On this day in 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs into law the Civil Rights Act. The Act prohibited racial discrimination in education and employment and outlawed racial segregation in public places. Further, it paved the way for the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In his Remarks upon Signing the Civil Rights Act, President Johnson’s opening and closing comments are as relevant on this July 2 as they were on that July 2:
“One hundred and eighty-eight years ago this week a small band of valiant men began a long struggle for freedom. They pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor not only to found a nation, but to forge an ideal of freedom—not only for political independence, but for personal liberty—not only to eliminate foreign rule, but to establish the rule of justice in the affairs of men.”
“Let us close the springs of racial poison. Let us pray for wise and understanding hearts. Let us lay aside irrelevant differences and make our Nation whole. Let us hasten that day when our unmeasured strength and our unbounded spirit will be free to do the great works ordained for this Nation by the just and wise God who is the Father of us all.”