It was federal legislation that broke down barriers of racial discrimination in the workplace, hotels and restaurants.
On Thursday the nation took the time to look back 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
In South Bend the community can now meet at the Civil Rights Center and natatorium.
It used to be a public pool that was segregated until 1978 when it closed.
After the Civil Rights Act passed in 1964 the pool was still segregated for a while.
But now it serves as a meeting place for all.
South Bend city leader Gladys Muhammed says, “Years ago when African Americans couldn't swim here, even though it was in an urban neighborhood, a group of citizens got together and it wasn't because of the civil rights bill but because of taxes they pay in this community.”
Thursday the South Bend center hosted a speaker from Chicago that spoke about the importance of the 50 year anniversary.