Tag Archives: 155-8

Beyond Voting Rights: Voices of Power

Voting rights and integration were important goals of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. After the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1965 Voting Rights Act, emphasis within the movement began to shift to issues of economic inequality, police brutality, educational inequality, and other issues not easily solved with legislation.
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Nonviolence

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., one of the leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Council, urged the use of nonviolent means of protest in the fight for recognition of the civil rights of African Americans. In these excerpts from his April 16, 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” he defends nonviolent direct action such as marches and sit-ins as the surest means to “open the door to negotiation.”
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Ideology and Propaganda: Make Mine Freedom

Throughout the Cold War, Harding College (now University) produced a number of films which promoted “American” values in the face of perceived pressure from “un-American” ideologies.  This short animated film, “Make Mine Freedom” is an early example of these films.  As you watch it, think about the goals the filmmakers had in creating this cartoon and who the cartoon’s audience might have been.

Source: The Prelinger Collection (direct link to video)

Questions to consider:

  1. The film makes reference to “isms”–given the year of production, to what “isms” might the filmmakers have been referring?
  2. What do the filmmakers promote as an alternative to ‘isms”?
  3. What are the specific dangers of these “isms”?
  4. What makes the American way better than the foreign “isms,” according to the filmmakers?

How Much Affection? Youth, Sex, and Social Norms in Cold War America

During the 1950s, some American thinkers expressed concern that deviation from accepted behavior, would contribute to a weakening of American society. This educational film from 1958 addresses some of the perceived consequences of premarital sex. While premarital sex was certainly not invented in the 1950s, concerns about “proper” behavior were enhanced by the tensions of the Cold War.

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