Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that protects employees against discrimination based on certain specified characteristics: race, color, national origin, sex, and religion. Under Title VII, an employer may not discriminate with regard to any term, condition, or privilege of employment.
- Areas that may give rise to violations include recruiting, hiring, promoting, transferring, training, disciplining, discharging, assigning work, measuring performance, or providing benefits.
- Title VII applies to employers in both the private and public sectors that have 15 or more employees.
- It also applies to the federal government, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
Title VII is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Covered:
All companies and labor unions with 15 or more employees Employment Agencies State & Local Government Apprenticeship Programs
Federal Government Employees Independent Contractors
No person employed by a company covered by Title VII, or applying to work for that company, can be denied employment or treated differently with regard to any workplace decision on the basis of perceived racial, religious, national, sexual, or religious characteristics.
Who was involved in the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Those gathered behind President Johnson at the bill signing included civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., and future District of Columbia Delegate Walter Fauntroy.
When EEOC regulations conflict with state or local civil rights regulations which will be followed?
The answer is ‘A’, When EEOC regulations conflict with state or local civil rights regulations, federal laws will be followed. As is the case when any local or state law conflicts with federal law, the federal law takes precedent over the state and local laws.
Which of the following is true of the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Which of the following is true of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? It outlawed segregation in public facilities on the basis of race, sex, or national origin.
What is Civil Rights Act of 1964 in India?
This article is written by Monesh Mehndiratta, a student of B.A.LL.B, Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun. The article deals with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, its importance, history, scope, and availability. It further gives an overview of the Act along with its features and analyzes the act in the light of the current situation.
It has been published by Rachit Garg. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a landmark Act dealing with the civil rights of people in the United States that prohibits any kind of discrimination based on race, caste, creed, religion, sex, or origin. It further says that there should be no unequal voter registration process for different people living in the same country, and everybody must be subject to the same laws.
The practice of racial segregation in schools, offices, public accommodations, and discrimination at the workplace is strictly forbidden. This Act came into effect on July 2, 1964, enacted by the 88th United States Congress. It is a public law and has amended the previous Civil rights Act of 1957 and 1960. It protects the civil rights of the people from being hampered by the state or any of its authorities.
The legislation to enact this Act was proposed by then-President John F. Kennedy in 1963. After his assassination, it was carried forward by President Lyndon B. Johnson. During his tenure, the bill was passed and signed by him. The article gives an overview of the Act and then discusses the lacunas in it.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is considered to be a hallmark of the American civil rights movement. The movements in the early 1960s grabbed the attention of the authorities to the racial discrimination prevailing in society. There were certain civil rights cases in this nation wherein the Supreme Court of the US held that the Congress did not have the power to prohibit discrimination in the private sector.
This ruling went against the very purpose of the Civil Rights Act of 1857, This enraged the people, a result of which a lot of movements were seen in the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1857 was enacted by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as the first federal civil rights legislation. This was done because the Supreme Court in the case of Brown v.
Board of Education (1954) made the school segregation laws, which made the Democrats lead an unconstitutional, massive campaign to enhance the protection of the voting rights of African Americans. The Act of 1857 established the United States Commission on Civil Rights and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division,
- In 1960, another civil rights act was passed, which eliminated the loopholes of the previous act.
- The President of the U.S.A, John F.
- Ennedy, in 1963, thought to establish the ‘right to be served’ in restaurants, theatres, hotels, etc., along with ‘greater protection for the right to vote’.
- This was done in the wake of many protests going on in the nation at that time.
The bill of civil rights was discussed with the president after the nation witnessed the march in Washington for employment. The bill was introduced in the house on June 20, 1963, and then the senate passed it in 1964. In between these events, the President was assassinated and the new President gave assent to it on July 2, 1964. The salient features and the importance of the Act are given below:
The act forbids any kind of discrimination based on caste, creed, sex, race, religion, or nationality. It prohibits discrimination in employment, education, and the workplace. Everyone will be treated equally under the same laws of the state. It provides for public accommodation and the advantage of public programmes to all, irrespective of their race, origin, gender or caste. It gives equal voting rights to all and strengthens such enforcement. It works on desegregation in schools and universities. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is the result and creation of this Act.The Act is divided into several sections called titles, each addressing different issues. The Community Relations Services was created under the Act to deal with disputes relating to discrimination. The Act has been amended several times due to the needs and demands of society.
Who was the leader of the Civil Rights Act?
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – The civil rights movement deeply affected American society. Among its most important achievements were two major civil rights laws passed by Congress. These laws ensured constitutional rights for African Americans and other minorities.
|President Lyndon Johnson signs the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964. Behind him stands the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. (Wikimedia Commons)
President John F. Kennedy proposed the initial civil rights act. Kennedy faced great personal and political conflicts over this legislation. On the one hand, he was sympathetic to African-American citizens whose dramatic protests highlighted the glaring gap between American ideals and American realities.
Kennedy understood that black people deserved the full equality they were demanding. He also knew that racial discrimination in the United States, particularly highly public displays of violence and terror against racial minorities, embarrassed America internationally. Moreover, his civil rights legislation generated considerable support among Northern liberals and moderates as well as millions of African-American voters in states where they could vote without difficulty or intimidation.
On the other hand, Kennedy worried about losing the support of white Southern Democrats, still the main political force in that region. He was especially concerned about his re-election prospects in 1964. Facing strong Southern opposition, a reluctant president finally proposed strong civil rights legislation to Congress, admitting privately to civil rights leaders that street protests had forced his hand.
What is enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission quizlet?
EEOC. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission; a Federal administrative agency that has been given the authority to enforce federal employment discrimination laws.
What are the 3 types of discrimination?
Race, Color, and Sex.
Who opposed the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Political repercussions – United States President Lyndon B. Johnson speaks to a television camera at the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 The bill divided both major American political parties and engendered a long-term change in the demographics of the support for each.
- President Kennedy realized that supporting this bill would risk losing the South’s overwhelming support of the Democratic Party.
- Both Attorney General Robert F.
- Ennedy and Vice President Johnson had pushed for the introduction of the civil rights legislation.
- Johnson told Kennedy aide Ted Sorensen that “I know the risks are great and we might lose the South, but those sorts of states may be lost anyway.” Senator Richard Russell, Jr.
later warned President Johnson that his strong support for the civil rights bill “will not only cost you the South, it will cost you the election”. Johnson, however, went on to win the 1964 election by one of the biggest landslides in American history.
- The South, which had five states swing Republican in 1964, became a stronghold of the Republican Party by the 1990s.
- Although majorities in both parties voted for the bill, there were notable exceptions.
- Though he opposed forced segregation, Republican 1964 presidential candidate, Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, voted against the bill, remarking, “You can’t legislate morality.” Goldwater had supported previous attempts to pass civil rights legislation in 1957 and 1960 as well as the 24th Amendment outlawing the poll tax,
He stated that the reason for his opposition to the 1964 bill was Title II, which in his opinion violated individual liberty and states’ rights, Democrats and Republicans from the Southern states opposed the bill and led an unsuccessful 60 working day filibuster, including Senators Albert Gore, Sr.
Who opposed the civil rights movement?
Groups During the American Civil Rights Movement – The Black Panthers Founded in Oakland in 1966 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton, the Black Panthers gained national attention for their militancy, Maoism, uniforms, and willingness to bear arms near police. Yet critics tended to ignore the fact that the Panthers’ carrying of guns was legal under California law, and to overlook their many non-controversial activities, including running medical clinics and free breakfast programs for the poor.
The goal of ending police brutality was only one of a ten-point Panther program that emphasized social and economic justice. Like Malcolm X, the Panthers would not renounce the use of force in self-defense, and they inevitably courted violence. Branded “the greatest threat” to America’s internal security by FBI Director J.
Edgar Hoover, the Panthers found themselves under assault by the FBI and police. Tensions culminated in a December 4, 1969, raid that left Chicago Panthers leader Fred Hampton and a colleague dead. The government eventually settled a civil rights lawsuit stemming from the incident for $1.85 million dollars.
- Chicago Housing Activists Chicago white racists were notorious for bombing black homes on the “wrong side” of the city’s racial boundaries.
- They attacked hundreds of homes to keep African American homeowners in the ghetto.
- Some 15 years after the Chicago Freedom Movement of 1966, public housing remained a serious problem for the city’s African American community.
In one case, 14,000 people lived in a single block. Although 85% of the inhabitants were black, management was mostly white. Chicago’s African American activists aimed to change that. Two of the key leaders were Lutrelle Palmer, reporter, radio host, and founder of Chicago Black United Communities; and Marion Stamps, director of the Chicago Housing Tenants Organization and a resident of the infamous Cabrini-Green development, who ran for alderman in an effort to spotlight housing issues.
- Citizen’s Council In reaction to Brown v.
- Board of Education, the Supreme Court decision that declared segregation illegal in 1954, some Southerners formed local Citizens’ Councils.
- Many white community leaders in the South — doctors, lawyers, bankers and politicians — joined the group, leading their opponents to call them a “white-collar Klan” who used their legal and economic power to suppress blacks in their communities.
The editor of the organization’s newspaper said, “The strategy of the Citizens’ Council during the year following the U.S. Supreme Court decision was to delay, to delay, to delay.”, trying to indefinitely postpone racial integration in public facilities including schools.
The Council also worked to keep blacks from voting, arguing that poorly educated voters could be easily manipulated by corrupt influences. Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) was founded in 1942 by the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation to address civil rights issues.
During World War II, many African Americans served their country honorably in the military, despite still facing racial barriers at home. In 1942, the organization held America’s first organized sit-in in Chicago. Initially based in the North, CORE broadened its reach in 1961 by sending racially mixed groups of passengers on Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate buses.
Three of its members — Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, and James Chaney — were murdered in Mississippi during voter registration efforts in 1964’s Freedom Summer. Speaking at Chaney’s funeral, CORE’s Mississippi head David Dennis said, “He’s got his freedom, and we’re still fighting for ours.” The FBI and the Civil Rights Movement The Bureau of Investigations was established by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1907, and renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in 1935.J.
Edgar Hoover directed the agency from 1924 until his death in 1972. The FBI historically kept a close eye on black leaders, like Marcus Garvey, but that reached a new level in 1967 when Hoover instigated COINTELPRO, a counter intelligence program directed, in Hoover’s words, “to expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalist, hate-type organizations and groupings.” COINTELPRO harassed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee, as well as the more militant Black Panthers.
The FBI also infiltrated white supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan. Fisk University Nashville’s Fisk University was founded in 1866, after the Civil War, to provide an education for recently freed slaves. Nearly a hundred years later, Fisk hosted workshops on nonviolent demonstration, and students like Diane Nash used what they learned to lead sit-ins early in 1960 aimed at desegregating the lunch counters of the city’s department stores.
The students faced arrest and violent attacks from segregationists, but kept up their protest until the counters were integrated in May of that year. Howard University Student Protesters Long recognized as one of the nation’s preeminent black institutions, Howard University had graduated civil rights leaders like Thurgood Marshall Charles Houston, Gloria Richardson, Andrew Young, Amiri Baraka, and Stokely Carmichael.
By the mid-1960s, however, student leaders chafed at mandatory ROTC programs and administrators they felt were merely seeking to produce graduates acceptable to white America. The winning of the “Miss Homecoming” title by Afro-wearing Robin Gregory in 1966 kicked off a new wave of student activism. Demonstrators blocked the head of the Selective Service System from speaking, and when campus administrators cracked down on dissent and ignored student demands, protesters took over the administration building in March 1968, forcing administrators to meet several of their demands and treat them with a newfound respect.
The protest at Howard University sped up the spread of the Black Student Union and Black Studies movements nationwide. The Klu Klux Klan At the end of the American Civil War, Confederate veterans formed the Ku Klux Klan to resist Reconstruction. The group incited riots and assaulted and murdered blacks and Republicans (the party of Lincoln, and of emancipation) to intimidate voters and influence elections.
- The Invisible Empire of the South” waned with the end of Reconstruction but was newly incarnated in the 20th century reaching an estimated peak membership of millions in the 1920s.
- The Klan’s activities increased again in the 1950s and 1960s in opposition to the civil rights movement.
- In line with their founding ambitions, the Ku Klux Klan attacked and killed both blacks and whites who were seeking to enfranchise the African American population.
A related movement, white Citizens’ Councils, known as the “uptown Klan,” espoused similarly racist views but claimed they did not sanction violence. The Little Rock Nine The Little Rock Nine were a group of courageous black students who integrated the Arkansas capital city’s Central High School in September 1957.
They were: Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, and Carlotta Walls. Initially thwarted by violent white mobs and National Guard troops who refused to help, the students eventually entered school after President Dwight Eisenhower ordered paratroopers to protect them.
Brown was expelled in February 1958 after verbally responding to a racial slur, but the other eight stayed, and on May 29, Green became the first of the group — and the first African American — to graduate from Central High. The Nation of Islam and Elijah Muhammad (1897 — 1975) A traveling silk salesman named W.D.
Fard founded the Nation of Islam (NOI) in Detroit in 1930. A variant of traditional Islam, the NOI taught that God was black and whites were a race of devils whose dominion over the earth would soon end. Fard disappeared in 1934 and leadership passed to Georgia native Elijah Muhammad. The NOI began a period of explosive growth in the 1950s, attracting thousands with a doctrine of black pride, separation, and self-sufficiency.
With Malcolm X as its chief spokesman, the NOI created its own school, restaurants, and a newspaper. But soon tensions between the two men surfaced. Boxer Muhammad Ali joined the NOI in 1964, while Malcolm X left to form his own organization. He was assassinated in 1965 by members of the NOI, an event for which Elijah Muhammad would always deny any responsibility.
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded in 1909 in response not only to widespread lynchings of blacks in the South but also a dramatic 1908 lynching in the Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield, Illinois in the North.
During the 1920s the NAACP developed as a mass organization, becoming the largest American civil rights group with numerous grassroots branches. Over the years, the NAACP focused on desegregating schools and universities through the court system, winning the landmark Brown v.
Board of Education case in 1954 and helping James Meredith integrate the University of Mississippi in 1962. Its members (including Rosa Parks) also challenged segregation in public accommodations, lobbied for civil rights legislation in Congress, and promoted voter registration throughout the South. For their activities, several NAACP members paid the ultimate price, including the organization’s Mississippi field representative, Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in 1963.
Local NAACP leaders included pioneering figures ranging from Daisy Bates in Little Rock, Arkansas and Robert F. Williams in Monroe, North Carolina to Fred Hampton in Chicago, Illinois, Father James Groppi in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Ruth Batson in Boston, Massachusetts.
- The Youth Councils of the NAACP played a major role in the student wing of the freedom movement.
- National Welfare Rights Organization The National Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO) was the brainchild of Syracuse University professor George Wiley, a Congress of Racial Equality member who left academia in 1964.
In 1965 he formed the Poverty/Rights Action Center, which would evolve into the NWRO two years later. The NWRO advocated for improvements in the lives of welfare recipients, including dignified treatment and payments sufficient to maintain a decent quality of life.
- Johnnie Tillmon served as chair; she was a community and labor organizer before suffering disabilities from a life of hard labor.
- Alongside Beulah Sanders and thousands of other organizers, Wiley and Tillmon spread their gospel of welfare rights across the country.
- The NWRO grew to 30,000 members and could count more than 100,000 in their local campaigns and more than 300 local affiliates.
The NWRO joined with the SCLC in 1968’s Poor People’s Campaign and nearly reached agreement on welfare reform with the Nixon administration, only to see the deal collapse over the issue of guaranteed incomes for recipients. The NWRO disbanded in the mid-1970s, but local affiliates continued its work.
Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization of African American ministers, formed in January 1957, shortly after the success of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. With Martin Luther King, Jr. as its president, the SCLC promoted nonviolent protest and spearheaded civil rights campaigns in Southern towns like Birmingham and Selma.
In 1966 the SCLC turned its focus to Northern ghettos with the Chicago Freedom Movement, and after King’s 1968 assassination it conducted a Poor People’s Campaign of civil disobedience, the centerpiece of which was a tent encampment called Resurrection City in Washington, D.C.
- Upon King’s death, Reverend Ralph Abernathy took over leadership of the SCLC.
- Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) Students involved in nonviolent civil rights sit-ins formed the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960.
- SNCC focused more on grassroots organizing than another civil rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Among its activities SNCC formed a musical group, the Freedom Singers, that helped inspire and raise funds for the movement (one of its members, Bernice Johnson Reagon, would later found the group Sweet Honey in the Rock). In addition to participating in protests, SNCC members registered black voters in the rural South, including the 1964 “Freedom Summer” campaign in Mississippi.
That year SNCC formed the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) to challenge the state’s all-white delegation at the party’s Atlantic City convention. SNCC member and MFDP founder Unita Blackwell was arrested some 70 times during the voter registration effort. Later in life, she would become mayor of Mayersville, Mississippi, and address the 1984 Democratic Convention.
SNCC also helped organize the Lowndes County Freedom Organization in Alabama. That group later inspired the Black Panther Party. And SNCC’s Stokely Carmichael, Willie Ricks, Ruby Doris Robinson, Cleveland Sellers and H. Rap Brown launched the “Black Power” slogan, paving the way for a new phase of the freedom movement.
Poor People’s Campaign/Resurrection City (1968) The last great initiative of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Sothern Christian Leadership Conference, the Poor People’s Campaign attempted to broaden the civil rights movement to include economic justice for disadvantaged people of all races. Conceived in November 1967, it began after King’s assassination in April 1968.
The centerpiece of the campaign was mass civil disobedience in Washington by an army of protesters including National Welfare Rights Organization members, and in mid-May they set up an encampment on the Mall dubbed “Resurrection City.” Staging a series of sit-ins and demonstrations at various government agencies, the nearly 7,000 protesters brought their concerns to the nation’s attention, but conflicts in the camp, terrible weather, and the assassination of Robert Kennedy all conspired to sap strength from the campaign, and Resurrection City was shut down a month after it opened.
What ended the civil rights movement?
What Happened to the Civil Rights Movement After 1965? — Civil Rights Teaching In 1966, Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) chairperson made the famous call for “Black Power.” Carmichael’s speech came in the midst of the “March Against Fear,” a walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, to encourage African Americans to use their newly won right to vote.
- But while almost every middle and high school student learns about the Civil Rights Movement, they rarely learn about this march — or the related struggles that continued long after the Voting Rights Act. Most U.S.
- History textbooks teach a narrative that the Civil Rights Movement began with the Supreme Court Brown v.
Board decision in 1954 and abruptly ended in 1965 with the passage of federal legislation. Not only does this narrative tell students that politicians and judges are more important than activists and organizers, it also reinforces the myth that structural racism is a relic of the past and the United States is on an unstoppable path of progress.
How do you cite the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Citation: Civil Rights Act of 1964; 7/2/1964; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789 – 2011; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11; National Archives Building, Washington, DC.
What are the protected civil rights?
The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for enforcing Federal statutes that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and religion. These Federal laws prohibit discrimination in education, employment, credit, housing, public accommodations, voting, and in certain federally-funded and conducted programs, among other areas.
In addition, the Division prosecutes actions under several criminal civil rights statutes that are designed to preserve personal liberties and safety. The Division can also seek relief for persons confined in public institutions where existing conditions deprive residents of their constitutional rights.
Tribal governments and State and local governments may also have laws or procedures protecting civil rights. The Division does not have the authority to enforce the Indian Civil Rights Act. The following areas of the Civil Rights Division’s enforcement program may be of particular interest to American Indians and Alaska Natives: Education Employment Housing Individuals with Disabilities Institutionalized Persons Lending Police Misconduct Public Accommodations Reproductive Health Services Access Voting How to File a Complaint or Obtain Additional Information Complaints to the Civil Rights Division should be filed as soon as possible after the alleged act and, in some instances, within 180 days of the date of the alleged discrimination.
Complaints should be in writing and signed, and include your name, address, and telephone number(s); the name(s) of any public or private agency, institution, department, or individual you believe discriminated against you; and a description of the conduct you believe violated one of the laws discussed above, with as many details as possible.
For further information, or to file a complaint, contact: U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division Office of the Assistant Attorney General 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C.20530 (202) 514-4609 (Voice) (202) 514-0716 (TDD) (202) 307-2839 (Fax) Updated September 28, 2022
Was the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a long struggle for freedom?
Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 marked a milestone in the long struggle to extend civil, political, and legal rights and protections to African Americans, including former slaves and their descendants, and to end segregation in public and private facilities.
The Senate played an integral part in this story. The Senate approved its first civil rights bill in the midst of the Civil War. On April 3, 1862, the Senate passed the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act, sponsored by Senator Henry Wilson of Massachusetts. Signed into law on April 16, this bill freed all enslaved persons living within the boundaries of the federal district.
On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation granting freedom to slaves residing in Confederate states not occupied by Union forces. Long before the Union victory in 1865, Congress prepared for the integration of four million newly emancipated African Americans into the political life of the nation.
- Post-war Reconstruction amendments to the Constitution extended civil and legal protections to all black persons, including former slaves, and voting rights to black men.
- The Thirteenth Amendment, ratified by the states on December 6, 1865, abolished slavery “within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” Congress passed a civil rights act in 1866, over Andrew Johnson’s presidential veto, to provide basic rights to freedmen, including the right to enforce contracts, to sue in court, and to sell or purchase land.
To assure that these rights would not be altered by additional legislation, and to affirm their constitutionality, Congress included many of the law’s provisions in the Fourteenth Amendment. Ratified on July 9, 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment granted citizenship to all persons “born or naturalized in the United States,” including former slaves.
- It provided all citizens with “equal protection under the laws,” a concept voiced in the Bill of Rights, which the Supreme Court subsequently extended—in part—to the states.
- Congress required former Confederate states to ratify the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments as a condition for regaining federal representation.
William Stewart of Nevada, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, guided the Fifteenth Amendment through the Senate. Ratified February 3, 1870, the amendment prohibited states from disenfranchising voters “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” The amendment left open the possibility, however, that states could institute qualifications for voting.
- Although such requirements ostensibly were applied equally to all races, some states, including those formerly in the Confederacy, instituted poll taxes, literacy tests, or “grandfather clauses” that disproportionately discriminated against African Americans.
- These constitutional amendments granted legal status to African Americans, but this protection was poorly enforced.
Members of the Ku Klux Klan, for example, terrorized black citizens for exercising their right to vote, running for public office, and serving on juries. Congress passed a series of Enforcement Acts in 1870 and 1871 to end such violence and ultimately empowered the president to use military force to protect African Americans.
Throughout the Civil War and Reconstruction era, Senator Charles Sumner of Massachusetts argued that emancipation must lead to full social equality. In 1870 Sumner introduced a new civil rights bill to provide African Americans with equal access to such public accommodations as churches, theaters, trains, ships, jury boxes, and—most importantly—public schools.
The bill died in committee in 1870, and again in 1871, but Sumner persevered, despite failing health. As he lay dying in March of 1874, Sumner continued to lobby his cause. “You must take care of my civil rights bill,” he pleaded to visitors, “my bill, the civil rights bill, don’t let it fail.” Sumner died on March 11, 1874.
- A month later, after years of delay and in deference to their now deceased colleague, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sumner’s civil rights bill.
- The Senate passed it in June, the House of Representatives concurred the following February, and President Ulysses Grant signed the bill into law in March of 1875.
Unfortunately, the bill as passed was a mere shadow of Sumner’s vision. In particular, it ignored the issue of segregation in public schools. The Supreme Court ended even this limited victory in 1883 when it declared the law unconstitutional. Nevertheless, Sumner’s Civil Rights Act of 1875 remains a legislative milestone.
- Eighty-two years would pass before Congress approved another civil rights bill.
- Despite the legislation and constitutional amendments passed during the era of Reconstruction that extended federal protections to African Americans, many states, particularly in the South, enacted “Jim Crow” laws.
- These state segregation laws, upheld by the Supreme Court’s Plessy v.
Ferguson (1896) decision, made the concept of equality elusive well into the 20th century. Violence towards black people throughout the nation continued, despite legislation such as the Enforcement Acts. The issue of lynching became particularly explosive in the early 20th century.
- Senator Robert Wagner of New York and his allies repeatedly attempted to confront such violence through anti-lynching legislation, but opponents successfully blocked all such measures, often through the use of the filibuster.
- The Second World War altered opinions and expectations.
- African American veterans led a “double victory” campaign, declaring that those who fought to end fascism abroad would not tolerate discrimination at home.
Civil rights activists launched a series of coordinated legal efforts to end Jim Crow, resulting in two significant Supreme Court decisions. In Brown v. Board of Education (1954) the court found segregation in public schools to be unconstitutional. A second decision in 1956, prompted by the actions of Rosa Parks and the subsequent boycott of Montgomery, Alabama, public buses, found municipal and state bus segregation laws unconstitutional.
- These decisions were significant victories for civil rights advocates, but enforcement continued to prove difficult.
- President Dwight D.
- Eisenhower’s administration sought to strengthen enforcement mechanisms and sent a civil rights bill to Congress in 1957,
- The House passed the measure on June 18.
- Senate Republican leader William Knowland and Democratic senator Paul Douglas maneuvered the bill directly onto the Senate calendar, thereby avoiding the Judiciary Committee and its powerful chairman, James Eastland of Mississippi, a long-time opponent of civil rights legislation.
After 24 days of debate, which included Senator Strom Thurmond’s record-breaking speech of 24 hours and 18 minutes, the Senate approved a scaled-down version of the bill with amendments. Although not as strong as originally proposed, this law created a Commission on Civil Rights, established a civil rights division within the Department of Justice, repealed a Reconstruction-era law granting the president the power to use the military to enforce civil rights laws, provided for jury trials in the case of criminal civil rights violations, and promised some protection of voting rights.
Congress passed additional legislation in 1960 to strengthen voting rights guarantees. That same year North Carolina college students staged a sit-in at a lunch counter in a Greensboro department store that refused to serve them because of their race. Throughout the nation, civil rights organizers led demonstrations to protest segregation, discrimination, and voting restrictions.
Nonviolent in nature, these protests frequently faced fierce opposition. In August 1963 a coordinated March on Washington brought hundreds of thousands of Americans to the national capital to demand “Jobs and Freedom.” Congress and President John Kennedy responded by introducing legislation in 1963 to deliver on the long-awaited promises of civil and legal protections for all Americans.
Following Kennedy’s assassination in November of 1963, President Lyndon Johnson proposed making civil rights legislation a national priority and called for passage of Kennedy’s proposed bill. In the House, following a contentious debate, congressional hearings, and much behind the scenes maneuvering, Judiciary Committee chairman Emanuel Celler of New York and ranking member William McCulloch of Ohio revised the administration’s bill.
The House approved the measure, with a roll-call vote of 290-130, on February 10, 1964. In the Senate, with the administration’s bill stalled by Chairman Eastland in the Judiciary Committee, civil rights proponents plotted their strategy while they awaited the arrival of the House bill.
Who were the big 6 leaders of the civil rights movement?
Philip Randolph, Whitney Young, James Farmer, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and himself. They were called the Big Six. He was a journalist and editor before he became a civil rights activist.
Are there any civil rights leaders still alive?
CNN — We lost civil rights icons. They lost friends. The Rev. Jesse Jackson, Xernona Clayton and Andrew Young are some of the last remaining members of a generation of civil rights activists who reshaped the US and challenged their country to become a genuine multiracial democracy.
But they are also survivors who have witnessed some of their closest friends in the movement die during a sobering stretch over the past year. John Lewis, The Rev.C.T. Vivian, The Rev. Joseph Lowery, Vernon Jordan, All towering figures, all now gone. “They’re still a few of us around, but not really many,” says Young, who was one of the Rev.
Martin Luther King Jr.’s most trusted advisers. “When a few of us get together we always start with the song, ‘By and by, when the morning comes. All of the saints of God will gather home. We’ll tell the story of how we’ve overcome, and we’ll understand it better by and by.'” The three icons can’t help but be reflective for another reason.
- As the nation marks the one-year anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, these leaders are taking stock of how Floyd’s death has transformed America – and how so much change is still needed.
- In recent interviews with CNN’s Suzanne Malveaux, the three offered their perspectives on Floyd’s death and addressed a new generation of activists who may be dismayed that more progress hasn’t been made since last year.
But given their personal losses, the conversations also drifted into other topics: Their memories of their departed friends, how they approach their own mortality and why they’re still hopeful about the future. A remarkable moment occurred when Young, the former US ambassador to the United Nations, was being interviewed by CNN about his civil rights activism and its connection to Floyd’s death.
Young, 89, was chatting about the links between the Floyd protests and his time with King when he recalled a stark warning that the civil rights leader used to deliver to his closest aides: Most of us are probably not going to make it past 40. “He didn’t make it to 40. He made it to 39,” Young says about King.
“Some of the rest of us who made it are obligated to keep on trying. There is no giving up, no giving in, no retirement because we’ve come too far from where we started from. And nobody told us that the way would be easy, but I don’t believe he brought us this far to leave us” Young couldn’t finish the thought, though.
He stopped speaking in mid-sentence, closed his eyes, and turned away from the camera. He was about to cry. It’s hard not to get emotional given Young’s experience. He’s seen the best and worst of America. He was viciously beaten by racist thugs in 1964 in St. Augustine, Florida during a march for racial justice.
A White mob pelted him with rocks and cherry bombs during another demonstration in Chicago two years later. And he was with King in 1968 when the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis. But Young also became the first African American ambassador to the United Nations.
He helped draft two epic civil rights laws: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And he saw the state of Georgia turn blue during last year’s presidential election and deliver control of Congress to the Democratic Party by electing a Black man and a Jewish man to the US Senate.
To those activists who may be disenchanted that more hasn’t changed since Floyd’s death, Young said his generation always knew that their work was a long grind. “Freedom is a constant struggle,” he says. Young says Floyd won’t be forgotten. “I would say to these young people, we’re not ever going to be able to get George Floyd out of our systems, as we will never forget Martin Luther King or John Lewis.
And we shouldn’t. ” When asked about police brutality against people of color and other forms of racial violence, Young says racism persists because it’s built on a lie. “Our country has been founded on the myth that Black people are inferior,” he says. “And everybody White is taught to believe that.” Young points out that enslaved Black people helped build this country.
“Nobody coming from Europe as an indentured servant knew anything about agriculture or hunting,” he says. “They were picked up off the streets of London and brought here and just dumped. And if it hadn’t been for the skills of the Black people and then Native Americans, nobody could have survived.” Thinking of the friends he’s lost, Young says activists like Lewis and Vivian decided they were “willing to march into hell for a heavenly cause.” He made the same decision, and he has no regrets.
He says facing the mob in Florida was more important to him than receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom, “I can’t think of a happier life,” Young says.” “I can’t imagine anybody that had a better life than I had.” One of the most enduring images to come from last year’s summer of protest was the racial makeup of the crowds.
Many of the protesters were White, and they stood shoulder to shoulder with people of color, taking rubber bullets to the face and swallowing tear gas to protest racial injustice. They were in essence a mini-Rainbow Coalition. The Rev. Jesse Jackson helped popularize that term to describe the multiracial America he envisioned.
His Rainbow Coalition, which included Blacks, Whites, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans and LGBTQ people, helped pave the way for a more progressive Democratic Party. “Our flag is red, white and blue, but our nation is a rainbow – red, yellow, brown, Black and White – and we’re all precious in God’s sight,” Jackson once said,
Jackson, 79, saw a new form of his coalition take to the streets last summer, but he says today there’s more work to do. He experienced a measure of satisfaction when Derek Chauvin, a White police officer, was found guilty last month of murdering Floyd.
I felt good, but I knew it was limited because it was a first down and not a touchdown,” Jackson says. Jackson says he still can’t get the video of Floyd’s death out of his mind. “It touched me when it happened in real time, because I could see him begging to live. Begging to live. Let me breathe. They had a knee on his neck and the other two (officers) just standing there,” he says.
“Can you imagine if that had been a Black policeman on a White man’s neck? You can bet the nation would have been turned upside down.” Jackson, who is suffering from Parkinson’s Disease, responds quickly when asked what lessons contemporary activists can learn from his generation.
“Mass coalitions. Multi-racial, Multi-cultural coalitions,” he says. Jackson says people can’t give into paralyzing cynicism because they think change isn’t happening fast enough. “We cannot give up the country, we cannot let darkness cast shadow on our light. We must see our way through this,” he says.
“Racism is unscientific. There’s no science for a superior race or inferior race.” The light is dimming on the generation that Jackson helped lead. Many of his friends and colleagues have died. “It gets lonesome,” he says when asked about their passing.
He thinks about King often. “I miss him very much,” Jackson says. But he also feels pride, not just sadness, when he thinks about friends like Lewis and Vivian – “a generation that made things happen,” he says. “Brought light where there was darkness. Hope where there was despair. We’re a new America today.” When asked how he’d like to be remembered, Jackson says: “Never stopped fighting.
Never stopped trying.” Commentators often freeze-frame King as a solemn, Mount Rushmore-like figure who seemed almost superhuman at times. But Xernona Clayton was one of the few people who saw another side of King. And she, along with some mischievous friends, were able to summon that unguarded side of King in a moment that was caught on film.
King had just finished a meeting with a group of civil rights leaders when a group of his friends surrounded him and began to sing happy birthday. Clayton, who was a close friend of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, then presented him with a gag gift – a tin cup that people could drop coins and bills in to help fight poverty.
King looked at Clayton, threw his head back and roared with laughter – a deep, rumbling laugh that echoed through the room. It’s shocking to see King look so happy and relaxed. The surprise birthday party came four months before his assassination. Clayton, 90, says they were trying to lighten the load for King, who had been abandoned by many allies in the final year of his life over his opposition to the Vietnam War.
“We couldn’t get laughter out of him for any purpose,” Clayton says. “It was Jesse and Andy. They said Xernona’s the one who could change this.” Clayton worked with King at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the organization he co-founded, and traveled extensively with him and his wife. After King’s death, she helped desegregate hospitals in Atlanta and once persuaded a Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan to denounce the Klan.
She also was one of King’s closest confidants during the last years of his life when he was losing popularity and donors stopped giving to the SCLC. “His world changed,” she said in another recent interview, “His friends left him. The money dried up. And he was so disappointed.
- So disappointed,” she said during a recent interview.
- He would just bare his soul to me.
- And I’m walking around today with some of his secrets.
- Because some things he didn’t want known about him: how disappointed he was that the world just turned against him.
- I always say now that the man died from a broken heart.” Clayton was also a woman in a movement that didn’t typically welcome women as leaders.
When she watches the Floyd protests she notices the many women leaders and demonstrators of different races. The Black Lives Matter movement, for example, was founded by women. “And so with the Black Lives Matter movement, you saw them from the beginning – more women than we ever had and Whites in great numbers,” she says.
Didn’t matter who you were, what you looked like. We got a problem in America. Let’s see if we can help do something about it. So I give them lots of credit. I really do.” But she’s dismayed that a new generation is fighting some of the same battles her generation fought. Her home state of Georgia is one of many that have passed new voting laws that will make it harder for people of color to vote.
“We get one thing solved and you realize you got to go back and do it again,” she says. “We don’t have the commitment in America yet where all of us should be treated equally and fairly.” Like Jackson and Young, she’s also grieving the loss of old friends.
- She was close to Lewis and Vivian, two legendary civil right leaders.
- She says the two men were special – devoted to the cause – even when the cameras weren’t rolling.
- It’s a message she tries to share with kids who see Lewis and others as larger-than-life figures.
- They left their mark here,” she tells them.
“Follow their lead.” She also tells them that Lewis didn’t need a public relations firm to inflate his exploits. “That was the real John Lewis. That was a man who walked this earth,” she says. When the talk turns to her legacy, Clayton says she can’t believe her good fortune.
What are the five civil rights?
Defending our most treasured rights – Our country’s Constitution and federal laws contain critical protections that form the foundation of our inclusive society – the right to be free from discrimination, the freedom to worship as we choose, the right to vote for our elected representatives, the protections of due process, the right to privacy.
- Senator Coons believes we must vigilantly protect these rights and work to expand their reach.
- As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law, Senator Coons’ priorities include: Ensuring that all Americans are free from discrimination.
Our Constitution begins with those famous seven words: “We the People of the United States.” Today, we understand, “we the people” means all the people. Senator Coons is proud that, over the course of our nation’s history, we have expanded our understanding of Due Process and Equal Protection, and we have passed critical civil rights laws so that all people have the opportunity to pursue their dreams, free from discrimination.
Senator Coons supports legislation that advances fairness in our society, from the Equality Act, which would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act, which would combat stigma, stereotypes, and discrimination faced by individuals living with HIV.
Senator Coons also recognizes that our courts must continue to be a place where the legal rights of all Americans can be vindicated, and he carefully evaluates judicial nominees’ commitment to this principle. Defending religious liberty. Our United States were founded by people who came here for many reasons – searching for opportunity and wealth, seeking freedom from oppression, and in many cases, hoping to be free to practice their faith and to build a community dedicated to living out their faith.
- While other nations have been besieged by sectarian wars and persecution of religious minorities, inclusion of all faiths and equality of all people have been guiding lights in the success of the American democratic experiment.
- Senator Coons is committed to protecting the ability of all Americans to worship as they choose.
He has opposed President Trump’s travel ban and believes that government officials and private employers should not impose their religious beliefs on others to restrict their individual freedom. Protecting privacy. Senator Coons has worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure that any law strikes the essential balance between privacy and security for the citizens of these United States.
Senator Coons is also focused on consumer privacy and protection in the age of big data. We are all familiar with data breaches. Large and small, incidents that expose our personal data to unauthorized access or use are becoming a sign of our times. Senator Coons looks forward towards advancing policies that would better address, inform consumers about, and prevent data breaches and unauthorized data usage while fostering innovation within the United States.
Securing the right to vote. Access to the ballot box is core to our democracy, and the struggle to secure that right for everyone continues to this day. Civil rights crusaders of the past knocked down many legal barriers to the ballot box. Today, we must confront the challenges posed by a quieter campaign to reduce access.
Senator Coons strongly believes that we must restore the power of the Voting Rights Act to block discriminatory laws from going into effect and defend access to the ballot box. He introduced the FAST Voting Act, which would encourage states to make voter registration more flexible, provide for early and absentee voting, help voters with disabilities and language barriers, and better train election officials.
Senator Coons fought to secure $380 million in federal funding to states in election security grants to protect local election systems, and he knows there is more work to be done to protect our elections.
Who wrote the Civil Rights Act?
The longest continuous debate in Senate history took place in 1964 over the Civil Rights Act. Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, who had proposed the legislation, it was strongly advocated by his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson. Addressing a joint session of Congress just after Kennedy’s death, Johnson urged members of Congress to honor Kennedy’s memory by passing a civil rights bill to end racial discrimination and segregation in public accommodations, public education, and federally assisted programs.
In his address, Johnson declared, “we have talked long enough in this country about equal rights. We have talked for one hundred years or more. It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law.” On February 10, 1964, the House of Representatives voted in favor of the bill, HR 7152.
When the House-passed bill arrived in the Senate on February 26, 1964, Majority Leader Mike Mansfield placed it directly on the Senate calendar rather than refer it to the Judiciary Committee, chaired by civil rights opponent James Eastland of Mississippi.
On March 9, when Mansfield moved to take up the measure, southern senators launched a filibuster against the bill. The Senate debated the bill for sixty days, including seven Saturdays. At the time, a two-thirds vote, or sixty-seven senators, was required to invoke cloture and cut off debate in the Senate.
Since southern Democrats opposed the legislation, votes from a substantial number of senators in the Republican minority would be needed to end the filibuster. Minnesota Senator Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic whip who managed the bill on the Senate floor, enlisted the aid of Republican Minority Leader Everett M.
- Dirksen of Illinois.
- Dirksen, although a longtime supporter of civil rights, had opposed the bill because he objected to certain provisions.
- Humphrey therefore worked with him to redraft the controversial language and make the bill more acceptable to Republicans.
- Once the changes were made, Dirksen gained key votes for cloture from his party colleagues with a powerful speech calling racial integration “an idea whose time has come.” On June 10, a coalition of 27 Republicans and 44 Democrats ended the filibuster when the Senate voted 71 to 29 for cloture, thereby limiting further debate.
This marked the first time in its history that the Senate voted to end debate on a civil rights bill. Nine days later, the Senate passed the most sweeping civil rights legislation in the nation’s history. The House followed by accepting the Senate version on July 2.
When President Johnson signed the bill into law that same day in a nationally televised broadcast, he was joined by civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who had been instrumental in leading the public mobilization efforts in favor of civil rights legislation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 remains one of the most significant legislative achievements in American history.
For Further Reading: Mann, Robert, The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell, and the Struggle for Civil Rights (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1996). Whalen, Charles and Barbara, The Longest Debate: A Legislative History of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (Seven Locks Press, 1985).
What five categories are protected by the Civil Rights Act of 1964?
Legal Highlight: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 In the 1960s, Americans who knew only the potential of “equal protection of the laws” expected the president, the Congress, and the courts to fulfill the promise of the 14th Amendment. In response, all three branches of the federal government-as well as the public at large-debated a fundamental constitutional question: Does the Constitution’s prohibition of denying equal protection always ban the use of racial, ethnic, or gender criteria in an attempt to bring social justice and social benefits? In June 1963, President John Kennedy asked Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill, induced by massive resistance to desegregation and the murder of Medgar Evers.
After Kennedy’s assassination in November, President Lyndon Johnson pressed hard, with the support of Roy Wilkins and Clarence Mitchell, to secure the bill’s passage the following year. In 1964, Congress passed Public Law 88-352 (78 Stat.241). The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as, race in hiring, promoting, and firing. The Act prohibited discrimination in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also strengthened the enforcement of voting rights and the desegregation of schools.
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the nation’s benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America.
- Passage of the Act ended the application of “Jim Crow” laws, which had been upheld by the Supreme Court in the 1896 case Plessy v.
- Ferguson, in which the Court held that racial segregation purported to be “separate but equal” was constitutional.
The Civil Rights Act was eventually expanded by Congress to strengthen enforcement of these fundamental civil rights. : Legal Highlight: The Civil Rights Act of 1964
Who was involved in the Civil Rights Act of 1965?
Voting Rights Act (1965) This act was signed into law on August 6, 1965, by President Lyndon Johnson. It outlawed the discriminatory voting practices adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests as a prerequisite to voting. This “act to enforce the to the Constitution” was signed into law 95 years after the amendment was ratified.
In those years, African Americans in the South faced tremendous obstacles to voting, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic restrictions to deny them the right to vote. They also risked harassment, intimidation, economic reprisals, and physical violence when they tried to register or vote.
As a result, African-American voter registration was limited, along with political power. In 1964, numerous peaceful demonstrations were organized by Civil Rights leaders, and the considerable violence they were met with brought renewed attention to the issue of voting rights.
The murder of voting-rights activists in Mississippi and the attack by white state troopers on peaceful marchers in Selma, Alabama, gained national attention and persuaded President Johnson and Congress to initiate meaningful and effective national voting rights legislation. The combination of public revulsion to the violence and Johnson’s political skills stimulated Congress to pass the voting rights bill on August 5, 1965.
The legislation, which President Johnson signed into law the next day, outlawed literacy tests and provided for the appointment of federal examiners (with the power to register qualified citizens to vote) in those jurisdictions that were “covered” according to a formula provided in the statute.
In addition, Section 5 of the act required covered jurisdictions to obtain “preclearance” from either the District Court for the District of Columbia or the U.S. Attorney General for any new voting practices and procedures. Section 2, which closely followed the language of the 15th amendment, applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color.
The use of poll taxes in national elections had been abolished by the 24th amendment (1964) to the Constitution; the Voting Rights Act directed the Attorney General to challenge the use of poll taxes in state and local elections. In Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, 383 U.S.663 (1966), the Supreme Court held Virginia’s poll tax to be unconstitutional under the,
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was the most significant statutory change in the relationship between the federal and state governments in the area of voting since the Reconstruction period following the Civil War; and it was immediately challenged in the courts. Between 1965 and 1969, the Supreme Court issued several key decisions upholding the constitutionality of Section 5 and affirming the broad range of voting practices for which preclearance was required.
In 2013, the Court struck down a key provision of the act involving federal oversight of voting rules in nine states. The Voting Rights Act had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new Black voters had been registered, one-third by federal examiners.
By the end of 1966, only four out of 13 southern states had fewer than 50 percent of African Americans registered to vote. The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was readopted and strengthened in 1970, 1975, and 1982. AN ACT To enforce the fifteenth amendment to the Constitution of the United States, and for other purposes.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That this Act shall be known as the “Voting Rights Act of 1965.” SEC.2. No voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure shall be imposed or applied by any State or political subdivision to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color.
SEC.3. (a) Whenever the Attorney General institutes a proceeding under any statute to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment in any State or political subdivision the court shall authorize the appointment of Federal examiners by the United States Civil Service Commission in accordance with section 6 to serve for such period of time and for such political subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment (1) as part of any interlocutory order if the court determines that the appointment of such examiners is necessary to enforce such guarantees or (2) as part of any final judgment if the court finds that violations of the fifteenth amendment justifying equitable relief have occurred in such State or subdivision: Provided, That the court need not authorize the appointment of examiners if any incidents of denial or abridgement of the right to vote on account of race or color (1) have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.
(b) If in a proceeding instituted by the Attorney General under any statute to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment in any State or political subdivision the court finds that a test or device has been used for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color, it shall suspend the use of tests and devices in such State or political subdivisions as the court shall determine is appropriate and for such period as it deems necessary.
(c) If in any proceeding instituted by the Attorney General under any statute to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment in any State or political subdivision the court finds that violations of the fifteenth amendment justifying equitable relief have occurred within the territory of such State or political subdivision, the court, in addition to such relief as it may grant, shall retain jurisdiction for such period as it may deem appropriate and during such period no voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force or effect at the time the proceeding was commenced shall be enforced unless and until the court finds that such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color: Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such submission, except that neither the court’s finding nor the Attorney General’s failure to object shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure.
SEC.4. (a) To assure that the right of citizens of the United States to vote is not denied or abridged on account of race or color, no citizen shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his failure to comply with any test or device in any State with respect to which the determinations have been made under subsection (b) or in any political subdivision with respect to which such determinations have been made as a separate unit, unless the United States District Court for the District of Columbia in an action for a declaratory judgment brought by such State or subdivision against the United States has determined that no such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color: Provided, That no such declaratory judgment shall issue with respect to any plaintiff for a period of five years after the entry of a final judgment of any court of the United States, other than the denial of a declaratory judgment under this section, whether entered prior to or after the enactment of this Act, determining that denials or abridgments of the right to vote on account of race or color through the use of such tests or devices have occurred anywhere in the territory of such plaintiff.
- If the Attorney General determines that he has no reason to believe that any such test or device has been used during the five years preceding the filing of the action for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, he shall consent to the entry of such judgment
- (b) The provisions of subsection (a) shall apply in any State or in any political subdivision of a state which (1) the Attorney General determines maintained on November 1, 1964, any test or device, and with respect to which (2) the Director of the Census determines that less than 50 percentum of the persons of voting age residing therein were registered on November 1, 1964, or that less than 50 percentum of such persons voted in the presidential election of November 1964.
- A determination or certification of the Attorney General or of the Director of the Census under this section or under section 6 or section 13 shall not be reviewable in any court and shall be effective upon publication in the Federal Register.
- (c) The phrase “test or device” shall mean any requirement that a person as a prerequisite for voting or registration for voting (1) demonstrate the ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter, (2) demonstrate any educational achievement or his knowledge of any particular subject, (3) possess good moral character, or (4) prove his qualifications by the voucher of registered voters or members of any other class.
- (d) For purposes of this section no State or political subdivision shall be determined to have engaged in the use of tests or devices for the purpose or with the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color if (1) incidents of such use have been few in number and have been promptly and effectively corrected by State or local action, (2) the continuing effect of such incidents has been eliminated, and (3) there is no reasonable probability of their recurrence in the future.
- (e) (1) Congress hereby declares that to secure the rights under the fourteenth amendment of persons educated in American-flag schools in which the predominant classroom language was other than English, it is necessary to prohibit the States from conditioning the right to vote of such persons on ability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter in the English language.
- (2) No person who demonstrates that he has successfully completed the sixth primary grade in a public school in, or a private school accredited by, any State or territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in which the predominant classroom language was other than English, shall be denied the right to vote in any Federal, State, or local election because of his inability to read, write, understand, or interpret any matter in the English language, except that, in States in which State law provides that a different level of education is presumptive of literacy, he shall demonstrate that he has successfully completed an equivalent level of education in a public school in, or a private school accredited by, any State or territory, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in which the predominant classroom language was other than English.
SEC.5. Whenever a State or political subdivision with respect to which the prohibitions set forth in section 4(a) are in effect shall enact or seek to administer any voting qualification or prerequisite to voting, or standard, practice, or procedure with respect to voting different from that in force or effect on November 1, 1964, such State or subdivision may institute an action in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for a declaratory judgment that such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure does not have the purpose and will not have the effect of denying or abridging the right to vote on account of race or color, and unless and until the court enters such judgment no person shall be denied the right to vote for failure to comply with such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure: Provided, That such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure may be enforced without such proceeding if the qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure has been submitted by the chief legal officer or other appropriate official of such State or subdivision to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has not interposed an objection within sixty days after such submission, except that neither the Attorney General’s failure to object nor a declaratory judgment entered under this section shall bar a subsequent action to enjoin enforcement of such qualification, prerequisite, standard, practice, or procedure.
- Any action under this section shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court. SEC.6.
- Whenever (a) a court has authorized the appointment of examiners pursuant to the provisions of section 3(a), or (b) unless a declaratory judgment has been rendered under section 4(a), the Attorney General certifies with respect to any political subdivision named in, or included within the scope of, determinations made under section 4(b) that (1) he has received complaints in writing from twenty or more residents of such political subdivision alleging that they have been denied the right to vote under color of law on account of race or color, and that he believes such complaints to be meritorious, or (2) that, in his judgment (considering, among other factors, whether the ratio of nonwhite persons to white persons registered to vote within such subdivision appears to him to be reasonably attributable to violations of the fifteenth amendment or whether substantial evidence exists that bona fide efforts are being made within such subdivision to comply with the fifteenth amendment), the appointment of examiners is otherwise necessary to enforce the guarantees of the fifteenth amendment, the Civil Service Commission shall appoint as many examiners for such subdivision as it may deem appropriate to prepare and maintain lists of persons eligible to vote in Federal, State, and local elections.
Such examiners, hearing officers provided for in section 9(a), and other persons deemed necessary by the Commission to carry out the provisions and purposes of this Act shall be appointed, compensated, and separated without regard to the provisions of any statute administered by the Civil Service Commission, and service under this Act shall not be considered employment for the purposes of any statute administered by the Civil Service Commission, except the provisions of section 9 of the Act of August 2, 1939, as amended (5 U.S.C.118i), prohibiting partisan political activity: Provided, That the Commission is authorized, after consulting the head of the appropriate department or agency, to designate suitable persons in the official service of the United States, with their consent, to serve in these positions.
- Examiners and hearing officers shall have the power to administer oaths. SEC.7.
- A) The examiners for each political subdivision shall, at such places as the Civil Service Commission shall by regulation designate, examine applicants concerning their qualifications for voting.
- An application to an examiner shall be in such form as the Commission may require and shall contain allegations that the applicant is not otherwise registered to vote.
(b) Any person whom the examiner finds, in accordance with instructions received under section 9(b), to have the qualifications prescribed by State law not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States shall promptly be placed on a list of eligible voters.
- A challenge to such listing may be made in accordance with section 9(a) and shall not be the basis for a prosecution under section 12 of this Act.
- The examiner shall certify and transmit such list, and any supplements as appropriate, at least once a month, to the offices of the appropriate election officials, with copies to the Attorney General and the attorney general of the State, and any such lists and supplements thereto transmitted during the month shall be available for public inspection on the last business day of the month and, in any event, not later than the forty-fifth day prior to any election.
The appropriate State or local election official shall place such names on the official voting list. Any person whose name appears on the examiner’s list shall be entitled and allowed to vote in the election district of his residence unless and until the appropriate election officials shall have been notified that such person has been removed from such list in accordance with subsection (d): Provided, That no person shall be entitled to vote in any election by virtue of this Act unless his name shall have been certified and transmitted on such a list to the offices of the appropriate election officials at least forty-five days prior to such election.
(c) The examiner shall issue to each person whose name appears on such a list a certificate evidencing his eligibility to vote. (d) A person whose name appears on such a list shall be removed therefrom by an examiner if (1) such person has been successfully challenged in accordance with the procedure prescribed in section 9, or (2) he has been determined by an examiner to have lost his eligibility to vote under State law not inconsistent with the Constitution and the laws of the United States.
Sec.8. Whenever an examiner is serving under this Act in any political subdivision, the Civil Service Commission may assign, at the request of the Attorney General, one or more persons, who may be officers of the United States, (1) to enter and attend at any place for holding an election in such subdivision for the purpose of observing whether persons who are entitled to vote are being permitted to vote, and (2) to enter and attend at any place for tabulating the votes cast at any election held in such subdivision for the purpose of observing whether votes cast by persons entitled to vote are being properly tabulated.
- Such persons so assigned shall report to an examiner appointed for such political subdivision, to the Attorney General, and if the appointment of examiners has been authorized pursuant to section 3(a), to the court. SEC.9.
- A) Any challenge to a listing on an eligibility list prepared by an examiner shall be heard and determined by a hearing officer appointed by and responsible to the Civil Service Commission and under such rules as the Commission shall by regulation prescribe.
Such challenge shall be entertained only if filed at such office within the State as the Civil Service Commission shall by regulation designate, and within ten days after the listing of the challenged person is made available for public inspection, and if supported by (1) the affidavits of at least two persons having personal knowledge of the facts constituting grounds for the challenge, and (2) a certification that a copy of the challenge and affidavits have been served by mail or in person upon the person challenged at his place of residence set out in the application.
- Such challenge shall be determined within fifteen days after it has been filed.
- A petition for review of the decision of the hearing officer may be filed in the United States court of appeals for the circuit in which the person challenged resides within fifteen days after service of such decision by mail on the person petitioning for review but no decision of a hearing officer shall be reversed unless clearly erroneous.
Any person listed shall be entitled and allowed to vote pending final determination by the hearing officer and by the court. (b) The times, places, procedures, and form for application and listing pursuant to this Act and removals from the eligibility lists shall be prescribed by regulations promulgated by the Civil Service Commission and the Commission shall, after consultation with the Attorney General, instruct examiners concerning applicable State law not inconsistent with the Constitution and laws of the United States with respect to (1) the qualifications required for listing, and (2) loss of eligibility to vote.
(c) Upon the request of the applicant or the challenger or on its own motion the Civil Service Commission shall have the power to require by subpoena the attendance and testimony of witnesses and the production of documentary evidence relating to any matter pending before it under the authority of this section.
In case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena, any district court of the United States or the United States court of any territory or possession, or the District Court of the United States for the District of Columbia, within the jurisdiction of which said person guilty of contumacy or refusal to obey is found or resides or is domiciled or transacts business, or has appointed an agent for receipt of service of process, upon application by the Attorney General of the United States shall have jurisdiction to issue to such person an order requiring such person to appear before the Commission or a hearing officer, there to produce pertinent, relevant, and nonprivileged documentary evidence if so ordered, or there to give testimony touching the matter under investigation, and any failure to obey such order of the court may be punished by said court as a contempt thereof.
SEC.10. (a) The Congress finds that the requirement of the payment of a poll tax as a precondition to voting (i) precludes persons of limited means from voting or imposes unreasonable financial hardship upon such persons as a precondition to their exercise of the franchise, (ii) does not bear a reasonable relationship to any legitimate State interest in the conduct of elections, and (iii) in some areas has the purpose or effect of denying persons the right to vote because of race or color.
Upon the basis of these findings, Congress declares that the constitutional right of citizens to vote is denied or abridged in some areas by the requirement of the payment of a poll tax as a precondition to voting. (b) In the exercise of the powers of Congress under section 5 of the fourteenth amendment and section 2 of the fifteenth amendment, the Attorney General is authorized and directed to institute forthwith in the name of the United States such actions, including actions against States or political subdivisions, for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief against the enforcement of any requirement of the payment of a poll tax as a precondition to voting, or substitute therefor enacted after November 1, 1964, as will be necessary to implement the declaration of subsection (a) and the purposes of this section.
- C) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of such actions which shall be heard and determined by a court of three judges in accordance with the provisions of section 2284 of title 28 of the United States Code and any appeal shall lie to the Supreme Court.
- It shall be the duty of the judges designated to hear the case to assign the case for hearing at the earliest practicable date, to participate in the hearing and determination thereof, and to cause the case to be in every way expedited.
(d) During the pendency of such actions, and thereafter if the courts, notwithstanding this action by the Congress, should declare the requirement of the payment of a poll tax to be constitutional, no citizen of the United States who is a resident of a State or political subdivision with respect to which determinations have been made under subsection 4(b) and a declaratory judgment has not been entered under subsection 4(a), during the first year he becomes otherwise entitled to vote by reason of registration by State or local officials or listing by an examiner, shall be denied the right to vote for failure to pay a poll tax if he tenders payment of such tax for the current year to an examiner or to the appropriate State or local official at least forty-five days prior to election, whether or not such tender would be timely or adequate under State law.
An examiner shall have authority to accept such payment from any person authorized by this Act to make an application for listing, and shall issue a receipt for such payment. The examiner shall transmit promptly any such poll tax payment to the office of the State or local official authorized to receive such payment under State law, together with the name and address of the applicant.
SEC.11. (a) No person acting under color of law shall fail or refuse to permit any person to vote who is entitled to vote under any provision of this Act or is otherwise qualified to vote, or willfully fail or refuse to tabulate, count, and report such person’s vote.
- (b) No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for voting or attempting to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for urging or aiding any person to vote or attempt to vote, or intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person for exercising any powers or duties under section 3(a), 6, 8, 9, 10, or 12(e).
- (c) Whoever knowingly or willfully gives false information as to his name, address, or period of residence in the voting district for the purpose of establishing his eligibility to register or vote, or conspires with another individual for the purpose of encouraging his false registration to vote or illegal voting, or pays or offers to pay or accepts payment either for registration to vote or for voting shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both: Provided, however, That this provision shall be applicable only to general, special, or primary elections held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the United States Senate, Member of the United States House of Representatives, or Delegates or Commissioners from the territories or possessions, or Resident Commissioner of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.
- (d) Whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of an examiner or hearing officer knowingly and willfully falsifies or conceals a material fact, or makes any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, or makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
SEC.12. (a) Whoever shall deprive or attempt to deprive any person of any right secured by section 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 or shall violate section 11(a) or (b), shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
- (b) Whoever, within a year following an election in a political subdivision in which an examiner has been appointed (1) destroys, defaces, mutilates, or otherwise alters the marking of a paper ballot which has been cast in such election, or (2) alters any official record of voting in such election tabulated from a voting machine or otherwise, shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both
- (c) Whoever conspires to violate the provisions of subsection (a) or (b) of this section, or interferes with any right secured by section 2, 3 4, 5, 7, 10, or 11(a) or (b) shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
- (d) Whenever any person has engaged or there are reasonable grounds to believe that any person is about to engage in any act or practice prohibited by section 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, or subsection (b) of this section, the Attorney General may institute for the United States, or in the name of the United States, an action for preventive relief, including an application for a temporary or permanent injunction, restraining order, or other order, and including an order directed to the State and State or local election officials to require them (1) to permit persons listed under this Act to vote and (2) to count such votes.
(e) Whenever in any political subdivision in which there are examiners appointed pursuant to this Act any persons allege to such an examiner within forty-eight hours after the closing of the polls that notwithstanding (1) their listing under this Act or registration by an appropriate election official and (2) their eligibility to vote, they have not been permitted to vote in such election, the examiner shall forthwith notify the Attorney General if such allegations in his opinion appear to be well founded.
Upon receipt of such notification, the Attorney General may forthwith file with the district court an application for an order providing for the marking, casting, and counting of the ballots of such persons and requiring the inclusion of their votes in the total vote before the results of such election shall be deemed final and any force or effect given thereto.
The district court shall hear and determine such matters immediately after the filing of such application. The remedy provided in this subsection shall not preclude any remedy available under State or Federal law. (f) The district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of proceedings instituted pursuant to this section and shall exercise the same without regard to whether a person asserting rights under the provisions of this Act shall have exhausted any administrative or other remedies that may be provided by law SEC.13.
Listing procedures shall be terminated in any political subdivision of any State (a) with respect to examiners appointed pursuant to clause (b) of section 6 whenever the Attorney General notifies the Civil Service Commission, or whenever the District Court for the District of Columbia determines in an action for declaratory judgment brought by any political subdivision with respect to which the Director of the Census has determined that more than 50 percentum of the nonwhite persons of voting age residing therein are registered to vote, (1) that all persons listed by an examiner for such subdivision have been placed on the appropriate voting registration roll, and (2) that there is no longer reasonable cause to believe that persons will be deprived of or denied the right to vote on account of race or color in such subdivision, and (b), with respect to examiners appointed pursuant to section 3(a), upon order of the authorizing court.
A political subdivision may petition the Attorney General for the termination of listing procedures under clause (a) of this section, and may petition the Attorney General to request the Director of the Census to take such survey or census as may be appropriate for the making of the determination provided for in this section.
- (b) No court other than the District Court for the District of Columbia or a court of appeals in any proceeding under section 9 shall have jurisdiction to issue any declaratory judgment pursuant to section 4 or section 5 or any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction against the execution or enforcement of any provision of this Act or any action of any Federal officer or employee pursuant hereto.
- (c) (1) The terms “vote” or “voting” shall include all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election, including, but not limited to, registration, listing pursuant to this Act, or other action required by law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for public or party office and propositions for which votes are received in an election.
- (2) The term “political subdivision” shall mean any county or parish, except that, where registration for voting is not conducted under the supervision of a county or parish, the term shall include any other subdivision of a State which conducts registration for voting.
- (d) In any action for a declaratory judgment brought pursuant to section 4 or section 5 of this Act, subpoenas for witnesses who are required to attend the District Court for the District of Columbia may be served in any judicial district of the United States: Provided, That no writ of subpoena shall issue for witnesses without the District of Columbia at a greater distance than one hundred miles from the place of holding court without the permission of the District Court for the District of Columbia being first had upon proper application and cause shown.
SEC.15. Section 2004 of the Revised Statutes (42 U.S.C.1971), as amended by section 131 of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 (71 Stat.637), and amended by section 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1960 (74 Stat.90), and as further amended by section 101 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (78 Stat.241), is further amended as follows: (a) Delete the word “Federal” wherever it appears in subsections (a) and (c); (b) Repeal subsection (f) and designate the present subsections (g) and (h) as (f) and (g), respectively.
SEC.16. The Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense, jointly, shall make a full and complete study to determine whether, under the laws or practices of any State or States, there are preconditions to voting, which might tend to result in discrimination against citizens serving in the Armed Forces of the United States seeking to vote.
Such officials shall, jointly, make a report to the Congress not later than June 30, 1966, containing the results of such study, together with a list of any States in which such preconditions exist, and shall include in such report such recommendations for legislation as they deem advisable to prevent discrimination in voting against citizens serving in the Armed Forces of the United States.
- SEC.17. Nothing in this Act shall be construed to deny, impair, or otherwise adversely affect the right to vote of any person registered to vote under the law of any State or political subdivision. SEC.18.
- There are hereby authorized to be appropriated such sums as are necessary to carry out the provisions of this Act SEC 19.
If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the Act and the application of the provision to other persons not similarly situated or to other circumstances shall not be affected thereby.
Who were the main actors in the civil rights movement?
A new book by Virginia Commonwealth University history professor Emilie Raymond, Ph.D., reveals the little-known story of how black actors and entertainers in Hollywood worked both behind the scenes and in front of the footlights to contribute their money, connections and fame to the civil rights movement.
Raymond, an associate professor in the Department of History of the College of Humanities and Sciences, recently discussed her new book, ” Stars for Freedom: Hollywood, Black Celebrities, and the Civil Rights Movement ” (University of Washington Press), which explains how a handful of celebrities, both black and white, risked their careers by fighting for racial equality.
The book will be published May 1. Your new book focuses on African-American celebrities and a handful of other Hollywood stars who played an important – yet largely unknown – role in the civil rights movement. Who were these celebrities, and in what ways did they contribute? Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, Sammy Davis Jr., Dick Gregory and Sidney Poitier — whom I have nicknamed the Leading Six — were the earliest, most consistent and most influential Hollywood stars engaged in the movement.
They had the increasing support of a small group of interracial stars, such as Marlon Brando, Theodore Bikel, Diahann Caroll, Dorothy Dandridge, Charlton Heston, Burt Lancaster, Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor and others, throughout the 1960s. These celebrities provided visibility and financial, strategic and emotional support to movement organizations and activists.
How would you describe your book’s central thesis? The Stars for Freedom played a crucial role in the success of the civil rights movement as spokespersons, fundraisers and strategists, and by boosting the morale of workaday activists. The Leading Six paved the way for celebrity activism, which had largely retreated in the wake of the House Un-American Activities Committee investigations of the film industry and McCarthyism in the late 1940s and ’50s, by attending and planning rallies and marches, performing and organizing fundraising benefits shows, tapping their show business and political contacts to shore up membership and organizational support, and even engaging in direct action campaigns.
- By 1963, the civil rights movement began to “catch on” amongst Hollywood celebrities, and they became increasingly important to the Northern liberal network of support vital to the movement’s success.
- At the same time, the Stars for Freedom applied the gains of the movement to Hollywood by working to improve the portrayal of African-Americans in films and open up economic opportunities behind the cameras.
Do you think your book is relevant to current events? If so, in what ways? It certainly is relevant. Celebrities remain engaged in an array of political causes, and racial issues continue to be important to American political culture, as evidenced by the controversies over law enforcement seen in Ferguson, Missouri, and over fraternity culture seen in recent scandals.
- As 50th commemoration celebrations for various civil rights victories, such as the Selma campaign, take forth, the role of celebrities in the movement deserves recognition.
- Were you surprised by anything you found as you researched this book? Two things particularly surprised me.
- One was how the all-black cast impacted the making of the film “Porgy and Bess” (1959).
I had originally planned on opening the book with the making of this film to illustrate the lack of control African-American actors had in Hollywood, especially as the studios employed no black writers, directors, producers, or even crew members at this time.
However, I realized that while the Hollywood climate certainly was constrained, African-American actors such as Sidney Poitier and Dorothy Dandridge had gained enough clout through their work in independent pictures to alter the dialect, dialogue, costuming and character development in ways that improved the portrayal of African-Americans in the film to no longer be as stereotypical and demeaning.
Unfortunately, these alterations also opened the film to the criticism that it was “unrealistic.” Therefore, this chapter resulted in a more complex discussion of the the changing and complex nature of black celebrity in the 1950s. Second, I was surprised by Sammy Davis Jr.’s important role in the movement, and especially his success as a fundraiser, given his controversial reputation as a “mascot” to the Rat Pack led by Frank Sinatra.
It is exactly that controversy that allowed Davis to raise as much money as he did: approximately $750,000 (equivalent to $5.6 million in today’s dollars). Indeed, Davis constructed a daring and deferential public persona that allowed him to push racial boundaries even while seeming relatively nonthreatening to white audiences.
How did you get interested in this topic? I became interested in this topic when I was doing research for my book on Charlton Heston. When I learned that Heston had participated in some civil rights events, including the March on Washington, I looked for books on celebrities and the civil rights movement.
Finding none, I decided to write one myself! What went into the research behind this book? How did you uncover these stories? Primary source research is the basis of this book. I looked at the organizational papers of groups like the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee to measure the impact of the stars’ support on their organizations.
Several individuals, such as the civil rights activists James Foreman, A. Phillip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, as well as Hollywood stars and filmmakers like Charlton Heston, Gregory Peck, Samuel Goldwyn and George Stevens, have donated their papers to research libraries.
- Several civil rights movement veterans, including Rep.
- John Lewis and Julian Bond, graciously agreed to interviews.
- Actor and activist memoirs also proved vital, as did a number of excellent histories written by such scholars as Donald Bogle, Taylor Branch, Clayborne Carson, Adam Fairlough and Thomas Sugrue.
Why do you think these celebrities’ contributions to the civil rights movement haven’t been fully recognized before now? It is ironic! Celebrities often get more than their share of attention. In this case, I think activists and scholars have always recognized that celebrities were involved in the movement.
- However, no one has systematically considered why, how and to what extent they were involved and, thus, no one has measured their impact on civil rights, at least no more than as symbols.
- This is largely a result of the nature of historical scholarship.
- It was more important to document the organizational histories and the work of everyday activists — without whom the celebrities would have had no cause to support — first.
Indeed, the Stars for Freedom were unconventional activists whose role, compared to those involved in the daily political struggle, was quite small, but nevertheless extremely significant due to their fame. Your previous book, “From My Cold, Dead Hands: Charlton Heston and American Politics,” explored Charlton Heston’s role in politics.
How does this new book fit into your larger body of scholarship and what will you be working on next? I am interested in the intersection between Hollywood and politics, a growing realm of historical scholarship. Although Hollywood (including its inhabitants) is often considered superficial, in reality it is the third largest news source in the country and has had an incredible impact on American political culture — from censorship and war propaganda to social movements and electoral politics.
This in part reflects a democratization of American culture and the rise of social movements in the 20th century. I am exploring both themes in my next book on the Richmonders Paul and Phyllis Galanti. Paul was a naval pilot shot down over North Vietnam and held as a POW for six years; meanwhile, Phyllis transformed from a self-described “shy housewife” to an activist lobbying on behalf of the POWs to local and national media, as well as state legislatures and the Nixon White House.
Who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1965?
On August 6, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965 into law. The Civil Rights Division takes this opportunity to commemorate the 57 th anniversary of that momentous occasion, which would not have occurred without the sacrifices of activists like those who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama to call for voting rights for Black Americans.
- In what became known as ‘Bloody Sunday,’ marchers were brutally attacked by state troopers while attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma.
- Countless Americans watching the television coverage of the mayhem were shocked by images of their fellow citizens being ruthlessly beaten by police officers for peacefully exercising their First Amendment rights.
Galvanized by the events in Selma, President Johnson called for the enactment of the Voting Rights Act, ending his speech with the powerful, well-known refrain: we shall overcome. Congress met the moment by passing the Act, one of the most important and successful pieces of civil rights legislation in United States history.
It aims to make the promise of the ballot box a reality for all Americans by eliminating legal barriers that prevent racial and language minority voters from having the opportunity to participate in our democracy on an equal footing. The Voting Rights Act would prove to be transformative, enfranchising millions of Americans for the first time and empowering many minority voters to elect candidates of their choice to public office.
At every level of government, we now see officeholders who are more representative of America’s racial and ethnic diversity, evidence of the remarkable progress that has been made since 1965, thanks to the Act’s passage. Many of its provisions, moreover, remain critical to protecting the right to vote today.
Despite the progress that’s been made, we know that many Americans’ right to vote remains under threat and that much remains to be done to achieve fully the goal of eliminating the racial discrimination in voting that inspired the Act’s passage. Some of the current threats involve the resurgence of old tactics: improper purging of the voting rolls, moving polling places to make it more difficult for minority citizens to vote, or using redistricting plans that dilute minority voting strength.
But some of them are new: cutting back on forms of voting like early voting or vote by mail that citizens have increasingly come to rely on, engaging in online disinformation campaigns, or limiting the provision of food or water to citizens waiting in long lines to cast their votes.
In the face of these challenges, as Attorney General Merrick Garland has said, “the Department of Justice will never stop working to protect the democracy to which all Americans are entitled.” For example, just this past year, the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice filed two lawsuits under the Voting Rights Act against the State of Texas ( here and here ) and Galveston County, and filed amicus briefs or statements of interest in VRA cases in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Dakota, and Texas ( here and here ) and worked on a number of other voting matters,
The Department also filed briefs in VRA or other voting matters in the Third, Fifth, and Eighth Circuit s as well as the U.S. Supreme Court in Merrill v. Milligan and Merrill v. Caster, an important matter involving Alabama’s 2021 congressional districting plan.
We at the Civil Rights Division will continue to protect the right to vote by using all of the tools available under the Voting Rights Act as well as the Civil Rights Act, Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act, National Voter Registration Act, Help America Vote Act, and Americans with Disabilities Act, among others.
The Department of Justice will not yield until all eligible citizens can register, vote, and have their vote counted, and election rules and systems are fair to all voters regardless of their race or language minority status. For more information about the Voting Rights Act of 1965, please visit https://www.justice.gov/crt/statutes-enforced-voting-section#vra or call the department’s toll-free hotline at (800) 253-3931.
Who were the people who led civil rights movement?
|Booker T. Washington