The Passage Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964
At 9:51 a.m. on June 10, 1964, Senator Robert Byrd completed an all-night filibustering speech opposing H.R. 7152. Senators Russell , Mansfield , Humphrey , and Dirksen followed with remarks. The clerk proceeded with the roll call at 11:00 a.m. The Senate voted 71â29 for cloture, thereby limiting further debate. The final tally was forty-four Democrats and twenty-seven Republicans voting for cloture with twenty-three Democrats and six Republicans opposed. It was the first time the Senate voted to end a filibuster over a civil rights bill. On June 19, the substitute bill passed the Senate by a vote of 7327. In this letter Clarence Mitchell recounts and celebrates the moment.
Clarence Mitchell to Roy Wilkins, June 20, 1964 . Typed letter. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress Courtesy of the NAACP
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Not A Single House Republican Voted For The John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act
Participants in a Freedom Friday March in Washington, D.C.
Old battles have become new again, said US Representative Terri Sewell, of Alabama, as she introduced the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act for Tuesdays essential vote in the House. And even as the old battles are being fought anew, the old battle lines have changed as well. The Republican Party, which was once a more energetic and consistent supporter of civil rights in general and voting rights in particular than the Democrat Party, has united in grotesquely self-serving and destructive opposition to principles it historically championed.
Like their colleagues in the Senate, House Republicans sought to block the restoration and extension of vital sections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which were weakened by rulings from a US Supreme Court dominated by right-wing judicial activists. The recalcitrance of House Republicans was all the more jarring because the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is so clearly neededalong with the proposed For the People Actto counter a new wave of voter suppression.
When it came time to renew the Voting Rights Act, Republicans in Congress united with Democrats to support the measures, and Republican presidents signed them into law.
But no more.
If They Don’t Watch Out They’re Gonna Ruin It
Comparing the pending Civil Rights legislation to a delicate cake, conservative cartoonist Gib Crockett, chief cartoonist at the Washington Star, blames extremism for ruining Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphreyâs hard work. Frank Lausche, a conservative Democrat from Ohio turns toward the unseen events. This cartoon may refer to Malcolm Xâs âBallot or the Bulletâ speech at King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, which he gave on April 12, 1964. It was a militant reaction to a lack of civil rights for African Americans.
Gib Crockett. If they don’t watch out they’re gonna ruin it! 1964. Graphite, crayon, and India ink drawing. Published in the Washington Star, April 15, 1964. Art Wood Collection of Cartoon and Caricature, , Library of Congress
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The Signing Of The Civil Rights Act Of 1964
President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the East Room of the White House before an audience that included Attorney General Robert Kennedy, Senator Hubert Humphrey , Senator Everett Dirksen , Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, James Forman, Roy Wilkins, Clarence Mitchell, Dorothy Height, and many other congressional and civic leaders, religious organizations, and labor leaders. The ceremony and the presidentâs remarks were broadcast live on television and radio at 6:45 p.m., on July 2, 1964.
O. J. Rapp. President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to the nation before signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, July 2, 1964. Facsimile. Courtesy of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Austin, Texas
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On This Day Filibuster Fails To Block The Civil Rights Act
On June 19, 1964, the Senate ended a long debate, overcoming a record-setting filibuster to join the House in approving the Civil Rights Act. The landmark law was a turning point in American history, as it addressed discrimination and segregation on a national level.
Link: See the Civil Rights Act
The Civil Rights Act had been before Congress, in several forms, since the late 1950s. A turning point was reached in March 1964, when a group of Southern senators started a record-setting filibuster.
No full-featured Civil Rights Act proposal had ever survived a filibuster attempt on the Senate floor. A prior bill, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, was important but it had a limited impact and it was difficult to enforce. It also had survived a one-person 24-hour filibuster in 1957 from Senator Strom Thurmond.
As Senate Majority Leader, Lyndon Johnson had been involved heavily in the fight for the Civil Rights Act of 1957, and as President in 1964, he was committed to a much more comprehensive 1964 act.
The House had already passed its version of the Civil Rights Act when the Senate filibuster began in April 1964. A cloture motion would be needed to overcome the filibuster, which required a vote in favor of limiting debate by 67 Senators under the rules in place in 1964.
Behind the scenes, two opposing leaders were working to find a way to get 67 votes to break the filibuster: Democratic Senate whip Hubert Humphrey and Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen of Illinois.
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The Killing Of Civil Rights Workers Chaney Goodman And Schwerner
On June 21, 1964, the first day of Mississippi Freedom Summerorganized by the Council of Federated OrganizationsJames Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner drove to Neshoba County to investigate the burning of a black church following a voting rights meeting. On their way home, the civil rights workers were arrested and jailed by Deputy Sheriff Cecil Price. Price and local Klansmen took them to a remote area, where they were tortured, shot to death, and buried in an earthen dam. On June 23, Choctaw hunters found their burned car in the Bogue Chitto swamps. President Johnson launched a massive FBI search and investigation. Their bodies were discovered on August 4 outside the town of Philadelphia, Mississippi.
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National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. TRIPLE MURDER Statesâ Rights, Mississippi . Pamphlet. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
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Title Vinondiscrimination In Federally Assisted Programs
Prevents discrimination by programs and activities that receive federal funds. If a recipient of federal funds is found in violation of Title VI, that recipient may lose its federal funding.
This title declares it to be the policy of the United States that discrimination on the ground of race, color, or national origin shall not occur in connection with programs and activities receiving Federal financial assistance and authorizes and directs the appropriate Federal departments and agencies to take action to carry out this policy. This title is not intended to apply to foreign assistance programs.Section 601 This section states the general principle that no person in the United States shall be excluded from participation in or otherwise discriminated against on the ground of race, color, or national origin under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
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Legislative Strategy For The Civil Rights Bill
On January 21, 1964, President Johnson met with Clarence Mitchell and Joseph Rauh to discuss legislative strategy. Johnson stated that he opposed any changes to the bill. He made it clear that he did not care if the Senate set aside everything else until the inevitable Southern filibuster was defeated and the bill passed. They all agreed to this no-compromise strategy, believing that any weakening amendment would result in the billâs defeat when it was returned to the House. They also recognized that the support of Minority Leader Everett Dirksen was key to securing the minimum twenty-five Republican votes needed to achieve cloture.
Joseph Rauh. Notes on Meeting: President Johnson, Clarence Mitchell and Joe Rauh, January 21, 1964. Typescript. Page 2 – Page 3 – Page 4 – Page 5. Joseph Rauh Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress
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Civil Rights Act Of 1964
|An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States of America to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ” rel=”nofollow”> Pub.L. 88352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act “remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history”.
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Republicans And The Homestead Act
In 1997, the now-defunct political magazine George published an article listing its choices for the ten most important legislative achievements in American history. Landmark laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the G.I. Bill claimed spots, as did Social Security and the interstate highway system.
The Homestead Act of 1862 landed at number three, beaten only by the Louisiana Purchase and the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This seems appropriate considering that the nation acquired much of the land eventually opened to homesteaders in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase. The Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 was a lightning rod for abolitionists and those opposed to slaverys expansion to the West. By letting residents of Kansas and Nebraska decide if the states would have slavery or nota system known as popular sovereigntythe act bearing those Territories names effectively repealed the Missouri Compromise and made slavery possible in areas north of the 36-30 line.
Were Republicans Really The Party Of Civil Rights In The 1960s
With Republicans having trouble with minorities, some like to point out that the party has a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats. Democrats, for example, were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s and 1960s. Democrats were more likely to filibuster. Yet, a closer look at the voting coalitions suggests a more complicated picture that ultimately explains why Republicans are not viewed as the party of civil rights.
Let’s use the 1964 Civil Rights Act as our focal point. It was arguably the most important of the many civil rights bills passed in the middle part of the 20th century. It outlawed many types of racial and sexual discrimination, including access to hotels, restaurants, and theaters. In the words of Vice President Biden, it was a big “f-ing deal”.
When we look at the party vote in both houses of Congress, it fits the historical pattern. Republicans are more in favor of the bill:
80% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill. Less than 70% of Democrats did. Indeed, Minority Leader Republican Everett Dirksen led the fight to end the filibuster. Meanwhile, Democrats such as Richard Russell of Georgia and Strom Thurmond of South Carolina tried as hard as they could to sustain a filibuster.
Put another way, party affiliation seems to be somewhat predictive, but something seems to be missing. So, what factor did best predicting voting?
Voting Rights Bill Blocked By Republican Filibuster
WASHINGTON Voting legislation that Democrats and civil rights groups argued is vital for protecting democracy was blocked Wednesday by a Republican filibuster, a setback for President Joe Biden and his party after a raw, emotional debate.
Democrats were poised to immediately pivot to voting on a Senate rules change as a way to overcome the filibuster and approve the bill with a simple majority. But the rules change was also headed toward defeat, as Biden has been unable to persuade two holdout senators in his own party, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to change the Senate procedures for this one bill.
This is not just another routine day in the Senate, this is a moral moment, said Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga.
The initial vote was 49-51, short of the 60 votes needed to advance over the filibuster. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., voted no for procedural reasons so Democrats can revisit the legislation.
The nighttime voting capped a day of piercing debate that carried echoes of an earlier era when the Senate filibuster was deployed in lengthy speeches by opponents of civil rights legislation.
Voting rights advocates are warning that Republican-led states nationwide are passing laws making it more difficult for Black Americans and others to vote by consolidating polling locations, requiring certain types of identification and ordering other changes.
Lawyer Clifford Alexander Interviewed By Camille O Cosby In 2006
Lawyer Clifford Alexander, Jr., , chairman of the U.S. Equal Emplyment Opportunity Commission , explains the meaning of the Civil Rights Act and how both blacks and whites in government pushed for change in an interview conducted by Camille O. Cosby for the National Visionary Leadership Project in 2006.
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Those Racist Dixiecrats Create Mainstream Republican Policy
But their ideas formed modern GOPs core platform.
In a campaign ad, Democrat-turned-Republican Jesse Helms said racial quotas prevented white people from getting jobs. The lie of racial quotas persists in the GOPs rejection of affirmative action. Racial quotas are illegal.
Take the idea of special interests. Heres Helms view, as a Republican:
But you would think that Ted Cruz would have a clearer understanding of the connections between the Dixiecrats and the Republican Party.
Looking to do your part? One way to get involved is to read the Indivisible Guide, which is written by former congressional staffers and is loaded with best practices for making Congress listen. Or follow this publication, connect with us on , and .
Senator Barry Goldwaters Speech At Madison Square Garden
On May 12, senator and presidential candidate Barry Goldwater delivered a speech before a crowd of 18,000 at Madison Square Garden in the first large rally of the 1964 presidential campaign. In the speech he accused the Johnson administration of fomenting âviolence, destruction, and disobedience,â an allusion to civil rights protests. He also said that integration was âa problem of the heart and of the mind . . . You cannot pass a law that will make me like youor you like me.â Goldwater voted against cloture and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Roy Wilkins sent this telegram in response to the speech.
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âWe have conferred with Representative Emanuel Celler . . . and Representative William McCulloch . . . Both of them assure us that they will insist that the Senate retain enforcement power in the bill.â
Clarence Mitchell to Roy Wilkins, May 22, 1964
Civil Rights Act Of 1957
The Civil Rights Act of 1957, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 9, 1957, was the first federal civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to become law. After the Supreme Court ruled school segregation unconstitutional in 1954 in Brown v. Board of Education, Southern Democrats began a campaign of “massive resistance” against desegregation, and even the few moderate white leaders shifted to openly racist positions. Partly in an effort to defuse calls for more far-reaching reforms, Eisenhower proposed a civil rights bill that would increase the protection of African American voting rights.
Despite having a limited impact on African-American voter participation, at a time when black voter registration was just 20%, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 did establish the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. By 1960, black voting had increased by only 3%, and Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which eliminated certain loopholes left by the 1957 Act.
President Johnson Seeks Support Of Civil Rights Leaders
Immediately after signing the act, President Johnson held a meeting with civil rights leaders in the cabinet room at the White House. He wanted to ensure their collaboration, when the act would inevitably be tested, to not call for demonstrations and to carefully select test cases in the courts. In turn the president promised the full support of the Justice Department in protecting the act. He received assurances from those present that they understood and would cooperate.
Lee C. White. White House Memorandum, July 6, 1964. Courtesy of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum, Austin, Texas
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