The civil rights and voting rights movements helped change American life in the 1950s. Although the Eisenhower administration downplayed the importance of civil rights, the federal courts were the linchpin of the movement. In 1957, the NAACP challenged the idea of “separate but equal” and sued to have their children attend white schools. However, both cases were upheld in the federal courts, and the blacks and whites began an uphill battle. The state of Delaware’s Supreme Court, however, ordered black students to attend white schools until they could build adequate classrooms for them.
The Civil Rights Movement was ignited by the images of the Deep South. Soon after the Cold War ended, land developers began buying large tracts of land outside of cities and planning for their subdivisions. The first planned suburb was Levittown, Pennsylvania, developed by William Levitt in 1951. With the arrival of new farm machines and the growth of African Americans in cities, the number of black families was doubled.
After the war, many southern states made it difficult for Black citizens to vote. They often had to pass a difficult and confusing literacy test. After Eisenhower’s election, the Eisenhower administration pressed Congress to pass new civil rights laws. The result was the Civil Rights Act of 1957, which allowed for federal prosecution of voter suppression and created the federal Voting Rights Commission. These two laws are essential for preserving our democracy.
The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 and the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act also played a major role in American life during the 1950s. The GI Bill, formerly known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, made it easier for returning soldiers to start new lives after the war. In addition, Jim Crow and integration laws affected the lives of African Americans. The GI Bill created economic security for many and provided new jobs for former farm workers.
After World War II, many southern states made it difficult for Black citizens to vote. These laws made it difficult for prospective voters of color to vote in the elections. They also prevented Black citizens from voting in certain public places. By the end of the 1950s, forty million Americans lived in poverty. The majority of poor households in the United States were in the South. The GI Bill and the civil rights act of 1957 aimed to reduce racial tensions in the South. The GI Bill would eventually be signed into law on September 9, which provided the first step toward the integration of the country.
The federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 and the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1955 were two laws that changed American life in the 1950s. The GI Bill, which helped returning servicemen pay for their education, and the GI Bill, which helped to prevent discrimination during the war, paved the way for the 1960s. And these two laws were instrumental in ending the Jim Crow and integration laws.