One of the major thrusts of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, passed by the 88th Congress of the United States after much procrastination and debate, is title VII, the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, which prohibits selected forms of employment discrimination.

In drafting title VII, the proponents of the Act were chiefly concerned with racial discrimination in employment. In fact, the entire Civil Rights Act was written with an eye toward the elimination of the "glaring ... discrimination against Negroes which exists throughout our nation." Given this intent, it is not surprising that, during the hearings and debates preceding the passage of the Act, Congress focused its attention primarily on the race discrimination problem. The legislative history is replete with pronouncements, from friend and foe alike, concerning the impact of the proposed Act on existing patterns of racial prejudice in the United States.