Fifty Years of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
“An act to enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.”
That’s how the 1964 Civil Rights Act begins, which was signed into law 50 years ago today by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Rendering discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin illegal, it remains a landmark piece of legislation to this day. Paving the way for such other important pieces of legislation such as The Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (Congress wasn’t exactly into overwrought legislation names yet), it would be impossible to cover the overall importance and magnitude of this Act in a simple library blog entry.
While we’re only two days out from our nation’s annual Cookout for Freedom and Attempt to Explode the Sky Day (or perhaps better known as Independence Day), it’s important to know that the freedoms we enjoy in our country did not all spring forth on the day we declared our independence. It’s been a long road, filled with ups, downs, anger, bloodshed, heroes and martyrs, tears, toil, and sweat. Simple concepts and civil rights that we now take for granted were once the subject of vicious, angry debate – just like they are today. The best weapon you can carry with you is knowledge, something we offer to anyone within our doors. So why not celebrate your freedom to read and stop in at a library location today?