Editor's note: The following is the final piece in a series of
posts on the historical record that can be tracked through U.S.
coins. The subject is the cover story of our July monthly issue.
To read other stories in the series, click here.
Though some barriers began to break in the 1940s, the struggle for
civil rights would continue another two decades before the passage of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The landmark legislation enacted on July 2, 1964, outlaws
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin. It requires equal access to public places and employment, and
provides for enforcement of school desegregation of and voting rights.
It did not end discrimination, but it did open doors to further progress.
President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the law into effect, following
the passage of the measure (which was initially suggested by President
Kennedy in 1963) in the wake of Kennedy’s death.
An irony of Johnson’s role in the legislation is that, during his
first 20 years as an elected official, he had vehemently opposed every
single piece of Civil Rights legislation, thwarting efforts in
Congress for pragmatic reasons (i.e., to be re-elected).
The act was supplemented with additional powers to further advance
the cause, strengthening enforcement.
The U.S. Mint in 2014 issued a commemorative silver dollar marking
the 50th anniversary of the legislation.
Three protestors, including one carrying a sign with the anthem of
the era, WE SHALL OVERCOME, appear on the obverse, while a flame of
liberty burns on the reverse.
The canvases of America’s coinage designs reflect a broad and
Themes, people and objects celebrated on the coinage each tell a
piece of the story of the American experience.
The events and moments you wish to celebrate through coinage are up