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Everett Dirksen Speaks on Civil Rights

Photo of Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois

On June 10, 1964, Republican Leader Everett Dirksen  delivered the most significant speech in his career in support of civil rights legislation. Dirksen gained key votes for cloture from Republicans with a powerful speech calling racial integration "an idea whose time has come." Later that day, the Senate voted 71 to 29 to shut off debate, the first time in history the Senate voted cloture on a civil rights bill.