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The 1960’s: Decade Of Disillusionment Essay

1121 words - 5 pages

The 1960’s and early 1970’s were a time that eternally changed the culture and humanity of America. It was a time widely known for peace and love when in reality; many minorities were struggling to gain a modicum of equality and freedom. It was a time, in which a younger generation rebelled against the conventional norms, questioning power and government, and insisting on more freedoms for minorities. In addition, an enormous movement began rising in opposition to the Vietnam War. It was a time of brutal altercations, with the civil rights movement and the youth culture demanding equality and the war in Vietnam put public loyalty to the test. Countless African-Americans, Native-Americans, ...view middle of the document...

Despite this, nothing would change until President Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became President. He would push though the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as attribute to Kennedy. This law banned racial discrimination and segregation and gave the federal government new powers to fight segregation. It also created the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to help with job discrimination. It did not, however, address voting rights so, once again Martin Luther King, along with the CORE, SNCC and SCLC began a series of protest. King knew that it would take another crisis to get Congress to act and when they marched to Montgomery, things got ugly and brutal and it was again televised. This forced the signing of the Voting Rights Act, which significantly expanded the black suffrage movement. But this did not end the problems; it was a prelude to one of the most intense and destructive periods of race riots ever. After Martin Luther King’s assassination things continued to deteriorate and many blacks thought that it would take violence to get equal rights. Groups like the Black Panther Party and Malcolm X began a Black Power movement. They were unable to alleviate the suffering of many blacks but they did succeed in celebrating black pride and stress the need for black self determination. This would pave the way for many new self-help groups and institutions.
By the end of the 1960’s other minority groups such as Native Americans and Hispanic Americans saw the emerging success of the black movement and began to integrate their strategies to challenge the status quo. Native Americans had mobilized and convened in Washington in 1964 to push for inclusion in the War on Poverty. Indians suffered the worst poverty, education and housing of any American group. President Johnson established the National Council on Indian Opportunity, which provided more funds into reservations. But this wasn’t enough. Native American leaders demanded “Red Power” in the form of special hiring and compensation for lands that the government had taken from them in a breach of treaties. A group of militant tribes formed the American Indian Movement (AIM), who took over Alcatraz Island and held it for 19 months in an effort show ethnic pride. In response to the protest Congress enacted the Indian Self-Determination Act of 1974; this granted the tribes the control of federal aid programs and control of their school...

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