Civil Rights Act of 1964

6134 words 25 pages
The Civil Rights Act of 1964

Danielle Endler

Human Resources 4050, Spring 2013 Semester Professor David Penkrot May 3, 2013

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is considered by some to be one of the most important laws in American history. (The Most Important Cases, Speeches, Laws & Documents in American History) This Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964 and it is a “comprehensive federal statute aimed at reducing discrimination in public accommodations and employment situations.” (Feuerbach Twomey, 2010) Specifically, it aimed at prohibiting “discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), and religion.” (Civil Rights Act of 1964, 2010) Additionally, it also
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Constitution) Since the Fourteenth Amendment

specifically mentions the role of the States, the protection of the individuals mentioned in this Amendment was greatly expanded. The Fifteenth Amendment was ratified on February 3, 1870 and it granted AfricanAmerican men the right to vote. It stated “that the ’right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude’.” (15th Amendment to the Constitution) Although one would think that the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment is a step in the right direction of guaranteeing equal treatment, in reality, this did not happen. Former Confederate states found ways around the Amendment by imposing poll taxes, literacy tests, and other requirements that basically made it impossible for an African-American man to vote. This issue was not resolved until 1965 when the Voting Rights Act was passed. Although the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendment addressed the issue of equal treatment in the Constitution, they did not help in solving the problem that former slaves and other African-Americans faced. (McPherson) Even though the Amendments were there to secure the equal treatment of these individuals and to guarantee their life and liberty, this did not happen. It took many years and many statutes before these individuals could even dream of


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