Today in History: 19 June 1964

After an 83-day filibuster in the Senate, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the Senate on June 19th of that year. The act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or country of origin, and forbade prejudicial application of voter registration requirements. In his book When Freedom Would Triumph, Robert Mann quotes President Lyndon B. Johnson on his memory of the passage of that historic act: “I knew . . . that to the extent Negroes were free, really free, so was I. And so was my country.”

When Freedom Would Triumph recalls the most significant and inspiring legislative battle of the twentieth century–the two decades of struggle in the halls of Congress that resulted in civil rights for the descendants of American slaves. Robert Mann’s comprehensive analysis shows how political leaders in Washington–Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, and others–transformed the ardent passion for freedom–the protests, marches, and creative nonviolence of the civil rights movement–into concrete progress for justice. A story of heroism and cowardice, statesmanship and political calculation, vision and blindness, When Freedom Would Triumph, an abridged and updated version of Mann’s The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell, and the Struggle for Civil Rights, is a captivating, thought-provoking reminder of the need for more effective government.

Robert Mann is the author of Daisy Petals and Mushroom Clouds: LBJ, Barry Goldwater, and the Ad That Changed American Politics; When Freedom Would Triumph: The Civil Rights Struggle in Congress, 1954–1968; and many other books. He is also a political columnist for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

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