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President Delivers Sweeping Civil Rights Message

Feb. 28, 1963 - President Kennedy, in a sweeping civil rights message, called today for new measures to protect Negro rights in voting, schools, and jobs. The most significant proposals concerned the ballot. He asked Congress for legislation to expedite voting suits in the Federal courts and to let temporary referees register Negroes while the suits are pending. The President also urged legislation to provide Federal financial and technical aid to school districts that are desegregating. The Eisenhower Administration made a similar proposal, but it was ignored by Congress. These proposals and others promise a full-scale Congressional battle sometime in the next two years. President Kennedy will not want to go into the 1964 election without some new civil rights legislation passed, but Southern resistance will be strong. The President’s message began with a reminder that it was 100 years since Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. And yet, Mr. Kennedy said, “the harmful, wasteful, and wrongful results of racial discrimination and segregation still appear in virtually every aspect of national life.”


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