February 10, 1964 - The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

President Lyndon Johnson signing The Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964 as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on. President Lyndon Johnson signing The Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964 as Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on. By Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office (WHPO) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

On February 10, 1964, the United States House of Representatives passed The Civil Rights Act of 1964 after 70 days of debate.

The Act made discrimination illegal on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex in public accommodations, employment, and programs that are federally funded. A substitute bill of this major piece of civil rights legislation was finally approved on June 19, 1964 by the United States Senate after a 50 day filibuster organized by senators from the south.

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X meet before a press conference. Both men had come to hear the Senate debate on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This was the only time the two men ever met; their meeting lasted only one minute.

On July 2, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs 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. The 10 years that followed saw great strides for the African American civil rights movement, as non-violent demonstrations won thousands of supporters to the cause.

Memorable landmarks in the struggle included the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955—sparked by the refusal of Alabama resident Rosa Parks to give up her seat on a city bus to a white woman—and the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. at a rally of hundreds of thousands in Washington, D.C., in 1963.

The most sweeping civil rights legislation passed by Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, the Civil Rights Act prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public places such as schools, buses, parks and swimming pools.

 

 

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