1969: Executive Order 11478
Issued on August 8, this Order requires the federal government to base all its employment policies on merit and fitness and specifies that race, color, sex, religion, and national origin should not be considered. [Source: https://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/11478.html]
1972: Trail of Broken Treaties
American Indian leaders and activists organize a nonviolent protest to bring attention to issues affecting American Indians. More than 600 people travel in the “Trail of Broken Treaties” in a caravan of buses, cars, trucks, and campers to Saint Paul, Minnesota. There, Henry Lyle "Hank" Adams, an Assiniboine-Sioux activist, wrote the Twenty Point Proposal of demands, one of which states that lack of sanitary sewers and clean drinking water on reservations is killing American Indian children. The meeting in which the activists plan to present these points to President Richard Nixon never occurs. [Source: https://www.nlm.nih.gov/nativevoices/timeline/531.html]
1972: Equal Employment Opportunity Act (Public Law 92-261)
This law was designed to prohibit job discrimination for reasons of race, religion, color, national origin, and sex. The term equal must be interpreted correctly as it applies to this legislation. It does not mean that every applicant or employee must be considered equal in ability or competency. Rather, it means that the law looks at all applicants or employees as equals, who deserve fair treatment. [Source: https://www.eeoc.gov/fact-sheet/federal-laws-prohibiting-job-discrimination-questions-and-answers]
1973: Vocational Rehabilitation Act of Title V
This Act, as Amended (Rehab Act), prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies, in programs receiving federal financial assistance, in federal employment and in the employment practices of federal contractors. [Source: https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm]
1975: Age Discrimination Act (Public Law 94-135)
This Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. The Act, which applies to all ages, permits the use of certain age distinctions and factors other than age that meet the Act's requirements. Source: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/oasam/regulatory/statutes/age-discrimination-act
1978: Regents of University of California v. Bakke (438 US 265)
Allan Bakke, a 35-year-old white man, twice applied, and was twice rejected, for admission to the Medical School at Davis. The school reserved sixteen places in each entering class of one hundred for "qualified" minorities, as part of their affirmative action program, to redress longstanding, unfair minority exclusions from the medical profession. Bakke's GPA and test scores exceeded those of any of the minority students admitted in the two years he was rejected. Bakke contended, first in the California courts, then in the Supreme Court, that he was excluded from admission solely based on race.
There was no single majority opinion. Four justices contended that any racial quota system supported by government violated the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Justice Lewis F. Powell, Jr., agreed, casting the deciding vote ordering the medical school to admit Bakke. The remaining four justices held that the use of race as a criterion in admissions decisions in higher education was constitutionally permissible. Powell joined that opinion as well. So, the Court minimized white opposition to the goal of equality (by finding for Bakke) while extending gains for racial minorities through affirmative action. [Source: "Regents of the University of California v. Bakke." Oyez, www.oyez.org/cases/1979/76-811]
1981: First Woman U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor, appointed by President Ronald Reagan, was the first woman to serve as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She had been a judge and an elected official in Arizona, serving as the first female Majority Leader of a state senate.
As a moderate Republican, O'Connor tended to approach each case narrowly without seeking to establish sweeping precedents. She most frequently sided with the Court's conservative bloc. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama. [Source: https://americansall.org/legacy-story-individual/sandra-day-oconnor-0]
1990: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 or ADA (42 U.S.C. § 12101)
ADA prohibits discrimination based on disability. It affords similar protections against discrimination to Americans with disabilities as the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, unlike the Civil Rights Act, the ADA also requires covered employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations. The final version of the bill was signed into law on July 26 by President George H. W. Bush. It was later amended in 2008 and signed by President George W. Bush with changes effective as of January 1, 2009. [Source: https://www.ada.gov/cguide.htm#anchor62335]
1991: Civil Rights Act (Public Law )102-166
This U.S. labor law was passed in response to U.S. Supreme Court decisions that limited the rights of employees who had sued their employers for discrimination. The Act represented the first effort since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to modify some of the basic procedural and substantive rights provided by federal law in employment discrimination cases. It provided the right to trial by jury on discrimination claims and introduced the possibility of emotional distress damages and limited the amount that a jury could award. It added provisions to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protections expanding the rights of women to sue and collect compensatory and punitive damages for sexual discrimination or harassment.
President George H. W. Bush had used his veto against the more comprehensive Civil Rights Act of 1990. He feared racial quotas would be imposed but later approved the 1991 version of the bill. [Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_Rights_Act_of_1991; https://www.eeoc.gov/statutes/civil-rights-act-1991]
1992: Los Angeles Riots
A series of riots and civil disturbances took place in Los Angeles County, California, in April and May. Unrest began in South Central Los Angeles on April 29, after a trial jury acquitted four officers of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) for usage of excessive force in the arrest and beating of Rodney King, which had been videotaped and widely viewed in TV broadcasts.
Thousands of people rioted over a six-day period in several metropolitan areas following the announcement of the verdict. Widespread looting, assault, and arson occurred, and the local police forces had difficulty to control it due to lack of personnel and resources. The situation was only resolved after the California National Guard, the U.S. military, and several federal law enforcement agencies were deployed to assist in ending the violence and unrest.
By the time the riots ended, 63 people had been killed, 2,383 had been injured, more than 12,000 had been arrested. Estimates of property damage were over $1 billion, much of which disproportionately affected Koreatown, where the bulk of rioting occurred. LAPD Chief of Police Daryl Gates, who had already announced his resignation by the time of the riots, was attributed with much of the blame for failure to de-escalate the situation and overall mismanagement. [Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots]