The 1950’s-1970’s were riddled with activists and movements regarding social injustices. Many minorities wanted equal rights that they were promised, including African-Americans, women, LGBT, and other racial minorities. Most found quite a bit of success, but many took a while to get there with a hard road along the way. It’s not easy to radically change the mindsets of a population. However, the media was helpful to most movements in that aspect.
Groups felt discriminated against due to things like Jim Crow laws, Brown v Board decisions, unequal rights in working, old fashioned rules in schools, and more. Many people of different races, ethnicities, sexes, and orientation felt that they were not given the same equal rights of the typical white male. This time period empowered different groups to act because they got inspired by each other and the hard battles that they had to fight to get their rights. Once one person steps up it makes it much easier for others to follow in their own fight for liberation.
The African-American culture was still seeking equal rights since before and after the Emancipation Proclamation. This was brought to light during the March on Washington when news reporters filmed Martin Luther King Jr. in front of the Lincoln Memorial speaking out for freedom. Other groups like women used the media to help get their voice out there and spread the idea of equal rights. A particularly notable time was when women picketed the Miss America Pageant with images of a woman with lines like a piece of meat. The LGBT community staged kiss-ins and the Stonewall riot, a riot in which the members fought back against police. The LGBT community received news coverage for a much more depressing reason: disease. They were wrought with a disease called AIDS that no one knew much about. It killed 100,000 plus people and scared millions more. Sadly this got more attention and caused more problems than solutions for the LGBT community. (Visions of America, chpt. 27-28)
Based off of the book and the present America, though all are still fighting hard for more equality, it seems that the women have had the most success. I believe this because, based off my limited knowledge, women now can have the same jobs that men have, they get paid for those jobs, it’s no longer as taboo to be unmarried, nor do they need to have oodles of children. It’s not perfect, which is why many women are still fighting today, but I believe that the goals set by the women from the 1950’s-1970’s were met fairly well.
Media had a large role in the gaining of freedoms and rights during the larger movements of the 1950’s-1970’s. This attention was mostly helpful in their battles because it was available to almost all Americans throughout the country. Now that most families had a television in their homes they could watch all the horrors that were going on in their communities. This stemmed them to action or to at least be less accepting of the way America was treating it’s minorities.
Source: Keene, Jennifer, et.al. Visions of America: A History of the United States.
Volume 2, Boston: Pearson Education, 2015.