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56 years ago, the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 dramatically transformed the nation by outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. Often thought of as the most significant piece of civil rights legislation since Reconstruction, the 1964 Civil Rights Act ended decades of racial segregation in schools, workplaces, and public areas when it was signed into law on July 2 after the longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history.
In the years since its passing, the Civil Rights Act has gone on to influence many other major pieces of civil rights legislation including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibits discriminatory voting practices and the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of property. Decades of brutal oppression, political unrest, and protests for racial justice led to the passing of these monumental pieces of legislation. Yet, as recent events show even more clearly, much progress still needs to happen to truly end racial discrimination and injustice in America.
With ongoing protests, a global pandemic, and continued discrimination against minorities, the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s continue to be relevant and shape our society today. As recently as last month, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to ban workplace discrimination against LGBTQIA employees. As we commemorate the 56th anniversary of this historical piece of legislation, we take a look back at the social and political struggles that led to its passing and the ways in which the Civil Rights Act of 1964 continues to shape the fight for equality today.
A visualization of racial inequality in America since the 1960’s when landmark civil rights legislation outlawing racial segregation and discrimination were first passed.
“What is Owed” by Nikole Hannah-Jones, The New York Times Magazine
This powerful piece makes a case for reparations by connecting ongoing movements for racial justice with the promises and struggles of the 1960’s civil rights era.
“What you might not know about the 1964 Civil Rights Act” by Alicia W. Stewart and Tricia Escobedo, CNN
A collection of surprising facts about the 1964 Civil Rights Act including the astonishing steps that were taken to pass this piece of legislation and some of its unintended consequences.
“Supreme Court Delivers Major Victory To LGBTQ Employees” by Nina Totenberg, NPR
An in-depth look at the Supreme Court’s decision to ban workplace discrimination against LGBTQIA employees based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“The Civil Rights Act of 2020” by Charles M. Blow, New York Times
This op-ed discusses the limitations of our current civil rights legislation and the need to have more concrete policy to address racial injustice in today’s society.
“A Landmark Supreme Court Ruling” by Michael Barbaro, The Daily (2020)
This episode of The Daily analyses the language behind the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that paved the way for the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to protect LGBTQIA workers from discrimination and the implications this has for the future.
Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher
“The Politics of Passing 1964’s Civil Rights Act” by David Bianculli and Terry Gross, Fresh Air (2014)
This episode of Fresh Air takes a look at the complicated political battle that led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the implications of these historical political struggles on today’s political landscape.
Listen now on NPR, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, and Spotify
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 | Impact by The Library of Congress
Scholars, historians, and government officials offer unique insight into the short and long-term impacts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as part of a multimedia online exhibit presented by The Library of Congress.
“The 11 best civil rights movies of all time” by Austa Somvichian-Clausen, The Hill
A collection of thought-provoking films about the civil rights movement.