Dave asked:

Was anyone else bothered by the anachronism in "Home"? I mean the television news story about blacks being set on by dogs and having fire hoses turned on them. This novel is supposed to be simultaneous with "Gilead", which seems to take place around 1956, but the TV news story mentioned in "Home" couldn't have aired before around 1963.

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Anne Payne I have read "Gilead" but not "Home" so I hope I'm not being an uninformed gratuitous commenter. I just wanted to say that the Montgomery bus boycott took place in 1956-7, and there was definitely accompanying violence. I don't know whether this addresses the issue you raise completely.
Guy Austin It was simultaneous as Ames diary speaks of Jack often and mentions his versions of the interactions with him, to add to the Montgomery Bus Boycott noted. The Little Rock Nine Integrated in the fall of '57. A popular picture is of Elizabeth Eckford, the first of them, entering school with a young white female peer projecting a particularly hostile sneer towards her as she walks by the crowd.
Elizabeth (Betty) Jack was gone for 20 years so I don't think it was actually simultaneous.
Sharon Violence against blacks and other people who supported them, particularly in the southern United States, began almost immediately after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954). So yes, in 1956 people in Iowa might have seen incidents like what the Boughtons supposedly see on TV and read in their newspapers.

In the turbulent decade and a half that followed, civil rights activists used nonviolent protest and civil disobedience to bring about change, and the federal government made legislative headway with initiatives such as the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968.

You're correct that the most famous (and egregious) examples came with the 1963 Birmingham campaign but there was LOTS happening to blacks (and others) as early as 1954.
Judith Squires I think they're were civil rights demonstrations in that year during the Montgomery bus boycott. I was just a child at the time (age 8, going on 9) and we didn't see much television news, but it would like have depended on the news outlets available in different areas of the country.
Andrew It couldn't have been simultaneous because Jack plays with Ames's son (who was probably around 5 years old, right?) in HOME but Ames's son had just been born in GILEAD.
Dave Thanks to everyone who has addressed this question, but I think I need to clarify it. I do not deny the racist incidents during the time in which the story takes place. What I regard as anachronistic, though, is the specific incident of the story appearing on the television news around 1956. Since it seems very reminiscent of the march from Selma to Montgomery, that would have been in the 1960s, not the 1950s. While it could have been about the Montgomery Bus Boycott of the 1950s, I don't believe there was the same level of violence, and I don't believe that would have been shown on the national television news in the 1950s.
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