Tag Archives: Civil Rights
Civil Rights & Swimming Pools

50 Years of Progress Still Measured by Daily Events

As a mother of two young girls, I most look forward to Sundays in the spring and summer time. Each week, I plan different activities – biking, swimming, hiking, and the like – and this past Sunday was no different. My husband and I took our daughters and a bunch of their friends boating. We stopped at the Baltimore Inner Harbor for a picnic lunch, after which the girls ran through the sprinkler/splash park area. While relaxing and soaking up the sun, I quickly eyed my email and saw a slew of reminders related to this week’s anniversary marking the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This milestone anniversary is, of course, of note to so many Americans. In our home, the date carries a special resonance because we are a biracial family. Read more…

Fifty Years Later: A Reflection from Rabbi Marc Saperstein

By Rabbi Marc Saperstein

On the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we are pleased to share this recollection from Rabbi Marc Saperstein.

My first active involvement in the Civil Rights Movement was on March 25, 1965: the final day of the five-day March from Selma to Montgomery, led by Martin Luther King.

I was then a third year undergraduate at Harvard, and had recently been elected as President of the Harvard-Radcliff Hillel Society. Earlier in the week I was contacted by someone at the United Ministry office, saying that clergy and student leaders from all the religious denominations at Harvard and at several other Boston area universities would by flying to Alabama on a chartered plane overnight, and that they would like me to represent Harvard Hillel. Needless to say, I was thrilled to go. Read more…

Fifty Years Later: Rabbi Richard Hirsch Reflects on the Civil Rights Movement

On the fiftieth anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we take great pride in the fact that the major deliberations on all the civil rights legislation of the 1960’s were held in the conference room of our Religious Action Center. The RAC housed the offices of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, which was the umbrella coordinating organization of all the civil rights, civil liberties, labor, women’s groups and national religious bodies—Protestant, Catholic and Jewish—advocating the passage of the legislation.  All the leadership of these groups, beginning with Martin Luther King, Jr. participated in these meetings and were frequent visitors to our Center.

In commemoration of this historic role, we are reproducing excerpts from the memoir, “From the Hill to the Mount,” by the RAC’s founding Director, Rabbi Richard G. Hirsch:

During my years in Washington our Center dealt with a host of public concerns: among them: church-state, public housing, welfare, migrant labor, economic policy, foreign policy, civil rights, Israel and Soviet Jewry. We testified before Senate and House committees, convened conferences, organized intensive training programs for Jewish and Christian clergy, and issued publications and background papers. Read more…

Al Vorspan

Honoring 50 years of the Civil Rights Act

On Wednesday, July 2, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the landmark legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Reform Movement played an instrumental role in the civil rights movement including helping to draft (in the Religious Action Center’s very own Sillins Conference Room) both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which will also turn 50 next year.  Read more…

Supreme Court

One Year Later: Protecting Voting Rights After Shelby v. Holder

Today is the one-year anniversary of Shelby v. Holder, the Supreme Court’s decision that struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Renewed by bipartisan majorities on several occasions, most recently in 2006, the Voting Rights Act long protected Americans from discrimination at the ballot box. The Shelby decision struck down Section 4(b), a provision of the bill that required states and jurisdictions with a history of discrimination to pre-clear potentially discriminatory voting changes with the federal Department of Justice. While some parts of the Voting Rights Act do remain in place, in the year since the Court’s decision a number of states and jurisdictions have engaged in discriminatory behaviors. Read more…

Honoring The Memory Of Murdered Civil Rights Workers

This post originally appeared on the Anti-Defamation League’s blog, Access ADL.

June 21 marks the 50th anniver­sary of the mur­ders of three young civil rights work­ers who trav­elled to Mis­sis­sippi for “Free­dom Sum­mer,” to help African Amer­i­can res­i­dents under­stand their con­sti­tu­tional rights and reg­is­ter to vote.  Fac­ing deep insti­tu­tional racism, fewer than five per­cent of the 500,000 black adults in Mis­sis­sippi were then reg­is­tered to vote.  Michael “Mickey” Schw­erner, 24, James Chaney, 21, and Andrew Good­man, 20, knew they were risk­ing their lives for their cause. Read more…

Demand a Vote for Criminal Justice Reform

The Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Smarter Sentencing Act by a bipartisan vote of 13-5 in January. But since then, despite increased pressure from advocates, the bill has yet to be called for a vote of the full Senate. Read more…

Hand putting stack of dollar bills into ballot box

Faith Groups Support Voting Rights

Yesterday, 86 faith organizations sent a letter to members of Congress calling for the swift passage of the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014. The letter was signed by a wide range of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, and other organizations and denominations, collectively representing tens of millions of Americans. Read more…

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