The Civil Rights Act
Equal treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, was a major debate for decades in the U.S. Congress. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy urged Congress to take action. Passage of the act was not easy. The bill, first introduced in the House of Representatives, made it through the House Judiciary Committee, but faced strong opposition in the House Rules Committee. Howard Smith, Chairman of the Rules Committee, refused to scheduled hearings for the bill. Emanuel Celler, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, attempted to use this discharge petition to move the bill out of committee without holding hearings. The petition failed to gain the required majority of Congress, but forced Chairman Smith to schedule hearings.
Researching Congressional Records
While congressional publications can be found nationwide, the Center's combination of publications and unpublished committee records make our holdings unique.
Our lesson plans are designed to assist teachers with using primary source materials to integrate Congress into history, government, and civics classes.