AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A half-century after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, President Barack Obama says the nation is still "locked in the same great debate about equality and opportunity and the role of government."

Obama traveled today to Austin, Texas, to mark the anniversary of the civil rights legislation that was championed by President Lyndon Johnson.

He said Johnson understood like few others the power of government to bring about change. And he said as the first black president, he had benefited from Johnson's efforts.

The landmark law ended racial discrimination in public places.

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