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SAT II History

SAT II History

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LEGISLATION/RULING

SIGNIFICANCE

Civil Rights Act, 1964

• Prohibits discrimination in public accommodations
• Authorizes the U.S. attorney general to intervene on behalf of
victims of discrimination
• Forbids employers and unions to discriminate against minorities
• Enables the federal government to withhold funding from
projects in which discrimination exists
• Forbids the use of different standards for whites and African
Americans applying to register to vote

Twenty-Fourth Amendment Outlaws the use of a poll tax or any tax to keep African Americans
from voting in federal elections

REVIEWING THE KENNEDY TO THE BUSH ADMINISTRATIONS

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CIVIL RIGHTS LEGISLATION

LEGISLATION/RULING

SIGNIFICANCE

Voting Rights Act, 1965

Allows the federal government to register voters in localities where
literacy tests and similar restrictions were in effect as of November
1, 1964, and where less than half the eligible voters had registered
and voted in the 1964 federal election (most of the South)

Heart of Atlanta v. United
States

Upholds the use of the commerce clause as the basis for civil rights
legislation

Wesbery v. Sanders

Ends pattern of overrepresentation of rural districts and
underrepresentation of cities in legislatures; “one man, one vote”

Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States (1964; interstate commerce)

Case: In 1964, Congress, using its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article I, Section
8, passed the Civil Rights Act banning discrimination in public accommodations and in
employment. A motel owner challenged the law on the basis that his business was local—even
though it was convenient to exits for an interstate—and, therefore, should not be regulated
under interstate commerce.

Decision: The Warren Court ruled against the owner. It based its decision on the theory that
public accommodations, places that sell lodging (hotels, rooming houses, etc.), food (restaurants,
lunch counters, etc.), and entertainment (movie theaters, auditoriums, etc.) serve transients
and/or have moved a large portion of their goods by interstate commerce. In its opinion, the
Court found “overwhelming evidence of the disruptive effect [of] racial discrimination” on
commerce.

Significance: The Court’s ruling upheld Congress’s use of the commerce clause as the basis for
civil rights legislation.

CHAPTER 8

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Wesbery v. Sanders (1964; one man, one vote)

Case: As a result of the 1960 Census, Georgia’s ten Congressional districts were reapportioned.
The Fifth District had more than 800,000 people, while the other nine districts had just under
400,000 on average. Several members of the Fifth Congressional District joined in a suit against
Sanders, their representative, claiming that the size of the district deprived them of equal
representation.

Decision: The Court, citing Article I, Section 2, ruled that the difference in size of the
population of the ten Congressional districts violated the Constitution.

Significance: This case was one in a series of cases dealing with apportionment of state and
Congressional seats that the Court agreed to hear. The decisions in these cases, known
collectively as “one man, one vote,” ended the pattern of rural overrepresentation and urban
underrepresentation in legislatures.

• The most prominent civil rights activist of the late 1950s and 1960s
was the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Head of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC),
he preached nonvio-
lence
and led a series of demonstrations and marches to protest
racial discrimination—until his assassination in 1968. Similar in
approach was the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) which
was founded by James Farmer.
• The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)
began with similar objectives and tactics but changed under the
leadership of Stokely Carmichael, who championed Black
Power.
This caused a split between SNCC and more mainline
organizations like the SCLC and the NAACP. Carmichael defined
Black Power as a call to African Americans “to unite, to recognize
their heritage, to build a sense of community.”
• The following were major civil rights’ activities of the 1950s
and 1960s:

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