|Xu，Qing: Formulation of the American Civil Rights Act
After US President Kennedy was suddenly assassinated as a successor, Vice President Johnson was soberly aware that he was facing the grim political reality caused by the civil rights movement.
He is very clear about how to act, especially the attitude of the civil rights movement.
In the inauguration ceremony, he said: " Kennedy＇s ideas and ideals must be translated into effective actions." In order to quickly unite the Democratic Party and establish its own image as a national leader, he wisely regarded the promotion of civil rights as a valuable political opportunity.
During his tenure, under the framework of his "great society," Johnson has achieved several epoch-making achievements in the cause of civil rights. First of all, it is the adoption of a constitutional amendment to guarantee the black voting rights.
In fact, when Kennedy was alive, in order to promote the full participation of blacks in federal political activities, the liberals in the federal government and Congress passed and issued constitutional amendments to the states to abolish poll tax and other taxes. The bill was quickly approved and became the 24th Amendment to the Federal Constitution in January 1964. The first paragraph of the Act clearly states: "The United States and any state may not refuse or deprive US citizens of the participation of the President, Vice President, President and Vice Presidential Electors, or any of the Senate and House of Representatives because of the inability to pay election and other taxes. The right to primary or other elections.” The second paragraph emphasizes: “Congress has the right to enforce this provision through appropriate legislation”
Second, it is the passage of the new civil rights bill. In a later memoir, Johnson wrote: "If I didn＇t deal with this issue as the primary issue at the time, the liberals would oppose me, and they would prove that I am not capable of uniting the country I love so much. Get up... I have to propose a stronger civil rights bill than President Kennedy.” In order to pass the new civil rights bill in Congress, he exerted all possible political skills within Congress.
At the same time, the Civil Rights Movement Leaders Conference worked closely with him and conducted a lot of lobbying work. Other groups, such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Labor Union-Industrial Organizing Committee (AFL-CIO), the National Church Association, and the American Jewish Congress jointly promoted the introduction of the new Civil Rights Act. These proposals were finally passed in Congress and signed by Johnson in July 1964.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was of great significance and had far-reaching implications. It is the most significant civil rights legislation since the US reconstruction period. Some US constitutional research experts analyzed: "From a contemporary political point of view, the core of the 1964 Civil Rights Act is the second part: full and equal access to inns, hotels, motels, restaurants, cinemas, theaters, concert halls, sports fields, etc. The facility, which treats ＇discrimination against race, color, religion, gender, initial nationality＇ is illegal, and these guarantees apply to any institution if it [affects] affects business or receives state support＇. The bill also authorizes the Ministry of Justice to prosecute cases of apartheid in public schools and public facilities; it requires members of the Board of Education to investigate the implementation of equal educational opportunities in schools and to check for the lack of educational facilities resulting from discrimination against blacks; Provide technical or financial support to schools that are performing abolition of apartheid.
It also stipulates that prejudice in federally funded projects is illegal; prohibits racial discrimination in private recruitment; establishes a five-person committee on fair employment opportunities; establishes community relations service agencies, mediates "arguments, discord and Puzzle," and so on. In short, the bill declares that employers’ discrimination against blacks and women is illegal; it eliminates the long-standing legal obstacles for blacks in the South to participate in elections; it declares that apartheid in almost all public places is illegal. Moreover, unlike the previous presidents, Johnson guarantees that the federal government is responsible for the implementation of civil rights legislation.
The enactment of the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 further stimulated the further rise of the civil rights movement during Johnson＇s tenure.
May 8, 2019