Events & News

Celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Civil Rights 
Department of the Interior

New- July 2, 2024

Today is the 60th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This law was a hard-fought victory for civil rights activists and leaders. It came after years of advocacy, protest, lawsuits, and civil disobedience, marked by the blood, sweat, and tears of those who came before. In the years leading up to the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the U.S. saw many hard-fought battles for civil rights, including the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case, which found race segregation in schools unconstitutional; and countless brave non-violent protests and actions – that were often met with violence – led by those such as Rosa Parks to Ruby Bridges to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

So many people put their words and beliefs to action and created the outcry that motivated President Kennedy to create the President’s Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity in 1961 and to introduce the Civil Rights Act of 1963, which stalled in Congress. After a lengthy and contentious debate, Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It is what created the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Commission, a bipartisan commission which oversees the EEO complaint process, through with all federal employees may seek redress for employment discrimination. It also sets forth the legal framework and authority for our office, the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Civil Rights, by which we operate and carry out our EEO functions on behalf of the Secretary.

This law has seen hundreds of amendments, hours of Congressional debate, scores of case-setting analysis and decisions, and opened the door for laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

On this incredible and momentous day, I take note of the sacrifice and vision of those who went before us. We thank them for their leadership. We remember them and commit to a workplace here at the Department of the Interior where each employee can succeed at work, without discrimination based on their identity. Thank you for who you are and what you bring to the workplace – Happy 60th anniversary to the Civil Rights Act of 1964!

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has published the final “Enforcement Guidance on Harassment in the Workplace.” The new guidance updates, consolidates, and replaces the agency’s five guidance documents issued between 1987 and 1999, and serves as a single, unified agency resource on EEOC-enforced workplace harassment law. It reflects the Commission’s consideration of the robust public input that it received after the guidance was posted for public comment in fall 2023.


The Department of the Interior’s workforce fulfills its mission to protect and manage the Nation's natural resources and cultural heritage; provide scientific and other information about those resources; and honor its trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and affiliated island communities. The Department plays a pivotal role in how the United States stewards its public lands and waters, increases environmental protections, pursues environmental justice, and respects our nation-to-nation relationship with Tribes. The Department is advancing this mission by embracing opportunities to promote equity in all actions through prioritizing the strengthening of interactions with the public in civil, equitable, and engaging ways that authentically demonstrate our pledge to equity. Likewise, the Department has taken a holistic approach ensuring equity is embedded throughout policy and program development and delivery across the agency.

To learn more about Equity in the Federal Government, we invite you to review the following sites below: 

Department of the Interior Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement. 

Through the Department of the Interior’s latest Equal Employment Opportunity Policy Statement, Secretary Haaland reaffirmed her commitment to ensuring that the Department fully embeds equal employment opportunity by implementing policies, practices and procedures that do not deny opportunities to employees, former employees, or applicants because of race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, genetic information or sex, which includes pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity. We all have a responsibility to ensure the Department is inclusive and welcoming to all, to recognize and understand overt and subtle barriers to equal employment opportunity, and to foster an environment that upholds equity and respect.

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