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. Continue reading →
While schools in the American south were often segregated through specific actions–such as forbidding nonwhite students to attend–schools in northern cities were also often segregated as a result of housing inequality. This brief (20 minute) documentary from 1960 reports on integration efforts in both the north and south. Continue reading →
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.” Continue reading →
With the dawn of nuclear war after the American bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Soviet acquisition of an atomic bomb in the late 1940s, civil defense–programs of safety education–became prominent in American schools. Continue reading →
During the late 1940s and into the 1950s teenage crime and misbehavior (especially sexual misbehavior) was a growing issue for parents and lawmakers. The following resources address some of suspected causes and solutions of Cold War crime. Continue reading →
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.
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.