Thursday, June 11, 2009

21st Century: Political Growth or Decline?

Ellen Bradish

Close Election, stock plunge, Hilary, new judge
9/11, new tax cuts, Oklahoma City

Robert Hanssen, Bill Clinton, Marc Rich, Anthrax
War on terror, Missile treaty, flooded mine shaft.

Schwarzenegger, ten year, space shuttle, abortion ban
Muhammad, reversed tariffs, and FDA approval.

Gay Marriage, criticism, No WMD’s
John Kerry, re-elected, Abu Ghrain Prison

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Terry Schiavo, Sandra Day, Myers and Tom Delay
Katrina, Lewis Libby, Security spies

Condoleezza, Henry Floyd, Bombing suspect, Drug Maker
Hurricane Rita and New Orleans Chaos

Union Speech, Porter Gross, Challenging roe vs. Wade
George Ryan, Karl Rove, Guantanamo, Marriage Ban

Wilson, Stem Cell Bill, Wiretapping, Oil Field
Email Scandal, treason, killing in the Amish
We didn't start the fire It was always burning Since the world's been turning We didn't start the fire No we didn't light it But we tried to fight it

Democrats, Robert Gates, Nancy, Legislates
Budget plan, improper FBI, scandal intensifies.

Global warming, Iraq withdrawal, immigration obstacle
Race Integrate, civilians die, workers of higher wage

Alberto Gonzales, “dirty bomb” terrorists threats, Larry Craigs
More time, Job loss, Greenhouse is a no go

Veto, Muhammad Rahman, genocide and war funds
Water rescue, “Gay rights” ,hostages in campaign office
We didn't start the fire It was always burning Since the world's been turning We didn't start the fire No we didn't light it But we tried to fight it

Birth rate, Interrogation, crack cocaine guidelines
Media, Steroids, Bush administration

Stainislaw Wielgus, stock market plummets
Chinese goods, Roy Copper, College Student with a gun

Indecency, Olympics, Murdoch wins ownership
Khun Sa Blown away, what else do I have to say

Primaries, EPA, Jose, back again
Market fall, writers call, detainees charged, McCain hauls
Racial, Financial, Obama, Delay withdrawal
Protesters in London, Earthquake kills abundant.

Rules for gun rights, unemployment, evidence, Bush=deployment
Offshore drilling, politician killing, Biden, Beijing, Mayor Willing
Hurricanes hit the south, reports found by scandal,
Palin abused power core, I can’t take it anymore.
We didn't start the fire, It was always burnin', Since the world's been turnin' We didn't start the fire, But when we are gone Will it still burn on, and on, and on, and on...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Segregation in the Armed Forces (1948)

On July 26, 1948, President Truman signed the Executive Order 9981, desegregating the Armed Forces. However, the segregation did not officially end until 1954 when the last segregated unit was abolished. The act of the President did allow blacks to take on full participation in defending their country, making them socially equal to a white who would do the same patriotic act. This was a powerful statement and instigated strength to the Civil Rights Movement.

Harry Truman (1949)

On April 9th, 1945, Harry Truman took over for Franklin D. Roosevelt as the President of the United States during the closing months of World War II. The victory and end of the war led to the creation of the United Nations by the Allies to try and promote peace. Unfortunately, the alliance between the Western Allies and the Soviet Union had begun to disintegrate years before the war ended, and by 1949 Europe was divided into two separate spheres of influence. Concerned about the possible threat of the Soviet Union spreading Communism, President Truman constructed foreign policies and to contain the Union’s political power and counter its military strength. On August 24th 1949, Truman proclaimed the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to be an official alliance between 12 nations. Additionally, when North Korea attacked South Korea in June of 1950, Truman took military action and stepped in to once again fight against the spread of communism. In the autumn of 1950, however, after the U.N. managed to push the North Koreans back into the Chinese border, the Chinese entered the war, and the conflict developed into a gruesome, bloody stalemate that didn’t see its end until after Truman’s term ended in 1953. Although he chose not to run for a third term, Truman accomplished much in terms of setting the foundation for development of foreign affairs, especially those between the United States and Soviet Union.

Doris Day (1949)

Doris Day was one of few surviving Hollywood stars of her time period. She was born in 1924 as Doris Mary Anne. During the 30’s, Doris was influenced by music and dancing. Originally she wanted to pursue dancing as a career until she was injured in a car accident. By the age of 17 she performed locally and adopted the stage name “Day.” Doris worked with many bandleaders such as Bob Crosby, and eventually Les Brown. Between this all, she married trombonist Al Jordan, gave birth to her son, and divorced him. In 1945 she co-wrote a song with Les Brown called “Sentimental Journey.” This song personified the sentiments of weary homecoming demobilized troops after war service in Europe. After her second hit record with Les Brown, Doris went solo in 1947 with a contract from Colombia records and radio work with Frank Sinatra. This eventually led to her second divorce with George Weidler. An invitation to sing at a Hollywood party eventually led to her first film. As the years passed Doris continued to star in films at Warner Brothers. In 1952 she married her agent Marty Melcher who controlled her career including the one to end her contract with Warner Brothers. In 1957, though, she returned to Warner Brothers to produce the film “The Pajama Game.” As the years went on, sex appeal became more prevalent in films, which brought down Day’s popularity in the box office. She still managed to star in small roles and continue her singing career.

Red China (1949)

On October 1st, 1949, the People’s Republic of China, or “Red China”, became formally established. Having the government headed by Zhou Enlai and the party being under Mao Zedong’s chairmanship, it was declared a socialist republic made up of four social classes. These classes, the workers, peasants, petite bourgeoisie, and national-capitalists made up a membership of approximately of 4.5 million people. By October 2nd, 1949, the republic had been recognized by the Soviet Union, and in February of 1950, China and the Soviet Union signed a Treaty of Friendship, Alliance, and Mutual Assistance. This was the first time in decades that the Chinese Government had been met with peace instead of opposition within its territory. Having a highly disciplined government, the first year of Communist administration resulted in relatively effective social, economic, and political policies. The reconstruction accomplished gained widespread support and political and social stability, and by 1950 international recognition had greatly increased. However, during the Korean war, China sensed a threat to the industrial areas within their country, and responded to a North Korean request for aid by crossing the YaluJiang River into North Korea. In 1951, the U.N. declared China to be an aggressor in Korea and endorsed a worldwide embargo on the shipping of weaponry and war material into the country. For the time being, this paused the possibility Red China replacing the Nationalist China as a member of the U.N. and as a veto-holding member of the U.N. Security Council. As the war progressed, Chinese domestic policies were surrendered to massive campaigns against those believed to be enemies of the republic (i.e. war criminals, traitors, counterrevolutionaries, etc.). A series of reforms regarding land, class struggles, and ideology followed, and behind them came the san fan and wu fan movements of 1951 and 1952. Both the san fan and wu fan movements claimed to fight evil, corruption, incompetence within government, etc. however, the real aim was to shave off the useless, undisciplined and beaurocratic factors within society to develop a well-organized, intelligent, and productive state. These successive, punitive, campaigns affected millions nationwide, finally coming to a close at the end of 1952.

South Pacific (1949)

“South Pacific” opened on Broadway on April 7, 1949. Based off of James A. Michener’s novel Tales of the South Pacific, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical premiered at New York’s Majestic Theatre. Characters in “South Pacific” include Nellie (a navy nurse), Emile de Becque (a plantation owner), Joe Cable (a U.S. marine), and Liat (a Tonkinese girl) who develop meaningful relationships with one another as the play progresses. Romantic relationships form between Nellie and Emile as Cable and Liat grow closer; however they are hindered by racial prejudices and social struggles. Despite the struggles presented to the audience in “South Pacific,” love prevails over the evils of racism, society, and war, as Liat grieves over Cable’s death, and Nellie decides to embrace Emile’s dark-skinned children. When Emile, who Nellie believed to be dead, returns home, Nellie agrees to marry him and accept a life that may be filled with challenges in exchange for a promise of love and security. Although the play takes place during World War II and deals with controversial topics such as racism and prejudice, the romance and musical numbers, such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” and “I’m in Love with a Wonderful City,” ultimately prevent “South Pacific” from being a dreary play, and allow the show to convince readers that out of war, something great can emerge.

Walter Winchell (1949)

Walter Winchell was known as one of the most popular and controversial figures in radio. Walter was born on April 7, 1897 into poverty and was forced to work at a very young age. Walter and two other boys put a singing trio together at the age of 13 and a vaudeville talent scout saw them perform and asked them to participate in Gus Edwards’ School Days, which was a song and dance act on the vaudeville circuit. After he left School Days Winchell joined forces with another vaudevillian, Rite Greene. They eventually married and moved to New York City where he obtained a job as the journalist for The Vaudeville News. He became a successful journalist and eventually went on to writing for The New York Evening Graphic in 1924 and inventing the gossip column. His work was read by over 50 million Americans from the 20’s until the 60’s. Winchell also had a Sunday night radio broadcast which was heard from the 30’s until the 50’s. Winchell, who was Jewish, was one of the first commentators to attack Adolf Hitler. He was considered to have a “left of center” political view through World War 2 when he was stridently pro-Roosevelt, pro-labor, and pro–Democratic Party. During the Depression, Winchell favored Roosevelt and stood by the troops during the war. By his popularity, Winchell had the power to create and destroy the lives of actors, actresses, political parties, etc. He was the first to find out about news and report it over the radio. When he died in 1972, a front page article in the paper eulogized Winchell as the country’s best known journalist and radio sensation.

Joe DiMaggio (1949)

Joe DiMaggio is known as one of the greatest baseball players of his time period. Joe’s father was a fisherman and wanted all of his sons to follow in his footsteps. Fortunately for Joe, he would go to the sandlot rather than go fishing with his father. Joe made his debut on May 3, 1936 batting ahead of Yankee, Lou Gehrig. Thanks to Joe, the Yankees won 9 titles in 13 years. In 1941, instead of heading off to war, Joe started his 56 game hitting streak. His talent swept the nation with excitement. While he was becoming a star, Joe was also a newlywed. In 1939 he married Dorothy Arnold and by 1941 they had their first child. Unfortunately, 5 years later the couple divorced. One February 17, 1942 Joe enlisted in the army, but he would be stationed in the United States. His time was spent playing baseball for three years, which is how many ballplayers served their time as well. In the spring of 1946 he was released from the army and began to play for the Yankees again. While in the army, people were still inspired by his performances. After Joe retired he set up a date between him and well known actress Marilyn Monroe. Although Joe was just settling down and Marilyn’s career was just taking off, they married in 1954. Because their personalities were so conflicting, they were divorced less than a year later, but still remained close friends. After her death, Joe sent red roses three times a week to her crypt for 20 years, and never remarried. The legacy of Joe DiMaggio still lives today.

The Korean War (1950-1953)

During WWII Korea had been occupied by the Empire of Japan. After the allied forces won the war against Japan, and its other Axis allies, Korea was occupied by the Soviet Union and the United States, with the 38th parallel serving as the boarder between the two zones. Above the 38th parallel, the Soviet Union established a communist government that mimicked its own, while in the south, the U.S. oversaw an election that established South Korea’s leaders. After this was accomplished, the U.S. withdrew the majority of its forces from the country, in the summer of 1949. About a year later, on June 25, 1950, the North attacked the South in an attempt to unite the country under its rule. In response to this attack the U.N. Security Council in met in special session and, on June 27,th voted to aid South Korea in defending itself. President Harry Truman authorized U.S. forces to aid the South Korean army that same day. However, with much of the South Korean army destroyed, the U.S. forces were unable to stem the tide of North Korean forces. By August, U.S. and allied forces were able to hold a tentative defensive perimeter around the port of Pusan in southern Korea. In an attempt to repel the North Korean invaders, General Douglas MacArthur devised a plan to land, unexpectedly, at the port of Inchon north of the U.S. defensive lines. This operation, which began on September 15th 1950, was a startling success. With U.S. forces behind them, North Korean troops quickly fled back across the 38th parallel. Though the original boundaries had been reestablished, MacArthur wanted to continue pushing into North Korea. President Truman granted him permission to do so, and on the first of October, 1950, allied forces crossed the 38th parallel. By the end of November, they had neared Korea’s border with The People’s Republic of China. China had threatened military action if U.N. forces invaded North Korea. As a result of MacArthur’s push into North Korea thousands of Chinese soldiers attacked allied forces, and by July of 1951, the latter had been pushed back to positions just north of the 38th parallel. The war lasted for two more bloody years, though the lines never significantly changed. Finally, on July 27th 1953, a treaty was signed in Panmunjom. The Korean War demonstrated the beginning of the U.S.’s policy of fighting wars in foreign countries to prevent the spread of communism. These “hot” wars represented America’s fear of the growth of communism around the world, and its willingness to fight to prevent it. Also. the Korean War contributed to McCarthyism and general anti communist hysteria in the United States.

Korean War Map

Joseph McCarthy (1950)

From 1950 to 1953, Eugene Joseph McCarthy was notorious for his methods of dealing with Communism and suspects of the belief. On February 9, 1950, he delivered a speech in which he claimed he held a list of “205” cases of individual communists that raised an uproar regarding the dangers of communism and the consequences of being “discovered”, and he went on from there to use the hysteria in order to gain political power. His methods of dealing with the potential communists were unorthodox, at best. McCarthy employed the use of “executive sessions” to question witnesses personally, though they were not really “closed” as McCarthy’s favored reporters and cronies were often allowed in. Because oft his, names of witnesses, suspects, and McCarthy’s personal interpretations were all often printed in the newspaper. McCarthy also ignored the Senate rule stating that a vote of subcommittee members must take place in order to call in witnesses, and instead issued blank subpoenas that his staff could issue at will. Additionally, witnesses were generally given little warning as to when their trial would be, trials were often far away from Washington, and therefore these sessions were chaired by McCarthy alone. He coined the term “Fifth-Amendment Communists” after informing witnesses of their right to not answer certain questions, and then would later contact their employers and have them fired if they chose to do so. His investigations also extended to other “socially unacceptable” groups such as homosexuals. As McCarthy continued his extensive and irregular investigations, the press began to become more hostile. President Eisenhower himself instructed Vice President Nixon to indirectly attack McCarthy in his vice presidential speech. As the investigations regarding Communism came to a close, investigations regarding McCarthy began. He was cleared of nearly all the accusations, however, a Senate measure to censure him for being “uncooperative” passed 67 votes to 22, essentially ending McCarthy’s political career.

Richard Nixon

Richard Milhous Nixon began making a name for himself between 1948 and 1949 in the U.S. House of Representatives as a member of the Committee on Un-American Activities during its investigation of what became known as “The Hiss Case”. The case was a debate regarding Alger Hiss, a former State Department official, and whether or not he had assisted in the transportation of confidential government documents to the Soviet Union. When Hiss was found guilty, Nixon gained national respect and acknowledgement. In 1950, he was able to use anti-communism as a method of winning a position in the United States Senate by spreading aspersions regarding his opponent. Though his tactics were widely criticized, he was ultimately given the position. Two years later, at the 1952 Republican National Convention, Richard Nixon was chosen to be the Vice Presidential running mate to Dwight D. Eisenhower. Information was then released stating Nixon had accepted $18,000 fund for “political expenses” from California businessmen, and he was nearly dropped from the Republican ticket. However, he saved his political career by defending himself in what is popularly known as the “Checkers Speech” by making a sentimental reference to a family puppy bought for his daughters. The rest of his career maintained his powerful reputation as he developed foreign affairs credentials in several countries, consistently rallied for the Republican Party, and eventually served as President of the United States.

Studebaker (1950)

The Studebaker Corporation was opened in 1852 by brothers Henry and Clement Studebaker. Starting as a blacksmith shop in South Bend, Indiana, The Studebaker Corporation originally produced wagons. In 1868, John Mohler Studebaker, brother of Henry and Clement Studebaker, helped the small business become the Studebaker Manufacturing Company. As a thriving corporation, the Manufacturing Company successfully made the transition from horse-drawn wagons to gasoline powered-vehicles, producing the first electric car in 1902, and the first gasoline powered car in 1904. In 1911, the Studebaker Manufacturing Company merged with Everitt-Metcker-Flanders, and forty-three years later merged with Packard. Prior to this second merge and following WWII, the Studebaker Corporation experience a “golden age” as car registrations rose from twenty-five million (1945) to sixty million (1960). In 1950, Studebaker began producing “Bullet Nose” Land Cruisers, and one year later, introduced the Studebaker V8, making two new automobile models available to the American public. The prosperity of the Studebaker Corporation shows that American technology was constantly advancing and developing, resulting in the frequent production of high-tech automobiles. Furthermore, it represents America’s desire to dominate technological and scientific industry in the growing global market. With many families owing two cars as time progressed, the Studebaker continued to grow popular until the company went out of business in 1966.

Television (1950)

Although invented many years before, television did not become popular in the United States until the mid-twentieth century. After WWII, many Americans wanted to purchase televisions while returning to a comfortable, secure post-war life. In 1946, there were only 7,000 television sets in the United States; however, four years later, in 1950, there were over 50,000,000 TV sets in the country. As televisions became more affordable and more common in American households, television broadcasting became the leading form of communication among various nations, and Americans relied on TV news for information previously found in newspapers and on the radio. Furthermore, the images portrayed in television programs, “sitcoms,” and “soap operas,” became accepted as normal. For example, wholesome family images presented on shows such as “Father Knows Best,” “I Love Lucy,” and “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” became viewed as ideal. Because the majority of television programs watched in the early 1950s promoted good fortune and American values, television presented a positive image to viewers worldwide. At a time where war, chaos, and tension plagued many countries, television consistently presented images of tranquility, happiness, prosperity, and safety. This technological advancement provided many with a sense of security that, while enjoyable and entertaining, did not truly resolve the many problems of the early 1950s.

Marilyn Monroe (1950)

Marilyn Monroe is recognized for her sex appeal during the 50’s. She personified glamour with her energy and glow. She was born on June 1, 1926 to Gladys Baker. Her father remains unknown but Marilyn was baptized as Norma Jeane Baker. Norma was transferred from orphanage to orphanage when she was younger until she lived with her friend Grace. However Grace’s husband was transferred to the East coast and they could not afford to take Norma with them. This left her with two options: move back to the orphanage or get married. In 1942 she married her 21-year old neighbor at the age of 16. The two were happy together and loved each other until her husband, Jimmy, joined the Marines. After he left, Norma took a job at the Radio Plane Munitions factory. Months later a photographer saw her and was astonished with his luck. David Conover said she a “photographers dream.” Conover used her for a photo shoot and sent her on to other modeling jobs. She loved the camera and soon became well known for being on magazine covers. This inspired Norma to enroll in drama classes to work her way towards stardom. Jimmy returned from the Marines and Norma divorced him in 1946 to continue her dream. She signed a contract with Twentieth Century Fox, dyed her hair blonde, and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe. Her first movie role was The Shocking Miss Pilgrim in 1947. From then on out she stared in many feature films and television shows. In 1954, Marilyn married famous baseball star, Joe DiMaggio. Unfortunately, her sex appeal became cause for their divorce nine months later. By this time, Marilyn wanted to break out of the blonde bombshell character that she had created and pursue serious acting. She moved to New York and created her own motion picture company called Marilyn Monroe Productions in 1956. She married again in 1956 to playwright Arthur Miller. Years later she was said to have supposed relations with JFK and other influential men of that time. By 1962 Marilyn was being honored at the Golden Globes. Shockingly, Marilyn died in her sleep on August 5, 1962. The world was stunned by her death but still use her name synonymously with beauty and energy.

McLauren v. Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (1950)

In 1950, a companion case to Sweatt vs. Painter, was brought to the Supreme Court. G.W. McLaurin sued the University of Oklahoma because, as a black man, he was not allowed equal educational opportunity. At age seventy, McLaurin was getting his doctorate degree in education, however the segregation imposed by the school made this unfair for him in comparison to his white classmates. He was designated a certain area for black students, a specific table to study at in the library, a separate table in the lunch room, and he was discriminated against in the classroom. The court demanded, by unanimous decision that the school was at fault for permitting this mistreatment. Based on the Fourteenth Amendment, the state-supported school could not legally separate the students in such a way and was forced to incorporate a fair education for all races of students. The University of Oklahoma, as the University of Texas had done in Sweatt vs. Painter, had used the term “separate but equal” loosely to allow unfair segregation to pervade through the school.

Segregated Transportation

Public transportation had designated areas for whites and blacks. Whites got to sit in the front, and when the front was filled, would move to the back and make blacks who were already seated move. This often resulted in an African-American being forced to leave the bus entirely for lack of space.

Public Facilities

“The water fountain for the white folks was all nice and pretty, while ours looked like a toilet off to the side”

Sweatt v. Painter (1950)

In 1950 Supreme Court was held for the injustice toward Herman Marion Sweatt four years previously. On applying to the University of Texas, Sweatt was not even considered to be admitted to the law school because he was African-American. It was decided that the University must create equal educational opportunity for whites and blacks so it attempted to create separate but equal facilities for the students of different races. However, this was the issue in court, because the school was accused of going against the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The court then ruled that the so-called “separate but equal” education at the school was not equal in any aspect; the facilities were deplorable, the teachers inadequate, the prestige lacking, little course variety, and less fair competition opportunity post-school. The school then integrated all the students into one setting, by the court’s unanimous decision. The case was intriguing, however, because of how easily the school had worked its way around the Amendment in the Constitution without anyone speaking up until Sweatt did. He had not been the first to be discriminated against by the school, but he was the first to take initiative against the prejudice, demonstrating how although the country was changing in its laws, attitudes were remaining with the perpetual racial bias.

White Children Refused to go to Integrated Schools

Harry Moore (1951)

In 1951, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) leader, Harry Moore (and wife Harriet), were bombed in their Mims, Florida, home on December 25. The brutal attack killed the two Black rights activists and was devastating to their followers. Harry had campaigned against police brutality and led black voting registration drives, while Harriett was a school teacher. Their sudden death instilled fear in others of their race. Since both were in authoritative positions, protests, rallies, and memorial services shook up the country. The Governor of Florida, Fuller Warren, and President Truman were bombarded with protest letters and telegrams. The case was never solved as to who had placed the bombs under the floorboards of the house, but the two deaths have remained a significant statement in the Civil Rights movement. The couple was the only to die for the cause, and Harry Moore was the first NAACP official killed in the struggle.

Rosenbergs (1951)

The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg began in 1950, when Ethel Rosenberg’s brother identified her and her husband as participants in the Soviet spy ring. Not long after 8 a.m. on June 16th, FBI agents arrived at the apartment of Julius Rosenberg and requested that he return with them for questioning. Mr. Rosenberg called his accuser a liar, and hired Emanuel Bloch as his lawyer later that evening. One month and one day later, after receiving more complete statements from the Rosenberg’s accusers (David and Ruth Greenglass), two FBI agents arrested Julius Rosenberg while others searched his apartment for evidence. Initially, Ethel was only an interest of the FBI as a means of convincing her husband to confess and assist the government in arresting others. She was arrested in August regardless of extremely minimal evidence against her as a threat to her husband, who showed no intention of reconsidering his refusal to cooperate. Even though the government had only arrested his wife as a lever for cooperation, they now had no choice but to commit to her prosecution under the pretenses that she was a partner in the spy ring. Soon after this, friends of the Rosenbergs began suspiciously vanishing to foreign countries such as Mexico and France. Other friends were called to testify against the couple, and either ended up being indicted themselves or rewarded for immediate cooperation and released on the basis of insufficient evidence against them. On March 6th, 1951, the case of the United States vs. Julius Rosenberg, Ethel Rosenberg and Morton Sobell (an alleged accomplice) was taken to court. Six prosecuting witnesses were called, while the defense called only Julius and Ethel Rosenberg to the stand, both pleading the Fifth Amendment for most questions pertaining to communist party involvement and denying all accusations made by the prosecution’s witnesses. After hours of jury deliberation, all three of the accused were found guilty as charged. The presiding judge Irving Kaufman called their crimes “worse than murder”, and blamed the couple for 50,000 American deaths in Korea. While Sobell was given a thirty-year prison sentence, the Rosenberg couple was sentenced to death by means of the electric chair. The next two years were spent fighting for the lives of Ethel and Julius, with Emanuel Bloch at the front of the movement. Bloch took care of the defendants’ children, drafter their appeals, and pleaded at the White house gate in their final hours for a meeting with the then-President Eisenhower. While the Rosenbergs’ songs, Robert and Michael, marched with signs that read “Don’t Kill My Mommy and Daddy”, thousands of other supporters on two continents paraded, and letters asking for a pardon poured in. Unfortunately, their efforts were futile, and Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed shortly after 8 p.m. on June 19, 1953. This trial is often used as an example of McCarthyism and Communist hysteria, regardless of the defendants’ guilt in the situation.

Jonnie Ray (1951)

John Alvin ‘Johnnie ‘Ray was born on January 10, 1927 in Dallas, Oregon. He was from a North American Indian origin and was heavily influenced by Rhythm, Blues, and gospel music. When we was 12 years old he lost his hearing in his right ear and had to wear a hearing aid for the rest of his life. He began performing as small clubs and bars in Detroit to his own piano accompaniment. He became truly popular in 1951 when he signed a contract with Okeh records. He was considered a white man singing with a black mans voice. His most famous song being Cry, became a multimillion dollar seller. He was known for his emotions shown while he performed. He was essentially hated by Frank Sinatra because Tony Bennett called Ray “the father of Rock’N’Roll,” and his vocal abilities were acknowledge and admired worldly. He was also known for his overtly sexual performances. His song, Such a Night, was eventually banned from radio stations. He gained a role in the film There’s No Business like Show Business. Ray was eventually though gaining a reputation for soliciting, by preferring a life of bisexuality, and drug-taking. To get away from the critics in the US, Ray concentrated on the UK market gaining 3 top ten hits between 1952 and 1957. Ray still made regular appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show. As the music style changed, Ray switched back to cabaret style. He eventually became dependent on alcohol and died of liver failure in 1990.

Sugar Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson was born on May 3, 1921 as Walker Smith Jr., in Detroit Michigan, but also grew up in Harlem. His parents divorced when he was five years old and moved to New York City with his mother. Smith Jr. helped his mother finically by doing odd jobs and dancing outside Broadway Theaters in order to gain money. Soon after he moved to Harlem and made friends with Warren Jones, who invited Smith to join his Uncles gym. Warrens Uncle, George Gainford, eventually became his trainer. Gainford introduced Smith to bootleg boxing matches, where he eventually started fighting in them. In order to fight you need an identity card, which Smith did not have. Fortunately Gainford had his friends, Ray Robinson’s card. He was able to use it and his style of fighting was named “sweet as sugar” eventually giving him the name Sugar Ray Robinson. Robinson made himself known in 1940 by knocking out Jose Echevarria in two rounds. In 1947, Robinson fought four non-title bouts before defending his title for the first time on June 24 by knocking out Jimmy Doyle in the eighth round. Before the fight, Robinson had a dream he would kill his opponent with a left hook which made him want to back out of the fight. With a long talk by a priest, Robinson went on with the fight. His opponent eventually died from injuries received in the fight. His death took and emotional toll on Robinson. In 1948, Robinson fought 5 times, one of which was for a title defense. In 1949 Robinson fought 13 times which was to defend his title once again. One of these matches was against Henry Brimm, who eventually brought the fight to a draw in the 10th round. In 1950 he fought 19 times which brought his career to a retirement until he eventually made a comeback in 1955. A portion of his earnings from his fights during his comeback went to the IRS forcing him to continue boxing. Robinson’s career began to decline in 1959 when he was stripped of his title by Bob Young. Robinson went into retirement in the 60’s making over $4 million dollars in his career. He was later diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease eventually dying at the age of 67 in Los Angeles. Sugar Ray Robinson was considered one of the best Welterweight Champions of all time. His legacy and style of fighting will always be remembered.

Panmunjom (1951)

Panmunjom was the armistice area bordering North and South Korea where forces from the United Nations met with North Korean and Chinese officials to discuss the possibility of a truce from 1951 to 1953. The debating carried on for several months, the main point of disputation surrounding the prisoners of war and how to handle their return or lack thereof. However, after years of war and months of truce talks, an armistice was signed by the United Nations, China, and North Korea on July 27th, 1953. South Korea, unfortunately, refused to sign the treaty, and so a 4 km demilitarized zone was officially established to divide Korea into two separate countries. Additionally, because South Korea never decided to sign the agreement, they are technically still at war with North Korea.

Marlon Brando

Marlon Brando was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1924. Brando grew up in the state of Illinois and enrolled in a military academy. Unfortunately, Brando was expelled and had to go to work digging ditches to finance himself. His father offered to pay for his education, and Brando accepted; moving to New York, where he trained to become an actor. After intense training Brando began acting on Broadway, where he played several roles, including Stanley Kowalski in the play, “A Streetcar Named Desire.” With his fame growing, Brando made his debut on the silver screen in the movie “The Men.” Marlon Brando went on to star in many more movies. Among them were “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Godfather.” In his life time he won many awards for his acting abilities, such as best actor for “The Godfather.” Brando was also famous for not conforming to Hollywood’s norms. He would often go against what was expected, even denying his award for “The Godfather.” Overall, Marlon Brando represented a larger than life figure that everyone knew during the 1950s. He was a typically independent figure that stood out from the conformity of Hollywood and represented the ideal “independent” U.S. citizen of the time period.

The King and I (1951)

“The King and I,” a popular movie and Broadway musical, was based on Margot Landon’s book “Anna and the King of Siam.” In the musical version of “The King and I,” Anna Leonowens is both a governess and a tutor to King Monkut’s children in Siam. Although Anna originally dislikes the powerful King, she grows to love and appreciate him throughout the course of the play. With musical numbers such as “I Whistle A Happy Tune,” “Getting to Know You,” and “Shall of We Dance,” this Rodgers and Hammerstein production conveys an emotional message regarding love, loss, and adventure that provides it’s audience with an allusion of happiness. After opening on March 29, 1951, “The King and I” was a great success even though it possessed historical inaccuracies regarding the plot and characters. Although they disrupt the validity of the simplistic story, these inaccuracies help to display that, during a period of war and chaos, entertainment provided the American people with a sense of safety, security, and hope for a brighter future.

The Catcher in the Rye (1951)

J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye was first published in 1951. The story takes place within a forty-eight hour period, in which the main character, teenager Holden Caulfield, travels to New York City, spends impulsively, and attempts escape adulthood and conformity. Throughout the novel, Holden struggles within society, resulting in his depression, use of vulgarity, sexual exploration, and continual search for his identity. Through the use of slang, profanity, and symbolism, J.D. Salinger portrayed Holden as a seventeen-year old boy whom exemplified the struggles of American adolescents and adults. The novel reveals that, although many people were conformists throughout the 1950s, many others wished to reject traditional American ideals and values. At the time of The Catcher in the Rye’s publication, men and women in the United States struggled from depression and drug and alcohol abuse, both issues discussed in Salinger’s Bildungsroman. Although they put on a façade of happiness, many Americans suffered from internal conflicts; however, because The Catcher in the Rye presented characters whom suffered from internal crises, many Americans could identify with it, making the novel highly successful. In the years following its 1951 publication, The Catcher in the Rye, continued to appeal to adolescents because of the controversial issues presented by J.D. Salinger.

Ruby McCollum (1952)

In 1952, Live Oak, Florida, Ruby McCollum was tried at the Suwanee County Courthouse for the murder of Dr. C. LeRoy Adams. As an African-American woman, McCollum was discriminated against and was held accountable for the death of Adams. Adams was a white physician, also the father of McCollum’s youngest child. Once sentenced to death for motives of “dispute over a medical bill,” McCollum never faced her sentence, as she was admitted to a mental hospital. In this case, not only the horrendous accusations (with no incriminating evidence) of killing her husband led McCollum to insanity, but also the pressures imposed upon her for her race. Being a black woman, she was treated with a greater deal of skepticism that proved to be too much for her to handle. In a time where black acceptance was a major issue, her case was exemplary of the time period.

The Hydrogen Bomb (1952)

The United States detonated its first Hydrogen Bomb on the first of November 1952. The bomb was detonated on an island named Elugelab in the South Pacific. The immense warhead released so much energy that the entire island sank and a mile long crater was dug into the ocean floor. This bomb was more powerful than any other nuclear device previously tested in the U.S. It derived its power from the process of nuclear fusion rather than nuclear fission, which all other atomic bombs had previously used. Although the process of fusing two atoms was significantly more difficult than splitting one, the former allowed for far more power. Thus, despite protest from many scientists, work began on creating a working fusion bomb. The quest to build a working fusion bomb began in 1950 and was an attempt to stay one step ahead of the Russians, who had recently detonated ther first atomic bomb in 1949. However; the Soviet Union detonated a Hydrogen bomb almost a year before the U.S.'s first Hydrogen bomb was ready to be tested. The fact that the Russians had beaten the U.S. in producing a Hydrogen bomb caused outrage at home where Robert Oppenheimer, a scientist who had advised against creating a Hydrogen bomb, was ousted from his position as Director of the Los Alamos Laboratories for "interfering" with the production of the Hydrogen bomb.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower was the President of the United States from 1952 to 1961. He had previously gained national respect as a world war hero when he organized and gave instructions for the carrying out the D-Day invasion, as well as maintained the positions of Supreme Commander of troops invading France, President of Columbia University, and Supreme Commander of the new NATO forces that were assembled in 1951. Both of his presidential elections resulted in a sweeping victory, with a popular slogan of “I like Ike”. Eisenhower oversaw the signing of the armistice that called for a truce in the Korean War, as well as began to spread the words of “Peace and Prosperity” for the United States. He stood strongly against racism, standing by the fact that “no citizen should be second class”, as well as disapproved of unnecessarily harsh treatments of communist suspects. In March of 1954, he instructed his Vice President, Richard Nixon, to indirectly attack Eugene Joseph McCarthy in a speech. His main intentions were to give more power to state governments, reduce the “creeping socialism”, and to boost the national economy.

Vaccine (1952)

Polio (poliomyelitis), a deadly disease with flu-like symptoms, was a major problem within the United States throughout the 1920s, killing many and crippling countless others. By killing the cells in the nervous system, Polio caused paralysis, specifically in young children. Parents constantly worried about the safety of their children, especially in the summertime. Over time, Polio outbreaks grew more frequent, and in 1952, when 57,628 outbreaks occurred, scientist Jonas Salk publicly announced that he was developing a Polio vaccine. Developed from “killed” polio viruses that were injected into the patient, Salk’s vaccine was able to immunize patients without infecting them. In 1953, one year after Salk announced the development of his vaccine, the trial Polio vaccine was tested on 1,830,000 children. Because test results showed that the vaccine was not only safe but also effective, the success of the newly developed vaccine was revealed to the public on April 12, 1955. The development of this vaccine eased the anxiety of parents whom had previously worried about their children’s health while also eradicating the disease in many countries. This technological advance benefited American society in numerous ways, once again allowing the United States to dominate scientific studies and appease the worries of citizens through scientific advancement and discovery.

Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Queen Elizabeth II, daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, was born in London on April 21, 1926. In 1936, when her father became King, she became Princess Elizabeth. She was an active participant in politics and public life since she was fourteen, and in 1947, she was married to her distant cousin, Phillip Mountbatten. In 1952, Princess Elizabeth travelled to Australia and New Zealand in the place of her father, and has, since then, remained extremely well travelled. When her father died on February 6, 1952, Elizabeth took over the throne; however, her coronation did not take place until June 2, 1953, when she was crowned at Westminster Abbey. Queen Elizabeth II’s first year as Queen was a “golden year” for England filled with optimism and great hope for the new Queen. With a new, young Queen, many English people had hopes that the future would be one untouched by war and troubles. Throughout her forty-six year reign, Queen Elizabeth II has maintained a sense of duty while working efficiently and diligently to provide for the public. Because of the hope she has provided for her subjects, Queen Elizabeth II has been viewed as the ideal modern monarch.

Rocky Marciano

Rocky Marciano was born of the first of September, 1923 in Brockton Massachusetts. Marciano lived most of his early life in poverty, which helped to motivate his success later in life. He grew up playing sports and dreamed of having a career playing either baseball of football. During World War Two, Marciano was drafted and subsequently took up the sport of boxing as a way of getting out of mess duty and other activities. Despite his small size, Marciano excelled as a boxer and fought as an amateur after the war. In 1947, he attempted to fulfill his dreams of playing professional baseball, when he tried out for the Chicago Cubs. Unfortunately he did not make the team, but soon after Marciano’s dream of being a professional athlete was fulfilled when he became a professional boxer. Marciano quickly established a good record as a boxer, defeating every one of his opponents. In October of 1951, Marciano defeated the famed Joe Louis, who had previously held the heavyweight championship, and in September of the next year he defeated the defending champion Joe Walcott. Rocky Marciano retired four years later, never having lost a boxing match. He remains the only person ever to do so. Marciano’s undefeated record and underdog appearance reflect the U.S.’s view of itself during the time period of the early fifties. People believed that the U.S., no matter what the odds, could and would defeat communism, just like Rocky Marciano had defeated every one of his opponents.


Liberace was born Wladziu Valentino Liberace. Liberace was born into a musical family. His father played the French horn in several bands, including John Phillip Sousa’s Concert Band. As a young child Liberace played the piano. His skills on the piano were so prodigious, that he acquired a music scholarship to The Wisconsin College of Music when he was only seven years old. In the late 40’s, Liberace was signed by Columbia Records and did several recordings. This records helped Liberace attain stardom. During the 1950’s Liberace became a household name, through performances and his appearances in films and television shows. His stardom was so great that he acquired his own television show called “The Liberace Show.” Liberace was famous for his flamboyant shows. He would dress in outrageous ways and had over the top performances. Though this aspect of Liberace’s performances contributed to his fame it also led to a columnist insinuating that Liberace was gay. Liberace’s fame continued until his death in the late 80’s. Liberace captured the hearts of America with his outrageous stage presence. He exemplified the publics infatuation with individualism during the 1950’s, a fad brought about by the fear of the conformity of communism.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Santayana Goodbye (1952)

George Santayana was a philosopher and author who was born in Madrid in 1863. As a young boy, he and his family moved to the United States. As an adult, Santayana attended Harvard University and Kings College. After he received his Ph.D. from King’s College, Santayana began a career as a teacher, teaching at Harvard and in other places around the world. At the age of 50, Santayana left the U.S. for good and lived in various places in Europe. Santayana’s spectrum of knowledge was very broad. He was both a published novelist and philosopher. He also coined the famous phrase “ those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (citation needed) Santayana died in Rome in the year 1952. Santayana represented the foil for the common McCarthy crazed person of the fifties. Though Santayana lived in the U.S. for much of his life, he distanced himself from its culture. He never became a citizen and found many aspects of American culture repugnant. Santayana was a man who thought for himself and didn’t fall victim to hysteria. He represented an example of a model human being, regardless of whether or not people followed his model.

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