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What caused civil unrest in America in the 1950s and 1960s?

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ljm3515 | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:13 PM via web

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What caused civil unrest in America in the 1950s and 1960s?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 31, 2012 at 8:26 PM (Answer #1)

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There was much more civil unrest during the 1960s than the 1950s.  However, unrest in both decades was caused by the issues of African American rights and grievances.  In the 1960s, but not the 1950s, unrest was also caused by the Vietnam War.

In the 1950s, there was little civil unrest in the US.  The Montgomery Bus Boycott might be called civil unrest.  So might the actions of anti-integration forces in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1957.  Both of these came about because of segregation and the Civil Rights Movement.

In the 1960s, there was much more unrest and the unrest was much more serious.  There was a great deal of violence against members of the Civil Rights Movement.  There was violence, largely by African Americans, during the “long, hot summer” of 1967 and even more riots after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968.  There was the unrest in Chicago at the Democratic convention in that year.  That unrest was largely as a result of the Vietnam War and the “counterculture.”

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gsenviro | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted April 28, 2015 at 12:43 PM (Answer #2)

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The civic unrest in US during the decades of 1950s and 1960s was caused chiefly by disproportionate distribution of civil rights to the citizens. African American did not have the same rights as the whites. For example, people of color were not allowed in the schools that catered to only white children, they could not sit in the same restaurant or on the same bus seat. All this led to unrest in the African American community and caused the unrest. Actually, the decade of 1950s was much more peaceful and the most prominent unrest event was the incident at Little Rock, Arkansas where the president had to intervene to ensure the integration of nine african american students in a white only school. 

The decade of 1960 saw much more unrest due to Civil Rights movement and in part due to America's failure in Vietnam. The unrest was reinforced by the assassinations of John F Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

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