1964: Civil Rights Battles

Fifty years ago, the civil rights movement in the United States made huge strides among continued setbacks. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law, banning discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin -- but segregation remained the norm in many establishments. Sit-in protests were held in cafes, restaurants and hotels, opposing discriminatory service and hiring practices. Small town all-white schools were required to integrate, and big-city schools began large scale efforts to integrate by bus. Segregationists, angered by the Civil Rights Act, took to the streets as well, often attacking African American demonstrations across the South. Decades of police brutality, capped off by several incidents in the summer of 1964 led to a series of racially-motivated riots in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Jersey City. The year ended hopefully though, as activist Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. was presented with the Nobel Peace Prize for his ongoing efforts to promote peaceful change amid harsh opposition and threats of violence. This is the second of five entries focusing on events of the year 1964 this week (and next Monday). Later entries will feature images from Beatlemania, Alaska's Good Friday earthquake, and the New York World's Fair.

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