African-American Families 1950s AB Annotated Research Proposal

Total Length: 1385 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 7

Page 1 of 5

The 1950s was a time when the last of the generation of slaves were beginning to disappear from communities but their first generation children were attempting to make sense of the lives they led and the cautionary tales they had applied to their lives as a result. The work shows that for the 1950s African-American family it was a time of remembrance and resolution as well as a time to reflect on change and hope for even greater change in the future, with the inclusion of the fact that defacto segregation and suppression was still occurring in a rampant manner all over their lives.

Secondary Sources

Jewell, K. Sue. 2003. Survival of the African-American Family: The Institutional Impact of U.S. Social Policy. Westport, CT: Praeger.

Jewell develops a social history that demonstrates all the many disparities of the African-American vs. majority culture and how these disparities, legal, social and economic effected the family during the whole of the 20th century. Her treatment of the 1950s as a time when change was in the air but had not yet been realized and was therefore extremely frustrating for many individuals is spot on. The works premise is that the liberal social policy, which began to alter the legal and social landscape of America was largely unsuccessful, and in many ways remains so today. The challenges to African-American families can still be seen in the cultural climate that evolved from failed social policy. In other words changing the laws did little the actually change the lives of families.

Johnson, Fred L. 2005. Andrew Wiese. Places of Their Own: African-American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century. African-American Review 39, no. 4: 615..

Johnson details the manner in which suburbanization changed the lives of African-American families, in the 1950s. They to some degree sought the same ideal that white families did in the post war culture, to own a home in one of the growing suburban communities, and offer their children the same opportunities that were so painted golden in the era. The work demonstrates that though the families may have had the same intentions and developed ideals they were not given the same opportunities and segregation and discrimination still challenged African-American families, as it did in almost every other social environment, and communities were even passing their own residency laws that banned black families from ownership, but more importantly the social climate of conservatism and golden era seeking challenged them even more and this would not change until much later.
McLoyd, Vonnie C., Nancy E. Hill, and Kenneth a. Dodge, eds. 2005. African-American Family Life: Ecological and Cultural Diversity. New York: Guilford Press.

McLoyd's work brings to mind the manner in which the 1950s conservative slant echoed the discrimination of the past and present. The work demonstrates that during the 1950s academic work began to be even more direct with its assassination of the individual as the source of limited progress. In other words the period demonstrates an extreme prejudice, where African-American Families themselves were in short blamed directly for their inability to succeed in the American landscape, regardless of the fact that the social, legal and economic conditions were almost completely against them.

Itagaki, Lynn M. 2003. Transgressing Race and Community in Chester Himes's if He Hollers Let Him Go. African-American Review 37, no. 1: 65.

Itagaki's work is a literary and social criticism of the works of Chester Himes, an African-American man who moved his family to Los Angels in the late 1940s and through the 1950s and 60s experienced contradictions in the ideal and the actions of those living there. The white community rejected and repressed the African-American family with all the same and worse segregation and discrimination when they were attempting to grow and become stronger, many by leaving the south. The work describes the volume of Himes' works but looks most closely at his beloved novel if He Hollers Let Him Go. The message of the work is distinctly responsive to the 1950s as a period of social transition for the African-American families, as they are told….....

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