The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Passage of the Law That Ended Racial Segregation

By Hubert H. Humphrey; Joseph L. Rauh Jr. et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Memorandum on Senate Consideration
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

Hubert H. Humphrey

Hubert H. Humphrey ( 1911-1978) was born and raised in South Dakota. He was educated at the University of Minnesota, and he had a long and illustrious career in Democratic Party politics in that state. In 1948, when he was the mayor of Minneapolis, he went to the Democratic National Convention and led the fight to put a strong civil rights plank in the 1948 Democratic Party Platform. "The time has come," Mayor Humphrey told the convention, "for the Democratic Party to get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights."

The 1948 Democratic National Convention took Humphrey's advice and adopted a pro-civil rights platform. Humphrey subsequently was elected to the U.S. Senate from Minnesota, and in 1960 he ran for the Democratic nomination for president. Humphrey lost the nominating race to John F. Kennedy, of Massachusetts, who defeated Humphrey in both the Wisconsin and the West Virginia presidential primaries and then went on to win the presidency for the Democrats the following November.

In 1961 Humphrey was elected the assistant Democratic leader, more often called the Democratic whip, in the United States Senate. This meant he was the No. 2 person in the Senate, second in power only to Democratic leader Mike Mansfield of Montana. When the civil rights bill that later became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 passed the House and arrived for consideration in the Senate, Democratic Leader Mike Mansfield named Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey the Democratic floor leader for the bill.

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