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3. Civil Rights in the 1950s
About this Lecture
In this module, we think about Eisenhower’s contribution to civil rights during his Presidency, focusing in particular on: (i) the key civil rights issues in the southern United States – racial segregation and (lack of) voting rights; (ii) the key events of the 1950s, including: the Supreme Court decision in Brown v Board of Education that ruled segregation of schools unconstitutional (1954); the arrest of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56); the rise of Martin Luther King and the foundation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (1957); and the Little Rock Nine (1957); and (iii) Eisenhower’s response to the civil rights issues of the day, especially compared to the actions and achievements of his successors, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.
In this course, Professor Mark White (Queen Mary, University of London) explores the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower (1953-61). In the first module, we think about Eisenhower’s rise to power and the central aspects of his foreign policy. In the second, we think about his later foreign policy, including: his use of the CIA to overthrow foreign governments in Iran (1953) and Guatemala (1954), the beginnings of US involvement in Vietnam, and his dealings with Nikita Khrushchev and the Soviet Union. In the third module, we think about Eisenhower’s response to the civil rights movement, before turning in the fourth to consider the ways in which American society and culture changed in the 1950s more generally. Finally, in the fifth module, we explore Eisenhower’s changing reputation over the years, thinking in particular about where Eisenhower has been unfairly maligned – and when he has been rightly criticised.
Mark White is Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London, specialising in US foreign policy in the Cold War and the US presidency since 1945. His recent publications include Against the President: Dissent and Decision-Making in the White House (2007) and The Presidency of Bill Clinton: The Legacy of a New Domestic and Foreign Policy (2012)
Cite this Lecture
White, M. (2020, January 08). The Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-61 - Civil Rights in the 1950s [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-dwight-eisenhower-1953-61/civil-rights-in-the-1950s
White, M. "The Presidency of Dwight Eisenhower, 1953-61 – Civil Rights in the 1950s." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 08 Jan 2020, https://www.massolit.io/courses/the-presidency-of-dwight-eisenhower-1953-61/civil-rights-in-the-1950s