How the Civil Rights Act Changed America

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Austin, Texas.  - AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

Former President Bill Clinton speaks during the Civil Rights Summit on Wednesday, April 9, 2014, in Austin, Texas.

AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

How the Civil Rights Act Changed America

President Barack Obama and three former presidents gather in Texas to mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. We discuss the struggle to pass the landmark legislation and its legacy today.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act. President Lyndon Johnson overcame a determined filibuster by southern lawmakers and signed the bill on July 2, 1964. The new law banned discrimination in public accommodations, including restaurants and hotels, and ended the era of legal segregation. The Civil Rights Act also outlawed discrimination in the workplace and at the voting booth. The law is now regarded as one of the greatest accomplishments of the civil rights movement. This week, President Obama and three former presidents are gathering in Texas to mark the 50th anniversary. We discuss the struggle to pass the Civil Rights Act and how it changed America.

Guests

Todd Purdum

senior writer, Politico and contributing editor, Vanity Fair; author of "An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Two Presidents, Two Parties, and the Battle for the Civil Rights Act of 1964" (April 2014)

Isabel Wilkerson

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of "The Warmth of Other Suns."

Michelle Bernard

president, the Bernard Center for Women, Politics and Public Policy; author of "Moving America Toward Justice, The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, 1963-2013."

Evan Thomas

journalist and professor, Princeton University; author of "Ike's Bluff: President Eisenhower's Secret Battle to Save the World" and "Robert Kennedy: His Life"

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