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Sen. Russell (D-Ga.) Plans to Fight Civil Rights Bill

Feb. 19, 1964 - Senator Richard Russell said today that he and his Southern colleagues were prepared to fight early and late and use every parliamentary weapon available to prevent Senate passage of the civil rights bill. The Georgia Democrat, who will captain the Southern forces as he has in past civil rights battles, told reporters after a strategy meeting with his followers: “We don’t mind around-the-clock sessions. We will be glad to be there 24 hours a day.” The debate, which will probably begin next week, could go on for a couple of months. By the end of April, the bipartisan coalition of civil rights supporters will know whether it has the votes to shut off debate. This requires two-thirds of those present and voting, or 67 if all members are present.

Dr. Martin Luther King, in Honolulu this week on a speaking trip, warned the Johnson Administration today that any compromise on the civil rights bill “would be a tragic error on the part of the Administration — both morally and politically.” Dr. King also announced he would call civil rights leaders across the nation to a meeting within six months to plan a boycott by Negroes of businesses that practice segregation in hiring.


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