Civil Rights Act of 1964

42 U.S.C. § 2000a et seq.  | (1964)

Legal Definition of Civil Rights Act of 1964

comprehensive legislation intended to end discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin. It is often called the most important U.S. law on civil rights since Reconstruction (1865–77). Title I of the Act guarantees equal voting rights by removing registration requirements and procedures biased against minorities and the underprivileged. Title II prohibits segregation or discrimination in places of public accommodation involved in interstate commerce. Title VII bans discrimination, including sex-based discrimination, by trade unions, schools, or employers involved in interstate commerce or doing business with the federal government; it also established a government agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to enforce these provisions. The Act also calls for the desegregation of public schools (Title IV), broadens the duties of the Civil Rights Commission (Title V), and assures nondiscrimination in the distribution of funds under federally assisted programs (Title VI). A 1972 amendment, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., extended Title VII coverage to employees of state and local governments and increased the enforcement authority of the EEOC.

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Cite this Entry

“Civil Rights Act of 1964.” Legal Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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