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Thu, 04.11.1968

The Civil Rights Act of 1968 is Signed

President Johnson signing

*On this date in 1968, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed.  This federal law prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing. It is also known as the Fair Housing Act.  

Titles II through VII comprise the Indian Civil Rights Act, which applies to the Native American tribes of the United States and makes many but not all of the guarantees of the Bill of Rights applicable within the tribes; that Act appears today in Title 25, sections 1301 to 1303 of the United States Code).  Titles VIII through IX is commonly known as the Fair Housing Act (FHA), which was meant as a follow‑up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (this is different legislation than the Housing and Urban Development Act of 1968, which expanded housing funding programs).  

While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited discrimination in housing, there were no federal enforcement provisions.   The 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and since 1974, sex. Since 1988, the act protects people with disabilities and families with children. Pregnant women are also protected from illegal discrimination because they have been given familial status, with their unborn child being the other family member. Victims of discrimination may use both the 1968 act and the 1866 act via section 1983 to seek redress.

The 1968 act provides federal solutions, while the 1866 act provides private solutions (i.e., civil suits). The act also made it a federal crime to "by force or by the threat of force, injure, intimidate, or interfere with anyone... because of their race, color, religion, or national origin, handicap or familial status."   Title X, commonly known as the Anti-Riot Act, makes it a felony to "travel in interstate commerce...with the intent to incite, promote, encourage, participate in and carry on a riot." That provision has been criticized for "equating organized political protest with organized violence."   This was a landmark law signed into law during the King assassination riots by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

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