Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord

By Myron A. Marty | Go to book overview

2 Changing Population Patterns

The daily lives of most Americans may not seem to have been directly affected by what came to be known as the unrest of the 1960s, but the changes wrought by protests in those years rippled across America. The most striking changes were the fruits of the civil rights movement, which in its modern form traced its origins at least as far back as World War II. At that time the cruel irony of asking African Americans to risk their lives for a country that denied them constitutionally guaranteed rights became glaringly obvious. Several Supreme Court decisions set precedents for the 1954 landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. In Brown the Court ruled that schools designed to be "separate but equal" were inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional.

Civil Rights for African Americans

Armed with the conviction that the Supreme Court's decision outlawing "separate but equal" schools extended to other aspects of their lives, and frustrated by resistance to calls for change, African American activists adopted a strategy that at first baffled those seeking to thwart them: They defied laws that denied them rights but refused to defend themselves against physical and verbal attacks. On February 1, 1960, four students at North Carolina A&T College in Greeensboro took the first nonviolent action of the 1960s. These students, the 66 who joined them the next day, the 100 the next, and the 1,000 by the end of the week, sat down at a "whites only" lunch counter in a Woolworth's store in Greensboro. The Greensboro "coffee party," which historian William Chafe says "takes its place alongside the Boston Tea Party as an event symbolizing

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Daily Life in the United States, 1960-1990: Decades of Discord
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in the Greenwood Press "Daily Life through History" Series ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Notes xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • Introduction xix
  • Part I - Modern Times Flourish and Fade: 1960-1966 1
  • 1 - Family Life 3
  • 2 - Changing Population Patterns 11
  • 3 - Private and Public Lives 25
  • 4 - Consumers in the Material World 35
  • 5 - The Other America 43
  • 6 - Mind and Spirit 51
  • 7 - Technology in Daily Life 57
  • 8 - Cultural Transformations 65
  • Part II - Troubled Times: 1967-1974 77
  • 9 - Changing Families 79
  • 10 - Civil Rights and Group Identities 87
  • 11 - Securities Shaken 99
  • 12 - Cultural Reflections/Cultural Influences 115
  • 13 - Material Aspects of Life 127
  • 14 - Environmental and Consumer Protection 141
  • 15 - Technology's Small Steps and Giant Leaps 149
  • 16 - Hard Knocks for Schools 159
  • 17 - Spiritual Matters 169
  • 18 - Not Ready for New Times 175
  • Part III - Times of Adjustment, 1975-1980 179
  • 19 - Family Changes Continue 181
  • 20 - The Peoples of America 187
  • 21 - Security Concerns 195
  • 22 - Television, Movies, and More 205
  • 23 - Cares of Daily Life 215
  • 24 - Arenas of Discord 225
  • 25 - Pulling Together 239
  • Part IV - Crossing the Postmodern Divide: 1981-1990 245
  • 26 - Family Variations 247
  • 27 - People at the Margins 255
  • 28 - Security Concerns Continue 265
  • 29 - Diversions 277
  • 30 - Concerns of Daily Life 291
  • 31 - Technology 303
  • 32 - More Discord 309
  • 33 - Prospects 331
  • Selected Bibliography 337
  • Index 353
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