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The Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964
LBJ Library

On July 2, 1964 President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The law made racial and gender segregation in public places, schools, and employment illegal. The bill was first introduced by President John Kennedy five months before he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 but was stalled in the house. Momentum for the bill would change once Johnson took the oath of office as he brought renewed interest in securing its passage.

 


After mounting pressure by civil rights leader like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., President Johnson, and members of congress, the bill finally passed through the house on February 10, 1964. The senate debated its passage beginning on March 30, and was filibustered by some southern senators for a 54 day period. Finally, on June 10 Senators Dirkson (R-IL), Kuchel (R-CA), and the soon to be Vice President Hubert Humphrey (D-MN ) came up with a compromise to end the filibuster to bring a vote for the bill. The bill would pass 71-29.

 


President Johnson while surrounded with the bill supporters like Attorney General Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. signed the bill into law. Though they were still more Civil Rights bills to be passed most notably the Voting Rights Act of 1965 the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 began the path to true racial and gender equality.

 

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