Skepticism about government is, in many respects, part of the DNA of Americans. This skepticism is not without reason – the actions of American politicians in the 1960s and 70s caused much of America to wonder about the motives of elected officials. However, such skepticism is rarely brought up when discussing the government’s participation in denouncing oppression against the African-American community. Most assume the government enforced equal opportunity for minorities out of compassion and humanity. However, much like the other major actions of the government during that era, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a groundbreaking law condemning segregation, was not devoid of personal motives.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 resulted from one of the most controversial House and Senate debates in history. It was also the biggest piece of civil rights legislation ever passed. The bill actually evolved from previous civil rights bills in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. The bill passed through both houses finally on July 2, 1964 and was signed into law at 6:55 P.M. EST by President Lyndon Johnson. The act was originally drawn up in 1962 under President Kennedy before his assassination.
10 Sept. 2004 <http://us.history.wisc.edu/hist102/lectures/lecture04.html> The American Experience. 13 Sept. 2004 < http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/carnegie/ peopleevents/pande01.html> The American Presidency. 10 Sept. 2004 <http://ap.grolier.com/article?assetid=2003790-h&templatename=/article/article.html> Twain, Mark and Charles Dudley Warner. The Gilded Age. New York: Trident Press, 1964.
The Kennedy administration had noticed that the key to the presidency was partially the civil rights issue. While many citizens were on Kennedy’s side, he had his share of opposition. Malcolm X differed on the view of the President and observed that the civil rights movement wasn’t happening at the speed Kennedy had pledged. Malcolm X possessed other reasons for his dislike of John F. Kennedy and his brothers, especially Robert. The Kennedy government stood for racial liberalism and Malcolm X argued their true intentions for the civil rights movement weren’t in the best interest of the black population.
12 Dec 01 Brault, Gerard J. "Isolt and Guenevere." Morewedge 41-64 Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. New York: Bantam Books, 1964.