This Week in Geographic History: Civil Rights Act of 1964

We’re slowing down for the summer! Instead of our usual roundup of “This Day in Geographic History” (TDIGH) events, here’s a closer look at one historic event that connects to something in the news today. We’ve also matched it with a map or visual, background information, and additional resources.

Sunday, July 2

Following the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, in August 2014, protests (like this one in Washington, D.C.) broke out across the country. Photograph by Eugene Richards, National Geographic.

TDIGH: Civil Rights Act of 1964

The landmark legislation ended segregation in public places and outlawed employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Current Event: The Justice Department’s stance on civil rights and policing

As racial discrimination in policing continues, the Justice Department’s plan to review cities’ civil rights agreements on police conduct threatens to reduce accountability.  


Mapping Police Violence


The 14th Amendment

Civil Right’s ‘Bloody Sunday’

Brown v. Board of Education

1963 March on Washington

Discussion Questions:  

  1. In what areas has the U.S. made progress since the Civil Rights Act of 1964? What things have not improved? (Think about: political representation, housing, educational and professional opportunities, freedom of expression, etc.)
  2. Do you think the federal government, representing the Constitution, is responsible for ensuring that local law enforcement follows civil rights agreements? Why or why not?

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