The City of Detroit is a municipal organization that recognizes its subordination to the citizens of Detroit.

Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is the overarching civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin, in any program, service or activity that receives Federal assistance. Specifically, Title VI assures that “No person is the United States shall, on the grounds of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefit of, or be otherwise subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal assistance.”

Title VI has been broadened by related statutes, regulations and executive orders. Discrimination based on sex is prohibited by Section 324 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which is the enabling legislation of the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 prohibits unfair and inequitable treatment of persons as a result of projects which are undertaken with Federal financial assistance. The Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1987 clarified the intent of Title VI to include all programs and activities of Federal-aid recipients and contractors whether those programs and activities are federally funded or not.

On August 11, 2000, President William J. Clinton signed an executive order, Executive Order 13166: Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency, to clarify Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It had as its purpose, to ensure accessibility to programs and services to otherwise eligible persons who are not proficient in the English language.

This executive order stated that individuals who do not speak English well and who have a limited ability to read, write, and speak or understand English are entitled to language assistance under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with respect to a particular type of service, benefit, or encounter.