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Robert Kennedy Testifies on Behalf of Civil Rights Bill

Oct. 15, 1963 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy pleaded with the House Judiciary Committee today to put aside partisanship and agree on a civil rights bill. Mr. Kennedy’s appearance and his comments apparently had some effect in bridging divisions in the committee. “This is a national crisis which demands that we put aside partisan considerations and work for passage of the strongest possible bill,” Mr. Kennedy declared. “If the bill is not passed, the whole nation will be the loser.” The ranking Republican, William McCulloch of Ohio, said afterward that the Attorney General had made some “very useful, very constructive suggestions, some that I would make and have been making.” A liberal Republican, John Lindsay of Manhattan, said, “I think it was helpful that he came up.” In a strongly worded statement he read in a closed session of the committee today, Mr. Kennedy said there was a vital need for action on civil rights at this session of Congress. “Every day of delay,” he said, “aggravates the problems of discrimination by hardening resentments and undermining confidence in the possibility of legal and peaceful solutions.”


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