The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories
Dirksen Congressional Center
Repository URL: http://www.dirksencongressionalcenter.org
Repository code: ipekdc
Repository description (extant): The Dirksen Congressional Center is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization in Pekin, Illinois, that seeks to improve civic engagement by promoting a better understanding of Congress and its leaders through archival, research, and educational programs.
The Center maintains its quality and independence through the gift support of individuals, corporations, and foundations who believe in its educational mission.
The Center is named for Everett McKinley Dirksen (1896-1969). Dirksen served in the U.S. House from 1933-1948, the U.S. Senate from 1951-69, and as Minority Leader of the Senate from 1959 until 1969.
[. . .] Everett McKinley Dirksen enjoys a well-deserved reputation for his effectiveness in passing civil rights legislation. He led Senate Republicans in the successful effort to enact President Dwight Eisenhower's civil rights program in 1957. Dirksen provided crucial support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964. His leadership proved indispensable in passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Senate Minority Leader's presence loomed large on the national stage.
Less well known, however, is Dirksen's performance in a smaller theater of civil rights politics where progress came incrementally, often only for the benefit of a few. The senator's efforts on behalf of the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs in the mid-1950s to establish a National Negro History Week, to obtain a national charter for the organization, and to exempt it from a variety of taxes demonstrate his doggedness in supporting the NACWC's civil rights agenda.
Repository type: Non-profit organization
[Dirksen, Senator Everett. Remarks on civil rights]