Civil Rights Act of 1964

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Martin Luther King Jr. once said, Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself. Truer words could not be used to describe the people who suffered discrimination and racism because of the ignorance of American people. The act was originally drawn up in 1962 under President Kennedy before his assassination; it survived the rampage of strong Southern opposition in Congress and was signed by successor Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed guaranteeing the end of segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion, sex, or national origin.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the most controversial and most argued debates passed by the House and Senate debates in history. It was also the biggest piece of civil rights legislation ever passed. The bill actually evolved from previous civil rights bills in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Before the Civil Rights Act, people abode by Jim Crow laws and condoned the Ku Klux Klan. White southerners were not happy with the end of slavery and the idea of living or working equally with blacks whom they considered inferior. To keep-up, the majority of states and local communities passed Jim Crow laws that required separate but equal status for African Americans.

These laws established laws against the opposite race. Jim Crow Laws were established between 1874 and 1975. Jim Crow laws enforced racial segregation and acted upon the saying “separate but equal”. Colored and white people had different facilities where the colored one would be mediocre at best. Some constitutional amendments had already been passed abolishing slavery, made slaves citizens, and have all men the right to vote. In the South however, African americans were constantly threatened and were afraid of voting and jeopardizing their safety; even if colored people were allowed to vote, they had to pass a literacy test none of the white men had to take and even then were threatened by people with authority.

John F. Kennedy was elected to president on January 1961. He was pushed into taking action against the South’s police brutality. In Birmingham, Alabama, authorities controlled nonviolent demonstrations with dogs, clubs, and high-pressure hoses. Although concerned about losing Southern support for reelection, he began working on a bill to end segregation. Opposed by Congress, the bill was never supported enough to pass and the KKK didn’t help either. He was assassinated November 22, 1963 in Dallas while in a motorcade. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson stepped up to President and continued Kennedy’s work, Let this session of congress be known as the session which did more for civil rights than the last hundred sessions combined.,

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