20th Century History
Reflecting on this week’s readings, explain how the civil rights movement brought rights to those ignored or forgotten and how those new rights put more stress and strain on our nation.
Write a minimum of two paragraphs for the following discussion prompt:
• During the 1960s, African Americans made substantial gains in asserting their freedoms and rights.
• Discuss how the civil rights movement produced significant social change not only for African Americans, but also for Native Americans, Latinos and women.
The agitation for equal opportunity sparked other forms of upheaval. Young people in particular rejected the stable patterns of middle-class life their parents had created in the decades after World War II. Some plunged into radical political activity; many more embraced new standards of dress and sexual behavior.
The visible signs of the counterculture spread through parts of American society in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Hair grew longer and beards became common. Blue jeans and tee shirts took the place of slacks, jackets, and ties. The use of illegal drugs increased. Rock and roll grew, proliferated, and transformed into many musical variations. The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and other British groups took the country by storm. “Hard rock” grew popular, and songs with a political or social commentary, such as those by singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, became common. The youth counterculture reached its apogee in August 1969 at Woodstock, a three-day music festival in rural New York State attended by almost half-a-million persons. The festival, mythologized in films and record albums, gave its name to the era, the Woodstock Generation.
Why suddenly in the 1960s is this happening? Why didn’t it happen earlier? What is so special about the 60s to make rights and equality a subject for discussion and action, when that had not been the case before?