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Feminist Chronicles - 1956

Events

Martin Luther King emerged as the key Black civil rights leader. (1956)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregation on buses violated the Constitution. (1956)


Lifestyles

Actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco-the favorite fairy tale of the 50s. (04/19/56)


Education

Autherine Juanita Lucy, 26, became the first Afro-American ever admitted to a white public school or university. In less than a week she was suspended because her presence incited violence from a white mob. (02/20/56)


Economic

The number of women in the work force had jumped from 8.5 million in 1947 to almost 13 million this year. (1956)

Reka Hoff, a lawyer, responded to an attack by Sloan Wilson on "The Woman in the Gray Flannel Suit," asserting that career women were forced to keep justifying themselves: "If unmarried, their career is designated a 'substitute' for marriage; if married, their career is designated a 'substitute' for motherhood; if a mother, their career brands them as selfish and neglectful." Hoff declared that although she was a member of a minority group as a career woman, she was neither "neurotic" nor the "compulsive half-woman" Sloan Wilson had written about. (1956)


Media

Life magazine published interviews with five male psychiatrists who believe female ambition was the root of mental illness in wives, emotional upsets in husbands and homosexuality in boys. (1956)

The Organization Manby William Whyte was published. (1956)

Marilyn Monroe was 20th Century-Fox's biggest box office attraction. (1956)

President Eisenhower was the first president to conduct a televised news conference. (1956)

Peyton Place by Grace Metalious was a best-seller. (1956)


The Backlash

The first lobotomy in the U. S. was performed at George Washington (DC) University Hospital on a 63-year old woman. The controversial operation was looked upon by some surgeons as a cure for the "mad housewife" syndrome. (09/14/56)

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