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  1. Suburbs • The decade immediately following WWII are very prosperous in American society, fueled in part by the Military Industrial Complex and American Consumerism • Demographics will start to shift in this period. Cities will change and modern suburbs will be created. • The Interstate Highway Act (creates our modern freeways) passed by Eisenhower makes it easier for people to move 20+ miles away from their job and commute everyday

  2. Suburbs • Federal Housing Administration (FHA): Gives loans to people with as little as 5% down and 30 year terms to pay off the loan. In the past, you needed 50% down and only were given 10 years to pay it off. This results in a massive increase in the percentage of people who own homes and don’t rent. • GI Bill: Pays for the college education of veterans, gives super favorable home loans with $0 down, creates the Veterans Administration (VA) to provide them with healthcare for life • New methods of construction allow developers to mass produce homes and build the same home model over and over again and for very cheap. “Levittown”

  3. Baby Boomers: Children of the 50’s. The people born in the years 1946-1964. Marriages are up and happening at younger ages. Divorces are down. Birth rates are up. Why? • Sun Belt: The southern and southwestern states (Florida to Arizona) with nice climates, low taxes, and rooms for suburbs to sprawl. These areas see huge growth in the 1950’s. Many industries related to the military industrial complex spring up in this region

  4. Leave it to Beaver •

  5. Housing Covenants • Many new suburbs will not be racially diverse • Large numbers of these communities will not sell to anyone that is not white • A housing covenant is an agreement about the rules of a housing community. In American history, they are used to keep people of color out of suburbs • Shelly v. Kraemer (1948) makes these types of covenants illegal, but this court ruling is not enforced. What does that tell you about the general tone of race in the 1950s?

  6. Space Race • In 1957, the Soviets successfully launch the satellite Sputnik into orbit. • The success of Sputnik intensifies Cold War fears of Communism • It forces the US government to refocus efforts on space exploration and scientific research • National Defense Education Act: Provided tens of millions of dollars to major research universities and for scholarships. • NASA (1958): Created with the goal of having America overtake Russia and any other nation in space exploration and research. By 1960, Kennedy declares “We will go to the moon in this decade”

  7. The Urban Crisis • The rise of the suburbs will result in massive demographic shifts in many states (Peopling). As middle class families moved out of cities, poorer working class families moved in • Major urban cities will enter a period of decline and poverty • In the decade after in 1950, over 3.5 million whites move into the suburbs, while urban centers have over 4.5 million non-whites move in

  8. The Urban Crisis • Part of the problem is mechanization. Many unskilled jobs are increasingly eliminated in the 1950’s due to machines • These jobs were disproportionally held by African Americans • New housing was not being constructed in large numbers in urban cities • Infrastructure like buildings, bridges, and city roads are decaying • We also see segregation of schools and public facilities nationwide. • This all equals the Urban Crisis

  9. Urban Renewal • In the late 1950’s and 1960’s, city planners will start urban renewal programs • Entire old sections of cities will be demolished and the modern Housing Project will be built in their place. Possibly well intended and in the shadow of the New Deal, these projects neve turn out good and are often made with cheap materials. Within few years they become run down. • These housing projects often increased racial segregation and found that the poor were simply being concentrated in one area. The become filled with crime and poverty • New highways and shopping centers will also replace old neighborhoods (New York).