50 Year Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

DOS Civil Rights Banner Image

Activities to mark 50 years since the historic signing of the first landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 are schedule statewide as part of the Viva Florida effort to continue honoring significant anniversaries in Florida and throughout the nation.

The Civil Rights Movement fundamentally changed the culture and laws of the United States. Florida was among other southern states where the struggle for Civil Rights was fought throughout the 1960s leading up to the enactment of the legislation, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964. This legislation ended the 89-year reign of Jim Crow laws that enforced segregation of black people in public spaces, normalized racial discrimination and began a tradition of violence towards African-Americans throughout the South. Passing of this law in 1964 was the beginning step towards greater equality and representation of diverse peoples in Florida and across the nation, as occurred in further laws such as the Voting Rights Act and the Indian Civil Rights Act, both of 1968.

Events and exhibitions taking place to mark the historic day of signing and the 50th anniversary year are listed below:

Statewide Events

A Civil Rights Retrospective: The Movement through Photographs 
Tallahassee, Friday, June 27, 2014 | 6 - 8 p.m.

The Florida Department of State’s Bureau of State Archives will host a slideshow at the R.A. Gray building featuring historic photographs that document important individuals and highlight significant events during the Civil Rights Movement in Florida.

Equal Education Opportunity Panel Discussion
Tallahassee, Tuesday July 1 | 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

This Equal Education Opportunity panel discussion at the John G. Riley Center/Museum in Tallahassee is in commemoration of the 50 Year Anniversary of the signing of the 1964 National Civil Rights Act.

Orlando Community Commemoration
Orlando, Wednesday, July 2 | 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Orlando Mayor Teresa Jacobs will mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act with a program at the Orange County Regional History Center.

Remembering Freedom Summer
Jacksonville, Wednesday, July 2 | 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

On the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, come join the conversation at Jacksonville’s historic Ritz Theatre and Museum with Charles E. Cobb, Jr. and Rodney L. Hurst, two long time Civil Rights activists and authors as they share stories from the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement

Tampa’s 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act Event
Tampa, Wednesday, July 2 | 12 - 1 p.m.

Join the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Hillsborough County Office of Community Affairs and the City of Tampa Office of Human Rights at the John F. Germany Public Library in Tampa to celebrate the 50 year anniversary since the signing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

Celebration of the Signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Jacksonville, Wednesday, July 2 | 5:30 - 8 p.m.

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the City of Jacksonville’s Human Rights Commission is presenting a series of events through December 2014. This is the first program, which includes a reception at Jacksonville City Hall with speakers such as The Honorable Brian J. Davis, United States District Judge.

50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act - Official City Recognition
St. Augustine, Wednesday, July 2 | 3 p.m.

Activities include presentations by veterans of the Civil Rights Movement and laying of a wreath at the Foot Soldiers Monument in the Plaza de la Constitucion in St. Augustine.

This Seat’s Taken
Jacksonville, Tuesday, July 29 | 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Enjoy a new play by Barbara Colaciello about Rosa Parks and the event that became the tipping point of the Civil Rights Movement, presented by Players by the Sea at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. 

Garden Concert: Music of the Movement
Jacksonville, Saturday, September 20 

To complement the beautiful civil rights photography exhibition, join The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens for an evening of Blues and Jazz with Music from the Movement.


Statewide Exhibitions

Journey: 450 Years of the African American Experience
St. Augustine, through July 15, 2014

This state-of-the-art exhibition at the St. Augustine Visitors Center features authentic objects, original documents, powerful photographs and interactive elements that depict the journey African-Americans experienced from our country's beginnings until today.

A Commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement
Jacksonville, Through November 2, 2014

This exhibit at The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens is composed of 22 photographic images captured over the course of the Civil Rights Movement, from 1956-1968 from the extensive collections of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art.

Truth and Triumph: The Civil Rights Movement in Florida, 1945-1964
Tallahassee, Through December 31, 2014

The State Archives of Florida and The Museum of Florida History bring together historic images and artifacts at the R.A. Gray Building documenting the struggle for Civil Rights in Florida from 1945 through to the enactment of the Civil Rights laws of 1964.

Civil Rights in the Sunshine State
Tallahassee, November 7, 2014 - April 5, 2015

This special exhibition at The Museum of Florida History explores the deep history of civil rights in the state. Using film footage, oral histories, and artifacts, visitors learn about the struggles, victories and heroes of the fight for racial equality. The exhibit looks at the movement on a local, state and national level.

Civil Rights in Charlotte County
Port Charlotte, Opening November 8, 2014

A special exhibition of photographs and oral histories at the Mid County Regional Library in Port Charlotte documenting the fight for civil rights and the first black students at Charlotte High, the first voluntarily desegregated high school in Charlotte County.