"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. Truth was never put to the worse in a free and open encounter..."
~ Milton
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

Reading:
A Fistful of Euros
Ahistoricality
Andrew Tobias
Angry Liberal
Archy
Avedon Carol
Back to Iraq
Bad Attitudes
Bark Bark Woof Woof
BlogAfrica
Cliopatria
Common Dreams
Counterterrorism Blog
Cursor
Daniel Drezner
Eric Alterman
European Democracy
Fablog
Hellblazer
Hugo Schwyzer
Hullabaloo
In The Dark
Informed Comment
Jesus' General
Madelaine Kane
Mahablog
Mother Jones
Obsidian Wings
Off the Kuff
Opinions You Should Have
Orcinus
Pacific Views
Pen-Elayne
Political Animal
Prometheus 6
StoutDemBlog
Talking Points Memo
TalkLeft
TBOGG
The American Street
The Common Ills
The Washington Note
War and Piece

Book Reviews
The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis & Teixeira)
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Franken)
Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot (Franken)
The True Believer (Hoffer)
Still Being Bushwhacked

All Book Reviews
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
You Got My Support. But.
Even Endangered Penguins Do It
Jesus Wept
Not Quite Right (with caveats)
Unforeseen Racism?

All Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Campaigns and Voting
killmenow
Not News. Olds. And Truths.
November 4, 2008
Anyone?
Pay Attention

All Campaigns and Voting
Lecture Circuit
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
July 2, 1964
Pledge
May 14-15, 1970
The Erotica of Bare Knees

All Lecture Circuit
Media
The Liberal Media, At It Again
Fairly UNbalanced
P.S.
What's this?
OHMIGOD

All Media
Big Brother
Shoulda' Guessed
Where did my country go?
You know what you never thought you'd read?
Not in his name
Sleight of Hand

All Big Brother
World O'Blog
It's Vocabulary Time!
They wrote it
Mighty-fine blogging
Other People Said....
Phillipines

All World O'Blog
Aimless Ranting
So, I'm thinking with half my brain
Do You Know Peter?
Long, Little Privacy Rant
My Takeaway
If I Had It To Do Over Again

All Aimless Ranting
Archives
November 24, 2013 - November 30, 2013
November 03, 2013 - November 09, 2013
December 09, 2012 - December 15, 2012
October 07, 2012 - October 13, 2012
May 06, 2012 - May 12, 2012

All Weekly Archives


Electioneering
Open Secrets
Political Wire Exit Polls
Politics1
Polling Report

Information
American Research Group
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Public Integrity
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Congressional Report Cards
Death Row Roll Call
DebtChannel.org
Democracy Now
Economic Policy Institute
FairVote Colorado
Foreign Policy In Focus
Global Exchange
Human Rights Watch
Independent Judiciary
Inequality
Institute on Money in State Politics
Institute for Public Accuracy
JobWatch
Lying in ponds
Media Reform
Media Transparency
Move On
One World
Open Democracy
Pew Research Center
Project Censored
Public Citizen Health Research Group
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Take Back The Media
The Urban Institute
WHO Outbreak News

Connections
XML & RDF
Peevish for PDA



Blog Directory


Search








Credits
Powered by Movable Type

Site Design by Sekimori





All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

July 02, 2004
July 2, 1964

It was forty years ago, today....

There's an important anniversary today. Kennedy's idea, and, later, Johnson's determined support, drove through The Civil Rights Act of 1964, building on the foundation created by a reluctant Eisenhower:

(The statistically inclined can look at the numbers. I find a timeline more meaningful.)

A Civil Right: "[A]n enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury."

Previous civil rights acts passed by the Federal government had been thrown out by the Supreme Court on the grounds that the Constitution didn't give Congress the authority to pass such legislation.

The most important expansion of civil rights in the United States was the enactment of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments. The Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States. See U.S. Const. amend. XIII. In response to the 13th Amendment, various states enacted "black codes" which were intended to limit the civil rights of the newly free slaves. In 1868 the 14th Amendment was passed to counter the "black codes" and ensure that no state "shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of the citizens of the United States . . . [or] deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, [or] deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. Congress was also given the power by section five of the Fourteenth Amendment to pass any laws needed for its enforcement.

Based on that last sentence, I'm not sure how previous Acts could have been unconstitutional, but variances in wording make a big difference, of course. I haven't researched the history of the failed attempts, but I was very interested to learn that the equal gender protection was added to the 1964 Act in an attempt to alienate Northern Senators who might be willing to press for equal rights for minorities but who could be expected to draw the line at letting women be equal.

The attempt to scuttle the 1964 Act failed and was resulted was an outright ban on discrimination.

A law that covered everyone. What a concept.

Little Rock was the catalyst for the 1957 bill.

The Little Rock High School incident of 1957 in Arkansas brought international attention to the civil rights cause. The Montgomery Bus Boycott may have been important but it hardly had media appeal. Here at Little Rock, you had a state fighting against federal authority, national guard troopers facing professional paratroopers and a governor against a president. As part of a media circus, it proved compulsive viewing - but what happened was shown throughout the western world and brought the civil rights issue into the living rooms of many people who may have been unaware of what was going on in the South.

Eisenhower had shown that he had little faith in measures to support the African American community in the South simply because he believed that a change of heart was required and that enforcement would not work - if anything, enforcement would make matters worse. In 1957 a civil rights bill was being pushed through Congress and Eisenhower made it clear that it did not have his support. This bill was very mild but the leader of the Senate majority, Lyndon Johnson (a future US president and from Texas) watered it down so that Southern senators would not ruin what was on paper. The bill was passed into law in 1957 with a 72 to14 vote. It barely changed anything but it was more a symbol of hope that the law could be used to change Southern society. It was, in fact, the first civil rights act to pass Congress since the Civil War.

(Little Rock, in pictures.)

I've decided to break this into two parts. I'm going to re-read the rest of it (and eat a donut) before I post it.

Posted by AnneZook at 07:25 AM


Comments