Important legal enactments and constitutional amendments on race
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIII. Slavery abolished. Passed by Congress January 31, 1865. Ratified December 6, 1865.
SECTION 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
SECTION 5. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1866:
guarantees "citizens of every race and color...the same right, in every State and Territory...to make and enforce contracts, to sue, be parties, and give evidence, to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property , and to full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings for the security of person and property, as is enjoyed by white citizens, and shall be subject to like punishments, pains, and penalties, and to no other."
U.S. Constitution, Amendment XIV. Citizen rights not to be abridged. Passed by Congress June 13, 1866. Ratified July 9, 1868
SECTION 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
SECTION 2. The Congress and the Several States shall have concurrent power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
In the Slaughterhouse Cases (1873), the Supreme Court limited the Fourteenth Amendment as a tool for ending racial discrimination.
Amendment XV - Race no bar to voting rights. Passed by Congress February 26, 1869. Ratified February 3, 1870.
SECTION 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
SECTION 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1875:
made it a federal crime for owners and operators of any public accommodation --schools, churches, cemeteries, hotels, places of amusement, and common carriers to "deny the full enjoyment of the accommodations thereof' because of race or religion.
In the Civil Rights Cases (1883), the Supreme Court found that Congress could only legislate to bar racial discrimination resulting from state action. The Supreme Court found that Congress could not enact legislation that banned racial discrimination on the part of individuals or corporations in public accomodations thus the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was an unconstitutional expansion of federal power.
Federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title VII:
It shall be unlawful employment practice for an employer
to fail or refuse to lure or discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; or,
to limit, segregate, or classify his employees in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
Voting Rights Act of 1965:
banned racial discrimination in elections
President Johnson's Executive Order 11246, 1965:
affirmative action for companies doing business with the federal government