On June 20, 1963, what became the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was introduced as H.R. 7152, in the 1st Session of the 88th Congress. It was referred to the Judiciary Committee which was chaired by Rep. Emanual Celler (D-NY). He referred it to a sub-committee, which he also chaired.
On June 26, 1963, the first hearing was held with Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy as the sole witness.
Since for purposes of this blog, the key provision was Title VII, which is the foundation for the advent of employment law, it is interesting to note some of the provisions of the bill as originally introduced:
- It created four protected categories, race, color, national origin and religion;
- It was designed to prevent discrimination in voting, education and public accommodations;
- In the introduction it made the following statement: It is also desirable that disputes or disagreements arising in any community from the discriminatory treatment on the basis of race, color, or national origin shall be resolved on a voluntary basis, without hostility or litigation. Accordingly, it is the further purpose of this Act to promote this end by providing machinery for the voluntary settlement of such disputes and disagreements.
- There was a Title VII, which allowed the President to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity with a mission of eliminating discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin and religion by government contractors and sub-contractors. It would have the powers given to it by the President and would be chaired by the Vice President of the United States, with the Secretary of Labor serving as the Vice-Chair.
Obviously, a far cry from what would emerge as Title VII one year later in the bill as passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Johnson.