A nation still divided on race celebrates the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights law. As you read and/or listen to the various social commentary and analysis, there's a particular focus on how the 1964 civil rights law transformed the nation by dismantling American apartheid. Consider for a moment how Jim Crow and states rights shackled black life in America where entry onto public spaces were severely restricted or just simply denied. Swimming pools, movie theaters, hotels. motels, restaurants, public transportation, libraries, hospitals and even cemeteries are just a few examples of just how deep the racial divide was before the 1964 Civil Rrights bill was passed.
Throughout 2014, The Blackboard will occasionally post to a series of articles about the sixties, in general but 1964, in particular. The Sixties is well acknowledged as a period of transformative and fundamental change in America, especially as a time when race assumed a more pivotal role in American politics. There were three presidential campaigns during this turbulent period in American history that witnessed the contrasting forces of racial liberalism and racial conservatism collide against each other – in the backdrop of a national movement for civil rights for blacks. Although a strong argument can be made for the tumultuous year of 1968 as the single pivotal year during the sixties, a stronger argument can be made for 1964 as the pivotal year in American politics for several reasons.