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Everett McKinley Dirksen (January 4, 1896 – September 7, 1969) was a Republican U.S. Congressman and Senator from Pekin, Illinois. As Republican Senate leader he played a highly visible and key role in the politics of the 1960s, including helping to write and pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Open Housing Act of 1968, both landmarks of Civil Rights legislation. He was one of the Senate's strongest supporters of the Vietnam War.