From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

From Boomers to Millennials: A Modern US History Podcast

A modern U.S. history podcast about the events that spanned the Baby Boomer generation’s lifespan & that are still relevant to people today, especially to Millennials. Unlike some history podcasts, this podcast follows the national story in a chronological manner, starting in 1946. Most episodes are around a half-hour to 45 minutes in length. Each episode covers one year, possibly going all the way up to the present. You can e-mail the show here, we would love your feedback!: boomertomillennial @t outlook.com

Episodes

January 3, 2024 15 mins

Although the majority of white Southerners were staunchly opposed to racial integration during the 1950 & 60s, there were a few mavericks who held a different point of view.  One of these was Big Jim Folsom, who successfully ran for Governor of Alabama in 1946, and again in 1954.  Gov. Folsom gained popularity by challenging the corruption and selfishness of the wealthy elites who dominated state politics.  He became known for ...

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In the long-awaited next episode in our Kennedys series, we explore how JFK went from a relatively obscure rookie senator to a viable presidential candidate. We document his imperfect but glamorous marriage to Jacqueline Bouvier, his controversial refusal to censure Joe McCarthy, and his continued battle with health problems. We also explore how the publication of Jack's award-winning book "Profiles in Courage," and ...

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This episode examines the first 10-minute profile subject who was born outside of the United States. Hannah Arendt was born to a secular Jewish middle-class family in Germany, and as a young woman she was an academic prodigy. She entered university to study philosophy, and engaged in an affair with a famous professor, Martin Heidegger. By the late 20s, Arendt broke up with Heidegger and completed her academic studies. During the ea...

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January 30, 2023 48 mins

In 1961, an multiracial group of intrepid "Freedom Riders" attempted to desegregate bus stations in some of the most militantly segregationist parts of the Deep South. These courageous civil rights activists, including John Lewis, Diane Nash, Jim Zwerg, and James Peck, encountered shocking violence in the State of Alabama. A bus they were taking was burned down, and several Riders were bloodied & beaten by organized v...

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In our latest profile episode, we provide an overview of the life of pastor & public intellectual Reinhold Niebuhr, who was something we rarely see today - a clergyman who became an important figure on the political Left. Niebuhr led a Protestant church in Detroit, Michigan during the 1910s & 1920s. From his pulpit, he spoke out against the Ku Klux Klan and in favor of organized labor. During the 1940s & 1950s, Niebuhr ...

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In this profile, we shift gears to examine the life of someone who was an outsider to mainstream America during the mid-20th Century, but who nevertheless found a way to make a major impact as an activist and organizer. Bayard Rustin was born to an African-American family of Quakers in Pennsylvania who were heavily involved in the NAACP.  After being kicked out of college, Rustin pursued a singing career in New York City during the...

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This episode debuts a new format of very brief profiles of interesting historical figures that we haven't given sufficient attention to in regular episodes. Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. is a prime example of the Northeastern elites who had a disproportionate (albeit declining) amount of power in mid-20th Century America. Both of Lodge Junior's parents were descended from Republican Senators, so you could say politics was in thei...

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Season 3 of our podcast begins with the next chapter of the Kennedy saga, as Rep. John F. Kennedy manages to knock off powerful incumbent Republican Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. in the 1952 Massachusetts U.S. Senate race. The secret ingredient in that victory was  JFK's tenacious & combative younger brother, Robert F. Kennedy (often known as "RFK" or "Bobby"), who served as his campaign manager. RFK ha...

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February 22, 2022 32 mins

In January 1961, new President John F. Kennedy said in his Inaugural Address that the American people were ready to "bear any burden" and "pay any price" in order to fight for global freedom, which he argued was being threatened by the Communist bloc. That price soon turned out to include a new taxpayer-funded military buildup when Congress approved increased government spending upon nuclear missile production. ...

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This episode examines the origins of John F. Kennedy's political career, considering his youthful health problems & his sibling rivalry with his older brother Joe Junior. JFK was a charming, irreverent, & popular young man, although he struggled with chronic pain & health difficulties that prevented him from matching the accomplishments of his older brother, who was a standout student & athlete. Both brothers g...

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This supplemental series examines the continued obsessions many Americans have with the Kennedy political dynasty, ranging from Oliver Stone's 1991 hit movie "JFK" to the current QAnon conspiracy theorists' preoccupation with the idea that certain Kennedys faked their deaths. This episode provides background to the rise of Kennedy political family by focusing on the controversial career of Joseph P. Kennedy, Sen...

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A new wave of civil rights activism during the year 1960 indicated that social activist movements would be more aggressive during the Sixties than they had been during the previous decade. A sit-in at a lunch counter by four black college students in Greensboro, North Carolina gained national attention, & the nonviolent protest tactic spread around the country in the months that followed, successfully pushing many private busin...

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In May 1960, the USSR shot down a US spy plane trespassing in their airspace, & the Soviets captured its American pilot, Francis Gary Powers. This international incident increased tensions between the superpowers, & it spoiled peace negotiations between President Dwight Eisenhower & Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. However, the Americans did eventually succeed in negotiations to get the Soviets to release the imprisone...

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This episode begins with a few stray observations exploring topics mentioned in recent episodes, including the Cuban Revolution, neoliberalism, the Capitol Riot, & the popularity of conspiracy theories. The main narrative of the program explores the early history of rock 'n roll. We discuss how rock music became big business by the late 50s, despite accusations from conservative forces that the new sound was an immoral &am...

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This show summarizes all of our past episodes so far, providing our listeners with a refresher course on life in the USA during the Truman & Eisenhower Administrations (from 1946 to 1959). This episode will be a good resource for anyone who just wants a "Cliff Notes" or "Spark Notes" version of this mid-century era of Modern US History. By listening to this episode, you will get all the general backstory &am...

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April 30, 2021 37 mins

This episode first examines the Great Leap Forward in China, an instance of bad Maoist policies creating mass starvation. We then discuss diplomatic exchanges between the superpowers in 1959, including the Kitchen Debate between Khrushchev & Nixon, as well as the Soviet Premier's cordial visit to the USA later that same year. But the main portion of our program explores the causes, consequences, & legacy of a dramatic ...

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After spending our last episode discussing the rise of Cold War Liberalism, we take time out from our historical narrative during this special supplemental episode to explain the origins of the "liberal" political label, to identify why it became widely popular during the mid-20th-Century US, & to track how the term became so stigmatized by the American Right (& also the Far Left) that it has declined in popularit...

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In 1958, Pres. Eisenhower grew fearful that Middle Eastern revolutions were posing a threat to America's military & economic interests, so he flexed US muscles by sending troops to Lebanon in what turned out to be an uneventful beachside deployment. Vice-President Nixon received a menacing reception while on tour in South America. In domestic politics, the big story of the late 50s was the rise of Cold War Era Liberalism, ...

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After a brief reflection on troubling recent events in the USA, this episode looks back at a seemingly simpler time - Dwight D. Eisenhower's second term as President. By the late 1950s, Cold War pressures led the US government to build major defense & infrastructure projects, to invest heavily in education & scientific research, & to undertake modest steps in the direction of greater racial equality.  The Interstat...

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The key events of 1956 include a civil rights milestone, a presidential election, & an international crisis. The 1955 lynching of black teenager Emmett Till in Mississippi was just one manifestation of Southern resistance to the challenge to white supremacy posed by desegregation. More organized defenses of Jim Crow also formed, ranging from the plebeian (Ku Klux Klan) to the patrician (White Citizens' Councils; US Senate ...

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