Celebrating Martin Luther King, Jr.- Is the Dream now Reality?

It’s mind-blowing to think that only 55 years ago, Martin Luther King, Jr. was passionately advocating for equal rights for African Americans.  Over 100 million Americans, nearly 1/3 of the population, were alive for at least part of Dr. King’s leadership of the Civil Rights Movement.  One of the most celebrated laws passed during his leadership was the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Advocate of Civil Rights Act

Although Dr. King was not a member of Congress or a politician, his role as de facto leader of the Civil Rights Movement put him in a position to advocate for legislation.  His zealous advocacy for the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 undoubtedly convinced President Lyndon B. Johnson of its importance.  President Johnson signed the bill, despite knowing that it would likely cost him the next election.  This is more impressive considering President Johnson’s views on race.

Federal and State Employment Discrimination

In employment law, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the foundation of employee discrimination laws.  While it established that employers could not discriminate on the basis of race and other protected classes, it also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).  The EEOC remains important today because of its ability to investigate and sue on behalf of discriminated employees.  Interestingly enough, in 1964, Ohio had already had employment discrimination laws for 5 years.

Does Discrimination Still Exist?

Some people believe that because Barack Obama was President, there is no more discrimination.  That any complaint of discrimination is due to society being too politically correct or people pulling the “race card”.  These people are wrong and the data from the EEOC and OCRC  shows it.  In fact, the amount of discrimination charges filed with both the EEOC and OCRC have been increasing.

While there have been some strides made that make it possible for some minorities to achieve, there is obviously still work to do.  Dr. King’s dream was that ALL people be treated equally, and we cannot rest until that is the case.

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James J. Hux is the Owner and Sole Attorney at Hux Law Firm, LLC. His practice areas include employment discriminationpersonal injury, and general civil litigation throughout the State of Ohio.