The Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
James Farmer resigned as chairman of CORE in 1966 and disassociat-
ed himself with the organization when Roy Innis was named national
director and turned CORE toward the Black Power movement support-
ing national separatism. He lost his eyesight in 1985, shortly after com-
pleting his autobiography, Lay Bare the Heart. He spent the last fourteen
years of his life teaching at Mary Washington College in Fredricksburg,
Virginia. In May 1995, when he felt much of the world had forgotten
him, his hometown named the street on which his family lived James
Farmer Street, recognizing him and his illustrious father. It was the first
time a street had been named in his honor. On January 15, 1998,
President Bill Clinton presented him with the Medal of Freedom. He
called it "the highest honor I ever received." He was at Howard
University in Washington to receive an honorary degree in July 1999
when he became critically ill. He died on July 9.80
Moyers said he was so caught up in the pace of the times that he had
no idea the effect it would have on his hometown, especially on his par-
ents. "People said some pretty harsh things to them at the time," Moyers
said. "And my parents' neighborhood was one of the first to be integrat-
ed. But they never said a word to me in opposition, and they welcomed
each new neighbor." It was not until the filming of "Marshall
Texas/Marshall Texas" in 1982 that Moyers said he reflected on the
impact of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for the first time ...
There really were two worlds. You could grow up well churched, well loved, well
taught. We lived in the same small town, witnessed to the same faith--sang and
prayed to the same God-and kept our distance .... You knew something was
wrong, but you didn't want to admit it, even to yourself, or share it with others.81
80 CORE departure mentioned in Farmer, Lay Bare the Heart, 302, 347. The author was present
at the Marshall street naming and was Farmer's guest at the White House for the Medal of
Freedom presentation. His many obituaries mention the Howard University honors.
81 "Marshall Texas/Marshall Texas."
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 106, July 2002 - April, 2003. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101223/. Accessed October 22, 2014.