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 1969.
On January 20, 1969 Richard M. Nixon was inaugurated as the 37th President of the United States.
Congressman John W. McCormack (D-Mass) was the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
On February 4, 1969 Yasser Arafat became the leader of the PLO.
On March 17, 1969 Golda Meir became Prime Minister of Israel.
On March 28, 1969 former President Dwight Eisenhower passed away.
On April 9, 1969 the Students for a Democratic Society invaded the Harvard University Administration building. Before the siege ended 45 people were injured and over 100 were arrested.
On April 20, 1969 British troops were ordered to Northern Ireland to reinforce the RUC, Royal Ulster Constabulary.
On May 10, 1969 the Battle of Dong AP Bia (Hamburger Hill) began; the United States and North Viet Nam would both suffer heavy casualties in the 10 day engagement.
On June 20, 1969 Georges Pompidou was elected president of France.
On June 23, 1969 Warren Burger was sworn in as the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
On June 24, 1969 the United Kingdom and Rhodesia ended diplomatic ties.
On July 8, 1969 the first withdrawal of US troops from South Viet Nam began.
On July 18, 1969 Senator Edward Kennedy was involved in a fatal automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island; passenger Mary Jo Kopechne died in the tragedy.
On August 4, 1969 secret peace talks between the United States and North Viet Nam commenced in Paris.
On September 5, 1969 Lt. William Calley was charged with six counts of murder in connection with the My Lai Massacre.
On November 15, 1969 over 250,000 Viet Nam War protestors held a peaceful demonstration in Washington.
The United States unemployment rate for 1969 was 3.5%.
On January 12, 1969 the AFL-NFL World Championship Football Super Bowl III was held at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The AFL New York Jets led by quarterback Joe Namath defeated the Baltimore Colts in a 16-7 point game. Joe Namath completed 17 out of 28 passes..
The Amazing New York Mets were the 1969 MLB World Series Champions defeating the Baltimore Orioles in 4 out of 5 games games.
In 1969 the Heavyweight Boxing Title was still in a bit of turmoil with Muhammad Ali being stripped by the WBC as the heavyweight champ. Smoking Joe Frazier held the NYSAC title while Jimmy Ellis was considered the champion by the WBA for most of the year.
Arts and Entertainment
The 41st Academy Awards were held on April 14, 1969. The Best Picture Award for 1968 went to, “Oliver!”
In 1969 the prime time Emmy for comedy went to, “Get Smart” (2nd time in a row). In the drama category the Emmy was awarded to “NET Playhouse”. The Emmy for best variety show was awarded to “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In” (2nd time in a row).
The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1968 went to “House Made of Dawn”, by N. Scott Momaday.
On January 10, 1969 the last edition of “The Saturday Evening Post” was published ending 147 years of circulation.
On May 25, 1969 the X-rated, Oscar winning movie “Midnight Cowboy” was released. The film starred Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight.
On June 1, 1969 John Lennon recorded “Give Peace a Chance” in Montreal.
On June 22, 1969 actress and singer Judy Garland died in London.
From August 15 through August 18, 1969 the famed Woodstock Concert was held; approximately 500,000 people attended the multi day festival. Among the artists that appeared were Richie Havens, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Cocker, Janis Joplin, Joan Baez, Arlo Guthrie and Credence Clearwater Revival.
On September 26, 1969 the Beatles album “Abbey Road” was released.
On September 26, 1969 the television show, “The Brady Bunch” premiered on the ABC Television network.
On October 5, 1969 “Month Python’s Fling Circus” debuted on BBC One.
On November 10, 1969 Sesame Street was first aired on NET.
On January 14, 1969 the Soviet Union launched the Soyuz 4 spacecraft and on the following day launched the Soyuz 5 space craft. Cosmonauts successfully docked both crafts in space and were able to transfer crews.
On February 5, 1969 Santa Barbara harbor was closed after being impacted by a major oil spill.
On March 3, 1969 in a Los Angeles courtroom, Sirhan Sirhan admitted to killing Senator Robert F. Kennedy.
On March 10, 1969 James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to murdering Martin Luther King Jr. Ray would later state that he did not kill Dr. King.
On July 16, 1969 NASA space craft Apollo 11 launched with Astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on board. On July 20, 1969 Neil Armstrong became the first person to set foot on the moon.
On August 9, 1969 members of the Charles Manson cult murdered Sharon Tate, Abagail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski and Jay Sebring. The cult invaded the home of Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski; Roman Polanski was not home at the time.
On August 10, 1969 Charles Manson cult members killed Leno and Rosemary La Bianca.
On August 17, 1969 Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi coast killing 248 people.
On September 2, 1969 the first ATM machine in America went into operation in Rockville Centre, New York.
Bureau of Labor Statistics