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Wallace Attacks Kennedy Civil Rights Program

July 15, 1963 - Alabama Governor George Wallace challenged the Kennedy Administration today to submit its civil rights legislation to a national referendum. “I promise that you will get the shock of your life,” the Governor told the Senate Commerce Committee, “because the people will overwhelmingly reject this encroachment upon their right to own and enjoy private property.” Wallace vehemently attacked the Kennedy civil rights package, particularly the bill before the Commerce Committee to desegregate hotels, restaurants, and theatres. Wallace charged that the Administration’s handling of racial problems had created “strife and turmoil” in the nation and had brought it to “the brink of civil warfare.” “If you intend to pass this bill,” Wallace asserted, “prepare to withdraw all our troops from Berlin, Vietnam, and the rest of the world because they will be needed to police America.”

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