The Epic Battle for the Civil Rights Act

Bill of the Century

April 3, 2014

On the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, acclaimed author Clay Risen unfolds the historic battle to bring this revolutionary bill into law. The “idea whose time had come” would never have arrived without pressure from the streets and shrewd leadership in Congress. Yet contested as it was, we may look back on the Civil Rights Act as a shining example of how the American political system succeeded in grappling—however imperfectly–with one of the nation’s most divisive issues, moving our society a step forward.

The Brennan Center for Justice and the Brademas Center for the Study of Congress hosted a candid and engaging discussion about this critical turning point in American history.