How did the Civil Rights movement begin in the suburban era?How did the Civil Rights movement begin in the suburban era and how did the popular image of the suburban landscape clash with the...

How did the Civil Rights movement begin in the suburban era?

How did the Civil Rights movement begin in the suburban era and how did the popular image of the suburban landscape clash with the realities faced by many?

Asked on by jjsmith432

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

When you say "how did it begin" I wonder if you mean "why did it begin then."  I'm going to answer it more with that question in mind.

The civil rights movement began in the suburban era of the 1950s in part because the reality of black life contrasted with the growing prosperity and contentment that we associate with this era.

Blacks fought in World War II and took seriously the rhetoric of racial equality (as opposed to Nazi racism) that the government put out during that war.  They expected things to get better for them after the war.

Instead, things stayed the same while whites were enjoying this golden age of suburbanization and growing prosperity.  That helped make blacks feel angry enough to rebel.

The start of the civil rights movement doesn't really mesh with our vision of the 1950s.  It's hard to picture sit-ins in the world of "Leave It To Beaver" and "I Love Lucy."  But they were happening at the same time.

I hope that helps -- let me know if you have questions.

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