10 Ways Things Are Completely Different Because of LBJ and the Civil Rights Movement.
Before President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the U.S. was a very different place—there was no such thing as equality for minorities, for women, basically for anyone who wasn’t a white male.
1. Black people in the movies? Yes. At the movies? Balcony seating only.
Until 1964, it was perfectly legal for movie theaters, restaurants, and hotels to deny service to anyone based on their race, sex, color, religion or national origin. And many of them did.
2. Most college students looked like these guys.
In the 1960s, Virginia’s state universities turned down 21,000 applications from women even though not a single man was turned down in that time. Today, the majority of all bachelors, masters and Ph.D.’s in the U.S. are awarded to women.
3. Every doctor looked like this.
In 1960, it was highly unlikely for women to be admitted into medical school and as a result, only about 1 out of every 20 doctors was a woman. Today that number is about 1 in 4.
4. Johnny Football wins the Heisman Trophy every year.
In 1968, there were only 11 black athletes on scholarship across the entire SEC, and before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 there had been only one African-American Heisman Trophy winner. In the 50 years since, more than half of the Heisman Trophy winners have been African-American.
5. Men can be Playboy Bunnies? The law says yes (the rest of us say no, unless you’re Jon Hamm).
Until 1964, it was legal, common and accepted for businesses to refuse to hire someone just because they didn’t like their sex, religion or the color of their skin. After the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employment discrimination was no longer legal, leading of course, to the possibility of male Playboy Bunnies.
6. In the 1960s, African-Americans could be on a TV station. By the 1970s, they could own one.
It took more than 10 years after the Civil Rights Act, but in 1975, William Banks created WGPR-TV in Detroit, the nation’s first black-owned TV station. In 2013, the Oprah Winfrey Network was in 73% of all U.S. homes with a TV.
7. Supreme achievement.
In 1967 LBJ nominated Thurgood Marshall as the first African-American Supreme Court Justice. In 2009, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor as the Court’s first Hispanic justice, and its third female justice.
8. Black coaches in the NBA.
In 1966, Bill Russell became the first African-American head coach in the NBA. Today, 10 of the league’s 30 head coaches are African-American.
9. This guy.
Less than 50 years after LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we elected Barack Obama as the first African-American President of the United States.
10. Thanks to this guy.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was just the beginning of addressing inequality in the United States. It was followed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (also known as the Fair Housing Act).