Befitting the eve of the nation’s celebration of freedom, one of the most important pieces of legislation in our history became law on this date in 1964. The Civil Rights Act, signed by President Lyndon Johnson, swept away Jim Crow laws by prohibiting discrimination based on race in all accommodations and facilities open to the public, as well as employment, union membership, and voter registration. Shortly after the Civil Rights Act became law, nearly 42 percent of blacks lived in poverty. Today, that figure is just under 28 percent. In 1964, less than 20 percent of African-American adults had a high school diploma. Now, nearly 83 percent have graduated. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.