Tumultuous, exciting, and reinventing best describe five decades of political, social and
technological changes in the history of the United States.
The 1950s brought culture revolution,
military conflicts, quick technology growth, and new and dangerous diseases. America was in
the spotlight with economic and political dynamics while winning wars and setting an example.
America was growing and struggling both economically and socially but was still expected to
support other countries.
The 1950s saw unsettling trends occur: the Cold War, the decolonization of Africa
unbalancing political and economic situations, the United States was thrust into another global
conflict with the Korean War.
Apprehensions ignited in Egypt and Cuba.
The times were
chaotic with anti-communist mind-sets.
The introduction of Civil Rights began long before 1950 but gained momentum as
individuals and groups came together during adversity.
World War II had blacks and whites
Men, women, religious leaders and college students of all color stood
together against race.
For the first, time middle-class Americans saw the Civil Rights Movement
being played out in their own living rooms with civil protests, legal challenges and other
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a principal promoter of nonviolent change, rational
conversations, and if enough people openly disobeyed, and peacefully protested unfair actions
and laws would fail (Morris, 1986, 30-44, 58-59).
The combination of agriculture becoming
more mechanical, the search of higher paying jobs and a democratic system found African
Americans leaving the South.
Additionally interesting to mention was that most American supported equal rights for
However, those views changed when African American moved into their
In the landmark decision of
Oliver Brown et al v. Board of Education of Topeka
the United States Supreme Court declared that public schools can not segregate black and white
The court said that denying anyone a right to an education as guaranteed by the 14
as many institutions in the South were doing, was illegal (brown v board.org).
seemed to be a victory when the Little Rock School system was ordered to desegregate in 1957.
However, instead of desegregating the schools Senator Harry Byrd, Sr. organized a resistance
movement that closed schools.
To exasperate the point, Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus
brought in the National Guard in an attemflypt to prevent any black student from entering Little
Rock High School.
In an attempt to reclaim control President Dwight Eisenhower deployed the
Airborne from Kentucky to federalize the National Guard.
Civil Rights stressed the idea
that legal rights were possible for all races.
While the battles won and lost in the 1950 were
important more important was the planning done as the country prepared for the next decade
(Jackson 2006, inclusive).