One of the canards that get thrown around a lot when race starts to be talked about is that it was the Republican party that voted for the Civil Rights act against the Democratic party. The idea being that everything is exactly as it was and if the Republicans of the 60's voted for Civil Rights then that proves that Republicans of today are not who racists generally support. A similar argument is made regarding the Civil War.
This overlooks one important dynamic of that time. By signing the Civil Rights Act into law a mass migration of Democrats occurred. The so-called Dixiecrats (southern democrats) left the Democratic party and moved to the Republican party. It was these Dixiecrats that voted against the Civil Rights legislation. That changed the make-up of the two parties drastically. The nail was put into the coffin of what the Republican Party once stood for by Nixon and Reagen and the Southern Strategy. To this day, polling from the south compared to the rest of the country yields very different results. It really is remarkable.
In a nutshell, the Democratic and Republican parties had a realignment that put much of the Republican's support in the south where the majority of it remains today.
Here is a break down of the actual votes for the Civil Rights Act according to Republican votes from the north and the south and Democratic votes from the north and the south. Without any ambiguity it is obvious that it was the south, rather Republican or Democrat, that went against the Civil Rights legislation rather than the north. The realignment then happened. Arguing that it was the Republican party that brought in Civil Rights is very misleading and disingenuous when compared to today's political realities.
Votes are listed in Yeas-nays format.
The original House version:
Southern Democrats: 7-87 (7%-93%)
Southern Republicans: 0-10 (0%-100%)
Northern Democrats: 145-9 (94%-6%)
Northern Republicans: 138-24 (85%-15%)
The Senate version:
Southern Democrats: 1-20 (5%-95%) (
Southern Republicans: 0-1 (0%-100%)
Northern Democrats: 45-1 (98%-2%)
Northern Republicans: 27-5 (84%-16%) )