Civil Rights Act of 1875


On March 1, 1875 the Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed. The act mandated that public accommodation for Blacks be equivalent to those of whites. The laws were completely ignored in the south. Local "Jim Crow" laws were passed that established separate accommodations for Blacks and Whites.


The Civil Rights Act of 1875 was passed to try to overcome the continued discrimination to African American in the aftermath of the Civil War. It was first introduced to Congress by Senator Charles Sumter in 1870 and cosponsored by Congressman James Butler. Both men were Republicans from Massachusetts. The law stated “that all persons within the jurisdiction of the United States shall be entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of inns, public convenience on land or water, and other places of public amusement subject only to the conditions and limitations established by law and applicable alike to citizens of every race and color regardless of conditions of previous servitude.”

The law attempted to protect African American from discrimination and was very similar to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The law was finally passed by Congress in 1975 and signed into law by President Grant on March 1 1875. Most of the act was ruled to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in an 8-1 decision in 1883 on the basis that the equal protection clause of the constitution only applied to the action of state and local government but not the actions of private companies.