Spirit of America Bookstore

U.S.  Timeline  –  1951  to  1968

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

1491-1800    •    1801-1900    •    1901-1930    •    1931-1950

•    jump to 1969-2000    •    2001-2010    •    2011-2016    •    2017 to present

The Korean War Era    •    The Cold War   •

The Space Race    •    Kennedy & Camelot    •    Civil Rights & The VietNam War

The  Korean  War  Era

War Film Festival - Korean War Movies
at Magic Lantern Video & Bookstore

Spirit of America Bookstore's Fifties Culture Nostalgia Page

  • 1950 June 25: Korean War began.
  • 1951 Jan 4: North Korean and Communist Chinese forces recaptured the city of Seoul.
  • 1951 Jan 9: The new United Nations headquarters building in New York City officially opened.
  • 1951 Jan 27: Atomic testing began in the Nevada desert as an Air Force plane dropped a one-kiloton bomb on Frenchman Flats.
  • 1951 Feb 27: The 22nd Amendment, limiting the U.S. president to two terms of office, was ratified.
  • 1951 March 14: United Nations forces in Korea recaptured Seoul.
  • 1951 March 29: Accused atomic spies Julius & Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, as was co-defendent Morton Sobell.
  • 1951 March 31: Formal sale of the first commercial U.S. digital computer, the UNIVAC (short for UNIVersal Automatic Computer), principally designed & built by John W. Mauchly [1907-80] and J. Presper Eckert, Jr. [1919-95] (who had sold their company to Remington Rand in 1950) to the U.S. Census Bureau; using vacuum-tube technology, each machine weighed 29,000 pounds.
  • 1951 April 5: Convicted atomic spies Julius & Ethel Rosenberg were sentenced to death for espionage (they were executed in June 1953); co-defendent Morton Sobell was sentenced to 30 years in prison (he was released in 1969).
  • Summer of 1951: "Rocket 88", considered the first rock'n'roll record, held the #1 position on the rhythm & blues charts for 5 weeks.
  • 1951 June 25: First commercial color television broadcast (C.B.S. transmitted one-hour special program from New York to four other cities).
  • 1951 July 9: President Truman asked Congress to formally end the state of war with Germany & Japan.
  • 1951 July 10: First attempt at armistice talks to end the conflict in Korea began at Kaesong.
  • 1951 July 16: Publication of J.D. Salinger's classic novel "Catcher In The Rye".
  • 1951 July 20: Jordan's King Abdullah I was assassinated by a Palestinian gunman who was shot dead on the spot by security.
  • 1951 Sept 4: First live, coast-to-coast television broadcast as President Truman addressed the nation from the Japanese peace treaty conference in San Francisco, California.
  • 1951 Sept 8: The government of Japan signed the Treaty of Peace with the United States.
  • 1951 Oct 19: President Truman signed the act that formally ended the state of war with Germany.
  • 1951 Nov 10: First direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service began, with a call between the mayors of Englewood, New Jersey and Alameda, California.

  • 1952: Pez® candy first imported to the United States. (Invented in 1927 in Austria; unique dispenser invented in 1947, patented in 1949.)
  • 1952: Kellogg introduced the 'Tony the Tiger' character on packages of Kellogg’s Sugar Frosted Flakes of Corn.
  • 1952 March 4: Actors Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis were married at a chapel in San Fernando Valley, California.
  • 1952 April 8: President Truman issued an executive order seizing the American steel industry to avert a nationwide strike. (The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled that he exceeded his authority, opening the way for a seven-week strike.)
  • 1952 April 15: Official publication of Encyclopædia Britannica's "The Great Books of The Western World", co-edited by Mortimer J. Adler [1902-2001] & Robert M. Hutchins [1899-1977].
  • 1952 April 22: The first nuclear explosion shown live on network television, as a 31-kiloton bomb was dropped to the Nevada desert from a B-50 Superfortress.
  • 1952 April 28: Congress ratified the Treaty of Peace with Japan.
  • 1952 May 7: Geoffrey W.A. Dummer [1909-2002] first presented the concept of the integrated circuit, also known as the microchip, which is the basis for all modern electronic equipment; since he was six years ahead of Jack Kirby, who received the U.S. patent, Dummer became known as 'The Prophet of The Integrated Circuit'.
  • 1952 June 2: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the landmark Youngstown Sheet & Tube v. Sawyer case that President Truman exceeded his authority in ordering the nationalization of the American steel industry to avert a strike. The United Steelworkers of America union went on strike that same day.
  • 1952 June 12: The Treaty of Peace with Japan took effect, officially ending World War II.
  • 1952 June 16: U.S. publication by Doubleday & Co. of "Anne Frank: Diary of A Young Girl".
  • 1952 July 3: Maiden voyage of the SS United States ocean liner; the ship was docked in Philadel-phia in 1996 and is now a rusting hulk; locals are planning to restore the vessel, for possible use as a tourist attraction in New York City or Miami.
  • 1952 July 23: Egyptian military officers led by Gamal Abdel Nasser launched a successful coup against King Farouk I.
  • 1952 July 24: The United Steelworkers of America strike was settled after 53 days (7½ weeks), on terms proposed by the union four months prior.
  • 1952 July 25: Puerto Rico became a self-governing commonwealth of the United States.
  • 1952 Sept 15: Birthday of author Loren D. Estleman in Ann Arbor, Michigan; he writes both mystery fiction and Western fiction.
  • 1952 Sept 23: Republican vice presidential candidate Richard M. Nixon spoke on television & radio from Hollywood, California to refute allegations of accepting illegal campaign contributions. The national address later became known as the 'Checkers' speech because Nixon mentioned his children's pet by name; the cocker spaniel was a gift shipped by rail to his family from Texas.
  • 1952 Oct 3: Britain's first atomic test detonated a 25-kiloton device in the Monte Bello Islands off the northwest tip of Australia.
  • 1952 Nov 1: The U.S. executed Operation Ivy Mike, which exploded the first hydrogen bomb at Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands of the South Pacific.
  • 1952 Nov 4: Establishment of the ultra-secretive U.S. National Security Agency.

  • 1953: Sales executive Gerry Thomas at frozen foods company C.A. Swanson & Sons in Omaha, Nebraska invented the TV dinner by redesigning aluminum trays used by Pan American Airways; the first Swanson TV Dinner of turkey with corn bread dressing & gravy, sweet potatoes, and buttered peas sold for 98 cents and took 25 minutes to cook; the size of the first production order of 5,000 dinners was thought to be risky – Swanson sold more than 25 million TV dinners the following year.
  • 1953 Jan 7: President Truman announced in his State of The Union address that the United States had developed a hydrogen bomb.
  • 1953 Jan 14: Yugoslavia's Parliament elected Josip Broz Tito as the country's president.
  • 1953 Feb 28: Scientists James D. Watson and Francis H.C. Crick announced that they had identified the double-helix structure of DNA.
  • 1953 March 5: Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin died at age 74.
  • 1953 March 9: The U.S. Supreme Court handed down the landmark U.S. vs. Reynolds decision, validating the government's bogus claim of privilege on matters of alleged national security, one of the precedents supporting the U.S.A. Patriot Acts of 2002 & 2004.
  • 1953 March 19: Academy Awards ceremony televised for the first time.
  • 1953 April 24: British politician & statesman Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
  • 1953 May 18: Aviator Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier, flying an F-86 Sabre jet over Rogers Dry Lake in California.
  • 1953 May 29: Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and local Tensing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • 1953 June: First use of female alphabetical names for significant tropical storms in the annual Atlantic & Caribbean Oceans storm season. (Male names were added in 1979.)
  • 1953 June 2: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, U.K.
  • 1953 June 8: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in District of Columbia v. Thompson Co. - 346 U.S. 100 that restaurants in the D.C. area could not refuse to serve 'members of the Negro race'.
  • 1953 June 18: Egypt's monarchy was overthrown and a republic declared, ending the 148-year Muhammad Ali Dynasty.
  • 1953 June 19: Execution of convicted atomic spies Julius & Ethel Rosenberg in the electric chair at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York.
  • 1953 July 27: Korean War ended with signing of the armistice at Panmunjom.
  • 1953 Aug 8: Diplomats of the United States and of South Korea initialed a mutual security pact.
  • 1953 Aug 12: The Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.
  • 1953 Sept 16: World premiere of "The Robe", the first movie filmed in the CinemaScope™ wide-screen process, at the Roxy Theater in New York City.
  • 1953 Oct 5: Former three-term Governor of California Earl Warren was sworn in as the 14th Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court; he served until June 1969.
  • 1953 Oct 22: The Franco-Lao Treaty of Amity and Association made Laos an independent member of the French Union.
  • 1953 Oct 30: Gen. George C. Marshall was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for 1953; Dr. Albert Schweitzer of Africa was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for the prior year.
  • 1953 Nov 20: Test pilot A. Scott Crossfield was the first human to exceed Mach 2, flying a Douglas D-558-2 Skyrocket to 1,291 mph.
  • 1953 Dec 9: Birthday of actor John Malkovich in Christopher, Illinois.
  • 1953 Dec 17: First national broadcasts of R.C.A./N.T.S.C. color television, on C.B.S. at 6:15 pm and on N.B.C. at 6:30 pm EST.

The  Cold  War

War Film Festival - Cold War Movies

  • 1954:
    • Trix breakfast cereal was put on the market.
    • I.B.M. announced the first mass-produced electronic computer, the Model 650, which used rotating-drum memory.
    • Bell Labs developed the first practical silicon photovoltaic cells.
  • 1954 Jan 1: N.B.C. broadcast the Pasadena Rose Parade in color on 21 stations.
  • 1954 Jan 15: Actress Marilyn Monroe and baseball star Joe DiMaggio married in San Francisco; the marriage lasted roughly nine months.
  • 1954 Jan 21: Launch of the first nuclear submarine U.S.S. Nautilus in Groton, Connecticut.
  • 1954 Feb 23: Mass inoculations with Salk polio vaccine began in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1954 March 1: The United States detonated a dry-fuel hydrogen bomb code-named 'Castle Bravo' at Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • 1954 March 11: The U.S. Army charged Sen. Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin and Roy Cohn of H.U.A.C. with attempting to obtain favored treatment for a former committee consultant, which led to the Army-McCarthy hearings.
  • 1954 March 13: Beginning of the Battle of Dien Bien Phu in Indochina (now Vietnam) as Viet Minh guerrilla forces attacked French troops; the French were defeated on May 7th.
  • 1954 April 6: Four weeks after an on-air attack by television journalist Edward R. Murrow, Sen. Joseph McCarthy delivered a filmed response on "See It Now" (C.B.S.) charging Murrow had in the past "engaged in propoganda for Communist causes".
  • 1954 April 22: Beginning of the televised Senate Army-McCarthy hearings.
  • 1954 April 23: Birthday of gadfly filmmaker Michael Moore in Flint, Michigan.
  • 1954 May 6: Medical student Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile {at 3:59.4) during a track meet at Oxford, England.
  • 1954 May 17: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka that racially segregated public schools were inherently unequal, under the Fourteenth Amendment.
         Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site [opened May 2004]
    The U.S. Supreme Court also ruled in the Bolling v. Sharpe case that established the Fifth Amendment as another basis for equal protection.
  • 1954 June 7: British computer genius Alan Turing committed suicide (possibly an accident) at age 41. (He was pardoned in 2013 for the 'gross indecency' conviction that ended his government career.)
  • 1954 June 9: Joseph N. Welch stood up to Sen. Joseph McCarthy at the Army-McCarthy hearings, responding "Have you no decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?".
  • 1954 June 14: Congress passed and President Eisenhower signed a law adding the words 'under God' to the U.S. Pledge of Allegiance.
  • 1954 June 15: American Chicle Co. of Long Island City, New York registered the Trident trademark for chewing gum and candy lozenges.
  • 1954 June 29: The Atomic Energy Commission denied reinstatement of atomic physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer's access to classified information.
  • 1954 Aug 11: A formal end of hostilities took effect in Indochina, after 14 years of fighting between French colonists and the Communist Viet Minh.
  • 1954 Aug 16: TIME, Inc. launched Sports Illustrated Magazine.
  • 1954 Aug 24: President Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, which outlawed the Communist Party in the United States.
  • 1954 Aug 31: Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern U.S. coast at Long Island and the states of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts; 65 people died.
  • 1954 Sept 27: Debut on NBC-TV network of the "Tonight!" show hosted by Steve Allen (show still on 58 years later).
  • 1954 Sept 29: Release of the film "A Star Is Born" directed by George Cukor, starring Judy Garland; remake of the 1937 film, remade again in 1976.
  • 1954 Oct 27: Debut of Walt Disney's first television program "Disneyland" on the ABC-TV network.
  • 1954 Nov 7: The C.B.S. News program "Face The Nation" debuted with host Ted Koop; the first guest was Sen. Joseph McCarthy [GOP Wisconsin].
  • 1954 Nov 10: President Eisenhower dedicated the U.S. Marine Corps Memorial in Arlington, Virginia which depicts the raising of the American flag over Iwo Jima in 1945.
  • 1954 Nov 22: Founding of the Humane Society of The United States.
  • 1954 Nov 29: Birthday of filmmaker Joel Coen {brother of Ethan} in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 1954 Dec 2: The U.S. Senate voted to condemn Sen. McCarthy for "conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute" for his actions during the H.U.A.C. hearings.

  • 1955
    • Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald's Speedy restaurant.
    • Founding of the Waffle House® Restaurants chain near Atlanta, Georgia.
    • Launch of over-popular Miltown {maprobamate} drug to relieve anxiety.
    1955 What A Year It Was! book by Beverly Cohn  
    "1955: What A Year It Was!" [1997]
    by Beverly Cohn

    M.M.S. Publng 11x8½ hardcover [4/97] out of print/many used
  • 1955 Feb 24: Birthday of Steve Jobs [1955-2011] in San Francisco, California; he co-founded Apple, Inc. in Cupertino, California in 1975.
  • 1955 April 12: The Salk vaccine against polio was declared safe & effective.
  • 1955 April 21: Opening of the stageplay "Inherit The Wind" at the National Theatre on Broadway; the play was an account of the Scopes Monkey Trial in Tennessee by Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee; it ran for 806 performances and won 3 Tony Awards.
  • 1955 July 17: Opening of Disneyland in Anaheim, California. Admission then was $1 for adults, kids were 50¢ (plus ride tickets). {Admission today is $53 for adults and $43 for children.}
  • 1955 Aug 28: Racially-motivated kidnapping & brutal murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in Money, Mississippi; his body was found three days later. Two white men were tried in September 1955, and acquitted by an all-white jury. Standing on protections against double jeopardy, both men publicly admitted to the killing in a Look Magazine interview in 1956.
  • 1955 Labor Day: Broadcast of the first radio traffic report of the SigAlert system created by Loyd C. Sigmon, about a train wreck near Los Angeles Union Station.
  • 1955 Sept 24: President Eisenhower suffered a serious heart attack while vacationing in Colorado; he recovered in a hospital there for six weeks.
  • 1955 Sept 24: Following news of President Eisenhower's heart attack, the New York Stock Exchange experienced its worst price decline since 1929.
  • 1955 Sept 30: Actor James Dean died at age 24 in a two-car collision near Cholame, California.
  • 1955 Dec 1: Rosa Parks, a tired Afro-American seamstress, refused to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus to a white man, for which she was arrested. A year-long boycott of the buses followed, sparking the U.S. civil rights movement.
  • 1955 Dec 5: The A.F. of L. and the C.I.O. labor organizations merged under George Meany as president.
  • 1955 Dec 28: The U.S. Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance.

  • 1956 March 17: James & William Conway founded Mr. Softee ice cream company in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1956 March 20: Union workers at Westinghouse Electric Corp. ended a 156-day strike.
  • 1956 April 14: Ampex Corp. demonstrated its first commercial videotape recorder at the National Assn. of Radio & Television Broadcasters convention in Chicago.
  • 1956 April 18: American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier of Monaco in a civil ceremony, followed by a church wedding the next day.
  • 1956 May 21: The U.S. exploded the first airborne hydrogen bomb over Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific Ocean.
  • 1956 June 29: President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Bill.
  • 1956 July 21: Birthday of mystery author Michael Connelly in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • 1956 July 26: Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal.
  • 1956 July 30: President Eisenhower signed a measure replacing the national motto of "E Pluribus Unum {Out of Many, One)" with "In God We Trust".
  • 1956 Oct 8: Don Larsen pitched the only perfect game in a World Series (to date) as his New York Yankees team beat the Brooklyn Dodgers in Game 5 at 2-0.
  • 1956 Oct 29: Israel invaded Egypt's Sinai Peninsula, beginning the Suez Crisis (in response to nationalization of the Suez Canal in July).
  • 1956 Oct 29: "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" news program premiered as N.B.C.'s nightly TV news broadcast, replacing "The Camel News Caravan" (which began in February 1948).
  • 1956 Nov 4: Soviet troops moved in to crush the Hungarian Revolution.
  • 1956 Nov 13: The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with a lower court's finding in Browder v. Gayle that discri-mination against Afro-Americans on Montgomery, Alabama's public bus system was unconstitutional.

  • 1957 Jan 18: Three U.S.A.F. B-52 bombers completed the first non-stop, around-the-world flight by jet aircraft, from March A.F.B. in California and back in just over 45 hours.
  • 1957 Jan 27: Birthday of graphic noir artist & filmmaker Frank Miller in Olney, Maryland.
  • 1957 Feb: The 'Asian flu' pandemic, which lasted thru Feb 1958; 69,800 people died in the U.S., over 30,000 died in the U.K., and millions died around the world.
  • 1957 April 29: Dedication of the first military nuclear power plant, the SM-1 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.
  • 1957 May 2: Anti-Communist demagogue Sen. Joseph McCarthy died of acute hepatitis at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, DC.
  • 1957 May 25: The south tube of the Lincoln Tunnel was opened to the public, allowing more automobile traffic underneath the Hudson River between New York City and New Jersey. (The center tube opened in 1937 and the north tube in 1945.)
  • 1957 June 17: Wham-O Corp. changed the name of its new Pluto Platter toy to Frisbee®.
  • 1957 June 27: Hurricane Audrey slammed thru coastal Louisiana and Texas, killing more than 500 people.
  • 1957 July 22: Walter 'Fred' Morrison applied for a patent for his Frisbee® flying toy.
  • 1957 July 29: Founding of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • 1957 July 29: Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC's "Tonight Show".
  • 1957 July 31: Operation began of the North American Distant Early Warning System, a U.S.-built string of radar stations across northern Canada meant to detect approaching Soviet missiles.
  • 1957 Aug 1: The United States and Canada agreed in principle to create the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD); the organization was formally founded in May 1958, and the treaty renewed in May 2006.
  • 1957 Aug 27: Launch of the nuclear submarine USS Swordfish at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Maine.
  • 1957 Aug 29: The U.S. Senate approved the Civil Rights Act after Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina ended his 24-hour filibuster.
  • 1957 Sept 4: Gov. Orval Faubus ordered Arkansas National Guard troops to prevent nine Afro-American students from entering all-white Central High School in Little Rock.
  • 1957 Sept 4: Ford Motor Company launched the ill-fated Edsel line.
  • 1957 Sept 5: Publication of "On The Road", Jack Kerouac's road trip roman à clef and one of the Beat Generation's three best-known works.
  • 1957 Sept 7: N.B.C.'s original animated peacock logo was first aired, at the beginning of "Your Hit Parade", denoting that the program was 'in living color'.
  • 1957 Sept 9: President Eisenhower signed the first civil rights legislation since Reconstruction.
  • 1957 Sept 11: A then-highly-classified plutonium fire at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons production facility contaminated portions of the Denver, Colorado metropolitan area with radioactive Pu-239.
  • 1957 Sept 19: First U.S. underground nuclear test occurred in the Nevada desert.
  • 1957 Sept 21: Birthday of filmmaker Ethan Coen {brother of Joel} in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  • 1957 Sept 23: Nine Afro-American students were forced to withdraw from entering Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas because of a white mob outside.
  • 1957 Sept 25: Nine Afro-American students returned to classes at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas - escorted by members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division.
  • 1957 Sept 29: The Kyshtym nuclear disaster in the U.S.S.R. released 50-100 tons of high-level radioactive waste, producing a radioactive cloud that contaminated a territory of more than 750 square kilometers (290 square miles). The Soviet regime kept the accident secret for at least thirty years. The event is currently designated the third-worst nuclear incident in history, after #1 Chernobyl and #2 Fukushima.

The  Space  Race

  • 1957 Oct 4: The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 1 artificial satellite into orbit, which began the Space Race.
  • 1957 Oct 8: The Brooklyn Baseball Club announced that it was accepting an offer to move the Dodgers franchise from New York to Los Angeles, California.
  • 1957 Oct 10: Publication of philosopher Ayn Rand's magnum opus novel "Atlas Shrugged".
  • 1957 Oct 25: New York City mob boss Albert Anastasia was shot to death by masked gunmen at the barber shop inside the Park Sheraton Hotel.
  • 1957 Nov 3: The Soviet Union launched the Sputnik 2 satellite into orbit; passenger/dog Laika was not expected to survive the experiment, and apparently died after only a few hours in space due to overheating of the capsule.
  • 1957 Nov 25: President Eisenhower suffered a slight stroke during a Cabinet meeting.
  • 1957 Dec 2: Start-up of America's first full-scale commercial nuclear power facility at the 60-megawatt Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania; operation ended in 1982.
  • 1957 Dec 6: America's first attempt to put a satellite into space orbit failed; the Vanguard TV 3 rocket blew up on the launch pad at Cape Canaveral.
  • 1957 Dec 6: A.F.L.-C.I.O. membership voted to expel the International Brotherhood of Teamsters on charges of corruption. (The Teamsters were readmitted 30 years later.)
  • 1957 Dec 17: Successful test-firing of the new Atlas I.C.B.M. {intercontintal ballistic missile}.

  • 1958: Communist China's 'Great Leap Forward' internal upheaval killed between 30 & 45 million people.
  • 1958 Jan 31: First successful U.S. satellite launch, of Explorer I – America entered the Space Age.
  • 1958 March 22: Movie producer Mike Todd and three others died when their plane crashed near Grants, New Mexico. {Because Todd's wife Elizabeth Taylor collapsed upon seeing the news on television, news outlets quickly agreed to a policy of not releasing names of accident victims until next-of-kin are notified by authorities.}
  • 1958 March 5: Launch by U.S. Army from Cape Canaveral of Explorer II; the launch itself went fine, but the fourth stage failed, and the satellite did not reach orbit.
  • 1958 March 22: Movie producer Mike Todd and three others were killed when his private plane crashed near Grants, New Mexico. His wife, actress Elizabeth Taylor, first learned of Todd's death from a television news bulletin, and fainted from the shock. That incident began the news media practice of not releasing names until notification of family.
  • 1958 March 24: Elvis Presley was inducted into the U.S. Army in Memphis, Tennessee.
  • 1958 March 26: Successful U.S. launch of the Explorer III satellite, by U.S. Army from Cape Canaveral.
  • 1958 March 27: First Secretary of Russia's Communist Party Nikita Krushchev became Premier {Chairman of the Council of Ministers} of the Soviet Union.
  • 1958 May 12: The United States and Canada officially founded the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD); the treaty was renewed in May 2006.
  • 1958 May 30: Unidentified American service members killed in World War II and in the Korean War were interred in the Tomb of The Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
  • 1958 July 29: President Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics & Space Act, creating N.A.S.A.
  • 1958 Aug 3: The nuclear-powered submarine USS Nautilus became the first vessel to cross the North Pole underwater.
  • 1958 Sept 20: Attempted assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. at a book signing in New York City; King survived the knife wound; the woman who stabbed him in the chest was declared insane.
  • 1958 Oct 2: The Republic of Guinea in West Africa proclaimed its independence from France.
  • 1958 Oct 9: Catholic Pope Pius Xii died at age 82 after reigning for 19 years.
  • 1958 Oct 11: The U.S. lunar probe Pioneer 1 failed to reach orbit and fell back to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere.
  • 1958 Oct 26: Pan American Airways flew its first Boeing 707 jetliner from New York to Paris, France in 9 hours and 41 minutes.
  • 1958 Dec 9: Founding of the anti-Communist John Birch Society in Indianapolis, Indiana (named after the supposed first casualty in the Cold War).
  • 1958 Dec 10: The first domestic passenger jet flight, of a National Airlines Boeing 707 from New York to Miami, Florida with 111 passengers aboard.
  • 1958 Dec 18: The U.S. launched the world's first communication satellite, S.C.O.R.E. (Signal Communication by Orbiting Relay Equipment), nicknamed 'Chatterbox', using an Atlas rocket.

  • 1959: Reuben Mattus at Senator Frozen Products in Bronx, New York created the first national brand of premium, all-natural ice cream, renamed Häagen-Dazs in 1961; the brand was acquired by Pillsbury in 1983.
  • 1959: With only three national TV networks in the U.S., there were 48 primetime Western series on the air.
    1959 [What A Year It Was! book by Beverly Cohn  
    "1959: What A Year It Was!" [1998]
    by Beverly Cohn

    M.M.S. Publng 11x8½ hardcover [10/98] out of print/many used
    1959 The Year Everything Changed book by Fred Kaplan  "1959: The Year Everything Changed" [2009]
    by Fred Kaplan

    Kindle Edition from Wiley & Sons [6/2009] for $8.44
    Wiley & Sons 8½x5½ pb [4/2010] for $8.88
    Wiley & Sons 9½x6½ hardcover [6/2009] for $18.63
  • 1959 Jan 1: Revolutionary forces led by Fidel Castro overthrew Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista, who fled to the Dominican Republic.
  • 1959 Jan 2: Launch of Soviet Russia's space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon.
  • 1959 Jan 3: Alaska was admitted to the Union as the 49th state.
  • 1959 Jan 8: Charles de Gaulle was inaugurated as President of France's Fifth Republic.
  • 1959 Jan 14: Queen Elizabeth II was crowned at Westminster Abbey in London, England.
  • 1959 Jan 25: Official start of the Jet Age, with the first scheduled transcontinental passenger flight, of an American Airlines Boeing 707 jet aircraft.
  • 1959 Feb 1: Men is Switzerland voted against giving women the right to vote, by a margin of roughly 2 to 1. (Swiss women finally gained the right to vote in 1971.)
  • 1959 Feb 3: A plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa claimed the lives of rock'n'roll stars Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, and J.P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson.
  • 1959 Feb 6: First successful launch (after 17 failures) of the Titan I.C.B.M. at Cape Canaveral in Florida.
  • 1959 Feb 16: Fidel Castro was sworn in as the Prime Minister of Cuba.
  • 1959 Feb 22: The first Daytona 500 auto race in Florida.
  • 1959 March: First public showing of the silicon integrated circuit ('microchip') at a New York City radio engineers trade show, by inventor Jack Kilby.
  • 1959 March 3: The United States launched the Pioneer 4 spacecraft, which flew by the moon.
  • 1959 March 9: Mattel's Barbie Teen-Age Fashion Model Doll™ debuted at the New York Toy Fair.
  • 1959 April 8: First meeting of the CODASYL (for "COnference on DAta SYstems Languages") committee that designed & specified what became known as the COBOL-60 computer programming language; the acronym COBOL (for COmmon Business-Oriented Language) was approved on September 18. The Remington Rand's Flow-Matic language/compiler is considered a direct predecessor, and thus its primary developer Rear Adm. Grace Murray Hopper [1906-92] is considered 'the mother of COBOL'.
  • 1959 April 9: N.A.S.A. announced the selection of America's first seven astronauts: Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shephard & Donald 'Deke' Slayton.
  • 1959 April 25: The St. Lawrence Seaway opened to shipping.
  • 1959 July 4: The 49-star U.S. flag became official, recognizing Alaska statehood.
  • 1959 July 21: Christening of the N.S. Savannah. the first nuclear-powered merchant ship, at Camden, N.J.; the ship is permanently moored in Baltimore, Maryland.
  • 1959 July 24: Vice President Richard M. Nixon engaged in his famous 'Kitchen Debate' with Soviet leader Nikita Khruschchev at an American home design exhibition in Moscow, Russia; the event was captured live on America's new videotape invention and later broadcast in both countries.
  • 1959 Aug 7: U.S. launched the Explorer 6 satellite, which sent back images of Earth.
  • 1959 Aug 21: Hawai'i was admitted to the Union as the 50th state.
  • 1959 Sept 14: Soviet space probe Luna 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon (in a crash landing on the moon's surface).
  • 1959 Oct 4: Soviet space probe Luna 3 transmitted images of the far side of the moon back to Earth.
  • 1959 Oct 5: I.B.M. announced the all-transistorized Model 1401 data processing system for small businesses,
  • 1959 Oct 21: Public opening of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York City, designed & built by Frank Lloyd Wright [1867-1959].
  • 1959 Oct 31: A former U.S. Marine declared to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow that he was renouncing his U.S. citizenship so that he could live in the Soviet Union; his name was Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • 1959 Nov 2: During Congressional testimony, former contestant Charles Van Doren admitted that he'd been given questions and answers in advance when he appeared on NBC-TV's "Twenty One" game show.
  • 1959 Nov 9: The F.D.A. announced that some fresh cranberries were contaminated with a weed killer found to cause thyroid cancer in lab rats, which greatly reduced sales of cranberries for Thanksgiving feasts.
  • 1959 Nov 15: The Clutter family of four were found murdered in their farmhouse near Holcomb, Kansas; two ex-convicts were tried, convicted & hanged for the crime. Truman Capote documented the events and aftermath in the book "In Cold Blood" (1966 bestseller, 1967 feature film, 1996 TV miniseries).
  • 1959 Nov 19: Ford Motor Company announced that it was ending production of the unpopular Edsel model.
  • 1959 Nov 20: The United Nations issued its Declaration of The Rights of The Child.

    Smiling through the Apocalypse / Esquire's History of the Sixties anthology  "Smiling Through The Apocalypse: Esquire's History of The Sixties" [1970]
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    Random House Value Publng 9x6 pb [4/87] out of print/many used
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    Framing The Sixties book by Bernard von Bothmer  "Framing The Sixties: The Use and Abuse of A Decade - From Ronald Reagan
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    Univ MA Press 9¼x6 pb [2/2010] for $19.11
    Univ MA Press 9x6 hardcover [12/2009] for $80.00
    official book site

  • 1960:
    • Launch of over-popular Librium {chlordiazepoxide} drug to relieve anxiety.
    • Introduction of the Haloid-Xerox 914 copier; purchase price $29,500 or lease at $95/month (2,000 free copies, more at 4 cents each).
    • Demolition of Ebbets Field [built 1912], home of the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team.
  • 1960 Jan 19: Civil rights sit-in in Tennessee; 59 protesters were arrested.
  • 1960 Feb 1: Civil rights sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina; four black male college students occupied stools at a segregated F.W. Woolworth's lunch counter.
  • 1960 Feb 13: France exploded its first atomic bomb, in the Sahara Desert.
  • 1960 March 25: The Second District Court of Appeals in New York found that D.H. Lawrence's novel "Lady Chatterley's Lover" was not obscene and could be sent thru the mails.
  • 1960 April 1: U.S. launched the first weather satellite, TIROS-1, from Cape Canaveral.
  • 1960 April 15: Formation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee {S.N.C.C.} at a three-day conference at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina; Marion Barry was elected the first chairman. The group dissolved in the early 1970s.
  • 1960 April 21: Brasil inaugurated its new capital of Brasilia, transferring the seat of government from Rio de Janiero.
  • 1960 May 1: The Soviet Union shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance [or spy] plane near Sverdlovsk and captured pilot Francis Gary Powers.
  • 1960 May 2: Execution of convicted sex offender and best-selling author Caryl Chessman at San Quentin Prison in California.
  • 1960 May 9: The F.D.A. approved The Pill (first birth control drug), Enovid from G.D. Searle & Company.
  • 1960 May 13: The attempt to launch the Echo 1 balloon communications satellite into orbit failed.
  • 1960 May 16: Demonstration of the first working laser at Hughes Research Laboratories in Malibu, California.
  • 1960 July 4: The 50-star U.S. flag became official, recognizing Hawai'i statehood.
  • 1960 July 11: Publication by J.B. Lippincott & Co. of "To Kill A Mockingbird" by Harper Lee.
  • 1960 August: French Equatorial Africa split into the independent countries of Chad, Gabon, and Middle Congo.
  • 1960 Aug 12: The attempt to launch a second Echo 1 balloon communications satellite was successful.
  • 1960 Aug 13: The first two-way telephone conversation via satellite, using the new Echo 1.
  • 1960 Aug 17: The former Silver Beetles rock band began their first gig under their new name 'The Beatles' at the Indra Club in Hanover, West Germany.
  • 1960 Aug 19: American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers was convicted by a Soviet tribunal of espionage and sentenced to ten years in prison; he was released as part of a prisoner exchange in February 1962.
  • 1960 Sept 24: Launch of the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Enterprise at Newport News, Virginia; the vessel was retired in December 2012.
  • 1960 Sept 26: The first televised debate between Richard M. Nixon & John F. Kennedy, on domestic issues, broadcast from Chicago.
  • 1960 Oct 1: Debut of the "Flintstones" prime-time TV cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera.
  • 1960 Oct 7: The second televised debate between Richard M. Nixon & John F. Kennedy, broadcast from Washington, DC.
  • 1960 Oct 13: The third televised debate between Richard M. Nixon & John F. Kennedy, broadcast from Los Angeles (Nixon) and New York City (Kennedy).
  • 1960 Oct 19: The United States began a limited embargo against Communist Cuba.
  • 1960 Oct 21: The fourth televised debate between Richard M. Nixon & John F. Kennedy, on the topic of American relations with Cuba, broadcast from New York City.
  • 1960 Oct 22: First free flight of the modern propane-fueled hot-air balloon, invented & built by Paul Yost [1919-2007].

Kennedy  &  Camelot

  • 1960 Nov 8: Democratic Sen. John F. Kennedy defeated incumbent Republican Vice President Richard M. Nixon for the office of U.S. President.
  • 1960 Dec 5: The U.S. Supreme Court decided in the landmark Boynton v. Virginia case that racial discrimination in interstate transportation was unconstitutional.

  • 1961: Proctor & Gamble launched the Pampers® line of disposable diapers.
  • 1961 Jan 3: U.S. broke diplomatic ties with Cuba.
  • 1961 Jan 17: President Eisenhower warned against the rise of 'the military-industrial complex' in his farewell address.
  • 1961 Jan 25: President Kennedy held the first presidential news conference broadcast live on both television & radio.
  • 1961 Jan 31: N.A.S.A. launched Ham the Chimp from Cape Canaveral, Florida for a 16½-minute suborbital flight, with safe recovery in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1961 March 1: President Kennedy established the Peace Corps.
  • 1961 April 12: Soviet 'cosmonaut' Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth.
  • 1961 April 17: Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba.
  • 1961 May 1: The first U.S. airline hijacking, as a Miami, Florida electrician forced the pilot of a National Airlines plane to divert from Key West, Florida to land in Cuba.
  • 1961 May 4: Start of the Freedom Riders challenge to entrenched Jim Crow policies in the American South; many participants joined scholars & media at the 50th Anniversary Reunion in Jackson, Mississippi in May 2011.
  • 1961 May 5: America's first sub-orbital space flight, launching 'Freedom 7' from Cape Canaveral, sending Mercury astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. off-Earth for 15 minutes.
  • 1961 June 19: The U.S. Supreme Court decided in the landmark Mapp v. Ohio case that evidence obtained outside provisions of the Fourth Amendment may not be used in state or federal criminal prosecutions.
  • 1961 July 2: Author Ernest Hemingway shot himself to death at age 62 in his home in Ketchum, Idaho.
  • 1961 July 21: America's second sub-orbital space flight, launching Liberty Bell 7 from Cape Canaveral, sending Mercury astronaut Virgil 'Gus' Grissom around the planet.
  • 1961 July 31: I.B.M. introduced its first Selectric electric typewriter, with the distinctive 'typeball' feature.
  • 1961 Aug 4: Birthday of Barack Hussein Obama in Honolulu, Hawai'i; he was elected 44th President of the United States in November 2008.
  • 1961 Aug 6: Soviet cosmonaut Gherman Stepanovich Titov became the second human to orbit the Earth, aboard Vostok 2.
  • 1961 Aug 13: East Germany sealed off the sector border in Berlin and began building a wall that would stand for the next 28 years.
  • 1961 Aug 26: The Hockey Hall of Fame [est. 1943] opened its first permanent location at Exhibition Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (The organization moved to its current location in Downtown Toronto in 1993.)
  • 1961 Sept 11: Category 4 storm Hurricane Carla struck the U.S. Gulf Coast, killing 46 people in Texas, Louisiana, Kansas & Missouri.
  • 1961 Sept 18: United Nations Secretary General Dag Hammerskjöld died in a plane crash in Rhodesia, Africa.
  • 1961 Sept 22: The U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission issued regulations implementing various rulings since 1955 as well as the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Boynton v. Virginia (against racial discrimination in interstate commerce); the regulations went into effect on November First.
  • 1961 Oct 30: The Soviet Union exploded its first hydrogen bomb in the Russian Arctic, the 'Tsar Bomba', which had a force estimated at about 50 megatons; it remains the most powerful nuclear weapon ever detonated.
  • 1961 Nov: The Fantastic Four superhero team first appeared in The Fantastic Four issue #1; the company is now Marvel Entertainment LLC, a division of The Walt Disney Company.
  • 1961 Nov 29: N.A.S.A. chimpanzee Enos was launched from Cape Canaveral aboard the Mercury Atlas Five spacecraft, which orbited the earth twice before a safe landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1961 Dec 11: The U.S.N.S. Core Navy ferry carrier delivered an Army helicopter unit of 400 men and 33 Shawnee aircraft to Saigon, VietNam – the first direct military support for South VietNam against Communist guerrillas.

  • 1962: Introduction of Trident sugar-free chewing gum, the first nationally-produced product promoted as not causing tooth decay.
  • 1962: American telephone companies dropped the alphabetic version of phone exchanges, such as BUtterfield 8, HOllywood, BEechwood, KLondike, etc.
  • 1962 Feb 10: The Soviets released American U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers as part of a prisoner exchange; Powers had been convicted of espionage and spent 18 months in a Russian prison.
  • 1962 Feb 20: N.A.S.A. Mercury astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit Earth, for 4 hours 55 minutes, aboard Friendship 7.
  • 1962 March 26: The U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark Baker v. Carr case establishing the principle of 'one man, one vote' and mandating federal power to force states to review reapportionment of voting districts.
  • 1962 May 24: Astronaut Scott Carpenter became the second American to orbit the earth, aboard Aurora Seven.
  • 1962 June: Three-part serialization of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" in The New Yorker Magazine; it was published in book form in September.
  • 1962 June 15: At the conclusion of a five-day convention in Michigan of the Students for A Democratic Society, the group issued its Port Huron Statement document calling for universal disarmament, an end to racism, and social change thru education reform.
  • 1962 June 25: The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Engel v. Vitale {consolidated with the Murray v. Curlett case} that official or mandatory school prayers are unconstitutional.
  • 1962 June 30: Operation Bluestone atomic test at Christmas Island in the South Pacific.
  • 1962 July 2: Opening of the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Arkansas by brothers James and Sam Walton, called 'Wal-Mart Discount City'.
  • 1962 July 8: The U.S. nuclear warhead test called 'Starfish Prime' detonated a 1.4 megaton H-bomb 250 miles above the Pacific Ocean; the resulting E.M.P. ('electro-magnetic pulse') caused disruption to communications and power in parts of Hawai'i (1,445 km or 900 miles away).
  • 1962 July 9: New York artist Andy Warhol's exhibit of 32 paintings of Campbell's soup cans opened at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1962 July 10: America's Telstar 1 communications satellite was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • 1962 July 17: The U.S. conducted its last atmospheric nuclear test, detonating the 'Little Feller I' 20-kiloton nuclear device at the Nevada Test Site.
  • 1962 July 22: N.A.S.A.'s Venus-bound Mariner 1 spacecraft was destroyed 5 minutes after launch due to steering errors during takoff.
  • 1962 Aug: Spider-Man first appeared in the anthology comic book Amazing Fantasy issue #15; the company is now Marvel Entertainment LLC, a division of The Walt Disney Company.
  • 1962 Aug 5: Actress Marilyn Monroe was found dead of a (possibly unintentional) drug overdose at her home in the Bel Air district of Los Angeles, California.
  • 1962 Aug 11-12: The Soviet Union sent cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev into orbit for 94 hours in Vostok 3; next day they sent cosmonaut Pavel Popovich into orbit in Vostok 4; both returned to Earth safely on 15 August.
  • 1962 Aug 27: N.A.S.A. launched the Mariner 2 space probe, which flew past the planet Venus in December 1962.
  • 1962 Aug 31: The Caribbean island nation of Trinidad & Tobago became independent of British colonial rule, though it remains a member of the British Commonwealth.
  • 1962 Sept 10: The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, an Afro-American student.
  • 1962 Sept 13: In a televised speech, Mississippi Governor Ross Barnett rejected the U.S. Supreme Court order to admit James Meredith to the University of Mississippi.
  • 1962 Sept 17: N.A.S.A. announced the next 9 astronauts, including Neil Armstrong, later the first man to walk on the moon.
  • 1962 Sept 20: Student James Meredith was blocked from enrolling at the University of Mississippi by Gov. Ross R. Barnett, in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1962 Sept 27: Publication of Rachel Carson's "Silent Spring" which effectively founded the environmental movement.
  • 1962 Sept 28: A federal appeals court found Mississippi Gov. Barnett in civil contempt for blocking the admission of James Meredith to the University of Mississippi.
  • 1962 Sept 30: Federal marshals escorted Afro-American student James Meredith onto the campus of the University of Mississippi.
  • 1962 Sept 30: First meeting of the National Farm Workers Assn., forerunner of the United Farm Workers labor union, in Fresno, California.
  • 1962 Oct 3: Astronaut Wally Schirra blasted off from Cape Canaveral aboard Sigma 7 on a nine-hour space flight around planet Earth; he was the fifth American to fly in space.
  • 1962 Oct 5: Release of the Beatles' first hit recording "Love Me Do" on the Parlophone label in U.K.
  • 1962 Oct 9: The Republic of Uganda became independent of British rule, while remaining a member of the British Commonwealth.
  • 1962 Oct 16: The Cuban Missile Crisis – President Kennedy was shown spy-plane photos of Russian nuclear missile sites in Cuba, which the Soviet Union denied; on October 22, Kennedy announced on television that any missile attack from Cuba would be an act of war, and that the island was being blockaded; tensions remained high (from thoughts of World War III) until October 28, when Russia's Kruschchev backed down by issuing a public order for the dismantling of the missiles sites and return of the equipment to the Soviet Union. (A long-kept-secret element of the negotiations was the agreement by Kennedy to remove American missile sites from Turkey.)
  • 1962 Oct 18: James D. Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine and Physiology for determining the double-helix structure of D.N.A.
  • 1962 Oct 25: Novelist John Steinbeck [1902-68] was named winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • 1962 Oct 26: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson confronted Soviet Ambassador Zorin at the U.N. Security Council about Soviet-built missile bases in Cuba; Zorin declined to respond, so Stevenson then showed reconnaissance photos to the Council.
  • 1962 Oct 27: Cuba shot down an American U-2 reconnaissance aircraft; pilot USAF Major Rudolf Anderson, Jr. was killed.
  • 1962 Nov 2: President Kennedy delivered a brief statement to the nation confirming that Soviet missile bases in Cuba were being dismantled and that "progress is now being made toward the restoration of peace in the Caribbean".
  • 1962 Nov 17: President Kennedy dedicated Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC.
  • 1962 Dec 9: The Petrified Forest in Arizona was designated a national park.
  • 1962 Dec 13: Launch of the U.S. communication satellite Relay 1 for the retransmission of telephone, televison, and digital signals from space.
  • 1962 Dec 14: The U.S. space probe Mariner 2 passed the planet Venus at around 21,000 miles away, transmitting scientific data back to Earth.
  • 1962 Dec 15: Official opening of the Vail Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado.

  • 1963:
    • Founding of Weight Watchers.
    • Launch of over-popular Valium {diazepam} drug to relieve anxiety.
    • Coca-Cola® introduced zero-calorie Tab™ diet soft drink.
    • Launch of commercial audio cassettes by (Dutch) Philips at a radio expo in Berlin, Germany.
  • 1963 Jan 7: The U.S. Post Office raised the price of first-class postage from 4¢ to 5¢.
  • 1963 Jan 14: Segregationist George C. Wallace was sworn in as governor of Alabama.
  • 1963 Jan 29: First members named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio; the 17 charter members included Harold 'Red' Grange, George Halas, Bronko Nagurski, and Jim Thorpe.
  • 1963 March 18: The U.S. Supreme Court landmark Gideon v. Wainwright ruling requires a court-appointed attorney for those too indigent to pay for one, per the Sixth & Fourteenth Amendments.
  • 1963 March 21: As ordered by U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the last inmates were transferred out of the federal prison on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay.
  • 1963 April 9: Following an Act of Congress, President Kennedy proclaimed Sir Winston Churchill an Honorary Citizen of the United States (the first one).
  • 1963 April 10: The nuclear-powered submarine U.S.S. Thresher sank during deep-sea-diving tests off Cape Cod, Massachusetts; 129 officers & crew & civilians lost their lives.
  • 1963 April 12: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was roughly arrested with several others and booked into the City Jail of Birmingham, Alabama.
  • 1963 April 16: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" on the margins of a newspaper, then on paper scraps, and finally on a legal-sized writing pad; the text was smuggled out of jail by his lawyer.
  • 1963 April 20: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was released from Birmingham, Alabama's City Jail.
  • 1963 May 15: N.A.S.A.'s final Project Mercury flight began, with astronaut L. Gordon Cooper aboard Faith Seven.
  • 1963 May 19: First publication of King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (excerpts, without his permission) in the New York Post Sunday Magazine.
  • 1963 May 25: President Kennedy asked America to work toward putting a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
  • 1963 May 28: Pivotal N.A.A.C.P. sit-in demonstration at the Woolworth's lunch counter in Downtown Jackson, Mississippi.
  • 1963 June: First official publication of King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in the June issue of Liberation Mag-azine, in the June 12 issue of The Christian Century, and in the June 24 issue of The New Leader Magazine.
  • 1963 June 9: Birthday of actor Johnny Depp in Owensboro, Kentucky.
  • 1963 June 11: Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace tried to block integration of the University of Alabama by Afro-American students but was thwarted by federally-controlled National Guard troops.
  • 1963 June 12: Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was fatally shot in front of his home in Jackson, Mississippi.
  • 1963 June 17: The U.S. Supreme Court decided in Abington School District v. Schempp that official or mandatory school prayers are unconstitutional.
  • 1963 June 17: President Kennedy's visit to West Berlin, Germany included his declaration "Ich bin ein Berliner".
  • 1963 July 1: The U.S. Post Office inaugurated the five-digit ZIP-code program.
  • 1963 Aug 18: James Meredith became the first Afro-American student to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
  • 1963 Aug 28: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech to 200,000 people in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.
  • 1963 Aug 30: The red phone 'hot line' communications link between Washington & Moscow began operation.
  • 1963 Sept 2: Alabama Gov. George C. Wallace prevented federally-mandated racial integration of Tuskegee High School by encircling the building with state troopers.
  • 1963 Sept 7: Dedication of the National Professional Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
  • 1963 Sept 10: Under pressure from media attention following a standoff between federal authorities and Gov. George C. Wallace, twenty Afro-American students were admitted to previously all-white schools in Birm-ingham, Mobile, and Tuskegee, Alabama.
  • 1963 Sept 15: Four black girls were killed by a dynamite bomb set off by Ku Klux Klan members at Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • 1963 Nov 2: President Ngo Dihn Diem of South VietNam was assassinated in a military coup.
  • 1963 Nov 22: Assassination of President John F. Kennedy, during a motorcade thru Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas; Texas Gov. John Connally was seriously wounded. Lee Harvey Oswald was later discovered hiding in a movie theater and taken into custody. Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson became President.
  • 1963 Nov 23: First episode of the "Doctor Who" TV series was broadcast on the B.B.C. Network; so far there are over 800 episodes, plus specials.
  • 1963 Nov 24: Jack Ruby shot and mortally wounded accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald in a Dallas, Texas police garage; the event took place on live television.
  • 1963 Dec 12: The Republic of Kenya was granted independence by Great Britain.

Civil  Rights
&  The  Viet Nam  War

War Film Festival - VietNam War Movies

  • 1963 Nov 22: Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson became U.S. President upon the death of John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas.
  • 1964 Jan 8: President Lyndon Baines Johnson declared a 'War On Poverty' in his State of The Union address.
  • 1964 Jan 11: U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued the first government report that stated that smoking of tobacco may be hazardous to one's health.
  • 1964 Jan 23: The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which eliminated poll taxes in federal elections, was ratified.
  • 1964 Jan 25: The Echo 2 balloon communications satellite was successfully launched into orbit.
  • 1964 March 13: Bar manager Catherine 'Kitty' Genovese was stabbed to death after work (around 2:30 am) near her home in Queens, New York; the case became major news because 38 neighbors ignored her screams for help.
  • 1964 March 14: A jury in Dallas, Texas convicted nightclub operator Jack Ruby of murdering Lee Harvey Oswald, and sentenced him to death; both the conviction and sentence were later over-turned on appeal.
  • 1964 March 20: U.S. debut of "The Pink Panther" comedy film, starring David Niven and Peter Sellers; the hit film has been followed by ten sequels and 160+ animated cartoons.
  • 1964 March 27: A record 9.2 earthquake hit Alaska, near Anchorage, followed by several tsunamis & aftershocks; 131 people died in Alaska, with tsunami damage reaching Hawaii and Japan.
  • 1964 April 7: I.B.M. introduced the innovative System/360 mainframe computers, the first line designed to give customers 'upward compatibility', the option to upgrade later to more powerful (and expensive) configurations.
  • 1964 April 13: Sidney Poitier became the first Afro-American to win an Oscar award for a leading role from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (he won for his performance in "Lilies of The Field").
  • 1964 April 17: Ford Motor Company unveiled its new Mustang model at the New York World's Fair.
  • 1964 April 22: President Lyndon B. Johnson officially opened the New York World's Fair.
  • 1964 May 22: During a speech at the University of Michigan, President Lyndon B. Johnson outlined his goals for The Great Society - an ambitious set of domestic programs that included education and immigration reforms, as well as the Voting Rights Act and the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • 1964 June 21: Three out-of-state civil rights workers – Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James E. Chaney – were beaten and shot to death in Philadelphia, Mississippi; after an intense search, their bodies were found six weeks later buried in an earthen dam. (One former member of the Ku Klux Klan was convicted for the crime exactly 41 years later.)
  • 1964 June 22: Important U.S. Supreme Court Escobedo v. Illinois decision specifying a suspect's right to legal counsel, per the Sixth Amendment; later clarified by Miranda v. Arizona in June 1966.
  • 1964 July 2: President Johnson signed the sweeping Civil Rights Bill into law.
  • 1964 July 31: America's space probe Ranger 7 reached the moon, transmitting pictures back to Earth before crashing into the lunar surface.
  • 1964 Aug 4: The bodies of three slain out-of-state civil rights workers were found buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi.
  • 1964 Aug 4: Alleged attack on U.S. Navy destroyers Maddox and C. Turner Joy off the coast of North Vietnam, in the Gulf of Tonkin.
  • 1964 Aug 7: U.S. Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, the official beginning of the VietNam War.
  • 1964 Aug 10: The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was signed into law by President Johnson. (The resolution was repealed in 1971.)
  • 1964 Sept 4: Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River began generating power.
  • 1964 Sept 27: The Warren Commission issued its report, finding that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the assassination of John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963.
  • 1964 Oct 14: The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to U.S. civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr..
  • 1964 Oct 15: The Soviet Union announced that Premier Nikita S. Krushchev was removed from his various offices.
  • 1964 Nov 28: The United States launched the Mariner 4 'fly-by' mission toward the planet Mars; the spacecraft returned the first-ever close-up photos of the Red Planet in July 1965.
  • 1964 Dec 10: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. accepted the Nobel Peace Prize during ceremonies in Oslo, Norway.

  • 1965 Jan 4: President Johnson outlined the goals of his 'Great Society' program during the State of the Union address to Congress.
  • 1965 Feb 15: Canada unveiled the new red & white maple leaf flag at ceremonies in Ottawa.
  • 1965 Feb 21: Former Black Muslim leader Malcolm X was shot to death at age 39 in New York City by Black Muslim assassins.
  • 1965 March 7: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. began the First March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; the 600 civil rights protesters were halted by state & local police weilding billy clubs and tear gas; the event is known as 'Bloody Sunday'.
  • 1965 March 8: First U.S. combat troops landed in South VietNam: 3,500 Marines assigned to defend the air base at Da Nang.
  • 1965 March 9: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. began the Second March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; the 2,500 civil rights protesters halted at the Edmund Pettus Bridge in conformance with a restraining order and turned back without violence.
  • 1965 March 18: Birthday of the Pillsbury Doughboy.
  • 1965 March 21: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led 8,000 demonstrators on the successful Third March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama; the 54-mile trek took five days.
  • 1965 March 25: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. led 25,000 marchers to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama to protest denial of voting rights to blacks.
  • 1965 April 4: Birthday of actor Robert Downey, Jr. in New York City.
  • 1965 April 6: Launch by the U.S. of the Intelsat 1 communication satellite, also known as 'Early Bird'.
  • 1965 June 3: Gemini 4 astronaut Edward White made the first American 'space walk'.
  • 1965 June 7: The U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark Griswold v. Connecticut case, that affirmed the individual's right to privacy, under the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
  • 1965 July 13: President Lyndon B. Johnson nominated attorney Thurgood Marshall to be U.S. Solicitor General, the first Afro-American appointed to the post. (Johnson nominated Marshall to the U.S. Supreme Court two years later.)
  • 1965 July 30: President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law.
  • 1965 July 31: Birthday of J.K. Rowling in Gloucestershire, England; she created the Harry Potter books.
  • 1965 Aug 6: President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act.
  • 1965 Aug 11: Violence erupted in South Central Los Angeles following a traffic stop by a white C.H.P. motorcycle officer and the arrest of an Afro-American driver and his brother and mother. The 'Watts Riots' lasted six days; 34 people died.
  • 1965 Aug 14: Sonny & Cher hit "I Got You Babe" made #1 on the pop music charts.
  • 1965 Aug 29: The Gemini 5 capsule, carrying astronauts Gordon Cooper and Charles 'Pete' Conrad, splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean after 8 days in space.
  • 1965 Oct 4: First-ever visit to the Western Hemisphere by the Catholic Pope: Paul VI addressed the United Nations in New York City.
  • 1965 Nov 9: The Northeast Power Blackout of 1965 left 30 million people in Ontario, Canada and in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York & New Jersey without electricity for up to 13½ hours.
  • 1965 Nov 14: First U.S. Army military operation in VietNam, the Battle of Ia Drang; the event ended five days later with both sides claiming victory.
  • 1965 Nov 26: France launched its first satellite into orbit.
  • 1965 Dec 1: An airlift of Cuban refugees began in which thousands of Cubans were allowed to leave their homeland for The United States.
  • 1965 Dec 4: N.A.S.A. launched Gemini VII with astronauts U.S.A.F. LtCol. Frank Borman and Navy Commander James A. Lovell aboard.
  • 1965 Dec 15: N.A.S.A. launched the two-man Gemini VIa space vehicle which met up with the earlier Gemini VII space vehicle and maneuvered to less than ten feet of each other while orbiting the Earth.

  • 1966: Communist China's 'Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution' internal upheaval; at least a million people (probably many more) were murdered, starved, or worked to death; millions more were forcibly displaced. (The brutality ceased after Mao's death in 1976.)
  • 1966: Coca-Cola® introduced zero-calorie Fresca™ diet soft drink.
  • 1966: The Defense Department's A.R.P.A. began development of an ARPAnet, using principles of packet-switching; the switchover to the public internet occured in February 1990.
  • 1966 Jan 17: U.S.A.F. B-52 bomber carrying four unarmed Mark 28 H-bombs collided with a KC-135 tanker plane during refueling and both planes blew up over the coastal town of Palomares, Portugal; seven airmen died, two bombs exploded on land, third bomb recovered on land next day; fourth H-bomb recovered from bottom of ocean four months later.
  • 1966 Feb 3: First spacecraft landed on the moon, the Soviet Luna 9.
  • 1966 May 6/7: The Rolling Stones single "Paint It Black" was released in the U.S. by London Records.
  • 1966 June 2: America's space probe Surveyer I landed on the moon and began transmitting detailed photographs of the lunar surface.
  • 1966 June 6: Black activist James Meredith was shot and wounded along a highway in Mississippi during the March Against Fear.
  • 1966 June 13: The U.S. Supreme Court decided the landmark Miranda v. Arizona case that criminal suspects must be informed of their constitutional rights to consult an attorney and to remain silent during interrogation.
  • 1966 Aug 3: The body of stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce was found at his home in Hollywood, California; he died of a drug overdose at age 40.
  • 1966 Oct 5: The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned Jack Ruby's conviction for 'murder with malice' of Lee Harvey Oswald, on the basis of perceived inability to receive a fair trial in Dallas.
  • 1966 Oct 15: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a bill that established the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • 1966 Oct 29: Founding of the National Organization For Women, in Washington, DC.
  • 1966 Nov 11: Launch from Cape Canaveral of Gemini XII carrying astronauts James A. Lovell, Jr. and Edwin E. 'Buzz' Aldrin, Jr.; the final Gemini mission ended 59 orbits and four days later with a splashdown in the West Atlantic Ocean.
  • 1966 Nov 18: Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. declared an end to meatless Fridays, except during Lent.
  • 1966 Nov 30: The island of Barbados became independent, though still a member of the British Commonwealth.
  • 1966 Dec 15: Studio head Walt Disney died in Burbank, California at age 65.

  • 1967 Jan 3: Texas nightclub operator Jack Ruby, his conviction overturned on appeal, died of lung cancer before he could be retried for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • 1967 Jan 27: A flash fire aboard Apollo I during a test at Cape Kennedy killed astronauts Virgil I. 'Gus' Grissom, Edward H. White & Roger B. Chaffee.
  • 1967 Feb 10: The 25th Amendment, clarifying presidential disability & succession, went into effect.
  • 1967 March 14: The body of John F. Kennedy was moved from its temporary location to the permanent 'eternal flame' memorial site at Arlington National Cemetary. +
  • 1967 May 18: Under pressure from a federal class-action lawsuit filed by a teacher, the Tennessee legislature passed and Gov. Buford Ellington signed a repeal of the Butler Act, a 1925 law that made teaching of evolution unlawful in the state's public schools.
  • 1967 June 8: Israel attacked the U.S.S. Liberty spy ship off the coast of Sinai, mistaking it for an Egyptian vessel, killing 34 American Navy personnel and wounding 174.
  • 1967 June 10: The Middle East War ended as Israel & Syria agreed to observe a cease-fire mediated by the United Nations.
  • 1967 July 12: Weeklong race riots began in Newark, New Jersey, after an Afro-American taxi driver was beaten by police; 26 people died in the violence.
  • 1967 July 23: Weeklong race riots began in Detroit, Michigan; 43 people died.
  • 1967 Aug 30: The U.S. Senate confirmed the appointment of Thurgood Marshall as the first Afro-American member of the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1967 Sept 20: Britain's Queen Elizabeth II christened the Cunard ocean liner RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 at Clydebank, Scotland.
  • 1967 Oct 2: Swearing-in of Thurgood Marshall [1909-93] as Associate Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court; he was the first Afro-American on the Supreme Court, and served until October 1991.
  • 1967 Oct 3: Folk singer & songwriter Woody Guthrie died in New York City of Huntington's disease at age 55.
  • 1967 Oct 9: Latin American guerrila leader Che Guevara was executed for attempting to incite revolution in Bolivia.
  • 1967 Oct 19: The U.S. space probe Mariner 5 flew past the planet Venus.
  • 1967 Oct 21: March by 100,000 protestors to the Pentagon in Washington, DC which was turned into a riot by Federal police. Leaders included Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Robert Lowell, Noam Chomsky, Paul Goodman, Dwight McDonald, Dr. Benjamin Spock & Ed Sanders of The Fugs band; among the 683 people arrested was Norman Mailer, whose essays about the event evolved into a bestselling & Pulitzer-winning book, "The Armies of The Night: History As A Novel, The Novel As History" [1968].
  • 1967 Nov: When co-founder Fred C. Koch died at age 67, his four sons inherited Koch Industries which has grown since to become America's second-largest privately-held company.
  • 1967 Nov 9: Successful test flight from Cape Kennedy of a Saturn V rocket carrying an unmanned Apollo capsule.
  • 1967 Nov 20: The U.S. Census Clock at the Department of Commerce ticked past 200 million population.
  • 1967 Dec 3: The famed luxury passenger train The Twentieth Century Limited completed its final run from New York to Chicago.
  • 1967 Dec 10: Singer Otis Redding and six others died when their airplane crashed into Lake Monona near Madison, Wisconsin.

  • 1968: Introduction of McDonald's 'Big Mac' cheeseburger.
  • 1968: Creation of the Penn Central Railroad by merger of the Pennsylvania Railroad [est. 1846] and the New York Central Railroad [est. 1831] on February First and of the New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad [est. 1872] on December 31st.
    1968, The Year That Rocked the World book by Mark Kurlansky  
    "1968: The Year That Rocked The World" [2004] by Mark Kurlansky
    Kindle Edition from Random House Digital [2004 edition] for $13.99
    Random House Trade 8¼x5½ pb [1/2005] for $11.35
    Jonathan Cape, London 9¼x6 hardcover [2004] for $35.00
    Chatto, Bodley Head & Cape 9¼x6¼ hardcover [5/2004] out of print/many used
  • 1968 Jan 9: Surveyor VII made a soft landing on the moon, the last of the unmanned explorations of the moon's surface.
  • 1968 Jan 21: U.S.A.F B-52 bomber carrying four unarmed Mark 28 H-bombs crash-landed on sea-ice near Thule AFB in Greenland, detonating explosives in the bombs.
  • 1968 Jan 23: North Korea seized the U.S. Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo.
  • 1968 Jan 30: Beginning of the VietCong's Tet (Holiday) Offensive.
  • 1968 Feb 8: Largely unnoticed & forgotten Orangeburg Massacre: South Carolina Highway Patrol officers opened fire on desegregationists at South Carolina State College who were protesting against a whites-only bowling alley; three students were killed and 27 others wounded.
  • 1968 Feb 16: The nation's first 911 emergency telephone system was inaugurated as Alabama House Speaker Rankin Fite placed a call from the office of Haleyville's mayor to a red telephone at the police station.
  • 1968 Feb 19: Debut of "Mr. Roger's Neighborhood" children's TV program on the N.E.T. national network.
  • 1968 March 16: The 'My Lai Massacre' in VietNam was carried out by U.S. troops under the command of Army Lt. William L. Calley, Jr.
  • 1968 April 4: Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee at age 39.
  • 1968 April 26: The U.S. exploded a one-megaton nuclear device called 'Boxcar' beneath the Nevada desert.
  • 1968 April 29: Opening of the counterculture musical "Hair" on Broadway, after limited engagements off-Broadway.
  • 1968 May 22: Nuclear-powered submarine U.S.S. Scorpion sank in the Atlantic with 99 men aboard.
  • 1968 May 25: Dedication of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial.
  • 1968 June 6: Assassination of presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy after he gave a speech at the Ambassador Hotel ballroom in Los Angeles.
  • 1968 June 6: Birthday of popular science author & TV host Steven Johnsonin Washington, DC.
  • 1968 July 1: Signing of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty by U.S.A, Britain, Soviet Union and nearly 60 other countries.
  • 1968 Aug 24: France exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific, making them the world's fifth thermonuclear power.
  • 1968 Oct 7: The Motion Picture Assn. of America adopted the film-rating system.
  • 1968 Oct 11: Launch of the first manned Apollo mission, Apollo 7 which flew in Earth orbit until safely splash-landing near Bermuda on October 22nd.
  • 1968 Oct 20: Marriage of Jacqueline Kennedy and Greek shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis.
  • 1968 Dec 21: N.A.S.A. Apollo 8 astronauts Frank Borman, James A. Lovell Jr. & William A. Anders blasted off to orbit the moon; they were the first men to leave the earth's gravitational field and the first to see the back side of the moon.
  • 1968 Dec 23: North Korea released 82 crew members from the intelligence ship USS Pueblo, after 11 months in captivity.
  • 1968 Dec 24: Apollo 8 astronauts read passages from the Old Testament during a Christmas Eve television broadcast while orbiting the moon.
  • 1968 Dec 27: N.A.S.A. Apollo 8 mission nighttime splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

Ancient Times - 3500 B.C.E to 1490

1491-1800    •    1801-1900    •    1901-1930    •    1931-1950    •    1951-1968 { top of this page }

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