Civil and Political Rights

This document belongs to the era of the sixties after the assassination of John F. Kennedy. This act happened during the Civil Rights Movement that took place during the 1950s to the 1960s, where racial minorities were fighting for equal rights under the law in the United States.

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It all started when Lyndon B. Johnson took over the presidency and established the “Great Society” that stated that all Americans should have equal rights and freedoms. From that program he was able to establish Medicare, food and housing programs, free education, and the civil rights act. Back in 1963, John F. Kennedy had proposed an act to congress to consider civil rights as one of the main issues that required the utmost attention since it was affecting the nation. This document started to develop more when Martin Luther King Jr. initiated marches from Selma to Montgomery and when he led the march on Washington. There he gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech that made congress consider agreeing to the law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law by Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.

The act ended segregation in public places, as well as, in labor unions and by employers. This was on the basis of race, color, religion, or sexual orientation. It protected minorities and women who were being discriminated, and this made it one of the most successful legislative achievements for the Civil Rights Movement. Under the act, it led to the creation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission which allowed the United States Attorney General to sue on behalf of the indignant workers. This law consists of eleven titles and each state a different rule that is described in the act. In Title I of the act, it makes sure to give equal voting rights by removing registration requirements like the literacy test or any type of voting procedures against minorities or people of color. Title II mentions the ban of discrimination in public places of accommodation. This allows for all people to enjoy and receive equal treatment of the goods and services offered. Then Title III talks about desegregation in public properties. Any person is free to be any public facility without being discriminated because of their color, race, or origin. The rest of the titles do the same job in different areas where racial discrimination was a big issue like in education. This document was written because since before the Civil War, many African Americans were dealing with racism and slavery. After the end of the Civil War, several constitutional amendments were passed to change racism in the nation.

The thirteenth amendment abolished slavery, the fourteenth amendment gave slaves citizenship, and the fifteenth gave all men the right to vote no matter their race. However, in the South many states still continued to impose measures to keep their white supremacy over African-American citizens. Through the Jim Crow laws, they were also to keep segregation going and accept the acts of violence by the Ku Klux Klan. What led to this document being passed by the House were people fighting for their rights through sit-ins, protests, and large marches from cities into other cities. After many protests lead by Martin Luther King Jr. turned violent, the nation was able to see the damage done by such racist acts. Finally, the act was made into a law and half of the African Americans in the United States were able to vote, be in public places without any hecklers, and be able to live with the same equal rights as everyone else. The Civil Rights Act was an important part of history when it comes to studying how the United States became the nation it is today. This document was one of the most influential laws that has ever been established in the nation because it completely ended segregation in public places. This was a milestone for not only the nation, but for the protesters and the activists who fought for their rights. Although there is still racism in the United States, it is not as violent and people are not denied services. Also, the importance of voting is a major part as to why this act is historical. The United States relies on voting to choose their next president and without the majority voting, the presidential race will not be the same as it is today. It gives significance to the idea that everyone in the United States has the freedom to live with equal rights and freedom against discrimination since back in 1964, this was not an option for everyone. All the effort and the willingness that Africans Americans had to fight for the passing of this law became extremely meaningful which helped shaped their lives to become an important part of history.

This act does have its strengths and weaknesses because the laws are not always perfect. One of its strengths is how protesters fought for it until Congress could pass it. They decided to fight for their rights in a nonviolent way and come together in unity to do so. As well as having the support of non-segregated people which made the passing of the act even stronger. They were able to tell others that civil rights were needed and persuaded them to join in aid for the minorities. The strongest part of this document, however, is the fact that segregation and discrimination were not going to be seen anymore in public places. African Americans were going to get the chance to vote while other minorities, like women, were going to be seen as equals. One of the weaknesses is that even if the term “separate but equal” was applied, racism was still going to continue. White people, especially in the South were still going to see African American as minorities and they were still going to treat them unfairly. At the time, it would have taken years for people who were taught to believe in injustice to change their minds about equality for everyone. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the strongest laws that could have ever been established in the United States. Because of the many African Americans who struggled for what was correct, people now are able to live freely without being discriminated from their rights.

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