The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and The Voting Rights Act of 1965 are two of the most influential and well-known pieces of congressional legislation. Both acts were passed by Congress in an attempt to end the racial discrimination that was prevalent in the southern United States.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is America's most important piece of civil rights legislation. The Act outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Act also requires desegregation in public areas and schools.
Events in 1963 made it a crucial year for the civil rights movement. Violent clashes between protesters and state officials facilitated the passage of the comprehensive Act, which won a majority vote in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, even in the face of strong opposition. Within hours of the Act's passage, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed it into law.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was also signed into law by President Johnson, and was intended to undo the effect of Jim Crow laws and other restrictions on voting that disenfranchised minority voters. When considering the Voting Rights Act, Congress determined that the current federal anti-discrimination laws were insufficient to protect minority citizens' voting rights, primarily due to widespread resistance to equal rights by state officials. In 2013, the Supreme Court invalidated a part of the Voting Rights Act in the seminal case, Shelby County v. Holder.