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Curtis Mayfield created a hybrid of spirit and soul that became the soundtrack for a movement | The Undefeated

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Curtis Mayfield created a hybrid of spirit and soul that became the soundtrack for a movement | The Undefeated

Mayfield demurred when folks tried to label him a protest singer. Yet he never stopped producing politically charged tunes.


The body of Curtis Mayfield’s work constitutes a musical genre in its own right. Over the course of a five-decade career, Mayfield innovated a hybrid form of spiritual and secular soul music, one that spoke to the democratic idealism and aspirational foot-soldiering of the civil rights and Black Power movements in the ’60s, and to the materialist upwardly mobilized ambitions of the postrevolutionary ’70s.

Born in 1940s’ Chicago, Mayfield began his career as a teen gospel harmonizer with the Northern Jubilee singers before meeting his comrade Jerry Butler and linking up with his group The Impressions. After two chart-busting ballads, Butler left to pursue a solo career.


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The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Pub.L. 88–352, 78 Stat. 241, enacted July 2, 1964) is a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and later sexual orientation. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools and public accommodations, and employment discrimination.

Initially, powers given to enforce the act were weak, but these were supplemented during later years. Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment, and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.

The legislation had been proposed by President John F. Kennedy in June 1963, but it was opposed by filibuster in the Senate. After Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963, President Lyndon B. Johnson pushed the bill forward. The United States House of Representatives passed the bill on February 10, 1964, and after a 54-day filibuster, it passed the United States Senate on June 19, 1964. The final vote was 290–130 in the House of Representatives and 73–27 in the Senate. After the House agreed to a subsequent Senate amendment, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Johnson at the White House on July 2, 1964.

Source – Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Updated: 12 October 2020) Wikipedia. Available at, (Accessed: 16 October 2020)