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1. Luther, 500 Years Later: How the Reformation Changed the World This article from The Guardian looks at the legacy of Martin Luther 500 years after the Reformation. It covers Luther's impact on the Catholic Church and Christianity, as well as his influence on politics and society. It also examines how Luther's ideas and teachings have shaped the modern world. 2. 5 Things You Didn't Know About Martin Luther This article from National Geographic looks at five lesser-known facts about Martin Luther and the Reformation. It covers Luther's education, his views on predestination, his musical talents, and the impact of his 95 Theses. 3. Martin Luther: The Reformation This video from The History Channel looks at the life and legacy of Martin Luther. It examines how Luther sparked the Reformation and why his ideas were so revolutionary at the time. It also explains how Luther's teachings influenced the Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole. 4. Martin Luther: The Legacy of the Reformation This video from PBS looks at the legacy of the Reformation and how Luther's teachings shaped the modern world. It examines the impact of Luther's ideas on religion, politics, and society and how his reforms

The “Imperishable Truth”: Early Efforts to Commemorate African-American History in Congress | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

On March 3, 1879, in the final hours of the 45th Congress (1877–1879), Representative Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina requested permission to print remarks in the Congressional Record. Five months earlier, Rainey had lost his bid for re-election, making this his final day as a Member of Congress. But before he left Capitol Hill, Rainey sought to address an insidious threat to democracy in America. Rainey’s loss in the fall of 1878 to Democrat John Smythe Richardson came amid a wave of electoral violence across the South. In districts throughout the former Confederacy in the late 1870s, Democratic candidates—many of whom, like Richardson, had fought to overthrow the federal government during the Civil War—ousted Republicans from congressional seats. In his remarks, Rainey recounted how the Democratic Party had used violence and intimidation to violate the voting rights of African Americans in his district. If the brutality against Black voters went unchecked, Rainey worried the Republican Party would crumble in the South.Rainey’s remarks also took a wide view of recent American history, reflecting on the course of the Republican-led effort to rebuild the South after the war called Reconstruction. And he responded to a speech delivered by South Carolina Democrat John Hamilton Evins a few days earlier in which Evins had disparaged Black officeholders and accused the Republican Party of mismanaging South Carolina’s state government in the decade following the war. Rainey said that Evins’s account was “well calculated to mislead and produce erroneous impressions in the public mind that cannot be upheld or rightfully sustained by testimony.” Southern Democrats like Evins, Rainey noted, were “grasping after the past, which is beyond their reach,” eager to return to a bygone era in which they controlled southern state governments before the Civil War. Evins had deliberately misrepresented the “imperishable truth” of Reconstruction, Rainey declared. Rainey spoke out against Evins because he did not want the southerner’s claims “to pass unchallenged and unanswered.”Rainey praised the triumph of “the principles of liberty and progress” following the Union victory in the war. He commended the federal government for recognizing the “importance of further and surer safeguards” and for acting to ensure African Americans were able to exercise their “civil and political rights.” And he was adamant that these “indisputable historical facts” of Reconstruction should be remembered and celebrated—even as Democrats like Evins were determined to erase them.Rainey wasn’t alone in his effort to acknowledge significant moments in African-American history. It is little remembered today, but in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Black Members of Congress regularly followed Rainey’s lead. In congressional debates and legislation, Black lawmakers proposed and often secured funding for historic preservation efforts, public exhibitions, commemorative events, and historical studies to recognize individual and collective achievements by African Americans.“A Great Many Historical Associations”: Nineteenth-Century LegislationAs one of America’s 13 original colonies, the state of South Carolina was home to numerous sites important to the nation’s early history, including Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter, both of which were located in Charleston Harbor. Fort Moultrie had played a significant role in the American Revolution, while Fort Sumter had been the location of the first battle of the Civil War.By 1874, both military installations were still active but in need of significant upkeep. Both had been slated to receive federal funding in a proposed Army appropriations bill that year, but in February Representative John Brutzman Storm of Pennsylvania proposed an amendment to eliminate money for repairs to several military fortifications, including Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter.During debate, Rainey rallied to their defense and noted that the bill would not only provide functional upkeep for strategic military installations, but it would preserve physical structures endowed with “a great many historical associations.” Rainey joined several colleagues in opposing the amendment, calling the sites “intimately interwoven with the history of this Republic.” For Rainey, the fortifications were irreplaceable links to key moments in U.S. history, which generations of Americans should have the opportunity to visit and solemnly observe. Ultimately, the funding bill passed with the appropriations for his home state intact.Three months later, Representative Josiah T. Walls of Florida praised the virtues of public spending on behalf of historical causes when he backed a $3 million appropriation to fund the national centennial celebration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, scheduled to take place in July 1876. For Walls, the anniversary of American independence was a time to reflect on the nation’s founding principles. The expenditure would not only serve as a celebration, but also allow visitors to “exchange with each other the mutual grasp and the meaning glances of a common citizenship.” With the end of the Civil War and the eradication of slavery, Walls reminded his colleagues that it was finally possible “for myself and at least four millions of the new freemen of this land of liberty” to celebrate independence. Walls considered the 1876 centennial an opportune moment to fold African-American history into the country’s larger narrative championing “free citizens of a free government.” Though the bill he backed in 1874 did not pass, Congress later appropriated $1.5 million for this purpose in January 1876.By the final decade of the nineteenth century, Black Representatives began to focus commemorative legislation more directly on African-American history. In 1890, Thomas E. Miller of South Carolina introduced a bill to fund a monument to Black Union soldiers. Two years later, Henry Plummer Cheatham of North Carolina proposed a measure to fund the publication of a history of Black soldiers in the Civil War. He also sought funding to produce a history of “the colored people of the United States of African descent,” exploring their “moral, intellectual, and industrial progress” since the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Cheatham sought to present this history of Black freedom to the assembled crowds at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, Illinois. None of his nor Miller’s measures passed the House, however.The 1900 World’s Fair in Paris, France, offered another opportunity to bring the story of African-American progress to a global audience. In 1899, Thomas J. Calloway, a Fisk University graduate and former employee of the U.S. Department of War, was appointed to organize and curate an African-American exhibit at what was known as the “Paris Exposition.” Calloway solicited public support from Booker T. Washington, Mary Church Terrell, and other prominent African-American educators and activists. Though he had been out of Congress for six years, Henry Cheatham joined North Carolina Representative George Henry White, then the sole Black Member of the House, in a meeting with President William McKinley at the White House to advocate for U.S. government funding for the exhibit. On December 13, 1899, White proposed a joint resolution to appropriate $25,000 for this purpose. Less than a week later, White modified his request in a new bill requesting $15,000 to provide for “an exhibit of negro education and industry.” Although the House never voted on either of White’s bills, McKinley and Ferdinand W. Peck, the commissioner general of the American exhibit in Paris, backed the idea. White’s funding request for $15,000 was eventually inserted into an appropriations bill sponsored by the Appropriations Committee chairman and future Speaker of the House, Joseph G. Cannon of Illinois, which passed in January 1900.Armed with federal funding, Calloway contacted his former classmate at Fisk, the Atlanta University sociologist, historian, and activist W.E.B. Du Bois, to contribute a study of the progress made since emancipation by the Black communities of Georgia. Du Bois and his students collected statistical information across the state, creating striking visual displays of their data. These infographics were a central part of the exhibit, along with photos, books, and artifacts collected and curated by Calloway and others, including Daniel A.P. Murray, the African-American assistant librarian at the Library of Congress. A photo of former Senator Blanche K. Bruce of Mississippi, who Calloway referred to as “the most successful man we have produced in politics,” was featured prominently in the exhibit. The Paris Exposition attracted millions of spectators from around the globe to the fairgrounds at the heart of the French capital. Congressional funding made it possible for the exhibit organizers to bring the stories of Black Americans to the world.“As a Matter of History for the Coming Generations”: Early Twentieth-Century LegislationAfter George White declined to run for re-election in 1900, no Black candidate was elected to Congress until Oscar De Priest of Illinois in 1928. The Chicago Representative was also the first Black Member of Congress from a northern state. De Priest was keenly aware of his historic triumph and used his seat to bring attention to Black achievements on Capitol Hill.In mid-February 1930, less than a year after he was sworn in, De Priest invited a group of luminaries—including former Members of Congress, John R. Lynch of Mississippi and Thomas E. Miller of South Carolina, and the director of the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, historian Carter G. Woodson—for a meal in the Capitol. De Priest had earlier presented Lynch and Miller on the House Floor, using their presence to bear witness to the legacy of Black representation in Congress. “They happen to be gentlemen of the racial group with which I am identified,” De Priest told his colleagues, “so I am not the only one left.” In the Speaker’s elaborate private dining room, the attendees congregated to celebrate “Negro History Week,” which Woodson had established in 1926 as a period of reflection on African-American history and culture. Later that evening, a crowd of 6,000 heard the Black Representatives speak at the Washington Auditorium. Lynch and Miller recalled their careers in the House and commented on the future of Black politics on Capitol Hill and across the nation. Miller spoke of the exploits of former Representative Robert Smalls of South Carolina, who heroically escaped from slavery during the Civil War, saving the life of his family, before serving in the Union military and later as a lawmaker in Washington.In 1934, Arthur W. Mitchell defeated De Priest for the seat representing Illinois’s First District, becoming the first Black Democratic Member of Congress. As the only African-American lawmaker on Capitol Hill for the next eight years, Mitchell worked with Carter Woodson to promote the goals of Negro History Week. In 1940, Mitchell asked Woodson to draft a letter describing his initiative, adding that he intended to print Woodson’s response in the Congressional Record “as a matter of history for the coming generations.” Woodson replied with a lengthy description of Black achievements in war, business, art, literature, and government, among other pursuits. Woodson said his goal was not to discredit or obscure other aspects of American history, but to provide a more complete record of the past. As an example he mentioned that any study focusing on the career of President Abraham Lincoln should be complemented by the story of African-American troops who fought for the Union cause “and who by their heroism demonstrated that they were entitled to freedom and citizenship.”Mitchell also sought to secure funding for public celebrations of the achievements of Black Americans. In 1940, the city of Chicago organized the American Negro Exposition to celebrate the seventy-fifth anniversary of emancipation in 1865. Mitchell’s bill, which became law, provided $75,000 to fund exhibits “showing the progress, advancement, and achievements” of African Americans. The exhibition featured 20 dioramas recreating scenes from African-American history, including the work of scientists, laborers, athletes, and soldiers. It attracted more than 250,000 visitors to the Chicago Coliseum over two months in the summer of 1940.By the 1960s, a new generation of Black Members urged Congress to adopt more formal measures to recognize African-American history. Charles C. Diggs Jr. of Michigan led the House effort to create the national park honoring orator and activist Frederick Douglass at his former home in the Southeast Washington neighborhood of Anacostia. Diggs also proposed a commission to explore the possibility for a new national museum for African-American history and culture. Several other Members called on Congress to officially declare either a week in February as “Negro History Week” or the entire month as “Black History Month.”On July 30, 1968, Diggs spoke on the House Floor to commemorate 100 years of Black Americans in Congress. Diggs tied his remarks to the 1868 election of John Willis Menard of Louisiana, whose victory was later overturned by the Committee on Elections after his opponent challenged the results. Diggs celebrated Menard’s victory, noting that he was the first African American to address the House while it was in session, and used this occasion to reflect on the history of Black lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Over the course of an hour that afternoon, Diggs read short biographies of each Black lawmaker elected to Congress since 1870, describing their legislative achievements and the collective struggle for representation.“It Is Not Well to Forget the Past”In the ensuing decades, Black Members of Congress led the effort to establish federal holidays celebrating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Juneteenth, marking the liberation of enslaved African Americans in Texas in 1865. With the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in 2016, Black lawmakers, scholars, and community leaders had created a lasting institution to preserve and convey this history to the public.In 1884, Frederick Douglass spoke in Rochester, New York, on the anniversary of the community’s successful efforts to rescue a formerly enslaved man held under the Fugitive Slave Act and help him escape to Canada. “It is not well to forget the past,” Douglass wrote in his address. “The past is in some sense the mirror in which we may discern the future with its improved features.” For Douglass, recording and celebrating African-American history was an integral part of envisioning the possibilities for the present and beyond. Beginning in the 1870s, Black lawmakers embraced this perspective, searching for ways to use the power of Congress to document what Joseph Rainey once called the “imperishable truth” of history.Sources: Congressional Record, House, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (12 February 1874): 1442–1443; Congressional Record, Appendix, 43rd Cong., 1st sess. (7 May 1874): 250–253; Congressional Record, Appendix, 45th Cong., 3rd sess. (28 February 1879): 164–171; Congressional Record, House, 45th Cong., 3rd sess. (3 March 1879): 2403; Congressional Record, Appendix, 45th Cong., 3rd sess. (3 March 1879): 264–267; Congressional Record, House, 52nd Cong., 1st sess. (25 May 1892): 4668–4684; Congressional Record, House, 52nd Cong., 1st sess. (26 July 1892): 6824; Congressional Record, House, 72nd Cong., 2nd sess. (10 February 1930): 3382; Congressional Record, Appendix, 76th Cong., 3rd sess. (7 February 1940): 628–629; Congressional Record, House, 90th Cong., 2nd sess. (30 July 1968): 24281–24292; H.R. 1037, 43rd Cong. (1874); H.R. 2986, 43rd Cong. (1874); H.R. 12166, 51st Cong. (1890); H. Res. 149, 52nd Cong. (1892); H.R. 8982, 52nd Cong. (1892); H.R. 9012, 52nd Cong. (1892); H.J. Res. 75, 56th Cong. (1899); H.R. 4745, 56th Cong. (1899); H.R. 6237, 56th Cong. (1900); H.R. 8826, 76th Cong. (1940); H.J. Res. 167, 86th Cong. (1959); H.J. Res. 585, 86th Cong. (1960); H.R. 8650, 87th Cong. (1961); H.J. Res. 635, 87th Cong. (1962); H.J. Res. 676, 87th Cong. (1962); H.R. 11112, 90th Cong. (1967); 18 Stat. 25 (1874); 19 Stat 3 (1876); 31 Stat. 7 (1900); Public Law 76-522, 54 Stat. 220 (1940); To amend title 5, United States Code, to make the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., a legal public holiday, Public Law 98-144, 97 Stat. 917 (1983); Juneteenth National Independence Day Act, Public Law 117-17, 135 Stat. 287 (2021); National Museum of African American History and Culture Act, Public Law 108-184, 117 Stat. 2676 (2003); Hearings before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee in Charge of Deficiency Appropriations for 1900 and Prior Years, Urgent Deficiencies, 56th Cong., 1st sess. (1900): 126–127; House Committee on the Library, American Negro Exposition, 76th Cong., 3rd sess., H. Rept. 1979 (1940): 1–3; Whitney Battle-Baptiste and Britt Rusert, eds., W.E.B Du Bois’s Data Portraits: Visualizing Black America (New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2018); David W. Blight, Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2018); Library of Congress, A Small Nation of People: W.E.B. Du Bois and African-American Portraits of Progress, with essays by David Levering Lewis and Deborah Willis (New York: Amistad, 2003); Eugene F. Provenzo Jr., W.E.B. Du Bois’s Exhibit of American Negroes: African Americans at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century (New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013); Mabel O. Wilson, Negro Building: Black Americans in the World of Fairs and Museums (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012); Atlanta Constitution, 3 November 1899; Colored American (Washington, DC), 3 November 1900; Norfolk Journal and Guide (VA), 15 February 1930; Pittsburgh Courier, 22 February 1930; Philadelphia Tribune, 16 May 1940, 30 May 1940; Washington Post, 24 January 1926; Frederick Douglass Papers, Speech, Article and Book File, 1846–1894, “Speech on the 33rd Anniversary of the Jerry Rescue, Rochester, NY,” Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/mss1187900445/.

The Fight for Fair Housing in the House: “To Guarantee a Basic American Right” | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

This is the second part of a story about the Fair Housing Act.On April 5, 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent a letter to Speaker John W. McCormack of Massachusetts concerning a pending legislative package that outlawed discrimination in the sale or rental of housing nationwide. For years, the Johnson administration had been waging what it called a “War on Poverty” as part of the President’s Great Society agenda. Johnson reminded McCormack that fair housing legislation, one of his key promises designed “to guarantee a basic American right,” had long been obstructed in Congress. But only a day earlier, the fair housing proposal took on sudden urgency on Capitol Hill.On the evening of April 4, civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had traveled to support a labor strike organized by the city’s largely Black workforce of sanitation employees. For King, the sanitation strike was another battleground in his ongoing campaign against poverty and inequality in America, of which fair housing had been a major part. King and his organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, had planned to take their message to the Capitol in late April through a mass mobilization in Washington, DC, which they called the Poor People’s Campaign.But King’s death changed everything—including the timeline for housing reform in Congress. As cities across the country erupted in civil unrest, violence, and property destruction following King’s murder, the President pushed the House of Representatives to act. The Senate had approved the fair housing provision on March 11 as part of a larger civil rights bill. But in the House, the measure was stuck in the Rules Committee, where Chairman William Myers Colmer of Mississippi continued to block it.In his letter, Johnson denounced King’s murder as a “senseless act of violence” that demanded congressional action. The President urged the Speaker “to renew for all Americans the great promise of opportunity and justice under law” and “bring this bill to a vote” as soon as possible. “The time for action is now,” Johnson declared.A Weekend of Violence and UncertaintyIn the week after King’s murder, more than 100 cities across the nation experienced conflagrations marked by civil unrest. Crowds set fires, destroyed buildings, and smashed storefronts to take food, appliances, and other goods.Just over a month earlier, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, also known as the Kerner Commission after its chair, Illinois Governor Otto Kerner Jr., had released a report on the origins of the crisis facing urban America. Established by President Johnson in 1967 after a summer of violence in cities including Detroit, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, the commission identified poverty, inequality, and racial injustice as the underlying conditions for civil unrest. The commission warned that the United States was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal,” and recommended more government spending on antipoverty programs and federal legislation to provide equal access to adequate housing.Johnson’s proposed civil rights legislation presented Congress with a legislative response to the devastating fallout from King’s assassination. Eight months earlier, in August 1967, a version of the bill had passed the House. In the Senate, the legislation underwent significant revisions, before being returned to the House in March 1968. The measure banned violence and intimidation to impede constitutionally protected actions by any individual such as voting, jury service, employment, and accessing public accommodations and education. It also made crossing state lines to participate in a riot a federal crime and barred Native American tribal governments from restricting certain constitutional rights on their lands. Crucially, the bill now contained a fair housing provision, which banned discrimination in the sale or rental of 80 percent of the housing stock in the United States.The House’s Democratic leadership urged its majority in the 90th Congress (1967–1969) to approve the legislative package, but opposition from southern Democrats—including Colmer on the Rules Committee—meant that it would fail without significant Republican support. Representative Charles Goodell of New York was one of many Republicans who backed the bill but were concerned that continued violence in America’s cities may turn Members from both parties against it. “Everything may swing on the events of the next few days,” Goodell predicted.Colmer and the House Rules Committee, which had the power to set the terms of debate for bills sent to the floor for consideration, controlled the fate of the legislation. A staunch segregationist, Colmer opposed new civil rights legislation. He also resisted any effort to simply rubber-stamp the Senate’s amendments. Instead, hoping to further delay the bill, Colmer sought to send the bill to a conference committee, where lawmakers from the House and Senate would discuss modifications—including amendments to weaken the bill—before returning a new version of the legislation to each chamber for approval.But King’s assassination and the civil unrest that followed altered the path of the bill. Escalating violence and property destruction throughout the capital led President Johnson to mobilize about 6,000 troops from the Army and the Marine Corps as well as the District’s National Guard to quell the disturbance. By Friday night, a group of about 70 Marines defended the Capitol with rifles and sheathed bayonets, setting up a machine gun on the building’s West Front.When House Minority Leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan arrived at the Capitol on Saturday, April 6, he was startled by the sight of Marines sleeping on the stone floors. Later that day, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, William Moore McCulloch of Ohio, and 20 other House Republicans publicly announced their intention to back the Senate-approved measure.“Our Hero”When the House reconvened on April 8, many Members denounced King’s murder and praised his life and career. Augustus “Gus” Hawkins of California, one of six Black Members in the 90th Congress, mourned King and called on the House to pass the bill. Hawkins also blamed the violence plaguing the country on those lawmakers who had repeatedly blocked federal spending on antipoverty efforts, adding that “these same economy-minded, so-called protectors of the Public Treasury oppose civil rights and fair housing legislation which calls for relatively no spending, merely enforcement of basic constitutional rights.” Other lawmakers spoke out in opposition to the civil rights bill. Roy Arthur Taylor of North Carolina, for example, called on his colleagues to demonstrate “that Congress will not be stampeded into passing any legislation which has the earmarks of a payoff to violence.”The next day, on April 9, with more than 80 Members of Congress in Atlanta for King’s funeral, the House Rules Committee met on the third floor of the Capitol as the building remained surrounded by troops. The House had planned to begin a 10-day Easter recess on April 11, but Speaker McCormack promised to postpone the scheduled break until action was taken on the housing bill.Both Colmer and Minority Leader Ford favored sending the bill to a conference committee, as did many others on the Rules Committee. But on April 9, Republican John B. Anderson of Illinois joined seven Democrats in an 8-to-7 vote against sending the bill to conference. Democrat Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. of Massachusetts, who served on Rules, called Anderson “our hero,” and proceeded to give him a hearty slap on the back.After voting down the conference, the Rules Committee considered whether to send a special rule, H. Res. 1100, to the House Floor to expedite passage of the bill. H. Res. 1100 functioned as something of a stand-in for the larger civil rights bill. The House would have to pass H. Res. 1100 with a majority vote like any other bill, and in doing so would send the civil rights bill—including the fair housing provision added by the Senate—directly to the White House for the President’s signature without changes. On April 9, the Rules Committee voted 9 to 6 in favor of directing H. Res. 1100 to the House Floor.Voting at a “Crossroad” for AmericaColmer described the committee vote as “a great disappointment to me. I am violently opposed to this kind of legislation.” And he accused House leadership of “legislating under the gun.” On April 10, Colmer and other opponents of the bill from both parties gathered on the House Floor to make a final attempt to send the bill to a conference committee.Many opponents cited King’s death and the ongoing violence across the country as a reason to delay the legislation. Democrat Joseph D. Waggonner of Louisiana claimed that rioters had “blackmailed” the House into considering the bill. “To approve this legislation today means setting aside all orderly procedures,” declared Republican Harold Royce Gross of Iowa. “It means a capitulation to those who have nothing but contempt for law and order.”Representative Anderson, who had cast the pivotal vote in the Rules Committee against sending the bill to conference and who was initially denied time to speak on the House Floor, sought to clarify the timeline of events to “dispel this wholly false illusion” that the civil rights bill was being rushed through the House after King was murdered. Both Anderson and his Republican colleague McCulloch cited the Kerner report as crucial in their decision to vote for the bill. For Anderson, the bill was not a reward to the rioters, whose actions he considered the product of “conditions that for all too long have been left untended in our society.” Instead, this legislation was a just cause for constituents like the Black schoolteacher from his district, who was frequently shut out of neighborhoods when searching for a home for his family.Many Republicans objected to the bill’s procedural path to the floor and accused supporters of giving a “blank check” to the Senate. Elford Albin Cederberg of Michigan blamed the Senate for extended deliberations on the bill, adding that the House should not be forced to act hastily. But others cited the need for action in this moment of crisis. “Our legislative procedure is to serve us,” cautioned New York’s Charles Goodell, “not inexorably to shackle us to failure and ineffectuality.”Opponents also called the bill federal overreach. Republican Albert William Watson of South Carolina decried the intervention of the federal government in what he viewed as a state-level concern. “Today constitutional and representative government are on trial,” Watson said. The fair housing provision will “not grant rights but deny rights, not restore rights but rob citizens of rights.”The bill’s supporters saw things much differently. “The time has come for America to free its soul of hate and begin to rewrite the chapters of our noble history,” declared Patsy Takemoto Mink of Hawaii, “so that human dignity can be the basis of our mode of life and the creed of our country.” Many Members echoed Mink’s plea, calling on their colleagues to act in remembrance of King’s life and work. William Fitts Ryan of New York read a letter from 22 House Democrats calling on Congress to “to guarantee open housing and the free exercise of civil rights” by passing the bill.House Judiciary Committee Chairman Emanuel Celler of New York expounded a lengthy legal argument on the constitutionality of the bill and urged the House to “adopt strategies for action that will produce quick and visible progress.” After Colmer made a final, unsuccessful attempt to derail the bill by sending it to committee, cheers erupted from the packed House gallery as H. Res. 1100 passed by a vote of 250 to 172. President Johnson signed the civil rights bill, with the fair housing provision, into law on April 11, 1968.The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was a product of two stories: the legislative battle in the halls of Congress and the simmering tensions in American cities. Members of Congress could not separate their procedural maneuvers and parliamentary debates from the events of April 1968. For Representative Anderson, Congress was at a “crossroad,” and the paths ahead led in one of two directions: either a continued “slide into an endless cycle of riot and disorder,” or “a slow and painful ascent toward that yet distant goal of equality of opportunity for all Americans regardless of race or color.” In the spring of 1968, the tragic death of Martin Luther King pointed the nation in the latter direction. As had happened with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, King and a legion of nonviolent protesters and organizers had prodded Congress toward action on the bill that came to be known as the Fair Housing Act.Sources: Congressional Record, House, 90th Cong., 2nd sess. (8 April 1968): 9174, 9166; Congressional Record, House, 90th Cong., 2nd sess. (10 April 1968): 9527, 9529, 9540–9542, 9551, 9556–9564, 9604, 9620–9621; H.R. 2516, 90th Cong. (1967); H. Res. 1100, 90th Cong. (1968); Civil Rights Act of 1968, Public Law 90-284, 87 Stat. 73 (1968); House Committee on Rules, Providing for Agreeing to the Senate Amendment to the Bill (H.R. 2516), 90th Cong., 2nd sess., H. Rept. 1289 (1968); Michael K. Honey, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007); The National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968): 1; Baltimore Sun, 7 April 1968; Boston Globe, 6 April 1968; Chicago Tribune, 9 April 1968, 10 April 1968; Los Angeles Times, 5 April 1968, 6 April 1968; New York Times, 12 March 1968, 20 March 1968, 6 April 1968, 7 April 1968, 10 April 1968, 11 April 1968; New York Times Magazine, 31 March 1968; Register Republic (Rockford, IL), 15 April 1968, Washington Post, 6 March 1968; President Lyndon B. Johnson, “Statement by the President on the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,”4 April 1968, American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/238016; President Lyndon B. Johnson, “Letter to the Speaker of the House Urging Enactment of the Fair Housing Bill,” 5 April 1968, American Presidency Project, ed. John T. Woolley and Gerhard Peters, https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/237944.