The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a far-ranging law that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.
The Act essentially outlawed racial and gender discrimination in the workplace and outlawed most forms of racial segregation.
The bill was originally the idea of President John F. Kennedy, who was viewed by many in the Civil Rights movement as apathetic at best to their plight. Kennedy said he was influenced by sights of civil rights marchers being beaten by the police in Alabama, so he put forward the legislation in June 1963. The bill probably had the votes to pass, but was stopped in committee by Representative Howard Smith of Virginia, who was a segregationist.
After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, the Congress and the general public were much more sympathetic to the bill.
The bill was passed 289-126 in the House of Representatives and a modified compromise version by the Senate 73-27 on June 19, 1964.
President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964.
Interesting Civil Rights Act of 1964 Facts:
Opposition to the bill was more along geographic than political lines with a majority of both southern Democrats and Republicans voting “nay.”
Representative Emanuel Cellar (D-NY) was one of the bill’s early advocates. He was also instrumental in passing the Immigration Act of 1965.
Southern Democrats filibustered for fifty-four days to prevent the passage of the bill before a compromise bill was introduced that lessened the power of the government to regulate private business.
Civil rights organizations, such as the NAACP, and leaders, like Martin Luther King Jr., lobbied congressmen and both presidents to pass the bill.
Title VII of the Act expressly prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), oversees enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Among the more interesting of the congressmen who were opposed to the bill were Senators Robert Byrd (D-WV), who became a mentor to the next generation of Democrat politicians, and Albert Gore Sr. (D-TN), who was the father of former vice president and senator, Al Gore.
The legality of the Act has been upheld in several Supreme Court decisions, including:
Heart of Atlanta Hotel v. United States, Philips v. Martin Marietta Corp., and Pittsburgh Press Co. v. Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.
Title IX of the Act made it easier for criminal cases involving civil rights violations to be tried in federal court. This was extremely important as many Klansmen who were acquitted in state courts for crimes ranging from assault and arson to murder were usually convicted for civil rights violations, although the convictions usually carried far less time.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 paved the way for the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which barred racial discrimination in housing.
Although some aspects of voting problems were addressed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, most of the barriers to black disenfranchisement in the southern states were dealt with in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
If you see any errors please feel free to comment… so many opinions on who actually came up with the idea of the Bill