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In 1977, Congress enacted the Public Works Employment Act, the first federal statute of general application containing an explicit racial classification. The Act, designed to pump four billion dollars of federal funds into a flagging economy, contained a provision which ensured that ten percent of that amount would be allocated to business enterprises owned by United States citizens who were "Negroes, Spanish-speaking, Orientals, Indians, Eskimos, and Aleuts." Three years later, in Fullilove v. Klutznick, the Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to the Act by a vote of six to three.
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