme Court made that stupid decision," Carter said, a reference to the high court's 2010 Citizens United ruling.

"A lot of that money pours into the campaigns is spent on negative commercials. … So by the time the election's over, you have a polarized Texas or polarized Georgia, red and blue states. Then, when people get to Washington, they don't trust each other," he said.

Former President Bill Clinton will speak today. President Barack Obama will give the keynote address Thursday morning, and former president George W. Bush will speak that evening, closing the event on a bipartisan note.

Former President George H.W. Bush, 89, is the only living president not attending the summit. He said in a statement that he regretted that he couldn't attend.

Carter opens look at LBJ, 1964 civil rights law 04/08/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 9, 2014 12:24am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Massachusetts firm buys Tampa's Element apartment tower

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — Downtown Tampa's Element apartment tower sold this week to a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company that plans to upgrade the skyscraper's amenities and operate it long-term as a rental community.

    The Element apartment high-rise at 808 N Franklin St. in downtown Tampa has been sold to a Northland Investment Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment company. JIM DAMASKE  |  Times
  2. Judge won't cut prison term of man who pleads obesity

    Criminal

    TAMPA — A claim of obesity won't shave time off a Tampa man's prison sentence.

    Duane Crithfield and Stephen Donaldson Sr. were sentenced to prison after marketing a fraudulent offshore tax strategy known as a "Business Protection Plan" to medical practices, offering doctors and others coverage against unlikely events such as a kidnapping.
  3. Advocates for charter, public schools argue their cases at education forum

    K12

    TAMPA — Advocates of charter schools argued for diversity in education while supporters of traditional public schools charged that state funding is stacked against them during a forum Friday titled, Choices in Education.

    Schools such as Winthrop Charter School deserve greater public support, their operators say, because they offer a choice in education that is popular among parents. Public school advocates say charter and voucher schools represent a double standard in accountability and enrollment. [WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times]
  4. Editorial: UF shows how to preserve free speech

    Editorials

    The University of Florida was forced to navigate a treacherous terrain of constitutional concerns and public safety this week, all in a glaring public spotlight. In the end, Thursday's appearance by Richard Spencer was a success — as much as an unwelcome visit from a notorious white nationalist can be. The …

  5. Blake High grad Taylor Trensch lands lead role in 'Dear Evan Hansen' on Broadway

    Stage

    For those who saw Taylor Trensch grow up in Tampa, his rise from promising student to star is heartwarming and entirely predictable. In January, Trensch, 28, will be moving into the title role of Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway, one of the hottest tickets in theater.

    Taylor Trensch, a 2007 Blake High graduate, will play the title role in Broadway's Dear Evan Hansen. Courtesy of Frank Trensch.