Spurred by a growing grassroots movement during the mid-20th century, Congress passed landmark legislation to protect Americans’ civil rights, to end discrimination, and to ensure access to the ballot. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 focused on access to public accommodations and equal employment. Despite its far-reaching provisions, the bill did not fully address barriers to voting in America, leading to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The narratives in this exhibit tell the stories of these important pieces of legislation.
On July 2, 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act, enacting a long-sought-after piece of legislation to fulfill the promise of equality enshrined in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Rooted in bipartisanship and perseverance, the Civil Rights Act brought together unlikely allies to pass this landmark bill.
The passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a watershed moment for the protection of civil liberties in America. Explore key documents and individuals associated with this significant piece of legislation.
On March 7, 1965, state troopers attacked civil rights demonstrators attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. The violence of “Bloody Sunday” changed the course of the civil rights movement and led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
When a peaceful voting rights protest in Selma, Alabama, turned violent on March 7, 1965, Congress responded by passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Watch as House Members and staff track the path of this landmark legislation from inception, through committee, and onto the desk of President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Selma-to-Montgomery marches, and the widely publicized segregationist backlash against them, led most Americans to support stronger voting rights protections. View an online exhibit of images, documents, and artifacts associated with Selma and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
On December 28, 1964, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) announced it would begin a voting campaign in Selma, Alabama. This timeline describes the course of events as they unfolded in Alabama, and the congressional response on Capitol Hill.