By Will E Sanders
PIQUA — The 50th anniversary of a landmark piece of legislation that prohibited racial discrimination in the country was observed Wednesday in downtown Piqua by a gathering of supporters.
It has been exactly 50 years since President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law, a piece of legislation that Piqua Congressman William Moore McCulloch was instrumental with getting passed.
Fittingly held in the city’s square, or McCulloch Square, a gathering of residents marked the occasion Wednesday by holding a public meeting to observe the 50th anniversary of the passage of the civil rights act.
Former school teacher and author Larry Hamilton organized the public observation to honor the historic civil rights act.
“We wanted to take a moment to offer the residents and citizens of Piqua the opportunity to honor and memorialize one of our own for taking part in the momentous and historical event that a lot of people regard as a landmark legislation act in the history of the United States,” Hamilton said. “I wanted to create an opportunity for people to gather in recognition of the contributions that William Moore McCulloch made.”
Hamilton said he was a sophomore in high school when the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed and even then he was interested in history.
“That was a paramount kind of issue that was being covered at that time,” he said. “I grew up with a focus on what was occurring, what as happening, and how it related to me specifically.”
Standing in McCulloch Square a half-century to the day the bill was signed into law, Hamilton said that looking back the nation has made a “tremendous amount of progress,” but that reality of the matter is that some “discrepancies and injustices … are with us still.”
One citizen that attended the gathering was Roger Hartley, president and archivist with the Miami County Historical and Genealogical Society, who said the people of Piqua should realize how important Hamilton’s efforts of remembrance are.
“He helps us remember,” Hartley said. “He does us quite a service and I appreciate it. I think he is wonderful.”
McCulloch was a Republican congressman who served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 4th District and who served from 1947 to 1973 through 12 terms.
He is most recognized for his role in the historical passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Will E Sanders may be reached at 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.