Just in time
for its 40th anniversary, Robert Mayer has edited a book of source
material on the Civil Rights Act of 1964—a
landmark piece of legislation from an era that continues to fascinate
and challenge him.
Bob, who is professor of education and advisor for the historical
studies major, was asked to edit The Civil Rights Act of 1964,
part of Greenwood Press’s Opposing Viewpoints: At Issue in
History series, after submitting a manuscript on the Birmingham
civil rights marches of 1963.
The act was a key element in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s
policy to assure public equality to African-Americans. Though guaranteed
full rights of citizenship by the 14th amendment to the Constitution,
passed shortly after the end of the Civil War, the newly freed
slaves found a host of obstacles in their way, designed to keep
them separate and second-class.
Known throughout the Southern states as “Jim Crow” laws,
these measures came after a U.S. Supreme Court decision in 1896,
Plessy v. Ferguson, which enshrined the doctrine of “separate
but equal” schools, housing, and public services. This led
to segregated drinking fountains, bus-stop benches, and lunch-counter
seating, and de facto segregation of public transportation, accommodations,
entertainment, and housing developments.
The book is intended to supplement courses in American history
and politics. It includes:
by President John F. Kennedy and Republican senator (and
presidential candidate) Barry Goldwater,
for and against the act.
transcript of a U.S. Senate debate by Hubert Humphrey,
a liberal Democrat from Minnesota, and
Russell Long, a conservative
Democrat from Louisiana
(some very critical) about the act by African-American leaders
such as Martin Luther King Jr., Roy Wilkins, and John
Lewis, a U.S. Representative from Georgia.
writes on educational subjects for publications such as Social
Education, Magazine of History, The
Social Studies, and
Education Quarterly; and on historical subjects for youth
publications such as Cobblestone magazine. In its November
issue, he wrote
about Anne Hutchinson, an early American feminist. In March,
have an article in it on African-American voting rights.