Category: History, Living consequences Tags: Civil rights movement, Emancipation to Equality, Lyndon Jonson, Racial justice, War on Poverty
Today is the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty.
On January 8, 1964, Lyndon Johnson, in his State of the Union address to Congress, dramatically announced:
This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America.
On this occasion, I think it is worth remembering that Johnson was intimately familiar with poverty, having had what biographer Robert Caro calls a “terrible boyhood” filled with the insecurity and humiliations of poverty: living in a home that could be taken by the bank at any time, and often depending on neighbors to bring dishes of food to eat. This seems to have filled Johnson with a passion to fight poverty, which he began planning with his advisers within hours of the assassination of President Kennedy.1
- See Robert A. Caro, Passage of Power: The Years of Lyndon Johnson (Alfred A. Knopf, 2012). [↩]