Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Civil Rights Bill Changes History

The Mississippi Burning case of the three civil rights workers listed as missing culminated in the tragic discovery six weeks later of their murders. Their disappearance garnered national attention in June of 1964, simultaneous to the contentious national debate on the proposed Civil Rights Act, which was finally passed July 2, 1964.

The landmark act prohibited discrimination based on race, gender, religion, and country of origin in the workplace, and also outlawed segregation in public places, including schools, restaurants, theaters, and hotels, thereby challenging the long-term Jim Crow segregation practices of the South.

Initiated by John F. Kennedy in 1963, upon his assassination, the banner of the Civil Rights Act became the legacy of President Lyndon, and not without struggle, during a tumultuous year until the bill’s final passage in the summer of 1964. This historic act not only made segregation illegal but also paved the way for many of the rights Americans enjoy today. The Equal Employment clause in hiring practices stems from the act, and the act established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to oversee the administration of the policies set forth. Under Title VI of the act, discrimination in federal funded programs was prohibited, resulting in considerable reforms in educational institution policy and practice.

The Civil Rights Act also set the stage for passage of the Title IX of the Education Act of 1972, which forbade gender discrimination in education programs receiving federal funding. The result of this newer act led to a multitude of athletic and other programs giving females parity with males. For instance, although not the stable, athletic teams for girls were now introduced in high schools and the map of college sports changed forever.

How do you believe the Civil Rights Act has affected your own life, be it academically, in the workplace, or otherwise? What differences do you see it making in the lives of others? How does the period of upheaval witnessed in the film Mississippi Burning help us appreciate the rights granted by the act? How has this film helped you to understand history in terms of where we are today?

Image from: www.corporateservices.noaa.g


Hannah said...

The film Mississippi Burning has put into perspective just how difficult the lives of African American were at this time. The act granting them the right to vote was their saving grace and made me realize how far the United States has come from the time of Mississippi Burning.

jackie said...

i agree with what hannah said and I made me think of the movie we're watching now, "A Time to Kill". Although this movie took place after the time of Mississippi Burning there was still deep seated racism in some of the people. When I watch "A Time to Kill" I am comforted by the fact that people are more accepting and open to others (except the Klan of course).
I remember hearing something Junior year from my social studies teacher. When the schools were integrated in the 60's a bill was passed saying the schools had to be integrated, yet the bill did not specify when, therefore my schools in the south prolonged their integration using this loop hole.

Alyssa said...

The Civil Rights Act has played a big part in my life, even if I haven't fully realized it until now. Without it, I wouldn't have been able to play sports in high school, experience a (sort of) diverse population at school or maybe even attend college. It gave other ethnic and racial groups equal standing in the workplace and everywhere, although there is unfortunately still those who have unfounded prejudices against anyone who is different. Seeing all the violence and hatred that was part of every day life in the film Mississippi Burning makes me appreciate the fairly socially stable environment that I live in. I appreciate that I have not had to live in fear of racial wars or anything to the degree of the violence in the film. It is amazing and appalling that only 40ish years ago, our country still had such practices as segregation and that racism still exists today.

Hannah said...

I agree with Jackie that I feel comforted that not everyone is prejudice like the KKK is. I find it difficult to comprehend how people could feel so much hate towards individuals that are simply a different color then them. This act goes to show that change is both wanted and needed.

Teresa said...

It's amazing that one act could produce such violence because it would change how a lot of people would lead their lives, especially in the south. These days however, we seem to take such an act for granted because we don't live those kinds of lives anymore.