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John F. Kennedy

Presidency

What did Kennedy do in the area of civil rights?

Kennedy called for Congress to pass major civil rights legislation. Tragically, he died before seeing that objective accomplished. Under President Johnson, Congress passed the historic Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited racial discrimination in public employment, public accommodations, and other aspects of society. Kennedy sent in federal troops to protect civil rights protestors, including the Freedom Riders in the South. He established the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity and issued an executive order that prohibited government contractors from discriminating “on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin.” He also used the public platform of the presidency to condemn segregation and racial discrimination.



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