Fifty years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Visit our interactive page and explore the social movement, through AP’s coverage, leading up to this landmark legislation.
On May 17, 1954, Chief Justice Earl Warren delivered the unanimous opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, overturning its landmark ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson, which had upheld the constitutionality of segregationist state laws under the doctrine of “separate but equal.”
The court’s abandonment of Plessy reverberated throughout the country, but by itself could not dislodge Jim Crow. Only years of social upheaval could bring about legislation as transformative as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The civil rights movement finally pressured the politicians to act — and the press served as its witnesses. With a presence in the South stretching back 90 years, The Associated Press was uniquely prepared to report it.
See more through the lens of The Associated Press: http://www.ap.org/explore/
Lead Image Caption: Two black men sit at a formerly all-white lunch counter at a downtown Canal St. drugstore in New Orleans, Sept. 14, 1962. Lunch counters were desegregated by blacks in groups of two earlier this week. Only two seats in the 40-seat lunch counter here were unoccupied. There were no incidents. (AP Photo/Jim Bourdier)
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