2014 Press Releases

National Archives Explores Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on April 15
Press Release · Monday, April 7, 2014

Washington, DC

Cokie Roberts and Todd Purdum to discuss the "back story" of this historic act

On Tuesday, April 15, at 7 p.m., the National Archives hosts journalists Cokie Roberts and Todd Purdum for a special program on the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the law that created modern America. The event will be webcast live on the National Archives UStream channel [http://www.ustream.tv/usnationalarchives].

To mark this year’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, Purdum and Roberts will discuss Purdum’s book An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They will address the political battles behind the passage of the Act and examine popular myths about this monumental piece of legislation. A book signing will follow the program.

Purdum’s book explores the legislative maneuvering and the larger-than-life characters that made the passage of this act possible. From the Kennedy brothers to Lyndon Johnson, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Hubert Humphrey and Everett Dirksen, Purdum shows how these all-too-human figures managed, in just over a year, to create a bill that prompted the longest filibuster in the history of the U.S. Senate yet was ultimately adopted with overwhelming bipartisan support. He evokes the high purpose and low dealings that marked the creation of this monumental law, drawing on extensive archival research and dozens of new interviews that bring to life this signal achievement in American history.

This public program is free, and no advance registration is required. It will be held in the William G. McGowan Theater of the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.

The National Archives Building in Washington, DC, is Metro accessible on the Yellow and Green lines, Archives/Navy Memorial station. To verify the date and times of the program, call the National Archives Public Programs Line at: 202-357-5000, or view the Calendar of Events online.

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For press information contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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