Episode from the podcastFrom Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

Episode 11 - 1956: Trouble in the Promised Land

Released Monday, 30th November 2020
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The key events of 1956 include a civil rights milestone, a presidential election, & an international crisis. The 1955 lynching of black teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi was just one manifestation of Southern resistance to the challenge to white supremacy posed by desegregation. More organized defenses of Jim Crow also formed, ranging from the plebeian (Ku Klux Klan) to the patrician (White Citizens' Councils; US Senate Southern Manifesto) social sphere. Nevertheless, during 1956, African-American activists including Rosa Parks & Martin Luther King Jr. defied the racist establishment with a successful boycott of the segregated bus system in Montgomery, Alabama. Meanwhile, Republican President Dwight Eisenhower cruised to an easy victory over Democratic retread candidate Adlai Stevenson in November '56. In Eastern Europe, new Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev ruthlessly crushed a popular rebellion against Communism in Hungary. Further south, Egypt's nationalist dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser was more successful in his revolt against the vestiges of British colonialism in '56. Nasser seized the Suez Canal, and was able to parry British, French, & Israeli efforts to recover it. Strangely, the Soviets & the Americans would find themselves on the same side in an effort to resolve this crisis in the Middle East.

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