Today marks the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This landmark legislation outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin in public places and employment opportunities, paving the way for integration at workplaces, schools, and places of public accommodation such as restaurants, hotels and theaters.
The Act changed life in America-- as “Whites only” and “Blacks only” signs were made illegal and torn down, doors of opportunity began to open for all Americans. The opportunity to pursue higher education, get a job at a formerly segregated place of business, and sit next to your neighbor in the theater became a reality for every individual in the United States.
The Act paved the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965, prohibiting racial discrimination in voting. The Civil Rights Act has also given women the tools necessary to shatter the glass ceiling. Formerly fired for having children, and denied access to employment opportunities due to discrimination in higher education, the Act gave women the chance to work both in and outside of the home.
Today we recognize the accomplishments and stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, who poured their souls into the passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964 – an act that has truly transformed the American landscape.