The 1964 Civil Rights Bill was passed by a majority of Democrats

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WASHINGTON, January 18, 2014 — Why are Republicans putting forward a false narrative to manipulate black Americans into supporting the GOP rather thank simply championing its true contributions, without embellishment?

As we approach the celebration of Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. on his birthday, the GOP is ratcheting up its campaign that the “Republican Party is responsible for the Civil Rights Bill being passed.”

That is a complete falsehood.

All politics is regional/local, and that was very clear regarding the 1964 Civil Rights Act.


In the House, not one Southern Republican voted “yea” on the Civil Rights Act. Likewise, 93 percent of the Southern Democrats voted against it. However, 145 Northern Democrats voted for the Act, as did 138 Northern Republicans.

In the U.S. Senate, the only Southern Democrate to vote “yea” was Ralph Yarborough, of Texas. There was only one Southern Republican in the Senate at the time; he voted “nay.” Forty-five Northern Democrats in the senate voted “yea”; 27 Northern Republicans voted “yea.”

The Republicans did not vote for the Civil Rights Act in greater numbers than the Democrats in either the House or the Senate. The GOP did not single-handedly pass the Civil Rights Act.

It was a bi-partisan effort.

Most of the Black activists at that time — Medgar Evers, James Farmer, Fannie Lou Hamer, John Lewis, Eleanor Holmes, and Rosa Parks — were Democrats.

The 1964 Presidential Election was the largest landslide in American history. Democrats cleaned the clock of the GOP in both the Senatorial and Congressional races, gaining an overwhelming super-majority. When the Civil Rights Act was passed, it was under the leadership of President Johnson and congressional Democrats, who used their super-majority to make sure it passed.  

Both parties played a significant role in getting it done, doing what the GOP and Democrats don’t seem to be able to do today: They worked together for the greater good of the American people in passing the Historic Civil Rights Act. 

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  • Tanya Grimsley

    One important fact that should not be left out. When the bill came before the full Senate for debate on March 30, 1964, the “Southern Bloc” of 18 southern Democratic Senators and one Republican Senator led by Richard Russell (D-GA) launched a filibuster to prevent its passage. This filibuster lasted for 54 days. It was the substitute bill that was eventually accepted by the Democrats.

    The original House version: Southern Democrats: 7–87 (7–93%) Southern Republicans: 0–10 (0–100%) Northern Democrats: 145–9 (94–6%) Northern Republicans: 138–24 (85–15%)

    The Senate version: Southern Democrats: 1–20 (5–95%) (only Ralph Yarborough of Texas voted in favor) Southern Republicans: 0–1 (0–100%) (John Tower of Texas) Northern Democrats: 45–1 (98–2%) (only Robert Byrd of West Virginia voted against)
    Northern Republicans: 27–5 (84–16%)

    • stacyswimp

      All true. Yet, it was indeed a bi partisan effort..

      • Tanya Grimsley

        The original House & Senate versions were opposed heavily by democrats representing 39 states. The opposition from “Southern Republicans” was from 11 Confederate States. I do not see things the way you have worded them here. I do not understand the point of your reply, “bi-partisan” ???

        The only reason it was able to pass was because of multiple revisions. Having to revise it to appease the filibustering Democrats in the Senate doesn’t scream out bipartisan.

        • Sandra Goetz

          me thinks he is always trying to give out back-handed criticisms against the GOP, but it usually ends up backfiring

  • Conservative_Utopia

    Y’know Stacy, you make a fine point. So fine in fact, it is minuscule. Instead of just mincing meat with the GOP dialogue, I expect a sharper point from you other than the parties aren’t working well together for the common good. The rest of us have long ago figured out that they are working QUITE well together for a gigantic, unaccountable, socialist, centralized gov’t.

    If you wanted to “WOW” us, we would have heard about the reality of the democrat party creating and perpetuating of the welfare state over the last 100 years resulting in disproportionate crime, poverty, abortion and education stats. If your purpose here was to incite republican readers, you might have pointed out the enormous GOP sellout to the progressive establishment -led by democrats- for the nationalization of our industries and abandoning representative gov’t.

    But you didn’t. So what IS your point? Race…blah, blah, blah?

    C’mon, man – say it with me: “To HELL with the race issues. It’s time for AMERICANS to take back our political offices and free market institutions from the ground up.”

    Louder! “We hang together or we hang separately!”

    Let ’em hear ya outside!: “ONE MAN! ONE VOTE! ONE TAX!”

    The elections are 10 months away. Time is extremely scarce. What IS your point, anyway?

    • Conservative_Utopia

      Awwwww… C’mon, Swampy! Gimme some back!

  • kb9ibw / Emery

    The Democrats did every thing that they could to obstruct The Civil Rights act. LBJ only signed it because he had too. The Republicans made it possible for this act to become a reality.

    • stacyswimp

      If the Democrats had a super majority, how is possible Republicans were solely responsible?

      • Preston Cornett

        If the Democrats had a super majority, then why were southern Democrats filibustering this bill in the first place?

        • SafetyDave

          They are two-faced. They navigate the waters carefully and go with the tide.

      • SafetyDave

        Those were the years the South was going Republican, actually. Every couple decades there is like a reversal between Democrat and Republican demographics. Many Southern Dems voted Republican. Google History > US Presidential elections > Parties

      • reasoning with facts

        So if as you claim the “Majority” of Democrats voted “for” the civil Rights Act , then why did the Democrats have to have the “Majority” of Republicans to vote for it in order for it to pass ??? On This Day in 1964, Democrats Filibustered the Civil Rights Act
        Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, June 10, 2012……….
        June 10, 1964, was a dramatic day in the United States Senate. For the first time in its history, cloture was invoked on a civil rights bill, ending a record-breaking filibuster by Democrats that had consumed fifty-seven ( 57 ) working days. The hero of the hour was minority leader Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-Ill.).
        On this day in 1964, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), the Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate, condemned the Democrats’ 57-day filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 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.”

        In his speech, Senator Dirksen called on the Democrats to end their filibuster and accept racial equality.

        Michael Zak wrote about this in his book Back to Basics for the Republican Party and reminds us that Democrats, the party of Slavery, Secession, Segregation and the KKK… fought against equality.

  • Sandra Goetz

    So what are you saying Stacy, the republicans should cave to the progressives and their agenda?

  • stacyswimp

    My mother and grandmother were “freedom riders’. Both were lifelong Democrats. Both Democrat and Republican grassroots activists gave their lives in the fight for equality during that era.

    Thousands of White and Black Republicans were lynched in the south during reconstruction, by Democrats, for sure. Later, as society changed, more people starting working together. More Dems in the north started fighting for social equality.

    By 1964, the entire nation was ready for a change. Notice that I highlighted some of the top Civil Rights Leaders of the 60s. All of the were Democrats. They worked tirelessly to help get support in Congress and the Senate for this Bill. Why dismiss their equity as worthless and pretend the GOP alone was the savior of Black Americans?

    It makes no sense for the GOP to dismiss and/or trivialize the contributions of both Democrat grassroots activists and Democrats legislators in helping to get the Bill passed.

    No one party could have gotten it done, especially without both White and Black, both Democrat and Republican activists fighting for it.

    The same is true today. No one party is going to be able to undo the collapse we see in DC.

    • Sandra Goetz

      I haven’t seen anybody dismiss or trivialize anybody’s contribution either.

    • Sandra Goetz

      It won’t be the party causing the collapse, that’s for sure.

  • John Swetland

    Half a truth is often a great lie.
    Benjamin Franklin

  • stacyswimp

    Not surprisingly, some Republicans/Conservatives are incapable of having civil dialogue, without ad hominems, personal attacks, condescending, etc. The very things that are turning off the masses who are tired of the vitriol. Civility should still have a place in this nation.

    I recall when Hillary Clinton attempted to give all the credit for the legislation to LBJ, as if White Liberals were the saviors of the day. Nevermind the sacrifices of those who fought for years to gain enough momentum and support to force DC politicians to do the right thing.

    What I see now is Republicans making the same claim Hillary made, in the reverse. They are saying the GOP saved the day. Nevermind the fact the grassroots sacrifices, for decades, forced politicians, both Republican and Democrat, to move in the direction the nation was moving in.

    It was the work of the people that led to this Bill being passed. Both Democrat and Republican. The numbers in the final vote don’t lie.

    • Tanya Grimsley

      Which of the above personally attacked please? I saw healthy debate here. Why does it revert back to someone personally attacking? No one on this thread attacked you. Stating historical facts is not an attack. Stating the obvious is also not an attack.

      The problem I see here is, some people do not agree with this article in its presentation of facts. I think as a writer, you have to expect that no matter what and where you post your work. I see civil discourse and nothing more.

    • Preston Cornett

      I quote from your bio above, “Stacy is a member of and a spokesperson for Project 21 – The National
      Leadership Network of Black Conservatives, a national speaker’s bureau.
      He is president of the Frederick Douglass Society, a public policy and
      education institution, and he is host of Contagious Transformation, a
      weekly conservative political commentary internet radio program.” It says you are a member of a black conservative network and host of a conservative radio program. However, when you refer to Republicans/Conservatives as “they” versus “we” I find your affiliation of conservative dubious at best. Not once, not twice, but three times in your comments, you find fault with republicans/conservatives. The premise of your article is that Democrats saved the day on the CRA 1964. Yeah, dubious at best.

      • stacyswimp

        At this time in our nation, I no longer believe the real fight is against liberalism. I am convinced that the real fight is against spiritual wickedness, which exists among both Conservatism and Liberalism.

        “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”- Ephesians 6:12

        Thus, while I certainly embrace the principles of limited government, a strong free market, strong defense and individual liberty, I don’t believe the weapons of warfare needed to stop the moral and economic collapse are found within a political ideology.

        I believe the answers are found in the Bible.

        So, while my bio is accurate, I have undergone a number of changes in my life, spiritually, especially over the past year.

        Coming to terms with one’s mortality and tragedy has a way of making one rethink what’s most important. I appreciate your concerns.

        Good night, All, finally. I have to go to church in the morning. God bless you.

        • Sandra Goetz

          strongly suggest you watch “The Agenda” on vimeo. Very strongly.

          http://vimeo.com/63749370

          • stacyswimp

            I have seen “Agenda” and find it to be outstanding and compelling. However, if you read my above comment, the point I am making is that the nation’s greatest woes are not found in the realm of Liberalism or Conservatism. They are found in the spirit realm. The weapons of warfare against the spirit realm must be spiritual first. That is not to say one lives indifferent to the public square, as I obviously work diligently to promote free market solutions, particularly in labor and education. However, I believe that there can be no basis for a strong economy if we do not have a stable society. Social stability is sustained through strong values and stable families. The break down in both or values and families began with Biblical illiteracy. That lead to moral illiteracy. Moral illiteracy lead to Constitutional illiteracy and the film Agenda does a great job highlighting many of the consequences of these things, but it does not and cannot offer the spiritual solution to these woes. Yet, I do agree that this film is certainly worthy of watching and learning from. I have shared it, erstwhile, on my Public Page. Thank you for sharing. God bless.

  • Preston Cornett

    Southern Manifesto. Who wrote it? Who read it into the congressional record? And when was it read into the record? Who participated in the filibuster? Who actually spoke out against the passage of this bill? Who went to the floor attempting to block its passage by participating in the filibuster?

    Also, would it be ok if I post the final votes in the house and senate on this bill? The by name votes which also shows party affiliation?

    It’s one thing to re-write history in common core text books. However, it is all together impossible to re-write history about what happened on the congressional floor. Considering this bill’s passage was covered from end to end, by not only print media, but also television, you have a very long road to haul. And what you are hauling in this article is easily refutable.

    Southern Manifesto.

  • Preston Cornett

    //Therefore, when the Civil Rights Bill
    was passed during the LBJ tenure, it was the Democrat party which used
    its super-majority to make sure it passed.//

    Then why did Al Gore (senior) filibuster this? He was a democrat, and along with other democrats, filibustered this bill trying to prevent its passage. If the Democrats held a super majority, and were in fact the political party that was responsible for its passage, then who exactly were the democrats that filibustered it, filibustering?

    • stacyswimp

      Your comments are accurate. However, in no way does this discredit the whole of the points that I made. Reread the article. I gave the percentages and the regions they were from. The Southern Dems in the South opposed it for sure. However, those who filibustered did not have enough support from their own party to stop the Bill from inevitably getting passed. This is really a rather unnecessary debate. The fact is that Americans, both Democrat and Republican accomplished this historic Bill. Republicans attempting to revise history, as if the alone were responsible for this is an insult to countless who sacrificed much to make it possible.

      • Preston Cornett

        I disagree. The premise of your article is that it was the Democrats that were responsible for its passage. However, you completely ignore the filibuster and the votes of cloture. A lie of omission is still a lie. It was not the Republicans that filibustered this bill. It was not the Republicans that tried to stop it from coming to a vote in the house and senate. It was the democrats. That Sir, is the tell.

        • stacyswimp

          Actually, the premise of my article is to demonstrate that the GOP’s historical revision is not true. Republicans constantly say the GOP is “solely responsible” the passing of he Civil Rights Act, telling Black Americans how they ought to be indebted to the GOP. It’s an insulting falsehood. Americans are not or should not be the servants of Political parties. They parties should serve the American people. In this instance, Republicans completely dismiss the sacrifices that created the level of momentum needed for this Bill to become a reality. Sacrifices of many who were Democrat. Why is it necessary to some to dismiss those sacrifices?

  • stacyswimp

    Michael Schwerner was a Jewish Democrat from New York who was one of the three men killed in Mississippi fighting to social equality for Black Americans in 1964. The point is that many Democrats fought valiantly for social equality. That includes many Democrats in Congress.

    The parroted talking lines of Republicans, which seeks to completely blot out the sacrifices of Black and White Dems on the grassroots level, as if their service was meaningless to the inevitable passing of the Bill is non logical. I also stated how my own family were “freedom riders” and Democrats.

    While there were clearly staunch racist Democrats in the South who filibustered against the Bill, they were not supported by the majority of the Dems in the north. All politics is regional/local. It is a bit over simplistic to speak on this legislation all that occurred, as if it is all due to GOP accomplishment. That is simply not true.

    The GOP helped, particularly in the Senate, but the number of votes were overwhelmingly Dems. I don’t comprehend why anyone needs to dismiss the contributions of non Republicans, from the local level to DC.

    • Preston Cornett

      You claim to be personally attacked in these comments, then you come out with this “The parroted talking lines of Republicans, which seeks to completely
      blot out the sacrifices of Black and White Dems on the grassroots level,
      as if their service was meaningless to the inevitable passing of the
      Bill is non logical.”. Nice way to hurl insults with a lawn-seed broadcaster.

      No one is blotting out the sacrifices made by the freedom riders and their supporters. That is an argument you are having with no one on this thread. However, when you try to make a point about it being a bi-partisan effort, then simultaneously degrade those of the Republican/Conservative political ideology and infer that it was the Republicans that fought the passage of this bill, well SIr, it is then that your bias, and political hypocrisy rise to the top.

      It was the Southern Democrats that filibustered this bill; a historical fact that you completely leave out of your original diatribe. It was the Republicans that finally came together to break the filibuster that allowed the passage of this bill. I refer you to the votes of cloture.

  • stacyswimp

    My final comment is that it is equally true that many Democrats are historical revisionists in a number of areas. However, too many Republicans over react to that and, thus, over state their own role in the social equality of Black Americans, as if Black Americans themselves had no role. As if the decades of sweat, tears, and blood, by both Democrat and Republicans means nothing because the GOP wants to be seen as a savior. That’s not believable. The Republican Party has enough credible contributions it has made, since its founding right here in Michigan in 1854 (Under the Oaks), till today. I see no need for the embellishment and vitriol. God bless everyone and most of all, God bless America. Good night and thank you for your comments

    • Preston Cornett

      Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1852 was the birth of the Republican Party. You’re 0 for 2 in your revisions.

      • stacyswimp

        Each year in Michigan, there is a celebration of the GOP called “Under the Oaks”, noting the first State Convention of the GOP. I am aware that there are those who refute its founding here, but I suppose it depends on whose narrative or review of history one wants to believe. I don’t see it as you are right and I am wrong or vice versa. I see it as you have embraced one source and I have embraced another.

        In early 1854, the first true Republican Party meeting took place in Ripon, Wisconsin. On June 6, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan, over 10,000 people showed up for a mass meeting known as “Under the Oaks.” This led to the first organizing convention in Pittsburgh on February 22, 1856.

        So I suppose Wisconsin can lay claim to being “the first”, but Michigan Republicans tend to say Michigan is the home, due to it being the first place of such mass organizing for the GOP.

        I don’t see it as a point of contention. Thank you for your input.

  • Craig Andresen

    Let’s not forget who WROTE the Civil Rights Act…The EISENHOWER administration and who BLOCKED it when Ike first called for its passage…LYNDON B> JOHNSON. It wasn’t until Johnson was president and found it politically expedient that he reintroduced it and after considerable argument from HIS OWN DEMOCRAT PARTY was it passed.

    It was also at that time, as LBJ saw the fight FOR segregation falling apart and decided to switch sides on the issue that HE was quoted stating, “I’ll have those niggers voting Democrat for 200 years.”

    THERE is your BIPARTISAN effort in a nutshell.

  • SafetyDave

    Just for the record: ALL dictators throughout history have been ASSASSINATED!

  • Paul Deckelman

    I have NEVER heard the Republicans claim sole credit for passing the Civil Rights Bills of the 60s, or trying to say the Democrats did not have the major role in it. But I HAVE heard Democrats – trying to re-write history, including their own party’s clearly racist past, and push their own false narrative — who minimize, downplay and even DENY the key Republican role in getting those bills passed, with the efforts of such mainstream GOP leaders as Everett Dirksen in the Senate and Gerald Ford in the House. And they ignore and whitewash the intense and sizable Democrat opposition, which included the Kluxer Senator Byrd, Al Gore’s senator Daddy (a segregationist, no matter what kind of lies Al Jr. told on the campaign trail when he ran for President in 2000) and, or course, Bill Clinton’s beloved mentor, J. William Fulbright (another segregationist whose racist past was overlooked by Dem liberals proclaiming him a hero for his early opposition to the Vietnam War).

  • reasoning with facts

    So if as you claim the “Majority” of Democrats voted “for” the civil Rights Act , then why did the Democrats have to have the “Majority” of Republicans to vote for it in order for it to pass ??? On This Day in 1964, Democrats Filibustered the Civil Rights Act
    Posted by Jim Hoft on Sunday, June 10, 2012……….
    June 10, 1964, was a dramatic day in the United States Senate. For the first time in its history, cloture was invoked on a civil rights bill, ending a record-breaking filibuster by Democrats that had consumed fifty-seven ( 57 ) working days. The hero of the hour was minority leader Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen (R-Ill.).

    On June 10, 1964, Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act.

    On this day in 1964, Everett Dirksen (R-IL), the Republican Leader in the U.S. Senate, condemned the Democrats’ 57-day filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act. 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.”

    In his speech, Senator Dirksen called on the Democrats to end their filibuster and accept racial equality.

    Michael Zak wrote about this in his book Back to Basics for the Republican Party and reminds us that Democrats, the party of Slavery, Secession, Segregation and the KKK… fought against equality.