Skip to main content

Section I- Introduction

This is just a section of the larger revised Title VI Legal Manual.  Please click here to see the complete revised Manual.

Title VI Legal Manual

I.   Introduction

In 1964, after years of intensive work on the part of civil rights advocates and their supporters in Congress, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. Included among the Civil Rights Act’s eleven titles is Title VI, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq. In 1963, President John F. Kennedy explained the need for Title VI:  “Direct discrimination by Federal, State, or local governments is prohibited by the Constitution. But indirect discrimination, through the use of Federal funds, is just as invidious.” Title VI directly addresses the then-common practice of denying certain persons access to federally funded services, programs, and activities based on their race, color, or national origin.

Specifically, Section 601 states the following:

No person in the United States shall, on the ground of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

42 U.S.C. § 2000d.[1]

The Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is responsible for coordinating the Title VI implementation and enforcement efforts of federal agencies pursuant to Executive Order 12250, 28 41, app. A. As part of its coordination role, the Division periodically issues policy guidance, directives, or other memoranda to federal agencies regarding Title VI. The Title VI Legal Manual summarizes current DOJ guidance documents and directives relating to Title VI. Persons referring to the manual should check the Division’s websites ( and for guidance documents and directives issued subsequent to the publication of this document.


[1] The Title VI Legal Manual provides an overview of Title VI legal principles.  This document is intended to be an abstract of the general principles and issues that concern federal agency enforcement; it is not intended to provide a complete, comprehensive directory of all cases or issues related to Title VI.  For example, this Manual does not address all issues associated with private enforcement.  In addition, although the Manual refers to cases interpreting Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 794, where their interpretation overlaps with Title VI, the Manual should not be considered to be an overview of any statute other than Title VI.