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Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

1954 Supreme Court decision that declared "separate but equal" doctrine unconstitutional; paved way for end of segregation


1950s poets and writers; criticized American materialism

Elvis Presley

rock and roll singer beloved among younger Americans in 50's

National Defense Education Act

(1958) provided funding to United States education institutions at all levels


ballistic missile that is capable of traveling from one continent to another


independent agency of the United States government responsible for aviation and


first man-made satellite to orbit the earth; launched by Soviet Union spaceflight

League of United Latin American Citizens

campaigned to desegregate schools and public facilities for Hispanic Americans

bracero program

guest worker program; brought hundreds of thousands of Mexican laborers to the US in the 50's

Operation Wetback

derision for illegal Mexican immigrants; deported 3 million allegedly undocumented entrants

Martin Luther King Jr

African-American minister whose emphasis on nonviolence catapulted him to leadership of civil-rights movement

Earl Warren

Chief justice of Supreme Court who broadened constitutional protections for individual rights

Rosa Parks

civil-rights leader' refusal to give a white man her bus seat triggered the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Southern Manifesto

1956 statement of southern congressmen, opposing the Brown decision and defending racial segregation

John F. Kennedy

35th president; Cold Warrior who projected youthful dynamism and liberalism

Black Panther Party

African-American revolutionary organization established to promote Black Power, and by extension self-defense for blacks

Malcolm X

militant civil rights leader

Kerner Commission

commissioned by Johnson to investigate the causes of the 1967 race riots and to provide recommendations for the future

1964-1968 Race Riots

series of riots during the civil rights movement that changed peaceful protests into violent riots

Voting Rights Act of 1965

outlawed discriminatory voting practices that had been responsible for the widespread disenfranchisement of African Americans in the US

Civil Rights Act of 1964

nation's first comprehensive law making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

independent federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination during civil rights movement

March on Washington

(1963) large political rally that took place in Washington, D.C.

Police Commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor

Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham, Alabama, during the American Civil Rights Movement

Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC)

youth auxiliary of the broader civil rights movement; involved in rallies, sit-ins and voter registration drives

Cuban missile crisis

Brinksmanship between the US and Soviet Union over nuclear missiles in Cuba in 1962 that nearly led to nuclear war


efforts in which the superpowers moved from confrontation to negotiation

Bay of Pigs Invasion

unsuccessful action by a CIA-trained force of Cuban exiles to invade southern Cuba, with support and encouragement from the US government

Peace Corps

civilian organization sponsored by the United States government; helps people in developing countries

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