Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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How many Civil Rights Acts have there been?

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is perhaps that most well known of the federal civil rights acts. However, it is only one of eight total acts of its kind.

The first civil rights act was passed in 1866, which granted equal rights under the law to all people within...

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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is perhaps that most well known of the federal civil rights acts. However, it is only one of eight total acts of its kind.

The first civil rights act was passed in 1866, which granted equal rights under the law to all people within the jurisdiction of the United States. This was done in order to protect the newly emancipated class of former slaves. Two years later, the 14th Amendment further strengthened this act by enshrining its principles into the Constitution itself.

The next civil rights act was passed in 1871. Commonly referred to as the Enforcement Act, this law was aimed to protect African Americans from acts of racial violence. It permitted the president to suspend the writ of habeus corpus when combating white supremacist groups.

The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed to protect the rights of African Americans in public spaces.

The Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the first of the Civil Rights Era. It was passed by Congress to create a Civil Rights Division within the Justice Department and protect the voting rights of minorities. Three years later, the Civil Rights Act of 1960 further strengthened the government's power to protect voting rights.

In 1964, the most sweeping and extensive of civil rights laws was passed. This act outlawed any form of racial, religious, gender-based, or ethnic discrimination. It sought to desegregate schools and any other public institution.

In 1968, another civil rights law was passed to prevent housing discrimination.

Finally, in 1991 a civil rights act was passed which allowed women and people with disabilities to collect damages in cases involving discrimination in the workplace.

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Over the course of this nation's history, there have been many laws and acts pertaining to the civil rights of citizens. However, formally, there have been eight Civil Rights Acts passed by the US Congress.

Firstly, after the Civil War ended in 1865, the Civil Rights Act of 1866 was passed. This was technically the first time Congress passed legislation concerning civil rights. This act stated the following, providing citizenship and protection for all rights to emancipated slaves:

That all persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are hereby declared to be citizens of the United States.

Next, the Civil Rights Act of 1871 was passed, which was designed to protect African Americans in the South from ethnic violence, specifically from the Ku Klux Klan, which had been socially permitted for centuries in America.

Additionally, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the last significant legislation of the Reconstruction Era, sought to prevent discrimination against African Americans in regard to public transportation and public accommodations, as well jury service. Segments of this act were declared unconstitutional in 1883 by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The next official Civil Rights Act would not be passed until 1957, in the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 legally established the Civil Rights Commission (CRC) which was created to provide equal rights for all citizens of the nation, specifically voting rights.

Following the previous law, the Civil Rights Act of 1960 sought to extend protection of voting rights to all citizens by providing protection against anyone trying to prevent a citizen from voting or registering to vote.

Whoever, by threats or force, willfully prevents, obstructs, impedes, or interferes with, or willfully attempts to prevent, obstruct, impede, or interfere with, the due exercise of rights or the performance of duties under any order, judgment, or decree of a court of the United States, shall be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

The act also demanded

federal inspection of local voter registration polls by appointed referees to oversee southern elections and ensure that African Americans were permitted to vote.

Also, it provided "prosecution for interfering with court orders regarding school desegregation."

Next, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the key legislation of the Civil Rights Era, sought to prevent discrimination in schools and the workplace by prohibiting discrimination based on race, sex, color, national origin, or religion.

Furthermore, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was passed to prevent specific discrimination in terms of ethnicity or race in regard to housing in the capacity of financing, sales, or renting. This was also called the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Lastly, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, known as a labor law, addressed claims of discrimination by employees.

An Act to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to strengthen and improve Federal civil rights laws, to provide for damages in cases of intentional employment discrimination, to clarify provisions regarding disparate impact actions, and for other purposes.

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There have been 8 major federal laws known as "Civil Rights Acts" over the years, the most famous of which is the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

There were Civil Rights Acts enacted in 1866, 1871, 1875, 1957, 1960, 1964, 1968 and 1991.

The 1964 Act is the most important of these because it outlawed more types of discrimination than any of the others (outlawed all discrimination on the basis of race, religion, sex and some other factors by any governments and in any public accomodations that were part of interstate commerce).

Another important civil rights law that is not called a Civil Rights Act was the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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