WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today marking the 39th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act being signed into law:
"Thirty-nine years ago today, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 into law and profoundly expanded the reach of equality and opportunity to those Americans who - on account of their race or ethnicity - had been unjustly denied these fundamental freedoms for far too long. In enacting this landmark legislation, our government sought to end the reprehensible practice of housing discrimination and, in the process, enable more of our citizens to fully realize the promise of the American Dream.
"By recognizing the inherent immorality of de facto segregation in our communities through the denial of housing opportunities to minorities, the United States took a giant step forward in elevating the bonds that unite us as Americans and human beings over the forces that divide.
"Nearly four years earlier, in his commencement address at Howard University, President Johnson said, 'We seek not just freedom but opportunity. We seek not just legal equity but human ability - not just equality as a right and a theory but equality as a fact and equality as a result.' I believe that the Civil Rights Act of 1968 has helped fulfill this vision. And furthermore, it has served as a proclamation of America's willingness to put the force of law behind the values and principles for which we stand.
"We still have much work ahead if we are to fully realize the vision of President Johnson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and all the others who passed a legacy of acceptance and understanding down to us. But we have made great strides as a society over the last half-century, and I am proud to join Americans all over our nation today in marking the 39th anniversary of legislation that served as yet another milestone in our pursuit of equal opportunity and social justice for all."