@Readings for January 30

This is the page where you will post one section of your Wednesday Reports for January 30. Find your username below and insert the corresponding response below your name.

In-Class Discussion

Alphas Post Under Here!

We looked up multiple sources to figure out European and Asian responses to the war in Vietnam. We found that each country had different responses but in general they were unsympathetic to American efforts and in most cases they distrusted American motives in the war.

Britain Major decolonization efforts were underway. Britain made sure to leave a government in countries where “decolonization” was taking place. America’s war was in direct opposition to this stance

France France was unable to decolonize Vietnam due to (in Washington’s words) “it’s own inept behavior”. Much pride was lost. France thought America was “playing games” to supplant it’s power in South East Asia. More distrust!!

Japan and China Disturbed by policies. Felt that bombing of Vietnam without declaring war was wrong. Japan had a treaty with US http://ghi-dc.org/publications/ghipubs/bu/030/71.pdf

Betas Post Under Here!

Which three questions do the readings from this week best answer?

  1. How have changes in combat affected American society?

  2. How have affirmative action policies affected race relations or perceptions of racial discrimination?

  3. How have views or definitions of feminism changed over time?

Gammas Post Under Here!

There was a large amount of polarization within NOW with respect to the Equal Rights Amendment. Some members believed that the strategy and timing was not right to attempt to pass it. Given that the proposal was originally written in 1923, why did it not pass Congress until 1972?

What role did the evolution of the media play in the development of bipartisanship, and how has the media affected the polarization of the two parties?

Given Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against the Vietnam War, he says that a few years prior to his speech, there was a shining moment of hope in the movement of civil rights. Therefore did the buildup in the Vietnam War in the 1960s have a negative impact on the civil rights movement during that time?


Identify at least one concept, event, claim, or proper noun mentioned in the readings that is unfamiliar to you. Use Reference Tools on the Internet or in the library to look up information about it and report your findings, along with the source(s) of any information you find. Anything that could be answered with a fact-check, quick definition, or basic research might be included under this prompt. Be sure to indicate when you are quoting directly from another source by using quotation marks.


NOW, the National Organization for Women was officially started in 1966. Events leading up to its assembly included Mrs. H. Griswold’s letter to Susan B. Anthony in 1880 and Emma Goldman’s “A New Declaration of Independence in 1909, which explained that all beings, no matter sex or race, have equal rights. Moments like these slowly faded and the “housewife” was born, but the Civil Rights Act of 1964 brought the feminists back to life. They argued and lobbied for the elimination of sex discrimination in the workplace, and soon began to realize that they needed an official organization to argue on their behalf, similar to what African Americans had done, and the National Organization for Women was created. Source: http://www.now.org/history/the_founding.html


Firing Line was an American talk show hosted by conservative William F. Buckley Jr. that specialized in public affairs. It originally aired in 1966 and featured debates in which prominent intellectuals and public figures would discuss the topics relevant to the day and time. Airing primarily on PBS, the episodes opened with the host introducing the guest and then asking an opening question. Occasional specials would broadcast two-hour formal debates with opening statements, cross-examinations, and closing statements. It was celebrated as one of the first shows of its kind. It held a different tone and pace from its descendants – a more leisurely examination of issues and highly intellectual ideas.

It is my opinion that modern news talk shows need to convert back to the nature of debate that was executed on Firing Line. Rather than try to get ratings, news should be about informing the educated population about important events that are happening around the country. Analysis of inaugurations should be about what the president will do and can do for the country in the next four years and not about the First Lady’s wardrobe designer.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/29/nyregion/29buckley.html?_r=0 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firing_Line


The Vietnam War was a “conflict between US-backed South Vietnam and the Viet Cong [Vietnamese communist guerrillas], who had the support of communist North Vietnam. It followed the defeat of the French at Dien Bien Phu (1954) and the partition of Vietnam. In 1956, President Ngo Dinh Diem cancelled elections in South Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh denounced the action and the Viet Cong launched an insurgency. Fueled by fear of the spread of communism, the USA supported the Diem government and sent its first troops in 1961.” 1

Former U.S. President, Dwight Eisenhower came up with the domino theory, which was mainly used “to justify military intervention in Vietnam”.2 It argued that if one country fell to communism, then all of the surrounding countries would follow, all falling one by one just like dominoes. Then Senator Former President John F Kennedy, also built on this theory by stating in his speech to the American Friends of Vietnam: “Burma, Thailand, India, Japan, the Philippines and obviously Laos and Cambodia are among those whose security would be threatened if the Red Tide of Communism overflowed into Vietnam.” 3

While it appears that the United States main reason for getting involved in the Vietnam War is based on a fear of spreading communism, there is much speculation that the war was based of a need for oil; specifically, oil located in Vietnam.


http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/view/10.1093/acref/9780199546091.001.0001/acref-9780199546091-e-12171 http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803095725988 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War


The Kanawha County textbook controversy began in 1974 in West Virginia in response to over 300 books that were adopted by the county’s school board for use in the public schools. The books themselves contained what Alice Moore, a conservative member of the school board, called “anti-Christian and un-American themes”. For example, one of the books contained excerpts from Malcolm X’s autobiography. Many students were kept from school in order to boycott these books. In some cases, those in opposition to the books vandalized school buildings with Molotov bottles and dynamite. There was a large conservative and religious movement that sparked as a result of opposing these “anti-Christian” themes. The board eventually decided to keep most of the books while those more controversial books could only be checked out with a parent permission slip.

Source: http://www.wvencyclopedia.org/exhibits/13?section=1


In his address to the Riverside Church, MLK references the black population (he says poor prior, but in the following sentence immediately references black, the assumption being this is the population he was referring to) dying in “extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population”. A search on the Access to Archival Databases using the Defense Casualty analysis system identified 7,471 records from the Vietnam War for soldiers identifying as black. This is out of 58,222 total records the DCAS has for the Vietnam War. Using annual estimates from Historical Statistics of the United States, the population was approximately 200 million during the period of the Vietnam war and the African-American population was 23 million. This means that 11.5% of the population was responsible for 12.8% of the casualties.





“I join you in this meeting because I am in deepest agreement with the aims and work of the organization that brought us together, Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam.” – From reading 1. Martin Luther King Jr., Criticizes the Vietnam War (1967)”

In 1965, 100 clergy members came together in New York to talk about how they could take on the U.S. policy on Vietnam. “Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the few black members and the only member from the South.” The group opened its membership to laypeople and changed its name to the National Emergency Committee of Clergy and Laymen Concerned about Vietnam (CALCAV). Dr. King delivered two speeches on the subject of Vietnam. He was very excited to tell the people what he thought about it and had CALCAV set up a public event where he could “situate his position within the broader religious opposition to the war.” The event was held at Riverside Church in New York City on 4 April 1967. This speech drew over 3,000 people and “provided his most significant endorsement of the anti-war movement to date.”



In her appearance on Firing Line, Ann Scott mentions that Elizabeth Blackwell was the “2nd winner of the Congressional Medal of Honor” for “duty in the Civil War.” Blackwell, born in Bristol, England in 1821, moved to America with her family at the age of 11. After a close friend suggested that her pains would’ve been reduced had she been treated by a woman, Blackwell decided to pursue the medical career. She was accepted into the Geneva Medical College in New York state, and although faced with much opposition from her colleagues and the general public, she graduated with an M.D. in 1849. This was the first instance of a women graduating from an American medical school. Blackwell went on to set up an infirmary which “provided training and experience for women doctors and medical care for the poor” (Source 1). She moved back to England in 1869 and retired from her medical career in 1877. Blackwell died in 1910 due to complications from a stroke.

Contrary to what Scott said, Blackwell did not receive the Medal of Honor. The only woman to have ever done so was Mary E. Walker, who received it after her service as a medical surgeon during the Civil War. Maybe she got them confused.

Sources: 1) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_35.html, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_Blackwell, http://www.biography.com/people/elizabeth-blackwell-9214198, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Edwards_Walker and http://www.cmohs.org/ for the Congressional archives on the Medal of Honor.


Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prevents discrimination by “covered employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” However, the act only applies for employers with 15 or more employees.



The National Liberation Front was a resistance group in Southern Vietnam, supported by the Communist Party of North Vietnam. Their aim was to unite Vietnam as a singular communist country. The military unit of this organization was known as the Vietcong. The National Liberation Front absorbed communists in Southern Vietnam and reached out to other communist countries for assistance.

‘Martin Luther King, Jr., Criticizes the War (1967)’ Source: http://www.oxfordreference.com.ezproxy.rice.edu/view/10.1093/oi/authority.20110803100224353



UAW: United Auto Workers. It is a labor union founded 1935 and it played a major role in the liberal wing of the Democratic party, including the civil rights movement (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Auto_Workers)


The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a US federal law that amended the Fair Labor Standards Act, and aimed at ridding wage disparity based on gender. It was signed into law by President John F. Kennedy as part of the New Frontier program. The reasoning for the Equal Pay Act was that sex discrimination depresses wages and living standards for employees necessary for their health and efficiency, prevents the maximum utilization of the labor force, tends to cause labor disputes, thus obstructing commerce, it burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce, and constitutes an unfair method of competition. The law states that no employer shall discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees at a rate less than which he pays to employees of the opposite sex.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal_Pay_Act_of_1963


Answering Old Questions

Identify one of the Questions raised in earlier weeks that one of the assigned readings or media clips helps to answer. Then explain why you think this source sheds light on this specific question.


How have views or definitions of feminism changed over time? We can see from the minutes from the 1967 meeting of NOW, the feminist movement was one that was constructed of many competing ideas and ideologies. Within the minutes of just one feminist organization it is possible to see multiple viewpoints on the ERA (Equal Rights Act) as well as on issues of abortion. Funding and support is also an issue, suggesting that perhaps these organizations, and the feminine movement as a whole, are reliant and sometimes restricted by the need of support for outside groups. However, as we see in the letter from Esther Peterson in 1971, there was some movement from women who opposed the ERA to supporting the ERA, however, it is not clear whether there was an equal and opposite movement from those who supported the ERA. We can see in the 1973 Firing Line episode that clear divisions still remained, and therefore perhaps within this period feminism was not easily defined, and was perhaps a splintered movement.


These readings answer the question, “How have views of race and/or methods of racial discrimination changed over time?” at least to the extent that they shed light on some of the racial discrimination Martin Luther King Jr. was working to end in 1967. In his speech at the Riverside Church in 1967, King justifies his views of opposition to the war in Vietnam. Even though the Civil Rights Act and what he refers to as the “poverty program” had been passed three years prior, King points to the war in Vietnam as the reason these programs had not yet made a real difference in the lives of African Americans. He claims that the poverty program was “broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything on a society gone mad on war” and that American would not dispense the funding necessary to help the poor while it was sinking so much into the Vietnam war. He also states that young black men were being sent to Vietnam in “extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population” and criticizes the nation for sending “Negro and white boys” to fight and die alongside one another in a foreign country while back home they have been unable to attend school together. He also points to Vietnam for inspiring violence in the North in young men looking to bring about social change. Kings speech highlights just a few of the instances and effects of racial discrimination in America in the 1960s. As stated, these include the continued dejection of the poor (mostly African Americans) despite poverty programs being in place, a disproportionate amount of African American men being sent to fight the war, and violent methods employed by those frustrated with continued discrimination. These readings are only able to highlight a few instances of racial discrimination and its effects, and so cannot be said to fully answer the question of how it has changed over time. Further readings that highlight instances of discrimination before and following this period would be needed to more fully answer this question.


I would like to tackle the question of “what changes in society caused universities to discontinue affirmative action, given that it was viewed as necessary immediately after the Civil Rights movement”. After the Civil Rights movement, America went through a period of forced mixing. This included changing textbooks to make them more liberal and forcibly trying to improve the diversity of schools by bussing children not within the school district. I would argue that this caused a great backlash that mobilized a vocal conservative leadership throughout America. We saw these types of backlashes in the Busing riots or in the reaction to the change in textbooks in Kanawha. Public sympathy for Black Americans waned, and we had leaders like Valenti that were able to twist the language of the Civil Rights movement around so that it was in their favor. In this way, by the mid 1980’s, affirmative action policies were under fire.



Martin Luther King’s criticism of the Vietnam War adds an example to the foreign policy question concerning American military interventions in the past 150 years and the impact of those interventions on foreign nations’ perception of America. King asserts that the U.S. denied the Vietnamese independence, while supporting the French colonial claim on the region. When the French began failing at this effort, the U.S. began backing their war effort, eventually becoming the primary combat force in the area. This source does not, however, lend any evidence towards the question of changing perceptions of America within Vietnam. Answering this accurately would require further sources, although the abject failure in Vietnam was unlikely to improve U.S. standing there.


These sources are examples of America taking action in battle with out being attacked first, which in turn shows how America has attempted to play “World Police”. In the article Martin Luther King comments on the Vietnam War pointing out the fact that France was the first to be involved in the Vietnam War. Eventually America was the country to help fund and supply the French troops until eventually taking full on responsibility of the war. By first supplying the French and then taking over the battle shows how America has tried to play “World Police”. In this situation there was a negative attitude developed by countries that were not even involved in the war.


These sources give insight into the foreign policy of the United States during the 1960s and 1970s, particularly surrounding the Vietnam War. The Vietnam War was a prime example of the phrase ‘acting as the world police’ when it comes to United States interventionism. The war began as an attempt to prevent Communist takeover of Vietnam, however when the war continued without meaningful progress for over a decade, it became increasingly unpopular, as the objection by Martin Luther King Jr. and the attitudes of college students mentioned by Richard Brookhiser in his memoir. There is also a dichotomy between the attitudes of the soldiers directly fighting in the war and those giving the orders, as can be seen in the exceprt from Philip Caputo’s memoir about his time in Vietnam. His self appointed title of “officer in charge of the dead” clearly shows his attitude about his superiors’ attitude about keeping clean statistics about death and injury counts which in effect reduced the lives of the soldiers fighting to meaningless numbers. Also, the order to leave the enemy bodies exposed and unburied in their mangled condition for both the high ranking officials and the general soldiers to see showed some of the attitudes about demonization of the enemy. The war also gained unpopularity in the United States due to the draft, which disproportionately affected the poor, as claimed by Martin Luther King Jr. He believed that the war drew attention away from the civil rights issues which still needed to be fixed at home. As time went on, the war also became unpopular in Vietnam itself, with groups such as the Viet Cong being able to recruit widely from North and South Vietnam to prevent what they saw as an oppressive occupying army.


The NOW November 1967 meeting minutes shed some light on how definitions of feminism have changed over time. The minutes are dominated by debate over the support of two resolutions: one in support of the Equal Rights Amendment, and one endorsing unrestricted access to abortion.

Discussion of the Equal Rights Amendment centered mostly whether the organization should support the amendment publicly. There were no arguments made against the amendment, only against publicly supporting it, indicating that the majority of NOW members were behind the amendment. In this regard, feminism has not changed much since 1967: equal rights were and still are a central tenet of the movement. Public support of the amendment remained contentious as some were concerned that such support would prompt other organizations to withdraw their backing from NOW.

The debate on abortion is more varied. Again, questions about the support of external organizations were raised, but there were also voices of dissent concerning abortion itself. “NOW should not support pre-marital relations,” mentions one individual. Another: “I am against murder.” In contrast, access to abortion is supported by the vast majority of women’s rights advocates today. Support for contraception has clearly grown since 1967, perhaps as a result of greater scientific understanding.


“How have views or definitions of feminism changed over time?”

The minutes of one of the meetings of NOW helps provide some insight into this question. In the minutes, it is evident that some of the members of NOW have differing views of feminism than others. This is shown by the debate that follows the reading of the resolution calling for the ratification of the ERA. Some members are for the passing of the resolution, while others are against the resolution. The members against the resolution justify their choice by stating that the timing isn’t right, or because NOW will lose members and support, and other reasons. Providing a perspective outside of NOW’s members, a representative of the UAW recommends that the resolution not be passed, threatening to withdraw the UAW’s support of NOW if the resolution is passed. The discussion that was recorded in the minutes shows that there is dissent between members of pro-feminism groups. On one side, the people who are for the passing of the resolution could be seen as the more ‘radical’ members of the organization, while the people against it are the more ‘conservative’ members. This source provides no evidence as to what the views of feminism were from people who weren’t feminists, so this source does not paint a complete picture of the views of feminism in 1967. It does, however, provide insight into the views of the feminists themselves, which is probably overlooked more often than not.


We can use some of our sources to help answer the question, ‘What role did the reach of media and the changing ethos of the reporters play in public perceptions of stories about race, like the Rodney King beating or the Los Angeles riots?’ to some extent. We must first recognize that because our sources are limited, our ability to thoroughly answer the question is also limited. However, the 1975 WLKY video of the Kentucky Busing Riots can be analyzed in order to assess how the media shaped civilians’ opinions. The news clip portrayed the protestors as peaceful, and mentioned individual experiences of protestors who protected others when forces attacked them. It mentions arrests that were made by police, even though the event was a peaceful protest. Violent movie images of arrests further asserted the idea that reporters showed support for the civil rights movement, and used their resources to shine light on the unfairness that was evident in society. An agenda was clearly embedded within the act of ‘reporting the facts’. Public perceptions of race were almost certainly shaped by the media, and it obvious that in this case, the news source sought to support the civil rights movement; the scope of the media’s effect, however, is limited because of a lack of sources. We would need more news sources, and even op-eds and responses from the public, in order to make the claim that issues of race influenced those who followed the media during the 1970’s.


The combination of the NOW minutes and the Esther Peterson article at least tangentially addresses the question on how views of feminism have changed over time. The 1967 NOW minutes show mixed feelings about going to congress with an equal rights amendment… with resistance coming from hope maintain political allies. The 1971 letter from Esther Peterson, though a terribly small sample size, shows more readiness to take an equal rights amendment to congress. The tangential response comes in the form of a possible inference from this change after 4 years: view of feminism, or definitions of, became more aggressive as time passed. A better set of articles to discuss this would be an editorial on the feminist movement from both 1967 and 1971 as well as a transcript from congress addressing some women’s rights issue.


These sources help answer our questions about how changes in combat and war affected and changed American society. Philip Caputo’s memoir explicitly details the devastation experienced by the soldiers in the conflict and implicitly exhibits the inevitability of more systemic consequences of the war (Source 4). The Firing Line discussion about the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at Riverside Church demonstrate how the domestic effects of the war diverted attention and resources away from the equal and civil rights movements, a loss of support which may have caused Nebraska to rescind approval of the ERA (Firing Line, 1973) and may have helped prolong the effects of segregation by “taking the black young men… to guarantee liberties… which they had not found” (Source 1).


The Kanawha textbook controversy can provide a possible answer to the question “given that affirmative action was viewed as necessary immediately after the Civil Rights movement, what changed in society to make universities consider discontinuing it?” Although this case is not about universities it nonetheless gives an insight into the parents of rural students, a larger demographic that can give us more insight into the “society” aspect of the question. The textbook scenario shows a backlash against de facto segregation, where parents were upset that schools were pushing a point of view that they did not share. Whether or not the parents were supporters of desegregation, it is clear they opposed any attempt by the state to instill what they considered “non-patriotic” values in their children. This comes back to what we discussed in class Monday—many conservative Americans considered desegregation to have been enough, and the fight against de facto segregation is a controversial issue–with wide-ranging implications that many oppose vehemently.

Posing New Questions

Identify any new questions raised by the readings that have not come up in class. (Using information from the readings to revise or improve one of our previous questions is acceptable here, too.)


Dr. King was one of the most prominent figures of the Civil Rights Movement. Do movements become more successful when they are spearheaded by a leader that is viewed as such a champion?

Looking at the streaking craze of 1974, how do fads spread? Do they influence a generation’s culture?

How did the efforts to protect blacks from discrimination in the army lead to the protection of the rights of other racial groups?


Today, via technology, it is much easier for one to—literally and figuratively—“see the face of the enemy.” In the past, the government did not hesitate to utilize propaganda to demonize foreign war enemies (i.e. “Destroy this mad brute.”) How has technology affected Americans’ views on war (against foreign nations)?


Given Mr. Brookhiser’s characterization of Firing Line, that it provided the left a place to state their stance because “honor comes only from victory over worthy opponents,” why has the national media shifted towards a method of news where to opposite side is totally absent or represented by mere punching bags? why has the idea that the both sides need their say for one to win died?

Clearly the Vietnam war was bloody struggle unlike any war before it, but were there other factors that increased resistance to the war, and what were those factors? Both World Wars were far more deadly, so why was opposition to involvement in Vietnam more widespread?


beta 05

Martin Luther King believed that the violence occurring in Vietnam hurt the civil rights movement; believing that peaceful protest was the key to gaining ground in the movement, and that war would undermine peaceful protest. Was there evidence that after the end of the war peaceful protest made significant gains and made subsequent progress in civil rights? Or is there contrary evidence; e.g. the existence of groups like the Black Panther Party?

There was a large amount of polarization within NOW with respect to the Equal Rights Amendment. Some members believed that the strategy and timing was not right to attempt to pass it. Given that the proposal was originally written in 1923 and was not passed in Congress until 1972, was 1972 the right time to promote such a proposal? Should it have been earlier? Later? Could the ERA be passed today?


Given that Darwin’s Origin of Species was published in the 19th century, why did the “Great Textbook War” in West Virginia occur almost a century later? How has the American relationship with science in education developed – or decayed – over the last 150 years?

Given that the streaking “craze” of 1974 was widely cited as a mutated continuation of the rebellious movements of the 1960’s, were the events of the sixties predicated by a similar rebellious social movement in previous decades? How has social rebellion developed in American popular culture over the last 150 years?

Given how the Burger Court handicapped civil rights progress in the 1970’s 20 years after the Warren Court helped begin the movement, how has the SCOTUS’s control of progressive movements developed or shifted in the 19th and 20th centuries?


What role did the evolution of the media [transition from “three TV networks, plus public television” to modern-style news] play in the development of bipartisanship? [This question specifically stems from Buckley’s interview program and conservative influence]


Given that there was a great deal of evidence supporting the fact that the 5th and 14th amendments prohibited discrimination against women, why did the courts drag their feet on this matter, and thereby force women’s rights advocates to seek more radical forms of change?


Given Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech against the Vietnam War, he says that a few years prior to his speech, there was a shining moment of hope in the movement of civil rights. Therefore did the buildup in the Vietnam War in the 1960s have a negative impact on the civil rights movement during that time?


To what extent can we consider William Buckley the father of the modern conservative movement and, more specifically, its tactics (e.g. talk radio and the Fox News Network)?

In what ways did the campaign for the Equal Rights Amendment help to articulate and disseminate notions of gender equality and modern feminism?

How have the justifications for abortion rights and abortion prohibitions shifted over time? What led to the development of the contemporary pro-choice and pro-life positions?



Was the Vietnam War and its polarizing nature responsible for the observed political dealignment of the American electorate in 1968?

Was the Vietnam War as polarizing as it was because of civil rights turmoil, or would it have been as contentious at another point in our history?

Has the essence of the Equal Rights Amendment been realized in America or is it still a necessity? In short, does it matter that it didn’t get ratified?


Given that events such as the end of the controversial Vietnam War, the Watergate scandal, and Nixon’s resignation transpired earlier that decade, how did the publication of “A Rumor of War” in 1977 affect public opinion about the war and the American government?

How did the distinction between de jure and de facto segregation affect segregation and racial attitudes after the two were clarified in the ruling of Milliken v. Bradley (1974)? That is, how were racial attitudes affected because de facto segregation, or segregation, “concerning fact,” was ruled to be constitutional?

Given that Martin Luther King, Jr. was one of the most influential figureheads of the civil rights movement, how did his speech at Riverside Church affect the public opinion about the war? Did it have any sort of impact on the civil rights movement?