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  • Welcome to Thursday`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. It`s good to see you. I`m Carl Azuz

  • at the CNN Center.

  • Time for "The Shoutout." Which U.S. president signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law?

  • Was it John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon or Gerald Ford? You`ve got three seconds,

  • go.

  • President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law using at least

  • 75 different pens that he handed out to civil rights leaders and supporters. That`s your

  • answer and that`s your "Shoutout."

  • It`s the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. It`s goal to end discrimination based

  • on someone`s race, religion, what country they came from or what gender they were. And

  • that extended from businesses in schools to voting boots and even bathrooms. The act was

  • passed after one of the longest debates in Senate history. In the 1960s it was as controversial

  • as it was historic.

  • The nation was in turmoil. Young, predominantly black protesters against public discrimination

  • on buses, in bathrooms and at lunch counters were beaten and hosed down in the South. America`s

  • very democracy was at stake. And then President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Lyndon Baines

  • President was sworn in and decided to stake his early presidency on passing the Civil

  • Rights Act.

  • No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy`s memory .

  • But the politics was nasty on Capitol Hill as the prejudices on the streets of the South.

  • Southern Democrats who felt their way of life was being threatened, threw up hurdle after

  • hurdle in the House. Across the capital, senators like Robert Byrd and Strom Thurmond filibustered,

  • trying to talk the bill to death.

  • Richard Goodwin worked in the White House for Kennedy and then for President Johnson.

  • He was from the South and he had seen firsthand, of course, the poor blacks and the poor Mexican

  • Americans and other who were not getting a fair break (ph) of the society.

  • LBJ not only supported the bill, he also knew how to get it passed on Capitol Hill.

  • Johnson had - he was the master of the Senate. And as majority leader, he knew where all

  • the bodies were buried, he knew what all - everybody`s weaknesses were.

  • So, the new president worked the phones calling all sides.

  • He would be on the phone with Dr. King. Then he would call Governor Wallace. Then he`d

  • call Senator Dirksen. And then he`d be on the phone with Richard Russell. And he was

  • pulling out every stop.

  • He`d call them in the morning, he`d call them at night. I mean there`s a story of calling

  • a senator at two in the morning and he said I hope I didn`t wake you up.

  • And the senator said no, I was just lying here on the bed hoping my president would

  • call.

  • Johnson`s armtwisting worked. The bill fought its way through a congress. The filibuster

  • was broken by Republicans and Democrats.

  • With his signature, LBJ made the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the law of the land following

  • a groundswell of public support after violence and hate had tested the nation.

Welcome to Thursday`s edition of CNN STUDENT NEWS. It`s good to see you. I`m Carl Azuz

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B1 US civil president johnson kennedy senator hurdle

The Civil Rights Act made history 50 years ago

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