Rock & Roll Crossed Cultures

Many people believe that rock and roll had a strong influence on the Civil Rights Era because it crossed cultures. African Americans as well as white Americans often crossed paths when it came to enjoying music in public settings. This was easily noticed in the fashion and culture of these youth groups. For example, the types of cars that were purchased and who was considered “cool” was influenced by this music genre. Both groups started to dress alike. Like most music, people of all cultures and backgrounds could relate to the words of the song. There is a sense of redemption when someone else describes the same exact feelings that one may have. This genre also pushed the envelope with topics such as drugs and alcohol; topics considered as taboo for this generation.


Who knew that this music would allow African Americans to target a white audience and White Americans to target a black audience. Both white and black Americans were creating Rock & Roll music. There was a great hope that music would help with desegregation as both groups were having a shared experience. Some articles report that it gave teens and young adults a sense of identity in times of despair.


By the 1950’s, rock & roll had extended to radio and TV shows such as American Bandstand. Hairstyles, clothing, and rock & roll “slang” later followed the trends seen on TV. Teens and young adults felt empowered and began to rebel at home. There was also more social rebellion among race groups—some for and some against segregation.

By the 1960’s dances such as the twist and the jitterbug took center stage. By the mid 60’s rock & roll was now termed “rock” and a slow metamorphosis began to evolve.




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