Civil Rights Act of
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (CRA '64) in the United States was landmark legislation. The original purpose of the Bill was to protect black men from job (and other) discrimination, but at the last minute in an attempt to kill the bill, it was expanded to include protection for women. As a result it formed a political impetus for feminism.
CRA '64 transformed American society. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment. This simple statement understates the large shift in American society that occurred as a result. The Jim Crow laws in the South were finally swept away, and it was illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. Although initially enforcement powers were weak, they grew over the years, and such later programs as affirmative action were made possible by the Civil Rights Act.
President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law on July 3, 1964. Republican Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen pushed the act thourgh congress. This act divided both politcal parties and changed both's demographics. Johnson realized that supporting this bill would mean losing the South's overwhelming Democrat majority (which it did, barring some exeptions). Despite a significant majority of Republican's support for the act, the Presidential nominee Barry Goldwater voted against the act claiming, "you can't legislate morality". The Mississippi Democratic Party actually endorsed Goldwater as a result of his vote which in turn lead to the formation of the short lived Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.
By Party: The Original House Version:
The Senate Version:
The Senate Version, voted on by the House:
Major Features of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Barred unequal application of voter registration requirements, but did not abolish literacy tests sometimes used to disqualify African Americans and poor white voters.
Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining "private," thereby allowing a loophole.
Encouraged the desegregation of public schools and authorized the U. S. Attorney General to file suits to force desegregation, but did not authorize busing as a means to overcome segregation based on residence.
Authorized but did not require withdrawal of federal funds from programs which practiced discrimination.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlaws discrimination in employment in any business on the basis of race, national origin, sex, or religion. Title VII also prohibits retailation against employees who oppose such unlawful discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII. The EEOC investigates, mediates, and sometimes files lawsuits on behalf of employees. Title VII also provides that an individual can bring a private lawsuit. Importantly, an individual must file a complaint of discrimination with the EEOC within 180 days of learning of the discrimination or the individual may lose the right to file a lawsuit. Title VII only applies to employers with fifteen or more employees. In the late 1970s courts began holding that sexual harassment is prohibited under the Act. Title VII has been supplemented with legislation prohibiting pregnancy, age, and disability discrimination. Currently there is no federal law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, however Congress continues to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which would prohibit sexual orientation employment discrimination.