WASHINGTON – Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele released the following statement today:
“Forty-six years ago, one of the most significant pieces of legislation became the law of the land, helping to open doors that had been shut for so many Americans because of racial or gender discrimination. The passage of the historic 1964 Civil Rights Act was one of the proudest moments our country has ever had and was overwhelmingly supported by Republicans in Congress.
“Since President Lincoln freed the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, to the 1964 Civil Rights Act to the present day, Republicans have a bold legacy of fighting for civil rights for all Americans. Among the prominent examples is Republican President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 establishment of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which gave so many African-Americans access to the American dream through higher education. He also signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 that compensated Japanese-Americans for the denial of their civil rights and property during World War II. In 1991, Republican President George H. W. Bush helped strengthen federal civil rights legislation when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1991. And in 2007, President George W. Bush created the Small Business Administration’s Emerging 200 Initiative, which helped increase outreach to inner-city businesses in areas with large African-American populations, while providing participants the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and financial community.
“While the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not solve every problem facing all Americans, the Republican Party was instrumental in its passage, just as we still work tirelessly to ensure that the greatness of America is still accessible to all her sons and daughters. In 2010, our Party celebrates the more than 60 women and minority Republican candidates who have already secured the Party’s nomination and are ready to continue to fight for the rights of the American people. On behalf of the Party of Lincoln, I hope you will join me today as we honor the 46th Anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Long may freedom reign!”