Civil Rights 50th Year

We have long recognized the affinity between Jews who fled Germany because of the increasingly worrisome restrictions under Hitler’s rule and African Americans who were kept in second-class citizenship by a patchwork of Jim Crow laws.

Strikingly similar to the Nuremberg Laws passed in Nazi Germany in 1935, Jim Crow laws touched every aspect of everyday life. The laws of both Germany and the United States allowed the banning of certain customers from stores. There were strictly enforced rules against “mixed” marriages and banned co-education between groups. Both Nazis and U.S. segregationists created detailed ways to classify one’s race and, by doing so, arbitrarily restricted the level of that person’s civic rights.

Exactly one half-century ago, the discriminatory Jim Crow laws ended, and equal citizenship for all became codified by the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

In recognition of that monumental legislation,the Holocaust Center is bringing together institutions and individuals throughout Central Florida to examine the impact of the Civil Rights Act. What changes have we seen in our lifetime? What issues remain to be addressed? What tools do we need to move ahead in challenging bigotry and intolerance in all of its forms?

The series began with two local kick-off events: a community gathering at Orlando City Hall on June 30, and the county’s July 2 commemoration at the Orange County Regional History Center.

Continuing commemorative events will take place at the Holocaust Center and other community venues throughout the year. Most of them will be free; all of them will be open to the general public. Details for community events can be found at http://www.centralfloridacivilrights.org. Organizations that would like to post information about their civil rights activities should contact the Holocaust Center for more information.

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The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida · 851 N Maitland Ave · Maitland, FL 32751 · Phone: 407-628-0555 · info@holocaustedu.org