Civil Rights: Debate in the Senate; A Meeting in Birmingham

During 16 days of drone-and-drawl talk, Southern Democrats had argued that the Senate should not even bring the civil rights bill up for consideration. With those preliminaries well over, the time had arrived for the start of formal debate, and the bill's backers had a chance to present their case. Said Minnesota Democrat Hubert Humphrey, floor manager for the measure: "I will attempt to lay the affirmative case for the bill before the Senate."

Humphrey did just that, and often eloquently, for 31 hours. "This bill is long overdue," he said. "Moderate as...

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