The 50

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The 50′S Essay, Research Paper The 50’s Culture: 1. a. The totality of socially transmitted behavioral patterns, arts, beliefs, institutions, and all other products of human work and thought. 2. b. These patterns, traits, and products considered as the expression of a particular period, class, community,or population. 3. c. These patterns, trairs, and products considered with respect to a particular category, such as a field, subject, or mode of expression. Culture can further be broken down into five catergories: Social,Health, Technological, Political, and Entertainment issues. In order to fullyunderstand a decade, all of these issues must be discussed and understood. How can one expect to understand the 50s if one cannot understand theissues and incidences which made

it what it was? Social At the start of the decade, racial segregation was a fact of life inmost of the U.S. Although the army under President Truman s orders, hadbeen integrated in 1948, pressures on the home front continued to point toan unavoidable conclusion. The battle front of segregation was to be thepublic schools. – As long as I am governor, Negroes will not be admitted to white schools. -Georgia s Gov. Herman Talmadge– …if segregation is abolished the American army will march in armed rebellion. -Grand Dragon Bill Hendrix of the KKK– …if the court changes what is now the law of the land so that we cannot maintain segregation…we will abandon the public school system. To do so would be the lesser of two great evils. -South Carolina Gov. Jimmy Byrnes In December

of 1952, the Supreme court listened for three days toarguments on the US s most controversial social issue: racial segregation inthe public school system. At that point in time, segregation was mandatoryunder the laws of seventeen states and was legal, if so desired by the localdistricts in four others. The primary goal of these arguments by theN.A.A.C.P. ( National Association For the Advancement of Colored People)was to force the courts beyond the separate but equal ruling laid down in1896 in the Plessy Vs. Ferguson case. At 12:30 P.M. on May 17, 1954, theSupreme Court unanimously ruled that racial segregation in public schoolsviolated the Constitution. The fight for racial equality continued throughout the decade. In1956, Autherine Juanita Lucy, 26, became the first Negro ever

admitted toa white public school or University in the state of Alabama. Other studentsthrew rocks and eggs at her, and the car which was escorting her from classto class. The crowd reverberated with cries of , Hey hey, ho, ho. Autherine must go. After her second class she couldn t even leave thebuilding. Later, the state police escorted her to her home. Anotherinfamous incident occurred in Little Rock, AK in 1957. Nine high schoolstudents were kept from entering an all white public high school for threedays. U.S. troops were finally called in by President Eisenhower to allow thechildren into the building. The final showdown occurred in 1956, when Mrs. Rosa Parks, a42-year-old Negro seamstress, refused to give up her seat on the bus to awhite man. Her actions prompted a Negro

boycott on bus traveling whichwas 95% effective. This ultimately led to the emergence of Martin LutherKing Jr. as a prominent spokesperson for the movement. In November of1956, the Supreme Court ruled that the separate but equal laws were aslegally dead for public transportation as for public schools. At decade s end,the drive for civil rights was beginning to build momentum for the climacticefforts of the 1960s. Health Epidemic In the early 1950s, paralytic poliomyelitis was the terrifying scourgeof American families. 1952 was polio s peak year with over 57,879 casesreported and 3,145 deaths. In 1953, testing began for the production of a polio vaccine. The nextyear, 1,830,000 children participated in validation tests in the hopes toprove the worth of the new vaccine. 440,000