Friday, June 15, 2007

1964 Civil Rights Act and Republicans

The 1964 Civil Rights Act was signed by Lyndon Johnson on July 2, 1964, after a record two-month filibuster by embittered Southern senators. The act’s key provisions banned segregation in any facility offering public services and outlawed discrimination in hiring. President Johnson assured Senate Republican Leader Everett Dirksen that Republicans would receive due recognition and credit for their indispensable votes needed to pass the law.

The filibuster included a 14-hour filibuster speech by current Democratic Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan. All those voting against the bill for racial reasons were Democrats including Senator Al Gore, Sr. and the rest of the segregationist Democrats.

Providing the votes to break the filibuster and pass the law was the overwhelming support from Republicans: 82 percent of Republican Senators and 80% of Republican members of the House of Representatives.


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