AUTHORIZING USE OF ROTUNDA FOR CEREMONY COMMEMORATING 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF ENACTMENT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964
(House of Representatives - June 09, 2014)

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[Pages H5134-H5136]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




                              {time}  1730
AUTHORIZING USE OF ROTUNDA FOR CEREMONY COMMEMORATING 50TH ANNIVERSARY 
              OF ENACTMENT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and 
agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res 100) authorizing the 
use of the rotunda of the Capitol for a ceremony to commemorate the 
50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.
  The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:

                            H. Con. Res. 100

       Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate 
     concurring),

     SECTION 1. USE OF THE ROTUNDA OF THE CAPITOL FOR CEREMONY TO 
                   COMMEMORATE THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE 
                   ENACTMENT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964.

       The rotunda of the United States Capitol is authorized to 
     be used on June 24, 2014, for a ceremony to commemorate the 
     50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 
     1964 and the significant impact the Act had on the Civil 
     Rights movement. Physical preparations for the conduct of the 
     ceremony shall be carried out in accordance with such 
     conditions as may be prescribed by the Architect of the 
     Capitol.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
Michigan (Mrs. Miller) and the gentlewoman from Ohio (Ms. Fudge) each 
will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from Michigan.


                             General Leave

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that 
all Members have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend 
their remarks on the concurrent resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from Michigan?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support today of 
House Concurrent Resolution 100, authorizing the use of the rotunda of 
the Capitol for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 
enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  It is certainly fitting that we take pause and recognize the passage 
of this historic landmark legislation that was passed into law and the 
events in our Nation that called upon its leaders to act all those 
years ago.
  The passage of the Civil Rights Act was a major step forward for 
America that finally allowed our great Nation to truly live up to its 
creed found in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created 
equal.
  188 years following the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, 
99 years after the conclusion of the Civil War, and after decades of 
struggle by great leaders like Martin Luther King and so many Americans 
who fought valiantly, broad bipartisan majorities of both Houses of 
Congress came together to ensure equality for every American.
  The passage of the Civil Rights Act was a very proud moment for the 
House of Representatives because America faced a time of choosing in 
1964, and together, our Congress rallied and voted to strengthen 
individual protections and rights, and voted to end discrimination and 
segregation 50 years ago.
  The Civil Rights Act still remains one of the most important pieces 
of legislation that has ever been debated in our Chamber and instituted 
across our great Nation, not only for people of color or different 
nations of origin, but for each and every American, regardless of 
gender or socioeconomic status or their religious background.
  Our Nation has a very vibrant and rich history, and that moment, 50 
years ago, when many different people of various walks of life joined 
together and, in one voice, called for equality stands as one of the 
most monumental in our history.
  Our Nation stood as a witness to those who led and participated in 
civil rights protests such as the March on Washington, sit-ins at lunch 
counters, and maintaining one's seat on a bus and refusing to move 
solely based on one's color of one's skin.
  Fifty years ago, so many risked prison or worse to overcome huge odds 
and stand for what they truly believed must be changed. Their 
contributions reverberated across every State and every town and every 
home. Many took up roles as spokespersons, using their talents or what 
was available to them to make peaceful statements. Several have joined 
this Chamber as Members.
  I see John Lewis has joined us today, and I am just very proud to be 
able to serve with a man of his historic background and distinguished 
service to our Nation, Mr. Speaker.
  These people were pillars, absolutely pillars of strength. They used 
their courage to meet injustice head-on, and they are memorialized in 
the history that we carry forward. The actions of those individuals 
called on every citizen of our Nation to recognize and to listen to the 
struggles of others and to support the call for a change to our laws.
  So many individuals from all walks of life rose up and lifted their 
voices to add to the call for change in our Nation, and they stood for 
all of those who were to come after them in the next generation and for 
the betterment of their lives.
  They brought their concerns to the forefront of our political stage 
and they spoke for all of us, men, women, rich or poor.
  In my home State of Michigan, Mr. Speaker, we were blessed to have so 
many great leaders in this movement, but one of those individuals was 
truly a civil rights icon who became a treasured member of our 
community. Rosa Parks inspired countless Americans with her grace, her 
dignity and strength, and through the simple yet profound act of 
refusing to give up her seat on a bus, she continued her advocacy for 
equality and freedom and inspired so many others who have carried the 
cause for individual rights forward to this very day.
  She also has a connection to this House with another Member of 
Congress as well, a Michigan colleague of mine, John Conyers, who was 
also a recognized leader in the civil rights movement.
  As we mark this 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, we remember 
the

[[Page H5135]]

efforts, the struggles, and the achievement of those who stood for 
equal rights. They saw to it that America will make good on its promise 
for every individual to obtain justice, freedom, and equality.
  It is certainly fitting, Mr. Speaker, that the House and the Senate 
join together later this month to formally remember and pay tribute to 
our Nation's civil rights attaining this milestone.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the chairwoman for the 
support. It is very much appreciated.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Con. Res. 100, which authorizes 
the use of the Capitol rotunda to commemorate the 50th anniversary of 
the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  The passing of the bill that became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was 
a critical turning point in the history of this Nation, prohibiting all 
forms of discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or 
national origin.
  This significant law also ensured that the promise of equal 
protection under the law would be true for all Americans.
  Millions of Americans faced violent opposition to ensure that the 
Civil Rights Act was brought before Members of the House and the Senate 
for a vote.
  During what was one of the most turbulent times in this Nation, a 
time when discrimination was commonplace and segregation was an 
accepted norm, passing this law was a true bipartisan effort, with 
Members of both parties overcoming their differences to do what was 
best for this Nation.
  If passed, H. Con. Res. 100 would allow the use of the Capitol 
rotunda to recognize the courageous efforts made by former Members of 
this House to pass the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, and will 
honor civil rights and community leaders who dedicated their lives to 
see this bill become a reality and be signed into law by the President 
of the United States, President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  I urge all Members to support H. Con. Res. 100, and I reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.

  Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to yield as much time 
as he may consume to the gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Clyburn), 
the assistant Democratic leader of the House.
  (Mr. CLYBURN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. CLYBURN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chair of the 
Congressional Black Caucus, Representative Marcia Fudge, for yielding 
time to me on this important resolution. I also want to commend her for 
her leadership on this initiative to pay appropriate commemoration to 
the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  Prior to my first election to the House of Representatives, I served 
in the State government of my native State, South Carolina, in an 
office charged with administering this landmark legislative 
achievement.
  We, in South Carolina, effectively used provisions of the Civil 
Rights Act of 1964 to enforce fair employment practices. That 
instrument has had tremendously positive impact on the working men and 
women of my State and across the country.
  The Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with the Voting Rights Act of 
1965, the Fair Housing Law of 1968, and other initiatives embody the 
ideals upon which this Nation was founded.
  I had the opportunity to expound on this notion at some length when I 
spoke in Dayton, Ohio, in 1985 as president of the International 
Association of Official Human Rights Agencies. At that time I spoke 
these words:

       We are an experimental Nation toying with the idea of 
     individual rights as opposed to collective control and 
     tyranny. So far, the experiment has worked, no doubt to the 
     surprise of many who witnessed its birth over 200 years ago.
       It is interesting to speculate why not only has the Nation 
     survived, but also its ideals and principals. Let me hazard a 
     few guesses as to why America and its ideals have worked over 
     all these years. First of all, I do not believe America is 
     perfect. Neither did the Founding Fathers of the Nation. No 
     sooner had our Constitution been written than the first ten 
     amendments were presented and adopted. They were called the 
     Bill of Rights, and we can all be thankful that they were 
     included in the package.

  I continued on that day:

       Americans have never tried to conceal or ignore their 
     imperfections. For the most part, they have tried to 
     recognize and correct them. When the enslavement of a race of 
     people created a conflict which threatened the very 
     foundation of our Constitution, the Nation went to war with 
     itself to resolve the conflict and ensure the integrity and 
     sovereignty of the Constitution. And, a century later, when 
     it was found that discrimination still prevented millions of 
     Americans from participating as full-fledged citizens, our 
     Nation moved to correct the flaw with wide-ranging civil 
     rights legislation.

  This bill that we commemorate today was one of them:

       Now, while it is common to say that no nation in the 
     history of the world has granted more individual freedom, it 
     is just as valid to say that no nation has ever tried harder 
     to correct the flaws and impediments in its system. We are 
     still imperfect, and we are still trying to live up to the 
     principles to which the Constitution has committed us. The 
     important message is that this Nation has never stopped 
     trying, and we would do well not to stop now.

  Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, too many in this country hold the view 
that the flaws in the system are not worth fixing or no longer need 
attention. Too often, the view is advanced that the civil rights 
movement and all of its achievements are things of the past.
  I strongly disagree with that view. The work of securing a more 
perfect Union is never completed. The struggle continues.
  I want to thank Chair Fudge for her leadership on this resolution to 
commemorate the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the rotunda of the Capitol.

                              {time}  1745

  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the 
balance of my time.
  Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, I have been blessed and privileged to work 
with many great people in this House. You have just heard from one, the 
assistant leader who is our historian and has been an activist in many, 
many ways throughout his life.
  I now want to yield to someone who all of us consider an icon, as was 
referenced by the chairwoman earlier. It is, indeed, an honor to yield 
such time as he may consume to the gentleman from Georgia, John Lewis, 
my good friend who is the face and voice for so many of the civil 
rights movement.
  Mr. LEWIS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Ohio 
(Ms. Fudge), the esteemed chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, 
for her hard work, for her leadership on this resolution, and for her 
kind words.
  I would also like to thank the gentlewoman from Michigan for her kind 
words and for her leadership. The two of them have never given up or 
given in and have kept the faith, and for that, I thank them so much.
  I would also like to thank the Speaker and our friends on both sides 
of the aisle for helping to bring this resolution to the floor.
  I am glad to be on the floor with the gentleman from South Carolina, 
Jim Clyburn, who I met more than 50 years ago at an organizer meeting 
of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, when we both were 
very young, first for the sit-ins, when we both had all of our hair.
  To be here with the gentleman from South Carolina today, if someone 
had told me then that the two of us would be sitting here in the 
Congress, I would say: you are crazy, you are out of your mind, you 
don't know what you are talking about.
  Fifty years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights 
Act of 1964 into law. This bipartisan effort outlawed discrimination 
based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The following 
year, President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. It was a 
bipartisan effort.
  Mr. Speaker, if you visit my office in the Cannon Building, you will 
see both Democrats and Republicans standing together. You will see me 
standing with Members of the Senate. One man I will never forget, the 
Republican leader Everett Dirksen, helped make it possible to get the 
bill passed.
  Too many people I knew and loved lost their lives in the fight for 
civil rights and simple justice. Every single

[[Page H5136]]

day, each and every one of us must remember the heroes--average men, 
women, and children--who put their lives on the line in the fight for 
equality.
  We cannot forget their sacrifice, and we must not ignore the lessons 
of history. When we come together across party lines, from different 
races, religions, and regions, we can achieve the greater good.
  I hope and pray that we will come together again--Democrats and 
Republicans, of all faiths, colors, and regions--to pass laws that 
maintain, protect, and strengthen rights for which many gave their 
ultimate sacrifice.
  Again, Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Michigan, the 
gentlewoman from Ohio, and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for 
their strong support of this resolution.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute to say 
that the gentleman from Georgia, Representative Lewis, mentioned the 
term ``heroes.'' He truly is a hero, an American hero, a treasure.
  In the 12 years I have been honored to be a Member of Congress, 
anytime I hear him come to the floor and talk about civil rights, 
someone who has actually lived it, I wish I could take him home and 
have him talk to groups of schoolchildren, and I know he does that in 
his own district and around the country.
  Because every time the gentleman from Georgia, as well as 
Representative Clyburn and so many others come to this floor to talk 
about the civil rights movement, it really is very moving, and it makes 
us all think about, before we are anything, we are Americans first, and 
he truly is a hero.
  I will continue to reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. FUDGE. Mr. Speaker, there are just some things that are 
inherently American. They are truth and freedom and justice, doing what 
is best for our Nation.
  I know that we have disagreements, we have differences, but today, we 
stand together as one House, and I thank the chairwoman for allowing 
that to happen again.
  Again, I urge all Members to support H. Con. Res. 100, and I yield 
back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. MILLER of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I would certainly urge all of 
my colleagues, as well, to support this resolution, which will 
authorize the use of the rotunda of the United States Capitol Building 
for a ceremony to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the enactment of 
the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Miller) that the House suspend the 
rules and agree to the concurrent resolution, H. Con. Res. 100.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the concurrent resolution was agreed to.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________