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A Stroll Down 1960s Memory Lane

Culture | January 19, 2018

Golden Gate Park SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY, 1969: A young couple holds a picnic basket while walking through Golden Gate Park circa February, 1969 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Robert Altman/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

The 1960s was an interesting time to be alive in America. The decade was filled with social, cultural, technological changes and advancements as well as many politically historical events. Life tends to evolve right under our noses. The funny thing is that when it is happening, we are so caught up in each individual event that sometimes we fail to take in the big picture.

Some of the events that dominated the 1960s are so historically significant that they are still being taught in schools and remembered for the strides and strife’s in the lives of Americans. Changes we witnessed during this significant decade include everything from important political events and cars to music and fashion.

One thing we know for sure is that the cost of living has increased by leaps and bounds but we really shouldn’t complain; we have a lot to show for it. By today’s value, $100.00 in the 1960s is worth over $800.00 today.

Below are some significant American historical events born of the 1960s. These are the things we celebrated and worried about during that time:

1960

• Democrat John F. Kennedy won the U.S. Presidential Election. Kennedy was the youngest person to have been elected to the highest office at the time.

• The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was created.

• The United States sent 3,500 U.S. troops to Vietnam.

• TIROS-1, the first weather satellite, is launched by the U.S.

1961

• Alan Shepard became the first American in space, one month after Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin was the first.

• The unsuccessful Bay of Pigs invasion was attempted. The operation was intended to overthrow Cuba’s, Fidel Castro.

• The Peace Corps was created.

1962

• The Cuban Missile Crisis had the world fearful of another World War as the United States and USSR came close to launching nuclear attacks.

• James Meredith became the first African-American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi.

• The comic book character, Spider-Man, made his debut in the Amazing Fantasy #15 comic.

The Beatles released their first single, Love Me Do, in the United Kingdom.

• Sam Walton opened the first Walmart store in Arkansas.

1963

• President John F. Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald.

• U.S. Civil Rights Leader, Martin Luther King Jr., gave his famous I Have a Dream speech.

• The United States begins to use Zip Codes.

1964

• The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed into law.

• NASA's Mariner 4 space probe successfully approached Mars and became the first spacecraft to take pictures of a planet from deep space.

• Sidney Poitier was the first African American to win an Academy Award for, "Best Actor".

• The computer coding language, BASIC (Beginner's All-Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), was introduced.

• The Ford Motor Company began production of the Ford Mustang.

1965

• The Voting Rights Act was signed into law.

• Martin Luther King, Jr. lead a peaceful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.

• The Vietnam War escalated and anti-Vietnam protests became more common.

1966

• The first episode of Star Trek aired.

• Dow-Jones Index hit a record 995 points.

• Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale began a joint holdout against the Dodgers.

• Race riots erupted in Watts, Los Angeles.

1967

Rolling Stone magazine published its first issue. 

• The 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is ratified (Vice President shall become President if the President is unable to carry out his duties).

• Thurgood Marshall was appointed to the Supreme Court, becoming the first African-American on the Court.

1968

• Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray.

• The Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law.

• Richard Nixon won the United States presidential election.

• The first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7, was launched by NASA.

1969

• Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men on the Moon during NASA's Apollo 11 mission.

• The Woodstock music festival took place in New York.

• ARPANET, the predecessor to the Internet, relayed its first communications between UCLA and Stanford.

Sesame Street debuted.

This list is just a brief snapshot of some of the events that took place in the 1960s. There were many other happenings that were equally significant. Other countries also have their own list of historical advancements and events that affected the United States in both positive and negative ways. One thing we know for sure is that all events, both significant and seemingly insignificant, play a role in shaping the world we live in.

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Rebeka Knott

Writer

Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.