How did minorities experience the 1950s?
Of course, different racial minorities experienced the 1950s in ways that were at least somewhat different from one another. We can generally say, however, that minorities experienced the 1950s as a more negative time than whites did.
The most prominent minority group in the US during the 1950s was African Americans. During this decade, they were still experiencing much discrimination. This was the decade of the Montgomery Bus Boycott and the harshly negative reaction among whites to the integration of the high school in Little Rock. Things went beyond mere discrimination as well. This was also the decade in which Emmett Till was killed for talking to a white woman the wrong way.
Hispanics and Native Americans also experienced the 1950s negatively in some ways. This was the decade in which the federal government was willing to try to deport large numbers of illegal immigrants and felt that it was appropriate to name the program “Operation Wetback.” Native Americans suffered in this decade as the government tried to pursue a policy called “termination” that was meant to disband Indian tribes and force Indians to assimilate into mainstream society.
Thus, while not all minorities experienced the ‘50s in the same ways, minorities generally had a poorer experience in this decade than whites did.
Minorities had a very different experience in the 1950s than most white people had. African Americans dealt with inequalities and segregation. Most public facilities in the South were segregated including buses, drinking fountains, restrooms, and seating sections in movie theaters. African Americans were harassed, threatened, and killed as they worked for equal rights. They weren’t treated fairly by the state courts in many southern states, and they faced obstacles when they tried to register to vote.
Native Americans and Mexican Americans also suffered during the 1950s. Congress wanted the Native Americans to assimilate into American society. The federal government tried to cut off any responsibility that they had toward the Native Americans by cutting federal services designed to help the Native Americans and by dropping development programs. Mexican Americans also suffered as many people viewed Hispanics who were working for equal rights as being connected to the Red Scare. These people were harassed and intimidated. Also, many Mexican Americans were deported, and others were forced to work for low wages.