Congress passed the Federal Highway Act, allocating $32 billion to build 41,000 miles of interstate highways. Interstate construction was enacted not only because of Americans’ growing dependence on automobiles but also as a national defense measure, creating a nationwide transportation network for the US military.
Entrepreneur William J. Levitt began building the largest housing project in American history. On a thousand acres on Long Island, Levitt built 17,000 homes to accommodate approximately 82,000 people. Levitt soon began constructing houses using assembly-line techniques to produce many more “Levittowns,” a model for suburban planning that proliferated throughout the United States in the 1950s.
Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first fast food restaurant in San Bernardino, California. McDonald’s used an assembly-line-type process in its “Speedee Service System,” creating a new model for fast and cheap restaurant food production.
Lorraine Hansberry’s play A Raisin in the Sun opened on Broadway to great success and interest. The play told the story of a black Chicago family trying to move out of the city and into an all-white neighborhood.
Ninety-six members of the House and Senate signed the “Southern Manifesto” condemning the Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education and declaring that the decision would have the effect of “destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through ninety years of patient effort by the good people of both races.”
Congress adopted a policy of “termination” toward American Indians with the intention of “as rapidly as possible mak[ing] Indians within the territorial limits of the United States subject to the same laws and entitled to the same privileges and responsibilities as are applicable to other citizens of the United States.”