Ohio’s 4th District Representative William M. McCulloch died on Feb. 22, 1980, but today, Ohio residents have another chance to vote for this civil rights champion as a representative of the state.
Each state is represented in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., by two statues. Voting is now underway to select one of 10 illustrious Ohioans to join James Garfield in the hall. William M. McCulloch is one of the candidates.
McCulloch, a political conservative, spent much of his career supporting civil rights. He played a key role in President Eisenhower’s 1957 and 1960 civil rights bills. As the ranking Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee in the early 1960s, he introduced civil rights legislation in the House, and his bipartisan support for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was instrumental in its adoption. McCulloch also played key roles in the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act. He was known for his belief in the Constitution and its provision for equal rights for all Americans as well as limited government and fiscal integrity.
McCulloch spoke at ONU in 1964 for Law Day, discussing the then-pending Civil Rights Act. In 1965, he was awarded an honorary law degree by ONU’s Pettit College of Law. At retirement, he chose ONU as the repository for his office papers.
Jim Dicke II, Hon ’06, who served as an assistant to the congressman during his efforts to enact open housing legislation, is part of the campaign to honor McCulloch in Statuary Hall. In a speech to the selection committee, Dicke said, of McCulloch, “He represents victory over the shadow of racism and slavery that hung over the compromises in the initial creation of our Constitution, the Civil War fought to end slavery, the age of reconstruction, the civil rights movement, and finally on to the long-needed passage of the great 1964 Civil Rights Act itself. The fact that this man, who had nothing to gain personally, did such a spectacular job of making this law for our land was an extraordinary moment we celebrate in the history of the United States of America.”