The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (July 2, 1964) is a landmark piece of civil rights legislation in the United States that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It ended unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (known as "public accommodations")
The Civil Rights Act was later expanded to bring disabled Americans, the elderly and women in collegiate athletics under its umbrella. It also paved the way for two major follow-up laws: the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices, and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of property. Though the struggle against racism would continue, legal segregation had been brought to its knees.
The commemorative ride celebrated the signing of the Civil Rights Act in 1964. The Freedom Riders took aim at the transportation system, as segregation in public facilities was being enforced. By the busloads the riders, which started with 13 black and white, men and women challenged those laws.
Today some of the same people who helped change a nation, known as the Freedom Riders, arrived in Richmond — the one time capital of the Confederacy.
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, Va. Sen. Henry Marsh III and U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott were among the officials gathered in Capitol Square to greet the Freedom Riders.
The State Capital hosted the event and it was a memorable moment for all who attended (including this Richmond Disability Examiner). Some of the same people who fought for the freedom from unfair treatment boarded buses in front of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building in D.C. for a symbolic ride to the River City.
The Old Senate Chamber overflowed with spectators to celebrate the occasion. The message was clear – these Freedom Riders changed history in 1964. The admiration and appreciation of their efforts 50 years ago was evident in the endless photo’s and applause.
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