March 1 -- Civil Rights act signing, first attempt

(silly graphic retired until next February)

On today's date in 1875, Congress approved the Civil Rights Act, which granted equal rights to people, guaranteeing that everyone - regardless of race, color, or previous condition of servitude - were entitled to the same treatment in "public accommodations" (lodging, public conveyances on land or water, theaters, and other entertainment venues, for those who don't read English good). Under this, if found guilty, one would face a penalty of between $500 and $1,000 and/or 30 days to 1 year in prison. As one might expect by its timing, the law was rarely enforced, especially after the 1876 presidential election and withdrawal of federal troops from the South. In the 1883 Civil Rights Cases, 109 U.S. 3 (1883), the Supreme Court deemed the act unconstitutional on the basis that Congress had no power to regulate the conduct of individuals. The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits discrimination by the state, not by individuals.

Fret not, people, as a great many of its provisions would be added to the 81-years-later civil rights act of 1964.
yes, I know as well as anyone reading that 81 years is too long to wait for people to be treated fucking fairly, but so was the 100 years BEFORE the original attempt at making shit right, now wasn't it?


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