In the perfect picture of conformity—living in row upon

 In King’s lifetime, the Democratic party in the south was dominated by Dixiecrats – many of whom were liberal on economic issues, and all of whom were committed segregationists. For much of his life, Blacks could not vote in the South and he worked (in part) to end that. Once he became a public leader, King carefully cultivated a non-partisan stance, and said, “Actually, the Negro has been betrayed by both the Republican and the Democratic party. The Democrats have betrayed him by capitulating to the whims and caprices of the Southern Dixiecrats.

The Republicans have betrayed him by capitulating to the blatant hypocrisy of reactionary right wing northern Republicans. And this coalition of southern Dixiecrats and right wing reactionary northern Republicans defeats every bill and every move towards liberal legislation in the area of civil rights.”By the 1950s, Birmingham, Alabama, a steel city that had once represented the best of the New South, had become symbolic of a South determined to maintain the old racial ways. The era was characterized as a prosperous and conformist decade for many reasons.

The first of these reasons was the development of the suburbs. As masses of Southern blacks migrated northward to the big cities, more rich and middle-class families left to live in the suburbs to escape the crime, redlining, and blockbusting of the cities. The white families that moved into the suburbs were the perfect picture of conformity—living in row upon row of identical “Levittown” houses, with little individuality or distinction. Furthermore, American families of the time often took the form of the “nuclear family” with two parents, two children, and often a pet like a dog or cat. This new “middle class” earned between $3,000 and $10,000 a year and included 60 percent of the American people by the mid-1950s.

  The new “mass market” that developed in 1950s society was caused by two central reasons.The first reason that this “mass market” developed was the spread of television. Television had helped to create a “popular culture” that millions of Americans tuned into regularly. By the end of 1950, ninety percent of Americans owned a television, and nearly all owned a radio. Television and radio acted as tools for marketers to dictate the values of American society in order help sell their products. By the mid-1950s marketers spent $10 billion annually to advertise their goods or services on television.

Television caused Americans to adopt an image of the “ideal” Americans; in doing so many Americans began to succumb to societal demands. Notably, suburban shopping malls began to replace downtown shops during the 1950s. Middle class white Americans became more sheltered in their sheltered suburban neighborhoods and did not see the poor blacks living in the cities. Isolated from others, many middle class Americans found no reason to dissent and sought to merely enjoy the prosperity of the decade with mind-numbing conformity. (http://ic.galegroup.

com/ic/uhic/PrimarySourcesDetailsPage/PrimarySourcesDetailsWindow?displayGroupName=PrimarySources=UHIC=e=normal==GALE%7CCX2687500039=view=k12_histrc=809416d22d111d5f33f2fca962c4b98c)The ’60s were different from the ’50s in many important ways. The worsening conditions in the cities, feminism, and the Vietnam War caused the social and political atmosphere to become turbulent and violent. Protests and war riots become commonplace; influential leaders like Malcolm X encouraged bloody protest; and women become increasingly discontent with their futile existences as homemakers. The political and social grievances, it seemed, had caused Americans to adopt a “counter culture” that encouraged a negative view of authority during the 1960s. By early 1963, the number of American military personnel in Vietnam had grown from several hundred to more than 10,000 in a few short years.

The ramifications of the United States’ direct involvement in a conflict halfway around the globe — less than a decade after the ceasefire in another brutal war in Korea — were certainly part of the national conversation, but in ’63 America’s growing role in Vietnam was not even close to the all-encompassing, divisive issue it would become by the middle of the decade.  ( 1960s were advertising’s “coming of age,” when the industry mastered the language of TV, appropriated the medium of photography and produced work of unprecedented creativity. Influenced by the cultural and social changes of the decade, advertising reflected a trend toward innovation, sophistication and a growing youth culture. In the U.S.

, the postwar abundance of the 1950s continued into the early ’60s, providing a profusion of mass-produced goods for eager consumers who enjoyed more leisure time and greater disposable income than any previous generation.Advertising provided the information and incentive to keep consumption at an all-time high, but it was perhaps best known during this decade for its “creative revolution”—in which traditional styles and formats were discarded in favor of the “new advertising,” characterized as irreverent, humorous, self-deprecating, ironic and resonant. Advertising was also beset during the decade by criticism and regulatory concerns as consumer advocates sought new rights and protections for buyers.