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Fire in the Streets The Social Crisis of the 1960s

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2020-07-24
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Embracing an argument-based model for teaching history, the Debating American History series encourages students to participate in a contested, evidence-based discourse about the human past. Each book poses a question that historians debate--How democratic is the U.S. Constitution? or Why did civil war erupt in the United States in 1861?--and provides abundant primary sources so that students can make their own efforts at interpreting the evidence. They can then use that analysis to construct answers to the big question that frames the debate and argue in support of their position.

Fire in the Streets poses this big question: Why did the United States enter a period of social and political turmoil in a time of unprecedented economic prosperity?

Author Biography

Joel M. Sipress received his PhD in US History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, where he teaches US and Latin American History. He serves as coeditor of the Debating American History series with David J. Voelker.

Table of Contents

List of Figures and Tables
About the Author
Series Introduction

The Big Question


Historian's Conversations
Position #1: The 1960s and the Struggle for Equality
Position #2: The Destructive Generation of the 1960s
Position #3: The Dangers of Illusion: The Unravelling of the Postwar Consensus

Debating the Question
Economic Data from the Postwar Boom
Postwar American Liberalism
1.1 John F. Kennedy, "Presidential Inaugural Address" and "Message to Congress" (1961)
1.2 Lyndon B. Johnson, The "Great Society" Speech (1964)

The Racial Crisis of the 1960s
2.1 Racial Disparities in Postwar America
2.2 Anne Moody, Excerpt from Coming of Age in Mississippi (1968)
2.3 Recollections of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1977)
2.4 Residential Segregation in Chicago (1950)
2.5 The Black Panther Party, "What We Want, What We Believe" (1966)
2.6 Huey P. Newton, Excerpts from Revolutionary Suicide (1973)
2.7 "Strike Demands of the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front," San Francisco State College (1969)
2.8 Excerpts from the Report of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968)

The Youth Rebellion
3.1 Statements from the New Left (1962-69)
3.2 Mark Rudd, Excerpts from Underground: My Life with SDS and the Weatherman (2009)
3.3 Jefferson Airplane--An Example of the Counterculture

The Experience of Vietnam
5.1 Letters and Recollections from Vietnam (1967-1970)

The Women's Movement
6.1 Women in the Workforce
6.2 Betty Friedan, "The Problem That Has No Name," from The Feminine Mystique (1962)
6.3 "National Organization for Women Bill of Rights" (1967)
6.4 "Redstockings Manifesto" (1969)

The Gay and Lesbian Movement
7.1 Barbara Gittings Comes of Age (1972)
7.2 Mark Segal, Excerpt from And Then I Danced: Traveling the Road to LGBT Equality (2015)
7.3 Homophile Freedom Song (1966)
7.4 Dick Leitsch, "The Hairpin Drop Heard Around the World" (1969)
7.5 Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, "1969 Mother Stonewall and the Golden Rats" (1989)

The Conservative Backlash
8.1 White Attitudes on Issues of Race
8.2 American Attitudes Toward Social Disorder
8.3 Richard Rogin, "Joe Kelly Has Reached His Boiling Point" (1970)
8.4 Spiro Agnew Quips

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