Gore and the 1964 Civil Rights Bill
Though Gore supported the civil rights movement, he opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Bill because he thought it gave too much power to the federal government. As a result, he lost the support of many important African American leaders.
Citing this Excerpt
Oral History Interview with Albert Gore, October 24, 1976. Interview A-0321-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Full Text of the Excerpt
- ALBERT GORE:
Of course as I said (to rush on ahead) earlier, the cataclysmic event
that polarized politics, particularly in the western part of our state
and more particularly in Memphis, was the garbage workers' strike,
King's assassination and the political strife that followed, the
destruction of the economic vitality of downtown Memphis, the movement
of people to the suburbs. This was the culminating
thing in the switch of the blacks to the Democratic party, and the
switch of many whites in the opposite direction.
- JAMES B. GARDNER:
I had understood that in 1964 some black leaders were not opposed to you
but were perhaps indifferent, because they didn't quite understand your
position on the 1964 civil rights legislation.
- ALBERT GORE:
Well, I voted against the 1964 civil rights bill. I thought it was an
extreme vestment of power, more than the circumstances warranted. I may
have been in error in that view. That was my view, and I opposed it at
the time. Some of the black leaders, whether they actually opposed me (I
guess some of them did), others just boycotted my campaign. And there
was a decided fall off in my support as a result of that. It's
understandable. They were very much involved in that legislation. It was
a very fundamental statute. And many teachers, I remember, offered to
submit legislation that would help with a particular amendment that I
had offered in committee. I don't remember the details of these issues;
it's been a long time. Yes, there was a boycott of my campaign by a
number of blacks.