Letters to the Editor

Some Democrats fought U.S. civil rights legislation

Stan Anderson’s Dec. 1 letter is filled with misrepresentations and at least two errors of fact.

The Equal Pay Act was not a Civil Rights Act and JFK did not sign the Civil Rights Act of 1960; Eisenhower did!

Anderson gives credit to Democrats for passing the legislation, but for the record, in the 26 major civil rights votes since 1933, a majority of Democrats opposed civil rights legislation in more than 80 percent of the votes. By contrast, the Republican majority favored it in more than 96 percent of the votes.

For instance, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed in the Senate with 69 percent Democrats and 82 percent Republicans. In the House it was 63 percent and 80 percent.

It took a parliamentary move to circumvent the normal channels for the bill, which should have been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leaders knew that Democrat chairman Sen. Eastland would prevent it from reaching the floor.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield bypassed the Judiciary Committee and immediately sent the bill to the Senate floor for debate. This led to Sen. Richard Russell, D-Ga., launching a 54-day filibuster to prevent its passage.

It took a Republican, Sen. Everett Dirksen, to revise the bill and push it through. According to Hubert Humphrey and LBJ, without Dirksen, it never would have passed.

The Civil Rights Acts of 1957 and 1960 also were filibustered by Democrats. Strom Thurmond’s one-man filibuster (still a record) included making his grandmother’s biscuit recipe public. I guess you could say the Democrats have been providing bread and circuses ever since.

Timothy A. Van Eck