During the two decades following WWII, significant political, social and economic developments took place within the United States. The global triumph against virulent racism associated with the fascist Axis Alliance along with the liberation of colonial regimes, most particularly within Africa, highlighted the blatant prejudice inherent in racial segregation. Due to military service abroad, many members of the armed forces were cognizant of the disparity between American ideals and reality as the nation became absorbed with the pent up desire to improve individual’s quality of life. While prosperity increased for most Americans, subsequent evidence revealed many residents did not share in the affluent society. Racial and ethnic prejudice remained acutely visible. As a tragic consequence of the virulent McCarthyism spectacle, citizens who overtly criticized fundamental inequality were viewed with profound suspicion. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v Board of Education forced apathetic Americans to confront the horrifying edifice of institutional discrimination. With extensive media attention, a persistent civil disobedience campaign was coordinated by Dr. Martin Luther King’s Southern Leadership Conference. As the scope of public protest expanded, it led to the enactment of legislation during the early 1960s that was designed to fundamentally eradicate the political vestiges of racial discrimination and broaden opportunities for women, veterans and people with disabilities.
Explain the achievements and controversies of domestic conditions within the United States during this time frame and analyze the circumstances that allowed complacency to block meaningful progress to resolve these conditions for so long.
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