A full house turned out at University Commons yesterday to hear from Professor Robert C. Farrell of Quinnipiac University on the subject of “The March of Equality and Civil Rights Act of 1964.” The event was SHU’s annual commemoration of Constitution Day.
During his presentation, Farrell praised and criticized both the Constitution and the Civil Rights Act. He said both documents were brilliant and flawed. He praised the Founding Fathers for their genius in creating such a comprehensive document as the Constitution, calling it one of the greatest achievements by humankind. He also pointed out some of the flaws, such as the accommodations that allowed for slavery to continue, the 3/5 Compromise and the continuous need for laws and amendments to rectify racial inequality.
Regarding the Civil Rights Act, Farrell suggested that its authors would be disappointed with the slow progress that has been made since the act was passed. Some of the issues he raised included the disparity between the number of blacks and whites in prison and the vast difference between the average yearly incomes of blacks versus whites. He noted that even though there is less day-to-day racism on the part of individuals, on average the overall quality of life for blacks continues to lag behind that of whites.
During the question-and-answer session, Farrell expressed doubts that another Civil Rights Act could pass or even that things will greatly improve in the civils rights arena in the near future.
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