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The Fifties: An Underground History
  • Date: Tuesday, April 05, 2022
  • Time: 1:00 pm
  • Location: Online

Author James R. Gaines argues that the Fifties were not a decade of conformity, but the celebration of the individuals who pioneered gay rights, feminist rights, civil rights, and environmental movements. The Fifties brings to life people not motivated not by politics, who sparked movements for change in their time and our own. Of the many discussed are Ruth Bader Ginsberg and the argument that made sex discrimination illegal, only one of her gifts to 21st-century feminism. We meet Harry Hay, who dreamed of a national gay-rights movement as early as the mid-1940s. We hear the voices of Silent Spring’s Rachel Carson and MIT’s preeminent mathematician, Norbert Wiener, whose legacy is the environmental movement.  The Fifties is a work of history that seeks to transform our understanding of a seemingly staid decade and honors the pioneers of gay rights, feminism, civil rights, and environmentalism.

Census programming is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of Denise Gwyn Ferguson.