Primary Source Learning: Postwar United States (1945-1968) Primary Source Set

Women farm workers on the picket line in 1966
Have students use the primary sources in this set to tell a story about the period 1945-1968. The wartime economy led to new economic prosperity for the United States and expanded opportunities for many, but certainly not all its citizens. As a result, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American women took up the fight for civil rights and equality. This was also the era that spawned the Cold War. The story about era featuring the best of times and worst of times may be in digital or print form. It could be nonfiction, fiction, poetry, or even a song. Click on each thumbnail image below to access the full size primary source. You may also use this primary set for a found poetry activity (click the previous link). Be sure to take a look at the Postwar United States timeline as well as associated lesson plans (see below).

Korean Conflict Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower watching a television during the Republican National Convention, Chicago, Illinois

Eisenhowers watching TV- Republican Convention

John F. Kennedy motorcade, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963

John F. Kennedy motorcade Nov. 22, 1963

Fidel Castro, president of Cuba, at a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly

Fidel Castro, president of Cuba at the United Nations

William G. Stroud of NASA, project manager of the TIROS I, displaying the satellite circuitry to Lyndon B. Johnson and others

NASA displaying satellite circuitry to President LBJ

Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara pointing to a map of Vietnam at a press conference

Defense Sec. Robert McNamara-Vietnam map

Wounded servicemen arriving from Vietnam at Andrews Air Force Base Wounded Vietnam vets- Andrews Air Force Base Martin Luther King press conference

Martin Luther King press conference

Negro demonstration in Washington, D.C. Justice Dept. Bobby Kennedy speaking to crowd

Bobby Kennedy speaking at Negro demonstration

Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial

Black Panther Convention, Lincoln Memorial

White House wedding. Pres. Nixon with Tricia

White House wedding President Nixon with Tricia

Reverend Jessee [i.e., Jesse] Jackson's march for jobs -- around the White House

Reverend Jesse Jackson’s march for jobs

Gen. Douglas MacArthur's Gen. Douglas MacArthur: “Old Soldiers Never Die” address to Congress Daisy Bates to Roy Wilkins, December 17, 1957, on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine Daisy Bates to Roy Wilkins: on the treatment of the Little Rock Nine Notes, William O. Douglas to Earl Warren, 11 May 1954; Harold H. Burton to Warren, 17 May 1954; and Felix Frankfurter to Warren, 17 May 1954, concerning Chief Justice Warren's decision in Brown v. Board of Education
Chief Justice Warren’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education
John F. Kennedy Excerpts from various addresses John F. Kennedy quotes While the shadow lengthensMarshall Plan: While the Shadow Lengthens (note) Here's another one for you
Poll tax: “Here’s another one for you” (source record)

Settlement primary source set

American Revolution primary source set

Young Nation primary source set

Expansion & Reform primary source set

Civil War & Reconstruction primary source set

Industrial America primary source set

Progressive Era primary source set

Great Depression & World War II Primary Source Set