NEW YORK (Nov. 23)
More states enacted more anti-discrimination laws in 1961 than in any previous year, the American Jewish Congress reported today. In its biennial survey of state anti-bias legislation, the Congress said that 21 states passed 39 laws this year, covering racial and religious discrimination in employment, education, housing and public accommodations.
“Figured either by the number of states, the number of bills or the breadth of their scope, ” the report noted, “the year 1961 set records for state civil rights legislation not achieved in any preceding year.” The study was prepared by the AJC’s Commission on Law and Social Action under the chairmanship of Shad Polier.
While pointing out that none of the 1961 laws blazed new trails in anti-discrimination legislation, the report found as “a very significant development” the fact that “legislatures throughout the country have observed the enactment of civil rights laws in other states, have satisfied themselves that the laws work and have decided to follow suit.”