civil rights
civil rights act
lyndon johnson
maggie rulli
April 11, 2014

The Civil Rights Act


Scott: I am Scott Evans here with Maggie Rulli.

Maggie: Aloha!

Scott: And today we are starting off with a big meeting this week about civil rights.

Maggie: Yeah, Scott. It was a summit at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library in Austin, Texas in honor of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act signed into law by President Johnson back in 1964.

President Obama: Because of the Civil Rights Movement, because of the laws President Johnson signed, new doors of opportunity and education swung open for everybody.

President Bush: Through these efforts, LBJ earned the highest compliment a democracy can provide; he made us one people.

Maggie: Messages on equality from Presidents Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. These four political heavyweights, along with musicians, athletes and activists, came together to examine current civil rights issues like immigration policy, gay rights and gender equality.

Expert: Well, there is a movement. The movement’s never stopped and it’s taken different forms and different shapes.

Maggie: The three-day summit reflected on where the country stands today, but also how the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made America a better place.

President Johnson: I am about to sign into law the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Maggie: This act, pushed through Congress by President Lyndon Johnson, banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

John Lewis: America is different today because of the work of Lyndon Johnson.

Maggie: At the time, Congressman John Lewis was a 24-year-old civil rights campaigner.

Lewis: The signs that we saw in 1963 and ’64 that said ‘white waiting,’ ‘colored waiting,’ ‘white men,’ ‘colored men,’ ‘white women,’ ‘colored women’. Those signs are gone. Our country is much better and we are better people.

Maggie: Before the Civil Rights Movement, many southern U.S. states had Jim Crow laws, otherwise known as ‘separate but equal’ laws. This meant that African-Americans had to use separate bathrooms, drink from separate drinking fountains, go to separate schools, and sit in separate sections of the bus.

After protests, marches, and even bloody battles, the nation was ready for change, and the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was considered a milestone in the fight for equal rights. But many insist that fight isn’t over. Several times Clinton remarked on the country’s current culture, asking…

Clinton: Is this what Martin Luther King gave his life for?

Maggie: A powerful question challenging the next generation to emulate President Johnson.

Clinton: He decided to form a more perfect union, and so should we. Thank you.

Maggie: According to a CBS News poll, most Americans view the 1964 Civil Rights Act as a very important event in U.S. history, and they say its impact on our country has been positive.

Scott: Wow! Thanks, Maggie.

Now, if you want to know more or quiz yourself on civil rights history, head to


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