African Americans During the 1950s Research Proposal

Pages: 4 (1385 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Black Studies

African-American Families 1950s AB

Annotated Bibliography

African-American Families in the 1950s

Primary Sources

Lorraine Hansberry, 1992 (Screenplay) a Raisin in the Sun Los Angles CA: Columbia Pictures

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TOPIC: Research Proposal on African Americans During the 1950s Assignment

The Screenplay associated with the 1961 film a Raisin in the Sun has never been published, although an un-filmed version, i.e. that which Hansberry the playwright and author of the screenplay submitted for consideration to the filmmakers was published by Columbia pictures in 1992. The screenplay, though not exact to the one used for the film was used as a basis for the 1961 film, likely with significant alterations, done by various review boards to reduce the negative impact the film might have on the white community. This alone makes the screenplay a fascinating example of the slow progress that was made, despite the radical and vocal social upheaval that was taking place during the civil rights movement. A Raisin in the Sun is a descriptive condemnation of the social and economic state of African-American Families, during the 1950s, when economic and institutional segregation and therefore missed opportunity was at a peak, and as changes in local and national Jim Crow laws made way for majority community members and institutions to uphold segregation in a defacto manner, rather than as a result of the legal state. A Raisin in the Sun has an extended family of African-American's trapped within the squalor of a tenement apartment all needing and most not receiving much, the head of the household, Walter Younger struggling to make ends meet to support the extended family. The turn around occurs when the family receives a large insurance settlement, but the social depravity, segregation and challenges to individuals do not. The work demonstrates that it is not just economics that creates conflict in many African-American families at this time, but economics is a good place to start looking for change.

McLaurin v. Oklahoma State Regents (1950)

The development of Jim Crow segregation laws, that serve as a marked backlash from fears generated by emancipation, as well as African-American families and others seeking resolution for past wrongs marks a period of history that challenges most historians. The Above court case demonstrates that the challenges for African-American individuals and families to attempt to make a better life for themselves, through education was significant. White collar education was available, in a sort of second rate state and those who chose to seek education with whites faced legal and social alienation. The period of the 1950s is when the legal changes that disbanded the thousands of national and local segregation laws, which were particularly difficult to overturn because there were so very many and on so many levels. The importance of this court case is to show that specifically the legal state may have changed but it was expected that the social climate would not, and that this social climate change was not the question but the fact that the state was giving authority to institutions and individuals to segregate and therefore offer unequal opportunity, where it was offered at all. One absolutely crucial quote from the work, describing this phenomena follows; "(b) That appellant may still be set apart by his fellow students and may be in no better position when these restrictions are removed is irrelevant, for there is a constitutional difference between restrictions imposed by the State which prohibit the intellectual commingling of students and the refusal of students to commingle where the State presents no such bar. P. 641." The case is of a African-American grad student in Oklahoma that challenges the segregation her experiences at the University of Oklahoma, on the grounds that it is barring him from the discussion and interaction that are the basis of his career education.

Portwood, Shirley Motley. 2000. Tell Us a Story: An African-American Family in the Heartland. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.

Portwood has put together a collaborative collection of oral history, that includes many first hand accounts of life for African-American individuals and families in the 1950s and at earlier times. Her work is responsive to both repression and resistance and shows individuals who lived through some harrowing times, including slavery… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "African Americans During the 1950s" Research Proposal in a Bibliography:

APA Style

African Americans During the 1950s.  (2008, October 15).  Retrieved August 2, 2021, from

MLA Format

"African Americans During the 1950s."  15 October 2008.  Web.  2 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"African Americans During the 1950s."  October 15, 2008.  Accessed August 2, 2021.