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Black History Month: Civil Rights Act

Today’s post pertains to a historical fact and not a particular person. 
The Civil Rights Act of 1866 was the first federal law to affirm that all U.S. citizens are equally protected under the law. It reversed the ruling of the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which stated that black slaves were property. It would be vetoed by then President, Andrew Johnson. However a then Republican Congress overturned that veto. 
The Act defined citizenship and made it illegal to deny any person of the rights of citizenship on the basis of race, color or previous servitude status. However the Act did not protect political or social rights such as voting and equal accommodations.

The Civil Rights Act or better known as The Enforcement Act of 1875 was the last of the major Reconstruction statutes. It guaranteed African Americans equal treatment in public transportation and public accommodations and service on juries. 
This US legislature affirmed the “equality of all men before the law” and prohibited racial discrimination in public places and facilities such as restaurants and public transportation. The law also made it a crime for anyone to facilitate the denial of such accommodations or services on the basis of colour, race, or “previous condition of servitude.”
In March of 1883, The U.S. Supreme Court would later declare The Enforcement Act unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases (1883).
This judicial ruling would remain in force until the court disavowed it by upholding the Civil Rights Act of 1964, nearly 100 years after the Civil War ended.

The overturned ruling specified that (8–1) in the Civil Rights Cases, that neither the Thirteenth Amendment (which banned slavery) nor the Fourteenth Amendment (which guaranteed equal protection of the laws to African Americans) was infringed by the existence of uncodified (not documented or written, not compiled or classified) racial discrimination, which therefore could not be constitutionally prohibited.

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