This was the promise: No longer would African-Americans be forced to pick up their meals from the back door of restaurants. No longer would they need to fear being unable to find lodgings on their way home from a trip.
And no longer would those who denied them a seat in a theater or on a merry-go-round be able to cloak their prejudice with the law.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964, the culmination of decades of struggle for racial equality.
The act, which banned discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national identity, had first been proposed by President John F. Kennedy several months before his assassination....