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50 years and counting for Civil Rights Act of 1964

50 years and counting for Civil Rights Act of 1964

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho - It's been 50 years since Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. Since then, minorities have been granted equal opportunities.

But many, like Idaho Falls native Donald Patterson, said kindness, respect, and unity shouldn't have been mandated.

"it's just too bad that so much of life has to be forced with law," he said.

Although many wonder if it's a law that still needs to be on the books, Patterson said lawmakers would more than likely make the same decision if civil rights were an issue in today's time.

"America being the nation that it is and a global leader, we have to make a difference, not only for ourselves, but for the world," he said.

But community activist Sheila Olsen said she isn't so sure what outcomes would come from that issue in 2014, as times have changed.

"Here in the West we didn't see all the injustices that you read about in the history books. Today is a different time and a different age, so I wouldn't be able to speak to what lawmakers would decide," she said.

Olsen said many African Americans have contributed to the Idaho Falls community, and she feels that wouldn't have been possible without the Act.

President Obama and three former presidents will spend three days at Johnson's presidential library in Austin, TX to honor his legacy. 

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