’64 Civil Rights Act: Major Features

This landmark piece of legislation effectively outlawed egregious forms of discrimination against African-Americans and women, including all forms of segregation. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 terminated unequal application in regards to voter registration requirements and all forms of racial segregation in schools, in the workplace and by facilities offering services to the general public.

Title I:     Voting Rights

Purpose: to apply voter registration qualifications equally
Impact: bans unequal application of voter registration requirements. Even though the provision required all voting rules to be uniform regardless of race, it did not abolish literacy tests, which were the main method to exclude blacks and poor white voters

Title II:     Public Accommodations

Purpose: to address “separate but equal” segregation imposed under Jim Crow laws
Impact:  bans discrimination at private businesses such as hotels, restaurants theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining “private,” thereby allowing a loophole

Title III:    Desegregation of Public Facilities

Purpose: to desegregate public facilities
Impact: bans state and local governments from denying access to public facilities based off an individual’s race, gender, religion or ethnicity

Title IV:   Desegregation of Public Education

Purpose: to ensure equal access to public schools
Impact: encourages the desegregation of public schools and authorizes the U. S. attorney general to file suits to force desegregation, but does not authorize busing as a means to overcome segregation based on residence

Title V:    Civil Rights Commission

Purpose: to expanded rights of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
Impact: empowers the Civil Rights Commission to further investigate and act on allegations of discrimination

Title VI:     Nondiscrimination in Federally Assisted Programs

Purpose: to deny funds to federally assisted programs that discriminate against individuals because race, religion or national origin
Impact: authorizes but does not require the withdrawal of federal funds from programs that practice discrimination based on race, religion or national origin

Title VII:    Equal Employment Opportunity

Purpose:  to eliminate work and wage discrimination against women and minorities
Impact:  prohibits discrimination by private employers with fewer than 25 employees based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. It was later amended to include pregnancy discrimination. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission created to to review complaints, even though it lacks meaningful enforcement powers

Title VIII:  Registration and Voting Statistics

Purpose: to have access to information about voters during elections
Impact: directs the Census Bureau to collect registration and voting statistics based on race, color and national origin but provided that individuals could not be compelled to disclose such information

Title IX:  Intervention and Removal of Cases

Purpose: to transfer a state cases to federal court to ensure fairness
Impact:  makes it easier to move civil rights cases from state courts with prejudiced judges and all- white juries to federal court. This was of critical importance to civil rights activists who could not get a fair trial in state courts

Title X:    Community Relations Service

Purpose: to deal with discrimination on community level
Impact:  establishes  Community Relations Service to investigate discriminatory practices in community disputes

Title XI:    Miscellaneous (Criminal Contempt)

Purpose: to create harsher penalties for violation of Civil Rights Act
Impact:  creates a criminal contempt  punishment for anyone attempting to obstruct the Civil Rights Act titles