On this day July 2, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the historic Civil Rights Act in a nationally televised ceremony at the White House. After the assassination of President Kennedy in November, 1963, President Johnson pledged to follow-through with Kennedy’s commitment to a civil rights bill – a key element in his 1960 run for the Presidency.
The most sweeping civil rights legislation passed by Congress since the post-Civil War Reconstruction era, the Civil Rights Act prohibited racial discrimination in employment and education and outlawed racial segregation in public places such as schools, buses, parks and swimming pools. In addition, the bill laid important groundwork for a number of other pieces of legislation–including the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which set strict rules for protecting the right of African Americans to vote–that have since been used to enforce equal rights for women as well as all minorities.
Read more about the process here at history.com.