ROBERT D. LOEVY
THE IMPACT AND AFTERMATH OF
The primary impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the almost immediate elimination of racial discrimination in places of public accommodation through the United States. Five months after Lyndon Johnson signed the 1963-64 civil rights bill into law, the Supreme Court ruled that the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution gave the Congress all the legal power it needed to integrate hotels, motels, restaurants, snack bars, swimming pools, etc. In the decision, Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States, the high court defined the concept of commerce broadly, applying the new civil rights law to restaurants that received their food and supplies from out of state, even when their customers all came from within the state.1
In addition to opening up public accommodations to African-Americans and other minorities, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 instituted the hotly debated "cutoff" of U.S. Government funds to governmental programs that practiced discrimination. As the backers of this provision hoped, the need and desire for U.S. Government dollars inspired state and local governments throughout the nation, but particularly in the South, to integrate all their facilities and services. Congress subsequently used the "cutoff" extensively as a means of getting state governments to comply with congressional law, particularly when Congress passed legislation guaranteeing equal access to public facilities for women and the physically handicapped.
It could be argued that the most important provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the one instituting equal employment opportunity. There was an immediate and highly visible increase in the number of women and monority group members who gained employment in the nation's factories and offices. The work force in the United States, particularly the highly skilled and professionalized work force, went from being predominantly white male to having substantially increased proportions of women and minorities.
In July of 1964 the Republican Party held its National Convention in San Francisco, California. Although the majority of Republicans in the U.S. Senate had supported the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Republican Party nominated for president Senator Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who had voted against both cloture and final passage. Goldwater, who defined himself as an ardent conservative, said the newly enacted civil rights law represented too great an extension of U.S. Government power over states' rights.
Incumbent Democratic president Lyndon Johnson easily defeated Senator Goldwater in the 1964 presidential election. Because of his opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Republican Goldwater was able to carry the "Deep South" states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina. He also carried his home state of Arizona. That was all, however. In one of the great landslides in presidential election history, President Johnson won every other state in the Northeast, the Midwest, the West, and the Upper South. In addition, President Johnson had long "coattails" and carried large numbers of Democrats into both the Senate and the House of Representatives with him.
Black voters in particular rewarded President Johnson for his highly visible and very skillful support of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In many predominantly black precincts in large cities in the North, Johnson received more than 95 percent of the vote in the 1964 presidential election. This was almost 20 percent better than John F. Kennedy had polled with black voters in the 1960 presidential election. This strong shift of black voters to the Democratic Party endured to the mid-1990s, and even then showed no signs of ending.
It can be argued that the Republican Party's 1964 presidential nominee, Barry Goldwater, undid much of the good work that Everett Dirksen had performed in the Senate for the Republican Party in the spring of 1964. Dirksen, after all, had rounded up the critical Republican votes needed to cloture the civil rights bill. Under other conditions, these actions on Dirksen's part might have moved significant numbers of black voters to vote for the GOP candidate for president. However, Goldwater was so outspokenly against the civil rights bill, and so much more visible than Dirksen, that black voters in 1964 abandoned the Republicans and began giving near-unanimous electoral support to the Democrats.
The Protest at Selma
In early 1965 Lyndon Johnson was well aware that his landslide presidential victory and the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress offered an unusual opportunity for governmental action. In a speech in December of 1964 he said: "Great social change tends to come rapidly in periods of intense activity before the impulse slows. I believe we are in the midst of such a period of change."2
In the field of civil rights, one of the remaining arenas for action and change was voting rights. The Civil Rights Act of 1960 had dealt with voting problems for blacks in the South, but the judicial solutions proposed had not been effective in overcoming state literacy tests that were administered in such a way that blacks could not pass them and gain the ballot. President Johnson pledged in his State of the Union address in January of 1965 that he would call on Congress to eliminate "all barriers to the right to vote." He repeated this promise of voting rights legislation to Martin Luther King, Jr., when the now-renowned civil rights leader visited Johnson at the White House in early February of 1965.3
On January 18, 1965, King had begun a series of voting rights demonstrations in Selma, Alabama. Dallas County, where Selma was located, had more black citizens than white citizens, but 9,700 whites were registered to vote compared to only 325 blacks. When King staged a march on the county courthouse in Selma, he and 2,000 other blacks were jailed for "parading without a permit." Later, when King attempted to lead a march from Selma to the state capital in Montgomery, he and his fellow marchers were confronted by Alabama state troopers as they walked across the Alabama River highway bridge leading out of Selma.
Once again the television sets and front-page newspaper photographs of America showed white state troopers attacking civil rights demonstrators. The state police, many of them mounted on horseback, fired tear gas at the marchers and then beat them back with clubs. The demonstrators, almost all of them black, were chased, bleeding and limping, all the way to their headquarters church in Selma. Millions of Americans were outraged, and civil rights advocates from throughout the North and the West, both black and white, began to pour into Selma to support Martin Luther King and his voting rights campaign.
Lyndon Johnson seized the opportunity presented by Selma to introduce his proposed voting rights bill to both Congress and the country. Addressing the Senate and the House of Representatives meeting together at a special evening session, Johnson said situations such as the one in Selma could not be allowed to continue. He ended his speech with the title of the civil rights marchers' hymn, "We Shall Overcome."
The Voting Rights Act of 1965
The Johnson Administration's voting rights bill was greatly influenced by what had happened with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Justice Department began immediate negotiations with Everett Dirksen of Illinois, the Republican leader in the Senate, and a "consensus" on the provisions of the bill was reached early in the bill's consideration by Congress. As a result, the Senate debate on the voting rights bill ended early with a successful cloture vote on May 25, 1965. The southerners had barely gotten their filibuster going when the cloture vote stopped them. It was the second time in two years - but only the second time in the nation's history - that the Senate had voted to forcefully end debate on a civil rights bill.
But the speed of this legislative action was significant. It had taken more than a year to get the Civil Rights Act of 1964 through Congress. It took only five months to enact the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The quick cloture vote of 1965 had been "made much easier by the precedent of the victorious cloture vote of 1964."4
The new law took direct aim at black non-voting in the South. It targeted those areas where fewer than 50 percent of adults eligible to vote were actually voting, which in effect meant the bill would enfranchise blacks in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. In those states that failed to meet this 50 percent "triggering" test, U.S. Government "examiners" appointed by the executive branch would come into the state and take over the registration process from local officials. It could be argued this sending in of "Federal registrars" represented the ultimate triumph of national policy toward minorities over state and local policies.
The effects of the voting rights law were immediate and extensive. By 1967 black voter registration in six southern states had increased from 30 percent to more than 50 percent of those eligible.5 There was a substantial increase in the number of blacks elected to political office in the South. In 1976, when Democrat Jimmy Carter was elected president of the United States in a very close election, newly-enfranchised southern blacks were given a large share of the credit for his victory.6
Andrew Young, a former aide to Martin Luther King, Jr., was working in the Carter for President campaign. When Young heard that even the deep South state of Mississippi had voted for Carter, thanks to a heavy Democratic vote from Mississippi blacks, Young remarked: "When I heard that Mississippi had gone our way, I knew that the hands that picked cotton finally picked the president."7
The Splintering of the Civil Rights Movement
In many ways the protest at Selma and the rapid enactment of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 represented the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Martin Luther King, Jr., enjoyed widespread support throughout the North and the West when he confronted the Alabama state troopers at the bridge in Selma. The vast majority of Americans, black and white, clearly supported the haste with which Congress moved to grant that most basic of all democratic rights - the vote - to minority Americans.
But just days after the Voting Rights Act was signed into law, blacks living in the Watts section of Los Angeles rioted, burning and looting their own and neighboring sections of that city. There were subsequent riots in other major cities, and these riots "were in no sense demonstrations for [minority] rights."8 They thus tended to greatly weaken white support for the minority cause.
In 1966, when Martin Luther King, Jr., led a drive for equal employment and equal housing opportunity in Chicago, much of the white community there opposed him rather than supported him. King eventually withdrew from Chicago without achieving the major goals of his Chicago Freedom Movement. On Capitol Hill, a housing rights bill failed to gain the requisite 2/3 vote for cloture when Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen declined to support it.
Within the civil rights movement itself, there was disagreement over the proper way to further the minority cause in the United States. New leadership at the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) began to question the effectiveness of Martin Luther King's nonviolent protests and openly advocated more confrontational techniques. Other voices and organizations, such as the Black Muslims, talked of "black nationalism," "black separatism," and "black power." The unity and singleness of purpose that had characterized the civil rights movement in the early 1960s had begun to dissipate and fall apart by the late 1960s.9
The Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike
In March of 1968 Martin Luther King, Jr., went to Memphis, Tennessee, to support a labor strike by municipal sanitation workers, all of whom were black. The strike was for union recognition, higher wages, fringe benefits, and safer working conditions. The strike was a bitter one, and white Memphis city officials had stood firm against the black strikers' economic demands.
During a King-led protest march in downtown Memphis on March 28, 1968, some of the demonstrators cast aside King's nonviolent principles and began breaking plate glass windows and looting stores. The Memphis police force responded with hostility toward all the marchers. It was the first time King and his fellow organizers had ever lost control of a protest march had it result in black, rather than white, violence. As the situation became more tense and uncontrollable, King's colleagues forced him to leave the march against his will in order to guarantee his personal safety.
The night of April 3, 1968, King addressed a black rally in Memphis supporting the sanitation strike. He concluded with a reference to his own mortality, suggesting that he might not live long enough to see the promised land of racial justice for which he and so many others had been working for so long. "I may not get there with you," he concluded his talk, "but we as a people will get to the promised land."10
The following evening Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed by a bullet from a high-powered rifle as he stood on the balcony of his motel in Memphis. As the news spread throughout the nation, riots broke out in the African-American sections of more than 130 cities, including Washington, D.C. During the weeklong course of the riots, 46 people were killed, all but five of whom were black. Some 2,600 fires were started that caused property damage of more than $100 million. State governors had to call out the national guard to quell the violence. In a number of larger cities, President Lyndon Johnson was forced to order in regular Army troops. Over 20,000 rioters were arrested. It was "the most concentrated week of racial violence Americans had ever known."11
The Housing Rights Act of 1968
Throughout the spring of 1968, as Martin Luther King, Jr., was helping the Memphis sanitation workers, a major civil rights bill was once again making its way through Congress. The bill was originally designed to extend U.S. Government protection to civil rights workers, but it was amended also to prohibit discrimination in the sale and rental of housing.
The Birmingham protests had launched the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Selma protests had inspired the Voting Rights Act of 1965, but this new housing rights bill resulted mainly from the efforts of Clarence Mitchell, Jr., the Washington director of the NAACP. The bill picked up real speed when Senate Republican leader Everett Dirksen, harkening back to his earlier days as a principal designer and supporter of civil rights bills, put his considerable influence behind the legislation. Prior to Dirksen's announcement of support, three cloture votes on the southern filibuster of the bill had failed to get the required 2/3 majority. On March 4, 1968, with Dirksen now on board, cloture was voted by a super slim 65 to 32 margin. There was not one vote to spare.
The bill then moved to the House of Representatives, where it was believed the bill would be subjected to weakening amendments. Unlike in 1964, when the House was more liberal than the Senate on civil rights issues, the House had grown increasingly conservative as the result of urban riots and black power oratory. After the House weakened the bill, it was thought, a Senate-House conference committee would write a compromise version, which would then be repassed by both houses.
The wave of national remorse over the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., intervened dramatically in this legislative scenario. On April 9, 1968, the day of Martin Luther King's funeral, the House Rules Committee voted to send the housing rights bill directly to the House floor and permit only one hour of debate and no amendments. King's assassination had generated irresistable pressure to pass the strong Senate bill and pass it quickly. The bill passed the House on April 10, 1968, by a vote of 229 to 195. President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968, often referred to as the Housing Rights Act of 1968, into law the next day.
The housing rights bill was the last of the three great civil rights acts of the 1960s to be enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the president. Years later observers would look back and see the housing rights act as the final legislative achievement of the civil rights movement. "It was a landmark..., though less a sign of resurgent reform than the coda [closing section of music] to a passing era of legislative gains."12
In 1970 a U.S. judge in North Carolina ordered that black students be bused to white schools and that white students be bused to black schools. This crosstown "school busing," it was hoped, would end the de facto segregation of public schools caused by white students living in predominantly white neighborhoods and black students living in predominantly black neighborhoods. One year later this use of busing to achieve school integration was upheld unanimously by the U.S. Supreme Court in the landmark case Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Other U.S. judges turned to busing as a way to end de facto school segregation, in the North as well as in the South. Although the North was thought to be much more favorable to civil rights than the South, there were a number of heated protests from white parents who opposed their children being bused long distances across the city to attend black schools. Some parents also opposed black students being bused into white schools. Among the most violent and well-publicized of these protests was the white opposition to school busing in the cradle of the American Revolution - Boston, Massachusetts.
In June of 1974 U.S. Judge Arthur Garrity ruled that the Boston School Committee was intentionally keeping the city's schools segregated and was forcing blacks to attend the oldest, most crowded, and most poorly staffed schools. He ordered that 17,000 Boston school children be bused in a manner that would reduce the unacceptably high racial concentrations in the schools. White families responded by organizing resistance, both legal and illegal, to the concept of mandatory school busing.
The first trouble point was South Boston High, a previously all-white school in a mainly working class, Irish Catholic neighborhood. Whites expressed their disapproval of busing on opening day in 1974 by urging their children to boycott classes. The boycott was 90 percent effective. When black students walked out of the school to get on the buses and ride back to their homes in Roxbury, a black ghetto, they were pelted with stones. Once on the buses, the students were hit by shattered glass as hostile crowds of whites threw heavier stones through the bus windows.
The newspaper photographs and television reports from South Boston looked a great deal like the ones from Birmingham and Selma a decade earlier. Once again crowds of hostile whites were attacking blacks fighting for their civil rights. There was one important difference in Boston and other Northern cities attempting school busing, however. The local and state police were trying to protect the children being bused rather than staying neutral or joining the attack, as had happened in so many southern civil rights protests.
In mid-October of 1974 a white student was stabbed during a racial confrontation at Boston's Hyde Park High School. Some 450 national guardsmen had to be sent in to restore order. Two months later, after a white student at South Boston High was stabbed by a black student, a white mob surrounded the school and kept 135 black students trapped inside the building for four hours. Shortly thereafter, a 500-person police guard was required to keep order at South Boston High, which had only 400 students.
White parents organized an anti-busing lobby group named ROAR (Restore Our Alienated Rights). In early October of 1974 over 5,000 Bostonians marched through the streets of South Boston to publicly demonstrate their opposition to "forced busing." Significant numbers of state legislators, city councilpersons, and members of the Boston School Committee, the group specifically charged by the U.S. Court to implement busing, walked prominently in the parade.
The racial turmoil in Boston over school busing eventually began to drive white families out of the city and into the de facto segregated Boston suburban schools. By 1976 it was estimated that more than 20,000 white students had transferred to parochial schools, private schools, or had moved out-of-town with their families. As a result, by the late 1970s black students constituted a clear majority of Boston's school population. People began to talk about "resegregation," the concentration of blacks in central cities and the fleeing of large numbers of whites to the surrounding suburbs.13
In 1987, thirteen years after Judge Garrity first ordered school busing in Boston, that city's school system was released from supervision by the U.S. Courts. Two years later Boston school officials tried a new strategy to achieve racial integration. The city was divided into three zones for elementary and middle schools. Parents were allowed to send their child to any school they pleased in their particular zone, but school officials monitored and sometimes overruled parent choices in order to facilitate racial balance. School officials reported that, in the first year of the new program's operation, 80 percent of elementary school children were able to go to the school their parents chose for them.
Milliken v. Bradley
Many observers believed that, for school busing to be effective as an instrument of school integration, black students should be bused out of the central cities into schools in the outlying suburbs. Only in this way, it was argued, could busing be instituted without having the effect of driving the remaining white families out of the city. The Supreme Court did not agree with this proposed solution, however, ruling five-to-four in Milliken v. Bradley that the suburbs had not caused the de facto segregation in the central cities and thus were not required to help provide a solution to the problem.
The Milliken decision represented a turning-point for the Supreme Court where racial matters were concerned. Richard M. Nixon, a Republican, had been elected president of the United States in 1968, succeeding Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. Nixon did not share Johnson's enthusiasm for rapid advancement in the civil rights arena, and his Supreme Court appointments had reflected this less-involved attitude. All four Nixon appointees voted with the majority in the Milliken v. Bradley decision. The central cities were to cope alone with the problem of de facto segregation of public schools. The suburbs had been granted judicial permission to remain "lily white."
After the Milliken decision, school administrators in central cities searched for imaginative new ways to provide some measure of racial integration in their school systems. One idea was creating "magnet schools" with specialized curricula, such as advanced science or music classes, that students from the suburbs would want to attend. Improved school buildings often were combined with enriched academic programs to make magnet schools extra attractive to suburban students and their parents.14
A Change in the Cloture Rule
The Democratic Party scored significant gains in the congressional elections of 1974. The large numbers of new Democrats elected to the Senate and the House of Representatives were in a reformist mood, and one of the things they wanted to reform was Congress itself.
In 1975 in the Senate, the number of votes required to cloture a filibuster was reduced from 2/3 to 3/5, from 67 votes to 60 votes if all senators were present and voting. It was believed that this lowered number of votes required for cloture would make it more difficult to sustain a filibuster in future debates, and the end result would be the Senate would have an "easier time" enacting civil rights bills.
This new cloture rule did not reduce the use of the filibuster in the U.S. Senate, however. In fact, if anything, it appeared to make the filibuster a more acceptable legislative weapon, even for non-southerners. Groups of senators began to filibuster non-civil rights bills, thus requiring the Senate leadership to produce a 3/5 vote or give up on the particular bill in question. Senators found filibusters to be a particularly effective way to kill bills they opposed late in the legislative session when there was little time remaining and the leadership was anxious to enact more important bills prior to adjournment.
The Bakke Case
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 called for the elimination of racial discrimination in employment. A variety of government agencies and institutions receiving U.S. Government funds, such as colleges and universities, began to take affirmative action to hire more women and minorities. They sought to compensate for the consequences of past discrimination by rapidly increasing the employment and promotion of groups that had been traditionally underrepresented in the work force.
Affirmative action was applied to college and university admission policies as well. Educational institutions made an extra effort to see that more women and minorities were accepted into their undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. Since admission to institutions of higher education is often highly competitive, affirmative action meant that women and minority candidates were accepted who might otherwise have not been accepted. They took the places of other candidates, mainly white males, who were rejected and, in some cases, limited to attending less prestigious colleges and universities. Opponents of affirmative action soon were calling this process reverse discrimination.
The Supreme Court was called upon to address the constitutionality of affirmative action. Alan Bakke was a young white male. He had an excellent academic record at both the University of Minnesota and Stanford University. He also was a Vietnam War veteran. Twice, in 1973 and 1974, he applied for admission to the medical school at the University of California at Davis. Both times he was rejected, but students with weaker academic records and lower aptitude/achievement test scores were accepted.
Under the affirmative action program for the medical school at U.C. Davis, 100 students were admitted each academic year. Of these 100 admissions, 16 were set aside for African Americans, Chicanos, Asian Americans, and Native Americans. Whites were not considered for any of these 16 spots. When U.C. Davis rejected Bakke's application the second time, Bakke filed suit in the U.S. Courts, arguing he had been rejected solely because of his race.
Title VI, the equal employment opportunity section, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the impetus for the affirmative action program at U.C. Davis. Ironically, Bakke sued for admission on the grounds that his rights under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been violated.
In 1978 the Supreme Court ruled that the U.C. Davis affirmative action plan was unconstitutional. It found that Bakke had been excluded because of race and for no other reason. The decision, University of California Regents v. Bakke, became one of the best known and ardently debated Supreme Court decisions of the decade. The immediate effect of the decision was that Alan Bakke was admitted to the medical school at U.C. Davis and went on to get his M.D. degree and pursue a medical career.
But the Supreme Court did not eliminate the concept of affirmative action altogether. The Court ruled that colleges and universities, and by inference employers, may take race and ethnicity into consideration as one of a number of factors when offering admission or employment. The key point was that prospective students or employees could not be denied entrance or employment only on account of race. This subtle distinction gave educational institutions and employers the flexibility they needed to keep the core elements of their affirmative action programs in place.
Affirmative action, and the frequently heard charge of reverse discrimination, remained a major part of U.S. politics in the 1990s. The Congress, the state legislatures, and both the state and U.S. courts continued to struggle to eliminate racial bias in employment and college/university admissions without unfairly favoring one group in society over another.
Perfecting Civil Rights Laws
The three great civil rights laws of the 1960s - the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Housing Rights Act of 1968 - were never substantially amended in the three decades following their enactment. In the mid-1990s they continued to define the major legal protections for minorities in American society.
Subsequent laws were passed, however, that expanded and further defined the scope of these three great civil rights acts. A number of these laws sought to bring additional groups under the protection of the nation's civil rights laws.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (1967) outlawed discrimination against workers or job applicants on account of age. The law applied to workers ages 40 through 65. In 1986 the law was amended to prohibit mandatory retirement in all but the most age-sensitive jobs, such as airline pilots.
The Education Amendment of 1972 sought to guarantee women equal treatment in all facets of the educational process. The law provided that "no person...shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in...any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance." This law was instrumental in increasing efforts for women's sports programs to be given equal importance and equal funding at American colleges and universities.
The Rehabilitation Act (1973) reauthorized programs to rehabilitate the handicapped and simultaneously required affirmative action programs to hire and promote "qualified handicapped individuals" in U.S. Government financed programs and activities. The Americans with Disabilities Act (1991) prohibited discrimination based on disability and required that work places, public facilities, and public accommodations be made accessible to the handicapped.
The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 was designed to overturn the Supreme Court decision in Grove City College v. Bell. The high court had ruled that violating the anti-sex discrimination provisions of the Education Amendment of 1972 would only cut off U.S. Government aid to the particular program in which the gender discrimination was taking place. It would not cut off all U.S. Government aid to the entire institution. Congress reversed the court decision by passing a new law that cut off all federal aid, even when only one program at an institution was found to be discriminatory.
The Fair Housing Act Amendments (1988) sought to tighten up enforcement of the Housing Rights Act of 1968. Instead of the victims of housing discrimination having to pursue their claims in court (an expensive process), under the new law their complaints would be investigated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and decided by administrative law judges.
In the early 1990s the Congress became concerned over a series of Supreme Court decisions that appeared to be weakening the equal employment opportunity provisions of the nation's civil rights laws. After a long series of negotiations between Congress, which had Democratic majorities in both houses, and President George Bush, who was a Republican, the Civil Rights Act of 1991 was passed and signed into law. Employers were required to more clearly justify instances of discrimination against women and minorities, such as not permitting women to do heavy lifting, or not permitting pregnant women to work with electronic equipment or chemicals that were considered harmful to the unborn baby. The new law also prohibited discrimination in handing out job promotions and established a commission to study why there were such a relatively small number of women and minorities serving in management and executive positions.15
The Minority Bill of Rights
Taken together, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Housing Rights Act of 1968 constitute what might be called the Minority Bill of Rights. Although the three laws are legislation, and not part of the U.S. Constitution, they spell out in considerable detail the rights and protections that are granted to minorities in the United States. In the 30 years from the 1960s to the 1990s, these laws withstood all major efforts to weaken them or alter them in a significant way. If Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" is the "Declaration of Independence of the civil rights movement," then the three great civil rights acts of the 1960s surely are the "Bill of Rights of the civil rights movement."