April 10th, 2014
07:02 PM ET
9 years ago

Rep. Dingell: 'Poisonous' atmosphere surrounding 1964 civil rights debate

(CNN) - Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell, the longest serving member of Congress, talked about the "poisonous" atmosphere fifty years ago when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was debated on Capitol Hill.

Dingell voted for the bill making it illegal to discriminate based on race, but told CNN his support for desegregation spurred a "nasty" primary challenge for his seat from a fellow Democrat who opposed the legislation.

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Calling President Lyndon Baines Johnson "one of the great all time wheelers and dealers," Dingell recalled times he witnessed the former Senate majority leader literally grabbing members of Congress by their lapels to convince them to back his legislative priorities.

Filed under: John Dingell
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    We thank you Rep. Dingell!

    April 10, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  2. Randy, San Francisco

    The "poisonous atmosphere" and debate is not over. Republican Tea Party efforts to suppress minority votes must not go unchallenged.

    April 10, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. cmml

    I'll bet it was poisonous. The Democrats hated this bill and didn't want it to happen. I'm amazed that 9 Democrats and Zero Republicans voted against it.

    April 10, 2014 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Humbrrto

    It was President Johnson who got a majority of those civil right laws thru during a hostile atmosphere and Reagan Bush Clinton and Obama that undermine those achievements with false accolades to enhance their careers and illegally barter enforcement.

    April 10, 2014 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Thomas

    It's time for John Dingell to retire . Isn't there somebody other then his wife to run as a Dem ?

    April 11, 2014 04:51 am at 4:51 am |