Civil Rights Act of 1964

Signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a critical piece of that legally protected citizens from discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender or religion. The following is one title, or part, of the law.
88th Congress
Grade Level


SEC. 301. (a) Whenever the Attorney General receives a complaint in writing signed by an individual to the effect that he is being deprived of or threatened with the loss of his right to the equal protection of the laws, on account of his race, color, religion, or national origin, by being denied equal utilization of any public facility which is owned, operated, or managed by or on behalf of any State or subdivision thereof, other than a public school or public college as defined in section 401 of title IV hereof, and the Attorney General believes the complaint is meritorious and certifies that the signer or signers of such complaint are unable, in his judgment, to initiate and maintain appropriate legal proceedings for relief and that the institution of an action will materially further the orderly progress of desegregation in public facilities, the Attorney General is authorized to institute for or in the name of the United States a civil action in any appropriate district court of the United States against such parties and for such relief as may be appropriate, and such court shall have and shall exercise jurisdiction of proceedings instituted pursuant to this section. The Attorney General may implead as defendants such additional parties as are or become necessary to the grant of effective relief hereunder.

(b) The Attorney General may deem a person or persons unable to initiate and maintain appropriate legal proceedings within the meaning of subsection

(a) of this section when such person or persons are unable, either directly or through other interested persons or organizations, to bear the expense of the litigation or to obtain effective legal representation; or whenever he is satisfied that the institution of such litigation would jeopardize the personal safety, employment, or economic standing of such person or persons, their families, or their property.

SEC. 302. In any action or proceeding under this title the United States shall be liable for costs, including a reasonable attorney’s fee, the same as a private person.

SEC. 303. Nothing in this title shall affect adversely the right of any person to sue for or obtain relief in any court against discrimination in any facility covered by this title.

SEC. 304. A complaint as used in this title is a writing or document within the meaning of section 1001, title 18, United States Code.

Approved July 2, 1964.

This text is in the public domain.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    What right does the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protect? What specific violation of that right is Title III meant to
    The Civil Rights Act protects the right to equal protection under the law regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, gender or religion. Title III prohibits discrimination in public facilities, where individuals have been denied service or access based on their race, ethnicity, nationality or religion.
  2. Question
    What evidence is there that the Civil Rights Act is meant to provide all individuals the protections therein,
    regardless of their means? Cite evidence from the text in your response.
    Title III provides support for plaintiffs who are unable to take their own legal action. It says the federal government will take the legal action on behalf of individuals when taking such action on their own could risk the safety and security of that individual, their family and their property. It also cites the federal government as financially liable for the actions taken under this Title.
  3. Question
    What gaps do you notice in this part of the legislation, in terms of who is protected and where they are protected?
    Responses will vary but may include protection in privately owned and operated facilities and protection of LGBT people.
Reveal Answers
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