The Civil Rights Act 1964

On May 2, 1963, many Americans watched in horror as live news televised images of white officials attacking hundreds of African American marchers with dogs, nightsticks, and fire hoses. After seeing the violent tactics used against mostly peaceful demonstrators, the public demanded action. That summer, almost a quarter of a million people marched on Washington in support of civil rights. President Kennedy decided to risk political fallout by pursuing a civil rights bill. He was assassinated in November.

President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his determination to pass the bill in honor of the fallen President. Less than one year later, he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law.