The Arkansas Psychological Association held a ceremony Wednesday evening to commemorate the passage of the Civil Rights Act 50 years ago, in 1964.
At the ceremony, held at Little Rock's Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, speakers discussed the link between ongoing work-place discrimination and workers' psychological health.
Recipients of honorary awards included Dr. Terrence Roberts, a member of the Little Rock Nine, the first group of black students to integrate Little Rock Central High school in 1957. A professional psychologist, Roberts said the 1964 act wasn’t enough to create racial equality in the United States.
“We’re still waiting for that grand Civil Rights Act we all need. That would get rid of the craziness we experience in our daily lives, the walls of discrimination, the barriers to progress and success, especially for people of color and anybody who is different from the so-called white Anglo Saxon Protestant norm,” said Roberts.
The Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
“For me, it’s simply one of many such symbolic attempts to ease the conscience of the nation. And again, I say until all of us collectively agree we’re going to move beyond the scope of the law and do what’s morally right, it doesn’t matter how many civil rights laws we pass, nothing will be done,” added Roberts.
The Association also granted a posthumous honorary award to Brownie Ledbetter, a local civil rights activist and political organizer who passed away in 2010.