Civil Rights Act of 1964


In 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, which was then signed into law under President Johnson.  The act “prohibited discrimination in public schools, provided for the integration of schools and other public facilities, and made employment discrimination illegal” (Civil Rights Act 1964). While all of these seemed to fit the criteria of what it mean to be truly “equal,” nowhere in the act did it state anything about voting rights for African Americans.  This showed that powerful moments in history including Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954, the Montgomery Bus Boycott of 1956, and the numerous protests and sit-in’s that occurred had a purpose. Some people saw that purpose more clearly than others.  Television played a role in bringing this act to the forefront, even in the act’s early stages of development.  The television industry, through live news coverage, nightly reports, and television shows (both for education or entertainment purposes) shaped the act and every law that falls within it.  Television brought the real images of inequality and the struggle to achieve equality. Some images were violent, and other’s were peaceful. In the living rooms of many, it brought the reality which led to written laws that had to be obeyed according to government officials.


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