Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement

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What was the major piece of civil rights legislation enacted during the 1960's?

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Four major pieces of civil rights legislation were enacted during the 1960s. Probably the most significant was the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but let's have a look at each of these pieces of legislation, and then you can decide which one you think is the most important.

The first civil rights legislation of the 1960s was the Civil Rights Act of 1960, which was enacted on May 6, 1960. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed it into law. Its purpose was to provide federal inspection of local voter registration polls, and it included penalties for anyone who attempted to prevent anyone from registering to vote. Historians agree, however, that the next piece of legislation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was far more important.

President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2, 1964. It was the culmination of attempts by assassinated president John F. Kennedy to enact civil rights legislation. This bill made it illegal to discriminate in education and employment according to race. It made segregation in public places such as parks, schools, buses, and swimming pools illegal. It also mandated that voter registration requirements should be equal for everyone regardless of race.

The Voting Rights Act, which President Johnson signed into law on August 6, 1965, took the voting issues in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 further. The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, already gave African Americans the right to vote, but these rights were hindered by local discriminatory practices. The Voting Rights Act forbad...

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