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50 Years After Civil Rights Act, Austin Summit To Honor LBJ And His Legacy

Yoichi Okamoto
LBJ Library photo
President Lyndon Johnson met with Civil Rights activists in 1965.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Paying tribute to LBJ; a Van Cliburn auction; tonight’s the last night for the Chinese Lantern Festival; and more.

Today, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is announcing that it will hold a Civil Rights Summit in April to mark the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act. The ceremony is a chance to reconsider Johnson’s presidency. The New York Times reports that his family and friends argue that his legacy has “been overwhelmed by the tragedy of the Vietnam War, and has failed to take into account the blizzard of domestic legislation enacted in the five years Johnson was in the White House.” Three former presidents are expected to attend the April ceremony – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, The Times reports. President Obama might be there, too. Later, there will be celebrations of the 50th anniversaries of various Johnson initiatives: “Medicare, the Clean Air Act, public broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Head Start, the requirements for seatbelts, and warnings on cigarette packs.”

  • A public memorial service takes place at 10 a.m. today for William Scott Tanksley, a Dallas firefighter who died during last week’s ice storm after falling from the Spur 408 overpass. Today’s memorial service is at the Terrell ISD Performing Arts Center. A large crowd is expected He will then be buried at Restland Cemetery in Dallas. WFAA-TV reported that at least 300 people attended a service Sunday night in Mabank. “At one point, the line out the front door snaked around the back of Eubanks Cedar Creek Funeral Home,” the station said. The Terrell Tribune has more.

  • Hundreds of items from the estate of pianist Van Cliburn will be put up for auction next month at Christie’s. In 2012, bidders paid $4.4 million for 166 lots of his collection of antiques, jewelry and other items, The Dallas Morning News reports. Cliburn died last February. The auction takes place March 4 and 5. The News reports: “His mother had a passion for fine chairs and the Christie’s auction has plenty of those, including a number of George III period dining chairs. One sentimental item is an 1869 C. Bechstein piano purchased by Mrs. Cliburn in the 1940s and given to her son.”

  • The United States Navy Band is presenting a free concert tonight at 7:30. It’s at the University of North Texas’ Murchison Performing Arts Center. The band says: “This special performance by the Navy’s premier musical organization is part of the Navy Band’s national tour. The band performs frequently at the White House and the U.S. capitol building, and has participated in 21 presidential inaugurals.” Members of several area high school bands will join the band to perform John Philip Sousa’s “Washington Post March.” Tickets are required. (Update: Tickets are no longer available. But you can watch the concert live online tonight.)

  • The Chinese Lantern Festival ends tonight. The Fair Park show, which has been open since the State Fair of Texas this fall, features 25 scenes. They include a royal dragon boat and a 52-foot-tall porcelain pagoda made from 68,000 plates, bowls, spoons and wine cups. A team of more than 100 artisans put together the lanterns. The festival describes the scene: “Brilliant, glowing, artworks comprise 25 stunning displays in a kaleidoscope of color. Like stained glass in 3D, each lantern set is made of hundreds and thousands of individual pieces.”
Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.