Conformity: United Kingdom and Civil Rights Activists

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The United States during the 1950s can be characterized by mass conformity. The nation was unified through the vast prosperity of the economic boom that resulted from WWII. The post-war period featured a nation of citizens sharing similar accomplishments, ideals, and lifestyles. The nation was comprised of myriad families cut from the same cookie-cutter shape. Few chose to challenge the demands of the conformed society. Among the opponents of society were youth and Civil Rights activists, who expressed and represented their demographic through practices that would shock and alienate them from the nation. The 1950s introduced the United States to a new term: the teenager. The teenager revolutionized youth of the period, who viewed society as the enemy. Teenagers during this time horrified parents with their imprudent morals and lack of restraint in certain situations. Youth defied their parents’ strict ethics of the previous generation. For the teenager, the 1950s was celebration of life and promiscuity. A representation of this is viewed in the music of the period. Youth music ignored the harsh segregation of races, and endorsed African American musicians and transitioned their unique style by way of the radio. Black musicians built a dedicated fan base within the white youth of America. The notorious Elvis Presley also revolutionized youth. Presley established himself with his scandalous dance moves and his music that defied the constraints of race. The youth of this period defied the status quo and built a community based on individual values and personally chosen lifestyles. Civil Rights activists also confronted the conformity of the 1950s and challenged the ideal of white supremacy that had plagued the nation for decades. Civil Rights activists sought to transform the nation into a country of equal opportunities for all races. The leader of this movement was the icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. King embodied the goals of...