Everett Dirksen: “An Idea Whose Time Has Come”


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As Senate minority leader through the tempestuous 1960s, the Republican Everett Dirksen played a key role in the politics of the civil rights era, helping to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the spring of 1964, as Southern Democratics staged a nearly two-month-long filibuster to block passage of the Civil Rights Act, Dirksen and three of his colleagues—Thomas Kuchel, Hubert Humphrey, and Mike Mansfield—introduced a slightly weaker version of the bill that they hoped would sway the Senate...