Diversity Matters: Note from the Editor - Civil Rights Act of 1964

by Baker Donelson
Contact

On July 2 of this year, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 enjoyed its 50th anniversary – an appropriate time for reflection.

Prior to the passage of this Act, for more than 180 years, from July 4, 1776, until July 2, 1964, it was legal in the United States to discriminate in employment, voting, public accommodations and education against persons based upon their race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It was common and legal for blacks to be denied employment and access to hotels and restaurants, and to be segregated on buses and other public facilities because of their race.

Around 1960, civil rights protests and sit-ins began escalating in southern cities in response to the pervasive discrimination and segregation, and these were witnessed across America on the television sets which by then were in around 87 percent of American households.

In the 1960s, Birmingham was considered to be one of the most racially divided cities in the U.S. The city had no black police officers, firefighters, department store sales clerks, bus drivers, bank tellers or store cashiers.

A turning point for the country occurred in Birmingham in the spring of 1963, when blacks protested to pressure businesses to open up employment opportunities to them, as well as to end segregation in restaurants and stores. Demonstrators included elementary school, high school and college students. More than a thousand people were arrested, and the Birmingham Police Department used high-pressure water hoses and police attack dogs on the protesters, which included children. These brutal attacks by police on seemingly peaceful protestors were witnessed across the world on television, outraging Americans and tarnishing the country's image around the world.

That summer, in June 1963, President John F. Kennedy told the country that it needed to confront its own moral issue:

The heart of the question is whether all Americans are afforded equal rights and equal opportunities, whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated. . . [O]ne hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet free from the bonds of injustice. And this nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all of its citizens are free.

That same month, President Kennedy sent comprehensive civil rights legislation to Congress. In August 1963, in front of 250,000 supporters who marched in Washington, D.C., Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. made his famous "I Have A Dream" speech. Just five days after President Kennedy's assassination in November 1963, his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson, urged Congress to expeditiously pass the civil rights legislation: "No eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy's memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long." President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964.

In the 1960s, Abe Berkowitz, a founding member of our Firm, was outspoken in his opposition to unfair laws and customs, actively supporting the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Chervis Isom, senior counsel in the Firm's Birmingham office, also lived through these very trying times in that city, and chronicles his personal struggle to overcome Birmingham's racist culture in his recently published memoir, The Newspaper Boy: Coming of Age in Birmingham, Alabama, During the Civil Rights Era. See www.thenewspaperboy.net for more details.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Baker Donelson | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

Baker Donelson
Contact
more
less

Baker Donelson on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.
Feedback? Tell us what you think of the new jdsupra.com!