Civil Rights Act of 1957, September 9, 1957
This act, proposed by the U.S. attorney general, met opposition from most Southern senators but had strong support in the House of Representatives. The Civil Rights Act of 1957 established a Civil Rights Division in the Department of Justice and empowered a temporary Commission on Civil Rights and the attorney general to investigate and prosecute voting right infringements.
General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration
Congress and the Court Secure Civil Rights
Congress and the Supreme Court have used their distinct but overlapping powers to define the legal basis of civil rights. After the Civil War and Reconstruction, violent intimidation and local Jim Crow laws continued to restrict black people, particularly in the South. Civil rights activists challenged those conditions, and in Brown vs. Board of Education (1954), the Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional. Over the next decade, Congress passed landmark legislation to end segregation and ensure all citizens may freely exercise their civil rights.
We must come to see with the jurists of yesterday that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.” We have waited for more than three hundred and forty years for our constitutional and God-given rights.
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Letter From Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963