Letter in opposition to Title IV, Salisbury 1966

Salisbury, 1966: Letter to Congressman Bates opposing the Civil Rights Bill. Bates responds with his views on Title IV.

This document represents one of several materials taken from the papers of Representative William Henry Bates at Salem State College.  Bates was Essex County’s Representative in the United States House of Representativesfrom 1950-1969.  The letters reflect Essex County residents’ opinions on the Fair Housing portion of proposed Civil Rights legislation.  The Fair Housing provisions of various Civil Rights bills prohibited racial discrimination in the sale or rental of all homes.  Many Essex County residents saw this provision as a violation of their property rights.  Homeowners that lived in two- or three-family homes were particularly outraged.  The letters span from President Johnson’s first proposal of Fair Housing legislation in 1966 until 1968 when the bill was finally passed.  The tone of the letters becomes much more sympathetic after the death of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968.  

Click here for a PDF of the transcription:

Salisbury, Mass. 01952

Hon. William Bates
Washington, D.C.

June 14, 1966

Dear Sir –
As one of your constituents I’m asking you to try and see that Bill H.R. 14765 does not become a law. We’ve lost too many of our freedoms already to minorities. It seems to open the way for personal spite to harass an individual.


Judiciary – Civil Rights HR 14765

June 21, 1966

Salisbury, Massachusetts 01952


I very much appreciate your communication in regard to your opposition of the Civil Rights Bill.

Last week the Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee reported out the Civil Rights Bill to the full Committee, however, it made no recommendations concerning Title IV, to which I presume you are referring. I understand the full Committee is meeting in Executive Session this week to consider the entire measure, and until I know specifically what its recommendations will be, I will not be in a position to exercise a judgment on this matter. I can say, however, that I do not favor Title IV as it is presently written. As you may already know, Chairman Collar is being urged by many of his colleagues in the Congress to omit Title IV altogether. On the other hand, he is also being urged by the Administration to get it passed.

Incidentally, the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding bearings on this legislation and perhaps you would like to make your views known to the two U.S. Senators.

Thanking you for contacting me on this vital issue, and with kind regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

William H. Bates


Letter to Congressman Bates, June 14, 1966. William Henry Bates Papers, 1941-1973. North Shore Political Archives 98-02, Folder: “Legislative Files-Judiciary-Civil Rights Act (1966) Box 3-4. Salem State College Archives.