Fifty years ago today, the House of Representatives passed the Civil Rights Act, which made it illegal to discriminate against individuals on the basis of race, national origin, religion or gender. We’ve come a long way since then, according to a report issued last week by the Council on Contemporary Families. Yet troubling inequalities persist.
Gone are the days when segregationists in Congress proudly declared they would resist “social equality” and racial “intermingling” to “the bitter end,” and when the head of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission flatly refused to enforce the act’s provisions against gender discrimination.
In 1964, fewer than 5% of Americans approved of interracial marriage. Today, 77% do, according to a Gallup poll. In 1970, a majority of Americans still opposed efforts to end gender inequality. By 2010, 97% of Americans supported equal rights for women, according to the Pew Research Center.
The number of elected black officials in the country has soared, growing from 103 in 1964 to more than 10,000 today. Since 1990, there have been two African-American secretaries of state, and an African-American president is now in his second term. (CNN)