Post-War Era

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By the 1950’s the United States of America was dominated by consensus and conformity. The double effects of the Great Depression combined with World War II had left many weary and shell-shocked. The youth were rising in the modernization of society while the civil rights activists brought about change to civil rights for minorities. WWII had brought about irrevocable change. Over a million black soldiers had served in uniform. The share of defense jobs held by blacks had increased from 3 to 8 percent. Nearly half a million people belonged to the NAACP. In 1944, NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall argued before the Supreme Court that all-white primaries in the South violated his black client’s 14th Amendment right to equal protection. The case, known as Smith v. Allwright, was an 8-1 victory. A new sense of mission was forged as black Americans, joined by some white allies, began to express resistance to passive acceptance of the pre-war status quo. Black soldiers led the way as the number of black registered voters in the South increased to 12 percent by 1947. When Black, Hispanic, and Native American soldiers returned they found a country that still did not grant them full rights, but a movement for the expansion of civil rights had been born. Some black soldiers who had left farm jobs in the South decided not to return home. Instead, they moved to cities, looking for work that was similar to what they had learned in the armed forces. This movement represented an intensification of the black migration that began around the turn of the century. The dynamics of the baby boom demographic transformation after World War II is examined in relationship to the changing nature of childhood and youth as a social construct. The profanations of youth culture challenged the domain assumptions of modernity and in so doing ushered in a post-modern worldview and a new interpretation of historical knowledge. The tastes of young people began to drive fashion, music, films and...
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