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Social change is an important subject in every society. In America this issue occupies a crucial position in the history and culture of the people. Historically, various individuals played essential roles in shaping the social aspects of the American culture. Some of the prominent personalities that influenced the social landscape in the country include Kenneth Clark, Harvey Milk, and Katherine Hepburn. These individuals had different issues and methods in relation to the subject of change. Additionally, the media played an important role in influencing their approaches towards societal problems.
Kenneth Clark was born in Panama in 1914 before his parents moved to New York. He started his elementary education in Harlem. In 1931 Clark joined the Howard University after he graduated from high school with extraordinary grades. He pursued a degree in psychology. At Howard, his professor made him understand how racial discrimination influenced human interaction and behavior. In 1936, Clark pursued a doctorate in psychology and became the first black student to graduate from the University of Columbia with a doctorate. He left a teaching a job at Howard and started his own school in Virginia, which was a small college that targeted the African-American students. Clark also worked as a professor at the New York City College (Phillips 141).
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Apart from a successful career, Kenneth Clark played an important role in the transformation of societal views towards the issues of segregation and racism. He used a different approach to confront the social problem. Due to his background in psychology, he became aware of the fact that racism had serious impacts on the self-image of the African-American youths. He responded to the problem through the establishment of the youth community programs and projects. These centers provided avenues for experiments on the issue of racism. For example, the famous experiment, which involved black and white dolls, indicated that racial discrimination negatively affected the self-image of black youths.
Clark also used the media to propagate his goals. He published several books and articles that informed the American society about the negative effects of segregation and racial discrimination. Kenneth Clark used research and publications to portray this social evil. Assessment of the research and experiment methods used by Clark in the modern society would focus on the objectives of the methods and the number of people who were influenced. Kenneth used publications, experiments, and research. However, these methods could not target as wide audience as the social media of the modern world (Phillips 141).
Katherine Hepburn was a famous actress in America. She was born in 1907 in Connecticut. In 1924 Hepburn graduated from the Bryn Mawr College. Katherine Hepburn made her first appearance in the acting sector while she was still in college. She played many roles in college dramas and later moved to Baltimore, where Edwin Knopf recruited her to his theatre. In 1928 Hepburn secured a job at the Cort Theatre. She acted as the lead understudy in two plays organized by the company. Her first movie appearance was in 1932, when she played in the film A Bill of Divorcement. Katherine Hepburn had a successful career as an actress. She made appearances in many genres and won many awards (Comstock 23).
This individual used her position as an actress to bring the issue of homosexuality to the public attention. For instance, a close relationship between her and other female actors highlighted the subject at a time when Americans did not tolerate homosexuality. Katherine Hepburn brought the subject into the mainstream media through her provocative attitudes. Her acting roles communicated the important themes of interracial marriages, women empowerment, and alcohol addiction. She was the first woman to bring the feminist issues to the public concern of the movie sector. Her roles in the industry transformed the public attitude towards gender. She not only exhibited independence, but also acted against the stereotyped conventions about women. Katherine Hepburn was the firrst woman to wear trousers at a time when the society did not tolerate this practice. Despite her fame, Katherine was against the public media. She hated the media’s concerns about her private life. The negative attitude towards the media raises questions about the effectiveness of her intentions to spread the message of change (Comstock 24).
Harvey Milk was an American politician from San Francisco. He was born in New York in 1930. Harvey attended the Bay Shore School and graduated from the University of Albany. He later served in the American Navy. After he left the military, Harvey Milk worked as a company supervisor for one year before joining politics. Milk became the first American politician to publicly campaign for gay rights. In 1977 Harvey Milk managed to secure a position in San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. This individual came to power at a stage when most Americans socially and legally discriminated gay people on the basis of sexual orientation (Arethra 13).
Based on the history of most minority groups in America, Harvey Milk knew that the only way to attain equality for gay people was through the election of a gay leader. He sought to promote legal arrangements that could support gay people and eliminate sexual stereotypes held against this group. His efforts earned him a presidential award and recognition as the first American leader to defend the rights of the homosexuals. Milk relied on his great oratory skills to mobilize action against discrimination of minority groups in the American society. He also used outreach activities to pass the information to the target audience. The media played a crucial role in communicating Milk’s intentions to the public. However, some of his strategies attracted criticism. For instance, he mobilized consumer boycotts for certain products and organized mass demonstrations (Arethra 13).
All things considered, the strategies used by these three personalities mainly conformed to the nature of the problem at hand. They used contemporary media to spread their message and shape the public opinion.