Speaking at the Civil Rights Summit at the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas yesterday, President Obama praised President Johnson passing the “most sweeping” civil rights legislation “since Reconstruction” even though “it would anger powerful southern Democrats and committee chairmen.” On radio this morning, Pat and Stu discussed new reports that actually suggest Republicans may have played a larger role in the 1964 Civil Rights Act than they are given credit for.
“The praise of LBJ as a civil rights pioneer is nonsense. First of all, LBJ had earlier voted against civil rights, like banning lynching. He voted against eliminating poll taxes. And [he voted for] denying federal funding to segregated schools. He voted against all the measures that later made up a big part of the legislation that he finally signed,” Pat explained. “This whole thing has been turned upside down. This whole thing has been turned into Democrats are fighting for civil rights and Republicans oppose them. I don't know how that happens.”
As TheBlaze reports, when it came time to pass the Civil Rights Act, six Senate Republicans voted against the bill, while 21 Senate Democrats opposed it. It ultimately passed by an overall vote of 73-27. In the House, 96 Democrats and 34 Republicans voted against the Civil Rights Act, and it passed with an overall 290-130 vote. While the majority of Democrats in both chambers voted for the legislation, the bulk of the opposition came from Democrats.
The Republicans who opposed the law did so primarily because of “discomfort about forcing private business to comply with public accommodation laws.” The majority of those Republicans actually supported the 1957 and 1960 bills signed by President Dwight Eisenhower.
Furthermore, a 1964 edition of Time magazine actually credits Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) for playing a large role in getting the legislation passed.
“The last thing Democrats want anybody to do – they're counting on the fact that you don't do this – is look into who opposed and who favored civil rights. During and before that battle really was won,” Pat concluded. “And still do this day. But they certainly don't want you to look at the Al Gore seniors of the world and the LBJs of the world. They don't want you to do that.”
Read TheBlaze full report about the history of the 1964 Civil Rights Act HERE.
Front page image courtesy of the AP