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President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on. Photo by Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office, Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Cecil Stoughton, White House Press Office, Wikimedia Commons

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on.

Civil Rights Act 50th Anniversary


Freedom Summer anniversary brings reflection

On July 2, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin; unequal application of voter registration requirements; and racial segregation in schools, the workplace, and facilities that served the general public.

The signing and passage came in the midst of what was known as Freedom Summer, the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee’s voter registration drive in Mississippi. That year, three Freedom Summer workers were murdered and acts of violence occurred in many places in the United States. At the same time, black and white Methodists and members of the Evangelical United Brethren Church were working alongside others to keep the efforts non-violent.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary, Interpreter Magazine invited six who were involved in the struggle for civil rights to share their reflections. 

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: Committed to liberation

Angella Current-Felder's parents and her experiences during Freedom Summer shaped her continuing concern for the liberation of people of African descent. Read More

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: The Church and the Civil Rights Act

The Rev. Edwin King reflects on the role of the institutional church in ending racial segregation in the United States. Read More

THE REV. GILBERT H. CALDWELL

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: Not whole yet

Active in the Massachusetts unit of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell traveled the United States working on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement. Read More

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: ‘I am grateful’

Retired educator the Rev. Margaret Ann Williams is grateful for what the Civil Rights Act let her children accomplish and sees possibilities for her grandchildren. Read More

Bette Prestwood

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: Before and After

Bette Prestwood worked behind the scenes in support of the proposed Civil Rights Act and urged peaceful acceptances of the changes its passage brought. Read More

Civil Rights Act Anniversary: Bending toward justice

The Rev. Maxie Dunnam says good educational opportunities will help overcome disparities that still exist. Read More

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