What is the Civil Rights Act?
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In 1964 Congress passed the Civil Rights Act (of 1964). Since that time I believe this has been expanded to include other areas and circumstances. In the initial Civil Rights Act however, the discrimination of others was not permitted when it came to a person's sex and race. This would allow for equal treatment or consideration in hiring, firing, or promotion with regard to employment. The final wording of the bill noted it would be illegal if an employer did, "fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions or privileges or employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." Despite this, sex would be a consideration depending on what job was in question.
There were several pieces of legislation labeled as 'Civil Rights Act', the first in 1875. This act was a last ditch effort by the Radical Republicans to guarantee equal accommodations in all public places. It also advocated for non-discriminatory practices in jury selection. Most would agree that this law was a good one especially for its time, however The Supreme Court would find most aspects of this act 'unconstitutional' in the combined 1883 cases. (who knows the grief that could have been spared had the law not been overturned.) In the wake of the 1954 Supreme Court Case, Brown v. The Bd. of Education, Governor Faubus of Arkansas denied the entry of nine black students to Central High School, which ultimately resulted in The Civil Rights Act of 1957. The unsung victory of this law was the Civil Rights Commission, whose job was to investigate civil rights violations. What could now be argued as Johnson's finest moment was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, followed by The Voting Rights Act of 1965. Both are now considered a major turning point in the struggle for civil rights in America. The 1964 Act banned racial discrimination in private places opened to the public. What must be remembered with regard to all this legislation and overturned legislation is this.... it is much easier to sign a bill into law than it is to change the mindset of some people.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation that was introduced by President John F. Kennedy in his civil rights speech (June 11, 1963). He said that the country needed a law “giving all Americans the right to be served in facilities which are open to the public- hotels, restaurants, theaters, retail stores, and similar establishments,” as well as “greater protection for the right to vote.” It outlawed racial segregation in public places, schools, and employment. The bill passed in the House and the Senate, although there was opposition. A group of southern senators decided to launch a filibuster to prevent the passage of the bill. The leader was Senator Richard Russell (Democrat from Georgia). He said, “We will resist to the bitter end any measure or movement which would have a tendency to bring about social equality and intermingling and amalgamation of the races in our (Southern) states.” The filibuster lasted 54 days. The final version of the bill was signed into law by President Johnson on July 2, 1964.
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