NPR Launches Interactive Guide To The Civil Rights Act Of 1964 'Behind The Civil Rights Act', from NPR's Code Switch, offers historical context and new insight.
NPR logo NPR Launches Interactive Guide To The Civil Rights Act Of 1964

NPR Launches Interactive Guide To The Civil Rights Act Of 1964


Annotated Document Offers Context and Insight on Landmark Legislation

'The Anniversary of Freedom Summer' Special Series Offers Wide-Ranging Coverage of Pivotal Every, 50 Years Later

July 2, 2014; Washington, D.C. – NPR's Code Switch team is placing a magnifying glass over the tumultuous 'freedom summer' of the 1960s with 'Behind The Civil Rights Act', an interactive guide to the landmark legislation that folds in digestible annotations, historical photos and new insight. The annotated document is just one part of NPR's special series The Anniversary of Freedom Summer, which examines specific events that led to the law's passage, and its continuing coverage of the turbulent, and often violent, history surrounding race, diversity, oppression and the fight for equality in America.

The Anniversary of Freedom Summer airs throughout the summer on the NPR newsmagazines Morning Edition and All Things Considered (find local station schedules at On-air and online reports are also available at Join and follow these conversations on Twitter @NPRCodeSwitch and #CRAat50.

'Behind The Civil Rights Act' tackles the law's breadth to illuminate both the prominent and lesser-known implications of the federal legislation that, only 50 years ago, criminalized discrimination and extended to all Americans the right to vote. Users can scroll through the guide to explore historical context and photos and new insights contributed by experts in law, such as NPR Legal Affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg; in history, like the Director of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum; in civil rights, sociology and more – alongside the full text of the Civil Rights Act. For easy reference and a more holistic view, just one click connects the user to the annotations' corresponding location within an unabridged copy of the 1964 legislation.

The Anniversary of Freedom Summer is a special series of reports that provide both deep insight and new context for a historic period of unrest that catalyzed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and later the Voting Rights Act, in 1965. Reports recall shocking hate crimes that silenced some civil rights workers and activated others and the idealism that drove hundreds of young, white activists to "prepare for battle" before they boarded buses to southern states – and cost some their lives. Other pieces trace the echo of the institutionalized violence that occurred in many places, like Mississippi, which later became known as the "Pearl Harbor" of the Civil Rights Movement. 'The Anniversary of Freedom Summer' comes on the heels of The Summer of '63, NPR's conversation-driving special series from 2013 that explored the movement's earlier stages. Together this coverage captures a crucial period in American history, from interviews with Civil Rights Movement activists; to then-and-now legislative policy and activism; to original photos, new playlists and relevant reads.

Code Switch provides a portal for new listeners and readers, while enriching the content that NPR provides today to an audience of 26 million on radio and nearly 23 million online. The team also works across NPR to infuse more story ideas and diverse sources that reflect the world - spanning beats and platforms to touch more of NPR.


NPR Media Relations: Cara Philbin
Email: mediarelations (at)