Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Equal treatment of all Americans, regardless of race, was a major debate for decades in the U.S. Congress. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy urged Congress to take action. Passage of the act was not easy. We’ll be exploring some of the key moments for the Civil Rights Act throughout the day.
The engrossing copy of H.R. 7152 shows the final text of the bill as passed (290 votes in favor to 130 votes against) by the House on February 10, 1964. Included in this excerpt are several amendments to the bill, most of which relate to the addition of gender to the categories in the bill that prohibited discrimination.
Excerpt of H.R. 7152 with Amendments, 1964, Records of the U.S House of Representatives (NAID 6037151)
LBJ Signs the Civil Rights 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.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act with Martin Luther King, Jr. and others behind him. East Room, White House. 7/2/64.
-from the LBJ Library
Plus more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
Don’t miss the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit in Google’s Cultural Institute
Teaching resources at The Struggle for Rights in America, via DocsTeach
On July 2, 1964, with Martin Luther King, Jr., directly behind him, President Lyndon Johnson scrawled his signature on a document years in the making—the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark legislation.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., others look on, 07/02/1964. (The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library)
The first and the signature pages of the act will be on display at the National Archives Rubenstein Gallery in Washington, DC, until September 17, 2014. These 50-year-old sheets of paper represent years of struggle and society’s journey toward justice.
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…
Plus more on the Civil Rights Act of 1964:
- Don’t miss the new Civil Rights Act of 1964 Exhibit in Google’s Cultural Institute
- Events at the National Archives in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act
- Teaching resources at The Struggle for Rights in America, via DocsTeach
- See all the pages of the Civil Rights Act in the National Archives online catalog
From the series: General Photograph File of the U.S. Marine Corps, 1927 - 1981
The Battle of Saipan began seventy years ago on June 15, 1944, with combined U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army forces making amphibious landings against the entrenched Japanese forces on the Pacific island (only days after the Normandy Landings on D-Day).
"JUDGEMENT LOVING against VIRGINIA REVERSED today. Opinion mailed.
From the Records of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1772 - 2007
On June 12, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple whose marriage had been prohibited by the state of Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act. This telegram was sent from John F. Davis, clerk of the court, to the Loving’s attorney, Bernard S. Cohen.
The Supreme Court’s Decision in Loving v. Virginia is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
#DDAY70 D-Day + 4:
A platoon of Negro troops surrounds a farm house in a town in France, as they prepare to eliminate a German sniper holding up an advance. 10 June 1944. Omaha Beachhead, near Vierville Sur-Mer, France.
Local Identifier: 111-SC-190120. From the Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer, 1860 - 1985
More D-Day images in the new immersive D-Day exhibit from the National Archives on the Google Cultural Institute.
Maya Angelou, Celebrated Author & Poet
(April 4, 1928 - May 28, 2014)
From the series: Photographs Relating to the Secretary’s Trips, Speeches, and Other Functions, and Agency Officials, Events, and Managed Sites, 2002 - 2009. Records of the Office of the Secretary of the Interior, 1826 - 2009
Records of the Supreme Court of the United States. National Archives Identifier: 301670
May 17, 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision regarding education in America. The Oliver L. Brown et. al. v. Board of Education of Topeka (KS) ruling declared public schools that were separated by race as unconstitutional. The unanimous decision stated that segregated schools violated the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The ruling meant that African-American children had a right to attend schools that were properly equipped with well-trained teachers and staff. This decision was celebrated by many who believed that black children received an inadequate education in the racially segregated schools and was condemned by those who wanted to keep the races separated.
The National Archives holds many records relating to the Brown v. Board of Education case and the other four cases that made up this historic lawsuit. Related records ranged from court documents, photographs, online study-guides, and information papers.
See more of these records at: Rediscovering Black History » Federal Records Relating to the Brown v. Board of Education Case
"We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place."Case File for Brown et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka et al., ca. 1950 - ca. 1955. Records of the Supreme Court of the United States. National Archives Identifier: 1656510
Sixty years ago on May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered this unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the landmark civil rights case Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The Court found that state-sanctioned segregation of public schools violated the 14th Amendment. The decision marked the end of the “separate but equal” precedent set by the Supreme Court nearly 60 years before in Plessy v. Ferguson. Although this decision is commonly known as “Brown v. Board” this decision was actually six cases grouped together. Selected pages are shown.
“…Your memorialists, women of the North and North-West, pray that you will allow us to share more fully in the responsibility and labor, so remarkably laid upon the Government and the men of the North, in the care and education of these freedmen…”
Memorial written by Josephine Griffing asking that women be commissioned to assist with the care and education of the freedmen. 5/9/1864
Records of the U.S. House of Representatives, National Archives Identifier: 306645
Happy 115th Birthday, Duke Ellington!
Jazz pioneer Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, 4/29/1899 - 5/24/1974.
Happy 450th birthday, William Shakespeare!
These images are from the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library’s collection of Works Progress Administration (WPA) photos, showing an African American production of Macbeth circa 1935. You can find these photos, and several more, online.
"Marian Anderson, world’s greatest contralto, entertains a group of overseas veterans and WACs on [the] stage of the San Antonio Municipal Auditorium…", 04/11/1945
From the series: Photographs of Notable Personalities, 1942 - 1945. Records of the Office of War Information
Earlier this week was the 75th Anniversary of Marian Anderson’s famous outdoor concert at the Lincoln Memorial, on April 9, 1939. (Hear her renowned contralto voice in the audio post!)
“I don’t know whether I am doing a right deed as to plead to you. But I do know that I am all right to plead for my race…I am a Southern colored girl in New York.” –Miss South Carolinean, April 10, 1933
Letter from Miss South Carolinean [Carolinian] to President Franklin Roosevelt Regarding the Scottsboro Case
Clarence Norris, Charlie Weems, Haywood Patterson, Ozie Powell, Willie Robertson, Eugene Williams, Olen Montgomery, Andy Wright, and Ray Wright were known as the “Scottsboro Boys.” In 1931, the nine African Americans were tried and convicted of assault and rape in Alabama by all-white juries within two weeks. Eight were sentenced to death. In this letter to Franklin Roosevelt, “Miss South Carolinian” asked for the President’s help.
The initial speedy trials, the age of the defendants, the racial bias of the juries and the severity of the sentences led to arguments that the defendants never received fair trials and a movement to free them. Their case went to the Supreme Court of the United States, which ruled they were denied the right to counsel, violating their right to due process under the 14th amendment. Eventually, their sentences were commuted and charges against four were dropped, but their lives were forever changed as most spent years in jail. On November 21, 2013, posthumous pardons were issued by the state of Alabama to Charlie Weems, Andy Wright and Haywood Patterson.
This letter is among the featured items at the “Making Their Mark: Stories Through Signatures" exhibit now on display at the National Archives Museum.
Today marks the 75th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s concert on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC. More than 75,000 people attended.
Originally, Anderson was scheduled to sing at Howard University, but when officials thought the crowds would be too large, they asked the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if Anderson could sing in their auditorium at Constitution Hall.
However, in 1939, Washington, DC, was still a racially segregated city, and Constitution Hall had a “white-only” policy for its performers. The DAR declined.
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned her membership from the organization in protest, surprising the nation (though not the black community) with her support.
Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior and past president of the Chicago NAACP, approved the idea immediately.
This iconic image shows Anderson singing to the 75,000 people gathered in Potomac Park on April 9, 1939. Image: National Archives Identifier 595378.