Many of the social and political changes of the late twentieth century affected oppressed groups in the US, including minorities and women. Women, African Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, gays, and lesbians saw significant changes to their social and political rights during the upheaval of the 1960s and 1970s.
Before you beginning this discussion, be sure to read the Module Notes and Chapter 27: “The Sixties” and Chapter 28: “The Unraveling” in The American Yawp.
Then, speak to (or email with) someone who belongs to one of the groups list above and was at least a teenager in the 1960s or 1970s (if possible, someone from the Baby Boomer generation). You may also find pages 6-9 of this Oral History guide [PDF, File Size 225.28 KB] (starting with “Conducting the Interviews”) useful in thinking about how to approach and structure your interview. If you are unable to locate someone from that time period, please let your instructor know and s/he will provide you with additional resources.
Ask the person to describe to you what life was like for himself/herself then and how s/he feels that things changed over the 1960s and 1970s and how they differed from previous eras.
In particular, ask them about social movements, work and housing discrimination, and social relations between their group and others. Feel free to ask about other topics pertaining to that particular group as well and about the Baby Boomer generation in this era, including the Vietnam War and the Cold War.
Once you have conducted your interview and read the assigned sources, consider the following in a post of at least 250 words:
Summarize what you have learned from the person you interviewed and how it affects your interpretation of the 1960s and 1970s.
Did the large-scale social and political changes of the 1960s and 1970s make a difference in the lives of individual Americans? What problems and inequalities remained?
How did Baby Boomers differ from the generations before them? How were they influenced by the context of social movements, the Cold War, and affluence of the 1950s?
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