On June 11, 1963, President john F. Kennedy gave a televised resolve to the American people and also announced that he would be sending a civil legal rights bill to Congress. His invoice would come to be the most-far reaching act of law supporting racial equality in American history. Start in the 1950s, african Americans had actually been engaged in calm demonstrations to protest segregation and discrimination, yet had encountered violence and resistance. The turmoil through the South motivated the president to take it action. The Civil rights Act that 1964 outlawed gyeongju segregation in windy accommodations consisting of hotels, restaurants, theaters, and stores, and made employment discrimination illegal. President lindon Johnson signed the invoice on July 2, 1964. This exhibition summarizes several of the historical events that influenced the i of this legislation.

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The Civil legal rights Movement

The catalyst that ignited the modern-day Civil Rights motion was the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama. Once Rosa Parks was arrested because that refusing to give up her bus chair to a white passenger, the black ar organized a boycott the the city buses. After ~ 13 months, the U.S. Supreme Court organized that Alabama’s legislations segregating buses were unconstitutional, and also the boycott finished in success. During the Montgomery boycott, Reverend martin Luther King, Jr. Rose to prominence, and in 1956 the southern Christian leadership Council was created to coordinate and support non-violent protests versus segregation and also discrimination.

U.S. Supreme Court held that Alabama’s regulations segregating buses to be unconstitutional

The civil Rights motion was a grassroots effort, that took root as African American citizens chose to speak up, go out, or engage in civil disobedience to lug attention to the gyeongju injustices that permeated southerly society. In February 1960, students in Greensboro, phibìc Carolina, began the sit-in movement, when they refused to leaving a segregated lunch respond to at a Woolworth’s store. Their actions collection off a tide of sit-ins and other non-violent protests versus segregation. Later that year, students established the student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee as an outlet for younger afri Americans who wanted come take part in the movement. In 1961, the freedom Riders risked their resides trying to desegregate interstate take trip facilities, such as bus stations across the South. Start their rides in Washington, D.C., the riders to be arrested in Charlotte, phibìc Carolina, and also they encountered boosting resistance together they travel deeper into the South. In Alabama and Mississippi, the riders to be beaten and also arrested. The next year, violent vigilantes rioted in Oxford, Mississippi, together James Meredith, by stimulate of the U.S. Courts, enrolled in the traditionally white university of Mississippi.

The Kennedy Administration

Although john F. Kennedy’s management responded to civil legal rights protests the turned violent, such as sending out federal troops come the university of Mississippi campus to quell the riots, it had been criticized for no doing enough to support African american fighting because that social and economic equality. President Kennedy want to wait till his 2nd term come send a civil rights bill come Congress, but events conspired to constrict his timetable.


On the occasion of Vanderbilt University’s 90th anniversary, President john Kennedy stressed the duty of education men and also women to usage their talent to help society. Photo courtesy that the john F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

By the feather of 1963, coincided protests were taking place throughout the South, yet the one attracting national and international attention emerged in Birmingham, Alabama. The city’s black neighborhood decided to follow a strategy provided in Albany, Georgia, protesting discriminatory techniques with fixed marches and also filling up the city’s jails. Birmingham’s Police Commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor, a hard-line segregationist, responded to the relaxed protests through police force. President Kennedy was spurred into activity as the Birmingham protests escalated. As photographs of police dogs attacking tranquil marchers and fire hoses being turned on youngsters flashed throughout the country and around the globe, the Kennedy administration responded. In might 1963, the management sent Burke Marshall, an official from the justice Department, down to Birmingham, and also he negotiated a short-lived agreement in between business leaders and also civil rights activists.

That very same month, on might 18, 1963, chairman Kennedy ceded a speech at Vanderbilt college in Nashville, Tennessee, in i m sorry he stated the movement and also the battle for same rights. He described the complexity of the problem and also the prestige of assuring all Americans their civil liberties under the law.

Then on might 21, commonwealth courts notified the university of Alabama come admit 2 African American students, Vivian J. Malone and James A. Hood, because that the summer session beginning in June. The governor of Alabama, George Wallace, to be an avowed segregationist. In his inaugural attend to in January 1963, Wallace “drew a heat in the dust and also toss the gauntlet before the feet the tyranny,” declaring “segregation now, distinction tomorrow, distinction forever.” that pledged to block the entrance and prevent the university’s desegregation.

Read Wallace’s complete Inaugural resolve from the Alabama room of Archives and background Digital Collections.

President Kennedy warned branch Wallace versus stopping the integration the the university, however on June 11, 1963, governor Wallace was standing in former of a university building to bar Malone’s and Hood’s entrance. Governor Wallace and also U.S. Deputy Attorney general Nicholas Katzenbach engaged in a standoff, caught on camera, and President Kennedy mobilized the Alabama national Guard to safeguard the students and resolve the situation. Malone and also Hood ultimately gone into the building and also registered for classes.


Governor George Wallace (second indigenous left) blocked U.S. Deputy attorney General, Nicholas Katzenbach, native entering the university of Alabama. Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress.

That night chairman Kennedy took to the wait waves, speak forcefully around civil rights. He announced his intention come ask congress to act, advertising that a moral situation existed in the country and also requesting congress to relocate forward with legislation to desegregate windy accommodations and also speed up the integration of public education.

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It was established on the principle the all guys are produced equal, and also that the civil liberties of every man are reduced when the civil liberties of one guy are threatened.

On June 19, chairman Kennedy sent his civil legal rights bill to Congress.

As the bill started to gradually make its means through Congress, civil rights leaders proposed maintaining the inert by reviving one idea indigenous the 1940s. In 1941, A. Philip Randolph and also associates had actually proposed a march on Washington come protest racial discrimination in the war industries. The in march never came to fruition since President Franklin Roosevelt signed an executive, management order that prohibited discrimination in national defense industries.

Read president Roosevelt"s executive, management Order 8802 at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and also Museum.


Martin Luther King Jr offered his well known I have a Dream decided at the Lincoln Memorial, where much more than 250,000 world gathered for the march on Washington for Jobs and also Freedom in respectable 1963. Source: national Archives

In 1963, civil civil liberties leaders consisting of Martin Luther King, Jr., Roy Wilkins, and James Farmer determined to recreation Randolph’s initial idea. The march on Washington for Jobs and also Freedom took place on respectable 28, 1963, when more than 250,000 demonstrators gathered in Washington, D.C., in assistance of job creation and also civil rights legislation.

Following the relaxed March on Washington, i beg your pardon featured king “I have a Dream” speech, president Kennedy met v civil rights leaders in ~ the White House. They disputed the event and the details the the polite right legislation moving v Congress. Roy Wilkins stressed their desire to have actually fair employed practices had in the civil rights package. They additionally stressed the prestige of training and also education.


President Kennedy meets through civil civil liberties leaders in the White House. Photo courtesy that the national Archives.

The Johnson Administration

Then top top November 22, 1963, president Kennedy was assassinated when riding in a Dallas motorcade. On becoming president, lyndon Johnson take it up the mantle of civil rights. In addressing a share session that Congress five days after the assassination, president Johnson announced his intention to continue to pursue the passage of civil rights legislation as a tribute to chairman Kennedy.

Using his leadership to lobby vital senators, chairman Johnson forged a bipartisan coalition that northern and border-state Democrats and moderate Republicans. These Senators were able to counter a coalition of southerly Democrats and right-wing Republicans, including an 82-day filibuster, and the invoice passed in the Senate by a poll of 73 come 27 on June 19, 1964.


President lindon Johnson recorded many of his telephone conversations during his time in office. Photo courtesy the the national Archives.

That day, president Johnson called NAACP president, Roy Wilkins, to discuss the Senate’s i of the bill. After sharing congratulations, the president asked Wilkins for his ideas about the explain Johnson would make during the signing ceremony. The two men talked around strategy because that implementing the legislation, and also how to manage southern governors and also how come enforce the regulation in the old Confederacy.

Two days later, chairman Johnson dubbed House minority Leader, Republican Charles Halleck that Indiana, to discuss bringing the invoice up because that a vote in the House. Johnson urged Halleck to pass the civil civil liberties legislation, and his anti-poverty bill. Alternatively cajoling and joking through Halleck, Johnson made it clear that he planned to sign the act before the July 4th congressional recess.

On July 2, 1964, a couple of hours after ~ the home passed the bill, chairman Johnson signed the Civil rights Act of 1964 in a televised White home ceremony. In his remarks, he detailed the historical nature that the legislation and outlined his plan to perform the law. At the conclusion the his statement, that signed the bill using a variety of different pens, which he then passed out to the bill’s supporters, consisting of President Kennedy’s brother, Attorney basic Robert F. Kennedy.

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We believe that all guys have particular unalienable rights. Yet countless Americans perform not gain those rights.