In Chicago, in October 1956, we had a difficult time finding affordable housing. The practice of blockbusting by real estate agents encouraged white property owners to sell their houses at a loss, by fraudulently implying that racial, ethnic, or religious minorities — blacks, Hispanics, Jews et al. — were moving into their previously racially segregated neighborhood, and so would depress real estate property values. Sometimes they would even hire Black people to walk around a neighborhood to scare white people into selling. White people were terrified about Black people moving into "their" neighborhood. (Sounds almost like the town hall people who want to take back "their" country.) A community could "turn" almost overnight from white to Black.
Mob rule cannot be allowed to override the decisions of our courts....
Whenever normal agencies prove inadequate to the task and it becomes necessary for the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to use its powers and authority to uphold Federal Courts, the President’s responsibility is inescapable. In accordance with that responsibility, I have today issued an Executive Order directing the use of troops under Federal authority to aid in the execution of Federal law at Little Rock, Arkansas. This became necessary when my Proclamation of yesterday was not observed, and the obstruction of justice still continues.
It is important that the reasons for my action be understood by all our citizens. As you know, the Supreme Court of the United States has decided that separate public educational facilities for the races are inherently unequal and therefore compulsory school segregation laws are unconstitutional....
On September 25, the nine students finally successfully entered the school. However, they were subjected to vicious physical and verbal abuse by students, parents, and community people and all but one, Minnijean Brown, graduated. She was suspended, not because of something she did, and transferred to a high school in New York.
- The Korean War (1950-1953)
- The Red Scare and anti-Communist hysteria of the McCarthy era.
- The U.S. reaction to the 1957 launch by the Soviet Union of the Sputnik satellite, a major milepost of the Cold War.
- Francis Crick and James D. Watson discover the helical structure of DNA at the Cavendish Laboratory at the University of Cambridge.
- Polio vaccine developed.
- Suez Canal crisis.
- Emmett Till is murdered in Money, MS for allegedly whistling at a white woman.
- Althea Gibson becomes the first African American tennis player to win a major title by winning both the women's singles and doubles championships at Wimbledon.
- Lorraine Hansberry's Raisin in the Sun is the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway.
- Chuck Berry travels from St. Louis to Chicago, recording Maybellene, an immediate sensation among teenagers. The hit helps shape the evolution of rock and roll.
- Fullback Jim Brown begins his professional football career with the Cleveland Browns. He leads the National Football League in rushing for eight of his nine seasons.
- Singer Ray Charles records What'd I Say, which becomes his first million-seller, and exemplifies the emergence of soul music, combining rhythm and blues with gospel.
- Motown Records is founded in Detroit, MI by Berry Gordy, Jr.
- Baseball player Ernie Banks is named the National League's Most Valuable Player for a second consecutive season.