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Federal Highway Act of 1956

Measure that provided federal funding to build a nationwide system of interstate and defense highways

National Defense Education Act

1958 Act that allocated $280 million in grants for state universities to upgrade their science facilities, created $300 million in low-interest loans for college students, and provided fellowship support for graduate students planning to go into college and university teaching

Landrum- Griffin Act

1959 act that widened government control over union affairs and further restricted union use of picketing and secondary boycotts during strikes

Geneva Accord

Accord that called for reunification and national elections in Vietnam in 1956

New Frontier

John F. Kennedy's domestic and foreign policy initiatives, designed to reinvigorate sense of national purpose and energy

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Federal agency created in 1958 to manage American space flights and exploration

Alliance for Progress

Program of economic aid to Latin America during the Kennedy administration

Bay of Pigs

Site in Cuba of an unsuccessful landing by fourteen hundred anti-Castro Cuban refugees in April 1961

Cuban missile crisis

Crisis between the Soviet Union and the United States over he placement of Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba


David Riesman publishes The Lonely Crowd


Dwight D. Eisenhower is elected president


CIA installs Riza Shah Pahlavi as leader of Iran


United States explodes first hydrogen bomb


James Dean stars in the movie, Rebel without a Cause


- Federal Highway Act authorizes Interstate Highway System
- Elvis Presely signs with RCA
- Eisenhower is reelected


Soviet Union launches Sputnik, first space-orbiting satellite


National Defense Education Act authorizes grants and loans to college students


- Soviets shoot down U-2 spy plane
- John F. Kennedy is elected president
- Almost 90 percent of American homes have television


- President Kennedy creates "Green Berets"
- Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba fails


- Report by the Presidential Commission on the Status of Women documents ongoing discrimination
- Betty Friedan publishes the Feminine Mystique
- Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty is signed
- President Kennedy is assassinated

Green Berets

- An elite Special Force as a supplemement to CIA covert operations in counterinsurgency battles against third world guerrillas.
- These soldiers, fighting under direct orders of the president, could provide "rapid response" to "brush-fire" conflicts where Soviet influence threatened American interests.
- Were required to wear green berets, as it reflected Kennedy's desire to acquire greater flexibility, secrecy, and independence in the conduct of foreign policy

Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty

Treaty, signed by the United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union, outlawing nuclear testing in the atmosphere, in outer space, and under water

Great Society

Theme of Lyndon Johnson's administration, focusing on poverty, education, and civil rights.

Congress of Racial Equality

Civil rights group formed in 1942 committed to nonviolent civil disobedience

Brown v. Board of Education

Supreme Court decision in 1954 that declared that "separate but equal" schools for children of different races violated the Constitution

Southern Manifesto

A document signed by 101 members of Congress from southern states in 1956 that argued that the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education contradicted the Constitution

Southern Christian Leadership Conference

Black civil rights organization founded in 1957 by Martin Luther King, Jr. and other clergy.

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Black civil rights organization founded in 1960 that drew heavily on younger activists and college students

Albany Movement

- Coalition formed in 1961 in Albany, a small city in southwest Georgia, of activists from SNCC, the NAACP, and other local groups.
- Starting in October 1961, thousands marched, sat in and boycotted as part of a citywide campaign to integrate public facilities and win voting rights.
- Many spent time in jail

Missouric v. ex.rel.Gaines

- 1939
- Required University of Missouri Law School either to admit African Americans or build another fully equal law school

Executive Order 8802

- 1941
- Banned racial discrimination in defense industry and government offices; established Fair Employment Practices Committee to investigate violations

Morgan v. Virginia

- 1946
- Ruled that segregation on interstate buses violated federal law and created an "undue burden" on interstate commerce

Executive Order 9981

- 1948
- Desegregated the US armed Forces

McLaurin v. Oklahoma

- 1950
- Ruled that forcing an African American student to sit, eat, and study in segregated facilities was unconstitutional because it inevitably created a "badge of inferiority"

Sweatt v. Painter

- Ruled that an inferior law school created by the University of Texas to serve African Americans violated their right to equal protection and ordered Herman Sweatt to be admitted to University of Texas law School

Civil Rights Act

- 1957 and 1964
- 1957: Created Civil Rights Division within the Justice Department
- 1964: Prohibited discrimination in employment and most places of public accommodation on basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin; outlawed bias in federally assisted programs; created Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Voting Rights Act`

- 1965
- Authorized federal supervision of voter registration in states and countries where fewer than half of voting age residents were registered; outlawed literacy and other discriminatory tests in voter registration

Freedom Summer

Voter registration effort in rural Mississippi organized by black and white civil rights workers in 1964

Nation of Islam

Religious movement among black Americans that emphazies self-sufficiency, self-help, and separation from white society.


Montgomery bus boycott begins


President Dwight Eisenhower sends in federal troops to protect African American students integrating Little Rock, Arkansas high school


Sit-in movement begins as four college students sit at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and ask to be served


Freedom Rides begin


- SCLC initiates campaign to desegregate Birmingham, Alabama
- March on Washington begins; Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his historic "I have a dream" speach


- Mississippi Freedom Summer project brings students to Mississippi to teach and register voters
- Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party is denied seats at the 1964 Democratic Presidential Convention


- SCLC and SNCC begin voter registration campaign in Selma, Alabama
- Civil rights marchers walk from Selma to Montgomery

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