Social, Economic or Political Events of the 1950s

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Social, Economic or Political Events of the 1950s to the 1990s Kelly Postl
AXIA College-University of Phoenix
The American Experience Since 1945 - HIS135
Jill Le Gare
February 24, 2008

Social, Economic or Political Events of the 1950s to the 1990s The 1950s – Racial Challenges
Challenging racial prejudice in the United States in the 1950s was a daunting undertaking. While African-Americans, in the main, again bore the brunt of the backlash, no single person, group, or institution put civil rights on the national agenda, and no one person, group, or institution saw to it that it stayed on the national agenda. Stay it did. The changes in attitude and law that did occur came about as the result of a shared commitment from many, many people to take risks, highlight injustice, and press the cause for change. That commitment was not an easy one to make. It is easy to forget, in today's era of more cautious and covert discrimination, that the choice to add one's voice to the chorus for change was a choice that could—and not infrequently did—result in death. But those were the stakes between the years 1954 and 1968 in the United States of America. Tens of thousands of people of all races risked not just their standing in the community, but also their lives, in the hope of building a coalition for racial equality that could not possibly be ignored. They succeeded in building that coalition—even if the highest ideals of the cause they promoted remain, in some cases, unfulfilled. During this time, African-Americans were subject to racial segregation despite the belief put forward in The Declaration of Independence 1776 that, 'all men are created equal and that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.' However, the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s was brewing. Key figures like Martin Luther Kin, Malcom X and Rosa Parks highlighted and challenged those who were against African-American rights and freedom. The Little Rock Nine integrated Central High School ending segregation in schools.

In the early 1950's, racial segregation in public schools was the norm across America. Although all the schools in a given district were supposed to be equal, most black schools were far inferior to their white counterparts. Brown and the NAACP appealed to the Supreme Court on October 1, 1951 and their case was combined with other cases that challenged school segregation in South Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware. The Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision did not abolish segregation in other public areas, such as restaurants and restrooms, nor did it require desegregation of public schools by a specific time. It did, however, declare the permissive or mandatory segregation that existed in 21 states unconstitutional. It was a giant step towards complete desegregation of public schools. Even partial desegregation of these schools, however, was still very far away, as would soon become apparent. 1960s – New Economics

The beginning of the Kennedy presidency in 1961 was widely perceived to bring to Washington a New Economics. John F. Kennedy, as senator and presidential candidate, had sought the advice of academic economists. But what was truly new about the New Economics was that it became a strong intellectual force in government. As president, he appeared to be more interested in economic analysis and in the ideas of economists and their policy implications than had been his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower. Their work was at the forefront of current research, and their views were informed by Keynesian ideas, as modified and integrated with traditional theory after World War II. This interest was reflected in the appointment to his administration of a number of academic economists.

Some observers today credit the New Economics and its influence on the policies of the...
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