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HUD   >   State Information   >   Alabama   >   Stories   >   2014-07-07
Alabama Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act


From left: Delner Franklin-Thomas, District Director, US EEOC; Richard Schwein, Special Agent in Charge, FBI, Bham division; Joyce White Vance, US Attorney, Northern District of Alabama and Michael German, Alabama Field Office Director, US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

With a stroke of a pen, President Lyndon B. Johnson ended legalized racial discrimination in America on a July 2nd, 50 years ago. "The purpose of the law is simple…It does not restrict the freedom of any American, so long as he respects the rights of others. It does not give special treatment to any citizen. It does say the only limit to a man's hope for happiness, and for the future of his children, shall be his own ability," President Johnson said.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, HUD's Alabama Field Office Director Michael German joined a panel organized by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. Panelists included local representatives from the FBI, United States Attorney's Office and Equal Employment Opportunity. The group discussed what's been accomplished in the past 50 years and what can still be done.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the foundation for the Fair Housing Act of 1968, a vital component of HUD's mission to promote non-discrimination and ensure fair and equal housing opportunities for all.

In an ongoing effort to provide services and activities on a nondiscriminatory manner and to affirmatively further fair housing, HUD is charged by law to implement and enforce a wide array of civil rights laws, not only for members of the public in search of fair housing, but for HUD funded grant recipients as well. HUD is also charged with ensuring the successful operation of specific enforcement of housing programs. The array of laws, executive orders, regulations, etc. are collectively known as civil rights requirements and called "Civil Rights Related Program Requirements."

HUD-funded grant recipients are obligated under various laws not to discriminate in housing or services directly or indirectly on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, familial status, or disability. HUD rules further require that recipients of Federal financial assistance comply with civil rights-related program requirements that affect nearly every aspect of each program. HUD's non-discrimination requirements are compiled from several different federal laws designed to protect each individual's right to fair housing and equal opportunity.