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From the Back of the Bus to the Great Society

(1947-1968)

In This Chapter

The African-American struggle for civil rights

Start of the space race

Bay of Pigs and Cuban Missile Crisis

Idealism and social reform in the Kennedy and Johnson years

Assassinations


With the ruins of war-ravaged Europe still smoldering, much of the worlds population remained hungry, politically oppressed, or both. But Americans, having triumphed over evil incarnate in the form of Nazi and Japanese totalitarianism and enjoying the blessings of liberty, had much to be proud of. True, the postwar world was a scary place, with nuclear incineration just a push of a button away. Childhood, which Americans prized as a time of carefree innocence, was now marred by air raid drills that regularly punctuated the school day. In an increasingly confusing world, Americas children were also menaced by a much-discussed and debated wave of juvenile delinquency. Yet, all in all, 1950s America was a rather complacent placeprosperous, spawning a web of verdant (if rather dull) suburbs interconnected by new highways built under the Interstate Highway Act of 1956.

Postwar suburbia was an expression of the long-held American dream: a house of ones own, a little plot of land, a clean and decent place to, live. But if suburban lawns were green, the suburbs themselves were white. As usual, African-Americans had been excluded from the dreamor, at least, relegated to the very back of it.


Stats | Complete Idiots Guide to American History | Executive Order 9981







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