The decade of the 1960’s started off relatively quiet but would become known as a decade of change and turbulent times. The decade was marked by the space race, space walks and moon landings; it was a time of civil rights demonstrations, church bombings and race riots. There was a British invasion and the Beatles shot to fame. It was the time of the Viet Nam war; there were peace demonstrations, draft protests, sit ins, college riots and Weathermen bombings. There were happenings, hippies, long hair, bell bottoms and of course, the Woodstock concert. It was a decade of too many assassinations; by the end of the 10 year period America would be changed forever.
People survived the decade without cable TV, satellite communications, the Internet, GPS devices, PC’s, laptops, CD’s, cell phones, hand held media devices, VCR’s, DVD’s, digital cameras and host of other gadgets.
Here is a brief look at some people and events from the year 1968.
Lyndon Johnson was the lame duck President of the United States.
Congressman John W. McCormack (D-Mass) was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
On January 21, 1968 the Battle of Khe Sanh began in Viet Nam.
On January 23, 1968 the USS Pueblo was seized by North Korea.
On January 30, 1968 the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army launched the Tet Offensive.
On March 16, 1968 the My Lai Massacre occurred; units of the US Army Americal Division slaughtered between 347 and 504 Vietnamese civilians. News of the massacre was not made public until November of 1969.
On March 16, 1968 Robert F. Kennedy announced that he was seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.
On March 31, 1968 LBJ announced he would not seek reelection.
On April 4, 1968 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee.
On April 11, 1968 LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968.
On April 20, 1968 Pierre Trudeau became the Prime Minister of Canada.
On April 23, 1968 anti-war demonstrations and riots broke out Columbia University.
On June 5, 1968 after winning the California primary Robert Kennedy was shot at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Kennedy died the next day; his assassin was Sirhan Sirhan.
On June 8, 1968 James Earl Ray was arrested for the murder of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Republican National Convention was held in Miami Beach between August 5 and August 8, 1968; Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew captured the Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominations.
The Democratic National Convention was held in Chicago between August 23 and August 30, 1968; Hubert Humphrey and Edmund Muskie captured the Presidential and Vice-Presidential nominations. During the convention there were numerous clashes between anti-war protesters and the Chicago Police.
On November 5, 1968 Richard Nixon won the US Presidential election.
The United States unemployment rate for 1968 was 3.6%.
On January 14, 1968 the AFL-NFL World Championship Football Super Bowl 2 was held at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Oakland Raiders 33-14.
On February 6, 1968 the Winter Olympic Games opened in Grenoble, France.
On October 12, 1968 the Summer Olympic Games opened in Mexico City.
The Detroit Tigers were the 1968 MLB World Series Champions defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in 4 out of 7 games.
In 1968 there was no official Heavyweight Boxing Champion; Muhammad Ali (Cassius Clay) refused induction into the military and was stripped of his title.
Arts and Entertainment
The 40th Academy Awards were hosted by Bob Hope on April 10, 1968. The Best Picture Award for 1967 went to, “In the Heat of the Night”.
In 1968 the prime time Emmy for comedy went to, “Get Smart”. In the drama category there were two prime time Emmys awarded; the winners were, “Mission Impossible” (second time in a row) and “NET Playhouse”. The Emmy for best variety show was awarded to “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In”.
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1968 went to “The Confessions of Nat Turner”, by William Styron.
On February 19, 1968 “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” first aired on NET.
On April 2, 1968 the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” opened in Washington.
On July 15, 1968 the soap opera “One Life To Live” premiered on ABC Television.
On September 7, 1968 the toy manufacturer Mattel introduced the “Hot Wheels” car.
On September 20, 1968 the hit television series “Hawaii 5-0” first aired on CBS.
On January 15, 1968 an earthquake in Sicily killed over two hundred people and injured hundreds more.
On January 21, 1968 a USAF B-52 Stratofortress with four hydrogen bombs on board crashed in North Star Bay, Greenland.
In October of 1968 Apollo 7 NASA Astronauts Wally Schirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham completed a 10 day space mission.
On October 20, 1968 Jackie Kennedy married Aristotle Onassis.
Bureau of Labor Statistics