Free Screening of: Lavender Scare Movie
Maya Theaters * Salinas
Monday, October 8, 2018
Time: 6:00 pm
Part of the Salinas Big Read program sponsored by the National Steinbeck Center.
- Increase your knowledge of the 1950s in U.S. History
- Suitable for all ages – from Grade 5 and older.
- Aligned with California History Social Science Framework and state standards
- Teachers! Provide extra credit for your students. See lesson plan and background info below.
Synopsis of the movie and The Lavender Scare time period: The 1950s was a time of fear for many people in the U.S. There were anti-Communism beliefs that is known as the Red Scare or McCarthyism that resulted in Congressional hearings and outing people who were thought to be Communists. There was fear about Russia, because they were the first country to successfully launch an unmanned satellite known as Sputnik into space in 1957. And there were anti-homosexual beliefs now known as the “Lavender Scare” that were hidden from history until the publishing of the book by the same name in 2009. The Lavender Scare partially began with the signing of Executive Order 10450 in 1953 by President Dwight Eisenhower that stated that homosexuals were “security risks.” The executive order, combined with congressional reports and actions, resulted in the outing of thousands of people who loss their government jobs because they were thought to be homosexual. The movie provides an excellent explanation of the Lavender Scare told by the people who were there, and includes interviews with some of the people who were impacted by various government agencies at the time.
PreMovie Lesson Plan – The Lavender Scare – Grades 5-12.
- 5th standard connection: Colonial era or Revolutionary War contrast with the Lavender Scare.
- 6th / 7th / 10th standards connection: persecution of people in Ancient civilizations contrasted with persecuted people in the 1950s in the U.S.
- 8th standard connection: Many different opinions about the development of the U.S. Constitution were voiced in the 1800s. What are some contrasting opinions voiced during the Lavender Scare in the 1950s?
- 11th standard connection: Following World War II was a containment period that gave rise to the Cold War, Red Scare and Lavender Scare. Compare and contrast these events. Alignment with 11th grade U.S. history standards.
Overview: The Lavender Scare took place during the 1950s during the same time that is known as the “Red Scare.” Lawmakers in the government promoted fear of Communism and fear of gay and lesbian people working in the government, in the military and in various companies in the U.S.
Quick Lesson Steps:
- Questions to Ask: Can you think of any events or decisions in American or world history that caused people to react and make laws against a group of people? What do you think causes people to do this?
- Show / Do:
a) Give some background about the Lavender Scare.
b) Show a short video clip about the Lavender Scare.
- YouTube Interview with Josh Howard, Director of the Film (2 min. 30 seconds)
- YouTube Interview with a woman who was dismissed from military service during the 1950s (2 min 4 seconds)
- If time, listen or read this NPR article about a woman in California who was released from military service in the 1950s but sued the military and got military reinstatement at the age of 90 in 2018.
- Reflection: How would you describe the Lavender Scare? What were people afraid of in the 1950s? What groups of people were targeted by the government during the 1950s as being “security risks” ?
Other Lesson Plan Resources
- Detailed lesson plan (grades 8-11) from the UC Berkeley History Social Science Project
- Alignment with Ca History Social Standards and Framework
- Lavender Scare Movie
- National Archives “Congressional Investigations and the Lavender Scare“
- NPR January 2018 article: Helen Grace James earns military reinstatement in 2018, at the age of 90, after being released from the military during the Lavender Scare.
- YouTube Video Clips about the Lavender Scare.
- Book: Johnson, David K. (2006). The Lavender Scare: The Cold War Persecution of Gays and Lesbians in the Federal Government.
- Association for Diplomatic Training and Studies. “The Lavender Scare: Homosexuals in the State Department.” 2015. http://adst.org/2015/09/the-lavender-scare-homosexuals-at-the-state-department/
- Huffington Post. “The Lavender Scare: Homosexuals in the State Department.” February 2, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adst/the-lavender-scare-homose_b_8179498.html
- National Archives. Executive Order 10450–Security requirements for Government employment. April 27, 1953. http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/codification/executive-order/10450.html
- U.S. Congress (81st). “Employment of Homosexuals and Other Sex Perverts in Government.” December 15, 1950. https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/09cv229
- Wooledge, Scott. “Today in History: State Department Reveals Purge of 91 Homosexuals.” The Daily Kos. February 28, 2012. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/2/28/1069129/-Today-in-history-State-Department-reveals-purge-of-91-homosexuals
- U.S. Congressional Hearing. McCarthy-Army Hearings. June 9, 1954. https://youtu.be/oc6Yo3A7CC8
- Sedition Act, Red Scare and Palmer Raids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3QrfEdEWMo