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RockEras - 1950s
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  • Contradictions in the 1950s
    • 1950s seemed kinder, simpler, and more innocent than previous decades
      1. No roaring '20s
      2. No 1930s depression
      3. No World Wars (except for a small one in Korea)
    • Popular television shows championed conservative family values
      1. Father Knows Best
      2. Leave It to Beaver
    • President Eisenhower was like everyone's grandfather
    • Booming American economy
      1. New homes were built
      2. Manufacture of appliances
      3. New roads to connect suburbs
      4. More automobiles were built
        • Cars were equipped with AM radios
        • Teenagers could listen to "forbidden Rhythm and Blues and Rock" in cars
        • They could escape disapproving parents' scrutiny of this new music (made for them!)
    • Fear of communism
      1. Fears arose that communists would overtake our government
      2. Senator Joseph McCarthy headed a committee to find communists in the U.S. Communists were suspected among
        • Politicians
        • Creative people involved in the entertainment industry (Their ideas could reach millions of unsuspecting fans through their work.)
        • Labor unions
    • Hugh Hefner introduced Playboy in 1953
      1. Calendar of a nude Marilyn Monroe
      2. Focus on the previously taboo subject of sexuality and morality in general
    • Civil rights movement
      1. Brown vs. Board Education 1954
        • Linda Brown denied opportunity to attend an all-white public school in Topeka, Kansas
        • Supreme Court ruled that to be unconstitutional
      2. Montgomery, Alabama 1955
        • Black woman, Rosa Parks, refused to sit in the back of the segregated bus
        • Martin Luther King Jr. organized a peaceful bus boycott
        • 1956 Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional
      3. Controversy over civil rights became a bonding element in the 1950s folk music scene
      4. Rhythm and blues was seen as a threat because of its roots in black culture
    • The contradictions:
      1. Joseph McCarthy and Martin Luther King Jr.
      2. Leave it to Beaver and Playboy
      3. Consumerism and the civil rights movement
  • Rock and roll brought opposites together during the 1950s
    • Black and white
    • Urban and rural
    • North and south


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