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Did Republicans Support The Civil Rights Act

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Civil Rights Act Of 1964

Civil Rights Act

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Long titleAn 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.
Enacted by
  • Introduced in the Houseas H.R. 7152 Emanuel Celler ” rel=”nofollow”>D) on June 20, 1963
  • Committee consideration by
  • Passed the House on February 10, 1964 
  • Passed the Senate on June 19, 1964  with amendment
  • House agreed to Senate amendment on July 2, 1964 
  • Signed into law by PresidentLyndon B. Johnsonon July 2, 1964
Major amendments

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ” rel=”nofollow”>Pub.L. , 78  , enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on , , religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity. 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”.

Formal Debate Begins On The Civil Rights Bill

On March 30, the Senate began formal debate on H.R. 7152. Senator Richard Russell divided the senators opposing the bill, known as the Southern bloc, into three six-member platoons to prolong the filibuster. When one platoon had the floor, the other two rested and prepared to speak. Each member was responsible for talking four hours per day. Russell hoped the filibuster would erode public support for civil rights and compel the pro-civil rights senators to dilute H.R. 7152 in order to secure passage. He did not expect to defeat the bill.

Clarence Mitchell to Roy Wilkins, April 3, 1964 . Typed letter. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress Courtesy of the NAACP

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Republicans Passed The First Civil Rights Act In 1866

Human Events Staff

Thanks to Republicans beginning to appreciate the heritage of our Grand Old Party, it has become better known that Republicans in Congress supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act much more than did the Democrats. Indeed, the legislator most responsible for breaking the Democrat filibuster was a Republican senator, Everett Dirksen.

And now, the question that should be before us: How did that landmark legislation come to be?  The answer to that is a source of pride for all Republicans today.

The origin of the 1964 Civil Rights Act can be traced back to the Reconstruction era. That was when the Republican Party enacted the first civil rights act ever, the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Never heard of it? Democrat history professors would rather you didnt. With that law, Republicans took a big step toward making Abraham Lincolns vision for a new birth of freedom a reality.

Ominously, the assassination of the Great Emancipator had left the presidency to his Democrat vice president, Andrew Johnson.  Senator Lyman Trumbull , co-author of the 13th Amendment banning slavery, also wrote the 1866 Civil Rights Act. Republican support was nearly unanimous, while Democrats were unanimously opposed.  This would be the first time Congress overrode a presidential veto of a significant bill.

Andrew Johnson refused to enforce this law in the southern states, so it had little effect there. However, many racially discriminatory laws in the North were repealed or struck down as a result.

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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Civil Rights Activist Gwendolyn Simmons Interviewed By Joseph Mosnier In 2011

Fact Check: More Republicans Voted for the Civil Rights ...

Civil rights activist Gwendolyn Simmons discusses Freedom Summer and her shock that Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner were murdered in an interview conducted by Joseph Mosnier for the Civil Rights History Project in 2011.

Civil Rights History Project Collection , American Folklife Center

Steele Says Gop Fought Hard For Civil Rights Bills In 1960s

Featured Fact-check

Says Joe Biden and Democrats have done absolutely nothing to help families struggling to keep up with inflation.

The degree of Republican support for the two bills actually exceeded the degree of Democratic support, and it’s also fair to say that Republicans took leading roles in both measures, even though they had far fewer seats, and thus less power, at the time. Both of these factors are enough to earn Steele a rating of True.

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.

The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

The civil rights movement deeply affected American society. Among its most important achievements were two major civil rights laws passed by Congress. These laws ensured constitutional rights for African Americans and other minorities. Although these rights were first guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution immediately after the Civil War, they had never been fully enforced. It was only after years of highly publicized civil rights demonstrations, marches, and violence that American political leaders acted to enforce these rights.

President Lyndon Johnson signs the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Behind him stands the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

President John F. Kennedy proposed the initial civil rights act. Kennedy faced great personal and political conflicts over this legislation. On the one hand, he was sympathetic to African-American citizens whose dramatic protests highlighted the glaring gap between American ideals and American realities. Kennedy understood that black people deserved the full equality they were demanding. He also knew that racial discrimination in the United States, particularly highly public displays of violence and terror against racial minorities, embarrassed America internationally. Moreover, his civil rights legislation generated considerable support among Northern liberals and moderates as well as millions of African-American voters in states where they could vote without difficulty or intimidation.

Clarence Mitchell Jr Calls For A Real Showdown On Civil Rights

As the 88th Congress began its second session early in January 1964, hearings on proposed civil rights legislation were about to commence in the House Rules Committee. Clarence Mitchell, Jr., , Washington Bureau director for the NAACP, explains the reason that the legislation has taken so long to reach this stage and calls for âa real showdown on civil rightsâ in this interview for At Issue: Countdown on Civil Rights, broadcast January 15, 1964, on National Educational Television.

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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Letter From Roy H Millenson

Roy H. Millenson was a staff member for Jacob K. Javits, who was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and later a U.S. senator from New York. In 1964, Millenson worked for the American Jewish Committee as a lobbyist. Along with representatives from other religious organizations, he urged lawmakers to pass the Civil Rights Act and observed how they voted from the gallery of the House of Representatives, much to the displeasure of some House members.

Letter from Roy H. Millenson to the Voices of Civil Rights Project, December 9, 2003. Voices of Civil Rights Project Collection, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress Courtesy of Roy Millenson

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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.

Executive Order

Those Racist Dixiecrats Create Mainstream Republican Policy

The Civil Rights Act, MLK, and the GOP "Southern Strategy ...

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:

Are civil rights only for Negroes? While women in Washington who have been raped and mugged on the streets in broad daylight have experienced the most revolting sort of violation of their civil rights. The hundreds of others who have had their purses snatched by Negro hoodlums may understandably insist that their right to walk the street unmolested was violated. Television commentary, 1963, quoted in The Charlotte Observer.

But you would think that Ted Cruz would have a clearer understanding of the connections between the Dixiecrats and the Republican Party.

He loves Jesse Helms.

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 join us on Facebook.

Senate Civil Rights Debate

Working for CBS as a courtroom illustrator, Howard Brodie captured not only the action on the Senate floor, but the sensibility of the crowd in the gallery above. Blacks, whites, the elderly, the young, men and women gathered together, united in their desire to see the creation of the historic legislation.

Howard Brodie. Senate Civil Rights debate, Gallery. Crayon drawing, 1964. Howard Brodie Collection, , Library of Congress © Estate of Howard Brodie

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âIt is expected that the Mansfield-Dirksen amendment will be approved by a substantial vote.â

Clarence Mitchell to Roy Wilkins, May 8, 1964

Fact Check: More Republicans Voted For The Civil Rights Act As A Percentage Than Democrats Did

    President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on in the East Room of the White House, July 2, 1964.

    Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro claimed on a Dec. 3 episode of his podcast that, compared to Democrats, a greater percentage of Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    More Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act as a percentage than Democrats did, he  on the show.

    Verdict: True

    While the landmark act received a majority of support from both parties, a greater percentage of Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Throughout the 1950s and 60s, Republicans were generally more unified than Democrats in support of civil rights legislation, as many Southern Democrats voted in opposition.

    Fact Check:

    Shapiro made the claim in response to a question put forward by Franklin Foer in an article he wrote for The Atlantic. What if the moderate Republicans of the late 1950s and early 60s had aggressively owned the civil-rights agendaand rendered the cause of racial justice a bipartisan concern? asked Foer.

    By the way, they did, responded Shapiro.

    As the civil rights movement gained momentum in the 1950s and 60s, the federal government passed a number of civil rights bills, four of which were named the Civil Rights Act.

    During this period, the South was a Democratic stronghold that consistently resisted the civil rights movement.

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      The 1964 Civil Rights Bill

      On November 20, 1963, the civil rights bill was referred to the House Rules Committee. Chairman Howard W. Smith , an avid segregationist, refused to grant a rule for the billâs floor debate. He conceded in early January 1964 under the threat of a discharge petition and public pressure. The Rules Committee finally cleared H.R. 7152 on January 30. The bill that passed the House on February 10 by a 290130 vote was stronger and broader than the bill President Kennedy proposed. It included additional protection of the right to vote, an FEPC, Part III, provisions on public facilities, and the withholding of federal funds from discriminatory programs. Representative Emanuel Celler initially supported a much stronger bill, with FEPC and Title III authority, but the administration had made an ironclad agreement with Representative William McCulloch not to go beyond its initial scope.

      U.S. Congress. H.R. 7152 in the House of Representative 88th Congress, 2nd Session, February 10, 1964. Printed document. NAACP Records, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

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      Republican Views On Civil Rights

      Very few people who are well versed in politics have not heard the stereotype that Republicans are the party of racism and discrimination. But what exactly are Republican views on civil rights? Are they as outrageous as the media makes them out to be? The involvement of todays two major parties in the civil rights movements is largely speculated on, and few know the hard facts. It has been stated over and over again that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican, and also that the parties switched platforms after this point.

      Republicans did play a role in the civil rights movement of the 60s. While the entire party was not active in the movement, parts of the party were integral to the movements outcome. Today, while some ideals may be easy to twist, Republicans argue that the partys platforms regarding any group of people are not founded in hate or on the basis of denying groups of people their civil rights. Policies that seem discriminatory are oftentimes based in tradition or on other logic that is not widely advertised.

      Democrats Assail ‘jim Crow’ Assault On Voting Rights So What’s Their Plan

      “Voting rights is the test of our time,” activists chanted, reprising Biden’s own declaration made during a speech in Philadelphia last month.

      While Biden has spoken about the urgent threat to the right to vote, he has faced increasing criticism from his allies for not doing more to ensure that federal voting legislation becomes law.

      “Our president has given us his word that he will be a champion for voting rights, but we have yet to see him put those words into action,” said Deborah Turner, president of the League of Women Voters of the United States.

      White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that “voting rights and ensuring access to voting continues to be a central priority for the president,” adding that Biden stands with activists.

      “He’s maybe not the right target of their frustration because his objective is also to get voting rights legislation passed, and he would like to sign that legislation into law,” Psaki told reporters.

      Voting rights groups have called on Biden to come out in support of eliminating or changing the filibuster rules, in order to allow voting rights bills to pass with a simple majority, side-stepping widespread Republican opposition.

      Turner and others called on Biden to use the “full power of his office,” and “compel Congress to pass voting rights legislation and ensure the freedom to vote for all of us and the freedom to vote for every American.”

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      Television Coverage Of Presidents Johnsons Remarks Upon Signing The Civil Rights Act Of 1964: Excerpts From The Speech

      President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, in a nationally televised ceremony in the East Room of the White House before Congressional leaders and civil rights leaders instrumental in the billâs passage. This excerpt of the speech he made before signing the bill was included in H. R. 7152The Civil Rights Bill, broadcast July 3, 1964, on NBC.

      Republicans During The Civil Rights Movement

      Much like politics today, Republicans and Democrats had a wide range of beliefs within their parties during the civil rights movement. Where any given Democrat or Republican stood on civil rights depended more on whether they were conservative or liberal Republicans or Democrats than it did which party they were a member of.

      Moderate and liberal Republicans, as well as moderate and liberal Democrats, supported the civil rights movement. Much to the same effect, conservative Democrats and conservative Republicans alike opposed the civil rights movement. This is where much of the confusion as to which party affiliation today equates to support of this movement comes in. For the most part today, we associate Republicans with conservatism and Democrats with liberalism. However, there are more liberal Republicans and more conservative Democrats today just as there were in the 60s.

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      When the Republicans Really Were the Party of Lincoln ...

      The Dixie Democrats seceding from the Democratic Party. The rump convention, called after the Democrats had attached President Trumans civil rights program to the party platform, placed Governor Strom Thurmond of South Carolina and Governor Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi in nomination.

      Up until the post-World War II period, the partys hold on the region was so entrenched that Southern politicians usually couldnt get elected unless they were Democrats. But when President Harry S. Truman, a Democratic Southerner, introduced a pro-civil rights platform at the partys 1948 convention, a faction walked out.

      These defectors, known as the Dixiecrats, held a separate convention in Birmingham, Alabama. There, they nominated South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond, a staunch opposer of civil rights, to run for president on their States Rights ticket. Although Thurmond lost the election to Truman, he still won over a million popular votes.

      It was the first time since before the Civil War that the South was not solidly Democratic, Goldfield says. And that began the erosion of the southern influence in the Democratic party.

      After that, the majority of the South still continued to vote Democratic because it thought of the Republican party as the party of Abraham Lincoln and Reconstruction. The big break didnt come until President Johnson, another Southern Democrat, signed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

      Fifty Years Later A Dive Into What It Took To Make The Historic Legislation Law

      The Civil Rights Act of 1964, a landmark piece of legislation, was a long time in the making, and the passage of the bill required the political machinations of an assortment of Republicans, Democrats, Northerners and Southerners, congressmen, senators, presidents and activists. The photo above, taken by White House press office photographer Cecil Stoughton, shows the wide range of politicans and private citizens it took to guide the Civil Rights Act from a presidential promise to a national law.

      Congress had considered, and failed to pass, a civil rights bill every year from 1945 to 1957. In 1957, Congress finally managed to pass a limited Civil Rights Act, which it added to in 1960, but these bills offered black Americans only modest gains. It wasn’t until 1963, in a televised speech, that President Kennedy called for a robust Civil Rights Act. Kennedy began his address by talking about the two black students who had recently enrolled in the University of Alabama, but needed the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen in order to safely attend classes.

      Next week I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, President Kennedy said, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law.”

      On November 22, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Texas, and as the nation mourned the loss of their president, the future of the Civil Rights Act seemed less certain than ever before.

      Black People Kept Civil Rights At Gop Forefront In Late 19th Century

      African Americans remained active in the Republican Party and, for a time, kept voting and civil rights at the forefront of the party’s agenda. When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1875 Civil Rights Act in 1883, several Northern state governments controlled by Republicans created their own civil rights laws. John W.E. Thomas, a former enslaved person who was the first African American elected to the Illinois General Assembly, introduced the 1885 Illinois Civil Rights Act.

      But white Southern intransigence made it impossible to enact any meaningful protections at the federal level. That, combined with the rise of a new generation of white Republicans more interested in big business than racial equality, cooled GOP ardor for Black civil rights.

      Republicans started taking the Black vote for granted, and the Republicans were always divided, Foner said. There were those who said, Weve really got to defend the Black vote in the South. And others said No, no, weve got to appeal to the business-minded voter in South as the party of business, the party of growth.

      Fact check:Devastating 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre wasn’t worst U.S. riot, isn’t ignored in books

      The Great Migration of African Americans from the South, which began just before the United States entry into World War I, brought many Black people into cities where they could vote freely and put them in touch with local Democratic organizations that slowly realized the potential of the Black vote.

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