2024 State of Black America - "The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 60 Years Later" Examines Impact of Landmark Legislation

By National Urban League Published March 20, 2024


Contributors Include President Joe Biden, Kimberle Crenshaw, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, Sen. Cory Booker

Semi-Annual Equality IndexTM Tracks Economic & Social Status of Black America Since “Three-Fifths” Compromise of 1787

NEW YORK (March 1, 2024) – The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has been transformative in changing American life in a material way. Doors have been opened, and new access has been achieved. But the promise of full equality is still elusive.

“The Civil Rights Act of 1964 promised ‘a more abiding commitment to freedom, a more constant pursuit of justice, and a deeper respect for human dignity,” National Urban League President and CEO Marc H. Morial said. “Sixty years later, our ‘abiding commitment to freedom’ is undermined by discriminatory voter ID laws, gerrymandering, the shuttering of polling places in predominantly minority neighborhoods, limits on early voting, and reckless purging of voter rolls. Our ‘pursuit of justice’ is derailed by persistent racism in policing and sentencing, the dismantling of diversity and inclusion policies in employment and education, and lack of access to financial services, housing and healthcare. And our ‘respect for human dignity’ is called into question by an unraveling social safety net, a poverty-level federal minimum wage, and other economic policies that uplift the wealthy at the expense of working families.”

For Black America, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first time that the United States government addressed the racial caste system that had been protected for centuries by unjust laws and systemic brutality of nonwhite people in this country.

Sixty years later, the fight for equality is far from over.

The State of Black America® 2024, “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: 60 Years Later,” paints a picture of American life before and after the passage of “America’s Magna Carta.” This year’s contributing authors use their experiences as elected officials, civil rights advocates, and esteemed academics to analyze the ways in which each title of the Act created the nation we know today.  They also unpack the threats to the freedoms protected by the law and share their perspective on strengthening civil rights protections for the 21st century.

The 2024 Equality Index, the National Urban League’s semi-annual calculation of the social and economic status of African Americans relative to whites, is 75.7, an increase of 1.8% from the 2022 Index of 2022. Rooted in the Three-Fifths Compromise of 1787, which counted enslaved African Americans as “three-fifths” of a person, the Index would be 100% under full equality.  

“In 20 years, the overall Equality Index has moved 2.7 percent,” Morial said. “At this rate, it will take another 180 years to achieve parity.”

This year’s report includes a special progress report on the Biden Administration’s commitment to racial justice.  In 2020, Joe Biden became the first general election candidate to put forward a policy agenda for Black America, Lift Every Voice. Three years into his presidency, the National Urban League has evaluated his commitments and tracked his accomplishments and the business that remains unfinished.

Featured authors include:

  • Joseph R. Biden, President of the United States of America
  • Tim Murphy, Chair, National Urban League Board of Trustees & Chief Administrative Officer, MasterCard
  • Kristen Clarke, Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Civil Rights
  • Kimberle Crenshaw, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, Columbia Law School
  • Cory Booker U.S. Senator from New Jersey
  • Marcia Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Patrice Ficklin, Fair Lending Director, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  • Peter Flegel, Executive Director, Government of Canada Federal Anti-Racism Secretariat
  • Dr. Shavon Arline-Bradley, President & CEO, National Council of Negro Women
  • Claire Garvie, Senior Associate, Center om Privacy & Technology, Georgetown University Law Center; Adjunct Professor of Law
  • Charlotte Burrows, Chair, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Melanie Campbell, Executive Director & CEO, National Coalition of Black Civic Participation
  • Wendy Greene, Director, Center for Law, Policy & Social Action and Professor of Law, Drexel University
  • Damon Hewitt, President & Executive Director, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
  • Janai Nelson, President, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fud
  • Ayana Parsons & Arian Simone, Co-Founders, The Fearless Fund
  • Rev. Al Sharpton, Founder & President, National Action Network
  • Julian Wallace, Education and Research Associate, NACDL
  • Maya Wiley, President & CEO, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

The full report is available at StateOfBlackAmerica.org.