Civil Rights 50 Years Later

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Lyndon Johnson signing Civil Rights Act July 2nd 1964

Half a century has passed since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights act on April 11, 1964. The Civil Rights act, when signed guaranteed equality for everyone inside the United States, regardless of race, religion, or sex. 50 years later, The Communicator dug into some of the issues and questions that the Civil Rights Act still raises:

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In a Show of Support that Brought Together Different Factions of the Movement, Civil Rights Leaders Joined Funeral Procession of NAACP Activist Medgar Evers, Jackson, Mississippi, 1963
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Gift of the Family of Charles Moore.

Communicator: Do you think the Civil Rights Act has gone far enough?

Neira Fermic: No, placing a law doesn’t mean that people are going to obey it. You speed, I speed, a law like the Civil Rights Act doesn’t guarantee that discrimination and Racism won’t happen.

Bill Davis: Yeah, I think the Civil Rights Act has gone far enough, if its not broken, don’t fix it

Christian Phillips: Yes it has but, I still don’t think that racism and discrimination are over, I believe that racism is slowly starting to become more accepted in our society right now.

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Courage Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture

Communicator: Do you think the Civil Rights Act is still needed in today’s society?

Garret Bouldin- Professor of Political Science: Yes, the Civil Rights Act is still needed, if the Civil Rights Act were to be repealed suddenly, subtle racism would be more prominent. Government entities, like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) exist because of the Civil Rights Act. If offices like that were to suddenly disappear, employers would be free to discriminate against anyone that they wish. I believe racism still exists, its just not as prominent. The racism is subtler.

Perry Ghanzi- President, Multicultural Club: The Civil Rights Act is still needed, if anything it needs to be talked about even more. Racism still exists in today’s society. Schools and communities need to put forth more of an effort to remind people of The Civil Rights Act
Valeesa Woodard: Yes, I do think the Civil Rights Act is still needed in society right now. Some people are still stuck in their old ways, and that’s not going to change. The Civil Rights Act protects society from people who are still stuck in that same lifestyle

50 years later, The Civil Rights Act still actively affects people of all ages and races alike. Patterns and social norms are difficult to erase. As the anniversary of the signing approaches, it will be up to society to determine whether these norms have any place in our world right now.