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The President's Daily Diary: March 15, 1965

On March 15, 1965, citing the demonstrations in Selma, Alabama, and "the long denial of equal rights of millions of Americans," President Johnson addressed a joint session of Congress and the nation on live television. In introducing his Voting Rights Bill, Johnson called for legislative action with "no delay, no hesitation, and no compromise" to protect black Americans' right to vote. He declared "What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and State of America. It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really it is all of us, who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome."

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