tv 1964 Civil Rights Act Panel Discussion 1965 CSPAN July 18, 2015 8:00am-8:31am EDT
that define the nation. c-span three. coverage of congress and american history tv. each week, american history tv's reel america brings you archival films that help tell the story of the 20th century. one year after president lyndon johnson signed the 1960 four civil rights act, the u.s. information agency brought a group of civil rights leaders together to discuss the law's effectiveness. the moderator helped found it americans for democratic action and argued 16 cases before the supreme court and lobby congress for passage of the 1964 civil rights act. >> the white house, washington d.c., usa. today, july 2, 1964. the occasion: signing into law the civil rights act of 1964.
>> we must not approach the observance and enforcement of this law in a vengeful spirit. its purpose is not to punish. its purpose is not to divide, but to end divisions. divisions which have lasted all too long. its purpose is national, not regional. [applause] this civil rights act is a challenge to all of us. to go to work and our communities and our states, in our homes and in our hearts, to eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in our beloved country. so tonight, i urge every public official, every religious leader , every business and professional man, every
workingman, every housewife, i urge every american to join in this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people. and to bring peace to our land. [applause] >> one year has passed. where has it gone? what has and what has not been done during that year which held such great promise? >> i am joe rall. one year has passed since we had the president civil rights bill enacted into law. a year ago we had a program with some of the same people who are here today. today we take a look back at this one year of the civil rights act of 1964 and to look ahead at what may come in other
areas for civil rights for all americans. with me are roy wilkins, the executive secretary of the naacp, the national association for the advancement of colored people and mr. leroy collins director of the community relations service and a former governor of florida who was ahead of his time in civil rights there, and sterling tucker, the washington director of the national urban league in a very -- and a very distinguished vcitizen of washington. mr. wilkins, when we were fighting for the civil rights act of 1964, you testified on the need for fair treatment. i would like to read part of it.
it must be remembered that while we talk here today, talked last week and while congress debates next week, and eager americans through our country will be cruised nearly every waking hour by differential treatment in or exclusion from public accommodations of every description. from the time they leave their homes in the morning to school work shopping, or visiting, until they return at night, he knew asian stocks them. do you feel that the first year of the civil rights act and the public accommodations provision have changed that situation under which you gave such eloquent testimony? mr. wilkins: i think certainly joe raul, it has alleviated much of it. i would say especially in the areas where the abrasiveness was most felt. we had compliance, as governor
collins well knows, in unlikely places. mississippi, alabama, south carolina. parts of what we can out. the so-called hard-core areas. while all vestiges of this sort of humiliation have not vanished by any means after one year of the civil rights act, we can say that appreciable relief has come to many negro american citizens. mr. raul: governor collins, i was there in the white house july 2, 1964 when bill was signed by president johnson. i remember his first act was to appoint you to run the community relations service. out you look back on the year and the public accommodations enforcement? mr. collins: i was there that night and was extremely proud. while i do not have anything to do with their real effort made to create the climate and the
acceptance by the congress of this law i admire greatly those of you who were. and all of you here on this program were. i think history will signify that the passage of this law just a year ago, is really one of the great great landmarks of progress in the development of human relations in this country. the president asked me to direct the community relations service, and effort to voluntarily assist the in resolving disputes and disagreements and bringing about a climate of acceptance of this law and all the laws and this country against discrimination. i think that progress is the nation has made has been phenomenal. when we look back and see the difference now and a year ago that any fair-minded person will have to admit that progress has been tremendous.
and checks we have made on compliance with this law indicate a high degree of compliance. and the exceptional case, the case that involves doctors and actions, is the one projected in the broadcast media and our free society. so some people get the impression, because they hear of the exceptional instance of resistance that that is normal. that is not the case. in atlanta, georgia, when the one restaurant down there and mr. maddox was making his speech of defiance and closing his door against negroes coming into his restaurant, there were hundreds of restaurants in atlanta in the same community where proprietors had their door extended wide and with their hand of fellowship and friendship and welcoming the passage of the negroes along with all american citizens.
there has been a fine acceptance. i agree with mr. wilkins that we certainly cannot feel we can rest on our laurels. there is so much more to be done. we must accept this as momentum to go on and do the full job. that is what the nation is on the way to doing. mr. raul: mr. tucker, you had a great deal of experience with another part of the 1964 law. the provision called title vi. where the federal government's fund cannot go to any program that discriminates or segregates. has that worked? mr. tucker: i think that perhaps, in spite of the record of the public accommodations law, section, which is perhaps the most dramatic change, in the long run the real significance of the civil rights act will be found in title vi and the use of public funds. there are three reasons why this is important. one is the title itself makes it
a national bill. it is not a bill for the south. because we have found that in hospitals even in the north they had negro beds at some point. this was all being re-examined under title vi. the second thing is that while another title deals with public school these aggregation most recent edition will, under the title vi -- most desegregation under the title vi, there were 17 school district in maryland whose desegregation plans had never been approved. now they have to get these plans approved under this title. these southern governors were in washington a few weeks ago to seek delay in the enforcement of title vi with reference to public school desegregation.
the congressional delegation would not even see them because this has become the law of the land. title vi is where you have seen -- someone told me that a hospital in mississippi, it is perhaps one of the most desegregation hospitals in the country now because of the enforcement of title vi. one weakness, which may also be a strength, is that this is mainly administrative action. therefore, the question of the effectiveness of it is determined by the degree of administrative determination and enforcement. mr. raul: governor collins, do you have any feeling about the degree of administrative enforcement? gov. collins: i agree with mr. tucker that this is a tremendously significant part of this whole law in it will be proved in the course of time. under this law, the federal government showed that it must practice what it preaches. the oratory and are they
subscribing to the great goals in statement of ideas that this nation needs a great deal. but here, the federal government is on the spot to practice it. i was as proud as i could be when i sat in a cabinet meeting not too long back and issue was made there before the president and a cabinet that in some of the federal departments that there was discrimination. and the department cannot have made a stronger statement. he said at that time that he expected this law to be a pride -- applied in every federal agency, no matter where it was located, no matter how big or small. that the federal government would see to it that this was applied in his own house. they called upon every member of the cap and all the agency subordinate to the cabinet and all other federal agencies not only to comply but to report to him, regularly, the congressman
of that, -- the congressman of that compliance. >> mr. all do you remember not too long ago when people said you were crazy for suggest doing that the federal government ought to cut off funds used in a discriminatory matter? and how even president kennedy who was far out on this question and who felt so strongly about it, he had his hesitancy for this. i wonder a conference we had with him in january of 19 the one. -- i remember a conference we had with him in january of 1961. he said you put that on paper and let so and so see it. now it has become the most powerful part of this. probably our listeners might
negroes in jobs they did not train for before. we will take the experience we have and give it greater depth. >> one of the other aspects of this law we have not touched upon, the new law that went into effect, is voting. read touched on school of the segregation and employment and public accommodations, but voting in a democracy is most important. we read about 99% of this country voting and yet we know that in selma, governor collins mentioned selma, the reason we had selma was because in the state of alabama, one half of the county's had less than 50% of their negroes of voting age registered to vote. in mississippi this percentage went up says 76% out of 82
counties. this new voting bill, going into effect, will remedy these hard-core long-established deprivation. i look for great progress on the local level towards correct in some of the problems and which now will engage national organizations or the federal government. i look for problems with sheriffs and judges and local elected officials to decline. because they will not have this kind of sheriffs. mr. raul: roy wilkins, i recall in your speech on the march on washington on the steps of the lincoln memorial in 1963, august 28 when you said that many congressmen sat in front of you that we want to get the civil rights act passed because we will help free some of our southern congressmen.
because you know their hearts were right and they wanted to vote right, but politically it would be suicidal to vote their convictions. i said to someone, speaking in a lecture here recently, they asked what will happen to many southern congressmen when the negro gets and uses wisely the right to vote. i said i expect some of these congressmen to become some of the greatest liberals in the senate and house of representatives. because they would like to vote that way. and some of them will retire. but i think voting rights section cannot be over emphasized. herein is the heart and guts of a democracy. >> i would like to say a few words connected with the program last time. a year ago when we were all here except for governor collins who we are glad to have today, we wanted out the voting rights section of the 1960 four law was not adequate.
what happened is here we are a year later, while the other provisions of that law were. now we are about to start on a new crusade on the voting rights provision. i remind you that the voting rights bill not only provides machinery for the federal government to register southern negroes, it outlaws the literacy test and other devices that have been used against the negro voters. one could say that for the voting rights law going into effect that it is the real answer on the voting. but what will he really mean when in mississippi, over 40% of the population of negroes, what will it mean when all of their feet -- all of the negro's in the same proportion of whites in these areas?
>> i do not think it will mean a negro takeover. no one has that experience best far. you will get negro candidates elected, who are already good candidate material beforehand. a sterling tucker success thus -- just it, you have continuing southern continent. some southern mayors reelected because they are good men and can run the government and legal voters know they are good men. and they would not vote against them because they are southerners. >> governor collins, he had to run in a state where some negroes voted and some did not. how does it affect the situation in florida, where you were a governor ahead of his time? gov. collins: in our states, we have seen the last of anybody making a statewide campaign on a racial issue. appealing to racial prejudice.
the reason for that is not only this law and the influence of this law, but specifically the fact the her negro voter registration to a point where it would be suicidal to try to cancel out a vote that strong. the present governor, was not regarded as especially liberal in this area when he was elected. even so, he made a point already , realizing this basic fact of political life, he made a point to do certain things no other governor was willing to do in our state. this is real progress. i do not think in the south we will have many elections in which there will be an open issue of antagonism against
negroes expressed. >> governor collins's state had one of the highest percentages of negro registration, second to texas. >> important to all of this is the wisdom the negro uses in the exercise of the ballot. many organizations, such as the naacp, the urban, and other groups, international election put on an important campaign across the country to raise the participation of negro voters everywhere. this participation nationally of the negro in the path election will serve the future well in terms of his broader preservation -- participation. >> it is hard to believe this, but our time is up. it has been such an interesting program that a went terribly fast not only our time is up
with the year is up. the year in which we have to decide whether we could make the 1964 law work. i think it is our feeling that despite the blemishes on the record of the last year, despite the difficulties, they were difficulties that came out of progress. i do things moving forward. what we told you a year ago about our great new civil rights laws 16 -- of 1964 was not an exaggeration. even work a little better than those of us who were in it could have hoped for. with the new law and voting rights, i think we can say to you we feel that law, too, will help move this country towards where we want to be. that all men are created equal.
>> this weekend, politics books, and american history. on c-span 2's book tv, we are live from new york city for the 17th annual harlem book fair with author talks and panels on economics, african-american identity, and race and politics. sunday night at 10:00, and coulter says the greatest issue facing the u.s. is immigration. on american history tv on c-span's at 1:00 eastern, we are live with warren g. harding symposium on modern first ladies. speakers include cynthia bettinger. and then left it and get her crider.
little after 9:00, the national archives of kansas city shows how the u.s. government used cap again it world war ii to persuade citizens to join the military, buy war bonds, and keep national secrets. get our complete schedule as www.c-span.org. >> when franzen also married president grover cleveland she became a first lady with many first. the first and only first lady to married in the white house. at age 21, the youngest to serve as first lady. when she died october 20 ninth, 1947, she lived an additional 51 years after leaving the white house, longer than any other first lady. frances cleveland, sunday night at 8:00 eastern. on first ladies, examining the influence of the lives of the presidents.
-- wives of the president. panelist convened by the national archives -- this is just over an hour. >> the order for this panel which is about the historical significance of the diverse sexual tradition is somewhat different as is on your program. let me tell you the order as i introduced the speakers. we first hear from professor holly brewer at the university of maryland who published -- she is the tale of a guggenheim fellowship. then will be followed after