Highlights from 1954

Supreme Court rules that race-based segregation in schools is unconstitutional
Sen. Joseph McCarthy conducts nationally televised inquiries into communist infiltration of the Army; his activities inspire a backlash and a condemnation by the Senate
Soviet Union rejects proposals to reunify Germany
CIA intervenes in Guatemala, helping to overthrow government
U.S. Southeast Asian and Pacific nations form the Southeast Asian Treaty Organization (SEATO)
Radical Puerto Rican nationalists attack House of Representatives, shooting five congressmen
U.S. and Canada begin construction of an early-warning radar system in northern Canada

New York Stock Exchange prices reach their highest level since 1929

Increasing global concern about nuclear fallout and radioactive waste disposal
Dr. Jonas Salk begins inoculating schoolchildren with his polio vaccine
Physicist and nuclear pioneer J. Robert Oppenheimer dismissed from government projects due to his political beliefs
First successful kidney transplant

World Series: New York Giants over Cleveland, 4-0
Philadelphia Athletics move to Kansas City
Sports Illustrated debuts

Movies: On the Waterfront, Rear Window, The Seven Samauri
Songs: Hernando's Hideaway, Three Coins in a Fountain, Mister Sandman, Young at Heart
TV Shows: Jack Benny Show, Adventures of Rin Tin Tin, George Gobel Show, Mr. Wizard, Disneyland
Books: A Stillness at Appomattox, Bruce Catton; The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien; Lord of the Flies, William Golding
First annual Newport Jazz Festival held

29 million U.S. households have television sets, double the number in service three years before
Billy Graham leads an increasing interest in Christian revival meetings
Davy Crockett becomes a national fad; sales of "coonskin" caps soar

Sales of comic books reach 20 million copies a month
The phrase "under God" added to the Pledge of Allegiance

Highlights from 1955

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads the first major event of the U.S. civil rights movement, a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama
President Eisenhower suffers heart attack, is hospitalized for three weeks
World War II Allies sign treaty restoring Austria's independence
Interstate Commerce Commission orders all U.S. interstate trains and buses to end segregation practices

The AFL and CIO labor unions merge

UHF television developed
Artificial diamonds created for the first time
Albert Einstein dies

World Series: Brooklyn over New York Yankees, 4-3
"Sugar" Ray Robinson wins world boxing championship

Movies: Marty, The Seven Year Itch, The Rose Tattoo, Smiles of a Summer Night
Songs: Rock Around the Clock, The Yellow Rose of Texas, Davy Crockett, Love is a Many Splendored Thing
TV Shows: Truth or Consequences, Lawrence Welk Show, The Honeymooners, Gunsmoke, Name that Tune, $64,000 Question, Lassie, You'll Never Get Rich
Books: The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, Sloan Wilson; Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov; Witness for the Prosecution, Agatha Christie

Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California
Rudolph Flesch publishes Why Johnny Can't Read, a stinging criticism of U.S. education

Pink clothes for men become a fashion rage

Highlights from 1956

Dwight Eisenhower re-elected President, defeating Adlai Stevenson handily for a second time
Soviet leader Khrushchev publicly denounces Stalin, begins official policy of "de-Stalinization" in the USSR
Egypt seizes Suez Canal; Britain and France respond with force; U.S. and Soviet Union help negotiate a cease-fire
Israel invades Sinai Peninsula
Soviet troops suppress a popular uprising against the communist regime in Hungary
Congress approves Highway Act, which allows for construction of the U.S. interstate highway system
Fidel Castro begins revolution in Cuba
Italian ocean liner Andrea Doria sinks after colliding with another vessel

Atomic Energy Commission approves development of commercial nuclear power plants
IBM founder Thomas J. Watson dies

First transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation
Dr. Albert Sabin develops oral polio vaccine

World Series: New York Yankees over Brooklyn, 4-3
Olympic Games held in Melbourne, Australia

Movies: The Ten Commandments, Lust for Life, Around the World in 80 Days, The Man with the Golden Arm, The Seventh Seal
Songs: Don't Be Cruel, Blue Suede Shoes, Hound Dog, I Could Have Danced All Night, On the Street Where You Live
TV Shows: Danny Thomas Show, Perry Como Show, Ed Sullivan Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, December Bride, This is Your Life
Books: Peyton Place, Grace Metalious; Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy; The Last Hurrah, Edwin O'Connor; The Organization Man, W.H. Whyte
Rock and roll becomes a national phenomenon, fueled by the popularity of Elvis Presley
My Fair Lady opens in New York
Grace Kelly marries Monaco's Prince Rainier III
Artist Jackson Pollock dies

Interstate highway system authorized, helping to fuel a long-term trend toward the populating of suburban communities, often at the expense of established urban neighborhoods