WV Reflects on 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

JEFFERSON COUNTY, W.Va.  - On July 2 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act into law. It was a major victory for many Americans, especially African Americans, and all those who fought for equal rights in the Untied States.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, color, sex, or national origin.

"It was very important because it more or less gave African Americans the opportunity to do things they couldn't do in the past," said George Rutherford, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP.

Former president of the West Virginia chapter of the NAACP, James Tolbert said he can remember when those doors seemed impossible to open.

"My son was taken to the hospital and he was put into a ward with an 11 year old black, but also about a 70 year old black, but you were never given a private room," said Tolbert. "One of those persons were suspected of having some a very contagious disease but it didn't matter to hospital, they made sure that black were with blacks, and white were with whites."

Although we have come so far, they say there is still room for improvement.

"There is still problems in employment, there is still problems in housing, there is still problems in education," said Rutherford. "Yeah we have made a whole lot of progress in the last 50 years but now there is still lots of problems that exist."

Though much has changed in the past 50 years West Virginia leaders say there is still work to be done and issues to fight for.

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