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Constitution Day 2014

civil rights 1964 Live!  promo2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. To commemorate that anniversary and celebrate the historic importance of the Act and its impact on American life, we invite you to join HEC-TV and the Missouri Bar for Constitution Day 2014: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Its Current Implications. Topics will include details on the provisions of the Act itself and the political,
cultural, and legal forces that caused its passage. We’ll explore the Constitutional concepts that were at issue and we’ll gauge the importance of the Act as we discuss its impact on American life at the time of its passage and its continuing impact through subsequent legislation and the civil rights movement today.

Join us from the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse in St. Louis to interact with our panel of judges, constitutional scholars, attorneys, and historians for a vibrant and insightful discussion as we explore The Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Wednesday September 17, 2014
Times: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
AT&T U-verse 99 | Charter Channel 989 | www.hectv.org | live tweets @hec_tv

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2014 Study Guide

Click here to download the Word document of the 2014 Study Guide

The Missouri Bar 2014 Constitution Day Program

The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Its Current Implications

A Joint Project of the Missouri Bar and HEC-TV Live

September 17, 2014


(Prepared by Millie Aulbur, Director of Citizenship Education, The Missouri Bar)


The Missouri Bar and HEC-TV are proud to host The Missouri Bar Constitution Day Program for the seventh consecutive year. The 2011 Constitution Day Program on the presidency won a Telly Award. (The Telly Award was founded in 1979 and is the premier award honoring outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs, the finest video and film productions, and online commercials, video and films. Winners represent the best work of the most respected advertising agencies, production companies, television stations, cable operators, and corporate video departments.)

The program this year is entitled The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Its Current Implications.  On July 2, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   Historians generally agree that the passage of this legislation along with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 finally brought to fruition the promises embodied in the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

We are pleased to announce that once again the program will be broadcast from the Thomas F. Eagleton Federal Courthouse in St. Louis. The program will air twice:  10:00-11:00 a.m. and 1:00-2:00 p.m.  Constitution Day participants will have the opportunity to listen to a panel of experts on these topics and to submit their own questions and comments to the panel.  The panel members are:

  • Pam Meanes, President of the National Bar Association.
  • The Honorable Shirley Padmore Mensah, U.S. Magistrate Judge, Eastern District of Missouri.
  • Rigel Oliveri, Assistant Dean, University of Missouri School of Law.
  • Reuben Shelton, President of The Missouri Bar.
  • Mark Updegrove, Executive Director, the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas.


Students will be able to:

  • Describe the essential components of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • Explain the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for African-Americans.
  • Explain the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on gender equality.
  • Discuss current issues impacted by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Purpose of the study guide

This study guide is intended as a resource for classroom teachers to prepare students for the Constitution Day broadcasts and to provide follow-up activities.  The study guide has background materials, classroom activities, enrichment suggestions and links to outstanding Internet resources.



We recommend several excellent websites for learning about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, exploring the philosophical and historical foundations, and for information about the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and the constitutional ratification process:


The 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Its Current Implications


After the Civil War, three amendments were added to the Constitution to address racial discrimination:  the 13th Amendment banned slavery, the 14th Amendment defined citizenship and equal protection of the laws, and the 15th Amendment provided that no man could be denied the right to vote based on “race, color or previous condition of servitude.”   The United States Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1875 to implement the provisions of these amendments.  The 1875 Act banned racial discrimination not only in state and national governments, but also in public accommodations—hotels, restaurants, theaters, etc.  But the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in 1883 that Congress did not have the authority to make laws about discrimination for private places.  (There were five separate cases that were consolidated in one case called The Civil Rights Cases.)

With the 1875 Civil Rights Act seriously gutted by the court, Jim Crow laws took hold in many states, especially the former Confederate States.  Whites Only signs appeared in places like theaters, restaurants and hotels.  Public schools and public transportation segregated African-Americans.  Segregation was challenged in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), but the Supreme Court held that “separate but equal” was constitutional.

Inroads for civil rights for African-Americans were made in various aspects of American life in the early and middle years of the 20th century:

  • 1938—In a case involving the University of Missouri, Missouri ex rel. Gaines v. Canada, 305 U.S. 337, the Supreme Court of the United States held that the University of Missouri School of Law, as the only public law school in Missouri, could not deny Lloyd Gaines admission to the law school and that providing him with tuition to an out-of-state school was not a “separate but equal” solution.  This was the first case to start chipping away at the Plessy decision.  (In 1950, the Court struck down “separate but equal” law school situations in two cases–Sweatt v. Painter, 339 U.S. 629 and McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents, 339 U.S. 637.)
  • 1948—In a case that came from St. Louis, Missouri, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1 (1948) that courts could not enforce racial covenants on real estate.  In other words, restrictions on real estate could not include racial discrimination.
  • 1948—President Harry S Truman, the only president from Missouri, issued Executive Order 9981 calling for the desegregation of the U.S. military.
  • 1954–Arguably, the most famous civil rights case, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483, is decided.  The Court declared state laws establishing separate public schools for black and white students to be unconstitutional. The decision overturned Plessy v. Ferguson.  Many constitutional scholars feel that the Browncase gave the Civil Rights Movement momentum by finding that segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • 1956—After months of Civil Rights activists boycotting buses in various Alabama cities, Alabama’s laws calling for segregated buses were struck down by the Court in Browder v. Gayle, 352 U.S. 903.
  • 1960—The federal government began looking into how African-Americans were being kept from voting.
  • 1963—The Supreme Court in six different cases overturned the convictions of people who had been found guilty of trespassing for holding sit-ins at segregated lunch counters.

Despite these victories, Civil Rights leaders were frustrated with the slow pace of change. The early elation in the aftermath of the Brown decision gave way to frustration.  Ten years after the decision, less than 2% of the nation’s segregated schools were desegregated.  Institutionalized segregation was still part of education, housing and employment, and there were still plenty of “Whites Only” signs in hotels, restaurants and theaters.

But the Civil Rights movement was starting to get some serious attention from all Americans in the late 1950s and early 1960s.  Americans were getting to know Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his message of bringing about change peacefully.  They were seeing nightly newscasts from the South about peaceful demonstrations and marches, lunch counter sit-ins, bus boycotts, and voter registration drives aided by Freedom Riders from the North.  They were shocked at the violence used against the people taking part in these peaceful events.

In 1963,  Civil Rights leaders and, to some extent the American public, began to put pressure on President John F. Kennedy and Congress to pass some kind of comprehensive, meaningful civil rights legislation.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964

President Kennedy was assassinated before any of his proposed legislation was passed. However, his successor, President Lyndon Johnson took on the task of getting a civil rights bill passed.  Many historians feel that President Lyndon B. Johnson’s superb political skills ensured the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in Congress.  (One of the more interesting stories about the days leading up to the passage of the law is that allegedly a Congressman from the South added outlawing gender discrimination to the bill thinking that his fellow lawmakers would be less likely to vote for the law!)

It is hard to overstate the importance of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  President Johnson considered its passage and that of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the highlights of his presidency.  The Act’s scope and depth, and additions made to it in subsequent years, truly brought about a comprehensive, meaningful change in the civil rights of not only African-Americans but other groups, too.

Some of the components of the Act and its additions are:

  • Title 1 of the Act is about racial discrimination in voting. (The Voting Rights Act of 1965 will be one of the subjects addressed for Constitution Day 2015.)
  • Title II was the most controversial part of the Act.  It bans racial discrimination in privately owned public accommodations, such as hotels, theaters, restaurants, ball stadiums, etc.  The Supreme Court struck down this section of the Civil Rights Act of 1875 on the grounds that government cannot tell private owners what to do.  Congress could not rely on the Fourteenth Amendment because it only prohibits governments and other public entities like schools from discrimination.  Instead, Congress relied on the power enumerated in Article I, Section 8, Clause 3–The United States Congress shall have power “to regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”  This is usually referred to as the Commerce Clause and allows Congress not only to regulate commerce between the U.S. and other nations, but also between the states.

In the landmark cases of Heart of Atlanta Motel Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241 (1964) and Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U.S. 294 (1964), the United States Supreme Court held that the U.S. Congress could use the power granted to it by the Constitution‘s Commerce Clause to force private businesses to abide by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The reasoning was that any business that held itself out as accommodating the public was open for business from people from any state and, therefore, the business was engaged in interstate commerce.  Thus, Congress could regulate the business.

  • Other parts of the Act banned discrimination in public facilities, in public education in employment, and in publicly financed programs.
  • Title VII bans racial and gender discrimination in employment. Other additions to Title VII were the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.
  • Title IX was added in 1972 and addresses gender discrimination.  The original bill did not specifically mention athletics, but Title IX is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics.  High schools, colleges and universities had to have as many athletic opportunities for women as they did for men.


Teaching about the Civil Rights Act of 1964

  1. For excellent background materials, including primary documents, there are many resources.  The Insights on Law publication from the American Bar Association is particularly outstanding and includes a lot of activities.
  2. President Lyndon Johnson is linked inextricably with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  His presidential library in Austin has incredible resources and among them are:
  3. For the current status of civil rights, go to:
  4. Show students the movie about Jackie Robinson, 42.  This movie dramatically and realistically depicts the insidiousness of the Jim Crow laws and the extreme difficulties of integrating major league baseball.
  1. Discuss how busing students was used to desegregate the schools.  What were the advantages and disadvantages of this practice?
  1. Discuss Title IX and high school and collegiate sports.  How did it impact athletics at these levels?
  1. What is Affirmative Action and what does it have to do with the Civil Rights Act of 1964?  For an excellent resource, see www.ncsl.org/research/education/affirmative-action-court-decisions.aspx.
  1. Two U.S. Representatives have proposed making “the right organize a labor union” a fundamental right and part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.   Do you agree with this proposal?  Why or why not?  How is organizing a labor union the same or different from discrimination based on race, gender, age or disability?


Discussion Questions for Students and Suggestions for Further Study and Enrichment

  • The 14th Amendment has often been called the Great Amendment.  Why?  How was it important in the Civil Rights Cases?
  • What are the arguments for and against Affirmative Action?
  • What other groups currently are seeking to be protected by the Equal Protection Clause?
  • Do you think the immigration crisis is related to civil rights?  Why or why not?
  • Read about the three law school cases mentioned in the lesson plan—Gaines, Sweatt and McLaurin.  What attempts did the three universities make to provide “separate but equal” facilities for African-Americans.  Why did the Court strike down these practices?


Alignment with Missouri’s Social Studies Standards

Constitution Day Objectives

Show Me Knowledge/Content

Performance Process

Course Level Expectations/Depth of Knowledge
Describe the essential components of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Social Studies 1 Principles expressed in the documents shaping democracy in the U.S.


1.2 Conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas.

1-A     2
Explain the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for African-Americans.

Social Studies 3 Principles and processes of governance systems.

1.2 Conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas.

2-C       2
Explain the impact of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on gender equality.

Social Studies 1 Principles expressed in the documents shaping democracy in the U.S.

1.2 Conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas.

1-A/7-E     2
Discuss current issues impacted by the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Social Studies 1 Principles expressed in the documents shaping democracy in the U.S.


3.6Examine problems and proposed solutions from multiple perspectives. 1-A/B     2

Constitution Day 2014 Quiz

Fill in the blank

  1. Who is called the Father of the Constitution?
  2. Which state ratified the Constitution first?
  3. Who was the oldest delegate to the Constitutional Convention?
  4. What are the first ten amendments to the Constitution called?
  5. Which was the most populated state at the time the Constitution was ratified?
  6. Who was the president of the Constitutional Convention?


  1. No amendment to the Constitution has ever been repealed.
  2. The original Constitution was stored at Fort Knox during World War II.
  3. Over 11,000 amendments to the Constitution have been proposed.
  4.  The U.S. Constitution is both the shortest and the oldest national constitution in the world.
  5. The word “democracy” appears three times in the Constitution.


  1. ___Number of amendments to the Constitution
  2. ___Number of proposed amendments to change the Electoral College.
  3. ___Number of states at the Constitutional Convention.
  4. ___Number of delegates at the Constitutional Convention.
  5. ___Number of articles in the Constitution.
  6. ___Number of lawyers who signed the Constitution.
a.  500b.  55c.  24d.  27e.  7f.  12



Interesting facts

  1. One of the proposed amendments in the original Bill of Rights that the states considered was a requirement that each representative in the House of Representatives would only represent 50,000 people.  It did not pass. That is a good thing because if it had, we would have 5,990 representatives!  Today we have 435 representatives because that is the number of chairs that will fit in the House chambers in the U.S. Capitol.  So every 10 years, after the census is taken, Congress divides the population by 435 and decides how many representatives each state gets.
  1. The state with the most representatives is California (53).  Seven states have only one:  Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wymoning.

For more Amazing Facts, go to www.constitutioncenter.org.

Constitution Day 2014 Quiz Answers

All the answers to the Constitution Day 2014 Quiz can be found here. (Download the answer)

Civil Rights Act of 1964 Quiz

What Do You Know about the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

True or False

  1. President John F. Kennedy signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  2. The 19th century passage of the 13th (an end to slavery), 14th (equal protection of the laws), and the 15th (voting for African-American men) Amendments led to greater equality for all African-Americans.
  3. The original bill creating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was designed to end discrimination not only against African-Americans, but against women, too.
  4. Because of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, high schools, colleges and universities must offer equal opportunities for men and women in extracurricular activities.
  5. Jim Crow laws were laws that states and other governmental bodies passed that discriminated against African-Americans.
  6. After the Supreme Court of the United States decided the case of Brown v.  Topeka Board of Education, desegregation in public schools took place quite rapidly.
  7. Eventually, the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) was added to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  8. The same day that Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the president signed it into law.
  9. Affirmative action has its basis in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  10. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 desegregated the military.
  11. The most controversial part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the desegregation of private businesses deemed to be public accommodations.
  12. Congress relied on the 14th Amendment to desegregate public accommodations.
  13. Lloyd Gaines was denied admission to the University of Missouri School Of Law in 1936 because he was an African-American.
  14. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was considered the most effective Civil Rights leader of the 1960s.
  15. The courts refused to overturn the trespassing convictions of those protesters doing sit-ins at drugstore lunch counters.

All the answers to these questions can be found in the Constitution Day 2014 Study Guide. Click here to download the study guide.

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