1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT 50 – NEITHER A BEGINNING NOR END

 

civil-rights-act-1964-signing

I’ll mark today’s 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act by reading you a piece of legislation:

[W]ith a view to affording reasonable protection to all persons in their constitutional rights of equality before the law, without distinction of race or color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude…

Sounds familiar? I have news for you.

This didn’t come from the Civil Rights Act of 1964—try the Civil Rights Act of 1866.

By the way, did you know that a Civil Rights Act was also passed in 1875?

And how about the Civil Rights Act of 1957? [pdf] Not to be confused with the Voting Rights Act of 1965…

civil rights act mlk and lbj

Add the passage of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments in 1865, 1868 and 1870 respectively, and you’ll begin to understand the point I’m trying to make.

Racial equality in this country has been a cat-and-mouse game with ugly baggage since Africans were forcibly brought to America as free labor in 1619, and the game will continue. On the topic of slavery, laws were also passed to prohibit chattel slavery, but the Southern states found ways to disobey those statutes. It finally took a civil war to abolish human bondage in America. Well, y’know

Civil rights in America is part of the same game, except it’s pretty clear today that inequality exists virtually everywhere in this country, despite the risk it presents to the nation’s economic and social growth. Housing and income are only two examples of many which show that regardless of the laws passed, the architects of inequality continue to find creative and arguably irrational ways to circumvent these laws.

uss inequality other words

Cartoon by Khalil Bendib for OtherWords

America’s long history of race and class hang-ups makes me think we have a strong chance of seeing a Civil Rights Act passed in 2064.

This assumes the country doesn’t fall apart before then…

song currently stuck in my head: “the pleasant pheasant” – billy cobham

This entry was posted in Politics, Race and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 1964 CIVIL RIGHTS ACT AT 50 – NEITHER A BEGINNING NOR END

  1. Pingback: ZIMMERMAN SELLING THE GUN HE USED TO KILL TRAVON MARTIN HAS DEEPER MEANING | mentalunrest

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