Life in the 1950'S - Doral Academy Preparatory

Alexa DeFalco
Period 8
American History
Harry S. Truman: He only served about from 1945 to 1952. During
the 1950s he served while the Korean War was going on. He made
sure that the war was a very limited, one that way no other counties
would join in. After the war, he retired.
Dwight D. Eisenhower: He became president in 1952. He was well
known for being the Supreme commander of the Allied Forces in
Europe, during World War II. He helped the department of
Education and the Department of Welfare. He stood for the Civil
Rights Act in 1957.
National Security Act of 1947 results in the CIA.
Democracy is strongly enforced in the United States and there is a great
fear of Communism.
The Federal Highway Act is signed, marking the beginning of work on
the interstate highway system.
Alaska and Hawaii become the forty-ninth and fiftieth states.
The National Defense Education Act (NDEA) was America’s immediate
response to the launch of Sputnik by the Russians. It allowed to schools
to specialize in subjects such as math and science.
1954 - McCarthyism: Describes activities associated with the period in
the United States known as the Second Red Scare. It was classified fears
of Communist influence on American institutions and espionage by
Soviet agents. Originally created to criticize the anti-communist pursuits
of U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy, "McCarthyism" soon took on a broader
meaning, describing his efforts.
When Americans returned form the war they began buying more goods than ever before.
This new indulgence was called consumerism.
Industry boosted due to the large of amount of products needed.
There were more and more people in the United States which caused a need for more
In the 1950’s Americans bought ore than 6 million cars. The Korean War also helped the
United States escape a brief recession.
Families also began leaving their homes in the cities in search for new lives in suburbia.
New restaurants and business began to arise such as:
Howards Johnson’s
Drive-in Movies
 At this time the ideal woman was married, cooked, cared for her
family, and was active in their child’s education, all while wearing
pearls and high heels.
 When the men returned from war they expected the women to
give up their jobs, many did but some kept their jobs.
 Young women usually worked for financial need while older
women whose children had already grown up worked for
 Typical positions women held were:
Families now lived in residential neighborhoods and usually consisted of a husband, wife
and their children.
This period Americans were having large amount of children which lead to what is now
called the Baby Boomer Generation.
In 1957 there was 1 baby born every 7 seconds.
Such a large amount of children were born after the war due to the reuniting of the
soldiers with their families as well as the benefits solders received.
Due to the large number of growing families, there were more home being built as well as
schools. Many areas transformed into large communities.
After the war, the push to end segregation began in earnest, led by
NAACP lawyers, veterans, and social activists. Ironically, the first
victory came not from lawyers or activists, but from the actions of a
single white businessman.
Brown v. The Board of Education: In 1950 Oliver Brown was upset
because he couldn't send his 8 year old daughter to his own
neighborhood school because it was for white children only. He took
his case to the Supreme Court. The NAACP helped Mr. Brown. In 1954
the U.S. Supreme Court decided that racial segregation violated the
14th amendment and that it was illegal. After 1954 all America schools
were ordered to desegregate. Many places did not want integration
In Gayle v. Browder (1956), the Supreme Court silently overturned the
Plessy precedent by holding that segregation was unconstitutional on
public buses.
1952 - The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1952 removes racial
and ethnic barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen.
1954 - Racial segregation is ruled unconstitutional in public schools by
the U.S. Supreme Court.
1955 - Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on a public bus in
Montgomery, Alabama.
The Great Migration , Changes in Politics and Social Challenges to
segregation finally allowed for integration in the United States.
All these small victories for African Americans eventually led to the
Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s.
During this decade there were hundreds of advances in everything form household
appliances to medicine.
 Appliances such as washing machines and televisions were soon in most home in
1951 -- First IBM Mainframe Computer
1952 -- Hydrogen Bomb Test
1953 -- DNA Structure Discovered
1954 – Dr. Jonas Salk develops the vaccine for Polio
1957 -- First Commercial U. S. Nuclear
Power Plant
 During this time Americans developed a large fascination
with space travel and UFO’s.
 1957--Russia Launches Sputnik 1
 1958 -- NASA Created
 1958– Explorer 1, the first US satellite, successfully orbits
 1959 -- Press Conference of the First 7
American Astronauts
 Science in Literature:
 Ray Bradbury: Martian Chronicles
 Isaac Asimov: I, Robot
High School
A Summer Place
Girls Town
Hound-Dog Man
The Blob
I Was A Teenage
Monster On
The Campus
Singing in the Rain
The Wild One
Tammy &
The Bachelor
Rebel Without
A Cause
It Came From Outer Space
Hot Rod Girl North by
The Invasion of the Body
Touch of Evil
Sunset Boulevard
The River
Kiss Me Deadly
The Ladykillers
•Marlon Brando
•Alfred Hitchcock
•Billy WIlder
•James Dean
•Elvis Presley
•Rock Hudson
•Paul Newman
•Jimmy Stewart
•Cary Grant
•Montgomery Clift
•Henry Fonda
•Yul Brynner
•Charlton Hetson
•Desi Arnaz
•Humphrey Bogart
•Marilyn Monroe
•Elizabeth Taylor
•Grace Kelly
•Audrey Hepburn
•Bette Davis
•Sophia Loren
•Natalie Wood
•Lucile Ball
 Rock n’ Roll was developed from a blend of Southern blues and gospel music
with an added strong back beat, this type of music was popular with
teenagers who were trying to break out of the mainstream, conservative,
American middle class mold. Crooner who sang slow melodic sounds were
also popular.
Popular artists were:
 Bill Haley
 Elvis Presley,
 Jerry Lee Lewis
 Alan Freed (DJ)
 The Big Bopper(DJ)
 Nat King Cole
 Frank Sinatra
 Perry Como
 Dinah Shore
During the 1950's, television became the dominant mass media as people brought
television into their homes in greater numbers of hours per week than ever before.
 The affect on print news media and entertainment media was felt in lower attendance at
movies and greater reliance on TV news sources for information.
 In 1954, black and white broadcasts became color broadcasts.
 Shows depicted typical family settings of a husband wife and children living there lives in
All American sports such as baseball and football
gave opportunities for the rise of stars like Jackie
Robinson, Roy Campanella, Henry (Hank) Aaron,
Juan Marichal, Jim Brown, and Frank Gifford.
Great women athletes played in the All-American
Girls Professional Baseball League.
People watched the Olympics 1952 and 1956 , and
due to the Cold War, rivalry between countries
became very fierce. Track and field athletes like
Bob Mathias and Bobby Morrow were favorites.
Sports like tennis, basketball and boxing were also
popular in the fifties. Althea Gibson was the first
African-American to play in the U. S. Lawn Tennis
Nationals at Forest Hills, NY.
Major names in basketball were Wilt
Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bob Cousy, Oscar
Robertson and Dolph Schayes.
Boxing, gave opportunities to great athletes
like, Sugar Ray Robinson and Rocky Marciano.
 Due to the influence of factors such as McCarthyism, Americans faced great
anxiety over Communism. This anxiety was reflected in their writings.
Norman Vincent Peale , The Power of Positive Thinking , or Bishop Fulton J.
Sheen -Life is Worth Living, indicate power of the individual to control his or
her fate.
The concern with conformity is reflected in David Riesman's The Lonely
Crowd, John Kenneth Galbraith -The Affluent Society, William H.
Whyte's The Organization Man, Ayn Rand - Atlas Shrugged , and Sloan
Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit.
A new group of authors appeared on the scene in the form of the Beats. Best
known of these are Jack Kerouac - On the Road, Dharma Bums, The Town and
The City, Mexico City Blues), Lawrence Ferlinghetti A Coney Island of the
Mind , Pictures of a Gone World, and Allen Ginsberg Howl (Poetry). Gregory
Corso , Neal Cassady , Michael McClure , Gary Snyder, William S. Burroughs
were other beat authors giving voice to the anti-establishment movement.
Presenting another view of American life, African American authors like
Chinua Achebe - Things Fall Apart.
The Science Fiction genre also flourished.
Some famous poets were Langston Hughes and James Baldwin.
 Abstract expressionism like Jackson Pollock , Barnett Newman , Willem de
Kooning, Clyfford Still and Franz Kline received official recognition at the
New York Museum of Modern Art.
 African American artists John T. Biggers, Romare Bearden and Henry Clay
Anderson presented a different view of American life
 A small suburban community called Levittown was built by William Levitt for
returning servicemen and their families. An influence of Frank Lloyd Wright is
seen in the popular Ranch style house. Designers like Bauhaus , who helped
create the International style , influenced Ludwig Mies van der Rohe , Philip
Johnson , Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen. Louis Kahn, architect
of the Salk Institute, was a noted architect during this period.