Title VI of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, or national origin in any program or activity that receives Federal funds or other Federal financial assistance. There is information on this topic in the Health and Human Services website and, of course, in the Department of Justice website of the United States.
The Civil Rights Act became law in 1964. However, it wasn’t until 1974 that language access was understood to be part of national origin, and therefore covered by the Civil Rights Act. The landmark court case, Lau v. Nichols, set strong precedents for language access applications of Title VI. It all began in the California schools.