Today marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. With Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. present, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the bill on July 2, 1964. The Civil Rights Act outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin – ending segregation in schools and unequal voter registration requirements. The bill was originally called for by President John F. Kennedy in June of 1963, just five months prior to his assassination. On November 27, 1963, during his first address to a joint session of Congress, President Johnson said, “No memorial oration or eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.” Eight months later, Johnson signed the bill into law.
With the 4th of July just a few days away, it’s a wonderful time to appreciate some of the accomplishments we’ve made as a nation in regards to equality and civil liberties. We have a long ways to go, but we’re still on the right path.