|Long title||An Act to provide means of further securing and protecting the civil rights of persons within the jurisdiction of the United States.|
|Enacted by||the 85th United States Congress|
|Effective||September 9, 1957|
|Statutes at Large||71 Stat. 634|
| Civil Rights Act of 1960 |
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first federal civil rights legislation passed by the United States Congress since the Civil Rights Act of 1875. The bill was passed by the 85th United States Congress and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on September 9, 1957.
The Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in the case of Brown v. Board of Education brought the issue of school desegregation to the fore of public attention, as Southern Democrat leaders began a campaign of "massive resistance" against desegregation. In the midst of this campaign, President Eisenhower proposed a civil rights bill designed to provide federal protection for African American voting rights; most African Americans in the Southern United States had been disenfranchised by state and local laws. Though the civil rights bill passed Congress, opponents of the act were able to remove several provisions, limiting its immediate impact. During the debate over the law, Senator Strom Thurmond conducted the longest one-person filibuster in Senate history.
Despite having a limited impact on African-American voter participation, the Civil Rights Act of 1957 did establish the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division. Congress would later pass far more effective civil rights laws in the form of the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Following the Supreme Court ruling in Brown, which eventually led to the integration (also called desegregation) of public schools,Southern whites began a campaign of "Massive Resistance". Violence against black people rose; in Little Rock, Arkansas where President Dwight D. Eisenhower ordered U.S. paratroopers of the 101st Airborne Division to protect nine black teenagers integrating into a public school, the first time federal troops were deployed in the South to settle civil rights issues since the Reconstruction Era. There had been continued physical assaults against suspected activists and bombings of schools and churches in the South. Partly in an effort to defuse calls for more far-reaching reforms, President Eisenhower proposed a civil rights bill that would increase the protection of African American voting rights.
By 1957, only about 20% of blacks were registered to vote. Despite being the majority in numerous counties and congressional districts in the South, most blacks had been effectively disfranchised by discriminatory voter registration rules and laws in those states since the late 19th and early 20th centuries that were heavily instituted and propagated by Southern Democrats. Civil rights organizations had collected evidence of discriminatory practices, such as the administration of literacy and comprehension tests and poll taxes. While the states had the right to establish rules for voter registration and elections, the federal government found an oversight role in ensuring that citizens could exercise the constitutional right to vote for federal officers: electors for president and vice president and members of the US Congress.
The Democratic Senate majority leader, Lyndon B. Johnson of Texas, realized that the bill and its journey through Congress could tear apart his party, as southern Democrats vehemently opposed civil rights, and its northern members were strongly in favor of them. Southern Democratic senators occupied chairs of numerous important committees because of their long seniority. As, in the near-century between the end of Reconstruction and the 1960s, white Southerners voted solidly as a bloc for the Democrats, Southern Democrats in Congress rarely lost their seats in elections, ensuring that they had more seniority than Democratic members of Congress from other parts of the country. Johnson sent the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Democratic Senator James Eastland of Mississippi, who drastically altered the bill. Democratic Senator Richard Russell Jr., of Georgia had denounced the bill as an example of the federal government seeking to impose its laws on states. Johnson sought recognition from civil rights advocates for passing the bill as well as recognition from the anti-civil rights Democrats for weakening the bill so much as to make it toothless.
The bill passed 285–126 in the House of Representatives with a majority of both parties' support (Republicans 167–19, Democrats 118–107).It then passed 72–18 in the Senate, again with a majority of both parties (Republicans 43–0, Democrats 29–18). President Eisenhower signed the bill on September 9, 1957.
Then-Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, an ardent segregationist, sustained the longest one-person filibuster in history in an attempt to keep the bill from becoming law.His one-man filibuster lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes; he began with readings of every US state's election laws in alphabetical order. He later read from the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and George Washington's Farewell Address.
To prevent a quorum call that could have relieved the filibuster by allowing the Senate to adjourn, cots were brought in from a nearby hotel for the legislators to sleep on while Thurmond discussed increasingly irrelevant and obscure topics. Other Southern senators, who had agreed as part of a compromise not to filibuster this bill, were upset with Thurmond. They believed his defiance made them look incompetent to their constituents. Other constituents were upset with their senators because they were seen as not helping Thurmond.
Thurmond pointed out that there was already a federal statute that prosecuted citizens who denied or intimidated voters at voting booths under a fine and/or imprisonment but that the bill then under consideration could legally deny trial by jury to those that continued to do so.
Democratic Representative Charles A. Boyle of Illinois, a member of the powerful Appropriations Subcommittee of Defense, pushed the bill through the House of Representatives.
Section 101 set up a six-member Civil Rights Commission in the executive branch to gather information on citizens' deprivation of voting rights based on color, race, religion, or national origin as well as the legal background, the laws, and the policies of the federal government. The commission was to take testimony or written complaints from individuals on the difficulties in registering and voting. It would submit a final report to the President and the Congress within two years and then cease to exist.
This section is missing information about the United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.(September 2020)
This article is missing information about this section.(September 2020)
Part IV, Section 131, banned intimidating, coercing or otherwise interfering with the rights of persons to vote for electors for president and members of Congress. The United States attorney general was allowed to institute actions, including injunctions and charges of contempt of court, with fines not to exceed $1,000 and six months imprisonment. Extensive safeguards for the rights of accused were provided by the statute. US federal judges were allowed to hear cases related to the Act with or without juries.
Not being able to vote in most of the South, blacks were then excluded from state juries there. Federal jury selection had been tied to state jury selection rules, thus in some instances excluding both blacks and women as federal jurors. Section 161 freed federal courts from state jury rules and specified qualifications for jurors in federal courts. "Any citizen" 21 years or older, literate in English, who had resided in the judicial district for a year, excluding convicts and persons with mental or physical infirmities severe enough to make them unable to serve, was eligible. Since neither race nor sex was listed among the qualifications, the provision allowed both blacks and women to serve on juries in trials in federal courts.
The final version of the act established both the Commission on Civil Rights and the office of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights. Subsequently, on December 9, 1957, the Civil Rights Division was established within the Justice Department by order of US Attorney General William P. Rogers, giving the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights a distinct division to command. Previously, civil rights lawyers had enforced Reconstruction-era civil rights laws from within the Department's Criminal Division.
The Civil Rights Act of 1960 addressed some of the shortcomings of the 1957 Act by expanding the authority of federal judges to protect voting rights and by requiring local authorities to maintain comprehensive voting records for review so that the government could determine if there were patterns of discrimination against certain populations.
The Civil Rights Movement continued to expand, with protesters leading nonviolent demonstrations to mark their cause. As president, John F. Kennedy called for a new bill in his televised Civil Rights Address of June 11, 1963,in which he asked for legislation "giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public—hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments" as well as "greater protection for the right to vote". Kennedy delivered the speech after a series of civil rights protests, most notably the Birmingham campaign, which concluded in May 1963.
In the summer of 1963, various parts of the civil rights movement collaborated to run voter education and voter registration drives in Mississippi. During the 1964 Freedom Summer, hundreds of students from the North and West came to participate in voter drives and community organizing. Media coverage, especially of the violent backlash exemplified by the murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner near Philadelphia, Mississippi, contributed to national support for civil rights legislation.
After the Kennedy assassination, President Lyndon Johnson helped secure passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made racial discrimination and segregation illegal,as well as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and 24th amendment, which abolished the poll tax and other means of keeping blacks and the poor from registering to vote and from voting, established record-keeping and oversight, and provided for federal enforcement in areas with documented patterns of discrimination or low voter turnout.
Although the Act's passage seemed to indicate a growing federal commitment to the cause of civil rights, the legislation was limited. Alterations to the bill made the Act difficult to enforce; by 1960, black voting had increased by only 3%.Its passage showed varying degrees of willingness to support civil rights. The Act restricted itself to protecting participation in federal elections.
Martin Luther King Jr., then 28, was a developing leader in the Civil Rights Movement and spoke out against white supremacists. Segregationists had burned black churches, which were centers of education and organizing for voter registration, and physically attacked black activists, including women. King sent a telegram to Eisenhower to make a speech to the South and asked him to use "the weight of your great office to point out to the people of the South the moral nature of the problem". Eisenhower responded, "I don't know what another speech would do about the thing right now."
Disappointed, King sent another telegram to Eisenhower stating that the latter's comments were "a profound disappointment to the millions of Americans of goodwill, north and south, who earnestly are looking to you for leadership and guidance in this period of inevitable social change". He tried to set up a meeting with the President but was given a two-hour meeting with Vice President Richard Nixon. It is reported that Nixon was impressed with King and told Eisenhower that he might enjoy meeting King later.
James Strom Thurmond Sr. was an American politician, military officer, and attorney who represented South Carolina in the United States Senate from 1954 to 2003. Prior to his 48 years as a senator, he served as the 103rd governor of South Carolina from 1947 to 1951. Thurmond was a member of the Democratic Party until 1964 when he joined the Republican Party for the remainder of his legislative career. He also ran for president in 1948 as the Dixiecrat candidate, receiving over a million votes and winning four states.
The Twenty-fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.
The States' Rights Democratic Party was a short-lived segregationist political party in the United States, active primarily in the South. It arose due to a Southern regional split in opposition to the Democratic Party. After President Harry S. Truman, a member of the Democratic Party, ordered integration of the military in 1948 and other actions to address civil rights of African Americans, many Southern conservative white politicians who objected to this course organized themselves as a breakaway faction. The Dixiecrats wished to protect Southern states' rights to maintain racial segregation.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation and gender identity. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination. The act "remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history".
From the first United States Congress in 1789 through the 116th Congress in 2020, 162 African Americans have served in Congress. Meanwhile, the total number of all individuals who have served in Congress over history is 12,348. Of African Americans, 152 have served in the House of Representatives, 9 have served in the Senate, and 1 has served in both chambers. Voting members have totaled 156, with 6 serving as delegates. Party membership has been, 131 Democrats, and 31 Republicans. While 13 members founded the Congressional Black Caucus in 1971 during the 92nd Congress, in the 116th Congress (2019-2020), 56 have served, with 54 Democrats and 2 Republicans.
The Solid South or Southern bloc was the electoral voting bloc of the states of the Southern United States for issues that were regarded as particularly important to the interests of Democrats in those states. The Southern bloc existed especially between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. During this period, the Democratic Party controlled state legislatures; most local and state officeholders in the South were Democrats, as were federal politicians elected from these states. During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Southern Democrats disenfranchised blacks in all Southern states, along with a few non-Southern states doing the same as well. This resulted essentially in a one-party system, in which a candidate's victory in Democratic primary elections was tantamount to election to the office itself. White primaries were another means that the Democrats used to consolidate their political power, excluding blacks from voting in primaries.
Hugh Doggett Scott Jr. was an American lawyer and politician. A member of the Republican Party, he represented Pennsylvania in the US House of Representatives from 1947 to 1959 and in the US Senate, from 1959 to 1977. He served as Senate Minority Leader from 1969 to 1977.
This page is about members of the Democratic Party from the historical South, for the short lived segregationist third party that was founded and dissolved in 1948, see States Rights Democratic Party.
The 1956 United States Senate elections were elections for the United States Senate that coincided with the re-election of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Although Democrats gained two seats in regular elections, the Republicans gained two seats in special elections, leaving the party balance of the chamber unchanged.
Theodore Francis Green was an American politician from Rhode Island. A Democrat, Green served as the 57th Governor of Rhode Island (1933–1937) and in the United States Senate (1937–1961). He was a wealthy aristocratic Yankee from an old family who was a strong supporter of Wilsonian internationalism during the Democratic administrations of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman (1933–53). He served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from 1957 to 1959. At the time of his retirement in 1961, he set the record at age 93 of the oldest person to serve in the Senate; the record was subsequently broken by Strom Thurmond.
The Civil Rights Act of 1960 is a United States federal law that established federal inspection of local voter registration polls and introduced penalties for anyone who obstructed someone's attempt to register to vote. It was designed to deal with discriminatory laws and practices in the segregated South, by which blacks and Mexican Texans had been effectively disenfranchised since the late 19th and start of the 20th century. Its creation was largely influenced by the unsuccessful attempts at achieving similar anti-discriminatory objectives put forth in the Civil Rights Act of 1957, serving to eliminate certain loopholes left open within it. The intention was to more effectively enforce the provisions set forth within the 1957 act as well as add new civil rights provisions. It extended the life of the Civil Rights Commission, previously limited to two years, to oversee registration and voting practices. The act was signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served to eliminate certain loopholes left by the Civil Rights Act of 1957.
The Alaska Statehood Act was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on July 7, 1958, allowing Alaska to become the 49th U.S. state on January 3, 1959.
The Conservative Coalition was an unofficial Congressional coalition founded in 1937, which brought together the conservative wing of the Republican Party and the conservative wing of the Democratic Party. According to James T. Patterson: "By and large the congressional conservatives agreed in opposing the spread of federal power and bureaucracy, in denouncing deficit spending, in criticizing industrial labor unions, and in excoriating most welfare programs. They sought to 'conserve' an America which they believed to have existed before 1933."
The South Carolina Republican Party (SCGOP) is the state affiliate of the national Republican Party in South Carolina. It is one of the two major political parties in the state, along with the South Carolina Democratic Party, and is the dominant party. Incumbent governor Henry McMaster, as well as senators Tim Scott and Lindsey Graham, are Republicans. Graham has served since January 3, 2003, having been elected in 2002 and re-elected in 2008, 2014, and 2020; Tim Scott was appointed in 2013 by then-governor Nikki Haley, who is also a Republican.
Leonidas Carstarphen Dyer was an American politician, reformer, civil rights activist, and military officer who served 11 terms in the U.S. Congress as a Republican Representative from Missouri from 1911 to 1933. In 1898, enrolling in the U.S. Army as a private, Dyer served notably in the Spanish–American War; and was promoted to colonel at the war's end.
The Mississippi Democratic Party is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the state of Mississippi. The party headquarters is located in Jackson, Mississippi.
Disfranchisement after the Reconstruction era in the United States, especially in Southern states, was based on a series of laws, new constitutions, and practices in the South that were deliberately used to prevent Black citizens from registering to vote and voting. These measures were enacted by the former Confederate states at the turn of the 20th century. Efforts were made in Maryland, Kentucky, and Oklahoma. Their actions were designed to thwart the objective of the Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, ratified in 1870, which prohibited states from depriving voters of their voting rights on the basis of race. The laws were frequently written in ways to be ostensibly non-racial on paper, but were implemented in ways that purposely suppressed black voters.
In the United States Senate, a filibuster is a tactic employed by opponents of a proposed law to prevent the measure's final passage. The filibuster has undergone several changes over the course of the 20th century due to modifications of the Senate rules. Originally, the possibility to filibuster was accidentally introduced as a side effect of an 1806 rule change which eliminated the ability to end debate in the Senate by a simple majority vote. Thus, the minority could extend debate on a bill indefinitely by holding the floor of the Senate, preventing the bill from coming to a vote. However, the filibuster was used relatively rarely until the civil rights era. Senator Strom Thurmond famously filibustered the Civil Rights Act of 1957 for more than 24 hours. Southern Democrats led by Richard Russell Jr. famously held up the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for 60 working days using the filibuster. In the 1970s, the Senate adopted a "two-track" system, which was intended in part as a progressive reform to prevent filibusters from completely blocking Senate business. Under these new rules however, legislation could be blocked simply by submitting a written notice of intent to filibuster. Thus, this rule change inadvertently introduced a supermajority requirement to the Senate, since it became possible for the minority to filibuster legislation without having to physically hold the floor of the Senate.
The For the People Act, introduced as H.R. 1, is a bill in the United States Congress to expand voting rights, change campaign finance laws to reduce the influence of money in politics, ban partisan gerrymandering, and create new ethics rules for federal officeholders.
On August 28, 1957, United States Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina began a filibuster, or extended speech, intended to stop the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957. It began at 8:54 p.m. and lasted until 9:12 p.m. the following day, for a total length of 24 hours and 18 minutes. This made the filibuster the longest single-person filibuster in U.S. Senate history, a record that still stands today. The content of the filibuster focused primarily on asserting that the bill was both unnecessary and unconstitutional, with Thurmond reading from a number of laws and other legal documents. While the filibuster was supported by many South Carolinians, Thurmond's decision to filibuster the bill went against a previous agreement among Southern Senators. As a result, Thurmond received mixed praise and criticism for his speech. Thurmond's filibuster is widely seen as racist today, as the civil rights bill it opposed protected voting rights for African-Americans. Despite the filibuster, the bill passed within two hours of Thurmond's speech.
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