The 1960s were a wild decade: The Beatles rocked America, the “hippie” was born, protesters demanded civil rights and justice in the streets. Let’s look back.
After participating in the first ever presidential debate shown on TV, John F. Kennedy was elected president. Physicist Theodore Maiman invents the laser.
The Freedom Riders, more than 400 Black and white Americans, board buses and ride together through the American South to test the nation’s commitment to desegregation. They were met with violent racism, but succeeded in forcing the federal government to enforce desegregation laws.
Ringo Starr joins The Beatles, completing the lineup that would go on to become the best-selling music act of all time with No. 1 hits like “Hey Jude,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Help!”
In Dallas, Tex., President Kennedy is shot while riding in a car with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. He died later that day, and Lyndon Johnson became president of a mourning nation.
The Civil Rights Act becomes law, making it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin in the United States. A few months later, Martin Luther King, Jr. wins the Nobel Peace Prize.
The first U.S. combat troops to fight in the Vietnam War arrive on beaches near Da Nang, South Vietnam. The war lasted for years and divided Americans. More than 3 million people in all died during the Vietnam War; 58,000 were Americans.
Several iconic 60s albums debut: Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde,” The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” The Doors’ self-titled album and The Beatles’ “Revolver.” These new sounds help usher in the counterculture vibe of 60s music.
The Green Bay Packers win the first ever Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. Vince Lombardi was the Packers’ head coach, and the winning Super Bowl team still takes home the Lombardi trophy.
Shirley Chisholm is the first Black woman elected to Congress, representing New York’s 12th district. (In a few years, she would become the first woman and the first African-American to run for president.) In Memphis, Tenn., Martin Luther King, Jr. is shot and killed.
Astronaut Neil Armstrong is the first man to walk on the moon. His first words on the moon — “that’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind” — are infamous.
— Molly Duffy, Kids editor; Sources: BBC, PBS, National Women’s History Museum, The Sixth Floor Museum, The History Channel, The Houston Chronicle
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