1980s America

In American politics and the legal system, improvements were being made by African Americans and women alike.  In 1981, the first women Supreme Court Justice was Sandra Day O’Connor.  Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is declared a National Holiday in 1983.  This is the first national holiday created to acknowledge Martin Luther King, Jr.’s non-violent dedication and sacrifice for peace and equality during the Civil Rights Movement.  Two short years later, in the 1984 Presidential race, Reverend Jesse Jackson became the first black Presidential candidate while Geraldine Ferraro claimed the distinction of first woman Vice Presidential candidate.  Although neither won the election, just having the opportunity for a black man and a woman to hold these candidacies was evidence that the America’s white patriarchal government could eventually include women and minorities.[1]

Alice Walker was one of America’s favorite authors during the 1980s.  She published 7 books during this decade, including The Color Purple in 1982.  Conservatives increased their attack on literature students were required to read in school.  Some of these books included The Catcher in the Rye and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn due to their references and portrayals of adolescent rebellion and racism in the South.[2]

Columbia University went down in history as being the last ivy league college to admit females to their all male college.  This signified a change and acknowledgement that females deserved the opportunity for a quality education.  During the 1980s educators nationwide pushed for improvements in educational systems.


[1]Peggy Whitley, American Cultural History, http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade80.html, (accessed on October 2, 2010).

 [2] Whitley, http://kclibrary.lonestar.edu/decade80.html.

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