In the summer of 1963, the prospects for a long-awaited civil rights bill looked dim. One book published that year called the situation hopeless, saying that Americans "underestimate the extent to which our system was designed for deadlock and inaction." But a year later, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the law of the land.
So how did something that seemed so unlikely become a reality? On this episode, we mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by tracing the various strands of history that culminated in this momentous legislation.
For more on the guests and stories featured in this episode, and for an array of resources exploring the background to the Civil Rights Act, check out BackStory's website: http://backstoryradio.org/?p=13156