1964 Civil Rights Act Quick Information

Here’s a look at the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It ranks as the most important civil rights law in the country since the reconstruction (1865-1877) and prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin. Under that bill, US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed pioneering civil rights laws, including the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

Other facts

“Every year, from 1945 to 1957, Congress considered a civil rights law, but it did not pass it. Congress eventually passed limited civil rights laws in 1957 and 1960, but they offered only modest benefits. As a result of the 1957 Act, the United States Commission on Civil Rights was formed to investigate civil rights issues, report on them and make recommendations to the President. ”- National Park Service

The bill had the longest filibuster in US Senate history, and after the long battle for civil rights, the Senate passed the bill in July 1964 73-27. It became law less than a year after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

More Republicans than Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act.


Jun 11, 1963 – US President John F. Kennedy calls on Congress to pass civil rights laws during his radio and television report to the American people on civil rights.

June 19, 1963 – Kennedy sends his comprehensive proposal for the Civil Rights Act to the US Congress for consideration. The HR 7152 bill will be introduced the next day.

June 26, 1963 – United States Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy speaks to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee in support of HR 7152.

October 15, 1963 – Robert Kennedy testifies before the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for the second time in an attempt to save the law.

November 20, 1963 – A version of the bill will be forwarded to the House Rules Committee by the House Judiciary Committee.

November 22, 1963 – Lee Harvey Oswald murders Kennedy. Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as President.

November 27, 1963 – Speaking to a joint session of Congress, Johnson said: “No memorial or eulogy could honor the memory of President Kennedy more eloquently than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he has fought for so long.”

December 1963 – The House is adjourned with the draft law in committee.

January 1964 – The House Rules Committee debates the draft law.

February 10, 1964 – The bill goes to the house.

February 17, 1964 – The bill goes to the Senate.

March 30, 1964 – June 10, 1964 – The Senate debates the bill for 60 working days, including seven Saturdays, with many attempts to filibuss the bill. The Senate Committee on Justice is not involved.

9-10 June 1964 – US Senator Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia filibusters the bill for 14 hours and 13 minutes before the Senate votes 71-29 for the bill. A request for closure forces an immediate vote. This vote by two-thirds or more puts an end to all debates.

June 19, 1964 – The Senate passed an amended bill with 73 votes to 27, which was sent back to the House of Representatives.

Jun 21, 1964 – Three young men who volunteer for the “Freedom Summer” voter registration campaign disappear in isolated Mississippi. Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Earl Chaney drove to a Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) office in Meridian, Mississippi that evening. This leads to a national outcry, protests and an FBI investigation.

Jul 02, 1964 – House of Representatives adopts Senate version of Bill 289-126.

Jul 02, 1964 – Johnson signs the law.

Aug. 04, 1964 – The FBI finds the bodies of three missing civil rights activists in Philadelphia, Mississippi. They were shot and buried under a dam.

December 14, 1964 – The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in the Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. interstate trade case against the United States. The case, initiated by an Atlanta motel attempting to discriminate against its customers on the basis of race, is proving to be an important test for the Civil Rights Act.

June 15, 2020 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against LGBTQ workers in the workplace after consolidated cases on behalf of two gay men laid off from their jobs as parachutists and child welfare coordinators, and on behalf of one Transgender woman who lost her position as director of a funeral home.

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