On June 19, exactly one year after President Kennedy’s proposal, the compromise bill passed the Senate by a vote of 73 to 27. House approval followed, and on July 2 President Johnson signed the bill into law.
1921: Republican President Warren G. Harding advocated anti-lynching law, which failed in Congress, Page 5
1948: The Truman administration’s policies solidified black support for the Democrats. Truman sent a package of civil rights measures to Congress, including a compulsory FEPC, an anti-poll tax, and anti-lynching legislation, a commission to investigate racial issues; and a bill to end discrimination in interstate transportation, which a Republican controlled Congress did not pass. Later in 1948, he issued an executive order desegregating the military. Truman’s emphatic stance for the first time made the Democratic Party the party of black civil rights. Republican allusions to their historic alliance with blacks lacked the persuasiveness of the tangible benefits that the Democrats had brought.
1956: The African-American vote was not a settled question; it was up for grabs, Page 3
1960: MLK arrested after a sit-in. Nixon didn’t think it proper for the federal government to intervene in state’s affairs. Bobby Kennedy, a lawyer at the time, called the judge, exerting political power to get him released. Two million pamphlets titled, “‘No Comment’ Nixon Versus a Candidate With a Heart, Senator Kennedy,” were distributed in black churches. Never mind that in 1956 Nixon revealed he was an honorary member of the NAACP. Or that Nixon pushed for passage of the ’57 civil rights bill in the Senate. Or that Time magazine wrote that Nixon’s support for civil rights incurred the wrath of one of his segregationist opponents, Sen. Richard Russell, D-Ga., who sarcastically called Nixon the NAACP’s “most distinguished member.”