LBJ monument unveiled in downtown's Tranquility Park on day 1965 Voting Rights Act was signed

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- On this day 56 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The act banned discriminatory practices adopted in many Southern states after the Civil War, such as outlawing literacy tests.

On Friday in downtown Houston, a testament to the signing of the act was unveiled with a monument of Johnson.

The statue, which now stands in downtown Houston's Tranquility Park, was revealed during a ceremony attended by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Johnson's daughters.

You can watch the full program in the video player above, including a performance from Dove Award winner and Grammy nominee Brian Courtney Wilson and Houston Poet Laureate Outspoken Bean.

The program included a virtual presentation from Vice President Kamala Harris, who spoke about voting rights, especially in Texas, as the state's legislature prepares to return for a second special legislative session. A key item on the agenda is Gov. Greg Abbott's priority election bill.

The legislation has been at the center of heated debate, with House Democrats fleeing the state and heading to Washington, D.C. at the start of the first special session to break quorum, leaving lawmakers unable to vote on it.

Critics of the elections bill have said it would harm voters of color.

Johnson, a Texas native, signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act into law in the presence of Civil Rights pioneers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.

The monument revealed Friday also featured a memorial honoring those who died on Apollo I.

On January 27, 1967 in Cape Canaveral, Florida, astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee were scheduled to make the first Apollo space flight, but were killed when a fire swept through the command module on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy's Launch Complex during a preflight test.
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