Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980

Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980

Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980

Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980

Synopsis

Few decades in American history were as full of drama and historical significance as the 1960s and 1970s. In the 1960s, a revolution in race relations occurred, seeing the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, the American Indian Movement, and the Latino labor movement. The focus in the 1970s was on carrying out the reforms of the previous decade, with resulting white backlash. Few decades have interested students today as much, and this volume is THE content-rich source in a desirable decade-by-decade organization to help students and general readers understand the crucial race relations of the recent past. "Race Relations in the United States, 1960-1980" provides comprehensive reference coverage of the key events, influential voices, race relations by group, legislation, media influences, cultural output, and theories of inter-group interactions.

Excerpt

For students today, few decades in American history are as full of excitement and drama as the 1960s and 1970s. These twenty years saw great changes take place, some for the better, some for the worse, but all historically significant. Two issues dominated the times: the Cold War in foreign affairs and the civil rights movement in the domestic arena. Only fifteen years removed from World War II, the United States continued in the ’60s and ’70s to try to define its role as superpower and defender of the free world. The task was made more difficult by the constant threat of nuclear war that hung over the heads of all Americans like Damocles’ sword. In 1962, the Cuban missile crisis made the world collectively hold its breath for 13 days as the Americans and Soviets brokered a stand-down. Beginning in 1965, the Cold War spawned another problem, as a small country on the other side of the earth, Vietnam, played host to the longest war and the worst foreign quagmire in American history. Then there was the race to the moon, which saw the Soviets take an early lead only to be eclipsed by superior American know-how in 1969. In the 1970s, the United States tried to reduce Cold War tensions through detente and two SALT treaties with the Soviets while opening trade with communist China. By the end of the decade a new, non–Cold War foreign issue had emerged—the threat of Muslim fundamentalist extremism in Iran—which served essentially as the opening salvo in the current “war on terror.”

Against the backdrop of these foreign affairs issues, which held the fate of the United States and its people in the balance, came a revolution in American race relations, as African Americans stood up en masse and demanded the equality they had been granted on paper in the Reconstruction Amendments nearly a century earlier. As they and their white liberal allies pushed the envelope of change in the early 1960s, they inspired other, smaller minority groups to emulate their actions. By the end of one decade and the beginning of the next, Hispanics and American Indians had stood up for their rights, as well. Despite the notable precursors of the 1950s—Brown v. Board of Education, the Montgomery bus boycott, and the Little Rock school integration crisis—white America was still not really prepared for the deluge of civil rights activity that came in the 1960s. The . . .

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