The Civil Rights Act of 1964 – 52nd Anniversary


The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against racial, ethnic, national and religious minorities, and women.  It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as “public accommodations”).

Powers given to enforce the act were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment. The Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who would later sign the landmark Voting Rights Act into law.


6/24/14 US House and Senate leaders posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
6/24/14 US House and Senate leaders posthumously award the Congressional Gold Medal to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Desiline Victor, 102, stood in line for three hours to cast her vote on Oct. 28, 2012. Ms. Victor was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama to listen to President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address.
Desiline Victor, 102, stood in line for three hours to cast her vote on Oct. 28, 2012. Ms. Victor was a guest of First Lady Michelle Obama to listen to President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address.

June 25, 2013

Statement by the President on the Supreme Court Ruling on Shelby County v. Holder

“I am deeply disappointed with the Supreme Court’s decision today. For nearly 50 years, the Voting Rights Act – enacted and repeatedly renewed by wide bipartisan majorities in Congress – has helped secure the right to vote for millions of Americans. Today’s decision invalidating one of its core provisions upsets decades of well-established practices that help make sure voting is fair, especially in places where voting discrimination has been historically prevalent.

As a nation, we’ve made a great deal of progress towards guaranteeing every American the right to vote. But, as the Supreme Court recognized, voting discrimination still exists. And while today’s decision is a setback, it doesn’t represent the end of our efforts to end voting discrimination. I am calling on Congress to pass legislation to ensure every American has equal access to the polls. My Administration will continue to do everything in its power to ensure a fair and equal voting process.”


Contact your legislator

The Supreme Court just gutted the most important civil rights law in our country — the Voting Rights Act. This decision is an extremely disappointing setback for voting rights in this country. Now it’s up to Congress to enact new legislation to protect the rights of voters, and it’s up to us to make them act.

Contact your Congress person to Republicans it’s time to pass laws to RESTORE and PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS!!!

U.S. Senators
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US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2016 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)





Natl Organization for Women – 50th Anniversary

This Day in History: National Organization for Women was Founded


On June 30, 1966, the National Organization for Women was founded by a group of activists who wanted to end sex discrimination. Today, the organization remains as a cornerstone of the women’s rights movement.

“We, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking place within and beyond our national borders.”

—National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose

On June 30, 1966, Betty Friedan wrote three letters on a paper napkin: N O W. She invited fifteen women to her hotel room. Then, Catherine Conroy slid a five-dollar bill onto the table and said, “Put your money down and sign your name.” In that moment, the National Organization for Women became a reality.

As representatives at the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women, these women were disgruntled by the lack of commitment to the convention’s theme, “Targets for Action.” Inspired by the Civil Rights movement and historic marches such as in Selma, the women founded a parallel effort to ensure the equal treatment of both sexes. They brainstormed an alternate action plan to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, nationality, and religion.

For more:


We have to raise our voices to demand that women get paid fairly.  We’ve got to raise our voices to make sure women can take time off to care for a loved one, and that moms and dads can spend time with a new baby.  We’ve got to raise our voices to make sure that our women maintain and keep their own health care choices.

—President Obama, October 2014

As the , feminists reflect on progress, unfinished business

Jun 25 2016 8:00 am Deanna Pan – CBS

Two years after she was hired as a cub reporter for a local TV news station, Jennet Robinson Alterman asked for a raise.

It was 1975. She had been hired at the same time as two men, both fresh out of college with liberal arts degrees just like her. But despite having the same job, they made twice as much she did. When she approached her boss about a pay bump, he said something Alterman would never forget.

“I was told I would never get a raise because I would always be a secondary income because I would have a husband to support me,” she recalled. “So I quit.”

Times have changed since Alterman asked for her first raise. The National Organization for Women, founded in 1966 by a small group of activists to end gender discrimination, recognized its 50th anniversary this month with much to celebrate: Women now comprise close to 50 percent of enrollment in U.S. medical schools and law schools. One-third of federal judges are women, compared to just a handful in the 1960s. The U.S military is opening all combat jobs to women. Hillary Clinton will have the opportunity to this November by become the first woman elected president.

Despite this progress, the work of the women’s liberation movement is far from over.

Alterman, the former executive director of Charleston’s Center for Women, recalled her time at the White House’s United State of Women Summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.

“It made me really sad to see the issues they were addressing in 2016 are basically the same issues we’ve been talking about for 50 years: Equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave, support for women entrepreneurs, sexual violence. You name it, it’s all still out there,” Alterman said. “Even the whole discussion of women in the military. And keep in mind we still don’t have an Equal Rights Amendment that’s been passed.”

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#EqualPay.Forward For Equality_sml

Drafting the 2016 Democrat Platform Together

The Democratic Party wants every Democrat to have a voice in our Platform process.

Our goal is to make this year’s platform process the most representative and inclusive in history. With that aim, we announced a series of events across the country in the hopes of increasing participation. We are also encouraging people to submit their ideas online.

In an effort to welcome every voice in the Party, the DNCC has announced multiple ways in which the public can participate in the series of regional events. We welcome your input and invite you to contribute now. Please submit all written and video testimony by June 18th.

Democrats value substance, ideas and diversity and we hope you will help us ensure that our platform incorporates the best the Party has to offer!


Forums will be held in the following regions:


2016 Democratic Party Platform DRAFT

July 1, 2016

Raise Incomes and Restore Economic Security for the Middle Class

  • Raising Worker’s  Wages
  • Equal Pay, Paid Leave, and Caregiving
  • Expanding Affordable Housing
  • Protecting and Expanding Social Security
  • Ensuring and Expanding Retirement Security
  • Retivalizing Postal Service

Create Good-Paying Jobs

  • Infrastructure
  • Manufacturing
  •  Clean Energy Jobs
  • Research, Science, and Technology
  • Small Business
  • Youth Jobs

Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality

  • Fixing our Financial System
  • Stopping Corporate Concentration
  • Taxes
  • Trade

Bring Americans Together and Remove Barrie rs to Create Ladders of Opportunity

  • Racial Justice
  • Racial Wealth Gap
  • Criminal Justice
  • Immigration
  • Civil Rights
  • LGBT Rights
  • Disability Rights
  • Faith and Service
  • Agricultural Communities
  • Poverty / Communities Left Behind
  • Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations
  • People of the Territories
  • Puerto Rico

Protect Voting Rights, Fix Our Campaign Finance System, and Restore Our Democracy

  • Voting Rights
  • Campaign Finance
  • Judges
  • D.C. Statehood
  • Management of Federal Government

Combat Climate Change, Build a Clean Energy Economy, and Secure Environmental Justice

  • Clean Energy Economy
  • Environmental and Climate Justice
  • Public Lands and Waters

Provide Quality and Affordable Education

  • Higher Education
  • Student Debt
  • \Minority-Serving Institutions
  • For-Profit Schools
  • Early Childhood, Pre-K, and K-12

Ensure the Health and Safety of All Americans

  • Universal Health Care
  • Community Health Centers
  • Prescription Drug Costs
  • Medical Research
  • Drug and Alcohol Addiction
  • Mental Health
  • Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice
  • Public Health
  • Violence Against Women and Sexual Assault
  • Gun Violence Prevention

Principled Leadership

Support Our Troops and Keep Faith with Our Veterans

Confront Global Threats

  • Terrorism
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Russia
  • Cybersecurity
  • Non-proliferation
  • Climate Change

Protect Our Values

  • Women and Girls
  • Trafficking and Modern Slavery
  • Young People
  • Religious Minorities
  • Refugees
  • Civil Society
  • Anti-Corruption
  • Torture
  • Closing Guantánamo Bay
  • Development Assistance
  • Global Health
  • HIV and AIDS
  • International Labor

For the entire draft:


2016 Democratic National Convention Website
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Vote Forward

1966 March Against Fear – 50th Anniversary

1966 March Against Fear - Mississippi
1966 March Against Fear – Mississippi

The March Against Fear was a major 1966 demonstration in the Civil Rights Movement in the South. Activist James Meredith launched the event on June 6, 1966, intending to make a solitary walk from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi, a distance of 220 miles, to counter the continuing racism in the Mississippi Deltaafter passage of federal civil rights legislation in the previous two years and encourage African Americans to register to vote. He invited only black men to join him and did not want it to be a large media event dominated by major organizations.

On the second day of his walk, Meredith was shot by James Aubrey Norvell, a white gunman, and was hospitalized. Thornton Davi Johnson suggests that Meredith was a target for rituals of attack because he had made highly publicized challenges to Mississippi’s racial order, and his walk was framed as a confident repudiation of custom.

Major civil rights organizations rallied, vowing to carry on the march through the Mississippi Delta. The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR) took part, with the Deacons for Defense and Justice from Louisiana providing armed protection. They struggled over tactics and goals, but also cooperated in community organizing and voter registration. They registered over 4,000 African Americans for voting in counties along the way. Some people marched for a short time, others stayed through all the events; some national leaders took part in intermittent fashion, having commitments in other cities.

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Ripple of HOPE – Stand Up Against Injustice

“Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”

6/5/1966 Senator Robert F. Kennedy
Day of Affirmation Address, University of Capetown
Capetown, South Africa

RFK HOPE T-shirt:
RFK HOPE T-shirt:
scan from 35mm color transparency
Robert F. Kennedy

Robert Francis “Bobby” Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), commonly known by his initials RFK, was an American politician from Massachusetts. He served as a Senator for New York from 1965 until his assassination in 1968. He was previously the 64th U.S. Attorney General from 1961 to 1964, serving under his older brother, President John F. Kennedy and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Democratic Party, Kennedy was a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in the 1968 election.

After serving in the U.S. Naval Reserve as a Seaman Apprentice from 1944 to 1946, Kennedy graduated from Harvard College and the University of Virginia School of Law. Prior to entering public office, he worked as a correspondent to the Boston Post and as an attorney in Washington D.C.. He gained national attention as the chief counsel of the Senate Labor Rackets Committee from 1957 to 1959, where he publicly challenged TeamstersPresident Jimmy Hoffa over the corrupt practices of the union, and published The Enemy Within, a book about corruption in organized labor.

A prominent member of the Kennedy family, Bobby was the campaign manager for his brother John in the 1960 presidential election and was appointed Attorney General during his presidential administration. He also served as a White House adviser to the president from 1961 to 1963. His tenure is best known for its advocacy for the African-American Civil Rights Movement, crusade against organized crime and the mafia, and involvement in U.S. foreign policy related to Cuba and Indonesia. After his brother’s assassination, Kennedy remained in office for a few months until leaving to run for the United States Senate in 1964 where he defeated Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating.

In 1968, Kennedy campaigned for the presidency and was a leading Democratic candidate, appealing particularly to blackHispanic, and Catholic voters. Shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, after Kennedy defeated Senator Eugene McCarthy in the California presidential primary, he was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year old Palestinian, and died the following day.

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Robert F. Kennedy Speeches:

Jun 3, 2016

President Obama signs  S. 184, the “Native American Children’s Safety Act,” it amends the Indian Child Protection and Family Violence Prevention Act to require background checks before foster care placements are made by tribal social services agencies.




Measure Requires Background Checks on Adults in Tribal Foster Homes

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Kevin Cramer today announced that President Barack Obama has signed into law S. 184, the Native American Children’s Safety Act, which Hoeven authored and introduced in the Senate. Congressman Cramer then led the effort to get the measure passed in the House. The legislation implements protections for Native American children placed by tribal courts into the tribal foster care system.

“A decade ago, we worked in North Dakota to ensure that all adults living in a foster home were background checked to protect the children in their care, and now we have extended that same safety net for children in tribal foster care in North Dakota and across the nation,” Hoeven said. “Starting today, it’s the law of the land.

“Native American children are more than two-and-a-half times more likely to be victims of abuse or neglect than other American children,” said Cramer. “And, children exposed to violence are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, suffer from depression, anxiety and post-traumatic disorders. The standards in this bill mirror existing national requirements for non-tribal foster care placements, ensuring tribal children receive care at least equal to the protections afforded non-tribal children.”

Prior to today, there was no consistent requirement that Native American tribes conduct background checks on everyone living in a foster care house, yet there has been abuse and harm committed by adults living in the same foster care home as the children.

The Native American Children’s Safety Act requires background checks to be conducted on all adults living in a potential foster home before a tribal court may place a child in that home. The check will include a national criminal records check and a review of child abuse or neglect registries in any state in which the individual under review has lived in the preceding five years.

For more:



Generation Indigenous | The White House





March on Ballot Boxes Speech – 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, May 4, 2016  Congressman James E. Clyburn

Dear Editor, The day of May 8, 1966, is forever seared in my memory. In addition to seeing Martin Luther King, Jr., in person…

for the first time since October, 1960, when I first met him on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta, there are two things I vividly remember about that day. First, there was light intermittent rain throughout the whole day, and second, we were in the middle of an athletic field.

My wife Emily and I had traveled from Charleston with four of our white friends; Brad and Sandra Fowler, Laura Martinez, and Bob Williamson. We all piled into the Fowlers’ light and dark beige van and headed to Kingstree to listen to Martin Luther King, Jr. deliver his famous “March on the Ballot Boxes” speech – one of only a handful of speeches Dr. King would make in South Carolina in his lifetime.

There was a sense of hope in the air that day which was not dampened by the weather. After all the tension that had been rising over the past few months, his speech was one of the first signs that things could get better. Leading up to his speech in Kingstree, Dr. King had led many meaningful marches as a way to influence change. In fact, this was a little over a year after he and my colleague, John Lewis had led marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, one of which precipitated the fateful “Bloody Sunday,” March 7, 1965. That event was the catalyst that moved President Lyndon Johnson to call for passage of the “1965 Voters Rights Act.”

In his “March on Ballot Boxes” speech, Dr. King encouraged thousands of citizens to head to the polls and exercise their right to vote. He believed that having the right to vote allowed citizens the power to influence change. I personally believe that power is still alive in our political system today. Unfortunately, many of my generation seem to have lost their focus and too many of the younger generation seem not to understand the relationship of voting to those things that really matter in our lives.

A lot has changed since that Mother’s Day in 1965. Some might say Dr. King would be proud of the progress we have made since then, and I certainly am. But others might say that, if Dr. King were alive today, he would be greatly disappointed, and I certainly am. I don’t think he would be disappointed in how we are progressing socially. But I am certain he would be disappointed in our low voter participation and low high school graduation rates.

As we gather to celebrate the 50th anniversary on May 8, I hope that we will take note of what is and is not happening around. I hope that we will re-focus our efforts and find ways to reignite the flame of hope that burned so brightly that day. I hope that we will see the value of getting involved in our respective communities and confront the challenges facing our nation today.

In the words spoken by Dr. King on that day, “Let us march on ballot boxes…so men and women will no longer walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist…

“Let us march on ballot boxes until brotherhood is more than a meaningless word at the end of a prayer, but the first order of business on every legislative agenda…

“Let us march on ballot boxes until every valley shall be exalted, till every mountain and hill shall be made low, until the rough places are made plane and the crooked places straight and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed…

“Let us march on ballot boxes until we are able to send to the statehouses of the South men who will do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with their God. Let us march on ballot boxes.”

And your plan better include voting – not just some of the time, but all the time. It is absolutely true that 50 years after the Voting Rights Act, there are still too many barriers in the country to vote. There are too many people trying to erect new barriers to voting. This the only advanced democracy on Earth that goes out of its way to make it difficult for people to vote. And there’s a reason for that. There’s a legacy to that.

But let me say this: Even if we dismantled every barrier to sing, that alone would not change the fact that America has some of the lowest voting rates in the free world. In 2014, only 36 percent of Americans turned out to vote in the midterms – the second lowest participate rate on record. Youth turnout – that would be you – was less then 20 percent. Less than 20 percent. Four out of five did not vote. In 2012, nearly two in three African Americans turned out. And then in 2014, only two in five turned out. You don’t think that made a difference in terms of the Congress I’ve got to deal with? And then people are wondering, well, how come Obama hasn’t gotten this done? How come he didn’t get that done? You don’t think that made a difference? What would have happened if you had turned out at 50, 60, 70 percent, all across this country? People try to make this political thing really complicated. Like what kind of of reforms do we need? And how do we need to do that? You know what, just vote. It’s math. If you have more votes then the other guy, you get to do what you want. It’s not complicated.

And you don’t have excuses. You don’t have to guess the number of jellybeans in a jar or bubbles on a bar of soap to register to vote. You don’t have to risk your life to cast a ballot. Other people already did that for you. Your grandparents, your great grandparents might be here today if they were working on it. What’s your excuse? When we don’t vote, we give away our power, disenfranchise ourselves – right when we need to use the power that we have; right when we need your power to stop others from taking way the vote and rights of those more vulnerable than you are – the elderly and the poor the formerly incarcerated trying to earn their second chance.

So you got to vote all the time, not just when it is cool, not when it’s time to elect a President, not just when your inspired. It’s your duty. When it’s time to elect a member of Congress or a city councilman, or a school board member, or a sheriff. That’s how we do change our politics – by electing people at every level who are representative of and accountable to use. It is not that complicated. Don’t make it complicated

5/7/16 President Obama commencement speech to Howard University’s Class of 2016

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2016 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)




Freedom Rides – 55th Anniversary

1961 Freeom Rides1961 Freedom Riders Map

Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the segregated southern United States in 1961 and following years to challenge the non-enforcement of the United States Supreme Court decisions Irene Morgan v. Commonwealth of Virginia (1946) and Boynton v. Virginia (1960),  which ruled that segregated public buses were unconstitutional.The Southern states had ignored the rulings and the federal government did nothing to enforce them. The first Freedom Ride left Washington, D.C., on May 4, 1961,  and was scheduled to arrive in New Orleans on May 17.

Boynton outlawed racial segregation in the restaurants and waiting rooms in terminals serving buses that crossed state lines. Five years prior to the Boynton ruling, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) had issued a ruling in Sarah Keys v. Carolina Coach Company that had explicitly denounced the Plessy v. Ferguson doctrine of separate but equal in interstate bus travel. The ICC failed to enforce its ruling, and Jim Crow travel laws remained in force throughout the South.

The Freedom Riders challenged this status quo by riding interstate buses in the South in mixed racial groups to challenge local laws or customs that enforced segregation in seating. The Freedom Rides, and the violent reactions they provoked, bolstered the credibility of the American Civil Rights Movement. They called national attention to the disregard for the federal law and the local violence used to enforce segregation in the southern United States. Police arrested riders for trespassing, unlawful assembly, and violating state and local Jim Crow laws, along with other alleged offenses, but they often first let white mobs attack them without intervention.

The Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) sponsored most of the subsequent Freedom Rides, but some were also organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). The Freedom Rides followed dramatic sit-ins against segregated lunch counters, conducted by students and youth throughout the South, and boycotts of retail establishments that maintained segregated facilities, beginning in 1960.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Boynton supported the right of interstate travelers to disregard local segregation ordinances. Southern local and state police considered the actions of the Freedom Riders as criminal and arrested them in some locations. In some localities, such as Birmingham, Alabama, the police cooperated with Ku Klux Klan chapters and other whites opposing the actions and allowed mobs to attack the riders.

For more:

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1863-1963 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)

US Minorities Civil Rights Timeline 1964-2016 ( Civil Rights Timelines ™)