Identify ways in which the Civil Rights Act of 1964 responded to the racial problems in the South.

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was constructed with specific challenges regarding race in the South at the forefront of its consciousness.  The primary issue that the legislation targeted was the discrimination that people of color, specifically African- Americans, faced in different aspects of daily life in the South.  For example, African- Americans who wished to vote faced challenge after challenge in trying to act upon their own political autonomy. The first part of the act was designed to ensure that the issue of color and ethnicity did not interfere with a person's right to vote.  For African- Americans in the South who experienced discrimination in the polling booth in so many different ways, this was a critical problem that the legislation addressed.  

Daily life was also a problem for African- Americans in the South.  The law addressed this by condemning segregation. This issue was addressed in a specific and focused manner:

...all persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation ... without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

The law made it illegal to discriminate against anyone in a public setting.  This helped to address the problem of segregation for Southern African- Americans. The legislation's language that helped to make segregation illegal was compelling in how it sought to respond to racial problems in the South. Finally, the Act demanded that equal employment opportunities become law in the South.  The legislation's demand in this regard helped to eliminate the prejudicial hiring practices in the South that closed doors and denied opportunities to many African- Americans.  It is in these elements in which one can see how the legislation was a speific response to racial problems in the South.

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