Civil Rights Act of 1964
President Lyndon Johnson enlisted the help of the NAACP, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, and key members of Congress to secure The Civil Rights Act passage.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex in public accommodations, employment, and federally funded programs.
It also established a framework within the federal government for combating discrimination by giving the U.S. Attorney General the power to file discrimination suits, expanding the mandate of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and establishing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to review employment discrimination complaints.
Harsh treatment of peaceful demonstrators throughout the South shocked the nation and led to civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960, but intense opposition in the Senate resulted in laws that, while important milestones, did not give the federal government a strong mandate to enforce its anti-discrimination provisions.
The House passed the bill on February 10, 1964 after 70 days of public hearings and testimony from more than 275 witnesses, but a 57-day filibuster prevented the Senate from voting. Finally, on June 10, 1964, the Senate voted to end the filibuster and passed the bill a week later.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the most sweeping civil rights legislation Congress has ever passed and paved the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, among other key laws.
Policy summary courtesy of: The Library of Congress and The Leadership Conference on Human and Civil Rights
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