The Civil Rights movement was a fight for social justice that arose predominantly during the 1950s and 1960s for blacks to obtain equal rights under US law. The Civil War had officially abolished slavery, but discrimination against Blacks was not ended. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was the most comprehensive civil rights law that Congress had ever enacted. It included comprehensive measures for the abolition of Jim Crow segregation and the fight against racial discrimination. The fight against racial injustice did not end after the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed, but the law enabled activists to achieve their main goals. It changed America completely.
Before the Civil Rights Act, employers were free to advertise vacancies stating ‘ No Negroes need to apply’ or’ Whites only’ and the possibility of interracial meetings was unlikely in many of the southern states. There was discrimination even in booking a hotel room and restaurant table and there were still signs that said colored toilets, white bathrooms, colored fountains and white fountains. When they retaliated, they would get arrested. The 1964 Civil Rights Act abolished discrimination and segregation in the workforce on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin and gender, schools, public housing, and federally supported programs.
The Civil Rights Act had a profound effect on schools as well. Although in the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, the Supreme Court had ruled that segregation in schools was inherently unequal, only gradual attempts had been made to decouple public schools and universities in the decade that followed. The Civil Rights Act forced schools to take concrete steps to end segregation, whether it was by busing, redistricting or establishing magnet schools. The 1964 Civil Rights Act also prohibited unequal application of the requirements for registration of voters.
In brief, the Act provided for the elimination of public schools (Title IV), broadens the Civil Rights Commission’s responsibilities (Title V), and guarantees non-discrimination in the distribution of funds under federally funded programs (Title VI). The Civil Rights Act was later expanded to include under its protection disabled Americans, elderly people and women in college athletics. It also paved the way for two major follow-up laws: the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which prohibited literacy tests and other unfair voting practices, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act, which abolished segregation in property sales, renting and financing. Although the fight against racism would continue, lawful segregation in the United States had been brought to its knees.
In my view, one of the Civil Rights movement’s greatest achievements, the Civil Rights Act has led to greater social and economic equality for African-Americans across the country and has abolished racial discrimination, ensuring equal access to resources for women, religious minorities, African-Americans and low-income families. This shows the effectiveness of this bill for African-Americans. There is a dramatic shift as it outlawed slavery, provided for equal protection under the law and assured nationality. It does not limit every American’s independence, and it respects another’s freedoms. That is what it’s all about.