[Congressional Record Volume 160, Number 25 (Tuesday, February 11, 2014)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E194]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  OHIO'S WILLIAM McCULLOCH LED THE 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT 50 YEARS AGO

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                             HON. TIM RYAN

                                of ohio

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, February 11, 2014

  Mr. RYAN of Ohio. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to the 
late William Moore McCulloch, a Republican Member of Congress from 
Ohio, for his extraordinary work on the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
   Fifty years ago on February 10, 1964, the House of Representatives 
passed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by a vote of 290 
to 130.
   This landmark piece of legislation outlawed discrimination against 
race, ethnicity, gender, and religious minorities. I believe this was 
the most important piece of American domestic legislation in 20th 
Century America, as it protected fundamental civil rights and ensured 
equal opportunities for all Americans.
   McCulloch was born in 1901, in Holmes County, Ohio. Despite being 
raised working on his family's farm and attending local rural schools, 
he studied at the College of Wooster before earning a law degree from 
Ohio State University College in 1925.
   Following graduation, McCulloch moved to Florida to practice 
constitutional law for a year. This period of his life was crucial in 
developing his passion for overhauling civil rights legislation, as he 
saw the effect of the oppressive Jim Crow ``separate but equal'' racial 
segregation laws firsthand. This experience fueled his passion for 
civil rights, and his belief that the Constitution guaranteed equal 
rights for all Americans. In 1932, McCulloch was elected to the State 
House of Representatives. From here, his determination to outlaw 
discrimination began to manifest itself.
   For example, he supported the local chapter of the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People in its drive to end 
segregated seating in restaurants in Piqua. I am inspired by his work 
here, as this was a risky political move in such a rural, white, middle 
class, and conservative region of Ohio. Nevertheless, his desire to 
dismantle institutionalized discrimination outweighed everything else, 
and African Americans and all Americans are better off for it.
   In 1947, he was elected to Congress from Ohio's fourth Congressional 
district. It is important to note that McCulloch only had a small 
number of African American constituents--roughly 2.7 percent. His 
determination to protect American civil rights regardless of race, 
ethnicity, gender or religion was due to his intrinsic desire to 
achieve equality, and not his own political agenda. He focused purely 
on doing what was right for the people of the United States. I find 
encouragement in this, and believe more of us in Congress can learn 
from McCulloch's example.
   However, McCulloch's work in civil rights didn't stop in Piqua, 
Ohio. He was the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary 
Committee in the early 1960s, and used this to ensure civil rights 
legislation was introduced to the House. In 1963, President Kennedy 
called for legislation that removed discrimination, and increased 
protection for the right to vote. McCulloch personally met with the 
Kennedy Administration, and the two parties confirmed their joint 
commitment to a bipartisan civil rights bill. Despite his position as a 
Republican minority Member, he was determined to ensure the Civil 
Rights Act's passage through the House. He worked tirelessly with the 
Kennedy Administration and House Democrats for the bill. McCulloch's 
work was instrumental, and led to President Kennedy's declaration of 
``Without him, it can't be done''.
   The legislation passed the House on February 10, fifty years ago. 
Later after a 54-day filibuster, the bill passed in the Senate. The 
Civil Rights Act became law with President Johnson's signature. Like 
Kennedy, Johnson recognized McCulloch's significant involvement in the 
Civil Rights Act, and stated he was ``the most important and powerful 
political force'' in passing the legislation.
   Despite his position as a minority Republican member in the House 
Judiciary Committee, McCulloch worked across party lines to pass 
legislation that guaranteed equal rights for all. I am inspired by 
this, and believe we can all learn something from McCulloch's efforts. 
He was willing to cooperate with the Democratic majority, including the 
Kennedy and Johnson Administrations, in a time when there was a 
desperate need for anti-discrimination legislation and positive social 
change. I hope we can all follow in William McCulloch's example, and 
commit to finding bipartisan solutions to the issues facing our 
country. He was a proud son of Ohio.

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