On this date, June 19, in 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act.
John F. Kennedy had argued for a new Civil Rights Act during the 1960 presidential election. But for the next two years, over 70 per cent of the African American vote went to Kennedy, the new president did nothing to promote this legislation.
The Civil Rights bill was brought before Congress in 1963. Kennedy presented arguments in favor of it on June 11 in a speech on television. Kennedy’s Civil Rights bill was still being debated by Congress when he was assassinated in November 1963.
His successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, had a poor record on civil rights issues, to some people’s surprise, he took up the cause. [Continue reading at the African American Registry.]
For further reading and research, also see:
From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality by Michael J. Klarman. [book link]
Legacies of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Race, Ethnicity, and Politics) edited by Bernard Grofman. [book link]