Senate passes first major civil rights legislation since Reconstruction 60 years ago #OnThisDay #OTD (Aug 7 1957)

Video: 'PBS LBJ Part 1' (Civil Rights Act of 1957 at 43:28)

(Wednesday, August 7, 1957, evening EDT) — The U.S. Senate tonight passed 72-18 the first federal civil rights legislation to become law in 82 years.

The legislation, championed by Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson, authorized the attorney general to file lawsuits on behalf of African-Americans who had been denied the right to vote. It also created a federal commission on civil rights.

After the final bill survived a filibuster by Democratic Senator Strom Thurmond of South Carolina, who set a Senate record of 24 hours and 18 minutes on Aug. 28-29, 1957, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it on Sept. 9, 1957.

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