How LBJ and Republicans Passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Martin Luther King, Jr. stands behind the President.

July 2, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 meant to prohibit segregation in public places.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was landmark legislation that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation. That included the ending of some voting requirements and the racial segregation of schools, workplaces and public facilities.

Contrary to what the media and the party of the President would like you to believe, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would not have passed without Republican support. The fact is that Republicans supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act overwhelmingly, and by much higher percentages in both House and Senate than the Democrats. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 became law only after a Democratic filibuster.

Michael Zak writes: Leading the Democrats in their opposition to civil rights for African-Americans was Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV). Byrd, who got into politics as a recruiter for the Ku Klux Klan, spoke against the bill for fourteen straight hours. Democrats still call Robert Byrd “the conscience of the Senate.

Bruce Bartlett writes:
Even so, one final element was essential to passage of the civil rights bill—the strong support of Republicans. Although Democrats had a historically large majority in the House of Representatives with 259 members to 176 Republicans, almost as many Republicans voted for the civil rights bill as Democrats. The final vote was 290 for the bill and 130 against. Of the “yea” votes, 152 were Democrats and 138 were Republicans. Of the “nay” votes, three-fourths were Democrats. In short, the bill could not have passed without Republican support. As Time Magazine observed, “In one of the most lopsidedly Democratic Houses since the days of F.D.R., Republicans were vital to the passage of a bill for which the Democratic administration means to take full political credit this year.”

See also:

Republicans Passed the First Civil Rights Act, in 1866

The Republican Party’s History on Race

Republicans have done plenty on civil rights

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