United States and American History: 1955

About the history of the United States in 1955, anti-communist sentiment continues, Rock around the Clock ushers in Rock 'n' Roll, Emmett Till is killed and Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat.


--Bishop Fulton Sheen said: "The communist loves nothing better than to be arrested. But he is not like the martyr for the faith. St. Joan of Arc did not like being tied to a stake; a communist does."

--An animal hospital in Massachusetts fired a direct descendant of Nathan Hale because she invoked the 5th Amendment rather than sign a loyalty oath.

--Harvey Matusow, a frequent witness testifying against leftists before the House Un-American Activities Committee, announced that he had done it for the money and that he had consistently lied.

--Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock" was the music for the film Blackboard Jungle, about juvenile delinquents. This was a major factor in stimulating the popularity of rock 'n' roll.

Jan. 1 American aid to South Vietnam, amounting to $216 million in 1955, began.

Aug. 28 Emmett Till, a black 14-year-old, was kidnapped by 2 white men from his uncle's home in LeFlore County, Miss. It had been rumored that the youngster had "whistled at a white woman." Four days later, Emmett Till's body, tied in barbed wire, was recovered from the Tallahatchie River. An all-white, all-male jury acquitted the 2 men accused of the crime.

Oct. 4 The Brooklyn Dodgers finally defeated the New York Yankees in the World Series.

Dec. Mrs. Rosa Parks, a black woman coming home from work, refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Ala., city bus to a white man; she was arrested. Two days later the Montgomery bus boycott began, forcing the desegregation of public transportation facilities. The boycott was led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who had arrived in Montgomery a few months earlier. Dr. King advocated non violent, direct action instead of a purely legal strategy of filing law suits.

Dec. 5 The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations merged, with George Meany presiding as president.

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