Martin Luther King, Jr.: American\African American
President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Bill at the White House
After criticizing President John F. Kennedy for failing to advance civil rights legislation, King was elated when Kennedy addressed the nation on June 11, 1963, and pledged to seek passage of a civil rights bill that would provide "equality of treatment" to every American. Sent to the House on June 19, the bill soon became stalled in committee, where it languished until President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22. Declaring that prompt passage of Kennedy’s civil rights bill would be the most fitting way to honor the late president, Lyndon Johnson successfully pressured Congress to bring it to a vote. The bill cleared the House on February 10, 1964, and reached the Senate floor on March 30, where it was blocked by a filibuster until June 10. When the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was finally signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, King (second row, center) attended the ceremony.