Email, Betty K. Koed, associate historian, U.S. Senate, April 11, 2014

9:14 a.m.

The Senate Library passed along this information on civil rights related legislation of the 1930s and 40s.  In the rare cases when bills came to a roll call vote, it appears that LBJ consistently voted against (either on the bill or to table [kill] a bill or motion).  As I mentioned yesterday, most likely LBJ voted in favor of a civil rights bill for the first time in 1957.


“The House would pass an anti-lynching bill in 1937 and 1940 but, again, filibusters (threatened and carried out) kept the Senate from voting on either bill. Indeed, no anti-lynching bill of the 257 proposed between 1882-1951 ever reached a Senate vote”-   from article in the Jackson Advocate by Barbara Harris (Vol. 65, No 19 pg 9A),  “The Ku Klux Klan: From Fear, Anger, Poverty and Disenfranchisement Arose a Terrorist Group.”


1.                April 15, 1937 Congressional Record vote on passage of H.R. 1507 page 3563 Johnson voted Nay


2.                Jan 10, 1940 Congressional Record vote on passage of H.R. 801 p 253 Johnson voted Nay


3.                From CQ Almanac

1946- Several House anti-lynching bills were introduced but they never made it out of committee

1947 - Numerous House anti-lynching bills were introduced but never made it out of committee

1948- House reported out H.R 5673 but it went no further. Senate reported S 2860 out but it “was passed over on the call of the calendar”

1949- Senate Judiciary committee approved S 91 but it saw no further action. There were two other Senate bills that did not get out of committee. House did not report out an anti-lynching bill.

1950- Sen. William Langer offered amendment to H.R. 2023 about anti-poll tax, anti-lynching bill, and FEPC.  There was a vote on the motion to table the amendment. Johnson voted yea – in other words voting to kill the motion.

1951- No action on anti-poll tax, or anti-lynching.

1952- Nothing under lynching, or anti-lynching, only two mentions under civil rights.

1953-nothing mentioned

1954-nothing mentioned

1956-Civil Rights bill passes the House- H.R. 627.  Senate committee failed to take action on H.R. 627.

1957- House and Senate passed. H.R. 6127.



Betty K. Koed, Ph.D.

Associate Historian

United States Senate