Forty years ago today-CIVIL RIGHTS ACT OF 1964

  1. I remember this day forty years ago as a great victory.
    Equality under the law, finally.
    Major Features of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
    (Public Law 88-352) )

    Title I
    Barred unequal application of voter registration requirements, but did not abolish literacy tests sometimes used to disqualify African Americans and poor white voters.

    Title II
    Outlawed discrimination in hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining "private," thereby allowing a loophole.

    Title III
    Encouraged the desegregation of public schools and authorized the U. S. Attorney General to file suits to force desegregation, but did not authorize busing as a means to overcome segregation based on residence.

    Title IV
    Authorized but did not require withdrawal of federal funds from programs which practiced discrimination.

    Title V
    Outlawed discrimination in employment in any business exceeding twenty five people and creates an Equal Employment Opportunities Commission to review complaints, although it lacked meaningful enforcement powers.
    NOTE: The text of the entire act is posted at

    Date: 02 JUL 64
  2. 18 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Just two years before:
    James Meredith was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, on 25th June, 1933. While attending Jackson State College (1960-62) Meredith attempted to become the first African American to gain admission to the University of Mississippi.

    Twice rejected in 1961, Meredith filed a complaint with the district court on 31st May 1961. Meredith's allegations that he been denied admission because of his colour was rejected by the district court. However, on appeal, the Fifth Judicial Circuit Court reversed this ruling. By a 2 to 1 decision the judges decided that Meredith had indeed been refused admission solely because of his race and that Mississippi was maintaining a policy of educational segregation.

    Meredith's admission to the University of Mississippi was opposed by state officials and students and the Attorney General, Robert Kennedy, decided to send federal marshals to protect Meredith from threats of being lynched. During riots that followed Kennedy's decision, 160 marshals were wounded (28 by gunfire) and two bystanders were killed.

    Despite this opposition, Meredith continued to study at the University of Mississippi and successfully graduated in 1964. Meredith's account of this experience at the university, Three Years in Mississippi was published in 1966.

    On 5th June, 1966, Meredith started a solitary March Against Fear from Memphis to Jackson, to protest against racism. Soon after starting his march he was shot by sniper. When they heard the news, other civil rights campaigners, including Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Floyd McKissick, decided to continue the march in Meredith's name.

    When the marchers got to Greenwood, Mississippi, Stokely Carmichael made his famous Black Power speech. Carmichael called for "black people in this country to unite, to recognize their heritage, and to build a sense of community". He also advocated that African Americans should form and lead their own organizations and urged a complete rejection of the values of American society.

    After hospital treatment Meredith rejoined the March Against Fear on 25th June, 1966. The following day the marchers arrived in Jackson, Mississippi. Once again the civil rights movement had shown that it would not give in to white racism.

    After his time at the University of Mississippi, Meredith continued his education at the University of Ibadan in Nigeria (1964-65) and at Columbia University (1966-68). Meredith ceased being a civil rights activist in the late 1960s and found employment as a stockbroker.

    Meredith joined the Republican Party and made several attempts to be elected to Congress. He became increasingly conservative and in 1988 accused liberal whites as being "the greatest enemy" of African Americans. He also opposed economic sanctions against South Africa and making the birthday of Martin Luther King a national holiday.
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    Just last year:
    Are we a complex species? Or what?

    February 14, 2003

    Davie -- Four decades after he desegregated the University of Mississippi by taking his seat in a class on colonial American history, James Meredith is worried about the future of the point he faced a riot to make.

    Pointing to President Bush's stand against affirmative action in college admissions, Meredith told Broward Community College students and faculty Thursday that the nation faces "the biggest setback to full citizenship in a long time."

    Wheeling a suitcase full of his own books -- for sale -- Meredith came to BCC's Black History Month observance as one of the civil rights movement's heroes -- and its heretics.

    Meredith was the central figure in one of the movement's most dramatic moments. In 1962, despite riots that left two dead and hundreds wounded, he became the first black student to enroll in the University of Mississippi.

    Three years later, he set out to walk from Memphis to Jackson, Miss., as a statement against the violence blacks encountered in trying to vote. On the way, he was shot. Meredith has taken some startling turns in the years since, infuriating many of those he had impressed.

    He campaigned for former Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett -- the same governor who had tried to stop him from enrolling at the state's top university. Meredith notes that no blacks were hurt during the standoff and credits Barnett.

    Later, Meredith worked for ultra-conservative former Sen. Jesse Helms and endorsed former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke's campaign for governor in Louisiana -- activities he now explains with a "know your enemy" argument. Meredith himself tried in 1967 to unseat New York Rep. Adam Clayton Powell, one of the country's most prominent black politicians at the time.
    And to many civil rights activists, Meredith's words have spoken as loudly as his actions.

    He decries the movement's treasured theory of nonviolent activism, calling it "the most un-American thing in the world ... and the worst thing that's ever been presented to my people."

    He has said that government welfare efforts have done more harm to black families than slavery did. He has criticized blacks and other minorities for not using what he calls proper English.

    He doesn't even like to be called a civil rights activist, considering the movement a concept of Northeastern white liberals aiming mostly to enhance their own status.
    But Meredith made clear Thursday that he doesn't resent being labeled a renegade. In fact, he seems to relish it.
    "I was always out of line. But I was deliberately out of line," Meredith explained after his speech.

    Now 69 and the owner of a used-car business, Meredith speaks with a gentle Mississippi accent and a trenchant sense of humor. He paints his life in terms part politics and part preaching: his days with Duke and Helms an exercise in "conversion," his determination at Ole Miss "a war," himself unabashedly as "the leader of my people."
    He also betrays some humility about his own experience.

    "I get a lot of credit I don't deserve," he told the overflowing auditorium at BCC. "It just happens that I was born at a certain time and became aware of certain things."
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    THANK YOU for this, Spacenurse. I did not even stop to think it's really been 40 years. We have a long way to go,however, before EVERYONE enjoys the same civil liberties in our country. I thank you for the history lesson!
  6. by   gwenith
    I suppose I worry whenever I read "us or them" because when you divide the world that way racism is not that far behind. We have fought hard to gain the changes in our societies (note plural) that we have gained. To finally grow up and realise it is all about "US" without a them. To truly embrace humanity.
  7. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from gwenith
    I suppose I worry whenever I read "us or them" because when you divide the world that way racism is not that far behind. We have fought hard to gain the changes in our societies (note plural) that we have gained. To finally grow up and realise it is all about "US" without a them. To truly embrace humanity.
    Australian singer-songwriter, Judith Small probably has a song with this same theme:

    River Of Jordan
    by Peter Paul And Mary

    I traveled the banks of the River of Jordan to find where it flows to the sea
    I looked in the eyes of the cold and the hungry; I saw I was looking at me.
    I wanted to know if life had a purpose, and what it all means in the end
    In the silence I listened to voices inside me and they told me again and again:

    There is only one river
    There is only one sea And it flows through you
    And it flows through me There is only one people
    We are one in the same
    We are all one spirit We are all one name
    We are the father, mother, daughter, and son
    From the dawn of creation
    We are one. We are one. We are one.

    Every blade of grass on the mountain
    Every drop in the sea
    Every cry of a new-born baby
    Every prayer to be free
    Every hope at the end of a rainbow
    Every song ever sung
    Is a part of the family of woman and man

    That means everyone!
  8. by   fergus51
    I just think it's amazing that it has ONLY been 40 years. That's really just a blink in time.
  9. by   gwenith
    The song of reconcilliation. This song does to me what "God Bless America" does for you. I love it - it says it all - about where we are from and where we want to go.

    I am / We are - Australian

    I came from the dreamtime from the dusty red soil plains
    I am the ancient heart, the keeper of the flame
    I stood upon the rocky shore
    I watched the tall ships come
    For forty thousand years I'd been the first Australian.

    I came upon the prison ship bowed down by iron chains.
    I cleared the land, endured the lash and waited for the rains.
    I'm a settler.
    I'm a farmer's wife on a dry and barren run
    A convict then a free man I became Australian.

    I'm the daughter of a digger who sought the mother lode
    The girl became a woman on the long and dusty road
    I'm a child of the depression
    I saw the good times come
    I'm a bushy, I'm a battler
    I am Australian

    We are one, but we are many
    And from all the lands on earth we come
    We share a dream and sing with one voice:
    I am, you are, we are Australian
    I am, you are, we are Australian.


    I'm a teller of stories
    I'm a singer of songs
    I am Albert Namatjira
    I paint the ghostly gums
    I am Clancy on his horse
    I'm Ned Kelly on the run
    I'm the one who waltzed Matilda
    I am Australian

    I'm the hot wind from the desert
    I'm the black soil of the plains
    I'm the mountains and the valleys
    I'm the drought and flooding rains
    I am the rock, I am the sky
    The rivers when they run
    The spirit of this great land
    I am Australian

    We are one, but we are many
    And from all the lands on earth we come
    We share a dream and sing with one voice:
    I am, you are, we are Australian
    I am, you are, we are Australian.
  10. by   SharonH, RN
    Thanks for posting this spacenurse. It was very informative. I had no idea that James Meredith had turned out to be such a fruitcake.
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    The lyrics are so beautifully moving. I am trying to find the melody. Does Eric Bogle sing it? I could buy it recorded or as sheet music.

    "fruitcake" is a good way to put it. Used car dealer?!

    Later that year I remember picketing a real estate sign basically saying "white Christians only" in crude language. Police, in clear violation of this federal law arrested and beat some of us. I think my three girlfriends, a mother and my grandma were neither hit nor arrested because we were small women singing.

    Johnny Cochran lives on that block now.
  12. by   leslie :-D
    we've come a long way and have a long way to go.
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from earle58
    we've come a long way and have a long way to go.
    YES we have & YES we do!

    Now anyone with the money can go almost anywhere.

    But anyone is in danger due to unsafe staffing in our hospitals.
    It all seems to be about money.
  14. by   leslie :-D
    Quote from spacenurse

    It all seems to be about money.
    no matter what the cost or who pays the price. sickening.