President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law on July 2, 1964 in Washington D.C. It ended discrimination based on race, color, and religion. Since Reconstruction, it is often called the most important U.S. law on civil rights. This law allowed the federal government with the powers to enforce desegregation. Title VI of the act banned the use of federal funds for segregated programs and schools. In 1964 only Tennessee and Texas had more than two percent of their black students enrolled in integrated schools. About 6% of the black students in the South were in integrated schools by the next year because of Title VI.
What was the cause of the Civil Rights Act of 1964? In June 1963, President John F. Kennedy proposed a bill several months prior to his death. President Johnson announced his intention to turn the proposal into law five days after Kennedy’s assassination.
Title IV of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 forbidden discrimination in public schools because of race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. Public schools included elementary, secondary, and public colleges and universities. Before this law was signed, an African-American named James Meredith applied to the University of Mississippi in 1961. Officials at the school returned his application. He then took his case to the court. On September 10, 1962, the U.S. Supreme Court administrated that he had the right to attend the University of Mississippi. Ross Barnett, the governor of Mississippi, personally blocked Mr. Meredith from registering at the university even after the Supreme Court ruled. Conclusively, on September 30, 1962, federal officers and Civil Rights Division lawyers led Mr. Meredith onto the campus.
There were one hundred twenty three assistant federal officers, three hundred sixteen U.S. Border Patrolmen, and ninety-seven federal prison guards on and near the campus to guard him. A crowd attacked the federal forces within an hour. They were fought with guns, bricks, bottles, and Molotov cocktails. President Kennedy sent sixteen thousand federal troops to the campus because of the nonstop violence. The outcome was there were two people dead, twenty-eight officers were shot, and one hundred sixty people injured. As a result, James Meredith became he first black student to attend the University of Mississippi.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 had many effects. The law outlawed ethnic discrimination in public and places of employment to African Americans. However, it did not end the Civil Rights Movement. Black Southerners were deprived of their constitutional rights because white Southerners still used legal ways to take away their rights. African Americans lived in the worst metropolitan neighborhoods and had to attend the worst city schools. Other than that, the rights included rights to vote, public accommodations, which included being able to go to restaurants, movie theaters, shopping in all stores, going inside a gas station, and attending sports events at sports arenas. The Civil Rights of 1964 was also the first law to guarantee the equal rights of women.
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