Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) today marked the 50th anniversary of the signing the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Congressman Cohen made the following statement 50 years to the day after President Lyndon Johnson signed the bill into law:
"The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is among the most significant laws in our nation's history, representing a culmination of years and years of a difficult struggle. Many brave Americans were mistreated, hurt, and even killed as they fought for the rights we hold dear, and each of us owes a debt to the courageous leaders of the civil rights movement of the 1960s."
"While the landmark civil rights law helped bring an end to the Jim Crow era by banning discrimination and segregation in public places, 50 years later vestiges of injustice still remain. I was proud to author the first and only official Congressional apology for slavery and Jim Crow, but we can still do more to rectify the lingering consequences of these travesties of justice."
"One year after the Supreme Court struck down critical components of the Voting Rights Act, efforts to once again curtail the right to vote can now be seen throughout the country. It is as important as ever that the law's protections are still critical in the fight against discrimination. As we reflect upon the hard work and bravery that led to Civil Rights Act 5 decades ago, we must recognize that this fight for our rights is ongoing and unfinished. Every Congressperson should support the Voting Rights Amendment Act to restore the full protections of the Voting Rights Act. Doing so would be in the spirit of the Civil Rights Act and would help America better live up to our creed that all individuals are created equal."