Social Changes In The 60S Essay

This essay has a total of 2005 words and 8 pages.

Social Changes In The 60'S

Social Changes in the 60's
Many social changes that were addressed in the 1960s are still the issues being confronted
today. the ?60s was a decade of social and political upheaval. in spite of all the turmoil,
there were some positive results: the civil rights revolution, john f. Kennedy's bold vision of
a new frontier, and the breathtaking advances in space, helped bring about progress and
prosperity. however, much was negative: student and anti-war protest movements, political
assassinations, and ghetto riots excited american people and resulted in lack of respect for
authority and the law.
The decade began under the shadow of the cold war with the soviet union, which was aggravated
by the u-2 incident, the berlin wall, and the cuban missile crisis, along with the space race
with the ussr.
The decade ended under the shadow of the viet nam war, which deeply divided americans and their
allies and damaged the country's self-confidence and sense of purpose.
Even if you weren't alive during the ?60s, you know what they meant when they said, tune in,
turn on, drop out. you know why the nation celebrates Martin luther king, jr.'s birthday. all
of the social issues are reflected in today's society: the civil rights movement, the student
movement, space exploration, the sexual revolution, the environment, medicine and health, and
fun and fashion.
The Civil Rights Movement
The momentum of the previous decade's civil rights gains led by rev. Martin luther king, jr.
carried over into the 1960s. but for most blacks, the tangible results were minimal. only a
minuscule percentage of black children actually attended integrated schools, and in the south,
jim crow practices barred blacks from jobs and public places. New groups and goals were
formed, new tactics devised, to push forward for full equality. as often as not, white
resistance resulted in violence. this violence spilled across tv screens nationwide. the
average, neutral american, after seeing his/her tv screen, turned into a civil rights
supporter.
Black unity and white support continued to grow. in 1962, with the first large-scale public
protest against racial discrimination, rev. Martin luther king, jr. Gave a dramatic and
inspirational speech in washington, d.c. After a long march of thousands to the capital. the
possibility of riot and bloodshed was always there, but the marchers took that chance so that
they could accept the responsibilities of first class citizens. the negro, King said in this
speech, lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material
prosperity and finds himself an exile in his own land. King continued stolidly: it would be
fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the
determination of the negro. this sweltering summer of the negro's legitimate discontent will
not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. when King came to the
end of his prepared text, he swept right on into an exhibition of impromptu oratory that was
catching, dramatic, and inspirational.
I have a dream, King cried out. the crowd began cheering, but king, never pausing, brought
silence as he continued, i have a dream that one day on the red hills of georgia the sons of
former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at the table
of brotherhood.
I have a dream, he went on, relentlessly shouting down the thunderous swell of applause,
that even the state of mississippi, a state sweltering with people's injustices, sweltering
with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. i have
dream, cried King for the last time, that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their
character.
Everyone agreed the march was a success and they wanted action now! but, now! remained a long
way off. president kennedy was never able to mobilize sufficient support to pass a civil rights
bill with teeth over the opposition of segregationist southern members of congress. but after
his assassination, president johnson, drawing on the kennedy legacy and on the press coverage
of civil rights marches and protests, succeeded where kennedy had failed.
However, by the summer of 1964, the black revolution had created its own crisis of disappointed
expectations. rioting by urban blacks was to be a feature of every long, hot, summer of the
mid-1960s.
In 1965, King and other black leaders wanted to push beyond social integration, now guaranteed
under the previous year's civil rights law, to political rights, mainly southern blacks' rights
to register and vote. king picked a tough alabama town to tackle: selma, where only 1% of
eligible black voters were registered to vote. the violence, the march, the excitement all
contributed to the passage of the second landmark civil rights act of the decade. even though
there was horrendous violence, rev. king announced that as a matter of conscience and in an
attempt to arouse the deepest concern of the nation, he was compelled to lead another march
from selma to montgomery, alabama.
The four-day, 54-mile march started on the afternoon of sunday, march 21, 1965, with some 3500
marchers led by two nobel prizewinners, the rev. Martin luther king, jr. And ralph bunche, then
u.n. Under secretary for special political affairs. in the march, whites, negroes, clergymen
and beatniks, old and young, walked side by side. president johnson made sure they had plenty
of protection this time with 1000 military police, 1900 federalized alabama national guardsmen,
and platoons of u.s. Marshals and fbi men.
When the marchers reached the capital of alabama, they were to have presented a petition to
then governor george wallace protesting voting discrimination. however, when they arrived, the
governor's aides came out and said, the capital is closed today.
About this same time, the term, black power was coming into use. it was meant to infer
long-submerged racial pride in negroes. Martin luther king, jr. Specifically sought to rebut
the evangelists of black power. it is absolutely necessary for the negro to gain power, but
the term black power is unfortunate, because it tends to give the impression of black
nationalism. we must never seek power exclusively for the negro, but the sharing of power with
white people, he said.
Unfortunately, the thing that really moved the civil rights movement along significantly was
the murder of rev. Martin luther king, jr. In late 1965. cruelty replaced harmony with
nightmarish suddenness. rioting mobs in the negro suburb of watts, california, pillaged, burned
and killed, while 500 policemen and 5000 national guardsmen struggled in vain to contain their
fury. hour after hour, the toll mounted: 27 dead at the week's end, nearly 600 injured, 1700
arrested, and property damage well over $100 million.
The good that came out of all of this, is that thousands of negroes were flocking to register
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