The most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Reconstruction era, the Civil Right Act finally gave the Federal Government the means to enforce the promises of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. The act prohibited discrimination in public places, allowed the integration of public facilities and schools, and forbade discrimination in employment.
But such a landmark congressional enactment was by no means achieved easily…
Fifty years ago, the work of Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson led to the passing of the Civil Rights Act. Passage was not easy and depended on the painstaking efforts of civil rights leaders, cooperation in a resistant Senate, and growth in public support.
When the bill was finally signed on July 2, 1964, it was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
This week, The Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas honors this historic legislation. Presidents Obama, George W. Bush, Clinton, and Carter are part of the Summit, joining a full schedule of programs that address the civil rights issues we face today.
I sat down with actor Bryan Cranston to discuss his “role of a lifetime” as Walter White in “Breaking Bad” and his recent transformation into LBJ in “All The Way” on Broadway — including his “terrifying face.” Watch the full interview here.
LBJ Signs the Civil Right Act of 1964 - Fifty Years Ago Today
On this day in 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawing discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, or sex in public accommodations such as hotels, theaters, parks, restaurants, and other public places.
The act also authorized the withdrawal of Federal funds from programs that practice discrimination. It discouraged job discrimination through the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Additionally, it authorized the Attorney General to bring lawsuits against schools practicing segregation, and made the Commission on Civil Rights a permanent organization.