Liberty, Justice and Civil Rights

Monday, July 3 — Befitting the run up to the nation’s celebration of freedom, one of the most important pieces of legislation in our history came just before Independence Day in 1964. The Civil Rights Act swept away Jim Crow laws by prohibiting discrimination based on race in all accommodations and facilities open to the public, as well as employment, union membership and voter registration.


Shortly after the Civil Rights Act became law, nearly 42 percent of the black population lived in poverty. Today, that figure is just over 25 percent. In 1964, less than 20 percent of black adults had a high school diploma. Now, about 85 percent of the black population over the age of 25 have at least a high school diploma, and over 20 percent have a bachelor’s or advanced degree.


Profile America is in its 21st year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

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