The Civil Rights Act of 1964

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

by Susan Dudley Gold

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Controversial issues leading to important legislation by the U.S. Congress reflect conflicts, personalities, and ideologies of their times. Cavendish's "Landmark Legislation" series explores for teen readers the plots, characters, and outcomes of these national dramas. The 1964 Civil Rights Act was perhaps the most transformative of all. Today's teens may not realize how black citizens endured oppression and humiliation for a hundred years after the Civil War. Gold makes it clear that by mid-twentieth century, it was time for a drastic change. Since first attempts at civil rights legislation were tepid, outraged African-Americans began to protest; Southerners of both political parties were often violent in their resistance to black equality. Gold traces the careers of those most influential in demanding and initiating legislation, including John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King. The story of Congressional action towards a comprehensive bill is extremely complex, beginning with obstruction in the Senate, violence in the South, and Kennedy's assassination in 1963. When Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency, apprehensive African-Americans were amazed as Johnson, a Texan, brought his formidable political skills to the task of passing a Civil Rights Act. Even so, with wily Senatorial opponents, the struggle to pass a meaningful bill was one of the most intense ever known—if teen readers can sort out the intricate moves, they will get quite an education in Congressional strategies and power plays. Though Gold obviously admires Johnson's determined leadership, she mentions that recorded conversations with Dr. King show that he and the President frequently consulted on strategy. Final chapters trace the immediate positive effects of the Bill and its influence on future progress, culminating in Barack Obama's election in 2008. A list of young adult titles looks promising for research; also helpful is an explanation of the Bill's eleven segments or "Titles." Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft

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Product Details

Cavendish, Marshall Corporation
Publication date:
Landmark Legislation Series
Product dimensions:
6.32(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.52(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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