The Civil Rights Act fought tough opposition in the House and a lengthy, heated debate in the Senate before being approved in July 1964. For the signing of the historic legislation, Johnson invited hundreds of guests to a televised ceremony in the White House's East Room. After using more than 75 pens to sign the bill, he gave them away as mementoes of the historic occasion, according to tradition. One of the first pens went to King, leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), who called it one of his most cherished possessions. Johnson gave two more to Senators Hubert Humphrey and Everett McKinley Dirksen, the Democratic and Republican managers of the bill in the Senate.
Mr. Humphrey said the civil rights bill of 1964 was "the greatest piece of social legislation of our generation."
The framers of the bill, he went on, endeavored to "fashion a bill which is just, reasonable and fair." They established a framework of law "wherein men of good will and reason can seek to resolve these difficult and emotional issues of human rights," he said.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. It applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including federal, state, and local governments. Title VII also applies to private and public colleges and universities, employment agencies, and labor organizations.
President John F. Kennedy proposed the initial civil rights act. Kennedy faced great personal and political conflicts over this legislation...Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963, changed the political dynamics of the impending civil rights legislation. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson succeeded Kennedy and almost immediately intensified the campaign for a major civil rights bill.
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. Although these rights were first guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution immediately after the Civil War, they had never been fully enforced. It was only after years of highly publicized civil rights demonstrations, marches, and violence that American political leaders acted to enforce these rights.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the nation's benchmark civil rights legislation, and it continues to resonate in America. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. 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.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is divided into separate titles addressing different aspects of the civil rights issue. In the interest of convenience and space, we have listed the titles separately.
TITLE I: VOTING RIGHTS
TITLE II: INJUCTIVE RELIEF AGAINST DISCRIMINATION IN PLACES OF PUBLIC ACCOMODATION
TITLE III: DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC FACILITIES
TITLE IV: DESEGREGATION OF PUBLIC EDUCATION DEFINITIONS
TITLE V: COMMISSION ON CIVIL RIGHTS
TITLE VI: NONDISCRIMINATION IN FEDERALLY ASSISTED PROGRAMS
TITLE VII: EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY DEFINITIONS
TITLE VIII: REGISTRATION AND VOTING STATISTICS
TITLE IX: INTERVENTION AND PROCEDURE AFTER REMOVAL IN CIVIL RIGHTS CASES
TITLE X: ESTABLISHMENT OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS SERVICE
TITLE XI: MISCELLANEOUS
To explain the stunning triumphs of the movement over the defenders of Jim Crow from 1954 to 1965, towo main approaches have been put forth. Many argue that the dramatic clashes between nonviolent civil rights demonstrators and southern law enforcement in Birmingham and Selma were the principal impetus behind the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, respectively.
Factors which Encouraged Enactment of Civil Rights Act
-Large-scale demonstrations -- especially the involvement of white demonstrators in the Freedom Rides
-John Kennedy’s assassination
-Lyndon Johnson’s ascendancy to the presidency
-The demographic numbers that indicated a switch in white public opinion in favor of civil rights legislation
-Bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham
-Medger Evers’ assassination
-March on Washington
WASHINGTON -- Despite recent accusations of racism and homophobia, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) stuck to his libertarian principles on Sunday, criticizing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 because it "undermine[d] the concept of liberty" and "destroyed the principle of private property and private choices."...The Civil Rights Act repealed the notorious Jim Crow laws; forced schools, bathrooms and buses to desegregate; and banned employment discrimination. Although Paul was not around to weigh in on the landmark legislation at the time, he had the chance to cast a symbolic vote against it in 2004, when the House of Representatives took up a resolution "recognizing and honoring the 40th anniversary of congressional passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964." Paul was the only member who voted "no."
On November 29, the day after Thanksgiving, Johnson met with Roy Wilkins, executive director of the NAACP, to talk about the civil rights bill.
"He was asking us if we wanted it, if we would do the things required to be done to get it enacted," Wilkins recalled. "He said he could not enact it himself. He was the President of the United States. He would give it his blessing. He would aid it in any way in which he could lawfully under the Constitution, but that he could not lobby for the bill. And nobody expected him to lobby for the bill, and he didn't think we expected him to lobby for the bill. But in effect he said—and he didn't use these words - 'You have the ball; now run with it.'"
Civil Rights Filibuster Ended
June 10, 1964
At 9:51 on the morning of June 10, 1964, Senator Robert C. Byrd completed an address that he had begun fourteen hours and thirteen minutes earlier. The subject was the pending Civil Rights Act of 1964, a measure that occupied the Senate for fifty-seven working days, including six Saturdays. A day earlier, Democratic Whip Hubert Humphrey, the bill's manager, concluded he had the sixty-seven votes required at that time to end the debate.