Thursday, February 16, 2017

History: The Year in 1954

I've uploaded year 1954 to the TSP Wiki...

As always, my contributions are my own. I include other people's work here for the sake of completeness and to provide a second method of access to the material for the TSP history segment.

* Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas -- Contributed by Alex Shrugged.

* The US supports all democracies! Except when it doesn't. -- Contributed by Southpaw Ben.

* Notable Births -- See below.

* This Year in Film -- See below.

* This Year in Music -- See below.

* In Other News -- See below.

Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas

Contributed by Alex Shrugged
This landmark decision of the Supreme Court overturns (sort of) the 1896 [Plessy vs. Ferguson] decision that allowed "separate but equal" segregation of white and black people. In the current case, Mr. Brown wants his daughter to attend a school near their home rather than bus his child to a black school. Several parents join the suit against the school district and attorney Thurgood Marshall brings their case before the Supreme Court. (He will later become a Supreme Court justice himself.) Luckily, the attorney representing the school district is so condescending and obnoxious that Marshall suggests that to rule against his clients is to affirm that "somehow Negroes are inferior to all other human beings." That is a reference to the recent eugenics war otherwise known as World War 2 where people were separated by race and murdered. While the Supreme Court rules that "separate but equal" must be dismantled, the Jim Crow laws are actually thousands of local laws, so they suggest using "all deliberate speed" which means that the Jim Crow laws should be removed as quickly as possible but without too much disruption. This is a recipe for doing nothing at all. Nevertheless, this is a vital step toward destroying the Jim Crow system. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
Condoleezza Rice recalled her childhood education in a black school in Birmingham, Alabama receiving worn textbooks thrown out by white schools. They made do, but this was long after the Supreme Court had ruled that "separate but equal" was not equal and must go. Obviously a lot of people clung to that "deliberate speed" comment and change came slowly or not at all. You can see an example of segregation after the Brown ruling in the movie "Hidden Figures". It is the story of three black women employed by NASA as "computers". In the early days most calculations were done by hand. People specifically employed to perform those calculations were called "computers" because they computed things. The movie follows the lives of three women as they help NASA "beat the Ruskkies" into space while having to run half a mile across the campus to use the "colored restroom" to relieve themselves. Fortunately the movie is not too preachy, and while I doubt that it will win an Academy Award, it has been nominated. Certainly, it is worth paying good money to see it. [7] [8] [9]

The US supports all democracies! Except when it doesn't.

Contributed by Southpaw Ben
In 1950 Guatemala had it's second democratic election for President. During this election, Jacobo Árbenz beat his predecessor Juan José Arévalo. In a move intended to set a precedent to encourage future peaceful transfers of power, Arévalo did not contest the election and peacefully transferred power to Árbenz. One of Árbenz's biggest promises while on campaign was his agrarian reform bill, which would expropriate uncultivated land from large land owners to their laborers. This was the justification used by the CIA as to why this democratically elected government had to be deposed, as this clearly meant that Árbenz was a communist with ties to Moscow. Despite this, when the CIA looked for documentation proving this tie after the coup, not enough was found to convince even author's writing under CIA backing in the future. The coup started with an invasion of 480 men trained and armed by the CIA on June 18th, 1954. Backed with the support of a large amount of psychological warfare, using such tactics as having a radio station broadcasting anti-Árbenz propaganda under the guise of being legitimate news, and the bombing of Guatemala City. By June 27th the coup was successful and Árbenz resigned from office, eventually being replaced by the US-backed dictator General Miguel Ydígoras Fuentes, and causing years of bloody civil war.[10]
My Take by Southpaw Ben
While the CIA claimed that the whole reason for staging the coup was because Guatemala was linked to the USSR, this doesn't quite pass the sniff test. Because of Árbenz's agrarian reform, the United Fruit Company was set to lose massive amounts of land and lose massive amounts of money from having to pay it's workers a fair wage. As a result, they lobbied heavily to convince the President that Guatemala was linked to the USSR and backed the CIA's plan. The Unite Fruit Company had many ties with the CIA during this time period, and used them to their advantage. It is because of ties like these with Big Business that makes me question the government whenever they claim to be doing something for a moral reason. While there are some people willing to accept what the government says at face value, especially among my generation, the Millennials, I always wonder who's really benefiting from these actions in the long term, especially when that group happens to have deep pockets and lobbyists.

Notable Births

  • Hugo Chávez (died 2013, aged 58): The President of Venezuela who leads them into communism and disaster. [11] [12]
  • Al Sharpton: Minister, political activist, presidential candidate and TV talk show host. (I hate him--alexshrugged) [11] [13]
  • Condoleezza Rice: National Security Advisor, and US Secretary of State. [11] [14]
  • Carly Fiorina: CEO of Hewlett-Packard and presidential candidate. [11] [15]
  • And in Entertainment...
  • -- Howard Stern: Radio and TV personality. [11] [16]
  • -- Matt Groening: Creator of The Simpsons and Futurama. [11] [17]
  • -- Oprah Winfrey: Actress, producer and TV talk show host. [11] [18]
  • -- John Travolta: TV's Welcome Back, Kotter, Saturday Night Fever, Grease, Pulp Fiction and more. [11] [19]
  • -- Ron Howard: Opie in The Andy Griffith Show, Richie Cunningham in Happy Days, and director for Cocoon, Apollo 13, and more. [11] [20]

This Year in Film

  • Godzilla: Premieres in Japan. Raymond Burr will be edited into the movie by 1955. [21]
  • Rear Window: An Alfred Hitchcock thriller starring Jimmy Stewart. (Still worth watching--alexshrugged) [21]
  • Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea: Starring James Mason. [21]

This Year in Music

  • Mr. Sandman: The Chordettes and theme music for "Back to the Future". [22]
  • Secret Love: Doris Day in the movie Calamity Jane. [22]
  • (Life Could Be a Dream) Sh-Boom: The Crew-Cuts. [22]

In Other News

  • Roger Bannister breaks the 4-minute mile. They said it was impossible, but once Bannister did it, it happened more often. [23]
  • J.R.R. Tolkien publishes The Lord of the Rings: It will appear in three volumes over the course of a year. (Fabulous work--alexshrugged) [24]
  • The TV Dinner is served as an inflight meal: The array of compartments are arranged in the shape of a TV. (You would have to see an old TV to understand how.) [24]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1954, Wikipedia.

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