January 8. President Johnson, in his first State of the Union Address,
stated: "Let this session of Congress be known as the session which
did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined."
January 9. The Rules Committee's public hearings began. The committee's
job was (and is) to consider a resolution that established the rules of
debate for each bill before it goes to the House floor. The resolution,
prepared by the House parliamentarian, spells out (1) the exact number
of hours for general debate; (2) the allocation of these hours between
the majority and minority; and (3) any restrictions on the introduction
of amendments. If the committee approves the resolution, it is then sent
to the Speaker of the House, who schedules it for floor debate. Actually,
what transpires in the Rules Committee often amounts to a second hearing
on the bill. Proponents and opponents can testify on the substance and
merits of the measure. Nine days of open hearings.
The Rules Committee held nine days of hearings on HR 7152 between January
9 and 29. Five members of the House testified in favor of the bill,
and 28 members, almost all southerners, against it.
January 23. The 24th amendment, eliminating the poll tax for eligibility
in federal elections, was ratified.
January 30. The House Rules Committee cleared HR 7152 for floor
action under an open rule: after 10 hours of general debate, the bill
would be read, title by title, for debate and voting on proposed amendments.
Nine days of debate follow. About 60 southern Democrats attended a closed-door
caucus to develop opposition strategy to the bill. They decided to concentrate
their attack on the public accommodations, employment, and federal funds
cutoff titles of the bill.
records his views on civil rights bills early in 1964 in this
document which his staff kept on hand to help answer constituent
requests for his views. [Everett M. Dirksen Papers. Alpha File
1964, Civil Rights. The Dirksen Congressional Center, Pekin, IL]
Link to: CongressLink
January 31. The House readied itself to take up the most far-reaching
civil rights bill since the Emancipation Proclamation. H.R. 7152 would
go through the same six-step process followed by all bills that had
preceded it since 1789. The House would, in 1964, (1) pass a resolution
setting the guidelines for consideration of the bill (the "rule");
(2) resolve itself into a Committee of the Whole to engage in general
debate; (3) offer, consider, and take unrecorded votes on amendments;
(4) resume sitting as the House to take recorded votes on any accepted
amendments if one-fifth of the members requested it; (5) permit a minority
party member to offer a recommital motion, enabling the minority to
obtain a recorded vote on any defeated amendment; and (6) vote on final
[An interactive PowerPoint excercise that uses vectors to illustrate
how competing influences, such as personal preference or constituency
interests, affect decisions.] Note: Excercise takes several
minutes to download.
February 10. The House of Representatives passed an amended version
of HR 7152 by a bipartisan majority of 290-130. Republicans favored it
138-34; Democrats favored it 152-96. Of the 122 amendments offered (excluding
amendments to amendments), only 28 were written into the bill. Most were
technical revisions. Not a single amendment opposed by the bill's managers
The first page of a 56-page bill incorporating the civil rights
legislation for the 88th Congress. This bill was at the center
of the legislative action in 1964. [Everett M. Dirksen Papers.
Working Papers, f. 243. The Dirksen Congressional Center, Pekin,
Link to: CongressLink
The Congressional Record documents the legislative debate
and action in Congress. In this speech on the Senate floor,
Dirksen talks about the pressure to act on civil rights. [Everett
M. Dirksen Papers. Working Papers, f. 253. The Dirksen Congressional
Center, Pekin, IL]
Link to: CongressLink
February 17. The House-passed bill was delivered to the Senate
Leader Mike Mansfield rose from his desk in the front row and requested
that the bill be read the first time. "We hope in vain," he
said, "if we hope that this issue can be put over safely to another
tomorrow, to be dealt with by another generation of senators. The time
is now. The crossroads is here in the Senate." He then turned to
his right to face the minority leader. "I appeal to the distinguished
minority leader whose patriotism has always taken precedence over his
partisanship, to join with me, and I know he will, in finding the Senate's
best contribution at this time to the resolution of this grave national
issue." Dirksen replied:
I want to do what is in the interest of the present and future
well-being of probably the only real, true free republic that still
remains in God's footstool. . . . I shall cooperate. I shall do my best.
When the time comes, when the deliberations are at an end and all facets
of the matter have been carefully considered and discussed, I shall
be prepared to render judgment and I shall have no apology to make to
any man or group anywhere, anytime, for the cause I shall ultimately
Senator Mike Mansfield and Senator Everett
Dirksen at meeting of bipartisan Congressional Leadership and
some Cabinet members Enlarge
Three Senate factions
would determine the bill's fate: pro-civil rights (a.k.a. "national")
Democrats, southern Democrats opposed to the bill, and Republicans. Senator
H. Humphrey led the Democrats who supported the bill. As Senate majority
whip, Humphrey enjoyed the support of Mike
Mansfield, his leader. Together they were determined to pass the legislation
and even arranged grueling twelve-hour daily sessions to wear down the
opposition. As floor manager for the bill, Humphrey's task was to line
up supporters to defend the bill in debate, to persuade reluctant members
of his party to vote for passage, to encourage publicity, and to count
votes. The senator from Minnesota labored hard for passage and sought
cooperation from many sources, including the Republicans.
The numbers made it impossible
for the Democrats, who held an overwhelming majority in the Senate, to
carry the day on their own, however. Twenty-one of the 67 Democrats came
from southern states. Twenty of them, the so-called "southern bloc,"
would oppose the measure vigorously. At most, then, there were forty-seven
Democrats likely to vote for cloture. Humphrey needed support from at
least twenty of the Senate's thirty-three Republicans, and a few more
to guard against defections of national Democrats. Dirksen was the key.
"I've only got thirty-three soldiers," Dirksen remarked. "The
Democrats have sixty-seven. That's why the administration has legislative
Russell, Democrat from Georgia, led the opposition forces, the "southern
bloc." Although a hopeless minority, the group exerted much influence
because Senate rules virtually guaranteed unlimited debate unless it was
ended by cloture.
Senator Richard Russell Credit: LBJ Library photo by Frank Wolfe Enlarge
Cloture, or Rule 22, was adopted by the Senate on March 8, 1917, after
what President Woodrow Wilson described as a "little group of willful
men" had wrecked his proposal to arm U.S. merchant ships against
German submarines. It permitted sixteen or more senators to file a petition
with the clerk of the Senate against a bill or amendment. The petition
had to be acted upon within two days of its submission, and then, if
approved by two-thirds of those members present and voting, it limited
debate to one hour per member. Of the 28 cloture votes taken since 1917,
only five had succeeded. Tried eleven times on civil rights bills, it
had failed eleven times.
leadership and Humphrey could not control the southern wing of the party.
Many of Russell's forces feared their southern constituents would vote
them out of office if, as senators, they voted for equal rights for blacks.
Election imperatives trumped loyalty to their party's majority. The "southern
bloc" held out hope that presidential candidate George Wallace, a
segregationist from Alabama, would do well in the early presidential primaries.
If Wallace seemed popular, Russell would argue that the nation as a whole
did not support federal civil rights legislation and that the Senate should
not pass an unwanted bill. Southern senators could not compromise. Only
by forcing cloture could they demonstrate to their constituents that they
had fought to the end even against hopeless odds. Russell also believed
there was a growing backlash against the increasingly radical tactics
of civil rights protestors. A filibuster that would postpone legislation
as long as possible would give the backlash time to reach a critical mass.
Party was not so badly split as the Democrats by the civil rights issue.
As it turned out, only one Republican senator would participate in the
filibuster against the bill. In fact, since 1933, Republicans had a more
positive record on civil rights in Congress than the Democrats. In the
twenty-six major civil rights votes since 1933, a majority of Democrats
opposed civil rights legislation in over 80 percent of the votes. By contrast,
the Republican majority favored civil rights in over 96 percent of the
were split on the wisdom of invoking cloture. By the advance hard counts,
not more than sixteen Republicans senators were likely to support such
a move. Opponents were primarily small-state senators who jealously guarded
the procedure as a way to protect themselves from being steamrolled by
Bruce Butterfield, on behalf of the Committee
of 100 Businessmen, lobbied Senator Dirksen in this letter.
[Everett M. Dirksen Papers. Working Papers, f. 253. The Dirksen
Congressional Center, Pekin, IL]
McKinley Dirksen (R-IL), the Senate Minority Leader, was the only
one who could recruit the half dozen additional Republican votes necessary
to quash the filibuster. Ironically considering what lay ahead, when the
Senate debated a rules change that would have made it easier to end a
filibuster, Dirksen opposed the limitation. According to him, the filibuster
functioned as, "the only brake on hasty action of which I have any
knowledge." Yet Mansfield depended completely on Dirksen to provide
the margin to achieve cloture. "Dirksen is the real leader of the
Senate," one senator said privately at the time. "He understands
Mike, and Mike turns to him."
Trip to the Lyndon B. Johnson Ranch --
L-R: President Lyndon B. Johnson and Vice-President Elect Hubert
Humphrey on horseback. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Cecil Stoughton Enlarge
February 18. President Johnson made Dirksen the key to the bill
when he commanded of Hubert Humphrey, "The bill can't pass unless
you get Ev Dirksen. You and I are going to get Ev. It's going to take
time. We're going to get him. You make up your mind now that you've got
to spend time with Ev Dirksen. You've got to let him have a piece of the
action. He's got to look good all the time. You get in there to see Dirksen.
You drink with Dirksen! You talk with Dirksen. You listen to Dirksen!"
February 26. The Senate voted 54-37 to place the House-passed
bill on the Senate calendar rather than refer it to the southern-dominated
Judiciary Committee. Between 1953 and 1963, 121 civil rights bills had
been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Only one had ever been
reported, and that action was taken under instructions by the Senate.
The committee held only 11 days of hearings on the bill President Kennedy
submitted in 1963 and heard only one witness, Robert Kennedy, who was
questioned for nine days. Even then, the committee reported no bill.
for the debate over HR 7152, Senator Dirksen asked his staff to
prepare a briefing memo.
March 9. The Senate began debate on a motion to take up the bill,
a debate that lasted 16 days.
Example of Constituent Opposition:
Correspondence Between Dirksen and S.M.Dover in EMDP, Alpha
1964 [mss, p. 26].
March 26. The Senate voted 67-17 to take up HR 7152 after voting
50-34 to table a motion to refer the bill to the Judiciary Committee
until April 8.
March 30. Formal debate began in the Senate. At this point, the
southern filibuster began.
forces in Congress and outside the institution were not content to rely
on congressional processes and politics to achieve their legislative goals.
They worked with church groups which had joined the civil rights movement
in full force for the first time in 1963. Churches provided the only possible
civil rights constituency for most of the uncommitted senators, those
whose votes Dirksen needed for cloture. These senators typically represented
small population or rural states without a black constituency or, consequently,
a civil rights problem at home. Absent that, these senators feared that
voting for cloture would set a dangerous precedent and erode their ability
to protect small-state interests.
According to Andrew
Young, who worked at Martin Luther King, Jr.'s side during this period,
the pressure exerted by churches in the home states of senators from Iowa,
Nebraska, North and South Dakota, and Kansas proved decisive: "When
it no longer became a matter of right and left or liberal and conservative,
but when it was demonstrated by this group of church and civil rights
leaders that there were clear moral and religious issues involved, you
gave those senators, eight of the ten of whom were Republican, a clear
rationale for opposing something [unlimited debate] that they felt to
be a lifelong part of the democratic tradition and very important in the
case of a minority in a constitutional body."
Hubert Humphrey agreed. "We needed the help of the clergy, and
this was assiduously encouraged," Humphrey noted. "I have
said a number of times, and I repeat it now, that without the clergy,
we couldn't have possibly passed this bill."
April 7-8. Senate Minority Leader Dirksen presented 40 amendments
to HR 7152 to his Republican colleagues in an effort to persuade the
reluctant ones to support the bill. In general, these amendments would
restrict the bill's jurisdiction to southern states and permit states
that already had progressive civil rights laws to operate without federal
applauded the modifications. However, a liberal revolt broke out on both
sides of the aisle in the Senate. Two Republicans and one Democrat said
that if the Senate accepted the amendments, they could not vote for the
bill or for cloture. Senator Kenneth
B. Keating (R-NY) said that three of the Dirksen amendments "would
seriously weaken the effectiveness of the bill." Republican Clifford
Case of New Jersey proclaimed it might be necessary "for those
of us who favor a strong civil rights bill to take the position from now
until Kingdom Come that he will not go along with closure [sic] or with
anything else other than an effective bill." There was consternation
among several Republican civil rights leaders in the House, too, who expressed
doubt that House conferees could accept such changes.
Liberal and moderate
Republicans' fury only mounted when they saw language for the amendments.
They said a study of the official prints confirmed that the amendments
not only watered down the fair employment section but practically gutted
it. "The Senator from Illinois may not be Mack the Knife but he's
certainly Ev the Dirk," one remarked in pique. Hubert Humphrey was
more sanguine. He had told the bipartisan Senate leadership on the 6th
that "My position is no amendments, but I want to praise Dirksen.
He's not trying to be destructive. He's trying to be constructive. There's
no chance of getting cloture unless we have Dirksen."
Civil Rights Leaders: (L-R) Bayard Rustin,
Andy Biemiller, Roy Wilkins, and Hubert Humphrey Enlarge
did not slacken during this period, either. The Leadership Conference
on Civil Rights held a large day-long meeting on Sunday, April 12th, to
coordinate their plans for the coming weeks. They agreed on a variety
of actions to keep the matter in public view even as the filibustering
senators droned on in an almost empty Senate chamber. They also proposed
vigorous action to sink Dirksen's amendments. "If we let the Dirksen
amendment prevail," Clarence Mitchell warned, "it will be a
disaster. There will be a Negro revolution around the country." Humphrey
immediately responded, "We don't plan on letting them pass. Don't
you break out in a sweat, Clarence. I believe we should analyze the Dirksen
amendments and then move to table them."
The next day, Roy
Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, wrote Dirksen, enclosing his
testimony on the public accommodations title before the Senate Commerce
Committee eight months before:
The situation has not changed. The title is needed by the
millions of American citizens who are told daily -- even hourly - that
while others are welcome in places open to the general public, they
are either circumscribed or barred. This is an affront to American citizenship,
but more importantly and more penetratingly, it is a deeply wounding
affront to a person as a human being.
April 15. Senator Hubert Humphrey and others issued a press statement
warning that "illegal disturbances and demonstrations which lead
to violence or injury" would hamper efforts to enact the civil
rights bill. "Civil wrongs do not bring civil rights," they
said, and the cause of civil rights is not helped by "unruly demonstrations
and protests that bring hardships and unnecessary inconvenience to others."
April 16. Dirksen prepared to go to Senate with his amendments
to the House-passed bill. He had reduced the number from 40 to ten, all
related to Title VII, the fair employment title.
April 21. Southerners introduced an amendment that would entitle
defendants in criminal cases to jury trials. It became the "pending
business" before the Senate and blocked further consideration of
the comprehensive civil rights bill. Civil rights proponents believed
that southerners sought this amendment in the unavowed conviction that
most southern juries would not convict on charges of criminal contempt
in civil rights cases.
Dirksen responds to a question. Credit: Henry Grossman Enlarge
April 29. Dirksen met with President Johnson at the White House.
In late March, the senator had noted in a press conference that he used
to see Johnson five or six times a day when they both served in the Senate,
but that "it has been quite a while since I've seen him." Now,
in late April, Dirksen intended to strike a bargain, and he took a gamble
to do so. He announced to the press what he wanted from Johnson before
he left for the White House, a tactic that would not endear him to the
president, and Dirksen knew it. "You say you want the House bill
without any change," he planned to tell the president. "Well,
in my humble opinion, you are not going to get it. Now it's your play.
What do you have to say?" By signaling his intentions, Dirksen meant
to test Johnson's resolve. If Johnson agreed to strike a bargain, the
senator told the press he could deliver the 22 to 25 votes for cloture.
This petition is an example of pressure put on Congress members
to support the bill. Over 2,500 people signed this petition.
President Johnson, however, was in no mood for compromise. He called
Mike Mansfield a few minutes before Dirksen's visit to complain about
the minority leader's comments to the press. "He gave out a long
interview of what he's going to tell me today, before he comes, which
is not like him. I don't know what is happening to him here lately.
He's acting like a shit-ass!" Johnson did not discuss civil rights
at any length with Dirksen, instead telling him to work it out with
Humphrey. Dirksen came away with no concessions.
Dirksen persuading Senator Roman Hruska. Credit: Bob Gomel Enlarge
May 5. Dirksen offered scores more amendments, a few substantial,
the rest "perfecting," or technical. Predictably, this unexpected
move angered civil rights proponents. But Dirksen and the pro-civil rights
senators were making progress. True, these early May negotiations represented
a collapse of the Democratic leadership's original hopes that the Senate
would pass the House bill without change, thereby removing all of the
parliamentary dangers of House-Senate disagreement. But the mathematics
of a cloture vote, plus Dirksen's principled refusal to accept the House
bill as is, made compromise necessary. Only if some of Dirksen's objections
were dealt with, would he or could he possibly produce the votes that
would make the difference on cloture. Dirksen apparently felt at this
point that he had 22 Republicans for cloture. Only substantial changes
would attract Karl
Mundt (R-SD) or Carl
Curtis (R-NE), he believed, but Dirksen held out hope that more modest
compromises would bring along Bourke Hickenlooper (R-IA), and Len
B. Jordan (R-ID).
May 6. The Senate took its first votes on amendments to the civil
rights bill. The Senate defeated efforts by southerners to broaden the
bill's provisions for jury trials in criminal contempt cases.
May 13. After negotiations involving Attorney General Kennedy and
Senators Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen and other interested senators,
agreement was reached on a "clean bill" to be introduced as
a substitute for the pending civil rights measure. This substitute made
70-odd changes in the House bill, but only a few of them were substantive.
The major change was to provide, in both the fair employment and public
accommodations sections, that the government could sue only against a
"pattern or practice" of discrimination. In other cases, the
problem would be turned over for solution to local agencies set up to
handle the problem; if this failed, the newly established Community Relations
Service or the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission would attempt
to work out a solution; if this failed, the individual could bring suit
in court. The Justice Department could, as the discretion of the court,
enter the case on the plaintiff's side.
Dirksen leaving his Capitol office after
negotiations. Credit: Bob Gomel Enlarge
Coming after day-long
talks, Robert Kennedy told reporters, "There's an understanding between
all who participated . . . this bill is perfectly satisfactory to me."
The attorney general called President Johnson at 4:05 p.m., shortly after
the negotiations for the day ended. He reported that agreement had been
reached, noting that "Senator Dirksen was terrific" and urging
Johnson to call the minority leader. The president did so immediately.
To his old friend he began, "The Attorney General said that you were
very helpful and did an excellent job and that . I ought to tell
you that I admire you ... and I told him that I had already done that
for some time. . . ." He and Dirksen commiserated about the schedule
for a vote before Johnson concluded: "I saw your exhibit at the World's
Fair, and it's the Land of Lincoln, so you're worthy of the Land of Lincoln.
And a man from Illinois is going to pass the bill, and I'll see that you
get proper attention and credit." In a call three hours later with
Humphrey, Johnson asked if Dirksen could deliver 25 Republicans for cloture.
Based on a conversation he had with Dirksen at dinner the night before,
Humphrey expressed confidence, ". . . Mr. President, we've got a
much better bill than anyone even dreamed possible. We haven't weakened
this bill one damn bit; in fact in some places we've improved it. That's
no lie; we really have."
Years later, Humphrey
evaluated Dirksen's work on the bill this way:
The meetings in Dirksen's office were, as we know, successful.
Actually, Dirksen gave a great deal of ground. The bill which he finally
supported - the substitute - in my mind is as good or better a bill
than the House bill. Dirksen supported with his own amendments an effective
enforcement of Title II, integration of public accommodations, but he
mainly insisted on some time for conciliation and more involvement of
local and state government, both of which were very good ideas, and
I vigorously supported them.
LBJ's phone calls from May 1964. Topics include the Civil Rights,
food stamp and poverty bills, a labor dispute against the railroads,
and Vietnam, among others. Participants: Robert McNamara, Mike
Mansfield, Aubrey Wagner, Vance Hartke, Willard Wirtz, Hale Boggs,
Allen Ellender, Larry OBrien, McGeorge Bundy, George Reedy,
Cyrus Vance, Stephen Smith. 7/30/2005: WASHINGTON, DC
May 26. Senator Dirksen introduced the revised version of H.R.
7152 to the Senate. The ever-gracious Hubert Humphrey gave Dirksen the
honor of introducing the revised version of H.R. 7152, the "Dirksen
substitute," to the Senate. "We have now reached the point
where there must be action; and I trust that there will be action. I
believe this is a salable piece of work; one that is infinitely better
than what came to us from the House," Dirksen explained. "I
doubt very much whether in my whole legislative lifetime any measure
has received so much meticulous attention." Mansfield, Humphrey,
and Kuchel then praised Dirksen for his work on the bill. Richard Russell,
who had led and organized the filibuster, immediately attacked the minority
leader. "As one who lives in the South, as one who has never been
ashamed of being a Southerner, and as one who believes that the people
of the South are as good citizens as people anywhere else in the country,
I resent this political foray."
Senator Dirksen recorded his thoughts about the bill.
Senator Dirksen's response to constituents writing in about
June 1. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfiled announced that he
would file a cloture petition during the week and there would be a vote
on it the following Tuesday, June 9. A temporary delay pushed the vote
to June 10.
June 10. Precisely at 10:00 a.m., the Senate was called to order.
Mansfield delivered a short speech, lasting about a dozen minutes. "The
Senate," he said, "now stands at the crossroads of history,
and the time for decision is at hand." Georgia Democrat Richard Russell,
leader of the "southern bloc," offered the final arguments in
opposition, consuming thirty minutes. Then Hubert Humphrey rose. "The
Constitution of the United States is on trial," he said. "The
question is whether we will have two types of citizenship in this nation,
or first-class citizenship for all."
With only fifteen
minutes remaining before the scheduled vote, Dirksen rose to address the
Senate. Twice he gulped pills handed him by a page. In poor health, drained
from working fourteen, fifteen, and sixteen-hour days, his words came
quietly. In his massive left hand, his little finger flourishing a green
jade ring, he held the speech he had typed the night before on Senate
of Dirksen's remarks and a sample of his hand-typed notes for
the speech. Remarks: CongressLink Notes: CongressLink
As for himself,
Dirksen noted, "I have had but one purpose, and that was the enactment
of a good, workable, equitable, practical bill having due regard for the
progress made in the civil rights field at the state and local level.
I am no Johnny-come-lately in this field. Thirty years ago, in the House
of Representatives, I voted for anti-poll-tax and antilynching measures.
Since then, I have sponsored or co-sponsored scores of bills dealing with
civil rights." He warned his colleagues that "we dare not temporize
with the issue which is before us. It is essentially moral in character.
It must be resolved. It will not go away. It's time has come." Noting
that the day marked the one-hundredth anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's
nomination to a second term, Dirksen invoked Victor Hugo and declared,
"The time has come for equality of opportunity in sharing of government,
in education, and in employment. It must not be stayed or denied. It is
here!" His last words were these: "I appeal to all Senators.
We are confronted with a moral issue. Today let us not be found wanting
in whatever it takes by way of moral and spiritual substance to face up
to the issue and to vote cloture."
Never in history
had the Senate been able to muster enough votes to cut off a filibuster
on a civil rights bill. And only once in the thirty-seven years since
1927 had it agreed to cloture for any measure. Yet on June 10, 1964, after
534 hours, 1 minute, and 51 seconds, the longest filibuster in the history
of the Senate was broken. Opponents had proposed over 500 amendments during
the five months of debate. With six wavering senators providing a four-vote
victory margin, the final tally stood at 71 to 29. Forty-four Democrats
and 27 Republicans voted for cloture with 23 Democrats - 20 from the South
-- and only 6 Republicans opposed. When debate first began, the bipartisan
leadership figured that the Democrats would have to supply 42 votes and
the Republicans 25. Thus each party supplied two more than its target.
The vote for cloture left each senator with one hour of speaking time
on the bill or pending amendments. Only amendments submitted before the
cloture vote were in order.
June 12. Martin Luther King praised Dirksen's "able and courageous
leadership." Clarence Mitchell sent a telegram to Dirksen after the
cloture vote offering his appreciation and proclaiming, "This is
a great day for the country and for the future of human rights."
Writer and poet Archibald MacLeish, a native of Illinois, admitted that
that "I was not among your admirers when you first came to the Senate,"
before writing that "my present very great admiration for you is,
therefore a true monument to the impressiveness of your achievements in
Washington." President Johnson called the minority leader on June
23rd to say, "You are the hero of the nation. They have forgotten
that anyone else is around. Every time I pick up a paper it is 'Dirksen'
in the magazines. The NAACP is flying Dirksen banners and picketing the
White House tomorrow." Writing in his memoirs years later, Johnson
recalled, "In this critical hour Senator Dirksen came through, as
I had hoped he would. He knew his country's future was at stake. He knew
what he could do to help. He knew what he had to do as a leader."
with Everett Dirksen on a range of topics, including the Civil
Rights Act of 1964.
June 17. The Senate by a 76-18 roll-call vote adopted the bipartisan
Mansfield-Dirksen substitute bill worked out in the May negotiations.
This came 81 days after the bill was first put before the Senate on February
26. The Senate took 106 roll call votes after cloture and through adoption
of the substitute bill (there were 121 Senate roll calls on the civil
rights bill in all).
June 19. The Senate passed the bill by a 73-27 roll-call vote.
Six Republicans joined 21 Democrats in opposition. The passage vote came
exactly one year after the bill was submitted to Congress by President
June 21. Three young civil rights workers, in Mississippi for the
summer voter registration drive, were reported missing after being released
from jail. Their bodies would be found on August 4 near Philadelphia,
June 24. House Rules Committee Chairman Howard Smith reluctantly
scheduled a committee meeting to clear the civil rights bill for final
House action. He chose the latest possible date under House rules, June
June 30. The House Rules Committee reported a resolution (H Res
789) providing for House acceptance of the bill as amended by the Senate.
The action came after the committee took control of the bill out of
Smith's hands, a move the chairman called "an outrageous violation
of orderly and proper legislative procedures."
July 2. The resolution was brought up on the House floor and after
the allotted one hour for debate, the House approved the Senate-passed
bill 289-126. Republicans favored it 136 to 35; Democrats supported it,
153-91. "Already the second invasion of the Southland has begun,"
complained Chairman Smith bitterly. "Hordes of beatniks, misfits
and agitators from the North, with the admitted aid of the Communists,
are streaming into the Southland mischief-bent, backed and defended by
other hordes of federal marshals, federal agents and federal power."
passage, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation
contained new provisions to help guarantee blacks the right to vote; guaranteed
access to public accommodations such as hotels, motels, restaurants, and
places of amusement; authorized the federal government to sue to desegregate
public facilities and schools; extended the life of the Civil Right Commission
for four years and gave it new powers; provided that federal funds could
be cut off where programs were administered discriminatorily; required
most companies and labor unions to grant equal employment opportunity;
established a new Community Relations Service to help work out civil rights
problems; required the Census Bureau to gather voting statistics by race;
and authorized the Justice Department to enter into a pending civil rights
July 18. Racial violence broke out in New York City and later
spread to Rochester, NY.
August 4. The bodies of three civil rights workers - Andrew Goodman,
Michael Schwerner and James Chaney - were discovered buried under a new
earthen dam near Philadelphia, Mississippi.
August 7. In response to an attack on two U.S. destroyers off the
coast of North Vietnam, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,
giving President Johnson power "to take all necessary measures to
repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to
prevent further aggression."
August 8. The administration's anti-poverty bill went to the
president for his signature. The bill called for almost $950,000,000
for various measures to combat illiteracy, unemployment, and other conditions
associated with poverty.
Congressional Leadership year-end statements.
October 3. The second session of the 88th Congress adjourned.
October 14. Martin Luther King Jr. was honored as an advocate of
black civil rights and of world peace by the award of the Nobel Peace
October 30. On October 30, 1963, President Johnson announced
the results of a survey by the Community Relations Service showing "widespread
compliance" with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. "What is most
important," he said, "it shows the law is being obeyed in
those areas where some had predicted there would be massive disobedience."
The survey covered fifty-three cities of over 50,000 population in 19
states which had no public accommodations laws. It found desegregation
of more than two-thirds of the following facilities: hotels in 51 of
the cities, motels in 46 cities, chain restaurants in 50, theaters in
49, sports facilities in 48, libraries in 52, and public parks in 50.
"At long last, we as a Nation have faced up to the most persistent
and difficult problem this country has known and the prospects for solving
it have never been brighter," the president concluded. "With
conscientious effort, patience, and understanding we will move steadily
towards that day when all men are judged by their character and their
performance, not by their color, religion, or how they spell their name."