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Editorial: A half century later

 “50 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed into law the Civil Rights Act. It is difficult to overstate the importance of this law.”   

                                 —Rep. Bobby Scott of Virginia

Last week’s anniversary of the Civil Rights Act was marked with due ceremony. The act outlawed measures that discriminated by race—de jure discrimination—and in doing so, went a long way toward changing Americans attitudes about race. Such attitudes shaped and promoted de facto segregation, the assumption that white people may do one thing, and black people must do something different and less. Or else.

All was not made perfect by this act. It combined with other powerful entities, especially Brown v. Board of Education and the Voting Rights Act, to help in leveling the playing field for people of all races. Some racist attitudes lingered an...

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