Struggle for justice still unfinished 50 years after Civil Rights Act

July 06, 2014
The Root
     Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law.
     The comprehensive, landmark legislation outlawed, among many other things, racial segregation in public accommodations. Jim Crow, in both its more overt Southern and subtler Northern manifestations, was officially proscribed, although racial apartheid would continue in American schools, neighborhoods and the workplace until this day.
     Undoubtedly, Johnson and Congress deserve credit for passing this legislation, a feat made all the more remarkable when judged alongside Washington's current political dysfunction. But the Civil Rights Act would not have been enacted without a grass-roots movement that placed extraordinary pressure on politicians and civic institutions.
     Civil rights legislation represented the culmination of thousands of strategic marches, demonstrations and protests aimed squarely toward advancing the cause of racial and economic justice.