President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964, after 534 hours of congressional debate and consideration of 500 amendments. The law prohibits discrimination in a variety of settings, including public accommodations (such as hotels and train stations), education and government services. Title VII of the law prohibits private employers, labor unions, and employment agencies from discriminating in employment (from hiring to wages to layoffs) on the basis of race, sex, color, religion and national origin. The act creates the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to enforce the employment provisions of the statute.
Passed by Congress in 1962 and ratified on Jan. 23, 1964, the 24th Amendment outlaws the use of a poll tax in federal elections. Previously, poll taxes are imposed on voters in both state and federal elections to prevent low-income Americans, particularly African Americans, from exercising their right to vote. The amendment states: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President, for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay poll tax or other tax.”