The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88-352, 78 Stat. 241, July 2, 1964) was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed racial segregation in schools, public places, and employment. Conceived to help African Americans, the bill was amended prior to passage to protect women, and explicitly included white people for the first time. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In order to circumvent limitations on congressional power to enforce the Equal Protection Clause imposed by the Supreme Court in the Civil Rights Cases, the law was passed under the Commerce Clause, which had been interpreted by the courts as a broad grant of congressional power. Once the Act was implemented, its effects were far reaching and had tremendous long-term impacts on the whole country. It prohibited discrimination in public facilities, in government, and in employment, invalidating the Jim Crow laws in the southern U.S. It became illegal to compel segregation of the races in schools, housing, or hiring. Powers given to enforce the bill were initially weak, but were supplemented during later years.