African-American cultural history also referred to as Black-American culture is distinct and most influential to the American culture as a whole. It is a unique cultural body today. In the 1980s, this was historical timeline as many significant events took place during this period. This was a period of change in the American society. There was a change regarding education, culture and politics. It is with no doubt that this period was the period that led to improvement in technology and technological devices. The rise of social and economic issues was also vast. This was the era of bad politics that turned things around in the American society. During this period, there were positive things that were the breaking point for the African Americans, while they were negative things that also happened to the society. All this happenings were marked as significant as they distinguished this period with others.
In the 1980s, success seemed to be measured by much money one had Unliked in the 1960s. In the 1960s, Americans protested for reforms and demonstrated against the Vietnam War and fought for civil rights. Women also complained to gain equal treatment and the society believed a hero as the person who helped others. This was the opposite of the culture that existed in the 1980s. According to The Daily Princetonian, this period was President Reagan Revolution who implemented new budget cuts to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the division of civil rights of the Department of Justice which increased the public scrutiny for hiring and admission in the University.
A study conducted at the University of Colombia showed that during President Reagan political system, this period was characterized by the policies of President Reagan who stayed in office for eight years. It was during the early 1980s that there was the rise of the New Right which appealed to a variety of assortment of Americans, including anti-tax crusaders, evangelical Christians, advocates of smaller markets and defenders of the unrestricted free market. In his politics, Reagan fought the cold war, a communist group that threatened freedom everywhere by providing military and financial aid to insurgencies and anticommunists governments throughout the world.
In this period of 1980s, the economic status the American society was fragile. This was a result of the massive increase in the military spending during Reagan Administration which was $34 million an hour at this point he country was at its worst recession since the Great Depression. A total of nine people were unemployed, farmers lost their lands and people lost their homes. The economy of the country deteriorated and the federal government accumulated more debt than it had in history. According to Finkelman 2009, the 1980s marked the yuppie era which meant a baby boomer with a well-paying job, college education and expensive taste. Youths in the public profession were more interested in making money and buying consumer goods than their parents were. They were self-centered and materialistic.
In the entertainment industry, Michael Jackson released an album, Thriller which sold forty-five million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling album in music history. Movie theater also changed as it became the age of blockbuster. Movies like Beverly Hills cops appealed to the audience and made hundreds of million dollars at the box office. It is during this period that Vanessa Williams is crowned as Miss America being the first African- America to win such an award. January 20 was made a federal holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. The Cosby show starred by Will Cosby starred in television debut and is still popular. Also, the Oprah Winfrey talk show became popular and nationally syndicated.
During this era, drugs and violence increased with a total of 500,000 drug addicts of heroin, cocaine and IV users. This followed the introduction of crack leading to a drug economy at $150 billion. The blacks represented a fifteen percent of the drug users and a thirty-seven percent arrest on drug addicts. According to the U.S Department of Justice on Homicide Trends in the U.S, drug use has continually increased from 1980 to 2008. There was also a cultural manifestation of Gangster Rap known as Cultures of Death. In conclusion, 1980 was an era of total change both positively and negatively. Starting from the political era of Reagan, Economic recession, Cultural system, entertainment industry to the drug use, this era was one not to be forgotten. The 1980s was an era that brought much change in the American society as well as the world at large. Change is inevitable and it must be anticipated at some time in life, either negative or positive it is for the betterment of the society.
Finkelman, Paul. Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Internet resource.
U.S Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Homicide Trends in the U.S, 1980-2008. WebMD. Nov 2011.
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