Reel History

My Impressions of the Course

Most Interesting Topic Discussed in Class: Civil Rights

The most interesting topic in this class by far was the Civil Rights Movement. The movies we watched during this section involved things that aren't usually discussed in normal history classes. The struggle of African Americans, not only in the South but in the North, and the role of Islam in the Civil Rights Movement (Malcolm X) is never usually discussed in depth. Learning new things and different perspectives on the Civil Rights Movement is what made this unit so interesting.
Racism, School Desegregation Laws and the Civil Rights Movement in the United States

Least Interesting Topic Discussed in Class: Nixon/Watergate

Maybe because I wasn't here for parts of Frost v. Nixon, I didn't find this topic very interesting. Richard Nixon's resignment from office and the Watergate scandal, I'm sure, caused a lot of distrust in America. However, I'm not sure it's impact was greater than Vietnam or the Cold War.

How has this time period shaped the U.S. and my way of thinking?

"Modern America", the only America I have ever known, is a strange and hypocritical yet motivating and inspirational place. The Cold War caused everyone to become suspicious and threatened to cause nuclear war, but expanded our intelligence through organizations such as the CIA. The Civil Rights Movement and awareness of such events as displayed in Mississippi Burning did monumentous things for minorities in our country, yet enabled colleges to refuse scholarships to foreigners based on the fact that they're Caucasian. Vietnam caused distrust to the government and thousands of young men to die, but strengthened America in the long run. Watergate added to that distrust. By the end of the Cold War, America was uniting again and offering support like that displayed in Miracle to U.S. teams against the Soviets in the Olympic Games. 9/11 was a terrible disaster that knocked us on our feet, but made us more aware of other groups and bought us together. Overall, this topic of "Modern America" has made me more aware of the world around me. The shady things that no one ever wants to talk much about (The Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Watergate, etc.) were brought more into the light. However, one of the most important things that I've learned in this class is the amount of creative license directors and writers will take when portraying historical events.

How has my view been altered or shaped?

I don't think this class has shaped or altered my view on the United States as mush as it has been informative. This class has backed up the idea that everything is the way it is now because of how it had been previosly. The United States didn't just spring up in this position and it most definitely will not stay in this condition. It was shaped by all of these time periods (Cold War, Civil Rights Movement, Vietnam, Watergate, 9/11, etc.) and the events that happened within them.

1945 v. Now

I believe that the United States is in better condition now than it was in 1945. As much distrust and scrutiny that America is experiencing now, I'm sure, is nothing close to what it was then. Of course, I don't think I could give a certain answer on that unless I had actually been there and experienced it for myself.