Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is officially Public Law 88-352, passed in 1964. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was enacted to ensure the guarantees of equal protection under the law that Jim Crow and segregation legislation had prevented up to that point. The bill was originally drafted to end racial bias under the law, but “sex” was added at the last minute to offer equal protections to women.
The 1964 Civil Rights Act is similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1875 except for the addition of protections for women and minority faiths.
Chapters of the Civil Rights Act
Title 1 covers voting rights, prohibiting unequal voting registration requirements for blacks versus whites. There is modern debate today as to whether the requirement in many states to have ballots in English only discriminates against non-English speakers.
Title II outlaws discrimination in hotels, restaurants and public accommodations. This outlawed separate lunch counters for blacks in the South, separate seating in buses and movie theaters and venues that prohibited blacks altogether.
Title III permitted the Justice Department to ensure the desegregation of some facilities.
Title IV encouraged the desegregation of public schools by allowing the government to withhold federal funds to school districts that did not desegregate. Title IV did not mandate bussing of students from one area to another to alter the racial balance of schools.
Title V set up a Civil Rights Commission originally set to last until 1968.
Title VI allowed the withdrawal of federal funds from programs that practiced discrimination but did not mandate it. For example, funds could be withdrawn from programs and projects receiving federal funds if they did not hire qualified black applicants.
Title VII is the Equal Employment Opportunity section. It outlawed discrimination by any business with more than 25 people. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to review complaints, though it had limited enforcement powers at the time the act was passed.
Title VIII requires the Census Bureau to collect statistics on voting registration and voting statistics, but it doesn’t require individuals to reveal who they personally voted for.
Title IX allows the high federal courts to review district courts’ decisions on civil rights cases. It also allowed the federal Attorney General to intervene in some cases.
Title X created the Community Relations Service. This organization was created to mediate disputes in communities where segregation and other race-based divisions might make mediation in courts perceived as biased (or with a history of enforcing segregation).
Title XI contains miscellaneous addendums.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not include provisions for the Justice Department to sue to force changes on desegregation or discrimination in employment. This was added later through subsequent legislation.
Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Affirmative Action
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not create “affirmative action”, the practice of biasing hiring, promotions, training and college admissions to groups that were previously discriminated against. Affirmative action came about as a result of the EEOC attempting to end discrimination. The term “affirmative action” first shows up in a 1961 executive order by President Kennedy. President Johnson expanded it to order all federal contractors to take affirmative action to ensure that all applicants are treated equally, regardless of race, creed, color, sex or national origin.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is part of a group of civil rights legislation passed in the 1960s. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits discrimination for work done under similar conditions to women or men. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 prohibits discrimination against those over the age of 40. The Education Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination against women in education programs, such as requiring as many women’s athletic programs and scholarships as those available to men.