The Civil Rights Act 1964 Essay

As a milestone piece of legislation  in the United States that proscribed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public. The enactment of the Act brought far-reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. The provisions of this civil rights act forbade discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race in hiring, promoting, and firing

The Act was stronger than the previous Acts because it included provisions to ban discrimination in public accommodations, and to enable the U.S. Attorney General to join in lawsuits against state governments which operated segregated school systems, among other provisions. Its other strength is that it dealt with individual rights rather then group rights as was the case with the previous Acts. It also gave the government the right to deny any federal funding to agencies that that violated title VI that prevented discrimination by government agencies.

But it did not include a number of provisions deemed essential by civil rights leaders including protection against police brutality, ending discrimination in private employment, or granting the Justice Department power to initiate desegregation or job discrimination lawsuits. It also failed to define the term ‘private’ when addressing Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs in Title II. In title III, the Act did not also do away with literacy tests, which were one of the main routines used to rule out Black voters, other racial minorities, and poor Whites in the South, nor did it address economic retaliation, police repression, or physical violence against nonwhite voters. While the Act did require that voting rules and measures be applied equally to all races, it failed to challenge the fundamental concept of voter “qualification.” That is, it accepted the idea that citizens do not have an automatic right to vote but rather might have to meet some standard beyond citizenship.

The Act, although with limitations ahs been amended severally and is still relevant today. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission draws its source and authority from this Act and is still operational today. The act also helped calm the very high rates of discrimination in the U.S after its amendments that included affirmative action.


Burstein, P. (1985) Discrimination, jobs and politics: The struggle for equal employment opportunity in the United States since the new deal, university of Chicago press