Why do you think Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were interested in watching the Senate debates on the Civil Rights Bill in 1964? And what could they have learned from watching the debates?

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Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. were two of the most prominent figures in the Civil Rights movement. Despite the fact that Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. had differing opinions and approaches on how to resolve social, economic and political issues in the African American community, they both fought for civil rights.

When the Senate debated the passage of the Civil Rights Bill in 1964, Malcolm and Dr. King, along with the rest of the black community, were eagerly waiting for the results. The monumental Civil Rights Act of 1964 would effectively dissolve segregation in public places and make it illegal to discriminate people based on ethnicity, race, color, and gender.

Malcolm and Dr. King were also aware that there were many opponents of the Civil Rights movement, and particularly opponents of the bill. One of the most vocal oppositions to the bill was James Eastland of Mississippi. However, despite detractors, the Senate invoked cloture to pass the bill.

One of the lessons Malcolm and Dr. King could have learned from the debates is that working with government officials on the federal level was more effective than trying to go up against a state. On a state level, there is an overwhelming number of biased congressmen, such as in the states of Mississippi or Alabama. The federal government, particularly the Supreme Court, and, to a lesser-extent, the Senate and Department of Justice, can overrule state laws that are discriminatory.

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