Civil Rights Movement In The 1960's

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The transition from the conservative post-war 1950s era to the rebellious Counterculture movement of the 60s and 70s was one that lasted a mere 20 years. However, it might as well have been a lifetime. An average citizen during this period would have experienced the end of a World War, the beginning of the cold war, and the dawn of the nuclear age. This era is a reflection of the reactionary attitude of the American people in relation to the events around them including the McCarthy era anti-communist hysteria, the social repression of the white suburban flight, and the racial tension surrounding the civil rights movement. The 1950s in America saw the rise of Senator Joseph McCarthy who gained his national prestige through his ambitions to…show more content…
board in 1954 officially outlawing segregation through separate but equal facilities and the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1968. Martin Luther king Jr., an important civil rights leader and activist, once said “We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.”(Letter from Birmingham jail 1963)This was the attitude of many African Americans at the time although how they went about attempting to achieve change varied. Malcom X, another prominent civil rights activist, believed in equality through any means necessary and was an open advocate for violence while King believed in a peaceful approach and in using “weapons of love” (MLK vs. Malcom X). In many ways, the rebellion of the Counterculture movement walked hand in hand with the events of the civil rights movement. Both groups were active at the same time and, although protested different things, in large part helped each other. Counterculture movement focused largely on antiwar protests with the formation of groups such as the Student Democratic Society or SDS and the New Left. In support of the goals of such organizations king said “The picture of the world's greatest superpower killing or seriously injuring 1,000 noncombatants a week while trying to pound a tiny backward nation into submission on an issue whose merits are hotly disputed, is not a pretty one." (The Vietnam Wars 1967) The American public’s response to these protests were varied but in the end resulted in an overall demand for

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