Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, was a major debate for decades in the U.S. Congress. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy urged Congress to take action. Passage of the act was not easy. We’ll be exploring some of the key moments for the Civil Rights Act throughout the day.
After the House passed the bill, it was sent to the Senate for consideration. The bill was placed directly on the Senate calendar instead of being sent to committee. Southern opponents of the bill led a filibuster, a time-delaying tactic used by a minority in an effort to prevent a vote on a bill or amendment that probably would pass if voted on directly, for sixty days. This cloture motion, the only formal procedure that provides for breaking a filibuster, passed the Senate 71 to 29 on June 10, 1964.
Cloture Motion for the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 6/10/1964, Records of the U.S. Senate (NAID 563505)