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Civil Rights Act of 1964

Civil Rights Images
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Photo: Humphrey, Dirksen, Mansfield and LBJ

In December of 1963 President Lyndon Johnson met with leaders of the U.S. Senate, including Minority Whip Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL), and Majority Leader Mike Mansfield (D-MT), to discuss his legislative priorities. Among those priorities was a civil rights bill that would become law in 1964.

Photo: Dirksen and Kuchel

During the long debate over the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Minority Leader Everett Dirksen often consulted with members of a bipartisan team of senators and staff who worked hard to gain Senate passage of the bill. Senator Thomas Kuchel (R-CA), the minority whip, served as co-floor manager of the bill, along with Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey, and frequently met with Dirksen in his Capitol office.

Photo: Dirksen, RFK and Humphrey

As one of the floor managers of the civil rights bill in 1964, Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey (D-MN) met frequently with Minority Leader Everett Dirksen (R-IL) and Attorney General Robert Kennedy to work out the details of a bill that could gain Senate passage. As the closed-door negotiations continued, news accounts often reflected the constantly changing prospects for success.

Photo: Humphrey in Caucus in Old Chamber

As the debate over the civil rights bill continued through April and May of 1964, Majority Whip Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), who served as co-floor manager of the bill, met with other senators for progress and strategy meetings. In this May 1964 meeting, held in the Old Senate Chamber, Humphrey explains the latest round of revisions to the civil rights bill.

Photo: Post-cloture Group

On June 10, 1964, when the Senate invoked cloture on the civil rights bill, it set the stage for final passage of this landmark legislation. Following the historic vote, Senators (left to right) Warren Magnuson (D-WA), Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), Leverett Saltonstall (R-MA), George Aiken (R-VT), Mike Mansfield (D-MT), Everett Dirksen (R-IL), and Thomas Kuchel (R-CA) celebrated the victory.

Signing of the Civil Rights Act 1964

Following the Senate’s historic passage of the civil rights bill on June 19, 1964, President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law in a White House ceremony on July 2, 1964. Among those present at the signing were Senate leaders Mike Mansfield (D-MT), Everett Dirksen (R-IL), Hubert Humphrey (D-MN), and Thomas Kuchel (D-CA), along with Attorney General Robert Kennedy and civil rights activist Martin Luther King, Jr.