Considered one of the most monumental legislations in history, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 granted multiple important civil rights to African Americans. Many of its titles prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin, as well as gender. It faced much controversy in the South when it was passed by the U.S Congress, but was considered a groundbreaking step towards racial and social equality.
President John F. Kennedy's lack of response to the growing issues in the South motivated King and other fellow protesters to organize multiple peaceful acts. One main focus was Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963, after the citizens of America were shown graphic footage on television of the violence used against the peaceful protesters, including methods such as dogs and fire hoses. Eventually, Kennedy had no choice but to respond to the matters.
The next president, Lyndon B. Johnson, made the new Civil Rights Act one of his top priorities to pass. Johnson was able to pass the bill and sign it into law within the first 6 months of his presidency, which banned discrimination based on color, race, or national origin in public facilities. Discrimination against gender in employment was also banned.
After its passage, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made a major step in the process towards giving American minorities more basic rights and opportunities. It was followed by two other important legislations, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act/Civil Rights Act of 1968. These civil rights bills became amended over time, and make up today's freedoms for the people.
"My fellow Americans: I am about to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964. I want to take this occasion to talk to you about what that law means to every American... Americans of every race and color have died in battle to protect our freedom. Americans of every race and color have worked to build a nation of widening opportunities..."