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🚨[VIDEO] July 2, 1964 | LBJ Signs Civil Rights Bill, Addresses Nation

July 2, 1964 - President Johnson signed the historic civil rights bill into law tonight and urged “every American to join in this effort to bring justice and hope to all our people and to bring peace to our land.”

“This is a time of testing,” he said, “and we must not fail.”

The President signed the measure less than five hours after it received final Congressional approval, the House voting for it by a sweeping margin.

In a ceremony carried on live TV from the White House East Room, the President said he had asked all Federal agencies “to fully discharge the new responsibilities imposed upon them by the law without delay and to keep me personally informed of their progress.”

Calling the far-reaching act a challenge to Americans to “eliminate the last vestiges of injustice in America,” Johnson told his nationwide audience:

“Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our nation whole.

“Let us hasten the day when our unmeasured strength and our unbounded spirit will be free to do the great works ordained for this nation by the just and wise God who is the father of us all.”

The President promised that enforcement of the new law would not be approached in a “vengeful spirit.” He said: “Its purpose is not to punish. Its purpose is not to divide but to end divisions — divisions which have lasted too long. Its purpose is national, not regional.”

He added that the law will work because “most Americans are law-abiding citizens who want to do what is right.”

The new law outlaws racial discrimination in public accommodation, employment, voting, education, and use of Federal funds.

In all, 153 Democrats and 136 Republicans voted for the bill today. Voting against it were 91 Democrats and 35 Republicans.

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