President Johnson was due to sign the Civil Rights Bill last night. Its main effect will be to give the backing of specific federal laws* to existing constitutional guarantees. It will be felt mainly in the south because elsewhere most of its provisions are already included in state laws forbidding discrimination. Title VII is an exception and has caused controversy in the north. The Bill has been considerably modified since President Kennedy introduced it a year ago. Its main provisions are now as follows:
TITLE I. - VOTING
Registrars* are forbidden to make literacy tests* more severe for Negroes than for whites or to disqualify Negroes for minor errors. Six years of education is to be regarded as a presumption of literacy. The Attorney General* may initiate suits* against discrimination and request trial* by a Federal Court of three Judges
TITLE II. - PUBLIC ACCOMMODATION
Discrimination or refusal of service on account of race is forbidden in places such as hotels, motels, restaurants, petrol stations and places of amusement if their operations affect interstate commerce or if their discrimination " is supported by state action ". The Attorney General can bring suits in the federal courts if he believes that any person or group is engaging in a "pattern or practice of resistance" to the Bill. Private clubs and small boarding houses are exempt.
TITLE III. - PUBLIC FACILITIES
Discrimination is forbidden in publicly owned and operated facilities such as libraries, parks, swimming pools, golf courses and stadiums. The Attorney General can sue if private citizens find it too risky or expensive.
TITLE IV. - PUBLIC EDUCATION
The Attorney General may file school desegregation suits under the same conditions as in Title III. The Government can provide technical and financial aid to assist desegregation of schools but does not have the power to transport or assign pupils in order to overcome " racial imbalance " . (This is an issue in areas where a school may be all white simply because no Negroes live near by.)
TITLE V. - CIVIL RIGHTS COMMISSION
The life of the commission, which is mainly a fact-finding body, is extended for another four years.
TITLE VI. - FEDERAL AID
No person shalt be subjected to discrimination in any programme receiving Federal aid. This would affect public building projects, agricultural programmes, vocational training and some welfare programmes. The federal agency involved would have to grant hearings*, notify Congress and accept review by a court.
TITLE VII. - EMPLOYMENT
There is to be no discrimination by employers or unions with 100 or more employees or members (this figure is scaled down to 25 by the fourth year). A commission is established to investigate alleged discrimination. The Attorney General can sue if he detects a "pattern or practice" of resistance.
TITLE VIII. - VOTING STATISTICS
The Census Bureau is to compile statistics of registration and voting by race in areas designated by the Civil Rights Commission. (This could be used, under the 16th Amendment, to deprive* states which discriminate of some of their seats in the House of Representatives.
The following are some of the other Iegal landmarks in the slow progress of the American Negro towards equality:
1787 - The Constitution: No person held to service of labour in one state, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall be discharged from such service or labour, but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due.
1857 -The Supreme Court: Can a Negro, whose ancestors were imported into this country, and sold as slaves, become a member of the political community formed and brought into existence by the Constitution? ... We think not.
1863 - President Lincoln: I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated states and parts of states are, and henceforward shall be, free.
1865 - 13th Amendment. - Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude shall exist within the United States.
1866 - Congress. All persons born in the United States are hereby declared to be citizens.
1868 - 14th Amendment. - No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of Citizens of the United States : nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction* the equal protection of the laws.
1870 -15th Amendment: The right of the citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, colour or previous condition of servitude.
1896 - Supreme Court : We cannot say that a law which authorizes or even requires the separation of the two races in public conveyances* is unreasonable.
1954 - Supreme Court: In the field of public education the doctrine of "separate but equal " has no place.
1957 - Congress passed a Civil Rights Bill which gave some additional support to Negroes seeking the right to vote.
1960 - Congress passed a Civil Rights Bill making it compulsory to preserve voting records for 22 months (so that they could be used as evidence), and providing for more effective action against people guilty of acts of violence against Negroes and their property.
1963 - The Supreme Court: It was never contemplated that the concept of "deliberate speed " would countenance* indefinite delay in elimination of racial barriers in schools.
Source: The Times, July 3, 1964
* federal laws - Bundesgesetze
* Attorney General - Generalbundesanwalt
* to initiate suits - Anklagen in die Wege leiten
* registrar - Beamter, der verantwortlich für Wahlregistrierungen der Bevölkerung ist
* literacy tests - Lese- und Schreibtests
* trial - Prozeß, Gerichtsverhandlung
* to grant hearings - Anhörungen ermöglichen
* deprive - aberkennen
* jurisdiction - Zuständigkeitsbereich
* conveyance - Beförderungsmittel
* to countenance - tolerieren, unterstützen
1. Comparing the situation of blacks before and after 1954, what has changed for the blacks in the 1960s?
2. What will the federal governments do to enforce the new laws?
3. From what you have learnt in your course work, what are the measures of 'busing' and 'affirmative action' ? Discuss critically.
4. More than 45 years after the implementaion of civil rights in the 1960s, have they benefitted blacks in the USA?