50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

On this day in 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is considered the most important civil rights legislation in recent history, as it prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

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On this day in 1964, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It is considered the most important civil rights legislation in recent history, as it prohibited discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on July 2, 1964. White House photograph by Cecil Stoughton.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr., and others, look on July 2, 1964. White House photograph by Cecil Stoughton.

Written by Jeh Charles Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security

As we note the 50th anniversary of the Civil Right Act of 1964, we commemorate the hard work, leadership and sacrifice of those who worked to achieve passage of this law, and celebrate the progress our Nation has made because of it.

The country has progressed in ways that would have been unimaginable to those who were present for the bill signing by President Johnson 50 years ago. But, discrimination and intolerance has many forms, against many types of victims, and persists today. We also know from our history that in times of national crisis, suspicion of those who are different grows.

The Department of Homeland Security was formed in the wake of the 9/11 attack. We are dedicated to securing our border from attack by land, sea or air, and to maintain the security of our people at home. As I have said many times, we must not and will not pursue this homeland security mission at the cost of our values as a Nation of people who cherish our civil liberties and civil rights, and celebrate our diversity. This is keeping with the landmark law we celebrate today.

As the Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, I am committed to the continued progress toward a more perfect union.

Jeh Charles Johnson
Secretary of Homeland Security

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