On July 2, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House. In the landmark 1954 case Brown v. Board of Education, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racial segregation in schools was unconstitutional. Addressing a joint session of Congress just after Kennedy’s death, Johnson urged members of Congress to honor Kennedy’s memory by passing a civil rights bill to end racial discrimination and segregation in public accommodations, public education, and federally assisted programs.
IADC firmly believes that equality for all is only possible by uprooting racism, sexism, xenophobia, patriarchy, and all other forms of oppression, and that no one should live in fear, or be subject to trauma or violence. We further believe that our economy is only as strong as the diversity that it enjoys. We celebrate the enactment of CIvil Rights Act while acknowledging that as a community, residents of the great state of California and this nation, we collectively need to do so much more to uproot all forms of discrimination and social injustice.
The act outlawed racial discrimination in employment, education and housing; barred racial segregation in all state-sponsored public places such as schools, buses, parks and swimming pools; and outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce, exempting only private clubs, without defining the term “private.”
In addition, the act laid the groundwork for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which set rules to protect the right of African-Americans to vote, which had been curbed in the states of the Confederacy since the end of Reconstruction.
Proponents of the legislation had needed to overcome an 88-day filibuster by a phalanx of Southern Democrats, as well as opposition from such GOP conservatives as Sen. Barry Goldwater of Arizona, Johnson’s opponent in the upcoming 1964 presidential election, who believed the measure went too far in curbing property rights and individual freedom of association.
On Dec. 14, 1964, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that Congress had acted within its authority. Under a broad interpretation of the Constitution’s commerce clause, the court upheld the act’s public accommodations requirements. In Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, it found that some three-quarters of the motel’s guests came from out of state, and therefore was required to accept business from clientele of all ethnicities.
11 Titles of Civil Rights
Title I: Discriminatory Voting Tactics
Title II: Discrimination Against Patrons of Commercial Businesses
Title III: Desegregation of Public Libraries, Parks, and Other Facilities
Title IV: Desegregation of Public Schools and Colleges
Title V: The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights
Title VI: Discrimination in Federally Funded Programs
Title VII: Discrimination in Employment
Title VIII: Voting Statistics
Title IX: Appellate Review and Attorney General Intervention
Title X: Community Relations Service
Title XI: Preemption and Other Matters
Congress has amended sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 over the years, with the majority of amendments enacting changes to Title VII. The most recent change, enacted through the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, amended Title VII to address the timeliness of pay discrimination claims and limit the dismissal of such claims for being time-barred. The 1964 Act continues to generate significant legislative interest in amendments. Recent bills, for example, have proposed amending Title II to address discrimination by entities not presently covered under its mandate, such as banks; creating a private right of action to enforce Title VI disparate impact regulations; and defining the applicable legal standards for determining employer liability for harassment under Title VII. Another bill proposed amending multiple titles to address discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
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