In the 1950's there began a mass movement to break the pattern of racially segregated public facilities in the South. It took part in non-violent actions and was called the Civil Rights Movement. At the time segregation of whites and blacks was legal, as part of the governments "separate but equal" stance. Through out the 50's protests mainly for equal public schooling and job fairness was common place. The argument was that by definition, separate was not equal. .
In January of 1961, a new President was elected to office, John F. Kennedy. Within two months, he issued executive order (#10925). Its goal was to end discrimination against any employee by the government and its contractors. The order required every federal contractor to "Not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color or national origin. The Contractor will take affirmative action, to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during the employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin." This order did not take into account the discrimination of sex, but it was the first steps towards affirmative action.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed in an attempt to further restate and broaden the applications of these principles, and eliminate segregation. After the passing of this act, all education opportunities and use of public facilities and service was for all citizens of the US. The act also provided a way for which any claims violating this act could be settled, and brought to court if necessary. .
"To enforce the constitutional right to vote, to confer jurisdiction upon the district courts of the United States to provide injunctive relief against discrimination in public accommodations, to authorize the Attorney General to institute suits to protect constitutional rights in public facilities and public education, to extend the Commission on Civil Rights, to prevent discrimination in federally assisted programs, to establish a Commission on Equal Employment Opportunity, and for other purposes.