1945 July 17

Congress Refuses to Extend Committee on Fair Employment Practices


Congress on this day refused to make permanent the Committee on Fair Employment Practices which had been created in 1941. The Committee was created to implement President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 on June 25, 1941. The order banned race discrimination in employment in the defense industries, and was the first federal law or regulation prohibiting race discrimination in employment. Roosevelt signed the Executive Order after being confronted by civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph at a White House meeting on June 18, 1941. The Committee had weak enforcement powers and was weakened by opposition from southern segregationists in Congress. Following Roosevelt’s death, and after the end of World War II, President Harry Truman wanted to continue the Committee in peacetime but, on this day, Congress refused.

Prohibition of discrimination in employment did not become law until Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act (signed into law on July 2, 1964). The 1964 law also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which began operating on July 2, 1965.

Check out the EEOC web site: http://www.eeoc.gov/

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