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The Politics Of Passing 1964's Civil Rights Act

Friday, April 04, 2014

This interview was originally broadcast on Jan. 20, 2014.

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations โ€” including restaurants, hotels and motels โ€” ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

Todd Purdum is the author of the book An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Purdum is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Politico. He joins Fresh Air's Terry Gross to talk about the legislative and political battle to get the civil rights bill passed. Click the audio link above (available after 5 p.m. EST) to listen to the interview.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Source: NPR

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About Fresh Air

"If you want to understand a political conflict, it helps to understand the culture in which that conflict is taking place," says host Terry Gross. Fresh Air is one of the most popular programs on public radio, breaking the "talk show" mold, and Gross is known for her fearless and insightful interviews with prominent figures in American arts, politics, and popular culture. "When there is a crisis in a foreign country, we sometimes call up that country's leading novelist or filmmaker to get the cultural perspective." Fresh Air features daily reports and reviews from critics and commentators on music, books, movies, and other cultural phenomena that invade the national psyche.

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