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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 8, 2009 at 4:19 PM

Conservatives and civil rights

Pitts ignored 1964 vote

In the column by Leonard Pitts Jr. [“Conservatives’ cry of ‘racism’ is an attempt to color the debate,” Opinion, syndicated column, June 7], he wrote concerning conservatives, “Ask what they did during the civil-rights movement and they grow very quiet,” and then implied that they have “historically been the enemies of racial progress.”

Let’s go back to Congress during debate over the 1964 Civil Rights Act. After finally overcoming a filibuster lasting for several weeks, launched by Democrats (including Sen. Robert Byrd, still a senator), the bill was passed. And contrary to what Pitts would have you believe, Republicans voted for passage of the bill in a significantly higher percentages than Democrats: 82 percent vs. 69 percent in the Senate and 80 percent vs. 63 percent in the House.

That is why when you ask Democrats how their party voted in 1964, they grow very quiet.

— Doug Hjellen, Mill Creek

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