Postwar America (1946-1975)
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On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King delivered his first major public statement against the Vietnam War, entitled "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break the Silence." Addressing a crowd of 3,000 at Riverside Church in New York City, King condemned the war as anti-democratic, impractical, and unjust. He described the daily suffering of Vietnamese peasants…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1967

John Lewis, the 23-year-old chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) drafted the speech excerpted below for the 1963 March on Washington. When copies of the speech were circulated in advance, march organizers, as well as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, objected to his strong rhetoric and criticisms of the federal…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1963

In 1965 the Immigration and Nationality Act Amendments, also known as the Hart-Cellar Act, were signed by President Johnson, ending the quota system which had guided U.S. immigration policy since the 1920s and which had given overwhelming preference to applicants from Northern European countries. In a speech marking the occasion, Johnson outlined…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1965

The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense (as it was originally called) was founded in Oakland by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. The group's focus on "armed defense" often overshadowed their community activities, which included a free-breakfast program for children. This "Black Child's Pledge," composed by Shirley Williams and published in The…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1968

Henry A. Wallace, Franklin D. Roosevelt's vice president and Secretary of Commerce under Harry Truman, delivered this speech to a gathering of leftist and liberal groups in New York's Madison Square Garden in 1946. In it, he urges taking a more conciliatory approach in America's foreign policy toward the Soviet Union. In contrast to Truman's…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1946

President Harry S. Truman proclaimed the Truman Doctrine in a speech addressed to Congress on March 12, 1947. In addition to drawing a stark contrast between the two different "ways of life" represented by the United States and the Soviet Union, the speech marked a shift in American foreign policy toward a policy of "containment" of Soviet…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1947

President Johnson, in this speech delivered at Johns Hopkins University on April 7, 1965, lists the reasons for escalating the United State's involvement in Vietnam. Having secured Congressional authorization with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, Johnson launched a bombing campaign in the North, and in March 1965, dispatched 3,500 marines to South…

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Item Type: Speech
Date: 1965

The three murdered civil rights workers from the 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer Project are pictured on this FBI "missing" poster. On June 21st, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney, and Michael Schwerner were abducted and killed by Klansmen in an effort to intimidate volunteers working to register black voters. Their badly beaten bodies were found weeks…

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Item Type: Poster/Print
Date: 1964

Prior to the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965, many southern (and some western) states had devised "literacy tests" and other voting requirements whose primary purpose was to deny African Americans the vote. The tests consisted of written and oral questions about often-obscure aspects of state law and the United States Constitution. They…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: Circa 1965

This curriculum was created by members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) for their Freedom Schools, part of the Freedom Summer organizing effort that brought hundreds of college students from around the country to Mississippi in the summer of 1964. SNCC hoped that the Freedom Schools would serve as a "parallel institution" to…

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Item Type: Pamphlet/Petition
Date: 1964