The Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Original Legislation that Shaped a Nation

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Nine black students, who became known as the "Little Rock Nine," were blocked from entering the school on the orders of Arkansas Governor Orval Fabus. President Eisenhower sent federal troops and the National Guard to intervene on behalf of the students, but a federal judge granted an injunction against the governor's use of National Guard troops to prevent integration. They were withdrawn on Sept. On Monday, Sept.

The police escorted the nine black students to a side door where they quietly entered the building to begin classes. When the mob learned the blacks were inside, they began to challenge the police with shouts and threats. Fearful the police would be unable to control the crowd, the school administration moved the black students out a side door before noon. Four black university students from N. Woolworth's lunch counter in Greensboro, N. Although they were refused service, they were allowed to stay at the counter. The event triggered similar nonviolent protests throughout the South.

Six months later, the original four protesters are served lunch at the same Woolworth's counter.

Student sit-ins would be an effective tactic throughout the South in integrating parks, swimming pools, theaters, libraries and other public facilities. President Kennedy issued Executive Order , prohibiting discrimination in federal government hiring on the basis of race, religion or national origin and establishing The President's Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity , the EEOC.

They were immediately directed to scrutinize and study employment practices of the United States government and to consider and recommend additional affirmative steps for executive departments and agencies. Rap Brown The organization changed its name to the Student National Coordinating Committee.

The Formula Behind the Voting Rights Act

James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the University of Mississippi. President Kennedy sent 5, federal troops to contain the violence and riots surrounding the incident. Byron De La Beckwith was tried twice in , both trials resulting in hung juries. Thirty years later, he was convicted of murdering Evers.

More than , people join in the March on Washington. Riots erupted in Birmingham, Ala. The 24th Amendment abolished the poll tax, which had originally been instituted in 11 southern states. The poll tax made it difficult for blacks to vote. The project was to carry out a unified voter registration program in the state of Mississippi. The Congress of Racial Equality CORE began sending student volunteers on bus trips to test the implementation of new laws prohibiting segregation in interstate travel facilities. One of the first two groups of "Freedom Riders," as they are called, encountered its first problem two weeks later when a mob in Alabama sets the riders' bus on fire.

The program continued and by the end of the summer, more than 1, volunteers, black and white, participated. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of The most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion or national origin and transform American society. The law allowed the federal government to enforce desegregation and prohibits discrimination in public facilities, in government and in employment.

The "Jim Crow" laws in the South were abolished, and it became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing or hiring. Enforcement powers were initially weak, but they grew over the years, and later programs, such as affirmative action, were made possible by the Act. The bodies of three civil-rights workers - two white, one black - were found in an earthen dam.

James E. Chaney, 21; Andrew Goodman, 21; and Michael Schwerner, 24, had been working to register black voters in Mississippi, and on June 21, went to investigate the burning of a black church. They were arrested by the police on speeding charges, incarcerated for several hours, and released after dark into the hands of the Ku Klux Klan, who murdered them.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of

Born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Neb. A Black Muslim Minister, revolutionary black freedom fighter, civil rights activist and for a time the national spokesperson for the Nation of Islam, he famously spoke of the need for black freedom "by any means necessary. The Selma to Montgomery marches, which included Bloody Sunday, were actually three marches that marked the political and emotional peak of the American civil rights movement. Blacks began a march to Montgomery in support of voting rights, but were stopped at the Edmund Pettus Bridge by a police blockade in Selma, Ala.

State troopers and the Dallas County Sheriff's Department, some mounted on horseback, awaited them. In the presence of the news media, the lawmen attacked the peaceful demonstrators with billy clubs, tear gas and bull whips, driving them back into Selma. The incident was dubbed "Bloody Sunday" by the national media, with each of the three networks interrupting telecasts to broadcast footage from the horrific incident.

The march was considered the catalyst for pushing through the Voting Rights Act five months later.

About Dr. King

Ceremonial Action within 48 hours, demonstrations in support of the marchers, were held in 80 cities and thousands of religious and lay leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King, flew to Selma. He called for people across the country to join him. Hundreds responded to his call, shocked by what they had seen on television. However, to prevent another outbreak of violence, marchers attempted to gain a court order that would prohibit the police from interfering. Instead of issuing the court order, Federal District Court Judge Frank Minis Johnson issued a restraining order, preventing the march from taking place until he could hold additional hearings later in the week.

On March 9, Dr. King led a group again to the Edmund Pettus Bridge where they knelt, prayed and to the consternation of some, returned to Brown Chapel. That night, a Northern minister who was in Selma to march, was killed by white vigilantes. Under protection of a federalized National Guard, voting rights advocates left Selma on March 21, and stood 25, strong on March 25 before the state capitol in Montgomery.

There was growing unrest in the country emanating from the pervasive and egregious racial discrimination and segregation exposed during the civil rights protests in the s. The civil rights struggle was played out in the streets of Birmingham, Alabama and other southern cities and because of television witnessed by America.

During the spring of , the world watched as demonstrators were beaten, attacked by police dogs, sprayed with high pressure water hoses, and then arrested and jailed. The sight of this kind of brutality against peaceful demonstrators, including children, outraged Americans at home and tarnished the image of the United States abroad. Ironically, these images galvanized the nation by confronting it with its own failings. On June 11, , during the height of the civil rights protests and demonstrations, President John F.

Kennedy went on television to address the nation. He gave a simple but eloquent message:. Now the time has come for this nation to fulfill its promise. The events of Birmingham and elsewhere have so increased the cries for equality that no city or state or legislative body can prudently ignore them.

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met with repressive police action.

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It cannot be left to increased demonstrations on the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is a time to act in Congress, in your state and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives. Next week I will ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law.

Eight days later, on June 19, , President Kennedy sent comprehensive civil rights legislation to Congress. Although opposition within the Congress was fierce, the need for civil rights legislation to address growing unrest in the country held sway. In August , approximately , Americans of all races marched in Washington, D.


The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The event, marked indelibly into the psyche of the nation by the famous "I Have A Dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This need, together with the mobilization of the civil rights and labor organizations and strong Presidential leadership, coalesced. The result, on July 2, , was the passage of the Civil Rights Act of It was to become effective one year later. Despite the urgency for such legislation, the process to pass it was not easy.

The Administration faced stiff opposition in the Congress. The loss of President Kennedy in November to an assassin's bullet threatened to derail the legislation he championed. However, a new champion an unlikely one in the minds of most civil rights organizations was found in the person of the new President, Lyndon B. Five days after the assassination, while the nation was grieving its terrible loss, President Johnson eloquently invoked that tragedy in an effort to give some meaning to that most senseless of acts.

President Johnson, addressing a joint session of Congress, stated:.