By Justin Sink - 04/10/14 11:52 AM EDT
President Obama will pay tribute to the work of former President Lyndon Johnson and look to link his domestic policy agenda to the struggle for civil rights in an address Thursday in Texas.
"President Obama has deep appreciation for the effort that went into passing landmark civil rights legislation — an effort led by President Johnson, and a successful effort that will be forever to President Johnson’s credit," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
"I think it's fair to say there is a connection between the passing of that legislation, and the fact that Barack Obama is President of the United States says a lot about America,” Carney said.
But the president will also talk about what comes next in the fight for civil rights and how the country can build on the legislative accomplishments of the past century, senior administration officials say.
While his speech has not been finalized, the president is expected to argue that the push for racial equality is unfinished, and that passing laws alone can't change minds.
Obama will echo remarks he made last summer during the anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech, in which he argued leaders must fight for “not just the absence of oppression but the presence of economic opportunity.”
In that speech, Obama said the “great unfinished business” of the civil rights era was providing economic equality and opportunity and gains made by civil rights leaders required "constant vigilance, not complacency.”