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White House

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

A look back at the moments surrounding the signing of the historic document.

June 25, 2014

Fifty years ago, on July 2, 1964, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy and working with Martin Luther King Jr., Johnson vowed to continue the fight for the historic legislation.  

President Johnson signs the 1964 Civil Rights Act as Martin Luther King Jr. and others look on.(Cecil Stoughton; White House Press Office)

James Meredith walking to class at University of Mississippi, accompanied by U.S. marshals James McShane (left) and John Doar of the Justice Department (right). (Marion S. Trikosko; U.S. News & World Report - Library of Congress)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" after being arrested and booked on April 12, 1963.(Birmingham Police Department)


President Johnson meets with Martin Luther King Jr. in the White House Cabinet Room.(Yoichi R. Okamoto - Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum)

Troops from the 327th Regiment, 101st Airborne escorting the Little Rock Nine African-American students up the steps of Central High.(U.S. Army/National Archives)

Participants, some carrying American flags, during the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965.(Library of Congress)


Martin Luther King Jr. and other civi-rights leaders and officials meet with President Kennedy.(Leffler; Warren K.)

An FBI poster asking for information on the missing civil-rights activists Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner, who were murdered by the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi in the summer of 1964.(FBI)

This United States Information Agency photograph of the March on Washington on Aug. 28, 1963, shows civil-rights and union leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., Joseph L. Rauh Jr., Whitney Young, Roy Wilkins, A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther, and Sam Weinblatt.(National Archives)

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