Important points in the history of racial discrimination include the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, the ratification of the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments, and the Supreme Court decisions in Hernandez v. Texas and Brown v. Boards of Education, both in 1954. Additionally, the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is an additional important point in the history of racial discrimination.
The Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, gave freedom to all persons held as slaves. The 13th Amendment, ratified by the states in 1865, formally abolished slavery. In 1868, the 14th Amendment was ratified to grant citizenship to all people born or naturalized in the country. The 15th Amendment granted the right to vote to all male citizens.
In the 1954 case of Hernandez v. Texas, the U.S. Supreme Court declared that all ethnic groups in the United States, including Mexican Americans, were entitled to protection under the 14th Amendment. In Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court determined that state laws establishing separate educational facilities for different races were unconstitutional. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 provides sweeping protections against discrimination in employment and public places, including schools. It is considered the United States premier civil rights legislation.