Today in 1965, The Voting Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
The Act applied a nationwide prohibition of the denial or abridgment of the right to vote on account of race or color. It outlawed discriminatory literacy tests, expanded voting rights for non-English speaking Americans, and appointed Federal examiners to oversee voter registration and elections. Read More
The law had an immediate impact. By the end of 1965, a quarter of a million new African American voters had been registered, one-third by Federal examiners.
In this photo, LBJ signs the Voting Rights Act in the Capitol Rotunda, Washington, DC. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other civil rights leaders stand behind him.
President Lyndon B. Johnson at the speaker’s podium addressing a Joint Session of Congress urging the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
LBJ handing a signing pen to Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
LBJ signs the Voting Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders look on.
LBJ delivering remarks in the Capitol Rotunda. A statue of Abraham Lincoln is in background.
August 6, 1965.
Today in 1964 — The bodies of three missing civil rights workers in Mississippi are found.
In the summer of 1964, James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner set out for the Mississippi Freedom Summer. They were among almost 1000 students who had signed up to further civil rights in Mississippi through community programs and voter registration.
In anticipation of hostile working conditions, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee for the Freedom Summer project had requested federal assistance in early June to protect the civil rights workers and enforce their rights. A June 10 letter to LBJ stated:
"The record is full of intimidations, arrests, beatings, shootings, and even murder, inflicted upon Negro and white citizens. It is clear beyond doubt that they cannot depend upon the State of Mississippi for protection."
Less than two weeks later, Lee White, LBJ’s aide, received a phone call informing him of the disappearance of three civil rights workers in Mississippi. The next day he wrote the memo shown above.
The remains of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner were found on August 4, 1964. LBJ was at the White House, working on the passage of the poverty bill. His day was first interrupted by reports of a new attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
During a Security Council meeting, the President received a call from Assistant FBI Director, Cartha “Deke” Deloach, informing him that the bodies, missing since June, had been found.
-from the LBJ Library
Memo to the Record, Lee White, 6/23/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
Memo, Alexander to White, 6/10/64, “Mississippi Summer Project Voter Registration,” Office Files of Lee White, Box 6, LBJ Library.
On this day, July 26, 1990, President George Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was the world’s first comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities.
Read about the ADA at the Bush Library website.
President George H. W. Bush Signs the Americans with Disabilities Act, 7/26/1990.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Forty-two years ago, President Richard Nixon signed the Education Amendments of 1972, which has come to be known as Title IX. The amendment did not specifically mention sports, but it’s far-reaching impact is widely credited for opening up opportunities for women in athletics.
Images from: An Act of June 23, 1972, Public Law 92-318, 86 STAT 235, to Amend the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Vocational Educational Act of 1963, the General Education Provisions Act (Creating a National Foundation for Postsecondary Education and a National Institute of Education), the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, Public Law 874, Eighty-First Congress, and Related Acts, and for Other Purposes, 6/23/1972.
Our own Archivist of the United States, David S. Ferriero, will introduce President Carter tonight at the Civil Rights Summit in Austin, Texas.
In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library is hosting the summit on April 8, 9, and 10.
You can watch the panel discussions and keynote address live on their website: http://www.civilrightssummit.org/updates/
The keynote speakers include President Barack Obama and three former Presidents: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on the evening of April 10.
Learn more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in our new Google Cultural Institute exhibit, which includes videos, letters, telegrams, meeting minutes, and high resolution photos.
Image: LBJ signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Serial Number: A1030-17a Date: 08/06/1965. Credit: LBJ Library photo by Yoichi Okamoto.
If you weren’t able to get tickets to next week’s Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Library, don’t worry! The event will be live streamed on their website:
President Barack Obama will be joined by three former Presidents who will also deliver remarks at the upcoming Civil Rights Summit: Jimmy Carter will speak on April 8; Bill Clinton will speak on April 9; and George W. Bush will speak on the evening of April 10.
The Civil Rights Summit, comprised of afternoon panel discussions followed by evening keynote addresses, will reflect on the seminal nature of the civil rights legislation passed by President Johnson while examining civil rights issues in America and around the world today.
Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976
President Ford signed the Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976 into law on March 23, 1976.
When it was originally enacted in 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibited discrimination in credit transactions because of gender or marital status. These amendments broadened the scope to bar creditor discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or age.
“This Administration is committed to the goal of equal opportunity in all aspects of our society,” President Ford said in his signing statement. “In financial transactions, no person should be denied an equal opportunity to obtain credit for reasons unrelated to his or her creditworthiness.”
Memo from the White House Records Office: Legislation Case Files, 3/19/76 HR6516, Equal Credit Opportunity Act Amendments of 1976
On this day, March 20, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson calls for federal and state troops to protect civil rights marchers led by Martin Luther King, Jr. The decision came two weeks after the “Bloody Sunday” attacks on demonstrators by police in Montgomery, Alabama.
LBJ signed a proclamation and executive order to provide federal assistance in the state of Alabama that would provide monetary funds for the Alabama National Guard and the U.S. Army to protect the demonstrators who would be marching from Selma to Montgomery.
This entry from the President’s Daily Dairy outlines the historic day.
On April 8-10, 2014, the LBJ Presidential Library will host a Civil Rights Summit to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter will all deliver remarks. Learn more
-from the LBJ Library
Jeanne Holm, Special Assistant for Women’s Affairs
President Ford appointed Jeanne Holm, Major General USAF (Retired), as Special Assistant to the President for Women on March 8, 1976. She succeeded Patricia S. Lindh, who had resigned to become Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.
Jeanne Holm enlisted in the armed services during World War II and later became the first woman to attend the Air Command and Staff College. She went on attain the rank of Major General in the Air Force, and at the time of her retirement in June 1975 had the distinction of being the highest ranking woman ever to serve in the U.S. armed forces.
As Special Assistant, Holm served as a liaison with women’s organizations and provided the President and White House staff members with advice on legislation, regulations, and executive orders. Her office also developed programs supporting women’s civil rights and encouraged recruitment of women for top-level government positions.