President Kennedy was a catalyst in accelerating the civil rights movement of the early sixties. Even though Kennedy did not live to see its passage, the Civil Rights Act was introduced by Kennedy to Congress shortly before his death.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had organized and inspired resistance to school segregation in the previous decade, elevating civil rights to a top national issue. Civil rights was a major campaign theme in 1960, as Kennedy received the endorsement of Dr. King and won over 70% of the African American vote. Both houses of Congress were led by the Democratic Party throughout his term.
In 1961, the president's brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, sent 400 federal marshals to protect the "Freedom Ride" participants who protested continued southern segregation in interstate transportation, such as buses. In 1962, President Kennedy sent federal troops to the University of Mississippi when an African American Air Force veteran named James Meredith Jr. was...
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