A half century ago, with racial tensions boiling over and discrimination continuing to divide our country, Members of Congress took the historic step of reaching across the aisle to pass the Civil Rights Act (CRA) of 1964. Noted as the “Bill of The Century”, the CRA set precedence by outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and ensured the uniformity of voter registration requirements.

The effect of this legislation becoming the law of the land is undeniable. Upon signing it into law, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “The purpose of the law is simple. It does not restrict the freedom of any American, so long as he respects the rights of others. It does not give special treatment to any citizen. It does say the only limit to a man’s hope for happiness, and for the future of his children, shall be his own ability”.

Unfortunately, a half century later, we are now faced with a House GOP majority that has gone to great lengths to obstruct President Obama’s agenda and roll back much of the progress we have made.

Today, due to the Affordable Care Act, 6.8 million previously uninsured African-Americans now have access to health insurance. However, House Republicans have been relentless in their efforts to take this away, voting more than 50 times to repeal the law.

Additionally, House Republicans have repeatedly denied a vote on raising the minimum wage.  A $2.85 hourly increase (to $10.10) would greatly benefit more than 4 million African-Americans.

Finally, under this Republican-led House there has been a blatant unwillingness to protect the most fundamental right we have in our country: the right to vote. There is little explanation for their refusal to move the Voting Rights Act Amendment of 2014 forward, despite bipartisan cosponsors and strong support from both sides of the aisle and the civil rights community. This legislation would reinstate some of the essential protections lost under the Supreme Court’s decision a year ago to roll back provisions in the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Too many Americans have fought  too hard for us to let a group of far-right Republicans erase the progress we’ve made over the past 50 years.

That’s why from now until Election Day in November we have an important task. We must get unregistered voters registered, knock on as many doors as possible, and most importantly, empower and inform family, friends and neighbors of their right to vote and what’s at stake in this midterm election.

The most powerful way we can honor and continue the legacy of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is to vote. Let’s have President Obama’s back this fall by voting in Congressional midterms. Let’s finish the political journey that many started back in 2008 by voting to elect a Democratic majority in the House that will fight for our values.”

7 thoughts on “Civil Rights Act of 1964: What’s At Stake 50 Years Later?

  1. Rep. Israel – Thank you for your pointed observations on the challenges we face half-a-century after passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act. It is crucial for all of us citizens who believe in “liberty and justice for all” to work to protect the rights codified in the CRA and similar legislation.

  2. seriously on said:

    The Civil Rights Movement era is over and we as African-American have lost our way and our right fight. We can never duplicate this movement nor should we try. African-Americans have witnessed the election of a African-American president and what he has endured president, which only means we need to stop trying to be friends with people who simply do not like us and never will. And we have right on our side, because if you/they believe in God? I am sure he disapproves of slavery which included ( torture, rape, our child being sold away from us, jim crow, peonage era) done to a group of people who was not even here in this country and it lasted for 400 years and counting. Which means their is no resolving anything with these people and we need to stop trying.

    Historically such nations who took part in such butchery of others never last very long and USA is very young…In the bible these people are what God called Amelekites and God hated them and said they are worst than disbelievers. God hated them because they would attack you through your weakness..(rape your women, rape your children, sell your children away from you, lynch and beat women and children). And they have given us nothing but that since The Civil Rights Act and beyond. Our strength is now our biggest weakness and that is each other. Because believe you mean lesser people who endured what we have, would have crumbled and faded away. USA is inundated with immigrants who are on the run from the conditions we have endured, we stayed and endured and amongst the defeats, we can also claim victories…President Obama won twice against people who came after him with birther, monkey calls and more death threats than any other president and what has he accomplished? He won twice, which means we are never defeated, and God and right is on our side.

    We need to collectively work together quietly and stop responding to their antics, it is a set-up to keep you mentally drained with their injustice, unfairness and cruelty. We are stronger than those against us, it is unfortunately that we do not believe it…The battle is changed mind, heart and soul.

    Not to mention those vile, vicious and vulgar people who have done this and support those who have done this to our race….Who salivate at the deaths of our men, women and children.. Well remember they started but they never get the write the ending, that is in someone else’s hands.

  3. Linda on said:

    History has a bad habit of repeating itself and those same issues that Black folks died and marched about are still relevant today.

    Just because we were granted civil rights back in the day did not mean that the fight for
    JUSTICE IN AMERYKAH was over!!!

    We need to continue the fight even more so now that they are trying to take away our right to vote by coming up with their bogus photo ID crap.

    We need to demand recourse for all of the Black men and women who are in jail. We only make up 30% of the population, yet 60% or more are incarcerated.

    50 yrs later, the STRUGGLE STILL GOES ON!!!

  4. I need to enlarge the scrip so I can see what I’m typing, and also proof read before I hit the enter button. Not “wo” but “so”, thank you.

  5. Yeah wo why do we still have crazy shit being done to anybody? Like the college professor in Phoenix AZ being manhandled by two white cops, because she was trying to cross the street?

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