What role did politics play during the civil rights movement?

By Angel Avina, 11th grade

The civil rights acts goes back to 1954– 1969 . The civil rights act was a bill that was meant to end segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. With Republicans having trouble with minorities, some like to point out that the party has a long history of standing up for civil rights compared to Democrats.

Democrats, however, were less likely to vote for the civil rights bills of the 1950s. Democrats were more likely to filibuster, and 94% of Republicans in the House and Senate voted for the bill and Less than 73% of Democrats did. Surprising?

After years passed, voting statistics show that Republicans are not viewed as the party of civil rights. Nearly 100% of Union state Democrats supported the 1964 Civil Rights Act compared to 85% of Republicans. None of the southern Republicans voted for the bill, while a small percentage of southern Democrats did. Ultimately ,the Democratic President Lyndon B. Johnson was the one who signed the law.

Thinking about all this I wonder, if the Republican Party is known today (with their history of proposing laws that discriminate against people of color) as less favoring of minorities compared to the Democratic Party that are known to be liberals, why did a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats in both houses of Congress vote for the 1954 Civil Rights Act?

It’s really surprising to know that in 1954 today’s liberals which want freedom for all, did not want freedom for those of color.

Do you have any context on this matter that you would like to share?

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