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The Race Relations Act 1965 came into force on 8 December 1965. The Act prohibited discrimination on grounds of race in “places of public resort”. This term was defined in the Act as including places such as: hotels and restaurants; theatres, sports facilities and places of public recreation; vehicles, vessels and aircraft used for public transport; and any place of “public resort” maintained by a local or other public authority. It also introduced the criminal offence of incitement to racial hatred, covering the publication or distribution of written material or the use of words in a public place or meeting that were threatening, abusive or insulting and likely to “stir up hatred” on the ground of ethnicity, race or national origins.

This In Focus looks at the background to the Act in further detail, and sets out some of the reaction and subsequent legislation in this area.

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