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.