Practice What You Preach !

Martin Luther King wrote Letter from Birmingham Jail April 1963 while serving a nine day prison term. This letter is very famous. Martin Luther King is originally from Atlanta but in the letter he explained “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and thats why he was in Birmingham conducting many non violent protests. Birmingham was one of the most segregated cities in the south. I title this post “Practice What you Preach” because in his letter Martin Luther King critized many clergymen for being afraid to support him and help fight for equality. A lot of white moderates and clergymen criticized what Martin was doing and they thought that he was being too extreme. They thought  that the blacks just needed to be patient and eventually there will be equality. Martin disagreed with them in his letter he stated “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever. The yearning for freedom eventually manifests itself, and that is what has happened to the American Negro.” Blacks were tired of waiting; they were ready to fight and the younger generation also more aggressive than before.

During the 1960’s we see a lot more school aged kids fighting for equality. It can be assumed that the rise of protesting by students has roots in the 195o’s era change. I think that many were inspired by the Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954. According to Foner, in May of 1963 when King made a bold decision to send young black school children to protest was a huge triumph for the Civil Rights Movement. Schoolchildren were beaten up by nightsticks and dogs, and sprayed by high pressure fire hoses and this caused a revulsion not only throughout Birmingham or the United States but around the world !





The Femine Mystique

Even though woman had the right to vote, it did little to increase political and economic freedom for women. According to Foner, Women were still treated as subordinates to men in the early 1960s, where their rights were second class compared to men and job opportunities limited to low wage clerical positions. Foner asserts that Betty Friedan’s book “The Feminine Mystique” published in 1963 revived the feminine consciousness and exposed the third class treatment women received. She even compared the Suburban home to a “comfortable concentration camp.”

I think the feminist movement of the 60’s had its root in the 1950’s since it was an Era when the Nation took a break from War and was able to concentrate on domestic issues. The economic prosperity of the 1950’s and technological innovation lended women more time to create woman’s groups and think about dealing with their rights. I have also posted pictures of Protests by 20,000 women on August 9, 1956 which eventually became known as National Women’s Day. Even though they were not protesting for women’s rights, it showed how organized women were and their willingness to fight for rights.






The closet door breaks open…

As the world was experiencing movements that included women’s rights, civil rights, and more, one group of people were unaware that they were permitted a voice. Hiding in the background for fear of ridicule the gay community wasn’t developed into such. But as the other movements were gaining momentum the Gay community found solace in the Mattachine Society. The society sought to dissolve the presumed boundaries between gay peoples and “average Americans.” Without the societies work, and the defensive position that gay people were put into following McCarthyism, the gay movement wouldn’t have been able to grab hold.

The video above goes to tell the story of the Stonewall Bar incident where after police raided an actively homosexual bar, instead of fleeing, the people began to fight back physically and soon politically with the coming of marches and parades.



The Brown Berets

The Brown Berets is a Chicano nationalist activist group of young Mexican Americans that emerged during the Chicano Movement. The Chicano Movement is a Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. It stated in 1965, it was a cultural as well as a political movement, helping to construct new, transnational cultural identities and fueling a renaissance in politically charged visual, literary, and performance art. One of the first organizations that gave strength to the movement was the United Farm Workers organization(UFW), formed in 1962.


The Black Movement

Black riot in the 1960s

In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement concerning African Americans continued to grow. This is a battle that blacks in America had been fighting for years, and while there was some advancement through various legislation, there was still great unrest in the black community. Violent outbreaks began in black ghettos; these conflicts involved angry blacks and mostly white police. They first broke out in Harlem in 1964 and began happening in various ghettos such as Los Angeles and Detroit. This violence was so widespread that many citizens feared a racial civil war would come out of it. While government recognized the riots and outbreaks, there were no outright proposals for any kind of change.

Montgomery Bus Boycott

The unrest that caused this violence spurred from the rampant legal segregation that had existed. During the 1950s, many began to fight it, no longer able to deny its injustice. However, it was in the 1960s that opposition began to turn so violent and recurrent.


The Anti-war movement

The War in Vietnam and the Cold War foreign policy eventually brought the Anti-war movement in the U.S. in 1960s. More than half a million American troops were sent to Vietnam and about 60,000 were dead when U.S. exited the war. Since more and more Americans, specially the young, against to be sent to fight in a foreign country, the anti-war movement was getting strong.  The leader of SDS(Students for a Democartic Society) openly chanlleged the idea of  Cold War thinking and linked Vietnam to a critique of American interventions in Guatemala and Iran. “Martin Luther King Jr. condemned the administration’s Vietnam policy as an unconscionable  use of violence” declared Foner.

Below is the speech of Martin Luther King Jr. “Why I am opposed to the war in Vietnam”


The Golden Age of television

Television was the first audio- visual media that let people watched live events while they were sitting in their living room. According to Foner, “By the end of the 1950s, nearly nine of ten  American families owned a TV set.” Beside the affordable price, tv was a simply entertaining media also. People could choose what they wanted to see by switching different channel. Television also became the most efficient way for advertising. Companies broadcasted their ads through the televisions.


“Race Prejudice + Power = Racism”

I finally understand what people are talking about when they say that the system is out to get them. Institutionalized racism do exist ! Racism is not just prejudice against another race, its is about power. It is about having power, using that power and abusing it to show that the race is inferior.


I just wanted to share an interesting article that I found on Institutionalized Racism.





At least we are moving, trying to Integrate

There have been many events after the signing of the emancipation proclamation that freed slaves that moved the country towards equality for slaves.   It was a slow process, but after world war 2 and during the 1950’s the civil right movement moved with great force.  This movement finally took off in the 1960’s and became a full fledge movement.  There was a need to get blacks out of poverty, many feeling that it was one of the ways that freedom can be acquired, alone with equality.  The fights for better education, access to public accommodations, and voting that evolved in the 50’s allowed blacks to start fighting for better economic issues pushing for more government action.

Black Power movement at the Chicago Freedom Movement Rally, Soldier Field (Freedom Sunday)



Cuban missiles Crisis

At 1962 there was a biggest crisis between the two superpowers. In October American spy planes found out that the Soviet Union installed missiles in Cuba with nuclear weapons because U.S. installed missies on Turkey. The Cuban missiles were capable of reaching the United States which caused a great atmosphere of fear that the nuclear weapons would directly attack U.S., so it became the most difficulty for the Kennedy administration. President Kennedy rejected to attack Cuba instead of to block Cuba and demand that Soviet Union remove missiles from Cube. However, Kennedy started to negotiate with the Soviet Union’s premier Nikita Khrushchev. After thirteen days both of them agreed to withdraw missiles on Cuba and Turkey, also Kennedy promised that would not invade Cuba. Kennedy foreign police successfully ease the most dangerous crisis between the two superpowers in the cold war.


The bill of rights for the disadvantaged

Civil and economic rights movement

With only a few victories in the civil rights movement, African Americans began their journey to fix economic problems in the black community. With nearly twice as many African Americans unemployed as whites, and the average black family income slightly over half the white norm, Leaders like MLK attempted to solve economic hardships. King had proposed the Bill of Rights for the Disadvantaged, which was aimed at poverty in the country. King had argued it was time for the government to step in to do something special for black people after they had suffered hundreds of years of hardship. This bill later became associated with affirmative action which calls for the consideration of race, color, religion and gender in the field of employment to give an equal opportunity to underrepresented groups. In 1966, MLK started the Chicago Freedom Movement to end further discrimination in employment, mortgages accessibility, public homes and low income housing. King had used previous methods to lead the movement but eventually failed because of the heavy opposition from white home owners.


Civil Rights act of 1964

5 days after Kennedy’s  death in 1964, Lyndon Johnson was in presidency and quickly established the Civil Rights act of 1964.  This act protected the rights of people based on their race, and sex.  This act prohibited discrimination in employment, hospitals, schools, restaurants, hotels, and theaters.  This act was a huge step in eliminating racism and discrimination as the previous decade saw much of it.  The civil rights movement which was started in 1955 was ongoing and the act of 1964 led to future movements and historical speeches such as Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream apeech” in 1968.


The Great Society

Great Society was opening up opportunities for people and improving the quality of life for all. This program helps people in many ways. Such as “provide health services to the poor and elderly in the new Medicaid and Medicare programs and poured federal   funds into education and urban development”.(Foner:927). Also it cutting personal and corporate income taxes, originally proposed by Kennedy. The purpose of the tax cut was to stimulate the economy by placing more money in the hands of investors and consumers.

“War on poverty” was created a new government office to administer the problem established by the act. These included Head start, an early childhood education program. It was job training for youths, legal services and provides scholarship for poor college students. And VISTA which was a domestic peace corps of volunteers performing services in dressed areas.


Feminism: Women and the Kitcen


The Kitchen Debate by Nixon and Khrushchev in 1959 has embraced many American ideologies at that time, and the role of women in the kitchen is one of them. In the 1950s, it was widely conceived that women ought to spend most of her time in the kitchen and doing various house works. Although Vice President Nixon did not explicit stated it, he has implied that the electronic appliances were so great that they are the equivalent of a woman. The Kitchen Debate further emphasized the fact that most American men at that time regarded their spouses as mere appliances in the kitchen instead of human beings. I believe that the underlying theme in the Kitchen Debate has a certain degree of influence on Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique, a publication that has awakened the public feminist consciousness.

With the influence from The Feminine Mystique, American women have realized that, by tradition, they have been enslaved in the kitchen. In addition, they were more conscious of the unequal treatments they faced in work forces. With this new consciousness in their minds, they have pushed for more reforms in civil rights movements. In response to the changes in public opinions, the government has passed various gender equality laws, such as the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which prohibited different wage standards base on genders, and The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which eliminated discrimination by both gender and race.


On a Mission to Save the World!

In the 1950s, the Beat movement was led by a group of poets and writers who deviated from the behaviors and values of mainstream culture. In the 1960s, many movements were also started for the pursuit of a common cause. For instance, the environmental movement began as more and more people became aware of the growing dangers of water contamination, air pollution, and the threat of extinction of certain animal species. The movement received bipartisan support. During Nixon’s presidency, Congress enacted many legislations including the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and the Endangered Species Act to ensure the quality of air and water and safety  of animals. In addition, on April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was launched, which attracted many youths to come to the rallies, concerts, and teach-ins.

The Environmental movement had roots in the 1950s because the previous decade was a symbol of consumerism. People were obsessed with their individual desires and ignored the impact of their actions on the enviornment. People pursued the American dream vigorously by purchasing more cars just becaues they could. In the 1960s, people began to realize that there is a consequence for their actions. Therefore, the environmental movement was to undo the spoils of the 1950s.


The Poor Will Prevail

According to Foner, during Johnson presidency he took initiatives of 1965-1967,  known collectively as the Great Society, provided health services to the poor and elderly in the new Medicaid and Medicare programs and poured federal funds into education and urban development. Unlike the New Deal the Great Society was a response to great prosperity. The mid-1960’s were a time of economic expansion and Johnson thought that economic growth will help improve the quality of life.
Great Society centerpiece was Johnson’s response to poverty, he tried to eradicate it. According to Michael Harrington’s book The Other America around 40 to 50 million Americans lived in poverty. This alerted political leaders to take action in stopping poverty. The War on Poverty didn’t directly eliminate poverty Johnson concentrated on equipping the poor with skills to help themselves. The new Office of Economic Opportunity provided job training, legal service, and scholarship for poor college students. The War on Poverty didn’t really eradicate poverty it helped empower the poor to take control of their lives.


The Women’s Movement for Equal Rights

During the 1960’s, the women’s rights movement became active again after being passive during 1940s to 1950s. During the 1950s many women were working, however they had yet to achieve many positions in the work force. One major obstacle that woman overcame was the passage of the 19th amendment in August 18, 1920 giving women the right to vote. The Civil Rights protest prompted women in the 1960’s to continue to push for equal rights in employment, educational fields, end to domestic violence, restriction of limitations on women in administrative jobs, and sharing housework and child nurturing responsibilities.

In the 1960s there were two different types of Women’s Rights groups, they were the Women’s Liberation group and the Women’s Rights groups. The Women’s Liberation group focused on equality between men and women in education, employment and in marriage. This feminist movement also focused on attaining sexual and reproductive freedom, feminists wanted birth control, affordable child care, abortion and women’s shelter. While the Women’s Rights group pushed for equal rights laws to be enforced. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, protecting the rights of minorities and women’s rights.


Birmingham, We shall Overcome

According to Foner, the high point in protest was in the spring of 1963. There were many demonstrations that took place in cities and towns in the south which put emphasis on the black discontent over inequality in education, employment, and housing. In one week there were 15,000 arrests in 186 cities. Birmingham was marked as one of the most dangerous cities. There were over fifty bombings of black homes and institutions since WWII. Martin Luther King was among one of the many leaders invited to come to Birmingham during these protests. He was serving a 9 day prison term in April 1963 for violating a ban on demonstrations when he developed the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”.  In this letter he related the abuses faced by black southerners from police brutality to the daily humiliation of having to explain to their children why they could not enter amusement parks or public swimming pools.

One of the significant things King has done was make a bold decision to send black schoolchildren into the streets of Birmingham. The images of what was going on in Birmingham during this time was a triumph for the civil rights movement. The events in Birmingham cause white Americans to decide whether they had more in common with fellow citizens demanding basic rights or with violent segregationists. The events in Birmingham are related to the Civil Rights movement which began in the 1950s. Martin Luther King began fighting in silent protest over the rights of African Americans during this time. The fight to gain advancement at this time was  working through massive resistance and protest.


Who Has the Bigger Gun?

One major political change that occurred during the 1960’s was Kennedy’s quarantining of Cuba. In 1962 American spy planes figured out that the Soviets were installing missiles in cuba, which could reach the United States. Kennedy determined that the missiles were intolerable and had to act upon this threat immediately. Kennedy decided to blockade Cuba, and demanded that the missiles be removed. Khrushchev, of the Soviet Union, agreed to withdraw the missiles, and America said that they would not invade Cuba. This was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis.

This series of events stems from the “massive retaliation” of the 1950’s. In 1952 the US exploded the first hydrogen bomb. This was the most deadly bomb yet. The Soviets retaliated and created their own bomb. What resulted was that both sides now had weapons of mass destruction that could potentially harm a big chunk of the world. This began “massive retaliation,” or the idea that the US would attack the Soviets if the Soviets were ever to attack them. While none of this actually occurred, it did create an even bigger competition between the US and Soviet Union, and it make both sides very paranoid of the other’s weapons. This is why the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred during the 1960’s.

Below is a video showing Kennedy’s reaction to the discovery of Soviet missiles. These missiles were only created because of US hydrogen bomb, the Cold War, and massive retaliation, which all took place in the 1950’s.


Assignment due 4/27

1) Read Foner, Chapter 25
2) Pick one important political, social, cultural, or economic change discussed by Foner that occurred during the 1960s, which you can argue has roots in 1950s era change.  Write 1-2 paragraphs discussing the connection between the change of the 1960s and what came before it in the 1950s.  Use images or video to prove your point.