What did the civil rights movements of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s achieve?  What was life like for African Americans in the 1980s? Why did these profoundly positive (in terms of equality, freedom and democracy) social changes of the 1950s to 1970s generate SO MUCH anxiety and resistance? Have me moved backwards or stalled on racial equity in the 1970s and 1980s? (30%)

 

The U.S. experienced unprecedented prosperity in the generation after WWII, and in this context oppressed groups fought and struggled to improve their lives and force the nation to protect their rights. Others resisted these changes and, as in the 1920s, many of the struggles were over race and sex.  What were the realities of life in the 1950s for black and white families, as well as women, Latinos, Native Americans and “homosexuals?”

 

Discuss the foundations of the Civil Rights Movements for oppressed racial and ethnic groups and for women.  Why was black power, defined broadly, so popular among blacks, and so unpopular among whites (including some of those who supported black rights overall)?  Why was feminism so resisted by many, including white women?

 

Finally, how did rising economic inequality from the 1980s, mass incarceration from the 1990s, the 2000s financial crisis, etc affect the realities of lives of the poor, including those of color.

 

The primary sources reflect a wide variety of movements and issues.  Integrate them into the analysis—to do that, feel free to adapt the essay accordingly. Feel free to delve deeper into issues in which you are particularly interested.