TIME Civil Rights

The Meaning Behind the Civil Rights Act’s Signing Date

Johnson Signs Civil Rights Act
PhotoQuest / Getty Images President Lyndon B Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act in a ceremony at the White House, Washington DC, July 2, 1964 .

President Johnson signed the bill into law on July 2, 1964

For President Johnson to sign the Civil Rights Act into law on July 2, 1964, was a no-brainer: the date was a Thursday, just as it is this year, and the symbolism of marking the hard-fought victory just before Independence Day would be a shame to waste.

But, as TIME noted in its original 1964 coverage of the landmark legislation, the Fourth of July wasn’t the only significant date in play. The date on which the Senate passed the bill was June 19, 1964—precisely one year after “President John Kennedy sent to Congress a civil rights bill, [and] urged its speedy passage ‘not merely for reasons of economic efficiency, world diplomacy or domestic tranquility, but above all because it is right.'” Though Kennedy had been assassinated the previous fall, the law he had advocated for had actually grown in strength and scope.

After the House also passed the bill and it went on to the President, the season of its signing—and not just the calendar date—would also prove significant.

The bill included many obviously important provisions affecting matters of great weight, like voting rights and equal employment. But, as TIME pointed out, it would take months to see the voting rules take effect, and the labor matters included a period during which businesses could adjust. On the other hand, one of the parts of the law—a part that may seem today to be far less important—was, as TIME put it, “effective immediately, and likely to cause the fastest fireworks.”

The law entitled all persons to equal use of public accommodations, from hotels and movie theaters to soda fountains and public swimming pools. In the run up to the final vote, St. Augustine, Fla., proved why pools—long a contentious point, for the necessary closeness that comes with sharing the water with other people—would be a hot topic:

There, five Negroes and two white fellow demonstrators dived into the swimming pool at the segregated Monson Motor Lodge. The motel manager, furious, grabbed two jugs of muriatic acid, a cleansing agent, tried unsuccessfully to splash the stuff on the swimmers. Cops moved in, one of them stripped off his shoes and socks, leaped gracelessly into the water and pummeled the swimmers with his fists. When the fracas was over, 34 people, including the swimmers and other civil righters who kept dry, were hauled off to jail.

Due to the time of year, the new law’s effects would be immediately visible at swimming pools around the country.

TIME Airlines

JetBlue Announces Weekly Flights from New York to Havana

Deal shows growing ease of travel between the two countries

JetBlue will begin operating a weekly flight from New York to Havana, Cuba this summer following the lifting of several travel and trade restrictions on the country.

The new flight will travel between John F. Kennedy International Airport and Havana Jose Marti International Airport each Friday at noon, with a return flight from Havana to JFK every Friday at 4:30 p.m. This makes JetBlue the first carrier to announce additional flights to Cuba from New York since restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

Fliers will have to book flights through Cuba Travel Services, a company that organizes charter flights to Cuba, rather than JetBlue. But Americans are still not authorized to travel to Cuba as tourists and must instead visit for one of 12 specific purposes like visiting a close relative or participating in an academic program.

The partnership follows a recent trade mission by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to Cuba, where he and JetBlue CEO Robin Hayes hashed out a deal with Cuban officials. “By leading one of the first state trade missions to Cuba as the United States reestablishes diplomatic relations, we placed New York State businesses at the front of the line for new prospects in Cuba, that will in turn support jobs and economic activity here at home,” Cuomo said in a release.

The flights begin on July 3.

TIME White House

Here Are the 10 Richest Presidents in American History

Who brought the most green to the White House?

You may know a lot about our 44 commanders-in-chief, but do you know how big their bank accounts were?

Watch the video above to see which presidents brought the most green to the White House.

TIME South Korea

Korean Air’s ‘Nut Rage’ Executive Is Facing Serious Charges

Cho Hyun-ah
Ahn Young-joon—AP Cho Hyun-ah, center, former vice president of Korean Air Lines, arrives at the Seoul Western District Prosecutors' Office in Seoul on Dec. 30, 2014

"Nut rage," punishable by up to 15 years in prison, doesn't pay

South Korean prosecutors filed charges against the daughter of the chairman of Korean Air Lines on Wednesday for delaying a flight — and, prosecutors allege, endangering its safety — because she was unhappy about how she was served nuts.

Police have held Heather Cho Hyun-ah, formerly head of in-flight service at her father’s airline, in custody since Dec. 30, after she threw a tantrum when a flight attendant gave her macadamia nuts in a bag, not on a dish. Dubbing the fiasco the nut-rage incident, media have struggled to decide if it should inspire disgust over the entitlement of South Korea’s ultra-rich or a chuckle at their expense.

Yet the charges against Cho, who has resigned from her posts at the South Korean airline, are anything but chuckle-worthy. They include violations of aviation-safety regulations for allegedly disrupting the South Korea–bound plane’s flight plan by forcing it to return to New York City’s John F. Kennedy airport shortly after leaving the gate. The Financial Times reports that Cho, if convicted, could face up to 15 years in prison.

Read next: Prosecutors Seek Arrest for Korean Air Nut Rage Executive

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME psychology

Extraterrestrials on a Comet Are Faking Climate Change. Or Something

Just to be clear: This is a comet, not a spacecraft
ESA Just to be clear: This is a comet, not a spacecraft

Jeffrey Kluger is Editor at Large for TIME.

Conspiracy theories never die, but that doesn't mean we can't get smarter about dealing with them

You’ve surely heard the exciting news that the European Space Agency successfully landed a small spacecraft on the surface of Comet 67P—or perhaps we should say “Comet 67P.” Because what you probably haven’t heard is that the ostensible comet is actually a spacecraft, that it has a transmitting tower and other artificial structures on its surface, and that the mission was actually launched to respond to a radio greeting from aliens that NASA received 20 years ago.

Really, you can read it here in UFO Sightings Daily, and even watch a video that seals the deal if you have any doubt.

None of this should come as a surprise to you if you’ve been following the news. Area 51, for example? Crawling with extraterrestrials. The Apollo moon landings? Faked—because it makes so much more sense that aliens would travel millions of light years to visit New Mexico than that humans could go a couple hundred thousand miles to visit the moon. As for climate change, vaccines and the JFK assassination? Hoax, autism and grassy knoll—in that order.

Conspiracy theories are nothing new. If the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and the myriad libels hurled at myriad out-groups over the long course of history indicate anything, it’s that nonsense knows no era. The 21st century alone has seen the rise—but, alas, not the final fall—of the birthers and the truthers and pop-up groups that seize on any emerging disease (Bird flu! SARS! Ebola!) as an agent of destruction being sneaked across the border from, of course, Mexico, because… um, immigration.

The problem with conspiracy theories is not just that they’re often racist, foster cynicism and erode the collective intellect of any culture. It’s also that they can have real-world consequences. If you believe the fiction about vaccines causing autism, you will be less inclined to vaccinate your kids—exposing them and the community at large to disease. If you believe climate change is a hoax, you just might become the new chairman of the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, as James Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma soon will be, thanks to the GOP’s big wins on Nov. 4.

That’s the same James Inhofe who once said, It’s also important to question whether global warming is even a problem for human existence… In fact, it appears that just the opposite is true: that increases in global temperatures may have a beneficial effect on how we live our lives.” It’s the same James Inhofe too who wrote the 2012 book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. So, not good.

Clinical studies of conspiracy theory psychology have proliferated along with the theories themselves, and the top-line conclusions the investigators have reached make intuitive sense: People who feel powerless are more inclined to believe in malevolent institutions manipulating the truth than people who feel more of what psychologists call “agency,” or a sense of control over their own affairs.

That’s why the CIA, the media, the government and the vaguely defined “elite” are so often pointed to as the source of all problems. That’s why the lone gunman is a far less satisfying explanation for a killing than a vast web of plotters weaving a vast web of lies. (The powerlessness explanation admittedly does not account for an Inhofe—though in his case, Oklahoma’s huge fossil fuel industry may be all the explanation you need.)

Psychologist Viren Swami of the University of Westminster in London is increasingly seen as the leader of the conspiracy psychology field, and he’s been at it for a while. As long ago as 2009, he published a study looking at the belief system of the self-styled truthers—the people who claim that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by the U.S. government as a casus belli for global war.

He found that people who subscribed to that idea also tested high for political cynicism, defiance of authority and agreeableness (one of the Big Five personality traits, which also include extraversion, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism). Agreeableness sounds, well, pleasantly agreeable, but it can also be just a short hop to gullible.

In 2012, Swami conducted another study among Malaysians who believe in a popular national conspiracy theory about Jewish plans for world domination. Swami found that Malaysians conspiracists were likelier to hold anti-Israeli attitudes—which is no surprise—and to have racists feelings toward the Chinese, which is a little less expected, except that if there were ever a large, growing power around which to build conspiracy theories, it’s China, especially in the corner of the world in which Malaysia finds itself.

The antisemitic Malaysians also tended to score higher on measures of right-wing authoritarianism and social domination—which is a feature of almost all persecution of out-groups. More important—as other studies have shown—they were likelier to believe in conspiracy theories in general, meaning that the cause-effect sequence here may be a particular temperament looking for any appealing conspiracy, as opposed to a particular conspiracy appealing to any old temperament. People who purchased Jewish domination also liked climate change hoaxes.

Finally, as with so many things, the Internet has been both potentiator and vector for conspiracy fictions. Time was, you needed a misinformed town crier or a person-to-person whispering campaign to get a good rumor started. Now the fabrications spread instantly, and your search engine lets you set your filter for your conspiracy of choice.

None of this excuses willful numbskullery. And none of it excuses our indulgence in the sugar buzz of a sensational fib over the extra few minutes it would take find out the truth. If you don’t have those minutes, that’s why they invented Snopes.com. And if you don’t have time even for that? Well, maybe that should tell you something.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Art Rickerby

JFK Assassination: Photos of John and Jackie Kennedy in Texas, 1963

On the anniversary of JFK's assassination, photos made in the hours before -- and the moments immediately after -- the killing that shocked the world.

“Now in the sunny freshness of a Texas morning,” LIFE magazine wrote in its Nov. 29, 1963, issue, alongside the first photo in this gallery, “with roses in her arms and a luminous smile on her lips, Jacqueline Kennedy still had one hour to share the buoyant surge of life with the man at her side.”

It was a wonderful hour [LIFE wrote, just a week after JFK’s assassination]. Vibrant with confidence, crinkle-eyed with an all-embracing smile, John F. Kennedy swept his wife with him into the exuberance of the throng at Dallas’ Love Field. This was an act in which Jack Kennedy was superbly human. Responding to the warmth his on genuine warmth evoked in others, he met his welcomers joyously, hand to hand and heart to heart. For him this was all fun as well as politics. For is shy wife, surmounting the grief of her infant son’s recent death, this mingling demanded a grace and gallantry she would soon need again.

Then the cavalcade, fragrantly laden with roses for everyone, started into town. Eight miles on the way, in a sixth-floor window, the assassin waited. All the roses, like those abandoned in Vice President Johnson’ car [last slide in this gallery], were left to wilt. They would be long faded before a stunned nation would fully comprehend its sorrow.

Here, on the anniversary of JFK’s assassination, LIFE.com presents photos by Art Rickerby — most of which never ran in LIFE — made in the hours before, as well as the moments immediately after, the killing that shocked the world.

[Buy the LIFE book, The Day Kennedy Died]

[See photos from JFK and Jackie’s 1953 wedding]

[See photos from JFK’s funeral at Arlington]


TIME JFK

JFK’s Assassination: How LIFE Brought the Zapruder Film to Light

Legendary editor Dick Stolley recalls how he tracked down and purchased the Zapruder film of JFK's assassination for LIFE magazine in 1963

Fifty years after the Warren Commission delivered its still-controversial findings about JFK’s assassination to President Lyndon Johnson, LIFE presents the story of how one-time LIFE magazine editor Richard Stolley flew to Dallas from Los Angeles within hours of the murder; how he tracked down a 58-year-old amateur-film buff named Abraham Zapruder; how he purchased Zapruder’s home movie of the assassination for LIFE — and what all of that ultimately came to mean for LIFE, for Zapruder, for Stolley himself and for the nation, then and now.

[In this video, Stolley recounts his grim, and ultimately historic, adventures in Dallas]

It’s unlikely that any 26 seconds of celluloid have ever been discussed and dissected as thoroughly as the chilling scene that Zapruder captured that day in Dallas, in a movie known ever after as “the Zapruder film.” The jittery color sequence showing JFK’s motorcade moving through the sunlit Dallas streets — leading up to the utterly shocking instant when a rifle bullet slams into the president’s head — is still, five decades later, one of the 20th century’s indispensable historical records.

Having flown from L.A. that afternoon, Stolley was in his hotel in Dallas just hours after the president was shot. “I got a phone call from a LIFE freelancer in Dallas named Patsy Swank,” Stolley recently told TIME producer Vaughn Wallace, “and the news she had was absolutely electrifying. She said that a businessman had taken an eight-millimeter camera out to Dealey Plaza and photographed the assassination. I said, ‘What’s his name?’ She said, ‘[The reporter who told her the news] didn’t spell it out, but I’ll tell you how he pronounced it. It was Zapruder.’

“I picked up the Dallas phone book and literally ran my finger down the Z’s, and it jumped out at me — the name spelled exactly the way Patsy had pronounced it. Zapruder, comma, Abraham.”

The rest is history: fraught, complex, riveting, unsettled history.


[Buy the LIFE book, The Day Kennedy Died]

[See photos from JFK and Jackie’s 1953 wedding]

[See photos from JFK’s funeral at Arlington]


TIME JFK

JFK’s Funeral: Photos From a Day of Shock and Grief

Fifty years after JFK's assassination shook the world, photos -- many of which never ran in LIFE magazine -- from his 1963 funeral

More than 50 years after the grisly fact, the assassination of John F. Kennedy remains one of the few unmistakably signal events from the second half of the 20th century. Other moments — some thrilling (the moon landing, the fall of the Berlin Wall), others horrifying (the killings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, the Challenger explosion) — have secured their places in the history books and, even more indelibly, in the memories of those who witnessed them. But nothing in the latter part of “the American century” defined an era as profoundly as the rifle shots that split the warm Dallas air on Nov. 22, 1963, and the sudden death of the 46-year-old president.

There was Camelot — a media construct, of course, but a rarity in that it actually resonated with so many people, everywhere — and then there was the somber, profoundly uncertain period after Camelot. For countless millions in America and around the globe who lived through the near-surreal transition, the days and weeks after JFK’s assassination felt like a chilling, restless pause: a moment so charged with unease that even reflection, or taking stock, seemed impossible.

Here, LIFE.com features photographs (some never published in LIFE magazine) from the funeral held three days after John F. Kennedy was killed: Nov. 25, 1963, which was also his son John Jr.’s third birthday.

[Buy the LIFE book, The Day Kennedy Died]

“A woman knelt and gently kissed the flag,” LIFE magazine reported of the scene as JFK’s casket lay in state for two days after his assassination. “A little girl’s hand tenderly fumbled under the flag to reach closer. Thus, in a privacy open to all the world, John F. Kennedy’s wife and daughter touched at a barrier that no mortal ever can pass again.”

The next day, Kennedy’s body was taken “from the proudly impassive care of his honor guard” and was carried from the Capitol rotunda to Arlington National Cemetery.

“By a tradition that is as old as Genghis Khan,” LIFE noted, “a riderless horse followed” the flag-draped casket, “carrying empty boots reversed in the stirrups in token that the warrior would not mount again. . . . Through all this mournful splendor Jacqueline Kennedy marched enfolded in courage and a regal dignity. Then at midnight she came back again, in loneliness, to lay some flowers on her husband’s grave.”

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME

Meet America’s Most Successful Political Families

It's that time of year again: Bushes and Clintons galore are on the campaign trail supporting candidates who are up for election. Here's a look at America's most successful political dynasties

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com